Efrem Smith, preacher, author and urban ministry advocate, delivered a challenging, uncomfortable and anointed message about evangelism, according to some of the thousands who attended or tuned in via a live webcast to the Exponential West Conference at Saddleback Church on Tuesday.
Smith, president and CEO of World Impact and author of The Post-Black and Post-White Church, preached a message titled "Rethinking Evangelism Through the Suffering," making the case that the atrocities and painful conditions people experience today require a refocused approached to doing outreach.
He began by reading to the thousands in person and likely thousands more watching online, the description of the multi-ethnic and multi-lingual kingdom of God described in Revelation 7, specifically verses 9-17. more >>
An agreement has been reached regarding a formal complaint leveled against 36 United Methodist clergy and leaders who blessed a gay wedding in defiance of official church rules.
Last week, the UMC Eastern Pennsylvania Conference announced a "Just Resolution" made between the 36 clergy and leaders and the complainant.
DALLAS – Kevin Monzon, 16, has a passion for telling others about Jesus Christ. So do the 46 other high school-aged young people who arrived from Southern California five days ago to begin inviting people to attend Greg Laurie's Harvest America in Dallas Sunday evening.
Monzon, who is already a three-year veteran of street evangelizing with Harvest youth ministry, told The Christian Post how the team from primarily Riverside and Orange counties, have spent much of their time during the long days in Dallas.
"We approach young students, young adults and we just ask them, 'Do you believe in God?' We [often] start with a joke or a soft question," he explained. "We clear up the whole awkward opener thing, but we usually begin, at least I do, with 'Where would you go if you die tonight?'" more >>
Pastors are not immune to sexual temptation, in fact, their positions as ministers place them right in the path of danger, says Christian writer Jeff Fisher.
Fisher knows this topic all too well as his former pornography addiction caused him to lose his ministry position at one point. In a blog post written for Church Leaders, Fisher notes five reasons pastors are much more vulnerable than the average Christian to sexual temptation, beginning with the fact that they are in a place of power.
"The pastor is an authority, he is looked up to, he is on stage and he is usually highly regarded. Broken people with damaged lives come regularly to talk with the minister, many of them desperate for a word or attention," Fisher says. more >>
One of the things I am passionate about is that many overweight and unhealthy people need to simply start their health journey. We are on a journey to become healthy, and it is a downright war sometimes to get through this difficult time.
We should never travel this road alone. Being in a community of like-minded people is critical.
Before I describe how I found community and why it meant so much to my health journey, I must first describe my life before. more >>
Most church leaders are godly and healthy. A toxic church leader, one that is figuratively poisonous to the organization, is rare. But it is that church leader who brings great harm to churches and other Christian organizations. And it is that leader that hurts the entire cause of Christ when word travels about such toxicity.
In my previous post, I noted the traits of long-term, healthy pastors. I now travel to the opposite extreme and provide symptoms of the worst kind of church leaders, toxic church leaders.They rarely demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Paul notes those specific attributes in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. You won't see them much in toxic leaders. They seek a minimalist structure of accountability. Indeed, if they could get away with it, they would operate in a totally autocratic fashion, with heavy, top down leadership. They expect behavior of others they don't expect of themselves. "Do as I say, not as I do." They see almost everyone else as inferior to themselves. You will hear them criticizing other leaders while building themselves up. They show favoritism. It is clear that they have a favored few while they marginalize the rest. They have frequent anger outbursts. This behavior takes place when they don't get their way. They say one thing to some people, but different things to others. This is a soft way of saying they lie. They seek to dismiss or marginalize people before they attempt to develop them. People are means to their ends; they see them as projects, not God's people who need mentoring and developing. They are manipulative. Their most common tactic is using partial truths to get their way. They lack transparency. Autocratic leaders are rarely transparent. If they get caught abusing their power, they may have to forfeit it. They do not allow for pushback or disagreement. When someone does disagree, he or she becomes the victim of the leader's anger and marginalization. They surround themselves with sycophants. Their inner circle thus often includes close friends and family members, as well as a host of "yes people." They communicate poorly. In essence, any clarity of communication would reveal their autocratic behavior, so they keep their communications unintelligible and obtuse. They are self-absorbed. In fact, they would unlikely see themselves in any of these symptoms.
Yes, toxic leaders are the distinct minority of Christian leaders. But they can do harm to the cause of Christ disproportionate to their numbers. And they can get away with their behavior for years because they often have a charismatic and charming personality. Charming like a snake. more >>