J.D. Greear: My wife, kids, and I recently had the chance to visit the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. We’ve long been impressed with Graham’s life and ministry, and this trip only increased our appreciation for Graham. As I reflect on Billy Graham’s six decades of ministry, four words stand out: 1. Conviction As we looked over various exhibits and heard stories about Graham’s life, Veronica commented to me, “He wasn’t complex, and not usually ‘profound.’ But you can tell that he really believed what he was saying.” And it’s true: Billy Graham had struggled with the hard questions, so when he spoke with assurance, it wasn’t the naïve assurance of a neophyte. It was the absolute assurance of someone who has wrestled with questions of faith. During the beginning of Graham’s ministry, theological liberalism was on the rise in mainline denominations, and Graham’s faith was shaken. He often told the story of a moment when, in the height
Derwin Gray: Pastor, words like “platform” and “influence” are important. But if we aren’t careful, in our desire to build our platform and influence, we can end up building our EGO. As leadership gurus Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges say, “EGO stands for ‘Edging God Out’.” BUILD YOUR CHARACTER Instead of building your platform, focus more on building your character. According to the Apostle Paul, the qualifications to be an elder-pastor are about character, not gifting. The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?
From Ray Ortlund: How to wreck your church in three weeks: Week One: Walk into church today and think about how long you’ve been a member, how much you’ve sacrificed, how under-appreciated you are. Take note of every way you’re dissatisfied with your church now. Take note of every person who displeases you. Meet for coffee this week with another member and “share your heart.” Discuss how your church is changing, how you are being left out. Ask your friend who else in the church has “concerns.” Agree together that you must “pray about it.” Week Two: Send an email to a few other “concerned” members. Inform them that a groundswell of grievance is surfacing in your church. Problems have gone unaddressed for too long. Ask them to keep the matter to themselves “for the sake of the body.” As complaints come in, form them into a petition to demand an accounting from the leaders of the church. Circulate the petition
By Dr. Stanley Jebb (My former pastor, theological educator, colleague, and still my friend!) When I mentioned to a retired minister that I was starting another leadership training course he asked me if I was going to teach them to preach. I replied that I was not. Preaching (in the modern sense) is a separate subject. Ideally, I suppose, all leaders should be preachers and all preachers should be leaders, but it does not always work out like that. Spiritual leadership is a separate subject from preaching techniques. According to the New Testament records Jesus never taught his apostleshow to preach. Likewise, although Paul exhorted Timothy to ‘preach the word’, he seems not to have instructed him in homiletics. In the New Testament there are about ten different words translated ‘preach’ in various forms, such as ‘preached’, ‘preaching’ , and so on. One of them is the ordinary word ‘to talk’ (laleo). Nowadays when we discuss preaching we more often than not have
From Justin Chiders: How do we cultivate humility and mortify pride? We need to spend time thinking about God’s greatness and holiness in comparison to our natural, moral, and moral insignificance. We need to think about how much God loves the humble and hates the proud. We need to meditate on the way that Christ humbled Himself when He came to earth. We need to think seriously on the examples of humility left by the most useful believers who have walked this earth. We must consider the example of humility demonstrated by the holy angels. We need to carefully reflect on the humility of believers who are now in heaven. We need to think about the great imperfections and weakness of our faith, our character, our behavior, our motives, our duties, and our service to God. We need to think about the fact that we deserve to experience God’s judgment and wrath because of our sin. We need to spend
Jerram Barrs, The Heart of Evangelism, p. 76: I regularly tell our seminary students that if I happen to visit the church in which one of them serves, I will not ask first, “Is this man a good preacher?” Rather, first of all I will ask the secretaries, office staff, janitors, and cleaners what it is like to work for this pastor. I will ask, “What kind of man is he? Is he a servant? Is he demanding and harsh, or his he patient, kind, and forbearing as a man in authority?” One of our graduates may preach great sermons, but if he is a pain to work for, then you know he will cause major problems in any congregation. Leaders in the church are required by Scripture to set an example in the areas of love, kindness, gentleness, patience, and forbearance before they are appointed to preach, teach, and rule. If we obediently require these attitudes and character traits of