Friday, October 21, 2016

5 Crucial Challenges to the American Megachurch

Warren Bird: Five unique challenges that face megachurches—and what all church leaders can learn from them. Read More

5 Things the Seeker Movement Got Right

Actually, these are more like five “right ideas” or five “right tracks” the “seeker sensitive” church growth movement started down before it veered hard into a fuller blown consumerism and became the attractional church. The yes, but‘s will be a reflex for most of my readers (as they are for me), and I have tried to anticipate them in my explanations, but for the most part, this really is a post about some good gifts the seeker church of yesteryear has given contemporary evangelicalism. Read More

Going for Growth: How Strong Is Your Church

The October/November 2016 issue of Focus, the magazine for the Anglican Church Southern Queensland, is now online. It may downloaded in PDF format here. Articles include "Moving Ahead in God's Mission," the cover feature, "How Noosa is growing its church attendance," and "Monthly is the new weekly."

Do You Get Nervous Before You Preach?

He waited for me to pause from reviewing my sermon manuscript before the service began. As soon as he saw an opening, he asked, “Do you still get nervous before you preach?” Read More

Most Evangelicals Now Think Politicians' Personal Immorality Does Not Matter

Most white evangelicals now think politicians' immoral acts in their personal lives do not affect their behaviour once in office. Read More
Despite their championing of what they describe as "family values," US evangelicals show the growing influence of post-modern culture upon their thinking

Thursday, October 20, 2016

On the Net: "The Context for the Sexual Revolution" and More

The Context for the Sexual Revolution

When we look at the sexual revolution, we must honestly ask, how did all this happen? As noted in previous essays, the sexual revolution did not emerge in a vacuum. Modern societies created a context for moral revolution that had never before been available. In other words, certain cultural conditions had to prevail in order for the revolution to get the traction it needed to succeed. Let’s consider a few of the cultural factors that led to our current situation. Read More

5 Emotional Intelligence Hacks That Can Immediately Improve Your Leadership

Your emotional intelligence (or lack thereof) is already affecting far more than you think at work and at home. Read More

10 of the Greatest Leadership Questions Ever Asked

One of the best skills a leader can develop is the art of asking the right questions – and, even better – at the right times. Read More

10 Books Every Church Preacher Should Read

If you are a preacher then why not read one of these before you plan your next sermon series? If you're a member of a congregation, you could even buy your minister one of these as a Christmas present.... Read More

Five Ways for Churches to Utilize Facebook This Christmas

How can you leverage your church Facebook page to engage as many people as possible with the good news of the birth of Christ? Read More

Reclaiming Evangelism: Why Christians Need to Recover Their Passion for Christ

U.K. ministry leader explores evangelism's embarrassment, exclusivity, and entrepreneurial nature. Read More

Here's Another Reason Millennials Are Leaving the Church

A recent report from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) suggests that divorce is a significant factor in provoking millennials to leave the church. Read More

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Secret to Getting Nonbelievers to Check Out Your Church

LifeWay Research recently polled thousands of nonbelievers about what it would take to get them inside a church. When I thought about it, the results made perfect sense, but most church leaders never consider these possibilities. Read More

10 Reasons Transfer Growth Can Be a Problem

First, a caveat: I know there are times when transfer church growth is necessary and right. We need to be serving in a church near where we live, and we need to be in a church that preaches the gospel. It makes sense to me to move our membership to reach those goals. Nevertheless, transfer growth can be a problem. Here’s why.... Read More

6 Things Church Leaders Need to Know About Small Churches

Big churches matter. Small churches matter. When we work together, Jesus can do amazing things through us.

Ninety percent of the churches on earth are under 200 people. Eighty percent are under 100. There may be no segment of the church that is more normative. But they may also be the most misunderstood.

Here are six truths about small churches that I wish every church leader knew and took into account.... Read More

Photo: St. Mark's Anglican Church, Benton, Kentucky

The State of Theology: Who Is the Christ We Are Following?

