A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Sermon…

Screenshot 2016-07-28 at 6.27.46 AMAfter the 9/11 attacks on New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spoke at a live taping of Saturday Night Live. The show has always been distinctly New York and he spoke very frankly with the cast, audience and show creator Lorne Michaels. He wanted the show the go on and encouraged them to do it. Michaels asked “Can we be funny?” And with a straight face Giuliani wryly replied “Why start now?” Continue reading

Advertisements

SCOTUS, Where the Rubber Meets the… Playground

 

Screenshot 2016-01-29 at 9.33.33 AM

Baptist Press reports that the Supreme Court will hear an argument in March or April that may set precedents for future church/state decisions. From the article:

Missouri nonprofits can apply to the state for scrap tires to use for rubber playground surfaces. Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., which has a daycare called the Learning Center, applied to receive the ground-up tires for its playground. The state ranked the church’s application highly, but refused the grant based on a state constitutional provision that forbids state money going to support churches. About 35 states have similar provisions in their state constitutions.

The implications of the high court’s decision will go far beyond playground equipment. Continue reading Church-state case goes to Supreme Court via bpnews.net.

Do You Have the Right NOT to Wed a Gay Couple?

Legal opinions vary widely on what the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate of nationwide same-sex marriage will mean for pastors and government officials authorized to perform weddings.

Some legal experts say government officials charged with performing weddings could lose their jobs for refusing to marry gay couples. But others believe both ministers and government officials likely will have freedom not to perform same-sex marriages that violate their religious convictions.

Continue reading

Small Churches, Bi-Vocational Pastors, and Their Role in the SBC

Screenshot 2014-09-18 at 9.55.55 AMLet me first mention the new look of the Baptist Press website. The new site design rolled out yesterday (Sept 17) and includes a few new features as well.

If you looking at the new BP site anyway, go ahead and read this article about the first meeting of the Bivocational and Small Church Advisory Council of the SBC. Continue reading

Read & Share File: When the Pastor is Terminated

Screenshot 2014-09-04 at 6.32.35 PMResearch indicates that as many as four in ten pastors will be forced to leave a ministry at least once during their career. Hershael York and Jeff Iorg outline how to prevent terminations that are often unnecessary and offer advice on how to deal with conflicts when they do arise in this article via Baptist Press.

On the list of top 15 reasons pastors are fired/ forced to resign, only two are related to sin on the part of the pastor. Ethical conduct comes in at #8 and sexual misconduct #10. Many times issues relate to personal communication skills or a few disgruntled members that spiral out of control. Sometimes it is simply time for one’s ministry to come to an end in one place and move on to something else. But the old saying is that figures don’t lie; nearly half of all church pastors will deal with these issues sooner or later. The advice in the BP article is sound and it wouldn’t be a bad idea for church members not in the pastorate to give it some consideration.


 

-Hershael York is a preaching professor at Southern Seminary as well as a currently active church pastor. Jeff Iorg is president of Golden Gate Theological Seminary. The image above and original text of the article are copyright 2014 Baptist Press. 

Independence Day

Baptist Press reminds us that Billy Graham stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on July 4, 1970 and delivered the message The Unfinished Dream. Read the full story here, which includes links to the original BP story published over 40 years ago and to hear the full sermon. Continue reading

The Church at Work in Ukraine

Ukraine American news has been dominated by severe weather stories, and multiple channels of Olympic coverage plus round the clock internet streams provide more hours of winter games than one could possibly watch. Hopefully, however, you are at least aware of the violent instability and loss of life in the Ukraine.

Protests of that nation’s government have been going on for three months or so, and the government has recently responded with greater force. Local churches and IMB missionaries are not taking sides, but are in Kiev handing out scripture and offering prayer support. Tent ministries have been set up near the front lines, and as locals pray for peace in their country church workers pray for God’s peace in people’s hearts.

“Thousands of Scripture portions have been distributed and the prayer tent on Independence Square is very active,” said International Mission Board worker Tim Johnson (names have been changed). Johnson said all IMB personnel in Ukraine are safe and in contact with local believers to support their efforts to share Christ in the midst of the violence.

Read this story in full at Baptist Press News.