15 Things Young Preachers Need To Know About Seniors

This week’s Church Leader Insights has some excellent thoughts for preachers. Plus there’s a superb article from Akos Balogh, one of my favourite Australian bloggers.

Check him out. He’s intelligent, kind and he will get you thinking.

15 Things Young Preachers Need To Know About Seniors

“They will still bear fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and very green…” (Psalm 92:14).

All generalizations are false. Including this one.

Every rule has its exceptions. Including this one.

Even so, I’m going to make some general statements about seniors.  Readers will think of exceptions. But by and large, these statements have been found to be solid and trustworthy throughout long years of ministry.

One: Seniors are not against change; but they dislike abrupt change.

There are no 1948 Packards in your church parking lot.  No 1952 DeSotos.  But the seniors driving those Camrys and Corollas did not one day trade in that Packard for the Toyota. There were a series of incremental steps in between–like, first buying a 1955 Fairlane, then a 1962 Chevelle, followed by a 1972 Bonneville, and so forth.

I quote Rick Warren who said, “Do not use the word ‘change.’ Say ‘experiment.’  Because if this doesn’t work out, we’ll try something else.”

Two: Seniors are not against innovations in the worship service; but they dislike overdoing it.

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Photo courtesy of James P. Mann(CC Attribution)

When God Seems Far, Far Away …

We’ve been through a lot this year. I try to downplay it in my mind, try to rationalize it all or say it wasn’t that big of a deal. 

But it was a lot. 

Job loss for Patrick (he now has a job!!!), job redirection for me, plus a few painful relational issues, a daughter graduating, our possible move (we’re staying put, but for a time we thought we’d move far from Texas)–all these things mix together into a stress stew I grew tired of eating.

I launched Worth Living. 

I launched (essentially) the Restory Conference. 

I am launching a new business (news to come soon). I continued to work on the Restory Show. 

In the midst of that I wrote a book in a month and a half. It was a devotional, the typical kind with a scripture, a devotional thought, and a prayer. I figured that counted as my time with God. But it didn’t really.

I had several questions during the last six months. Big ones rolling around in my mind without an answer–questions about injustice and villains and perpetrators getting away with things. I had a personal crisis (of sorts) that involved wrestling with past memories and trying to understand why some don’t see things the way I see them. (I think we all go through this).

So here I am today.

Tired. And feeling like God is a million light years away.

I know the cliches.

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5 Principles Small Churches Can Learn From Megachurches

Small churches are not scaled-down versions of megachurches.

We’re different, not just in size, but in methodology. A lot of what works in big churches just won’t work in smaller ones. And vice versa.

But there are some overlapping principles. Starting with the scriptural fundamentals, of course.

Over the years, I’ve noticed some principles that bigger and megachurches tend to do well, that small churches can learn from.

1. Clarity of Purpose

One of the best things to come out of the church growth movement is the focus on having a clear sense of purpose.

One of the best things to come out of the church growth movement is the focus on having a clear sense of purpose.

We need to know why our church exists.

When I was interviewing to be the pastor of my current congregation, they asked “What’s your vision for our church and community?”

My answer? “I don’t have a vision for your church and community.” Brilliant, right? Hey, don’t knock it. I got the job. And I’ve been here for almost 24 years.

Actually, my answer was longer than that. I continued with, “I don’t know your church or this community, so there’s no way I can have a vision for it yet. But if we agree that I’m called to be your pastor, we’ll spend as much time as it takes to ask the Lord to help us figure that out together.”

And that’s what we did. It took longer than I expected, but we didn’t give up until we knew what our purpose was. We know why we’re here. We know what we do well, and what we’re not called to do at all.

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3 Stunning Truths About Christianity and The (Secular) West

Islam is in the news a lot these days.

Sadly, much of the coverage is negative. Self-identified Islamic militants are causing havoc across the world, from Paris to Baghdad, from Pakistan to Orlando.

Now obviously not all Muslims are militants – most just want to live in peace.

But some secular commentators see the problem of Islamist violence as nothing more than the misuseand abuse of Islam (a ‘religion of peace’). In this view, all religions are equally good: the only problem is fanatics and radicals twisting  (good) religion for their own perverted ends.

But if the only problem is fanatics twisting religion – and fanatics are presumably found in every religion – then wouldn’t you expect to see equal numbers of such fanatics causing havoc around the world in the name of another religion, like Christianity?

Where is the Christian Al-Quaeda, the Christian Al-Shabab, or the Christian ISIS?

Why aren’t western Christians heading to such organisations, like western Muslims are to IS?

In a recent article, Egyptian-born American scholar of Islam, Raymond Ibrahim, makes a provocative claim:

Because Christianity is radically different to Islam, it has a different effect on individuals and societies. Just look at the western world. 

And this leads to 3 stunning truths about Christianity and the secular west:

1) Without Christianity, The Modern Western World (As We Know It) Wouldn’t Exist

Western views of morality and human rights arose from a Christian view of reality.

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