Wednesday, August 31, 2016

On the Net: "Am I Called To Be A Church Planter?" and Much More

The Mission Field
Am I Called To Be A Church Planter?

Regardless of if we are called specifically to be church planters, all of us are called to be ABOUT church planting. Read More

How to Stay Healthy While Pastoring an Unhealthy Church

Hurting churches hurt people. Including pastors who try to help them. Here are 9 principles to help you stay strong. Read More

The Complementarian Women Behind the Trinity Tussle

For complementarian women, the debate was more than abstract. Read More

What Does “Give Us this Day Our Daily Bread” Mean?

This petition of the Lord’s Prayer, then, teaches us to come to God in a spirit of humble dependence, asking Him to provide what we need and to sustain us from day to day. We are not given license to ask for great riches, but we are encouraged to make our needs known to Him, trusting that He will provide. Read More

5 Characteristics of an Antiquated Leader

Are you becoming antique? Read More

3 Keys to a Compelling Leadership Culture

“When others say your standards are too high, that’s when they are just high enough.” Read More

3 Essentials for Leadership Development

Churches who consistently develop and deploy leaders have a strong conviction to develop leaders, a healthy culture for leadership development, and helpful constructs to systematically and intentionally build leaders. Read More

Fifteen Reasons Why Your Pastor Should Not Visit Much

Thom Rainer gives 15 reasons why the pastor should not be the chief visitor in the church. Read More

10 Public Speaking Tips from Charles Spurgeon

What was Spurgeon’s secret? How did the “Prince of Preachers” master the art of public speaking? Here are ten tips from Spurgeon’s lecture “On the Voice” (Lectures to My Students 11:117-135). Read More

Preacher’s Toolkit: What Do I Say at a Funeral for a Person I Didn’t Know?

How do you approach it? Here are five things I’ve learned from conducting such funerals. Read More

How Do You Pray in Public, Without Performing?

Christian leaders are to lead their people in prayer publicly out loud, not just in a closet. And everyone who prays in public, whether in a group of six or six hundred or six thousand must face the question of selfish motivation. Read More

Why Church Leaders Need to Invest in Collegiate Ministry

I don’t know the location of your church, but I suspect you have a college or university within driving distance of your church. You might have college students in your church every week. I've previously written about why churches must reach college students, but I’m writing this post to challenge church leaders specifically to intentionally invest in them. If you take that step, here’s what you will bring to your church. Read More

Quarter of US teens read the Bible at least 4 times a week

A quarter of American teenagers read the Bible four or more times a week, according to new research which also shows that 86 per cent of the age-group regard the Bible as sacred literature. Read More

Teens Read Bible More During the School Year

The latest study from Barna also shows how many teens think the Bible offers hope, and whether their house rules are influenced by Scripture. Read More

Minnesota Churches Provide Food-Filled Backpacks for Kids in Need

Churches partner to provide backpacks full of food for children in need to take home each weekend during the school year. Read More

What Can the Trinity Teach Us About Evangelism?

“Trust is crucial. If we’re going to share our faith with integrity, we have to stand on a foundation of trust.” Read More
Also see: BLESS: A 5-Step Path to Relational Evangelism
Russell Moore warns politics has become a religion for evangelicals

Politics has become a religion and a source of identity to evangelicals, Russell Moore lamented over the weekend, as he warned that the witness of evangelicalism was at risk. Read More

Leading conservative Anglican says Church of England must split to stop 'contagious' gay marriage

A prominent conservative Anglican group has issued an unprecedented call for the Church of England to split over the issue of gay marriage. Read More

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

On the Net: "8 Findings about Churches Needing Revitalization" and More

The Mission Field
8 Findings about Churches Needing Revitalization

It’s no secret that many churches—if not the majority—in North America need revitalization. Here are some summary findings of churches I have worked with and studied over the past twenty years. Read More

6 Terrible Ways to Recruit Volunteers

Thom Rainer: “How you recruit ministry volunteers will make an incredible difference, for good or bad, in your church.” Read More

Why You Should Not Wear a Crucifix

J.I. Packer once addressed the issue of the crucifix, and addressed it well. Read More

10 Things You Should Know about Male Headship

In the on-going dialogue (debate!) between complementarians and egalitarians, there is considerable confusion about the meaning of male headship. So today we look at 10 things we should know about headship. Read More

Recovery After Disaster: Lessons From Katrina For Today

It's been 11 years since Hurricane Katrina. And there is still much we can learn from that disaster. Read More

3 Ways to Ensure Your Message Is Not Heard

The most important characteristic in effective communication and effective leadership is credibility. Incredible passion cannot overcome a lack of credibility. Sound logic, as important as it is, will not compensate for a lack of credibility. Just as people are unable to follow a leader they cannot believe or trust, a message will not be heard when it is delivered by someone who lacks credibility. Here are three ways communicators lose credibility. Read More

Keys to Multi-Generational Worship Ministry [Podcast]

Mike Harland joins Thom Rainer and Jonathan Howe to discuss worship in the church and how multiple styles can segregate generations within a local community of faith. Watch Now

Breakaway move by CofE churches over homosexuality welcomed by Gafcon

The Global Anglican Future Conference, Gafcon, has welcomed the initiative by nearly a dozen churches in the Church of England to align with the conservative coalition in opposition to gay marriage. Read More

Churches must take measures against possible terror attacks, warns security expert

Thousands of churches throughout the country are being urged to take security measures against the possibility of a terror attack or other anti-Christian hate crime. Read More
In North America churches face the possibility of terror attacks not only from homegrown Islamic jihadists but also from white supremacists, and other extremist groups.

