Meet the big guys! (book review)


INTRODUCING MAJOR THEOLOGIANS:Meet the big guys
From the Apostolic Fathers to the Twentieth
Century
By Michael Reeves
IVP. 335 pages. £14.99
ISBN 978 1 783 592 722

Historical theology is a valuable tool for deepening and enriching our understanding of the Christian faith.

While our theology must be based on Scripture as our supreme authority and should also be conversant with the thinking and cultural context of today’s world, we would be foolish to ignore what previous generations have taught. Faithful theology must be deeply informed by the church’s tradition. This is not traditionalism, although that is a constant danger, but rather the way of wisdom as we learn from the best that has been left to us by our forefathers.

However, there is bad and good historical theology. Bad historical theology cherry-picks the bits from the past that we like and that confirm what we think rather than reading the older theologians in their historical context. Sadly there is far too much of that kind of historical theology among evangelicals... (to read more click here)

Kenneth Brownell, senior minister, East London Tabernacle

This article was first published in the February 2016 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit our website or subscribe to en for regular updates.

Brussels sprouts a new church


Brussels is the centre of the European Union around which the debate about Britain’s membership is raging.

The plant team for Brussels

The plant team for Brussels

God has his people in that city and a new church plant began recently. Naomi Pilgrem takes up the story. ‘Why do we need another church? Our church is small and there aren’t enough of us as it is!’

The person asking that question was genuine and servant-hearted and this was their gut reaction to hearing that we were planning, under God, to leave the church we had been members of for five years in order to plant a new one in a neighbouring borough of Brussels.

In many ways, such a reaction is understandable. The church in Belgium is weak, the ground is hard, trained Bible teachers are few, finances are very limited and evangelicals make up a negligible percentage of the overall population. So the desire to bunker down and try and solidify what is in existence is in many ways legitimate and necessary.

God uses the weak

And yet, over the course of history, we see again and again that our sovereign God chooses to use that which is weak to accomplish his glorious purposes. And when we think that we know the Bread of Life and that two miles down the road, in the next borough, there are 50,000 people dying of spiritual hunger without access to a Francophone church where the gospel is clearly proclaimed…(to read more click here)

Naomi Pilgrem

This article was first published in the April issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

Gay rights supporter turned pastor and spiritual hunger in Egypt…(December issue highlights)


Out now in the December issue of Evangelicals Now…

December issue cover

December issue cover

• Spiritual hunger in Egypt

• Churches in Greece bring hope to refugees

From gay rights supporter to paster in USA

The December issue is out now! Read it online or enjoy the printed paper with your morning cuppa!

You may subscribe to have regular access every month to all of the articles NOTE: PRICE INCREASE as of Jan 1, 2016! Subscribe today to beat the increase!

Rethink your church strategy


Ian Buchanan recommends that we now need to think in terms of intergenerational ministry
photo: iStock

photo: iStock

I’ve been thinking about 20th-century church growth logic.

I graduated from seminary in the 20th century. The church growth strategy that had been implanted in my imagination was similar to most other ministers from the 20th century: ‘When you’re leading a church, focus the congregation on the future of the church, the youth.’

Logically, the first agenda item for a new minister became the employment of a youth minister. And the logic seemed sound back then. After all, for most of human history young people have outnumbered older people. They were the largest market segment.

The Boston Matrix

In the 20th century the Boston Matrix was one of the business tools that some church leaders found helpful as they grew their churches. This matrix allows you to divide ‘your markets’ and your subsequent ‘product offerings’ into four distinct segments.

The two really important segments for churches were the ‘STARS’ where new growth, new products and the future lies and then there are the ‘CASH COWS’. This unfortunate use of a bovine image allows you to identify your ‘established markets’, ones that can be ‘milked’ in order to feed the more exciting outreach into the future, into those ‘STARS’.

I don’t know how widespread the use of the Boston Matrix became but I noticed that it clarified what many churches were doing instinctively. The church needed to focus on the youth and get the older folk (read: people in the second half of life) to give their all to ensure that young people came, stayed and brought in their parents. The future of the church was young people in families, or so we were told.

Unhealthy trajectory

Two Americans, the editor of The Journal of Youth Ministry, Thomas Bergler and Professor of Youth and Family Ministry, Andrew Root, have helped 21st century churches to see the unhealthy trajectory of this strategy as it worked.…(to read more click here)

Ian Buchanan is Director of Marketing and Communications for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society.

A survey asking for your experience of older people’s ministry in your church can be found at www.pilgrimsfriend.org.uk

This article was first published in the August issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

ISIS, medical ethics and the well-being of pastors…(November issue highlights)


Out now in the November issue of Evangelicals Now…

November issue OUT NOW!

November issue OUT NOW!

• ISIS begins executing captured Christians

• A Biblical approach to medical ethics in the age of advanced technology

• Reflections on the results of the FIEC pastors’ well-being survey

The November issue is out now! Read it online or enjoy the printed paper with your morning cuppa!

You may subscribe to have regular access every month to all of the articles for the ridiculously cheap price of £0.84 a month – £10.00 per year!

Pep up your preaching!


John Delius provides a possible checklist to scare the daylights out of those in the pulpit

pep up your preaching

If you are a preacher, the following is a checklist you may find helpful.

It is not intended to be used by the whole congregation, but to be given to a friend to check out some of the nuts and bolts of your preaching.

The key:

☺ Hearers are blessed.

😦 Hearers are bored.

@ A helpful story or illustration*.

…(to read more click here)

John Delius is a university teacher, who on retirement, with his wife spent several years as a Christian worker in an East Asian country

EDITOR’S NOTE

But remember there can be no good preaching without prayer. Acts 6.4 ‘We will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.’

This article was first published in the June issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, articles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

A Constant Gardener by Pastor Anonymous: For heaven’s sake, confer!


Pastor Anonymous Dec 2014

Church leaders conferring at 2014 FIEC Leaders’ Conference

Pastors must go to conferences.

Pastors need days away from the pressures of ministry in the churches they lead. We need each other, new scenery, good friends, encouragement, r&r, and the whole host of other things which conferences give us. Residential conferences in the course of ministry are a gift from heaven to the church’s leaders.

Extra support

Not all church leaders can get away, of course. Bi-vocational ministries, home-life demands and other factors mean that leaders sometimes just cannot get away. These men deserve our extra support. They should be the exception, though. Most pastors should be getting away.

We must stop seeing conferences as… (to read more click here)

Pastor Anonymous is in full-time pastoral ministry somewhere in the UK.

This article was first published in the December 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.