Simple Leadership Statements that Have Challenged Me, Part 2

5 Relationships That Every Christian Needs, Especially Now

In these crazy days of the coronavirus threat, I’ve missed hanging out with other believers. In fact, I’ve grown to appreciate them in new ways–and I realize how much I need them. As I think about relationships, here are five relationships every follower of Christ needs:

  1. God – I know this one’s a given, but too often we know God in our head and not in our heart. Having a genuine relationship with God means wanting to speak to Him, hear from Him, be obedient to Him, and tell others about Him. I’m not sure many believers have that kind of relationship with our Creator.

The others are at:

10 Needed Commitments From Bible Study Leaders

Chuck Lawless

I am surprised how little attention churches give to securing Bible study leaders and holding them accountable. Below are ten covenant commitments I would want them to affirm as they serve in the local church:

  1. “I will grow in my faith and devotion to God through consistent personal Bible study.” Bible study leaders have a tendency to teach from our reserves; that is, we teach out of what we learned in the past. It’s wrong to assume we can take on today’s teaching task on the basis of yesterday’s power.
  2. “I will be holy, knowing that what others do not see is as important as what they do see.” When there is unconfessed sin in our lives, we lack the power of God that should mark all teaching of the Bible. The unholy Bible study leader imparts only information, but the holy Bible study leader imparts life.
  3. “I will faithfully support the work of the church by regular worship attendance and financial giving.” We teach not only with our words, but also with our actions. Bible study leaders who teach their group but who don’t also support the church are likely growing their own kingdom more than God’s kingdom.
  4. “I will faithfully participate in any small group leader training my church offers.” Leaders who aren’t willing to be trained—likely because they don’t see the need—may well think too highly of themselves to be a church leader.

Continue at:

9 Reasons Our Family And Friends Don’t Believe The Gospel

Chuck Lawless writes:

Based on my years of sharing Christ with family members and friends, here are my thoughts about why folks struggle with believing the gospel.

  1. They’ve never really heard the gospel. The more I speak to people in North America, the more I realize this truth. Within the shadows of our church buildings are people who have never heard the truth.
  2. They struggle understanding the Bible. Even for those who are willing to read the Bible, the content is often new – and challenging. If genuine believers wrestle with interpreting the Bible, it shouldn’t surprise us that non-believers face the same battle.
  3. They fail to recognize their lostness. “I treat people well, and I try to help my neighbors,” they say. “Let me tell you some of the good things I’ve been doing.” “I don’t do anything that’s just evil.” Folks who see no need for forgiveness seldom seek it.
  4. They see the gospel as too good to be true. The story of the gospel really is quite astounding. That the one and only creator God would forgive our sins, make us whole, place us in His family, and indwell us is hard to fathom, especially if the story is new.

12 Marks Of A Spiritually Mature Believer

12 Simple Strategies To Pray More

10 Reasons Many Churches Aren’t Friendly To Guests

Chuck Lawless

I’ve previously written about findings of “church secret shoppers” we’ve used in church consulting. One of those findings is that many churches aren’t very friendly to guests. Here are some of the reasons that’s the case:

  1. Caveat: Churches are friendly, but only to people they already know. That’s why churches almost always assert how friendly they are, and guests often talk of how friendly they aren’t.
  2. No one’s ever evaluated them. I’ve never talked to a church who told me how unfriendly they are. On the other hand, they’ve never really tested that conclusion by seeking input from guests—particularly, the guests who never return.
  3. Congregations don’t even know each other. The reality is that most members have a small circle of friends in the church, and they don’t know many people beyond that circle. If they aren’t really in relationship with other church members, it’s not surprising that they don’t reach out to guests.
  4. They leave the “friendliness” responsibility to others. After all, they think, the extroverts and the talkers are wired for that task. When the greeters are doing their job, other members shouldn’t have to worry about it.


Read the rest:

10 Things The Resurrection Means For Christian Leaders

7 Reasons We Preachers And Teachers Need To Practice Reading The Word Of God Aloud

~ Lawless

In my preaching class as a student, the professor required us to stand before the class and read a Scripture passage. He critiqued each of us for our reading. At the time, I thought the exercise was an unnecessary, if not demeaning, one. Now many years later, I’m convinced the professor took us in the right direction. Here’s why we need to practice reading the text aloud before we teach it publicly:

  1. The Word of God is the Word of God. That simple truth ought to make us think deeply about how clearly we read the Word aloud when we’re teaching or preaching. We must handle the Word with care.
  2. We often spend much more time on preparing the sermon than on reading the text aloud. That makes sense, but many of us devote no time to reading the text aloud. It should not be that the first time we read the text aloud is when we stand before God’s people.
  3. We sometimes stumble over hard-to-pronounce words in the Scripture when we don’t first practice reading the text. In some cases, our congregation then hears our mispronunciation more loudly than the rest of the reading. Practice may not result in perfect pronunciations, but we’re much less likely to stumble if we’ve already worked diligently on reading the Word.

Read the rest:

Signs Of The Enemy’s Attacks On Individuals

~ Chuck Lawless

Earlier this week, I wrote on ways the enemy attacks the church. In this post, I want to suggest some anecdotal signs of attack I’ve seen on individuals– particularly, if not primarily, on those Christian leaders who are taking steps of faith to get the gospel to a lost world:

  1. Unusual marital and family conflict. I’ve seen some of the healthiest homes face surprising strife when they take strong steps of obedience. Marriages are particularly a target.
  2. Recurring and uninvited temptations. We’re ultimately responsible for our wrong choices, but the tempter delights in setting traps for us. For example, the man who has lived in purity for decades is shocked by past images that suddenly erupt in his head.
  3. Returning, controlling sin. The enemy particularly wants us to return to actions of our “old self” (Eph. 4:22) so we begin to question the power of the gospel to transform. Battles won long ago now become sites of defeat.
  4. Strong discouragement and defeat. One day, hope and faith resound; the next day, disbelief and struggle reign, at least temporarily. Nothing has changed, except the enemy is attacking.
  5. Crippling doubt. You may have been moving in faith for some time, but you begin to hear messages like, “God is not going to use you. You’re not going to make much difference.” The enemy’s goal is to get you to quit.
  6. Evangelistic apathy. This happens when we focus more on ourselves and our situation than on others and their spiritual condition. If the enemy entices us toward personal recognition and hardens our hearts toward lostness, he’s gained some ground.
  7. Team disunity. From the Garden of Eden, Satan has sought to turn people against each other. A divided team doesn’t pose much threat to the enemy.
  8. Personal isolation. Under attack, even extroverts will sometimes withdraw in the battle. The problem is that leaders who fight battles alone most often lose.
  9. Inward focus. Satan has a way of turning faithful believers away from the blessings of obedience to the potential loss because of obedience. “Look at what you’re giving up,” he says.
  10. Prayer struggles. Sometimes, the leader who has always prayed diligently finds prayer unexpectedly difficult as he moves into the front lines. Prayerlessness equals powerlessness, and the enemy knows that fact.
  11. Physical persecution. It happens around the world, even if you don’t face this reality today. Our enemy, who is bent on destruction (see Rev. 9:11), wants to destroy the work of God by destroying the people of God.
  12. Reading distractions. The Word of God is the sword we use in the battle (Eph. 6:17). Distractions that keep us from reading—including the “good” work of ministry at times—can be a tool of the enemy.
  13. Demon hunting. This one might be a surprise to you, especially given the topic of this post. But, if you come out of this reading and find a demon behind every rock – a demon that’s causing every issue you face – you’re likely under attack. Satan often distracts us by claiming more power and influence than he really has.