I have come to firmly believe that student ministries are uniquely positioned to be mission sending agencies within the local church.
How important is contextualization in preaching and teaching?
At the front door of pastoral ministry, we find that if a pastor isn’t a family man, he’s not a churchman.
What’s it like to hear the whole world sing your praise? Only God knows. Be awed by the fact that He does.
FTC.co asks Dan Darling, Vice President of Communications at the ERLC, "Why do we need a 'dignity revolution?'"
On this episode of the For The Church Podcast, Jared Wilson and Ronni Kurtz offer some rough notes on navigating the pastoral challenges involved in "changing the DNA" of your church culture.
Actively praying for the children and begging the Lord to save these little ones is not a small request.
Believing, teaching, and defending the truth should be a priority for every Christian.
Two decades of pastoral ministry has taught me that a prevailing theme of Christian life is the faulty thinking that we relate to God as though he is a disappointed father.
This is the story of the hopeful, dreadful time between sin’s entrance and Christ’s conquest.
FTC.co asks David Prince, Pastor of Preaching and Vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church and Assistant Professor of Preaching at Southern Seminary, "Does the discovery of CTE make playing football unethical?"
The life of faith is difficult. But there is a joy waiting for us beyond all comparison.
No matter how severe our loneliness might be, it can never surpass the loneliness of Christ crucified.
This week's links include resources on caring for single parents, calling and serving, teaching children to love the vulnerable, and praying in spiritual warfare.
Dr. Allen answers questions about his new book, Letters to My Students, Vol 1: On Preaching.
What is the one thing the local church needs to get right in the 21st century?
FTC.co asks Jonathan Leeman, an Elder at Cheverly Baptist Church in Washington D.C. and Editorial Director at 9Marks Ministries, "How do we distinguish between primary and secondary issues?"
Rather than reciprocating proportionally based on what has been done, the way forward for disciples of Christ’s Kingdom is rooted in the grace of Kingdom.
God’s character is as honest as we can be in our prayers. Our quest may feel endless but our God is not.
The abundance of God comes in part in this life, but in fullness only later.
While reading your Bible every day, praying, and fasting do not necessitate spiritual growth, neglecting them is like never going to the gym in the first place.
Four basic ways we can use our Sundays to serve others, as opposed to just being served ourselves.
Often, the greatest threat to theological understanding is a lack of humility.
FTC.co asks Barnabas Piper, Director of Community at Immanuel Church in Nashville, TN: "Why does it seem like everyone is so angry?"
You may feel “all is meaningless.” Especially when you are ministering in the midst of conflict, division, unfair or undue criticism, or even hostility.
Work to embed spiritual growth and vitality into your staff gatherings.
This week's links include resources on asking questions, fear in evangelism, pursuing others, and dealing with doubt.
A conviction worth holding is a conviction worth defending and advocating.
How do you adorn the gospel with creative elements in worship without hindering it?
May our times of family worship and discipleship be richer and fuller because we have experienced the good God has for us in His command to sing.
When the perfect comes, the partial, half-measures of today will pass away, and no one will miss them.
FTC.co asks Jared C. Wilson, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Spurgeon College and Writer-in-Residence at Midwestern Seminary, what advice he would give a new pastor who already wants to quit.
Pastors and the upcoming election; young pastors among established staff; bivocational priorities; what to expect of teenagers in the church; Josh Harris's announcements.
Paul was able to continue to minister in established fields as well as pioneer new fields largely because his missionary team continued to grow and expand.
When a man is not okay with the life God has given him, he often pursues more not for the glory of God and building of His kingdom, but for the glory of self and building of the self-kingdom.
I am not against you, friend. I’m against the golden calf that I’ve seen built in your midst.
Pastors, your people want you to go there.
FTC.co asks Nathan Rose, Lead Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Liberty, MO: "Who has influenced your preaching the most?"
Here are just three of my favorite anecdotes touching on the surprising power of grace.
Through yieldedness and surrender, we placed her in the Lord’s hands; it was not easy; lots of tears were shed and fervent intercession was made.
This week's links include resources on being uncomfortable at church, kids and transgenderism, recruiting young leaders, missionaries of color, and growing in Christ.
We are excited to introduce a fun new weekly tradition—#FTCFriday!
What is the one thing you would say to encourage the pastor’s wife?
For the pastor to ignore evangelism is to have an unfulfilled incomplete ministry.