The single most crucial question of all time may very well be: Who is Jesus Christ? The identity of Christ is likely the most crucial issue any one will ever face. A great deal hangs in the balance when it comes to the question of the identity of Jesus. We learn in Scripture itself and we see the lesson echoing through church history that in order to have a right understanding of the work of Christ, we must have a right understanding of the person of Christ. Read More

5 Reasons Preachers Need to Use Good Grammar

I want to be careful with this post, as I recognize that all of us have different opportunities for education. I don’t want to offend any readers. Still, though, I want to get a discussion on the table.

Here’s my point in this post: we who preach the Word should strive to use the best grammar when we speak. I am not asking for formality, and I’m certainly not asking for perfection – but I am suggesting that we give more attention to the way we speak. Here’s why.... Read More

The Missing Elements of Modern Worship

I once paid a visit to one of the most mega of America’s megachurches. It’s a church whose pastor is well-known, a church known for its innovation, a church held up as a model for modern evangelicalism. I went in with as open a mind as I could muster. I left perplexed. I was perplexed not by what was said or done in the service as much as what was left unsaid and undone.

Since that visit I’ve had the opportunity to attend many more churches and, as often as not, they have been similar, missing a lot of the elements that used to be hallmarks of Christian worship. Here are some of the missing elements of modern worship. Read More

When Sin Keeps You from Prayer

The other day I preached on prayer and received a helpful comment from a church member. They mentioned the way in which sin keeps them from prayer; and how, over time, the guilt over sin makes it quite difficult to pray. I think this is a problem for many of us. Here are some thoughts to navigate a path of prayer through the fog of guilt. Read More

On the Net: "What Christians Should Do For Government" and More

Week 3—What Christians Should Do For Government: Be the Church Together

his is a manuscript from Jonathan Leeman’s class “Christians and Government,” which he is currently teaching through at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC. There will be 13 weeks in the class. Here is the course schedule, to be published as it’s taught. Read More

3 Ways to Increase Alignment on the Team You Lead

How can leaders work to increase the alignment on the teams they lead? Read More

Twelve Key Reasons for Church Staff Conflict

Conflict is certainly not unique with church staff. But among the several reasons for staff conflict, there are some that seem to be more pervasive with these relationships than others. Read More

5 Steps to Discern a Change in Ministry Assignment

How do you know when God is closing one door in ministry and opening another? Read More

10 Tips for Leading Kids to Christ

If you are seeking to influence little ones toward Christ, you might find these ten tips helpful.... Read More

Young Priests 'Too Scared" to Perform Exorcisms

Priests in Italy are finding it difficult to encourage young clergy to take up the rite of exorcism, one of the country's top practitioners has warned. Read More

Hundreds Of Christian Refugees Beaten And Sexually Abused In German Refugee Camps

Hundreds of Christian refugees have been beaten and sexually abused in German refugee camps, a report by the persecution charity Open Doors revealed. Read More

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

On the Net: "4 Misleading Ways to Measure Church Health…And a Guide That Can Help" and More

4 Misleading Ways to Measure Church Health…And a Guide That Can Help

When you have the wrong measure of health, you build the wrong plan to move forward. Read More

Big Cities Need Great Small Churches, Too

Alongside big churches, we need an explosion of smaller, niche churches to infiltrate neighborhoods and challenge us to think differently. Read More

Most College Students Are Leaving the Church. Here's How This Congregation Is Bucking the Trend

What helped a tiny campus church plant become the fastest-growing flock in Tallahassee? Read More

50 Years Ago Today: The Split between John Stott and Martyn Lloyd-Jones

On Tuesday, October 18, 1966, an event took place that shook British evangelicalism—on the nature of the church and the basis of gospel unity and purity—with reverberations still being felt today. Read More

Why Study Church History?

