All posts from “formation”

Ed Dobson on Finding Purpose Outside the Church

February 23, 2012 12:00 AM

For the last two weeks we've been talking about the temptations and maladies created by our the celebrity culture within the church. Pastors are measured by the magnitude of their platform rather than the maturity of their faith. Ed Dobson...

Unexpected Grace

February 6, 2012 12:00 AM

Some of the most important moments of faith do not come from the places we expect. They may not come from behind a pulpit or an altar, in corporate worship, or during a retreat. Those of us leading congregations are...

Ur Video: MLK & Seeing a God-With-Us World

January 16, 2012 12:00 AM

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Nov/Dec Catalyst Leadership: The Gospel in Focus

October 24, 2011 12:00 AM

The latest edition of our free digital magazine, Catalyst Leadership, is now online. In this issue we have almost doubled the number of pages and articles, and with all of that new space we're tackling a critically important question:...

Ur Video: Skye Jethani on Treasuring God

October 11, 2011 12:00 AM

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Sep/Oct Catalyst Leadership Now Available

August 25, 2011 12:00 AM

The latest issue of our free digizine, Catalyst Leadership, is now available online. This time we're covering "Authority Issues." You'll hear from authors like Eugene Peterson, Richard Foster, Charles Swindoll, Andy Stanley, and Skye Jethani. As always, we've included some...

Skye Jethani: What is Life WITH God?

August 23, 2011 12:00 AM

To celebrate the release of my new book, WITH: Reimagining The Way You Relate To God (Nelson, 2011), I wanted to share with you a brief excerpt. In case you're not familiar with the premise of the book, and how...

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...

Ur Video: Driscoll on Porn

June 7, 2011 12:00 AM

James MacDonald asks Mark Driscoll for a definitive answer on porn. When does viewing it disqualify a person from leadership--once a year, once a quarter, once a month, once a week? Driscoll avoids giving a one-size-fits-all answer. What do you...

Surprised by Addiction

June 6, 2011 12:00 AM

Addictions come in various forms: alcohol, gambling, drugs, pornography, overeating, and binge shopping, just to name a few. Whatever the particular vice, addictions thrive on secrecy and shame. And while addictions can be difficult for anyone to divulge, pastors face...

Skye Jethani's New Book "WITH"

May 6, 2011 12:00 AM

Just a quick heads up for urbanites. Skye Jethani, senior editor of Leadership Journal and a regular here on Ur, has a new book being released this August- WITH: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God. Thomas Nelson has...

Matt Chandler: How Cancer Has Changed Me

February 17, 2011 12:00 AM

The upcoming March/April issue of Catalyst Leadership features an interview with Matt Chandler. Just over a year ago he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Through surgery and ongoing radiation and chemo treatments, Chandler has maintained his leadership role at The...

Epic Fail Pastors Conference

February 7, 2011 12:00 AM

In the most recent issue of Leadership, John Ortberg shares this important observation: I once was part of a survey on spiritual formation. Thousands of people were asked when they grew most spiritually, and what contributed to their growth. The...

Ur Video: John Piper on Porn

February 3, 2011 12:00 AM

Leadership Journal is now in its 31st year of publication, and it seems that church leaders struggling with pornography has been a constant theme we've covered through all of those years--even well before the age of the internet. Does the...

Can Yoga be Christian?

December 8, 2010 12:00 AM

A few months ago, Al Mohler set off a firestorm when he pronounced yoga to be incompatible with Christian faith. The comments came in a review the Southern Baptist leader wrote about Stephanie Syman's book The Subtle Body: The Story...

Catalyst Day One: Soul and Skills Part 2

October 7, 2010 3:00 PM

Daniel Pink is the author of "Drive," a new book about motivation. He brought his core message to the Catalyst crowd. Money is a motivator, he admits, but it is limited. (You can’t pay someone unfairly. But once you pay...

Catalyst Day One: Soul and Skills

October 7, 2010 2:36 PM

“The tension is good.” That’s the theme of this year’s Catalyst Conference, and Andy Stanley’s opening session talk described the tensions caused by our appetites: “Food and sex, and food and sex, and the guys in the room are saying...

