• Towards a Healthy Church, A Personal Testimony, Part 4

    This post is the fourth and final post of my testimony related to becoming increasingly involved in the life of a church and in ministry overall. I allude to the three previous posts in this post. If you wish to read them for context, you can find them in the following links. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Although every person who follows Jesus is called to serve Him in some way, I realize not everyone is called to pastor a church, teach in a seminary, or lead a mission organization. In fact, a true understanding of the body of Christ ensures that such a calling is not possible. Otherwise,…

  • Towards a Healthy Church, A Personal Testimony, Part 3

    The blog this year has focused on the idea of what makes a church healthy. As I said early in this series, I am not attempting to re-write what has been offered by experts such as Dever, Rainer, and others, I am simply adding my perspective which can then be infused into the overall conservation. As part of adding my perspective, I am sharing my personal testimony as it relates to becoming involved in a/the church. Overall, the idea is more than becoming involved; the idea is about discipling others. However, getting people involved in ministry does allow for discipleship opportunities as I have shared over each of the past…

  • Image from the O Captain, My Captain scene from Dead Poets Society

    Towards a Healthy Church – A Personal Testimony, Part 2

    As we move to the second “level” of involvement, I want to continue to share my testimony. My purpose is to share that these levels are not just theoretical, but personal. Additionally, while some will think that my path must have been straightforward, it was anything but so, as this week’s post will reveal. If you have followed my blog on this site (6 months) or in general (at fotonni.blogspot.com for the last several years), you will know that I am a pastor, an educator at a Christian college and seminary, and I lead an organization with a primary purpose of equipping pastors in underprivileged areas of the world to…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – A Personal Testimony, Part 1

    It is interesting to me that I would be creating a blog series on the idea of a healthy church. As a pastor, I certainly desire to pastor a church that is healthy (or, at least, more healthy than not). As a Christian educator, I teach others various concepts and methods towards a goal of having a healthy ministry and church. But as a person, those ideals seemed very distant thirty years ago. And thus, over the month of April, I will share a bit of my journey through the levels of which I have written in the three previous posts of this series. First, it is important to note…

  • Towards A Healthy Church – Why Having a Mission Statement Is Biblical

    The purpose of this series is to help us understand some necessary components of having a healthy church.* As I have mentioned thus far, in no way, do I wish to neglect the importance of the Holy Spirit, and each aspect of this series should be biblically-based, in every possible manner. Additionally, many organizations cover these items in various ways, and more thoroughly, but my goal is to add voice to this process and provide another bit of clarity to the needs for some of the more overlooked parts of being healthy as a church. *Because of this purpose, this series is meant for those who are truly followers of…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Living with Purpose

    This series is meant to share some ideas of what makes a church healthy. A great deal of work has been done in this area and many are experts in this field. Certain ministries and organizations are even built with this concept at the forefront of their purpose. My intention is not to compete with those individuals or ministries; rather, I am seeking to add another voice to the conversation, and to share a few practical ideas in the process. With that said, last week I posted on the idea of developing a vision as individuals. This week, I am going to shift to the idea of mission. As I…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Finding Purpose

    In a series where the goal is to define the nature of a healthy church, one stipulation must be made: Healthy is defined by God, not man. It was Jesus who said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16.18) and significantly, Jesus only used the word church three times (the other two are in Matthew 18). Therefore, He meant something in His use of the word. That is, Jesus had purpose in His choice of words*, and thus, the church should have purpose as well. *The word “church” is the Greek word ekklessia, a compound word made of the word “ek” (out of) and the root “kaleo” (called out). The…

  • My Gaze Ahead

    In 2019, I am leading the church I serve to better understand what it means to be the Body of Christ. I began this past Sunday by laying the groundwork for the series and sharing that we, as a body, need a head – and that head is Jesus (see Colossians 1.18). This series is not just theory, but rather is meant to be practical. It is meant to help us become a healthier body because a healthy body makes a healthy church. (That is the series title, “Healthy Body, Healthy Church.”) The idea is that just like a healthy human body is generally capable of doing more than one…

  • A Gaze Ahead

    As we begin a new year, it is a time when most people take inventory on the past year and look ahead to the coming year. Here are a few questions and a key thought to help us consider what is truly important. What are your primary goals this year? Why are those goals important? How will those girls impact your life’s purpose? What can you do this month to begin fulfilling those goals? What will you do today towards those goals? How does my relationship with God influence my response to the questions above? And finally, here is a thought in the form of two more questions. If Jesus…

  • The Gift of Talent(s)

    For the final scheduled post this year, I will conclude this brief series on the gifts of our time, treasure, and talents. I have previously posted on time and treasure, so this post will be on our talents. For those who have a biblical background, a mention of talents will likely lead to thoughts of the parable Jesus taught on the talents (see Matthew 25). From this parable, we read what I call, the Great Commendation – “Well done good and faithful servant.” It is a phrase that every believer should long to hear, but let me point out two thoughts related to what I quoted. First, the phrase is…