Breaking Ground: The Newsletter of the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities

Archives available here. Note specifically the January 2009 issue entitled “Spirituality: A view of the world”

This brings to mind the National Organization on Disability Accessible Congregation campaign from the earlier part of this decade. An excellent start, but 2000 of 335,000 U. S. congregations (I believe the theological term is) sucks.

Here’s are practical tests:

1) does your pulpit area have a wheel chair accessible ramp PROMINENTLY VIEWABLE FROM THE AUDIENCE SIDE (symbolism is a big part of religious houses of worship message-wise, no?

2) When is the last time a blind or a deaf person lead prayer? How about someone with a speech disability using either a human or technological interpreter?

3) Do you have ANY Braille bulletins or collateral materials. Videos with captions? American Sign Language Bibles? can help with some of these things.

4) How many folks with visible disabilities of your leadership team (board, elders, presbyters, synod, national denominational board, etc.?

5) When’s the last time you’ve asked questions (as an organization) remotely like the four above?

Great Communion Celebration invite to the West End Church of Christ, 4 p.m., October 4, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in Middle Tennessee,

200 years ago Thomas Campbell was a lone voice crying out in the wilderness, calling for the unity of believers based on the commitment to Jesus Christ shared by all Christians. He decried the divisions that separated believers and reminded them of God’s gift of One Church. The fall of 1809 saw the publication of this clarion call in the form of his Declaration and Address; a breathtaking vision of Christians loving, worshipping and serving together in every locality-allowing the Spirit of Christ to form themselves into humble servants. That call eventually led to the formation of what has been known as the Restoration or Stone-Campbell Movement, a fellowship of people and congregations comprised of the Christian Churches, Churches of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Today that early vision of Christian Unity is one for which increasing numbers of believers long and is a major thrust of movements all across Christianity. A reappropriation of the spirit of the Declaration and Address in the churches of the Stone-Campbell Movement may be one of the richest contributions we can make to the emerging world of Christianity – and a gift we can give ourselves!

In celebration of the bicentennial of Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address Christians all over the world are gathering around the Table to share the Lord’s Supper – which Campbell called that great ordinance of Unity and Love – on Sunday October 4, 2009. The name given to this celebration is Great Communion in recognition of our Movement’s belief in the centrality of the Lord’s Supper, the place where we demonstrate our greatest unity. For more information on Great Communion go to Here you will find a host of downloadable resources for use in the local congregation.

In Middle Tennessee Christians of the Stone-Campbell Movement are invited to share in their heritage and be a part of a new call to Christian Unity by gathering for a Great Communion Celebration at 4 p.m. on October 4, 2009 at West End Church of Christ, 3534 West End Ave, Nashville. The service will feature brief messages by David Fleer and John York, a Unity Choir, and fellowship to follow. The central focus of the day will be a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. 

For more information or to participate in the Unity Choir contact the office of World Convention at 615-331-1824 or email at 

The Nashville Area Great Communion Planning Task Force 

Mission Alive believes that church planting and church renewal must

  • demonstrate the in-breaking of the kingdom of God into contemporary social fabrics so that God’s will “is done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
  • replicate the simple patterns of equipping and sending illustrated by the ministry of Jesus (Luke 10:1-9; John 20:21).
  • embody the incarnation of Christ so that the gospel comes near to sojourners, that is, “spiritually curious but disoriented God seekers” (The Tangible Kingdom, p. 116).
  • refocus the church from a hierarchical, modern pyramid, with religious leaders providing goods and services to the already saved, to a missional wedge sending maturing disciples to serve and speak to the unsaved.
  • move intentionally from theology to spiritually-formative practices to redemptive structures.
  • Mission Alive exists “to discover, equip, and nurture church-planting leaders who will plant Christ-formed churches in suburbs, city centers, poverty areas, and university contexts with unbelievers as the primary target and to partner with churches to plant churches”  We do this by (1) equipping church planters through Discovery, Theology, and Strategy labs, (2) providing church planter care through coaching, spiritual direction, church planter forums, retreats, and conferences, and (3) partnering with churches in missional renewal and church planting.

