It’s always been hard to grow a healthy church in a hostile culture. So be aware of the trends concerning people losing faith or leaving the church, but don’t allow your awareness turn into discouragement. After all, the Apostle Paul wrote about the exact same situation nearly two thousand years ago and look at how the church has flourished globally since then.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul talked about people walking away from the Christian movement and becoming critics and scoffers. He even warned all of us that things would get much worse as time went on.
But Paul never gave up hope! He kept believing that Timothy and the next generation could successfully lead the church forward, reach more people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and transform more lives through the teaching of the Word.
That’s what this week’s featured sermon idea is about – how to keep on keeping on when our surrounding circumstances feel grim.
Is it possible to lead and grow a healthy faith community today? Absolutely! The Holy Spirit is still active. The Bible still transforms people. The body of Christ is filled with people who have the potential to love and welcome others into the family of God.
My friend Ariel Nieves is hosting a special workshop next week to help churches attract more guests and lead them to be fully engaged members – even churches with a small budget or few volunteers. It’s free to enroll and comes with some bonuses just for signing up. So…
Never make the mistake of linking your own identity to the numerical growth of your church, but never give up on the task of sharing the good news about Jesus with more people who need to know him.
This Week’s Big Sermon Idea
Keep On Keeping On
Based on 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Faith is fragile, and while it can be very healthy for our faith to grow and evolve as we understand more about God, there is always the danger that we will give up on God, on ourselves, and on the world. When that temptation comes, lean into the ways God has made himself and his goodness known already.
If you want out, you’ll find reasons to give up and get out. But if you have decided to believe in and follow Jesus, keep going! Keep going in spite of your doubt, in spite of your circumstances, and in spite of the unpopularity of the radical message of Jesus.
Creative Sermon Series Ideas from MinistryPass
My favorite resource for sermon series and message ideas, complete series graphics, and video bumpers (but NOT full notes) to get you started is MinistryPass! Each week, I’ll feature a series I would recommend checking out for the upcoming season of the church year. This week:
From the Description:
This four-week series is designed to help followers of Christ see that God’s plan for us is to be transformed into the likeness of his Son, Jesus Christ. By focusing on four practices of Jesus, listeners will see that we can model our lives after Jesus and depend on who he is in order to become who God wants us to be.
The Breaking 200 Challenge
October 18, 2022 (Online)
Ariel Nieves’ Church Growth Challenge will reveal how to turn guests into fully engaged members even if you have a small budget and are short on volunteers. In this free workshop, you’ll learn about the fastest and most guaranteed way to attract more guests without spending a lot of money on ads, how to get people to invite their friends and family, and how to “close the back door” and help people get fully engaged.
A Conference for Church Communications Leaders
October 18-19, 2022 (Charlotte, NC)
The Church Communicator Conference is specially designed for the accidental church communicator, the one that wears many hats and may have stumbled upon this role without a plan. Lead pastors and executive pastors will also benefit from this conference as it will introduce principles and concepts that will assist with creating a unified communication strategy that aligns with the vision and mission of the church.
Exiles in Babylon: Theology in the Raw Conference
March 23-25, 2022 (Boise, ID)
To be a Christian is to be an exile. The Bible has a name for the country we’ve been exiled to: Babylon. As exiles living in Babylon, we need to think biblically, Christianly, indeed exilically—not partisanly—through cultural and political issues. This year, our topics include: The Future of the Church, Disability and the Church, Multiethnic Perspectives of American Christianity, a conversational debate on the Problem of Evil, and a pre-conference symposium on Women in Leadership!
Links and Resources for Pastors and Church Leaders
Books, articles, and blog posts I’ve been reading and other helpful resources along the way…
- ARTICLE: Research Shows Half of Pastors Don’t Believe Their Preaching is “Strong”
- RESEARCH: Half of Pastors Say the Economy is Hurting Their Church
By Aaron Earls (LifeWay Research)
- ARTICLE: 7 Disciplines Needed for an Effective Spiritual Leader
By Ron Edmondson
- ARTICLE: How to Help Your Members Remember God’s Word
By Rick Warren (Pastors.com)
- ARTICLE: 5 Steps to Take to Improve People Management Skills
By Jim LaLonde
- ARTICLE: 6 Qualities of Great Teams
By Brain Dodd
- STORY: NJ Church Opens Cafe Staffed by People With Special Needs To Fund Clean Water Initiative
By Dale Chamberlain (Church Leaders)
- FREE EBOOK: 5 Steps to Self-Publishing a Book
- BONUS: There’s Never Been a Postseason Game Like Yordan Alvarez’
By Mike Petriello (MLB.com)
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About the Cover Art: Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.