Monday, August 29, 2016

On the Net: "8 Reasons Every Church Is Messy" and Much More

The Mission Field
8 Reasons Every Church Is Messy

Maybe you had a tough day at church yesterday. Or, perhaps you had a great day, but you also know that a hard day is always a possibility. Tough days in ministry – even days that make you want to quit – shouldn’t surprise you, though. The fact is that every church is messy. Here’s why. Read More

5 Areas I Micromanaged in Church Revitalization

Sometimes we have to manage closely. Read More

We Followed the Steps – Where’s the Church Growth?

There are no guaranteed steps to church growth. Because the church is people. And people don’t come with guarantees. Read More

5 Things Megachurches Get Right

Phil Cooke: “Size doesn’t make for bad experiences—people do. And I have yet to find a church without people. Read More

What We Can Learn From The Black Church When We Are Pushed To The Margins

The powerful, painful history of the Black Church has much to teach us as our culture continues to push the church to the margins of society. Read More

7 Fresh Ways To Get Over Your Fear of Talking About Money In Church

Pastors who refuse to talk about money can leave both their churches and their people broke. Read More

4 Essential Leadership Practices in Ministry

I recently spoke to a group of “emerging leaders,” and was asked to speak about essential leadership practices—areas of leadership where ministry leaders must continually focus. There are at least four essential leadership practices that transcend a role on a local church staff. Regardless of the ministry role, whether leading as senior pastor or in kid’s ministry, student ministry, worship ministry, or missions, these four leadership practices are essential. Read More

What Is Experiential Preaching?

Experiential (or “experimental”) preaching addresses the vital matter of how a Christian experiences the truth of Christian doctrine in his life. Read More

Is the Bible trustworthy or has it been changed?

Can we really trust the Bible's text? Read More

Bring Back the Church Prayer Meeting

One of the best ways we can match the hearts of others is by praying with them. Read More

Eight Trends Where Churches Are Moving Virtually

Let’s look at eight key trends in virtual workers in the church. We provide one key service provider for each category. Some of them have affiliate or sponsor relationships with us, but we believe in the quality work of all of them. Read More

3 distractions that create distance between us and God, and how to combat them

Regardless of how strong our faith is and where we're on our spiritual journey, we can all be at risk of having distractions interfere with our faith and cloud our vision of God at work in our lives. Read More

Why it's too soon to write off the Church in Europe

Exciting things are already happening in the Church across Europe. Read More

Anglicans consider new synod to oppose gay marriage

Nearly a dozen evangelical churches in the Church of England that oppose gay marriage are to align themselves with the world's leading conservative Anglican coalition. Read More

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday Lagniappe: "Can Salvation Be Lost Because of Sin?" and More

The Mission Field
Can Salvation Be Lost Because of Sin?

The question of losing one’s salvation is one that is a matter of great controversy within the household of Christian faith. Read More

4 Things Every Church’s Vision Should Include

The vision for a local church answers the question, “What does God want us to do?” This answer must be given with clarity, consistency, and creativity. Read More

Millennials Don’t Need Your ‘Cool’

As a college pastor and now as leader of a campus ministry at Princeton University, I also minister to many millennials. Here are a few of my own (admittedly anecdotal) observations about ministry to millennials. Read More

Why Do Americans Change Churches?

A new survey from Pew Research examines the attitudes surrounding the move and come away with some very interesting findings. Here are five takeaways for Christians hoping to understand the current American religious environment. Read More

Can We Be Saved Without the Church?

Was Cyprian right? Can we be saved without the Church? Read More

Always Point People to the Church Website

I spend a lot of time with pastors around the country. I get asked all kinds of questions. I’ll write later about the most common things I see when I do a church secret shopper consultation. Today, I want to write about one of the most common things I say to churches. Here it is: Always point people to your church’s website. Always. Read More

Why Instagram’s Latest Addition Fails at Authenticity

Earlier this month, the hugely popular photo-sharing app Instagram unveiled its latest in-app feature: Stories. If you’re one of Instagram’s half-billion users, you can now upload photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. As the official statement explains, Stories “lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile.”

Wait, isn’t this just Snapchat? Read More

5 ways to help missionaries transition back to the states

Pastors and churches who watch the mess of returning missionaries often want to help. But maybe they aren’t sure how to best go about it. Here are a few suggestions from someone fresh off the field. Read More

Why Most Chinese American Christians Are Conservative Evangelicals

Chinese American sociologists, historians, and theologians, and even the Pew Research Center all confirm the fact that Asian American Christians are predominantly conservative evangelicals, as opposed to liberal Protestants, Roman Catholics, or Eastern Orthodox. Read More

Friday, August 26, 2016

On the Net: "Church Health Check-Up: 7 Questions to Ask Every Ministry Leader" and Much More

Church Health Check-Up: 7 Questions to Ask Every Ministry Leader

There are seven important questions that need to be answered when you’re planning an effective ministry. These are questions for any healthy ministry – whether it’s your music ministry, greeters, small group leaders, or any other ministry team. Read More

Your Church Is Not Your Platform

It is a privilege to lead the people of God—but the privilege of being a leader of God’s people never transforms the people into the leader’s property. Godly leadership results in humble stewardship, not prideful ownership. Church leaders are not called to stand above a conglomeration of individuals as if the purpose of these people is to fulfill our vision. God calls us to serve as shepherds in the midst of a flock that has been wholly devoted to his purposes. Read More

Changing Your Company's Culture in 3 Easy Steps

Whether it's like climbing a mountain or turning an ocean liner, your leadership is what makes it happen. Read More
Also see: Setting Yourself Apart: How To Lead By Example and 6 Steps to Building a Strong Company Culture.
The Lie of Sinning without Suffering

