• Love One Another

    There are days within our lives that we wake up with the expectation that the day ahead will be challenging. Perhaps we have a meeting about a particular challenge our organization faces or with a particular person whom we find challenging. Many possibilities exist and when the day ahead is expected to be a challenge, we often do not sleep well the night before. I wonder how Jesus slept on the last night He would sleep. While the events leading up to Jesus crucifixion account for about 25% of each gospel, we do not have any real description of His sleep. We can tell by His actions that He was…

  • Free to Live

    Over the past five months, several have turned to this blog to gain insights on matters of church administration. As I mentioned at the conclusion of last week’s post, this blog is now returning to its original intent of encouraging and exhorting us to live in, not of the world. The series of posts related to church administration will continue and expand (over time) beginning in September. But before that can happen, a few decisions must be made on some important details. An announcement will be made on this site on August 30, so please mark your calendars to check back at that time. At least one announcement will be…

  • 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…