Posts filed under ‘Theology’

Is Sunday School Still An Effective Ministry?

I recently sat down with The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina to talk about the role of Sunday School in church ministry. Here is one short video from our time together.

April 9, 2016 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Dr. Ken Coley on Transformational Teaching

Ken-Coley-Banner

We are excited to welcome Dr. Ken Coley for our next training event at Fairview Baptist Church!

I am encouraging all of our current teachers, leaders, and those considering serving in those capacities to attend. Also, if you are interested in learning how to better teach the Bible, please join us.

Participants will have the opportunity to interact with each other and the presenter, and numerous teaching techniques will be modeled during the seminar. We will also serve light foods during the event, so it is important that you sign up.

The content can be described as biblical, practical, and research based. Our presenter has been training teachers for over thirty-five years. Dr. Ken Coley (Ed.D., University of Maryland) is Professor of Christian Education at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Sign up here! 

April 4, 2016 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

Cherished in God’s Eyes

IMG_2073What is man that you are mindful of him? – Psalm 8:4a

Genesis 1:26-31 informs us that God intimately created humans in His likeness. According to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professor John Hammett, creation in the image of God is the basis for human dignity and that killing a human or to even curse one is an affront to and an attack upon the living God.

This is certainly true of babies, the weakest and most vulnerable among us. Indeed, all human beings are lovingly knitted together in their mother’s womb by God (Psalm 139). According to Psalm 8:5-8, humanity is set apart and crowned with authority over the earth and its creatures. What causes us to think we can use our God-given authority to usurp God and slaughter the helpless babies made in His image?

We should be thankful and tremble over the fact that God is mindful of all humans. The sovereign God of the universe has His loving eyes on every single one of us and always has even when we were “unformed substance.” God values and deeply cares for even the weakest among us.

As our culture sacrifices infants on the altar of personal convenience we must stand and declare, as Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission reminds us, “The image of God cannot be bartered away, at the abortion clinic counter or anywhere else.”

Let’s pray and work for an end to the injustice of abortion. Let’s pray and work for better solutions for women in crisis. But let’s pray for doctors like this as well. Even more, let’s move beyond standing outside abortion clinics with hateful picket signs, let us lovingly plead, “We will adopt these children, or we’ll stand beside you and help you raise those children.”

We must remember Roe v. Wade does not hold eternal jurisprudence in the Kingdom of God. With convictional kindness, we need to speak clearly of the judgment to come. But we also need to proclaim that the blood of Christ can provide mercy for those who repent.

This was originally published at The Biblical Recorder.

April 1, 2016 at 7:05 am Leave a comment

Do 20% of the people do 80% of the church work?

funny-lazy-people-24__605

This was originally published at The Biblical Recorder.

We have all heard of the economic law labeled the Pareto Principle. According to Vilfredo Pareto, for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. This principle has been applied to the fields of business, science, software and even criminology. In church life, it is usually said that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work.

In other words, 80 percent of the congregation remains passive when it comes to living on mission for God.

While it may not be true of all congregations, I think it is safe to say that large portions of the body of Christ do treat church like consumers. For the 80 percent, as theologian David Wells has reminded us, the church is a place to come and receive religious services and goods. If their needs are not met, they begin church shopping.

However, in 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul is clear, the body does not consist of one member but of many. And the apostle Peter is even more explicit, “… As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). This is how God designed the church. And God calls each and every individual to serve the body with the gifts they have been granted.

The simple truth of the matter is that Christ came to seek and save the lost so that the saved would serve one another and seek the lost. In fact, it is very clear from the New Testament that by the fruit of ones life, others can observe the genuineness of their salvation. Church consumers attend church to have their needs met.

True members of the church have been served to deeply by Christ, that their needs are abundantly met, and that flows over into their desire to meet others needs. The church body is just that, a body. And a body needs all of its parts functioning in order to be healthy. The question is, if you have been saved, are you being a good steward of God’s gracious gifts?

