Featured Resource: Are We "Accidental" Continuationists?
Charles Spurgeon’s first encounter with spiritual gifts came in a manner that seemed pretty random, maybe even ‘accidental'. When Spurgeon was a boy, his family gathered at 6:00 a.m. for family worship. On one occasion, they were joined by a house guest named Richard Knill. After the morning prayers had shaken the slumber from the Spurgeon clan, Mr. Knill moved to leave. Suddenly he stopped, and reached over to lift young Charles. The 10-year-old Spurgeon remembered it this way:
“In the presence of them all, Mr. Knill took me on his knee, and said, ‘This child will one day preach the gospel, and he will preach it to great multitudes. I am persuaded that he will preach in the chapel of Rowland Hill.” (Spurgeon, The Early Years, p. 27)
Years later, as an established London pastor and young “phenom” as a preacher, Charles Spurgeon ascended the pulpit at Rowland Hill’s chapel as a guest preacher. Looking out over the crowd, he recounted the words of Richard Knill spoken over him as a young boy. Astounded, a current of excitement rippled across the meeting space as people realized that this very moment had been foreseen and announced. Overwhelmed by God’s goodness, tears streamed down Spurgeon’s face as he opened his Bible to preach.
The result? God was glorified as both Spurgeon and the people encountered the active presence of God in a unique and memorable manner.
This article by John Starke is a really well-rounded piece for those aspiring to plant churches in cities. Sober and honest, but not cynical; hopeful and faith-filled, but not over-the-top. If you're thinking about planting a church in a big city, or wanting to join an urban church plant, this is a great read.
One of the most important spheres of influence in which we can lead Scripture engagement is within our own families. But often this is the most difficult place to start! That’s where J.R. Briggs, founder of Kairos Partnerships, comes in to give us some tips. Find out how leading his son in reading through the Bible in a year became one of his favorite leadership roles. Then try it yourself with this one year Bible reading plan or another of your choosing.
In an earlier post I wrote that seminary cannot prepare anyone to be a pastor. Only a church, guided by the Holy Spirit, can truly qualify a man for ministry. By its very nature, the field of pastoral leadership is fraught with such incredible difficulties that we must say with the Apostle Paul, “Who is sufficient for these things?” Leading God’s people is unlike any other task in the world — which is why it requires a calling of the Spirit, and not merely training for a job. While I am sure there are others, I have identified a matrix of ten challenges specific to the church that make pastoring unlike anything else.
I’ve noticed a sort of postpartum depression in church planters that affects more than 1 out of 10. Years 2-4 tend to be a really difficult on church planters. I had a case of church planter postpartum myself that nearly caused me to throw in the towel. My emotional roller coaster went something like this: It started with…