Midlife Transition

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] T [/dropcap]his year my uncle bought a “Hot Rod.” The yellow Ford pictured below is the realization of many a 1950s teen’s dream. Obviously it’s been my uncle’s dream too. Now nearing his seventies, he is realizing that dream. However, purchasing such a car is also a common symptom of midlife crisis. Perhaps his is an example of a very late onset midlife crisis. In her article titled “Midlife Transition: Embracing Your ‘Second Adulthood,’” Dr. Holly Schut addresses the phenomenon of the delayed onset of midlife. In 2008, Dr. Holly Schut launched Midlife Momentum, a ministry designed to aid people in midlife and beyond to live with God-given meaning and purpose. She has a masters in religious education from Western Seminary and a doctorate of ministry from Sioux Falls Seminary. She, along with her husband, Al, has served churches in Pella, Iowa; Portage, Michigan; Corsica, South Dakota; Brandon, Wisconsin; and Haiti. Her ministry has focused on education, spiritual formation, and congregational care. In midlife herself with three grown children and three grandchildren, Holly senses the momentum growing. In this issue we also address the “Great Expectations” of ministry from the perspective of the ministry spouse.

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Integrity

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] W [/dropcap]e have a crisis in this nation, but I’m not talking about the recent financial crisis that has been in the news. The crisis I’m talking about is a crisis of leadership—Christian leadership. George Barna and others have been credited with saying that the behavior of Christians regarding divorce, law suits, materialism, and so forth is not significantly different from that of non-Christians. At Quiet Waters Ministries this has been evident in some of the pastors who have attended our Leadership Counseling Intensives. Yes, we see the inappropriate behavior that results in moral failure of pastors, and we have been privileged to help restore them to fellowship with their Lord. But we have also seen an even larger number of pastors and their spouses who have come to us after being hurt and abused by the lay leadership of their churches. Our experiences have brought us to the conclusion that there is a crisis in Christian leadership, both among pastors and lay leaders. We have learned that in most of the situations where pastors and their spouses were hurt and abused, the lay leaders were not intentionally causing…

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So Send We You

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] E [/dropcap]very year at least 5,000 missionaries leave the field prematurely because of excessive stress involving personal, family, social, and ministry-related problems. Those remaining on the field face life stressors at least 2–3 times those experienced by individuals at home in the United States. (Source: Narramore Christian Foundation) That staggering statistic is often overlooked as we hear our returning missionaries tell their missionary stories on Missions Sunday. As you listen to their stories and feel your heart go out to those they are reaching with the gospel, have you ever wondered how the missionaries are really coping. Have you stopped to ask them how their children were doing, perhaps attending boarding school or going to college in the States? Do you ask how they were getting along with the other missionaries on the field? These are difficult questions, but if they are not asked and answered, your missionaries will return to the field with many unmet needs. You are a sender of this missionary. Do you know how to be a sender, and do the members of your church understand what it means to send a missionary to the field?

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Pastors and the Public Square

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S [/dropcap]tep out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” In this passage from The Message paraphrase of Psalm 46:10, Eugene Peterson captures a current daily experience that is impacting each of our lives. In the past few months we’ve been overrun with political rhetoric, and it’s only just begun. Those vying for the office of president of the United States have determined that we need more time to consider their candidacy, so they started campaigning earlier than in the past. Every time we turn on the television or radio, we hear discussions about the latest political debate or faux pas. In that environment, it is very difficult to place God above politics. I’m sure you, at times, feel like I do—I’m standing in the middle of rushhour traffic. However, that traffic isn’t cars but a political process of which we Americans are proud. It’s on the wheels of this political process that we will elect our next national leader.At war and with many domestic issues at risk, how can we “step out of the traffic”? How can we place God above the political process? And as a pastor, do you play the role of traffic cop or move away from all traffic? Not one to avoid a challenge, I asked Kevin Miller to address this challenging issue of politics in this edition of Compass. He has titled it “Pastors and the Public Square.” Although we say it on the opposite page, I probably should state again, “Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Quiet Waters Ministries, its personnel or trustees.” Actually,

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Harmless?

