1. 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.)

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  2. 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…)


  3. Doctrine Still Matters: What’s Wrong with Hillsong?

    October 28, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    Bible

    You’ve likely read the news regarding Brian Houston, pastor of Hillsong Church, refusing to answer questions concerning Hillsong’s position on same sex marriage. Although this is not the first time Houston has made similar statements, it is the most recent.

    Does Hillsong’s position matter? After all, even Houston himself made a press release with a follow up statement that he personally believes in the traditional definition of marriage. (In effect, his “clarification” covered his personal belief but reiterated that Hillsong would not take a public position on these matters as a church.)

    Over the years, many have spoken out against Hillsong. The overall assessment I have heard has centered on music issues—specifically their CCM style. Sometimes we critique an area that may be worthy of attention (after all, music is a powerful, important part of worship and worthy of concern), but we can miss the larger picture and the deeper issues. Thus we condemn a ministry for an expression of a deeper issue rather than identifying and separating from the real issue(s).

    Why would I be concerned when a Baptist pastor becomes enamored with a ministry like Hillsong? My fundamental concern is that those enamored with Hillsong’s style will end up compromising Bible doctrine.

    Notice the three points of concern below, and ask yourself if these aren’t substantial issues—issues that would keep you from working with the church in your hometown that believed and practiced in these ways? (more…)


  4. 5 Helpful Follow Up Methods Every Christian Can Use

    October 13, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    open-house-2014

    The Lord gave us a phenomenal Sunday yesterday, and how we praise Him for it! I preached a message from Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazareth and the need to consider eternity. What a privilege to preach Jesus and lift up the cross! God blessed as scores of people responded during the invitations and trusted Christ as their Saviour.

    After a Sunday of such abundant fruitfulness, I not only feel grateful, I also feel very responsible. I want to follow up on guests and nurture young Christians to grow in Christ.

    I believe that “big days” of ministry must be just the starting point for continued discipleship and training. Aggressive soulwinning must be followed with aggressive discipleship. Second Timothy 2:2 makes it clear that our job is to “teach others also” in the things we have learned.

    So how do we practically do that? Below are five ways to follow up on guests and new Christians after a special Sunday of outreach: (more…)


  5. 5 Ways to Engage Your Community with the Gospel

    October 4, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    city

    When I came to Lancaster, California, I had one goal in mind—reach this community with the gospel of Jesus Christ! Every pastor or leader in ministry that I know has the same goal. You want to reach your community with the gospel.

    So how should you do it? It’s a big task for sure, but the short answer is “in as many ways as you can!”

    In other words, you want to saturate and engage your community with the gospel. The Apostle Paul did that “publickly, and from house to house” (Acts 20:20), and I believe a strategy that involves both is important.

    Here are five ways we have found effective to engage our community with the gospel: (more…)