Posts Tagged ‘discipleship’

Gospel rap/grime in its many forms here in the UK is definitely on the up but the danger of this is that the focus can easily be lost. My good friend Pastor Efrem Buckle aka E-Miner addresses this as well as other things on the Jesus Muzik Show on Baliva. As per the website:

This month’s episode features an interview with E-miner from UK Rap group MOD, he is also a co-Pastor of Calvary Chapel South London. We spoke about everything from early UK Christian hiphop to their CrossMovement connection as well as some advice for younger rap artists.

To listen to the interview, click here

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As I have mentioned in my post about the Function of the local church

These days, a lot of churches have become a joke. It seems to be more about entertaining than preaching truth. More about us ‘getting our praise on’ than reaching out to the lost. More about being seeker-friendly and not wanted to offend the hearer than preaching the offence of the cross. More about money and image than caring for the poor and the destitute.

As per 9 Marks Ministry , the local church should be the focal point of God’s plan for displaying his glory to the nations, reflecting the character of God.

Not only do unbelievers have an incorrect view of the church, but many christians do also. In response to this, Lamp Mode Recordings have addressed this in their CD ‘The Church: Call and Collected’

So here are a few songs on the album. Listen to the lyrics and enjoy.

The Church promo with Mark Dever from 9 Marks Ministry

Tedashii – Discipleship

Stephen The Levite – Church membership

Trip Lee – Conversion

Hazakim – Evangelism

Hazakim – The Good News

Evangel – Beautiful Church

Flame – Leadership

The Church : Call and Collected can be purchased on ITunes by cicking here

Taken from the Church Mafia website

“Boy, Steve sure is touchy today,” the pastor commented to his youth minister. “I only asked him if he’d be at the revival meeting tonight, but he just stared at me and never said a word. Maybe Steve’s one of those guys who thinks revival is for everyone else!”

“Well, pastor,” the youth minister answered, “Steve has been rather busy lately, what with the new junior high Sunday School class, his work on the building committee, and choir rehearsals. Plus, his wife just had a baby, remember?”

“Well, I guess we’re all busy, aren’t we,” the pastor replied sarcastically. “You’d better remind Steve that all Sunday School teachers are required to attend the revival as a good witness to their class members. Be sure to tell him, huh?”

Church volunteer burnout is a major problem throughout the Christian community, and it seems to be growing. Are church volunteers just getting more lazy and irresponsible, as implied by the pastor in the scenario, or is there really something to burnout?

WHAT BURNOUT REALLY IS

Everyone gets tired once in awhile from hard work, daily stresses and strains, and plain getting older, but a little rest is all that’s generally needed to recharge our battery. Burnout is a different phenomenon altogether, however. It makes us feel tired and lethargic even after prolonged rest.

More psychological and emotional, rather than physical, burnout results from prolonged stress, overextension, and hurriedness. The nervous system gets stretched until it loses its resiliency and renewal capacity. The burnout victim finds it more and more difficult to snap back from hard work, to “get up” for challenges, and to adequately rest. Then the “blahs” set in (the so what? feeling) even in the absence of hard work and stress.

That’s when you know you’re suffering from burnout. You’re tired all the time even though you haven’t done much of anything. You feel like withdrawing, even from activities previously relished. Before long you start to feel worthless.

A PORTRAIT OF BURNOUT

Let’s see how Sunday School teacher, committee leader, choir member, new father Steve (from our opening scenario) burned himself out. For starters, he didn’t fully anticipate the challenge and difficulty of ministering to junior high kids. In fact, he had to push himself most Sunday mornings to go to class. He thought that singing in the choir would be fun but hadn’t reckoned on all the rehearsal time, special performances (such as every night of the revival), and his need to practice at home.

Steve joined the building committee thinking he could help supervise the grounds maintenance crew. Instead he wound up mowing the grass himself. And the building committee wasn’t always one big happy family, especially when it came time to discuss the annual facilities budget.

Steve felt guilty whenever he missed a church function, like the Sunday night his new daughter was born and the church had its annual anniversary pot luck supper. Eight people asked him where he’d been, and Steve couldn’t determine if they truly cared about him or were checking up on him. Feeling that way made him feel even more guilty.

While Steve’s wife, and junior high helper, recouped from the birth of their fourth child, Steve tried to find a temporary helper to fill in. Three people said working with junior high “wasn’t their thing.” Two wanted to “pray about it,” and the one guy who promised to help out “for a little while” never showed up.

Steve’s recent job promotion didn’t help matters either, because now he’s on the road more. But at least the modest pay increase would ease the financial expense of his new daughter.

