Pastoral covetousness (Darryl Dash): Every week I see images of full churches and read about how God is moving in churches across the world. I see pictures of baptisms and crowds. I also hear the podcasts. I can’t possibly keep up with the best of the preaching out there. It’s good when I can rejoice in how God is using others. It’s dangerous if I begin to envy the ministries of others. Read more at Dashhouse.
Vulnerability in ministry (Scott Sauls): A short video from a pastor who has experienced discouragement and depression in ministry. Watch on The Gospel Coalition channel on YouTube.
5 things you can’t rush in a church (Aaron Earls): Our desire for immediate results from technology bleeds into our expectations of other humans. Instead of seeing them as people created in the image of God, we treat them as cogs in the wheel of progress and production. But God is not a God in a hurry. After creating the world and bringing humanity into existence, He took a day off and rested…We cannot rush His purposes, but here are five parts of church life we are frequently tempted to speed up. Read more at Facts & Trends.
Some things to consider when you consider your calling (David Qaoud): Considering your calling is not always easy. It’s not black and white or formulaic. Someone else’s calling is not your calling, and the means by which that other person discovered his or her calling won’t be the same for you. We’re all different. But some sort of practical guidelines can help you discern where to move forward with a calling or where to end it. Read more at Gospel Relevance.
Lord, help me see their destiny: Four prayers for personal evangelism (Garrett Kell): Saving sinners is God’s delight, and it should be ours as well. But too often, we are fearful, shortsighted, and unmoved by the fact that billions of people are on their way to an eternal hell. We need God’s intervention to stir zeal in our hearts for evangelism. What follows are four simple prayers that ask God to help us join him in saving the lost. Read more at Desiring God.
What is appropriate to wear in church? 2 reasons it doesn’t matter and 3 guidelines (Karl Vaters): Wear what helps you think more about Jesus and less about yourself – and what will help others do the same. Read more at Christianity Today.
10 church growth strategies that cost zero dollars (Carey Nieuwhof): Vision always precedes resources. If you’re waiting for people and money to show up so you can get on with your mission, you’ll wait forever. So how do you start growing now, even with zero dollars? Here are 10 ways. Read more at CareyNieuwhof.com.
Cracks begin at the bottom (Tim Challies): Great ruptures in the church often begin with just one member gossiping about another or just two quarreling members who have no desire to pursue reconciliation. Great division often begins with a clique that refuses to integrate with the rest of the congregation or with a small group of people who make a disputable matter into a matter of spiritual life and death. Sometimes it’s one person who asks questions meant to cause others to doubt the good intentions of the pastors. The greatest rifts can have their genesis in even the most innocuous words or actions. Read more at Challies.
How to leave a church (Eric Davis): We all have had the heartache of people we have poured our lives into leave the church. This link provides some good counsel for those who are considering leaving your church. Read more at The Cripplegate.
8 reasons churches need to teach budgeting (Chuck Lawless): When churches plan their discipleship strategy, too few churches include basic budgeting in their curriculum. Perhaps they assume that most people know how to budget, or maybe they don’t have anyone prepared to teach a budgeting lesson. No matter what the reason for this omission, churches need to teach budgeting. Here’s why. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
How to run a good meeting and why it matters more than you think (Michael J. Kruger): What’s the most important skill you need to be successful in ministry? Knowing how to run a good meeting. OK, that’s not really true. Many other things matter more (a lot more!). But, running a good meeting still matters. And more than you think. Read more at MichaelJKruger.com.
Leading them well (Brian Cosby): Here are a few very practical principles of leading and managing church staff that will help you build up the body of Christ in both maturity and unity. Read more at The Christward Collective.
Is pornography use ever grounds for a divorce? (Thomas R. Schreiner): It is precisely here that we need wisdom since God is giving us a transformed mind (Rom. 12:2), so that we can discern what is pleasing to the Lord (Eph. 5:10). Wisdom means that we are not quick to recommend divorce since Jesus teaches us that the marriage between one man and one woman is a life-long covenant. Divorce is always a last resort, and thus we should not immediately commend divorce because a person engages in pornography, especially if the use is singular or even occasional. We must immediately say, from the perspective of wisdom, that any use of pornography is egregious and heinous; there are no excuses for looking at pornography. At the same time, we don’t want to say that any use of pornography justifies divorce. Read more at 9Marks.
7 markers of strong worship (Chuck Lawless): I preach in a lot of churches. Sometimes the portion of worship prior to the sermon is superb, and sometimes it’s not so good. I admit that my assessment is entirely subjective, but here’s what makes the worship so strong for me that I can’t wait to preach. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
15 benefits of having children in the worship service (Geoffrey R. Kirkland): What are some benefits to having the children in the entire worship service? What can be gained? Why do I have this conviction? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are 15 reasons why I believe kids in the worship service is a wise decision. Read more at Vassal of the King.
Preaching a church toward mission (Jared C. Wilson): How do we preach toward good evangelistic engagement? If, as many younger evangelicals of the gospel-centered persuasion believe, we aren’t to turn our Sunday service into a seeker-targeted evangelistic event, in what sense might the sermon time fuel the missional impulse in our churches to reach and serve the lost? Here are some practical ways to serve this end. Read more at For the Church.
Preacher, study the text—but also study your people (Sean DeMars): It’s one thing to exegete the text; it’s another thing to exegete the people. A preacher who studies the text but not his people is missing out on clearer application and more nuanced communication. Read more at 9 Marks.
7 reasons sermon illustrations matter (Chuck Lawless): I’m a firm believer that the best preaching exposits the Word of God clearly. The Word of God changes lives, and it’s our responsibility to teach that Word well. Part of that work, in my judgment, is also to illustrate the Word as we expound it. Here’s why. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
Suffering / Trials
How God changes our “Why me?” questions in suffering (Justin Taylor): Some excellent insight on how suffering can change our questions to being God-focused. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
What a gospel-centered prayer looks like (Don Carson): In Philippians 1:4, Paul insists that whenever he prays for the Philippians, he does so with joy and thanksgiving. He goes on to give us the content of his prayers for them. Paul’s petitions reflect the priorities of the gospel. Observe three features of this prayer. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
How to pray about your life (Peter Adam): We need to learn to embrace God’s less-welcome gifts, such as discouragements, frustrations, suffering, sickness, and opposition. Here are some prayers to pray. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.