The intellectual discipline exhibited by Calvin in his early years of study, and consistently displayed in his years of ministry in Geneva, is worth emulating.
What’s been the most successful form of outreach your church has practiced?
If we’re honest, for most of us, it isn’t the Hollywood sins that choke out our faith; it’s all the worries of life. All the distractions and noise around us simply box the Spirit of God right out of our day.
Usually waiting doesn’t seem to make much sense or have much purpose at the time, but that is a sheerly human perspective, bound and shackled by our mortal limitations.
What was it like to pastor at seventeen? Ultimately, the short answer is credit to God. For that matter, the long answer is God. God did it all!
On this episode of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson visits with Chris Thomas, Lead Pastor of Raymond Terrace Community Church in New South Wales, Australia.
In our highly educated and Biblical competent circles, we all know marriage is important, but as leaders in ministry, is caring for our marriage our utmost goal beyond abiding in Christ?
Biblical theology shows us that this covenant was superseded in a way we couldn’t imagine.
A lack of physical intimacy in marriage boosts fleshly desires and opens us up to temptation in significant ways. Here are some ways to guard against it.
Preaching is the pastor's indispensable task, his most paramount duty, and his most consequential and urgent job assignment. For the pastor, preaching is priority number one.
FTC.co asks Matt Capps, Senior Pastor of Fairvew Baptist Churchi in Apex, NC: "What’s something about being a pastor the average churchgoer doesn’t understand?"
Pastors "go first."
Maybe the main reason your preaching is subpar is because your expectations are subpar.
This week's links include resources on a single ladies catechism, being related to a slave owner, poetry and evangelism, and SBC institutions.
Why does God allow so many of his children to be poor?
To read the Old Testament is to encounter many new areas of knowledge that might appear tangential or skippable.
Though God surely loves you and me, there is someone He loves even more: Himself.
How can a young pastor lead elderly church members well?
Our relationships will ebb and flow, as will our affection for the church. But the solution is not always looking for a better fit.
Jesus has the authority to fix everything in the deepest part of your being and no one can stop him.
Discipline yourself not to feel the need to overwhelm in every sermon. It’s difficult to do, but we must get over the temptation to feed God’s people everything we have each week.
It feels counterintuitive for ministers to talk about their own health, but self-care is strategic, not selfish.
Don’t view discipleship as a separate activity from your church engagement and involvement.
What excites you most about the church today?
This new book from FTC managing editor Jared C. Wilson promises to help you introduce your dreams for church growth to the biblical metrics of grace.
Christians, proclaming the gospel is an urgent matter. Let us look at our lives to see what’s keeping us from allowing it to be so.
The theology of the OT often rides on the harmonics created by the songs and poems breathed out by the Holy Spirit through the skillful pen of His prophets.
FTC.co asks Won Kwak, Lead Pastor of Maranatha Grace Church in Fort Lee, NJ: "How do you identify potential leaders, especially in a smaller church?"
Who is church for? And what do they need? - An exclusive excerpt from the new book The Gospel-Driven Church
This week's links include resources on struggling to obey God, worship essentials, advice on discussing gender roles, and rethinking unreached peoples.
When we polarize, we miss an opportunity to draw someone into a meaningful conversation.
Lord, make this thought a pillow for many a weary head!
God will not let pastors flatter his people instead of taking responsibility for the many forms of abuse in his church.
We should grieve when people think the deep friendship of David and Jonathan was sexual.
How do you prepare older or established members for significant change in a church?
If Christ is to be followed, He must be well-known, to the point that the disciple can discern His voice, predict His next move, and go His direction at all times.
Activity does not always mean productivity and just because you meet doesn’t mean you're accomplishing anything of value.
If our God-talk doesn’t respect him who is incomprehensible, we risk worshiping a glorified version of our own likeness. But if our posture is one of humility—faith seeking understanding—then our stammering turns into worship.
On this episode of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson visits with Jeff Medders, Lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in Tomball, Texas and author or co-author of several books, including the new release Humble Calvinism
As flawed humans, we don’t always reflect this patient willingness to repeat ourselves.
The classroom environment for learning the content was invaluable, but without working it out in actual ministry it would have remained knowledge that merely puffs up.
The Enemy has held this ground for a long time, and he won’t give it up easily. Fortunately, he doesn’t get to decide who wins in the end.
What should the pastor’s response to video games be? Where do they fit within the lives of the congregation?
FTC.co asks, Jen Wilkin, author and teacher at The Village Church in Dallas, TX: "How can we better facilitate inter-generational discipleship among women?"
Does Paul's confrontation of Peter as recounted in Galatians 2 really have no implications for racial reconciliation?
There is more to it than just the pattern, but the pattern sets us up and supports the truth.
