Choose Your Own Adventure: The Dangers of Self-Directed Discipleship

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One of my favorite childhood book series to check out from the school library was the  Choose Your Own Adventure series. As the title implies, rather than be restricted (heaven forbid) to a storyline determined by the author, the reader is free to determine, on page after page, his own way forward in the book – resulting in many possible different endings via different paths. The story was more or less what you made it – you were in charge. And it was great!

What works in children’s fiction, however, may not be so great in the realm of Christian discipleship.

Two weekends ago I had the privilege of attending the Ekklesia Conference and Pastors’ Pre-Conference.… Continue reading

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Look to Youth Ministry, pt. 3

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I now come to the final blog post of my series on youth ministry as a mirror for your church. Thus far, my thesis has been: when you look at the youth ministry of your church, thatlook should give you a good idea what is going on in the rest of your church. So when you wander down the hall to Sunday school or show up on a Wednesday night or join a youth small group, you are going to find out what is most important to a church because those values have made their way into the youth ministry. In other words, if you have excellent Bible-teaching, Word-driven music, a maturity of leadership, and a heart for evangelism (all four I have already discussed here and here), then you can rest assure that the rest of your church is following the same pattern.… Continue reading

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Can a Christian participate in Mass?

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imagesRecently the Pope was in town (you already know this) prompting many discussions regarding Christians and Catholics. One question developed, “Can a Christian participate in Catholic Mass?” This may be a simple answer, but when someone responds, “Why?” I think we need a biblical response. Why is it not okay to participate in Mass?

Think about this from someone who says, “Yes, what’s the problem?” Here is the argument. Often the priests and people do not share similar views regarding Mass and therefore a person may partake with the right heart and theology despite the fact that leadership communicates a wrong theology.… Continue reading

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Empty Chairs

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empty chairsI am a church planter, and while that term is loaded with all sorts of baggage, at the end of the day what that ultimately means is that I am a small church pastor. If on any given Sunday there are sixty people in the worship service, that is a banner week, no one is sick, and all of the occasional attendees have chosen that week to come. I love being a small church pastor, but there is something that weighs on my mind in a way that it might not, if I were part of a large staff at a large church.… Continue reading

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What’s the Point? You Might Have Missed It.

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off target“Just get them in.”

Pragmatism. Marketing schemes. Church growth tactics. Shock techniques. Raunchy slogans and billboards. Grunge Christianity.

Translation? It misses the point of the church. Unfortunately, these kinds of efforts aren’t the exception to the rule, they’ve become standard practices in many of today’s churches. It’s easy to identify them, because more often than not their objective is to be seen – loud, obnoxiously, and clear by using whatever rubber-neck producing means necessary for their marketing campaigns. With V-neck T-shirts, thick rimmed glasses and skinny jeans, these churches are led by pastors who earnestly believe that this is how you grow your church and make a difference in your community.… Continue reading

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