Posts in Church Life

What Is a Leader?

By Gary McIntosh Jul. 16, 2014 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Ministry and Leadership

People have studied leaders for centuries. To study leaders is to analyze the characteristics of individual people who demonstrate the ability to gather a group of followers. However, the study of leadership is a relatively new discipline dating from about the year 1900. To study leadership is to inspect the interactions a leader has with his or her followers. Both areas of study require one to define a leader. So just what is a leader? ...

 

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You’re Giving a Toast, Not Making a Roast!

By Ben Shin Jul. 14, 2014 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, Marriage and Family

It’s wedding season and there are many ways to celebrate on that special day for the bride and the groom. One of the best ways to celebrate this occasion is through the traditional toast that is given during the wedding reception. However, I’ve recently seen that what should typically be one of the high points of the reception just flops miserably... This is not what we should do to the bride or groom! I’d like to offer a few suggestions in this blog of what not to do in a toast and then what one should do in order to make the celebration a wonderful and meaningful one.

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What a Difference a Century and a Half Can Make!

By Kenneth Berding Jul. 8, 2014 9:00 a.m. Historical Theology, Christian Education, Church Life, Culture, New Testament, Old Testament, Spiritual Formation

In 19th century England, Atheists knew more about the Bible than most Christians do today. So did Liberal Anglicans, Anglo-Catholics, Unitarians, and Agnostics. So claims Timothy Larsen in A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians (Oxford, 2011) ...

 

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Wealth and Following Jesus

By Aaron Devine Jul. 2, 2014 9:00 a.m. Theology, Biblical Exposition, Church Life, New Testament, Spiritual Formation

A question that naturally surfaces in [the reading of Luke 18:18-27] is whether Jesus considers wealth to be compatible with a life of faithful discipleship. Some interpret this story to say that material things and following Jesus do not mix well. This interpretation is sometimes based on a plain reading of passages like this, but it can also be motivated by material excesses in Christianity that make us uncomfortable. Too much focus on material blessing as a necessary indicator of God’s approval can stifle efforts at legitimate Christian disciplines such as frugality, generosity, and financial sacrifice. As such, divesting material wealth is sometimes seen as a corrective to bad prosperity theology ...

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Critical Issues in Ministry with Children, Part Two: Knowing Where We Want to Go, How Can We Get There?

By Kevin Lawson Jul. 1, 2014 9:00 a.m. Christian Education, Church Life, Marriage and Family, Ministry and Leadership, Spiritual Formation

In my last post, I talked about the importance of our ministry with children and some ministry objectives we need to pursue. In this follow up blog I would like to talk about four aspects of children’s ministry that together help us accomplish our goals of helping children grow and mature as a part of the church, the people of God.

These are worthy goals, and it can be tempting to try to design one children’s program in the church to address them all. But if we take them each seriously, it will soon be clear that this is more than a matter of having a class or a club program for children. Instead, it requires thinking carefully about the full life of the church, as well as the church and family environment our children grow up in. It has implications for what we do for our children, with them, to them, and the opportunities we provide for them to be engaged in ministry themselves. I invite you to read and think with me about what this might look like.
 

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Pre-Marital Counseling Asian-American Style, Part Four

By Ben Shin Jun. 30, 2014 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, Marriage and Family, Ministry and Leadership

We have previously been working through some of the unique and distinct challenges that Asian-American couples face in regards to preparing for weddings and marriage. This blog has raised some of the issues that typically come out during pre-marital counseling sessions. The goal of this series has been to try and understand some of these cultural dynamics that may be vastly different from the many books that are out there on the subject of pre-marital counseling and marriage that may be written from a Western perspective. Some of these differences include dealing with parents, setting up appropriate wedding venues and services, transfer of authority between parents and spouses, guest lists for the wedding, and other potentially shame based challenges. This blog will now give some general and practical advice on how to resolve some of these tensions.

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A Father’s View of Adoption

By Dave Keehn Jun. 5, 2014 9:10 a.m. Church Life, Marriage and Family, Ministry and Leadership, New Testament

In November 2009 my family had the incredible honor to adopt Mfundo from South Africa. The journey to that point was filled with unknown challenges to us, as we happened to be the first adoptive family from the United States to legally adopt in South Africa. We were not the first to try to adopt from this country; we were just the family that happened to be furthest into the adoptive pre-work when the two countries came into agreement for international adoptions.

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