I’m a millennial Christian. You know, part of that generation that we hear is leaving the church in droves. There’s a lot of finger-pointing going around about why this is happening. Millennials are non-committal and lazy, we hear. Or it’s the church’s fault—it’s not inclusive enough.
Casting blame aside, there’s a legitimate struggle going on. Even as a committed Christian, it’s challenging for me to line up typical church activities with what I see as important and meaningful. And this situation is challenging for churches who want their congregations to thrive, and not to fizzle out.
Church leaders have to ask themselves the question: How do we stay relevant as culture changes under us?
Jayson D. Bradley, who’s one of the main writers here at MinistryAdvice, recently came out with the book, Future-Proofing the Church. In it, he draws from years of ministry experience to explore answers to this question.
It’s a great read, and you should definitely pick up a copy. I asked him some questions about the book; you can read the whole interview here.
People expect a lot from pastors. If you’re a youth pastor, it might feel like parents and church members are putting every aspect of a your life under a microscope.
When your church looks at you, they want to see the qualities they hope their kids have someday. As frustrating as it can be at times, it’s absolutely important for churches to be careful about who they entrust with the spiritual upbringing of teens in their community—youth pastors play a vital role in shaping who kids become (Luke 6:40).
But pastors are still humans. You can’t control every aspect of your life—you can’t choose your family, change your past, or erase your flaws. You also can’t control people’s expectations for pastors—even if they’re completely unrealistic. You can, however, intentionally develop the reasonable qualities churches expect youth pastors to have. If the list below doesn’t sound like it’s describing you, that’s OK—I’ll provide some suggestions to help you work on them.Continue reading →
For many teenagers, the road from adolescence to adulthood is paved with depression, abuse, inadequacy, uncertainty, peer pressure, sex, and a world of temptation that parents often struggle to understand.
Youth pastors are called to share the gospel on that road, walking with kids through some of life’s biggest hurdles.
The challenges of pastoral ministry take new shapes in relationships with kids, and as a result, being a youth pastor requires some unique qualities. You won’t find the title mentioned in the Bible, but Scripture still has a lot to say to youth pastors.Continue reading →
Leadership is big business. Between the books, workshops, conferences, and consultants, so much money is poured into that industry by people who want to become better leaders.
It makes total sense. Leadership is integral to any endeavor. Any time people are gathered around a common goal, it’s going to require some level of leadership—even though leadership can follow a number of different models.Continue reading →
The idea of a sabbatical shows up pretty early in the Scriptures.
“When you enter the land I will give you, let it have a special time of rest, to honor the Lord. You may plant seed in your field for six years, and you may trim your vineyards for six years and bring in their fruits. But during the seventh year, you must let the land rest. This will be a special time to honor the Lord. You must not plant seed in your field or trim your vineyards. You must not cut the crops that grow by themselves after harvest, or gather the grapes from your vines that are not trimmed. The land will have a year of rest.”—Lev. 25:2–5
My wife lies to me about our schedule. If she didn’t, we’d be late for everything. Before I leave the house, I spend the last twenty minutes running around the house looking for my keys, my phone, or a missing shoe. It’s like I’m a contestant on the world’s stupidest game show.
I’m incredibly disorganized and absent minded. I’ve come to peace with that. I know that I don’t have to be organized to have a powerful ministry. But I’ve also realized that if I want to be a strong leader, organization is essential.
Forgetting appointments, showing up to meetings late, and not being properly prepared all communicate a lack of respect for others. Plus, really organized people have a hard time find us disorganized people endearing.
If you want to increase your productivity, get more organize. And if you struggle to stay on top of things like I do, here are some quick tips to help:Continue reading →
Church membership is a concept that some people really struggle with. I’ve had more than a couple conversations where someone has slid a Bible across my desk and wanted me to show them where membership was mentioned in the Bible.
When I tell them that this magic-bullet verse doesn’t exist, they want to know how I can still support this unbiblical idea.Continue reading →
How important are church small groups? When Ed Setzer was conducting research for his book Transformational Groups, he found that 79 percent of the people he surveyed thought small groups were very important in the life of a church.
Discipleship isn’t entirely informational—it’s communal. An intimate gathering of Christians who are committed to each other is the key to maturity. It’s not just the study of the Word, prayer, and worship that changes them, but it’s also the simple act of being involved in each other’s lives offering encouragement and support.Continue reading →