All posts from “Discipleship”

Have We Forgotten the “Foolishness of Preaching?”

October 28, 2013 9:19 AM

I sat over espresso with a friend this summer. Being passionate about such things, we talked about churches. He’d just come from a conversation with a mutual friend, the lead pastor of a rural Midwest congregation. The topic of...

Ur Video: Dever Worries "Gospel" Isn't Individual Enough

February 28, 2012 12:00 AM

This interview by Ed Stetzer with Mark Dever caught me by surprise. They're talking about the renewed interest among evangelicals in a "larger gospel" that captures a kingdom theology. Dever sees it as exceedingly dangerous because a focus on doing...

Did Youth Ministry Create the Emerging Church? (Pt. 2)

December 7, 2011 12:00 AM

What I find most interesting about Tony Jones’ thesis is the way it can explain far more than just the Emerging Church Movement. I think contemporary youth ministry may also help us understand the rise of the megachurch movement in...

Did Youth Ministry Create the Emerging Church?

December 1, 2011 12:00 AM

Did the modern youth ministry movement create the Emerging Church? That’s the question Tony Jones addresses in a recent blog post. While presenting a paper at an academic conference, Jones fielded questions from professors of youth ministry primarily from evangelical...

Ur Video: Francis Chan's Warning to Young Pastors

November 18, 2011 12:00 AM

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Catalyst 2011 Final Message with Andy Stanley

October 7, 2011 5:52 PM

Andy Stanley’s final message at Catalyst stressed one big idea: the vitality of Christian leadership depends on apprenticeship. Stanley defines apprenticeship as the process of “selecting, modeling, and coaching for the purpose of replacing yourself.” As Stanley said in an...

Catalyst 2011 Katie Davis

October 6, 2011 3:48 PM

I realize I’m surrounded by young Christian leaders, but I have a confession to make: as a general rule, I haven't always fully trusted leaders under 29. I know many who are brilliant, creative, fun, and spiritually deep, but I...

Catalyst 2011 Andy Stanley: Be Present

October 6, 2011 11:47 AM

BE PRESENT. That’s the theme for Catalyst 2011. I love the theme. I’ve spent most of my life learning how to show up—I mean really show up—and be present to God, my own heart, and of course people—church people, lost...

Skye Jethani: Recipe for Church-365 (Part 3)

October 4, 2011 12:00 AM

Read parts one and two of "Recipe for Church365". Ingredient Three: Vocational Discipleship Last month I met with David Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group, to discuss our new books. He wanted to talk about how the themes in my...

Should Pastors Marry Cohabitating Couples?

September 28, 2011 12:00 AM

A new poll conducted by LifeWay Research reports that 58 percent of Protestant pastors would perform a marriage ceremony for a cohabitating couple; 31 percent would not, and 10 percent were undecided. There was some variation between mainline and evangelical...

Mormons, Mormons Everywhere

September 12, 2011 12:00 AM

Newsweek dubbed it “the Mormon Moment” in June. There’s a Broadway musical about Mormon missionaries, two potential Mormon presidential candidates, Warren Jeffs in the media, and TV shows like Big Love and Sister Wives. It seems America is fascinated with--or,...

Scandal of the Evangelical Imagination

August 8, 2011 12:00 AM

In 1995, Mark Noll argued in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind that the problem with evangelicalism is “that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” His solution was to take scholarship more seriously. A decade later, Ron Sider...

Ur Video: In Memory of John Stott

July 29, 2011 12:00 AM

"The evangelical world has lost one of its greatest spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisors. I look forward to seeing him again when I go to Heaven." -Billy Graham For more on...

The Red Bull Gospel

May 16, 2011 12:00 AM

Over the past year I've conducted dozens of interviews with 20-somethings who have walked away from their Christian faith. Among the most surprising findings was this: nearly all of these "leavers" reported having positive experiences in youth group. I recall...

Q Portland: Day One

April 27, 2011 12:00 AM

“Welcome to Portland. Have you gotten high yet?” That was how Donald Miller welcomed the 600 participants of Q to his hometown. As a very “progressive” and “post-Christian” city, Portland is a colorful backdrop for this year’s Q Gathering. Much...