FTC.co asks Trillia Newbell, Director of Community Outreach at the ERLC, "What's so great about Romans 8?"
If we deny we’ve been tempted or sinned, leave out parts of the truth, or distort the facts, then we’re robbing ourselves of holiness and joy.
Mimi is a good reminder, to me at least, to curb my ambition and instead simply, faithfully seek Christ.
You can try as hard as you may, clawing at the mud and gravel and tree roots with a free hand—as long as the other hand clutches onto that sin, the ditch is your home.
When we engage in what the Bible calls foolishness—choosing sin over obedience—we engage in a practical kind of atheism.
One of the joys of weekly communion is the opportunity it affords the parents in our churches to declare the great news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to their children.
This week's links include resources on fear of God, the sufficiency of Jesus, wisdom, communicating with missionaries, and criticism.
Though we cannot improve upon the Bible’s relevancy... perhaps we can make our sermons a touch more relevant.
What is the one thing a church needs from its pastor?
Often, in lieu of your local church becoming the best contextualized version of itself, God is fashioning its parts into a whole that looks more like Him.
We ask J.T. English, "How do you make sure a growing church keeps 'feeling small?'”
On this episode of the For The Church Podcast, Jared Wilson and Ronni Kurtz discuss how pastors can biblically and wisely shepherd through relational tensions in the church.
We are not to do good to meet a goal, exercise a gift, or fulfill a calling.
The Spirit convicts Christians of sin so that they will stop hiding in the darkness and instead walk in the light.
Pastor's Kid, your dad devotes his time and talent to faithfully steering the church toward Christ. As his son or daughter, don’t detract from that mission. Be a catalyst.
FTC.co asks J.D. Greear, Pastor of Summit Church (Raleigh-Durham, NC), "How can a church know it is on the right track? What are some signs of faithfulness?"
For good or bad, leaders set the emotional tone within an organization. . . . Hope is the most powerful tool in your arsenal.
We think the problem might just "go away" on its own. But if it doesn't, we have the biblical obligation to "take it to our brother."
We do not want to avoid equipping women just because it can be hard.
This week's links include resources on what the Bible says about women, dangers of money, unshakable joy, and pride and the pastor.
I pray that my soul would not be so fickle as to rely on man’s acclaim or applause or attendance as validation of my ministerial efforts.
Jesus went willingly into the weakness of flesh, to make himself like us so he could save us.
What do pastors’ kids wish their churches knew about them?
Whether it’s the man in the pulpit or the believer in the pew, suffering can be the greatest help or the greatest hardship to the proclamation of the gospel.
Consider with me, brothers and sisters – do we really see the idols of our culture? Can we call them by name?
When it comes to people who are really suffering, many pastors are tempted to feel overwhelmed and under-qualified.
If a man is easily swayed, we are slow to consider him as an elder.
Recently transitioning back into pastoral ministry, what do you feel prepared for this time around?
Jesus' torn flesh and spilt blood was for the embarrassing—those like you and me.
FTC.co asks Jeff Medders, Pastor of Redeemer Church in Tomball, TX: "What should a pastor do when his church is tired of hearing the Gospel?"
If you hear this, it won't be from Jesus.
Perhaps our lack of volunteers has less to do with our recruiting strategy and more to do with how we are stewarding our current volunteers.
This week's links include resources on reverse culture shock, multigenerational leadership, studying the Bible, neglecting lament, and the war on sin.
Attention is to be focused on the Lord, the true object of our service, not people pleasing.
Don’t set yourself up to play with something that will grow to something that can kill and maim you.
As a theologian, Bavinck listens carefully before making a judgment; this is the kind of theology that pastors need to learn and to emulate.
If our churches are following the New Testament grid of ministry, orphan care will be natural, just another outlet for the powerful message of Christ that gathers and disperses us each week.
On this episode of the For The Church Podcast, Jared Wilson and Ronni Kurtz discuss what they're reading, what pastors are reading, and what pastors should be reading.
Living in the present, with a forgiven past, and secured future, will definitely lead to a happier life.
As one who is entrusted with a leadership position, I find it profitable to read of others who have led.
Revelation is very much a capstone to the Bible’s unified storyline, not a freaky add-on to the end.
FTC.co asks Christine Hoover, pastor's wife and author of Searching for Spring and Messy Beautiful Friendship, "What does the average churchgoer not understand about their pastor?"
