Most local churches have a mixed history success and dysfunction. Sometimes, the dysfunction is the result of toxic pastoral leadership. In these cases, the common remedy is a pastoral change. Therefore, the congregation is subjected to a series of anxiety provoking events. In the midst of the anxiety, the denominational bishop shows up to negotiate the transition of leadership. In many cases, the bishop has only a “snapshot” of the congregation – a brief interaction – and then moves on to the next crisis. Pastors are removed (often without explanation) and appointed quickly with little time for serious prayer, reflection, and dialogue. The end result is a seriously wounded congregation.
In our most recent presidential campaign the motto “America First” won the day. However, Jesus said that we should seek first the kingdom of God. Although I have some sympathy with the concept of the USA as an exceptional nation, I am uncomfortable with the concept of the United States as a “Christian nation.” Why?
A young pastor recently told me of his difficulties in leading an established Pentecostal congregation. In his teaching he is encountering relentless resistance. He is teaching the truths of the Bible, but he is challenging some long held traditional beliefs – incorrect beliefs. So what’s a young pastor to do?
On this Pentecost Sunday, I am thinking about terrorism. The news of the morning was about another Islamist terror attack in London. I am reminded that God has not given us “a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV). Just as the earliest Christians boldly proclaimed the gospel in the midst of persecution, so too must we be bold in our gospel witness in the midst of terrorism.
As I have previously written, the altar call is the climax of the Pentecostal worship service. But many Pentecostal churches no longer have altar calls. I think its time to rethink the altar call.
In our culture, graduation from high school is the rite of passage that signifies adulthood. Your parents know this and they weep for the loss of their child; and they rejoice in welcoming you into adulthood. I’ve often said that there are three great milestones for parents in rearing their children.