Evangelicals in Exile

To be a Christian, I and my friends were learning, was to become an exile

“During the Trump presidency, I don’t believe this attitude has changed—certainly not at Wheaton College, the evangelical institution where I now teach. Yet cries of ‘evangelical’ complicity in our current political predicament grow ever louder. Lately I took a walk through the Billy Graham Center Museum here on campus, to see whether I had got... Continue Reading

Ten Ways Pastors Can Be Bad Bosses

Bad pastor bosses lack leadership skills and they lack relational skills.

Most pastors have no formal training in either. Yet they are expected to lead and relate the first day they begin serving a church. Indeed, many pastors are expected to be bosses of full-time or part-time personnel even though they may have never led anyone. So what is the difference between a good pastor boss and a bad pastor boss? We will address the good pastor bosses later. For now, I will share with you our conversations with those who served under bad pastor bosses.

Why Churches Should NOT Fear the “Nones”

Religious researcher Rodney Stark debunks several myths about “nones,” Millennials, and religion in his book The Triumph of Faith

In a culture that preaches anything but the Christian Gospel, Millennials thirst for churches that provide ageless truths revealing the meaning of life. Thus the Church need not fear the seeming growth of “nones” in America. This represents an opportunity rather than a danger, since it simply requires that the Church pursues its central mission to “make disciples of all nations” by preaching the Gospel.

Briarwood Presbyterian Church Seeks Lawmakers’ Approval to Establish Police Force

Briarwood Presbyterian Church calls this a way to create a safer campus in a fallen world.

“They will conduct their own investigations,” explained Rowe. “They will conduct their own security. They will make their own arrests and instead of calling on the local law enforcement agency to take over the particular situation they're trying to control, they will do that themselves. All they will utilize from their other law enforcement agencies is their lock up facilities.”

Every Component of Worship, Every Week?

Should fellowship, ordinances, Scripture reading, giving, corporate prayer, preaching, and singing be present in every service?

While certainly you should baptize converts as soon as is practical, if there aren’t people coming to faith every week, then there won’t be baptisms at every worship service. Finally, with communion Paul makes it clear that while the church in Acts 2 celebrated it every time they gathered, that there is liberty there as well. In 1 Corinthians 11:25-26, he says “as often as” you practice it, which would be a strange phrase for him to use if it was celebrated at every corporate gathering. Taken together, the New Testament models singing, prayer, and preaching at every corporate worship service, with the priority placed on preaching.

Are You on Track if You Lead a Church of Less Than 100?

Most of the time church planting is a long, hard slog

“Pastors and planters should know the statistical realities of the average church instead of assuming they are a disappointment if they don’t match the atypical success stories they see at conferences or read about in books.”   Every church leader or pastor desires ministry to be fruitful and to influence their community. But we need... Continue Reading

When We Worship Our Worship

How will we know if we have fallen into the snare of worshiping the idea of our worship? Here are a few symptoms

We smugly compare our worship practices with those of other churches. It is not wrong for us to analyze the worship practices of the church universal. There is much to reject and much to appropriate by considering the worship practices of other local churches. However, there is always the danger that we become self-righteous about why we do what we do in worship. Self-righteousness in our worship practices can creep into the thinking of pastors and people alike in both low church settings or high church settings, in churches with contemporary music styles or traditional music styles (or, no instrumental accompaniment, for that matter) as well as in churches that observe a liturgical calendar or churches that follow a Puritanical liturgy.

16 Reasons This Millennial Almost Left the Church

Reasons I almost left the church myself.

I would have left by the time I reached high school if I’d had that option, but in my house, attendance at my cool, hip, contemporary-worshiping, youth-group-glorifying, theology-eschewing McCongregation was a non-negotiable. So I went. Through every small group fad. Every True Love Waits commitment ceremony. Every rapture-ready dispensationalist Bible study. Every sermon series on... Continue Reading

4 Reasons for Biblical Leadership Qualifications

It is not only God-honoring to have biblically qualified elders and deacons but pastorally wise and helpful.

It provides greater unity and peace in the church. I’ve served in churches were some elders love Reformed theology, and others hate it. I’ve seen elders split over infant baptism. I’ve known a deacon to have committed adultery and continue as an active deacon. Make no mistake: quarrels among the shepherds can disillusion the sheep. Often, leaders who are quick-tempered or uncontrolled (cf. Titus 1:7-8) dig in their heels, take “sides” in the church and begin lobbing condescending grenades at one another. Fed up with the division, people start leaving. Not that having qualified leaders doesn’t rule out the possibility of division, of course, but it does generally provide greater unity and peace in the church.

Pastor, Keep A Close Watch On Your Life and Illustrations

The hearts of people are not won to Christ by our well-spun stories or images but the Spirit working through the very word of God.

Yep, I said it. I think too much emphasis is put on illustrations in how we train preachers and in too many actual sermons. You shouldn't trust your illustration to do what only God's word can. And that's where many of us often go wrong with illustrations. Here is more on that thought, and some other wrong ways preachers often use illustrations in their sermons: