An Open Letter to President Denny Luker – December 22, 2010
Mr. Luker, with concern for the brethren we serve and gratitude for the leadership that is being shown, I would like to highlight seven things that you have caused to happen in the United Church of God.
After years of rarely seeing the word “God” printed on the front page of the United News, or in the monthly Ministerial reports, you have caused us to focus on Jesus Christ as Head of this Church. Many of us have languished for several years under a corporate mentality that viewed itself, its projects and its policies as the primary focus. How much we have longed to be a Church again with Jesus Christ as the object of our service and focus. Beginning with your first letter and first sermon, you have diminished yourself and focused each member on Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church, giving Him preeminence in the daily function of the United Church of God.
You caused the Church to preach the Gospel on television. Much opposition was raised against using this medium whose per-person responses once cost the Church $60. You were ridiculed for adding TV to our media mix by those insisting that the costs would be exorbitant. Yet, if one uses the same value the dollar had when it cost us $60 per response, our current cost approximates only $2.65 per response today.
You caused the Church to patiently endure the disgruntlement of ministers and members, giving them inordinate time and opportunities to reconsider the manufactured “concerns” that were intended to oust you and the Council. While many would have preferred a surgical removal of those involved in the recent division in the Church, you caused the Church to show patience and perseverance while each made his own choice to leave or stay. Your process followed that which God uses with physical and spiritual Israel, utilizing longsuffering with the hope of repentant reconciliation. Through this experience of patience, many of us are recognizing some burdens and heavy loads that we have put on others (Isaiah 58:6) which require them to suffer long (Ephesians 4:2-3). We now know what longsuffering for others feels like while we seek to find our own sins and try to change them.
You are causing the United Church of God to become more united than we have been at any time in our history. Since our beginnings many men have plied their ambitious objectives amongst us. Your resolute stance that only those exhibiting godly behavior will be tolerated and reconciled has left United as home to those striving for godliness whose fruits are unity and harmony (Galatians 5:22). Consequential to the departure of many, the United Church of God is a repository of ministers and members who are more unified in purpose and spirit than before.
You are causing each member of the United Church of God to be accountable to Christ for his or her personal contribution to the accomplishment of God’s work. In a reversal from control and micromanagement, you and your new “Ministerial and Members Services” team are causing each of us to seek Christ’s will in getting His work done, His way. The Church is focused again on casting the nets and feeding the sheep that God is drawing to Himself. We are bit leaner in numbers, but well suited for God’s Work that is ‘Not by might or by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).
You caused members of United Church of God to realize that we have many brothers and sisters that are not in our fellowship at this time, but are beloved none the less. Your inclusiveness has caused us to refocus on them with a compassionate and understanding mindset, respecting their quest to enter the Kingdom of God alongside us.
You have been causing members of the United Church of God to see ourselves like you and the Apostle Paul see yourselves, imperfect but struggling towards perfection with God’s Spirit leading and Christ’s blood cleansing us. In this we are the most united of all–sinners who are repenting and being cleaned up and being made ready for the very important wedding of the Lamb and His bride-to-be.
Consequently, I am calling for your resignation not to occur before you turn 150 years old, or Christ returns, or the Council of Elders permits you to retire. As many, many members have expressed, “I’m sure glad that Denny Luker is our president.”
May God bless and keep you as you lead this organization in service to Him,
(This message may be shared in its entirety.)