Advice for Young Pastors

This post from Kevin DeYoung lists 45 nuggets of wisdom for young pastors and theology students. If you’re a young pastor, a theology student, or someone who cares about the character of pastors, you’ll enjoy this post. Part One. Part Two.

Continue Reading

The Gospel and Social Justice

Here is a very interesting video series where Mark Dever and Jim Wallis discuss the relationship between the gospel and social justice. The staff at my church has been wrestling through ways to practically live out the reconciling message of the gospel in our neighborhood. Part One deals with racial reconciliation in the local church. HT: Timmy Brister.

Continue Reading

Starting a New Church Through Criticism and Complaining

In the heart of every leader is this inevitable dissatisfaction with the status quo which drives him to lead. That’s normal. Some have even called it a “divine discontent.” It is part of God’s call on a leader. There is an ugly and sinful side to this, however, and it affects those of us who plant churches. This attitude is the desire to plant a church to correct all wrongs, excesses, and theological inconsistencies of our prior church experiences. Instead of setting out with a positive vision of a desired future, we end up starting an anti-movement and attracting a bunch of malcontented complainers who are great at diagnosing the problem but are much less motivated to trust God with anything positive and truly transforming. I’ve been reading A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards and he addresses this problem. He likens complaining church planters to Absalom. Absalom was…

Continue Reading

In Praise of a Boring Ministry

I wonder how many young men would choose to enter the ministry if they knew, from the very beginning, that their churches would never exceed a few dozen people, their salary would always be meager, their church budgets would always be tight, and all their labors would be scarcely noticed by anyone outside of their faithful few? Carl Trueman writes along these lines at his reformation21 blog in a recent post. In a world that is driven by larger than life celebrity personalities, it is no surprise that the church has a few of its own, leading large churches, writing books, and posting podcasts for listeners around the world. Trueman notes that these celebrity churches are led by celebrity pastors who have one-in-a-million type gifts and it is unreasonable to try to replicate this into other churches. Enter new Calvinism. Time Magazine recently pegged new Calvinism as the third most…

Continue Reading

10 Ways to be a Great Core Group

I am in the middle of planting a church, Christ the King Church. We are in the core group development phase, and so this post from Luke Simmons is very helpful. Read the whole thing here, but here’s the basic list: 1. Your primary job is to create a culture that you and God will be happy about 10 years from now. 2. Your new pastor and church will eventually disappoint you and let you down. 3. Work to create an evangelistic texture to every ministry environment. 4. Always talk as though nobody knows who your heroes are. Don’t use names of people like “Tim Keller,” “John Piper,” and so on without explaining who they are. 5. Be known by what you’re for, not what you’re against. 6. Don’t moralize your personal preferences. 7. Leave your current church on great terms (or go make it right if you didn’t). 8.…

Continue Reading

Hip Hop + Basketball = Urban Ministry

Great post on Baptisttwentyone.com about using hip hop and basketball as a means of reaching people. The idea: When we took that drive back in the summer and observed this sub-culture we recognized immediately two predominant things that interested them: basketball and hip hop music. We knew that we had the facilities and guys who could connect with these young men through basketball. We said, “This is out there but what might really be cool is a hip hop service of some kind with open gym afterwards…” The young men: They were 19-29 year old young men who play basketball nearly every single day, wear baggy clothes strategically placed to show off inked skin, work (or don’t work) part time to support various addictions, go from relationship to relationship sometimes producing children, and are heavily influenced regardless of race by hip hop music. These men, we recognized, may be directionless…

Continue Reading

Worshiping Jesus, Jr.

The Acts 29 blog (Acts 29 is a church planting network of which I am a part), posted this summary of American Christianity from Ray Ortlund, Jr. Ortlund describes our American idolatry, which not the real Jesus, but a shallow phony. Our local deity is not Jesus. He goes by the name Jesus. But in reality, our local deity is Jesus Jr. Our little Jesus is popular because he is useful. He makes us feel better while conveniently fitting into the margins of our busy lives. But he is not terrifying or compelling or thrilling. When we hear the gospel of Jesus Jr., our casual response is “Yeah, that’s what I believe.” Jesus Jr. does not confront us, surprise us, stun us. He looks down on us with a benign, all-approving grin. He tells us how wonderful we really are, how entitled we really are, how wounded we really are,…

Continue Reading