Links for Your Weekend Reading

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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How God brings two seemingly different people together in marriage.

Many people wouldn’t put Taylor and me together. In high school, we probably would not have been friends. She probably would have thought I was a nice, boring, judgmental Christian kid; I probably would have thought she was a nice, lost, party-scene girl who guys like me are supposed to avoid. People like us, with our backgrounds and histories, are not supposed to meet, fall in love, and covenant their lives to each other.

Dan Black on What the best leaders do before bed.

While a morning routine is valuable, we should not overlook our nightly routine. The morning is about preparing for the day’s activities while the night should be about refocusing our energy on specific activities that allow us to relax and recharge. The best leaders have specific activities they routinely do before going to bed.

David Murray on 7 lessons from failure.

My failures are usually the result of over-confidence. When I’ve failed it’s often because I was putting too much trust in myself and not enough in God. A happy side-effect is that it has usually produced more prayerful dependence upon God.

12 important things about unchurched families.

Unchurched people feel no more guilty about missing church on a Sunday than you feel about missing synagogue on a Saturday.

 

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

Charles Stone on 8 ways pastors can refresh their tired souls.

The degree to which you love yourself corresponds to the degree to which you love others. Caring for ourselves was difficult for us to do without feeling guilty. We unwittingly thought that dying to ourselves for the sake of the gospel meant dying to marital intimacy and joy in life. We had died to something God had never intended we die to.

J.D. Greear on 4 things you should pray for your pastor.

One of the greatest joys in my life is serving as pastor. But ministry can be both messy and exhausting. That’s why I am so thankful for the prayer warriors in our congregation. I truly believe that one of the main reasons the Summit has grown is simply that God has answered the bold prayers of those in our congregation. The most important ministry anyone in our church can be involved in is that of prayer.

Why most churches are not reaching unchurched 20-something’s.

We want to ask questions.
Voice our doubts.
Explain our struggles.
Confess our sins.
Confide our fears.

And we want the church to do it with us.

Ryan Huguley on Sweat your sermon intro.

The first pastor who really taught me about preaching once told me, “If you open strong, close strong, and hit your transitions, your sermon will take care of itself.” While it’s a bit more complicated than that, he was largely correct. Many sermons fall apart before they even start, crash and burn because of an inability to “land the plane”, or lack clarity due to confusion in transition.

David Murray on The 10 types of church leaders.

The case for fewer friends.

When it comes to friendship, quality matters more than quantity.

Peter Leithart on Are Christians obsessed with Sex?

Are Christians obsessed with sex? I would ask, “Compared to whom?” Peter Leithart argues, “Faced with these charges, we get defensive and protest that we are equally concerned with other things – with economic evils, with militaristic violence, with the degradation of the environment. We shouldn’t be defensive. We should say that we’re concerned about sexual behavior and norms precisely because of the effect they have on the poor, the way sexual immorality is linked with violence. We should say that we guard God’s commandments regarding sex because violation of those commandments will produce social chaos. Sexual behavior and sexual norms are a key barometer of social health. If things are disordered in our bedrooms, they will be disordered in boardrooms and cabinet offices.”

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Les McKeown on 4 signs you’re a terrible communicator.

Just because you talk a lot doesn’t mean you’re necessarily good at communicating. In fact, many leaders confuse eloquence with clarity, and as a result, often leave the people who work with them bedazzled by their verbal dexterity, and entirely confused about what to do next.

Brian Stowe on 10 things senior pastors must do to keep their jobs.

This may be the most important post I have ever written.  The Barna Group reported in a 2009 study that senior pastors of mainline churches have an average tenure of only four years.  One of the reasons cited for such a brief stay is that while 93% of all pastors claim to be leaders, only 12% claim to have the spiritual gift of leadership.  You can read the full article by clicking here. The epidemic of pastors leaving their churches, regardless of the reason, is an issue that must to be addressed.

Jonathan Dodson on Why “unchurched” is unhelpful.

  • We say “have faith”; they hear “anti-science.”
  • We say “Christ”; they hear “moral example.”
  • We say “cross”; they hear “arcane human sacrifice.”
  • We say “Christianity”; they hear “Republican and anti-gay.”

5 ways to make sure your content gets shared and goes viral.

Every day, a lot of potentially great content disappears into the ether, never to be heard from or seen again. And others gets shared by hundreds, thousands, or even millions. Why? Believe it or not, most content that resonates share 5 characteristics. With an eye for these 5, you might soon find your content resonating more than it does now.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

Aaron Armstrong on Encourage your pastor, be fruitful.

How do you encourage your pastor? In some ways, the answer seems obvious. We know we should pray for them (and hopefully we do). We know we should thank them. We know we should find ways to help them (all ideas I’ve discussed here). But there’s another way we can do this—simply, by being fruitful.

Marlena Graves on Raising Christians kids in a sex filled culture.

I believe the porn pandemic and other forms of illicit sex are really a result of our failure to love God and our neighbors. Consequently, we cannot merely fixate on “Don’t do this, don’t do that” instruction or on isolating our children. They need to know deep down why we do what we do or don’t do.

Tim Challies on Stopping an affair before it begins.

At one time or another, most of us witnessed the devastation that comes through infidelity in marriage. We have seen marriages stretched almost to the breaking point and we have seen marriages destroyed by an unfaithful husband or unfaithful wife. Affairs do not begin with sex. Falling into bed with a man who is not your husband or a woman who is not your wife is simply one step in a long chain of events, one decision in a long series of poor decisions.