When the youth minister finally corralled Steve about his “duty and responsibility” to attend every night of the revival, Steve didn’t get mad, he just went limp and started thinking about the “small, simple” church his family used to belong to and how nice it would be to return.

Steve’s trying experience is all too familiar to a growing number of conscientious Christians today who unknowingly fit the burnout syndrome to a “T”.

THE ROAD TO BURNOUT

  • Overcommitment (always in motion);
  • Inadequate breaks and rest (continuous ministry involvement);
  • Idealistic standards;
  • Constant low-grade stress (occasionally interrupted by crisis!)
  • Lack of help and assistance;
  • Chronic fatigue from pushing oneself (”hitting the wall”);
  • Strong sense of responsibility, even when others “dropped the ball”;
  • Guilty feelings about missing church events/activities;
  • Heavy job and family responsibilities/expectations;
  • Inability (or strong reluctance) to say no.

BURNOUT REALITY ORIENTATION

Burnout happens to nice guys—to the dedicated, loyal, idealist church member who wants to make a difference. That’s the problem: this all-out commitment drives some Christians to take on too much, too soon, too often. They overlook their heavy non-church responsibilities at home and on the job.

Constant challenge and activity carries stress in its wake—”getting up” for ministry activity, putting out brush fires, coping with diverse personalities, making do with scarce resources. And don’t forget the strings attached to becoming a ministry leader: visitation, showing up every time the church doors are open, maintaining an exemplary witness at all times, attending (seemingly endless) meetings.

Sometimes the pastor and staff get a bit out of touch with grass roots volunteer busyness. They’re so busy (and under-appreciated) themselves, chronic overcommitment is simply a way of life. The idling majority of the congregation conveniently assumes that “everything is running smoothly, so our help isn’t really needed.” Others, not so naïve, know the tremendous sacrifice required of ministry involvement and want no part of it.

A STRATEGY FOR AVOIDING BURNOUT

It’s easier to avoid burnout in the first place than it is to overcome it. Here are 10 do-able strategies for escaping its clutches:

  • Rest, relax, recreate, renew. It’s God’s way of sustaining us for the long haul.
  • Pray for your ministry responsibilities. Let God perform the work, using His infinite strength and perfect wisdom.
  • Give something up before taking on a new commitment or responsibility. Don’t keep “adding floors” onto your already towering skyscraper of activities.
  • Learn to say no and to set up reasonable boundaries around your involvement. Specify the help you’ll need and the constraints on your time.
  • Set priorities and consult with your family. Church work occupies an essential role in our lives but must never take priority over family. Look for ways to team up with your spouse in ministry activities. Be willing to occasionally say no to low priority church activities when they conflict with quality family time.
  • Get away from it all on a regular basis through hobbies, recreation, short-ministry “sabbaticals,” and sometimes just being a couch potato.
  • Listen to your body’s stress warning signals, such as headaches, backaches, dizziness, insomnia, and unexplainable fatigue.
  • Cut out the hurry and worry. Stress is the natural byproduct of trying to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound bag. Do only what you reasonably can in the time available and with the resources available.
  • Keep those to whom you relate informed of your changing commitments and priorities. Stay away from guilt trips.
  • Emphasize grace over works. We don’t earn God’s blessings by the amount of church work we do. He wants us to lead healthy, balanced lives where ministry service is a joy and source of deep personal fulfillment. In the absence of such joy, ministry turns into burden and burnout.

Jesus knew of the burden of burnout. His words in Matthew 11:20, 30 are extremely comforting: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Our solution to burnout? “Take my joke upon you, and learn of me…Ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

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The Church Mafia – Spiritual abuse in our churches – A Testimony

Spiritual Abuse – Don’t Suffer in Silence

A victim of the Church Mafia needs help

The signs of an abusive church

Thankyou from Tara and from me

I posted a segment of this sermon here. Below is a sermon where Paul Washer talks to an audience including some reformed rappers

Originally posted here. Written by William MacDonald.

Street Evangelism (ca 1961) There is a curious problem today in the evangelical [and fundamental] world — one that poses sobering questions for the church and for the individual believer. The problem in brief is this: a great army of personal soul-winners has been mobilized to reach the populace for Christ. They are earnest, zealous, enthusiastic, and persuasive. To their credit it must be said that they are on the job. And it is one of the phenomena of our times that they rack up an astounding number of conversions. Everything so far seems to be on the plus side.

But the problem is this: The conversions do not stick. The fruit does not remain. Six months later there is nothing to be seen for all the aggressive evangelism. The capsule technique of soul winning has produced stillbirths.

What lies at the back of all this malpractice in bringing souls to the birth?

