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3 Considerations When Choosing Your Child's Education Ready or not, it's that time again. August means the start of another school year is right around the corner. This time of year always raises questions in the hearts and minds of many; including, how should I educate my child? Unfortunately, there is not a blanket answer to this question.School Choice Is a Personal MatterGod doesn't give children to a church, He gives children to their parents. He also holds parents accountable for choices made involving their children, including how they educate them. In our church, many parents choose to utilize the services of our church-operated Christian school. This requires great sacrifice on the part of the parents because tuition isn't cheap. Parents willingly make those sacrifices because they believe they are worth it.About fifteen of our families have formed a homeschool group which consists of families that belong to Fellowship Baptist Church. This group consists of some who homeschool because of a conviction to do so, and some who do so because they cannot afford to enroll their kids in a Christian school. These are some of our best families who have their children very involved in other ministries of our church.Fellowship Baptist Church has many children who attend public schools. For some, it is a choice that is made because they do not think they can afford an alternative. For others, they choose the public school because they believe it is the best option for their children.It is important that we understand that school choice is a personal matter between parents and their Lord. If a parent believes the Christian school is the best option for his child, he should respect the choices that are made by other parents. There would be no need for parents who homeschool to criticize or question other parents who choose the Christian school or the public school for their children, or vice versa. As a matter of fact, there would never be a need for parents to even discuss options that are chosen by other families. To do so is very obviously judging outside of one's area and is wrong.School Choice Is a Pastoral MatterDifferent pastors choose different educational ministries for their churches. I know of some churches that assist the families of their church with homeschooling. The pastor may form a group for the church's homeschool families, that functions as a ministry of the church. Some churches avoid any educational ministries altogether, and many churches have chosen to establish a Christian school.I remember the day when God very specifically spoke to my heart about the founding of Fellowship Baptist Academy. I knew at that moment, if I failed to do so, I would be disobedient to the leading of the Spirit of God. Every pastor should be in tune with the Holy Spirit, and every church member should trust the leadership of their pastor when it comes to what their church does in regards to education. If God doesn't lead a pastor to start a Christian school, he is a fool to do so. If the Lord prompts the pastor to organize and assist the homeschool families in his church, then that is exactly what he should do. The leadership of God is the key to this, and all other choices in the life of the man of God. We should remember that just because God leads His man in a specific direction, does not mean that man is necessarily against the other options.School Choice Is a Prayerful MatterNot only should pastors and parents pray about school choice, we should all pray for our children, regardless of where they go to school. There are no perfect places or situations. What works for some doesn't work for others. To try and fit every child and every family into a particular mold is unfair and unwise.For too long, some proponents of one educational choice have condemned all others. Our homeschool children need the prayers of families that have chosen the Christian school as their option. Christian school parents should pray earnestly for children who are homeschooled and those who attend public schools. If I am certain that I have obeyed The Lord, why would I not give others the right to obey Him as well, without my criticism?The onslaught of Satan's attacks upon our children is obvious. There are no perfect Christian schools, there are some public schools that are worse than others, and there are some families who do not do a very good job homeschooling their children.Each of us should prayerfully seek the Lord's mind as to how we should educate our children, and then we should pray earnestly that God would use that tool in their lives. Every family has the right to choose without feeling pressured by others who have already made their choice. For all of our children, I pray it will be a productive year.