In our digital world, many people fall prey to people pretending to be something other than what they are. The perfect online boyfriend or girlfriend turns out to be a scam artist or a student prankster. The perfect investment opportunity turns out to be a con. But this isn’t a modern phenomenon at all. In fact, it’s centuries old, so old in fact that the author of Proverbs exposes one of the oldest catfishing schemes in the book: the promise of guilt-free, consequence-free, no-strings-attached sexual pleasure. Read More

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart, for They Shall See God

Jesus said that those who are pure at their very core are the ones who will see God. Read More

7 Pulpit Alternatives for the Desperate Church Planter

When your sanctuary comes from a storage trailer, sometimes you need to get creative. Read More
A relatively inexpensive, easy-to-store, wooden lectern may be purchased from a number of sources.
Leading in Uncharted Territory: The Future of Church Leadership

“Over the last 10 years I have had one church leader after another say to me: ‘Seminary didn’t train me for this.’” Read More

4 Ways A Short Temper Can Hurt Your Leadership

Why managing your outbursts are worth it. Read More

What Is Distinctive About Preaching, And How Does It Differ from Other Ministries of the Word? (Part 1)

People read their Bibles at home. People go to Bible studies. Children and young people are taught the Bible. So members of churches are hearing the words of God all the time. What is different about the Sunday sermon? What is distinctive about the Sunday sermon is that is addressed to the church? Read More

Five Simple Steps to Improve Your Preaching

Because preaching is important, pastors must work to preach well. Read More

Preacher, Don’t Trust Yourself in Your Preaching

I suspect that most preachers regularly fight to put their trust in the correct place when it comes to their preaching. Read More

7 Reasons to Leave Your Caps Lock Button Alone – And What to Do Instead

Do you want your writing to feel less inflammatory, and be more readable and influential? Try these suggestions. Read More

8 Reasons to Pray for Your Small Group Leader This Week

Whether your church has Sunday school or off-site small groups during the week, you likely have small group leaders who week after week facilitate the group. Frankly, I don’t think we spend enough time praying for these leaders. Here’s why we must cover them in prayer. Read More

It's not Christian to be nice

Somewhere along the way, Christianity has got itself entangled with a soapy, soft, non-offensive concept: 'niceness.' Read More

US Christian among first victims of Russia's anti-evangelism law

The first known victims of Russia's new anti-evangelism laws have been convicted and fined, according to the Forum 18 news service. Read More

Thursday, August 25, 2016

On the Net: "5 Reasons Church Growth Strategies Matter" and More

5 Reasons Church Growth Strategies Matter

I start with some caveats today. First, I understand that the words “church growth” carry baggage of American pragmatism and a watered-down gospel; so, I’m careful in using that descriptor. Second, I want everything we do as a church to be thoroughly biblical. Thus, I am not arguing for anything that lacks a biblical foundation. At the same time, though, I do think that strategizing for church growth has merit. Here’s why. Read More

5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Congregation Is Insider-Focused

How do you know whether your church is focused on insiders? Read More

5 Ways Your Church Can Help Louisiana Flood Victims

Some opportunities for you and your church to jump in and help those who have been affected by the floods in Louisiana. Read More

Revelation 2: Has the church lost its first love?

If we are not listening to Christ, then we will not be able to communicate him to the world. Read More

Aliens for neighbours? How the discovery of a new planet challenges Christians

Mark Woods examines how the discovery of Proxima b, four light years from our solar system, challenges Christians. Read More

The Long Road to Building Israel's First Post-Statehood Church

Despite fierce opposition, these Israeli Christians are making history with their new home. Read More

The Intellectual Roots of the Sexual Revolution

n retrospect, the postmodern age was not a new age at all; it was only the alarm that announced the end of modernity and the beginning of the late modern age. Modernity has not disappeared. It has only grown stronger, if also more complex. Read More

5 Suggestions When Firing Someone in Ministry

Making this difficult decision has many times proven best for all parties involved, but admittedly, getting to the point of release is sometimes a most difficult process. Read More

Pastoral Ministry Does Not Have to Be Sedentary

In this article Erik Raymond highlights several practices that he has found helpful in his ministry to combat a common problem of being a pastor - sedentariness. Read More

3 Reasons Your Church Must Care About Groups This Fall

The people in your church will be much more influenced by a group of people than they will be by one person, by even one pastor. While a pastor can make a significant impact on a person’s life, the impact of a group is much more sustainable and reproducible. Read More

Bible study method that helps small groups really work

There's a way of running a Bible study which minimises the risk that it will go sour, and lets everyone contribute on the same level, no matter how much or how little they know. Read More
Also See: The Swedish Method
Is it safe to have secret sins?

The Bible tells us that sins are dangerous, whatever they may be. Read More

7 Dangers of Embracing Mere Theraputic Forgiveness

There is a difference between the posture of forgiveness and actually living in reconciliation with someone. Read More

Why are Americans leaving the church? Loss of faith, says new study

The most common reason for leaving church is a loss of faith, according to new research. Read More

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

On the Net: "The Holy One of God" and More

The Holy One of God

The title “Holy One of God” means that Jesus is infinitely and absolutely holy, fully and perfectly divine. He is transcendent and majestic. He came down from above to save sinners, yet He is set apart from sinners in that He is completely sinless, without any moral blemish, perfect in all of His ways. His being is holy. His character is holy. His mind is holy. His motives are holy. His words are holy. His actions are holy. His ways are holy. His judgments are holy. From the top of His head to the bottom of His feet, every inch, every ounce, the totality, the sum and the substance of the second person of the Godhead is equally holy with God the Father. Read More

10 Things That Stress Out Our Returning Missionaries

I spend a lot of time with missionaries who’ve returned to North America after their time on the field, and it’s fascinating to see what catches their attention in our culture. Perhaps this list will help you understand them better and pray for them if they visit or join your church. Read More

Four Kinds of Church Members Your Church Will Always Loose

Your church will lose four categories of church members; and you can do absolutely nothing to stop it. Read More

