Barnabas Chronicle Ministry Report from Dr. Joel Tetreau
Again we take the time to communicate about the Lord’s work both at Southeast Valley Baptist Church (SVBC) and with the western region of the Institute of Biblical Leadership (IBL West). This note is to give you an update on the ebb and flow of our ministry as we come into the summer months of 2014.
In addition to serving as lead pastor here at Southeast Valley Baptist Church (read the church update here), it is also my privilege to serve as the Western regional coordinator of IBL (Institute of Biblical Leadership). My primary territory is marked from Montana, south to New Mexico and everything west of that (including Alaska and Hawaii). At IBL we primarily focus on 5 different missions. Those include the following:
An update on the ministry of Dr. Joel Tetreau and his connection with Southeast Valley Baptist Church (www.sevbc.org) and IBL West (Institute of Biblical Leadership – www.iblministry.com).
We once again share through our blog, Straight Ahead! My apologies, for it has been a while since the blog was active. We tried to communicate through a few other venues but have decided to come back to the blog here on the SVBC web page. I want to thank Emily Conley for help with editing.
My earliest mentor in ministry (other than my parents) was Dr. James Singleton. “Doc” was the founder of Tri-City Baptist Church and he was centrally instrumental in the planting of Southeast Valley Baptist Church, doing much of the foundational work a year and a half before Toni and I moved from Minnesota to take over the leadership of SVBC. Doc often quoted from Psalm 127:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” I love this passage.
Keep in touch with the ministry at SEVBC and the Tetreau family through Pastor Joel Tetreau’s monthly newsletter, The Barnabas Chronicle. In this August issue, Pastor Joel explains his heart behind starting a newsletter, shares family and church news as well as upcoming events, and ends with an encouraging devotional.
Download the newsletter here, The Barnabas Chronicle, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for the mailing list.
(Written last summer, but very good thoughts to reflect on as we look forward to this summer!)
Even though Phoenix can get too hot, my family and I enjoy the summer months for several reasons. My wife Toni teaches piano ten month out of the year but takes June and July off to spend some extra time with her husband (that would be me) and our sons. During those two short months I take the bulk of my vacation time off so we can have some special times together. All of us are “crazy busy” during the majority of the school year. My sons (Jonathan, Jeremy and Joshua) are at a fun age – 16, 14 and 12. They’re all involved in school, church, sports, music, etc….When the end of school comes around they are as needy of a break as Toni and I are.
Introduction – Not long after I had surrendered to the call of ministry, I started to become aware of a number of “inner-struggles” that existed in many, good fundamental churches. Because my Dad had been in educational ministry, I had overheard various discussions in which Dad (Dr. Jerry Tetreau, President – International Baptist College) would reach out and encourage various hurting believers from all over the country, who were being wounded because of an errant “decision-making process, ” in that particular ministry. As I continued to develop in my theological and ministry training, I became alarmed at the frequency of what I considered to be poor, and at time disastrous, interpersonal relationships in many ministries between “pastors,” “deacons,” and members of the congregation. My decade in the pastorate has unearthed the finding, that this problem persists in many churches because of (I believe) a gross misunderstanding of the “decision-making process of the local, New Testament Church.” I have dedicated the last 3 years of my academic work, plowing through the Scriptures, searching for God’s heart on this topic. This work is in connection with my D.Min. Final Project at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Plymouth, Minnesota.
An alarming rate of the Lord’s servants suffer from major discouragement and depression. What has been especially difficult and alarming is the number of presentations I have listened to that seem to indicate that this discouragement comes to those who are in some way, “weak” and “sinful.” Often times the listener goes away with the sense that if only I were “more holy,” or perhaps “more disciplined” I would be able to “break free” from these feelings of discouragement. Panic, anxiety and other physical “reactions” to stress and strain are often assumed to automatically be signs of “bad theology” or “personal sin.” Often such symptoms certainly may in part be connected with sinful choices. But we need to remember that one cannot assume that because a servant is going through a time of depression – even the type that effects one physically, that that is necessarily the result of “sin” in faith or practice. For those who refuse to accept this, I simply need to remind you of Jesus of Nazareth. Christ, in His humanity, suffered physiological symptoms (sweating blood) on the eve of his crucifixion. Yep, you have “physiological results” from “internal strain.” I hope we would not say that Jesus’ suffered from “bad theology” or “personal sin!” Just as it was normal for Jesus, to suffer the physiological effects of strain at Golgotha – Those of us less divine can certainly expect that often we will feel the effects of discouragement even depression and anxiety in our weak, physical bodies and brains!
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ESCHATON FOR OUR MINISTRY OBJECTIVES: HOW ESCHATOLOGY IMPACTS WORSHIP, INSTRUCTION, FELLOWSHIP AND EVANGELISM
Introduction – For the majority of my time in pastoral ministry, I have gone out of my way to avoid eschatology. A part of that is well represented by Merrill C. Tenney. In explaining the common pastoral misgivings of preaching or applying eschatology, Tenney reflects on the fears of many in ministry:
If I stand in my pulpit, and preach eschatological message, how do I know that my interpretation is correct? Am I simply giving a little harmless amusement to those who are curiosity seekers? Am I simply tickling the ears of the eschatologically curious? Am I preaching on the periphery of Christian truth, when I should be preaching on its very center? What good does it do to preach on the anti-Christ to people who need, first of all, to be saved? Why should I emphasize the second coming when so many of them have no particular convictions about the first?