Shepherd Links – 10/20

Prophet Links

The Problem with Misinterpreting Wisdom Literature Church friends quietly whispered about Jill’s parents’ failure to raise a good child. After all,Proverbs 22:6 says, “Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” If Jill departed, it must mean her parents failed. Good parenting in; good kids out, right? Not so fast. Interpreting the proverbs as promises is a critical mistake that can fuel legalism, moralism, and disillusionment.

Toward a Well-Rounded Sermon As I’ve preached many times and coached others, I typically come back around to a few major points. My hope is that these practical tips add another helpful wrinkle to the topic.

Except for Adultery – Matt 5:32 I received a desperate email from a lady who was being told by her elders that she was not allowed to divorce her unfaithful husband. And the reason was that in the Greek (so they claimed), Jesus was really saying that “But I say to you that anyone who divorces  his wife, even including (παρεκτὸς) sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery” (Mt 5:32).

Surprising Benefits of Theological Vision for Ministry As Tim Keller has put it in the introduction to Center Church, something is missing between the “hardware” of a church (theological foundation) and the software (ministry practice). They need a “middleware.” That “middleware” is what Keller calls a “theological vision for ministry.”

Priest Links

How to Share a Believable Gospel When the gospel is communicated in preachy, impersonal, intolerant, know-it-all ways, people find it hard to believe. Typically, this style of evangelism is reduced to information. We content ourselves with “name-dropping” Jesus or telling people doctrine, but rarely do we draw near enough to people to know how the gospel applies to their actual lives. People want to know why the gospel is worth believing.

Eight Terrible Church Visits When I led a church consultation company, one of the more common facets of my consultation was an on-site visit to a worship service…Inevitably there was one event that took place that made the visit so bad. Let me share eight of those events in eight different terrible church visits.

Ten Worship Leading Myths There isn’t a worship leader in the world who doesn’t struggle with regular, persistent, frustratingly silly (but still dangerous) moments of doubt/fear/anxiety/self-consciousness/jealousy. We start to believe myths that tell us we should be different, or we aren’t talented enough, or we shouldn’t uphold certain principles. These myths weaken our ministry as worship leaders.

John Calvin’s 4 Rules of Prayer For John Calvin, prayer cannot be accomplished without discipline. He writes, “Unless we fix certain hours in the day for prayer, it easily slips from our memory.” He goes on to prescribe several rules to guide believers in offering effectual, fervent prayer.

King Links

Considering (and Surviving) Unhealthy Christian Organizations In three posts at the Resurgence, Ed Stetzer outlines six signs you’re in an unhealthy organization, then four attitudes to have while serving in an unhealthy organization, and finally five steps to take toward becoming a healthier organization.

Your Talents Could Hurt Your Organization Here is an important article for church planters who need to take their ministry from a one-man show to a multi-staff organization: “No matter how talented you are, you cannot be an expert on all the skills that your business or non profit need to grow and thrive. The skill set that got the organization from ideation to reality are not the same skills that will take it to the next level of growth.”

Measuring Success for Social Media in Your Church It is easy to equate “Likes” and Followers, and retweets with success. These are helpful elements to observe in a church’s overall social media strategy, but don’t base success on numbers of followers, “Likes”, retweets, or anything else. When we begin to base our success on these things then we begin to forget about why we are using social media in the first place. It is easy to forget about the people that we’re actually interacting with, and we forget about providing value for them, and helping them connect with each other and with God