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What's Pastor Reading?

Be a Gospel Neighbor

April 09, 2018
By Kyle Sanford

https://www.9marks.org/article/be-a-gospel-neighbor/

This simple article fits well with our church’s effort to grow in “The Art of Neighboring”, and it even mentions the book we are studying.

The article makes a great clarification that sometimes gets overlooked.  Hospitality is not the end goal; sharing the gospel is the end goal.  But how can we share the Gospel well if we haven’t neighbored first?  Even those who knock on random doors are riding on the coattails of someone else’s neighboring.

Make sure you catch the part about motives.  It’s tempting to turn people into “projects”, but this is counterintuitive to neighboring.

My takeaway: Read the 10 practical steps at the end of the article, find which steps you’re already practicing, and which one you can work on next.  Let’s grow in our missional hospitality together!

Posted in Christian Living

4 Ways Christians Should Share Their Faith That Are Actually Effective

April 04, 2018
By Kyle Sanford

https://relevantmagazine.com/god/matt-chandler-4-ways-christians-share-faith-actually-effective/

We talk a lot about evangelism but we typically think of it as knocking-on-random-doors or throwing-the-coolest-party-in-town.  However, the success of these models is limited to people who already feel like they need to go to church, but need someone to break the ice for them.

Our culture is quickly becoming a place where the average doesn’t feel the guilt to find a church, and many don’t think about the church at all.  So how do we connect with the new, non-religious majority?  The answer is easier than the door-to-door/giant-party approaches, but it does require long-term investments.

My takeaway: Would our work of biblical faithfulness be more satisfying if this is how we viewed discipleship?  Who do we know that's already living their faith in this way?

Posted in Christian Living

Where Did All These Calvinists Come From?

October 23, 2017
By Kyle Sanford

https://www.challies.com/vlog/where-did-all-these-calvinists-come-from/

In the last couple of decades, there has been a resurgence in Calvinism/Reformed Theology.  Tim Challies offers an interesting commentary on why this shift has happened.

He points a lot of the momentum as a pendulum swing from the “church growth” movement.  This does not mean that Calvinists are anti-church growth.  The problem is the pragmatism of the “church growth” movement believed that doctrine was a barrier for new people coming to faith in Jesus Christ.

This movement did well to create people’s interest in Jesus Christ, but for many, it did not offer the richness necessary to satiate their appetites.  Those who want to know more about the glories of Jesus Christ turned to Calvinism and through it became satisfied with the Word of God.

My Takeaway:  As a fellow delighter of rich theology, I’m excited to hear that many people are seeking and finding the deep truths of Jesus Christ.  I pray that this “new Calvinism” continues to spread and satisfy souls.

It is also worth noting where the “attractional model” of church has fallen short.  This is not to say the “church growth” movement is without its merits.  But it is a warning to be careful how we measure “success”.  Getting people into the doors of the church is not enough if that church is not rooting people with the love for God’s word.

We may not be an “attractional” church, but how well are we leading people to love God’s Word?

Posted in Church Health

Why Tradition is Good, but Traditionalism is Not

September 07, 2017
By Kyle Sanford

http://chucklawless.com/2017/09/why-tradition-in-a-church-is-good-and-traditionalism-is-not/

Chuck Lawless does a fantastic job of addressing complicated issues of church health in short and clear statements.  His post from yesterday is a fitting example of this.

How can we tell the difference between “traditions” and “traditionalism”?  Look at the fruit.  Does a practice grow greater unity or does it sow division?  Does it help or hurt the next generation?

I’ve seen churches whose traditionalism is so strong that they resist handing over the leadership to the next generation because they feel the younger people will ruin the church.  How can we expect new generations to own their faith if they never own their church experience?

I’ve seen the reverse problem too.  Some churches are so afraid that traditions might become traditionalism that they throw nearly the entire set out (and ironically creating their own, newer form of traditionalism).  They sacrifice the rich food that has sustained the church of Jesus for generations, and I’m concerned that it’s producing a generation of hungry believers.  This too is dangerous for the future of the church.

My takeaway:  If we want new generations of faith to grow, it’s important for us to distinguish the difference between “traditions” and “traditionalism”.  Let’s keep the fruit in mind; what’s best for the next generation?  And remember the kinds of “traditionalism” our parents gave up, so that faith would grow easily in us.

Posted in Church Health