Does Your Church Truly Care for True Widows?

An especially important ministry of the earliest church was the ministry of caring for widows. In fact, early in the book of Acts we see that the church’s first conflict was related to widows, when some were unjustly favored over others. The Apostles responded by appointing a body of men of good repute to oversee and ensure the equitable distribution of charity. And though that was undoubtedly the right course of action, it did not solve every problem or answer …

Love Is Not Heavy-Handed

Whatever else we learn about church life, we learn quickly that it will at times come with conflict. We are, after all, sinful people attempting to share community with other sinners. It’s inevitable that problems will arise, inevitable that there will be angry words, unfortunate misunderstandings, unintentional insults. While there will be many great blessings that come through the local church, there will also be real sorrows. Thankfully, God has not left us unequipped when it comes to dealing with …

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How We Worshipped One Sunday in June

Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do so hoping they serve as a model of how one church attempts to worship the Lord in a distinctly biblical way. This service’s cast of characters included Paul as our service leader and preacher, Josh as our lead worshipper, and me as the elder who read the Scripture text and prayed. Steve, our associate pastor, closed out the service …

The Five Things You Want Your Church To Be

Let’s say there are five things you really want in a local church. Through reading good books and listening to helpful podcasts, you’ve drawn up a list of key qualities. You want deeply biblical expositional preaching, passionate zeal for evangelism, close-knit and sacrificially-minded small groups, worship that is both physically expressive and grounded in truth, and a congregation that displays all the diversity of the neighborhood around. Those are good and noble desires. But this is the real world. So …

How We Worshipped One Sunday in May

Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do so hoping they serve as a model of how one church attempts to worship the Lord in a distinctly biblical way. In this case I’m sharing a service in which we baptized four new believers. This service’s cast of characters included Paul as our service leader and preacher and Josh as our lead worshipper. Steve, our associate pastor, closed …

The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read (But Is Too Embarrassed to Ask)

I’ve seen churches where the pastor has been treated terribly—a slave forced to cede to the congregation’s every whim. I’ve seen churches where the pastor has been treated heroically—a superstar who exists above all critique and accountability. Surely the biblical position avoids both extremes and treats the pastor far better than either a slave or a celebrity. It treats him as a shepherd or, better still, an under-shepherd who serves on behalf of the great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus …

The Gospel-Driven Church

Over the past few decades, evangelical churches have been shaped and reshaped by the church growth movement. This movement held out a model of local church ministry that some have labeled “attractional.” The idea was to make churches attractive to unbelievers so they would have compelling reasons to come to church where they could then hear the gospel message and be saved. Churches most commonly made themselves attractive by emphasizing contemporary music, integrating creative elements like illustrated sermons, focusing on …

How We Worshipped One Sunday in April

Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this simply to provide an example of how one church structures our time of worship, hoping it will prove a helpful resource to others. This service’s cast of characters included Paul as the preacher, Brian as the lead worshipper, and Steve as the service leader.  The various elements of the service are in bold with the name of the …

A Pastoral Prayer for Unity

Every now and again I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this because there are few examples of pastoral prayers online and I thought these may serve to inspire themes, passages, or ideas as other pastors and elders prepare to lead their churches in prayer. Here is one I prayed before our church not too long ago. *** Father, in your Word you’ve got a lot to say about unity—a lot …

A Corporate Confession of Sin & Assurance of Pardon

One of my favorite elements of a worship service is a confession of sin and the subsequent assurance of pardon. At Grace Fellowship Church we include this in almost every service and, from time to time, I like to share an example. Here is how we confessed our sins together using Psalm 32 as our guide. *** We just sang together, “All the redeemed washed in his blood / Come and rejoice in his great love!” One of the ways …