3 Reasons Christians Should Trick-or-Treat

3 Reasons Christians Should Trick-or-Treat

I’m tired of baptizing “secular” things in Christian language to make it acceptable to participate. Either I can do Halloween as a Christian or I can’t. Am I the only one who is exhausted by all of the rationalizations Christians feel compelled to make so their kids can dress like a pumpkin and get some candy? “We’re actually celebrating Reformation Day! My kid is dressed up like the ghost of Martin Luther!” “Well, tomorrow is All Saint’s Day–so this actually like a Christian thing the wicked pagans have hijacked.” “We’re putting the ‘hallow’ back in Halloween. You know. Like ‘hallowed be thy name.’ Yeah, Jesus said that.” Ok. I made those up. I don’t know that people actually say that. But there is more than a little guilt and shame that gets tossed around every October 31 when Christian families dress up their kids and start knocking on more doors than a Jehovah’s Witness. Why? It’s insane! Here are three reasons Christians should trick-or-treat: Candy. My kids are still little enough that at least half of the spoils are going to mom and dear old dad. Halloween is about one thing: candy. If you’re going to make a Biblical claim against Halloween, do it in the name of gluttony. The costumes, the pumpkins, all of it are a prelude to the star of this holiday: sugar. We go trick-or-treating because at our house, we don’t have a doctrine against candy. Fun. We like fun at my house. Life is too serious. Life is too hard. There aren’t too many days where you get full permission to dress up and ask...
7 Things Churches Didn’t Have in 1985

7 Things Churches Didn’t Have in 1985

It’s Back to the Future Day. It’s fun. Of all the predictions of what 2015 would look like from the vantage point of the 80’s, the things which are strangely accurate are interesting. Yet it’s still massively disappointing that cars can’t fly and I don’t own a hover board. Let’s get moving, scientists and engineers! The subject got me thinking. What do churches have now that they didn’t have in 1985? How far have we come (or regressed)? Here are seven things I could think of off the top of my head: 1- Projectors Now, this is a bit unfair. Churches in the 80’s did have projectors… overhead projectors. Does anyone remember that? Some poor soul had to sit up front and swap transparencies over that hot light. The people with bad eyesight were out-of-luck as everyone was squinting to read the lyrics to verse four. Of course, most churches were sticking to hymnals-only in 1985–perhaps a “praise chorus” printed in the bulletin. 2- Veggie Tales Poor kids in the 80’s didn’t get to watch Bob and Larry. Kids in 1985 didn’t even get McGee and Me. No, in 1985, the kids were stuck with Psalty the Singing Songbook. Don’t get me wrong, I love this Barnie-like, Jesus-lovin’ walking tome as much as the next guy. I’m just glad there’s a little more variety these days. 3- Metrosexual Worship Leaders Unnecessary scarves didn’t make their way into churches until this millennium. I’d say this is a regression as a culture. There’s just something about a suit and tie wearing, mustachioed music pastor holding a microphone in one hand and...
Big Announcement!

Big Announcement!

This, people. In case you can’t tell from the picture, my set up just came in the mail last Tuesday. Speaking of Tuesday’s… On Tuesday, November 3, I will be launching the Church Leadership Matters Podcast! This is a show where we discuss the things that matter to you because your leadership matters. Each episode of this church leadership podcast will be between 20-25 minutes and feature an interview with leaders from varying ministry backgrounds and experiences. The show will always conclude with a Leadership Lifelinewhich is a practical take away relevant to the topic that can help you and your ministry right away. The podcast will air every Tuesday at 9am and be available via iTunes (iTunes link to be posted at launch), Buzzsprout, and on the web home of the show: churchleadershipmatters.com. Best of all, you’ll never have to pull over or quit working to write down what you’re hearing in the show. Show notes will be available online, and the notes with the Leadership Lifeline can be delivered directly to your inbox so you can just enjoy listening. Finally, it’s important to me that you know who this podcast is for. It’s for you. Whether you’re the girl checking in kids on a Sunday morning or a mega church pastor, this podcast is designed to help you maximize your impact in whatever leadership capacity you serve. Don’t think that just because you aren’t on a staff that you aren’t a leader. Churches would be dead in the water without the brilliant leadership found on their volunteer teams. You can make an impact, and this podcast will help to maximize it. I hope you’re as excited as I am to learn from other great servants in the...
5 Worship Songs Worth Singing

