My wife first pointed out this article to me. It is very well written. I encourage you to go to the website to see an explanation of each of the seven ways but don’t just read it! Start doing it!
- Love his preaching.
- Love his wife.
- Love his children.
- Love him with your complaints.
- Love him when you don’t understand him.
- Love him for a long time.
- Love him because God loved you.
What about you? What are some of the ways you love your pastor?
Click here for a further explanation of each point.
Thom S. Rainer:
1) Severe theological errors are pervasive in the church. I’m not referring to differences over minute matters of eschatology. These errors to which I refer were denials of the essential truths of the Christian faith. In some cases, leadership no longer held to the exclusivity of salvation through Christ.
2) The church is known as a “pastor-eater.” The congregation often terminated pastors on a regular basis. At the very least, pastors felt the pressure to leave. Short pastoral tenure was thus normative.
3) The congregation experiences severe conflict. Any group will eventually have some level of conflict: families; fellow employees; students; and churches. But dysfunctional churches take conflicts to a new level, often resulting in emotional outbursts by members and leaders.
4) Hardly anyone in the community knows the church exists. One of the simple steps I take in many consultations is to visit businesses within about a mile radius of the church. I ask them for directions to the church. If no one has ever heard of the church in that close proximity, I know something is wrong.
5) The church is declining while the community is growing. An example works better here. Suppose your church has declined in worship attendance by 3% the past two years. Now suppose the community in which the church is located has grown by 4% the past two years. The contrast between the two growth rates is stark, a symptom of a dysfunctional church.
6) The church is “family owned and family operated.” One particular family, even if it’s an extended family, makes all the decisions in the church. Nothing gets done without the nod of typically the patriarch or matriarch of the family. The church exists largely to meet the needs of one family.
What do you think of these 6 symptoms? Would you add any others?
Ten reminders for those who preach and teach God’s Word courtesy of Nathan Busenitz over at the Cripplegate:
- Effective ministry consists not of fads or gimicks, but of faithfully preaching the truth.
- Preaching is a far more serious task than most preachers realize.
- Faithfulness in the pulpit begins with the pursuit of personal holiness.
- Powerful preaching flows from powerful prayer.
- Passionate preaching starts with one’s passion for Christ.
- The preacher is a herald, not an innovator.
- The faithful preacher stays focused on what matters.
- The preacher’s task is to make the text come alive for his hearers.
- The preacher is to be Christ-exalting, not self-promoting.
- Faithful preaching requires great personal discipline and sacrifice.
Click here to read an explanation of each point.
It is always interesting to hear the principles by which people unite with churches:
- Some unite purely for social reasons. It is something to do, somewhere to be. Maybe there are good fellowship dinners or concerts.
- Some unite for business reasons. They hope to make many business contacts with generally nice people.
- Some unite for children programs. It is place where their children can have friends. I can’t tell you how many parents have said to me that they come because the kids like it so as long as they like it they will keep coming. When I ask them if they treat school or other important obligations they same they always look at me with a blank look like “What does that have to do with anything?”
- Some unite for the music. Some like traditional, some like contemporary, still others like blended.
- Some unite for the dynamic preacher/teacher. I once had someone tell me that they started attending a church because the picture of the preacher on the billboard looked like a cool guy.
- Some unite for the style of translation. As sad as this is I am not kidding. For the first few years where I serve as pastor I received a call every month about what Bible translation I preach from and if it was anything other than 1611 KJV the conversation was over. Now that I have been here for 6 years they don’t call anymore because they know the answer.
We could expand the list but that is not necessary because you get the point. What I want us to think about is this – very rarely have I ever heard someone say, “I would like to know what church follows the teaching of the Word of God most closely; that is the church I would like to become a part of.” That is very interesting to me because it would seem to me that that would be the basis upon which we would want to be in a Christian fellowship. Where is the word of God proclaimed? Where are the principles of God’s Word followed insofar as it is possible? If you have young children don’t say to them, “Where would you like to go to church?” Find the church that is the healthiest and strongest biblically speaking and say to your kids, “This is where we go.” I think that is the way you are to choose a church. You should seek from the Word of God to discover just exactly what the Word of God says about a local church and seek to be in as close conformity to that as possible. What others think and what your children think or what style of music or how old the people are is really not of great significance.
Justin Taylor has posted some great ways to pray for your church:
You can pray that God would move in way that results in:
- hundreds of people coming to Christ,
- old animosities being removed,
- marriages being reconciled and renewed,
- wayward children coming home,
- long-standing slavery to sin being conquered,
- spiritual dullness being replaced by vibrant joy,
- weak faith being replaced by bold witness,
- disinterest in prayer being replaced by fervent intercession,
- boring Bible reading being replaced by passion for the Word,
- disinterest in global missions being replaced by energy for Christ’s name among the nations, and
- lukewarm worship being replaced by zeal for the greatness of God’s glory.
I especially like this thought: If Jesus answered all your prayers from the last 30 days, would anything change in THE world or just YOUR world?
Some great questions here for your church from Timmy Brister:
1. If our church would cease to exist in our city, would it be noticed and missed?
2. If all the pastors were tragically killed in a car accident, would the church’s ministry cease or fall apart?
3. If the only possible means of connecting with unbelievers were through the missionary living of our church members, how much would we grow? (I ask this because the early church did not have signs, websites, ads, marketing, etc.)
4. What are the subcultures within the church? Do they attract or detract from the centrality of the gospel and mission of the church?
5. Is our church known more for what we are not/against than what we are/for?
6. What are we allowing to be our measuring stick of church health? (attendance vs. discipleship; seating capacity vs. sending capacity; gospel growth, training on mission, etc.)
7. Are the priorities of our church in line with the priorities of Christ’s kingdom?
8. If our members had 60 seconds to explain to an unbeliever what our church is like, what would you want them to say? How many do you think are saying that?
9. If the invisible kingdom of God became visible in our city, what would that look like?
10. In what ways have we acted or planned in unbelief instead of faith?
Read the rest.