Today’s Buzz:  Stop Preaching Crappy Sermons, Trick Questions for Pastors, and Handling Criticism..

Orginally published on Thursday, June 21, 2007 at 6:48 AM
by Todd Rhoades

In today's buzz... how to make your church grow; Willow Creek is doing just fine, thank you; when to close a church; Crowder; and questions that will amaze and annoy all pastors...

Jesus Returns to Earth, Not as a Baby… but as a Tree
Oh my… Members of a Memphis church say they’ve seen a divine image in the trunk of a tree.  Members of the St. Michaels Church on Summer Avenue say the bark pattern on a tree near their parking lot resembles the face of Jesus. HT to Bible Belt Blogger. You can see the manifestation here.

Just for the record… Willow Creek is Alive and Well… All Summer!
Last Friday, I posted this about Willow Creek closing for the summer with the big disclaimer:  PS—It’s Friday, and of course this story is complete bogus.  --Todd.  Yesterday, i received an email from a well-meaning pastor:  “I want to ask you to do a little more investigating on the Willow creek closing for the summer.  It did not settle with me right since monday and I checked out the website of Willow creek and they have services scheduled all summer. So I went the next step and called willow creek and I spoke with a woman working in the Book store located in the willow creek complex. I shared this closing with her and she asked for the website becasue they are unaware and have services scheduled throughout the summer.  So I think it would be a good idea for you to investigate and then issue an apology if your findings are like mine.” BUSTED!

Stop Preaching Crappy Sermons...
You’ve got to like The Fearsome Pirate’s guidelines for church growth.  They include things like “Stop preaching crappy sermons”; “Your praise band sucks. Get rid of it;” and “They’re supposed to be announcements, not Chinese Water Torture.” You can see his other methodology here…

When Should a Church Close?
“"The congregation has realized that we are not able to function as a good steward for God in a facility that size. Our congregation is on the aging side and they are not capable of doing the work they have done in past years.” Read the article here.

Trick Questions for Your Pastor
Have someone in your church who always tries to trip you up with some kind of stupid or irrelevant question?  This article has a whole list of questions that pastors hate.  Things like:  “Why did God not like Cain’s vegetable sacrifice but loved Abel’s cooked meat?” or “Why does the Apostle Paul, who writes most of the New Testament, NEVER quote Jesus, tell a story of his life or death, discuss a miracle or teaching?” or “If Herod killed all the little children under two to get at Jesus, who escaped, can we not say the little children had to die for Jesus before he died for them?” Click here for more questions (and answers).

It’s a Crowder Thursday!
I’m headed up to NorthRidge Church in Detroit for the David Crowder concert.  Man, it’s gonna be fun!

Free Podcast:  How to Handle Criticism
From Nelson Searcy and Roy Mansfield.  They discuss ways to handle the ministry criticism that is inevitable in any church. Here’s the link...

That’ll do it for today… Have a great one!

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  There are 6 Comments:

  • Posted by

    I saw Crowder last week at the Arts Conference. What a great worship leader. he did a new song (I’m guessing from “remedy” which comes in September) that was just great.

  • Posted by Camey

    There’s criticism in ministry? wink Thanks for all the freebies lately! Good stuff.

    Sorry you have to endure Crowder.... lol

  • Posted by

    Wow, lots of questions.  I bet his Pastor loved him growing up. Because then he would leave.

    One question I struggled to answer when asked is: who Jesus is referring to in Mark 10.

    In Mark 10 Jesus is recorded as responding to a question from the Pharisees;
    (NLT) Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?”

    “What did Moses say about divorce?” Jesus asked them.

    “Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man merely has to write his wife an official letter of divorce and send her away.”

    But Jesus responded, “He wrote those instructions only as a concession to your hard-hearted wickedness. But God’s plan was seen from the beginning of creation, for He made them male and female.

    (KJV) “For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept” referring to the commandment regarding divorce in Deut. 24:1-4.

    In Deuteronomy 4:5 Moses says “You must obey these laws and regulations when you arrive in the land you are about to enter and occupy. The LORD my God gave them to me and commanded me to pass them on to you.”

    The question I’ve struggled with is who Jesus is referring to when He says, “He wrote those instructions only as a concession to your hard-hearted wickedness”?

    Is Jesus saying that Moses wrote the instructions concerning divorce but that the instructions are not really from God, which calls into question other parts of the Old Testament law?  Or is Jesus saying that God gave those instructions to Moses but only as a concession to man’s hard-hearted wickedness, which begs the question why would God make any concession to man’s wickedness?

  • Posted by Johnny Leckie

    Todd, thanks for MMI.  I’m a “long time reader but (I think) a first time commenter...” smile

    Whoever said, “There is no such thing as a dumb question,” must not have realized what a dumb statement that actually is....  Actually, there are plenty of “dumb questions,” and the article with the “trick questions” displayed a pretty good list of them.  - Along with some pretty “dumb answers.”

    But that guy isn’t really looking for answers.  In fact, it appears that he hasn’t really even given the questions much thought, much less the answers.  He often makes strange assumptions even in the way he asks the questions. 

    I’d say he has an ax to grind, and he’s grinding it by asking loaded questions that sound a lot like, “Do you think you should stop beating your wife?” Either that or he hasn’t really done much to discover the answers. 

    And about some of the responses he says he has received.  Come on, did someone really give him the answer of, “Vegetarians are weak Christians??” Please…

    Believe me, your pastor probably isn’t sitting around quaking at the thought of someone asking a “tough” question about the Bible.  More likely than not, he’s heard the question before and has either worked through it already or at the very least has some possibilities to consider. 

    Not every question about the Bible is a dumb question, of course.  But sometimes the best first response to a question about a tough issue in Scripture is, “That’s a good question.  I’m not sure what it is, yet, but there must be a good answer.  Let’s explore that together and see what we can discover.”

    But that assumes the ”best” first, not the ”worst,” and skeptics don’t generally start with the “benefit of the doubt.” I believe that that guy was just looking for a reason to not believe

    What starts out looking like a “slam dunk” of questions slamming the Bible ends up revealing the heart of the one asking the “questions.”

    (Sorry for the long comment! I guess it just kind of struck a chord with me...)

  • Posted by JD Longmire

    Tim, do you endorse this from the “Trick Questions” post?

    “the story of Noah was fiction and I didn’t have to worry about dinosaurs or polar bears for tha matter on the ark. It never happened.”


  • Posted by JD Longmire

    make that Todd, dude, sorry! :D

    but the question remains…

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