Daniel Darling, author, pastor, speaker / Posts tagged "church"

Preaching and Baseball

In an article for Leadership Journal, I compare ministry to baseball. Pastors have a tendency to "swing for the fences" with every sermon, but we're better off working hard on the little things of preaching in order to give our people a lifetime of good spiritual food: Ministry is very much like baseball in this way. There will be the home run hitters—exceptionally gifted preachers. But most who lead God's people will be the grinders. The Belhorns, Glanvilles, and Bakos who show up every week and feed God's people truth in faithful, but unspectacular fashion. This is not an excuse for mediocrity. It's not a rant against celebrity. Every generation has genuinely gifted servants with ministries beyond their congregations. We should rejoice at their large kingdom impact. "There many not be many noble," Paul says. But there are some and we thank God for their giftedness. Still, I wonder if the rest, called to...

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People Want a Church to Be a Church

This week I had a chance to interview Brett McCracken. Brett teaches at Biola and is a keen cultural observer. I've always enjoyed his work. He has written two books. The first, Hipster Christianity created quite a splash when it came out. He pushed back against the attempt by the Church to be "cool." Recently Brett wrote a terrific piece on Millenials for The Washington Post. Now Brett has a new book out, Gray Matters, where he dives into delicate territory. How does the church handle the "gray areas" of life that are not specifically spelled out in Scripture and how does the Church handle it's consumption of culture in a way that doesn't lean to libertinism or legalism? One of the questions I asked Brett was this one: Pastors and church leaders wrestle with this question all the time—making decisions on worship styles, programming, and their own personal choices. What advice would you give to church...

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God’s Purpose and Mental Illness

Today, for my weekly Leadership Journal Interview, I had the chance to talk with Amy Simpson, author of the new book, Troubled Minds. I asked her about some of the misconceptions we have about mental illness. Among her answers was this very hopeful one: Many people also mistakenly believe that people with mental illness are doomed to live wasted and unproductive lives—that they can’t contribute to the life of the church. We have this sense of spiritual hopelessness about mental illness that we don’t have about other treatable conditions, even when they’re very serious. But God has a purpose for everyone. Mental illness may alter the course of a person’s life, but it doesn’t mean that person’s life is no good anymore. Psalm 139 is a beautiful reminder of our value to God, and his attention to the details of our lives. Verse 16 celebrates, “You saw me before I was born....

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Why Going to Church on Sunday is An Act of War

Okay, so maybe that title is a bit melodramatic. But I wanted to get your attention, because I think faithful, weekly attendance at your local gospel-preaching church is important. It's important for all the reasons we know, right? To hear the Word preached. To develop community in the body of Christ. To exercise your spiritual gifts. To support the gospel proclamation both local and international. To obey the Scriptures. Yes to all of these reasons for going to church. And also yes to the well-worn clique, "You can go to church every week for your whole life and still be far from the Kingdom of God." Yes, I'm still preaching that because it's still true. Going to church won't get you one yard closer to the pearly gates. And yet, the simple act of going to church--I'm assuming here a church who preaches the gospel and declares that Jesus Christ is King--is in and of itself...

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