    Missional renewal of local churches takes place in a ministry called reVISION—Initiative for Missional Transformation.  ReVISION is designed to walk with leaders of existing churches as they pray, think, and plan for leading their churches to more fully express the Mission of God in their communities.  As part of reVISION, ministry leaders and shepherds participate in the Theology and Strategy Labs and take these missional moves to their full church leadership.  Mission Alive then works personally in post-lab orientation(s) to help them reVISION the mission of God and practically equip them to participate in His mission in their communities.

    Currently 15 church planting movements are emerging in six states.

    Learn about missional church planting through this video.

    Kevan Peer Update

    Hey Family!

    Thanks to those of you who prayed about the elder / deacon sessions, and followed it up to ask about it all.

    Turns out I had the date incorrect. I had only copied part of it off a church's bulletin board. It was not "1", but "15"! So, there are still chances to pray. And please do. Perhaps you can ask our Congregation there to pray for the unity efforts in Tennessee this week. So, it is this coming Saturday!

    The E Main St CoC is one of the older Congregations here in my area of middle TN, and even had Pres. Garfield preach there once back in the 1860's! Pres. Garfield is one of 4 US Presidents to be affiliated with our Brotherhood. E Main has taken up hosting Elder / Deacon / leader "lectureships" one Saturday each Summer, and usually the topic deals with a focus on those areas.

    For the last 30 years, all 3 streams / aspects of the RM / SCM have been trying to understand what went wrong, that a "unity" movement could not hold it together. Many have tried differing methods without establishing the ground work of a Biblical framework to allow such. And since it was not part of a Biblical hermeneutic, several left to start more conservative or liberal wings, or just left, in part due to the inconsistencies.

    And our a cappella aspect has seen this even moreso, with there now being 26 different "sects" within that tradition of our Brotherhood. Those 26 align into 6 camps who cannot work and worship together. The result for them is not only do they say the CC / DoC are not the "true Church", but they also say the CoC up the street is not the "true CoC". The world looks at that and says, "why bother going there, I can find that anywhere!" And so the CoC's have been losing members steadily since the 1980's at least. (So have the DoC's as well as the CC's until the 1990's when we started turning things around, yet in some areas, we are still losing members — just like other old school faith groups. That is one of the hopeful dynamics of returning to the Matthew 28 Approach to Scripture, that it allows us to use many of the "Emergent" trends [not so much Emerging school] which embrace much of what this generation seeks from community, and what our Brotherhood started out doing in the first place.)

    Seeing their situation as needing remedying, the CoC's have returned in many recent "lectureships" to deal with what they feel are the key issues, the "elementary teachings" of (Heb. 6). So, this lectureship focuses on what the see as key components of their return to their "foundations". The 2 doctrines in question are:

    1) 1st AM session – the "Doctrine Of Authority" (known as RPW by most Reformed Church faith groups). It suggests that the way to approach the Scriptures is to see that we "do not add to" or "subtract from" the Scriptures, Further, that if you "go beyond", then you have sinned. I say this so-called doctrine is "DOA"! ha!

    Tied strongly to that approach is their view on Biblical silences.

    2) 2nd AM session – the "Doctrine Of Silence Forbidding". This is sometimes used by Reformed Church faith groups, but usually in a lesser formulaic version. The CoC version states that if the Bible says nothing about a topic and you do it, it is a sin. Our brothers limit it, as did Calvin (the man creditied with the origination of this approach to Scripture) to the work and worship of the Church. The Amish do not so limit it saying "all of life should be worship anyway", and so apply it to all of life. The Mennonites do similarly (e.g., rejecting zippers on clothing saying they did not have them in Bible days). And the Primitive Baptists apply it to worship in restriction on things like not have central heat or air in their worship buildings since forced air systems were not available in Bible days. The Baptists in using these doctrines are now 300+ separate denominations! We are fortunate that by God's grace we are simply 3. And it has been God's grace that He is allowing us to learn how to become one again, and in so doing, be a witness to what God can do, when we let Him lead. And since this false doctrine is used so widely, once our Brotherhood is into this a few years, we can start using what God has helped us with, to help them leave this false gospel as well.

