The Great (and Worrisome) Irony of APEST

There is an irony that might be missed by those who have embraced the APEST typology advocated by Alan Hirsch, Mike Breen, and others in the Missional Movement.In our desire to overcome an overbearing leadership structure that was found in putting so much power in the Shepherd-Teacher, we are in danger of creating yet another overbearing leadership structure but with different leaders. We worry so much about the destructive nature of institutionalism that we shift the focus from 2/5 of the … [Read more...]

A Caring Critique of Alan Hirsch’s APEST Paradigm for Churches

So, I was going through my Facebook feed and came across a post on April 12 from Brad Briscoe, the director of strategic development for Forge America (the organization that Alan Hirsch founded when he first came over from Australia) that stated, "I am convinced that if a person denies or discounts the importance of #APEST in Eph 4:1-16, they simply haven't dealt with the topic in a serious manner." I was astonished at that bold statement, so I had to comment: "That would be a poor … [Read more...]

Are There Two Kinds of Grace?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. As God created everything in the cosmos in an orderly way, we read in Genesis 1 that "God saw that it was good."  After God made it all, we read, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31) Think about it. It was very good! How dare we think that our sin can nullify that which God has made!But that is exactly the implication we get from many of our churches - that the creation is so evil that there is nothing … [Read more...]

The Callings that Only Come from the Holy Spirit

Skye Jethani, in a great insight in his book, Futureville (and also discussed in this article from The High Calling / Theology of Work Project), delineates three levels of calling.The highest level of calling is when Jesus calls to us "Follow Me," and our continued abiding in communion with Christ, The second level of calling is the common calling for all Christians to obey the commands of Scripture (instructions to love one another, pray for those who persecute you, forgive those who … [Read more...]

Churches are Not Reaching the Young Adult Generation: A Solution

So you are concerned about losing a whole generation from the church. We all are. Young adults seem less interested in Christianity than ever before.We wonder why they aren't attending our churches. After all, we have carefully created programs for every life-stage: for children and teens, for young parents, for older adults, and for singles - both older singles and... specifically for them - for single young adults! Why aren't they connecting with that ministry?Perhaps we need to … [Read more...]

Church Ministry Nurturing Marriage is Not More Important than Church Ministry Nurturing Work

Just listened to one of Phil Vischer’ excellent podcasts, where Phil and co-host Skye Jethani interviewed Tom Nelson (Tom is a pastor, and the head of Made to Flourish, a national pastors' network arranged by region. He is also the author of the essential book "Work Matters.") They said something that has invigorated me as I do this ministry of (re)integrate and work on my dissertation on this subject.They said that churches (and the pastors that lead them) make marriage a central part of t … [Read more...]

Shalom is the Way it is Meant to Be

PEACE. It has the connotation in English of quiet tranquility and calm restfulness.But in my studies in the original languages of the Bible, I have discovered that the word "Peace" means a whole lot more than that. Isaiah foretold of the coming of the PRINCE of PEACE.Jesus Christ is ushering in a peace that is more than what the English word conveys. And he is using redeemed people to do it!God's purpose for every person, every society, everything in this world, is peace. The Hebrew … [Read more...]

Overcoming Narcigesis: A Preaching Matrix to Help Pastors in Sermon Preparation

Introducing the (re)integrate preaching application matrix.  Chris Rosebrough (the "Captain" of Pirate Christian Media) recently wrote a scathing post at "Letter Of Marque."He wrote, "There is an epidemic of Narcissistic Eisegesis a.k.a. Narcigesis, infecting the churches in America today. Pastors and Bible teachers have mastered the art of allegorizing all of the characters and details of every Bible story in order to make the stories about YOU." When I first read this, I … [Read more...]

“Time, Talents, & Treasure” – Overcoming False Dualism

We need to be very careful in how we articulate things. I’ve been teaching stewardship in church ministry for over two decades now. I don't know who came up with it, but perhaps the best way I've experienced helping people assess their stewardship has been by articulating it in three areas: Time, Talents, and Treasure. Church leaders have come to realize that what people have been placed in charge of in their personal lives includes not only their money but also their gifts and sch … [Read more...]

The Holy Spirit and Vocation: Spiritual Gifts for Work

The role of God’s Spirit cannot be ignored in the concept of calling. For if there is a calling, then there is a caller.The problem with false dualism is that what is perceived as the “spiritual” life is disconnected to the actual work humans do as participation in the mission of God. Miroslav Volf contends, “The sphere of the new creation cannot be tied to the ‘inner man.’ Because the whole creation is the Spirit’s sphere of operation, the Spirit is not only the Spirit of religious experie … [Read more...]