Catalyst: Temptations in the Dip

October 6, 2010 10:17 PM

Perhaps my favorite lab of the day was led by Pete Wilson, pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville. He titled the session: “Temptations in the Dip,” and by that he means seasons of life when things aren’t going well....

Catalyst: The Tension Is Good

October 6, 2010 10:14 PM

Tomorrow is the first day of Catalyst, and today Nate Johnson and I from Leadership went to Atlanta for the pre-day of “labs,” Catalyst’s term for their workshops. This year’s theme: “The Tension Is Good.” Several of the labs I...

John Piper Breaks His Silence

October 4, 2010 12:00 AM

Our colleague over at Christianity Today, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, has snagged an interview with John Piper that Ur-banites will want to read. Piper has been on an 8-month leave from ministry to focus on "soul check, marriage and family check,...

What Did Jesus Mean by "Judge Not"?

September 15, 2010 12:00 AM

What did Jesus mean when he said, “Judge not, and you will not be judged.” It’s one of the most commonly quoted verses from the bible (Luke 6:37). Many of us, and not merely politicians, invoke the verse as a...

The Dangerous Pursuit of "Cool" (Part 2)

September 9, 2010 12:00 AM

Read part 1 of Brett McCracken's post. Perhaps pastors and church leaders should focus their energies more on understanding and valuing culture for itself instead of always trying to use it to bolster their church's insider credibility, suggests James Harleman,...

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...

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...

Tuesdays with Tozer- Repentance

May 4, 2010 12:00 AM

There are many peculiar ideas about biblical repentance. I have talked with people who tried to tell me that repentance is necessary because “it makes you fit so that God can save you.” The Bible does not teach that, and...

Tuesdays with Tozer- Holy Men & Women

April 20, 2010 12:00 AM

Some people have a knack for making me hungry to know God. I know a few people who when I’m done talking with them make me want to know and love Him more. I treasure those people. They don’t try...

Don't Forget to Grieve

March 31, 2010 12:00 AM

I once attended a Good Friday service where the pastor encouraged us to look at Good Friday positively, to see the crucifixion through “Easter eyes.” To be honest, the bright lights and the upbeat music and mood felt to me...

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...

Andy Stanley: System Failure

January 8, 2010 12:00 AM

What causes people to change? What creates behaviors? It may not be what you think. According to Andy Stanley, many church leaders assume that the right programs, great teaching, or really inspiring events will foster transformation. But they don't. Check...

Matt Chandler Discusses his Brain Surgery

December 7, 2009 12:00 AM

Last summer I had the opportunity to interview Matt Chandler in Dallas. (Read the interview.) I should confess that I wasn't particularly excited about the interview. I'd never met Matt before, but I held certain assumptions about how the...

The Hansen Report: Calling Out Counterfeit Gods

October 14, 2009 12:00 AM

There is nothing like a recession to put Americans in a reflective mood. Unemployment and a devalued stock market have led many to consider whether money is the pre-eminent form of American idolatry. New York Times columnist David Brooks...

Chuck Swindoll's 10 Lifetime Leadership Lessons

October 9, 2009 11:08 AM

Chuck Swindoll was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at Catalyst 09, and spoke on "10 Things I Have Learned During Nearly 50 Years in Leadership":...

Dave Ramsey's Momentum Theorum

October 9, 2009 9:18 AM

The irrepressible financial guru Dave Ramsey burst on the Catalyst stage talking about “momentum.” “When you have it, you look better than you are. When you don’t have it, you’re better than you look.” He talked about times his ministry...

Malcolm Gladwell: What's More Dangerous than Incompetence?

October 8, 2009 1:26 PM

Malcolm Gladwell told the story of the battle of Chancellorsville, VA, in which General “Fighting Joe” Hooker maneuvers his Union Army to encircle the Confederate Army on three sides, and then delivers a speech to his troops: “God Almighty Himself...

Nancy Ortberg on the Seduction & Myths of Influence

October 7, 2009 3:37 PM

Nancy Ortberg, founding partner of Teamworx2 and editorial advisor and contributor to Gifted for Leadership and Kyria.com, spoke on powerful themes inspired by her books, "Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands" and "Looking for God."...

