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.
Many of us were never trained in our formal education, internships, or perhaps even our associate roles how to lead a great ministry team meeting. This was something that became apparent to me as I stepped into lead a burgeoning team of strong leaders at my church. What follows here are hard knocks and necessary considerations, I believe, for a great ministry meeting.
Does your "devo life" need a spiritual steroid shot? Consider this approach to Bible reading.
When our work and ministry is laid bare before the Lord we want it to withstand the fire.
I don’t know what your opposition looks like. It might be a senior leader that prefers you preach four points to a better job rather than freedom in Christ. It might be a church member that can’t stand the songs you sing on Sundays. Or it might be the elder that spends more time thinking about "what could have been" instead of "what can be." But I do know this…
Two things smaller churches can do is opt out of a couple of things they often end up doing that they shouldn't.
In the end, reaching Millennials is about understanding them and being willing to participate in their world. It takes conscious decisions; you’re not going to accidentally attract them.
Help from Psalm 25 to encourage more prayer.
The shepherd leads the sheep, and the sheep follow the shepherd. It is a simple concept to understand, but it is a difficult concept to practice. Why? Because the sheep don’t always want to follow the shepherd!
Do you understand productivity in the right way? Is your approach to "getting things done" rooted in the gospel and its implications?
Our goal is not to grow churches, but to make disciples.
If you’ve sensed God’s call on your life to Christian ministry, then one of the most crucial decisions you’ll need to make is where – not if – you’ll receive training for ministry. Whatever your situation, your first step needs to be to commit the next season of your life to getting theologically equipped to do ministry effectively and long-term.
Are you a leader who wants to unify your church and dismantle the silos, politics, and turf wars that frustrate real ministry and mission? Then labor to help your people see beyond their own cardboard kingdoms and embrace the greater kingdom of God.
As I have seen several churches in my area continue to dwindle in size I have watched the leadership of many of these churches settle into into one of three dangerous mentalities . . .
Why memorize the Scriptures? What would be the benefits of this practice that most people would consider obsolete today, in an age in which the digital revolution has all but made it redundant?
In order to combat this we need to speak truth to our hearts. We need to remind ourselves of the truth of Scripture. This is no less important in the area of evangelism. We need to debunk the myths that are too easily believed and cling instead to what God has said and done.
When guilt persists, remember where Jesus is and where he's been.
Three practical tips to help pastors squash pride and cultivate humility
… or buying Twitter followers or gaming the analytics to inflate website stats, etc.
At least 5 things:
1. It's dishonest.
No, it's not illegal. But neither are lots of unethical, dishonest things. The asumption that people make when they see "Bestseller" labeled on a book or 600,000 followers on your Twitter page is that you came by those accomplishments the straightforward way: attracting…
How often are we great at making an invitation or giving information, but unwilling to be in it for the long haul? How often do we simply expect people to know things they aren't supposed to know? Helping new believers and those curious about the faith requires not just an invitation to the game, but nine innings of investment.
This isn't simply a "megachurch problem." The heart of the issue is found in congregations of 80 people as well as those with attendance in excess of 8,000. Many churches of all sizes struggle with this same issue: pastors who build a strong vision tied only to themselves leave congregations with significant challenges when the eventual change of leadership occurs. So what’s to be done?
There are many ways in which we should be loving one another in the church, and most of these practical steps might seem like no-brainers, but it's always a spiritually healthy and Christ-honoring exercise to work through how we might flesh out 1 John 3:18: "Let us love not in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
While you may not have "get my small group to like me" written out as an explicit goal in your community efforts, it’s still in the back of your mind, whether you’re a leader or a group member. Nearly everybody wants to be liked. That's not a terrible thing. Caring what others think (while not being dominated by that) shapes our responses, and helps us become more loving and generous.…
In truth, we often experience conflict in our lives and leadership because of our own actions, insecurities, and ill-motivated decisions. Since this is true, it is important for leaders to learn to ponder the hardships they face by first looking internally at what might be driving conflict with others—including their own lack of character and/or competence.
Building a culture of church planting begins by making it personal to your people. When planting becomes personal, your people will pray for it, give to it, talk about it and celebrate it. These priorities will build a culture of planting in your church.
I’d been a pastor’s wife for less than a year when I began preparing my exit strategy . . .
How do we contend for the faith and guard the gospel without being argumentative, judgmental, or cantakerous?
Most people tend to have foes and fans but very few people have friends. Too few people enjoy true relationships with other people.
Midwestern Seminary's President Jason K. Allen and Vice President for Institutional Relations Charles Smith discuss the practicalities of gospel-centered productivity with Matt Perman, leadership coach and author of What's Best Next?
Every other year I try to go to a conference hosted by Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY Together for the Gospel. Not only is a great time to hear the Word preached and fellowship with folks I haven't seen in years, but it is a great opportunity to pick up a lot of books. Every year I go, I come back with at least 40-50 books. Most of those are…
What is it really like on the mission field? What is it that a missionary actually does (or should do) on the mission field? Sometimes we have a mistaken idea of missionary life. We might think missionary families are surrounded by wild animals or are in danger from hostile tribes. This is not usually the case but… We were in language school in Kenya in preparation to go to Tanzania…
“It's not that complicated.” How many times have you said this to someone? How many times has someone said it to you? If we're honesttoo many to count (on both accounts). Our ability to overthink and over-complicate our tasks is like spam for our productivity. Consider how free you feel when a task is simplified, steps are outlined, and a plan is in place.
Let's remember that our…
When I was in seminary, I had to take two language classes Greek and Hebrew. The first language class I took was turbo Greek. They call it turbo Greek because they squished two semesters worth of Greek into two months. I took these two classes over the summer and they were the only classes I took.
One thing I realized quickly was that if I was going…
We rarely say this out loud, but functionally, most of us believe that our responsibility is to just take of ourselves and our family. And if we do that, it's all good. If we do that, we've responded rightly to God's plan for our work and resources. So, it doesn't really matter what's happening in our neighborhood. It doesn't really matter what's happening in our city. Unless, of course, the…
"The only thing of value the church has to offer is the gospel."
A good leader is… 1. Humble enough to admit his mistakes
Surrender your self-righteousness. Refuse to shift blame onto people and circumstances.
2. Wise enough to profit from them
Surrender your self-protection. Open yourself to the correction and insight of others.
3. Courageous enough to correct them
Surrender your comfort. Pour yourself into the mission.
The experience of failing does not…
In my assessment for church planting with the SBC back in 2000 I was told by one of the assessors that I had an anger problem. I argued that I did not. A lot. Half way through the conversation let's just say my anger decided to join the conversation. I spent many years being angry—from my youth to well into adulthood. Before my conversion it could be violent. After my…
Unless you're Allen Iverson (the 90s version), you can't just flip a switch. You're not going to be dominant in the game if you're not deliberate in practice. You're not going to be able to sit on your hands for weeks and months and still manage to accomplish your goals.
Time is not going to be your friend, but it doesn't have to be your constant enemy.…
Today is my first day back from two weeks of vacation. The time off was great, and because the vacation was a real success I'm eager to get back to the regular life God has called me to. This is the real end (goal) of all our recreation: to fit us to do what God has called us to. Richard Baxter says it well:
No doubt but…