The Louisiana Flooding: On The Ground With Relief Agencies And Why Christians Are Uniquely Suited To Help

Why Christians are uniquely suited to help in times of disaster. Read More

How NOT to Sabotage Your Team

When you’re used to managing everything, it can be hard to let go of anything. Read More

4 Ways to Build a Leadership Development Culture

Bobby Gruenewald: “We believe the best way to develop leaders is to create an environment that fosters their growth.” Read More

5 Ways God Uses Mentoring Relationships

God uses mentoring relationships in at least five ways. Read More

Why Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls

It's one the great mysteries of ministry. Why do pastors have such a bad reputation for answering or returning phone calls? Here are 9 reasons. Read More

One Very Good Reason to Read Your Bible

There are some proverbs that practically beg for personal application. Proverbs 3:27 is one of them: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Read More

In Praise of Low-Budget, Non-Professional Music Ministries

"Mark Dever describes the music ministry at his church and why they joyfully keep it low-budget and non-professional." Read More

Why You Need a Church (Not Just a Campus Ministry)

A good campus ministry is a gift from God. But it is no church. Read More

Why going to church could be the best way of evangelising

A study of religious life in two Indian villages carried out by an American academic makes fascinating reading. Read More
While churchgoing may positively dispose non-churchgoing members of the community toward those who attend church, it is NO SUBSTITUTE for reaching out to the unchurched and sharing the gospel with them. It is at best a form of preevangelism.
Regular worship is indication of good character, says study

Attending relgious services regularly helps a person be recognised as hard working, wise and morally grounded. Read More

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

On the Net: "The Frozen Chosen" and Much More

The Frozen Chosen

Most of us are familiar with the phrase the frozen chosen. Many will even have used it on occasion to describe themselves or some other group of Christians or to distinguish one tradition within Christianity from another. But what exactly does the phrase mean? And is it a helpful phrase? Or is it instead a misnomer and a contradiction in terms? Read More

Here's What Christians Look for When Searching for a New Church

Preaching, welcome, style of worship and location are the four most important factors when Christians are searching for a new church. Read More
"And of these, the most important is the quality of the sermon."
How to Know You’re ‘Called’ to Plant: Mosaic Christian Church

“You’ll never be 100 percent sure about your calling until after you’ve done what God has asked.” Read More
Being successful in pioneering a new church is the acid test of whether you are cut out to be a church planter. You won't find out until you step out in faith.
2 Pitfalls of Too Many Programs in Your Church

Many churches offer way too many programs for people. Read More

The Louisiana Flooding: On The Ground With Relief Agencies And How You Can Get Involved

,What's happening and how you can help. Read More

4 times Jesus changed the rules and what we can learn from them

Here are four accounts where Jesus changed the norms and changed the way things are done even today. Read More

7 Guarantees in Leadership

Ron Edmondson examines seven of what he describes as "leadership guarantees." Read More

8 Mistakes to Avoid as a Young Pastor - Rainer on Leadership #253 [Podcast]

Experience takes time and doesn’t come without mistakes. Today we discuss a recent post on rookie pastors and the mistakes they make as well as how to avoid them. Listen Now

Pastoring People Who Are Smarter than You

How does one pastor people smarter than him? Read More

Most Churches Aren't Prepared to Search for a New Pastor. Is Yours?

Pastoral succession expert William Vanderbloemen shares his tips for a smooth leadership transition. Read More

The Spiritual Warfare of Boring Preaching

False teaching in the Scripture—and in the ages of the church ever since—is boring. Read More
If you preach, please take time to read this article.
Signposts: How to Engage the Culture as the Church [Podcast]

The illusion of being a Christian majority in this country has not been good for our understanding of what it means to be the people of God. As we enter the public arena, we don’t come with a Christless form of religion that is satisfied with mere behavior modification rather than new birth. We need to remember that we are sent with consciences that are shaped and formed by the Word of God, for the purpose of reconciliation. Listen Now

3 Ways to Disagree With Nonbelievers

“We should desire real discourse for the good of the causes we believe in and for the good of the world that we care to convince.” Read More

Commentary: How Donald Trump divided and conquered the religious right

It's time for me to sit down for a nice meal of crow. Read More

Why one expert says Jesus may have been a psychopath (and why it probably doesn't mean what you think it does)

Was Jesus a psychopath? According to a top psychologist at the University of Oxford, he may well have been. Read More

Thousands Leave Norwegian Church as Online Registration Backfires

15,035 people have "unsubscribed" from the church since Monday. Read More

The FAQs: What You Should Know About Human-Animal Hybrids

Earlier this month the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced it is planning to lift its ban on federal funding of some research that creates chimeras by injecting human stem cells into animal embryos. Read More

Almost Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong

A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Read More

Asia Bibi's last appeal against death sentence for blasphemy to be heard in October

Asia Bibi, the Christian on death row for blasphemy in Pakistan, will have her final appeal heard by the Supreme Court in the second week of October. Read More

Nigeria: Eight killed as mob turns on Muslim after he saved a Christian accused of blasphemy

Eight people have been killed in Nigeria after a mob burnt down the house of a Muslim man who intervened when a Christian was beaten over allegations he had blasphemed. Read More

Video showing Muslim cleric's son chanting 'death to all Christians' sparks outrage in Belgium

Already edgy following a series of terrorist attacks, Christians living in Belgium expressed outrage when a video recording circulated online showing a young Muslim man chanting "Allah, kill the despicable Christians! Allah, kill each and every last one of them!" Read More

Monday, August 22, 2016

On the Net: "Four Types of Churches That Will Soon Die" and More

The Mission Field
Four Types of Churches That Will Soon Die

In simple terms, there are four types of churches that will soon die. It is sad to watch the churches in these categories. Some congregations are in more than one category. And some are in all four. Read More

