Tags: Christianity, History, Mark Driscoll, RPTS, Seminary, Theology
Tags: Christianity, Church Planting, Mark Driscoll, Marshill, missional, Preaching, Seminary
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Mark Driscoll recently traveled to England to speak about the importance of church planting. The lectures can be found here.
At one point Mark, a brother whom I greatly respect, talked about when a “number one” Pastor should step down. His argument, there are some guys who are really, as he puts it, “number two” guys who are in number one positions. He argues that these guys need to step down. According to Mark, pastors who struggle with sermons, who shrug off vision and “architecting”, and whose churches are stagnant are probably number two guys in the number one slot.
Mark advises that they need to step down, and let a real number one step up. It seems like he is arguing that Preaching and vision are things that a number one does, while shepherding and counseling are for the number two.
Let me share what I disagree with, before I move on to what I agree with.
First, Mark often speaks about the problem of simply pulling your church’s structure for culture. In fact he has gone to great pains to show how he is a two office guy, Elders and Deacons. These statements hurt that part of his witness. This idea seems to come more from the corporate world than the New Testament. Putting a value judgment on guys as being primary or secondary is wrong. Its wrong when Presbyterians devalue ruling elders, and its wrong when Mark devalues these number two guys, and it divides the office of elder.
In addition I think its unhealthy to score different aspects of the ministry of an elder. Here is the problem and this might sound mean. Mark has forgotten where these guys are coming from. He points out in Confessions of a Reformission Rev. that most churches are less than 200, which means that most churches only have one guy on staff. Which means that the specialization that Mark is talking about is entirely unknown to most of the guys he is talking to at church planting conferences. Regardless of if these small churches are healthy or not, I think that Doug Swagerty is right when he says that a church is not a fault for being small. In a larger church, with multiple full-time elders (ie. Pastors) it is understandable that different men need to specialize. I think Mark might be setting up for church planters the idea that 2000 plus people should be the norm for a church, when factually this is not the case.
I understand that he was not trying to devalue these specialized pastors who don’t preach, but I think he explained his idea in the wrong way. I also understand that this is a blog, one that very few people read. My critique is probably not going to change the way that Mark talks about this stuff, though it would be nice if it did. I think Mark has to realize that many Pastors are going to be both ones and twos, most of my seminary professors showed the ability to cast vision, to teach, to prophetically call people to follow Christ. At the same time these men, can along side of their students, they encouraged and counseled them. It is not as easy as saying your a one and your a two. I would argue that the majority of good pastors are going to be a mix of both.
Instead of simply speaking of number one preachers and number two counselors, I think Mark should have gone to Scripture to argue for the diversity of gifts on a pastoral team, something that I agree with. As I was listening to his lecture, I immediately went to Acts 11. In Acts 11, Barnabas, is working in the church Antioch, he is preaching, teach, and shepherding this new church. The Spirit is using Barnabas and the result is an explosion in the growth of the church. Barnabas, though he is a gifted speaker, realizes that Paul’s teaching would build up the church so he seeks out Paul, and asks him to join the ministry in Antioch. It seems fair to say that Paul and Barnabas, though sharing many skills, each brought their own talents to the table. From what we gather later in Acts, Paul seems to headline much of the speaking, while even Barnabas’s name reveals his counseling gifts.
I think Mark could, and should say, that if you are a Barnabas, and you see that you need someone else to come and minister with you, you need to find that Paul. Even if it means that visibly your place in the church will decrease.
I don’t think that Mark should presuppose that all churches will reach a point where all their staff can specialize, but I do think that in in the western church, there has been a culture of solo. Even the Presbyterian system, which is still being refined by God’s word, has for too long seen the Teaching Elder as alone in his ministry. In the New Testament, men ministering alone was the exception not the rule. In part, I think what Mark was getting at is the importance of realizing the need to be connected to other men in ministry. This commitment to connection must be valued even if it means that, like Barnabas, one pastor’s role might become less visible.
The challenge is to not setup success as our functional savior. A pastor’s desire must be to see people come to love Jesus, and each other, and not to be know for seeing people come to love Jesus and each other.
