Free Sermon Kit – I Still Believe

8 Reasons to Lead Your Church Through
the “I Still Believe” FREE Sermon Kit

sermon kit

Get Yours Here!

 

Use this free sermon kit to be ready for one of the biggest movie debuts of 2020. On March 13 the movie “I Still Believe,” the real-life story of chart-topping singer Jeremy Camp is coming to theaters. The film, made by the creators of the movie “I Can Only Imagine,” is a powerful reminder that in the midst of life’s storms, true hope is only found in Christ.

Movies like “I Still Believe” can be a great way to connect with your congregation and reach new people in your community, which is why we here at ChurchLeaders are excited to tell you about a 2-week sermon kit that’s just been released that could be perfect for you and your church.

The Dirty Little Secret Of Church Giving

Brady Shearer, from Pro Church Tools, tells the plain truth about the real cost of electronic giving to your church and ministry.

This is useful information as you plan your giving strategy for the upcoming year.

Over the next few minutes, I want to pull back the curtain on the dirty little secret of church giving platforms. What I’m about to say is certainly going to upset some people…and to be honest, I have hesitated to publish this for that reason.

But, as someone who works in this industry, what’s clear to me is that the majority of churches don’t understand what’s actually happening – and so, my conviction is to explain that as best as I can. And then, it’s up to you to do with that information what you wish.

Visit their site at https://prochurchtools.com/ for more information

Why Are Pastors Depressed

 

As the evangelical church has become painfully aware recently, pastors struggle with mental illness, including depression and thoughts of suicide. In light of recent events, many are wondering: Why are pastors depressed?

A survey of protestant clergy in Canada conducted in 2003 showed that 20 percent of respondents had been diagnosed with an emotional condition; specifically, 16 percent said they had been diagnosed with depression. “This is double the Health Canada findings which states that approximately eight percent of Canadian adults will experience major depression in their lives,” the study authors write.

A 2014 LifeWay study among pastors in the U.S. found that these numbers don’t seem to have changed much in the almost decade has transpired between the two studies. LifeWay’s study indicated more than one in five pastors have personally struggled with mental illness of some kind. It should be noted this number mirrors the national average of people in the U.S. who struggle with mental illness, according to research from 2018.

A Look At The Research

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Relevant magazine founder ‘stepping away’ from role

Cameron Strang

The founder and CEO of Relevant magazine is “stepping away” from the evangelical Christian publication just days after several former staffers raised concerns about his past behavior, which they described as racially insensitive and toxic.

Relevant founder Cameron Strang announced his leave of absence in a post published on the magazine’s website on Monday afternoon (Sept. 23). He did not dispute the accounts of former staffers and apologized for his past actions, which he repeatedly described as toxic.

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Motivation with A Pre-Church Huddle

By tds0249@gmail.com

A few years ago our team attended a conference at Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. The preaching was fantastic. The breakouts were hit and miss. But there’s one idea that we came away with that we really liked and continue to use today.

It was this idea of a pre-service huddle. Now this may not work for every church, but I think there are more than a few out there that this could benefit.

First, let me explain what it is. The huddle is a short meeting involving a small group of people who share information.

My church has three huddles every Sunday morning that happen at relatively the same time before services begin. One involves the pastor and worship team, one involves the kids’ ministry leaders, and one involves the guest services leaders.

You could set yours up however you want.

The purpose of the huddle will help you decide who needs to be a part of it. It has three parts. …

READ How to Create a Pre-Service Huddle

What Does Movemental Christianity Look Like

Movemental Christianity

In the West, if and when we see movements of churches planting 1,000 churches in their lifetime, then we believe the following 10 characteristics will be present. Based on our observations, movemental Christianity will have some of these characteristics.

1) Prayer

Prayer will need to be more than a habit or a discipline. It must be a conviction that establishes its priority and is expressed in a consistent rhythm of repentance and renewed faith. Before we see movemental Christianity, where we are moving from addition to reproduction, we will have to be fervently praying and asking God to change us first.

