Category: Church

The Romans 12 Blueprint for Christ’s Church




By Joe McKeever, Preacher, Cartoonist, Pastor, and retired Director of Missions at the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans.


Think of this article as a template, a form (or pattern or framework) which may be laid over the entire 21 verses, and which depict a healthy church.

The word “church” is not used in Romans 12. In fact, it’s found only 5 times in the entire Epistle and all are in the final chapter. Yet, there is no question that the Apostle Paul is writing to all the Lord’s churches in general and His church at Rome in particular.

Likewise, there is not a single reference to Romans 12 being a pattern for a healthy church. Some things are so obvious it’s not necessary to spell them out. The healthy church description of this chapter is one such.

Why does this matter?

The health of the Lord’s churches in this 21st century is a major concern for everyone called to shepherd God’s people. So many churches that were once healthy and strong, vibrant in their witness and effective in their mission have fallen onto hard times. Some came under the influence of corrupt leaders, some were hijacked by carnal power-brokers, and some grew discouraged and surrendered to the world.

The typical young adult called into the ministry today has never seen a healthy and strong church. He goes forth to fulfill a mission in the faith that there must be such a church out there somewhere and if not, he is to build one from scratch.

Here is a snapshot of such a healthy church

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Bivocational Ministry, Part 4:
Bivocational Ministry is Normal

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Bivocational Ministry, Part 4:
Bivocational Ministry is Normal


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.

This series looks at the importance of bivocational ministry and bivocational ministers in today’s church. The previous articles in this series are:
Part 1: Bivocational Ministry is a Growing Method for Ministry.
Part 2: Lay People Are Willing to Help Pastors – But Only If They Are Trained.
Part 3: Rethinking Our Perception of Bivocational Ministry.


In part 3, I wrote about the need to rethink our perceptions about bivocational ministry. The main point of that article was that bivocational pastors are not second-class pastors. In this post I would like to develop that idea further. I believe that not only are bivocational pastors not second-class, they represent the “normal” way in which God intended pastors to serve. I understand that some of my fully-funded peers will struggle with this concept. Therefore, let me explain why I believe this.

The New Testament demonstrates that bivocational ministry was normal for the church during the New Testament era. Though many twenty-first century church attendees in North America do not understand that New Testament churches were often led by bivocational pastors, this does not change the reality of history. The most well-known New Testament example of bivocational ministry is the Apostle Paul. Luke records one of Paul’s bivocational experiences in Acts 18:1-4:

After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

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The Significance of the Lord’s Supper
1 Corinthians 11:17-34

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The Significance of the Lord’s Supper
1 Corinthians 11:17-34


By Dan Nelson, Pastor,
First Baptist Church,
Camarillo, CA


With Good Friday approaching, we confront the cross and all that it represents. It doesn’t matter if you are in church or not, we all have to confront the cross, where we stand, and how we will respond to what Christ has done for us.

Those secular reporters who wonder why Tim Tebow always gives praise to His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will have to stand before the cross regardless of their opinion about whether people need to be free to express their faith openly.

There is no greater observance to help us realize where we stand before the cross than the supper of our Lord. While it is referred to in 1 Cor. 10:16 of the communion of the body of our Lord, it is also called the Lord’s Table and we’re coming to eat the Lord’s Supper. It is the Lord’s Supper because of the pictorial reminder of the payment for sin Jesus gave on the cross.

Yet, there was problem at Corinth. The abuse at the Lord’s Table was an embarrassment to the church and the most drastic error judging from God’s response to it in light of where we are in the calendar; it is a wonderful time that this supper of our Lord becomes a teachable moment for such a time as this:

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The Wall


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.


Last year the number of baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was 331,008. Except for a minor increase in 2009, our baptisms have been declining since 1999. In just ten years our baptisms have declined over 87,000 (a 21% decrease). The number of baptisms in the SBC is now at the lowest since 1948 when we had 310,226. We wait each year to see a turn-around. After all, we’ve had declines before now. We console ourselves by remembering that periods of decline have eventually been followed by periods of increase. We think surely the end of our decline in baptisms will occur this year, only to be disappointed again and again.

While many know this decline in baptisms is bad, it is worse than people realize. Actually, baptisms in the SBC have been on a plateau since 1950. From 1936 to 1950 we had the greatest period of increasing baptisms in the history of the SBC, growing from 191,933 to 416,867. Since 1950 our overall situation has seen brief periods when baptisms increased followed by a similar period of decline. When you look at the total picture, our baptisms have been on a plateau for 60 years!

Nothing we have done seems to have changed this picture. We have hit what I call THE WALL. Evangelism campaigns, programs for Sunday School growth, emphases on revival, and the planting of new churches have not been able to knock down The Wall.

What is the solution to our baptism decline? How can we knock down The Wall? We could point to our denomination and say, “Fix it!” Let’s plant more churches. Let’s have a renewed commitment to evangelism. Let’s pray for revival. We could look to our churches and say, “Get on the ball!” Deacons, Sunday School teachers, and members stop being so involved in meetings and focus on our most important task – evangelism. We could say our baptism decline is a denominational or church problem. The downside of this approach is that it would take extensive planning, time, money, and work. While this approach may work over time, there is a quicker way to knock down The Wall.

In 2009 we had 122,285 clergy in the convention. Consider these startling ideas: If in 2010 each member of the clergy in the SBC had led one more person to Christ and baptized them, the number of baptisms in the SBC would have been 454,606 not 332,321. This number almost equals our best year in baptisms. Moreover, if each member of the clergy had reached one more person for Christ each quarter of last year and baptized them, we would have baptized 821,461.

Expanding this idea, if our clergy would set a goal this next year to reach one more person per quarter and in addition our deacons, teachers, and members followed this example, we would see millions saved and baptized. We must realize it’s not just my brother or my sister but it’s me Oh Lord standing in the need of sharing the gospel. Then, The Wall will come tumbling down.

Bivocational Ministry, Part 3:
Rethinking Our Perception of Bivocational Ministry

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Bivocational Ministry, Part 3:
Rethinking Our Perception of Bivocational 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.

This series looks at the importance of bivocational ministry and bivocational ministers in today’s church. The previous articles in this series are:
Part 1: Bivocational Ministry is a Growing Method for Ministry.
Part 2: Lay People Are Willing to Help Pastors – But Only If They Are Trained.


Though many people think of bivocational ministry as being a negative experience, I do not share that opinion. Though bivocational ministry has its challenges, it always had great rewards.

One of the challenges that bivocational pastors must overcome is a perceived second-class status in ministry. Over time, this perception has resulted in a negative social stigma being attached to the concept of bivocational ministry. Some pastors feel a sense of inadequacy when serving in bivocational roles. They may not even want to think of themselves as bivocational because of the perceived stigma attached to the term. I have heard many pastors declare that they are not bivocational; they just work a second job. They deny the reality of what they are because somewhere along the way someone told them that being bivocational was negative. I want to challenge that notion and proclaim to everyone that being bivocational is not a bad thing.

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