10 Ways to leverage Christmas to reach unchurched people.

So…how are you leveraging Christmas to reach unchurched people? After all, there is really only one time of year left in Western culture when our culture still celebrates something Christians hold dear, and that’s Christmas. What surprising is that many churches don’t really leverage it to make the impact it could.

David Murrow on How to preach to men.

It’s been said that a good sermon is like a good skirt: long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep you interested.

Thom Rainer on 6 pastoral lessons from the coach of a football team that never punts.

The joy, work and beauty of motherhood.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Tim Kimberley on Should a Christian couple live together before getting married.

You are counseling a couple, who claim to be Christian, that are sleeping together and believe they are “married in their hearts”. They would like to become members of your church. Describe how would you handle this couple, including how you would address the issue of being “married in their hearts?”

Brian Dodd on 8 practices of great churches.

Are you looking to build an enduring church?  Are you looking for a level of ministry  success which can be sustained for a decade?  Are you looking to build something of lasting value?  Of course you do.

7 signs your church is making inroads with unchurched people.

Just because a church is growing doesn’t mean it’s filling up with unchurched people. How do you know you’re really making inroads with the unchurched?

Jon Acuff on Dear Church, 11 signs your burning out your staff.

I love the church and for the part I’ve played in these problems, I apologize. If you work at a church thanks for doing what you do. My kids, my marriage and my town need you.

Marci Preheim on Gospel centered sex.

If a couple consistently applies the implications of the gospel to the marriage bed, they will inevitably have a healthier marriage.

What does it mean to be gospel centered?

10 Questions Unchurched People ARE NOT Asking

Saw this on Perry Noble’s blog and with Easter around the corner, thought I’d pass it on:

#1 – “What do you do to disciple people?”  (This question is usually asked by people who want to ‘microwave” spiritually, not understand that they themselves actually became mature in the “crock pot.”)

#2 – “Who is speaking this weekend?”  (They usually don’t care about the WHO…it’s the WHAT that matters to them.)

#3 – “Are you reformed in your theology?”  (Most of them have no idea what in the heck this means!)

#4 – “Is your church spirit filled?”

#5 – “What version of the Bible do you use?”  (Many unchurched people don’t even really know there are different versions!)

#6 – “What denomination are you affiliated with?”

#7 – “How many different activities can I sign my family up for in order to add to the insane schedule that we already have?”

#8 – “Does your pastor teach exegetically through the Scriptures?”

#9 – “Are there lots of crosses and pictures of Jesus in your church?”

#10 – “Are you guys pre trib, mid trib, post trib or partial trib?”

[Source:  Perry Noble]

#3 of 09: What Attracts People to Church?

I got an e-mail today from a church planter asking how we attract people to our church. I think this is a question that everyone wrestles with. As a pastor, you hear stories constantly of marketing and how it works (or doesn’t work).

I remember when we got started, we did some marketing and we had some people find our church because of that, but by and large people come to a church because they are invited. The national stats prove right at Revolution. Over 80% of Americans said they would go to church if someone invited them. Over 90% said they attended church the first time because a friend invited them. This number also gives a greater chance of a second time visit (the crucial one) because they already know someone.

I think marketing has a place, but at the end of the day the people in your church need to feel confident and comfortable inviting someone. If you aren’t having any visitors, ask why not? Do people consistently know what to expect at your church? Does your church say “we’ve been expecting you” or “holy crap, a visitor!”

The other thing that is important for a church to think about is what they are doing with Jesus. One of the things that the gospels are clear on is crowds were always around Jesus. I think Jesus is attractive, people long for him (even if they don’t know it). This is important, does your church lift up and point to Jesus? Is he the center of the worship and preaching? The answer is not always yes.

Really at the end of the day, you have to give people something they can’t get anywhere else. It isn’t great music, preaching, kids stuff, art, video, etc. While all those are important and need to be as excellent as possible, I’m tired of just “okay” stuff being put on at churches (but that is another topic). You have to give people as A.W. Tozer said, “a taste of the holy.” That is what they can’t get somewhere else, and they will come back.

Give them Jesus.

Links of the Week

  1. Scott Williams on Looking through the eyes of the unchurched. I think he is right, when an unchurched person comes to church, they are looking for something different than what they find in the world.
  2. Sam Rainer on Leading by asking.
  3. Jon Bloom on Counting the cost of sexual immorality. After last Saturday night, this is definitely something everyone needs to think about.
  4. Perry Noble on Vision. Here are his notes from his catalyst lab.
  5. Ed Stetzer on 7 big church planting mistakes.

Links of the Week

  1. Katie nailed it on this post about how to push your husband to be all he is supposed to be.
  2. Catalyst on How to attract young leaders to your team. This post shows why so many churches do not have young leaders.
  3. Ed Stetzer on Should we listen to the unchurched. I think we should because too often we answer questions no one is asking.
  4. Jason Mitchell on Things a pastor can’t say. Yes, Pastors think this stuff.
  5. Craig Groeschel on What I didn’t learn in seminary. Craig’s experience made me grateful for the experience I had in seminary.

Links of the Week

  1. Steven Furtick on Changing the world is hard work
  2. Dan Kimball on Complementarian viewpoint and Sarah Palin
  3. Gary Lamb on Myths to reaching unchurched people (looking forward to this series of posts)
  4. Craig Groeschel on Letting people go with grace