I propose a new church-growth model: Preach in such a way where you try to offend as many peoples’ sensibilities as possible. The Apostle Paul seems not only content to keep stumbling blocks in his message but scandalize through his bullhorn.
Johnny can’t preach because neither he nor his congregation can remember. We live in a world where we (and the people whom we serve) have outsourced our collective memories to Zuckerberg’s servers. Endless stories and shared posts on social media have rendered human events inane.
More important than a church being a “right church” is that it must be a true church. Any church that is a “true church” can become the “right church” for you, even if it isn’t right in the beginning.
Pastors have the unique privilege and obligation to bend the comfort of heaven into the hearts of their congregations. Yet, there seems to be a disparity between ought and is. In far too many cases, it seems, comfort becomes mere coaching.
A while back, I was preaching through the book of Ruth, and I highlighted that Boaz demonstrated himself to be a profoundly godly and extraordinary man. I said this because he, first, knew the law and, second, went beyond it when he allowed Ruth to glean under his watchful care. Then I said, “And you’ll never know why Boaz is so extraordinary if you don’t know Leviticus. For that matter, you can’t really understand your Bible unless you know Leviticus. That’s why it’s my favorite book of the Bible.”
You’ve been floating resumes and looking for positions and pulpits. Inevitably, you may receive a call — after what felt like an eternity — to sit down with a search committee. I can see it. You are sitting in a room that’s been temporarily converted from a youth room to a conference room, and you are sitting across a table from a few church members who might feel unsure about what they’re doing. They’re going to ask you: “We’ve got this retirement community across the road, how would you plan to reach them?” Or, “We’ve got a burning desire to start a family ministry here, how do you plan to start that?” My goal is to show you that you should look in Ephesians 4:11-16 for your answer, and that you would be fortified to resist every effort to get you to consider some boxed ministry module, some guru’s system, or anything else that can be marketed. Elders and church leaders are God’s gift to the saints Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians that God …
If you are like me, you probably made a few resolutions for 2018. I hope one of them was to disciple your children more intentionally. I also recognize, however, that “discipling your children” is something you know about in the abstract but find hard to figure out exactly what that means. For a lot of us, we did not grow up in homes where our parents made concerted efforts at discipling us (largely because no one had done the same for them!), and thus, we don’t have much to go on in our immediate context nor experience. Yet, providentially, God has given his church many teachers—one of whom is Richard Baxter (1615-1691). Baxter is remembered as a premier English Puritan and prolific author. One of his most influential works was The Christian Directory. Baxter wrote this treatise with the aim of providing young, “unfurnished and unexperienced” ministers with a detailed outline of all that is involved with being a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Volume 1 is itself nearly 950 pages alone! On the subject …