Changing a Church Culture

David Mathis

In the sixth and final session of the Trellis and Vine workshop, Col Marshall presented 13 ideas for changing a complicated and programmatic church culture into a culture of disciple-making:

  1. Set the agenda on Sunday. The public ministry of the gospel and the Scriptures is essential.
  2. Teach “the ministry of the pew”—that everyone can minister to everyone, and they can come to the weekly gatherings on the lookout for…
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Building Ministries Around People

Jonathan Parnell

Women in the Work of Vine-Growing

The fifth session of this 2-day Trellis and Vine workshop began with an excursus as Tony briefly commented on the ministry of women in this vine-growing work. Tony and Col both hold to a complementarian view of gender roles. Although this is different from the Anglicanism in which they are a part, Tony admits that the Scriptures drive them to the complementarian position.

In…

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Spiritual Parenting

David Mathis

After yesterday’s afternoon of small-group evaluation and discussion, we started Day 2 with another teaching session.

Col Marshall led us through 1 Thessalonians 1:1–2:16 and pointed to how Paul himself was a trainer of ministers—a discipler of disciplemakers. Three key points Col highlighted from the text came under the headings 1) word, 2) prayer, and 3) parenting.

First, Paul’s ministry was word-centered—shaped and powered by the gospel and the…

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Small Groups: Positively Dangerous?

Jonathan Parnell

For session three yesterday of the Trellis and Vine workshop (the second half of which is today), the pastors split into three groups to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their current ministry.  I sat in on one group and listened to the discussion. As one pastor would stand, introduce himself, and report from the frontlines, all of the pastors responded with resonating nods. Although these pastors are speaking as…

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The Costume Kingdom

Paul Tripp

It was always one the most dramatic moments in the well-known secret agent drama. Although viewers didn’t know it, one of the Mission Impossible agents had donned a latex mask that was meant to make him look familiar and safe to the enemy. The mask was so pliable and real-looking that it took on the appearance of actual human skin. At some crucial moment, the government agent would reach up…

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Key Questions for Growing the Vine

Jonathan Parnell

Col began the second session of today’s workshop with a story of a young cricket player who embraced the gospel after two years of intentional ministry of the Word. In summary, Col said that the careful, personal proclamation of the gospel, alongside the public, is being used by God to call people to himself.

Why Do We Do Small Groups?

The session then moved into the subject of small group…

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The Biblical Vision of Christian Ministry

David Mathis

We're at Bethlehem's North Campus for the first of a 2-day Trellis & the Vine workshop with Col Marshall and Tony Payne (authors of the book by the same title). We found out at the beginning of this morning's session that there are attendees here from not only the 5-state region (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas) but also as far as New Hampshire, south Texas, and Oregon.

Tony…

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The Benefit of Reading Less

Jon Bloom

I have been so helped by John Piper’s recommendation in his book, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals:

I [do not] want to give the impression that I think there is virtue in reading many books. In fact one of my greatest complaints in seminary was that professors trained students in bad habits of superficial reading because they assigned too many books. I agree with Spurgeon: “A student will find…

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Serving: A Distraction to Listening?

Jon Bloom

Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:42-42)

Jesus’ gracious rebuke to Martha haunts me.

"Martha was distracted with much serving" (Luke 10:40). But Mary "sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching" (Luke 10:39). Distraction is the enemy of listening. For Martha, at that…

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How Saints Grow Happier Forever

Tyler Kenney

Jonathan Edwards viewed heaven as a place where the joy of God's people will only increase forever and ever. (Sam Storms passionately unpacked this grand vision at our 2003 National Conference in his message "Joy's Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven.")

But why did Edwards think this? What will cause the saints' joy to constantly overflow and expand again and again into eternity? Edwards explains in …

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