Risk Management: Making Your Church a Safe Place to Worship and Serve

While I was in college, a youth minister asked me to “fill in” for him and host a party for the students at his church. One of the games involved “bobbing” for apples. As the evening unfolded, students were laughing and playing hard, until one student opened his mouth too wide to grab an apple …

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5 Measures of Church Health

"You can build a great church or you can build a great people. I'm not sure you can do both." The older pastor looked at the neophyte steadily as the statement settled into the young minister’s thoughts. The older pastor’s point was well taken. Recalling that experience decades later, I recognize how easy it is …

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Birthed in Revival: Shubal Stearns and the Remarkable Expansion of Baptists in the South

Author's Note: Written in 2011, my purpose for this brief monograph was two-fold. First, I wanted to introduce Shubal Stearns, a pivotal figure in Baptist history, yet someone who is little known outside of academic circles. Second, I wanted to demonstrate the relationship between Stearns and the phenomenal growth of Baptists across the South. Many …

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Going Out of the Box

Thinking about our mission as His people... the buildings we build and the in-house programs we run can inadvertently lead us to an all-out effort (on our best days) to get people to come join us in our "box." When in truth, God clearly told us to "go"... you can't "go" in a "box." You'll …

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Stop World Whining

In a church parking lot one Sunday I passed a small truck that had a new bumper sticker on it I had not seen before. It said, "Stop World Whining." I stifled a laugh as I thought about the many times pastors have to handle dissatisfied members in their church. Have you ever felt like …

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The Cemetery Next Door

In 2003 my wife and I made a run down to Yazoo City, Miss. for the funeral of her grandmother. A wonderful believer born in 1916, she lived her entire life in the hills just above the Delta cotton fields with a simple faith and an unconditional love for people. Conducting her funeral in a …

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A Church in the HOV Lane

About 10 years ago my wife and I were driving through Houston, Texas during rush hour when I realized that I could jump over into the High Occupancy Vehicle (H.O.V.) and miss most of the congestion. It was wonderful! Passing all of those other vehicles snarled in bumper-to-bumper traffic. As we cruised by our fellow …

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