5 Ugly Qualities of the Anti-Elder

It is tragic but undeniable: There are many, many people in positions of church leadership who should not be in positions of church leadership. There are many pastors who should not be pastors, many elders who have no business being elders. This is not a new problem. In the pages of the New Testament both Paul and Peter labor to describe the man who is qualified to the office of elder. It is noteworthy that almost all of these qualifications …

How I Learned to Embrace the Stand and Greet Time

I may not know you, but I think one thing is safe to say: You do not have as much natural revulsion as I do toward a stand and greet time during a church service. You don’t feel a greater measure of inward terror when you hear a service leader command, “Stand up and greet a few of the people around you.” I am naturally shy, introverted, and easily intimidated, and can always feel the fear rising when I hear …

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Protect Your Church in One Simple Step

A few days ago I tried to demonstrate how a church self-destructs. There is a sad progression that begins with the people growing weary and ashamed of truth. No longer able or willing to endure sound teaching, they get rid of the truth-tellers and accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. Inevitably, they soon turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. All of this is laid out in chapter four of 2 Timothy. In …

How Many People Go To Your Church?

So how many people go to your church? This is the question nearly every pastor faces at just about every conference he attends. I’ve written about the question before but, having spent the week at Together for the Gospel, and having been part of many conversations, it seems like a good time to revisit it. It usually doesn’t take long for a conversation with a pastor to progress to that point. For the pastor this can be a moment of …

Against Yous, Yous Only Have I Sinned

The Lord has blessed me with a dear friend named John, a man with many qualities I love and admire. He also has a quirk that I find endlessly enjoyable–his use of the word “yous.” John is from small-town Ontario and where he comes from “yous” is an acceptable form of the second person plural, a shortened form of “you guys,” I suppose. English may well be the only language that has a personal pronoun that is identical for the …

The Essential: Church

This is the seventeenth installment in a series on theological terms. See previous posts on the terms theology, Trinity, creation, man, Fall, common grace, sin, righteousness, faith, pride, election, revelation, atonement, adoption, sanctification, incarnation, and idolatry. Wayne Grudem says it simply and well: “The church is the community of all true believers for all time.” The church (Greek ekklesia) is the term used in the New Testament to refer to those who, through faith in the work of Christ, have been …

Don’t Tweet that Sermon!

When a new technology explodes on the scene, there is always a period of time in which society negotiates the rules that will surround it. When the telephone first gained popularity it took time to learn what would be considered the polite way of answering it. Alexander Graham Bell suggested “Ahoy!” Others tried, “Who’s there?” Those would be considered rude or ridiculous today, but that is only because society successfully negotiated “Hello?” as the preferred greeting. In years to come …

How to Build Unity in Your Church

Yesterday I wrote about Satan’s Great Desire which is to bring about disunity in your local church, somehow convincing you that the people in your church are no longer worthy of your love. I ended by giving the encouragement that God has equipped us to build and maintain this kind of unity and that all we need to do is use the tools he has equipped us with. How has he equipped us? According to Ephesians 4, he has given …

The Community of Celebration

This week’s reading from John Stott’s The Cross of Christ for Reading Classics Together comes courtesy of Rebecca Stark. My week happened in such a way that I wasn’t able to write up my summary post, so I gladly borrowed Rebecca’s (with her permission of course). This week’s chapter was titled “The Community of Celebration” and here is how Rebecca summarizes it… The Community of Celebration. Stott starts by pointing out that Jesus didn’t die simply to save individuals but …

Benefits of Being a Mother Church

As I was looking through J.D. Payne’s book Discovering Church Planting: An Introduction to the Whats, Whys, and Hows of Global Church Planting I came across a sidebar which lists “some benefits of being a mother church.” Though this is by no means an exhaustive list, it does draw out some important benefits of being a church dedicated to planting. This topic is close to my heart these days as my church prepares to send out some of our members …