Showing posts from 2022

Successful Revitalization of Small Evangelical Churches Hinges on Leadership Development

My doctoral dissertation, focused on how successful church revitalization pastors act to develop and empower next-generation leaders. A Phenomenological Study of Pastoral Leadership Development Behaviors in the Revitalization of Small Evangelical Churche s Available at Abstract Church revitalization has received renewed interest in the last several years. Rainer (2014) says that a congregation’s failure to develop and empower next-generation leaders is one of the leading contributors to church closure. Likewise, Clifton (2016) and Stetzer (2007) highlight the importance of developing next-generation leaders during church revitalization.  The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the leadership development behaviors of senior or solo pastors who successfully led revitalization in a small evangelical church. This study defined a small church as one averaging 65 or fewer in attendance at the beginning of the pastor partic

Did the Early Church Fathers Believe in a Pretribulational Rapture?

UPDATE: I look back at this old paper and find some good arguments but, as I concluded, there is no smoking gun for the belief in a pretribulation Rapture among the early church fathers. I am more compelled now to say why: No, the early church fathers did not believe in a pre-tribulation Rapture, at least in the way Darby and dispensationalists ever since the 1800s have held it. They didn't believe it because the Bible didn't teach it--and they were much closer in time and place to the biblical authors. They did expect the imminent return of Christ--with no hint of an idea that they expected to escape the Great Tribulation (indeed, for much of the early church, the Roman Empire certainly proved a source of great tribulation!). They also believed in a millennium. What Scripture actually says has always been the standard to which we evangelical Christians have always claimed to hold. I hope to write more soon, but I think the "Pre-Wrath" Rapture--the idea that the chur