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  • Wednesday, September 16, 2020 9:15 PM | Anonymous
    Ron Abbot Retired

    Num. 8:24-26

    24 This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: 25 And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more: 26 But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge. (KJV)

    The only scripture I can find regarding ministry retirement is the one above. But it is at least as relevant as Hebrews 10:25, and we certainly use that one often enough.

    Retirement! What a lovely thought on business meeting night. Well, it may not be as wonderful as you might suppose. It is downright boring at times. I should know because I am an expert. You see, I retired a full three weeks ago.

    If I might be serious for a moment, I know many friends who are facing the prospect of an end to ministry. Some are looking for relief and others are dreading the end. I can tell you that you will experience both. I retired from a 23-year tenure at Calvary Baptist Church in Bowie, Texas. I have many friends not only in the church but in the community. I had one man confront me in a restaurant and, in what seemed to be anger, challenged my decision to retire. This was a good man and a believer. While he did not attend my church, he groaned at the loss of my influence in the community. That is very satisfying though troubling.

    If you are seeking advice, I would certainly pray! Consider the impact on your congregation. What pressures will this put on your family? Lack of income is always a consideration and needs no mention here. Try to imagine ways to continue serving God.

    I have decided to do some pulpit supply work and, in anticipation of that, I have remarketed myself as “Minute Man Ministries.” I am still waiting for that first phone call and am considering a new name for my ministry called “The Rusty Musket.”


  • Friday, September 11, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Thom S. Rainer

    About one-third of you readers are laypersons. This article is for you. Of course, I know pastors and other vocational ministry leaders will be reading as well. Perhaps, more than my article, they will be reading your comments. They will be searching eagerly to see if anyone has a word of encouragement. They may be anticipating the responses will be a barrage of negativity they have become accustomed to receiving.

    Please hear me clearly. The vast majority of pastors with whom our team communicates are saying they are considering quitting their churches. It’s a trend I have not seen in my lifetime. Some are just weeks away from making an announcement. They are looking for work in the secular world. Some will move to bivocational ministry. Some will move to marketplace ministry.


  • Wednesday, September 09, 2020 9:15 PM | Anonymous
    Tim Taylor Pastor Victory Baptist Church Vergennes, Vermont

    The other day I hired a 42 year old woman to teach the preschoolers in our school.  I went over her contract and said I wanted to be absolutely sure she was good with things because I hoped she would be here for 20 years.  Her reply was, “That could happen, I hate change.”  I popped back, “Me, too.”  I have pastored at this church for 32 years.  At that instant, I thought, actually I embrace change.  

    Pastoring is all about change or the ministry dies.  If COVID-19 has done nothing else, it has brought about change.  One of our church members,  who has had a lot of illness, mentioned that this virus has really improved our live streaming.  He was right. We had to change it to be much better than it was, our whole church was watching, or at least I was working towards that goal.

    At 64, I am faced with some of the biggest ministry changes of my life.  If you have brought your church through growth, building projects, ministry expansions or transitions you have had to deal with change.  What are the three things required for successful change?  Leadership, leadership, leadership.  

    A successful leader must possess five traits.   First, a leader must be credible. Credibility is hard earned, not demanded.  Secondly, a leader must be a good communicator. They have a clear vision that is transferable.  Thirdly, a leader must an implementer. They have the skills to implement change or they possess the ability to recruit or hire those who do.  Fourthly, a leader must be determined. They are doggedly determined to see change succeed; even if that means to reshape or “change the change.”  Lastly, a true leader must be humble. They share the success; it is not all about themselves, and they are happy that others have partnered.

    As we go through this pandemic, there is little doubt that everything has changed except the Gospel.  If you take a moment to think about it, the entire New Testament is about change.  From the virgin birth to the second coming, the work of Jesus Christ is ever morphing and changing.  The early church was forced to leave Jerusalem due to circumstances beyond their control.  From Jerusalem to Antioch and around the world, the work of Christ adapts and changes while we continue to preach the ageless, unchanging Gospel.  Embrace change.


  • Friday, August 28, 2020 10:15 AM | Anonymous
    Bill Monroe Pastor Florence Baptist Temple Florence, South Carolina



  • Wednesday, August 19, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Lewis McClendon  BCMN

    Preaching Principles in Nehemiah 8

    In Nehemiah 8 Ezra speaks to the people who had rebuilt the wall. This chapter gives us a pattern we can use to preach and teach with clarity. This chapter gives us the two-part plan of preaching and teaching and the result of clearly communicating the Word of God.

    The first part of the plan found in Nehemiah 8 is to read the Word.

    Nehemiah 8:3

     And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

    Biblical teaching and preaching begins with the Bible. We look to the Bible to see what it says. Our ideas are not important; God’s ideas are very important. We are not communicating a message from man; we are communicating a message from God.

