This is a video I shot in my living room back in September 2009 (eight months and 30 pounds ago!). But this truly lines up with the mission of this blog. I’d enjoy any feedback you may have!
Monthly Archives: May 2010
I so appreciate the ministry of Thom Rainer at LifeWay. He has now given us some helpful information on five major trends for churches in America. I am already starting to see some of these trends. Allow me to share with you one particular trend:
Senior adult ministries in churches will experience steep declines. As the large Baby Boomer generation moves into their older years, they will resist any suggestion that they are senior adults, no matter how senior they may be. Unfortunately, many churches are slow to adapt to new realities. If they do senior adult ministry the way they’ve always done it, it will be headed for failure.
Our “senior” adults act younger that at any other point–and this is typical of the ‘boomer’ generation (those born from 1946-1965). And even at my church, there are those who are in their late 50s and early 60s (seniors by AARP standards) who do not have a senior adult mindset of ready and waiting for ‘retirement.’ Our newer senior adults do not want to stop!
I think of that song Frank Sinatra made popular: “Don’t you know that it’s worth every treasure on earth to be young at heart.” That typifies most of our new senior adults.
I appreciate Dr. Rainer’s advice on rethinking senior adult ministry. It cannot be as before, and it cannot be business as usual. These younger seniors do not want a chaplain, they want to be part of the army marching for the Lord!
What are some things you all are doing in rethinking senior adult ministries in 2010?
We should never dumb down God’s power to our level in order to protect ourselves from disappointment. We should determine to offer people what God has promised and willingly deal with the consequences. I would rather fail according to human standards, by offering people the hope of transformation God has promised, than to succeed by watering down God’s truth, ensuring they never find it. . . . I’d rather fail believing in God’s promises and power than succeed by diminishing them (Brad Powell, Change Your Church for Good, p. 45).
What do you, as a Christian, do on Saturday nights? (Take time to make a list here.)
Now, examine that list, and ask: “How will this help preparing my heart and mind to absorb the Word and fellowship with His people on Sunday morning?”
Here is a way to get ready for Sunday morning.
I’m currently reading through Gary L. McIntosh’s book Taking Your Church to the Next Level: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. He spends time talking about what an emerging church, a growing church, a consolidating church, a declining church, and a dying church look like. In a sense, he seems to say that what makes churches more dynamic than not is whether they have a clear vision of what the church should be and are willing to pursue that vision in their cultural context.
I pastor a 225 year old church here at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church and one of the words that has started to move forward in my mind is the word ‘momentum.’ Listen to McIntosh’s analogy:
Think of a large cruise ship traveling at top speed. What would happen to such a ship if it suddenly shut off its engines while in the middle of an ocean? Would it come to an immediate stop? No, the momentum established would keep the ship going. The passengers would not notice the slowdown at first and would likely keep enjoying the various activities on deck. Very slowly, almost totally unrecognized, the ship would begin to show down. The friction of the water and waves working against the hull of the ship, while at first hardly perceptible, would create drag, slowing the ship. Winds blowing against the upper decks, again going unnoticed, would push against the ship, adding to the overall resistance. Eventually the ship would come to a stop, drifting aimlessly on the waves and currents (p. 97).
This is a danger for every church older than 25 years of age, in my opinion. They start their church, find a mission, love the Word, love the people in their culture and in their church, and momentum ensues. When they reach their goals, the danger is for a satisfying lull to take place afterwards.
Ed Stetzer noted one time that the reason so many are planting churches now is that it’s easier to birth a baby than raise the dead. He has written an excellent book with Mike Dodson called Comeback Churches that I highly recommend. He notes that the priority of pastors in comeback churches are to
- Preach/disciple the Word of God clearly and boldly
- Train the leaders and thus help effectively multiply your ministry;
- Win the lost to Christ.
Smaller, historic churches lose momentum when they begin to see what the church can do for them, rather than what they as the church should do for Christ and the culture in which he has planted them. They begin to see pastors as Captain Chaplain who keep the boat steady, keep the passengers happy, and keep the activities eventful for those already on board.
Rather, the pastor ultimately has Christ and the glory of God fully in mind. When churches begin to live beyond their means and rely of Christ’s riches rather than their own resources or comfort, momentum will build in Jesus’ name by the power of the Spirit.
It’s His church.
