The Blindness of Social Wealth. No Small Pastors. Two Kinds of Grateful Parenting. 45 Qualities Every True Leader Must Have. Are We Accidental Continuationists? Back from Sabbatical: 10 Reflections Upon Reentry. And more!
I realize that not all of us have the luxury of taking a sabbatical 5-7 years into our church plants, but I would encourage all pastors reading this to begin to have serious conversations with your elders or leadership teams about the necessity of sabbaticals for your spiritual, emotional and physical health.With that said, Melissa and I decided to jot down a few reflections (in no particular order) which we hope might be helpful to you whether a sabbatical is coming soon or later.
It appears that Alexander Pope was right when he said that a little learning is a dangerous thing. We've got resources on overconfidence, the dream of a disciple-making church, urban church planting, the rise of church planting networks and bi-vocational pastors, disconnecting from social media, and the average amount of debt each US age group has. Enjoy!
Last Saturday, April 7, Sojourn Network churches from the Pacific Northwest gathered, bringing lay-leaders and "normal" church members together for half-a-day to focus on being encouraged and equipped to serve in the local church for the long-haul. Here's a recap, complete with all event media — audio, video, and photos.
The church is responsible to baptize only believers, those whom God has saved and changed. So, as you, parents and church ministry leaders, consider whether or not the child in your care is ready, here are seven things to keep in mind
After a quick stop in San Francisco to visit Dave Ainsworth and CJ Bergmen and hear about all that God is doing through Citizens Church (you can read more about this trip here), I got up early to beat the bay area traffic, launching out of the city and into a misty Monday morning making my way to Fresno to visit another Sojourn Network church planter: Troy McComas.
Almost 1 in 5 women in Japanese prisons is a senior. Their crimes are usually minor—9 in 10 senior women who’ve been convicted were found guilty of shoplifting. This week's Roundup features a piece that demonstrates just why community is so important for human flourishing. We've also got resources on paper airplanes, child dedication services, using the creeds and confessions in corporate worship, how to preach Ecclesiastes, and a hilarious, 9-year-old caption creator for the New Yorker. Enjoy!
Recently, I joined two other pastors in a panel discussion on endurance in pastoral ministry. We averaged 28 years in the same church. Since that may seem daunting to a young pastor, the moderator asked if we originally planned to stay so long in our ministries.That question sent me drifting back 31 years to the start of my present pastorate. I don’t remember thinking consciously at that stage, “I’m planting my life in Memphis.” Many in my generation tended to go light on ecclesiology, and so thought of climbing instead of staying. Discussions of moving on to bigger and better things frequently marked the ministerial gatherings. Staying in one place, planting your life, enduring the many changes accompanying any congregation, just didn’t seem to be the focus.
Recently, I got a chance to travel out to California to visit two of our Sojourn Network churches: Citizens Church in the San Francisco area and New City Church in Fresno. In this post, I’ll share a bit about my time at Citizens Church through several photos and short captions that should provide a visual story-arc of my time in San Francisco.
Hard to believe it, but 50 Resource Roundups have now come and gone. Since this seems like it should be considered some sort of milestone, we decided to go all out and provide our BIGGEST Roundup ever. You won't want to miss this one.
As Christians, we can live in the power and joy and peace of the resurrection. By pressing deeper into the events of Holy Weekend — even the darkness of Good Friday and the silence of Holy Saturday — we discover the power of the resurrection on Easter Sunday.
In more than a decade of pastoral ministry, I’ve wrestled with this tension. How much should we cultivate special, extraordinary experiences in the faith, and how often should we just put our heads down and follow God — living quiet lives, minding our own business, working with our hands (1 Thess. 4:11) Thankfully, we are not alone in this struggle: The Church has historically wrestled with the times and seasons of the Christian life, and the Church Calendar was formed and embraced as a way of living in this tension.
Proponents of the multicultural church are sometimes targeted with accusations of kowtowing to secular political correctness rather than fidelity to the true message of the scriptures. It is critical, therefore, to establish a robust biblical and theological basis in framing the multicultural church as a powerful and contextually relevant expression of our mission.
Another Roundup is here. Get ready for articles on self-awareness, science and Stephen Hawking, leading multi-ethnic churches, the necessity of silence and solitude, the frightening link between teen depression and suicide rates and smartphones, and the most important part of your sermon. Enjoy!
It’s good for pastors to come before God utterly helpless and completely dependent on him as we prepare to imperfectly preach his perfect word to our imperfect people. But I think a pattern of discouragement can easily consume us if we don’t guard our preaching from becoming a preoccupation with self-improvement.
