Church Life

‘Rise & Fall of Mars Hill’ podcast draws lessons on platforms, accountability

“This isn’t about one individual or a fallen leader,” said Cosper – writer, producer, editor, and host of the serial podcast...“It’s about a church of 15,000 people who closed their doors nine weeks after losing their pastor.” - BPNews

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Seven Ways to Improve Your Church’s Observance of the Lord’s Table

"Many churches have chosen to do it on the first Sunday of every month. We decided not to do that. . . . Beginning in the late 1990’s we began dedicating an entire service to the Lord’s Table when we do it and it has been transformative for our church." - Kevin Schaal

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Becoming an Adoption Friendly Church

By Paul Golden

Do Christians realize that adoption is truly a special opportunity for believers to affirm and demonstrate the sanctity of life to an unsaved world? Sadly, and for a variety of reasons, many Christians do not seriously consider adopting. Churches can and should play a crucial role in encouraging their members to “look after orphans … in their distress” (James 1:27, NIV).

Here are some specific ideas on how to become an adoption-friendly church.

Pray that you and your church would become an adoption-friendly church. The ministry of prayer is invaluable. Pray that potential couples will be sensitive to the Lord’s leading. Pray that the church as a whole would step up its involvement in assisting couples who adopt.

Preach key passages on caring for orphans and spiritual adoption. Passages like James 1:26 and 27 remind us of what pure and faultless religion is all about (caring for those who are least able to care for themselves), and the act of physical adoption in Ephesians 1:3–5 is a great object lesson for spiritual adoption in Christ. “God’s example of care for us in our affliction should impact our understanding of what it means to care for orphans in their affliction,” says Dan Cruver, ministry outreach coordinator for Carolina Hope Christian Adoption Agency.

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We Weren't Afraid

For many of us it was never about fear. We wore masks. We social-distanced. We avoided gatherings. We encouraged people to consider participating in Sunday school and worship over Zoom or Facebook Live. We respected the officials who—for better or worse, correct or incorrect—made the tough calls and closed businesses, limited gatherings, and recommended or required masks.

We were not “afraid.”

We didn’t choose “fear instead of faith” and certainly didn’t choose “fear instead of science.”

What we felt was a sense of responsibility. We felt that responding wisely to a fast-spreading, largely mysterious disease required millions of people to do things that, individually, would only help a little bit, if at all, but that might, repeated millions of times by millions of citizens, reduce suffering and death.

This sense of responsibility seemed to be missing among many of our fellow Christians, and that grieved us.

We’re responsible to be good stewards of our own personal health and the health of our families.

Stewardship runs all through Scripture. The first man is instructed to take care of Eden (Gen 2:15). David publicly acknowledges that our possessions come from God and remain actually His (1 Chron 29:14, 16; cf. Psalm 24:1). Jesus teaches the parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30) and declares that to whom much is given much will be required (Luke 12:48).

Paul gets intensely personal:

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