Q 2011- Live from Portland

April 25, 2011 12:00 AM

Leadership's senior editor Skye Jethani will be in Portland later this week for the Q Gathering. He'll be giving us a few live updates and reports from the event. While there is no shortage of ministry events around the country,...

Ur Cartoon: Sexual Abstinence

December 14, 2010 12:00 AM

In yesterday's post Mark Regnerus reveals the failure of faith-based abstinence programs. I thought this cartoon from Roger Judd was an appropriate follow-up. You can find more cartoon by Roger Judd in every issue of our free digital magazine, Catalyst...

Out of Context: Mark Regnerus

December 13, 2010 12:00 AM

"Our collective efforts to deter premarital sex are not that successful: 41 percent of churchgoing, conservative Protestant men's relationships become sexual within one month, barely lower than the national average of 48 percent. We expend so much energy to generate...

Catalyst One Day in Phoenix

November 11, 2010 12:00 AM

Catalyst One Day is coming to Phoenix! Next Thursday, November 18 at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. Join Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel for a one day leadership event focusing on the topic of Momentum. How...

Ur Video: Skye Jethani from "The Nines"

September 10, 2010 12:00 AM

Yesterday Leadership Network hosted their very popular online conference "The Nines." 6 minute videos ran all day featuring church leaders discussing "game changing" insights. Skye Jethani, senior editor of Leadership Journal and Out of Ur, used his 6 minutes to...

The Real Threat of Pagan Christianity

September 3, 2010 12:00 AM

This year I have begun making the transition from student to teacher by teaching an introductory course on World Religions at a local college (while I’m still taking doctoral classes myself). We’re a couple weeks into our journey, and earlier...

Anne Rice's Renunciation

August 13, 2010 8:46 AM

Best selling author Anne Rice has quit Christianity. She is not quitting on Jesus Christ or the Bible, she says, but she is quitting organized Christianity. Ms. Rice announced her quit-decision not through a resignation letter (where would one send...

Out of Context: Darrin Patrick

June 16, 2010 12:00 AM

This excerpt is taken from "Control Tweaks" in the Spring issue of Leadership. Read the entire article. "In my research I found that churches often lean in one of two directions. Some believe that people should be "self-feeders." The church's...

Defending Organic Church (Part 2)

May 17, 2010 12:00 AM

In the spring issue of Leadership journal, Brian Hofmeister wrote an article titled “The Dirt on Organic.” Neil Cole, also a Leadership journal contributor and the author of The Organic Church, was written a response to Hofmeister’s article. Part 1...

Defending Organic Church (Part 1)

May 10, 2010 12:00 AM

In the spring issue of Leadership journal, Brian Hofmeister wrote an article titled “The Dirt on Organic.” Hofmeister shared his experience as the pastor of a network of small, minimally structured, churches. While he celebrated the rich community and evangelistic...

Dallas Willard on How We Assess Spiritual Growth

May 3, 2010 12:00 AM

How can churches know if they are being effective at making disciples? Many churches are measuring the wrong things. We measure things like attendance and giving, but we should be looking at more fundamental things like anger, contempt, honesty, and...

The Pastor as Docent

April 21, 2010 12:00 AM

A friend told me that Eugene Peterson’s Under the Unpredictable Plant should be required reading for every pastor who has served for at least five years. That was how long it had been since my ordination. I picked up a...

Who Are the De-Churched? (Part 2)

April 8, 2010 12:00 AM

I ended Part 1 of this post with a question—what is the church to do about the growing ranks of the de-churched? I believe the answer depends on which de-churched group one is talking about. In Part 1 I identified...

Narrative or Doctrine- What Should You Teach?

March 29, 2010 12:00 AM

Last weekend I attended Spark, a children's ministry conference near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The theme of the conference was "The Art of Storytelling." I think you'd be hard pressed to find a keynote speaker better suited to speak on that topic...

Ur Video: Why Church?

March 26, 2010 12:00 AM

Last week Skye Jethani wrote a post about the "de-churched." It included information about a contest being hosted by 12 Cities | 12 Conversations inviting people to submit videos about why they're committed to Christ but questioning their commitment to...