Are You Pushing Pastors to Build Bigger Churches? Please Catch Us When We Fall

Many pastors feel pushed to grow, but they don’t feel like they get the help they need from church leaders when that growth fails to materialize. Read More

Before flooding Louisiana with ‘help,’ read this

Suggestions that will help you help without causing unintentional harm. Read More

From the Pen of J. C. Ryle: Evangelical Religion

This "paper" is classic Ryle. Read More

5 Things Every Leader Should Tell Their Top Leaders

If you could only tell your top leaders a few things, what would you tell them? Read More

Pastoral Anxiety

Second Corinthians 11:28 always seemed like a strange verse to me — until I became a pastor. Read More

How Resources Changed My Mind

The books we read and allow to influence us hold great importance, for good or bad. Read More

Preaching to the Unchurched: Three Adjustments I've Made

Below are 3 small adjustments that seem to be making a difference. I still have a long way to go. Read More

Are Britain's churches sending missionaries to the wrong places?

It is my observation that despite all of the demographic changes in the Church, the majority of British missionaries are still going to the same places that they went 100 years ago. Read More

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Saturday Lagniappe: "9 Reasons Churches Must Reach College Students" and More

The Mission Field
9 Reasons Churches Must Reach College Students

I spent this past weekend teaching a group of college students in Kentucky. I realize that students tend to be transitive and often bring fewer dollars to a church, but it’s imperative that our churches reach them. Here are some reasons why. Read More

Making Changes in a Church

Given the fact that change can be stressful and steal away an individual's sense of comfort, how should pastors approach this subject in theory and practice? Read More

Can the Devil Read My Mind?

The tendency is for Christians to think that since God is a supernatural being and can read our minds, then Satan, also a supernatural being, must be able to read minds, too. But Satan’s powers are not equal to God’s. Read More

The Cinema, Lacrosse and the Brutal Truth about Christianity in Australia

Let’s name the brutal truth first: Australian churches have been in more or less unmitigated decline since 1963. As from that date, fewer and fewer people have been involved in our churches, fewer people have been connected to our ministries, and almost every major Christian denomination has had fewer people wanting to own them in the census, even if only to identity the church they no longer attend. Read More

One Trap Leaders Can Avoid If They Choose
3 practices for staying fully engaged in the present. Read More

4 Myths About Delegating 

And 3 steps to help you empower others. Read More

10 Ideas for Using Snapchat at Your Church

Snapchat has evolved into one of the best online storytelling platforms available to the church, and it’s one of the best ways to engage the millennial generation online. Read More

3 Things Most People Dislike on Social Media

I want to talk about three things that are often done that annoy the daylights out of those of us checking our accounts. Read More

Also see: 9 Strategies for Dealing with the Ugly Side of Social Media.
Pastors rarely asked to perform same-sex marriages in US

Few US pastors have been asked to officiate a same-sex wedding since the Supreme Court allowed gay marriage last year, according to new research. Read More

Friday, August 19, 2016

On the Net: "The Heart of a Level 5 Church: Radical Discipleship" and More

The Mission Field
The Heart of a Level 5 Church: Radical Discipleship

Radical discipleship is both father and mother to any exponential church multiplication movement. So what is a radical disciple? Read More

Ralph Moore Podcast on Level 5 Multiplication

“Ralph Moore no longer knows how to operate without starting new churches on a consistent basis. He and his congregations have grown accustomed to the chaos, shifting, sending, and cost involved with such a movement. Even more than being accustomed to it – they like it.” Listen Now

If Your Church Is to Thrive, It Must Grow Young. Here’s How

Churches are shrinking. Churches are aging. But that’s not the way it has to be. Read More

4 Proven Strategies for the Care and Treatment of an Unhealthy Church

Unhealthy churches aren’t like healthy ones. Acting as though they are doesn’t help them, it hurts them. Read More

What Healthy Churches Will Look Like in Ten Years - Rainer on Leadership [Podcast]

Healthy churches of tomorrow will likely reflect these characteristics. Listen Now

10 Simple Ways to Increase Your Church Attendance This Weekend

Want some simple ways to increase your church’s attendance this weekend? Consider these possibilities. Read More

5 Mistakes Pastors Make in Reaching Men

In my observation of churches of all styles, sizes, and theological positions from all around the country, I believe there are at least 5 mistakes church leaders make when it comes to creating a culture that men can relate to. Read More

Understanding Sola Scriptura

God’s people have universally affirmed that there is only one thing that can legitimately function as the supreme standard: God’s Word. There can be no higher authority than God Himself. Read More

Watch the Annual Moore College Lecture livestream tonight

If you couldn’t get to Moore College for the first evening of this year’s Annual Moore College Lectures, you can watch it from 8:00pm via the college’s livestream. Watch Now
“Dr Paul Williamson is our speaker for this year’s Moore College Lectures on the topic of Death and the Life Heareafter. Join us to think through the big questions of death, heaven and hell, beginning with a public lecture on the evening Friday 19 August, and continuing with 5 morning lectures from Monday 22 to Friday 26 August. This is a free event with no registration required.”
Do You Lack Vision?

A vision is a picture of where you want to be. It’s the ultimate goal statement. Churches, corporations, and organizations all have vision statements that communicate their mission and their values. Even individuals and families can have vision statements that illustrate their commitment, purpose, and life goals. Read More

The Two Things Killing Your Ability to Focus

Executives across the world stumble through each day in much the same way. Two major challenges are destroying our ability to focus. Read More

Top 10 Things I Wish Worship Leaders Would Stop Saying

In which a crusty old curmudgeon rants a little about annoying songleader banter. Don’t take this too seriously, except maybe do. Read More
Also see: Top 10 Things I Love That Worship Leaders Do
Why Should We Stress Grace in Youth Ministry?

