Friday, June 15, 2012

Learning How To Disagree

Pastor Robert Smith serves as the liaison for LATTE and as the chairman for the WELS Administrative Committee for Latin America. He comments on making decisions for upcoming budgets.

I suppose it’s no surprise to the reader that at times there can be disagreement among the Lord’s people about how mission work should be done and how best to use the resources we have. Right now we are at budget time, the time when we have to submit our budget for Latin America for the two fiscal years of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 (WELS fiscal years run from July 1 through June 30). 
So the committee has the responsibility of dividing up limited resources among the various fields we have in Latin America - Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, LATTE, Mexico, and the Caribbean. We have limited manpower, 7 full-time missionaries, and limited finances. Of course we should thank the Lord for what we have. To be frank, as we have discussed resource allocation in the last 2-3 months, strong opinions and even differences have emerged as to the optimum allocation of missionaries and financial resources.

Yet I have learned to try not to think of these differences in terms of who’s right and who’s wrong. If one person thinks that these two positions could be best used in this country, and another one thinks that the same positions could be best used in another field or another country, they are both right in a way. Each person wants the gospel of Jesus Christ to reach throughout the world. So even when we disagree on how best to do the work, we are united in the forgiveness won by Jesus and our eagerness to share this good news.

And now decisions must be made. The committee has to decide - so much here, so much there. I’m not sure that we can do this in a way that makes everyone happy because each field might not receive all it’s asking for. Yet I’m not sure that there are “right” or “wrong” decisions here. The Lord’s work advances, and he blesses it.

So it’s OK to have different opinions, as long as we remember what we agree on. We have eternal life in Jesus, and together we serve him to bring that good news to others.

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