I welcomed the pastor into my office and thanked him for coming.
“What’s this all about?”
I said, “Not unlike being sent to the principal’s office. Remember that?”
“Am I in trouble?” The very idea was foreign to him, since he knew I have no authority over him. Directors of Mission are the leaders of Baptist churches and pastors in a given area to the extent that they will let us lead. As with so much in Baptist life, it’s all about voluntary cooperation.
I said, “It’s more that you’re in a key position, being the pastor of one of our stronger churches, and–as it was reported to me–you have an attitude that is going to create a huge problem for you, for me, for our churches, and for your church.”
“By all means,” he said, “tell me what it is.”
“You tell me. I’d like to hear from you your personal view of the work of the association.”
“That’s all this is about? Well, this will be a short meeting.”
“Anytime you’re ready.”
He said, “The association exists for the benefit of the smaller churches. Our church is a large church. There might have been a time when we needed what the association offers, but that time is long past. We will participate in the work of the association from time to time, but not as much as under the previous pastors. We have too much to do that has nothing to do with the association.”