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How to Suffer with Joy

by John Kimbell

Is it your expectation that as you give yourself to obedience to Christ and to loving service for others that you will suffer? Or are you surprised by this?

  • Do you assume that volunteering to serve in the children’s ministry should bring no difficulties or inconveniences whatsoever into your life?
  • Do you assume that committing yourself to consistent, servant-hearted care for the members of your small group will just happen at no cost to you?
  • Do you assume that parenting and discipling your children should be trouble-free?
  • Do you expect all your neighbors to break down your door to ask you about the gospel, or will it take sacrifice and effort to move into their lives in order to make Christ known?
  • Will the unreached peoples of the world hear the gospel without toil and struggle on the part of the church?
  • Fill in the blank with the ministry that God has set before you as ask yourself, Do I expect to suffer?

We must not be surprised that the way of Christ and the way of ministry is a pathway of suffering. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake” (emphasis added), and he rejoiced that through his toiling and struggling to make the gospel known, and all of the difficulties that were necessary for him to do that, people would hear about Jesus and trust Him as Savior and be saved from their sins. (more…)

Are You Gripped by the Truths You Teach?

I can vividly remember the incident even though it happened years ago. I had just finished preparing for Sunday’s lesson. It involved teaching just one basic truth to my first grade class: God is eternal. The visuals, props, and lesson notes were ready. The Scriptures being taught were all carefully marked in my Bible. I had rehearsed the lesson several times. I was confident – I’ve got this! And then I was completely undone as I reread the key verse for the lesson:

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90:2).

(more…)

The Key to Effective Ministry to Children and Youth

Late summer is a busy time for children’s and youth ministry as church staff and volunteers gear up for the beginning of a new school year. And, increasingly, there are new and exciting resource options out there to consider—resources that claim to engage students in ways that are “relevant” to their particular age group, along with teaching methods and class resources that will keep students eagerly coming back week after week. There’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily. (more…)