From the Editor:

Leadership Insights for Pastors


Trend Toward More Multi-Sites, Biblical Depth
Getting Relational


Luck, Skill

Shame, Embarrassment

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

"I preached as never sure to preach again and as a dying man to dying men."
(Richard Baxter)


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    Vol. 8, No. 3 January 20, 2009    

Michael Duduit

I just finished reading Stuart Briscoe’s wonderful new memoir Flowing Streams (Zondervan). This is a book which can be read with enjoyment and benefit by any pastor or church leader.

Briscoe’s call to the pastorate ushered him into a role for which he had no experience and little training. He experienced some bumps and bruises learning pastoral ministry the hard way; but he did learn, and today Elmbrook Church (where he continues to serve as Minister-at-Large, after 30 years as Senior Pastor) continues to benefit from the wonderful leadership he provided for three decades.

Among the leadership insights he notes:

• Don’t be hasty in introducing change.
• Don’t knock down a fence until you know why it was put up in the first place.
• Do present solid biblical and commonsense reasons for change.
• Do present change as a proposal, not a fait accompli.
• Do allow time for reaction, and don’t fail to listen to objections.
• Do invite suggestions, and don’t hesitate to incorporate the best ones.
• Do give people a chance to take ownership of the change.
• Don’t be disappointed by naysayers, and don’t forget you’re still their pastor.

Leading through change is one of the major tasks of the pastor. Briscoe’s counsel can help us all to learn to do so with wisdom and grace.

Michael Duduit, Editor

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MichaelDuduit

This week’s Preaching Podcast features an interview with Gabe Lyons, co-author (with Dave Kinnaman) of the book unChristian. Click here to listen.


In a brief article on “Five Significant Trends in the American Church,” Thom Rainer begins with these three:

Accelerated growth of multi-site churches. In 2000, 5 percent of all megachurches had multiple sites. By 2007 that number had increased to 25 percent. Some project that number to be as high as 50 percent by 2010. Even more amazing, 16 percent of all U.S. churches (all sizes) are seriously considering the multi-site option.

Corollary #1 of this trend: The campus pastor is one of the most in-demand ministry positions in the American church.

Corollary #2 of this trend: The multi-site trend seems to be replacing denominationalism.

The attraction of biblical depth. Younger generations are attracted to churches that have greater biblical depth; 70 percent of 18- to 22-year-olds drop out of church. Many of them are crying for deeper biblical teaching and preaching. This will become more pervasive with "Generation We" (those born between 1977 and 1994, who number more than 72 million).

Increased means of relational connections. Relational connections have always been important for churches for reaching out and assimilation. That trend is accelerating. Three different studies by LifeWay Research point to this trend. What is fascinating is to see how the digital world is truly a relational world for Generation We. (The "We" designates that generation’s relational desires). They live in the world of texting, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. (Posted at Church Forward blog. Click here to read the full article.)


Research has shown that building relationships is the key to evangelizing young adults.

In an article adapted from the book Tools for an Essential Church (LifeWay), Dan Garland writes: "What can your church do to help heighten the need for building intentional relationships with the unchurched and the dechurched?

  • Preach/teach on the power of relationships and invitations. Nine out of 10 of unchurched or dechurched young adults who come to church and get connected to Christ do so because a friend, co-worker, relative or neighbor invited them.

  • Teach and model developing relationships with the dechurched and the unchurched. Use the testimonies of those who came to Christ as a result of someone developing a relationship with them. Powerful testimonies energize and encourage others to get involved in building authentic relationships with those who need Christ and His church.

  • Find new and creative ways to connect believers with the dechurched and the unchurched. This will not happen by doing the same thing the same way.

"Getting outside the walls of the church buildings and engaging people with the gospel is absolutely essential to reaching the unchurched and the dechurched. A novel approach is to get to know some people who are unchurched and ask them what it would take for them to come to church. This is always insightful. You might then actually begin to do some of the things the unchurched suggest.

"If the unchurched come because of relationships, they stay because of new relationships. Questions the unchurched are asking include:

  • Can I fit in here?

  • Can I make friends?

  • Will I be accepted?

"Those in the church must be taught to build relationships with those who are new to the church. To get a feel for this, send some of your church leaders out to visit other churches in the area and report back about how they were greeted. Or, ask for the honest feedback of those who visit your church. Learn from the responses, and use these as teaching tools for your congregation." (Click here to read the full article; click here to learn more about Tools for an Essential Church.)


Would you like to invest a week and come away with your year’s preaching plan? Preaching magazine and Anderson University jointly are sponsoring the first Preaching Boot Camp, May 18-22, 2009, on the campus in Anderson, South Carolina. The focus of this year’s camp is on planning a preaching schedule, and the keynote speaker is Stephen Rummage, preaching pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte and author of the book Planning Your Preaching (Kregel). Other speakers will include Mike Glenn, Michael Duduit, Ryan Neal and more. Built into the schedule is time for participants to work on their own preaching plan for 2009-2010. To learn more, visit www.preachingbootcamp.com.


Last week, 155 people on USAirways flight 1549 experienced one of the rarest aviation incidents: a water landing without fatalities.

The flight, which had taken off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport en route to Charlotte, was hit by a flock of geese, blowing out both engines and forcing an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Amazingly, the plane hit the water without coming apart and all passengers and crew were rescued with no fatalities. News reports continually referred to how "lucky" they were, but was it luck?

In his Best of the Web on Jan. 16, James Taranto observes: "(Capt. Chesley) Sullenberger seems to be an unusually good pilot, as well as an expert on air safety. In addition to flying for USAir, he is founder of a company called Safety Reliability Methods, which ‘was created to apply the latest advances in safety and high performance and high reliability processes to organizations in a variety of fields. Many of these advances have their genesis in the ultra-safe world of commercial aviation.’