Never let the excitement of higher attendance or the discouragement of lower attendance divert you from your church's primary goal.On any given Sunday, even the smallest, simplest church service juggles an amazing array of complex issues. Set-up to tear-down Relationships to administration Spiritual to emotional Planned events to unplanned interruptions and more.But too often we reduce the value of this beautiful, multi-layered gathering of believers, seekers, skeptics and hypocrites to one overly-simplistic metric. Namely, how many people showed up?More Than NumbersCertainly, almost every pastor and church is grateful when church attendance is on the rise – myself included. And appropriately so.It’s not that attendance figures don’t matter, it’s that too many of us have made those numbers the primary, sometimes exclusive focus of our attention.This is misguided at best, idolatrous at worst.We’re Not Selling WidgetsIt reminds me of a complaint I often hear from fellow authors and artists about their publisher or promoter. Sometimes they feel like no one who works with them is concerned about the quality of their work, just how many units they’re selling.Certainly authors, musicians and other artists care about reaching a bigger audience, too. But the size of the audience doesn’t matter if the work is shabby.Unfortunately, a lot of church leaders are guilty of falling into the same trap – expressing more concern about the numbers than about the quality of the experience.10 Better QuestionsSo how can we gauge the value of a church service? If we pay less attention to attendance, what should we pay more attention to?My answer to that is “almost everything.” Yes, almost everything else happening in a worship service is more important than how many people are in the room.For now, here’s a quick ...Continue reading...
Today's category: Church SignsChurch Bloopers 5 1) The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare's "Hamlet": in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy. 2) The 1991 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11. 3) Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary. 4) Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan in preparing for the girth of their first child. 5) Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children. 6) The associate minister unveiled the church's new giving campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge--Up Yours." 7) The cost for attending the Prayer and Fasting conference includes meals. 8) The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict. 9) Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days. 10) Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person(s) you want remembered. 11) Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch. 12) Mrs. Johnson will be entering the hospital this week for testes.View hundreds more jokes online.Email this joke to a friend
Let me begin by saying that I know and appreciate many women who have been recognized as pastors. They are diligent, steadfast, and hard-working. Our country has done a great disservice to women over the years by not elevating and supporting women in roles of leadership.
The People's Republic of China destroyed a church that reportedly could seat 3,000 people and detained its pastors, according to a human rights organization.
The movement has a long history of partnerships that transcend doctrinal divides. There has been concern in evangelical circles recently over how some of President Trump’s key evangelical allies—including Robert Jeffress, Jack Graham, and Franklin Graham—promoted Paula White-Cain’s new book Something Greater: Finding Triumph over Trials, which released this month. (Graham deleted his tweet, though not before the incident drew the ire of various commentators and inspired a Babylon Bee parody.)On the surface, White-Cain’s support among these conservative white Protestants is surprising. For one thing, she is a prominent prosperity preacher associated with the New Apostolic Reformation, a loosely connected group of Pentecostals and Charismatics. For decades, tongues-speaking, vision-reporting prosperity preachers like White-Cain have been a theological anathema to more traditional white evangelicals.Some, like Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, have classified White-Cain as a “charlatan” and “heretic.” One might think Jeffress and Jack Graham, who pastor prominent Southern Baptist churches, and Franklin Graham, the leader of Samaritan’s Purse, a popular evangelical humanitarian organization (and son of Billy), would follow suit.Paula White-Cain is also a female pastor, and by promoting her book, Jeffress and Jack Graham (two-term president of the SBC) are backing a woman who, according to their denomination, is not submitting to “those roles assigned to her by God” (at a time when others in their tradition are prominently clashing over this very issue). In addition, White-Cain is divorced, and in SBC circles, “divorce culture” represents one of ...Continue reading...
While a majority of Protestant pastors prioritize counseling and discipleship among their ministry meetings, pastors of larger churches are more likely to invest in these meetings according to the results of a new study by Lifeway Research.
Lamenting what he sees as a heretical “plunge” away from biblical order, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church skewered popular Bible teacher Beth Moore, Paula White and evangelicals who support the idea of women preachers in general.
Sunday morning started just like any other morning. We got to the church, and I had the privilege of preaching out of Job. God blessed us with visitors from several different places, and I was asking God to save and change people. Sunday afternoon I had no idea that the church was planning a Pastor […]
Police broke up a congregational gathering of 6,000 worshippers in northern India on Tuesday (Oct. 15) after Hindu extremists leveled false charges of black magic, arms possession and forcible conversion against the pastor, sources said.
