Category: Issues in the Church

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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Five Ways to Prevent Ministry Burnout

It was a busy day of ministry. Five thousand people covered the hillside where Jesus taught, not including women and children. The evening was coming on fast, and the people were hungry. So Jesus fed them food from a boy’s lunch of two small fish and five loaves of bread. Scripture tells us that, “after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone” (Matt. 14:23). Ministry and burnout The demands of ministry haven’t changed much in the last two thousand years. Ministry remains a 24/7 job....

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Contentment in a Discontented World

Discontentment may be the greatest trap in our culture. It may be greater than lust, greed, and even lying because discontentment leads to all these other sins. It tends to be a well-spring of iniquity. I have yet to meet an individual who engaged in an affair without first suffering from discontentment. I have yet to speak with a drunkard, gossiper, liar, or idolater of body or rest or recreation without them alluding to discontentment. And it feels like the entire world is colluding to stir up discontentment within us. Every billboard, every commercial, every brochure tends to communicate,...

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Gospel Motivations for Gospel Ministry

Competitiveness is the companion of quality, right? After all, that seems to be true of the role of competition in healthcare, technology, transportation, sports, restaurants, design, and construction. In all forms of production, men constantly seek to surpass their neighbor’s productivity in quality and quantity. Solomon once declared, “I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind” (Eccl. 4:4). Sadly, this is often just as true of those laboring in Christian ministry as it is of those engaged in secular professions. The same sinful motives that reside in the heart of...

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