I've been out of pastoral ministry now for 5 years, and while I am not asked as often I was in those first few years, I still get the question a fair amount: "Do you miss it?"
Evangelism is a biblical mandate for every Christian.
This week's links include resources on college students and evangelism, revival, kindness, and communion with Christ.
God is producing lifelong fruit and an eternal joy within me during these formative years in the classroom and in the church.
How do you cultivate a healthy marriage in the midst of a busy ministry?
Mission isn’t just something made possible by a passport or a seminary degree. It’s a paradigm which should inform everything we do
We have died to sin in his death and are now alive to God in his resurrection.
What advice do you have for the wife who is disappointed with her husband?
On first looking into Spurgeon’s sermons, I have found joy and awe in the work of Spurgeon, the man, but also in the work of Spurgeon’s God.
FTC.co asks Clint Pressley, Senior Pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC: "What are some key components to discipling young men?"
Here are some common introductory cliches that might be worth weighing in terms of their helpfulness to the congregation's gathering to worship.
This week's links include resources on spirituality, leadership, pain, family worship, and waiting.
We don’t always see what the Vinedresser is doing beneath the surface, but we can rest assured that it’s always for our growth.
How do you lead a growing church without getting a big head?
We’re not doing anyone any favors by sparing them obedience, even when it’s hard, even when it feels “insane.” We’re only withholding from them everything on the other side.
A classical Christian understanding of God’s immutability would maintain that God cannot – and need not! – change even by a divine decision to alter himself.
There is only one who instructs the rain to fall on Holland. There is only one who know the number of Netherland hairs. There is only one who administers days to Amsterdam. There is only one who is truly sovereign.
Jared Wilson talks with Dean Inserra about perhaps the largest mission field in America.
At the height of my foray into theological worlds unknown, I met a traveler. Her name was Mrs. Billie Jo.
Missionaries are keenly aware of the shortness of life.
Vacations should be a time to rejuvenate you for your calling, not escape it.
This may come as news to you, and if so, I am sorry that it has taken this long for someone to tell you, but you are not the center of the universe.
To whom is the ransom paid?
Our God is a treasure to be enjoyed, worshiped, and obeyed.
This week's links include resources on prosperity preachers, missionary callings, praying for family vacation, and myths about marriage.
Philosophy can show us the extent to which Scripture answers life’s ultimate questions.
All of our obedience begins with listening to our God.
How political should a local church pastor get with his flock?
What we say to new people (and how we say it) will either give credence to our message about Jesus or take it away.
You get the story wrong if you don’t see Jesus as the center and the goal. But when you get it right, you understand, as Stephen did, that suffering makes sense.
Both beats in our ears make promises, promises of fulfillment and of satisfaction. But only one has the power to keep and deliver on its promises.
Seven theological and practical reminders to help you sleep like someone whose God is actually alive.
My current struggles weigh as much as a feather while the weight of God’s glory is incalculable.
What does your sermon preparation look like?
FTC.co asks Trillia Newbell, Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, "What are some important things to remember in talking to our children about ethnic diversity?"
God is calling us to make adjustments in the areas of our lives that are hindering us from costly participation in the mission of the church.
The Bible teaches three facts of life: God is good. God is all-powerful. Terrible things happen.
Here are three all-too-common approaches to sign messages I think churches ought to avoid . . .
We should not be mistaken, a man who has all of his theological ducks in a row is not guaranteed to be a gifted husband.
This week's links include resources on biblical truth, the missionary and insufficiency, loving your spouse, and when someone backslides.
All the “humble brags” on social media have a green shade if you look closely enough.
What is the one thing you would say to the first-year church planter?
Though we should seek Him in our closets or a quiet place during the week, he has commanded us to gather together as the church on Sunday morning.
If Christians are shaped by the form of corporate worship, then they will also be shaped by the rhythms of their daily life as a part of the community of God.
In the doctrine of the Trinity, the church is given a pattern for unity and participation in mission.
Always seek to feed your people, do not settle for unhelpful—or even less helpful— diversions.
On this episode of the podcast, Jared Wilson talks with Jonathan Leeman about navigating the current minefields in evangelical social media.
The ministry of reconciliation continually provides a clear, unobstructed avenue to grace to all of those who need to hear the gospel, which includes all of us!
