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Christmas in the Word

December 24, 2014

If you’re like most believers, you want to connect with your family on Christmas Eve and Christmas day to have fun, play games, share a meal together. But if you leave that time and haven’t connected meaningfully about your faith in the Lord, it just seems kind of hollow in the end.

I’d encourage you to take some time to come together with your family and gather around God’s Word. You don’t have to have something powerful or profound to say—the power is in the Christmas story itself. My kids remember our family living this out together at Christmas every year, but I don’t think they recall a single thing I’ve said. What does stick with them is that we cared enough to help them see that our time together is about so much more than giving gifts, eating turkey, having time off—it’s about the real meaning of Christmas, Jesus Christ Himself.

Merry Christmas to your family from ours! May you be refreshed anew in your spirit and your relationships as you celebrate our Savior and the significance of His coming.

2014 JMac KMac and Kids-sm

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5 Forgiveness Failures

December 09, 2014

Forgiveness is the decision to release someone from the obligation that resulted when they injured you. Many in ministry leadership are failing in this area, to the detriment of their churches, their families, and themselves. When people end up in the ditch and out of ministry, it is very often because of unforgiveness.

http://vimeo.com/113742887

Two years ago, we made a Christmas Eve short film for our church, called The Ride, dealing with some of the harsh realities that can surround forgiveness and reconciliation. Though only intended for our church family, this film went on to win awards and impact churches across the country. And tonight, Trinity Broadcasting Network will air it in a special program at 9pm, CT. I’d love to encourage you to tune in, or you can order your own copy here as a gift or ministry tool. You’ll be glad you did.

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Ministry to Millennials: #verticalcon

December 01, 2014

VertConBlogEvery pastor has felt the weight of disappointment as significant people transition through their ministry from life stage to life stage. Youth pastors probably feel this most potently of all. Too often they see students who had flourished in their faith begin to struggle during the often tumultuous post-college years.

We have seen this happen in our church, and I am excited my son Luke is trying to do something about it through the Vertical Conference. Though catalytic events aren’t the only thing needed for spiritual growth, they can foster amazing work in re-directing us at crucial moments. The agenda for this event is simple: seek after God through prayer, worship, and the Word to start 2015. Listen below as Luke and I talk about ministry to young people, and I give some advice to 20-somethings.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

As a faithful reader of this blog, I hope you will consider helping someone under your influence get to our beautiful church in downtown Chicago from January 1-3, 2015, to seek after and be changed by God. As a thanks for reading, use the code:VCGROUP at registration by Dec 5 for $50 off the regular registration price.

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Fast 5 for Thanksgiving

November 25, 2014

An early Thanksgiving post on the blog today. I want to share some things I’ve learned not only about being thankful, but how you can help, encourage, and bless your people—and your family—this holiday week. Happy Thanksgiving! :-)

http://vimeo.com/111227010

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Some Wind for Your Sail

November 21, 2014

Ministry leadership is a privilege, but we all face difficult seasons of pruning and even times of fallow ground. Again and again, I have seen tough seasons yield in God’s time to renewed seasons of joy and ministry growth. As we wait by faith for God to move afresh, we wonder if those joyful, fruit-bearing days will ever return.

If you’re facing a dry season today, I want you to know that I have faced them too. Press ahead in faith, believing that God is at work—and soon you will see the evidence of what He has been doing all along. God is on the move in our world today, and we are blessed to have a seat on the kingdom bus.

Take a moment and be encouraged by this recent evidence of God’s continued work through our fellowship. And if you’re currently in a hard place, let these stories stir your faith for more good days of gospel impact just up ahead.

http://vimeo.com/111354959

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5 Essential Yet Neglected Pastoral Duties

November 13, 2014

Watch this first. :-)

http://vimeo.com/111683526

5 Essential Yet Neglected Pastoral Duties

Why did you get into ministry? Why did you become a pastor? For most of us, the answer would be a combination of a calling to preach the Word, love people, and spread the gospel. These are the things that are rooted deep in our hearts. They inspire us to get up every day and serve the church. They are what keeps us on course when ministry gets tough. They are essential to any ministry, but there are also other essential pastoral duties.

So what is meant by “essential”? Essential duties are the things that must be done to grow the organization by achieving its ultimate goals in continually greater ways. The purpose and the end goal of the church is defined by Christ in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples . . .” So what duties are essential to making as many disciples as possible? Just as farmers will never grow more crops by painting the barn, mending the fence, or hanging out with the other farmers at the co-op, pastors cannot grow disciples by focusing merely on the things that make the church run well and look nice. As pastors, we must be about making more disciples who will, in turn, generate more resources for the church and make even more disciples.

This blog is dedicated to training pastors who lead vertical churches that glorify God. According to Jesus, one major way this happens is in multiplying disciples. To this end, God has called us into a divine/human cooperative to build His kingdom through the multiplication of disciples. As pastors we cannot let our focus on being a vertical church undermine our fulfillment of our essential horizontal duties.

The first essential duty neglected by pastors is connecting.
Pastors are connectors, and when they are not, their churches struggle. When pastors see potential disciples they must pursue them. Paul did this in Acts 16:13-15 with the group of women praying outside the city. Read More

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