    Fewer than 10% of these 450+ Congregations that I now visit are on this program. And it seems to take about 7 years to rid our lives of the old leaven, and then it just becomes part of the normal 7 year cycle of congregational regeneration that many of you are already using. For example, in our aspect of the Brotherhood, we used to teach, "well, we do so and so because the early Church did so and so". That was a generalization, but in the details, it is false. We used the doctrine of "CENI" (Command, Example, and necessary Inference) to say something was "authorized" or okay to do in all situations. And we said if the Bible specified one way to do something, then there was only one way to do it. (The more restrictive CoC's would say and if more than one way is specified, that does not authorize any method, but all those methods are thereby "authorized".) Another way our aspect uses this approach to the Scriptures is through "pattern theology" (quick note – in the OT, the "pattern" was seen to be physical, but in the NT, when speaking of the NC's "pattern", it is always Personal! – wow, now is that not what this generation cries out for – relationship!).

    So, again, those 2 doctrines:

    1) "Authority" is dead on arrival since Jesus, Whom the Scriptures testify was sinless, did not obey it. The early Church did not obey it. God did not obey it. And in fact, we find Jesus doing the opposite, in "going beyond" (often touted as the NT proof text that "authority" is required and that "silence forbids", but in reality is a misapplication of 1 Cor. 4:6, which actually refers back to 1:31).

    2) While I can disprove "silence forbids" with one Scripture (Jn. 12:48), they likely will not be satisfied unless I first disprove about 50 false scenarios. One classic scenario used is Moses in bringing water from the rock the 2nd time, strikes the rock. They take a quick look and say, "see, he added to God's command, and that was why Moses did not get into the Promised Land in his lifetime. Is that what Scripture says, or have our brothers "added to" Scripture in order to say that? This so-called doctrine says that if the Bible does not command it or even mention it at all, and you do it (again, limited to those two areas concerning the work and worship of the Church – which is why they allow a piano in their homes, but not in their Church's building – it tends towards compartmentalization of life), then it is a sin. (Heb. 7's) Melchizedek / priest not specified from Judah, or (Acts 15's) "we gave no such command" are often trotted out as proof texts for this. sample conundrum they would suggest is "can you have watermelon as part of the Lord's Supper to represent His fleshy Body?". 

    Oh, for those of you who wish to study this last topic in depth, an a cappella CoC brother, Al Maxey, has written about this weekly for 15 years now. He recently debated online a brother from a restrictive CoC preacher training institute, Memphis School of Preaching as to whether all the NT is "pattern" or the "NT contains pattern". You can find the archives of both online at (He is very close to my statement that "Silence does not exclude. Stating that something must be done that way and only that way excludes".) That should be interesting reading for any of our brothers who cling to "patternism". You can contact him. You can subscribe to his weekly e-letter. Either way, please thank him for his work.

    It has taken me years of study to try and sort out the sense from the nonsense.

    Since our aspects have been apart for so long, we have developed key jargon terms that have weighted meaning distinct from their normal sense meanings.And while& I may be close to being an expert in this translating of our traditions, I am not perfect. And since I work to support this outreach, I will not have lots of time to spend in preparation, but I tend to have Saturday free, so I am trying to do that.

    And so, with about one week left until this next opportunity for our Brotherhood to find healing, I continue to ask for your prayers:

    – that an opportunity will be granted to present questions to the gathered brothers,

    – that God's Spirit will prepare our hearts to hear His Voice over tradition's,

    – that I will be given the words to heal and they the ears to hear,

    – that I will serve in meekness and humility,

    – that God will help His Word not to return to Him void, but to accomplish Its mission.