Like any good pastor, it vexed and frustrated him to see God’s sheep led astray on something so vital and yet so simple.
Ashamed friend: look to the shamed one on the cross and know his shame was for you. His shame was so that you might not be ashamed, that his welcome would overcome the world’s rejection.
Being called to ministry of any kind is both a responsibility and a privilege.
FTC.co asks J.D. Greear, Pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, "What difficult thing in your life has taught you the most?"
My conversation on preaching with Tony Merida and Brandon Smith.
He is the One who makes everyone in Him not just “better”, but righteous.
This week's links include resources on potted plant Christians, salvation of a pastor's wife, virtue signaling, skating as missions, and Jesus' resurrection.
Jesus can be glorified in you and me, and in the pitifully inadequate, sometimes myopic, church we attend.
The more we orient our lives around Him, the more His Spirit shapes and even transforms our plans.
What misconceptions do pastors have about women and discipleship?
One deficiency in much contemporary preaching is the failure to proceed with an understanding that we preach as sufferers, to sufferers.
For, as we live and serve at the end of the world, the six seminaries count it a joy to do whatever it takes to serve cooperating churches as they carry out their biblically designed task of seeing God's great name proclaimed to the ends of the earth.
How many times have we seen confession happen without genuine and lasting change? Why does genuine transformation still evade us?
The waves of trends beat against the rocks of God’s Word. They make quite a noise, but they can never change it.
The problem is when self-preservation becomes an ultimate thing, when safety becomes a god.
How do you write sermons? Describe your sermon preparation process.
It is vital that senders see the immense value and importance of their role in getting the gospel across the street and around the world.
A year into church planting: it's hard and it's wonderful. And I don't want to be doing anything else.
FTC.co asks H.B. Charles, "What are the pastor’s most important weekly tasks?"
Choice lines from this recent release.
This week's links include resources on dying, forgiveness and children, Ecclesiastes, prayers of repentance, fighting with your spouse, and fear of God.
We should be so dependent on God that our first ingrained action should be to pray to Him when times get tough or even when we start a new day.
Eventually, if we actually believe what we believe, obedience will be the tell-tale sign that follows us.
What kind of diversity is important for every church?
Men, God has given you the privilege of leadership.
Pride can only bring bondage and discontentment because you do not have the power to compel the world to affirm you on your terms.
Here are three open and honest struggles I faced and things I wished I knew in my first year of ministry.
On this episode of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson and Ronni Kurtz discuss the importance for churches of centering on the gospel.
This is where I am - covered by water and desperate for God’s help every moment to truly believe this flood is a gift.
We walk around incomplete or empty, longing to once again be complete in God.
When the door opens for MDiv study, go through it.
By and large, the Bible is a book written for a community.
FTC.co asks Don Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality & Associate Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary, "How Do Spiritual Disciplines ‘Work’ In Our Sanctification?"
Aren’t we left here in this in-between time to point others to the Lamb of God?
This week's links include resources on spiritual indifference, trauma and the body, worshipping on Sunday, lamenting, sharing with Muslims, and when God seems silent.
What do we make of the fact that the man who was perhaps the greatest preacher in American history and is still one of evangelicalism's favorite heroes owned slaves and propagated slavery?
Wear your shield, Christian, and cry mightily unto God, that by his Spirit you may endure to the end.
A godly motivation to disciple others is your gratitude for God’s work for, in, and through them.
Why should the average Christian care about ethics?
David was anointed to sit on the throne. But he was appointed to sit among sheep.
We couldn’t reach up on the top shelf to get God, so God places himself on the bottom shelf—right within our reach—in the person of Jesus Christ, the carpenter from Nazareth.
My problem? I tend to think God forgives like I do.
Faith is not about impersonal plans, unfolding programs, or divine principles. Faith is heartfelt trust in the person of Christ.
My younger self wanted a voice, wanted a platform but was unwilling to invest in the character required by the gospel.
When accumulated fatigue takes hold of us, a night of rest, a weekend get-a-way, or a six-week sabbatical likely won’t help.
If you could send a message to yourself in your first year of ministry, what is the one thing you would say?
God is calling us out of the stands and into the arena. He is calling us to follow Him deep into the wild and restless world around us. But we are not going there alone.
When we come across big, "technical" words in our preaching and Bible study, we should use, study, and explain those words, rather than skirting around them or simply glossing over them with an alternative phrase.