He knows how best to pilot it.
- Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals by Trevin Wax. So many Caesars are vying for our attention: money, sex, success, leisure, etc. Wax brings a very pastoral tone to this very important topic.
- Visit the Sick by Brian Croft. A wonderful book on the biblical, historical, and practical reasons for pastors to visit. Check out my review here.
- Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer. For the most part, a helpful understanding of why many young adults have left the church. From their vantage point, the church is not interacting well with what’s being taught in schools. We must be more proactive in teaching them the truth of creation. For more information about their ministry, log on to http://www.answersingenesis.org .
- It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel. A helpful book on developing vision and maintaining the momentum of that vision. He gets a bit silly at times with his illustrations, but chapters 11 and 12 are worth the entire book.
Recently, I was asked to offer some recommended reading in various areas and to have it posted on our website. Feel free to suggest other books that may be good to add to these lists!
- Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Beshears
- Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem (Grudem’s book Bible Doctrine is a distilled version of his Systematic Theology, and Christian Beliefs is an even more distilled version by Elliott Grudem)
- The Cross of Christ by John R.W. Stott
- Institutes of Christian Religion (2 volumes) by John Calvin
- New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ by Thomas Schreiner
- Knowing God by J.I. Packer
- Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals by Trevin Wax
- Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan
- Discipled Warriors by Chuck Lawless
- The Spiritual Disciples for the Christian Life by Don Whitney (actually, anything by Don Whitney is gold)
- Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore
- Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
- Christless Christianity and The Gospel-Driven Life by Michael Horton
- Desiring God and The Pleasures of God by John Piper
- Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung
- How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp
- Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft (best book on leadership I’ve read in years)
- Visioneering by Andy Stanley
- Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
- Robert E. Lee on Leadership by H.W. Crocker
- It by Craig Groeschel (he gets a bit silly at times with his illustrations, but chapters 11 and 12 are worth the entire book)
- Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper
Ecclesiology (The Study of the Church)
- The Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
- Why We Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
- Deep Church by Jim Belcher
- Theology for the Church, edited by Daniel Akin
- Stop Dating the Church (And Fall in Love with the Family of God) by Joshua Harris
- What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile
- Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley
- The Story of Christianity (2 volumes) by Justo Gonzalez
- Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity by Mark Noll
- Jesus Made in America by Stephen Nichols
- America’s Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon by Stephen Prothero (a good book about how Americans in their freedom have freely made Jesus into their particular image, depending on whatever cultural context or era they find themselves in).
- The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859-2009 by Gregory Wills
- Southern Baptist Identity, edited by David Dockery
Evangelism and Missions
- The Missionary Call by M. David Sills (Helps us sort out and discern God’s call into missionary service.)
- Tell the Truth by William Metzger
- Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman
- Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper
- Out of Their Faces and Into Their Shoes by John Kramp
- Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer
- Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden (great book on the greatest theologian and mind America has ever produced)
- Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore (for a more in-depth look at Spurgeon, ready Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers by Lewis Drummond—900+ pages)
- To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson by Courtney Anderson
- The New Lottie Moon Story by Catherine Allen (the best biography to date on a pioneer in Southern Baptist missions to China)
- The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller (addresses directly the major questions skeptics ask about the Christian faith. I do not agree on his views of evolution and his contention that the dating methods used in Darwinism can fit into the creation account, but it does not take away from the thrust of the book.)
- The Ultimate Proof of Creation: Resolving the Origins Debate by Jason Lisle (addresses the logical problems advanced by those who believe in evolution and gives Christians a way to expose and address those issues).
- Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith by Greg Bahnsen (an deep and thought-provoking way to defend the faith)
- The Kingdom of the Cults by William Martin (the best book around on addressing the background and theology of the cults)
- Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey
Marriage and Family
- Sex, Romance and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know by C.J. Mahaney
- When Sinners Say “I Do” with Study Guide by Dave Harvey
- What Did You Expect??: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage by Paul Tripp
- Gospel Powered Parenting by William Farley
- Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware
- Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper and Wayne Grudem
- Disciplines for a Godly Family by Kent and Barbara Hughes
- Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
- Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon
- The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter
- On Being a Pastor: Understanding our Calling and Work by Derek Prime and Alistair Begg
- Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God by Bob Kauflin
- The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in the Church by Timothy Witmer
- Visit the Sick by Brian Croft