When your enthusiasm for the ministry fades, you need a plan.
Hundreds of pastors, leaders, and others from across the United States and other countries recently gathered for our Answers for Pastors and Leaders conference.
Technology is interesting in that the more integrated into your life a particular aspect of it becomes the more likely you are to take it for granted. And perhaps the less likely you are to consider its impact on your life—for good or for bad.In the early days of social media (which, believe it or not, was only just over fifteen years ago), I remember how carefully many pastors and mature Christians approached it—with caution regarding what it was designed to do and how it might be used to damage lives.That statement probably sounds silly to anyone who wasn't around or aware when some of the earliest networking platforms were first coming on the scene with reports of broken homes, hidden addictions, exploited children, and other disastrous situations closely following. As a pastor of a large church, some of my earliest exposure to these platforms was tragic counseling situations.Even so, fast forward fifteen years, and here we are—with social media so integrated into our lives that we check it on our phones during thirty-second downtimes, without even making a conscious choice.The danger in this is not necessarily the social media itself, but our lack of awareness to how it is affecting us and our lack of conscious choice to use it as a tool.Social media, in fact, can be a tremendous tool. I blog (obviously) and use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram…and I enjoy them all. But if we're not aware of and purposeful in how we use it, we're likely to miss out on benefits and become burdened with its negative aspects.BlessingsSo what are some of the blessings of social media?Edification—Our words have tremendous potential for good, and social media can magnify this potential. It is a blessing to me to read reports of how God is blessing in other people's lives and ministries or to receive encouragement through others' social media posts. I endeavor to make my posts edifying as well.Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.—Romans 14:19Communication—Social media is a powerful tool for communicating with friends and co-laborers around the globe. Being able to see and send prayer requests instantly to many people is a blessing to me. Additionally, I love reading updates from friends in ministry of God's blessings. Social networking provides added opportunities to rejoice with those who rejoice. I still appreciate the longer, more direct forms of emails, missionary prayer letters, and other forms of communication. But for instant sharing of ministry blessings or prayer needs, social media is tremendous.As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.—Proverbs 25:25Strengthened relationships—Social media will never be a replacement for face-to-face relationships, but it does strengthen existing relationships and can provide a greater sense of connectedness.Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.—Proverbs 27:17Godly influence—Social media provides a free platform from which to exert a godly influence. It provides another context in which we can be a voice for biblical truth.The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.—Mark 1:3BurdenLike anything in a fallen world, however, these blessings don't come without potential for misuse. In what ways does social media become a burden?Self-focus—Have you ever found yourself mentally composing a post about an event while you were actually in the moment…or, perhaps worse, seeking out an event for the social media currency it may bring?…be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.—1 Peter 5:5Gossip and slander—Social media is like a megaphone to the communication sins to which we are already prone. Gossip, lying, slander, angry rants, or foolish conversations—all of these and more too often fill our social media streams. Whether it is our own propensity to engage in these or just the frustration of sifting through them, they sometimes make social media a burden more than a blessing.Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.—Proverbs 18:21A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.—Proverbs 29:11Constant distraction—The online world fights for our attention to feed its voracious appetite for clicks and the layers of engagement and ad revenue that feed off of our clicks and taps. Constant notifications, subconscious scrolling of our feeds, and the ever-present access of our phones combine to limit our focus on work and ministry that really matters.Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.—Ephesians 5:16So is social media a blessing or a burden?Yes.It can be either.And awareness is a big part of the solution. Recognizing both the blessings and the dangers of social media helps us to use it more purposefully and wisely.Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.—Ephesians 4:29
Hundreds of pastors, leaders, and others from across the United States and other countries recently gathered for our Answers for Pastors and Leaders conference.
For nearly 40 years, the late Democratic congressman from Maryland, Elijah E. Cummings, worshiped at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore. And his longtime pastor, Bishop Walter Thomas, says he could always count on him “being in church” as long as he wasn't working elsewhere.