As a pastor, few things warmed my heart more than church members telling me they prayed for me daily.
FTC.co asks Won Kawk, "How can a pastor effectively lead a multi-ethnic congregation?"
No law can be just if its justice for one is predicated on injustice to another.
Even though Jesus isn’t a mother, he is still able to sympathize with every weakness we face as moms.
This week's links include resources on exercise, dark times, insufficiency of good theology, and choosing the right kind of busy.
We are not to expect that God will give us everything we choose to ask for. We know that we sometimes ask, and do not receive, because we ask amiss.
Apart from a broken spirit that sees how much we need Christ first and foremost, these betterments are futile.
The best this world offers is incomplete.
What does Christ-centered leadership look like?
Nothing can provide a better picture of the relationship between believers to Christ than marriage. It explains why loving submission and sacrificial authority is so important.
The wisdom of God is more than just right thinking; it’s the glories of his righteousness and the wonders of his love.
We have a God that deals in the business of the inadequate and unworthy. Let the power of Christ rest upon you, young pastor.
On this episode of the podcast, Jared Wilson talks with author and pastor Robby Gallaty about the discipleship deficit in the church and how to correct it.
God's track record is flawless, and His ability to accomplish His purposes is unquestionable.
Testimonies arising from scores of churches all over the Golden State represent the Kingdom fruit of the gospel sown over the last 170 years.
Jesus is commanding a life of faithfulness, of loyalty, and yes, in many cases, sacrifice. But He is not unaware of what He’s asking. He understands.
Our goals as Christian women should and will look different the more we behold Christ and, in desperation, throw everything aside and root ourselves in him. Only then can we be immovable, unshakable, laughing at the days to come.
We asked Jonathan Leeman, "What do most Christians not know about church discipline?"
There are questions every pastoral candidate asks a search committee or hiring team when evaluating possible relocation, and then there are the questions every pastoral candidate ought to ask but rarely do. Here are four...
When we overthink our faith we tend to have some really bad thoughts and go places God never said to go with those thoughts.
This week's links include resources on the gospel and the cry for "mama," sharing the gospel with family, going to church as a mom, having eternity and mind, and what to pay pastors in poor areas.
How blessed to feel assured that the Lord is with us in all our ways, and condescends to go down into our humiliations and banishments with us!
We decided early on that our rhythm of weekly worship would consistently include celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
The truth that sets us free, like the truth that set free the original audience of Genesis, is that the God of the universe created us.
What is the one thing we need to remember about mission in the Bible Belt?
There are secret things, and there are revealed things, but the faith once for all delivered is not a secret thing.
Finding a consistent pace between too slow and too fast is vital for endurance, not only for an athlete but for a Christian as well.
As I think about a future "retirement" from formal ministry, there are five things I hope are true about me at that time.
God knows our idols will ultimately disappoint us and leave us empty, so He gets us alone into the wilderness to win our affections back.
Training a new believer to do a single (very important) task is not the same thing as making a disciple.
What are some important things for pastors’ wives to remember about congregations?
Here's one lesson taught through education: it is okay to be dim in the sunlight. We need our heroes, but any of us can please God and be used significantly by him even with average abilities.
The love of the cross rescues us from an idolatrous love of self. This gospel rescue doesn’t destroy personal confidence; it is the only true ground of it.
Why are adoption and orphan care important to the mission of the church in the 21st century?
Until we understand that the gospel is the doorway into freedom from sin, even our religious efforts will simply be rearranging idols.
We can critique so often and in such ways that we also hurt the cause.
This week's links include resources on pastors resting, emotionally healthy leaders, the dangers of media, if God can suffer, and praying with expectation.
Dear friends, can you, by faith, see yourselves in that number?
God’s infinite grace fuels generosity, which fuels the glorification of God and his gospel.
In local churches, converted men and women manifest God’s righteous rule and true political righteousness.
What should pastors remember in counseling those in troubled marriages?
Knowing the trajectory of the things of this world and their declared and promised end should drive us to place our hope and trust in God and not the world.
Here’s Christ’s kingdom offer: all our striving and trying for all his finished and accomplished.
Over the past decade, I’ve witnessed in others—and, unfortunately, in myself—three parental motivations to avoid. Like weeds that force their way through the best-cultivated garden or thickest concrete, these motivations seem stubborn, always reappearing; resilient, always resurfacing.
