I suppose it’s like looking at old baby photos, but over the past month or so I’ve been browsing through some of the classic early articles in The Briefing. I chuckled over some of the ‘Lead Balloons’ we ran in those early days, like the article that proposed we should build deliberately crummy church buildings from now on, so that when the next generation needs to rebuild them or tear them down in 50 years’ time, there won’t be any loud objections from the heritage lobby about the destruction of our beautiful architecture.
By all accounts I am a stereotypical, standard, plain vanilla, suburban church pastor. And that’s pretty much what the ministry is like at our church: there is absolutely nothing hip or cutting-edge about us. We’re not a funky inner-city church plant. We don’t meet in a disused theatre. (more…)
Friends, is Jesus Lord of your holidays? For many of you, the answer is yes!
Jesus says the two great commands are to love God and to love your neighbour. So I see people making Jesus Lord of their holidays, when they continue to read the Bible and say their daily prayers while out of regular routine in relaxed mode. Or when they take the chance to read and reflect on a solid Christian book they’d not normally get to. (more…)
GTK has become an essential tool in my pastoral toolbox. While at first my congregation thought GTK stood for ‘Gary the Koo’, it’s actually ‘Get to Know’, a course designed to welcome newcomers into your church. (more…)
Church of the Triune God: Understanding God’s work in his people today
Edited by Michael Jensen, Aquila Press, Sydney, 2013, 224 pp.
When Scott and I planted a church as co-equal pastors in 2005, we sat down with pastors from various denominations, of various ages, and with various ministry experiences. Amidst all this diversity, there was one question that every pastor asked us: “You’re two guys planting a church… but who’s really in charge?” (more…)
You’ve had this experience too, haven’t you? It’s a warm Sunday morning and you’ve managed to arrive at St Churchins early enough to be there for the start of the service. You’ve enjoyed seeing fellow Christians, and you got to sing something other than In Christ Alone. (Great song, but it’s had a nice decade-long run.) (more…)
In this occasional series, Bruce Linton and I (Gordon) look at some principles of leading children’s ministry. Bruce has been a children’s ministry leader for nearly 20 years. For some of that time, I have followed him around with a camera, a sound recorder, a laptop and three daughters, in an attempt to document and imitate some fine gospel ideas. (more…)
‘Spirituality’ is a term of great confusion today. Both inside and outside Christianity, people use the word in ways quite different to the Bible. This not only confuses Christians in what to expect from the Spirit of God but also confuses non-Christians about the work of God’s Spirit and the teaching of Christianity. For when Christians, in our confusion, misrepresent God’s word it is no surprise that non-Christians do not understand our message.
Non-Christians today commonly describe themselves as being ‘very spiritual’ while having nothing to do with organized religion or Christianity. This spirituality is a way of saying they are not materialistic atheists but it rarely has any theological content other than a vague mysticism. If it has any intellectual content it tends towards an anti-rational experientialism—feelings, experiences, awareness, asceticism, ascetics, pantheism, meditation and miracles. It also tends towards tolerance inclusiveness of all religious experiences and intolerance towards any theological propositions or exclusive claim to truth. It is naturally quite hostile to Biblical Christianity with its clear expression of theological truth claims about the uniqueness of Jesus and his way of salvation. (more…)
One of the most popular Briefing articles ever was The Ministry of the Pew, written by Col Marshall, and published way back in March 1994. (more…)
As we come to this third article in our series on work, we need to remember again the question that we’re seeking to answer: what place does our work have as we seek to follow Jesus in God’s world? What I have been arguing up until this point is that this question is actually not quite right. A better question, in light of the gospel, is “What works should we do as followers of Jesus in God’s world?” (more…)
In many previous generations and still in some places today, Christians might be surprised that a pastor has to write in this way. But recently I had to remind the congregations I serve that there is something more important than charity. (more…)
Reproduced with permission from the reviewer. Copyright 9Marks, February 2013. (more…)