A tale of Two Churches
In his book, Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page, author Larry Osborne warns leaders against focusing too heavily on what is “not there.” What does he mean by that? As pastors and leaders, we tend to exhaust all of our efforts and energy on what we don’t have “in the room.”
Osborne tells of one church in California that had become very successful, with several young families and young adults in attendance. However, the church leadership thought that their greatest hindrance to growth was from not having a permanent location. They formed a committee and started a building fund. For the next ten years, the church put all its emphasis on finding a permanent place, but to no avail. During this time, people became frustrated, and with several families leaving over time, that church has become a shell of its former self.
Across town, Osborne notes, another, separate startup church was formed. However, this church did not focus on what they didn’t have; rather, these leaders began to focus on what they did have. They began to develop teams, ministries, and people. And they built leaders. Within ten years, that startup church has now become a megachurch in California.
This illustration may remind us of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. The servants who were rewarded and prosperous were those who invested what they were given at their master’s command. The servant who buried his talent in the ground was afraid to invest because of his focus on what he did not have. Rather than investing what he was given, this “wicked and slothful servant” (verse 26) guarded it and did nothing with it.
Rather than being intimidated by what the “church across town” has that our churches don’t have, getting our perspective to line up with God’s is the better answer. We can’t afford to become people who say, for example, “I could never preach like that person, so there is no way God can use me to convert people or build a church.” We must preach with what God has given us and in the way that He has developed us, and rely upon the anointing of the Holy Ghost.
If we put much emphasis on what we don’t have, won’t we take the credit for what we do have, rather than giving it to God? We all have narcissistic tendencies that must be crucified. Because when we elevate human potential over the Spirit of God, we position ourselves to become a carnal people; a carnal church. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we all battle the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. They could not walk in covenant with God due to these, and neither can we. We must focus on what God has given us to invest, and let His power be what accomplishes all He wants to accomplish through us.
Theology- Bobby Killmon
Is the longer reading of Matt 28:19 a trinitarian insertion? Should the text read “in my name” instead of “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”?
This is a continuation of the answer to this great question. As a reminder, the position in question is that the phrase “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” is not what was first in Mt. 28:19. We have already shown that all copies of Matthew in Greek, as well as the various translations, have this passage included. We also saw that Eusebius commonly abbreviated his quotations of passages in Scripture. Let’s wrap up with what I will call an argument from common sense.
The argument that some faction of the Church wanted to create a passage with a triune baptism, who then altered manuscripts, then destroyed all manuscripts with a shorter ending, and also altered all of the Early Church Father’s sermons is incredible to suggest. That would involve altering around 6,000 Greek manuscripts, along with over 40,000 early translations, and literally tens of thousands of quotes in the Early Church Fathers. They would have to never show their ink work in the margins and never get caught!
Further, if you’re going to change the baptismal formula in Matthew, why change it only in this passage? Why wouldn’t they also alter Lk. 24:47; Acts 2:38; 8:12, 8:16; 10:48; and 19:5 too? These passages all refer to Jesus’ name baptism or being baptized in Jesus’ name. But wait; you would also have to go into the epistles and change the affirmations of Jesus’ name baptism in Rom. 6:3-4; I Cor. 1:13, 6:11; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12; and Jam. 2:7. None of these passages have textual variants of an inserted trinitarian formula.
All due respect to ministers who try to teach a truth (baptism in Jesus’ name) by casting doubt on the text of Scripture (Mt. 28:19; 1 Jn. 5:7; and others), the evidence above is clear. Mt. 28:19 is a soteriological statement alluding to baptism in Jesus’ name. It declares Father in intention, Son in redemption, and Holy Ghost in application. This is a beautiful christological confession of faith that is affirmed by Jesus’ name baptism. What we are afforded by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is applied to our lives by faith, when we identify with each aspect of the salvation process. So Mt. 28:19 shows what was purposed by God (as our Father), must be won and accomplished in existence by the Son (the man God became; Phil. 2:5-11), and then applied to our life in salvation (through the regeneration of the Spirit). If we start to dismantle the Bible, do we still have one?
Ps. 12:6-7 holds a beautiful promise for us. “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” God inspired an inerrant text, but also promised to preserve it for His people in all generations. Not just the Word in general, but His “words.” All of them. Praise God!
Church Growth- T.W. Massengale
The Successful Pastor
The growth of a church will rise or fall upon its leadership. A growing church has a growing pastor. No church rises above its leadership.If one will fast, pray, and feed his or her mind with what he desires to become, the Holy Ghost will do the rest. The growing pastor is an individual of humility. In the Word of God, great people knew that they were nothing in themselves, and were great only through God. Paul said, “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle.”
The growing pastor is an individual of personal discipline. Growing pastors are disciplined in prayer, study, soulwinning, and managing their time. They neither burn out nor coast along and have achieved balance in their lives.
The growing pastor is an individual of vision. They are possessed with a dream, not of their own making, but given to them by God. Like Abraham, they are willing to step into the unknown and be led by the Spirit. They know that “without a vision, the people perish.”
The growing pastor is an individual of confidence. They are confident that the path they walk is God’s will, and they are confident in Him as well as their people.
The growing pastor is an individual of zeal. They have an “inner fire,” burning with spiritual passion. They get angry, but angry at the right things – like sin and the many devices of Satan.
The growing pastor is an individual of integrity. Their word can be counted on. Regardless of how they are treated, they treat others as they wish to be treated. They have high ministerial ethics and will always follow the guidelines agreed upon by their brethren.
The growing pastor is an individual of courage. Willing to take measured risks, they will step out in faith, knowing that God’s promise to Joshua applies to them as well: “Be strong and of good courage… I will not fail you nor forsake you.”
How about you? Are you willing to follow the Spirit’s leading, even in the face of ridicule? Are you willing to preach the truth and stand for holiness in spite of people’s opinions? If so, this is courage. It is this quality that separates the great pastor from simply the average.