All in Ministry
This should come as no shock to you, but it’s increasingly difficult to be a Bible-believing Christian in our culture. There is constant pressure to compromise our faith. More and more Christians are being labeled as “bigots” for even voicing convictions contrary to the cultural norm.
Gone are the days when our culture held to at least some standard of Biblical morality. Gone are the days when when your faith may not lead to conflict. Gone are the days when being a Bible-believing Christian was socially acceptable.
This pressure leaves us with two options: We can compromise our faith, or we can contend for it. Jude 3 calls all Christians to...
My dad was not a pastor, but I had enough friends who had a pastor for a dad to know that it’s not easy. This is a critical issue for me as parent of three kids and a pastor of a young church. I want them to love Jesus. I want them to love me. I want them to love the Church. You may not attend my church, but if you read my blog, you most likely attend some church. So, here are five ways you can help love your pastor’s kids.
Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Despite the clarity of this verse, “weary” is the way I’d describe many of the Christians I know. Understand, when I say “weary” I don’t mean “tired.” A nap will take care of tired. Weariness is a soul fatigue that impacts every facet of life.
The good news is, nobody simply wakes up weary one day. We wind up weary after an extended time of neglecting the means God has given us to draw our strength from Him. In essence, weariness is what happens when we try to be God.
I’ve written previously on how to get through a season of weariness, but it’s equally important that we identify the behaviors that cause the weariness in the first place. Here are seven ways to wind up weary:
Each day you and I are bombarded by content.
Text messages, tweets, email, voice mail, advertising, meetings, books, blogs, seminars, sermons - it is never ending. One of the dangers in this constant consumption of information is an inability to effectively internalize anything. Because there is so much to process, you can end up with nothing.
There is great wisdom in intentionally limiting what we consume, but much of it is simply inevitable. We need a better way to capture, process, and file away information.
One approach I've found especially helpful is to concentrate on capturing "the one thing."
Every preacher knows the discouragement of looking out on an obviously disengaged audience - glassy stares, confused looks, slowly closing eyes just moments from a nap - it's awful. While some of the responsibility lands in the laps of our listeners, most of the responsibility is ours as preachers.
Our job is to "rightly handle the word of truth" (2 Tim.2:15). That's the command the apostle Paul gave young Timothy - a green, insecure, uncertain pastor in a jacked up situation.
I am part of a tribe that takes this task seriously. We preach the Word week in and week out. We don't play games with God's Word. But, if we're not careful we can make the mistake of believing that faithful preaching means nothing more than mere accuracy. I believe Paul's encouragement to Timothy begs more than accuracy alone.
Here are seven reasons people might hate our preaching (even if it's Biblically accurate)…
“How do I confirm if God’s calling me into full-time vocational ministry?”
is a question I’m being asked more and more. Young people, old people,
rich people, poor people, successful and established people - I’m
encountering a growing number of people considering a call to full-time
vocational ministry - vocational, meaning “paid".
Every Christian is called to “full-time” ministry. There is never a season, time, or circumstance in which a follower of Christ is not to minister the good news of Jesus to those around them. Baristas and bartenders, students and stay-at-home moms, business people and bankers, those in construction and childcare, medical providers and machinists - all of us are to always minister to those God providentially places in our lives.
Because every Christian is called to full-time ministry, I always want to know why it is an individual feels called to ministry vocationally. You may think, “Who cares? They want to serve Jesus, so what does it matter why they want to?” Well, it matters a lot. The truth is, there are a great many BAD reasons to pursue vocational ministry - Here are the five most common I hear
When God's Word goes forth is does exactly what God wants it to. There is never a time when the Bible is proclaimed to no end. The Scriptures succeed exactly as the Spirit would have them.
Because we believe these promises about God's Word, we seek every opportunity to share it. One of the ways we do this is by reading Scripture in our services, out loud, over our church.
In many churches, the most thankless job is that of the pastor's wife. Though the pastor alone is paid, the pastor's wife is often still saddled with a host of responsibilities and expectations. She is expected to be a model wife, nurturing mother, friend to everyone, run a women's ministry, throw every baby shower, and cook every meal. These expectations are often unfair, unhelpful, and most importantly, unbiblical. "Pastor's Wife" is not a secret third office of church leadership. The Bible contains no job description for the pastor's wife, which is why extra-biblical expectations are often placed upon her.
In early 2006, I was working as a Worship Pastor at a church about 40 minutes from where we planted Redemption.
One Tuesday night, as I sat in one of the many meetings that pastors attend each week, I heard God speak to me more clearly than ever before. Before you panic, I'm not someone who "hears God speak" every day. This was an experience I had never had before and one I haven't had since. God said three things:
Recently I met up with Dave Heiniger, our new deacon over Student Ministry, to talk vision for this new area in our church. As we talked, he highlighted three things students need from their volunteer leaders. I plugged them into Evernote because I immediately realized that these are three things every person, not just every student, needs to feel from their pastors.
Sermon prep is difficult work. It’s long, arduous, and tedious. Because of the difficulty inherent to prepping a gospel-centered, culturally-intelligible, Biblically-saturated sermon, many opt for other types of “sermons.” Some preach creativity.
Some preach comedy.
Some preach social observations.
Some preach practical pep-talks.
It’s simply easier to “preach” these other things than it is to open God’s Word each week, find a fresh sermon for God’s people, and put spiritual food on the table.
We started Redemption Bible Church believing that Biblical leadership would be crucial to planting and pastoring a healthy church. We believed both then and now that the health of our church would directly relate to the health of our elders. If you do not know, elders are the senior leaders of the church also called pastors, bishops, and overseers in the New Testament (Eph 4:11; 1 Pet 5:2; Acts 20:28). The elders are men chosen for their ministry according to the clear biblical qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. In addition to these Biblical qualifications, there are three specific traits we look for in potential elders:
I was frustrated - which in and of itself is not an abnormal experience for me, unfortunately. I was in the midst of one of the few short walks I take each day, trudging around the neighborhood next to my office, wrestling through one of the many leadership issues every pastor faces on a regular basis. In this particular situation I had tried everything I could think of. I did not know what to do. I was tired of trying to figure it out.It was into this ever-growing frustration that the Holy Spirit spoke a simple question that stopped me in my tracks.
One of my goals for this year has been to pursue growth in my prayer life. To do so, I have been reading, studying, and most importantly, praying. By God's grace I am seeing growth and have found these three things to be crucial to the consistent increase of fervent prayer.
Preaching is draining work. A faithful Bible preacher labors week after week to carefully and prayerfully craft sermons in a way that are faithful, helpful, and clear.
All the while they see the faces of actual people God has entrusted to their care. They see their victories, their trials, their suffering, and their sin. They hear their fears, doubts, and their prayers. All of this adds to the weight of bringing a word from God that will build them up, encourage them, feed them, and challenge them.
If you have ever wondered why it is so important we fight to reach this new generation of young men with the gospel, here's why...