The Pastor and Missions, Part 2

In The Nick of Time
Read Part 1.

by Jeff Straub

The church has no greater task than world evangelism. God has given churches the opportunity to partner with Him in this endeavor. If the pastor has no burden, however, then neither will the congregation. Conversely, if the shepherd’s heart is aflame for the task, then the hearts of his flock will catch fire, and they will become a church with a vision for the world.

When I was a missionary on deputation, gathering support occupied a large part of my time. I had to call pastors, visit churches, write letters, preach, and pray. Missionaries do need a lot of prayer support, but financial support is also necessary. In most countries, missionaries simply cannot work to support themselves. If they are to evangelize and disciple, they must have funds provided for them by interested churches and individuals.

Therefore, questions arise. When should a church start to give to missions? Who should be supported? For how much? For how long? I would like to suggest a few practical answers to some of these questions.

When should a new church start giving to missions? My answer is simple—as soon as possible. I believe that the Lord will take care of the affairs of churches that look after God’s business. This is not just a pious platitude. I think that Matthew 6:33 has applications to churches as well as to individual believers.
Read more about The Pastor and Missions, Part 2

The Dumbing Down of Youth Ministry

Causes and Cures

by Dan Burrell

For too many churches, the youth pastor has become little more than the spiritual equivalent of an activities director on a cruise ship. He plans “events” and activities, hangs out with the kids, entertains, and provides some semblance of oversight in order to keep the kids reasonably safe and occupied. Many churches have designed “youth programs” that burrell_teens.jpgallow their teens to grow up with a sense of “entitlement” wherein they expect to be amused, indulged, and isolated from the adults with most every whim of appetite and interest being met by the church. They have separate services—sometimes to the point that they never even have an opportunity to go to the adult service, which is often described as “dry” and/or “irrelevant” to what they need. (Think about this: Many children are growing up in a church culture where they never sit under the pastor’s teaching or with their parents and family in a church service from infancy through adolescence because of nurseries, children’s programs, and youth programs.)

Parents frequently demand that the church hire a youth director or pastor whose primary job description is to keep their kids “engaged” in church. This engagement takes place preferably through weekly activities, contemporary music, activities, and youth centers equipped with video games and comfortable lounge areas exclusively reserved for teens. Youth pastors are expected to be “hip,” accessible, relevant, and responsible. They need to be masters at keeping teens “occupied.”
Read more about The Dumbing Down of Youth Ministry

Mark Farnham—The SharperIron Interview | Part 3

farnham_pod.jpg

Trends in Evangelicalism

Mark Farnham, Assistant Professor of Theology and New Testament at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary (Lansdale, PA), joins us for a series of podcasts on Fundamentalism. In his first and second interviews, he surveyed the four historical stages of Fundamentalism and addressed current issues within Fundamentalism. In this third and final interview, he discusses trends in Evangelicalism.

Jason Janz

Listen to the interview (30:07 min., 10.34 MB).

To save this file to your computer, simply right-click on one of the above links and choose “Save Target As…”

SharperIron Podcast RSS Feed—can be subscribed and listened to in applications such as iTunes or Juice or a standard RSS reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines.

Click here to subscribe directly via iTunes.

Book Review—Preaching the Cross

Reviewed by Matt Christensen

Dever, Mark, et al. Preaching the Cross. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2007. 176 pages, Hardcover. $19.99 USD.

(Review copies courtesy of Crossway Books)

Purchase: Crossway | CBD | CVBBS | Amazon

Special Features: Appendix: Together for the Gospel Affirmations and Denials (2006); General Index; Scripture Index

DCN: 251

LCCN: BV4211.3.P735

Mark Dever is senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC and Executive Director of 9Marks Ministries.
Read more about Book Review—Preaching the Cross

Light for Oregon Fever at Summer’s End

by Todd Wood

wood_capemeares.jpgWhen you reach Oregon, you have come to the end of the trail for the American West. Two hundred years ago, Lewis and Clark, commissioned by Thomas Jefferson, forged a Northwest Passage all the way to the thundering surf of the Pacific Ocean. Last week, my family partially traveled some of the route but in a comfortable 1997 Plymouth Voyager with a duct-taped carrier on top. (Jason Janz is right—I am a redneck). And at the end of our westward trip, I enjoyed standing at the base of a coastal lighthouse at Cape Meares (see photo). I thought of Christ as the light of the world (John 12:46). But abruptly there came a stinging question. “In the past 200 hundred years, how much have Christians shared with others and made a positive impact for Jesus Christ in the Northwest?” I couldn’t help but notice a certain accusatory bumper sticker on my trip: “Please Jesus, protect me from your followers.” In this latest excursion to a family reunion on the Oregon coast, I realized that though the year is 2007, Oregon territory more than ever provides a pioneer place for light to shine.