This week's links include resources on prayer, sexual assault, short term mission trips, "arriving" in ministry, and healthy conversations about race.
The brooding of the Spirit of God upon the face of the deep, first produced order and life, and in our hearts, he causes and fosters new life and light.
I quickly learned that an unguarded heart leads to unfiltered preaching.
Every leader needs accountability, including youth pastors.
How do I become passionate about the things of God without becoming a legalist?
Reflecting on my life reminds me that God truly works in mysterious ways. But I'm reminded that God also works in another, more primary way, that is, through the local church.
Recommit to and pursue your New Year’s resolutions looking through the lenses of God’s constant, abundant, tender, firm, and loving presence and strength.
At the end of it all, he makes his final offer: all of your sin and unloveliness for all my kingdom of righteousness and unending, unyielding, unashamed, outrageously faithful love. Does that sound good?
Leaders who blindly accepting the lowest bid, hear just one side of a matter or fail to count the cost prior to making a decision fall into this trap of failing to get all of the facts.
Sometimes, all it takes is one good question to start a meaningful, God-honoring conversation.
How would you encourage Christian parents worried about the world their kids are growing up into?
Pastor, if you served the rest of your ministry and never saw another convert, would you be content with watching the spiritual growth of your congregation?
Oh yes, being a pastor and preaching the Bible is a high, great, and glorious call. But, it is not the highest, greatest, and glorious call of all.
FTC.co asks Jonathan Leeman, Editorial Director for 9Marks Ministries, "What advice would you give a pastor who wants to practice church discipline in a church that never has?"
In light of the story God is telling with the world, how should the church engage politically?
We must let time pass over us with the night and we must give in to letting God be the sovereign one.
This week's links include resources on single pastors, praying for your parents, God and the workplace, discontentment, and Old Testament Violence.
You may fear that the Lord has passed you by, but it is not so: he who counts the stars, and calls them by their names, is in no danger of forgetting his own children.
God has spoken the verdict of “not guilty” over law-breakers in his realm.
We should all seek to know the story of the Bible, not as simple facts, but as a vivid living story that we find our place within.
What is Pastoral PTSD and what can a pastor do if he has it?
You may or may not have reason for self-pity today. If you do, there is good reason to fight that impulse.
I don’t think we can accomplish the goal of discipleship in the 21st century without demonstrating that we are willing to invite others into our mess, to hopefully show them that our mess is a Christ-centered and redemptive mess.
The poor in our cities are not going to be won by a group of timid men and women in a committee meeting; they will be won by those who dream big and trust in the absolute sovereignty of God to get things done.
On this episode of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson and Ronni Kurtz discuss the root sin beneath some recent headlines, from the Houston Chronicle's report on sexual abuse in the SBC to the recent firings of pastor James MacDonald and others.
Compassion remembers the frame of our children like God remembers that we are dust and prone to weakness.
If you grumble in your lack, your heart posture may not be service for Jesus but an inordinate affection for money.
Pre-order the new book from Jared Wilson and get free bonus resources!
If you’ll do these things, you’ll continue to grow as a leader in health and effectiveness, and your organization will grow right along with you.
This lay ministry is an extraordinary happening. No longer do people need a special—though temporary—anointing to offer a prophetic word of direction and wisdom.
FTC.co asks Nathan Rose, Lead Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri: "What’s something about being a pastor the average churchgoer doesn’t understand?"
Why are older folks drawn to these kinds of shows? And what do those connections mean for ministry to older folks?
There is a powerful beauty in beholding oneself in another.
This week's links include resources include being slow to speak, atypical women, misunderstanding the Trinity, materialism, compensating your pastor, and being a second wife.
The saints are God's heritage, and he is in the midst of them, and will protect his own.
God created men and women to work in such a way that we both have the same goal and we need one another to get the job done.
He may not change your circumstances, but he will give peace in the midst of hardship as he promised.
Why is the local church integral to theological training?
When we talk about multiplication, we mean that churches have a process to discover, develop, and deploy church planting teams from the inside.
Stuff is going to happen. Things will break. People will hurt you. Leaders will disappoint you. But Jesus never fails. Never.
When you stand behind the sacred desk to preach, be a voice, not an echo.
When circumstances are running smoothly and our own plans are being fulfilled, it is easy to forget the Lord and all he has done in the gospel.
I am a long way from having the character of our heavenly Father, but my daughter is helping me understand what it means to be drawn fully into the gospel story.
How do you encourage a young family struggling with family devotions?
Marriage is a covenant and not a contract. Marriage is intended to be commitment to which we maintain trust and fidelity until separated by death.
Community is a costly business, but someone must pay the cost. Why not you? Why not me?