"His bio on the SRM Web site notes he ‘has served as an instructor and Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) safety chairman, accident investigator and national technical committee member,’ ‘has participated in several USAF and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident investigations,’ and ‘his ALPA safety work led to the development of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular.’

"What would we do without experts? One hundred fifty-four passengers and crew would have died. For Sullenberger, it wasn’t luck, it was skill."

Perhaps some of those passengers — the ones who were praying as the plane approached the river — realize they were blessed to have that particular pilot on board when disaster struck.


In his Monday Moments newsletter, Michael Halleen wrote: "I was on a flight from Minsk to Kiev during one of my early visits to that part of the world. The plane, an older Russian twin-engine model, was boarded through a door in the aft part of the cabin and seated no more than 30 people. When we touched down and rolled to a stop at Kiev’s city airport, I stood and began to gather my stuff, just as I would have done on any American flight.

"A Russian friend traveling with me tugged gently on my sleeve and motioned for me to sit down. For a moment I resisted, until I noticed the other passengers had remained seated. ‘It’s our custom to wait for the pilot to leave first, and we thank him for the flight,’ my friend whispered. We all sat quietly for several minutes until the cockpit door burst open and the two pilots strode up the aisle toward the door in the rear. A number of people said spasibo (thank you) as the pilots walked by, a few nodded and smiled, and one even reached out to shake hands. Only as they were stepping out onto the tarmac did we passengers stand and begin to file out. ‘It’s the Russian way,’ my friend said. ‘We must be thankful.’

"One can choose the way one responds in any given situation. I can decide to show kindness, determine to answer gently, deliberately adopt a humble spirit, in the same way I might select a shirt to put on in the morning.

"Remember to be thankful. Along with the other moment-by-moment options, I can choose to say thanks. The Russian way is also the Christian way.’"

From the January – February issue of Preaching …

In an article on "Preaching with Power" by Ben Awbrey, he writes: "A simple understanding of unction is God’s unmistakable presence attending and empowering the preaching of His Truth. Simply stated, unction is commonly referred to as the
anointing of the Holy Spirit. Preaching with unction occurs because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This simple understanding, as true as it is, might be understood in such a way to assume the preacher bears no responsibility or liability for preaching with unction, or lack thereof. Without trying to curtail the sovereign work of God in anointing a preacher with His Spirit, there are some particular areas a preacher must fulfill for there to be an unmistakable presence and empowering of the Holy Spirit in preaching.

"Preaching that bears this presence of God is preaching that is according to His Word and is spoken through His servant who is of His choosing and under His control, and therefore, speaks on His authority, by His power, in His conviction, with His passion, from His motives, for His purposes and to His glory. Preaching with unction is accompanied by the perceptibly powerful presence of God that impacts the hearts of the hearers. Because there is preaching with unction, there will be preaching with impact. No wonder unction was described by Lloyd-Jones as ‘the greatest essential in connection with preaching.’"

Every issue of Preaching contains insightful articles
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Also in the January-February issue of Preaching: A series on missional preaching, including an article by Ed Stetzer and interviews with Stetzer and Dan Kimball, and much more. Order your subscription today!

The introduction of today’s newsletter quotes from Stuart Briscoe’s memoir Flowing Streams: Journey of a Life Well Lived. (Click here to order a copy.) In case you haven’t heard Stuart (or Jill, or their son Pete, who is a pastor in Dallas, Texas), you can visit their Web site and listen to their Telling the Truth radio broadcast. Click here to listen.

"If some men were sentenced to hear their own sermons, it would be a righteous judgment upon them; but they would soon cry out with Cain, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear.’" (Charles H. Spurgeon)

Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching (Reformation Trust) is a collection of essays by a variety of authors (John MacArthur, John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, R.C. Sproul, Al Mohler and others) challenging preachers to a ministry characterized by faithful biblical preaching.


The issue of pastoral leadership through preaching is an important topic that has generated surprisingly little in the way of resources. In Strategic Preaching (Chalice Press), William E. Hull addresses this theme, offering a variety of insights for using preaching as a vital tool for leading a congregation.


In We Have Heard that God is with You: Preaching the Old Testament (Wm. B. Eerdmans), Dutch author Rein Bos offers a "hermeneutical grammar" to assist pastors in the task of preaching the Old Testament in a Christian context.

(Click on the title to learn more or order from Amazon.)


Everyone had weighed in, and the diet-workshop leader began her lecture on the week’s topic — the problems of eating in restaurants. She talked about alternatives, such as requesting diet sodas and dressings, as well as having meat broiled instead of fried. Finally she turned the question over to the group for discussion: "What is the greatest problem you encounter when going out to eat?"

Replied one woman quickly, "Running into you!"


This year, taxpayers will again receive an Economic Stimulus Payment. Here is an attempt to explain this plan using the Q & A format:

    Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
    A. It is money the federal government will send to taxpayers.

    Q. Where will the government get this money?
    A. From taxpayers.

    Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
    A. Only a smidgen.

    Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
    A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV or a new computer, thus stimulating the economy.

    Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China?
    A. Shut up.

Sometimes life imitates art, unfortunately.

In the popular 1983 movie A Christmas Story, Flick — a schoolboy in a town based on Hammond, Ind. — succumbs to a dare to press his tongue against a frozen light post. Sure enough, it sticks to the post and he has to be rescued.

Last week, a 10-year-old boy in Hammond, Ind. — yes, in response to a dare — pressed his tongue against a light post while the outside temperature was 10 degrees. Yes, he got stuck.

Before the ambulance arrived, the fourth-grader managed to pull his tongue from the pole; medical personnel helped treat his bleeding tongue.

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