Pastoring a church in any day or decade is not an easy task. We do extensive research to help you provide the best gospel information for your congregation. I am proud to tell you that all of us continually search for relevant articles, blogs, and other resources to bring you ideas that will propel your ministry and bring great blessing and information to our congregations. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but our prayer is that you will be blessed by the information provided.
Check out the following resources. Please let us know what you think.
ONE Thing You MUST be Open to for Revival to Occur
by Kevin Smith
“When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they [Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven] were all together in one place.” (Acts 2:1 HCSB)
As the Holy Spirit was poured out on the growing church in her inception, we must note the UNITY that characterized a DIVERSE group of Jews. Although they were from different places – with different languages, customs, favorite foods, etc – they had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and they would become the earliest demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s ability to revitalize and unify soon-to-be-followers of Jesus Christ, who previously had been separated from God and one another by so many barriers.
Thankfully, I meet many pastors and believers that want better days for their congregations. I meet many that desire God to move among them in revival and revitalization. However, occasionally, these precious believers don’t realize how important the unity of Christ’s followers is to any significant move of God. They often think about the cosmetic atmosphere of their worship space, the effectiveness of their evangelistic programs, the style of music in their services, the fervency of their prayer for the unsaved, and other helpful things.
However, they sometimes overlook their attitude concerning the type of people that God will touch in such a move. Unless you live in a unique community, your pastoral leadership takes place in a city/town with people that are diverse and different.
If many of our congregations aren’t prepared for that type of book-of-Acts moving of the Holy Spirit among all kinds of people, then it is unlikely we will be useful tools for Christ in our melting pot nation.
God is moving, and will move, as He builds His Kingdom and draws people from every kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation. The question is not, “will God move?” The question is, “will God move through me and my congregation?” This is a vital consideration for every pastor and congregation as we seek to (in the language of Henry Blackaby) be involved in “what God is doing.”
If we desire to be usable by God in seeing men and women changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ, let us:
Let us commit to models of church revitalization (and church planting) that reflect the Spirit-filled examples of the New Testament. The calling of different types of Jews (Acts 2:5-11), the inclusion of Gentiles into the Church (Acts 10:34-35), and the clear statements about the social/ethnic-breadth of the gospel (Romans 1:16) should influence all we think/do as it regards congregational worship, discipleship, outreach, and service.
Let us be willing to be repent and be corrected by the rebukes and encouragements in the New Testament that address the unity/disunity of Christ’s followers. The letter to the Corinthians, for example, addresses various types of divisions among Christ-followers that undermine the testimony of the gospel and hinder those types of congregations from being used by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Let us prioritize the pursuit of Christian unity as consistent with the command of scripture (Ephesians 4:1-3) and the burden of Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17. Part of the believer’s growing in godliness is in a growth in one’s desire to obey the commands of God. Parts of His commands in scripture address how we relate to people that are different from us. Also, as we seek to “follow” our Lord, we must be moved by his passionate prayer to His Father that His people would be one.
So, when you seek, desire, work, and pray for revival and revitalization, make sure your (biblically-informed) imagination is open to the Holy Spirit doing that work in, and around, your congregation by involving and moving upon different types and kinds of people – who all need to be changed by the grace of God extended to all kinds of sinners, in our Lord, Jesus Christ.
How to Follow-up on Failure in order to Bounce Back
Shared in part by MinistryBestPractices.com and 99U.com
Creative professionals who practice rapid iteration believe in the mantra of “fail fast, fail often.” And while quickly bouncing back from mistakes is essential to accelerated progress, not adequately reflecting upon failure can prevent complete recovery. Sometimes, deeper reflection is needed.
Founder and CEO of “failure consultancy” Fail Forward, Ashley Good, recommends performing what she calls a “deep-tissue post-mortem” to thoroughly recover from failure:
"Our tendency in times of failure is to try to figure out what caused it, fix it as soon as possible and move on. That undermines the depth of learning that’s possible."
