Over the years, I have been an observer of ministry trends. Partly I observe because I want to keep growing and am always glad for new or innovative ideas. And partly I observe in order to better understand the current ministry landscape and train the next generation of Christian servants at West Coast Baptist College.
Over the past 10–12 years, students in our college have had questions about some of the newer trends and terms introduced into ministry. As I studied to answer their questions, I’ve learned that while some of these trends have commendable traits, some have concerning origins and leanings that will adversely affect the faith of their adherents.
As a result of this study, several years ago I began writing a book to bring biblical clarity to some of these trends. In the course of research for this book, I read dozens of other books, conducted many interviews, and spent countless hours studying and analyzing in the light of Scripture what is going on in the ministry world today. The end product is a new book titled Keep the Faith. (Click here to read the table of contents, introduction, and chapter 1.)
In this new episode of the Spiritual Leadership Podcast, my son Larry and I discuss the book and walk through the chapters and topics covered. This episode is for anyone who teaches or preaches God’s Word or anyone—pastor or layman—who would like insight into the changes happening in churches nationwide.
(If you cannot view this video in your email or RSS reader, click here.)
The book is organized into three parts:
Standing for Biblical Truth—In these introductory chapters, we cover the importance of the truth itself, the biblical premise behind ecclesiastical separation, and then spend three chapters looking at church history. The history section is important because it provides context for the trends we look at in part 2.
Although we look briefly at early church history, we zero in on the beginning of the modern fundamental movement and how it was birthed as a response to German rationalism, looking at how this affected the Baptist world in particular. Then we look at some of the various Baptist groups and recent Baptist history. From there we move into the birth of the New Evangelical movement and how it set the context for some of the ministry philosophies today.
Discerning Ministry Trends—Part 2 is the meat of this book. It begins with an overview of the cultural changes that affect today’s ministry landscape and then looks at the shifts taking place in ministry.
From there, we examine terms such as integrative ministry, syncretism, contextualization, missional ministry, Critical Race Theory, identity politics, social justice, gospel centered, radical grace, and much more. We discuss these on the podcast as well as diving deep into them in the book.
Reaching forward with the Gospel—If part 2 is the meat of the book, part 3 is the purpose for it. Reaching forward with the gospel must be our passion if we are to obey the Great Commission of Christ. These final chapters of the book (and of our discussion on the podcast) wrap up the previous material with recommendations for how to keep he faith and reach into our communities with the gospel.
In these chapters, I argue that we need freedom and liberty in our methods, but we need to remain focused on pleasing Christ and making Him known. We want to not only keep the faith, but also advance it!