We know that God is more interested in the spiritual health of a church than its numeric growth. A spiritually thriving church will be reaching people with the gospel and seeing people added to the church, but a church focused only on growth may be seeing people added without true conversion or spiritual maturity.
But what does a healthy church look like? What are its defining characteristics?
No church “arrives” in spiritual maturity. Even as we as individual Christians must guard our hearts against coldness to the Lord or backsliding, so entire churches can become lukewarm spiritually. (See Revelation 3:14–16.) (more…)
With just eight days between now and Christmas, I’ve counted seven Christmas services yet remaining before I sit down for Christmas dinner with my family. It’s a blessing throughout the month of December to focus on Christ’s birth and what He means to us. And yet, it’s a challenge to keep every one of those services unique and effective for the gospel.
In this Growth Points video, I’d like to share a few thoughts that I hope will be helpful as you head into the final stretch of the Christmas season as a communicator of God’s Word:
(If you you cannot see this video in your RSS reader or email, you can watch it here.)
This past weekend—Saturday and Sunday evening—was our annual Christmas musical at Lancaster Baptist Church. The amount of work put into these projections is staggering—not just in the thousands of hours given by the choir, orchestra, and drama teams, but also the thousands of invitations given out all across our community in the weeks preceding the musical.
I think our church often enters this weekend a little exhausted. Yet, the exhaustion gives way to joy for all of us as we see people respond to the preached gospel message. It was our joy to witness this in every service this weekend, and we praise the Lord for it.
The tendency after such an outpouring of service is to breathe a long sigh of relief on Monday morning, thank God for those who were saved, and kick back into neutral for a few weeks. (more…)
One of the things I look forward to when I hire staff is the opportunity to invest into their lives. Between praying for and pastoring their family, weekly staff meetings, and other times of training, I want to do all I can to help build them up in service and as spiritual leaders.
At the same time, I don’t hire staff solely to invest in them. In fact, I hire them primarily to help me build the work of the ministry God has entrusted us with here at Lancaster Baptist Church.
If you serve on a church staff, I would encourage you to appreciate and take advantage of any training or help your pastor provides. (And this, of course, includes his regular preaching.) But don’t see your staff position as just an opportunity for you and your family to be built up, but for you to help build.
This post started with my notes from a recent staff training with our church leadership team as I challenged them to build in four specific areas. If you serve on a church staff, I’d encourage you to take these four areas to heart, especially as you plan for the upcoming year of ministry: (more…)
When Terrie and I moved to Lancaster over thirty years ago, I began an eighteen-month season of intense personal outreach. Every week, I would knock on no less than five hundred doors personally with a church invitation and a purpose to share the gospel at the door.
But my goal was not to personally evangelize the Antelope Valley. My goal was to lead Lancaster Baptist Church in reaching our community with the gospel.
One of the ways we do this is through special outreach times, such as Christmas, Easter, and Open House Sunday. Our obedience to the Great Commission, however should be consistent year round.
As a pastor, here are some of the ways I have endeavored to lead our church in consistent soulwinning and outreach. (more…)