Not everyone in ministry will finish well. Not everyone who starts in ministry will finish. Some will stumble out of the gates, others will collapse or quit at the midway point, a few will be distracted by a fan in the stands they want to impress, and some, unfortunately, will run a good race but in the end will falter and fail.
I want to finish well. When I stood as a young man in front of Vance Havner and sang a solo of I Have Decided to Follow Jesus (“…though none go with me, I still will follow, no turning back…”), I meant it. I still mean it. It’s not always easy. The world, the flesh and the devil all lay down obstacles on the path. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of the saints to make it through some days. Continue reading
It is becoming obvious that the generation that is dying off is more committed to systematic giving to their local church than their children or grandchildren. Through the years, I’ve watched Senior Adults tithe on Social Security and retirement while their children spend their tithe on eating out and buying stuff.
The day in which we live will create challenges for the church. A friend of mine has said that he doesn’t believe there will be full-time pastors in American churches within the next two generations. The lack of obedience to Scriptural teachings of giving and sacrifice are going to cause some serious issues. Will we be able to maintain facilities? Will we even have the capacity to build facilities? Will we be able to keep a missions force on the field? Will churches have to shrink the size of staffs? One problem I see is multiple generations want a Tiffany diamond ministry program, but they want to give on a Walmart level. Continue reading
I grew up in a church where they always gave an invitation. It was what you did. You never asked questions. Even if the preacher was talking about tithing, you had to give an invitation for salvation. It was right to do and nobody questioned it. Of course most of the time we sang two verses, no one came forward, and we dismissed. As Vance Havner said, “The church opened the doors and gave up her dead.” Continue reading
I made a quick trip to Dallas last week for our annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting. I had a responsibility on Tuesday morning to host the annual Large Church Roundtable breakfast. I always love this time with these men and hate when I’ve had to miss it. These are all pastors of churches averaging 1,000-2,000 in attendance. We have similar needs, opportunities, and challenges. Most of them I don’t get to see except the two times a year when we meet. What I love about our meetings is that I’ve never seen a hint of arrogance or posturing. We are all trying to learn how to be better at our calling, more effective in our evangelism and discipleship, and, most importantly, supportive of one another. Continue reading
These have not been good days for the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole. I’ve been a part of this denomination all my life. I’ve watched it survive and thrive in the days following the Conservative Resurgence. Now, I wonder if we will survive. As we are days away from our annual convention meeting, controversy is in the air. We’ve had resignations of major leaders over inappropriate relationships and news stories that haven’t helped at all. Truth hurts. Many of these situations can’t be glossed over or excused. Wrong is wrong. Right is right. Continue reading