In Case You Missed It

This week at the Intersect Project, Ashley Gorman shared two articles discussing smartphones, screen-time and if we are using technology well.

Your Smartphone is a Tool. Do you use it well?

Recent posts on the Intersect blog have opened our eyes to the various ways technology has impacted daily human life. Notice the term human life is used here—not Christian life, or American life, or male life, or female life, or church life, or righteous life, or unrighteous life, or any other subset of life we could think of. Technology is an equal opportunity life-changer, and rains down on the just and the unjust alike, all around the globe. The smartphone is obviously the most common vehicle of this impact.

6 Ways to Steward Your Weekly Screen Time.

In a separate post, I explain that technology is best used in moderation. Here are some helpful tips and tools to help you and your family steward your weekly screen time.

 

Throughout this week the news of the horrific tragedy which occurred in Las Vegas Sunday night has spread, and has sparked questions about how we should respond as Christians, and how we should think about these types of tragedies as Christians. Here are a few posts which might be helpful in answering any lingering questions you might have.

Russell Moore: Where Is God in a Mass Shooting?

Ken Keathley: “Killing Spree” Killers: There Is No Fear of God Before Their Eyes

Bruce Ashford: Christians, Here Are Five Ways to Respond to the Las Vegas Shootings

Scott Hildreth: Mayhem and the Mission

 

Thom Rainer shared a post at his website discussing ten ways to bring joy to your pastor.

In some ways, I don’t like the official designation of October to be pastor appreciation month.

 

I really wish we showed appreciation to pastors all the time. But like many other points of recognition, it does serve as a reminder that we are blessed by our pastors and their ministries.

 

So how can you bring joy to your pastor? My list of ten is based on the interactions I have with thousands of pastors every year. Some of the affirmations are letters. Many of them have no monetary cost. All of them will be greatly appreciated.

 

At his personal website, Dr. Bruce Ashford shared the reply to a letter written to him by a young Christian college student trying to think through the issue of abortion.

Recently I received a letter from a college student who had registered for a course in “reproductive rights” at a nearby university. Having recently become a Christian, he was revisiting the pro-choice position he’d held up until this point. In the letter, he asked for my evaluation of the pro-choice position. Given the fact that other people wrestle with this question, I thought I’d reproduce a small portion of my response to him.

 

At his blog, Chuck Lawless shared six ways for pastors to raise up the next generation of pastors and missionaries. Dr. Lawless writes:

I think most of us are missing it, pastors. My perception is that we give little attention to “calling out the called” among us; we instead lead reactively here, only talking to potential pastors and missionaries if they first come to us. I’m convinced some “called” folks remain in the pew as a consequence, neither understanding their calling nor knowing their pastor would be happy to talk with them. Here are some ways to fix this problem.

 

At the website of the North American Mission Board, Dr. Danny Akin shared five lessons he learned from Adrian Rogers.

No one has influenced and impacted my life like the “prince of preachers,” the man known as Adrian Rogers. Dr. Rogers was one of the most popular and influential preachers and pastors of the latter half of the 20th century. He was known for expository preaching, evangelistic passion, love for the nations and his uncompromising commitment to the Bible as the infallible and inerrant Word of God. His ministry spanned over 50 years, and he was pivotal in the conservative resurgence within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). I have the joy of serving at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, because of Adrian Rogers.

 

Last weekend, Southeastern Seminary hosted the 9th annual 9Marks at Southeastern conference. Here is a recap.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted the ninth year of the 9Marks conference on Sept. 29-30 of which 747 pastors, ministry leaders and students attended and more than 900 viewed the conference via Facebook live stream. The conference centered on the topic of church leadership and attendees heard from speakers Mark Dever, Jeramie Rinne, Danny Akin, Thabiti Anyabwile, Burk Parsons and H.B. Charles.

In Case You Missed It

1) At 9Marks, Jackie Hill-Perry gives a powerful testimony about how she met Christ and moved from Lesbianism to Complementarianism.

2) Matt Rogers, Pastor of The Church at Cherrydale and SEBTS PhD student, writes at SEND Network about the best way to write a church-planting prospectus.

3) David Brooks of the New York Times wrote an interesting op-ed on “The Cost of Relativism,” which has sparked a lot of response. See, for example, this response from Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig at The New Republic.

4) At Desiring God, David Mathis offers a strong challenge for the American church – prepare for persecution, but with confidence in the gospel.

5) Finally, Andrew Wilson traces Jesus’ thoughts about the root cause for many interpretations of the Bible; it’s human not divine.

John Ewart on the Pastoral Leadership Equation

Amazingly to me, part of my life revolves around conferencing. I always feel very humbled when asked to participate and never quite adequate for the task assigned, but I want to try to do my best and help if I can. This past week I had the privilege of helping lead two conferences for some really quality people. One was for a national group to which I belong that trains church consultants from all around the world. The other was a state convention event for the SBC of Virginia. Both dealt with church health, church revitalization and church leadership. They once again gave me the opportunity to consult with pastors and leaders and to hear about what was happening in their churches. As always, some of their stories were quite encouraging and some were not.

It is interesting in consultation work how often certain patterns emerge. Sometimes they are patterns of healthy practice but unfortunately, more often, they are patterns of problems and sin. It is very common for me to hear of unhealthy leadership patterns for example. Leaders who seem to lack wisdom or suffer from pride or fear are too common!

There is a statement I have taught those who served with me in local churches and seminaries over the years. It is not intended to be an all-inclusive “secret to ministry” or anything of the sort but I do believe it contains truth worth hearing and practicing. It goes something like this: “If a man could possess biblically based common sense while retaining objectivity and keeping his own ego out of the picture, he could serve well in God’s Kingdom. The problem is…one of the key parts of the equation is almost always missing.”

I refer to biblically based common sense as a superpower in ministry. To have knowledge and wisdom and be able to actually put them into practice well in ministry seems all too rare. Maybe we do not train well or we lack good examples or just need more experience. It is difficult to conduct a seminary class on wisdom and common sense. We need pastoral mentors to help the next generation of leaders grow in their ability to use the knowledge they gain in the classroom in solid ministry practice. This is one reason why I love our EQUIP Network. It intentionally places the more experienced with the less experienced.

Retaining objectivity simply means to be able to see the big picture without being trapped in some myopic vision. To see the pieces of mission and vision connect in ministry and to understand that actions here can affect actions there. I have seen so many leaders operate in silos where they become obtuse as to how their decisions, or lack of decisions, are hindering the overall progress of the church or ministry. Then we get . . . bumper cars!

Humility is the most common part of the equation missing in most of my encounters with leaders. Pride kills servant leadership. Pride is a form of fear where one is trying to protect and preserve oneself because he or she does not believe God can or will. It is a form of idolatry. It is a disease in leadership. Leaders who cannot work in such a way as to not worry about who gets the credit for something accomplished will never rise above the lowest levels of leadership. The ability to keep one’s ego out of the picture and to allow others to shine without jealousy or envy is a gift. In the end we want King Jesus to be the One truly glorified anyway!

Conferencing is an amazing part of my life. This coming weekend we host the 9 Marks conference on campus and on Saturday morning the EQUIP Network of our Spurgeon Center is hosting a special breakfast with Alistair Begg and Danny Akin. I look forward to hearing more about and observing good, biblical leadership!