Strangely enough it begins with the valid determination to preach the pure gospel of the grace of God. We want to keep the message simple — uncluttered by any suggestion that man can ever earn or deserve eternal life. Justification is by faith alone, apart from the deeds of the law. Therefore, the message is “only believe.”

From there the message is reduced to a concise formula. For instance, the evangelistic process is cut down to a few basic questions and answers, as follows:

“Do you believe you are a sinner?”
“Yes.”
“Do you believe Christ died for sinners?”
“Yes.”
“Will you receive Him as your Savior?”
“Yes.”
“Then you are saved!”
“I am?”
“Yes, the Bible says you are saved.”

At first blush the method and the message might seem above criticism. But on closer study we are forced to have second thoughts and to conclude that the gospel has been over-simplified.

The first fatal flaw is the missing emphasis on repentance. There can be no true conversion without conviction of sin. It is one thing to agree that I am a sinner: it is quite another thing to experience the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life. Unless I have a Spirit-wrought consciousness of my utterly lost condition, I can never exercise saving faith. It is useless to tell unconvicted sinners to believe on Jesus — that message is only for those who know they are lost. We sugar-coat the gospel when we de-emphasize man’s fallen condition. With that kind of watered-down message, people receive the Word with joy instead of with deep contrition. They do not have deep roots, and though they might endure for a while, they soon give up all profession when persecution or trouble comes (Matt. 13:21). Many have forgotten that the message is repentance toward God as well as faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A second serious omission is a missing emphasis on the Lordship of Christ. A light, jovial mental assent that Jesus is Savior misses the point. Jesus is first Lord, then Savior. The New Testament always places His Lordship before His Saviorhood. Do we present the full implication of His Lordship to people? He always did.

A third defect in the message is the tendency to keep the terms of discipleship hidden until a decision has been made for Jesus. Our Lord never did this. The message He preached included the cross as well as the crown. “He never hid His scars to win disciples.” He revealed the worst along with the best, then told His listeners to count the cost. We popularize the message and promise fun.

The result of all this is that we have people believing without knowing what they believe. In many cases they have no doctrinal basis for their decision. They do not know the implication of commitment to Christ. They have never experienced the mysterious, miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration.

And of course there are others who are talked into a profession because of the slick salesmanship techniques of the soul winner. Or some who want to please the affable, personable young man with the winning smile. And some who only want to get rid of this religious interloper who has intruded into their privacy. Satan laughs when these conversions are triumphantly announced on earth.

I would like to raise several questions that might lead to some changes in the strategy of evangelism.

First of all, can we generally expect people to make an intelligent commitment to Christ the first time they hear the Gospel? Certainly, there is the exceptional case where a person has already been prepared by the Holy Spirit.

But generally speaking, the process involves sowing the seed, watering it, then sometime later reaping the harvest. In our mania for instant conversion, we have forgotten that conception, gestation, and birth do not occur on the same day.

A second question — can a capsule presentation of the gospel really do justice to so great a message? As one who has written several gospel tracts, I confess to a certain sense of misgivings in even attempting to condense the good news into four small pages. Would we not be wise to give people the full presentation as it is found in the Gospels, or in the New Testament?

Thirdly, is all this pressure for decisions really Scriptural? Where in the New Testament were people ever pressured into making a profession? The practice is justified by saying that if only one out of ten is genuine, it is worth it. But what about the other nine disillusioned, bitter, perhaps deceived; en route to hell by a false profession?

And I must add this: Is all this boasting about conversions really accurate? You’ve met the man who solemnly tells you of ten people he contacted that day and all of them were saved. A young doctor testified that every time he goes to a new city, he looks in the phone book for people with his last name. Then he calls them one by one and leads them through the four steps of salvation. Amazing enough, every one of them opens the door of his heart to Jesus. I don’t want to doubt the honesty of people like this, but am I wrong in thinking that they are extremely naive? Where are all those people who are saved? They cannot be found.

What it all means is that we should seriously re-examine our streamlined capsule evangelism. We should be willing to spend time teaching the gospel, laying a solid doctrinal foundation for faith to rest on. We should stress the necessity for repentance — a complete about face with regard to sin. We should stress the full implication of the Lordship of Christ and the conditions of discipleship. We should explain what belief really involves. We should be willing to wait for the Holy Spirit to produce genuine conviction of sin.

If we do this, we’ll have less astronomical figures of so-called conversions, but more genuine cases of spiritual rebirth.

Recommended further reading: “St. Francis… A Sissy?” by Ray Comfort.

Photo Credit: Photograph “Street Evangelism (ca. 1961)” by Sherlock77 (James).