Many youth ministry leaders promote grace saturated youth ministry because it works. Read More

Southern Africans Set to Test Anglican Ban on Same-Sex Unions

he province is scheduled to vote on gay clergy and blessing civil unions. Read More

Gay vote highlights split within the South African church

The motion to amend the Anglican Church in Southern Africa’s canons to permit gay blessings and non-celibate gay clergy has drawn mixed reactions. Sources tell Anglican Ink that though the motion is unlikley to be approved, the debate will make public the sharp divide existing within the church. Read More

Thursday, August 18, 2016

On the Net: "The Missing Heart of Our Gospel: Union with Christ" and Much More

The Mission Field
The Missing Heart of Our Gospel: Union with Christ

Pastor and author Rankin Wilbourne explains why this biblical doctrine is so important for every Christian. Read More

How God Saved Me from the Prosperity Gospel

To kick off this distribution effort, we want to share an amazing testimony from a Kenyan pastor whom God rescued from prosperity teaching. Please join us in exposing this dangerous error through your prayers and by taking this resource to church leaders around the globe. Read More

8 Experiences All Church Leaders Need

I believe in leadership training. In fact, I teach D.Min. and Ph.D. courses in Christian leadership at Southeastern Seminary. From the gospel of Mark, though, here are eight experiences all Christian leaders need even apart from educational training. Read More

6 Ways to Smash the Approval Idol

What’s a chronic people pleaser to do? Here are six ways I’m still learning to fight the idol of approval. Read More

3 Reasons You MUST Regularly Think About Succession

“Who is showing that he/she would be ready to move into your role if something happened to you?” Read More

7 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block and Eliminate Boring Sermons

Preachers, if you’re bored by your message, it’s a virtual guarantee your audience will be as well. Read More

Releasing God's Word: Do Copyrights Help or Hurt Bible Translation?

Experts debate whether laws protect Scripture or restrict its spread. Read More

Crowd-sourcing Bibles: how publishers are helping churches, street pastors and the homeless

Churches, homeless missions, street pastors, food banks and other organisations that want to raise money for new Bibles can use a new crowd-sourcing website designed by the leading Christian publisher of New International Version (NIV) Bibles, Hodder Faith. Read More

The Importance of Our Devotional Lives

The Bible is filled with rich motives for making our devotional lives a priority, but for brevity’s sake, allow me to remind you of three. Read More

Starting university this year? 4 tips for staying close to God

Once you've got your acceptance letter, there can be loads to think about. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for that next step. Read More

Every Youth Ministry Should Do These 4 Things

“Regardless to how large or small your youth ministry is, there are four practical things you should be doing.” Read More

Evangelism in Post-Christian Western Europe: Six Insights

What can American Evangelicals learn from their European counterparts in regards to evangelism? Read More

Six Keys to Engaging Church Communications

Engagement is most successful when you start with the goals of your communication in mind and work backwards: consider the desired result, decide the best platform to reach your goal, and word your message accordingly. This can be seen more fully in these six strategic steps. Read More

Same-Sex Couples More Likely to Ask Presbyterian Pastors to Marry Them

More pastors are open to LGBT people serving in their churches than being married there, LifeWay finds. Read More

Why are Kenyan churches and mosques being painted yellow?

Churches and mosques in Nairobi are being painted a vibrant shade of yellow to demonstrate a "shared humanity" and highlight that there is more that unites people of different faiths than divides them. Read More

Nigeria: Fulani herdsmen kill 10 in Christian-majority area

Ten people were killed in a Christian-majority area of Kaduna state, Nigeria, on Tuesday, the latest in a string of attacks by Fulani herdsmen. Read More

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

On the Net: "Should the Church Try to Be ‘Cool’?" and More

The Mission Field
Should the Church Try to Be ‘Cool’?

“It should be one of our main goals as believers to try to relate the gospel to those who don’t yet understand its beauty.” Read More

Six Terrible Ways to Try to Recruit Volunteers in Your Church

Sometimes I think church leaders take the most negative approaches in an attempt to encourage more people to get involved in ministry in the church. Read More

The Holiness of God and the Sinfulness of Man

One word that crystallizes the essence of the Christian faith is the word grace. One of the great mottos of the Protestant Reformation was the Latin phrase sola gratia—by grace alone. This phrase wasn’t invented by the sixteenth-century Reformers. Its roots are in the theology of Augustine of Hippo, who used it to call attention to the central concept of Christianity, that our redemption is by grace alone, that the only way a human being can ever find himself reconciled to God is by grace. That concept is so central to the teaching of Scripture that to even mention it seems like an insult to people’s intelligence; yet, if there is a dimension of Christian theology that has become obscured in the last few generations, it is grace. Read More

5 Steps to Take After Saying Something Stupid In Public

Mistakes should be acknowledged and fixed if possible. But don’t use it as a stick to beat yourself up. Read More

Literal, Christological, Spiritual: A Look Into Calvin’s Approach to Hermeneutics and Preaching

What is our aim in preaching? What should it be? Read More

An Essential Key to Understanding the Development of the NT Canon

Unfortunately, the high level of interest in the New Testament canon is often combined with a high number of misconceptions about the canon. For anyone willing to search for it, the internet is packed with myths, mistakes, and misunderstandings about how the whole process really worked. Read More

Should Children Sit Through “Big Church”?