A child must also see that in their sinful nature-state they are morally deficient and hopelessly unrighteous.
The disconnect happens when we forget who we are in Christ and choose to live in our old ways of self-reliance, self-determination, and self-rule.
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.
Let’s remember the people we are sharing with are not just “targets” or “hot prospects.” These are human beings, made in God’s image, who have not formed their beliefs in a vacuum.
God is at work among my generation. And the harvest is plentiful. So, pastors, keep laboring. Parents, keep laboring. Youth workers, keep laboring. Don’t give up on us.
FTC.co asks Jeff Dodge: "How do you keep theological training from becoming intellectualism?"
Four steps to making a trainwreck of your life. And how to get back on track.
We often neglect or ignore that Paul learned contentment both in times of frustration and in times of favor.
This week's links include resources on pornography and missions, quitting the pastorate, the road from Emmaus, and lessons from Moses' leadership.
If you have lost the sweet sense of the Saviour's presence, and are seeking him with a sorrowful heart, remember the promises.
One of the most significant personal needs a person has is the need to be heard.
I believe isolation is the enemy’s number one tool to take down worship pastors.
What are the non-negotiables for sermon preparation?
Much of the Christian life does not involve suffering, but is one of mundane, normal days under the good gifts from the Father of the heavenly lights. These days are crucial in our sanctification.
We have the one message of hope our crumbling culture and our challenging congregations need. Now our calling is to follow through.
Who is God? What is he like? How do we come to know him? To whom are we speaking when we go to God in prayer?
God is never surprised by our sin.
What does gospel-centered parental discipline look like?
We must trust that these in-between days where we can’t see God at work are not signs that he’s turned his back on us.
While business meetings can be a great cause for anxiety, they need not be. Here are a few ideas for avoiding acrimonious business meetings in a local church.
Mankind has exchanged the truth of God for a lie and seems happy about it.
If conservatives have lost the culture war and the American church is in decline, what is there for evangelicals to be encouraged by?
Jesus has a word for you today about tomorrow.
Our restoration begins with a change in what we’re searching for.
This week's links include resources on small sins, passion in marriage, Psalm 22, women celebrating women, and encouraging children to befriend those with special needs.
Christ at the right hand of God hath all power in heaven and in earth.
On this Good Friday, consider these words from one of church history's greatest Baptist theologians on the apostolic preaching of the cross of Christ.
Despite my despair and self-pity when trials come my way, He lovingly draws me to Himself and reminds me there is so much more.
How does a pastor win his church to mission?
Though a relatively short work, Queen Katherine Parr's The Lamentation of a Sinner is a deeply personal and overwhelmingly theological confession of her unworthiness for the grace of God.
We don’t need something new. We need something old. We need to do the same things that saints of old have been doing in order to deepen our understanding and apprehension of the greatness of God.
Jesus is not the poster boy for old-time religion. He’s not the Bible Belt co-pilot. He’s not the post-modern homeboy. Jesus is the covenant-making God filling up the old in himself and pouring out the newness we long for.
When Christians oppose abortion, they are beginning with the fundamental belief that humans are the capstone of creation, created in the image of God, and therefore ought to be preserved.
Sheep have been known to bite their shepherd. How should pastors respond in the face of unjust criticism?
On this episode of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson visits with Ed Stetzer about the state of "missional" in the evangelical church.
I deeply believe that for those of us who are over 60, the most profound growth still lies ahead of us.
For those of us living in the twenty-first century, how one understands the relationship of their faith in Christ and their obedience to Christ makes all the difference for living a life of joy and God-glorifying freedom.
Matt Carter on unique things he has learned in training young men for ministry.
I'm convinced that too few church members often think about the burdens and responsibilities that really do make ministry special.
We long for the whitewashed memories to be a present reality.
This week's links include resources on explaining the gospel, why parents' generosity matters, God's kindness, Sign Language and Scripture, believing the Bible because of our parents, and how to encourage the preacher.
O beloved, if God declares that all is well, ten thousand devils may declare it to be ill, but we laugh them all to scorn.
Jesus defines the church, but the church does not define Jesus.
The grace of God meets my identity crisis and reminds me that I am approved by God in Christ, and the approval of man I can never earn.
How are Christian friendships different?
One day my eyelids will do what they were made to do.
Among the panoply of spiritual beings said to see into our world, none is more pervasive, interested, and involved than God himself.
