About 20 years ago, a church member was considered active in the church if he or she attended three times a week. Today, a church member is considered active in the church if he or she attends three times a month. Something is wrong with this picture. For 2,000 years, the local church, as messy as it is, has been God’s place for believers to gather, worship, minister, and be accountable to one another.
An encounter with someone is a mystery. Also an encounter is an event of grace. Our lives are enriched through encounters. A new encounter opens up a new world.
What are some of the major changes that have taken place in congregations that are doing relatively well? What are some of the ways these congregations have adapted to new realities? Here is a hint: None of the changes in healthy churches have compromised doctrine, diminished the centrality of preaching, or abandoned sharing the gospel.
While visiting Korea, I had a fond reunion with my grandmother, one hundred and three years young, after nearly ten years of not seeing her. I usually visit Korea once or twice a year, but being busily engaged I always had no time to see her. This time I was able to visit her at the hospital for the elderly with my mother.
In an earlier post, I talked about how our churches can become more intentional about doing real ministry instead of busy work. But in this article, I address how churches became so busy. Perhaps understanding the origins of dysfunctional busyness will help churches avoid this problem in the future.
I have been thinking and learning a lot during my short visit to the motherland. I learned especially a lot through a documentary film about the beautiful life of Missionary Seo-Pyeong Seo (Elisabeth J. Shepping).
I have been following these long-tenured pastors for years. And I have seen consistently seven patterns, or habits, in their lives.
You must stop for a while when you experience violent wavering in your life. When you are violently wavering, you must follow God’s guidance as if you were following the instructions of the captain on an airplane. Just as you leave everything to the captain on the plane, you must leave everything to God.
I love pastors. I respect pastors. No, they aren’t perfect. Indeed, they often have many struggles and challenges. As I reviewed the thousands of comments I have heard from pastors, I began to see a pattern of silent expressions.
There is a phrase that is still engraved on my heart that I read a long time ago. “Faith is to build a house of hope on the hill of despair.” The cross of Jesus was the cross of despair. But Jesus built a house of a hope, which is the resurrection, on the hill of Golgotha, which was despair.
What can a pastor or church leader do to help move the congregation more positively? After hearing from pastors and church leaders, I can offer five suggested paths that have proved fruitful in other churches.
While living in the States, one of the things I've missed most are the heated floors (ondol) often found in Korean homes. Especially when it’s chilly or cold, I recollect the times in my youth where I would roll around on the warmest place of the floor.
Passion week is a special week of meditating on the suffering of Jesus. The way that Jesus walked is the way of suffering. The way that Jesus walked is the way of the cross.
Last week, there was an incident at a golf tournament in which the gallery noticed and reported in the third round a 22-year-old pro golfer named Lexi Thompson placing the marker for her ball 1 inch closer toward the direction of the hole with two feet remaining in her sealed victory at the ANA Inspiration LPGA major tournament, resulting in a four stroke penalty while simultaneously costing her the tournament.
“Interim” sounds like a pregnant pause anticipating something down the road. So when you put the adjective in front of “pastor” or “church,” it just feels like less than ideal.