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Category: Ministry and Leadership

  • David Talley — 

    Many books hit the market regularly, and we are bombarded by the “latest” trend and the “best” resources and the “proven” strategies, all with the promise of making us more successful in our ministries or in life. I highly recommend a book that is powerfully simple and biblical: The Trellis and the Vine, by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne, published by Matthias Media (2009). It is an easy read with only 12 chapters and 196 pages.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I recently led a seminar for students at Biola who are studying to become church worship leaders entitled: “Hidden Agendas in Worship Leading.” I had them break into groups and discuss what sorts of hidden motivations sometimes lie under the surface in the process of planning and implementing times of worship. When we came back together we drew up a list on the white board. Here are some of the elements that made it onto that list...

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    Fifty years of research reveals that most pastors serve plateaued or declining churches. Yet, some pastors are able to lead a church to revitalize its ministry. What types of pastors are able to lead turnarounds?

  • Mick Boersma — 

    On a visit to the old mission district in San Juan Capistrano some years ago, my wife Rolane and I were fortunate to happen upon one of California's oldest adobe houses when the curator of the structure was present. A bronze sculptor by trade, this man had just been chosen from among a host of hopefuls to restore the over 200 year old home to its former glory. At once this man's zeal for his task was evident. In an animated discussion lasting well over a half hour, he described the ambitious plans to completely recreate in exacting detail the historical and cultural realities of the days of Mexican rule over what is now Orange County. What struck me about this fellow, aside from his storehouse of knowledge, was the passion with which he was engaging this challenge. He was in the process of taking a dusty old building and transforming it into a living and vibrant piece of California's past. There was no doubt in our minds that here was an individual who was enjoying his life and work to the fullest. What a refreshing encounter!

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    How much time should a pastor spend preparing to preach? My research has found that the most effective pastors spend a minimum of fifteen hours each week on sermon preparation.

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    What sounds like a simple task at first often turns out to be much more difficult in practice. Such is the situation when attempting to define a multiethnic church. For example, a brief survey of the current literature reveals four words that are commonly used to describe churches where the people come from diverse backgrounds: “multinational,” “multi-racial,” “multi-ethnic,” and “multicultural.”

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    A church is a living organism. It's natural for an organism to grow. And it's natural for a church to grow. When a church is not growing it is quite likely that something is wrong. In the United States a healthy church will see between 5 - 12% growth in worship attendance each year.

  • Mick Boersma — 

    It happens every time. I’m pulling up to a red light and there’s a car or two in front of me. But the next lane over is clear. So what do I do? Pull over so I can be first in line when the light turns green, of course! (Unless the guy in front of me beats me to it!) Then there’s how slow my computer can be. What’s with that little colored wheel rotating around and around and around….while I wait for a function to be completed! I thought OS X 10.infinity was supposed make everything go faster!!

  • Joanne Jung — 

    This post is written for and dedicated to those who desire a deeper communion with God through prayer and who struggle with distractions, distortions, or disillusionment.

  • David Talley — 

    Men are called to be leaders in their homes, but what does this mean? Does it mean that we make sure we pray with our families, have regular family Bible readings, own a good set of commentaries so we can be the “Bible Answer Man” when called upon, make sure the family is at church whenever the doors are open, create Power Point presentations to teach our family Bible doctrine, set up guidelines for our children that come straight out of the Bible, etc.? What does godly leadership look like on a day to day basis? In order to answer this question, I want to offer a definition of godly leadership in the home and then propose two major errors one makes in seeking to be a godly leader.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    The model established by God through God’s people can be describe as such: begin religious instruction in the family home as spiritual practices, add knowledge through the larger community of faith, and provide mentoring from key spiritual leaders for specific practices and duties. Perhaps the greatest picture we have of the desired result of a healthy and effective youth ministry is the one given to us in the Gospel of Luke when describing Jesus as a young teenager. This installment finishes the series by looking at the New Testament's implications for youth ministry.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    These days have been filled with contrasts for me. In a way, we all face these contrasts, but when they are too close to each other, the tensions they produce literally move us from joy to tears. One the one hand, my baby daughter is now two-months-old. My wife and I celebrate the joy of her life and are thankful for the Lord’s blessing upon us. We are tired and somewhat sleep deprived, but her smile brings joy to our existence and reminds us about the goodness of life. On the other hand, however, it was the second anniversary of my dad’s passing and I find myself missing him more every day. Dead is as real as life and both bring deep emotions that flow from the core of our beings. Why can we be so happy and so sad at the same time?

