Tag archives: pastors

Prayer Point #3: Pray for Church Leaders

by David Closson

March 24, 2020

The world is reeling from the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19). For many, our entire way of life has been upended by a novel virus that health experts say presents a particular risk to our elderly and immunocompromised friends and neighbors.

As Christians, we know that one of our greatest spiritual weapons is prayer (Eph. 6:18). But what exactly should Christians pray about amidst these trying times? FRC’s President, Tony Perkins, recently released nine prayer points to guide us in prayer. Each point provides a specific way for Christians to pray during the ongoing crisis.

As Americans continue working from home and abiding by the government’s request for social distancing, churches around the country are coming up with creative ways to serve their congregations and communities. These include hosting “drive-in” worship services; live-streaming services and church gatherings through Facebook Live, Zoom, YouTube Live, or other services; sending short videos and devotionals to church members; and using their facilities and parking lots as staging areas for food distribution.

These ideas, and others, can be found on FRC’s new resource page for churches: FRC.org/church 

As the work of the church continues, Christians need to pray for their pastors and church leaders. Specifically, we should pray for wisdom as these leaders continue to evaluate best practices for caring for their members during these anxious times. Pray that they will have the discernment to faithfully shepherd the congregations under their care, even if they are unable to physically gather for the foreseeable future (1 Peter 5:2). Pray also for creativity, as pastors and church leaders think of innovative ways to engage and serve their members.

For many churches, the interruption in weekly gatherings has impacted giving. While most medium and large churches already utilize online platforms to facilitate tithing, many smaller churches have not used this technology before, or their members are unfamiliar with it. Therefore, pray for the financial well-being of churches and sacrificial giving among Christians. A national crisis presents many opportunities for the church to engage in mercy ministry, but the church cannot do this work without enough financial support.

Christians should also pray for the physical health and safety of their pastors. Many pastors are working around the clock to care for their members. Whether visiting them in-person (while following CDC social distancing guidelines), calling them on the phone, or using other means of communication, church leaders are working hard to stay connected to their members. Pray for their strength and stamina. And pray for their families who are making tremendous sacrifices during this time as well.

Also, pray for clear gospel proclamation. As many churches turn to digital media to broadcast their worship services, pray that preachers will faithfully teach God’s Word and that many will hear and respond to the gospel. Amid the busyness of caring for their members and the changes in their routine, pray that pastors will have enough time in their week to study Scripture and prepare faithful sermons. Pray that these sermons will be the means God uses to save sinners.  

Finally, the coronavirus outbreak has forced churches to hold services in new, creative ways. This interruption in our routine should remind us that the persecuted church around the world is regularly forced to gather in unconventional ways. As we pray for our local pastors and church leaders, let us also remember persecuted Christians and their leaders around the world.

Snoops on the Stoops of the Church

by Tony Perkins

October 15, 2014

When it comes to illegal surveillance, it looks like the NSA has some competition. In a story that’s making Texans’ heads spin, the Houston P.C. police — the same Council that passed an LGBT ordinance this year — is subpoenaing sermons, emails, and even text messages from local pastors to see if they’re promoting a voter referendum to overturn the measure.

The jaw-dropping move — one in a long line of Houston’s “gotcha” government — is only fanning the flames of outrage over the city’s totalitarian tactics. Even for Houston’s radical leadership, this is an affront to the plain language of the First Amendment, which not only gives churches the right to speak freely but the individuals leading them as well! “City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,”said Alliance Defending Freedom’s Erik Stanley. “In this case, they have embarked upon a witch-hunt, and we are asking the court to put a stop to it.”

Yesterday, ADF filed a motion in court to stop the senseless monitoring of churches. “The message is clear,” they explain, “oppose the decision of city government, and drown in unwarranted burdensome discovery requests… Not only will the pastors be harmed if these discovery requests are allowed, but the People will suffer as well. The referendum process will become toxic and the People will be deprived of an important check on city government.”

It’s a sad commentary on our times that a nation founded by church leaders is trying to muscle those same religious voices out of the political process. Obviously, there’s no limit to how low the Left will stoop, and how many laws it will break, to impose its agenda on unwilling Americans.

 

Fighting a Plague in the Church

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 18, 2012

Dinesh DSouza has resigned as president of The Kings College, a leading Christian liberal arts institution in New York City. While he denies any moral wrongdoing, his conduct regarding his marriage and fiance (he is married to one woman, engaged to another) has raised serious questions about his capacity for spiritual leadership.

At lunch today, I learned that a pastor in my home state of Washington recently admitted that he had had a decade-long affair with a woman in his church.

My former pastor carries in his Bible a list of all his friends from seminary who have fallen from the ministry due to sexual sin. Its more than 20 names long.