2) Intentionality of multiplication

We will also need to show the intention of being movemental (see the next eight elements). This involves an outward vision instead of inward, raising up others instead of increasing ourselves, and seeking the kingdom of God and not building or protecting our personal kingdom. As of now, I believe our focus is primarily defensive and incremental, not intentional and exponential.

3) Sacrifice

Change will not come without giving something up. No movement will happen until pressure is applied to move the church from the place of being static to a body of believers in action—from addition to reproduction. Just as the body grows muscle and changes with the tension of weights being lifted, so the church will change and grow in the midst of tension. Denominations, individual churches and believers must pay this sacrifice.

4) Reproducibility

Movements do not occur through large things (big budgets, big plans, big teams). They occur through small units that are readily reproducible. If you want to see a movement, things need to be accessible and reproducible at every level. Accessible means that the average person can understand and participate in the vision without any advanced knowledge or special training. Reproducible means that the concepts are reduced from complexity to simplicity to virally spread. This is a challenge to resist the grandiose in favor of the reproducible.

5) Theological integrity

Churches wanting to be involved in transformative, movemental Christianity hold firm and passionate positions on biblical views. These views are rooted in something that goes deeper than a charismatic leader or visionary but are planted in firm convictions that flow out of the Bible.

This transitions the motivation for movement from the temporary (a leader or a model) to the permanent (the Scriptures). The Baptists and Methodists won the Western Frontier (1795–1810) because they were passionate about their beliefs. The Pentecostals are not de-emphasizing what they believe to win Central America. Movements are found among people with robust beliefs, not generic and downplayed belief systems.

6) Incarnational ministry

Movemental Christianity recognizes that the gospel is unchanging, but the expressions and results of the gospel will vary from culture to culture. It also recognizes that, as the sent people of God, we are called to appropriately identify with those to whom we have been sent. The unchanging truth of the gospel needs to translate to the changing language and values of people around us.

Within this environment, Christians speak and act in a way that directly addresses the environment in which we live, work and recreate with the good news of Jesus. All of this means that we must understand both the gospel and culture in order to be a biblically faithful and culturally relevant countercultural movement of God. Movements will look like, and be owned by, ordinary people in ordinary life that are compelled by an extraordinary vision for the world.

7) Empowerment of God’s people

Movements only occur when the disempowered are given the freedom, and then take up the responsibility to lead. In our case, the clergification of the Church has marginalized those God has called—all people. As believers, we are equipped with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, and the Bible calls all Christians a “royal priesthood.” Yet, the disempowerment of church members simultaneously satisfies and disturbs many pastors.

Frustration results from not being able to get others to do the work of ministry, but satisfaction comes from being affirmed in doing the work others should be doing. Some pastors want people to shoulder the grunt work of ministry without having much say in leadership or vision, and this disempowers and disillusions qualified leaders to look elsewhere to exercise their gifting and calling. Such codependency and suppression is the death knell of movemental Christianity.

8) Charitability in appreciating other models

Movemental Christianity is messy. Those involved in it make mistakes, overemphasize certain things, and even believe different things than we do. But no one gives his or her life for a bland belief system.

It takes a wide net to gather the most fish, and it takes a wide variety of perspectives and ideas to reach a wide portion of culture. A movement of God cannot be contained in a single movement or theological tradition, and no one has it completely figured out. Therefore, movemental Christianity requires charity to maintain our firmly held convictions while rejoicing for and speaking well about those with whom we differ but are being greatly blessed by God.

9) Scalability

Movements often are stifled within smaller communities because of the small-mindedness and lack of preparation of local leaders. When God begins to move and believers allow movemental Christianity to begin to grow, leaders and structures must be able to rapidly reorient and resize to not stifle such movements.

In many cases, movements will break out of structures rather than mold within them. More frequently, non-scalable structures (like some training programs or denominational structures) will actually hinder the movement. So, leaders need to plan at the foundational level for movement and growth, building structures that are flexible to a variety of leadership and adaptable to a variety of demographics. These structures become bottlenecks rather than catalysts, so hold them loosely.