5 Worship Songs Worth Singing

Planning worship services is fun, but serious work. Worship leaders and creative teams are tasked with the responsibility of weeding through possible song choices, trying to find what aligns best with message and stays true to the Bible. One of the greatest joys of my life has been to listen to music with ears to hear how a worship song might impact the people of God. I love searching for the subtext, emotion, veracity, and movement of worship music. I also enjoy discovering new music. While there’s something special about a song that sticks around, the benefit of new music is that we may hear a classic truth framed in a fresh way that renews our affections for Jesus. You see, worship music communicates truth about Jesus in a unique way. It touches our soul and whispers God’s promises in our ears; melodies resonate within us through and wordlessly echo the truth that God is faithful, good, and relentlessly loving. If you’re a worship leader or serve on a creative team and you’re looking for some music, this post is for you. If you simply love worship music and want to know why the songs on this list are worth singing, this is for you, too! Here are five (newer) worship songs worth singing:   1. O Praise the Name This brand new song from Hillsong Worship is an addition to your song rotation you won’t want to skip. In a world where so many songs are designed to help us navigate our own thoughts about God, which is not always a bad thing, this song reflects on the narrative...
The Wilderness Journey of Faith

The Wilderness Journey of Faith

Sometimes God’s deliverance feels like abandonment. When you read the story of the Exodus, the people of Israel have barely left Egypt before they start complaining about the situation into which God has led them. After 400 years of slavery in an oppressive, pagan, foreign country, God finally frees his people. Yet at the first sign of struggle, they would voluntarily put their shackles back on than journey into uncertainty. I love the sarcasm of the Israelites when they complain to Moses: “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?” — (Exodus‬ ‭14:11‬ ‭ESV) This is exactly the kind of lip I find myself giving to God when he places me in a position where more faith is required. You see, most of us would trade the slavery we can predict for the freedom we can’t yet see. We fall back continually into the same traps because there is comfort in the familiar, but God rewards those who walk in the hope of what is yet to be revealed. Most of us would trade the slavery we can predict for the freedom we can't yet see. #Faith Click To Tweet To be saved from a difficult situation can feel like exile because the distance between Slavery and the Promised Land is the wilderness journey of faith and struggle. The heroes of our faith from Abraham to Elijah to David to Paul, all voluntarily journey into the wilderness after leaving oppression in order to be the beneficiaries...
Two Keys to Healthy Families in Ministry

Two Keys to Healthy Families in Ministry

“Everybody says they want you to be healthy, but nobody means it.” – Chris Brown, North Coast Church That’s a bold statement. Yet case study after case study proves it to be true; my own experiences notwithstanding. Church ministry can be difficult, and can place a burden on a family unlike other professions. The hours are often long, the work often thankless, and the weight of carrying others spiritually can be heavy. If leaders are not careful, the primacy of family can slip. The reality is that the two keys to healthy families in ministry are not difficult. They’re obvious. Yet they must be practiced to make an impact. Here are the two keys to healthy families in ministry: Be selfish. When it comes to your family, you have to be selfish. Church ministry will gladly take from you whatever you are willing to give it. The natural demands of ministry positions put a strain on a normal family rhythm–not including additional commitments leaders often add on. So don’t do it.   Do not say “Yes” to any extra obligation that equals a “No” to healthy margins for family.  Plan “appointments” for family time that can’t be rescheduled by a person who simply wants to complain or share an idea.   Don't say YES to anything that equals a NO to healthy margins for #family. #Leadership Click To Tweet   Treat your spouse and kids like you would a first time guest who is interested in meeting with you about the church. Scratch that. Treat them better. Your spouse and kids get the first run at your time, not...