The Christ-Centered Expositor by Tony Merida. This is by far one of the best preaching books I have ever read. From the title of the book it’s pretty easy to catch what Merida is passionate – expository preaching that is Christ-centered. The goal of this helpful books is to help preachers (even though others could benefit from this book but his main audience is preachers) understand how they can better preach Christ-centered expository sermons. It serves as a handbook to do just that. What I love about this book is how Merida spends the first half talking about the preachers heart. These are challenging chapters that will cause preachers to evaluate their life, doctrine, prayer life, and more. These early chapters help the preacher see that who is plays into what he preaches. The second half of the book is extremely practical. These chapters lay out a five step process to writing Christ-centered expository sermons. I’d recommend this book to those who have been preaching for a long time as well as those who may be in seminary preparing for pastoral ministry. It’s also helpful for those in between who are early in their ministry career.
Growing Young by Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin. This is the newest book put out by the Fuller Youth Institute. The Churches Engaging Young People project studied churches who were effectively engaging 15-29 year olds (click here to read more about their research). From their research they found out there are six essential strategies that churches use to engage teenagers and young adults. This book helps churches understand how they too can practice these essential strategies in their context. I really enjoyed the depth of this book and the extent of the research. In addition, the book also gives many practical steps for churches to follow if they want to effectively reach teenagers and young adults. I also really liked how they included many stories of churches doing this well. I came away with some great ideas but also with some fresh inspiration for reaching teenagers and young adults in the context of the local church. I would recommend this book to anyone who serves in a local church, especially those who work with teenagers and young adults.
Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn. In this book Alcorn helps the reader understand money in light of God’s Word. There is almost too much in this book to even be able to write a short review. It’s packed with challenging chapters on tithing, giving, debt, savings, materialism, church finances, and money in light of eternity. Alcorn is both extremely Biblical and practical. He doesn’t hold back in sharing with the reader what God says about money and goes to great lengths to provide practical things for the reader to do in regards to their money. I’d recommend this book to every believer who wants to better understand God’s view of money and how they should handle it.
Up next on my reading list is On Preaching by H.B. Charles and Erasing Hell by Francis Chan.
How to manage and handle money well is an important topic we need to address with students. Recently in our high school ministry we took a night to talk to our students about money. Obviously we couldn’t cover everything but we decided to share a few foundational things that we believe every student needs to know when it comes to money. Our goal is to build on this foundation in the future with an optional class for upperclassmen.
After helping our student see from the Bible that when it comes to money God is the owner and we are the managers, we covered a few main points:
1. Tithing and Giving
2. Wise Spending
3. Avoid Debt
Below is the video of this talk.
Last month I wrote a post about challenging your students to do something more than just show up at your events and have a good time. I shared about how we did that in our ministry last month and challenged our students across all four of our campuses to raise money to purchase a 12 passenger van for a local ministry called Rahab. Rahab is a ministry based in Akron, OH that rescues women out of prostitution and shares with them the life changing truth of the Gospel. Our students gave their own money, raised money, and even gave up Christmas gifts to come together and purchase this van. And they did it! We challenged them to step up and do something big and they did!
Here is a video we filmed as our student ministry staff surprised Becky, the women behind Rahab ministry, with the new van. Her reaction is priceless! Shout out to our students for making this happen and helping an awesome ministry reach more women for the Gospel. Check out the video below.
One of the things Bible college or seminary doesn’t teach you, is how to handle finances in ministry. I am a young pastor and money is not my thing. I either spend too much or save too much. I’m not the best with managing a budget and sometimes spend money on things that are not necessary. The good news is I’m learning. I’m learning how to save and spend when I need to. I’m learning how to manage a budget. I am doing what all young pastors should do-learn.
From that opening paragraph your probably wondering why I am writing a post on financial do’s and don’ts. I am kind of wondering the same thing, but I do believe I have some practical advice that is helping me that will also help you.
Financial Don’ts for Young Pastors
- Waste your budget right out of the gate.
- Handle all your finances on your own.
- Spend it on “wants” of the ministry rather than “needs” of the ministry.
- Spend your own personal money for your ministry when you can use your budget.
Financial Do’s for Young Pastors
- Pray over your budget (Ask God to use it for His will)
- If you need help with finances, ask!
- Be open and honest about your spending from your budget.
I know this list is short, but I don’t believe we need to make finances any more complicated than they already are. God gives us money and resources to use to expand His kingdom. If there is any advice that I would say rookie pastors MUST remember is this-your money and the churches money is not yours, it’s God. Let Him use it the way He sees fit and follow His leadership.
This post was originally a guest post I wrote for RookiePastor.com. Rookie Pastor is a great site for young pastors who are looking for practical resources and tips for church ministry.