What does it mean for a church to be on mission for Christ? Here are ten commitments of a Great Commission church.
I wanted the Bible to fit my story. I didn’t want any impositions.
How do you cultivate a healthy marriage in the midst of a busy ministry?
God’s people must not settle for only a rudimentary knowledge of God’s saving message.
“To live is Christ and to die is gain” is more than a hashtag for your Instagram account; it’s theology clothed with flesh.
We must carefully balance between conformity and non-conformity by purposing to no longer be conformed to the world and by being transformed by the renewal of our minds.
How do you win a church to mission?
Christian, the Lord knows you are not an asset to the organization.
We understand that loving doesn’t always mean doing what others want, but doing what serves them best.
This week's links include resources on angels, serving adults with special needs, parents and repentance, sexual abuse in the church, and abortion 50 years from now.
We must sing of the finished work of a precious Saviour; and he who knows most of forgiving love will sing the loudest.
Does Jesus want to heal you? In this lifetime, it’s possible he does.
Though there was a desert around him, there was no desert in his soul.
What encourages you about the future of the church?
God made us emotional beings, but we must anchor those feeling in the truth.
The overhwleming answer to the question: how can an unholy people enter into God’s presence and live?
I turned 40 last month and as I reflect on God’s goodness in my life and on what I have to look forward to in Christ, my soul is full and content. I can’t wait for the future, gray hair and all.
On this episode of the FTC Podcast, Jared Wilson and Ronni Kurtz discuss guarding against consumerism and pragmatism in a growing church.
Christ takes all of our law-breaking and gives us all of His law-keeping, placing the Christian completely under Himself, grace.
If the pace of our lives is in His hands, then even our seasons of silence are for a purpose that goes way beyond our current circumstance.
Are you sick enough for the Good Doctor, Jesus? If so, rejoice! The kingdom of God is at hand, and it’s coming for you!
You only have so much time in the week. You can’t disciple the whole church, so how do you decide in whom to invest?
FTC.co asks Steve Bezner, Lead Pastor of Houston Northwest Church in Houston, TX, "What’s something about being a pastor the average churchgoer doesn’t understand?"
Here are 4 ways ordinary evangelicals like you and me sometimes fall prey to a kind of prosperity gospel in our thinking.
This week's links include praise for the plateaued church, preaching from the OT, contentment, and women and men working together.
Churches, train and send missionaries who are not only godly, and not just eager, but also knowledgeable
Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon him without tears, as he stands before you the mirror of agonizing love?
We should slay the lurking thought that obedience to God should give something other than Christ.
We shouldn’t love the world because it means we have divided hearts.
What encourages you about the future of the church?
Here are five areas to take a long, hard look at before making a committment to pursue seminary training for the next three to four years of your life.
You do not accidentally live your life before God. Positioning yourself in the presence of God to know him, hear him, and respond to him takes discipline.
Are leaders created or developed? This age-old question is not easily answered. There are natural leaders, but anyone can grow into a leadership role.
Have you found yourself walking through seasons of great anticipation only to end up crawling through disappointment?
If I’m doubting some aspect of my faith, I should dive deep in investigating that aspect.
Why is expository preaching as important today as it’s always been?
There is a blessed kind of simplicity for the Christian who is convinced of the providential love of God in Christ.
Even if your earthly father was a failure, here you come to experience fatherly love in its ideal. Here is a Father who has committed himself to provide for us, his children, in exactly every way we need, and he has promised to direct our every step for our good and his glory.
FTC.co asks author and pastor's wife, Christine Hoover, "What does the average churchgoer not understand about the pastor?"
I know more than a few pastors—and overhear many more besides—who cite the busyness of their ministry lives as the reason sermon preparation gets crowded out week to week.
We are living in a society that is becoming more isolated from each other.
This week's links include resources on friendships with other ministry leaders, what God does while you wait, the idol of "workism," and SSA Christians and non-sexual relationships.
Exiles though we be, we rejoice in our King; yea, in him we exceedingly rejoice, while in his name we set up our banners.
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.
We’ve gone so far down the road of feminism that we’ve forgotten how to proudly be feminine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is no magical formula for you to faithfully walk with Jesus.
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.
Oh, what a fulness must this be of which all receive!
If we were merely flawed people, then the cross would have been an extreme overcorrection.
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.
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.