‘Every Member’ Conference with Tony Payne | Video from Nexus18

Making disciples is for every believer, not just pastors and leaders. This is a truth that Tony Payne and the Matthias Media team get, and that’s one reason we love them.

We’ve shared before about books Tony has written (The Trellis and the Vine, The Vine Project, How to Walk into Church) and now share videos from the recent Nexus 18 ‘Every Member’ Conference:

Watch Video Sessions

Nexus 2018 Booklet (for notetaking)


Sessions

1. ‘Every member theology’ Tony Payne (with Marty Sweeney)
2. ‘Every member missionaries’ David Williams
3. ‘Every member speech’ Tony Payne + Question time
4. ‘Sending every member’ Carl Matthei (UNSW Chaplain)

Register for next year’s Nexus Conference.

Empowering Faithful Word Ministry in Cuba

Scroll down to watch Julio Cesar tell his story.

Dear friends and partners,

Why is Leadership Resources so effective in equipping pastors to teach God’s Word? One word: EMPOWERMENT.

Take Cuban Pastor Julio Cesar, for example. He’s experienced other courses in expository preaching before. “Most of the time these courses become a monologue or a conference. The value of LRI’s training is that one learns also from the students. We are all part of the learning process. It’s a double role, serving as a student and a teacher.”

Participation in our training is key. We want to do more than offload information to students, we want to empower partners with a shared vision of advancing movements of God’s Word around the world. This means not only giving pastors tools to preach and teach the Word, but gauging their progress and providing feedback to make sure it’s working.

Julio Cesar gets it.

“TNT [Leadership Resources’ training for pastors] is really cool because students develop thoughts and sermons based on the principles we learn. This fuels us and also gives us feedback. At the same time, the student can be reproducing this training in home groups, Sunday School, and other places. . . . TNT has helped us greatly.”

Through faithful men like Julio Cesar, a movement of God’s Word is taking root in Cuba. And training in Cuba wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for key partners from Brazil and Ecuador who have completed training with LRI and now travel to Cuba to train with us. This is empowerment in action!

A movement of God’s Word is afoot in Latin America . . . but we face funding challenges in this region. Latin America has many more pastors like Julio Cesar who are desperate to learn how to preach God’s Word with God’s heart.

Would you consider a special gift to help accelerate the spread of God’s Word in Latin America and beyond?

In Him,

Craig Parro

PS: Watch Julio Cesar share his testimony below:

Felt-Needs Preaching vs. Consecutive Exposition: What’s Best for God’s People?

I recently spoke with a pastor who describes the rationale for his church’s preaching:

“Each week we think through needs in the congregation and preach a message to meet those needs.”

This approach, what many call “felt needs” preaching, appropriately seeks to help their congregation grow spiritually and overcome issues they are facing. In this particular pastor’s case, it stems from a love for his flock and a deep knowledge of their lives—something every pastor should strive for.

Occasions exist when needs-focused preaching should be preferred, at least in the short run. For example, when a congregation has experienced a major tragedy, or if there is a serious struggle in the congregation, the pastor might want to preach to the situation.

But is preaching to felt needs the best practice for preachers over the long haul? I don’t think so, especially when contrasted with consecutive expository preaching through entire books of the Bible. Here are four reasons:

  1. God knows our needs better than we do.

The God who created us knows us better than we know ourselves. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). His Word alone meets our every spiritual need and exposes thoughts and intentions of the heart (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12). Our attempts to faithfully diagnose needs cannot compare to God’s: we need God’s Word to shine its light into our blind spots and expose our true needs.

Just as preventative medicine is better than treating a health issue after it appears, preaching through books of the Bible meets a variety of needs that the congregation and the preacher might not know they have. Otherwise, we depend on our limited knowledge to diagnose needs and prescribe solutions.

  1. Our felt needs are often not real needs or our deepest needs.

A great danger in having felt needs as your starting point in preaching is man-centeredness. Our felt needs may actually be “first-world problems” that expose our shallow, myopic state. Often what we consider “needs”—like significance, prosperity, or even health—are expelled by having a more Scriptural view of God and how He works in the world.

Sinners have the true need of a Savior who transforms hearts and lives as people repent and believe the gospel. How many sinners would say that’s a need they are conscious of? A temptation for felt-needs preaching is to give people self-help Band-Aids when they really need a heart transplant that only Christ can give.

  1. We miss deeper contours of biblical passages/books.

God gave us the Bible in book format, not random collections of verses and stories. If preachers only preach topical messages or one-off expositions, they will miss deeper contours of the passage and books of the Bible. Preaching the big message of a book helps us teach our people to read the Bible better and treat it less like a book of inspirational quotations or a self-help manual.

For example, not preaching through the big ideas of Genesis will lose the overarching story of God preserving His creation purposes to bless the world in spite of the sinfulness of humanity. That probably doesn’t meet a felt need, but it meets the real need of humanity to know that evil isn’t something that hijacks God’s sovereign plan.

This is why LRI recommends preaching the Bible as it was given: in complete books.

  1. We communicate that the Bible is primarily about meeting our needs instead of receiving the revelation of God.

The Bible does meet our needs, but it does more. The Bible is not primarily about us, it is about Jesus (Luke 24:24). Human history is not primarily about us, but about God and His actions to redeem sinful humanity through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3–14). Approaching the Bible as God’s revelation of Himself to humanity puts God in the center of our lives and not ourselves. This means approaching the Bible with the question, “How can I fix my problem?” is useful, but incomplete. When we put God in His proper place, everything else in life will certainly fall in line (Matthew 6:33).

A Better Way

Some argue that preaching to felt needs helps you immediately gain the attention of your audience. While that may be true, we don’t have to choose between meeting needs and preaching the Word. We can simultaneously preach through a book of the Bible, keep our listeners’ lives in mind, and make our message engaging for a 21st-century audience. This way, God sets the agenda, and needs are met organically.

Here are a few suggestions for preaching through books of the Bible while keeping real needs in mind:

  • Consider preaching through books that deal with issues confronting your congregation. If your congregation lacks evangelistic zeal or harbors bitterness, try preaching Jonah. If your congregation needs training on the Christian worldview, try Genesis. If your congregation lacks unity, preach Philippians.
  • When a need becomes obvious, find a biblical text (or several) addressing the issue, and preach it in an expository fashion.
  • As you consider each text you preach, think through the overlap between your congregation’s needs and the text’s main ideas. With the Spirit’s help, you should find more relevant application than at first glance. You may find the 9Marks application grid or Tim Keller’s list of people to consider as you apply Scripture helpful tools to use.
  • Just focus on preaching the Word—God has a way of responding to needs. For example, at the height of the #MeToo headlines exposing sexual abuse, Colin Smith was preaching through 2 Samuel and reached 2 Samuel 13—the story of Amnon’s rape of his sister Tamar. In preaching it, he drew powerful attention to how Scripture speaks to our deepest pains and instilled confidence in his listeners about Scripture’s sufficiency.

     

    Launching Pastoral Training Movements Worldwide

     

    The mission of Leadership Resources is to launch pastoral training movements worldwide. This blog shares articles, resources, and updates from staff of God’s work around the world through our training. If you’re new to our blog, start here.

     


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