The study of church history, however, is meant to provide more than just inspiration. Serious reflection on the past protects us from error, reminds us of God’s faithfulness, and motivates us to persevere. Read More

An Illustration of Repentance

The Westminster Shorter Catechism has an excellent definition of repentance in Question 87: “Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.” Read More

7 Signs Your Volunteer Team is Thriving

These seven characteristics will help your volunteer team move in the right direction. Read More

5 Ways Ministry Has Changed in 20 Years

How has ministry changed? What’s so different about being a pastor today versus 20 years ago? Read More

5 Destructive Lies About Pastors

It is totally wrong to make categorically false statements about pastors because you know a few negative examples. Read More

PRAY: An Alternative Model for Group Prayer

An innovative, four-part strategy for praying in public, especially in Sunday and home groups. Read More

7 Reminders for Pastors and Ministry Leaders who use Social Media

The way you use it matters... Read More

PREACHING MATTERS: Discipleship Training in the Gospels

What is a Gospel, and what are the Gospel authors trying to do? Can you give us some examples of how the Gospels train us? How does the authors' structure in the Gospels help us understand what true discipleship involves? What difference will this make to the structures and strategies in our churches? Watch Now

Hillary Clinton On The Christian Faith That Shaped Her Politics

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Hillary Clinton, then First Lady, spoke about the importance of her Christian faith and how it shaped her as a person. Read More

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Do Not Add to the Offense of the Gospel

Somebody said once that evangelism, true evangelism, is only this—one beggar telling another beggar how to find bread. There’s nothing that should make me boastful about my faith. I recognize that my faith is a result of the grace of God. And so we must understand that when we’re talking to people, we’re called to be gracious and kind. The fruit of the Spirit that the New Testament calls us to exhibit includes gentleness, meekness, patience, and love. That’s the spirit in which we are called to communicate to people. Read More

The Provocative People of Proverbs

I feel sorry for those people who spend all day on social media snarking at others. Do they just sit there hour after hour, following people they despise, then throwing barbs their way? That must be an awful way to live. Some people seem to shrivel where there is peace and thrive where there is contention. The book of Proverbs warns us about people like that, people who love to incite conflict and hate to resolve it. Lou Priolo highlights a number of them in his excellent book Resolving Conflict. These are the provocative people of Proverbs. Read More

The Pro-Life Movement's Fatal Attraction to Trump

The pro-life forces are not in an enviable position. In this election, they have a choice between a Democrat who is a staunch advocate of abortion rights and a Republican who claims to share their views but whose life suggests he has nothing in common with them.

For conservatives, abortion has become the last resort in rationalizing a vote for Trump. If Hillary Clinton makes one or more Supreme Court appointments, they believe, the chance of overturning its abortion decisions will be gone, perhaps for good. Trump, by contrast, has promised to name conservative justices, defund Planned Parenthood and ban partial-birth abortion.

But the pro-lifers' allegiance to Trump requires a huge leap of faith. In the first place, why do they trust that he'd keep his word? In the 1990s, he described himself as "very pro-choice." This year, asked about abortion, he said, "At this moment, the laws are set. And I think we have to leave it that way."

He is practically at war with House Speaker Paul Ryan and several other prominent Republicans. Who's to say that as president, he wouldn't reverse himself on abortion to make a deal with Democrats? Read More

Saturday Lagniappe: "Why It Matters that the Reformers Were Pastors" and More

Why It Matters that the Reformers Were Pastors

The Reformation and its leading figures often conjur images of ivory tower scholarship. It’s easy to forget that many of the Reformers were pastors, and that the Reformation was aimed at reviving dormant local churches. Read More

Seven Reasons Not to Have Multiple Styles of Worship - Rainer on Leadership #267 [Podcast]

In this first part of a two-part series on worship styles, Thom Rainer and Jonathan Howe look at why we shouldn’t have multiple styles of worship at our churches. Listen Now

Five Reasons to Have Multiple Styles of Worship - Rainer on Leadership #268 [Podcast]

Thom Rainer and Jonathan Howe conclude their two-part series on multiple styles of worship in this episode. Listen Now

Church of England Could Soon Remove Legal Requirement For Regular Sunday Services

The Church of England is considering moves to abandon the legal requirement to hold regular services of morning and evening prayer in parish churches because of declining congregations. Read More

Letter to the College of Bishops

I am publishing here, with permission, a letter that has been sent to all members of the College of Bishops prior to their next meeting to decide what proposals to bring to General Synod in February. Read More

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Conundrum Christians Face This Election Year

By Robin G. Jordan

The number of women who allege that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made unwanted sexual advances toward them has grown to eleven. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, claims that the Trump campaign is accumulating evidence to disapprove their allegations and will release this evidence at “the appropriate time.” He is parroting Trump himself who has made a similar claim. At least one news article has asked what do Trump and Pence mean by “the appropriate time.” The implication is that if strong evidence of Trump’s innocence exists, now is the time to produce that evidence, not at some future date.

