My friend and fellow pastor Tim Ma and I were discussing the need for us to keep prayer for our nation before our churches. I know many pastors across Virginia have and are calling the church to prayer. We live in a constant politicized news cycle, but we all know the Bible is clear about evil, sin, and spiritual warfare. After the shooting in Virginia Beach, something the news did not tell you, is that chaplains (volunteers from SBC of Virginia churches) saw around two dozen people come to faith in Christ as ministry was offered to a hurting community. Let’s be prayerful for fellow Christians ministering in El Paso and Dayton and stay mindful that the Gospel is needed everywhere.
I want to take this opportunity to say, “Thank You.” Thank you to all the youth pastors and leaders, children’s ministry pastors and leaders, the countless volunteers who are at summer camps, on mission trips, and working with Vacation Bible Schools. I am thankful that churches make substantial investments of time, money, and energy in the younger generation.
On May 14, 2015, Chuck Lawless wrote an article called “Five Reason Some Pastors Are Loners – and Why That’s Not Good.” For the past seven years I’ve had the privilege of seeking to strengthen the ministry of pastors and count myself among their number. I believe loneliness and friendlessness is a threat to our wellness and to finishing well. So, I’d like to offer ten suggestions for making friends as a pastor.
SBC of Virginia is blessed to have churches that are less than 200 days old in our family and churches more than 200 years old in this Gospel partnership. I am thankful for the leadership lessons pastors of some of Virginia’s oldest churches have modeled. Here are some principles learned from their ministries…
Over the past few weeks I have shared highlights from some reading and study I am doing regarding church revitalization. I have had the privilege of serving on pastoral staff, planting and pastoring a church, and working with churches in times of transition and change. SBC of Virginia has been committed to church planting since our founding and we are now seeking to learn more and grow in our commitment to church revitalization.
Over the next few weeks I plan to share some highlights from some reading and study I am doing regarding church revitalization. I have had the privilege of serving on pastoral staff, planting and pastoring a church, and working with churches in times of transition and change. SBC of Virginia has been committed to church planting since our founding and we are now seeking to learn more and grow in our commitment to church revitalization.
LOVE. What is true love? We say I love you in regard to our most sacred relationships and also in regard to our favorite flavor of ice cream. “I love you.” “I love baby back ribs.” “I love my wife.” “I love basketball.” “I love my kids.” “I love Krispy Kreme Donuts.” (Can I get a witness?) It’s like the words “thank you.” You don't have a stronger word. English language is limited in many ways compared to others.
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35–38
Happy New Year. On behalf of the SBC of Virginia, thank you for your partnership in the Gospel. I’d like to share with you a few thoughts from one of my favorite examples of a leader praying in the Bible. There are a number of exemplary prayers in Scripture, but the one I am referring to is in 2 Chronicles 20, The Prayer of Jehoshaphat.
Few Americans today say they know their neighbors' names, and far fewer report interacting with them on a daily basis. Pulling data from the General Social Survey, a recent report found that a third said they've never interacted with their neighbors. And only about 20 percent of Americans spent time regularly with the people living next to them.