'Church Life' Tagged Posts

'Church Life' Tagged Posts

Why do Some Pastors Deliberately Avoid Teaching Doctrine?

I have been involved in leading churches for four decades, with an emphasis on church planting in the last few years. I’ve also visited and addressed hundreds of churches around the world and have had the privilege of meeting thousands of Christian leaders. Through this time I’ve watched an unintentional doctrinal imprecision on the part of many pastors become intentional. In other words, I have witnessed a new “conventional wisdom” emerge. Simply stated it is the “wisdom” of attempting to…

Discouraged Pastors

There are plenty of pastors with generous smiles on their faces each Sunday who, deep down, are very disheartened. Pastoring a church is hard work. For one thing, it is usually thankless. I know there are some churches that seem to remember their pastors with such fanfare, but most do not ever esteem them. They don’t work for just the members ultimately, so they can get over it, but never hearing those words, “Thanks for what you do, pastor,” is…

Childhood Conversion

A woman came to humorist Will Rogers, saying, “I struggle with this problem. Every time I look at myself in the mirror, I’m proud.” He said, “Ma’am, that’s not pride, that’s a mistake!” Now I know that you are proud of your children, but you have never been as proud of a child as a woman I met who claimed that her five year old daughter had never sinned! She was serious. I realize that this woman was not doctrinally…

The Integrity of the Local Church

The following is a portion of a conference message presented to the Midwest Southern Baptist Founders Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, March 14, 2001 [revised 2022]. I have chosen chapter 5 of 1 Corinthians to help us consider the integrity of the New Testament Church. This is a short chapter with only 13 verses out of which I wish to uncover five observations. Before I read this passage let me tell you a story that took place in 1837. A protracted…

An Intimate Hour with God

The Lord invites us to know Him better. What a privilege! If the joy of heaven is in knowing the Lord’s presence without any sin to hinder us, surely seeking His presence now must be the greatest possible pursuit. Do you feel your need to pray? A person who has no need to pray cannot be living by faith. Prayerless-ness says, “I am sufficient in myself for everything required of me.” But is that so? And do you not grieve…

Southern Baptists, an Unregenerate Denomination

“How are you doing?” “Pretty well, under the circumstances.” “What are the circumstances?” “Well, I have a very effective arm. It moves with quite a bit of animation. But then I have my bad leg.” “What’s wrong with it?” “I guess it’s paralyzed. At least it doesn’t do much except twitch once a week or so. But that’s nothing compared with the rest of me.” “What’s the problem? “From all appearances, the rest is dead. At least it stinks and…

Starting Churches with No Money

I don’t want to presume that I know how you ought to start a church, but I’m increasingly less than satisfied with the kind of approach to church starting that takes loads of start-up money. Often U.S. church planters spend a year or two raising funds for the launch of their new church. Here are the reasons I think this is often (though not always) unwise. I don’t want to labor to prove my points, as if there is no…

Is Baptism a Requirement for Church Membership?

In our view, baptism and membership in a local church are inseparable, the former necessarily preceding the latter. While baptism is never explicitly said to be a prerequisite for church membership, the following biblical factors lead to that conclusion: Baptism is commanded of every believer.Baptism is an act of obedience, not only on the part of the individual Christian, but on the part of those who are commanded to baptize new disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Disciples who will not submit to…

Christ’s Headship in the Church: The Neglected First Principle of Decision-making

I may seem naïve and overly simplistic when I say that Christ is the Head of the church and that this one fact, properly understood, will do more to clear up confusion over decision-making in the church than any other consideration. From this truth we are able to deduce that elders and members have one goal in decision-making—to find out what the Head of the church wills for His church. I don’t think most church leaders think this way. Starting…

The Rural Church Dilemma

Some time ago I drove to several small towns in rural Arkansas with my 89 year old father and my siblings, tracking the steps of the ministry of both my dad and his father. The experience was memorable. We visited small towns that even Arkansans might not recognize today: Cotter, Caledonia, Hagersville, Greenwood, LaVaca—twelve in all. These were the places where my father, and his father, labored for Christ eighty and ninety years ago. Much has changed in the landscape…

When Ball Becomes Baal

It’s rare to see kids playing sports in the neighborhood anymore. We’re now organized and “professionalized”—including uniforms, state-of-the-art facilities, endless trips to the field, competitive coaches, equally competitive parents, and the after-season tournaments designed to give parents “bleacher bottom.” In addition, you’ve got to pay to play—and when you’ve paid that much, you’ll be sure to play. It is also fun, and it can be instructive. I love to watch my kids play sports. In fact, they need to play—some.…

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…