I am reminded of how Trump strung along the media with the promise of making a public statement retracting his long-time support of the Barack Obama birther conspiracy, only to use this promise to keep himself in the headlines and its eventual fulfillment to showcase a new hotel. He cynically exploited the media to gain free advertising for the hotel. I cannot help but suspect that Trump is doing something along those lines with his promise of evidence that will exonerate him of the alleged sexual abuse.

I can think of very few reasons that Trump would otherwise delay the release of such evidence. The first reason is that such evidence does not exist and the Trump campaign needs time to gather a body of plausible information that may lend credibility to Trump’s protestations of innocence or his allegations of ulterior motives on the part of the women making the allegations against him.

The second reason is that the Trump campaign is hoping that if they drag out the matter long enough, it will cease to be a political liability. Trump has survived a number of firestorms of his own creation during his 2016 run for the presidency.

The third reason is that Trump’s attorneys are preparing one or more libel cases against the women and the media and they do not want their cases subject to public scrutiny before they go to court. In that event “the appropriate time” would be in court.

In addition to having allegedly sexually-abused at least eleven women, Trump is alleged to have not given to various charities in the aftermath of 9/11 as he claimed. First in the primaries and now in the general election Trump has made one false statement after another. In doing so he has destroyed his own credibility. His well-documented inability to tell the truth is what makes these allegations reasonably believable.

In latest speeches Trump has returned an earlier theme of his speeches in the primaries, presenting himself as a savior who will keep the nation from descending into chaos. This theme along with his dishonesty and untruthfulness, his history of adultery, the growing number of allegations of sexual misconduct made against him, his own admissions of not paying taxes, of entertaining lustful thoughts about his own daughter and other women and of acting on those impulses in several instances, his poor record of charitable giving without strings attached or his benefiting in some way, and his furious attacks on the women who have made allegations against him should be ringing alarm bells and setting off warning lights in the minds of Christians, evangelical and otherwise.

Christians have only one savior. His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus himself warned against false Christs, false messianic figures that would appear in the time between his ascent into heaven and his return in glory. Jesus described himself not just as truthful but as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus did not avoid paying taxes. He taught that to entertain lustful thoughts towards a woman was the same as acting on such thoughts. Jesus commended those who showed charity toward the poor and condemned those who withheld it. He taught his disciples to turn the other cheek, to not let the sun go down on their anger lest the devil exploit it, to love their enemies, and to do good to those who hate them.

Before he began to run for the presidency of the United States and to court the evangelical vote, Trump supported gay marriage and abortion. Some Christians have supported Trump out of the belief that if Trump is surrounded by strong advisers, a Trump presidency could be instrumental in regaining ground lost in the culture wars. But since the primaries Trump has shown that he does not pay attention to advisers. He may listen to them for a while and then go back to doing things his way.

If anything may be gathered from the last few months, it is that if Trump was elected president, he would be out of his depth. Thin-skinned and volatile, with a short attention span, prone to fits of rage, and known for holding grudges and going out of his way to make life miserable for anyone who crosses him in any way, he would not be able to provide the country with stable leadership.

Trump’s selection of Mike Pence as his running mate offers no reassurance of stability. While Pence has reiterated his support of Trump over and over again and has repeatedly defended him, there is evidence of disagreement between Pence and Trump on a number of key issues. Pence gives the appearance of playing to Trump’s base with an eye to a future presidential run in which he will need their support.

Where does this leave Trump’s Christian supporters? They may wish to distance themselves from Trump and to pursue other options. Should Trump by an unexpected turn of events occupy the White House, I believe that they will soon discover that he does not have their interests at heart. Trump has been wooing them for their vote and not because he shares their world view and values. Whatever dispute or disputes in which Trump is embroiled at the time and how his own interests might benefit is likely to influence his choice of Supreme Court justices.