Blog ... The Devil Wants You To

October 7, 2009 1:30 PM

For one of the first Catalyst lab sessions, three of the top Christian bloggers took the stage to talk shop: Ann Jackson (www.FlowerDust.net), Carlos Whittaker (www.RagamuffinSoul.com), and Jon Acuff (www.StuffChristiansLike.net) So what wisdom did these titans of the blogosphere...

Mark Batterson on his new book "Primal" and on "Altar Building"

October 7, 2009 10:39 AM

> Skye Jethani, managing editor of Leadership and www.OutOfUr.com, introduced Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. Batterson described his forthcoming book, Primal (Multnomah):...

Ur Video: Donald Miller on Life and Story

July 13, 2009 12:00 AM

Hear more from Donald Miller at the STORY conference October 28-29 in Chicago. Learn more about the event at storychicago.com....

Urban Exile: Gran Torino

June 15, 2009 8:48 AM

Clint Eastwood taught me something the other day. The veteran actor and director's latest film sheds light on the tendency by many of us to seek the cultural values of homogeneity, stability, and comfort rather than finding God in the...

Last Call: The Alcohol Brew-haha

May 14, 2009 12:00 AM

The conversation based on Eric Reed's report, "Trouble Brewing," in the latest issue of Leadership has been...stimulating. What should church leaders be modeling for their flocks? Everyone agrees that sobriety is essential, but is enjoying an alcoholic beverage ever okay?...

Is a Beer just a Beer?

May 6, 2009 8:09 AM

I spent a semester abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, during college and attended a great church there. On my first visit to the head deacon's house for dinner, he asked me what I'd like to drink. I asked him what my...

Anne Jackson: Battling Porn Addiction

April 22, 2009 8:00 AM

Last week, blogger and author Anne Jackson stopped by the Out of Ur offices. Anne runs the popular blog FlowerDust.net and recently published Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic with Zondervan. Anne began struggling with an Internet porn addiction...

Ur Video: Is Drinking a Sin?

March 19, 2009 12:00 AM

Earlier this week Brandon O'Brien wrote about the new debate among clergy over alcohol. Even if we believe the Bible permits consumption, what does wisdom tell us? Should pastors drink as an expression of Christian liberty, or should we refrain...

Trouble Brewing

March 17, 2009 2:05 PM

In the upcoming issue of Leadership (in print mid April), we'll hear from a number of pastors - including Craig Gross, John Burke, and Matt Russell - who are committed to taking the gospel to people with addictions. We're also...

Live from NPC: Rob Bell

February 11, 2009 4:12 PM

Most of the church leaders attending this morning's session at NPC probably thought they don't share much in common with mega-church pastor, mega-celebrity, mega-author Rob Bell. They were wrong. Bell spoke about being criticized - the "million little paper cuts"...

Memory Loss Plagues Wall Street and Christians

January 15, 2009 12:00 AM

By Collin Hansen Over the holidays, you probably relished how gas prices largely returned to "normal." Prices higher than $2, $3, or even $4 per gallon just seems so un-American. So why are national opinion writers so diverse as Charles...

Baptizing Everything but the Wallet

November 17, 2008 12:00 AM

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Review: The Blue Parakeet, Part 2

October 24, 2008 12:00 AM

In an earlier post, I outlined the content of Scot McKnight's new book, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking how you read the Bible. Here are a few reflections on what I consider the book's primary strengths and weaknesses. First the...

Review: The Blue Parakeet, Part 1

October 23, 2008 12:00 AM

While the majority of academics won't - or can't - write for a popular audience, Scot McKnight is willing and able. And in The Blue Parakeet (Zondervan, 2008), he opens the complex issue of biblical interpretation to the uninitiated...

Live From Catalyst: McKnight on Bad Bible Reading

October 8, 2008 4:01 PM

by Skye Jethani Day 1 at Catalyst in Atlanta is dominated by the Labs. These smaller breakout sessions give conference attendees a more intimate setting to hear from authors, thinkers, and leaders in a more interactive environment. My first stop...