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S [/dropcap]everal months ago, the author of this issue’s article “Harmless?” told me about her experience. When she said she was thinking of writing a book about her story, I asked her to share a portion of it in Compass. That was prior to the media frenzy brought on by the fall of Ted Haggard and other Colorado clergy. With Amy’s story as the lead in this issue, we’re addressing the timely and difficult topic of infidelity among ministry leaders. It is my hope that you will find Amy’s story painful to read but eye opening to the problem. “Harmless?” is a true story lived out by the author (whose real name is not Amy Chanan) in which she describes the high price paid when we become involved in pornography and infidelity. She also makes the strong point that society is wrong when it tries to get us to believe that pornography is just harmless fun. With the help of Dave Ragsdale and Mike Williams, we are providing both avoidance and restoration strategies to ministry leaders and congregational leaders regarding this topic of infidelity. Dave Ragsdale is our director of counseling and consulting and has extensive experience with helping fallen ministry leaders. In his article, “Lead Us Not into Temptation,” Dave

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Living Under the Shadow of Idealization

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] W [/dropcap]ith this issue of Compass, you will experience a little bit of the past summer’s Quiet Waters Leadership Couples Retreat. It would be great if the wonderful, romantic dinner where we learned how each gentleman “popped the question” to his future wife. You would have enjoyed the wonderful Sunday morning service as Rev. Dave Reck led each couple in renewing their vows. What I can provide is a glimpse into the learning experienced by those who attended. This year’s Retreat speaker, Dr. Ron Nydam, writes in this issue of Compass about the important role of “Idealization” in a pastor’s life and family. He shared this concept at the Leadership Couples Retreat. In his article, “Living under the Shadow of Idealization” Nydam writes, “This experience of being idealized is both a usual and necessary part of parish ministry, not something to be somehow ‘corrected’ or seen in a negative light.” As pastors and spouses, we often lament the idealization we experience, but Nydam challenges us to recognize it as something necessary for us to live out our role as pastor or pastor’s spouse. This summer’s Retreat also provided time for spouses to spend time together, and leading that time was our other contributor to this issue, author and speaker, Ruth Van Zee.

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Done with Darkness

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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I [/dropcap]n the deep jungles of Africa, a traveler was making a long trek. Coolies had been engaged from a tribe to carry the loads. The first day they marched rapidly and went far. The traveler had high hopes of a speedy journey. But the second morning these jungle tribesmen refused to move. For some strange reason they just sat and rested. On inquiry as to the reason for this strange behavior, the traveler was informed that they had gone too fast the first day, and that they were now waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies. (From the book, Springs in the Valley by Mrs. Lettie Cowman) Too many pastors, missionaries, and other Christian leaders are not taking enough time to wait for their souls to catch up. Has your soul caught up with your fast pace? The spiritual strength of many pastors, missionaries and other Christian leaders is very low. How can they preach with power without their souls and the strength of God within? How can they sustain a strong witness without their souls and the strength of God within? In this issue of Compass we look at Spiritual Formation. Pastor Ron Klok tells of his spiritual journey, Elizabeth Walter gives us an excellent understanding of spiritual formation, and Fred Walz looks at a current event that brings us face to face with what may happen when our souls don’t catch up.

As you read, you will learn what Klok’s reaction was when he saw a small leafless tree. How would you react today to a similar experience and what old shirt are you wearing? He takes us through his journey to a rewarding result. Is your journey making you feel a loss that is like the death of a close friend? I hope that you will learn from Klok how to make a successful journey. Walter answers four frequently asked questions about the nature of spiritual formation. Is spiritual formation possible? What is spiritual formation? What does the Bible tell us about spiritual formation? And, what can I do to respond to the work of God within me? She gives comprehensive answers to each question and then challenges us to take practical actions in our own spiritual formation.

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To renew, restore and strengthen Christian leaders and their families

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