    The second part of the plan is to explain the Word of God.               

    Nehemiah 8:8

    So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

    Once we have read the Word of God, it is now our responsibility to help our listeners understand what we have read to them. We must give them the meaning so they can understand it and apply it. It is the job of the speaker to explain the text in a way that is simple enough for all their listeners to understand. Again, the goal is clarity. Howard Hendricks said that a mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew. If the preacher is not completely clear about what a verse is saying, his listeners will miss what the verse is saying and will not be able to apply the point of the verse to their life. Even when a preacher or teacher does understand the text, they still have the responsibility to make the meaning clear for their listeners. Many seminary professors have said that there are four rules for preaching and teaching: be clear, be clear, be clear, and above all else be clear. We are to clearly expound on the Word – give the meaning, show them the intent of the verse, and help them understand what their obedient response is to be. There is a critical need for clarity in our preaching and teaching. Clarity comes in different ways for people. Good speakers use stories and illustrations to apply a verse in today’s world.

    The result of following the preaching and teaching plan in Nehemiah 8 is we get to see people obediently respond in obedience to God’s Word.

    Nehemiah 8:14-16

    And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. 16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.

    When the Word of God was read and clearly explained the people went forth and obeyed! The goal of preaching and teaching is not information; it is transformation. If people attend week after week and are still conformed to this world instead of being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, something is terribly wrong. It could be that we are not speaking with clarity or with a goal of transformation. In Nehemiah 8 we see a changed people.


  • Friday, August 14, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Ken Braddy Jr.

    Online worship and Zoom Bible study groups have been a lifesaver for churches during COVID-19. People have been able to worship together even though they were apart, and Bible study groups have continued to meet in a virtual environment.

    While the benefits of technology have been great, we have also discovered a downside. Individuals and families have grown accustomed to the convenience of online worship and Bible study. Churches that have reopened worship or groups are finding that between 30-40% of the people have returned for on-campus interactions (this will likely rise in time, especially when a vaccine is introduced). The highest attendance I’ve heard of so far is 50% of pre-COVID attendance levels. Online Bible study groups that started out in March with record highs are struggling to keep people engaged several months into our physical distancing. Church leaders are wondering just how many people (as a percent) will ultimately return. No one knows, and hindsight will be 20/20.


  • Wednesday, August 12, 2020 9:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Lewis McClendon  BCMN

    Sometimes when we think about improving our preaching and teaching skills we can focus only on becoming a more eloquent speaker. We have all heard speakers who say everything right, can have the audience eating out of the palm of their hand, and don’t make any verbal mistakes. While we should think through how we will say something, no matter how hard we try, most of us are not perfect speakers, and will continue to make mistakes. Spurgeon addressed this issue. He said, “The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher; otherwise men would be converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning; otherwise it could consist of the wisdom of men. We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were mysterious power going with it – the Holy Ghost changing the will of man.”

    The real key to powerful preaching is clearing stating what God has said in His Word. A spiritually dry message, given with great eloquence, does not have the power of a message from a less eloquent speaker that clearly explains a passage of scripture. It may not the eloquence of a polished speaker, but it will have an impact in the lives of the people who hear it.

    When God called Moses to go to Pharaoh and free God’s people, Moses said he could not do it because of his lack of eloquence.

    Exodus 4:10

    And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

    Moses knew he was not eloquent enough to speak before Pharaoh. Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s house, and had heard the ambassadors speak to Pharaoh. Those ambassadors were the best of the best when it came to speaking ability. An ancient document called, The “Tale of the Eloquent Peasant,” suggests that eloquence was important in the Egyptian culture. Moses stated that he was slow of speech and tongue, referring to his lack of eloquence or oratory ability. He is saying he was not a man of words and was unable to articulate his thoughts in fluent, flowing speech.

    God acknowledged Moses’ lack of eloquence.

    Exodus 4:14

    And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well.

    God said He was bringing Arron to help him and stated the He knew Aaron could speak well. God did not brush off Moses statement that he was not eloquent. God knew He was not eloquent, but He was God’s man for the hour.

    God also promised Moses that He would tell him exactly what to say.

    Exodus 4:11-12

    1 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

    Moses did stand before Pharaoh, and God did use Him to free Israel from their bondage in Egypt. The New Testament has this to say about Moses’ speeches:

    Acts 7:22

    And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

    We may not be as eloquent as some of the speakers we have heard, but we have what Moses had. We have exactly what God wants us to communicate. We communicate the truths of the Bible. As we learn to speak the Word of God with clarity, we will see God work in the lives of the people He brings to our services.


