The challenges to Christian ministry continue to mount. Between a cultural shift toward intolerance of truth, the decision fatigue of pastors, the opinion overload of society, and a host of other challenges, it’s no wonder that so many pastors and spiritual leaders are falling out of the ministry.
Although I’m aware of and experience these types of challenges, I want to finish my race still serving the Lord. And I don’t want to stagger across the finish line—depleted and embittered toward the people God has called me to serve—either. I want to finish my race in love with Christ and fully engaged in His work.
In a previous blog, I shared the Spiritual Leadership Conference session 5 Commitments of Continuing Churches. Our goal, however, is not just to build a ministry that continues, but to personally stay in the race.
In other words, we cannot help others to continue if we give up.
One of the characteristics of effective leaders is a practice of personal assessment. In the Wednesday morning session of Spiritual Leadership Conference ’16, we looked at 5 principles of continuing leaders with a challenge to personally assess how we’re doing in each area.
We have the absolute promise that the church will continue. Jesus plainly declared, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Thus, we have the advantage of operating from the knowledge that we are on the winning side.
Even so, you and I both know of churches that have not continued for Christ—churches who have left off aggressively reaching the world with the gospel and dwindled to nothing or have tried to “reinvent” the church and lost their distinction and effectiveness.
So what is the difference between a local church that continues and a church that doesn’t? What helps a church remain true to its founding doctrine and biblical in its methods?
In a morning session of Spiritual Leadership Conference ’16, we looked at five commitments of continuing churches.
The 2016 Spiritual Leadership Conference begins in less than twenty-four hours. I am praying for the Lord to empower every moment of this conference for His glory and for the encouragement of His servants.
Our conference theme is one word, taken from 2 Timothy 3:14—Continue.
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;—2 Timothy 3:14
If there has ever been a time when we need to continue, it is now. In addition to the natural tendency of leaders and churches to drift, we’re facing a mounting onslaught of opposition to our faith from unbelievers. For both reasons, we must be intentional about continuing in the gospel. Please pray with us that the Lord will use this conference to challenge, encourage, and equip pastors and Christian servants.
I wanted to let you know of two conference resources that I hope are a help to you whether or not you are able to be with us here in Lancaster, California, for the conference. (more…)
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…)