The Word of God was and has always been a community experience.
Countless times it’s been whispered to me, as if it is a sacred secret, “In order to survive as a pastor’s wife, you must not make any friends.”
… for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God… —from Acts 5:38-39
It has been asked in a variety of ways from the outside and the inside since the so-called "young, restless, and Reformed" tribe hit the threshold of unignorable visibility: Can this movement be sustained? Is it just a fad? What are your concerns, fears, and…
The gospel is uniquely relational—it’s about people. Thus, to separate yourself from people and attempt to survive the turmoil and travail of life on your own is to ignore the gospel altogether.
Ministry is about becoming less impressed with yourself and more smitten with the Savior.
Your imperfect church is God’s way of loving your idolatry out of you.
The move is subtle. The switch from ordinary human achievement to blasphemy requires no explanation. It just flatout happens.
Worship should change us. If we are encountered by the same God Habakkuk speaks of, we will be transformed. We will leave different than we were when we came. If we aren’t transformed, we aren’t worshipping.
Instead of valuing consumerism, the Bible roots our membership in the idea of a covenant, which offers an infinitely superior alternative.
I fear that in our attempt to eliminate distractions we’ve also eliminated the corporate reality of worship.
Sadly, because of its inability, and often unwillingness, to adapt to its surroundings, the church lost its point of contact with culture, and with that, its voice and influence. Thus the need for a gospel-centered missional church. But what is a gospel-centered, missional church?
Here are three reasons to conduct membership interviews with everyone seeking to join your church.
Understanding ecclesiology’s rightful place among other doctrines and grasping how the Gospel-centered nature of the church positions that doctrine in service of the Great Commission is just the grand beginning of treasures.
People that have embraced the mission look at the "issues" a church has as opportunities.
Since churches looking for pastoral candidates seem to be all the map when it comes to ordination, does it make sense for aspiring ministers to pursue it?
Be humble and open to correction from those inside and outside your peer group.
Many of us wondered why our favorite artists articulated a view of God so much bigger than our pastors. Many of us were using podcasts as a way to connect with pastors that preached the same glorious truths. But still, many of us were functionally church orphans. And no movement, even Gospel-centered movements, can expect to be sustained apart from the local church.
We ought to be the most hospitable toward the sojourners among us.
Roll up your sleeves, labor alongside them, and love them.
What brings about such seasons? Is it even right to talk about ways and means?
How should you respond to a fellow member who is leaving for what sounds like a bad reason?
It hurts to be gossiped about. Because church leaders are out in front, their lives can be closely scrutinized. They make obvious targets. And no leader is immune, no matter how godly.
In church, after all, no one can hear you tweet.
"The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth blog about how cool he is with, you know, whatever your deal is, man."
Too often our creativity and intelligence don’t adorn the gospel, but obscure it.
The pastor should give no harbor to about-talk that avoids to-talk.
We sometimes expect pastors leaving under bad terms to leave a bad taste in the church’s mouth, but we don’t really think about what can go wrong when an otherwise good pastor leaves under otherwise good circumstances.
"The only thing of value the church has to offer is the gospel."
Two things smaller churches can do is opt out of a couple of things they often end up doing that they shouldn't.
Smaller churches are no less hindered from doing what God has called his people to do than are larger churches. Having more people does not maker it easier.
As I have seen several churches in my area continue to dwindle in size I have watched the leadership of many of these churches settle into into one of three dangerous mentalities . . .
My wife and I once attended a small church that had no worship leader. No choir. No instruments. No overhead projection. No cool lights. The building was plain-Jane. Yet their gathering was powerful. Why?
The danger of focusing on things over people is that we might actually get what we want.
It's just this simple: a church is a good church only if it pursues what its Head desires.
As I was watching Speedweek’s events, particularly the qualifying duels on the Thursday before the 500, I learned something about, of all things, the church.
Trying to figure out what people want will always lead to ministry that is opposed to gospel centered ministry
There are lots of websites that exist for the church. This is what it means for us to be For The Church . . .
When I was in high school and college, I used to work out all the time. I went to the gym four times a week and I would work out for a couple of hours each time I went. To help with my workouts, I read books and magazines. I took supplements. I charted my workouts writing down how much weight I was lifting and how many reps I was…
The task before the leadership is to disciple these dear people in their understanding that in fact, “we are they.”
Let’s aim for a universal scoreboard. And give God glory that we get to play in the Games at all.
Whole relationships carry on in the dark sometimes, especially in churches, where everyone is in relationship with everybody's projected version of themselves, with facades.
Unity is not an end in itself.
I believe our sinful desire for power, control, and praise are at the root of most church divisions.
We think bigness is the way. We think bigness solves lots of problems. We think bigness is safety. We think we can get too big to fail. But it's the other way around.
We need to be truthful to those in our church community, so that they can come along side of us and help. We need this because we all are redeemed, yet struggling sinners.
"If there is to be a renewal, it will be a renewal that grows out of the blazing center that is the glory of God in the face of Christ."