Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Darryl Dash: We Need Gospel Movements, Not Just Better Churches

I fully agree with Darryl Dash's article found here. When churches in a particular context learn from one another, unite together in the gospel (and some other core doctrines), and team up in various ways, the gospel will advance in the city and, I'd add, that Christians will be much happier. It's intimidating and lonely to work alone as a church. The joy of fellowship and encouragement of seeing God work in other contexts far outstrips the isolation of being solely focused on one's own church.

Here's the first few paragraphs from Darryl's piece:

Most of us, if we’re part of a church, are focused on the growth of that church. I’ve become increasingly convinced that we need to continue focusing on our individual churches, while also developing a concern for something much bigger. We need to develop a vision for a gospel movement within our area, and ultimately in our country as a whole.

Let me give an example. I pastor in Toronto, and I have my hands full just trying to stay ahead of the challenges in my own church. But no matter how well my particular church does, it will never be able to have the kind of impact that’s needed on the entire city. Toronto doesn’t need one or even a dozen churches to do well. It needs all kinds of churches from all kinds of movements to revitalize existing churches and to start new ones. This means we need to be working together a lot more than we would if we’re focused only on our own churches or our own movements.

We all need to learn from others. We’re used to learning from big and successful churches in other countries. It’s much more effective to learn from good churches in our own contexts. That means that I can probably learn more about effective ministry in my city from other churches in my city, and places like it. The resources I need may not be found within my own movement, but within churches that belong to other movements.

We don’t just need more and better churches. We need gospel movements in key areas of our countries. There are some steps we can take to get there.

Again, you can continue to read here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I am thankful to God for sparing my former pastor and mentor, Stephen Beck. I'll let his wife, Susan, explain in a copy/paste of their prayer letter from yesterday:

It's time for our monthly update, but this is an update of a different sort. Stephen woke up at 1 am today with chest pains and we went into the hospital, expecting to have an EKG and be sent home. Instead, he is now recovering from a quadruple bypass.

Please praise the Lord with us that we got to the hospital before significant damage occurred, that we have a good university hospital near our home, and that he has come through the surgery and is stable.

Please pray for God's hand to remain over him as he wakes up, for an uncomplicated recovery, and that God will use this situation for His glory in ways we can't see yet.

With confidence that God is always in control,


Through the wonders of the internet, I saw today that Stephen is recovering and will soon be able to see his bride again. Please be in prayer for this godly couple.

Before his current role as seminary professor at the only evangelical Seminary in Germany, Stephen planted and pastored Grace Toronto Church (and simultaneously, others in the Greater Toronto area) for 10 years. Prior to that he pastored in Pensylvania for 10 years. His daughter, Sarah, told me recently that her dad is playing on all of his strengths in this current role. He gets to train pastors, mentor them, and help facilitate church plants throughout Europe. I can testify to those things being his awesome strengths. I love the fact that Stephen teaches at the school his own father helped to found about four decades ago!

At age 55 I'd ask you to pray that God gives him many more years of faithful service.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rick Warren's Invitation to Speak for John Piper

John Piper's national conference in October looks awesome. 'The life of the mind and the love of God' is the theme. I always appreciate the way Piper holds a balance between holding firm convictions theologically, and seeking to unite with all evangelicals, even when it means he asks speakers to his conference that many reformed people will dislike. Below he explains why he asked Rick Warren to speak at this conference. I give a hearty 'amen' to every word of his explanation.