Publishers harvested a bumper crop of atheist book in 2006 and 2007. Letters to a Christian Nationby Sam Harris, The God Delusionby Richard Dawkins, Breaking the Spellby Daniel C. Dennett, and God Is (Not) Greatby Christopher Hitchens come readily to mind, among many others. Each of these book claimed in one way or another that belief in God was intellectually deficient, a matter of faith rather than reason.
The philosophers who contributed to Two Dozen (or So) Arguments for Godbeg to differ. They think there are good reasons to believe that God exists. In Episode 155 of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Jerry L. Walls about good arguments for God.
Walls is Scholar in Residence and Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University, as well as co-editor with Trent Dougherty of Two Dozen (or So) Arguments for God, which is published by Oxford University Press.
P.S. This is cross-posted from InfluenceMagazine.com with permission.
Hospitality is a Christian virtue. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers,” Hebrews 13:2 tells us, “for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” According to the apostle Paul, one of the requirements for holding church office is being “hospitable” (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8). At minimum, hospitality means providing food and shelter for those in need.
But what if that’s only the start? What if hospitality is a mindset that has multiple expressions affecting every aspect of leadership? That’s the question I’m exploring with Terry A. Smith in Episode 154 of the Influence Podcast.
Terry A. Smith is lead pastor of The Life Christian Church in West Orange, New Jersey, as well as author of The Hospitable Leader: Create Environments Where People and Dreams Flourish, published by Bethany House. You can learn more about his book at this webpage, specifically created for Influence Podcast listeners.
God designed the Church to run on volunteer power. Every member of the congregation is a spiritually gifted individual, after all, called and empowered to do “the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12, ESV). And yet, many churches experience a chronic shortage of volunteers.
What is the cause of this shortage, and what can pastors and other church leaders do about it?
Those are the questions Influence magazine I talk about with Jill Fox in Episode 153 of the Influence Podcast. Fox is ministry initiatives and next gen pastor at Westwood Community Church in Excelsior, Minnesota, and co-author, with Leith Anderson, of two books: The Volunteer Church and Volunteering, both published by Zondervan. (See my review here.)
No one expects to experience these negative feelings, but everyone does. As Christians and as leaders in the Church, the question we need to ask ourselves is what we should do about them.
That’s the question I explore with Carey Nieuwhof in Episode 152 of the Influence Podcast. Carey Nieuwhof is teaching and founding pastor of Connexus Church in Barrie, Ontario, and author of Didn’t See It Coming, published by WaterBrook.
This past summer, thousands of Assemblies of God churchgoers went on short-term missions trips. These trips often do much good. They certainly change the people who go on them for the better. But is it a good idea to shift a church’s missions strategy to short-term missions?
Similarly, churches are increasingly supporting “social justice” causes such as anti-human trafficking initiatives and water well drilling as an important part of missions. Granted, these are great causes, but are they missions?
In today’s episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk with with Doug Clay and Greg Mundis about what missions is and why missions need long-term missionaries. Doug Clay is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God (USA), and Greg Mundis is executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions.
America is in the midst of a generational sea change. Baby Boomers are no longer the nation’s largest generational cohort. Instead, Millennials are.
Unfortunately, Millennials are the least religious generational cohort in our nation’s history. If the Church wants to reach Millennials, it cannot rely on strategies that worked with Boomers. The generations are simply too different.
In today’s episode, Influencemagazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to Geoff Surratt about five tensions churches must manage to successfully engage Millennials.
Together with his wife, Sherry, Geoff is the founder of Ministry Together, which “partners with “ministry leaders for relational health, organizational growth and Kingdom impact.” He is also author of the free e-book, The Church Will Thrive.
Roughly half the U.S. population is male, but fewer men attend church on average than women do. In the Assemblies of God, for example, the latest statistics indicate that men account for 31.5 percent of Sunday morning attendees, while women account for 40.4 percent. This gap in attendance reveals a ministry opportunity.
Earlier this year, Michael Zigarelli — professor of Leadership and Strategy at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania — conducted a qualitative survey of seven Protestant churches with greater parity in attendance between men and women. His working paper, “Churches that Attract Men,” identified transferable principles of man-friendly churches and is the springboard for today’s Influence Podcast conversation between him and me.
Topics of conversation include why attracting men is a good church-growth strategy and what man-friendly churches have in common. But Zigarelli also addresses “pushback questions”: Why are we talking about man-friendly churches in a culture that’s talking about “toxic masculinity”? Does being man-friendly trade on shopworn gender stereotypes or complementarian views of church leadership? And does attracting men create a void of ministry to women and children?
It’s an interesting, informative conversation, so make sure to listen to the entire thing!