Here we go, friends – it’s the holiday season again. And that means a lot of things, including an increase opportunity to practice hospitality. This is the season of the year when we tend to host more people in our homes and churches than most other times of the year. These few weeks, then, are a chance for Christians to take hold of this quality that characterized the New Testament church.
Over the past few months, I have been transitioning my position (college pastor) to my associate. My family and I are in the process of moving to Boston to plant a church, and we developed a plan to hand off my responsibilities. My associate (and friend!) came to know the Lord in our ministry, interned for us upon graduation, and came on staff three years ago. He is recently married and heads our college department. I have watched him grow into this position since his time as a college student.
Maybe you’re struggling to begin the Advent season. With all of the chaos happening nationally and globally, perhaps even locally and personally, is it difficult to transition into a time of reflection and festive preparation?
But this is the perfect time to celebrate Advent because as we’ve seen it echoes the first Christmas. It seemed to be the worst possible time, but God called it the “fullness of time.”
Danny Franks offers some insights from Summit’s ministry.
You search through the long history of the Christian church and you’ll see that false teachers have been present at every time and present at every era. They were in the early church, they were in the medieval church, they were in the Reformation church, they were in the Puritan church and of course, they’re in today’s church. False teachers have been a plague since the very beginning. They are a plague in our day. But what’s interesting to me is that while the times change and while the circumstances change, the methods of these false teachers really don’t change very much. Whether you’re looking at the first century or you’re looking at the 21st century, you’ll pretty quickly spot seven sure marks of a false teacher.
Applying Pascal’s framework to leadership, there are two essential qualities in all great leaders: Intentionality (knowledge) and intensity (zeal). In your context, you have met these four types of people. And only one of them is really effective.
A favorite from the archives:
It’s this last line, “let them see the travail”—the difficult labor—”of their souls in your new birth,” that made this click for me. Pastoral ministry, one-on-one discipleship, small group leadership… there’s a great deal of pain that comes along with these things. When a leader sees someone they’ve invested in walk away from the Lord, it’s painful. When they see ongoing patterns of sin unaddressed, it grieves them. There are more tears in these roles than most of us realize.