We live in an ever connected, technological world with capabilities that the earth has never encountered before. In a mere 150 years, mankind has harnessed the power of solar, hydro, fossil fuels, and wind energies. Technologies like electricity, engines, computers, cell phones, internet, wifi and bluetooth have completely changed the landscape of our world and our abilities to communicate and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others. It's amazing to think that:
Connections matter. If it weren't true, God would never have designed creatures to live in kinds and humans to live in families, tribes and nations. He knew the power of "one another" connections and how together we're stronger than if isolated. When we are united in Christ, when we listen to one another, pray with one another, cry with one another, share our joys with one another and bear our burdens together - we are blessed in Christian fellowship and love.
The Tie That Binds is a site created by Jeff Lander, an associate with the Paraclete Mission Group. He designed the site because of a passion to care, connect, and collaborate with those serving in ministry (pastors, missionaries, para-church leaders, youth pastors, etc.) and to "come alongside" them to encourage, engage and equip them to find success in ministry and, more importantly, their own lives.
As a child, Jeff remembers singing the hymn, Blest Be The Tie That Binds, at the end of many church services. While holding hands and standing in a circle, the folks at Faith Baptist Church sang out the song with hearts full of love. It was in this rural, New England town where he developed a an understanding of the love and ties that bind Christian hearts together.
Today, a former associate pastor with 13 years experience working with children, youth, and families and another 12 years experience as a missionary serving orphaned and vulnerable children, Jeff understands the life of a ministry leader - a two-sided street of joy and struggle. There's wonderful moments filled with celebration and praise... and then there can be lonely, disappointing moments that sap our strength and question our calling.
This site is for hard times in ministry:
This site is for sweet moments in ministry:
Nearly 250 years ago when John Fawcett (see right) wrote Blest Be the Tie That Binds he did so because he realized how God had called he and his family to serve in a lonely, hard place, with little resources. The struggles were real, but the fellowship and connectedness they felt with those to whom God called them, was more real and most valuable. It's in that same vein that this site exists... to connect and strengthen you.
Blessed be this tie that binds our hearts in Christian love!
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts and our cares.
We share each other’s woes,
Each other’s burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.
- John Fawcett, 1782
The Story Behind the Song
John Fawcett was born on January 6th, 1740, to a very poor family in Yorkshire, England. He was orphaned by the time he was 12 years old. At the age of 16 he heard George Whitfield preach, and John became a Christian and soon after a pastor.
When John was 25, he and his wife Mary moved to a small, lonely church ministry in Wainsgate, England. The people of the village were all farmers and shepherds, very poor, most of whom were unable to read or write. They were not able to pay much, and most of what John received as wages came in the form of wool, potatoes or other produce. When John and Mary began having children they found it difficult to make ends meet.
After serving at Wainsgate for 7 years, John received a call from Carter’s Lane Baptist Church – a very prestigious parish that would be able to provide him a much larger salary. John decided to accept the position.
The Fawcett family packed their household belongings and prepared to move. The day came and the congregation was in tears as John and Mary prepared to leave. Mary is quoted as saying, “I can’t stand it, John! I know not how to go.”
John responded, “Lord help me Mary, nor can I stand it! We will unload the wagon!” And John is recorded to have said to the crowd gathered around them, “We’ve changed our minds! We are going to stay!”
John and Mary unpacked the wagon and let the church in London know that they would not be accepting the position.
Fawcett then wrote this hymn to express his thoughts and those of his wife to the poor people they had chosen to live and serve with. The following Sunday, after their decision to remain at Wainsgate, John Fawcett preached from Luke 12:15, “A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses.” He closed his sermon by reading his new song.
John and Mary continued their ministry at Wainsgate for 54 years.