Why Evangelicals Are Divided over Trump

Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal, red states and blue states—the political divides in our country tend to fall into binary structures. The ones we are most familiar with tend to be firmly established, and we often know, through intuition or experience, what side we align with.

But over the past few months there has been a new political divide, an intramural division within American social conservatism. And this discord has been felt most prominently within the evangelical wing of this movement.

Evangelicals are not a monolithic entity, and there have always been differences and disagreements on politics. Still, within the social conservative faction (which accounts for around 60 percent to 75 percent of evangelicalism) there has been a general sense of unity. At least there was before this election season. The candidacy of Donald Trump has caused a split within this group that has grown increasingly rancorous as we inch closer to the election.

Even by the standard of partisan politics Trump is a uniquely polarizing figure. Before this year few people could have predicted he’d bisect socially conservative evangelicals into warring camps. Read More

Related articles: 
Why I’m Neither Optimistic Nor Pessimistic About American Politics
Seeking Clarity in This Confusing Election Season: Ten Thoughts

6 Ways to Transform Your Reading of the Gospels

The gospels stand at the very heart of God’s Story, and how we read them really matters for our Christian life, for our grasp of our place in the Kingdom of God, and for our understanding of the “gospel” as reflected in those gospels.

Yet, the gospels can be a bit challenging to navigate at points. While Matthew, Mark, and Luke follow roughly the same overarching narrative line, they also differ in numerous ways in terms of emphases, what they include, and the audience they address. John takes a different approach altogether from the other three. Further, some of the cultural dynamics we encounter in the gospels may seem foreign, and aspects of Jesus’s teaching can seem esoteric if we don’t understand what is going on in context.

Over the next few blog posts I want to focus on 6 guidelines for reading the gospels in a transformative way. Read More

3 Keys to Engaging a Post-Church Culture

Lessons from this year’s Outreach magazine/LifeWay Research survey of large, fast-growing churches. Read More

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why Didn’t the Reformers Unite?

It was 1529. Various reform movements were at work, purifying the church in Wittenberg, Strasbourg, and Zurich.

It was clear some of the leaders knew one another: Martin Bucer first heard Martin Luther in Heidelberg in 1518 when both were still Augustinian monks. Luther and Huldrych Zwingli knew of one another. Publicly, Zwingli praised Luther, calling him a “Hercules” and a “faithful David” who fought the Lord’s battles. These leaders knew that each worked in the midst of challenging political contexts. Luther’s situation in Germany was intense. Charles V demanded the German princes submit to his leadership and work against the Lutheran reformation. In response, the princes issued a formal appeal against the emperor’s demand.

Protestantism was born that day.

Zwingli’s situation wasn’t much easier. The previous five years saw a number of reforms come to Zurich. While the city council supported Zwingli, he was attacked by a group of radical reformers, the Anabaptists. To the Anabaptists, Zwingli wasn’t going far enough in following the Bible, especially when it came to the nature of the church and candidates for baptism. Bucer, on the other hand, was able to navigate the politics of Strasbourg a little easier. On the edge of the Holy Roman Empire and without Anabaptists, Bucer patiently sought incremental change. Read More

Six Thoughts on Bulletin Inserts

In the comments section of last week’s post on dying practices in church communications, an astute reader mentioned bulletin inserts.

While I wouldn’t classify this as a dying practice, there are some concerns with bulletin inserts. However, since every church bulletin/worship guide/handout is different, sometimes there are benefits to bulletin inserts. And sometimes there are problems with the inserts.

Let me start with the merits of having one or two specific bulletin inserts.... Read More

Hundreds Of Christian Students At Liberty University Say 'No' To Donald Trump

Hundreds of students at the top US evangelical Christian university, Liberty, have come out against Donald Trump.

The Republican nominee has been controversially backed by Liberty's own president, Jerry Falwell Jr.

The students have formed a new group, Liberty United Against Trump. In an open letter that has already had hundreds of endorsements, they say they do not wish to champion Trump. They only want to be champions for Jesus Christ. Read More

Evangelicals Without Standards - UPDATED

Lanny Davis must be dizzy from the déjà vu.

