Thoughts for Pastors Who Are Considering Quitting

If your desire to quit is the result of the typical challenges of pastoring, allow me to share nine thoughts that may lead you to reconsider

Many storms pass quickly. I can remember times when I thought the world was crashing in on me. But, in a matter of a few weeks, the storm had passed. Many of the crises of the moment will become faded memories of the past. It’s probably not you. Those critics and dissidents see you as a convenient target.... Continue Reading

How Then Should We Preach?

Preachers must preach Christ in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

We need the Holy Spirit in order to make preaching effective. We should pray for the Spirit’s blessing on the preaching and the hearing of the gospel. Preachers must cull from their sermons everything that does not pertain to the Spirit’s power in preaching. Rhetoric in preaching is a means of making preaching an effective... Continue Reading

The Danger of Small Group Systems

We need to be careful in how we view, speak, and teach on small groups

“There’s a real danger in elevating a small group system over biblical values of community and fellowship. I’ve heard of churches requiring commitment to their version of small groups for church membership—talk about adding to grace, amiright?”   Home Groups, DNAs, Missional Communities, Community Groups, Life Groups—whatever your church calls them, let’s not put too much... Continue Reading

A Pastoral Lesson From A Generous Widow

Both within the pulpit and outside of it, we must shun worldliness for the glory of God

“This widow lived on a fixed income. But this proud woman did not let anyone know she didn’t have money for real food. Her physical ailments made matters worse. My dad’s church began to care for her. Members took turns picking her up, checking on her, and making sure she had something to eat.”  ... Continue Reading

Beyond Hymnals and Screens

Allow me to introduce the following questions for reflection.

What is the purpose of singing in corporate worship? It is to express truth, reach emotions, or instruct? Is it to get people ready for the sermon? Is it an entryway for people to get comfortable who would otherwise be uneasy in church? Is the singing for the benefit of God or the congregation or... Continue Reading

Has the Gospel-Centered Pendulum Swung Too Far?

The relatively recent popularity of biblical theology and of “gospel-centeredness” are part of a pendulum swing.

I think the swing has done great good: American Christianity has indeed suffered under man-centered readings of the Bible which offer all law and no gospel, all duty and no delight, all rules and no relationship. And yet the ease with which I just tossed off those three slogans points to the pendulum problem: any... Continue Reading

The Remaking Of Protestantism

The decline of the mainline denominations is really more about the remaking of Protestantism.

The trend of realignment among mainline churches can be seen in the formation of ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (2012), the North American Lutheran Church (2010), and the Anglican Church of North America (2009). Both ECO and NALC were formed from networks of ministers and churches that had decided that renewal from within... Continue Reading

Five Reasons Why Stability Is Bad For A Church

Churches that seek stability will ironically change the most rapidly toward decline and death.

Members of stable churches want the focus to be on their preferences. They want church “the way it’s always been.” They are more concerned about getting their way with music style, room temperature, and precise starting time of worship services. In their latter years, they are able to sing, “I did it my way” rather... Continue Reading

A Pulpit Is Not A Platform

The lure of the big platform can be destructive. Think of Mark Driscoll.

Am I saying that preachers should never write blogs, articles, and books? No. After all, I write posts, articles, and books. As a teacher I am required to write. It is part of the call I have from the church. It is an expectation of my employer. I got started blogging only because my church... Continue Reading

A Note on Biography, Theology, and Ad Hominem

It comes down to an application of the Golden Rule in our reading and our arguing: Read as you’d like to be read.

I don’t have space for a full-on analysis of this style, its benefits, its grounding, or how much it actually connects to Biblical narrative, or even Evangelical testimonials. I just want to make two or three points about what it seems to do to our ability to talk to one another in a dispute.  ... Continue Reading