"For the first time in its 105-year history, the Assemblies of God (AG) General Council has elected a woman to its executive leadership. Ohio minister Donna Barrett was voted in as AG general secretary during its biennial gathering last Friday." - Christiantiy Today
Every organization is prone to forget why it’s there. People come and go, the founders pass away, the culture changes. Sometimes an organization can wake up and find it’s lost its way. Other times, the organization never wakes up.
The YMCA started in London in the 1840s as a Christian outreach to young men in the inner cities during the industrial revolution. Now, the YMCA is a gym with a robust after school youth program.
Baptist fundamentalism began as a protest movement against theological revisionism and apostasy. Within one generation, the movement’s various flavors fractured over the issue of secondary separation. In some quarters, the mission drift is so extreme that evangelicals have long been considered ” the enemy,” rather than modern-day heresy and compromise.
So, mission drift happens.
On that note, here are some short reflections for pastoral ministry from Jesus’ interactions with the Sanhedrin’s representatives during the early portion of Passion Week. They’re about “mission drift,” too.1 It’s not a new thing.
This isn’t about Lordship Salvation. It’s about whether you actually reverence Jesus Christ as Lord in your heart and give Him allegiance in your life. On Palm Sunday, the crowd said Jesus was its King. They lied. How many pastors are lying? How many professing Christians?
Leadership, especially in our Lord’s vineyard, is a challenging call. The same is true of Christian leaders who serve in society, secular work, government work, the military, etc. At first glance, leadership looks like it would be fun. You speak, people do things. The reality is much different. God-honoring leadership is servant-minded influence, empowered by the Holy Spirit, where the leader encourages those who serve with him toward the completion of a unified goal—a goal typically broken up into smaller strategic and then tactical objectives. Biblical Leadership demands that the journey towards completing the goal is just as important (maybe even more important) than the completion of the goal itself.
So much of what Jesus tells us in the Gospels impacts a healthy view of leadership. On top of the red-ink sections of the Gospels, we have equally inspired teachings from the Old and New Testament. Powerful applications can be made for leaders from Moses, Daniel, King David, Noah, Joseph, Deborah, Rahab, and more. As we transition into the New Testament we learn much about leadership from the likes of John the Baptist, Peter, the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Barnabas (my favorite leader in the early church), Epaphroditus, Aquilla, and Priscilla (to name just a few).
by Marshall Fant III
What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “church revitalization”? Do you think of it as the next popular ministry? Or as a program replacing church planting? Or maybe you think of other “re” words like refocus, realign, rebuild, or renew. Perhaps it is better to ask, Why should we even be interested in church revitalization? Why not just let dying churches die and plant new ones? I propose to you that we should be interested in church revitalization because Jesus is.
Before we consider what the Bible says about church revitalization, we must first examine Jesus’ promise to build His church. Matthew 16:13–20 tells us that Jesus intentionally journeyed to Caesarea Philippi to give this promise. Caesarea Philippi is located about 30 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus based His ministry. Caesarea Philippi was a Roman city with a pagan culture that worshiped the Greek god Pan. It would have been a striking location to make a promise about Christ’s church. Jesus intentionally took His disciples with Him.
The setting provided a teaching time for them. Others may have been with Jesus, but the passage emphasizes His disciples’ presence. Though these men had been with Jesus for about two and half years, they needed to grasp what was really important. Then Jesus intentionally asked, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (v. 13).
The constitutions and bylaws of independent Baptist churches commonly include language that forbids divorced persons from teaching Sunday School or holding church office. The restriction is so common that of the dozens of church constitutions I’ve read and filed, only one or two lack some version of it. Since many churches with these restrictions have some history of conflict over them, the topic also tends to be seen as a minefield—best to fence it off and leave it alone.
But these same church constitutions and confessions of faith also strongly emphasize the authority of Scripture, and one question should always be welcome: Is what we’re doing biblical? Is it compatible with Scripture and the revealed nature and purposes of the church?
Let’s consider some arguments pro and con.
Read the series so far.
Parents, spouses, teachers, team leaders, ministry leaders, and others are often not content with gaining short-term outward compliance from those in their care. They understand that a deeper and more enduring understanding is better, whenever that’s achievable. It follows that they should reach early and often for the tool of persuasion.
But persuasion is sometimes ill suited for the task at hand. At least four situations call for a different approach, either foregoing a persuasive effort to begin with or setting it aside for another day—or possibly tabling it indefinitely for a particular audience.