Is Unity Really the Solution?

Is Unity Really the Solution?

In the wake of recent tragedies in Tulsa, Charlotte, Baton Rouge, Dallas, St. Paul and more, there has been much debate as to how we should move forward as a society. Understandably, there is a growing fear that the violence and civil unrest will not only continue, but escalate. Fear begets anger, anger begets violence, violence begets fear… wash, rinse and repeat. However, these events have also given rise to this recurring sentiment that has been voiced by media pundits and echoed during recent community gatherings – the need for unity....

Leaders Dream Big: Practical Tips for Hitting the Stars

Leaders Dream Big: Practical Tips for Hitting the Stars

Far too often we settle. We settle for what is easy. We settle for what is possible. We settle for the practical opportunities that present themselves, relegating our dreams to the worlds of fancy that exist only within our minds.

But what if we were called to more? 

What if you were meant to do something bigger? Something greater?...

Moving from Occupation to Vocation

Moving from Occupation to Vocation

Regardless of the industry – for-profit or non-profit, corporate or ministry, sacred or secular, etc., one of the greatest needs every leader inevitably wrestles with is a shortage of workers. You can watch the news and see how monthly job reports influence current politics. You can speak with corporate leaders and they’ll undoubtedly offer their thoughts on job vacancies and the absence of certain skilled workers. So on and so forth… And while we can debate the cause of such shortages – i.e. certain groups having limited access to quality education, poor high-educational models that need updating in order to stop equipping students with skills that don’t meet today’s job markets, etc., our religious institutions are not exempt from struggling with the same issues...

Cracking the Millennial Code

Cracking the Millennial Code

We’ve all heard the statistics warning of an exodus en-masse of younger people from our Christian communities. The revenue generated from the number of books, articles, research papers, and other documentation that has been completed around Millennials and their perceptions of the Church – and WHY – could probably fund a small nation. Sadly, I’m only half kidding…

Christian Leadership for a Post-Christian America

Christian Leadership for a Post-Christian America

To be clear, I reject the idea that we’re living in a post-Christian America. I think the premise of this idea is fundamentally false as it requires one to subscribe to the notion that America was once a Christian nation. While I do believe that the beliefs of our founding fathers (Christian and non-Christian, theist and atheist) were woven into the fabric of our great nation – and yes, for much of its history a majority of its citizens have self-identified as Christian – history books have shown that America was expressly founded with the intent of being a democracy and not a theocracy. However, this does not discredit the fact that one of the strongest threads that ties this “more perfect union” together is its promise of religious liberty for all...

Recent Feature in the Philadelphia Inquirer (4/4/16)

Recent Feature in the Philadelphia Inquirer (4/4/16)

Recently, I was invited to write an Op-Ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer exploring issues of race and the church here in the Philadelphia community. More specifically, there was an interest in following up to explore the significance of the Under My Skin: Courageous Conversations About Race and the Church event that American Bible Society hosted back on Feb. 8th, 2016. While there are many great events and gatherings popping up across the country that are actively exploring the rising racial tensions within our communities, this event sought to separate itself by empowering attendees to find a greater personal agency and become the solutions to the problems that they're seeing...

The Most Pressing Leadership Issue Is?

The Most Pressing Leadership Issue Is?

There are many issues that press upon leaders, influencing their overall effectiveness. Many choose to focus on organizational intelligence, noting that having a clear vision and communicating it, are the most essential aspects of leadership. Support to this can even be found in the Scriptures. Proverbs, for example, informs us generally that without vision people perish (Proverbs 29:18). However, I would posit that organizational intelligence is not the most pressing issue leaders face today. The most pressing leadership issue of our time is organizational health...

Preventing Organizational Drift: Navigating Calm and Rough Waters

Great article from a good friend of mine that takes a look at why leaders must give proper attention to ensuring that their organizations remain both missionally aligned and strategically focused.

Question… How many organizations out there suffer from “mission drift” simply because they fail to be intentional about aligning their resources to the overall mission, and/or fail to properly communicate the strategic direction with stakeholders organization-wide?

Better question… How many churches are suffering from stagnancy because their leadership has lost sight of the church’s purpose, failing to align the church’s ministries to said purpose, and/or communicate a strategic direction that captivates their congregations?

How Wolves Change Rivers

How Wolves Change Rivers

As Christians, we often struggle with the battle of living “in but not of.” In more modern times, research – and personal experience – has found the church to more often then not err on the side of caution, choosing to pursue more of an “us vs. them” strategy that has lead congregants to isolate themselves for fear of falling prey to the temptations of secular society. We justify our isolation with cliché phrases like “I was saved from that,” and we frequent church based activities while forgoing more cultural or secular ones. We listen to Christian sub-genres of music and watch Christian-centric movies… I wonder though… is this actually Biblical?...

The Fandom of God Is Upon Us and It’s Killing the Church

When we are fans of Jesus rather than followers of Jesus, our focus is inward turned, like in fandoms, concerned with and finding full satisfaction in what we think and feel and believe.

If we are to truly be ushers of the kingdom of God, and if we really want to see “Thy Kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” then we can’t simply be fans of Jesus that find themselves caught up in the shared interests of those who look, think, and feel like us. We must pursue a different course, a different paradigm in which we find ourselves as not merely fans, but the “salt and light of this world.” We must seek to get caught up in the shared interests and lives of those outside of our circles so that they might find the kingdom of God here on earth through our authentic living out of Christ’s love. 

(Matthew 16:24-25)

Then Jesus told his disciples, ’If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’

Will evangelicals miss the boat on Paramount’s ‘Noah?’

Unlike these other films, “Noah” was never intended to be a heavy-handed evangelistic tool, but rather good art. And I’m sorry to say that few evangelicals today have an eye, ear, or stomach for such things. Not much has changed since the late Francis Schaeffer wrote in Art and the Bible, “I am afraid that as evangelicals, we think that a work of art only has value if we reduce it to a tract.” 

Love this! Jonathan Merritt at his best!

It’s easier to discard something, rather then engage and wrestle with the implications of could it, how and where it might be used to advance the cause of the kingdom. Though the author was specifically talking about prophecy, the principle offered us in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 I think still applies:

… test everything; hold fast what is good.  (1 Thessalonians 5:21, ESV)

Let’s not miss this boat. Rather, how can we take what looks to be a well shot and well produced story based on the text found in the Scriptures, and find the good in it? Can this film become a point of conversation that offers the Christian Community a new and relevant opportunity to engage others with the cause of Christ?