The Numbers Game: On Math and Ministry Success

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church-attendance1For 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

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Reprise: Send Your Pastor To Conferences

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This week I am in Los Angeles, attending the Shepherd’s Conference through the generosity of others. This year the church I serve couldn’t afford to send me, but the Lord provided. And I’m glad he did, I really needed it this year. Two years after first writing this, It is just as true and maybe more valuable than ever. The Shepherd’s conference isn’t the only game around, there is the Shepherd’s 360 conference associated with Shepherds Theological Seminary, There is the Banner of Truth Minister’s Conference, For the Church as well as smaller regional conferences like the annual GAMA Equipping Conference.Continue reading

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New Study Shows Shorter Sermons Are Perferred

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God has used all kinds of literature in the Bible to convey His truth. Poetry, narrative, exhortation, etc. One of those is Satire. Satire can be defined as the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. This genre is used quite a bit in God’s Word. Elijah the prophet used it (1 Kings 18:27). Isaiah used it (Isa 40:19-20). Paul used it (1 Cor 4:8-13). Jesus used it (Matt 7:5). And God used it (Jer 46:11). In fact, it is possible that Jonah is a whole 4-chapter book that is satirical, though still historical.… Continue reading

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The Hamster Wheels of Ministry

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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

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Youth Ministry Done Right

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Almost 4 years ago, I began full-time youth ministry in a local church here in NW Arkansas. This is certainly not my first go-around with youth ministry in terms of leading and volunteering. However, this is the first time I believe I am doing youth ministry in a way that pleases God and is faithful to His Word. How do I know this?

Before I arrived in Arkansas, I wrote up a Philosophy of Youth Ministry in order to get my head on straight of why I do what I do with the youth and church I serve. I wrote a summary of that here on PS23 in a past blog.… Continue reading

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