Here is the audio from my latest sermon at RPTS, the text I preached from was 1 Corinthians 1:18-19, the Sermon was entitled The Stupidity of the Cross.
Tags: Acts 29, Art, Contextualization, Culture, missional, Pittsburgh, RPTS, Seminary
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My finals are finished, and I have just a bit of reading and a few pages to write.
So here is what I’m planning for the next week, or so, at thedesocios.com:
1. I recently heard a lecture by Darren Patrick about the History of the Emergent Church, and I’m hoping to write a response.
I’d especially like to focus on the nature of missions– Is it from the church or from God.
2. I’m heading down to Louisville this week to take Michael up on his offer to visit the 930 Art Center, and Sojourn Community Church. Sojourn is an Acts 29 Church, so I’m pretty excited. It will be great to see what these guys are doing and maybe it will give me some ideas for Pittsburgh, if we stay. I’m hoping to at the least take some good photo from the trip, maybe Ill bring my video camera. So next Monday night or Tuesday I’ll post about our trip down to the 930.
Like many of my compatriots, I am a bibliophile. Growing up I hated books and I never read, but late in college I started to read good books. By the time I was in Seminary, maybe due to my love of the good book, I began to love reading good books. By no means do I have an exhaustive library, in fact my collection is quite humble, around 300 books.
Like many people I know, I am currently in the middle of reading several books, but this does not stop me from wanting to read other book.
Here is my Winter (Birthday & Christmas) Wishlist:
Coming of the Kingdom by Herman Ridderbos.
Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of American Presbyterianism by Darryl Hart and John R. Muether.
Everyday Theology by Kevin J Vanhoozer.
Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission by Andreas Kostenberger.
How Jesus Transformed the Ten Commandments by Edmund Clowney
Thirty Years That Changed the World: The Book of Acts for Today by Michael Green.
Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament by Peter Enns.
Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney.
Tags: Books, Church, Contextualization, Culture, Gospel, Pittsburgh, Seminary, WTSbooks
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In looking back on the long(tongue-in-cheek) time I have spent as a seminary student, I realize that there are a number of books that I wish I had been encouraged to read while at seminary, a few of these books were given as class texts, but most of them were simply recommendations from wiser men. So here is my attempt at a list of books that I think every person wanting to be a pastor(intern, seminarian, or whatever else they are called) should read. Books that classes might not required but that should be on your reading list anyways.
Here is my thinking behind these books, In Acts 6 we see that “prayer and to the ministry of the word” are central to shepherding God’s flock. We see other duties of a pastor in the rest of the NT(1 Peter 4, 1 Timothy, etc.), and what we develop is the idea that a pastor, is an under shepherd, to use Peter’s language. Therefore the books on this list are not necessarily about being an irresistible revolutionary, or how to find literary structures in the Old testament, but rather books that shape what we understood about God, our duty, and His flock.
If you can think of any books that should be on this list, drop me a comment.
- A Faith Worth Sharing
Our generation has guys like Keller and Piper to look up to. Their generation had men like Schaeffer and the lesser know Jack Miller. Dr Miller’s book a faith worth sharing is not a hard read but one that reveals hows a mature man of God can look back on his life, and evaluate what he did in his ministry. The book is an account of his personal walk with God from months after his conversion, to years later when he was teaching at Westminster and Planting New Life Presbyterian Church in Philly. If you appreciated the autobiographical way that Driscoll wrote Confessions of a Reformission Rev you will be strengthened by this book.
- Biblical Preaching
If preaching, and teaching is one of the key aspects of preparing to be a pastor, then this book is a must. This one was required in school and I am very grateful that it was.
- Manual of Christian Doctrine
I know that if you are planning on being a pastor you will own at least one type of systematic theology book. As long as you are evangelical you will appreciate Louis Berkof’s Manual of Christian Doctrine. I know the title sounds like the book is going to be 3000 pages worth of nap time, but this book is actually a trimmed down version of his Systematic Theology, which some call the other big blue sleeping pill.
