January 2019

Christian Unity
Inside And Outside The Bible Belt: A Schism The American Church Must Address
The church has never found unity through sameness, but by celebrating how Christ uses the gifts of different parts of his one body.

There are two churches in America. The church inside the Bible Belt and the church outside the Bible Belt.

The ones inside the Bible Belt often look at the ones outside as compromised and soft on sin because of their rejection of long-held traditions.

Meanwhile, those outside ...

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Church Leadership
Breaking Church Growth Barriers Will Not Keep You From Crashing
A plea to my fellow pastors: The body of Christ wants you healthy and whole more than we need you to perform numerically.

There’s something very sad and scary about the way too many pastors are leaving the ministry lately.

It’s never been unusual to hear about pastors dropping out of full-time ministry when the demands of the calling are different from their expectations. Especially ...

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Church Growth
The Problem With Using Numerical Incentives In Church Leadership
When we require the promise of numerical increase to motivate us to behave biblically, something is wrong.

If a church wants to break growth barriers, here are some of the principles pastors need to follow:

  • Equip church members to do ministry, not just have ministry done for them
  • Train the people you have to reach out to the people you don’t have
  • Be friendly and welcoming to your guests
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Christian Unity
5 Myth-Shattering Reasons We Have To Change Our Thinking About Church Size
History has regularly shown us that any time we equate bigger with better in the kingdom of God, it leads to problems. Big problems.

Bigger churches aren’t necessarily better. Smaller churches aren’t necessarily broken, stuck or ineffective.

Effective churches exist in all shapes and sizes. Including churches that haven’t grown numerically in a while.

But the myths persist. Especially the ...

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Church Growth
Caring Or Counting? The Pastoral Dilemma
When I’m pushing for numerical growth, I minister differently than when I’m caring for people. And not in a good way.

When it comes to pastoral ministry, I've discovered an interesting (and sometimes frustrating) paradox.

The more I care for people, the less concern I have for increasing the size of the crowd – while the more I work to increase the size of the crowd, the less caring ...

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Church Leadership
In Defense Of Longer (And Better) Sermons
How long should a sermon be? As long as it needs to be.

People don’t hate long sermons.

They hate boring sermons. Irrelevant sermons. Impractical sermons. Uninspiring sermons. Unprepared sermons. Over-prepared sermons… You get the idea.

A bad sermon can’t be short enough, but an engaging sermon can go longer than ...

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Innovative Ministry
Free Apps and Websites Any Church Can Use To Organize, Promote And Do More Creative Ministry
If your church is small and your budget is non-existent, new technology may seem out of reach. But it’s not.

We are living more of our lives online than ever before. And our online time will increase for some time before it levels off.

While there are certainly a lot of downsides to this, there are also huge upsides that every church can take advantage of. With people spending an average ...

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Church & Culture
Why Current Church Trends Mean Very Little In Smaller Churches
Small church ministry isn’t about following trends, it’s about knowing people.

In a couple recent articles, I wrote about current trends in church worship music. (You can read them here and here.)

If you worship or serve in a smaller church, you may have read those articles and shrugged, or maybe you saw the titles and didn’t even bother to read them. ...

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Christian Unity
4 Positive Trends That Could Make Today's Worship Music Even Better
An encouragement to widen our musical tastes, expand our emotional range, renew our melodic emphasis, and incorporate other artistic expressions.

In the last few years there have been a lot of articles written about what’s wrong with worship music, and how to make it better. So many that they've been labeled the Worship Wars. This isn’t about that.

Instead, I want to suggest four trends that are not happening ...

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Innovative Ministry
5 Positive Trends In Today's Worship Music
Not all current worship trends are positive, but there are far more good ones than negative ones.

It’s easy to criticize today’s worship music. Too easy.

“It’s repetitive!” “It’s too loud!” “It’s theologically shallow!” “And it’s repetitive!”

Similar criticisms have been made for every generation ...

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Innovative Ministry
What Will I Preach This Sunday?! 6 Tools for Overcoming Preacher’s Block
Simple steps to help you prepare better, preach stronger and have a greater impact.

One of the greatest challenges of pastoring is coming up with something fresh to say to the same people week after week.

As a pastor, I’ve been preaching for over 30 years. Over 4,000 messages. For many years I would regularly run out of things to say – or, more accurately, ...

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Innovative Ministry
5 Reasons Leaders Should Never Say “I Don’t Like That”
Good leaders never make their decisions based on personal preference. They make decisions based on the mission.

Good leaders have strong opinions.

And they should.

But our decisions should be guided by the mission, not by our opinions.

This is especially true in church leadership. The importance of Christ’s mission should be communicated in everything we do and say. Including in subtle ...

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Church & Culture
Want To Accomplish Your Goals? Dream Bigger – And More Long-Term
While it may seem counterintuitive, thinking bigger and on a longer timeline is often a better way to get things done.

You won’t succeed at your New Years resolutions this year.

Sorry for the bad news, but it's highly unlikely, statistically speaking.

But here’s what you can do. You can start.

Want to write a book? Start writing every day.

Lose weight? Start a healthier lifestyle.

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