Davis was a famously stalwart defender of Bill Clinton during the scandals of the 1990s. Little did he know that the excuses and rationalizations made for Clinton then would be repurposed by some of Clinton's harshest and most moralistic critics for a Republican presidential nominee.

Such are the gymnastics that Donald Trump requires of his most loyal evangelical backers. One day, historians will puzzle over how a man representing the mores of a debased celebrity culture became not just the nominee of the Republican Party, but the candidate of the religious right. After the “Access Hollywood” tape emerged of Trump bragging about an act of attempted adultery and getting away with groping women, representatives of “values voters” jumped most eagerly to his defense.

In a weird and depressing year, this has to rank among the strangest and most dispiriting phenomena. The salt has lost its savor as the price of a place at the table on the Trump Train. Read More

Related articles:

The Allegations:
New: Trump Faces Another Accusation — This Time, He Looked Up Models’ Skirts
New: Trump accuser: He touched me 'wherever he could find a landing spot'
Make-up artist who sued Donald Trump in 1997 harassment case says ‘p---y’ grabbing is ‘exactly what he did to me’
A Timeline of Donald Trump's Creepiness While He Owned Miss Universe
Teen Beauty Queens Say Trump Walked In On Them Changing
Donald Trump’s Creepy Stewardship Of The Miss Teen USA Pageant
In Donald Trump, I See My Own Attacker
Trump faces more groping allegations
Donald Trump Faces Accusations Of Inappropriately Touching Women
Palm Beach Post exclusive: Local woman says Trump groped her
People Magazine writer claims Donald Trump physically and sexually abused her during 2005 interview: 'It wasn't just talk in my case'
Physically Attacked by Donald Trump – a PEOPLE Writer’s Own Harrowing Story
Four women accuse Trump of inappropriate touching
More Women Come Forward With Donald Trump Groping Allegations
Four Women Accuse Trump of Inappropriately Touching Them Years Apart: Reports
Donald Trump once joked about wanting to date a 10-year-old girl, as five women claim the GOP candidate groped them
The Allegations Women Have Made Against Donald Trump
SEE IT: Donald Trump says if he wasn’t caught cheating on his ‘beautiful wife’ Ivana with girlfriend Marla Maples, life would’ve stayed 'a bowl of cherries’ in 1994
Lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of raping 13-year-old girl gets December hearing

Trump's Response:
New: Trump goes full Breitbart
New: Trump warns that Clinton and international banks are plotting 'the destruction of global sovereignty'
New: Trump: The Suffering Messiah Of The Alt-Right
New: Feeling Burned by Media, Trump Turns Up Heat
New: Trump hasn't sued a newspaper for libel in decades, records show
New: Trump Debuts 3-Part Defense Against Sexual Abuse Allegations
Trump Calls Sexual-Assault Claims Conspiracy to Defeat Him
'New York Times' to Trump's lawsuit threat: Bring it
Trump staunchly denies sexual-assault allegations: 'These vicious claims ... are totally and absolutely false'
Trump Attacks Female Accusers; Blames Clintons, Press
Trump Threatens To Sue His Female Accusers
Trump Suggests He Didn’t Assault People Writer Because She Wasn’t Hot Enough to Assault
Donald Trump on accuser: 'Take a look at her ... I don't think so'
Trump against the world
Walking into a room full of young women in various states of undress is not a propriatory right. It is the misuse of one's position as the sponsor of a beauty pageant. It is the kind of behavior reported by victims of sexual abuse: the perpetrator walks into the victims' bedroom when she is dressing or undressing or into the bathroom when she is taking a bath or about to take one. Note also Trump's response to the allegations of the women who are reporting that he made unwanted sexual advances toward them. He is not satisfied to deny the allegations but threatens the women with retaliation in the form of a law suit and spins their allegations as a part of conspiracy involving them, the media, and the Clinton campaign.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ministering to Millennials by Leveraging the Relational Power of Healthy Churches

We need to lean away from the church-as-business model and into the church-as-relational-community model. Love God and love others. Read More

Related article:
Why Millennials Won't Build the Kinds of Churches their Parents Built

The Top Ten Worst Church Guest Experiences

“Our church is really not for you.”

Yep. That comment was really made to a church guest by a church member.

