1. The Way Back: 7 Basics of Revival

    January 28, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    California-Coastline-Road

    For the Bible-believing Christian, anything that could be called a true advancement will be in a direction leading to basic, New Testament Christianity. So in a sense, it will be going back.

    If we will see revival, we must get back to the basics:

    1. Back to Prayer

    Prayer is one of the most talked about, but least practiced, spiritual disciplines in the ministry.

    We know that God moves through prayer. We know that prayer precedes revival.

    Even the verse we often speak of when we discuss our longing for revival, is a prayer:

    Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?—Psalm 85:6

    If we want to see revival, we must pray—faithfully and fervently.

    2. Back to Biblical Preaching

    God choose preaching.

    For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.—1 Corinthians 1:21

    A simple read through the book of Acts reveals that preaching was a staple of early churches—both in declaring the gospel and maturing believers. (more…)


  2. 5 Ways to Maintain Positive Momentum in the Work of God

    January 12, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    ocean-sunrise

    The best part of most new year’s goals is the first week of January. Adrenaline runs high, and success seems just within reach.

    And then the second week of January comes. And the adrenaline-based enthusiasm wanes.

    Maintaining the momentum to pursue God-given goals is particularly difficult in long-range goals or in difficult-to-measure goals, such as leading and building up other people. Although I believe it is helpful to set clear, measurable goals, God’s work through us can’t always be measured this side of Heaven.

    And yet, I believe God is honored when we persist in pursuing growth in His work—when we put our hand to the plow and faithfully look to the end of the furrow all year long.

    When it comes to the work of the ministry, how do we maintain the passion to labor with God all year long? How do we lead and serve others with a commitment to build and a patience to persist? (more…)


  3. Growth Points 61: Leading in a Hostile Culture

    January 7, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    As we enter a new year, we’re mindful that we don’t minister in the American days gone by in which the the pastoral position was appreciated and the pastor himself revered throughout the community. The ministry landscape of today is simply not the same as it was.

    To be sure, there has always been hostility to the gospel. But that hostility in the communities across America has definitively been on the rise. In fact, hostility in general is on the rise. Today, there is greater disparity between the rich and the poor, more racial tension, and more violence then before.

    What are the reasons for this hostility? And how can we, as pastors, respond to it as well as lead our people through it? In this growth points video, we look at practical ways to stand with grace and truth as servant leaders in hostile days:


    (If you cannot see this video in your RSS reader or email, you can watch it here.)

    Make sure you get all future Growth Points videos by subscribing to the Spiritual Leadership Podcast.


  4. 10 Reasons We Still Have Sunday Evening Service

    January 5, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    Sun-evening-service

    I’ve known for some years that the Sunday evening service in Baptist churches has been on the decline. But I read a recent statistic by researcher Thom Rainer stating that only 5 percent of churches have a Sunday evening service. That number startled me.

    Personally, I love Sunday evening services, and I know many in our church family do as well. But I believe this service is needful for more reasons than personal tastes. (Not that a personal taste for church would be a bad reason!)

    As I considered the 5 percent statistic, contrasted with how the Lord has used the Sunday evening services at Lancaster Baptist Church, I jotted down ten reasons I believe Sunday evening services are needful. Most of these have strong scriptural support, while a few are matters of practicality. (more…)


  5. Evaluating Counsel

    January 3, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    coffee-and-chairs

    You’ve probably heard the old fable of the man and his son bringing their donkey to market. En route, they encounter so many people who give their opinions as to who should ride the donkey and who should walk that by the time they reach the market, the man and his son are carrying the donkey.

    The point of the fable is simple—no one person can or should respond to the opinions of every person who offers them.

    It’s interesting to note that scriptural admonitions to receive counsel often include a qualified person from whom we are to receive it. For instance, children are to receive—not necessarily all instruction—but the instruction of their parents (Proverbs 1:8). The Apostle Paul pled with those he had led to Christ to receive his counsel (1 Corinthians 4:15–16) and counsel from godly teachers (1 Thessalonians 5:12).

    While the Bible does generally instruct us to listen to counsel (Proverbs 19:20), it never instructs us to heed all opinions or counsel. Otherwise, we’d end our ministries not saying, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7), but “I have fought others’ fights, started many courses that umpteen people laid out for me, and I’m not real sure what the faith even is.”

    In other words, we’ll arrive at market carrying the donkey.

    So how do you know from whom to receive counsel? I believe the six questions below give an objective criteria that is consistent with the admonitions in Scripture regarding from whom to receive counsel. (more…)