I hope there is a strong leader in your church because weak leaders will never be able to stand up against the onslaught of criticism that is going to come if you try to do what I am going to suggest. Read More

The End of Discipleship as We Know It

Hugh Halter: “Missionaries don’t grow on trees, nor do they emerge after enough sermons have been preached to them.” Read More

11 Fall Festival Follow-Up Ideas

The ultimate purpose is to see families reached and discipled. Here are some ways to ensure your fall festival does just that. Read More

Three Reminders As We Dialogue For The Common Good

Three simple and biblical ways to wisely engage with our neighbors and our culture, regardless of how difficult an issue is. Read More

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

On the Net: "3 Dangers of Dividing People by Generation" and Much More

The Mission Field
3 Dangers of Dividing People by Generation

In his new book, Impossible People, Os Guinness fears that generational analysis has devolved into “generationalism,” an overemphasis on the strong differences between the generations at the expense of the commonalities that unite us. After reading his chapter on this issue, I’d like to borrow a few of his insights and build on them here. Read More

20 Hidden Killers in Your Ministry

Discover these hidden factors that are undermining the health of your church congregation. Read More

Turning Around a Dying Church – Lee Kricher on Setting A Church Up For The Next Generation [Podcast]

Lee Kricher did something few pastors do; he’s led the church he founded, twice. Coming back 13 years ago, he led it back from near death to a growing church strongly positioned to reach into a new generation. Here’s his story. Listen Now

Why Your Church Doesn’t Need a Building

“Here are stories of three churches and how they are reaching their target area without owning a facility.” Read More

8 Reasons the Church Is the Greatest Force On Earth

The Church is the most magnificent concept ever created. It has survived persistent abuse, horrifying persecution, and widespread neglect. Yet despite its faults (due to our sinfulness), it is still God’s chosen instrument of blessing and has been for 2,000 years. Read More

Jesus’ Brother and Mine

Our sins leave scars. First, they not only wound others but hurt us, damage us. Then, by His grace, and by His scars, they are healed. They are forgotten by the One who knows all things, the beginning from the end, but not by us. Because we are healed, our past sins cannot hurt us. However, because we are scarred, we do not forget. Read More

10 Things You Should Know about God's Omniscience

The psalmist declares that our Lord is great “and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit” (Psalm 147:5). We often talk about what we know and how we know, but rarely stop and ask: How does God know? What does God know? So today we turn our attention to ten things we should know about God’s knowledge. Read More

5 Doctrines Every Christian Should Know

Ed Stetzer: Five essential Christian doctrines that all believers should be able to understand and articulate. Read More

5 Ways to Lead in Ministry When Your Leader Is Not Leading

How can you lead when your leader is not leading? Read More

The Way a Leader is Expected to Respond – Determines the Response They Receive

The way others expect you to respond often determines the way they respond to you. Read More

4 Reasons Pastors Don't Trust Each Other and 5 Ways to Address It

I didn’t want to write this post, but I think it’s important. I pastored full-time for 14 years, and I’ve been in full-time ministry for 35 years. I learned early that many pastors don’t trust one another. Here are some reasons why, followed by some steps to correct this problem. Read More

Why I Will Not Be Preaching the Longer Ending of Mark

In a few weeks, we will be completing a two year expository study through the Gospel of Mark. It has been a great encouragement to my soul to preach through this wonderful gospel account of Jesus’ life and ministry. As I’ve prepared for the ending of this series, I’ve concluded that I will be ending our series at Mark 16:8 rather than the longer ending at Mark 16:20. In the world of textual criticism, the longer ending of Mark is one of the most disputed texts in all of the Bible. Below I’ve included the three main reasons why I will not be preaching the longer ending of Mark, but we must not lose confidence in the validity and authenticity of God’s inerrant Word. Read More

6 Reasons We Shouldn’t Freak Out over Word Variations in our Modern Translations

You may have had the common experience these days of hearing a text read from the pulpit, which doesn’t seem to line up exactly with the wording of the translation you hold in your hands. So should this trouble us? Read More

What to Do When Reading Your Bible Feels Pointless

Let's face the truth: Not everyone who reads the Bible experiences the power of scripture, and there are times when even the most devoted believer can open up a passage and not get a mighty revelation. Why does the Bible sometimes feel powerless and how can we avoid empty scripture meditation? Read More

What Does It Mean to Pray in the Name of Jesus

Praying in Christ’s name is less a form of precise words and more an attitude, a belief, an overall theology that says all I have is because of him and through him. It expresses utter dependence. Read More

When Pastors and Churches Pray, God Moves

Jesus gave his disciples at least four reasons to keep on growing in the area of prayer. Read More

An Invitation To Our First Billy Graham Center Vision Gathering

We are building a Center that is rock solid on a vision to build One Body of Christ that shows & shares Jesus well in our broken and hurting world. Join us August 25 in Jackson, MS, to learn more! Read More

The Insanity of God Featuring Nik and Ruth Ripken - Rainer on Leadership #251 [Podcast]

Nik and Ruth Ripken join Thom Rainer and Jonathan Howe to discuss The Insanity of God and their story of God’s faithfulness. Read More

When to Question a Candidate’s Conversion

Let’s see (and hear) something from the candidate himself to indicate he has changed his way. Read More

Greece: Shocking reports of children being sexually abused in refugee camps

Young children are being groomed and sexually assaulted and women are afraid of sexual attacks in government-run refugee camps in Greece, according to reports. Read More

Indian Supreme Court: State Response to Anti-Christian Mob Violence ‘Inadequate’

The chief justice also said it was "very disturbing" that so many perpetrators had not yet been brought to justice. Read More

Christian Persecution Intensifies in DRC as 36 Tied Up and Hacked to Death

Another jihadist organisation is feared to be gaining strength after persecution of Christians intensified in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Read More

Monday, August 15, 2016

Further Hints on How to Follow the Unfolding Events of US Presidential Election on the Internet - UPDATED

