Posts by Steve Burchett

Posts by Steve Burchett

Thinking Biblically and Strategically About Inter-Church Relationships

I am focused in this article on “inter-church” relationships, not “intra-church” relationships. There is a significant difference. An online dictionary (www.dictionary.com) gives this information: “Inter– is a common prefix that means between or among groups,” whereas, “intra– is a prefix which means within or inside one group.” So the content to follow is not about relationships within a single church (intra-), but relationships between multiple churches (inter-).  My church is part of a fellowship of churches that meets annually for…

Seven Ways to Get Smart About Kids’ Toys This Christmas

If you have plastic up to your gills, or if you want to be more frugal about gifts, or even if you enjoy using what God has given you in a redeeming way, you may appreciate these ideas this Christmas: Gather up as many bags of used toys as possible to put into circulation. Relatives or a church friend might need some of your toys for their younger children. Local organizations like foster care associations, rescue missions, or pregnancy resource…

Ten Reasons Why Nursing Homes Are Great Places to Minister

While recently reflecting upon Jesus’ compassion toward those who were “distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36), I determined to find similarly downcast people in my neighborhood so that I might serve them and tell them about Christ. I now find myself regularly in a nursing home, and the ministry opportunities abound. Perhaps you might consider ministering in a nursing home. Maybe there are others in your church who would enjoy such an outreach. I’ve compiled ten…

Ten Tips for Leading Camp (or Conference, or Retreat) “Reflection” Times

You have some young people assigned to you at camp. An informal gathering for reflection is on the schedule and you are in charge. You’re a little nervous about doing this right. What can you consider doing to give room for the Spirit of God to work in their lives?  Below are suggestions that come out of my experience over years of small group leadership. In fact, they were used recently at a camp each evening during a 45 minute…

The Role of Timothy and Titus: Apostolic Representatives, Not Pastors

I sometimes hear respected Bible teachers refer to Timothy as the pastor of the church in Ephesus. One of my favorite expositors also refers to Titus as the pastor on the island of Crete. But were Timothy and Titus really pastors? Pastor Titus? Titus is never mentioned in Acts, but his name is found often in Paul’s letters. After Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment (at the end of Acts, around A.D. 62), he ministered with Titus on…

The Head of the Church Knows Best: Benefits of Having a Team of Elders

In the first church I served as a pastor, I was the only elder. I was in that position for nearly five years.  Since 2007, I’ve served as one elder on a team of elders. In the 1990s, I became convinced biblically that this is God’s design for each local church — to be led by multiple qualified elders (cf. Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). I’ll not argue for that here. I simply want to list some of the benefits of…

Stop Talking So Much…And Other Tips for Leading a Small Group Bible Study

I meet with a small group of men once a week early in the morning primarily to study the Bible. We read and dialogue about a portion of Scripture. Typically, we walk through one Bible book at a time, examining a section each week. Though I am the leader, I almost never prepare for this meeting. I am a firm believer in preparation; it’s just that this meeting is different. I arrive ready to open our Bibles, to read the…

On Your Knees: Missions Work Thousands of Miles Away

A man once spent twenty minutes and twenty seconds of his life one day looking at two different emails. The first email was from a local store that shared all of its weekly deals. He studied it in detail, not only hoping to find a great offer, but also to see what was new in the world of technology. He took 20 minutes to do this, although he thought often throughout the rest of the day about what he discovered. The…

Thirsty Church Leaders in Hosanna, Ethiopia

We are back in Addis Ababa, grateful for a safe arrival to the big city. Before we left Hosanna today, I was thinking about Paul’s mission to the Gentiles as he describes it in Ephesians 3. A phrase in verse 8 was especially meaningful: “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” It’s that phrase “the unsearchable riches of Christ” that struck…

What happened at Gohatsion, Ethiopia?

Thank you for praying for our first weekend of ministry in Gohatsion. We are tired, yet happy to be back in Addis Ababa for a night of rest. However, we hit the road again tomorrow for a ministry trip to Hosanna. Usually our ministry trips are spread out, but not this time! We’ll be back in Addis Thursday night. Here are some random happenings from the past few days: We traveled the 186 kilometers to Gohatsion and back to Addis…

We Thought We Were Going to Die on the Way to Goha Tsion

We never should have been passing that big truck. Our driver knows that, now. We were traveling north of Addis Ababa, on an incline, and a sharp right curve was ahead. As we approached the curve, our driver moved out into the passing lane (far too common in Ethiopia). Selamab and I were so deep in conversation that we barely noticed, though I recall mumbling, “Hold on, I hope we’re okay on this curve”—or something like that. I should have been yelling,…

Unexpected Occurrences in Mehal Meda

“For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from His storehouses.” (Psalm 135:5-7) Selamab and I thought we (along with Betty and Jonathan) would be leaving America on Tuesday, but…