HT: WordnVerse

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Following on from this post, I cannot even imagine being a Pastor. I dont think many of us (including myself) really appreciate what it takes to be the shepherd of the flock. As well as preaching sound doctrine, they have to take care of the flock with things ranging from marital problems to just giving some godly counselling and on top of that, be a husband and a father . They also have to make sure that the function of the local church is to be the focal point of God’s plan for displaying his glory to the nations, reflecting the character of God.

The Church Mafia website had the article below which gives us some advice on what we can do to help our Pastors.

The bad news is this: pastors today are faced with more stress, more problems and more challenges than ever before. Statistics today are frightening. More and more pastors are leaving the ministry. Why? Because they are human, and can’t everything that everyone expects them to be. We, the church, are expecting pastors to be many things that they aren’t called to be. Instead of allowing God to define their ministry, we’ve created our own definition. This definition takes him from being our spiritual leader and protector, and made the pastor into our baby sitter and servant. Take a look at these alarming statistics:

  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches.
  • Four thousand new churches begin each year, but over seven thousand churches close.
  • Fifty percent of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • Eighty-five percent of pastors said their greatest problem is they are sick and tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors. Ninety percent said the hardest thing about ministry is dealing with uncooperative people.
  • Seventy percent of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
  • Eighty percent of pastors’ spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
  • Eighty percent of pastor’ wives feel left out and unappreciated by the church members.
  • Eighty percent of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
  • Eighty percent of pastors’ wives feel pressured to do things and be something in the church that they are really not.
  • The majority of pastor’s wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

The bad news is that your pastor, like pastors everywhere is at risk of becoming just another statistic. He is expected to do so much, be so much, and give so much that many times there is nothing left for him. We, the church, can’t afford to keep losing pastors to burnout and contention. What Can You Do?

  • Pray For Your Pastor. The greatest gift you can give your pastor is to take the time to pray for him. We need to realize that pastors and other ministers are prime targets for the devil. If he can cause a believer to fall, it’s a victory for his kingdom. But, if he can cause a minister to fall, he can hurt the lives of many other believers. We have a responsibility before God to hold up our leaders in prayer, and seek God’s protection over their lives.
  • Be Reasonable in Your Expectations. Too many people expect the pastor to be everything. I have heard stories about people expecting their pastor to pick up their children from school, talk to them when they can’t sleep, mow their lawn, and fix their car. God has given specific instructions about what a pastor is supposed to be. Let him be it, and protect the calling and anointing God has placed upon his life.
  • Compensate Him Appropriately. There’s an old line about the church board praying something like this, “Lord, you keep our pastor humble, and we’ll keep him poor.” That attitude is way too common. Pastors and their families have the same financial needs as everyone else in the congregation. In fact, they often have more expenses, because of the needs of visiting people and ministering to them. When God established the tithe, he said that it was to go to the Levites (the ministers); not to pay for the mortgage on the church, the electric bill, and the youth field trip. At that time, the Levites consisted of about seven percent of the population of Israel. Therefore, if everyone tithed, the Levites received a little more than the average income of the congregation. This is a good guideline for us to use today. A pastor should receive slightly more than the average income of his congregation. That will allow his family to live and minister without having to worry about money.
  • Respect His Privacy and Time. So often, being a pastor is a 24-hour a day job. Granted, there are always emergencies that come up at the most inopportune times. But, a hangnail, or the flu isn’t an emergency. Your pastor needs time to study, time to pray, time to rest, and time to be with his family. Pastor’s children have become a joke in our society today. Although the church expects them to be perfect, the world expects them to be hellions. Why? Because, they usually are. Why? Because dad is so busy taking care of everyone else, he doesn’t have time for his own family. Don’t expect him to give up his wife and children, to take care of yours. That’s your job.
  • Let Your Pastor, and His Wife Know You Appreciate Them. Everyone needs some encouragement now and then. One of the motivational gifts mentioned in Romans 12: 6-8 is exhortation. This gift is badly lacking in the Body of Christ today. It is especially lacking towards those in ministry. We expect them to encourage us, forgetting that they need it as well. A kind, or encouraging word, a card, or even a small gift will work wonders to build up your pastor and help him to continue in the calling God has given him. Don’t let your pastor become a statistic. Be a blessing to him, so he can continue to be a blessing to you.

If you are truly thinking about being a Pastor, please be very prayerful about it and get godly counsel from others. It is a tremendous responsibility to look after God’s people

I am still receiving many comments on my posts concerning people like Todd Bentley and Benny Hinn and one of the thing I keep getting told is ‘look at the fruit’. The video below touches on this amongst other things

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