Unbelievable. Read More

The State of Theology: Does Even the Smallest Sin Deserve Eternal Damnation?

Of the 47 statements included in The State of Theology study for 2016, undertaken in partnership with LifeWay Research, the responses to one statement stood out. Most of the responses tended to even out over the spectrum. Each statement tended to garner slight majorities. The results show slight majorities either getting a belief right or, in most cases, getting a belief wrong. But not statement 17, “Even the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation.” This one sparked a reaction. Read More

Chuck Swindoll on How He Interprets the Scripture and Stays Fresh in Leadership [Podcast]

Few preachers have the legacy that Chuck Swindoll has.

Author of many books and thousands of sermons, Chuck discusses his most recent book, Searching the Scriptures, and the method he uses to stay fresh in preaching and leadership. Listen Now

10 Way a Local Church Can Help a Missionary

I spend a lot of time with missionaries. Based on my conversations with them over the last year, here are some ways your church can help them.... Read More

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why Are So Many Evangelicals Condoning Sexual Assault?

Do evangelicals condone sexual harassment and sexual assault?

Until recently I’d have considered such a question to be absurd. We evangelicals are, after all, committed to bringing justice to the weak and afflicted (Ps. 82:3). We are called to comfort the victims while seeking restorative justice for the assailants.

Of course this is not a universally held standard, especially when the powerful assailants are politicians. Credible claims of harassment and assault by politicians are sometimes overlooked or dismissed by some evangelicals so as not to harm the politician’s political opportunities (or the electability of their enabling spouse).

But for the most part, evangelicals have historically been the ones most opposed to lowering moral standards for politicians and to accepting their sexual indiscretions and crimes. We were the “values voters” who could be counted on to hold candidates to a higher standard and to defend their victims.

That’s no longer true. Recent events have shown that many evangelicals—especially prominent conservative defenders of family and public morality—side with the powerful oppressors over the vulnerable oppressed. Many have shown they are willing, even eager, to overlook admissions of sexual assault if it will lead to their preferred political outcome. Read More

Call Out Locker Room Talk for the Sin That It Is

We can’t excuse inconsistent principles in our politicians or in each other.

“It’s just locker room talk.”

With these five words, Donald Trump and many of his supporters have tried to brush away the presidential candidate’s sexually predatory comments recorded in a 2005 conversation between the GOP presidential candidate and NBC host Billy Bush. Presumably, the same defense covers Trump’s conversations with Howard Stern about threesomes, anal sex, and his own daughter’s derriere.

Putting aside the more serious question of whether Trump’s words in his conversation with Bush accurately describe real actions he has committed (something he denied when pressed by Anderson Cooper in Sunday night’s debate), let’s consider the notion that all this is “just locker room talk.” Read More

Sexual Morality in a Christless World

The times are changing. Sexual morality is undergoing nothing less than a revolution as traditional morality gives way to something radically different. The former morality, based on the Christian scriptures, is being shoved aside by a new one that not only departs from the Bible, but outright rejects it. Meanwhile, Christians who abide by those traditional sexual morals are increasingly seen as outcasts, backward people dangerously hung up on ancient, oppressive principles. It is all very disconcerting. Read More

Monday, October 10, 2016

The 4th “C” of Adding Healthy Team Members

I believe there is a fourth “C” to finding good team members. Unfortunately, I had to discover it the hard way. Read More

Related article:
3 Easy Ways to Burn Out Your Team

Autopsy of a Deceased Pastor

Autopsies are not a pleasant topic. I get that. But I would be negligent if I did not share with you about the numbers of pastors who are dead in ministry. You need to know. You need to grasp this reality. You need to pray for them. You need to walk alongside them.

How did these pastors die? My figurative autopsies uncovered eight common patterns. Some pastors manifest four or five of them. Many manifest all of them. Read More

Can the Church Thrive in a Non-Christian World?

