New Life Bible Fellowship

Why You’re the Best Church in the World (for me)!

Why You’re the Best Church in the World (for me)!

The uber-mega church Willow Creek Church is currently hiring for their senior pastor opening. Willow Creek doesn’t require much of an introduction. 24,000 people meet at seven campuses in the Chicagoland area. It launched the Global Leadership Summit, which drew 118,000 people last year.

Last year, Mariners church in Southern California searched for their new Senior Pastor. Every weekend 17,000 crowd into its lush campus that could easily be mistaken for a resort.

And (not that if they would!) if they called me, I wouldn’t even pick up. Seriously.

New Life, you’re the best church in the world for me.

Our minds and hearts naturally wander. We ponder whether there is something better out there. Ingratitude makes our hearts grumble. Ambition turns our eyes green. “If only…” we think.

When my heart turns inward, when I allow my sin to go unchecked, I go to this place too.

But here is the reality: God has called us to Tucson. He’s called us to New Life Bible Fellowship. He’s decided to use my gifts in and for New Life. He’s given me the privilege of shepherding his flock, of caring for his sheep.

What Books Can Help me Talk to My Friend about Their Questions for God?

What Books Can Help me Talk to My Friend about Their Questions for God?

In the coming months at New Life we are looking forward to stepping into a series called Questions for God. In the series, we hope to openly and honestly engage the most difficult questions people have about Christianity. For some those questions keep them on the outside looking in. For others, it causes them to wrestle with their faith.

We hope that Questions for God invites everyone into the conversation no matter where you are spiritually. It is our aim to address these questions with respect and honesty. And it is our hope that some might lean in to engage their questions in a safe environment. It is hope as well that it might serve as an opportunity for Christians to open the doors for conversations with friends and family members.

As we prepare for this series, I would commend the following books. Maybe one of these piques your interest. I would encourage you to pick it up and start reading it in the next few weeks.

 

Two Books That Engage the Broader Questions

Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin

Deep thinkers have pointed questions for Christianity. “Aren’t we better off without religion?” “How can you say there’s only one true faith?” “Doesn’t religion cause violence?” “Hasn’t science disproved Christianity?” “Isn’t Christianity homophobic?” “How could a loving God send people to hell?”

In Confronting Christianity, Rebecca McLaughlin takes those questions seriously. As a former skeptic, McLaughlin brings both empathy and clear reasoning. She does three things particularly well:

Celebrating God's Rescue

Celebrating God's Rescue

This past Sunday at New Life we had the privilege of celebrating the baptism of eight. Baptisms are one of the most precious celebrations for the family of God. It doesn’t matter how many I’ve done, each is as fresh and as joy-filled as my first.

These testimonies are too powerful not to share.

Here is one nugget:

“What do I love about Jesus? What’s not to love? I love that he loves me… That’s what I love most about our Lord, that he is so gracious and merciful despite how far we walk away from him.”

Make sure you watch to the end. How good is our Heavenly Father?

Why We have a 37 Page Doctrinal Statement

Why We have a 37 Page Doctrinal Statement

In the world of non-denominationalism, the tendency is to scrape theology down to its bare minimum. I appreciate the spirit behind that move: to not create division where there shouldn’t be division. Why can’t we join together as a church in unity despite our minor disagreements?

New Life is swimming against that current. In a day and age many church’s doctrinal statements could be printed on written out on a napkin, we have a 37 page doctrinal statement.

I discovered New Life’s doctrinal statement when I began considering whether God might be calling apply to serve on staff. I was pretty surprised. I was also grateful. I’m even more grateful for the doctrinal statement today. Here are 7 reasons why:

Who We Pray We Will Be

Who We Pray We Will Be

In this brief series I have shared how significant the process of creating our staff culture document was for our staff. The document represents who we are when we are at our best. In that sense, it is a hope, it is a prayer we have lifted up to God. “Lord, by your grace, shape us to be this kind of team,” we have offered up to God.

My wife and I were recently doing couples counseling with a couple who had experienced such a series of letdowns in their marriage they were fearful to commit to even the most modest of changes for fear of failure. But, whether it is physical health, or your organization, there is no hope for change without the risk of the offering of prayers and dreams for what you want to become.

Below is our staff’s prayer for who we desire that God would shape us to be. You will see the value stated first, then a brief statement of what we believe that value is, and then ways we can measure that value. We are working on a longer document currently where we want to share stories of ways our staff has watched that value lived out as a team. This is a living document and likely will look different in six months than it does today. We see that as a good thing.

By his grace, we have already begun to see the small works of his transformative power among us. We have worked hard to press this into our lives and work together. I encourage you to take that risk with the team God has placed you on. If you have a staff culture document, I would love it if you would share yours as well.

5 Ways to Make a Church Home

5 Ways to Make a Church Home

When I graduated with my BA in Biblical-Theological studies and came back across the country to marry my bride, I entered our new church like a bull in a china shop. I wanted to get my hands into ministry as quickly as I could and sit under a mentor as soon as possible. I reached out to the pastoral staff and tried to jump in as quickly as I could into various ministry roles and getting mentored. There were lots of good things about our experience at that church, but when we left two and a half years later for seminary, I was largely disappointed with the ministry opportunities that had been available to me and the pastoral mentoring I had received. Some of the blame for my experience falls on the church leadership. But plenty falls on myself.  

Many can identify with disappointment in a church. Many of you have been at a church for years without feeling a significant level of connection and belonging.

There are absolutely ways in which churches need to improve in helping newcomers feel at home quickly and well, but there are lots of things I would tell my 21 year old self about how to join a church and what expectations to have.