For many Christians, a church’s success is a matter of simple mathematics. The more people, the better. If attendance and giving numbers are going up, God must be pleased. And if those numbers are going down, well…you get the picture.
I wish I could say that I’ve never played the numbers game myself, but I can’t, because I have and I do.
However, various circumstances in my life and in our church have led me to some deeper reflection over the issue of church numbers in recent years. This post is my attempt to summarize most of the big things that I have learned and continue to learn (as I need frequent reminding), hanging my thoughts on some of the larger principles I see in Scripture. … Continue reading
About six months ago, I stopped wearing a tie when I preach (at least at my home church). It was an intentional, considered decision. One that I made prayerfully with reverence and out of love for God and the people and church that I am privileged to serve. For me I feel that the most reverent thing I can do is not wear a tie when I preach.
Let me explain. The church I serve was recently seriously injured by someone who sought and was admitted into leadership, all the while (over a period of several years) expertly concealing that he functionally rejected sola scriptura in favor of “capital F” Fundamentalism.… Continue reading
When I was a kid, a good friend of mine had a hamster. I don’t remember his (or her?) name, or even what he looked like. All I remember about this hamster is what happened the first time I stayed overnight at my friend’s house. Sometime after midnight, I woke up to the sound of that little rodent running for his life on a big wheel in the middle of his cage. Despite having an elaborate system of tubes and tunnels to explore, that hamster spent the better part of the night (and every night, as I understand it) in a race to nowhere. … Continue reading
“…an overseer must be above reproach.” (1 Timothy 3:2 ESV)
The biblical qualifications for a pastor are rather high and are deadly serious. Many Christians and many churches have been greatly harmed by pastors who do not meet the qualifications that God lays out for them in the Bible. Part of the reason for this is because many Christians do not actually know what to look for in a pastor and because they are often looking for the wrong things, as recent situations like this one continue to demonstrate.
The Bible is not confusing when it comes to the kind of men that should occupy the role of pastors (also described as elders, leaders, and overseers in the New Testament) in the local church. … Continue reading
Happy New Year, dear reader! Have you made any resolutions for 2018? Set any goals? Established any plans for what you want to accomplish by the end of the year? In this brief post I’d like to encourage you to make at least one specific goal for this year and to move it to the top of your list. That goal is to grow in Christ-shaped, Gospel-rooted love for other people. Along with all the books you have resolved to read, and all the weight you have purposed to lose, and all the money you hope to make (or give, or save), and all the other goals you have set for the year, make it your aim to grow in Christian love.… Continue reading