Every Member Has a Role

Today, for Leadership Journal, I talk to Thom Rainer, CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources. I always enjoy Thom's insights on leadership and church life. His podcast Rainer on Leadership is a great listen and his blog is a go-to source for leadership content. I asked Thom about this latest book, I Am a Church Member where he challenges Christians to take their local church involvement seriously: In your latest book, I Am A Church Member, you give guidelines for what “faithful church membership” looks like. Does the average Christian understand his or her responsibility as a church member? No. We have failed to communicate the biblical tenets of church membership. For the typical church member, membership means rights and perks. But the biblical concept of membership means that we serve, we forsake our preferences, and we seek unity in the body. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul reminds us that every member has a role,...

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The God (little “g”) in Your Pocket

I was talking to my mother last week about the readily available technology we have in our smart phones. She was telling me, half-joking, "I can always Google something. So if I'm in a conversation and I don't know what they are talking about, I can quietly Google it and sound smart." We laughed, because we have all been there. And perhaps with Google glasses we won't even have to figure out ways to inconspicuously look down and type it in our phones. It's sure nice to have Google with us. In the middle of the night when my kid is sick and exhibiting symptoms I'm not familiar with, I can quickly google, "Coughing and fever, plus a rash" and get results. If I'm on a trip to Denver for business, I can google, "weather in Denver tomorrow." Or if we are wandering about and looking for a McDonald's with a...

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Teaching Civility

Today I interview the fascinating Mark DeMoss, president and founder of The DeMoss Group, the leading public relations firm for Christian organizations. DeMoss has represented organizations such as The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Prison Fellowship, and The American Bible Society. A few years ago, Mark launched The Civility Project, aimed at shaping a more civil public discourse. The idea was to get public leaders to at least agree to be civil with each other, even as they disagree. But after two years, hardly any signed up for the pledge. I asked Mark if he thought Christian leaders should teach civility. As a pastor, I've tried to do this, but I often get pushback from Christians who think being civil equals being a compromiser. Mark disagrees. Should pastors and church leaders make the teaching of civility a priority? Yes! There are plenty of Scriptures to support that answer. For example, "In lowliness of mind, let...

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The Lord’s Prayer and the Self-Made Man

In America, we pride ourselves on our rugged independence. We're a self-made people. There is much good in this kind of pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps way of life. Hard work and ingenuity are hard-wired into the Creation mandate by a God who gave man the gift of work in the garden and who commanded him to "subdue" the earth. When man works hard with his hands and his mind, when he takes the raw materials God has given him and makes something, he images God. God creates. And God created special creatures to create. But man is not self-made in any way. Man begins with the earth's substance that God provides. Man is born into a world not of his choosing, a time and place ordained by a sovereign God. The social structures, educational opportunities, parentage, even the obstacles you overcome on your rags-to-riches journey--these were all ordered by a God. You did not...

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