    Please feel free to come if you live locally, the more the merrier.

    Registration in Murfreesboro, TN starts at 8 AM. Maybe you can ask a question or two as well. And if you have insight into any of this and wish to share it, feel free to forward that to my attention. And please pray. Thanks!

    Master, we believe You are not the author of confusion. Thank You for helping us start to recognize that old trickster up to his worst again, encouraging us to promote a false gospel in place of freedom in Christ. Thank You for allowing our Brotherhood the opportunity to embrace Your commands as repeated by Your Apostles and to use that to energize Your One Church. Thank You for praying for us to share in Your Oneness, and please give us the courage to do so, being Your bondservants. Help us always to be to the praise of Your glory! In Jesus' Name, amen.

    In HIS love,

    kevan peer, a servant 615.481.4503

    "for it does not yet appear, what we shall be"

    Kevan Peer: Campbell-Stone Churches Respond to Tornadoes

    Good Morning, mid-state Family,

    Most of this will detail how we can dovetail into what our Sister a cappella
    Churches of Christ are already doing. I have asked our IDES ministry to
    partner with them, but that approval takes time, and I have not heard if they
    will. And the Disciples group, "Week of Compassion" is also expected to
    contribute in some form, but again, they are a committee type organization,
    and it has not been determined how, or if they will help.

    At this point, here is what I know.


    After hitting Arkansas the night before with similar results,
    the tornado hit M'boro, TN. on Good Friday :
    1 tornado,
    2 killed,
    15 mile long path of destruction,
    30 homes demolished,
    100+ injured,
    519 structures in all were damaged (Bldg & Codes Dept report Sunday),
    1000's without water & power as of Saturday,
    many people had to stay elsewhere temporarily due to lack of utilities,
    damage estimates continue to rise.

    Here is the AOL report:
    their pics
    Here are photos of a local church helping in initial clean-up:

    In terms of our Churches, I am still receiving reports, but so far:
    1 family staying elsewhere due to utilities being down,
    2 families with some damage,
    14 families had significant enough damage that they had to move out,
    2 families lost their entire homes,
    and all 3 streams of the Restoration Movement were affected.
    Accordingly, all 3 are helping in recovery attempts.

    The Churches of Christ delivered their 1st truck Saturday, and will have
    another tractor trailer Wednesday. The Christian Churches are looking to
    partner with the CoCDRE in this part of the recovery effort. And the Disciples
    of Christ are looking at an additional partnering, but have not come up with
    a formal plan yet (typical committee boards type of process).

    In my Church / State cooperation role, part of what I do as ambassador
    for our Churches, I serve on the Murfreesboro Mayor's Disaster Preparedness
    Task Force. While that coordinates all the official responses and procedures
    for such events, my task is simply to help coordinate efforts with our Churches.

    While some in our Congregations are not comfortable with "mutual efforts"
    or "cooperative ventures", there are other options listed here as well, so feel free
    to plug-in anywhere in this matrix.

    And, as always, thanks for your efforts for our Lord in your part of His Vineyard.

    Below, I have listed 6 ways you can participate, set under 4 "Office" headings.

    In HIS love,

    kevan peer, a servant


    "for it does not yet appear, what we shall be"

    Church Offices

    (A) In addition to giving funds earmarked for recovery efforts to your local
    Congregation, we also have 1 major coordinated effort going on
    already for you to plug into in M'boro, and 1 just starting to come together:

    (B) Church of Christ Disaster Relief Effort (CoCDRE)
    is providing food boxes, cleaning supplies, yard hand tools
    being distributed through 2 local Congregations:

    Kingwood Heights Church of Christ (starting last Saturday, Apr. 11, 2009)
    115 E. MTCS Rd (off Memorial Blvd. across from the school – MTCS)
    Murfreesboro, TN. 37129
    Elder (Shepherd) in charge – Doug Hutchins
    Supplies distributed through the back side of the building in their
    fellowship hall. They are open 8 AM to 9 PM and expect to have
    to be there through Friday. They anticipate receiving another
    truckload Thursday, and may need help unloading, but say they
    are staffed for the regular ongoing efforts well enough.

