Showing posts from July, 2023

Declining Churches Searching for the Silver Bullet Pastor

  The problem of declining churches in America was nothing new when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck in March 2020. I tend to ignore 2020 through 2022 when measuring whether a church has declined. But let’s be honest: if you look back to March 2020 and compare your attendance and financial giving back then to that of today, in March 2024, and both are lower, on average, by more than a few percent, your church has declined. If you had a children’s ministry before the pandemic, and you now struggle to wrangle up more than a few kids on a typical Sunday, you have declined. Your church needs revitalization. Sure, there are other, less tangible measures of health. How are you doing evangelistically? Are you reaching your neighborhood with the gospel? Are you making disciples? Maybe your church has already taken proactive steps in the direction of revitalization. Perhaps you’ve already decided to make some hard decisions rather than kicking the can down the road. If so, good on you! Sadl

Some Thoughts on Empowering Emerging Leaders in Church Revitalization

By Bart L. Denny, Ph.D., Th.M. You may have read that church revitalization pastors must focus on developing and empowering next-generation leaders if their churches are to see successful revitalization. My doctoral dissertation research bore that out—not that I was at all surprised. I had already heard successful church revitalization pastors talk about it. But more than that, long before I became a “doctor,” years of experience in the military and ministry had already proven to me the necessity of developing leaders. I write here specifically to church revitalization pastors. However, given that, to the best of my knowledge, all good leadership is biblical—regardless of who is doing it—this advice could fit most leadership contexts. The best leadership development advice ever: “Train your replacement.” In the Navy—at least in the units where I most enjoyed serving—the motto was “train your replacement.” It made sense. If something happened to you in a battle (or even an accident, giv

Should Christians Oppose the Death Penalty? Restoring the Divine Nature of Retribution

 by   Bart L. Denny May 6, 2013 (revised July 25, 2023)   Introduction This paper critically evaluates the ethical reasons for eliminating capital punishment, demonstrating that Christian ethics should reject it. However, such rejection should not be because it involves the state taking human life.  Indeed, the church has long affirmed the state’s right to exercise the death penalty, citing numerous biblical examples not only allowing capital punishment but rather demanding it.  In short, on its face, the basic concept of capital punishment is imminently biblical. However, currently and historically, the death penalty is not ethically administered by any state. This reality seems unlikely to change in any present system of secular rule or, as history shows, in any theocracy. Christian opponents of capital punishment are inclined to relegate the practice to the Old Testament, with no place alongside Christ’s teachings of mercy and forgiveness.  However, the most popular argument

Is Speaking in Tongues for Today?

 I wrote This research paper several years ago (sometime in 2012) for a class. Edits are minor, and where my views have changed or evolved, I speak of that in brackets. The topic is one of controversy in evangelicalism. For me, in the years since I first wrote this, the issue has become less about whether speaking in tongues exists today but rather whether what passes for tongues-speaking is, in fact, the speaking in tongues we encounter in the Bible. I don’t wish to break fellowship with people who disagree with me on this particular issue but are passionate about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (as I am) and hold the Bible as God’s inspired Word (as I do). I believe that biblical tongues-speaking still exists and is rare. Moreover, most of what passes for tongues-speaking in churches today is not the phenomenon we see in the New Testament. Is Speaking in Tongues for Today? by Bart L. Denny, 2012 (updated in 2023) Introduction Does tongues-speaking continue today?  This paper will