From the Editors: Working Together in the Church
“Working Together.” It is an apt slogan for a parent-teacher association, or a worthy aspiration for labor and management in industry, or a rally cry calling for cooperation between federal and state/provincial agencies. For the church of Jesus Christ, “working together” is more than a slogan, a noble aspiration, or a rally cry. It is a spiritual mandate from Scripture. The possibility of working together rests in the “new creation” of persons now directed by the Holy Spirit; the practice of working together requires attention to polity and skill in management of conflict.
Working together is often tested in decision making. Dalton Reimer takes a close look at the report of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) and uncovers there the importance of narrative in the decision-making process.
Since leadership is a key factor for a church working together, Abe Dueck reviews leadership patterns. Leadership practices are chronicled from another century and from another continent in a newly translated document by Ken Reddig in the section, “Historical Endnotes.” As for the contemporary scene, several leaders from several continents identify current issues in church polity.
The more a church has moved into a pastoral system of polity, the more deliberate must be the attempt to bridge the gap between clergy and laity. Pastor Vern Heidebrecht offers some thoughts on affirming laity. Karen Heidebrecht Thiessen explores three narratives about Jesus and women in order to assist in the current discussion about women in ministry.
Since lapses in collaborative working do occur, Marlin Thomas’s insights on church conflict are apropos. Whether working together should be pursued more aggressively interdenominationally is an issue probed by Ken Esau. On a wider front still, Pakisa Tshimika asks what working together might mean for Christians in the public arena.
Long time educator David Ewert has a word about theology for preachers; a veteran missionary, Levi Keidel shares some thoughts about the church as a counter-culture entity.
The Spring 1991 edition will examine the posture of Anabaptism within American evangelicalism.