Tag Archives: Roundtable

How to Handle Discouragement in Ministry

If you've never experienced discouragement in ministry, I have an inkling you've never been in ministry.

In a new roundtable video, Darrin Patrick, Paul Tripp, and Voddie Baucham explore reasons and remedies for pastoral discouragement. "I get most discouraged when I've had unmet, unrealistic expectations of myself or others," Baucham observes. The hard-to-swallow truth in such moments is he's typically thinking too much of himself.

"If you're looking to ministry to give you identity, you're going down," notes Tripp, author of Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. Though glorious, ministry is "a messy war." Patrick adds, "Even though we know in general that ministry is hard and warfare is real, we don't always know why it's hard." It's crucial, then, to ask, What's the discouragement beneath the discouragement here?

Receiving ministry as a pastor is just as important as giving it, Baucham contends. Or, as one of my favorite preachers, Tommy Nelson, puts it: "If your output exceeds your input, your upkeep will become your downfall."

Watch the full six-minute video to see these ministers discuss isolation, broken trust, pastors as body parts, and more.

Discouragement in Ministry from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Preventing Sexual Abuse in the Church

Caring for victims of sexual abuse is crucial. But what if it didn't need to come to that? What if we were exercising better preventative care in our churches?

In this roundtable video, Trillia Newbell, Scotty Smith, and Justin Holcomb discuss how churches can more intentionally and effectively preempt abuse.

Education is essential, Newbell suggests, since most people just don't realize the statistics. When child abuse happens, therefore, they're utterly shocked. Moreover, it's vital to equip members with a biblical view of sexuality. "Sometimes the best defense is a good offense," Smith says, "and teaching about the God who designed our delights will help us to be proactive rather than reactive."

Instituting clear policies and procedures is a powerful way of saying We don't put up with this here, adds Holcomb, co-author of Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault (Crossway, 2011). "Far from being anti-grace, policies are actually the enactment of grace for our children."

Watch the full seven-minute video to hear the participants consider the role of the pulpit, inter-church collaboration, and more.

How to Prevent Abuse from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Preach to the Affections, Don't Manipulate Them

Should preachers aim for the affections? Is this even possible without resorting to manipulation techniques? In a new roundtable video, John Piper, Voddie Baucham, and Miguel Núñez—all Council members for The Gospel Coalition—explore differences between "working the crowd" and awakening authentic, God-honoring emotion.

"As long as preaching unpacks the greatness of God, the emotions should be moved," Núñez observes. Faithful exposition, then, is a excellent way to cultivate godly affection and safeguard against squalid manipulation.

A bored preacher misrepresents the God he proclaims, Piper adds, since God is not boring. Moreover, he explains, "the difference between emotion and emotionalism is whether you've awakened it with truth."

Baucham references a complaint sometimes voiced in more traditionally emotional (e.g., black and Latino) cultures that emphasizing truth and theology amounts to "denying your culture, your heritage, your ethnicity." But the call to awaken affections with biblical truth is not culturally specific. As Piper quips, "I want to be known as the best black preacher there ever was."

Watch the full 12-minute video to hear these three preachers discuss Grand Canyon moments, when God looks boring, and more.

Preaching to the Affections from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Toward a Gospel-Shaped Church Culture in Latin America

Bible-based, gospel-centered, Jesus-exalting church culture. Perhaps you're used to hearing about (and hopefully seeing) that sort of thing. Not so for many in Latin America.

In a new roundtable video, Juan Sanchez, Miguel Núñez, and Carlos Conteras discuss the need for such an environment in Latino local churches.

"Though it may sound cliché, we cannot underestimate the danger of assuming the gospel," contends Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. Whether in exchange for moralistic civil religion or unbridled pragmatism, assuming the gospel has always led to losing it. In addition to preserving the gospel's clarity, adds Contreras, pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Juárez, Mexico, Latin American believers must fight to trust its power. Indeed, observes Núñez, a new TGC Council member, as "the image of God becomes smaller and the image of man becomes larger in our own minds," the more tempted we'll be to rely on our own understanding and effort rather than on God's wisdom.

Cultivating "a biblical mind" is a particularly pressing need in a Latin American culture that often tends toward emotion. "Emotion is not bad," Sanchez explains, but emotion "fired up by something other than truth" most certainly is.

Watch the full seven-minute video to hear these pastors discuss misguided passion, letting the gospel do its thing, and more. You can find more resources on gospel-centered ministry in the Latin American context at the TGC Spanish site, Coalición por el Evangelio.

Is God a Moral Monster?

Raising the question of God's morality may be irreverent. But how can we avoid responding to the many challenges arising today, whether in bellicose form or cast in Christian terms?

The charge is usually trotted out against the Old Testament in response to the supposed moral atrocities God condones and even commends. The Israelite conquest—God's command to wipe out the Canaanites from the promised land—is a classic example.

In this new roundtable video, Bryan Chapell, J. D. Greear, and Mike McKinley consider street-level objections to the moral character of God. "Any kind of pat, simplistic answer is going to be unhelpful," McKinley admits, since, well, there are none. Nevertheless, orthodox Christians have invariably believed that the Judge of all the earth will always do what's right. Always.

It's vital to "begin with the righteousness of God, with the fact that he's revealed his ultimate character at the cross," Chapell says. Even if this God-centered view of the universe doesn't answer all our questions, Greear observes, it does adjust our perspective. Besides, if preachers skip these sections of Scripture, people will notice.

Watch the full eight-minute video to hear these three pastors discuss the importance of humility, chattel slavery, moral capital, and more.

Is God a Moral Monster? from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.