9 signs that church leaders aren’t really leading (Chuck Lawless): Many churches have great leaders. Some churches, though, have people who seek to lead but don’t really get there. That is, some church leadership is not really leadership. Here are some signs I’ve observed what that appears to be happening. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
Why preaching? (Jason K. Allen): It is easy to see that the modern pastor wears many hats. Yet, within the context of the local church, I believe preaching is the pastor’s preeminent responsibility. Preaching is his indispensable task, his most paramount duty, and his most consequential and urgent job assignment. For the pastor, preaching is priority number one. What is more, it is not just that the pastor must preach, but that he must preach the Word. This is best accomplished through biblical exposition. But, before we get there, we must ask the important question: “Why preaching?” Read more at For the Church.
How should you listen to a sermon? (Geoffrey Kirkland): It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives. Read more at Vassal of the King.
7 tips on sermon delivery (Chuck Lawless): Some good thoughts from an experienced preacher at ChuckLawless.com.
EVANGELISM / OUTREACH
Christians, it’s time to go on the offensive (Rebecca McLaughlin): When it comes to giving reasons for our faith, we Christians are playing far too defensive a game. We’ve believed that Christianity is declining. It isn’t. We’ve assumed Christianity can’t stand up in the university. It can. Too many of us think Christianity is threatened by diversity. It never has been. And too few of us think Christian sexual ethics are sustainable in the modern world. They are. On these and many other fronts, we have conceded far more ground to secularism than it deserves. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
Pastor, be what you want to see (Jared C. Wilson): A plurality of elders can be an example to the congregation of unity of mind and heart despite differences. Pastors are not appointed to a church primarily to lead in the instruction of skills and the dissemination of information; they are appointed to a church primarily to lead in Christ-following. Read more at For the Church.
10 pastoral words of wisdom I’d share with young people (Chuck Lawless): I love young people. They keep me young, and they challenge me to be relevant in all I do. As a pastor, though, here are some things I’d like to say to them if I had the opportunity. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
CHURCH / MINISTRY
The Goldilocks principle and church size (Joe Carter): There is something peculiar about the way we focus on numbers within the church. For instance, if we say a church has “grown” or “declined,” the automatic assumption is that the congregation has gained or lost members or attenders. While there is nothing inherently wrong in using the terms in this way, it reflects our numeric bias. There is no reason, for example, that terms like growth and decline wouldn’t be used as qualitative (e.g., changes in discipleship) rather than quantitative descriptors. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
6 marks of a maturing church (Philip Nation): In Acts 9, we read the story of Saul’s conversion and beginnings of his ministry. It was a rocky start as the church was suspicious of his trustworthiness. But after the start of his public ministry, the church accepted him and began to saw additional growth because of what God was doing through Saul. In the 31st verse of the chapter, a description is made of how the church was beginning to mature and minister in a hostile culture. I find that there are six marks in this single verse. Read more at BibleStudyTools.com.
Pastors, why do you want a big church? (Graham Heslop): Does that strike you as a strange question? Of course we want big churches because that will mean more people know and love the Lord Jesus Christ. That may be true, but not in all cases. Let us not forget Jesus’ warning that Satan can grow the church or fall into that trap that equates attendance with faith. I have written other posts exploring whether pastors should be passionate about numerical growth, and I have offered a few cautions about the role of metrics in ministry. In this post I hope to explore the pastor’s desire for a big church. This desire is surely in many cases a healthy and prayerful longing for evangelism and conversions. However I think that we are deceiving ourselves if we deny that mixed motives may lie behind it. Pastors are, after all, sinful, limited and self-seeking human beings. It is this darker side of the pursuit for big ministries that I hope to address below. Read more at Rekindle.
11 advantages of having 50 churches of 100 instead of 1 church of 5,000 (Karl Vaters): Big churches are great. But they’re very rare. And they’re not the only way to see the kingdom of God move forward. After all, if 5,000 people come to Christ, why do we care if they attend one big healthy church of 5,000, or 50 small healthy churches of 100? Or even 100 healthy churches of 50?I know there are church planting organizations that do this. But if your group, denomination or missions organization hasn’t caught this as part of their vision, I encourage you to think about it seriously. If we made this shift in strategy, here are a few positive changes we might see. Read more at Christianity Today.
Why I attend church (Thom Rainer): In a culture that minimizes commitment and maximizes self-indulgence, I have learned the precious gift of church attendance or, more specifically, the church gathered. I do not see church attendance as a burden or legalistic commitment. I view it as joy—a place where I can give and serve, a place where I can focus more on others rather than myself. I could name many, but here are ten reasons I attend church. Read more at ThomRainer.com.