10) Holism in overall approach

The modern evangelical separation of gospel proclamation and societal transformation is a historical oddity. Jesus spoke directly to the idolatry and hypocrisy in the culture around Him. It takes hard work to turn the dial from theoretical concepts to real-life action, and Christians are notorious for talking more about serving the poor than actually doing it.

But movemental Christianity must practice holistic ministry in the way of Jesus to see real, lasting, multiplying success. Current movements and historical awakenings were and are accompanied by societal transformation.

We believe these 10 characteristics will be present in the movemental Christianity to come—and have been proven historically to be effective measures where there’s been movement, reproduction and multiplication.

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research.

This article was first published on EdStetzer.com.  

 

 

6 Ways To Reach More People With Your Church Website

 

 

Your website is your new front door. It’s important that your website is easy to understand and provides easy-to-find information for your guests and visitors. Be sure to include these items CLEARLY on your homepage:

1. Services Times – include whether you provide children’s ministry or nursery at each service.

2. Location – include the address, at minimum, or a link to Google maps.

3. What to Expect – explain how long your service is, what people wear, when are children’s services available (each service?), and take an opportunity to share your mission & vision. If you want to get into details of your theological beliefs, there can be another page devoted to that – it doesn’t need to be on the homepage.

4. Information on Kids’ ministry – do you have the ability to check-in online, do you provide safe areas for their kids to learn, how do you break up your kids classes, where do families need to go once they arrive at your building?

5. Contact Information – phone number and a monitored email is sufficient.

6. Have the “why” behind your Church and culture easily view-able

 

Six ways

7 Well-Meaning Objections to Church Discipline

 

Walk Light
Over the years dozens of people in churches have opposed the concept of discipline—grimacing, scowling, or bristling at the bare mention of the word. But we need to beware that we don’t assume everyone who winces at the mention of discipline is opposed to Scripture and bent on corrupting the church. Not everyone who opposes discipline does so with such brazen disregard for Scripture.

In fact, as we reflect on the church contexts where we’ve served, many wonderful, godly Christians have opposed discipline (at least initially) for understandable, albeit uninformed, unbiblical, and misguided reasons. They’re opponents, but not wolves. They’re simply sheep who have sadly endured decades of bad shepherding.

To that end, pastors must introduce discipline to a church slowly and wisely, enabling its members over time to exercise this authority faithfully. Merely teaching about discipline is not enough. They must also teach the doctrines that provide the gospel framework to support church discipline: conversion, holiness, repentance, membership, discipleship, and love.

Again, not everyone who opposes discipline does so with nefarious motives. Many are simply confused sheep with well-meaning but misguided theological principles.

Below we want briefly consider some of the “good-faith” objections to discipline people bring up and how to try and help church members understand the theological principles under-girding discipline.

  1. “Pastor, we can’t judge someone’s heart, so how could we possibly say someone is not a Christian?”
  2. “Jesus never turned anyone away.”
  3. “Nobody’s perfect. People make mistakes.”
  4. “But they won’t hear the gospel if they’re not in church.”
  5. “I’ve never heard of this before!”
  6. “If we practice discipline, it will hurt the church’s reputation.”
  7. “We never did this in better days, when our church was bigger.”

Pastors, especially new ones, need to understand their congregation’s history—particularly the history that still lives in the memory of older members. To these folks discipline represented the opposite of every ministry intuition cultivated during the “best” days of the church.

In retrospect, I see that many members were motivated by a desire to see the church once again produce that kind of fruit (or at least what looked like fruit). For many, discipline represented a practice that placed the church in direct opposition to the “fruitful ministry” it had known in the past.

In response, pastors should patiently teach their people to trust that God’s ways are better than ours, even if they seem counter-intuitive. Second, pastors should teach their people to celebrate the fruit of faith in Christ and holy lives, not a church brimming with ministry programs.

This summary from an article 9marks.org  Read 7 Well-Meaning Objections to Church Discipline — And How Pastors Ought to Respond to Them

 

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