Robert Jeffress and First Baptist Dallas changing the way they talk about homosexuality

According to the Huffington Post:

The Rev. Robert Jeffress has changed the way he talks about homosexuality from the pulpit.

The pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Dallas hasn’t stopped preaching that homosexual sex is sinful, but he no longer singles it out for special condemnation. Now, Jeffress says he usually talks about homosexuality within “a bigger context of God’s plan for sex between one man and one woman in a lifetime relationship called marriage.”

“It would be the height of hypocrisy to condemn homosexuality and not adultery or unbiblical divorce,” he said, explaining that the Bible allows divorce only in cases of adultery or desertion. He also includes premarital sex on that list.

More interesting things from the article:

Demographics isn’t the only force driving changes in the evangelical response to gays and lesbians. As it becomes safer for gays and lesbians to come out of the closet, it becomes increasingly more likely that evangelicals know gays and lesbians personally, researchers say.

“Over the last five to 10 years, evangelicals have been faced with the issue even more poignantly as their sons and daughters come out of the closet,” Leonard said. ” … It has become more difficult to dismiss `those people.’”

Justin Lee, founder of the Gay Christian Network, is one of those children.

Like most evangelicals, Lee grew up believing that the Bible was to be taken pretty much at face value, but in wrestling with the realization that he was gay, he has found a more nuanced way to read Scripture. Now he works to foster understanding of gays and lesbians within evangelical institutions.

“I do hear from church leaders and pastors, who say, `I already know where I stand, but how can I be more loving and gracious to the gay community without compromising my convictions?’” Lee said. “There are a lot of things I say, but chief among them is that the more you listen to people and ask about their lives and stories, the more you are able to show grace and love, even if you don’t agree.”

Jeffress, who has gay and lesbian members in his church, tries to be compassionate and understanding.

He said he is open to the possibility that sexual orientation has a genetic basis that cannot be cured or prayed away.

“I think we were too quick to dismiss the possibility of a genetic predisposition,” Jeffress said.

But that hasn’t altered his belief the Bible teaches that acting on homosexual desire is sinful, and he feels it is his responsibility to talk about it with his congregation.

“We cannot pick and choose what parts of God’s word we are called to share,” he said. “God gave it to us, not to hurt people, but to help people.”

But Jeffress said he was concerned that some other evangelical pastors were shirking this responsibility.

“My sense is that people are just avoiding the subject, by and large,” he said. “They are so bent on trying to add to the numbers of their churches that they don’t want to disenfranchise new members or be characterized as unfriendly.”

Thoughts?

You can read the whole article here…

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I’m leaving your church and here’s why…

When people leave a church, they give a bunch of reasons… but they all come down to one thing: your church is not meeting their needs.

Matt Steen and I talk about how to close your church’s back door, and changing your congregation’s mentality from that of entitlement, to that of being a servant.

Click on the link, check out our take, and let us know what YOU think:

MB_im-leaving-your-church

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Does Jesus bet on the super bowl?

Answer me truthfully: Do you think that God will dictate who wins, and who loses, this weekend’s Super Bowl?

There is no right or wrong answer, but it is an interesting question. Matt Steen and I talk a little football, and discuss a recent study that says 27% of Americans believe that God plays a role in sporting events. The fascinating part, for me at least, was how it broke down geographically and demographically.

Click the link below, check it out, and let us know what YOU think (and your pick for this weekend’s game):

god super bowl

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#

Ministry Cohorts starting later this month…

My friend Matt Steen is doing some ‘ministry cohorts’ that you might be interested in… Check it out… Matt Says…

Happy February.

Yeah, I said it, February.

It is hard to believe just thirty-two days ago we were watching balls drop, singing Auld Lang Syne, and talking about the things that we were going to be up to in 2013. If you are like most church leaders, you came into the new year exhausted from the Christmas season, looking forward to catching your breath before gearing up for the sprint that is Easter (did I mention Easter is early this year?).

So, do you mind if I ask you a hard question?

How are you doing on your goals for 2013?

By this point in the year, people have quit going to the gym, started watching TV again, and are just as addicted to their smart phones (guilty as charged). Are your ministry goals stalled as well?

Two years ago a friend of mine and I started to express something that we had known for a long time: ministry can be a lonely place. Out of that conversation, we started a company called Church Simple. We come alongside of pastors and help them think through what is going on in their ministries, and what their next steps are. We are coaches, we are confidantes, and we do this in community. Our coaching model brings together a group of church leaders from all over the country for a season of six to twelve months where we intentionally invest in one another. We talk leadership, we talk strategy, we talk tactics. We sharpen one another through our times together.