Urban Exile: Following Jesus in the Face of Fear

September 9, 2008 12:00 AM

Pulling up to a busy intersection recently, my wife and I were startled to see a car with its rear windshield shattered. Out of the damaged car leaped a man with a baseball bat, yelling and chasing the two apparent...

"God, Rock The Summit"

August 8, 2008 2:47 PM

This year's roster at Willow Creek's Leadership Summit conference includes an impressive lineup of leaders from both the ministry and secular business realms. Pastors John Burke and Efrem Smith, and Bill George (current Harvard Business prof and former CEO...

You Walk (with God) Wrong

May 30, 2008 8:15 AM

In a recent issue of New York magazine, Adam Sternbergh accuses, "You Walk Wrong." And I can't help but think that his insight into feet has spiritual application for Western Christians. As the title suggests, Sternbergh claims that none of...

Audio Ur: Tim Keller's Gospel

May 28, 2008 12:00 AM

Is there only one gospel? And what is the difference between the gospel message and the implications of that message? Can we preach one without the other? In this podcast Skye Jethani , David Swanson , and Matt Tebbe...

Why We're Rethinking the Gospel

May 27, 2008 12:00 AM

Our friends over at Preaching Today have launched a new series on preaching the gospel. They're asking, "Is our gospel too small, or is it too big?" and "What does it mean to preach the gospel in today's culture." They've...

Defending Depravity

May 23, 2008 12:00 AM

A century and a half ago, Herman Melville (he wrote Moby Dick, but don't hold that against him) observed, "In certain moods, no man can weigh this world without throwing in something, somehow like Original Sin, to strike the...

The Passion of the Heist

May 2, 2008 12:00 AM

I have a confession to make: I'm a thief and a murderer. I haven't actually killed a living, breathing human being (I have stolen a thing or two, though; mostly pens and pencils). But one summer in college, a...

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...

They Love the Church but Not the Institution (Part 2)

March 12, 2008 12:00 AM

In the first part of this post, I discussed my suspicion that we have confused the church (the community of God's people) with the church institution (the 501c3 tax-exempt organization). This leads to a myopic understanding of Christian mission and...

They Love the Church but Not the Institution

March 10, 2008 12:00 AM

Dan Kimball, a regular contributor to Leadership and Out of Ur, has written a book titled, They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from emerging generations. The book chronicles the attitudes of younger seekers - they feel a strong...

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...

Out of Context: Mark Labberton

July 18, 2007 12:00 AM

"This disparity between economics and justice is an issue of worship. According to the narrative of Scripture, the very heart of how we show and distinguish true worship from false worship is apparent in how we respond to the poor,...

Justice, Do It

June 29, 2007 12:00 AM

Nike has gotten a lot of marketing mileage from its straightforward motto, "Just Do It." In part two of David Fitch's post on social justice his message for church leaders is equally simple - just do it. Fitch argues that...

Justice-ified by Faith

June 26, 2007 12:00 AM

Recently we discussed Scot McKnight's belief that the gospel typically preached by evangelicals is too individualistic, and how it actually makes the church an unnecessary part of following Christ. David Fitch, pastor of Life on the Vine Christian Community in...

Success Covers a Multitude of Sins

June 7, 2007 12:00 AM

This week I am attending the Midwest Regional Spiritual Formation Forum at Elmbrook Church near Milwaukee. The conference theme is "spiritual formation and the mission of the church." Most interpret "mission" to mean a measurable impact in the world. Are...

Getting the Gospel Right

May 9, 2007 12:00 AM

A few weeks ago Dave Johnson questioned our adherence to a gospel that does not call forth or expect transformation in our lives. In this post professor and blogger extraordinaire Scot McKnight continues the discussion. He contends that many of...

Name Calling

April 13, 2007 12:00 AM

What is a Christian response to the flap over radio personality Don Imus's description of the Rutgers women's basketball team? Is his firing a concession to pressure groups or an appropriate judgment? In this debate, is there something deeper to...

