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KingdomCulture-StephenBaldwin

It’s Time to Get ‘Old School’

Why winning the battle for teens requires timeless elements

In the last few years, I’ve heard folks in ministry say the battle between good and evil is greater than ever. Many say it’s because we are close to the Lord’s return. 

Sadly, however, it’s my observation that few truly understand or wholeheartedly believe this. If they did, they would do more to fight back!

Christians can complain about how bad things are getting in our society, but what are we doing to oppose the forces of Satan, who does whatever it takes to “steal, kill and destroy”? When it comes to our youth in particular, what are we doing to rescue them? The truth is, many believers think they’re doing all they can to reach the lost—especially teens—when in fact they’re simply doing the same things they were doing years ago.

We each have a faith and a calling, and mine stems from a covenant I made with God that if He showed me He was real, I’d do whatever He asked—anytime, anywhere, anything. 

He kept His end of the deal. And since my life-changing encounter with God, I’ve vowed to keep mine. Because of this, I now view life as if I were part of the spiritual equivalent to SEAL Team 6. Every day I live with the excitement of my next mission. When I consider the commitment and sacrifice of those real soldiers, I get pumped up knowing that this is my calling—to push myself harder, go further and do more!

By the power of the Holy Spirit, I stand for Jesus in my life, the media and Hollywood. For me, that includes relishing the opportunity to push the limits and go beyond the norm of what I think can be done. In my personal ministry, I often share that a part of my morning prayer is, “Lord, can I punch Satan in the face today and then run?”

I share all of this to dare you to do more, to smash the box of your normal thinking that you are doing all you can. 

Back in the “old school” days, those who carried the torch of the gospel all had a similar zeal to do more—evangelists such as Sam Jones, Billy Sunday, D.L. Moody, Billy Graham. They understood what it meant to give everything for the sake of making Christ known. My philosophy, like theirs, is quite simple: The best way to impact this world for God’s glory is to make more Christians.

There is no greater field for a harvest than today’s youth. But equally as important as their conversion is the continual reminder of the knowledge of God’s Word and direction of their path through prayer. 

There is no greater satisfaction in this life than the peace that comes with the presence of God’s Spirit. And there is no greater way to acquire this than through God’s Word and prayer, God’s Word and prayer, God’s Word and prayer—developing a lifestyle based on these life-giving elements. Missions work is awesome, but young believers must be continually reminded that it’s only by the Spirit of God leading them that they can know and do His will. They must know that their personal and ongoing relationship with Christ must be their primary focus, surpassing anything else.

In America, the spirit of darkness continues to deceive our Christian youth. Why is that? I’d argue that it’s partly because we have them doing all kinds of other things without the rock-solid foundation of being in His Word every day and spending time with Him in prayer.

Did that just rub you the wrong way and offend you? Pray about it! Whoever you are, wherever you are in your ministry, I beg you to do more.

Take a chance and do more. Create a cool gospel track that turns teens’ heads. Develop an innovative way to minister, or intentionally go after types and groups such as skaters. (A great resource for this is the Livin’ It skate videos.) Get a handful of tickets to a relevant Christian music festival or an Acquire the Fire event. Then go to the mall, skate park or local kid hangout spot and give away these seeds of hope that, God willing, will take root and grow and bless the Lord.

Please know that I make these suggestions because they work. Even if you think these kids won’t relate to you, these tools you pass on to them will. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and you can make a difference. It’s time to get “old school” and do more!


Stephen Baldwin is an actor, director, producer, author, talk radio host and motivational speaker. He periodically speaks to youth conferences around the country.  read more

Ron-Phillips-Headshot-Blog

Radicals, Racism or Righteousness: The Choice Is Yours

Society is being turned on its ear, and we are being given a front-row seat.

I could sit here for days and decry the many ways in which our culture is losing its soul. I could catalogue the multiple symptoms that are evidence of the demise of towns and cities all over America.

I mean, think about this ...

To steal an eagle’s egg in the U.S. carries a $10,000 fine, yet killing an unborn human is perfectly legal. Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, if the same fine was imposed for the nearly 55 million abortions that have taken place since then, the cumulative monetary fine would be more than $545,596,150,000. read more

C-KingdomCulture

Why You Must Be a Couple First, and Then Ministry Leaders

Whenever two type-A personalities combine in a marriage, as well as in a ministry, the results can often be catastrophic. Most ministry couples will tell you it’s far too easy for a couple serving together in ministry to allow their passion and drive to blur the lines between building a church and raising a family.

As pastors of Celebration Church, a church we planted together nearly 13 years ago in Austin, Texas, there’s one thing my wife, Lori, and I know for sure: You cannot fake a great marriage! read more

Ed Stetzer

Multisite Churches : Come and Get, or Come and Give?

McChurch. Franchised Jesus. Theological clones. Incubator congregations. Ecclesiological buffets. From the devil.

If there is a classification of church that gets put down more than megachurches, it would have to be multisite churches. Is the critique fair? Sometimes, but not always.

As we found with megachurches recently, there is plenty of good that comes with the stereotypical bad. In the megachurch research, we saw they don’t really draw away members from other local churches as much as people think they do, they are healthier financially and they are growing at a faster pace than smaller churches. read more

Bellevuebaptistchurchfront

Do We Really Need More Churches?

The most important question any church planter can ask is “Why am I planting a church?” I have had some conversations with some great guys lately who I think are really struggling with that question.

All of us struggle with why we are in ministry on Monday morning, but we need to evaluate our motivation on a bigger scale. Let’s look at what I think are some lousy reasons to plant a church and then share a great reason I recently heard.

