I moved several times as a boy and, I’ve got to say, it wasn’t much fun. Each time I had to overcome old fears, break down unseen barriers and make new friends. I never liked that feeling of being an outsider. I haven’t forgotten how that felt to my tender young soul. But it taught me some lessons that have been valuable to me in helping to connect with guests at church.
Visiting a church can be awkward for a first time guest. They don’t know the people, the customs or the expectations. They can feel nervous, intimidated or ignored. They might not even yet know the message of the gospel. But having people at church who purposely connect with them can make a real and lasting difference.
Here are some tips to help church members learn to connect with guests who visit your church.
1. Talk to people you don’t know. Church member, this is the Continue reading
Let’s face it. If discipleship was simply finding and following a program, the discipleship dilemma would have been solved long ago. Programs we have. Effective disciplemaking? Not so much.
I appreciate the role of programs in discipleship. They provide needed resources and helpful direction. They can point us down the right path and keep us from theological ditches. But discipleship takes more than a program. Authentic, life changing discipleship needs relationships.
Jesus spent time with people. In particular, he spent time with the 12 disciples. He taught them. He modeled proper behavior for them. He challenged them. Jesus even rebuked them where necessary. His discipleship course was the course of his life lived together with these men.
Perhaps we should see discipleship more like this. It is best done through relationships with other followers of our Lord. Stronger Christ followers helping other Christ followers live the life of Christ could become our model. We could begin to see discipleship as being done best through relationships rather than programs. Programs can be a tool, but relationships are the means.
Here are three reasons to see relationships as more important than programs in discipleship.
1. We need examples. Information Continue reading
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) faces some challenges. We have slowly declined in recent years. We have less members and attenders. The decline in evangelistic effectiveness is especially troubling. But there is opportunity.
Our fellowship has not always been stellar. We can be cantankerous towards each other and our disagreements are not always handled as agreeably as they should be. Sometimes we find ourselves unnecessarily snarky. But there is opportunity.
We have vacancies at the leadership of two major agencies– the International Mission Board and the Executive Committee. These are critical roles and there are no perfect people to lead them. But there is opportunity.
God provides Continue reading
Posted in baptist, Christian unity, evangelism, friendship, humility, International Mission Board, southern baptist convention, southern baptist convention, Uncategorized
Tagged Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, International Mission Board, SBC, southern baptist convention
Pastors struggle to have deep and meaningful friendships. Note the words “deep and meaningful”. Most pastors would say they have lots of friends but often they are more shallow than deep and more superficial than meaningful. There are reasons for that. Deeper friendships can be betrayed. Deeper friendships take effort. Deeper friendships can cause jealousy. Lots of reasons.
I recently finished a Continue reading
Posted in books, encouragement, friendship, pastor, Uncategorized
Tagged book, Christian, Christianity, encouragement, friendship, God, ministers, ministry, pastor, relationship with god, Religion and Spirituality
Sunday was my birthday. I loved sharing my birthday with hundreds and hundreds of people at church. I love my church despite all the “humaness” that keeps us from being perfect. My church, like yours, is filled with people who have messed up and fallen. It is filled with people like Continue reading
Posted in blessings, Church, family, friendship, Uncategorized
Tagged birthday, birthday cake, Blessing, blessings, Christian, Christianity, church, faith, family, fellowship, friends, friendship, God, Jesus, joy, local church, Religion and Spirituality
God made us for relationships. Yet many men- many men- will find meaningful friendships hard to build and sustain. We end up isolated and miss the benefits of close relationships with other men. If that isn’t you, great. But for many men, friendships are like doing a rubiks cube- challenging, intimidating and a little unnatural.
Let me mention three reasons for our difficulty in building lasting friendships.
1. We tend to stay superficial. Continue reading
Posted in Christianity, Church, friendship, Sunday School, Uncategorized
Tagged bible study, Christian, Christianity, discipleship, faith, friendship, God, men, Religion and Spirituality, small groups, Sunday School