Preaching Mentoring

“Part of the ministry of the Expository Preaching Trust is to provide preaching mentors.

The Trust has five experienced preachers who offer mentoring on a regular, usually weekly, basis.

The mentor usually listens to the mentee’s Sunday sermon and then they reflect together on the sermon’s engagement with the Bible text and the people. …”

– Read about this extraordinarily gracious offer to preachers from The Expository Preaching Trust.

Related:

David Cook speaks with Mark Powell on Preaching, for the AP’s Australian Christian Life Podcast.

Really encouraging.

Strategies to increase the retention of the children of members

From The Pastor’s Heart –

“There are three different ways that the adult population of churches can grow:

  1. Adults being saved.
  2. Christians transferring from another congregation within your denomination of switching from another denomination.
  3. Children of members growing up in the church and taking on their parents faith for themselves.

Most evangelical churches – even growing churches – are underperforming in the first and third ways. …”

– At The Pastor’s Heart this week, Dominic Steele speaks with Al James from Sydney Anglican Youthworks.

Make the Main Thing the Main Thing on Sundays

“If everything in a church needs to change, where should a pastor start? I want to offer a convictional testimony for making the Bible the main course on Sunday. Every other change should follow. …”

– At 9Marks, Bret Capranica has encouragement for pastors.

Fact-Checking a popular story of Christian origins

“The latest book by bestselling author and controversial Australian feminist Clementine Ford is I Don’t: The Case Against Marriage (Allen & Unwin, 2023).

She wants this book to not only dissuade people from getting married but also ‘to end marriages’, because of the harm they bring to women.

This article isn’t about her main thesis, but the striking way she begins her case against marriage. The very first step Ford takes is to outline the history of Christianity and so discount the moral authority of the church. …”

– Robert Martin at Northcote Baptist Church in Melbourne does a spot of fact-checking for The Gospel Coalition Australia. This could be helpful if you have friends who are reading the book.

Related:

Who will champion marriage? – Marriage Foundation via Anglican Mainstream. The linked story includes some interesting charts.

Singing as Spiritual Formation

“Churches in Australia go to incredible lengths to sing together. Typically, churches do not have the resources to do music as they’d like. What’s more, views differ on the place of music in church life. Yet Sunday after Sunday, the church sings.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve had the privilege of visiting churches throughout Australia to help in music ministry training. Almost all have been struggling to motivate their congregations to sing heartily, and to develop bands that lead the congregation well. Some church music teams are thriving – praise God! Yet mostly, churches are just getting by. I know of churches where faithful music teams are few in number and exhausted. I know of churches with no musicians – they sing along to YouTube videos in their services instead. I have served on staff as Music Pastor at three evangelical churches (2 in Sydney, 1 in Melbourne), each holding slightly different views on the place of singing and seeking to lovingly engage with congregational expectations of singing’s purpose and song choices. Perhaps these are familiar scenarios. Music ministry is complex.

And yet I’ve not encountered a single church that has excluded singing from its gatherings. Singing on Sundays – some way, somehow – seems to be a non-negotiable. …”

– Greg Cooper published this article back in March at EFAC Australia.

Image: gregcoopermusic.com

Making Sense of Suffering, Part 1 — Don Carson

From The Gospel Coalition, a Carson Center Podcast:

“Don Carson outlines six theological pillars for a biblical understanding of suffering.

Looking into the philosophical problem of suffering, he references David Hume’s skepticism about God’s goodness in light of pervasive hardship, and he challenges his audience to consider how to reconcile the existence of a loving, omnipotent God with the reality of suffering.

A faith that remains steadfast despite life’s trials requires a deep trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness, which can sustain believers through the deepest valleys of suffering. …”

Listen or read the transcript here.

How should we teach artificial intelligence morality?

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“A new massive ethical question has risen up with the advent of artificial intelligence.

How will people decide what kind of morality to give to their artificial intelligence creations?

There will need to be a morality.  But what should it be?

