For reasons generally related to religious aversion, the Pacific Northwest (PNW) has long been dubbed “spiritually dark,” and, more recently, the “None Zone.” Here, ‘darkness’ and ‘absence’ are words used to describe the spiritual environment of the region. However, I suggest we consider a different word to describe the PNW: grey—a term that captures a particular attitude toward life . . . a mundane, humdrum, dullish mood about the nature of everyday reality.
Ministry is a rich and rewarding vocation—until it’s not. For most of the ministry leaders I know, any idyllic notions they had of life as a pastor lasted about three weeks into their call. The honeymoon phase of ministry ends and real life sets in as the tide of warm smiles and kind compliments goes out, leaving behind rocks of criticism and complaint. If you’re lucky in ministry life you will be buoyed along with enough compliments and encouragement, only occasionally experiencing the pain that comes from stepping on a sharp rock of criticism. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll grimace with every step because overly critical people litter your way with painful remarks and sharp jabs.
Western Seminary is partnering with 9Marks to put on a conference about building healthy churches, to be held at Hinson Baptist Church, March 31-April 1. Speakers at this conference include Mark Dever, Shai Linne, Todd Miles, and Michael Lawrence. In anticipation of this conference, Transformed sat down with Mark Dever (senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, in Washington D.C., and president of 9Marks) for a chat.
Christian ministry has long been described as bridge-building between the kingdom of God and people on earth. That idea takes on a new twist, though, when knowing people means learning a culture that is different from your own.
Perhaps it is this season in my life, but I sense a growing alienation from this world. I find myself in a technocratic, post-Christian age that does not see this as the Father’s world. It is their world, where individualism reigns, freedom amounts to pursuing one’s own good, moral values are up to each person, fake news dominates the airwaves, gaining power and wealth are the ultimate objectives, and God is irrelevant.