First, the lousy reasons:

“I want to reinvent church.” This one comes in a lot of flavors, but it always comes down to the bottom line of, "I have a better way to do church." More hymns, no hymns, pews, no pews, more art, more coffee, more beer, less structure, less formality. We’re going to be radically sold out. We’re not going to cater to Christians. We’re going to go deep. We’re going to go wide. We’re going to be a church for people who absolutely abhor the awful church that I’m currently drawing my paycheck from. read more

dr-joe-mckeever

10 Hard Truths About Christ’s Church

It’s His church and not mine.

It’s His church and not yours either.

Settle that or nothing else will matter. Get it wrong and everything else you do will be off-kilter.

The moment you think it’s your church (you’re in charge) or my church (someone else makes the decisions; you have nothing to do with what happens), we’re all in trouble.

It is indeed the Lord’s church, and He is its sole owner. read more

Ignite-Crowd

6 Simple Secrets to Success in Ministry

What a week it was! Deborah and I attended Ignite 2013 along with over 9000 Filipino students plus hundreds of students and Every Nation campus missionaries from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and others. Rather than writing a long wordy blog about the conference, here are some photos that are worth a thousand words each. Click and enjoy.

Every time we have international guests visit us in Manila, someone will eventually ask me about the “secret” or the “keys” or the “secret keys” to our success and growth.  Here’s my current answer. read more

WEB-Reuters-Oklahoma-Photog-Rick-Wilking

How You Can Pray For and Respond to Oklahoma

Yet another tragedy. There are no words to describe the scenes we are seeing from the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma. No words.

So don’t say anything. Just pray.

Please, don’t try to provide answers when people ask why. Don’t pretend you know why. Don’t find some “righteous” sounding reason for the devastation. It’s not helpful.

So don’t say anything. Just pray.

Years ago, when I served as vice mayor of my community, we were hit with a devastating tornado that destroyed much of our downtown. I learned that what we needed most was prayer and resources. read more

C-KingdomCulture

Benny Perez: Welcome to the Revolution

We live in a wired world. We walk together as a disrupted society. In just a few decades, the technical revolution has altered the face of communication—not only how we communicate, but with whom we communicate, the speed by which we communicate and the number of people to whom we communicate.

How we communicate has also changed. Communication is happening less and less verbally. If you can avoid a phone call by sending a text, you’ve saved time, and saving time is better!

In an ever-evolving society, where communication is still radically changing, being a communicator of the gospel can be perplexing and even frustrating. How much technology should we accept as pastors? Is it OK to use social media? Does being current equate to compromising the gospel? These questions can stir up some strong opinions. But here’s what I’ve realized: Just because the message is timeless doesn’t mean the method has to be timeless!

Here are four essential communication lessons I’ve learned as a pastor praying to engage people where they are today with the good news of the gospel:  read more

C-Pastors-Heart

Relevant Messages Require Transparency

Recently, I’ve been “reinventing” myself and re-evaluating my methods after 22 years of pastoring the same church. I come from a deep heritage of Pentecostal preachers, where fiery, Holy Ghost, sweat-filled sermons are the cure-all. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible makes it clear in Romans 10:14, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (NASB). But is the gospel really communicated only through me? And does effective communication rely only on my preparation and my delivery?

Not long ago, I was challenged on this by a very successful pastor who attended one of our services. He told me, “You muscle everything! Everything that has to be communicated, you communicate by yourself, in the pulpit, with no support.” He said that at his church, the messages are communicated by everyone from staff to parking lot attendants and by multiple vehicles such as T-shirts (on the parking attendants), video screens and banners. His insights really opened my eyes, and I immediately began reallocating funds to staff these areas of support.

Since then, I’ve discovered some key principles for effective communication, which center less on me and more on the people I’m teaching. Here’s what I’ve learned about driving home a relevant message: 

Communicating a relevant message requires me knowing and caring about my audience.I think back to Ezekiel and his charge from God to communicate His Word to the exiles at Tel Aviv. Scripture says he went to them “in the heat of my spirit” (Ezek. 3:14, NKJV). In other words, Ezekielthought he had all the answers. But once he arrived there, he “sat among them for seven days—deeply distressed” (v. 15, NIV). He began to get a heart for those to whom God had sent Him. Have you studied your audience? Are you acquainted with their needs, hurts and passions? To be relevant to people, we must care about them. This is the key to relevancy. 

Communicating a relevant message requires me thinking about everyone who’s listening.I had the honor of speaking at Ed Young Jr.’s C3 Conference this year, where Ed talked about the “three chairs” we as pastors must keep in mind. The first chair, he said, is occupied by the visitor who has no knowledge of the gospel. The second chair is occupied by the new believer. The third chair seats the seasoned Christian. We must prepare our messages in such a way that we keep all three chairs in the front of our minds. 

Communicating a relevant message requires transparency.Recently, I stood in the pulpit with tears running down my face and spoke honestly of our family’s struggle with our oldest son’s drug addiction. Afterward, thousands of teenagers responded to the altar call and accepted Jesus as their Savior. And we heard from many parents who, feeling like failures because of their children’s lifestyle decisions, were freed of guilt. It was one of the most transparent days of my life. I gave my congregation insight into my real pain. “Getting real” allows us to become touchable and makes our faith more authentic. 

No one living in our culture today would argue that this is a different day. People are bombarded with information. But when it comes down to it, communicating a relevant message reflects our heart for God and for people. May we always have a heart that thinks first about those we’re teaching and allow that to shape how we communicate an eternity-altering story.


Ron Carpenter is senior pastor at Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, S.C. Connect at RonCarpenter.com. read more

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