Book Notice: “Nobodies for Jesus: 14 Days Toward a Great Commission Lifestyle”

Lawless-NobodiesforJesusNobodies for Jesus is an act of tomb-raiding into the necropolis that is the human heart. In the book—whose full title is Nobodies for Jesus: 14 Days Toward a Great Commission Lifestyle—author Chuck Lawless writes to awake Christians from a lukewarm Christianity that ignores the Great Commission.

Lawless, who is a professor of evangelism and missions at SEBTS, writes with a simple premise in mind: “Lukewarm believers who fail to see people as lost will not be Great Commission believers. We will not be God’s force set apart to make a dent in the darkness of the world” (p. 2). Toward that end, he writes 14 short devotional studies to encourage Christians to become otherwise, to become Great Commission believers.

The book’s 14 studies are divided into three main parts: Be Amazed (Days 1–6), Be a Nobody (Days 7–12), Do Something (Days 13–14). The first section reflects on God’s glory in Christ, and our appropriate response: amazement. The second section describes the sort of humility that stems from genuine, biblical, Great Commission Christianity. The third section provides two days’ worth of application regarding prayer and Christian testimony.

Each devotional is based upon a specific biblical text and contains Lawless’s reflections on the text, but also includes a few reflection questions and concludes with a “Great Commission Action Step.” For instance, on Day Five, the reader is directed to read Psalm 51 and 1 John 1:9 in order to learn about God’s amazing grace. Lawless reflects on the passage by saying, for example, “If you are a Christian, God has taken the darkness of your sin, somehow cleansed it through his blood, and made you as pure as white snow” (p. 38). After reflecting on the passage, he provides questions for further reflection and an action step.

Nobodies for Jesus is a book for (1) any Christian who wishes to avoid a tendency toward lukewarm Christianity, and (2) particular Christians who sense a personal deficiency in their desire or ability to share the gospel. It is a quick read and very accessible, serving perfectly as study material for a church or Christian study group. Highly recommended.topodin.comangry racers online rehberi

SEBTS to Launch Spurgeon Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching

Chuck Lawless

The Charles H. Spurgeon Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching, which is expected to launch this fall, will be a means by which Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary equips Great Commission-minded pastors to preach God’s Word and lead healthy churches.

Charles “Chuck” Lawless, dean of graduate studies and professor of evangelism and missions at Southeastern, will assume the directorship of the Spurgeon Center, which will be run out of his office.

“I envision the center promoting practical leadership training for local church pastors,” Lawless said. “We want to help church planters as well as pastors who are working to revitalize a church.”

This center has a board of advisors composed of Edgar Aponte, director of Hispanic leadership development at Southeastern; Dennis Kim, senior pastor of Global Mission Church, Silver Spring, Md.; Johnny Hunt, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga.; Sam Rainer, senior pastor of Stevens Street Baptist Church, Cookeville, Tenn.; and A.B. Vines, senior pastor of New Seasons Church, Spring Valley, Calf.

The board will help guide the center in assisting pastors in excelling within their daily ministries. Alongside of growing healthy churches and revitalizing dying churches, the center plans to encourage and resource church planters. It also will seek to build strategic partnerships with other Southern Baptist Convention entities, such as LifeWay and the North American Mission Board, that also work with pastoral leaders.

“I am excited about the blessing this center will be to the churches,” said Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern. “We will attempt to serve pastors in fulfilling this noble work given to them by King Jesus.”

A primary goal of the center is to help churches become Great Commission churches. Lawless said, “We’re partnering with local churches to make them more effective in areas such as leadership so that the gospel can penetrate local communities and ultimately extend to all nations.”

Lawless emphasized that the center “wants to provide the best advice and necessary tools for pastors of local churches.”

“Because of the world we live in today,” Lawless said, “we have to offer multiple media. I would like to bring individuals to campus as well as send our faculty to those local churches. Alongside of these traditional avenues, I think we also have to be ready to provide training online.”

The center plans to utilize the experience of Akin, Tony Merida, pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, and Jim Shaddix, pastor for teaching and training at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., to assist the center in helping equip churches.

“God calls and raises up pastors to feed, lead, protect and reproduce sheep,” Akin said.

“Those under-shepherds who labor for the glory of the Great Shepherd need to be equipped and well trained for the weighty assignment that has been laid upon them.

“And we want to equip and train ministers well through the Spurgeon Center at Southeastern.”

 

 

Teaching Theology in the Local Church

Chuck Lawless
Theologian for the Churches

If you take look at virtually any poll, the signs indicate that most evangelicals (including Southern Baptists) are confused about theology. Of course, most pastors and other staff leaders understand (or ought to understand) theology because they’ve taken theology courses somewhere along the way as part of their theological education. Yet, most Christians, especially those of us who are Baptists, would argue that the teaching of theology shouldn’t be left solely in the hands of Christian colleges, seminaries, and divinity schools. Theology is for the church!

Fortunately, a growing number of churches are focusing more intentionally on teaching theology as part of their overall strategy for discipleship and spiritual formation. For example, in my church, First Baptist Church of Durham, I co-teach a nine-month Introduction to Systematic Theology as part of our Bible for Life (Sunday School) ministry. I’ve heard stories of other churches that have adopted a similar approach in their own Sunday School or small group ministry.  Other churches simply use one or more of the popularly written introductions to theology and take groups of members through the book as part of a theology discussion group.

Still other pastors will periodically preach a topical-expositional sermon series on a particular doctrine. My friend and former preaching professor Stephen Rummage has some excellent suggestions for how to do this in his book Planning Your Preaching (an excellent, practical resource that every pastor should own). Another fine book on this topic is Old Wine in New Wineskins: Doctrinal Preaching in a Changing World, by Millard Erickson and James Heflin.

Perhaps you are a pastor (or future pastor) who is pondering possible ways to teach theology in a local church setting. Earlier this week, my colleague Chuck Lawless published a helpful guest post at Thom Rainer’s blog titled “7 Steps to Teach Theology in the Local Church.” Many readers will know that Dr. Lawless joined Southeastern Seminary this past year as Dean of Graduate Studies and professor of evangelism and missions. If you haven’t read his post already, you should take a look at it over the weekend. He provides several helpful tips on teaching theology in a local church, as well as links to resources to help get you started.