Out of Context: Miles Finch

April 6, 2007 12:00 AM

"When our goal of worship is to receive God's help to be successful, pride is taking over. Then we are just using God to further ourselves. Could it be that we want church-growth secrets, or even God's Spirit...for the wrong...

Jesus and the Art of Automobile Maintenance

April 3, 2007 12:00 AM

Leadership's editor-at-large, Gordon MacDonald, is back with further reflections on life and faith. This time he addresses the nature of spiritual brokenness - a truth incarnated by his temperamental 1950 Ford. (Sorry, I have a weakness for bad puns.) My...

Goodbye Religion, Hello Spirituality

March 29, 2007 12:00 AM

Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, two prominent voices in the Emergent conversation, have edited a new book called An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Baker, 2007). The dictionary defines the word manifesto as, "a public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions."...

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...

Redefining Character

March 22, 2007 12:00 AM

The spring issue of Leadership is just a few weeks away from the mailbox. The issue focuses upon the formation of the pastor's soul and character; the behind-the-scenes work of God in the lives of very public church leaders. Matt...

Quiet Graces at a Loud Conference

February 9, 2007 12:00 AM

Last year at the National Pastors Convention, Dallas Willard spoke at an early morning Bible study gathering. Unlike the main sessions the Bible study had no music, no flashing lights, no massive screen. There was nothing remotely worshipful or stimulating...

The Ten Deadly Sins of Preaching

February 7, 2007 12:00 AM

Monday was a great day to leave Chicago. The wind-chill was thirty degrees below zero and the Bears had just lost the Super Bowl. This week I'm in sunny San Diego for the National Pastors Convention. Although the main sessions...

70 Effective Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

December 26, 2006 12:00 AM

Making a resolution for 2007? Before you do, check out the resolutions of one of America's most celebrated pastors. Eric Reed shares with us Jonathan Edwards' effective resolutions. Jonathan Edwards was a serious man. Even at 19, the young man...

Protecting the Pastor's Soul

November 14, 2006 12:00 AM

The phenomenon of celebrity pastors in the American church cuts two ways. When a mega-pastor succeeds everyone buys their book, attends their seminar, and emulates their strategy. And when a mega-pastor falls we all look into our own souls for...

The Poet of Ur: "The Liar’s Lament"

November 10, 2006 12:00 AM

Daniel Haase, a professor at Wheaton College, is a frequent visitor to Ur. The last time he shared one of his poems with us it was after a heated conversation on the blog that turned ugly. Haase has composed another...

Out of Context: Ken Fong

November 9, 2006 12:00 AM

"The nuclear family is not God's most important institution on earth. It is not the social agent that most significantly forms the character of Christians." -Ken Fong is pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles in Rosemead, California Taken...

Who’s More Spiritual: Emergent or Traditional Evangelicals?

October 22, 2006 9:32 PM

Okay, so no one's had the chutzpah to frame the question so baldly. But each group seems to assume the answer in its favor--at least, that's the impression you'd get from some emergent critiques of traditional evangelicals and from...

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...

Spiritual Formation: we’ve already got a proven model, but do we want it?

July 23, 2006 7:43 AM

Recently friends from a major publisher of Sunday school curriculum called me. They were researching trends in spiritual formation, they said, and they thought I might help them. After a few warm-up questions, they got to the heart of the...

Is Jesus the Answer or the Question?: rediscovering the role of mystery in our faith

June 6, 2006 12:00 AM

Recent posts on Ur have focused on the nature of Emergent - is it liberal Christianity recast for a new generation, or simply a forum of conversation for those looking for a better understanding of their faith? Critics have accused...

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...

National Pastors Convention 3: David Anderson Reminds Us “Shift Happens”

February 25, 2006 12:00 AM

Developing a multicultural congregation is something many people have talked about but few have done. David Anderson is one of the few. As founder and pastor of Bridgeway Community Church, a multicultural church in Columbia, Maryland, Anderson knows the challenges...

The Hidden Blessing of Brokeback Mountain

February 6, 2006 12:00 AM

Last week the Oscar nominations were announced and Brokeback Mountain, popularly known as the "gay cowboy movie," has been nominated for more awards than any other film. Although not a financial blockbuster, the film has been heralded by critics as...

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