Category: Issues in the Church

Domestic Abuse and the Church

One in four women. Those are the startling national statics for cases of intimate partner violence. For many of us within the church, those numbers reveal just how desperately our world needs Jesus, but we fail to realize that domestic violence is a serious problem within our walls too. In fact, domestic abuse is not just a problem within the church; sometimes we can make it easier for abusers to hide and justify themselves. There are two primary ways that the church can unintentionally provide a safe haven for abusers. The church is often the most ill-equipped and unprepared...

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Don’t Theologize or Spiritualize Ministry Mediocrity

I believe in the primacy of Christ-centered expository preaching in the life of the church. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones asserted in his classic book, Preaching, and Preachers, “I would say without any hesitation that the most urgent need in the Christian Church today is true preaching; and as it is the greatest and the most urgent need in the Church, it is obviously the greatest need of the world also.” I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. Lloyd-Jones also wrote in Preaching and Preachers, “True preaching, after all, is God acting. It is not just a man uttering words; it is...

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Extraordinarily Ordinary: Finding Success in the Simple Rhythms of Life

In high school, I was voted “most likely to become a rock star.” Okay, let me nuance that a bit; I wanted to become a musician. I wanted to play music, travel, and make money. I desired to be successful and make a name for myself. I had dreams and goals of making it “big” in the world of music. Now I find myself in the pastoral ministry—far from the world of music, fame, and money. But within ministry, there is that desire to be “successful.” But ministry “success” is usually defined differently: impacting a large number of people,...

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Resetting Ministry Priorities with a Laser-Like Focus on Faithfulness to the Gospel

Recently I was in ministry leadership meeting at my local church. During this meeting, it struck me how many of the words out of the participant’s mouths, including my own, focused on how many people were coming to our events. There’s nothing wrong with trying to reach more people in one’s local church especially when it’s from a desire to help them grow in God’s grace. The problem becomes as I realized in the course of this conversation how we were so focused on numbers that the expectations of our ministry were completely wrong. Furthermore, not only were our...

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When Christians Hurt You

As the culture war rages on, there is another battle raging to which we must turn our attention. When I was a boy, my dad would sometimes tell me, “No one will hurt you so much as others in the church.” In my lifetime, this has generally proven to be true. Believers sometimes experience the greatest hurt in their relationships with other professing believers in the church at large. When a professing believer hurts our feelings or reputation, how should we respond? Should we, in turn, demean that individual by telling others (whether privately or publicly), “I can’t stand him,” or “she’s such a mess” or “I’m...

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