Yesterday, Dave Harvey posted “Group Reconciliation Assistance and how you can be involved” on the SGM blog. Under the heading, “How to get involved,” he says, “If you or your spouse are or have been a leader or member in a Sovereign Grace church, you’re invited to participate.”
That’s sounds great! So let’s get going. If you have grievance or offenses with Sovereign Grace Ministries here’s what you need to do. It’s easy.
Act immediately! You don’t get any “coaching and encouragement” and you don’t have a chance to be interviewed by Ambassadors of Reconciliation unless you attend the “Getting to the Heart of Conflict” seminar on November 8. You need to register by October 14. That’s less than two weeks.
So clear your schedule. Hurry up and get to work because you can’t wait to make other arrangements until you hear back from AOR. They may not contact you until the night before the Conference begins. You must proceed in faith not by sight. The Pastors Conference is only five weeks away.
Tomorrow tell your boss you need a week off from work assuming you have vacation time to spare and don’t much care how you use it. Or maybe you can plan to be sick the week of the conference.
Then make arrangements for child care. That’s always simple. Fly Grandma and Grandpa in from Alaska.
Then if you live west of the Mississippi get plane tickets this week if you hope for a discount which normally must be purchased a month in advance. Oops, I forgot to mention. Mid-week travel to D.C. is a killer in terms of cost because of pricey business rates.
So if you and your offended wife come to the Pastors Conference, don’t be offended at how much all of this will cost you. You still need a rental car and motel. And don’t forget meals. All extremely inexpensive in the D.C. area! So just go into debt and cancel your family vacation for next year. You can crimp on Christmas too. Just tell the kids they are giving up their presents so you can share your grievance and offenses with AOR. Well, maybe. That is, if you’re selected.
That means you need to start praying and fasting you are selected by AOR for an interview. But keep in mind, Sovereignty and Suffering. You might just get a phone call saying you won’t be interviewed at the Pastors Conference. No big deal. All things work together for good. Cancel all your arrangements and thank the Lord you were left out.
Lastly, I’m sure hundreds of disenfranchised leaders and members who left SGM can’t wait to attend a Sovereign Grace Conference and hang out with people they were cut off by or left because it was too painful to stay.
And what are the long terms effects of your labors? Who knows. If you’re granted an interview at the conference that doesn’t mean you will be granted mediation assistance after the conference. If you are picked, plan more time off, money spent, travel needed, and difficult meetings to attend. Then hope for some success.
Finally, everything you and others share with AOR about your negative experience in SGM will be strictly confidential. Only the SGM Board will get an oral and written report from AOR. So in the end, if any former leaders or members show up at the Pastors Conference to give input, it could be covered over with no public accounting or personal consequences for anyone.
Now for a serious thought. If Sovereign Grace Ministries really wants input then they must come up with a far better strategy than this one. When few people show up at the Pastors Conference to provide feedback, they can only blame themselves. And God forbid the SGM Board blames former leaders and members for not taking advantage of “reconciliation assistance” while claiming they made every effort to pursue reconciliation by devising this strategy.