Each participant in a cohort commits to two meetings each month: a gathering of the cohort as a whole, and an individual session with one of our ministry coaches.

I know you are busy (Easter is coming!), but we both know that you can’t do ministry alone.

We’d love to journey with you this year.

Interested? Click here, and let’s talk.

Matt

The jerkicidal tendencies of a pastor…

We all know a pastor or two that we think are jerks.

Right?  (we’re being honest here).

But the truth is… we all have jerkicidal tendencies.

Like this pastor, who tried to make a really bad point, only to be ridiculed worldwide when her jerkiness was put on display for the whole world to see.

Please… don’t be THIS pastor.

Matt Steen and I discuss…

pastoral jerks

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(Length:  7 min 17 sec)
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Why risking isn’t as risky as you think…

Do you ever find yourself in ‘risk avoidance mode’?

Ever feel the need to play it safe?

We know as leaders, that many times you don’t make any gains, unless you stick your neck out… and risk.

But… as it turns out… risk done properly may not be quite as risky as you think.  Matt Steen and I discuss:

church leader risk

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Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube

 

 

Killing Your Email Mistress

How many messages do you have sitting in your email inbox right now? Ten? Twenty? Two hundred and thirty eight?

Email can be a great tool, or it can be an unforgiving mistress… it all depends on how you manage it. Matt Steen and I discuss how to manage your email so that it doesn’t manage you. Click the link, check out our thoughts, and let us know your thoughts and experiences:

church leaders email

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Church Growth: 8 reasons your church may not be growing

Church growth is vital to church health… and not just when it comes to numbers.  Perry Noble shares 8 reasons why your church may not be growing. Here are the first four:

1. THE VISION IS NOT CLEAR
If people don’t know where a church is supposed to be going, then it will attempt to go everywhere and eventually wind up nowhere. Want to run an interesting experiment? Ask people this coming Sunday at your church, “What is our vision?” and see if they give you the same answers or different ones.

2. THE FOCUS IS ON TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYONE
There is no church on the planet that will make everyone happy every single week, and according to the Scriptures that isn’t really supposed to be our obsession. Too many times we become so concerned with offending people that we actually offend Jesus.

3. PASSIONLESS LEADERSHIP
When leaders do what they do for a paycheck and not because it’s their passion, it’s over. I’ve said this over on my site before: I want difference makers, not paycheck takers. Also, it’s hard to be passionate about a place when a person’s average stay at a church is two years or less.

4. MANUFACTURING ENERGY
If a program is dead in a church, then it needs a funeral and the people need to move on. Investing time, energy, and money into something that is dead will not revive it. Celebrate the fact that “that” program had its day and then move on. Also, quit trying to fire people up over events that you would not attend if you were not on staff.

Matt Steen and Todd Rhoades discuss on this edition of Ministry Briefing…  Click the video below to watch, and get the link to the other four reasons that Perry sites:

church growth

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(Length:  5 min 00 sec)
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You’re Sick!

You’re Sick!

Perry Noble has a great post that I think all pastors and church workers should read entitled “10 Warning Signs that you Might Not Be Healthy”.  Here are the first five:

#1  You cannot remember the last time you clearly heard the Word of God speak to you about an issue in your own life.

#2  You no longer use the Bible to learn more about Jesus and hear His voice…you are simply using it to find your next sermon.

#3  You actually begin to hate and despise the people in your church (who, by the way, are the very people you are called to love!)

#4  You spend more time on the cell phone and computer when you are at home than you do with your own family.

#5  You are so obsessed with pleasing people and putting out fires that listening to God and doing what He says is no longer the goal of your life and ministry.

For #6-10, go here…

Pastors… church workers… you HAVE to be healthy.  I’m tired of seeing friends and acquaintances fall.  It all starts with a little crack.  You think you have it covered, but before you know it, you’ve lost everything.

Friend, heed the warnings.  If you need help, get help.

What areas are you vulnerable in?

Leadership Made Simple

Leadership Made Simple

Best definition I’ve heard for a while… from Marcus Buckingham: A leader is a person who rallies others to a better future.

via The Resurgence.

What do you think?  Isn’t this what leadership, particularly church leadership is all about?

 

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