Hundreds of pastors, leaders, and others from across the United States and other countries recently gathered for our Answers for Pastors and Leaders conference.
Ministry Is All about Relationships You cannot be a recluse and be effective as a pastor. If you are called to a shepherding role of ministry, you must be actively engaged in healthy relationship building you want to be eternally effective. Ministry, and life for that matter, is all about relationships. In our family, in our friendships, and in our churches, we are surrounded by people who God is calling us to engage with in purposeful relationships. These relationships are to be mutually building and sharpening as stated in Proverbs 27:17: “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”In the life of the Apostle Paul, we find three vital relationships that every servant of the Lord should engage in to be effective in ministry.Relationships with MentorsWhen we first see Paul as a new convert, in Acts 9, one of the first people God brought into his life was Barnabas. It was Barnabas who reached out to this new believer with a past that had been vehemently opposed to Christians. The believers at the church in Jerusalem were understandably skeptical, but Barnabas bridged the gap and built relationships not only with Paul himself, but also between Paul and the church family. Barnabas became a mentor for Paul.Later, in Acts 11, when Barnabas was sent out to check on reports of new believers in other regions, he found a thriving group of believers in Antioch who needed shepherding and a church planted for their support and ministry. Barnabas again reached out to young Paul and asked him to come and assist in this church planting ministry.Every servant of the Lord needs a mentor in his life. They need someone that is older than themselves in years and in ministry who can be a resource of wisdom, knowledge, and experience. Youth is great for energy, but there is little replacement for years of walking with God and learning along the way. Barnabas wisely invested his years of experience into this young man while he benefited from the energy and enthusiasm of the young, zealous, new believer. In Acts 13, we see God calling this duo of servants out of the church at Antioch to send them to mission work in the regions beyond to reproduce what God had done with them in Antioch.Relationships with PeersIn Acts 15, we see Paul and Barnabas back in Antioch reporting to the church family about their missionary service while they had been gone. During that time, they were sent to Jerusalem to address concerns about some Jewish believers who had come to Antioch and caused some doubt among the Gentile believers in Antioch. Once those concerns were properly addressed and settled, not only did the church in Jerusalem send a letter of clarification on the church's position, but they also sent two respected leaders as representatives of the church family to personally affirm their position and attitude toward their Gentile brothers in Christ.Silas, also known as Silvanus, was one of those men, and he remained in Antioch to serve with the church when his traveling companion returned to Jerusalem. At the end of the chapter, Paul and Silas set out on a missions trip together.We need people who are similar to us in our age and interests who can also sharpen us in life and in ministry. It is healthy to have people we trust and respect who understand our age and family dynamic that can keep our thoughts and attitudes in check.Paul and Silas went through a lot together, and they helped each other get through many difficult times in the ministry together. Healthy peer relationships are valuable to everyone, because God made us relational beings. We need to spend time with people who can be a friend to us when life is going fine, so they are already in our life when life goes less than fine. Someone we can call and share our heart with who will not judge us nor condone things that are wrong, but will listen to us and try to encourage us in the right direction.Relationships with MenteesThe third relationship we all need to be engaged in as part of our life and ministry is someone younger than ourselves. A person we can invest ourselves in for the benefit of the next generation. Barnabas did this with Paul, and in Acts 16 we see Paul beginning this relationship dynamic with young Timothy.This was a young man who had earned the respect of his church family, and Paul saw wonderful potential in him for the future. Timothy became a part of Paul's traveling ministry team, and God used him later on to serve in churches planted by this team.God did not create us to isolate ourselves and live unto ourselves. He intends for us to be relational and to build meaningful relationships with others. Remember that life and ministry is all about relationships, and we will be accountable to the Lord for our stewardship of those relationships.