    They are also providing some meals through their kitchen. A Church team
    out of Florida is doing the cooking! A second Church group out of Florida
    is asking if they can come help. This "Disaster Response Team"
    will help with the clean-up efforts ongoing, and especially Saturday.

    They, along with several other agencies, also have clothing if needed.

    Franklin Rd Church of Christ (starting Wednesday, Apr. 15, 2009)
    3700 Franklin Rd.
    Murfreesboro, TN. 37133
    Minister – bro. Clyde Franklin
    Elders – bro. Greg Daniels and bro. Fred Gaston

    They will also distribute starting Wednesday, but the times are not
    yet known to me.

    Our folk can come help the CoCDRE as they again pack boxes this
    Tuesday at 10 AM there near Thompson Ln., right off Nolensville Rd (behind
    Whitt's BBQ), on 410 Allied Drive, Nashville, TN. 37211. Their number is
    (615)83-0888. Packing a set of boxes should take about 2 hours and they
    will even offer you a lunch for helping out there!

    (C) Also, I have heard that T Harville is organizing the clean up and move out at
    Diane and Ben Austin’s house. His number is 427-3606. In a few days we will
    have to move everything out of their house.

    Mayor's Office

    They are coordinating volunteers through this phone number (615)890-1934.

    Saturday, the police will allow volunteers into the affected areas
    past the barricades to help in the clean-up efforts. Presently, a pass must
    be issued for entrance if you are not a local resident in that neighborhood.

    You can call, leave your name and number, and they will call you back when
    they have the plans and locations lined-up for volunteers.

    They are also coordinating things with the Governor's Office and TEMA.

    That number is also good for those seeking help. (615)890-1934.

    Red Cross Office
    (615)893-4272, provides humanitarian aid in these situations.
    there are two other agencies who will also try to provide spiritual assistance.
    The M'boro Salvation Army (615)895-7071,
    and Greenhouse Ministries (615)494-0499,
    are providing assistance, and will all welcome your contributions.

    Greenhouse may be collecting furniture and appliances again as they did for
    Katrina victims a while back.

    The Highest Office
    We ask that you not only remember in prayer those of our own who have suffered
    loss, but also those of the community – both those who suffered loss, and those
    who will see our incarnation of Messiah's ministry into their lives.

    And pray that God will use this to His glory. CS Lewis said, "God whispers to
    us in our pleasures, but He shouts to us in our pains." God has already taught us
    that when we are one, He will receive glory, and this is one way we can express
    that oneness through meeting fellow human beings' needs.

    Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries

    <ed.note>Mark and I were housemates at ACU.</ed.note>

    Dr. Everett Ferguson, professor emeritus of church history at ACU, has just released a major book from Eerdmans, “Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries.” To celebrate the launch of this book, the Graduate School of Theology is hosting a reception on April 28 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 115 of the Biblical Studies building. Professor Ferguson will give a brief talk entitled “Baptism: what I learned and what surprised me.” Refreshments will follow. Books will be available for sale, and we are sure that Dr. Ferguson will sign as many as you like!

    We will be delighted to see you at this event honoring the research of one of ACU’s most illustrious professors. Come be part of this significant moment.


    Dr. Mark W. Hamilton
    Associate Professor of Old Testament and
    Associate Dean
    Graduate School of Theology
    Abilene Christian University
    Abilene, TX 79699
    Editor, The Transforming Word

    Bontha Esudas on an Indian Christian School and Children Home

    India has been placed in a special position in the world and is
    becoming an economically rich country. This development is limited to a
    select group of rich Hindu in the country. The Rich higher caste people
    are receiving educations while the lower caste are being denied these
    opportunities. There are many challenges borne by Christians and lower
    cast people. Special quality education, health and common needs are
    limited to select groups only. Education and Healthcare have become
    thriving businesses. The more fortunate people sell education and
    Healthcare for a cost that the Christians and lower caste citizens
    cannot afford. Education is in the hands of Hindu higher cast people.
    Many private or corporate schools have been established and they are
    collecting large amounts of money to get quality teachers and are able
    to provide a good education to those who are able to afford it. This is
    a great problem for the Christians and Lower caste people because they
    cannot afford this education.

