Over the past week, South Carolina has been devastated by a flood said to be of millennial proportions. Aaron Earls (a South Carolina native and SEBTS graduate) took note of the story of one pastor who waded out into waist deep flood waters to retrieve a floating casket and published an article concerning they way in which Christians care for the dead. Aaron writes:
Why risk life to save the dead? Our treatment of the bodies of those who have died should be a demonstration that those individuals mattered when they were alive and they still matter now, including the bodies their souls no longer inhabit…For the Christian, there is value in the human body. We were created with a physical body and one day our spirit will unite perfectly with our resurrected body. Recognizing this, followers of Christ should treat the dead with respect and dignity.
Russell Moore (President of the ERLC) recently had to place his aging grandmother into a care home. In this article, he looks at how caring for the elderly points us to the Gospel. Dr. Moore writes:
Caring for the elderly ought to remind us that we are not defined by our activity. We are frail children of dust, and feeble as frail. All of us will be here one day. Even if we die suddenly, in a blaze of glory in our prime, rather than after years in a care home, we will still be here. We will, after all, all be skeletons one day, waiting for the voice of Jesus and the Spirit of God to give us breath. Caring for those we love should remind us that they have lost no “dignity.” This is still the person God used to shape and form us. And, along the way, it can remind us of what’s important—not all our doing but the simple truth that we are dependent children who need one another, and who need a Father, to live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
Dr. Will Browning, Lead Pastor of a Journey Church in Charleston, SC (and SEBTS graduate) recently guest posted an article on Dr. Chuck Lawless’ blog about the 10 things that pastors only say to other pastors. Dr. Browning writes:
Every pastor needs a healthy place to vent, though choosing that trustworthy ear to bend must be a careful decision. Many pastors feel freer to be most transparent with someone who has walked in their shoes, namely, other pastors. Throughout the last month, I asked dozens of pastors this question: “What are the things you say to other pastors that you would not dare say publically?” With their permission, I want to share their answers.
Dr. Joe McKeever recently shared about a friend who has served the same church for 42 years. He asked his friend for the top three ways to stay at a church for 42 years. Dr. Joe then shares how he served six churches in 42 years. He writes:
I’m also a 42-year man. In a way.
The difference is that in my 42 years, I pastored six churches! (Smiley-face goes here.)
The earlier pastorates were shorter, as is the case with most preachers just starting out. But then, I stayed with one church for nearly 13 years and another for almost 14. Perhaps those two rather-lengthy ministries qualify me to add a few observations to Dave’s three.
To remain at a church for many years, a pastor needs to develop certain skills.
Melissa Kruger recently addressed 3 ways to incorporate group prayer into your Bible study in an article at The Gospel Coalition website:
When I talk to Bible study leaders, one concern arises time and again: How do we balance in-depth Bible study with prayer time? What are some practical ways we can encourage serious Bible study while simultaneously building community through prayer with each other? Acts 2:42 describes the early church’s commitment to Scripture, prayer, and fellowship. How can our groups model this approach without spending all our time on one or the other?
Over the years I’ve participated in a variety of groups, some small and some large. Obviously, the size of the group affects the leader’s ability to foster intimacy among its members (most of the advice that follows works fairly well for small groups between 5 and 30 members).
Here are three practices I’ve found to be quite helpful.