I was having a conversation with my friend Ryan Potter the other day. I was telling him that if I were to plant a church, I would definitely recruit him and his wife. He (half?) jokingly replied, “yeah right, we could never plant a church together.” I smiled because he had reasons to make the comment. As it turns out, Ryan has different convictions than me.
For example, he’s all about infant baptism, (and doesn’t let me forget that since Kaylyn got baptized while pregnant, we, in effect, baptized our baby as well). He is also quite reformed (Calvinist), and plans to pastor in the Reformed Church of America after his MDiv. He’s also conservative in issues of women in the church, and would take a class on Jonathan Edwards for spiritual nourishment.
I on the other hand am quite different. For one, I don’t have the slightest clue which denomination I would work in if I were to be a pastor. Also, I am still convinced believer’s baptism is more Biblical and is closer to the Gospel admonitions. I would not label myself as “reformed,” although I’m reformed in some sense (reformed can mean a lot of things, but for starters, if I had to pick someone to hang out with, I’d definitely choose Jacobus over John… I would have much more reason to talk ;). Although I haven’t decided how far I’m willing to go with the whole “women in ministry” issue, I’d say I’m probably egalitarian, if pushed to the limit. I, with Potter, would take a class on Edwards, but it would be to fight!
So, knowing this background information, let me ask an intriguing question. Should I still try to recruit Ryan? We get along great, enjoy conversing over these issues, we attend a small group together, are currently going to the same church, etc… Despite all our differences, I think he’s a pretty cool guy. He loves the Lord, a lot! But would it be safe/smart to work with him in a church someday?
Hypothetical situation: Ryan and I are both “head” pastors of the same church. If someone in the congregation wants to baptize their baby, they go to Ryan. If someone is all about believers baptism, they come to me. When I preach, I would celebrate our free will, and when Ryan preached, he would celebrate the sovereignty of God. (Here I am making unnecessary distinctions just to make the point). Wouldn’t it be cool if the leadership team of a church knew their own points of disagreements, embraced each other, and worked through them, even agreeing to disagree? After all, these are real issues, why should the church not reflect these multiplicities of views? Must a church staff agree on all such things? What if I was a democrat and Ryan was a republican (and most people knew it?) Would this be a bad thing? Couldn’t this be an example to the congregation that plurality within Christ is OK? What do you think? Am I going too far?