Together For the Gospel 2012

If you are like me, you maybe wanted to go to the Together for the Gospel conference a few weeks ago, but with a small town pastor salary that just wasn’t an option.  Thanks to the internet, we can still watch or listen to all the messages online.  I haven’t had a chance to do it yet, but I hope to soon.  If interested, visit here.

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Ministry Moments

Here are some good posts to ponder for your ministry:

On Constantly Taking Your Church’s Temperature – Jared Wilson
That voice in your head that keeps rehearsing the disappointments and flaws of your church is not from the Lord.

Christian Leader, Are You Forgetting Something – Sam Crabtree
God is not given the praise he deserves when we ignore or deny the work he is doing in people.

The Subtle Art of Sabotaging a Pastor – Jared Wilson
How the devil might (and often does) tempt a pastor….

Spiritual leadership is knowing where God wants people to be
and taking the initiative to use God’s methods to get them there
in reliance on God’s power.

– John Piper

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A Pastor’s Longing

One of the great longings of my life is that we at Bethlehem [Baptist Church] would be the sending base of ever-increasing numbers of missionaries to the unreached peoples and that we would send them with ever-increasing effectiveness and ever-increasing faithfulness and ever-increasing care for them and their families.  When I think about not wasting my life, this is what I think about as often as anything: study and pray and write and speak and lead in a way that results in more and more visionary young people and restless mid-career people and wise, mature retired people who pull up their stakes, pack their tents,
and go with Jesus and the gospel to unreached peoples of the world,
no matter where they are – far or near.

– John Piper in A Holy Ambition

May we have that same passion for missions and may it show in our ministries.

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Healthy Small Town Church

At the RHMA Small Town Pastors’ Conference, Ron Klassen suggested the following six key health indicators from Colossians for a healthy small town church:

1. Respected People’s Commendation (1:1-6) – Do other Christians look at the church with high regard?

2. Twin F’s: Faithfulness and Fruitfulness (1:2, 6) – Are we faithfully doing the right things so that we are fruitful; that is, so lives are being changed?

3. Healthy Relationships (1:4, 8) – Do the people love one another in the Spirit?

4. Faithful Leaders (1:7) – Are the leaders faithful in their service?  Marks of a faithful leader include: making the teaching of the Word a priority (1:6-7), being a servant (1:7, 4:12), being a prayer warrior (4:12), being a hard worker (4:13), and being committed to doctrinal purity (4:12).

5. Commitment t Discipleship (2:6-7) – Is the church committed to going, baptizing, and teaching?

6. Commitment to Progress (1:28) – Is there a desire for the church and its people to mature?

How well does your church meet these key health indicators?  In which indicator does your church particularly need to grow?  Of course no church is perfect, but is your church moving in the right direction?  What steps might you take to move in the right direction?

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Ministry Moments – Preaching

Here are some helpful posts on preaching:

The Greatest Preachers – Wayne Gruden (via Jared Wilson)
According to Grudem’s definition, we can all be great preachers!  Indeed we must be.

Preaching Texts You Do Not Understand – Carl Trueman (via Reformation 21)
We’ve all been there.  Here are some helpful thoughts.

Pastors, What You Preach Is Already Decided – Charles Spurgeon (via Desiring God)
We can’t make it up out of our own heads.

The Most Transformational Word – Paul Tripp (via Gospel Coalition)
We must preach grace to ourselves.

Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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Weddings for Unbelievers

They call asking if you will perform their wedding.  What do you say?  When can you say yes and when must you say no?  Issues include past divorce, living together, being unequally yoked, are they saved, and more.  This week, Gospel Coalition addressed the issue of doing weddings for unbelievers with yes and no answers.  In this case the comments are as helpful as the posts.  What do you think?  Leave a comment on whether you do weddings for unbelievers and why you have come to your conclusion.

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It’s Friday…But Sunday’s Coming!

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Our Prior Responsibility

We pastors have God-given responsibilities both to the congregation we serve and to the doctrine we teach, for both have been committed to us.  Yet our prior responsibility is to ourselves, to guard our personal walk with God and our loyalty to him.  Nobody can be a good pastor or teacher of others who is not first a good servant of Jesus Christ.  Disciplined habits, of pastoral visitation and counselling on the one hand, and of theological study and sermon preparation on the other, become barren exercises unless they are supported by disciplined habits of personal devotion, especially biblical meditation and prayer.
– John Stott in Between Two Worlds

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