- Missionary Methods: Paul’s or Ours
Roland Allen was a missionary in the lineage of men like Hudson Taylor. He was a missionary to China, with the Anglican Church, and while there he started asking tougher questions about the way a church in a non Christian society worked. He came down saying local churches needed to be “self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing”. In this work he traces the Paul’s missionary efforts, and asks the question: Are we following Paul’s pattern or are we making it up as we go along.
- 2000 Years of Christ Power
This three volume history text, makes reading about church history interesting and enjoyable. Needham’s writing style makes you think that maybe there could be some reason to read about the men that stood before us(again tongue-inc-cheek).
- Biblical Hermeneutics
So this is not the most exciting of reads but if you want to be a pastor than you need to care about the Bible.
- Blue Like Jazz
Now I know that some of you are scratching your heads on this one but guess what like it or hate it Blue Like Jazz has sold over 550,000 copies world wide.Which means that we are going to run into a lot off people who really really like this book. I can think of one guy in the church where I work, who said that he would give this book to struggling friend. If Paul could read greek poets we can read don Miller(do I have to say tongue-in-cheek).
- Powerful Evangelism for the Powerless
Yup a second Jack Miller book. I’m actually reading this book not and and very upset at the fact that it was not required reading at seminary. So many men could really benefit from what Dr. Miller has to say on this topic. If you think your evangelism can improve then get this book.
- Eternal Word and Changing Worlds
I feel confident in saying that many people under the age of 60 will say that this is a classic. It actually took me a couple of times before I could really start to understand and appreciate this book. As one WTS professor has suggested, you could probably start at section three and find the book more understandable and easier to read, and then go back to the other sections.
- Confessions of a Reformission Rev.
I was hesitant to put this on the list because its one of those books thats hip-to-own. I decided to put it on here because I am guessing that most seminary guys dont read this book, maybe Im wrong and its required for Emerging Missiology 101. I’ve read this book three times now, and I still enjoy the way that Driscoll, seeks to be biblical and yet is very honest and sometimes cutting about certain practices (ie. “As I studied the Bible, I found more warrant for a church led by unicorns than by majority vote” p.103). Driscoll examines why we do what we do.
I am a big Tim Keller fan, and I am also a very big Mark Driscoll fan. Recently in talking to friends at church we have started to talk about the fact that Marshill gives away all there media and take special care to give it away from of copyrights so that it can be given to others. On the other hand Redeemer charges 2$ for every sermon.
If I had the option of Driscoll or Keller I’m not sure who I would chose to listen to, but that question doesn’t matter because I can’t chose to listen to Keller or Driscoll unless I have a paid subscription to Redeemer.
What about other churches? How do your churches see their online content? Is a church’s online media for Christians who miss service, and need a catch up; or is it more like a mix that that they are hoping people will pass around and copy.
And I wonder how many people actually download the sermons from most churches.
“Better is the loss that makes them humble than the success that makes them proud”
Thomas Watson – from A Body of Divinity
Unlike my Westminster brothers I got an extra week of reprieve before finals. I have a 10 page analysis of A Christian Manifesto due Tuesday, and a few finals, but after that I’m in the clear. No finals that I’m really worried about, just two Gamble carpal-tunnel-makers(100 minutes 100 points 100 sentences), and one from Kinneer.
So things at Seminary have been getting more hectic and this quarter I have some pretty beefy papers due. But beyond just lots of seminary work, when I survey my life I feel like so much of it is wasted and useless. I am not living in the pattern of the Apostles in devoting myself to prayer and the ministry of the word. So where does my time go? Well I bet its a lot like a tire with a slow leak, a little time here and a little time there and soon all your air is gone and you are driving on you rim. Well thats how I feel. I have little time for the more important things, while it seems like hours of my week are spent on meaningless endeavors.
My problem is that I hate schedules, I heard a pastor, maybe it was Keller, talk about biblical time and I thought it was very deep. He said that in the Bible the event set the length of time needed for completion, where now the time sets the amount of work put into an event. So we say we will have a half our devotional, rather than say that we need to commune with God and make that of first importance.
But with certain things I have to just schedule some time. Things like Hebrew, I need to set an hour a day and just work at it, so I can do better in class.