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Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

Obsession with Urban Church Planting

15 Sep


Obsession with Urban Church Planting

Last night I received a tweet and a re-tweet from a conference in Alabama on church planting.  The tweet was from one of the sessions there on church planting and unfortunately tweets have no context in which to interpret them. So, I will discuss the tweet as it is. The tweet was about the speaker’s bewilderment over what he called ‘the urban obsession with church planting when half of the world’s population lives in rural areas.’

In response I tweeted: ‘Urban obsession counteracts a history of rural obsession that neglected half of the world’s peoples.’

My point and the point of any urban church planter is not that we should disregard rural and suburban church planting but that in recent history urban church planting has been a neglected focus of the church and a renewed emphasis on cities is needed. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Loving the City?

02 Sep

Loving the City?

Urban Ministry and Urban Living often attract those who are infatuated or flirtatious with the mystique of the city and even some who profess to love the city. Some of us simply love the gospel and the density (crowded neighborhoods) and diversity (economic, ethic, educational, cultural, and age differences) of people who are found in the city – offering an opportunity for a strategic advance of the gospel.

We should be cautious about the phrase ‘Loving the city’ because it can be no more than a cliché of those who either do not know the city or those who have come to believe that it is mark of spiritual achievement when you can say, “I love the city.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

Why we use the Apostles’ Creed at Grace Church of Philly

18 Aug

Why we use the Apostles’ Creed at Grace Church of Philly

                From time to time I hear concerns from well-meaning people questioning our use of the Apostles’ Creed. Most often it has to do not so much with the content, but with their personal history of having recited it in the Roman Catholic Church or a liberal denominational church.  Part of their conversion story is that in understanding the gospel of salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ, they left a religious system that had corrupted and confused the gospel. We rejoice with them in their conversion and their choice to leave a faulty religious system.

However, in our use of the Apostles’ Creed and other ancient creeds we are reclaiming from corrupt religious systems what belongs to historic Christianity. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Things I’ve learned on personality, power, friendship, and integrity.

29 Jul

 

Things I’ve learned on personality, power, friendship, and integrity.

Pastoring for over 30 years has taught me a lot about myself and a lot about other Christian leaders.  I had a friend early on with whom I spent a lot of time discussing ministry. He was like a mentor to me.  By human standards he was a successful pastor with enormous influence. I liked being around his engaging personality and enjoying his favor. As time went on, I suspected that he often played loosely with the truth. Some would even say that he was a pathological liar. Yet, he was my friend and I excused his ‘imperfection’ and overlooked it.  As time moved on and my journey took me down a different theological and philosophical path, our friendship ended and I became the object of his innuendoes.  Looking back, our friendship was not deep for if it had been, I would have confronted him along the way about his lack of integrity and he would have loved me even though I took a different path.  Admittedly, as a young pastor I loved the presence of power and influence too much. Later in life, we pursued friendship again. I had experienced enough disappointment to no longer be enamored with personality and success, and he had suffered enough pain to be humbled. Read the rest of this entry »