Miscellanies

Led by the Holy Spirit

What is more important for a pastor, leadership team, or congregation than being led by the Holy Spirit? Sure, other values may be just as important – such as being led by the Scriptures – but what trumps being led by the Spirit? As Christians we have decided to follow Jesus Christ and as congregations…

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I Don't Want to be One of Those Pastors

I don’t want to be one of those pastors. I don’t want to be one who stays in a church even though it’s not a good fit, who keeps working just to get a pay check, who refuses to retire even though  the congregation is unhealthy and in need of new leadership. I don’t want…

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Fractured Flocks – A Good Reason to Consider Another Option

The February 11, 2013 edition of the Christian Courier includes an interesting and informative article by Peter Schuurman entitled “Fractured Flocks: A leadership crisis in the CRC?”  In his article Schuurman documents an astounding statistic pertaining to the Christian Reformed Church in North America, a denomination of just over 1000 congregations. During the first decade…

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Where Have All The Pastors Gone?

Where have all the pastors gone?  So went the question from a retired pastor who wondered if those following in his wake were anything but. As our conversation continued, my friend reflected on his personal observations of individuals with the title “pastor” who, from his vantage point, function like managers of the local Walgreens or…

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What Does it Mean to be a Christian?

What does it mean to be a Christian? For years I struggled to answer that question. My first attempt at an answer was that a Christian is one who affirms the truth of the Gospel. I figured if I could say “yes” to the Apostles’ Creed, I must be a Christian. Then it dawned on…

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Peterson's Memoir On the Life and Ministry of the Pastor

This past Christmas my children blessed me with Eugene H. Peterson’s memoir The Pastor. What a joy it has been, in the weeks since, to take a leisurely stroll through Peterson’s reflections on his life and ministry. What a blessed realization to hear echoes of his life and ministry in mine. While my present doesn’t…

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Pursuing God's Will Together: A Discernment Practice

Ruth Haley Barton, my colleague at Northern Seminary and the founder/director of The Transforming Center, recently wrote a book entitled Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups.  This past week I had the opportunity to read my copy, one graciously signed by the author.  In it I find some jewels on cultivating…

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Time to Re-Frame Spiritual Gift Assessment Tools and Inventories?

It may be time to re-frame spiritual gift assessment tools and inventories. For the past thirty years or more, Protestant congregations have enthusiastically embraced the apostle Paul’s teaching on spiritual gifts. In the process, they have affirmed the biblical promise that every Christian has been gifted by the Holy Spirit for service to Christ and…

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What is the Mission of God?

What is the mission of God? Much has been written in recent years in response to this question, especially among those in the “missional movement.” From this impressive pile of literature we find agreement on, at least, this much: The mission of God is to create a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a chosen people…

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Attractional or Relational Model?

As congregations determine how best to seek and save the lost, they often choose one of two models or a hybrid of both.  These types of approaches may be labeled “attractional” and “relational.” The attractional model hopes to attract people to Christ through programs, such as a Sunday morning service. Once in the doors of…

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