Tag Archives: Church

Open Tabs [5/6/14]: Amazon+Twitter; Skip Church; Young Baptists


Surely this was not a difficult deal to make between Twitter and Amazon as it is a homerun for both. Interesting concept, kinda creepy, but interesting.

Eight Reasons It’s Easier Not to Attend Church Today
[Thom Rainer]

Important post from Dr. Rainer.

    1. In most areas, it is no longer culturally expected for persons to attend church. I live in the heart of the Bible belt in the Nashville area. But when I leave for church services on Sunday mornings, I see numerous families out playing with their children, walking the subdivision, or just enjoying the day outside. They don’t feel the cultural pressure to attend church. To the contrary, they are joining the majority who opt out.
    2. Congregational expectations of the attendance of members are lower. In the recent past, the absence of a frequently-attending church member was noticeable. He or she might get a call from another member to check on them. Today, if a church member attends three of four weeks, rarely does another member inquire about their absence. By the way, if every member, on the average, attends one less Sunday per month, the overall attendance of the church drops 25 percent.
    3. Unchurched persons are often very demanding about the perceived quality of worship services. Though some of us bemoan this reality, the entertainment culture is now pervasive. If an unchurched person attends a perceived low-quality service, he or she may not return.

5 Observations about Younger Southern Baptists
[Trevin Wax]

I appreciate how often Trevin focuses on the future of the church. Great thoughts here.

2. Younger Southern Baptists tend to be Reformed-ish. 

Not all young Southern Baptists are Calvinists, by any means, but many of their preaching heroes are, and so young guys tend to settle under the Reformed umbrella by default. I say they’re Reformed-ish because when pressed, I find that many don’t subscribe to all of Calvinism’s particular tenets and doctrines. Like all Southern Baptists, the younger generation is on a spectrum with regards to Calvinism, with perhaps more who are comfortable with that label today than in the past.

It’s interesting to note that young Southern Baptists who reject Reformed theology are in agreement with their Calvinist counterparts that theological depth and biblical exposition are essential to the health of the church, and that our teaching and preaching should be centered on the gospel. They tell me how much they benefit from the vast sermon resources available from John Piper, John Macarthur, and other pastors even if they don’t agree with all aspects of their soteriology. Likewise, I’ve heard this comment (in multiple variations) from young non-Reformed pastors explaining why they frequent blogs and websites from Reformed guys: “The Calvinists are always talking about ministry and mission; the non-Calvinists are always talking about Calvinism.” So, it seems to me that even among the young Southern Baptists who are not Reformed or even Reformed-ish, there’s an appreciation of this stream in Southern Baptist life.


Open Tabs [5/1/14]: Kids Ministry; Millennials in Love; Ian and Larissa

Developing a Kids Ministry Team
[Elizabeth Settle]

Good stuff on children’s ministry here from the Resurgence.

As a church grows, staff pleas often shift from “we have got to get volunteers” to “I really need a new hire.” HR budgets aside, it is a church staff’s job to develop volunteer teams for disciple-making and loadbearing.


The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 2:5, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Each person in the church is a living stone who has a purpose: bearing Kingdom weight so that ministry walls can extend and more people can “come on in.” It’s Christ who edifies us. It’s Christ who assembles us. It’s Christ who bears the weight. But Jesus working in and through us builds our ever-growing spiritual house.


A stone in a wall bears real weight. As a staff member, your role is stacked with heavy to-dos. The more people (living stones) who serve alongside (offering spiritual sacrifices of service), the less likely you are to be crushed by your job.

Each person in the church is a living stone who has a purpose.

So how do we invite people into service? The same way Jesus does.

21 Things That Let You Know You’re A Millennial In Love
[Iz Zakaria]

Funny piece on millennials in love.

1. Risking that 3% of battery life left to text back.

2. Caring about your partner more than you care about your Twitter follower count.

3. Not buying the cheapest wine on the menu.

4. Being able to relate to a Taylor Swift song, no matter how much you don’t want to admit it.

5. Only wearing mascara and lipstick instead of a full face of makeup.

6. Willingly participating in a juice cleanse, or paleo diet, or whatever she/he is into at that moment.

7. Finally deleting Tinder on your phone.

8. And your OKCupid profile.

9. Getting annoyed at every notification that goes to your phone that didn’t come from your significant other.

Update on Ian and Larissa
[Desiring God]

You may remember the wedding video of Ian and Larissa going viral a few years back. Here is an update on their life three years into marriage. Pretty neat. Also, they’ll have a book coming out from B&H here soon!

