Why was it okay for Paul to worry when he tells us not to?

If it was okay for the apostle Paul to worry, where does he get off telling us we can’t?

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Paul suffered anxiety

Paul was a worrywart at times.

He felt a great obligation to bear the Gospel to the Gentile world (Romans 1:14). Even with the Holy Spirit’s enablement, his service at times felt like a UFC match (Colossians 2:1).

There were good moments, for sure. At times Paul was proud of his work (Romans 11:13).[1] He was pleased by the Gospel’s progress (Romans 15:17).

But he seems to have been constantly concerned for the welfare of the churches he planted (e.g., Acts 15:36). Anxiety was a “daily pressure” that weighed him down, affected his mood and even sidetracked some of his mission opportunities.

And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28).

What are we to make of the fact that his anxiety for the churches is the capstone of Paul’s litany of misery? While defending his ministry to the knuckleheads in Corinth he detailed some of the ordeals he endured in behalf of the Gospel.

If you’re afraid of multi-site church this is the book for you

Franchising McChurch

Franchising McChurch

Is the multisite church movement good, bad or something in between?

This question is being pressed upon pastors and small churches with increasing frequency and greater urgency than ever before.

It’s hard to miss all the cheerleading in the press, on the bookshelves and at popular conferences.

But there’s not much comfort for small church pastors who feel the monster bearing down on them. A lot of the rah rah lacks careful theological analysis that challenges the unquestioned assumptions underlying the multi-site movement. (Check this catalog of articles for and against the movement)

So, the pastor who’s been approached by a mega-franchise executive team with an offer of takeover, or who catches wind that a big box franchise is opening down the street has no where to turn for an adequate, careful and irenic response.

Until now.

7 Qualities Jesus Seeks In His Church

It’s been five years since I’ve had a church to call home. Three interim churches, a couple of moves and now I’m adrift. It’s time to start looking for a church where I can be one of the folks.

What should I look for?

What Does Jesus Look For?

I think I’ll look for the things Jesus looks for and work from there.

Jesus told us, in his own words, seven qualities he seeks in his churches.

“10 Reasons Every Leader Needs a Blog”
by Michael Hyatt

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This is Your Life With Michael Hyatt
May 7, 2014

If you don’t have a blog—or if you do, but you aren’t blogging on a consistent basis—then you are missing out on one of the greatest leadership tools ever invented.

Michael Hyatt offers 10 reasons why every leader – and that includes pastors! – needs to have a blog!

Churches unintentionally pick up on the ideas of McDonaldization through leadership magazines, conferences, and books that teach how churches can engage more of the American culture through certain structural, communication, and ministry models. But when these models are applied in the local church, it can McDonaldize, which can lead to compromised discipleship, theology, and the loss of the prophetic role of the church. In the process, McDonaldized churches become prisoners to the shifting tides of consumer culture as their leaders tend to chase “what’s next” instead of “what matters.”

Franchising McChurch: Feeding Our Obsession with Easy Christianity (David C. Cook, 2009)

BookCoverFranchisingMcChurchWith the rise of the “seeker friendly” movement churches have unwittingly found themselves pulled into consumer Christianity. Target audiences now treat churches as storefronts and street vendors selling religious goods and services.

How did we get into this mess, and how can we get out of it? That’s what Franchising McChurch is all about.

It takes an honest look at the rise of consumer-minded ministries. Candid and compelling, it calls us back to the heart of Christ’s church and shares the Biblical design for delivering meaningful, life-changing ministry in a fast-food world.

Check it out at Amazon.

Avoid these 6 Bible verses to grow your church

There’s a simple way to plan your preaching and increase church attendance at the same time.

It came to me while I was reading Thom Rainer’s recent article, Why Playing it Safe as a Pastor Is the Riskiest Move You’ll Make.

He got me thinking about how we try to grow churches on the shifting sands of American culture. It’s simple. Most of you can recite “the formula.”[1]

  • Killer band and vocalists
  • Lighting and maybe a smoke machine
  • Awesome social media presence
  • “Felt needs” preaching

“Felt needs” preaching in practice typically means a preaching calendar populated with topical sermons and empty homiletic calories. You get your preaching subjects Internet search trends, films getting traction, the Twitterverse buzz, and what’s hot at Amazon.

I have a simpler way. Follow my simple method. If you do, your preaching will be easier and you’re far more likely to “bring them in.” 

Can We Trade Sexual Morality for Church Growth?

Russell Moore, The Gospel Coalition
May 6, 2014

Russell Moore nails it.

Before getting to his article, let’s set the stage.

We’re in a real mess here. Evangelical pastors are beset by irreconcilable demands.

  • They feel the exquisite and mounting pressure of homosexual activism’s full-frontal assault on the sanctity of marriage, but most of them cannot (and will not) get past the clear biblical teachings on sexual morality.
  • They look at the declining numbers and recognize they must attempt to draw the nones back into the fold, but we’re also told that the avoid-judgment-hipsters favor homosexual marriages and quickly reject (do they see the irony?) those who hold countervailing opinion.

We’re told that uninhibited and biblically illicit sexual behavior trumps scripture.

Moore frames it this way in his “must read”:

From time to time we hear some telling us that evangelical Christianity must retool our sexual ethic if we’re ever going to reach the next generation. Some say that Millennials, particularly, are leaving the church because of our “obsession” with sexual morality. The next generation needs a more flexible ethic, they say, on premarital sex, homosexuality, and so on. We’ll either adapt, the line goes, or we’ll die.

He reviews the daunting demands of sexual morality in scripture, considers the scandal of the virgin birth, and the Jerusalem Council’s insistence that Gentiles free of the Law of Moses must abstain from sexual immorality (Acts 15:20).

His wrap on this issue:

Virgin births and empty tombs are hard to believe. Fidelity and chastity are hard to live. That’s why we don’t have a natural gospel but a supernatural one. And that’s why Jesus isn’t a means to where we want to go. He’s a voice calling us to where we don’t, left to ourselves, want to go: the way of the cross.

If we want to reach the next generation, they must hear from us a Galilean voice saying, “Come, follow me.” Anything less is just more marketing for an already well-marketed Broad Way. And the end thereof is death.

Get it. Read it. Clip it. Save it.

10 people turnaround pastors push out the door

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Turnaround pastors face a grim reality.

When they introduce change that will eventually produce life and growth in the church, people will jump, many without good reason. It is painful to watch because, with a little patience and a little mentoring, these folks could probably be rescued to the cause.

But there are others that transition pastors are happy to give a little shove.

Specifically, there are ten kinds of people that turnaround pastors should show and perhaps even shove out the door.