This question has been doing the rounds lately for a variety of reasons. This is a helpful answer from John Piper, particularly his summary at the end: ‘don’t call a pastor who’s trying to get rich, and don’t be a church that’s trying to keep him poor.’
Having written about this recently, I appreciated Joe Carter’s answer here. I’m not quite sure about his view that it is ‘among the most beneficial tools ever provided to small churches’, but I think his emphasis on the positives without glossing over the limitations is about right.
‘Let’s call this The Scooby Doo moment. You know the show that started in the 70s? Crazy kids in a van called The Mystery Machine, with a dog called Scooby Doo (Arf-Arf!)? Always turning up at haunted houses or the like, exposing the evil criminals hiding behind scary ghoul masks, or dressed up as werewolves.’
Frankly, not only at conferences. Worth a read this one.
Some people struggle with assurance because they don’t know when they first believed. By way of an illustration from C.H. Spurgeon, this one explains why that doesn’t matter.
Carl Trueman: ‘Our present age is a new and rather nasty one. Here the bizarre excesses of the most implausible academic theories combine with the commercial concerns of the pharmaceutical industry and the moral bankruptcy of a political caste interested only in pandering to the most unhinged of sexual revolutionaries. In such a world, “parenting,” to use the egregious verbal form, becomes a matter of political taste, to be policed by the state. Children become the means by which lunacy is enforced by virtual fiat: “Toe the line or lose your kids” certainly looks as if it could be a remarkably persuasive strategy.’
‘We’ve all been there. A new person or couple turn up at church and have been coming for a while. They are on the fringe but you are fairly sure they are genuine believers. But how do you encourage them into membership?Nobody wants to give the hard sell but, at the same time, you don’t want folk sat on the fringes forever (for their sake or that of the church). Here are some ways to help people move into membership.’