Whatever the dynamics, adultery is a plague in the leadership of the church. According to psychologist Mark Laaser, author of Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction, over the past two decades adultery has become “an escalating crisis in the church” so that “rarely a day goes by that I don’t get a call about a ‘fallen’ pastor.”

Why? Being a pastor is hard and lonely. It requires time by oneself in intensive study, which by definition is draining. This often is augmented by frequent acquaintance with the broken things of life, from substance abuse to officiating at a childs funeral. Pastors are needy, as are many women in our churches. The quiet of a church mid-week provides opportunity. And, thus …

However, there is never a biblically justified excuse for sin. Christian leaders must must build in safeguards to discourage the likelihood of infidelity. Accountability partners, working hard to have a vibrant, affirming relationship with ones wife, having an open Internet history that reliable friends can check at will: These are a few of the tools faithful men can employ to remain morally pure.

Yet with all of that said, Scripture gives only prescription for dealing with sexual temptation: Flight. Heres what Joseph did when the wife of his owner Potiphar attempted to seduce him: She caught (Joseph) by his garment, saying, Lie with me! And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside (Genesis 39:12).

Similarly, Paul the apostle tells his young disciple Timothy, Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (II Timothy2:22).

Dont try to rationalize away the potential for temptation. Dont say, Oh, were just friends and having lunch together is harmless. Dont share things of the heart with a woman other than your wife. Flee.

A few years ago a friend told me of a woman who seemed to want to have an affair with him. He related that she had come to the door of his office and engaged in a flirtatious conversation with him.

I said to him, You should have said, I cant talk with you now, and shut the door. He responded, I couldnt do that, as he was concerned with rudeness. I replied, Yes, you could. Better to be rude than ruin your marriage.

Adultery is the success of self-exaltation: For the sake of my perceived happiness, Ill do what I want, whoever it hurts. You shall be like gods, the serpent told Eve. He still whispers this to all of us, including to men who put their desires ahead of their Lord, their wives, their children, their ministries, their friends, and their honor and the honor of the God they profess to serve.

Christians should pray for Dinesh DSouza and his family as they begin a new journey in their lives, and for others each of us know who have collapsed into infidelity. And Christian leaders should feel a slight shudder in their souls as they pray: None of us is immune.

When adultery walks in, writes theologian Woodrow Kroll, everything worth having walks out.

Everything. Pretty high cost, that.

Cohabitation: Everyones doing it?!

by Family Research Council

August 30, 2012

But, mom, everybodys doing it?!

It might have been your favorite childhood expression as you lobbied for that new toy or extra handful of cotton candy.

But for todays millennials its an underlyingif unstatedreason why so many decide to pack up their belongings and move in with their significant other.

According to the CDCs March 22, 2012 National Health Statistics Report, cohabitation (before first marriage) has risen significantly over the past 25 years and contributed to a delay in first marriage for both women and men.

Bloomberg.com reviewed at the data through a personal finance lens in their article, Living Together Trumps Matrimony for Recession-Wary Americans. Quoting theUniversity ofVirginias Brad Wilcox, the article noted that In todays economic climate, many young adults are reluctant to pull the trigger…. They may be unemployed or underemployed or not know what the future looks like. Theyre hedging their bets.

But the cohabitation-trend isnt limited to the younger generation. According to a new study, more and more Americans over age 50 are choosing to live with their partner instead of getting married.

If everyone is doing it, why discuss the trend; or to put it bluntly, who exactly cares?

Since the creation of marriage itself, the Christian tradition has clearly taught that sexual intimacy outside of marriage (and cohabitation, by definition), is a step away from the holiness and commitment that God intends for his people.

Modern Christian leaders, therefore, wrestle through their role in how to council church members or other believers who are cohabiting, but desire to marry. Last September, Christianity Today invited various Evangelical leaders to weigh in on the question: Should Pastors Perform Marriages for Cohabitating Couples?

But the questions surrounding cohabitation continue, even in the public space outside of our churches. In an April NY Times Opinion piece, clinical psychologist Meg Jay warned that far from safeguarding against divorce and unhappiness, moving in with someone can increase your chances of making a mistake or of spending too much time on a mistake.

Earlier this month, Huffington Posts Women Blog highlighted offered the following: Cohabitation? 5 Questions To Ask Before Moving In Together. The author offered no moral qualms about cohabitation but, throughout her piece. noted the inherent obstacles to a successful move, considering how many couples do not survive that first year of living with one another.

Does cohabitation matter? On Thursday, August 30 marriage expert Mike McManus revealed the myths and risks of cohabitation and offered solutions for your church and your community.

Everybodys doing it, never saved you from the childhood bellyache. It may also fall short when it comes to more adult decisions.

Click here to view the video recording.

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