For many years, I have told students in our ministry school that the greatest challenge they will face is not learning to teach or preach well, or to administrate or evangelize or walk in the Spirit's power or raise funds, or whatever else is needed for effective ministry.
Instead, the greatest challenge for those of us in ministry, not to mention for all believers, is to maintain a solid, consistent, personal devotional life. Failing there, we fail where it counts the most. And yet the more successful the ministry, the harder it can be to break away from the demands and the busyness and simply focus our attention on meeting with the Lord.
Recently, after completing another whirlwind ministry schedule (teaching from 9-6 for three straight days, doing two hours of live radio in the middle of two of those days, plus writing at night), I met with two of our grads who had with them a book called Personal Revival, written by my friend S. J. Hill. They reminded me that I had written the Foreword to the book, and so I opened it, saying to them half-jokingly that I wanted to see if I was convicted by my own words. I was! more >>
An established executive in branding and marketing in the retail world, Sam Smith realized the need for compassionate, yet professional business acumen within ministry leadership and coined the term "Optimizing Ministry."
Sam used that focus to achieve record results in fundraising and volunteer support as the CEO at Mercy Ships. He was then approached by Medical Ministry International (www.mmint.org) and is now able to make an even larger impact on the poor as CEO of that global organization. MMI has staff and programs in more than 22 countries that utilize health centers, residency training, and medical teams to serve the poor using Jesus as their guide. Sam is the author of the book, "When Love Heals" and blogs at sam-smith.net. Recently, I interviewed Sam about his insights on leadership and international ministry:
Phil Cooke: You're a nonprofit leader with a long background in business. Has that been a help or hindrance? more >>
Pastors, by and large, are beginning to catch on. To reach the current culture, which is shaped in large part by its technology, we have to go digital.
This is nothing new. To reach 17th and 18th century people, you needed to use a printing press. To reach the culture of the 20th century, you needed to utilize mass media such as radio, television, or direct mail and advertising. And to reach people today, you use social networking.
But we still have a partly legitimate fear about using social technologies too heavily. We fear we will lose our edge when it comes to "real life," face-to-face relational ministry. We fear that we'll neglect those who don't use or like smart phones, that our relationships will become shallow, and that in our effort to "keep up" with the latest technologies, we'll drift from our long-held traditions and theological moorings. more >>
A veterans organization has called for a congressional hearing on certain activities at the Department of Veterans Affairs, alleging that the government entity is violating religious freedom.
The Louisiana-based group Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. sent a letter last week to Congressman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who chairs the Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Written by retired Navy Commander and Executive Director of Military-Veterans Advocacy J. B. Wells, the letter says that "the curtailment of religious freedom is widespread within the Department." more >>
Seattle-based megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll once again lit up the Twitter-sphere, especially within the communities of his faithful detractors and social media-minded Christians who took his recent tweet about hell as perfect reason to join the fray.
"If you are not a Christian, you are going to hell. It's not unloving to say that. It's unloving to not say that," Driscoll, the unashamedly controversy-prone pastor, tweeted last Friday.
Among the hundreds if not thousands of responses to his tweet, someone with the Twitter username "@almightygod" tweeted: .@PastorMark Isn't threatening non-Christians with hell sort of like threatening adults with coal in their xmas stocking? more >>
Evangelist Benny Hinn has cancelled his trip to Bangalore, India where he was to participate in a prayer conference this week. The cancellation, reportedly due to a "visa problem," comes amid protests among Hindu groups who were concerned about Hinn converting their countrymen to Christianity.
Kamal Panth, the Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), revealed to the press on Tuesday that organizers of the Christian Prayer Conference had informed the authorities that Hinn's visit had been cancelled.
"Earlier organizers had said he will be coming; recently they have sent us a letter with names of pastors attending, which does not mention his name — so they have said he is not coming," Panth was quoted as saying. more >>