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The power of persistent prayer

2020 has been a year like no other in living memory. It started as 1973, with the impeachment proceedings. Then it became 1918 with the coronavirus pandemic. It added 2008 (and maybe 1929) with the recession. Then it added 1968 with racial issues. None of the last three will end any time soon, and we […]

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Memorial Day in a pandemic: Why remembering is so transforming

On August 27, 1776, George Washington addressed his soldiers before the Battle of Long Island. This was the first major battle after America declared her independence. Gen. Washington stated: “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves . . . . The fate of […]

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Mental health for pastors: Three ways Jesus practiced self-care

Darrin Patrick, a megachurch pastor, speaker, and author, has died. According to Seacoast Church, a multi-site megachurch in South Carolina where he was teaching pastor, he died of what appears to be a “self-inflicted gunshot wound.” A longtime friend of Patrick noted that pastors often don’t know what to do when they struggle. They attempt to […]

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Re-engaging the church during the coronavirus pandemic: Approaches and priorities

“Whatever tomorrow will bring, God knows. And we have the assurance that Jesus’ presence, provision, and power will be real to each one of us, and it will be as miraculous as the stories we read in the Gospel.” —Br. Curtis Almquist, Society of St. John the Evangelist Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced this afternoon […]

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Is online church really church? A theology of technology and presence

It’s official: people stayed home for Easter. According to the Washington Post, cellphone data tracking Americans’ behavior showed a spike in attendance of more than 50 percent for Easter 2019. For Easter 2020, attendance plummeted by more than 75 percent. For Orthodox Christians, Easter was last Sunday. Their churches were mostly empty as well, as […]

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Preparing for a pandemic: Being led to lead

I spent nine years at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, as a student and then a faculty member. I don’t remember a single moment in a single class that prepared me to lead a church in a pandemic while forced to do nearly everything online.  And yet, nearly everything I experienced from faculty mentors […]

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Encouragement on this unique Good Friday

As everyone in the Christian world knows, this is the first Good Friday and Easter Sunday to be observed primarily online. For ministers, this fact is especially unsettling. We preach to people, not microphones and computers. We watch faces, not sound levels. We hug shoulders we can no longer touch and sit beside hurting people […]

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How do we ‘live with people’ when we must live apart from them?

“You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God in order to solve them.” —P. T. Forsyth Good Friday is a week from today; Easter comes in nine days. It will be the first Easter in history to be celebrated primarily online. How do we “live with people” when we must […]

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How has God prepared you for pastoring during a pandemic?

“You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God in order to solve them.” —P. T. Forsyth Good Friday is a week from today; Easter comes in nine days. It will be the first Easter in history to be celebrated primarily online. How do we “live with people” when we must […]

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Should churches apply for CARES funds?

This paper is intended to help churches and ministries as they consider whether to accept CARES funds. (NOTE: The information at that link changes nearly daily.) These funds are available through the US Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which is part of the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which consists of $349 […]