Blog

Reasons to Celebrate the Cooperative Program

cplogobuttonI’m amazed at what God is doing across Tennessee through His people and through the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

In Dandridge, 15 more boys were recently saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship at a detention facility. These precious younger brothers in Christ add to the harvest of more than 100 new believers who have come to Jesus over the past three years at the facility through the ministry of Swannsylvania Baptist Church.

Just last year we saw 95 college students come to faith in Christ through our Baptist Collegiate Ministries on university campuses across our state. More than 4,700 students are involved in BCM and 152 of them are preparing for church-related vocations. Continue reading “Reasons to Celebrate the Cooperative Program”

Keys to Worship Renewal, Pt. 2: Focus on the Word

worship service church blurredWhenever we Baptists set out to revitalize our times of worship, we are tempted to begin by addressing musical style. Often, we do so with little consideration of worship’s content. The heart of Christianity is its message — not its style. The crux of our faith is hearing and responding to the story of the triune God of the universe. Style is, at best, a secondary issue. Style doesn’t transform hearts. The message of Jesus does. If we truly desire worship renewal, we first should solidify the subject matter of our times of worship. Continue reading “Keys to Worship Renewal, Pt. 2: Focus on the Word”

More to It Than This!

despair depression silhouette“Lord, there must be more to it than this!”

I uttered the words in frustration. I was the pastor of a good church with good people and good resources, and yet it seemed that we had little impact on the lives of people in our city. In fact, it seemed like we had lost both our passion and purpose as the church. In the days that followed, I was drawn in by the words of the prophet Isaiah (61:1-4); the prophetic words which Jesus Himself fulfilled:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.” Continue reading “More to It Than This!”

The Image of the Potter’s Wheel

potters wheelI have always been fascinated by the image of a potter’s wheel. Something about the way a master potter takes a lump of clay and molds it into a beautiful and useful vessel appeals to me. I think it may be that each piece of pottery is unique.  Because it is not “mass-produced” on a machine, no two pieces are the same.  Each piece is carefully shaped into what the potter desires it to be.

This came to life for me when I actually got the chance to observe a potter at work on the wheel. He carefully and precisely shaped the clay, paying close attention throughout the entire process. While several of his finished vessels were similar, no two were exactly the same. Continue reading “The Image of the Potter’s Wheel”

Keys to Worship Renewal – Pt. 1: What Is Worship? And How Is It Renewed?

One of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board’s five core objectives is to see at least 500 churches revitalized by the year 2024. Because I believe renewed worship fuels revitalized churches, my passion is to help the local church deepen its understanding and practice of worship. With this goal in mind, I’d like to share a brief series of articles I’ve entitled “Keys to Worship Renewal.” I pray these articles serve as a springboard to healthy worship discussions and encourage worship renewal across Tennessee.

 

worship-service-church-blurredWe Baptists love to talk about worship. And, if we’re honest, our conversations usually focus on stylistic issues — especially musical style.

Traditional or contemporary? Choir or worship team? Pipe organ or electric guitar? Sometimes we even use these discussions to cast blame on musical style for plateaued, declining, or dying churches.

If we begin our worship chats on the topic of style, however, we are starting in the wrong place. Continue reading “Keys to Worship Renewal – Pt. 1: What Is Worship? And How Is It Renewed?”

Showing the Way to Finishing Well

cobb
Don Cobb

One of the mixed blessings of being a pastor is presiding or participating in funerals, especially those of Christian friends. On the one hand there is sadness for the loss of family members and friends; on the other there is the celebration knowing those individuals “see in full” as the Apostle Paul writes. They have arrived safely into the arms of Jesus. They’re home.

sager
Doug Sager

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the joy and high honor of participating in the funerals of two gentlemen leaders and choice servants of God — pastors Don Cobb and Doug Sager. Both these men exemplified what it means to love God and love people. They set the bar high for pastoral ministry while demonstrating the highest level of humility. Both had a passion to see people come to saving faith in Jesus. Both demonstrated what we can be when we walk with God and submit to His leadership every day, every week, every month, every year, year-after-year until Jesus calls us home. Both men left legacies whose ripple effects will reap a Kingdom harvest for years to come. They’ve shown us how to finish well. Continue reading “Showing the Way to Finishing Well”

The Value of Learning Communities in Church Revitalization

Too often in the church revitalization process, church leaders attempt what I call the “Lone Ranger” approach. They attempt to lead their church through a difficult process, one that they probably haveproblem solution learning never been through before, without the benefit of a group of peers. This is where Learning Communities can be helpful.

A Learning Community is a group of people who share common goals and who meet regularly to collaborate and learn from one another. As we introduced Learning Communities among church leaders who were involved in the Church Revitalization Process, it was important to make some clarifications and distinctions: Continue reading “The Value of Learning Communities in Church Revitalization”

In Pursuit of the Perfect Pastor

pastor speaking podiumLet me go ahead and say it: Pastors aren’t perfect.

Surely that isn’t new information for anyone, but I can almost hear you saying, “Well thanks for that news flash Captain Obvious.” But let me ask, if we already know that why do we expect different from our pastors?

Ironically, I’m not just talking to the dear brothers and sisters who gather each week in our pews. I’m also talking to the men who stand in the pulpit in front of those pews. Both groups know the truth yet too often live in the world of unmet expectations rather than reality.

I’ve obviously been a member of both the pew and pulpit groups and I know any pastor worth his salt has a high expectation of himself. He wants to serve the Lord and the Lord’s people well. He feels the responsibility of being God’s shepherd. Every pastor wants his church to thrive, grow, love the spiritually lost, and love each other. He wants to lead an evangelistic and financially generous church. Every pastor wants to succeed; no pastor plans to fail. Continue reading “In Pursuit of the Perfect Pastor”

Does Prayer Still Change Things?

By Randy C. Davis
TBMB President & Executive Director

pray4tn logo“… That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words” (Colossians 2:2-4).

London was overrun with orphaned children in the 1830s. Children lived on the streets and those that found shelter often found themselves in squalid conditions subject to harsh treatment by adults who viewed the children as slave labor. It was an abusive, graceless, and dangerous environment. Continue reading “Does Prayer Still Change Things?”

Christmas and God’s Faithfulness

nativity scene manger christmas desertAren’t you glad it is Christmas? You can settle into your favorite chair by the fire, watch the twinkling lights on the tree, and sip hot chocolate from your favorite Christmas mug. Finally, you can breathe, just breathe, as you enjoy a quiet reflective moment in the stillness of your own home.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure you just chuckled when you read that and grunted, “Sure must be nice.” To be honest, that’s not really the way it is around my house either. For most of us, it seems life’s accelerator gets stuck to the floor the week of Thanksgiving and stays wide open until we coast into the first week of the new year, running on the fumes of exhaustion. It takes a couple weeks of January just to recover from the holidays! Continue reading “Christmas and God’s Faithfulness”