Michael B Linton

Friday, August 24, 2007


Thank you Jesus and everyone who prayed. I passed my teacher certification test. And, I didn't just pass it. I made a 286 out of 300. That's a 95%, for you Ouachita grads. I had to make a 240 to pass, so I passed it with flying colors. I'm so relieved. I prayed to just pass it--I didn't care by how much. But I'm so excited that I did so well on it.

Thanks again for all your prayers. Monday is our first day of school and I sure could use prayer again. I will be teaching 8th grade science at Wells Middle School in Spring, Texas. You can see a picture of me with the rest of the science department here. I'm the tallest one.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Moving forward

It's been a while, I know. For the past 3-4 weeks, I've worked about 75 hours a week. There wasn't time for much besides sleep, so there was certainly no blogging. Things are beginning to calm now.

This week, I began my in-service for my adventure into the world of public school teaching. While I'm pretty nervous, I'm excited, too. This will be an opportunity for me to minister at the state's expense. This is also great because it provides a steady income with (fairly) set hours so we can focus more on our church plant.

Our mealtime at Manuel's Mexican Restaurant is going very well. We are developing some relationships with the waitstaff and are praying that God will bring us other folks with whom to develop relationships. We feel a great peace and energy about what we are doing. It seems to be slow and pointless at times, but we are confident that God has led us to this and will bless it as we are obedient.

I had another meeting with church planting guru Glenn Smith last week. My meetings with him were a continuation of our Church Planter's Assessment we had in June. It was a great meeting. Glenn was excited about what we were doing at Manuel's and said he had information about just such an outreach on his website. This was just more confirmation to us that we are on the right track.

Possibly the best news that came out of the meeting is that we are now fully assessed. This means the Union Baptist Association and the assessment team have approved us as church planters. What THAT means is that we are now able to receive financial support from both the UBA and the BGCT. There are still some steps to be taken. I'll have to meet with the UBA church planting consultant and with the BGCT regional church planter, but it is still more progress. We are excited to see God continue to work and confirm to us our call to plant Summerlake.

On a personal note, I could use your prayers. I took my teacher certification test on August 4th and feel pretty good about it. However, I won't learn my score until August 24th and increase in nervousness every day closer to the 24th. The difference in passing the test or failing the test is the difference between being paid as a full teacher and being paid as a sub. Pray that I will have peace. Pray that I have passed the test. Pray that regardless what happens, we will continue to trust that God is taking care of us and still in control. Should I not pass the test, it will mean Etta will have to get a job teaching and the boys will have to go to daycare. This is absolutely our last resort and something we pray will not have to happen.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Culture Has to Change!!

And, no, I'm not talking about the culture of America, though that could definitely use an overhaul. I'm talking about the culture of The Church. First, the background.

I have a friend--I'll call him Chris--who has been at a particular church for four years: 2 1/2 years as a very involved lay-person, and 1 1/2 years as the youth minister. Over the past 3-4 months he has been praying about, and discussing with me, his feeling that God was calling him from that church. On July 31st he gave his pastor his letter of resignation. He would finish out the month of August, his ministry culminating with a Back-to-School bash he had planned with another local youth minister. He he would be able to break the news gradually to his youth group and allow for a time of grieving and a warm send-off. This would also give the pastor plenty of time to begin looking for a new youth minister. This was very gracious of Chris, and was more than most people would have done in most secular situations.

Unfortunately, the pastor was not as gracious, nor did he have the same heart to allow the process to unfold. He told Chris on Wednesday afternoon, August 1st, that that evening would be his last at the church. Chris had not yet even told his children, who are youth, and he was being forced to tell the youth group that he was leaving immediately. When he protested that he was not prepared to do it that way, the pastor told him that was "the way it was done. It is good business to end it immediately."

Bull! That may be the way it is done sometimes (it was done that way to us), but it is not the way it should be done. THE CHURCH IS NOT A BUSINESS!!! Was that loud enough? It's time for these executive, CEO pastors to understand that the church does not work like the world. The church is supposed to be different. The church is supposed to set the example, not follow it. The church (read: CEO pastor) should not fire a minister with no warning, no chance to change, no severance, and no concern. The church (read: CEO pastor) should not fire a minister that has resigned with graciousness and character the day after he submits his resignation letter.

The church is a place of love, truth, forgiveness, and grace. For lay people and staff. That can never be forgotten, though it appears many have. I'm not saying anything goes, that there are no reasons to fire someone; but it can always be done with grace. I know of staff members fired for moral reasons, but they were still given severance and opportunities for counseling and help. That is the love of Jesus. Kicking people to the curb or throwing them away when they have served their "perceived" usefulness is not the love of Jesus.

The culture has to change and it begins with those of us who have had it done to us. We must change the culture by first making sure the culture of the churches we pastor is different. We then change the culture by taking every opportunity to tell CEO pastors, who we know are doing things the world's way, how ungodly that way is.

Jesus said that the world will know we are His by the love that we have for each other. When the world hears of the wretched way pastors (and committees, for that matter) are treating staff, they don't see Jesus, they don't see love, and many of them wonder if we are His to begin with.

I must say, I don't see Jesus or love in it either. And sometimes I wonder too.