What is fellowship? Is it merely sharing a meal together? Is it praying together? Is it both? Is going over to a shut-in’s house or showing hospitality?  Words matter There are two Hebrew words translated as fellowship in the KJV, one noun and one verb. In the Greek there are both feminine and masculine nouns and a verb.  Secular dictionary definitions are, frankly, nebulous and unclear. You could say a club, union league, alliance, confederacy or guild is a fellowship. I can leave any one of those and it’s no big deal. I was in a game club when I [...]


If I asked you right now to picture a peaceful scene in your mind’s eye, what would you see? A mother snuggling a sleeping infant?The muffled hush of freshly fallen snow?Something else entirely? Christmas…the celebration of the birth Jesus Christ, the prince of peace. I wonder how peaceful that birth night was? My realistic mind tends to doubt that it was quite as peaceful as the carols Silent Night or Oh Little Town of Bethlehem might portray. There is rather little that is peaceful in the process of birthing a baby. Maybe the “heavenly peace” came after? Regardless, the birth of our glorious Prince [...]


Are you a disciple maker? Now don’t misunderstand my question. I did not ask, are you an evangelist?  The Lord Jesus in His last requests to His disciples gives a very simple command. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20. What does it take to make a disciple? Well it takes a team. It takes some to plant the seed, some to water [...]


It’s pretty clear to most people that the two youngest generations in the church speak a much different language than us “older” ones. It’s a language that may be hard to interpret if we are not intentionally listening. I’m referring to those between 18 and 40. If we are going to communicate the Word of God to these generations we must first understand how they think and speak so that we can share the truth of God in a way they will understand.  There’s no point speaking English to a person who only understands French. What is said may be [...]


Not long ago, a man said something like this: I enjoyed the ministry today, but one thing you said really caught my attention. It was the statement that there is an active as well as a passive side to the work of elders. I need to do some serious thinking about that, because … through most of my years I have been a passive elder. I remember wondering how many other elders might feel the same way. Some will wonder that an article on such a subject could be needed at all. Isn’t it obvious that both active (action) and [...]


Have you ever felt the need to write up a code of conduct when working with folks within the assemblies? Most people would argue that it shouldn’t be necessary if we are in the Word. Everyone should be following the example Christ set for us and the instructions written in the New Testament. But as I was discussing conflict with a good friend of mine, she pointed out to me that not all conflicts are spiritual issues, they are often human issues. I think this is the main reason why there are many instructions in the New Testament in how [...]


One thing that has made an impact on my Christian life has been my awareness of the importance of remembering and serving those who suffer for their faith in Christ. In 2007, I became a local volunteer with the Voice of the Martyrs Canada, a ministry that serves the persecuted church. In my limited travels around different assemblies and reading assembly-based literature, I find this subject to be rarely addressed. Other evangelical churches that I have visited in the past also appear to be largely silent about this subject. When it is addressed, it is usually historical, hearkening back to [...]


Whether you read research out of the National Institutes of Health[1] or simply observe children at play, you will find evidence that humans are hardwired for hierarchy. Consequently, hierarchy feels “natural.” It seems “good.” And if we’ve learned anything from post-modern culture it’s that “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right!”[2] We even have biblical passages to which we can appeal in support of hierarchy. Leadership norms Yet Jesus had a few things to say about hierarchy that don’t line up with what we often see. He didn’t deny it; He just turned it on its head: You [...]


If you were to ask most people in assemblies today whether they thought their church was welcoming to visitors you would probably get a positive answer. The reality is that for many of us it’s very difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of a first-time visitor. We are so used to seeing what we are so used to seeing that we miss the glaring weaknesses and how we are perceived by visitors. In his book, Becoming A Welcoming Church, Thom Rainer shares some very practical and helpful thoughts on how we can be as welcoming as possible to a first-time [...]


As we read through the New Testament, particularly the Gospels and Acts, we encounter the practice of fasting which is seldom given much attention in the local churches with which I am familiar. There is nothing particularly mysterious about fasting; it is simply abstaining from eating for a specified period of time. In 1 Corinthians, Paul indicates that a married couple may choose to set aside normal sexual activity during a fast, though this is not required. A fast can be absolute (no food or drink whatsoever) or partial. Most fasts, particularly longer ones, allow water or other clear beverages. [...]