Give yourself ten seconds to answer this question: do you know anyone who started out well in Christian ministry but who has subsequently quit or moved on? That was the easy one. Now give yourself thirty seconds to answer the next one: how many more can you think of? When Paul write to Timothy and
The fatal slip happens so easily. We move from loving ministry because we love the Lord Jesus, to thinking that the Lord Jesus loves us because we love ministry, his people, his church. And before you know it, we are in the forsaken place where we teach grace to others, but preach and practice works
I recently gave a talk on managing your time for gospel ends, and being well organised. I was quite struck by the high proportion of people even in their twenties who were not aware of the brilliant free software that is able to help us stay on top of things in a fast paced world.
So, I’m sitting in a relaxed and friendly setting, just watching the people engage with each other. Any guesses? They’re obviously at home. Lots of first name terms, and smiles. Hugs and handshakes too. Mostly young, but not all. Kids obviously welcome. The energy level is quite high. And they are inclusive – racially, and
One of my heroes is Chuck Yeager, the first man to break the sound barrier. But it’s not because he was the first, or the fastest, that makes him my hero. It’s what he chose to do to make that happen that makes him a parable of leadership. Many other people had tried before him,
Good question. True question. A small church with around twenty members is in a depressed part of town. Money is tight all round – the pastor is paid for by a generous denomination, weekly giving is around £25, and they have around £1000 in the bank. Most of the members are not tax payers. Years
It sounds so wrong when they say it but the flight attendants are right – if you’re travelling with children and the oxygen masks drop down, put your own on before fitting your kids’. Your instinct will be to help them, but if you conk out first, the kids can’t help you. And you can
An artist in a church decided that one way she could use her gifts was to design cards, especially ‘Thank you’ cards, for people to express their appreciation for each other. I didn’t buy any – partly because they were a bit pricey, but mostly because I thought they were a bit too over-the-top in
The business guru Peter Drucker says that the single most important characteristic of effectiveness is that we know where our time is spent. And ministry being ministry, that means a whole range of duties and tasks – including the unexpected. Into an already full week, God sends a funeral, a pile of urgent admin from
What are we here for? What is the purpose of anything and everything we do? If we’ve been paying any attention to John Piper then you’ll know the answer off the top of your head: we bring God glory. Here’s how 1 Peter puts it, and notice the two purposes: But you are a chosen
Once upon a time, a man was invited to be the minister of a large, and orthodox church. They wanted someone with traditional reformed views, they said, who would preach and teach well. He was very enthusiastic. What he discovered was that by Reformed they meant, that they loved the words and ambience of the
Next year will see a second “Passion for Life”, as evangelical churches across the UK co-ordinate their evangelism for one intense week. If youd like to find out more, and perhaps get your church involved in the events, there’s a promotional vimeo clip here (requires Flash). And 10ofthose.com is already offering the training DVDs for small groups.
The gospel is all about growth. Jesus’ kingdom will be one over every tribe, nation and language. The earth will be filled with his glory as the oceans cover the sea. He told parables about growing plants, frothing yeast, bursting wineskins, full harvests – did he tell any about decline? That means the gospel grows
I was sure the speed limit was forty, but the police were equally sure it was thirty, and so I found myself on a Speed Awareness Course, finding out about the dangers of speeding, and tips for driving safely. One of which was to select the right gear by listening to the engine. Choose the
Thanks for stopping my my blog since August – I’ve enjoyed starting it up. The top three posts for the year were: Go away, said the welcome team What prayer and ministry of the Word can never do It’s not a sin Actually that’s a lie – the top post was the free e-book version
Apparently we live in a VUCA time. VUCA was an acronym developed by the military to summarise contexts like Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Everywhere is in a state of permanent change, and always has been, but VUCA describes something particular: Volatile. Issues can flare up suddenly, with no warning signs. Change has
A friend just described two churches to me, and I didn’t expect what he told me. One is a church planted about nine years ago, established and growing solidly – around 100 people on a Sunday. The other is enormous, one of London’s largest, with an international congregation and reputation, and a leader you’ve probably
So you wrap all the presents, put then in the car and head off for Christmas with the relatives – but on the journey the labels fall off. Ever tried to play ‘Guess the Gift’ as you try to put the right label back? Like me, you’ve probably put the wrong one back on. Which
A new S curve doesn’t cause failure. But it seems to. Think through the initial phases of a new curve as we’ve seen them: the hidden hard yards, and then the resultant growth. Those hidden hard yards take time, and money, and prayer, and committed people away from the original curve. And for quite some
Obviously, sometimes it’s necessary to bust through the internal shape of an S curve and defy its inherent decline. We need to do something new – start a new service or ministry, or even add someone to the staff. The question is, when is the right time? Can you do it too early? Of course.