Pastors, Megachurches and Eugene Peterson

Buried in the middle of Eugene Peterson’s recent interview and lost amongst the controversy about his position on same-sex marriages is an equally important little quote when he talks about mega-churches

“I think the thing that’s most disturbing is the megachurch because megachurches are not churches. My feeling is that when you’re a pastor, you know the people’s names. When 5,000 people come into the church, you don’t know anybody’s name.

I don’t think you can be a pastor with just a bunch of anonymous people out there. In the megachurch, well, there’s no relationship with anybody. I think the nature of the church is relational. If you don’t know these people that you’re praying with and talking with and listening to, what do you have? I feel pretty strongly about that.

Now, there’s a lot of innovation in the church, and overall, I can’t say I’m disheartened. I’m just upset by the fad-ism of the megachurch, but I just don’t think they’re churches. They’re entertainment places.”[1] Continue reading

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Discerning a Calling – Raising up new leaders

Our “Discerning a Calling” series of articles have mainly focused on the individual considering whether or not to pursue a particular calling. However, there’s also something to be said about our responsibility as church leaders to proactively watch out for people and encourage them to grow in their gifts. Indeed that’s where the primary responsibility lies.[1] Continue reading

Discerning a Calling 10: Who do you go to for advise?

Actually, like most of the articles in this “discerning a calling” series, the question is relevant to decision making generally.  I want to suggest that who we go to for advice (and when we go) will shape the advice we get and may tell us a lot about how far we have already gone down the road of making a decision. Continue reading

Discerning a calling – Counting the cost

Jesus talks about the importance of counting the cost before embarking on a chosen mission. I want to talk here about the cost of moving into full time Christian work as a pastor or a missionary. Continue reading

Decision Making and Discernment (More on Servant Leadership)

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How should we make decisions in church life? This is important when decision making is done by the group not by an individual. At Bearwood Chapel, we believe in plural leadership. We have a team of elders, whilst I’m paid as a full time pastor, I am not above the other elders in a kind of hierarchy but part of that team. We ask the church members to be involved in many of our decisions too. Continue reading

Discerning a Calling 6: Keeping your calling fresh

So, you’ve been through all the questions, discussion and soul searching. Your church agree that it’s right to set you apart for ministry. You head off to Bible College, complete a course then get stuck into church planting, pastoral work or cross cultural mission.  And that’s that isn’t it? You are called for life! Continue reading

Discerning a Calling (5) – Looking forward, what next

So, you’ve talked with the elders, family, other church members and there’s agreement that things should progress a bit further.  What might the next steps look like?

Really at this stage we’ve just agreed that something seems right. We’ve not talked about how it might happen.

I want to suggest a few possibilities Continue reading