Who Are the De-Churched? (Part 1)

March 16, 2010 12:00 AM

In days gone by, missional efforts were focused on presenting and demonstrating the love of Christ to non-Christians. But in the 1980s a new term was coined to describe the growing number of North Americans without any significant church background....

Avatar and Becoming Mature in Christ

February 17, 2010 12:00 AM

I have been thinking a lot lately about Colossians 1, where Paul writes: "We proclaim Christ, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this reason I labor, struggling with...

One in Christ or Coffee?

November 23, 2009 12:00 AM

It's very difficult for many contemporary Christians to recognize how much we have been shaped by the consumer culture in which we live—it is in the air we breathe and the water (or coffee) we drink. Consider that in many...

Not a Christian, But a Christ-Follower?

November 4, 2009 12:00 AM

Anyone can understand the desire for an alternative to the word “Christian.” There are plenty of “Christians” I’d rather not be associated with. I’d much prefer to maintain my relationship with Jesus while making clear to others I am not...

Ur Video: The Prosperity Gospel

November 3, 2009 12:00 AM

Christianity Today International, Out of Ur's publisher, and The Lausanne Movement, a worldwide movement of evangelical Christian leaders, present The Global Conversation: a year-long series of essays, short films, and photo essays about issues facing the church worldwide. These videos...

Ur Video: Drive-In Church

September 1, 2009 12:00 AM

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Frank Viola on Postchurch: Part 2

August 3, 2009 2:15 PM

In my first post, I argued that the primary text used to support the postchurch viewpoint is not about the nature of the church at all. Instead, it's about the process of excommunication. Now I have more evidence against the...

Frank Viola on the Postchurch Perspective

August 3, 2009 1:35 PM

There is a growing phenomenon in the body of Christ today. Alongside of the missional church movement, the emerging church movement, and the house church movement, there is a mode of thinking that I call "postchurch Christianity." The postchurch brand...

Ministry Lessons From a Muslim

July 8, 2009 12:00 AM

Eboo Patel is not the most likely seminary professor. His credentials are not the issue. Patel earned his doctorate from Oxford University, and he is a respected commentator on religion for The Washington Post and National Public Radio. He has...

Webcam Worship

July 6, 2009 2:09 PM

The following is an excerpt from a chapter called "Internet Campuses - Virtual or Real Reality?" in the book A Multi-Site Church Road Trip: Exploring the New Normal, by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon, and Warren Bird (Zondervan, 2009). This picks...

Craig Gross: Church in the Chicken Ranch

April 14, 2009 9:18 AM

The Spring '09 issue of Leadership journal should be arriving in mailboxes this week. The issue is called "UNHOOKED: Finding Release from Vices and Addictions." We editors searched for ministers who were tackling addiction head on, whether in their churches...

Ur Video: Sin City

January 22, 2009 2:40 PM

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Ministering to the Imagination

January 13, 2009 12:00 AM

by David Swanson The imagination calls up new words, new images, new analogies, new metaphors, new illustrations, new connections to say old, glorious truth. Imagination is the faculty of the mind that God has given us to make the communication...

Porn Again

January 5, 2009 12:00 AM

The winter issue of Leadership is still a few weeks away from your mailbox, but the editors have already started working on the spring issue. They're still refining the topic, but it will be something about ministry in a culture...

Alan Hirsch Responds to Kimball's "Missional Misgivings"

December 11, 2008 4:26 PM

Dan, As someone who comes out clearly for the missional reframing of church, I do share some concerns about reproduction (fruitfulness). Anyone concerned with Jesus' commission should be. The comments so far are excellent and so I will just add...

Dan Kimball's Missional Misgivings

December 2, 2008 12:00 AM

I hope I am wrong. For the past few years, I have been observing, listening, and asking questions about the missional movement. I have a suspicion that the missional model has not yet proven itself beyond the level of theory....

Dan Kimball on Liturgy, Church Buildings, and Senior Pastors

November 21, 2008 12:00 AM

Dan Kimball: The churches I know that are winning new believers and drawing people who did not grow up in the church are not using too many liturgical elements. I think we might be seeing people who were raised within...