Open Tabs [4/30/14]: Obama Lost Millennials; 10 Tithing Ideas; Writers & The Mentally Ill

How Obama Lost the Millennial Generation
[Ron Fournier]

Research on how President Obama’s presidency has affected the Millennial generation.

Barack Obama inspired a generation of young Americans to shed their apathy and cynicism to vote in record numbers and transform Washington, where government service would become a noble calling. Or at least that was the 2008 spin.

The reality is pathetically different.

A comprehensive analysis of 18- to 29-year-old Americans—the “millennial generation”—paints the Obama presidency as a squandered opportunity to convert enthusiasm for community service into political commitment.

According to Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, millennials’ lack of trust in American institutions continues to drop, even below historically low numbers recorded a year ago. The institute’s latest poll shows declining faith in:

  • The presidency (32 percent, down 7 points since 2013);
  • The U.S. military (47 percent, down 7);
  • Congress (14 percent, down  4);
  • The Supreme Court (36 percent, down 4);
  • The federal government (20 percent, down 2).

Since 2010, there has been a 6-point jump in the percentage of young Americans who agree that “elected officials seem to be motivated by selfish reasons” (62 percent) and that “political involvement rarely has any tangible results” (29 percent).

10 Ideas to Improve Giving in Your Church
[Chuck Lawless]

I confess: I did not start giving sacrificially until I got married. Good post here on how to improve giving.

Something’s amiss in the North American church when believers average giving about 2-3 percent of their income to the church each year. Such shallow giving limits our ministry possibilities and hinders our getting the gospel to the nations.

If you want to increase the giving in your congregation, consider these steps:

  1. Teach what the Bible teaches. While some debate whether the New Testament teaches a tithe (10%), it is clear God expects believers to give cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7), regularly (1 Cor. 16:2), and sacrificially (Mark 12:41-44). If we don’t teach this mandate intentionally and passionately, we should not be surprised when our congregations don’t give. Fear of teaching about financial stewardship results only in a greater need to teach about it later.
  2. Model sacrificial giving. Years ago, my wife and I made a commitment to give more – not less – to the work of God any time we worry about finances. For us, financial worry is typically an indicator that either (a) we aren’t spending and saving wisely, or (b) we aren’t trusting God like we should. Our philosophy is that we should give to God’s work until it hurts – that is, until it stretches us our faith. Only then am I comfortable challenging others to give more.

The Neurological Similarities Between Successful Writers And The Mentally Ill
[Cody Delistraty]

 As an amateur writer hoping to be successful, I liked this article.

Knowing his wife was upset with him for spending more time with his typewriter than with her, F. Scott Fitzgerald hatched a plan. He wasn’t proud of many of his short stories (he only included 46 of his 181 short stories in his published collections), but he knew that in order to win back his wife he’d have to whip up something quickly. Working from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., he churned out “The Camel’s Back” for The Saturday Evening Post for a fee of $500. That very morning, he bought Zelda a gift with the money he had made.

“I suppose that of all the stories I have ever written this one cost me the least travail and perhaps gave me the most amusement,” he commented in the first edition of Tales of the Jazz Age. “As to the labor involved, it was written during one day in the city of New Orleans, with the express purpose of buying a platinum and diamond wristwatch which cost six hundred dollars.”

This was in 1920, and Zelda’s frustrations could still be assuaged with a well-timed gift. (After all, it was only after Scott had the money and prestige from publishing This Side of Paradise that she agreed to marry him earlier that year.) It wasn’t long though until Zelda had grown so fed up with Scott’s drinking and self-isolation that she lashed out, cheating on him with a French naval aviator while Scott was working on The Great Gatsby in the South of France. From then on, their marriage devolved into arguments and a devastating cocktail of debt, drink, and manic depression.