Pastors Mark Driscoll and Andy Stanley stressed the importance of preaching a sermon that carries a "sensitivity to the lost" while advising pastors on how to deliver better sermons during a web seminar hosted by The Rocket Company on Wednesday.
Mark Driscoll, founder and senior pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., and author of the bestselling book Real Marriage, said that he thoroughly enjoys angling the "hard truth of the Bible" to those lost and struggling with their faith because he did not find a relationship with God until he was 19-years-old. "I remember what it's like to be lost," Driscoll told the "Preach Better Sermons" conference's host, Jeff Henderson, lead pastor of Gwinnett Church in Duluth, Ga.
"The whole point [of Christianity] is God is making room for more," Driscoll said, adding that we as Christians are "on a mission to see more people become God's people." more >>
While most churches say they already have or are working on having a multicultural congregation, the majority fall short when it comes to reflecting a diverse community of believers coming together during church services on Sundays, said an expert on multi-ethnic church planting and staffing.
"If you were to judge church brochures across America you would say that there is not a multicultural problem in the American church," Tony Kim, former pastor at Newsong Church in Irvine, Calif., told The Christian Post recently. Kim is the Communication Lead Associate for Slingshot Group. The Orange County-based organization specializes in church staffing and coaching pastors and leaders. "So everyone is open to it, but very few are willing to make a decision to step into that."
Kim said the Internet has created a deeper transparency between the church and the community. Someone new to a community, looking for a church to attend, can simply go to a church's website, take a look at the staff page, and make assumptions as to whether the church is representative or accepting of their ethnicity. more >>
The teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta, has launched a "Missing Persons Project" campaign to encourage local faith communities to "recognize and receive [their] forgotten members," those who might be considered social outcasts or even marginalized by their churches.
"Today, the Body of Christ is missing many of its members. Too often we're guilty of assigning greater value to one part than the others," says Stanley in an introductory video on In Touch Ministries' website.
In Touch Ministries, founded in 1972 as "The Chapel Hour," has been releasing a series of special reports in an effort to encourage local churches to "welcome all people with open arms of love," according to Stanley, who referenced at the start of the video James 1:27. The Bible verse describes "pure and faultless" religion as looking after "orphans and widows in their distress" and keeping oneself "from being polluted by the world." more >>
Helping Christian converts develop into spiritually mature disciples of Jesus takes more than a church program, said Jo Saxton Wednesday at the 2013 Exponential conference in Orlando, Fla. Making disciples who make disciples requires life-changing sacrifices and for those involved to "have a life worth imitating," said the discipleship expert.
Saxton, speaking before thousands on how Christians can transition from teaching about being a disciple of Jesus to modeling how a follower of Christ actually lives, is a director of 3DM, an organization that trains churches and Christian leaders "to do discipleship and mission in an increasingly post-Christian world," according to the movement's website.
"Are we like the (guardian) or will we be like the parent?" the U.K. native asked her audience, referencing Paul's first letter to the Corinthian faith community in which the apostle distinguishes between being a "paidagogos," a guardian or nanny, and being a parent. more >>
Jim Putman, founder and senior pastor of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho, shared Tuesday at the 2013 Exponential Conference what he believes can help churches and their leaders to make genuine disciples of Christ, primary of which, he says, is being sensitive to Jesus' example in the Bible instead of being seeker-sensitive.
"They're not being disciplined," said Putman of spiritually immature Christians. "They're being converted and asked to come and watch."
Speaking before an audience of more than 25,000, participating in person and virtually via a live webcast, Putman focused much of his message on Matthew 16:18, in which Jesus tells his disciple Simon after he declares him the messiah: "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." more >>
Francis Chan bared some of his struggles with doubt and being a model disciple of Jesus Christ Tuesday during the opening session of the 2013 Exponential Conference attended by thousands in Orlando, Fla.
Chan spoke before 5,300 in-person attendees at First Baptist Church of Orlando, the chosen conference venue, and another 20,000 viewing the event live via the Internet. Chan was the second minister to take the stage to address the need for Christian discipleship, or "discipleshift," the theme chosen for this year's Exponential gathering.
However, instead of delving into his prepared remarks on discipleship, a subject he has been on a mission to revive in churches and faith communities since leaving his California church, the evangelical Christian minister confessed that he felt convicted by the message of the previous speaker, Pastor Jim Putman, on the issue of ministers letting the opinion of others sway their messages and define their work. more >>