If We All Stream Our Services, Will Anyone Ever Come Back?

I spend a fair bit of time traveling. At least, under normal circumstances I do. Sometimes these are little more than overnight trips to conferences across the U.S. border and sometimes these are extended journeys to the far corners of the earth. Wherever I go, and for however long I’m away, I am sure to keep in touch with my family, and especially with Aileen. Through the marvels of modern technologies, I usually have the ability to not only hear …

How the World Worshipped on One of the Most Unusual Sundays in Church History

Would it be an exaggeration to say that Sunday, March 22, 2020 was one of the most unusual Sundays in the history of Christianity? I don’t think it would be, because on this day the majority of Christians across the world were either not permitted to gather to worship or considered it inadvisable to do so. Where on a typical Sunday Christians rise in their homes and soon gather for corporate worship, on this Sunday Christians rose in their homes …

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Training a New Generation of African Pastors and Church Leaders

Central Africa Baptist College & Seminary in Kitwe, Zambia, is deeply involved in training up a new generation of African pastors and church leaders. My recent travels through Africa took me to the school and allowed me to see how it is impacting Zambia and many other countries in central Africa. I came away extremely encouraged! You can learn more about Central Africa Baptist College & Seminary at cabuniversity.com.

4 Common Critics and Constructive Ways to Respond to Them

It is inevitable that pastors and other church leaders will face criticism. Some critics will be well-intentioned while others will be bent on destruction; some will be attempting to do the right thing (even if in a ham-fisted way) while others will be attempting to wreak havoc. Yet the prideful and troubling temptation can be to treat them all the same. In his book The Heart of the Preacher, Rick Reed lists four common critics and offers appropriate and constructive …

Do We Care for the Sheep or Do We Use the Sheep?

Some of my favorite and most challenging descriptions of pastoral ministry come from the twentieth chapter of Acts and Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders. Here Paul the planter and pastor is bidding a final farewell to the elders at a church he loves. And in verse 28 he comes to what I believe is his description of the heart of pastoral ministry. “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has …

On Being an Inflatable Tank

It’s one of my favorite tales from a war that was packed full of stranger-than-fiction moments. During the Second World War, the Allied forces created a dummy army. Eager to deceive the Germans into thinking they were stronger than they actually were, the Allies hired a team of artists and designers to create a fake army—one that would look just real enough to deceive spies snooping around nearby or surveillance flights flying far overhead. So they built planes that were …

The Servers and the Servicers in Every Church

Every church is made up of different kinds of people. There are extroverts and introverts, for example—people who are on the outgoing and sociable side and people who are on the shy and pensive side. There are leaders and there are followers—people who love to lead ministries within the church, and people who are content to be led. There are evangelists and disciplers—people whose passion is sharing the gospel with unbelievers and people whose passion is equipping existing believers. In …

The Ministry of Presence

Sunday’s coming! Many of the people reading these words already know they’ll be going to church on Sunday—it’s their habit, it’s their pattern, it’s their joy, and nothing short of illness or natural disaster will hold them back. A few of the people reading these words already know they won’t be going to church this Sunday. There are some very valid reasons not to attend church on a given week, and we understand that God’s love for us does not …

What Not To Say at the Beginning of a Worship Service

A few weeks ago Jared Wilson wrote an article titled “3 Things to Be Careful About Saying at the Start of Your Service.” In his article he offered some common service-starting cliches that are “worth weighing in terms of their helpfulness to the congregation’s worship.” They were, “How’s everybody doing this morning?”; “I can’t hear you. I said, How’s everybody doing?”; and “Where is everybody?” I’ve heard all three of these many times and expect you have as well. And …

A Pastoral Prayer

From time to time, probably every month or so, I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer that was prayed at Grace Fellowship Church. The pastoral prayer is a time for one of the pastors or elders to pray on behalf of the congregation and to intercede on their behalf. It’s a precious element of a service. This particular prayer was prayed by Dwight, one of our pastors. *** O, great God, your word is true when it …