Snippets from the interweb (23rd January 2022)

Who in the world am I preaching to?

‘It is impossible to preach effectively without asking the right questions. One question that is easy to overlook, however, is who in the world am I preaching to? The clarity of my speech will matter, the integrity of my exegesis will count for a lot, the fervency of my prayers is crucial, but self-consciously thinking through who I am addressing can easily slip from the list of priorities. In this post I want to suggest that this is a key mistake, and one which can act as barrier to effective communication from the pulpit.’

Pick up your suit, deny your hoodie and follow me

‘Can a church have such a thing as an unbiblical culture? It sure can! Look around the world, both past and present, and you’ll find churches whose doors are only opened to you if you’re a certain colour, social class, background or if you’re sticking to a certain dress code. Sure, it isn’t true of every middle class church, but there can be an unbiblical culture that is alive in middle-class churches.’

Why do we struggle to talk about pastors and depression?

This is a valid and important question. My mate Dave offers an answer.

When everyone plays his part

‘We all have a tendency to look at what is most celebrated and to aspire after it. This is sometimes seen in men who do not have the gifts for preaching or teaching striving endlessly to get into pastoral ministry. How many young men I have seen come and go, or do great harm to the church, because they were not gifted by God for the task. I have seen others desiring to serve as elders in a church when they were clearly more gifted to serve as a faithful deacon. Still, I have seen those who had strong gifts of hospitality, service, and administration not using them for the building up of the body. No matter where a failure to exercise the gifts God has evidently given the members of a local church may manifest itself, of this much we can be sure, the church is the worse for lacking those who would willingly play their part in seeking to put their gifts to use for the building up of the body.’

You just can’t have it all

Tim Challies: ‘It is irrational to expect that any one church, any one pastor, any one husband or wife, friend or child, can excel in every way… realistically, we have to know that even if there was strength in one area we lament, it would probably mean there would be weakness in one area we admire. No individual and no community of individuals can be the complete package. It just doesn’t work that way.’

Glue sticks and Bible songs

I really liked this one. What a gift it is to be able to teach young children and help to form young minds. We often don’t think so at the time, but it is.

From the archive: Brand awareness in the church

‘I have never had much time for brand awareness. There is something that sticks in the craw when people are evidently working very hard to make sure everyone and everything is on message and all things point back to whatever brand we are trying to build. I find it very hard to shake the feeling that much brand management amounts to making much of, or for, ourselves.’