Are Evangelicals Becoming the Amish of the 21st Century?

No one would equate today's evangelical church with horse-drawn buggies and straw hats, but I would argue that there is an alarming similarity between the Amish and many of today's evangelical churches. As odd and out of place as it might seem to zoom past an Amish buggy in the back country of Pennsylvania, a similar trend is manifesting itself in the evangelical world.Now, without getting into the theological side of the equation, there's a very practical aspect that marks the Amish as … [Read more...]

Would Jesus Have Used Hashtags and Emojis If He Preached Today?

Yesterday at my church we started a new sermon series titled #struggles: following Jesus in a selfie-centered world (this series comes from the good people at Some might argue that using something as modern as a hashtag is pandering or even selling out to contemporary culture. Jesus would have never done that if he were preaching today, would he?At the end of the day, we'll never know. There can be convincing arguments on either side by folks with long titles after their names, … [Read more...]

Introducing: New Wineskins

Change is hard. Change is uncomfortable. Change is absolutely necessary. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Baptist by upbringing, so I know a thing or two about resisting change. I come from a heritage of church traditions perfectly poised to reach America if our culture ever reverts back to the 1950s.I'm changing my blog title and emphasis on Patheos to New Wineskins for one simple reason: to advocate, defend and proclaim the necessity of the church to adapt and modernize to reach an ever-changing … [Read more...]

Why Is it So Important That the Resurrection of Jesus Is a Historical Event and Not a Religious Fairytale?

Fresh off of Easter Sunday, billions of people on this planet celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus, the central tenet and claim of Christianity. On the surface, the claim seems preposterous: almost two thousand years ago, there was a homeless Jewish rabbi who lived in a backwater Roman province and died a common criminal's death by crucifixion. He was God and proved it by rising from the dead. It sounds much more plausible as a religious fairytale, a backstory to help explain why so … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Demonstrate the Spirit’s Power in Your Life

Why was I ever raised in churches that thought the best method of evangelism was to memorize presentations? Consider the Apostle Paul: He was raised in religion. He went to the best schools available in his day. He was trained under the famed rabbi Gamaliel. By the age of twelve as a good rabbincal student he would have had the entire Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, memorized. It was not uncommon for advanced rabbinical students to go on and memorize the entire Old Testament. Paul … [Read more...]

The Missing Piece of Evangelism in Most of Our Churches

I’ve never liked going door-to-door witnessing. Growing up, I was taught that proper evangelism was sitting in classrooms, memorizing points and techniques, making sure you had all the proper tabs in your Bible marked, working on your counter-arguments when they would inevitably push back, and then start knocking on doors, interrupting people during dinner and seeing who you could argue into the Kingdom of God. Sounds like fun, right?Reading through the book of Acts, you see the apostles and … [Read more...]

Why I Choose Not to Drink Alcohol

In honor of St. Patrick's Day (a holiday second only to Mardi Gras when it comes to being associated with alcohol), I want to share why I choose not to drink alcohol. And it's not because the Bible doesn't say 'don't drink.' Growing up in conservative traditional (i.e. teetotaler) Baptist churches, I always got the "the Bible says don't drink" talk. Except the Bible never says that. As my religious teenage friends used to say to try and justify their drinking, "The Bible never says 'Don't … [Read more...]

The Biggest Warning Church Leaders Should Take From This Presidential Election

This election is one that we'll be talking about for decades. The Tea Party insurgency of 2010 was a mere tremor compared to what is happening in 2016. The rise of Bernie Sanders and the dominance of Donald Trump is sending shockwaves through all political establishments. The institution of the church should take notice, too.The number one factor driving people to Donald Trump is anger. Anger at the government, anger at the system, anger at the establishment. What the political elite thought … [Read more...]

7 Ways to Listen to the Holy Spirit

If you want to begin listening to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide your steps but you're not sure how to begin, here are seven tips to help you start listening to the Holy Spirit:1. Spend time with God through Bible study and prayer.God has already spoken through His Word. The more time you spend with God through reading His Word and through prayer, the more familiar you'll become with His voice. This is important because God will never tell you to do anything that contradicts His … [Read more...]

The Simplest (yet Hardest) Way to Reach the Next Generation

As a pastor that has worked with Millennials his entire career, I'm asked this question a lot. How do you reach the next generation? This specific question has been asked several times over the past few weeks, as churches and church members from other churches try and figure out why my church is having at least some success reaching the next generation. Those churches are all typically older, traditional, and have at least in some sense come to grips with the fact that if they don't reach the … [Read more...]