Archive for March, 2012

Bivocational Ministry, Part 1:
Bivocational Ministry is a Growing Method for Ministry

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Bivocational Ministry, Part 1:
Bivocational Ministry is a Growing Method for Ministry


Dr. Dorsett is a bivocational pastor and church planting missionary in Vermont. He is the author of Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church and Bible Brain Teasers: Fun Adventures through the Bible. He also serves as a church planting catalyst with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has a passion for helping the next generation discover a meaningful faith and become leaders in sharing that faith with others.


When a pastor is referred to as “bivocational,” it means that he works a second job in addition to his service to the church. This does not mean he is a part-time pastor, as all pastors are in full-time service to the Lord. Only a few pastors are bivocational by choice. Most have been pushed in to it due to the low wages that small churches are able to pay pastors. In many situations, both the pastor and the church wish the pastor did not have to work the second job, but both realize it is just the reality of the situation.

Regardless of the preferences of both pastors and churches, bivocational ministry is a growing practice across North America. There are a number of reasons that bivocational ministry is growing, but the three that are the most obvious are the lack of stewardship training, the rise of the cost of living in North America, and the current economic situation.

A number of studies have demonstrated that older generations were more generous in their giving to churches than young generations. Part of this is that older generations generally carried as little debt as possible, while younger generations tend to want everything now and are willing to take on debt to get it. Once they have all the payments that come with debt, they have less money to donate to the church than their parents or grandparents might have had. Churches must also take part of the blame because many churches are less comfortable teaching about stewardship issues than in the past. Since churches have failed to teach on this subject, even church members who are committed to their church may not be as generous as they would be if they had been taught better. As older generations have either exhausted their resources in retirement or passed away, the younger generations that have replaced them give less money to the church. Therefore, churches that may be relatively the same size as they have always been may have fewer resources than in the past. This often results in the pastor’s salary and/or benefits being reduced. This frequently leads to the pastor having to seek a second job.

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Why Your Faith Is Secure, Part 5:
It is Based on an Unchanging Relationship Status

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Why Your Faith Is Secure, Part 5:
It is Based on an Unchanging Relationship Status


by Steve Lemke, Provost, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, McFarland Chair of Theology, and Director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.


We have been examining reasons for the security of the believer from Ephesians 1 and other Scriptures – that persons who are genuinely saved are saved forever.  We have seen four reasons in previous articles why the Bible teaches that we cannot lose their salvation:

Part 1 — Salvation Is of God, Not of Us,”
Part 2 — It is Based upon a Life Changing Experience with God,”
Part 3 — It Is Based on a Scriptural Promise.” and
Part 4 – It Is a Logical Necessity.”

In this fifth article of the series we see another compelling reason why we believe that we cannot lose our salvation – because eternal salvation is based on an unchanging relationship status.

Eph. 1:13-14 describes the Holy Spirit as sealing and guaranteeing our salvation.  On the basis of this Scripture and many others, we believe the Bible teaches that once someone has a genuine salvation experience is saved forever – sometimes described as “once saved, always saved.”  Another reason that we have this confidence in our eternal salvation is that it is based on an unchanging status of relationship.

One of the most fundamental confusions about the security of the believer is that it is earned by good works.  Some teach that if we “keep persevering” with good works that we will eventually be saved.  Yes, if we are truly saved we will demonstrate “bear fruit consistent with repentance” (Matt. 3:8, HCSB; see also Acts 26:20).  But we are not saved by our continuing in good works.  We continue in good works because we are genuinely saved.

Salvation is not earned by good works, and neither is it kept by good works.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed those who listed all the good works they had done for Him, and Jesus gave them a surprisingly strong rebuke:  “I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:23, NASB).  Note that although these would-be believers had done many good works for Jesus, these good works were not sufficient for salvation.  The basis for salvation was whether or not they had ever entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Obviously, they had not done so, for Jesus said, “I never knew you.”  Salvation, then, is based on a relationship with God, not on our performance.

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Monday Exposition Idea:
The Danger of Presumption
(Numbers 15:30-31)

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Monday Exposition Idea:
The Danger of Presumption
(Numbers 15:30-31)


By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.

These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.


Introduction

The danger of presumption can hardly be overstated.  For example, I recently read, “During the Battle of the Wilderness in the Civil War, Union general John Sedgwick was inspecting his troops.  At one point he came to a parapet, over which he gazed out in the direction of the enemy.  His officers suggested that this was unwise and perhaps he ought to duck while passing the parapet.  ‘Nonsense,’ snapped the general.  ‘They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist—.’ A moment later Sedgwick fell to the ground, fatally wounded.”[1]

Dr. J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988) warns, “Presumption is as dangerous as unbelief.”[2] Presumption is “an attitude or belief dictated by probability” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.[3] Facts play little part in presumption, just probability and likelihood.  Its first synonym is “assumption,” followed by “arrogance,” “boldness,” “impertinence” and “imprudence.”  Presume, in its verb form, means “To assume or take beforehand; esp., to do or undertake without leave or authority previously obtained.  To take or suppose to be true, or entitled to belief, without examination or proof, or on the strength of probability; to take for granted; to infer; to suppose.  To suppose or assume something to be, or to be true, on grounds deemed valid, though not amounting to proof; to believe by anticipation; to infer; as, we may presume too far.  To venture, go, or act, by an assumption of leave or authority not granted; to go beyond what is warranted by the circumstances of the case; to venture beyond license; to take liberties; — often with on or upon before the ground of confidence.”[4] According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary, the term presumptuously, a variant of presumptuous, means “too bold or forward; taking too much for granted; showing overconfidence, arrogance, or effrontery.”[5]

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The Top Blog Posts of the Week


by the Contributing Editors of SBC Today

This is a list of recent blog posts which we found interesting.  That we found them interesting doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with or endorse the ideas presented in the posts, but that we found them to be intriguing and thought-provoking.  (They are listed in no particular order of interest). Please post your comments to discuss  any article that strikes your interest. If you have recent blog posts to nominate, please send the link to sbctoday@gmail.com.


About Theology

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Building Church Health in Surprising Places: A True Story


Dr. William H. Day, Jr. serves as the Gurney Professor of Evangelism and Church Health, and as Associate Director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health, at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as Pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Metairie, Louisiana.


Rev. Smith* was excited. His church was growing. People were professing Christ as Savior and were being baptized. God seemed to be blessing his church. There was only one problem. The congregation was running out of space for worship.

As he prayed about what the church needed to do, Rev. Smith realized the church needed to build a new sanctuary. As he began to talk to his leaders about his vision for the church, he was surprised when people responded with little enthusiasm for his plans. Consequently he realized that he needed to allow time for the church to understand that if they wanted to continue to grow, they needed to provide more space. However, as their sanctuary became more crowded, the attitude of the church’s leaders did not change.

Everything came to an unexpected halt in a business meeting. As the pastor talked about his vision for a new building, a deacon stood up and announced, “Pastor you can forget building a new sanctuary. It’s not going to happen.” He then reached into his pocket, took out a document and said, “Pastor, this is the deed to the property where our church is located. I own the property on which the church sits. Nothing can be built here without my approval. So, Pastor, forget this idea about building a new sanctuary!”

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