Crossing the Snake River Plain

First, we traversed the Idaho Snake River Plain, a unique desert land of lava rock and sage, carving out a huge agricultural smiley face in the width of Southern Idaho. My personal highlight happened to be the big billboards with verses from John’s Gospel situated on the interstate near the capitol of Idaho. There couldn’t be a better content made big and bold for helping Idaho deal with the present mess swirling around our U.S. Senator, Larry Craig. Read more about Light for Oregon Fever at Summer’s End

The Pastor and Missions

In The Nick of Timeby Kevin T. Bauder

Over the past 60 or 70 years, the work of missions has been left largely to the sending agencies. I am very grateful for those agencies, and I deeply appreciate their labors. The business of missions, however, belongs to local churches. The agencies have ended up performing many tasks by default simply because local churches and pastors have been negligent.

The church in which I was reared was a mission church with a missionary pastor. He understood missions, preached missions, promoted missions, and exposed us to missionaries of many sorts. I grew up loving the work of missions. From the time I was a child, I have wanted to be a missionary, but the Lord has thus far led into other sorts of ministries.

Why would a pastor not want his church to be missions-minded? Why would he not want to expose his congregation to as many of the best missionaries as possible? Why would he not want the church to support missions generously?

Most pastors verbally agree that missions is important. Nevertheless, the zeal for missions has been on the wane for decades. We now have a generation of missionaries who are retiring from the field, and we do not have replacements to send. The missionaries who are sent are often undersupported, sometimes underprepared, and occasionally undersupervised. The responsibility for this situation does not rest with the sending agencies—they are merely service organizations. The responsibility for the future of missions rests with local churches and especially with pastors.
Read more about The Pastor and Missions

Papal Infallibility in Light of Each Believer’s Responsibility

by Michael Osborne

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the Roman Catholic claims of papal infallibility and the magisterial authority of the church are correct. In other words, when the pope as pope (and not as private individual) speaks an absolute word or when the church leadership as a whole make such a decided proclamation, they are assured of infallibility; and when they osborne_accursed.gifteach without such pronouncements, their general teaching is still binding upon consciences. Would such a situation negate the biblical principle of testing new revelation in light of prior revelation? Well, if there is a timeless biblical principle of testing new revelation in light of prior revelation, of course, it can’t be negated—ever. So how might such a principle be worked out in a world where an institution may still speak for God? Read more about Papal Infallibility in Light of Each Believer’s Responsibility

Would You Vote for a Mormon President?

by Aaron Blumer

Under the right conditions, I would.

By now, the name Mitt Romney is at least vaguely familiar to most of us. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is running for President and is a Mormon. So far, his fundraising efforts have been fruitful, and the discomfort of many blumer_vote.jpgconservatives with McCain and Giuliani has kept Romney in a strong position in the polls. Though his chances of being the Republican nominee are much smaller now that Fred Thompson has entered the race, an eventual Romney nomination is far from impossible.

Some pundits claim the Christian Right will never allow that to happen. In their view, evangelicals view Mormonism as a cult and anyone associated with Mormonism as an embodiment of evil. One pundit, who happens to be a Mormon, wrote the following:

Everyone knows that Christian evangelicals hate Mormons so badly that if they had to choose between a bribe-taking, FBI-file-stealing, relentless-lie-telling, mud-slinging former first lady, and a Mormon ex-governor who doesn’t lie, who’s still married to his first wife, and who supports the entire Christian evangelical agenda, they’d still rather die than vote for a Mormon.

Is he right? More importantly, should he be right? I for one would vote for the Mormon Romney over any of the liberal Democrats currently seeking office, and I’d do so with only brief hesitation. Before you brand me a nutcase or a heretic, consider the following factors behind my thinking: Read more about Would You Vote for a Mormon President?

Pages