Interview with Wallace HenleyChange. People sense this worldwide event on the threshold that guarantees universal implications far greater than one could ever predicted. With the assurance that something is developing, yet not knowing what it is or how bad it could be, humanity is left with one option, fear. Fear, however, is not synonymous with stability or being an anchor, and that is what author Wallace Henley says we must be during this time of uncertainty. How to get from being fearful to taking control, though, is going from one extreme to the other but not impossible. In his newest book Globequake, Henley reveals the good news that while experiencing uncertainties, we do have one certainty in God. Henley graciously talks absolute truths, ‘spheres’ and hope during our interview, expanding on his wealth of knowledge and demonstrating why this pastor and writer exemplifies true leadership within his church congregation and reading audience.
MN- You went from reporting violence during the Civil Rights movement to working as an aid in the White House , back to journalism and then into ministry proving that life can indeed take us down many different paths. What has been your foundational belief or belief system that has remained constant in spite of your many career changes?
WH- The constant in my life is the Kingdom of God. A person in the political sphere once asked me why I was working there if I am an ordained minister. "I work for the Kingdom of God, and this just happens to be my current assignment." My core calling is to the Church, but all the spheres of our engagement are arenas of God's Kingdom advance.
MN- There are two widely opposing theories regarding life in 2012; we are living in the most chaotic time in history and we are living in the most blessed time in history. I believe both statements are relevant and accurate. Your thoughts?
WH- I agree that both statements are true. I write in Globequake that though we are living in a time of great upheaval, this is a "golden age" for the church. The 1st century Church in Rome was under immense stress, but God used her to impact the entire Roman Empire and change the course of history. Our testimony is established most clearly in the hard times. Isaiah says "the people who walk in DARKNESS have seen a great light." I think you could say, the deeper the darkness, the brighter the light!
MN- In your latest book, you address the cultural Globequake we are currently living in. Explain what exactly the Globequake is.
WH- By 'Globequake' I mean that the changes sweeping down on us are worldwide, not merely local or regional, as in an 'earthquake.' We are living through spiritual, political, economic, family, educational tectonic shifts, redefining the face of the world. Except rather than moving at inches a century as the literal tectonic shifts did, these are moving at lightspeed, and we are try to build lives, churches, families, schools, governing institutions, and businesses on top while everything changes as fast as we think we get it nailed down.
MN- I was impressed with the broad spectrum of information you write on. You explore most social aspects of life-including family, church, government and education-and offer insight on determining and balancing troubled mindsets within each aspect. These are the general areas most would identify as the most stressful and influential, and I am presuming that is why you decided to tackle these key areas?
WH- I write about those 'spheres' (a term from 2 Corinthians 10) because they are the fundamental institutions of society, and the realms of our daily engagements. These are also the zones of Kingdom advance, meaning they are missionary fields as much as geographical points on the planet.
MN- In Globequake, you write frequently on absolute truths. Face it. The greatest challenge for a believer is remaining faithful to absolute truths while being influenced by cultural trends. What is the secret?
WH- The key is not to let style drive theology. Our church has about 15 different worship services each weekend, some of the traditional, but some very contemporary. However, that style does not set our theology, but we bring the ancient truth of God's Word into contact with the culture, in the language of the culture. One must do like Daniel (Daniel 1:8) and set oneself in concrete that he or she will not be 'defiled' by the spirit of the age.
MN- In your opinion, what do people fear most; (a) change or (b) the uncertainty of change, not change itself?
WH- In our day, change is addictive because we all live through it and deal with it constantly. The uncertainty is the problem. In Globequake I've tried to show where the certainty is midst it all--in the Kingdom of God as a theological system (orthodoxy) and the Kingdom of God as a functional system (orthopraxy).
MN- Speaking of fear, one of the reasons you wrote Globequake was to educate the reader on “how to remain fearless in an increasingly fearful world”. With one in four now reporting anxiety, one in seventy-five being diagnosed with a panic disorder, and anxiety disorders being credited as being the most common mental illness in the US affecting over 40 million, I’d say you wrote to a much needed segment of the population. In what ways do you think Globequake will have a positive effect on those suffering from fear and anxiety due to world events?
WH- If people read Globequake they will see that God is in charge of history (a whole chapter on 'time' deals with this), that history is the arena for the outworking of God's overarching plan, that the unshakeable Kingdom of God is the theme of history, and that even in the midst of the chaos there is order and peace. As people receive the Holy Spirit He brings the manifestation of that peace, and as people grow as disciples, developing a biblical worldview, they think about the world differently, understanding Who is in charge.
MN- I see that you are a pastor of a church that currently mentors 60,000+ members. That must be quite challenging! What is the greatest leadership objective you encounter as a role model to such a large congregation?
WH- My aim always before these thousands of people, and others I touch, beginning with my family, is to model a life anchored to the unshakeable Kingdom midst the world's turbulence. That's why I write transparently about the huge changes and turbulence I've lived through personally in 71 years on earth. -
Author Bio- Born just two days prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, author Wallace Henley has spent most of his life learning to deal with a world in crisis. Born to a couple who had survived the Great Depression and were understandably alarmed when their nation was cast into a world war only days after their first son’s birth, Henley learned at an early age that stability could not be found in an unstable world.
By the time Henley reached high school the threat of communism was rampant and the constant threat of a nuclear war made him wonder if his generation might not be the world’s last. A few years later, he was once again called to bear witness to the world in crisis mode when, as a young reporter in Birmingham, Alabama, he was assigned the violence and unrest brought on by the Civil Rights movement. And a few years after that, while working as an aide in the White House, he witnessed the dissolution of the troubled Nixon administration. Returning to journalism following Nixon’s departure from the White House, Henley soon began to feel drawn to the ministry – a career choice he’d once sworn to never make – and within a few months became pastor of his first church.
In the time since, he has traveled the world as a speaker and writer, authored more than a dozen books, served as a Congressional chief of staff and as a leadership consultant and worked in over 20 countries, all the while gaining a keener grasp of scripture and a deeper understanding of human nature.
Today he serves as pastor in the 60,000 member Second Baptist Church of Houston, led by Ed Young and is a columnist for Christian Post. He and his wife of over 50 years, Irene, live in the Houston area. The couple have a grown son and daughter and when not working or traveling, enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.
You can read more from Henley through his blog or connect with him on Face Book!
Order your copy of Globequake through Amazon and Christian Book.com. Also available in Kindle and Audio!
Interviews also featured in TWJM's October issue: Don Furr, Tracy Krauss, and Gloria Gaither.
About Mary Nichelson: http://www.marysworld411.com/.
This interview is courtesy of The Wordsmith Journal Magazine.