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Pastor's Blog: Reactions

posted Oct 2, 2012, 12:21 PM by Matt Schmitz

It was certainly depressing to have the Channel 6 reporter standing in front of our church when he made his report on the allegations concerning Bob Smith.


I was hoping the church wouldn’t be brought into this mess, but that was not to be the case. It is disheartening when the Bride of Christ (the Church) is tied, however indirectly, to such a despicable thing as child molestation. It makes me sick to my stomach.


Other Christians have been very understanding and sympathetic. I’ve heard from a number of pastors in Harlan, as well as other believers. They understand that every church is vulnerable to this type of heinous behavior. It’s part of the risk of ministering to children and, while the organization tries to minimize the risk, it can never be removed entirely.


I suspect NON-believers won’t be so understanding. Many will likely paint the Church (and Christians) with a broad brush and use this incident to justify their continued rejection of Christ.


Ironically, it is for the sake of non-believers that we must not allow this terrible incident to keep us from continuing to minister in Christ’s Name. This community needs us! Indeed, the world needs us! Obviously, who they need is Christ, but we are His representatives.


First Baptist Harlan is precious to Christ. He is not ashamed of us. He will not disown us or run from us. We are His people. We’ve never claimed to be perfect, only forgiven and in the process of being sanctified (i.e., made holy).


This incident will make us a stronger church. Already, when I look at the children who come into our building, whether on Sunday or Wednesday, I find myself even more eager to have them know Christ, the One who will never mistreat them or abuse their trust.


I wasn’t going to teach BYF this year, but in light of what has happened, the Lord impressed on me the importance of doing so. Many others have stepped forward to shepherd our children. I’m so grateful for that.


As mentioned last week, the Diaconate has appointed Larry Trickle to develop a Child Protection Policy (CPP) for our church. Please remember Larry in your prayers. We need to re-assure the parents of this community that First Baptist is a safe place for their children.


I don’t believe in coincidences. It’s not surprising to me that this incident came to light at the time it did. (I am in no way maligning the courageous victim who originally came forward. I admire him greatly and believe he has performed a great service.)


What’s so special about this time? What is special is that, after 18 months of discussion, we are moving forward with a fresh vision for First Baptist. We want to be relevant. We want to reach out to our community. We want to attract new people to our church, and more importantly, to Christ.


One should almost expect that some kind of hindrance would be thrown in our faces. However, as Jesus said, not even the gates of hell will overcome us (Matthew 16:18).


With appreciation,


Pastor Dan