Sunday Extra: Pro-Neighbor
The Good Samaritan. We’ve heard the story … a lot!
Yet this past week, I heard Bishop Claude Alexander preach a sermon on the Good Samaritan like I had never heard before. The lawyer tries to justify himself by asking Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Bishop Alexander unpacks Jesus’ answer in this way:
- Loving your neighbor means examining not how narrow you can restrict, but how broadly you can reach.
- Loving your neighbor means moving beyond our normal excuses.
- Loving your neighbor involves compassion, which is the willingness to be personally impacted.
Bishop Claude Alexander is senior pastor of The Park Church, Chair of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Board of Trustees, and a longtime friend of Leighton and Jean Ford. He is a blessing to our mentoring ministry as a member of LFM’s Strategic Advisory Board.
Here is a preview of Bishop Alexander’s powerful challenge:
“Now what I love about Jesus is that He doesn’t tell us to do anything that He hasn’t already done. He can tell you and me to go because He heard His Father say ‘go.’ That’s why He came from Heaven to Earth.”
Bishop Alexander challenges us from Scripture to be “Pro-Neighbor.” What does that even mean as followers of Christ in 2021? I invite you to go deeper by joining us today for Sunday Extra.
Dr. Jim Singleton
Executive Director of Missional Leadership
Leighton Ford Ministries
Dr. Singleton also serves as Associate Professor of Pastoral Leadership and Evangelism at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
MINISTRY UPDATE: HERO OR SCAPEGOAT?
I’m writing to you from near Columbus, Ohio, where I’m following up with a congregation Leighton Ford Ministries has journeyed with for several years.
Four years ago, Upper Arlington Lutheran Church was in a season of crisis. Morale was incredibly low. We were invited to consult with the church and began the journey by helping them clarify their vision. Why start there?
Too often, when a church is in crisis, they look for a new pastor to rescue them. The new pastor arrives. But after a few months, the same issues that created the crisis surface again. The cycle starts all over.
When Leighton Ford Ministries consults with churches in transition or crisis, we first encourage them to work together to clarify their vision. A roadmap is essential! Then, we support them in finding a pastor who can help lead them toward that vision.
After journeying with UALC through a visioning process, we helped them evaluate senior pastor candidates who matched that vision. By the power of God, the church is now thriving. We just did a staff survey and they scored in the 88th percentile compared to LFM’s national database.
When we look to a senior pastor to rescue us, the hero quickly becomes the scapegoat. In the case of UALC, the staff and Council worked together to clarify the vision and change the system so they were ready for a fresh season of ministry when the new pastor came.
And now, the new pastor, Steve Turnbull, has been able to take the church to the next level. To God be the glory!
Leighton Ford Ministries