FTC.co asks Trevin Wax, Bible and Reference Publisher at Lifeway Christian Resources, "What keeps so many Christians from regularly studying the Bible?"
“Oh good! It’s always great to meet a fellow Christian," said the young man on my doorstep when he discovered I was a pastor.
True and lasting influence is not automatically attained by a high-level job, but by being purposeful in how we relate to others.
This week's links include resources on being freed from pride, Lottie Moon and singleness, being brought close, and the recent Houston Chronicle report.
It is a divine lesson to know how to be full
God spoke into these situations with temporary protections that pointed to the Savior coming who will correct all injustice.
School is life for foster kids so develop a partnership with the local school your child will attend.
As a denomination, my tribe has a history that is a mixed bag when it comes to how churches get planted and the effectiveness of those plants. I believe we are turning a corner with our approach.
In the spirit of Hebrews 11, reading good biographies summons forth a veritable chorus of cheers, encouraging us to lay aside every encumbrance and sin that so easily entangles us and to run with endurance the race set before us.
FTC.co asks Clint Pressley, Lead Pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, "What are some ways to build camaraderie among church staff?"
On this episode of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson talks with Collin Hansen about the state of evangelicalism, the past and future of the "young, restless, Reformed" tribe, and cultural issues the church must begin wrestling with today.
If your pursuit of Christian maturity does not have the person and work of Christ as its central focus, it’s a fool’s errand.
Walk where Edwards and Whitefield walked, visit everywhere from Yale to Harvard and coastal Maine to rural Vermont, meet with local pastors and church planters, and even enjoy some local eateries and coffee.
The womb should be more like a blossoming garden than a cold cell at Auschwitz. Those who use this law as occasion for murderous convenience will not go unnoticed by the Lord.
Whatever Albert Einstein meant when he said “God does not play dice with the universe,” the believer can assert with even greater conviction (and gratitude) that his heavenly Father does not play dice with his people.
When we pursue kindness, we direct our lives to reflect God and to live for what He expects of us.
This week's links include resources on ease as the new vice, attractive qualities in a leader, what Christ will never say to us, and congregational singing.
Jesus promised that we would be baptized by the Holy Spirit. What on earth can that mean?
Christ, to the uttermost, has satisfied divine justice; the account is settled; the handwriting is nailed to the cross; the receipt is given.
God's good word gives us the ability to simply breathe, to live, every single day.
Whatever the circumstances, potential foster or adoptive couples should court their parents and patiently give them a vision for multigenerational influence.
What do you wish you’d known when you started as a pastor?
When you get a little grace, you start asking, “Who else?” Because there must be someone.
The idea of the professing Christian living in isolation from the local church is quite foreign to the New Testament.
The dark parts of our hearts have been exposed by learning to care for another human being who is not biologically related to us.
Holding a grudge never ever results in what we think it will.
What are some patterns of adulthood that frustrate our relationship with Jesus?
This is the good news of the gospel. Words that didn’t make sense together make sense now because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Not only is it very intellectually satisfying to trust the Gospels, but it is more satisfying than any of the alternatives.
Trials, of all kinds, test our faith in crucible-like ways—ways that will show the greatness and goodness of God and result in our greater praise to him. This is, in part, because he endures the trials with us.
There is much good in young men rejecting passivity, taking responsibility, and seeking to better themselves. But the arteries of anger, victimhood, and aggressive machismo running through the new masculinity movement do not bode well.
This week's links include resources on self-control and the leader, churches at a tipping point, pain and planting churches, and being in the margins.
There is no magical formula for you to faithfully walk with Jesus.
Oh, what a fulness must this be of which all receive!
As they see you expanding your parenting to include the new kids in your home, while yet devoting yourself to them, they will be ready to expand their capacity to be a brother or sister to the new kids God has given you.
If we were merely flawed people, then the cross would have been an extreme overcorrection.
What encourages you about the younger generation?
In the Christian gospel, we have not only a God who answers our questions, but also a God who enters our pain. The fact that Jesus entered our world to live as a man of sorrows proves he’s trustworthy.
There is no “being the church” apart from “going to church.” The two are intrinsically connected.
When I look at the history of the Church, I am reminded that God often works wonders through deeply broken people, and through some of the darkest atrocities imaginable. My faith is not in Christians, but in Christ — a holy, good, and just God.
On the latest installment of the For The Church Mailbag feature, Jared Wilson is joined by Ronni Kurtz. Listen in as they answer submitted questions related to the Christian life and ministry.
We are to handle our disagreements with humility, not with even an ounce of grumbling or quarreling.
God’s Word was more than sufficient to guide us in our time of transition.
This is the lesson for us who want to do good, but don’t want to get our hands dirty.