  • Friday, August 07, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Lewis McClendon BCMN

    The ability to preach or teach is part of the qualifications of being a pastor.

    I Timothy 3:1-2

    This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    As preachers of the Word of God, we recognize that we must be able to understand and clearly communicate the truths in the Bible. Preachers never stop working on this ability or skill. The Greek word used for apt is didaktikon, which means skilled in teaching. In Ephesians 4 God said He gave His church pastors who were to perfect the saints. How do pastors perfect the saints? Saints are perfected by pastors who understand the Word and can clearly communicate the Word to the people in his church.

    Spurgeon said, “Whatever you may know, you cannot be truly efficient ministers if you are not ‘apt to teach.’ You know ministers who have mistaken their calling, and evidently have no gifts for it; make sure that none think the same of you. There are brethren in the ministry whose speech is intolerable: either they rouse you to wrath, or else they send you to sleep. No sleeping aid can ever equal some discourses in sleep-giving properties; no human being, unless gifted with infinite patience, could long endure to listen to them, and nature does well to give the victim deliverance through sleep. I heard one say the other day that a certain preacher had no more gifts for the ministry than an oyster, and in my own judgment, this was a slander on the oyster, for that worthy oyster shows great discretion in his openings, and knows when to close. If some men were sentenced to hear their own sermons, it would be a righteous judgement upon them, and they would soon cry out with Cain, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear.’ Let us not fall under the same condemnation.”

    We can understand the Word by taking the time to study the Word. In the same way, we can clearly communicate the Word by improving our teaching skills. Studies show that improving our preaching and teaching skills is needed. Ken Davis, in his Dynamic Communicators Workshop, uses the following survey to demonstrate the need for improving our preaching and teaching skills. “In a survey involving 2,500 people at multiple churches, less than 15 minutes after a sermon, 72% of the people had no idea what was communicated. In the same survey, 50% of the speakers could not articulate, in a simple sentence, the objective of their sermon.”

    Pastors can improve their preaching and teaching skills. No pastor wants to put people to sleep. No pastor wants people to leave with no idea about what he was communicating. Every pastor wants his preaching and teaching to perfect the people in his church. That means pastors must spend time studying the scripture until he understands it and then spend time on how he will clearly teach or preach the passage to his people.


  • Wednesday, August 05, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Kevin Kolb

    I have lived in the “show-me” state all my life. Missourians like to see how things work before they invest. I don’t know if that’s because we’re simple or just skeptical; I confess to some of both. When it comes to launching a pastoral internship at your church, maybe you do too. It might be helpful to show you some of the practical benefits of a pastoral internship by letting you hear from our current and former interns. Consider their answers to these questions:

    What benefits drew you to the internship?

    - “The provision of housing for my family as well as tuition for my MDIV made the internship very attractive for me.”

    - “It is my conviction that the local church is God's means for training pastors... in my mind, there is no better place to learn how to shepherd souls than to be given the opportunity of doing so under the supervision of experienced shepherds.”

    - “One benefit that drew me was getting real, practical ministry experience alongside my theological education so I could enter the ministry as an experienced preacher, counselor, and leader.”

    What unexpected benefits have you received from the internship?

    - “One unexpected benefit has been the opportunity to observe church leadership making major decisions like navigating Covid-19.”

    - “Mistakes are easier to handle and learn from as an intern. I'd rather make these mistakes now than make the same rookie mistakes as a pastor of a church.”

    - “The internship was incredibly humbling; I was consistently challenged, confronted, and eventually convinced of my need for greater wisdom and growth and, ultimately, dependence on Christ.”

    How has the internship prepared you for long term ministry?

    - “My spiritual health, the health of my marriage, and my faith in the sufficiency of Scripture have each grown considerably through this internship. I'm also learning to counsel on top of the various important truths I'm learning in seminary.”

    - “The internship is preparing me with a better understanding of God's word, as well as how to present it in teaching and counseling contexts. Also, both my wife and I are learning to complement and love one another in a context where I oversee a ministry of the church.”

    - “I was equipped with both the desire and practical understanding needed to preach faithfully from the Word of God - and to trust that Word to do God's Work. Because my pastors were so intentional in how they trained me and poured into me, I was able to leave the internship equipped with an intact family and a better marriage than I went in with. And I was equipped with friends closer than a brother, who I know I can call at any time for help, guidance, wisdom, and encouragement.”

    Please call or come by for a visit if you are seriously considering implementing a pastoral internship. I think we can show you it is a worthwhile investment.

  • Monday, August 03, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    John MacArthur

    A Biblical Case for the Church’s Duty to Remain Open

    Christ is Lord of all. He is the one true head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). He is also King of kings—sovereign over every earthly authority (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Grace Community Church has always stood immovably on those biblical principles. As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands.


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