March 17, 2016 at 2:53 pm 1 comment

Every Believer Equipped For Ministry

Body

This was originally posted at The Biblical Recorder.

There is a strange idea in the American church, namely, that the church is a body of believers with a gifted pastor or pastors equipped to do the ministry. At first glance, one might not see the error in this ministry philosophy. Certainly, the pastors are gifted. However, according to Ephesians 4:12, the pastors are called to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Therefore, it is more biblical to conclude that the church is not just a body with gifted pastors, but also a body of supernaturally gifted believers.

God has uniquely gifted each person in the church to serve Him. No one pastor has all the gifts necessary to fulfill the ministry of the church. In fact, Jesus Christ is the only individual who ever walked the earth that embodied all of the spiritual gifts. This is why the church is referred to as the body of Christ.

A body is made up of different parts, each one fulfilling its specific purpose for the health of the whole.

In 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul reminds us that there are a variety of gifts and services. The common thread that holds the entire body together is the same God who empowers each one. And each one is empowered to work together in order to bring God the glory. In fact, if only one person were gifted in the church for ministry, it would be hard for that individual to not receive the glory for their service. This is the root cause of the error that Paul is addressing in this passage.

The Corinthians church had begun elevating certain gifts over others, and thus, the body was not functioning properly. We are all called to use the gifts God has given us for the common good. Valuing the various gifts God has granted the church helps guard against the natural envy, rivalry and superiority that comes with elevating certain gifts over others.

Let us remember, the church is a body of supernaturally gifted individuals to bring God glory through collected ministry. It is God who has gifted each one according to His sovereign will.

March 9, 2016 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Evangelism Training with Dr. Alvin Reid

Alvin Reid

Live around Raleigh?

Join us for an evangelism training event titled “Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out” with Dr. Alvin Reid from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Alvin Reid is the author of dozens of books including Evangelism HandbookIntroduction to Evangelism, and the forthcoming Share Jesus Without Freaking Out.

This is a great opportunity for individuals and church groups to consider Dr. Reid’s call to “move from gospel presentations to gospel conversations, from specialists to normal people living for Jesus in gospel-focused ways.

The training will be from Friday, March 11th from 6:30-8:00pm to Saturday, March 12th from 9:00am-12:00pm at Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, NC.

Free childcare will be available for those who register. Sign up today! 

March 2, 2016 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

Strengthened by God’s Power

soldier-backpack

This was originally published at The Biblical Recorder.

When we read the theologically rich letter to the church in Ephesus, we get the sense that these early Christians needed gospel encouragement. Like us, this church found herself in a world of hostility toward the Christian faith. One of the great themes of Ephesians is that Christ has given powerful gifts to His church to, among other things, stand against the onslaughts of the defeated one and his allies.

The Christian life is war. In Ephesians 6:12 we are reminded that we wrestle with the cosmic powers of the present darkness. If we are honest, this is a tiring thought. But the Good News is, we will not be overdone.

God does not leave us on our own but empowers us through His Spirit. We war with the power of God’s strength. And on the cross, Christ defeated the powers of evil. In the resurrection, their defeat was sealed. In the gospel, we have an announcement that it is finished, Christ has won!

So, while we may be weak in body, we are strong in spirit. When we are brought to our knees in fatigue from the war, we find that we are in the appropriate position for prayer. For this reason, we pray “… according to the riches of his glory,” that God would grant us “to be strengthened with power through his Spirit” in the depths of our souls (Ephesians 3:16).

The Good News is that God is able to “… do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Though we are weak, He is strong. This juxtaposition of power and weakness, shows that victory is a gift of grace. When we realize this truth, we can triumphantly proclaim, “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

What gives us the power to fight when there is no fight left within us? We are empowered by the spirit of God. We are also encouraged to endure, when the Spirit reminds us that Jesus’ victory is our victory.

February 29, 2016 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

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