Gordon Govier compiles ten of the biggest stories of the past year.
Christianity doesn’t pretend we are sinless people.
So, why do we pretend that we don’t struggle with sin? Why do we put on fig leaves? Why do we hide? “If we say, ‘We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10 CSB). One reason is our seven-layer pride. We want people to think highly of us. We don’t want to disappoint others. We don’t want to look like some icky Christian who still struggles with that sin. Or, the sin we’ve committed feels like the odd one out, no one else in our circles seems to be tempted there (so we think).
Lewis relished disagreement and debate. George Watson, who attended Lewis’s lectures at Oxford and later worked alongside him at Cambridge, recalls how “Lewis was a Christian conservative from around the age of thirty, which is to say before I knew him; and since I am neither one nor the other, there was never any question of doctrinal influence. If I was not exactly a friend, still less was I a disciple. That in no way altered my sense of admiration and affection. . . . We both thrived on dissent. . . . The best teacher I ever had, and the best colleague, he did not ask or expect me to share his convictions.”
Leaving a church family should not be like leaving Exodus for the Israelites, yet I’ve heard many people compare it to such. Longing for yesterday. Longing for those people. Missing them deeply and dearly. It seems in church culture sometimes we work so hard on getting people to understand covenant membership, yet when they really do understand it, but God calls them away for a season or forever, we don’t have patience for the excruciating pain of separating what was joined together. It ought to be painful. If it isn’t, it wasn’t really understood.
Chances are, like so many of us so many times, you don’t think about the church very much in these decisions. “If decision A was better for me, then it must be the right decision.” I didn’t pay much attention to how that decision impacted the rest of the church. But what we see in Paul’s thought process here was a communal and missional mindset in his decision process. He thought about how his decision would affect the community of Christians (the church) and the mission (the advancement of the gospel).
My tips for a strategic ministry aren’t really that creative. They certainly aren’t innovative. They are however, old-fashioned, timeless, and proven.
If you want to hit the mark of helping people to know and faithfully follow Jesus then you need to pray. This is the best strategy.
I want to give you three aspects of prayer that I believe are especially strategic for ministry.
A favorite from the archives:
These are really important questions, ones that we should consider with the seriousness they deserve (and that includes more consideration that I could hope to give in a simple blog post). However, I want to take a second to address the question of whether or not it matters if they’re not written by Paul—because the answer is an emphatic “yes!”