Preemptive Love's Jeremy Courtney says despite the Turkey deal, “This crisis shows no sign of letting up, and we can't either.” Though most of the fighting has stopped for now, Turkey’s incursion on Kurdish-controlled northern Syria has left another humanitarian crisis in its wake.Local churches as well as Christian organizations like Open Doors and Preemptive Love Coalition have prioritized caring for the citizens who took the risk to stay behind and helping the displaced return.Last Saturday night, after three days of Turkish bombing, the Alliance Church of Qamishli met to make a decision. Would they flee for safety, or remain and help?To some degree they had no choice.Fadi Habsouna, a father of two, was injured when missiles hit his home and ruined his shop. His wife is in critical condition. His grandfather’s home was destroyed by a bomb. The pastor housed them in church-owned property, and decided to remain to assist the family, and others suffering similarly.The church agreed; only eight families would leave.“These are extremely brave people who want to be salt and light in their communities,” said David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA, who relayed this story from his field staff. “They want to maintain the presence of Jesus and reach out.”Open Doors is better known for its advocacy work on behalf of the persecuted; Syria ranks no. 11 on its World Watch List of places hardest to be a Christian. Its local partners keep a low profile in order to provide on the ground assessment. But the crisis in Syria has driven them to humanitarian aid.It is not the first time. Following the rise of ISIS in 2014, Open Doors helped 150,000 Christians located in camps along the Turkish and Lebanese borders. Now their community hubs are providing food, medical care, hygiene kits, and temporary shelter in the northeast Syrian towns ...Continue reading...
Preemptive Love's Jeremy Courtney says despite the Turkey deal, “This crisis shows no sign of letting up, and we can't either.” Though most of the fighting has stopped for now, Turkey’s incursion on Kurdish-controlled northern Syria has left another humanitarian crisis in its wake.Local churches as well as Christian organizations like Open Doors and Preemptive Love Coalition have prioritized caring for the citizens who took the risk to stay behind and helping the displaced return.Last Saturday night, after three days of Turkish bombing, the Alliance Church of Qamishli met to make a decision. Would they flee for safety, or remain and help?To some degree they had no choice.Fadi Habsouna, a father of two, was injured when missiles hit his home and ruined his shop. His wife is in critical condition. His grandfather’s home was destroyed by a bomb. The pastor housed them in church-owned property, and decided to remain to assist the family, and others suffering similarly.The church agreed; only eight families would leave.“These are extremely brave people who want to be salt and light in their communities,” said David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA, who relayed this story from his field staff. “They want to maintain the presence of Jesus and reach out.”Open Doors is better known for its advocacy work on behalf of the persecuted; Syria ranks no. 11 on its World Watch List of places hardest to be a Christian. Its local partners keep a low profile in order to provide on the ground assessment. But the crisis in Syria has driven them to humanitarian aid.It is not the first time. Following the rise of ISIS in 2014, Open Doors helped 150,000 Christians located in camps along the Turkish and Lebanese borders. Now their community hubs are providing food, medical care, hygiene kits, and temporary shelter in the northeast Syrian towns ...Continue reading...
Christians in the United States are more likely to consider the lead pastor of their church to be a “friend” rather than a “mentor” or “counselor,” according to a new report by the Barna Group.
Bishop Marvin L. Sapp on Sunday appointed Rory Marshall as the incoming senior pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center in Grand Rapids during a celebration of the church's 16th anniversary.
A second pastor of Willow Creek Community Church has resigned from his position, citing a conflict in values.
One month after California pastor Jarrid Wilson tragically took his own life, his wife Juli shared her hope of Heaven and said that while the pain of her husband's death “digs deep,” she will continue to “finish our mission here on earth.”
Megachurch pastor and author Adam Hamilton has speculated that The United Methodist Church will lose between 3,400 and 7,500 congregations next year due to debate over the church body's stance on homosexuality.
A former drug addict who broke into an Arkansas church and vandalized $100,000 worth of property was baptized at the same church six months later after the pastor and church members displayed grace and forgiveness.

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