While 2020 brought much change and little stability for most people, one thing that did not alter this past year is that we were blessed by the faithful writing of scores of contributors at For the Church. Once again, I reflect at the conclusion of another calendar year, and am overwhelmed with gratitude for both the readers and the contributors of For the Church.
Our mission here at FTC is to engage, encourage, and equip the Church with gospel-centered resources that are pastoral, practical, and devotional. 2020, like any year before and any year after, brought much need for pastoral, practical, and devotional material.
It is no surprise to see a number of articles dealing with the impact of COVID-19 in our annual top-ten list. This pandemic upended much of our normalcy on individual, ecclesial, and societal levels. Navigating the ever-fluctuating realities of life after March 2020 meant that we needed an extra dose of nuance and Biblical precision, and many of the articles from our contributors this year offered exactly that. (See the few dozen articles we published this year on COVID-19 here).
However, while 2020 offered pandemics, political unrest, and societal tensions, many readers tuned in for articles that had nothing to do with any of these issues and instead opted for content untied to cultural moments.
For example, this year we:
- Released our For the Church Preaching Guides
- Started the ongoing series on How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament
- Published a number of helpful Book Reviews
- We will hit our 100th episode of the For the Church Podcast
- Put out our first-ever For the Church Advent Devotional
We conclude this strange year with full hearts. Consequently, we’d like to extend another “thank you” to all the readers and contributors, this resource would be both impossible and meaningless without you. We pray that the resources put out this year have caused you to treasure Christ and cherish His gospel.
Without further introduction, here are the top most read articles published in 2020:
Navigating Different COVID-19 Recovery Convictions by Costi Hinn
“What will it matter if we re-assimilate only to end up ‘socially distant’ again not because of a virus, but because of our inability to love others who approach COVID-19 differently than we do?”
The Apologetic of Being Mom by Abigail Dodds
“Fellow moms, if we think teaching our children about the Triune God and the universe he made is small or pitiable or unimportant, we don’t understand smallness. We don’t understand the way God works. He takes what is small in the world’s eyes––a baby in a manger––and calls him, “the radiance of my glory and the exact imprint of my nature” (Heb 1:3). He is perfectly able to take the seemingly small, lowly job of motherhood and shine the glory of Christ on us and our children. Go to his word. Learn his ways. Know him. Love him. And share that knowledge––that theology––with the “least of these” that he has put in your care. You are their first and most formative theologian and apologist.”
Confessions of a Recovering Political Idolater by Jared Wilson
“I never want to treat others based on some other standard than the grace that was given to me by the real Lord of the Universe. He is worth my affectionate allegiance, and those who bear his image are worth my kindness and reasonableness.”
A Plea to Church Members: Give Your Pastor Grace by K.V Paxton
“So brothers and sisters, be patient, be loving, bear burdens (don’t add to them), and remember the grace you would want to receive and then give it to your pastor. He needs your support and encouragement now more than ever, would you lovingly offer it to him? Because he desperately wants to give it to you, but may find it difficult when he’s ministering with ‘groaning,’ which ‘is not advantage to you.'”
What Does ‘Unequally Yoked’ Mean in 2 Corinthians 6? by Ronni Kurtz
“At the end of all things, may we be found not yoked to idols but to Christ. In doing so, there will be a gospel version of the unequally-yoked paradigm as futile folks like us are yoked to Christ. He has proven to be our ox of righteousness and has plowed through the fields of God’s law with no aid from us.”
You’re Not a Bad Pastor if You Cancel Services Over COVID-19 by Ronnie Martin
“In the end, you’re not a bad pastor if you cancel services over COVID-19. In this unique season, God will provide you with wisdom and faithfulness as you seek His face. Allow the assurance of Christ and the riches of his gospel to be the death of any guilt, anxiety, or fear that threatens to condemn you. Be reassured by His faithfulness, and rest well.”
How Hamilton Can Help Us Preach Better Sermons by Caleb Basher
“This isn’t about catering to attention spans and making sermons more like TED talks, it’s about stewarding the responsibility you have to preach the best sermon that you can. The length of your sermon is not your marker of orthodoxy. Be persuasive. Be creative. Be exact. Don’t spend time on wasted words. And find the time to preach shorter sermons.”
“Maybe you can’t experience church exactly the way you want to right now. But what if the experience of church isn’t supposed to be all about you? What if it’s more about glorifying God through loving others, even denying yourself, taking up your cross, and following Jesus into service of others for His sake?
When the mature Christian can’t exactly be with the church he loves, he commits to loving that church anyway. He loves her such as she is. That’s how God has loved us, after all.”
10 Gifts I Pray God Gives The Church Through The Coronavirus by Orion Berridge
“What if we could see as God sees? This crisis didn’t surprise him, and he has no travel restrictions or quarantines to submit to. His work, rooted in who he is, and his mission on earth is not thwarted and does not slow down. He doesn’t need a team of interventionists to advise him on what to do next with the church, because he has big plans for his church even in the midst of this earthly crisis. God has a way of making everything work to His glory (Rom. 8:28) and nothing passes through his hands to his body without purpose. If we could see as God sees maybe we could see the other thousand things he is doing in his church through this crisis. Today, I am going to pray that these 10 things would happen and I am going to lead his church toward these things because I have fresh hope – a hope like I have never had before!”