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Photo credit: Jorge Gardner.

I have no predictions about what will happen to you or me during the next year except for this — we will endure hardship.

In January of 2020, we declared before our church family that it would be a year of Encounter. By that, we meant that we would spend the year creating more opportunities for people to gather publicly and to huddle closer in prayer. We launched a new monthly midweek service with a strong emphasis on the end-of-service response time. We anointed people with oil, prayed over the sick, and asked God to transform lives.

Our second of…

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Photo by Thomas Le (via Unsplash)

I grew up in a church where visiting evangelists would scream, then gasp for breath, then scream a little more. They walked around on the stage and sometimes down the aisles, red-faced and often carrying a handkerchief to wipe away the sweat they’d collected on their foreheads.

I remember being scared that they would know my sin and start yelling at me in front of the entire congregation.

Here’s the funny thing — some people actually like to be yelled at each week about their sins. We often welcome the shaming, which is not entirely healthy, but it’s popular nonetheless.

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Photo by Patrick Schneider via Unsplash.

Earlier today, I received a text from a friend who asked how I and my family were faring right now. I responded simply with, “Surviving well.” Thankfully, my friend and his family are surviving well also.

How about you? Are you surviving well?

As I write this, it’s early September of 2020, the hardest year I’ve ever lived through in my 43-year life.

I’m not killin’ it!

But I haven’t been killed yet, either.

I’m somewhere in between.

I don’t believe mere survival is a good long term strategy. We were meant to come alive and to thrive regardless of…

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Photo by Tusik Only on Unsplash.

It’s just hard!

Those are three of the nicest words I’ve ever heard.

When you’re hurting and sad and you don’t even know exactly why you’re so sad, but someone, instead of offering solutions or guilt trips or “snap out of it” advice just comes along and validates what you’re feeling, it’s powerful.

It’s. Just. Hard.

I’ve been a pastor for 23 years now, but I, like every other pastor I know, was completely unprepared for leading a church through a global pandemic in a time of tremendous social unrest and political division.

To add to the issues, I’ve personally…

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59% of millennials who grew up in church have dropped out.

Why? That’s a huge can of worms. There are plenty of theories — some based on data and others based on mere opinion.

I believe at least one reason why we’ve failed to reach this younger generation of people has to do with the way we communicate about who we are and what we believe.

We generally tend to promote the church either through mass-marketing methods, like direct mail or print advertising, or we don’t promote the church at all and just assume people should know we exist and…

3 Components of a Healthy Church Planting Model
3 Components of a Healthy Church Planting Model

We’re so “ether-or” in our viewpoints, aren’t we? We have a tendency to form an opinion, stake a position, and defend it against anything that looks different.

Tension can be good. Out of tension flows a creative discussion and differences of opinion that force us to re-evaluate our viewpoints and emphases to ensure that we’re thinking biblically and effectively.

For example, right now, the tension in church planting discussion surrounds models.

Should we launch large and fast?

Living with a Bias Toward Action
Living with a Bias Toward Action

Passivity is epidemic among us. Especially among men.

And it’s killing us.

At the beginning of 2018, I told our church staff I was committing to living throughout this year with a “bias toward action.” I don’t know where I first heard that term, but to whomever thanks is due, thank you!

Having a bias toward action doesn’t mean we act on everything, like Jim Carrey’s character in the movie, Yes Man! Obviously, there is power in saying “no” to things. But that’s the point.

Saying yes indicates a bias toward action.

Saying no also indicates a bias toward action.

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Somehow we’ve gotten a little confused about the essence of leadership. If you think it’s all about getting bigger, going higher, and commanding more respect and attention from others, you’ve missed the point.

Leadership is all about giving everything we’ve got to others. If we have knowledge, wisdom, and insight, we lead by giving it away. We grow by investing in others.

There is an entire generation of up-and-coming leaders who need elders. They need fathers, models, mentors, and friends. And leadership is, among many other things, the willingness to lead the next generation of leaders.

Becoming obsolete is easy…

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Christianity has a brand, like it or not. So does your church. And so do you, for that matter. That might make more sense if you define branding the way I do — as the story people are telling about a person, product, or organization.

Artie Davis wrote in his book Craveable that when someone introduces themselves as a Christian, what goes through the mind of a person outside the kingdom is often something like this: “Before me stands a judgmental, mean, ignorant, and intolerant person. Why should I listen to anything they have to say?” People perceive that the…

Everything your church does is communication, from the condition of the parking lot to the content in your bulletin to the tone of your sermon. Everything you do communicates something about what you really value, regardless of what you say you value.

I’m a church communications nut. I read dozens of blogs on design, branding, social media and marketing. I’ve designed logos, websites, and print pieces for dozens of churches. So I’ve perfected the art and science of church communications, right? Actually, in the last week, I received an email from someone who couldn’t find a location for our services…

Brandon A. Cox

Loved by Jesus. In love with Angie & 3 kids! Pastor at Grace Hills. Passionate about the church, preaching, social justice, and mental health.

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