From June 1st I’m going to be running a giveaway for copies of Thom Rainer’s new book, ‘Who Moved My Pulpit? Leading Change in the Church’. Stay tuned for more details! You can download a sample chapter from this post.
There is a stubbornness in the way the Bible refuses to glamorise the Christian life. We shall never escape the reality of conforming to Jesus’ death, until we ourselves die.
One weakness in much preaching today is that it is quite individually applied, and in a way that can be transplanted from one church to another without too much difficulty. It is not focussed enough on a particular congregation, and therefore lacks the force to move that church to better obedience.
In Paul’s mind the potential elder must show a double gifting from Romans 12: an ability to teach must be partnered to an ability to lead.
Churches, like any human organisation, cannot operate long-term as shapeless, improvised groupings. And even though an occasional New Testament scholar will suggest that the first few decades of the church had an exciting, free-form style, which only much later hardened into a hierarchy, when we turn to the New Testament, we can see that the experience of the very first Christians was much more complex.
Do you have a passion to see the lost found, and the found built up? Do you have a desire to see the gospel understood, churches planted, men and women converted, children growing in their faith, and for you to be playing a part in that for the rest of your life? Do you treasure your time in God’s Word, and love to see it opened among his people so they are dazzled by his wonder? Then you’ve identified what he means to aspire and desire this noble task.
What is the alternative to self-centred, rebellious ambition? Is there a way of rewriting ambition, so that it can appear in a God-centred, passionate, obedient way?
That’s what Diotrephes heard – that he would be first, that he would be like God. That he would rule the church, that he would be its saviour, that he would be its sole source of truth, that he would be the exclusive centre of its relationships, and that he would be worshipped.
Ambition is a strange, wonderful, glittering but dangerous characteristic for any Christian leader. With it, we can achieve amazing and faithful gains for the kingdom; without it, we are passive, workshy, and go with the flow. But with it we can also domineer, control and make ourselves the enemy of a grace-filled gospel. The New Testament gives us clear examples of the best and worst kinds of ambition.
It’s a biblical truth that the ten emails in your inbox this morning will each require you to focus more than the ten emails you had this time last year. The days of a quick ‘yup’ email decrease. The costs of getting the reply wrong, rise.
Moses first of all points us to Christ, and then allows us to learn a vital lesson: Leadership decisions are the hard ones, because the easy ones have already been dealt with. The reason that issue is sitting on your desk is because, if anyone else could have cracked it, they would have done.
A church I know has just stopped running its mums and toddler group. It’s stopped bumps and babies. It’s stopped – well, it’s stopped doing everything except bible studies. The argument is that it’s too easy for us to be distracted from doing what we ought to be doing by what is secondary, and attractive,
I went to a strong, hearty conference recently, full of talk about gospel work and initiatives, and the theme was ‘standing shoulder to shoulder.’ And I thought then, as I still think, that that’s all very well, but it’s still very independent. The model is that strong (i.e. larger) churches can help weaker (i.e. smaller)
Our church leadership is going through the process of developing a plan for the next five years, and setting some (we hope) Christ-honouring and ambitious goals for that period. We are forming task groups, and working together to produce something for this autumn. I was trying to explain it to someone this morning, and I
I can’t remember when I first heard the idea that Christian ministry is a relay race, but it’s a powerful metaphor: each generation passes the baton on to the next, and here we sit at the end of a line of faithful witnesses, passing it on yet again. It’s powerful – but I’m increasingly convinced
We all get stuck trying to think creatively and clearly about a church or ministry. Imagining new stuff is hard, improving old stuff a bit easier, but staying in a rut is the default option. One exercise I use is called ‘The Rule of 10’, and it’s dead simple and really helpful. Just draw three
This was a hard one. I like goals – clear and purposeful, with a deadline, and milestones on the way. A plan without a date is a wish – you know the kind of thing. I’ve used them for years – I mean, I’m no Michael Hyatt or John Maxwell, but I do think good
The first task I had to do was unexpectedly hard. I had to clear my diary. Once the penny dropped about how much of 2015 was going to be unavailable for me to do anything much (or, as it turned out, anything at all), I had to go through the year and let people down.
My blog has been relatively quiet lately, but I intend to pick up the pace a bit because I have a new edge. Up till now I’ve had a few reliable reasons to write. When I was a lecturer training pastors, there were frequent stimulating questions and conversations; as I moved back into church leadership
Many of us were deeply influenced for Christ by the churches we went to while we were at university. Those of us who are graduates probably have fond memories of packed churches, open bibles and full notebooks. And it tugs at our hearts strings when we think of the Sundays we normally face. Now, we