With all the Madness happening this weekend in March, we've got you covered with a fantastic clip from a post-loss press conference and 7 wise reflections on how to maximize this NCAA basketball craziness for the gospel. We've also got reflections on 30 years of ministry from Kathy Keller, what sugar does to your brain, 28 signs of a healthy church, and more.
We are hosting a dinner at Impellizzeri's Pizza (Downtown) on Thursday, April 12 in Louisville, KY during the T4G dinner break (within walking distance of the YUM center!) and we would love to feed you (and get to know you)!
In the last several years we have seen some interesting shifts, and a few tragic endings, to prominent multisite churches that had been leading examples within the phenomenon. This has logically lead many to question the future of the multisite movement. As pastors within a multisite church at the time, this question was of particular importance to Dr. Allison and myself. MultiChurch was written to answer those questions for us internally and grew into a project that we wanted to share with others who were wrestling with the same challenges and hopes within a similar multisite context.
Resources this week include: • the truth about church planting • surprising secrets to living a 109-year old life • what happens to the lives of those who "level-up" • Jim Elliot was no fool • how to move a couch without destroying your back
What seems to get talked about much less than the skills of a leader is the character of a leader. We want men and women who can teach, who can counsel, who can organize, who can develop, who can manage, who can strategize, etc., etc. All good things, but think about the stories you’ve heard about people being picked for their leadership “skills,” only to find out later that they lacked the kind of character that made them worth following?I’m going to key in on the one quality that I believe all other character qualities need to stem from—and that’s humility.
Resources this week include: • reflections on an incredible man, ministry, and marriage • all you need to know about the Oscars • who watches porn? • an inconvenient truth about convenience • what if men and women skied against each other in the Olympics?
In the first two posts of this series (part 1, part 2), I shared how God rescued me from my sins, used my seminary experience to expose my racism, and then expanded my vision for reconciliation. But my journey is far from complete. While I think I’ve grown a bit, I’m still aware that I have a long way to go. In this post, I want to share some reflections on the path forward.
In the first post, I shared how I arrived at my conversion packed with ignorance and hostility toward black people. But becoming a Christian launched an adventure in unexpected transformation. God slowly began to excavate my soul and hack away at the roots of racism. And I learned that the hostility that once burned within my heart was part of a bigger story that went all the way back to the beginning.
Resources this week include: a story of rediscovering faith through listening to Scripture and a new project to help you hear God's word, the faith and life of Billy Graham (an exceptional obituary), a sermon nobody wanted to end, an inside look into a new VBS curriculum, and the Rise of the Amphibians.
The theological linchpin of the church is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is utterly indispensable. It simply cannot be replaced. It is the front page on the newspaper of the Christian life. It isn’t mere advice, it is the most unique and valuable news in all the cosmos. It is all we have to offer a world in dire need of redemption. So to be “gospel-centered” in our doctrine is of immeasurable importance because our faith hinges on this specific message; distorting it can cause serious damage. So how can we know if our doctrine is gospel-centered? What is the shape of it?
Over a series of three posts, I plan to trace the theme of racial reconciliation through the scriptures. My prayer is that together we will find a theological frame that will help us both to speak (Acts 15:7-11) and, by God’s grace, also to live (Gal. 3:11-16) as ambassadors of reconciliation (Eph.2: 13-19). In the final post, I want to share some observations that raise, I believe, some compelling questions. The primary audience in these posts will be other white pastors, beginning with the ones I serve in Sojourn Network.
Resources this week include: an exciting new prospect for listening to Scripture, a visual liturgical mediation on Lent, pastors and their need for friends (too), how to plan child dedication services for your church, Nancy Pearcey and Jonathan Merritt go toe-to-toe, and a free (read Google) way to amaze your kids like a only a true wizard could.
Today, we're kicking off a new (!!!) category we're calling "Multi-". Read on to find out more about the work we look forward to sharing with you in the future and how we hope this new addition to the blog will help pastors plant, grow, and multiply healthy churches that last.
We're excited to introduce you to Lead Pastor Brian Sauvé and our newest church plant to join the SN family: Refuge Church in Ogden, Utah. This is the very first Sojourn Network church in the great state of Utah! Read their story, celebrate their wins, and please join us in praying for this church in 2018!
Ash Wednesday ushers us into a season of fasting and seeking the Lord (Lent) in light of our impending date with death. It initiates a six week journey of pursuing God that culminates in Holy Week, where we fix our attention on the passion of Jesus.It is here we finally celebrate (Easter), because through Jesus’ suffering we gain deliverance. By his death and through his resurrection, our sin has been paid for and our enemy, Death, has been defeated.