The truth that God is in control of our suffering is offensive to many, but it is a truth we should want to embrace when faced with the alternatives.
FTC.co asks Christine Hoover, author and pastor's wife, "In an age of Instagram and Photoshop, why should we not be afraid to be real?"
This week's links include resources on myths about complementarianism, practicing the doctrine of justification, engaging emotion in preaching, and liturgies for youth.
The culture wants us to separate reason and faith. But the bible wants us to engage the mind that God gave us.
Are you a sheep?
This is a fit prayer for every day.
God gives generously in kindness to the least, last, lost, and left-out.
As a member of the body of Christ in a local church, you enjoy a mutual commitment with other believers that reflects your relationship with your spouse.
How do we appropriately honor men and women in church history who’ve contributed much of value?
The New Testament is saturated with the local church. Trying to understand these 27 books apart from the local church is like playing baseball without the bases. You may be able to recognize the sport, but the path to winning has been eliminated.
We cannot make someone experience conviction—that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. But we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit not only by proclaiming the gospel, but also by simply reading the Bible.
To think rightly about what we deserve, we must start with God. Our flesh wants to make everything about us, as if the world revolves around humans, but creation tells a different tale.
Sin was defeated in the past, is defeated in the present, and will be defeated in the future only by the cross of Christ and our participation in it.
As the preacher exegetes his text and his times, he sees how the two intersect, or do not intersect with his congregation.
Why do we still have a problem with racism in the 21st century church?
We must be mindful to walk in humility, being open to learning what God has taught others, knowing that we are not the only saints who have traversed the path we are on.
My dad often told me, “The debt we owe to the past is to leave the future indebted to us.” Here are 11 things I learned from my dad and grandfather that have sustained me for the last 65 years in ministry.
FTC.co asks Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN, "What is text-driven preaching and why should pastors practice it?"
Why, despite an abundance of helpful resources and exemplary models, do we still have a hard time turning the homiletical corner to preaching Christ?
My desire for rest is not wrong, it’s just often misplaced.
This week's links include resources on loving a prodigal child, on losing mom and the church, union with Christ, foster care, and men serving in kids ministry.
Beloved reader, what is thy desperate case?
Let stories be as bold, brash, and audacious as they were meant to be.
Foster care or adoption will stretch your marriage in ways it has never been stretched before.
Why is it as crucial as ever these days for churches to practice meaningful membership?
Real friends are candid and give counsel, but their love keeps it from being reckless. Real friends are careful with one another. They don’t want to push you away; they want to bring you nearer to themselves and to Jesus.
It is life and death. The wind is howling, the waves are building, and life is coming at me with all its fury. What have I to cling to? Hold fast to the gospel. Cling to Christ.
These things took time and a process in order to come full-circle - the pain of personal growth, the healing after the pain, and the perspective gained in hindsight beyond the healing. And the unnerving and exciting thing is this: God’s still got more to do.
On this episode of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson talks with artist and author Jackie Hill Perry about life, ministry, and her incredible testimony of the grace of Jesus.
Just by being there you increase your chances of making an impact and you give yourself the chance to use your gifts.
As pastors, we need to remind young couples not only that we are all sinners, but also that we are all sexual sinners.
When we become Christians, we move from an “I” to a “We.” Therefore, the local church is a single, spiritual entity – an entity that ought to think and act corporately.
The wise pastor will become familiar with New Testament hyperlinks to the Old Testament and learn to move between anchor texts and their targets so as to rightly divide the Word of truth.
FTC.co asks Jeff Medders, Lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in Tomball, Texas, "How has ministry in the Bible Belt changed over the last 10 years?"
What are you hiding?
Every now and again some well-meaning brother or sister will say to me, "This one's different. You gotta see it. It's not like the others." And then it is. It painfully, painfully is.
This week's links include resources on protecting teens from pornography, living to die, disappointment in ministry, and how to live post-Advent.
"Now the hand of the Lord was upon me in the evening."
Against this dark backdrop of depravity beams the love of Christ.
When our hearts believe the lie that there is something more beautiful and more valuable than Jesus Christ, our lives will reflect our rejection of that truth.
For most of us, "missions" isn’t at the forefront of Christmas considerations. Perhaps it should be.
Pastoring is a challenge no matter the size of the community, but having the right set of tools can make the job a little easier.
Seeking the blessing of the city means knees will bow.
We lay preachers don’t get many preaching reps, and we certainly don’t want to do a bad job when one comes our way.
We love them, shepherd them, and pray for them, but we can’t make them follow the Lord.
How can a Christian know that their head knowledge has become heart knowledge?
Charles Spurgeon preached at least 14 sermons about the New Year in his 38 years at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Though many themes arise in his comments, belief is as pervasive as any.