Scholar as Pastor, Pastor as Scholar
April 30, 2009, 2:11 pm
Filed under: church, leadership, ministry


After the Gospel Coalition Conference, John Piper and D.A. Carson spoke together on the topic of The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor at Park Community Church in the city. I wasn’t able to attend, but here are the links to the messages.

John Piper on The Pastor as Scholar
D.A. Carson on The Scholar as Pastor
Owen Strachan, John Piper, and D.A. Carson Discussion


The Gospel Coalition Conference
April 24, 2009, 2:34 pm
Filed under: church, events, gospel, leadership


This past week I was able to attend the Gospel Coalition Conference in Chicago. The theme was Entrusted With The Gospel : Living The Vision of 2 Timothy. It was a time of great encouragement as the main speakers spoke straight through the book of 2 Timothy. I know I’m going to be chewing on these messages for a while, so I won’t blog about what I gleaned from it just yet. However, if you’d like access to some of the main messages, you can find them here :

Main Sessions :
Tim Keller on The Grand Demythologizer : The Gospel and Idolatry
John Piper on Feed the Flame of God’s Gift : Unashamed Courage in the Gospel
Phil Ryken on The Pattern of Sound Words
Mark Driscoll on Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
K. Edward Copeland on Pitfalls and Parodies of Gospel-Centered Ministry
Bryan Chapell on Preach The Word
Ajith Fernando on Gospel Faithfulness in the New Christendom
Crawford Loritts, Tim Keller, John Piper, Ligon Duncan – Panel Discussion
Ligon Duncan on Finishing Well
DA Carson on Faithfulness and Flexibility in Gospel Proclamation

Workshops :
C.J. Mahaney on The Pastor’s Charge
Joshua Harris on Ministering In a Church-Hopping Society
Crawford Loritts on Staying Faithful, Staying Relevant

Worship Conference for Chicago Area YG
November 20, 2008, 6:48 am
Filed under: church, leadership, ministry, music, worship

worship2On Saturday, December 13, at Alliance Fellowship Church, I’ll be participating in a Worship Conference sponsored by J-Gen for Chicago-area youth groups .  It will be a time for theological as well as musical instruction for students who are serving in worship ministry.  I’ll be partnering with some  incredible musicians/worshippers with whom I’ve served on  a number of worship teams for conferences, revival meetings, and other special events.  There will be hands-on instruction for acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboard, bass, drums, vocals, miscellaneous percussion, and even mixer.    

For more information or to register, click here.

Church Planting Boot Camp
January 29, 2008, 3:31 am
Filed under: church, evangelism, leadership, ministry

Though I’m one year into church planting with Immanuel, I know that I have a lot to learn in order to lead the church plant more effectively. In light of this, I signed up for a Church Planting Boot Camp being sponsored by the Acts 29 Network. Here is a rundown of the sessions and speakers :

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Session #1: “Leading the Mission” – Darrin Patrick
Session #2: “Preaching the Mission” – Mark Driscoll
Session #3: “Missional & Biblical Church Planting” – Ed Stetzer
Session #4: “Kingdom-Focused Church Planting ” – Ed Stetzer

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Session #5: “Church Planting Evangelism” – Mark Dever
Session #6: “Gospel-Centered Theology” – Mark Driscoll
Session #7: “Vision for Church Planting” – Scott Thomas
Session #8: Question and Answer with planters Darrin Patrick and Scott Thomas

Darrin Patrick is Pastor and Founder of The Journey in St. Louis, MO
Mark Driscoll is Pastor of Mars Hill Church and President of Acts 29
Ed Stetzer is Director of Lifeway Research
Mark Dever is Pastor of Captiol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC
Scott Thomas is Pastor of Global Church Missions of Mars Hill Church & Director of Acts 29

I really want to be sharpened through this experience, and despite some of these men being relatively young, I know that they bring with them plenty of experience in missional thinking and gospel-centered theology. Since Immanuel’s desire is to be a gospel-centered, missional church, I think this conference will be especially helpful.

Remembering The Call Of A Leader
August 18, 2007, 8:32 pm
Filed under: leadership

What is a Christian leader? How can we judge the success or failure of a leader? The gospel itself gives us the standard for Christian ministry, and it often is found to be a different standard than we often use. As much as the gospel is in us, as much as we are living it out, we will be able to lead others. In his book, The Cross and Christian Ministry, D.A. Carson reminds us of the proper way to view leadership and to gauge our success or failure :

Those of us who want to be leaders in the church today, then, must begin by recognizing that there is no special, elitist qualification. This observation is entirely in line with the lists of qualifications for leadership given elsewhere in the New Testament. For example, when Paul in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 sets out the qualifications for an overseer, the most remarkable feature of the list is that it is unremarkable. It contains nothing about intelligence, decisiveness, drive, wealth, power. Almost everything on the list is elsewhere in the New Testament required of all believers…
…So what we must recognize is that the demands of Christian leadership do not set a Christian apart into exclusive and elitist categories where certain new rules and privileges apply. Rather, Christian leadership demands a focus of the kinds of characteristics and virtues that ought to be present in Christians everywhere. That is precisely what makes it possible for Christian leaders to serve as models, as well as teachers, in the church of God.
What it means to be a servant of Christ is to be obligated to promote the gospel by word and example, the gospel of the crucified Messiah. That is absolutely fundamental. There is no valid Christian leadership that does not throb with this mandate. We must repent of our endless fascination for “leadership” that smacks much more of hierarchical models (I am the boss, and, for all below me on the ladder, what I say goes) or of democratic models (give the people what they want; take another poll, scratch where they itch). All valid Christian leadership, however varied its style, however diverse its functions, must begin with this fundamental recognition : Christian leaders have been entrusted with the gospel, the secret things of God that have been hidden in ages past but that are now proclaimed, by their ministry, to men and women everywhere. Moreover, they must beware of politely assuming such a stance, while their real interest lies elsewhere. This will not do. The servants of Christ have a fundamental charge laid on them : They have been entrusted with the gospel, and all their service turns on making that gospel known and on encouraging the people of God, by word, example, and discipline, to live it out.

How Inadequacy Can Be A Good Thing
August 17, 2007, 1:31 pm
Filed under: leadership

The other day, I was asked by a budding church leader, “Do you ever feel overwhelmed?”. And, not trying to be overly dramatic, I replied, “ALL the time!” As a church planter facing the task of leading a new church, that’s exactly how I feel. I feel the task is huge. I feel my abilities are inadequate. I feel people will be impatient with me. “ALL the time!” Somehow, my feeling overwhelmed in and of itself seemed to be encouragement to this leader — perhaps because I could empathize with their own feelings of being overwhelmed. But is that encouragement enough? I think it helps a little, but it is insufficient in bringing about the necessary perseverance in this leader during times of deep trial and testing. So then what? I came across the following while reading a book on Gospel-Centered ministry :

Do not fear weakness, illness, or a sense of being overwhelmed.
The truth of the matter is that such experiences are often the occasions when God most greatly displays his power. As long as people are impressed by your powerful personality and impressive gifts, there is very little room for you to impress them with a crucified Savior. “I came to you,” Paul confesses, “in weakness and fear, and with much trembling,” (1 Corinthians 2:3) — so much so that he needed special encouragement from God himself (Acts 18:9-10). But Paul knew that God’s strength is most greatly displayed in connection with our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). Although he suffered fears, illness, weakness, and a tremendous sense of being overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, he did not fear the fear; his weakness was not compounded by focusing on his weakness. Far from it! He could write, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Corinthians 12:10). That is the testimony of a man who has learned to minister under the cross.