Christians across America are frustrated. Some are discouraged. Some are fearful. Some are hopeless.
Our culture is shifting before our very eyes, and there seems to be little to nothing we can do to stop it. We see the decaying morals and we sense the intolerance toward Christians growing around us.
Pastors, too, become discouraged with it all. Those serving in ministry wonder if there is hope for our nation or for revival.
But lest we bemoan the difficult times in our country today, could I remind you that the gospel has prospered in even more difficult times in years past.
In fact, the Apostle Paul is believed to have written the book of 2 Timothy from the Mamertine Prison in Rome. He wrote at an incredibly difficult time both in world history and in his life. Christians everywhere were persecuted, and he knew he was only a short time from his own martyrdom.
What was his instruction at this critical period? (more…)
Last night was a highlight for Terrie and me and our church family as we had the ordination service for our youngest son, Matthew.
I remember almost fifteen years ago, as I prayed through a stack of decision cards from teens at our youth conference who had surrendered to full-time gospel ministry and came a name that brought great joy: Matthew Chappell.
I look back over the years since then, and I know that where Matt is today is the fruit of so many investments. It’s the fruit of every Sunday school teacher, Christian school teacher, youth worker, West Coast Baptist College faculty and staff, and the Lancaster Baptist Church deacons and church family who have loved our family and encouraged our children.
After high school, Matt attended West Coast Baptist College where he met his wife, Katie. For the past five years, Matt and Katie have served with my brother, Pastor Stephen Chappell, in Oceanside, California.
As my brother attested to last night, Matt has been diligent in his calling, and the hand of God and fruit of ministry is evident in his life. Matt and Katie have led dozens of teens to Christ through public high school ministry. They’ve established Bible clubs in area high schools. They’ve developed a youth ministry at Coastline Baptist and invested in teens to nurture their walk with God. (more…)
We invite guests to church precisely because we care. We care that they hear the gospel or grow as a Christian. We care that God works in their lives through the preaching of His Word and that they are ministered to through the body of Christ.
But knowing we care and showing we care are two different matters. How can you help every guest who walks onto your church campus sense your care for them?
If you’ve served the Lord any length of time, you know that the outward expressions of service don’t guarantee a consistent heart for the Lord.
The same is true of serving on a church staff. Being in the ministry is not a guarantee that you will be strong as a Christian or that you will be diligent in the spiritual disciplines of following God and serving His people. In fact, in some ways, serving in an official ministry position (paid or volunteer) makes you more of a target for Satan’s attacks. For if you fall, you’re influencing others.
So how do you avoid being a casualty in ministry? How do you avoid washing out along the way? Here are eight ways to avoid some of the common pitfalls: (more…)