6
Jun

“social” event

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

Gather any group of people over age 40 and you’ll hear frustration about how much time younger people spend on their phones. “I’m at a restaurant watching a couple,” a friend told me recently. “They are obviously on a date, and yet they are both staring at their phones instead of talking to each other.”

The friend texted me this information from her own phone.

It’s true that smartphone use is out of control for many of us. One …

17
May

buzzing off


In a few weeks, my final “Buzz” column will appear in Christian Standard.
I’ve been writing the column since 2003 or 2004, so long that I can’t remember and also can’t double-check because the first editions are on a laptop under my bed that no longer works.

Beginning in July, the new owners and new publisher of the magazine will re-launch with a new slate of columnists. Very few of us have been invited to keep writing, in fact. I’m not surprised by this, but I am a little saddened. For …

11
May

the third conversion

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

It was offering time, and the father sitting in front of me handed his 3-year-old son a dollar bill. The boy happily placed the money in the basket as it passed by, and then resumed working on the important task of covering his entire bulletin with green crayon scribbles.

While it was a nice moment, I distinctly remember thinking, “Sure, it’s easy to give someone else’s money.” But the truth is, I find it quite difficult to part with cash from Someone …

3
May

becoming curious – an interview with Casey Tygrett

It happened again last month. I was in a Bible study and the leader was posing some challenging questions about how to apply the concepts presented in that week’s lesson – how to choose joy in our daily lives and how to face real struggles along the way. “Trust God,” one person said. “You have to pray,” said another. The conversation faltered and we went on to another topic.

Jesus didn’t require these pat answers. In fact, he discouraged them, challenging the skeptical and searching people he encountered with profound conversations …

18
Apr

sharing your stories

A few weeks ago, I was working on a sermon about the Holy Spirit and asked the Facebook hive mind for help with one of my points. My buddy Chris, a pastor in
Virginia
, offered to share both a completed sermon he’d recently written as well as his entire Evernote notebook of sermon illustrations. Although I didn’t use any of his sermon (mine ended up going another direction), I have used a few of his illustrations for a different sermon I co-preached with Matt as well as some small group curriculum I wrote.


Slow clap for my awesome friend Chris.

When he shared his …

11
Apr

coming near

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

One of the most commonly quoted verses from Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” Bible is John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” This metaphor for the incarnation is referenced so often because, like all good poetic language, it succinctly describes a profound truth: Jesus not only came to earth to be with us, he came to be one of us.

Following Jesus means following his example and “incarnating” the gospel in our own neighborhoods. Sometimes this means tutoring children …

22
Mar

basic training

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

A few years ago I wrote a proposal for an online initiative that would provide customizable resources for churches wanting to develop their pastors, worship leaders, campus ministers, church planters, elders, and key volunteers. I suggested an online portal with everything from 101 to seminary-level books, articles, podcasts, and videos, as well as suggested “tracks” with curated lists of resources for specific groups. I referred to research from the Barna Group and Ed Stetzer as well as insights from the leaders of Orchard Group, Stadia, …

7
Mar

disagreeing with “the Benedict option”

When I spoke at ICOM about biblical interpretation and how that should influence our role in the culture wars (thank you, Jim Tune, for giving me such an easy assignment!), I said this:

“We love the Bible. Do we believe what it says? Because if we do, we don’t need to be afraid. And we don’t need to be jerks with people who don’t believe it. What we need to do is live and love and work and embody the gospel among them for a long time, for a …

21
Feb

a next chapter

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

Several years ago I wrote a series of case studies for Kairos Legacy Partners that described their work with dying and declining churches across the country. Kairos works with these churches to evaluate their impact, their finances, and overall health and determine whether it makes sense for them to stay open as a congregation. If the decision is no, Kairos also works with those churches to help them “recycle” their facilities and financial resources in ways that can fund another ministry.

I’m a fan of Kairos …

31
Jan

strategic solutions for significant stages

Writers of short think pieces like this one love to quote statistics about the hundreds or even thousands of pastors who are leaving the ministry each month. However, as Ed Stetzer pointed out on his blog last October, those provocative numbers have yet to be backed up with any solid data or reliable sources.

In fact, actual recent surveys, like the September 2015 study conducted by LifeWay Research, show that while the demands of pastoring a church can frequently feel “overwhelming” to more than 50 …