Ever since the church growth movement highlighted that we need Celebrations, Congregations and Cells, and the historians pointed out that revivals in the church frequently accompany the rediscovery of small groups, churches have become used to having small group bible studies as part of their life. Here’s a secret: put pastors on a platform, and
Evangelicals, of all people, are thought to be grace-less and hard, where the people who have gone soft or even abandoned the doctrine of ‘grace alone’ are thought to be loving, kind and accepting.
Several times now I have sat with a group of leaders from a church as they have tried to thrash out, from the basics, what their church was about. Fundamentally. Sometimes it was driven by gospel passion, or the vision of a new leader. Once, frankly, it was driven by despair. It was a church
‘Pastor’ – it is an odd word that needs first translating as ‘shepherd’, and then explaining and clarifying every time we use it. But it has stood the test of time as one of the fundamental metaphors of Christian ministry. No other word seems to capture the idea of gentle leadership, modelled on Jesus. But