Every Sunday the church gathers to participate in corporate worship. It is during this one gathered meeting of the church each week where we celebrate together what God has done for his people in Jesus Christ. Yet for all of the attention given to our attendance on a Sunday morning, how many of us have ever paused to consider what exactly corporate worship is and why it is so important? Continue Reading
In 313 A.D. the Roman emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan; a pronouncement that declared Christianity was to be tolerated and protected as a religion under the Roman government. For the first 300 years of the church, Christians were either outcasts (at best) or a heavily persecuted group. It was far from being a convenient time to be a Christian; converting to the faith often meant giving up your family, your job, your way of life, and even your community – all to follow this crucified carpenter from Nazareth.
During these first few centuries of the Church people often converted to Christianity not only because of the gospel message they heard but also because of the gospel mercy and compassion they experienced. Christians were known to have cared for orphans when no one else would, to have taken in widows when Roman society said they no longer had value, and to have rescued discarded babies from the trash heaps to raise them as their own.
Christians pushed back against the immorality of their day not through boycotts and public protest but by displaying a positive Christian ethic in their homes and communities. For example, sexual slavery and prostitution was at the center of ancient Greco-Roman culture. One of the most reliable ways to tell when a local region had become Christianized is when they decided that sexual slavery was unjust – not because of a moral majority who took over the government, but because people were forsaking their idols to follow Christ. Christianity is at its best when it shows people a better way to find their satisfaction: in Jesus.
One area of life Christians can overlook is sound principles and wisdom for leadership. This is often a subject that we leave to the “business experts.” We can even start to think that using leadership strategies means we are no longer trusting the Holy Spirit. But this attitude toward leadership betrays other primary Christian beliefs.
If we believe that the Bible gives us wisdom for every area of life, then it is our duty to understand and apply all of this wisdom in our lives.
If every Christian is called to help creation flourish (Genesis 1:28), to make disciples (Matthew 18:18-20), and to become equipped to help the whole Church grow (Ephesians 4:11-16), then every Christian is called to lead.
The Bible has much to say about leadership – what it is, how we ought to lead, and how to develop more leaders. Acts 6:1-7 is one such passage with leadership wisdom for us to study and apply. This text is not only where we see the office of deacons instituted in the early church, but it also lays out at least four other important biblical principles for leadership. Continue Reading
I have very spirited memories of the neighborhood I grew up in as a child; memories of running through the neighborhood with friends, going in and out of our houses and playing in our yards. Our neighborhood was an open one and as children we had the ability to run freely where ever we desired. We had access to each other’s homes and toys were freely shared. If I try hard enough, I can nearly remember what every yard, house and family looked like. This was the culture of our neighborhood: open and inviting, willing to share what we had with each other.
Next door to my house was a big plot of land that for many years sat empty. This was a shared space where all of us could play and be as crazy as we wanted.
That is…until everything changed. Continue Reading