Google News follows the pattern of broadcast news, which usually has a morning, noon, late afternoon, and evening broadcast. New articles are likely to be posted around these times of the day. It also has its equivalent of talk shows that discuss the events of the day. It is almost 5:45 PM CT here in the United States--a good time to check the Internet for new articles like these articles:

Why Trump's immigration ideas won't work
Analysis: Making Sense of Donald Trump's Disjointed Foreign Policy Pitch
In terror talk, Trump sticks to script but offers few prescriptive details
Why plenty of Donald Trump supporters will believe that Hillary Clinton stole the election
Donald Trump’s top spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, is saying some very strange things
A new poll gives the lie to Donald Trump’s least-believable campaign argument

A check at the Internet at 10:00 PM CT (US) produces these articles:

Trump's half-baked plans to combat ISIS
Here's what would have to happen to replace Trump on GOP ticket

And at 11:53 PM CT (US) these articles:

Clinton team questions Trump's aides Russian ties
5 Things You Need to Know About Paul Manafort Trump aide's name surfaces in Ukraine corruption probe
Trump aide 'paid $12m by pro-Kremlin Ukrainian leader'
Donald Trump plots strategy on ISIS -- and campaign revival
Donald Trump’s alarming ideas on terrorism
What's new in Trump's foreign-policy speech isn't good
Fact-Checking Donald Trump's Foreign Policy Speech
Trump Cribs War Plan from ISIS ‘Founder’
Trump Says He Would Ally With Russia in Anti-ISIS Campaign

And at 1:33 AM CT (US) this article:

FACT CHECK: Trump gets his Mideast history wrong

Sometimes refreshing the page will produce new articles.

You may have to do more searching for articles on Hilary Clinton and the minority party candidates than you will those on Donald Trump who receives far more free media coverage than his opponents in the presidential race.

Warning: It is addictive!

On the Net: "10 things EVERY church member should know" and More

10 things EVERY church member should know

Are you a member of a church? Then this article is for you! As a church minister (pastor / presbyter / Rector – call it what you will) I love the members of my congregations dearly, and have done in all the fellowships I have served. But sometimes I think: I wish everyone could get some simple things clear – it would make so much difference! Read More

Twelve Steps to Regain Meaningful Membership

Here is a suggested 12-step recovery plan for pastors to regain meaningful church membership. Read More

4 Types of People Leaders Must Not Listen To

Wise leaders listen to wise people. Because the people we listen to impact our decisions, our attitudes, and our perceptions, it is critical that we listen to the right people. A leader who listens to the wrong people is just as foolish as a leader who doesn’t listen at all. Here are four types of people leaders must not listen to. Read More

5 Mature Ways for a Leader to Respond Under Stress

Every organization and team has times where everyone is stretched, stress abounds, and even times where it seems things are going backwards for a while. It could be a crisis or an exceptionally busy season. It could be internal or external issues causing the stressful times. During these seasons good leadership is more critical than ever. Read More

7 Simple but Effective Strategies to Get You Through a Bad Day

How do you deal with a bad day? Read More

Are You a Discouraged Pastor?

Like any other line of work preachers can find themselves discouraged. Wondering if what they are doing really matters and if they are making a difference, pastors often resort to unhealthy evaluations of their ministries. Worldly evaluations of success can distort a pastor’s expectations and crush their joy. Read More

Preach the Word

Every season of reformation and every hour of spiritual awakening has been ushered in by a recovery of biblical preaching. This cause and effect is timeless and inseparable. J.H. Merle D’Aubigné, noted Reformation historian, writes, “The only true reformation is that which emanates from the Word of God.” That is to say, as the pulpit goes, so goes the church. Read More

1,000 Languages: YouVersion Bible App Sets New Record

“Thanks to the generosity of our partners, we’re pleased to announce that language No. 1,000 has come to the Bible App.” Read More

10 Reflections after 42 Years of Following Christ

It was 42 years ago today that God saved me. It was, in fact, the first time I attended church. I went because a seventh-grade classmate had hounded me about Christ, and I thought going once would get him off my back. Little did I know, though, that God was up to something in my life. He saved me and so clearly called me to preach that day that my entire life changed. Since that time, here are some things I’ve learned. Read More

3 dangers of laziness according to the Bible

To help us understand how serious a matter laziness is and to motivate us not to be lazy, here are some of the dangers posed by laziness – according to the Bible. Read More

Who Gets to Count That Convert?

Partnerships between missions groups complicate the metrics. Read More

Are We Talking Past Each Other? 3 Tips For Talking Faith With Friends & Neighbors

It is past time we return to the basics if we are to relate to those around us in a way they will understand who God is and what it means to follow Him. Read More

Is Violent Resistance Everan Option for Christians

The best choice for Christians who believe that their government is engaged in immoral or tyrannical acts is either exercising political influence (voting, petitioning, etc.), or engaging in nonviolent resistance. The tactics of the mainstream Civil Rights movement in the 1960s are the preeminent example of the latter approach. Read More

Christians asked to pray hard to counter planned Satanic activity in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma City in the United States, a battle between good and evil is taking place, literally. Read More
Without invoking the Blessed Virgin Mary, Anglican and other Protestant churches may wish to join their prayers to those of their Roman Catholic brethren.
African Churches urged not to be distracted by Western progressives

The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has urged Anglican leaders in Africa not to “fall in line” with “socially progressive” views and programmes “which suggest that the Bible is wrong”. Speaking to members of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) during their meeting in Rwanda, Dr Idowu-Fearon said that the Church “will not crumble or bow the knee to a godless secular culture that despises the Bible and what it teaches” and urged the Churches in Africa to remain focused on serving the people of the continent. Read More

Muslim children embrace Christ — only to be beaten up and cast out as 'infidels' by their own families

In this African country, even children who turn to Jesus Christ are punished as severely as adults, with their parents as the culprits. Read More
They need our prayers too.