My wife and I began to pray intentionally that the Lord would send replenishing relationships that would loosen me up and lighten my load. And he did. This experience has been life-giving.
Relationships are costly endeavors, and if you’re like me, it’s a battle many times to get passed that cost. But there is a phrase you can say to yourself that will help you embrace that cost, and it’s not as complicated as you might think.
If you’ve submitted your life to the call of church planting and church leadership, you cannot escape the fact that you’ve entered into a relational work. Your effectiveness in ministry, for better or worse, is going to be influenced by your ability to live out the call from Romans 12 to “as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all men.”
What should you look for in a church?
I don’t know what the hook was that got you “in,” but that won’t be the hook that gets you to stay. Allow me to tell you what nobody else told you when you signed up.
According to the Mission Society, approximately 75% of internationals are never invited into an American home. Most internationals come from cultures that put great emphasis on hospitality and yet they find that in America there is little hospitality offered to them.
I have learned that “growing a garden” is one of the most enjoyable and fruitful things that you can do in ministry. In fact, I might be so bold as to say that unless you are working to train up and develop leaders in your church plant you probably aren’t being faithful to the biblical calling you have as a pastor or church planter.
Your church is broken because it’s made up of broken people, including yourself. Abandoning the local church is only acceptable under a few extreme circumstances. Other than in certain circumstances, the people of God have the responsibility to sacrificially love their local churches as Jesus has.
It is helpful for us to examine our own hearts for signs of legalism, signs of places where we are trusting in or protecting our moral self-sufficiency for our identity.
Developing new tastes take time. Instead of being frustrated by the time it takes to grow and love spiritual disciplines, think of time as your ally.
We asked Dr. Kevin Peck, "Does discipleship have to change as a church grows?"
We asked Dr. David Prince, "How would you characterize the state of preaching in evangelicalism today?"
We asked H.B. Charles, Jr. what his sermon preparation looks like.
If you want to be known, served, and celebrated in community, you’ll need to be challenged by that community. And that community will help you live the life you’ve always wanted.
Because eternal life is integral to the gospel's promise, eternal security is an integral blessing of the gospel.
I believe our sinful desire for power, control, and praise are at the root of most church divisions.
Never go it alone.
To mention the idea of a church disciplining its members strikes tenderhearted and naive Christians as weird, mean, and legalistic. So how do we work at keeping the biblical admonition to church discipline from seeming weird?
We miss out when we fail to act our age. So, take a long range perspective of your church’s journey, and fight for the joy of this particular season in the life of your church.
Since rest is part of God’s good plan for us, I want to be obedient in an overflow of my love for Him. After all, he’s already lived the life I can’t live and paid the price I couldn’t pay for my sin. The culture around us says, “Go work, gain merit, and prove yourself worthy.” The gospel, though, says, “Rest in Christ.”
For many of my formative years, the overarching and consistent message I received at church was, “Be good." I attempted with everything in me to be good, but my efforts only reinforced what I knew deep inside: I wasn’t good enough and could never be.
Discerning a call to plant a church presents a great challenge. I have been blessed to network with church planters and coach them through discerning their call. The conversation inevitably arrives at a question very similar to this: “I've got this vision that I know God has given me, but I keep asking ‘How do I know when it is time to go?’"
When a minister assumes his first pastorate, it can be an exciting time for everyone. There is so much hope and anticipation. But there is also so much that is mysterious and fraught with difficulty. The following are some bits of advice from some lessons I've learned over the years, some of them the hard way.
We overlook “respectable sins” not only because they are pervasive, but also because they don't seem as bad as others that get more press. But when we turn a blind eye to these "ordinary" sins, they begin to fester.
Above all, preach unceasingly the glory of the Kingdom that is here and is to come; it is the only hope we have in these “last days.” We must all “do the work of an evangelist.”
We have been given a set, predetermined number of days to walk this earth. We should, by God’s grace, make every one of them count.
"Pastor’s wife" became foundational to my identity instead of solely my calling. These impossible expectations personified into an inner coach who barked orders and criticized when demands where unmet. This inner voice was my constant companion choking out truth.
We need a category for revival in all of our churches. Without it, we may miss out on the great blessing that God offers. Without it, we may spend our lives toiling for the wrong things, and we may shortchange the future generations.
We’ve struggled to find the right manner and method. It’s hard work and requires constant attention. But in our house, we’ve found that effective family devotions are made up of three basic rhythms…
The best place to repair an airplane is on the ground. This minimizes moving parts, leaves less room for error, and removes the almost certain fatal result if the repair goes wrong. But mission never stops and in the real world this is often not an option.
I love apologetics for what it can do for you, but I hate apologetics because of what it can do to you.
I’m not saying that’s wrong or that children’s ministry is bad – I love and serve in the children’s ministry in my church – I’m merely making the observation that while this ministry can and should serve the church, it will never replace it. Regardless of what curriculum or structure or teaching style your children’s ministry uses, here are some reasons why it’s healthy from time to time to take…
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?
God commanded that His people encourage each other because He knew we would need it.
I was twelve or thirteen, and my dad, who is a pastor, gave me the opportunity to preach a five-minute sermon (what was he thinking?). I selected Judges 3:12-30 as my text and delivered a sermon on Ehud and Eglon that I had titled “When Lefty Stabbed Fatty."
All too often, those who are keenly aware of the call to defend the gospel from damaging distortions, since they're not afraid to back down from a fight, are often the quickest to fight dirty.
Without question, church planting and pastoral ministry demand a faithful “pouring out as a drink offering” self-sacrificing life of commitment to God and His people. However, this call to pastoral ministry does not mean we should live a life of self-neglect for the sake of Christ.
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.
Distractions of all forms hit pastors. These distractions are circumstances that burden the pastor’s heart to such an extent that it threatens their ability to properly prepare for preaching the Bible faithfully.
If we know this is God’s plan for us and we are going to spend countless hours doing it, why wouldn’t we want to get really good at it?
Theological training is as important to the call of ministry as the call itself. But we can resent this training. Or we can be shaped by it.
You don’t want people to dread your small group every week. To feel like they just have to come. To view it as a waste of time. To be the group of which they say, “Don’t join a small group. Mine is terrible.”
Anxiety can feel uncontrollable when finances are tight, when relationships are strained, and when there doesn’t seem to be enough time to fulfill all of life’s obligations. Does the Bible provide any specific strategies for avoiding worry?
Responsive readings not only assist in the reading and praying of Scripture, but also are of value in that they are biblical, historical, participatory, and instructional for the life of the church.
The study of church history has fallen on hard times. But here are 10 reasons why the average believer’s walk with Christ would be enriched by learning a bit from our hallowed past.