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10 Terrible Reasons to Be Done with Church

historical-sculpture-religion

The “Dones.” It’s a term sociologists and researchers use to describe those who are done with church. The Dones were once part of a church, but have become disillusioned for a variety of reasons and have decided to be spiritual without the help of a local congregation. And the Dones are growing in number.

I’m a Pastor, and I’ve seen the church from every angle. I’ve been a church kid, a kid whose family left the church, and a young adult who found my way back to the church. I’ve been the Pastor of smaller, more traditional churches, on staff at a megachurch, and a planter of a new church unlike any other I’ve ever been part of. And there have been, in my twenty years of ministry, quite a few Sunday nights when I’ve felt the desire to be Done again.

But I’m here. And I’m committed. And I’ll share why, but first, I want to address some of the most common reasons you might think you’re Done with the church.

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18 Lessons from 18 Years of Marriage

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On June 14, 1997, I married Angie Kirk, the most amazing woman on earth! The last eighteen years have been an adventure. We left home to go to college together and got engaged a little over a month into our freshmen year. That next spring I started pastoring a small church and Angie went back to Kentucky for the summer to finish planning our wedding. I cruised into town just a couple of days before the big event after all the hard work was done and took my beautiful bride as my wedded wife.

We’ve lived through a number of significant changes since then. Angie became a social worker, earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the field. She worked in Kentucky recruiting and training foster and adoptive families, offered therapy to foster families and children, and now serves Grace Hills doing counseling, women’s ministry, and more.

I served as Pastor of a couple of small, rural churches when I was way too young to know what I was doing and then enjoyed eight great years leading a church in my hometown. I led a church in Northwest Arkansas for five years and then we headed west to California where we joined the staff of Saddleback Church and lived a bit of west coast life.

Together, we took a big leap four years ago and moved back to Northwest Arkansas to plant Grace Hills, which has continued to change our lives in radical ways. We’ve had three precious kids along the way. Ella, beautiful, smart, and sweet was our special, grace-gift from God. Sam, tender-hearted and brave, was an answer to years of praying and struggling through secondary infertility, miscarriages, and a lot of waiting on God. And Drew, wild and joy-filled, was our big surprise!!

Before I get to my eighteen big words of advice, here’s what I’ve noticed in the last few years of our life together:

  • Life has become more of an adventure as we’ve loosened up and lived it to the full.
  • We’re closer than ever, mainly because we’ve dealt with things that could’ve torn us apart.
  • The best is yet to come for us as a couple, as a family, and especially in eternity.

Let me stop and interject that in too many ways, I’ve blown it as a married guy over the last eighteen years. But the grace of God has been at work in me, in my wife, and in our relationship. She’s shown me forgiveness, love, and respect and it’s changed me radically from who I once was. And I’m still on the journey, hoping to become the man she deserves in this life. Angie amazes me more today than ever.

So to you who may be early on in the journey – single and searching, engaged, or newlywed – here are eighteen of the most important things I think I’ve learned in the last eighteen years.

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The Pathway to Unity Includes Dying to the Narcissism of Our Minor Differences

Windows

I once attended a service at a church of a different flavor. The history of their movement includes several thousand churches splintering away from Baptists a couple hundred years ago over differences in ecclesiology, baptism, worship, and a few other issues.

I was surprised at our similarities. Sitting through their service felt just like sitting through the service I was accustomed to attending. There was biblical preaching, singing from a hymnal, an invitation of sorts, hand-shaking at the door, and pretty much a common set of cultural values. But our two movements have a rough history filled with debate and deep division.

After a couple of decades in ministry, I’ve come to observe that this is the way things are between many denominations that are close but not exactly alike. And I think it’s true in politics as well. We often feel most distant from those with whom we have only slight disagreement.

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10 Big Lessons for Men from Mr. Incredible

The Incredibles

Mr. Incredible (aka Robert Parr) is one heck of a dude. If you’ve never seen the movie, Mr. Incredible starts out as a typical superhero, saving the world repeatedly from destruction. Just before he marries Elastigirl (Helen), he saves a man from an attempted suicide who goes on to sue for damages. Soon the “supers,” of which there are at least dozens, are unwanted and forced to go underground in a kind of witness protection program.

Life, after suppressing the “super” inside him seems somewhat normal for Robert. He has three kids, gains a bit of weight, and works a steady job at an insurance agency. And he’s dying on the inside. His predicament is epitomized by a conversation with a little neighbor boy. When Robert asks the kid why he’s at the end of their driveway and what he’s waiting for, the kid replies, “I don’t know, something amazing!” Robert whispers a soft “Me too, kid,” and then heads inside.

As the story continues, Mr. Incredible is re-activated in a covert operation on a remote island without his wife’s knowledge. Things seem to go better and worse at the same time. Robert is enjoying being a hero again, but it’s all behind his wife’s back so that he doesn’t risk blowing cover again. The whole family is plunged into a bit of an identity crisis. They’re wired to be “super” but are told by their culture that it’s just not acceptable to stand out.

By the climax of the movie, the whole family has managed to patch their damaged relationships up and winds up fighting the forces of evil together under Mr. Incredible’s leadership. This is what he was meant for.

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10 Reasons Why Humility is Vital to Great Leadership

Humbled

Quickly think of five common traits of high-impact leaders… good time management, assertiveness, drive, energy, charisma, etc. Humility rarely lands in the list when it comes to our modern, top-down management systems. But Jesus (the greatest leader ever) and Moses (perhaps the second) had this one thought in mind – great leaders don’t have power over people, but power under people by way of humility.

Humility may be a forgotten virtue in conversations about leadership today, but I believe it’s absolutely essential to having long-term, broad-range impact. Here are some reasons why…

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