Whatever Happened to Repentance?

Repentance.   It’s a word that is largely absent as I’ve listened to prospective church members share their testimonies with me over the last decade.  They mention sin, separation from God, the atoning work of Christ and the subsequent forgiveness it brings, but largely leave repentance out of their stories regarding their “conversion” experience. I’ve even heard some church leaders speak …

Three Reasons I Love Summer Youth Camp

(This article first appeared in Youth Ministry Magazine.  www.youthministrymagazine.org) I have a confession to make: I love youth camp.  God began calling me to surrender my life to Christ at youth camp.  As a camp counselor and program director, I began to sense God calling me into the ministry.  As a youth pastor, I saw my students’ lives transformed while …

The Southern Baptist Convention: What’s In a Name?

I remember during the 2012 Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting being somewhat perplexed.  A motion came forward to change the name of the SBC.  As my memory serves me, the thought process behind the motion was to help Southern Baptists who plant churches in the northern states and in other parts of the country not located in the South to …

5 Tips for Dealing With Critics

If you spend any time in ministry, you will have critics.  People might criticize your appearance, your preaching, your leadership style, your personality, or how you spend your time.  Whenever we encounter criticism, we are tempted to become defensive or discouraged.  There are times where we might also become angry and lash out at our critic.  While such times can …

3 Reasons I Like Youth Ministry Networks

Leadership is a lonely place.  Youth ministry leadership can be especially lonely, as youth ministers shepherd students who are facing challenges and issues unprecedented in previous generations.  They sometimes serve in churches whose members resist their efforts to contextualize the gospel to reach students and find themselves in the role of trying to help these members, and even their pastors, …

5 Things I Learned from Billy Graham

The first time I heard Rev. Billy Graham preach the gospel I was fifteen years old.  I went with my parents and members of our church to an arena in Washington, D.C. for one of his crusades.  Although I did not surrender to the gospel that night, I heard the gospel in a way that I could clearly understand it.  …

5 Ways to Engage Your Students’ Minds

Today’s students get a bad rap.  Recent books on Generation Z make much of their short attention spans (See James White’s book Meet Generation Z).  They mention how today’s youth would rather watch a video than read a book (See Jean Twenge’s book iGen).  It’s common knowledge that students’ use of online access has had a profound impact upon how …

Elders: Are They Baptistic?

Over the past few years, I’ve seen the following arguments raised by Southern Baptists on social media who are opposed to a plurality of elders: Churches with a plurality of elders are more Presbyterian than Southern Baptist. Pastors who believe in a plurality of elders are playing semantic games with the current Baptist Faith and Message 2000, which mentions “pastors …

From All Tribes and Peoples and Languages

(This post originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Baptist Courier) Growing up, I had the privilege of living in West Berlin, Germany during the Cold War (1981-1986).  While in Berlin, my family attended Berlin Baptist Church, an international church whose members came from England, Lebanon, Vietnam, Indonesia, Eastern Kentucky, Georgia, Germany, and Cambodia.  Being a part of such …