15
Aug

body life

Last week a client asked me watch videos of their “Body Life” series of classes, designed to introduce people to the church and its culture, and suggest ways to revamp the material into a shorter, more conversational video project. It was one of the best investments of time I made this month – and not just because I’ll get paid for the work.

Over the course of the five-week class, the teaching pastors and other leaders teach on Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17 and tie this prayer for “echad” or oneness back …

20
Jun

repost: 11 rejected VBS themes

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God’s Great Creation and How You’re Ruining It

It’s Only Grape Juice: Sharing the Truth with Your Catholic Friends

Roll Up Your Sleeves and Let’s Clean the Church

God Can Do Anything—So Pray Away Your Peanut Allergy!

Heaven is for Rizzle: Rapping through the Psalms

Journeys with Job

jabVaccination Station! Just Get Your Measles Shot Already

Talking in Tongues by Tuesday

A Warrior After God’s Own Heart: Re-creating the Battles of David*

Jesus Loves You, But He …

30
May

repost: follow the Leader

I’d read the back of a soup can if Joel Stein wrote it, so as I studiously scrolled through my blog reader this weekend, trawling through posts from the Harvard Business Review that I subscribe to out of some vague feeling that I should, the one he wrote caught my attention. (Surprisingly, “History Rhymes in the Greek Debt Crisis” did not.)

Titled “Boringness: The Secret to Great Leadership,” the article is typically hilarious Stein, this time talking about the research he …

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 …

4
Apr

repost: cracks of God

As I type this, I’m hiding from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Every month or so two of them appear on my doorstep, pamphlets in hand, asking for my time and suggesting I read articles with titles like “The Truth about Halloween.” Because the walk to my front door passes right by the dining room window, and because I spend much of my workday on the comfy red chair in front of that window, it’s easy for them to spot me inside. To avoid talking to them I’ve taken to scurrying …

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 …

2
Feb

This can be the best time for the church – in spite of Trump

I am more fearful for the American church during Trump’s presidency than I ever was during Obama’s.

The American church panicked as Obama legalized gay marriage, which many evangelicals saw as a direct violation of the Christian scriptures and their own religious beliefs. Many Christians also took issue with Obama’s approach to health care, foreign policy, the environment, and federal spending.

Many Christians railed against these policies, maligned Obama, and feared for the future of the nation. However, many of them also grappled more deeply with their understanding of biblical sexuality, prayed more strongly for our …

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 …