    Why we have Established a Christian School and Children Home:

    1. Christian parents are uneducated and cannot teach their children.

    2. They live in rural areas and are agricultural laborers.

    3. Their incomes are very low and suffer from extreme poverty.

    4. Education is financially unattainable.

    5. Poor children contribute to feeding the family. The opportunity cost
    of sending a child to school is more than a family can endure.

    6. Christians and the poor are at the mercy of higher cast people for jobs and wages.

    Most of the Christians are lower cast people in India. Because of
    widespread poverty and illiteracy, the church cannot became self
    supportive. Many missionaries are trying to do good works and
    evangelizing India. Due to poverty churches who depend on foreign
    support disappear daily. As Christians become educated they will become
    healthier and wealthier people. So they will be able to support the
    church through the contribution thereby causing the church to be self

    Challenges of establishing a Christian School and Children Home:

    A school capable of this will not be established in a short time frame.
    And it will not be possible to do it with a single man. This is going
    to require the hard work, patience, time and dedication of many people
    working together. There are few basic needs in order to start a
    Christian School and children's home. A Christian school has been
    started by Esudas thanks to the generosity of his supporters but it has
    a long way to go in order to meet the goals set before it.

    We are in need of 3 main things on a continual basis.

    1. Physical Resources. There are physical needs like land, buildings,
    furniture, play ground equipment and other items for teaching purposes.
    Most of these things are in the hands of the Hindus now and cannot be
    obtained by the lower caste people.

    2. Human Resources. There is a need of staff fulfilling positions of
    headmaster, superintendent, teachers, clerk, night watchman, janitor,
    cook and other workers.

    3. Financial need. We need to find supporters who will fund all of the
    things we plan to achieve on an ongoing basis. Small, medium, and large
    donations will be useful. We are able to purchase many things for very
    little money; with a single cent we can purchase a slate pencil.

    School and Home plan:

    The School plan acts as an important role in the quality education. For
    the quality education we need to have a good atmosphere and location.
    If the atmosphere is good children will be attentive and studious.

    1. Facilities will have an affect on children's health.

    2. School plan needs to outline the running of the school in right manner.

    3. Adequate facilities ensure efficient learning.

    Different requirements of Christian School and Home plan:

    1. Class Rooms: We have to construct the class rooms based on the
    number of students. Correct size and ventilation are very important.
    Thanks to the contributions of many, this process has only just begun.

    2. Staff Room: We have to have staff room for the school to function at
    a high level. The room will be useful as a break room and resource room
    to prepare lessons. The teachers will keep their books, other valuable
    things in that room.

    3. Principal room: The principal will be there to organize the school
    and to take care of the children. This room will serve as an office.

    4. Front Office room: All of the administration things like record keeping. The Clerk and all other files will be in that room.

    5. Toilets: We need to construct toilets on the basis of students.

    6. Library room: A library is needed for the students to research for reports.

    7. Rooms for Children home. We will need a room for boys and a room for girls and one room kitchen and dining hall.

    It requires much hard work to see it come into existence. If we have all of these items then we will have reached our goal.