Baptizing Everything but the Wallet

November 17, 2008 12:00 AM

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Amway Evangelism

November 3, 2008 12:00 AM

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Cartoon: Out of His Depth

September 22, 2008 12:00 AM

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Out of Context: Gregory Boyd

September 11, 2008 12:00 AM

"It's not an issue of whether or not we should engage moral evil and politics, but is it our primary job? It's not the main job of the church to be running the government or to influence legislation. The...

Audio Ur: Brandon O'Brien on the Masculinity Movement

August 6, 2008 12:00 AM

Back in April, Leadership assistant editor Brandon O'Brien wrote an article in Christianity Today about the recent trend toward manly Christianity in some evangelical churches. The article generated quite a buzz on the website and in the blogosphere. Brandon...

Is Manliness Next to Godliness?

July 24, 2008 12:00 AM

Today you can read Leadership's own assistant editor, Brandon O'Brien, was in USA Today. The report by Cathy Lynn Grossman highlights the lengths churches are going to reach men. O'Brien wrote an article last spring for Christianity Today on the...

A More Macho Messiah

April 21, 2008 1:44 PM

Brandon O'Brien, assistant editor of Leadership, has a provocative article over at ChristianityToday.com about the shortcomings of the new Christian men's movement. From worship songs that inspire men to "Grab a sword, don't be scared. Be a man, grow...

Live from Shift: Willow Implements REVEAL

April 11, 2008 12:48 PM

Here we go again. Willow Creek's REVEAL study has been a very hot issue on this blog. Rather than recapping all the history, I encourage you to review a few previous posts. Willow Creek Repents?: Why the most influential...

Live from Shift: Mark Yaconelli Podcast

April 10, 2008 7:16 AM

Yesterday morning we recapped Mark Yaconelli's talk from the first day of Shift 2008. Thanks to those of you who have left comments on this post, along with the reviews of the sessions with Brian McLaren and Shane Claiborne....

Live from Shift: Broken Ministry

April 9, 2008 1:00 PM

The second session at Shift began with a plea from Bo Boshers, the Executive Director of Youth Ministries for the Willow Creek Association. He shared that a survey of this conference's attendees showed that 67% of the youth leaders...

Out of Context: Ken Fong

December 5, 2007 12:00 AM

"The old paradigm of evangelism was a transactional sharing of the gospel. I would try to get people to intellectually agree with me. But the new paradigm is different, an approach in which I invite you to walk alongside me,...

Willow Creek Repents? (Part 2)

October 26, 2007 4:40 PM

Last week's post about Willow Creek sparked a lot of conversation. It all flowed from comments made by the church's leaders following a three year self-evaluation of Willow Creek's ministry effectiveness. Your comments caught the attention of Greg Hawkins, Willow's...

Willow Creek Repents?

October 18, 2007 12:00 AM

Few would disagree that Willow Creek Community Church has been one of the most influential churches in America over the last thirty years. Willow, through its association, has promoted a vision of church that is big, programmatic, and comprehensive. This...

Glimpses of Glory

October 15, 2007 12:00 AM

We live in a dark world. Our hearts long for goodness, beauty, justice, and peace, but they are often hidden behind the shadow cast by evil and sin. This is why preaching is so necessary. Whenever the kingdom of God...

Out of Context: Rick Warren

October 10, 2007 12:00 AM

"The American church as a whole needs to move from selfish consumerism to unselfish contribution. Those are poles apart. To start with a woman who's most interested in how many diamonds she's got in her tennis bracelet, and move her...

So Many Christian Infants

October 1, 2007 12:00 AM

Gordon MacDonald's column for October is my own lament: Why are there so many spiritual babies? And why don't the mature believers do something about it? We're really good at bringing people into the kingdom, Gordon says, but lousy at...

5 Guides for Today

August 20, 2007 12:00 AM

Leadership's longtime friend and sage Fred Smith, Sr., died on Friday, August 17, 2007 at age 91. Smith was an accomplished businessman, church leader, and mentor at the time Leadership journal was launched in 1980. He was featured in...