Ed Stetzer: “Being a Christian is more significant in a hostile or indifferent culture than in friendly surroundings.” Read More

Snakes and Ladders: Steal It Back

"In light of the ignominious behaviour of leading ‘evangelical’ voices in supporting and standing by Donald Trump, I have a question for my American friends who haven’t compromised on this point. At what point should the self-designation ‘evangelical’ be abandoned? At what point do the liabilities of the term outweigh its potential benefits? At what point does the meaning of a term need to be so hedged with qualifications and distinctions that it ceases to be fit for purpose?" Read More

For How Much Longer Will Christians Support Donald Trump?

Why are so many evangelicals still supporting Trump? Read More

Related articles:
Trump’s Moral Character and the Election
Speak Truth to Trump
Why Trump Tape Caused Only Two Evangelical Leaders to Abandon Him
What Is Going On Inside Trump's Religious Advisory Panel? James MacDonald Speaks Out

Saturday, October 08, 2016

7 Reasons Bi-vocational Ministry Isn’t Plan B

Growing up in the church, it was sort of understood that any pastor worth his salt was “full-time.” By full-time, we meant that he was fully financially supported by his church.

Without a doubt there are great advantages to being fully supported by the churches we serve, but I’ve discovered that pastoring bi-vocationally has strengthened and expanded my ministry in ways I could’ve never experienced otherwise. In our time we should not look at bi-vocational ministry as the Plan B of churches that can’t afford full-time staff. Instead, we should view bi-vocational ministry as Plan A for Kingdom strategy.

Here are seven reasons I’ve found why bi-vocational ministry isn’t Plan B. Read More

7 Types of Scary Leaders

Have you ever witnessed a leader whose leadership style you would characterize as scary?

It’s terrifying to watch. And it’s even worse to work under.

Scary leaders can show up in a variety of ways. Let’s look at seven types of scary leaders.... Read More

10 Reasons to Pray More As You Prepare to Preach This Weekend

Many of you are pastors who are putting finishing touches on your sermon for this weekend. In too many cases, we pastors prepare hard and pray little over our sermons. This weekend, I challenge you to spend more time praying before you preach. Here’s why.... Read More

Learning the Bible Using the Trivium Method

The Bible is the most important book that has ever been or will ever be published, and the most consequential artifact mankind will ever possess. Because it is the Word of God and God is its main subject, the Bible is also the most important work we’ll every study.

Yet despite its significance, our approach to learning the Bible is often haphazard and disorganized. We may have picked up some Bible stories during childhood or made an effort to study particular doctrines as adults. But for the most part, we don’t know many of the basic details about the Bible and are unsure how the themes of Scripture fit together.

Fortunately, learning the Bible doesn’t require quitting our jobs and attending Bible college or seminary for a remedial education. We can learn how to learn the Bible by applying an ancient method that is popular in the Classical Christian education movement: the Trivium method. Read More

3 Rationales for Using Social Media to Promote Your Church

I live, eat and breathe social media for a living. While you probably don’t, there are for sure valuable lessons to be learned from the social media landscape that can be applied to your church.

I’m not a marketer by trade, but I’ve been a relatively active user of various social media platforms since I first heard that AOL Instant Messenger door creak open for the first time when I was in elementary school. Read More

Friday, October 07, 2016

A Pop Quiz for Pastors and Church Leaders

Based on what I’ve learned about church leaders via years of church consulting, here’s a pop quiz for pastors and other church leaders. Many, many leaders with whom I’ve worked could not answer these questions – questions I believe strong church leaders should be able to answer.... Read More

Tony Morgan on Why Churches Get Stuck…and How to Get Your Church Moving Again [Podcast}

Why do churches get stuck? Tony Morgan visits dozens of stuck churches every year and helps them get unstuck. He shares his findings and shares some top learnings on how to get your church moving again. Listen Now

No, Our Church Doesn't Sing New Music to Appeal to Nonbelievers

Our church’s song list is not an evangelism tool. It’s meant to glorify God and involve the saints in worship. Read More

Trump 'Risks Damaging Our Witness To The Gospel' Say Evangelical Christian Leaders

Nearly 80 evangelical Christian leaders in the United States have joined in condemnation of Republican candidate Donald Trump. Read More

Thursday, October 06, 2016

The Astonishing Power of Small Churches: Looking Ahead

Small churches are a vital component of the most powerful force for goodness the world has ever seen. Read More