Good suggests asking the following questions to get started:
"Try to figure out why the failure happened. What assumptions were made? What experiences led to it? That really deepens what you can learn from the experience. Also, listen to other perspectives on what happened. I often bring together different stakeholders in the failure to talk about it. If you bring five people together, you’ll get five different stories about what went wrong."
Don’t just sweep the failures under the rug and move on. Take some time to sufficiently prepare yourself for when you will, inevitably, fail again.
Same Gender Marriage - Response Information for Ministers
Reference documents and guidelines have been made available by the Legal Department in International Offices and Legal Counsel, Dennis Watkins. This packet of information is available to serve as a guide when responding to inquiries about same-gender marriage ceremonies and the stand of the general church regarding this new ruling that has been passed in Virginia.
Please contact the State Office via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request your packet.
Spirit-Powered Prayer Strategies That Bring Results
by George O. Wood
No matter what our age, our years of Christian service or our maturity in ministry, we will always need to keep growing in the exercise and discipline of prayer. As you fulfill God’s call on your life, I want to encourage you to be a person committed to powerful prayer.
The apostle Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 comes to mind when I think of excellence in prayer. This gives several insights into the preface, posture and petitions of powerful prayer.
Paul starts by saying, “For this reason I kneel” (v. 14, NIV, emphasis mine). What reason? What is the reason that drives him to prayer? It is a phrase he also uses in Ephesians 3:1: “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus.”
In some way Paul connects the reason—the preface—to the entire prayer that follows. Paul joins that “reason” to the word mystery that occurs four times in Ephesians 3 (vv. 3, 4, 6, 9). The “mystery” is that the church—composed of Gentiles and Jews—would make known the many-sided, multifaceted wisdom of God to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
In plain speech, Paul is saying, “Before I launch into my prayer, let me tell you what stands behind it. The church has God’s name on it. We are the assembly of God. The church is His pride and joy.”
In Jewish prayer, standing is the normal posture (Matt. 6:5; Luke 18:11, 13). Kneeling, however, is the more intense form of prayer. Paul says, “For this reason I kneel” (Eph. 3:14, emphasis mine). This is a tip-off to the fervency of effective prayer.
One of the early church fathers put it this way: “By kneeling we demonstrate the full form of prayer. We ought not merely to incline our minds to prayer but also our bodies. We do well to lower our bodies lest we create an impression of elevation or an appearance of pride.”
What would happen in our lives, homes and churches if we fell on our knees and prayed more earnestly—going beyond the rote and routine of prayer—to the fervency of prayer?
The posture and preface to Paul’s prayer leads us into the intensity of three petitions he brings that we can summarize in three words: grip, grasp and grow.
This is always a sobering word to the Pentecostal and charismatic church because, in our desire for the restoration and presence of the charismata, we may be tempted to build on the gifts rather than the Giver, on the sensational above the ethical or moral, on success and numbers rather than love. When we are rooted and grounded in love, then we can grasp the breadth, duration and extremity of His love.
- Grip. Over the years, my daily prayer list has grown to over 250 people. I laid Paul’s prayer over my list and realized how spot-on his prayer is—because so many people on my list, including myself, need our grip strengthened with power through the Spirit.
- Grasp. Paul not only prays for us to get a strong grip, he prays that we will also get a great grasp. Years before Paul wrote this Ephesian letter from a prison in Rome, he had planted and pastored the church in Ephesus for 2 1/2 years. During that time he sent letters west to the Corinthian church, which was beset with all types of problems and pride. He told them in 1 Corinthians 13 what was missing in their community life: They were not rooted and grounded in love.
But that is not all. Paul ends with, “[He] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20).
- Grow. Paul knew that being filled with the Spirit was not just a one-time “I’ve got it” experience. When you read the last 2 1/2 chapters of Ephesians, you can see that these Spirit-baptized believers were still being pushed to grow. No matter what our age, our years of Christian service or our maturity in ministry, we will always need to keep on growing, because even if we are filled now, we are not yet filled with all the fullness of God.
Great praying leads to great power—“He is able,” Paul says.
And great power leads to great praise: “To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (v. 21).
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