    Who we Consider as Orphans

    The groups we are trying to reach are the marginally poor, living
    outside mainstream society, and illiterates. We are also trying to
    reach those families that can afford to offer a meal once a day and
    those who are able to send their children to school. If we can bring
    these children into our fold and then train and nurture them in the
    Gospel from childhood we will have reached three generations of

    The new school has started with a limited number of students, few
    teachers, and little funds, so it will start small and will, Lord
    willing, grow each year so that it will become a large school in the
    future. We have started with basic school with three primary grades.
    The grades include LKG, UKG and 1st Class or in the United States
    kindergarten, first and second grade. We hope to add one class per year
    and build a new classroom for each class each year based on funds

    We have started this program at the bare minimum and as of now it is
    operating from Esudas home. In the future we hope to add the other
    rooms as the facility grows. Lord willing, it will contain a front room
    which would serve as an office. Behind that there would be a
    kitchen/dining hall for feeding the children. And along side of those
    two rooms a classroom would serve as classroom/library. A possible
    fourth room could be located above the first floor which would be an
    open room to house boys, or it could be placed behind the
    kitchen/dining hall. It is important to note, feeding students is a
    custom in India. It would be equivalent to a school in America not
    having a cafeteria. The school cannot exist without feeding the

    For now we have started this project in my house by constructing two
    temporary rooms where he purchased some land by the side of his home.
    This school has been made possible only by the generous contributions
    of my' supporters. This school will not continue to exist without
    support. It is beyond the financial capabilities of the lower caste
    people to sustain this facility. I needs continual support in order to
    maintain this work. If you would like to be a part of this work and
    help the poor children of India in this area receive a basic education,
    We need your praters.

    Thank You for your interest.

    Repentance, Prayer and Stimulus Packages

    <ed.note>Listening to President Obama’s Stimulus Package speech recently it struck me how fickle as citizens we are. It is so difficult for politicians to be leaders if we are not willing to be led. I’ve often said that we have a crisis of leadership brought on by the crisis of followership. One of the toughest jobs for a leader is to point out the need for repentance. Obama broached the subject that we, as consumers — not just the bank leadership,  have acted imprudently and for that I’m grateful. It brought to mind the time of Solomon’s Prayer of the Dedication for the Temple of Yahweh. In a nutshell, he acknowledged that the people would walk willingly into sin and begged God that when they had turned back to Him that He would hear their prayers. The people of Israel had pretty much the same challenges* as we do today. I’d urge us to learn from their experience and pray for our leaders and for each other — as well as those in other nations.</ed.note>

    *A summary list (of the Second Chronicles account) I found on a site I googled by a Paul J. Bucknell:

    1) Sin against a neighbor (6:22-23)
    2) Defeated before an enemy because of sin (6:24-25)
    3) No rain because of sin (6:26-27)
    4) Famine, pestilence, blight, mildew, locust, grasshopper, enemies, whatever plague or sickness (6:28-31)
    5) For God-fearing foreigner who pray (6:32-33)
    6) Wage war against enemy (6:34-35)
    7) When they sin and taken captive (6:36-39)

    The Christian Chronicle Editorial Council on “Addressing a crisis of empty pulpits”

    In some parts of the world, a preacher shortage is something to celebrate. Across Africa and Latin America, for example, people are being baptized at a rate that makes it difficult for preacher training schools to keep up with demand.

    But here in the U.S., our assessment of the pulpit deficit tends to be grim. Across the nation, churches seek to fill empty pulpits. Many small congregations struggle to find enough money in their budgets to attract and retain a talented minister. – The Christian Chronicle Editorial Council

    <ed.note>Flavil Yeakley was commissioned to study one school from which he found approximately 25% of Bible students could not begin preaching due to the debt burden they carried graduating from that Christian institute of higher education. I'd really encourage the Chronicle to work with the Christian Higher Education Foundation to do an online survey to determine how pervasive this is and their suggested remedies, if necessary.

    Regardless, the Bible students need to be told of the possibility before entering the programs (counting the cost, I believe, is a Biblical admonition) — Is there a Churches of Christ Virtual Student Union which advocates on behalf of the economic best interests of the students — Facebook App, maybe?

    Also see some of the earlier Letters to the Editor on similar themes (especially Ben Wiles and Darren Ray Reynolds). </ed.note>