A misunderstanding of sin is to say that it’s just a matter of negative thinking.… Get rid of your old wineskins! Think bigger! God wants to show you his incredible favor, if you’ll just get rid of all those negative mind-sets that hold you back!
Leadership Network and Vanderbloemen are releasing what they claim to be "by far the biggest-scale, cross-denominational response anyone has ever collected about church finances.” Specifically, they interviewed 727 megachurches about how they spend their finances, and the report has some interesting findings.
The Bible declares that God made a perfect creation. He delegated to men and women the responsibility of caring for it. Unfortunately, mankind is not doing a very good job. Of course, what can we expect when the entire creation was ruined at the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin. One day the Lord will redeem His creation; but, until then, the creation is groaning in pain (Romans 8:19-22). Humankind is in the process of doubling the "pain."
We can’t simply turn a blind eye, or give into the despair that comes with the overwhelming nature of poverty. Instead, we need to engage as God has called us to—caring for the needs of others, both in the church and in the world (Galatians 6:10). So where does it start? I believe it starts with a change of mind and a change of heart. In order for that to happen, we need to understand four things:
Leadership, as defined by all realities, is limited. Only a few can lead in any given circumstance. It can be positional or it can organic, but it is always a small number of people. Do the math. It rules out most of us in most circumstances. Constantly aspiring to leadership can lead to conflict, egotism, and frustration as we all try to cram ourselves through a bottleneck and into a leadership role. Simply put, not everyone is a leader nor should everyone be a leader.
Sermons assume personal proximity and a pastoral relationship–or at least the potential for one–between the preacher and the hearer. The sermon is meant to aid the congregation in spiritual formation through the preaching of the Gospel and explanation of the Christian faith. It’s not just a data dump, in other words, but is rather a highly contextualized message meant to help the church members mature in the faith.
The Gospel Fund is a nonprofit crowdfunding platform with a vision for simplifying missions and church planting fundraising, communication, and mobilization. The site allows any Christian ministry, church, sending agency, or individual to present their organization or specific projects and accept one-time and recurring donations. The Gospel Fund combines the best practices of crowdfunding, technology, and social media with a vision for global missions.
The empire of Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, appears to be imploding. He has been accused of creating a culture of fear at the church, of plagiarizing, of inappropriately using church funds and of consolidating power to such a degree that it has become difficult for anyone to challenge or even question him. A flood of former Mars Hill staff members and congregants have come forward to share stories of what they describe as bullying or “spiritual abuse."
If you look at most of the megachurches that are still humming along, almost all are led by the pastors that founded them. Rick Warren has Saddleback. Steven Furtick has Elevation. Perry Noble has NewSpring. And Mark Driscoll has Mars Hill. Think about any of those churches (there are many others), and you think about their founder. The church and the pastor are one and the same, especially for most of the people who flock to them.
You can learn to argue well by learning how not to argue. On that subject, I’m somewhat of an expert. Over several decades I’ve argued a lot and, on the whole, made quite a mess of it. But while I have a woefully rudimentary knowledge about how to argue (a shameful admission considering I wrote a book on the subject), I’ve learned more than my share about how not to argue.