No Transformation Necessary

March 27, 2007 12:00 AM

Dallas Willard has said, "We fail to be disciples only because we do not decide to be. We do not intend to be disciples." But which is the greater problem, the person who does not intend to be a disciple...

Out of Context: Sarah Cunningham

March 1, 2007 12:00 AM

"Few people see Christianity as a shift of allegiance that prompts us to make personal changes in beliefs, habits, and lifestyles. We must continually examine our churches to make sure our message is one that requires transformation." -Sarah Cunningham is...

Out of Context: Tony Jones

February 8, 2007 12:00 AM

"Modern Christianity has emphasized the immanence of our Savior, but, pushed too far, we are in danger of making the God of the universe little more than our buddy." -Tony Jones is coordinator of Emergent Village. Taken from "Prayer Beyond...

Introducing 'Gifted for Leadership'

January 23, 2007 12:00 AM

For all you women out there, I'm thrilled to announce the launch of Gifted for Leadership. It's a new resource designed specifically for Christian women who are capable, called, and gifted leaders. Unfortunately, many Christian women in leadership feel alone...

Evangelical Immigration

October 16, 2006 12:00 AM

Regular Out of Ur contributor David Fitch is back to share his thoughts on church shopping, staying put, and ecumenism. And what's with all the evangelicals going high-church anyway? I'd like to say some things about the evangelicals going high...

Baptizing the Imagination

October 12, 2006 12:00 AM

Our Good Friday this year included no sermon, no worship team, no cutting edge technology or lavish drama. And still people lingered for hours to pray, teenagers returned later in the night with their friends, and children begged their parents...

Out of Context: Kent Carlson

October 9, 2006 12:00 AM

"Christian leaders have to admit this is the system we have put together. We can't build churches that advertise 'tons of ministries to meet your needs,' then be surprised when people expect us to continually meet their needs." -Kent Carlson,...

Radioactive Church Attendance: predicting your congregation’s half-life

June 23, 2006 12:00 AM

Some churches are more unstable than others. This may not be the result of impulsive leadership or poor planning, but rather the life stage of the congregation. Dave Terpstra pastors The Next Level Church in Denver, a community comprised primarily...

A "Different" Kind of Church: how secular marketing is fueling church competition

April 4, 2006 12:00 AM

General Motors launched its Saturn brand in 1990 with the tag line, "A different kind of company, a different kind of car." GM believed they could carve out a market niche by addressing the collective American psyche's negative view of...

Your Own Personal Jesus: Is the language of "a personal relationship" biblical?

March 24, 2006 12:00 AM

The song "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode describes the faith of many: "Your own personal Jesus. Someone to hear your prayers. Someone who cares." In this post, John Suk, a professor of homiletics at Asian Theological Seminary in Manila, The...

Searching for the Perfect Parachurch

February 21, 2006 12:00 AM

Many of the most prominent and influential ministries in the world are not churches. But, the spread of parachurch ministries in recent decades has caused some to wonder: do parachurches help or hurt local congregations? Dave Terpstra, pastor of The...

Exit Stage Left 2: How the Spiritually Mature Reengage

February 8, 2006 12:00 AM

In his earlier post, Dave Terpstra described why the spiritually mature find most churches ill-equipped to assist them in their growth. This, he says, is why the more mature often leave the church or disengage from active service. After reading...

Exit Stage Left: Why the Spiritually Mature are Leaving the Church

February 1, 2006 12:00 AM

Last month we looked at George Barna's new book, Revolution, which reveals that a growing number of people are seeking spiritual growth outside the institutional church. In this post Dave Terpstra, pastor at The Next Level Church in Denver and...

Expletive Undeleted: Dropping the F-bomb in Church

November 8, 2005 12:00 AM

Leadership associate editor Skye Jethani tells the story Mike Sares shared with him at a conference earlier this year. Tell us what you would do if you were Mike. A few days before Christmas, pastor Mike Sares got a call...

Erwin McManus at Catalyst: Formulas Don't Work

October 9, 2005 8:19 AM

The following is from Jennifer Oxford, one of our Leadership team in Atlanta for the Catalyst Conference. Erwin McManus took stage and continued to expound upon the very clear message of the entire Catalyst event...that it's not about formulas...the church,...

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