The market is already making different choices.

Elon Musk has said he wants the AI behind X (formerly Twitter) to be morally flexible.   He wants his AI to appeal to all people: left and right, authoritarian and democratic, kind and brutal …

Stephen Driscoll is the author of ‘Made in our Image – God, artificial intelligence and you’.”

Watch or listen here.

Martin Salter Interview on Acts

From Church Society:

“In the podcast this week, Martin Salter talks about his new commentary on the book of Acts, in the new Hodder Bible Commentary series, in which the gospel spreads from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, and people learn what it is to live for Jesus.

We hear about the battles that follow – battles in the spiritual realm, and the persecution of Christians as they preach the gospel.

Martin also talks about how we read biblical narrative and what that means for applying Scripture today.”

Listen here.

King’s Birthday Conference 2024: A Post Christian Christ?

From Phillip Jensen:

“The annual King’s Birthday Conference is coming up… This year, I will be joined by my nephew David Jensen as together we will explore the question of ‘A post Christian Christ?’.

Together, we will look at the gospel’s message in a world that tries to bypass Jesus. Many Australians may have lost connection with organised religion, but Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, has not finished with them. How do we tell people, who do not want to hear, of the Saviour they are ignoring before they meet him as their Judge?

Please join us on the afternoon of Monday June 10th from 1:30-5:00pm at Moore Theological College, Sydney. There will a Q & A time after the sessions and afternoon tea will be provided.

If you are outside Sydney, there will be a live-stream option (Q&A not included), so why not gather a group of friends to join us together online?”

See all the details, and register, at this link.

Books in Ministry — recommendations from Mark Dever

From The Banner of Truth in Edinburgh –

“We sat down with Mark Dever (a pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and President of 9Marks) to talk books, ministry, and books in the ministry.”

A very helpful and encouraging 45 minutes.

You will want to have a pen handy to write down some of his recommendations. As well, there are tips on how to read some of the Puritan authors.

Gerald Bray Interview on the BCP — Church Society

From Church Society:

“Lee Gatiss talks to Gerald Bray about Gerald’s new Companion to the Book of Common Prayer.”

Listen here.

Prayer — theme of the Bathurst Diocese Conference 2024

The video recordings of the talks on Prayer given at the recent Bathurst Diocese Conference have been made available as a playlist here.

In addition, last Friday, Bishop of Bathurst Mark Calder preached at Moore College chapel in Sydney:

For your edification and encouragement – and a reminder to pray for the churches of the Diocese of Bathurst.

Book Review: Honest Evangelism by Rico Tice

“Do you find evangelism hard? Why is that the case when we have the best news to share?

Here lies a common tension—we know people need to hear about Jesus, yet all too often we hesitate to tell them about him. Maybe it’s a fear of the consequences, that relationships might be broken, especially in a world that increasingly sees followers of Christ as the bearers of bad news rather than good. Or maybe this wasn’t always the case, but weariness has set in from repeated rejection when we have shared.

Guilt then sets in as evangelism begins to feel like we’re not doing enough. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Sarah Chew reviews Rico Tice’s Honest Evangelism.

How to give away your gifts

“The words of Jesus in Matthew 10:8 are characteristically simple, logical and compelling: ‘Freely you have received; freely give’.

As Jesus commissions the disciples for their first solo mission, the context of his instructions is very specific. They are to proclaim the nearness of the Kingdom and he has given them authority to do as he himself has been doing – heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons. What they have received from the Lord in great abundance – good news and the authority of the King to do his work – they are to give lavishly and generously. …”

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel writes in the May-June 2024 Southern Cross magazine.

Good Giving

“It’s getting to the end of the financial year, so your email inbox will soon be full of EOFY giving appeals. And then, in a couple of months’ time, if your church is behind budget, you’ll be hearing appeals to raise your giving. What does God’s word say about being a good giver? …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Des Smith at Trinity Church Lockeys in Adelaide writes to encourage biblical generosity.

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