Churches and Church plants, Pastors and Church Planters – what’s in a name?

Stephen Kneale has been writing about church planting and specifically about “church planters.” He’s been asking whether it is right to refer to people as “church planters.” His argument is that you are either a pastor who has a congregation to pastor or youu are someone who could be a pastor if and when you have a congregation. His main issue is with people describing themselves as church planters and their churches as church plants years after they planted. Continue reading

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When Church growth is bad

In Acts 20, Paul meets with the elders of the Ephesian church. He says these words to them:

28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood[h]—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.[i] 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.”[1] Continue reading

Plural eldership – principle or practice

At our Union Learning Community today we ended up talking about how we approach the question of plral leadership. We spent a little bit of time talking about approaches that emphasise a single leader within the hierarchy. What We actually tried to do here was be fully empathetic with the view and understand the arguments for it ( I may try and include a post on this sometime). This was stretching. However, I think that our group remained convinced at the end that leadership in general and leadership in particular should be plural.  Continue reading

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

Commissioned (Matthew 28:16-20)

The talk from Hannes’ commissioning service

 

This morning we are commissioning Hannes.  What exactly is it that we are commissioning him to do? What better place to find out than this famous passage often referred to as “The Great Commission.”

Before we go on, note three important things

–          First that it in fact it is not us that commission. We are simply passing on Christ’s commission

–          Second that whilst there is a specific way in which Hannes has been called to fulfil this, the commission is for all of us

–          Thirdly, we need to say something about the context. Continue reading

Mission is not the enemy of pastoral care

It’s one of the perennial challenges for church leaders. Do we focus outwardly on mission or inwardly on pastoral-care.  At times, it can feel like these two things are in competition. If our focus is always on outreach, then people in the church will go uncared for, unvisited, unsupported.  Of course, if we don’t do mission, then will we see any new people? Does that local church have a future? 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