Why I’m Hopeful About the Evangelical Movement – USA Today

In 1976, the cover of Newsweek declared that, with a presidential election that featured the born-again Jimmy Carter, it was the “Year of the Evangelical.” Forty-five years later, the news media fascination with my spiritual family has not abated. From the heady days of 2004, when once again evangelicals were crowned a defining political force, to this moment when a cottage industry…

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Passing The Plate In a Digital Age

I saw an offering plate before I was even old enough to attend church. My father was a lay elder and church treasurer. This usually meant I got to stay and play with my friends long after the services were finished, because Dad was counting the offering. The offering plate is as indelible in my…

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How Pastors Can Combat Conspiracy Theories

It came as a text from a very close friend: “Did you know Mike Pence is part of a global human trafficking ring?” I didn’t really even know where to begin. I know people who have worked closely with the former vice president and repeatedly vouch for his character and integrity. What’s more, if a…

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How to Keep Your Friends In An Election Season

I recorded this video for Lifeway Voices on keeping your friends in an election season. I give four reasons: 1) Determine not to let politics be a litmus test for friendship. 2) Listen to those who disagree 3)  Look beyond the election 4) Take the long view

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Church Unity and The Presidential Election

We’re living in one of the most divisive years in American history, with a raging pandemic, racial tension and a contentious election. When I talk to pastors, they’re grieved at the way brothers and sisters in Christ are so divided—grieved at the way people are talking to each other and about each other. So how do pastors…

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Embracing My Less than Spectacular Church

For nearly nine years I was on senior staff at one of the largest evangelical churches in the suburbs of Chicago. We were highly organized, and prided ourselves on excellence in all of our ministry outreaches. My drive to work every day was about 30 minutes, a commute that took me past many small churches,…

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The Church That Saved Me

When a church looks for a pastor, in most cases, it is looking for a leader who can revive its witness and vitality in the community. So I supposed Gages Lake Bible Church, a small, struggling church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, was looking for a human savior. And while we had some successes…

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How Did Jesus View the Bible?

When I pastored my small, theologically conservative church, I could safely assume the people sitting in the pews on Sunday morning to hear me preach believed that the Bible they held in their hands was God’s Word. But what exactly does that mean? Enter Pastor Kevin DeYoung. His book, Taking God at His Word: Why the…

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7 Times Your ‘Righteous’ Anger Probably Isn’t

When pastors get angry, things can get complicated. On the one hand, we know that anger is not always an indication of sin. After all, we say to ourselves, Jesus got angry. Paul also counseled the Ephesians on anger, saying, “In your anger do not sin” (Eph. 4:26): implying that anger is inevitable in human…

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Here is the Church, but Where is the Steeple?

Several years ago, a church I pastored went through a massive remodeling effort, updating a tired, ‘90s-era look with more modern, chic, 21st-century décor. Peeling wallpaper was replaced with fresh paint. Hideous brown siding was covered over with a beautiful new stone treatment. A landscaper transformed some tired and unkempt bushes into a beautiful garden…

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Funeral for a Stranger

I sat in my office late on a Thursday afternoon after a week of meetings, study, and a thousand other crises big and small. By that point in the week I was thinking about what I would do on Friday: lock myself in my office, take no phone calls, and crank out the final draft of…

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