'Church Life' Tagged Posts (Page 2)

'Church Life' Tagged Posts (Page 2)

The Gospel and Divine Visitation—An Indivisible Union

It was spring in 1630. A few ladies were traveling through the Scottish countryside near Shotts when their carriage broke down. Thankfully the minister of the Kirk of Shotts, John Home, was able to assist them in their predicament. Struck with the poor condition of his manse, these wealthy Christian ladies determined to build another one for this kind man. Naturally, the grateful Home asked if he could do anything in exchange for their generosity. The ladies asked if they…

Why Churches Lose Members

A church might lose members because its leaders are burdened with a new direction the people are unwilling to travel. Or, it might lose members because of natural calamities or factory closings. Perhaps the demographics of the community have changed, such as in rural areas where land that once used to be teeming with large families is now controlled by farming conglomerates. But often a church will lose members for less noble reasons. Some people will tell you to just…

How Inclusive Should the Local Church Be?

I once attended a Methodist church Bible study in another city. In the study I was verbally accosted in the class by the husband of the teacher for some things that I said. To my knowledge, I was only saying what any true believer ought to say, but he took exception. After the class we talked further about the different way we looked at the issue. At one point I asked him about an even more foundational matter: Do you…

Above Reproach — But What About the Kids?

The wise Apostle Paul insists that overseers be above reproach. By overseers he means those who not only are called by that title, but also that of pastor or elder. These words are used for the same person. That person, that overseer, that pastor, that elder, MUST be above reproach. Between Paul’s words — “IF ANYONE IS ABOVE REPROACH” — and “AN OVERSEER, AS GOD’S STEWARD, MUST BE ABOVE REPROACH,” he brings the family into our perview. See what I…

Getting John 1:12 Right: Should You Invite Jesus Into Your Heart?

Is it useful to critique any person’s or ministry’s method of evangelism? For one thing, there are not enough people calling on others to follow Christ. Should I attempt to cripple anyone’s efforts in the slightest way, even for the few who might listen to me? I hope I will not. I would rather think that I’m improving our evangelism. And it does need improving. The apparent results of the method of evangelistic appeal built upon the verse in question…

Closing With Christ

When modern evangelical churches seek to bring the unregenerate to Christ (and they should do so with passion), they often fall prey to a formula which produces disappointing results. The pattern runs something like this: Extending a public altar call Praying “the sinner’s prayer” Giving immediate verbal assurance that one is in Christ on the basis of the sinner’s sincerity and the accuracy of the wording of the prayer Immediate, or near immediate, public announcement that this person is now…

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…

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…

Rebuilding Our Churches with Bible Reading

I’m no prophet, but I believe we may soon see a swelling interest in reading the Bible both together & alone that could rebuild our faltering churches, and improve the good ones. My information is purely anecdotal but substantial. I’m certainly not the only one seeing this tremendous need and trying to do something about it. Perhaps God will use each of us who care about this to repair the crumbling base in these slanderous, corrupt and morally compromised days.…

Tolerance Trouble

The Corinthian church boasted about its tolerance of the incestuous man who was permitted to retain membership and acceptance within the Corinthian church. They were congratulating themselves for such open-mindedness when they should have been weeping. Their tolerance was beyond even what Roman law allowed. “We should note that under Roman law both this man and his stepmother would be sentenced to exile on an island, his possessions would be confiscated, and his social status would be repealed.” (Schnabel: Paul…

Less Lecture, More Learning: Ideas for a Better Sunday School Hour

My wife and I recently spoke with a woman from a church in town. “I don’t have any idea how to study the Bible,” she complained. “It’s so difficult to understand.” What’s worse, she concluded by saying, “So I don’t really read the Bible much.” I’m fairly familiar with this church and know it to be one that cares about the Bible. I also know for a fact that, for the last three years, this woman has been sitting in…

Christians and No Work Sundays

Believers haven’t always had Sundays free from work. Though our culture is changing in this regard, it still is largely expected that most of our members will be exempt from Sunday work to give attention to our worship. The earliest Christians did not have such a privilege. Though surely some believed that it should be so prior to this, it appears that “work free Sundays” were imposed upon the Roman society through an A.D. 321 decree of the Roman Emperor…