  • Dave Keehn — 

    The model established by God through God’s people to instill God’s Truth within the Next Generation can be describe as such: begin religious instruction in the family home as spiritual practices, add knowledge through the larger community of faith, and provide mentoring from key spiritual leaders for specific practices and duties. This model was utilized throughout the Old Testament era due to some foundational concepts about young people, a developmental stage that was not fully identified at that time outside of Scripture. However, God has specific principles to follow in ministering to this pre-adult age group.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    In addition to my pastoral responsibilities, I play Hammond B3 on our church’s worship team. Those of you who are musical might appreciate what I wrote to the rest of the band, when we were about to invite a gifted young keyboard player in our congregation (Jacob) to play B3 with our new OCF Gospel Choir:

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Over the past five months the Overseers (translate: “Elders” or “Pastors”) at Whittier Hills Baptist Church have been thinking and praying about ministries of compassion and justice and the relationship of such activities to gospel proclamation. We have recently completed a position paper in which we collectively lay out what we believe the Bible teaches on this topic. We also address a few practical issues in the paper. We will be using this document in the future to help guide ministry decisions as we interact with those who are poor, oppressed, and marginalized. I’m linking you to our paper with the permission and encouragement of our leadership team. We hope that this paper will be a help to other churches, ministries, and individuals to think carefully and biblically through this important--and sometime controversial--topic. You are free to use this paper (or sections of it) in any way you consider appropriate in your respective areas of ministry.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    “Ancient Roots of Modern Day Youth Ministry” (Pt. 1 of a 3 part series) Adolescence is a relatively new phenomenon, but what does Scripture have to say about the model of youth ministry many churches insist is "right"? This 3 part series will look at the Biblical rationale that should inform our youth ministry philosophy, starting with a discussion on the historical roots of youth ministry that have influenced youth ministry practices today.

  • Mick Boersma — 

    It wasn’t long after starting my pastorate in Washington State that I realized a hobby would be a good thing. I needed an activity that was far removed from ministry – something that would divert my attention away from the stresses brought on by working with people – an escape, if you will.

  • Bruce Seymour — 

    Let me start with a warning—I am at the stage in life when men can become a little grumpy. This little meditation might come across that way, so I begin with a request for patience because, truly, as a word guy, I have been provoked. Let me explain. Today I got another one, another email that ended with the ubiquitous “blessings.” When I was in school this part of the letter was called the complimentary close and was an abridged phrase we used to close the letter, just before the signature.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Several years ago I had a Latin professor who made us memorize a phrase that it has been in my mind ever since. The Latin expression is “magister meus doctus est” and means “my professor is instructed or wise.” Obviously, my Latin professor was teasing when he made us memorize that phrase, but in reality, those words describe an important and profound truth. Everybody expects that professors are wise enough to guide their students. It has been commonly assumed that only those who know more can lead others in the right path because we know that nobody can give something without first possessing it. I have been a teacher in different countries and settings for twenty years now and I can testify about the accuracy of this general perception.

  • Ben Shin — 

    Leading people is never an easy task. It takes great skill and character to lead people effectively. It also takes time, effort, and patience to work with people and to lead them well. All of this is part of building a relationship. Unfortunately, many leaders take “shortcuts” in trying to work with people especially in the church. These leaders are not so concerned about the well-being of the common good but may be more bent towards controlling the people with biblical power sources such as the Bible. This entry will explore and potentially warn against these misuses and will respond with appropriate biblical refutations.

  • Mick Boersma — 

    It was a dark and stormy night. No, really. Cruising down a dark two-lane country road, this sixteen year-old wasn’t paying attention. And then it happened – the crunch of metal followed by that surreal quiet when an accident victim checks to see if all his parts are still attached. Happily, I escaped without a bruise. The family car, however, a 1954 Chrysler New Yorker, was out of commission.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    The holidays are quickly being thrust upon us. The day after Halloween, my local shopping malls had already erected Christmas decorations. Thanksgiving has been pushed aside for the shopping holiday, Black Friday. All of this has left me pondering all the other things we celebrate.

  • Rex E. Johnson — 

    Imagine meeting weekly for 3 – 4 months over coffee or tea with someone who is eager to discover what a relationship with Jesus Christ is all about. Conversations focus on understanding the Bible, salvation, the Holy Spirit and resurrection, righteousness and justification, peace with God and the peace of God, the realm of grace, freedom from punishment and the freedom in discipline. They are true conversations, not lectures. You have a guidebook, your “Traveler” gets a Traveler’s Notebook. We have often found that the Traveler has not really begun the journey. He or she has never surrendered to Jesus, and we can help them understand better what salvation is, and commit to Jesus.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    What does Paul intend when he instructs that an overseer must be a husband of one wife in 1 Timothy 3:2 (cf. Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:12)? Here is a quick walk-through this somewhat complicated expression.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Jesus Christ faced a myriad of challenges when he walked this Earth; developing the leadership team to continue his mission of redemption, i.e. through the Church after his ascension back to heaven, is one that is easy to underestimate. A glimpse of the training methodology for his disciples is seen in the discourse recorded in the Gospel of Matthew 10:1-8.