A Pastoral Prayer

One of the missing elements of modern worship is prayer, and especially prayers that are more than perfunctory. Especially lacking is the traditional pastoral prayer in which a pastor represents the congregation in praying for their needs and concerns. At Grace Fellowship Church we maintain this element and attempt to give it good effort. I’ve often gone looking for examples of pastoral prayers for purposes of inspiration and have found surprisingly few. I thought I might occasionally share one from …

Should We Make a Priority of Diversity in Church Leadership?

Over the past few weeks I’ve encountered a number of articles about diversity in church leadership. Specifically, I’ve seen discussions about whether churches should make diversity in their pastoral leadership a matter of priority or even consideration. Not surprisingly, given the medium of the internet and the current cultural context, many of these discussions have not gone very well. Living and ministering as I do in the most diverse city in the world, this is something I have had to …

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This is the Church in China

While in China last week, we met a local church pastor and took the opportunity to visit him. We did it on the train where we could speak with him discreetly. This is the church in China. Transcript Q: What’s the danger of being identified? A: I would be, I’m afraid that if like some people used this video and showed it to the government saying that this guy is saying bad words of our country, then I will get …

How We Worshipped on One Sunday in November

Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I hope it serves as simply one model of how we can worship the Lord in a distinctly biblical way. It’s been a joy to hear from people around the world as they tell how they’ve enjoyed seeing these services show up here. This service’s cast of characters included Steve as our service leader, Josh as our lead worshipper, and Chris …

Think of the End to Motivate the Action

I believe in the value of Sunday evening services. But my belief in their value is not evenly distributed across the Lord’s Day. I believe in them a lot at 7:00 PM, just after the service has come to a conclusion. I believe in them far less at 4:30 PM when I have to pry my weary body off the couch, get in the car, and drive to church. I believe in evening services far more a half hour after …

Division, Jesus, Unity

At this year’s G3 Conference I had the opportunity to share some of the lessons my church has learned as we’ve grown into a congregation that reflects many different kinds of diversity. In this video I explain how one passage has been meaningful to us. Transcript You know in the first section of Ephesians 2, Paul talks about how people become Christians. Then in the rest of the chapter, he starts to discuss how God takes those Christians and He …

Why Church Membership Matters

In Quito Ecuador, I was recently asked: “We see many people here move from church to church regularly. Do you think this is okay, or is it a problem?” Here is my answer. This is the second and final answer I’ll share from that AMA which was translated to Spanish in real-time. Again, I thought you might be interested in seeing what it’s like to work with a translator. We see many people here move from church to church regularly. …

An Explanatory Lord’s Supper

One great benefit of having an evening service is that it provides opportunities that aren’t with just one weekly meeting. At Grace Fellowship Church we have a “standard” evening service that accomplishes a number of purposes, but sometimes we also mix it up. Last week we dedicated the entire service to an “explanatory Lord’s Supper.” In other words, we not only celebrated the Lord’s Supper, but we also explained each part of the service to ensure our members do not only …

How We Worshipped on a Sunday Evening

I have often shared examples of our Sunday morning services at Grace Fellowship Church. Yet are one of those rare churches that also has an evening service, so I thought you might be interested in seeing an example of how we structure them. First, the answer to the question I know you’re asking: Do people actually come to your evening services? The answer: Yes, though in lower numbers. We get perhaps half as many people in the evening as we …

Please Do & Please Don’t Assume Motives

Though we boast of great things and take confidence in our knowledge, we are actually finite little creatures bound by a million limitations. In fact, our knowledge is so limited we don’t even really know ourselves. We often lack clarity about the motivations behind even our best or worst actions. We can do great things for the Lord while still harboring sinful motives; we can do terrible things that dishonor the Lord while still harboring noble motives. Our hearts are …