Is Perfection the Right Standard for Pastors?

What happens when a pastor falls short of perfection? What happens when a weakness is revealed for all to see? Do we love, support, empathize, encourage, and work to help them or do we find a way to escort them out the door seeking another pastor who will be perfect?

I can imagine that for many pastors, there is a great fear that their congregation will discover that they are merely human like the rest of us… full of flaws and weakness.

I like what Jesus said in Luke 18:19, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”

And in Hebrews 4:15-16, where it is written, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

The point here is that we sometimes put pastors on a pedestal of perfection. And when they fall short, we don’t always extend them the same grace and mercy that God shows us in all of our imperfections. Pastors have doubts, fears, and temptations just like the rest of us. Sometimes they stumble like the rest of us.

When that happens, love them through it. If they confess and seek forgiveness, we should be quick to forgive, as God is quick to forgive us.

Lastly, create an environment at your church and a relationship with your pastor that would enable them to speak freely about their imperfections. They need not isolate themselves in an attempt to hide their flaws for fear of what their congregation might think. Be a loving, grace-filled church to your pastor, just as you are taught to be to the rest of the world.

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Are you a worthy disciple?

I was reading Philippians 3:17 today where Paul encourages others to follow his example of pursuing Christ. In the study notes, it asked a wonderful question, “What kind of follower would a new Christian become if he or she imitated you?”

So a thought to consider today is what kind of disciple of Christ are you? What example are you setting for others? Is it an example worth following?

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Where Are All the Female Disciple Makers?

As many of you know, our ministry runs an online, email-based discipleship program where we pair mentors and mentees and provide a discipleship curriculum to work through together. It’s been a HUGE success and we couldn’t be more pleased with the lives being changed through that program.

Running that Discipleship program is also a bit of a balancing act…trying to have enough available mentors for the incoming mentee requests. Well, we are currently in desperate need of spiritually mature Christian female mentors. We have a good number of Christian or aspiring Christian females asking for love, support, and spiritual guidance from a fellow female.

You don’t have to be a pastor or seminary graduate to help. And you don’t have to have all the answers. Our program walks mentors and mentees step by step through the process. You do need to be a fairly spiritually mature Christian…walking the walk. And most importantly, you need to have a willing and loving heart toward other Christian women.

If you can help, or know someone who can help, please email us at discipleship@changingthefaceofchristianity.com or fill out this online form. We’ll review your information and get back to you asap!

Thanks and God Bless.

Brad

PS – Please join us in praying that God will provide the female mentors needed for this valuable program.

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home

Slide1Every Imperfect and Normal Family wants their kids to turn out right. So, we establish goals for character development and try to create an environment where our kids can mature. Church, school, sports teams, family relationships… each of these provides a context where our kids can learn to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Unfortunately, our “good” objectives might have absolutely nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we inadvertently end up raising pagans instead of Christians.

 We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.

Too many times, (Christian) parents have it as their goal to make their kids good and moral. It is as if the entire purpose of their family’s spiritual life is to shape their children into law-abiding citizens who stay out of trouble. The only problem with this goal is that it runs in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. The gospel is not about making bad people moral, but about making dead people alive. If we teach morality without the transforming power of the gospel and the necessity of a life fully surrendered to God’s will, then we are raising moral pagans.

We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.

This sentiment was stirred in me afresh when I read an interview with Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer. He was reflecting on how the “Christian message” he was trying to teach wasn’t Christianity at all…

“I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, “Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,” or “Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!” But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality. . .

And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god.”

So what is your objective?

Do you teach your kids “be good because the Bible tells you to” or do you teach your kids that they will never be good without Christ’s offer of grace? There is a huge difference. One leads to moralism; the other leads to brokenness. One leads to self-righteousness; the other leads to a life that realizes that Christ is everything and that nothing else matters.

I want my kids to be good. We all do. But as our kids grow up, the truth of the gospel can easily get lost somewhere between salvation (where we know we need Jesus) and living life (where we tend to say “I’ve got this”). My experience is that the vast majority of parents are encouraging moral behavior in their kids so that God will bless their (usually self-centered) pursuits. It’s the American Dream plus Jesus. And it produces good, moral pagans.

Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones.

Consider the key objectives you have for your kids. Seriously, take a minute to think about what would deem you a successful parent. If your goals are focused on your kids’ behavior, their happiness, or their accomplishments (but don’t include a dependence upon Christ and a submission to His will and work), then you might want to make some adjustments.

Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones. What we need is kids who fully grasp the reality that they have nothing to offer, but who intimately know a God who has everything they need.

*I have added a follow-up post that offer some suggestions of How to Guide Your Kid to a Faith That Lasts. I hope it’s helpful!

*Check out my brand new book: The Talk(s): A Parent’s Guide to Talking about Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables. It has been developed to assist parents as they help their kids navigate our hyper-sexualized culture. Whether your kids are 6 or 16, it provides practical help to help your kids to make wise choices in a messed-up world. Find out more at www.infoforfamilies.com.

 

About Barrett Johnson

Barrett Johnson is the husband to Jenifer and the father of five great kids (including four adolescents). He serves as the Family Minister at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church outside of Atlanta and his blog, INFO for Families, has more than 40,000 views each month. He has recently released his first book, “The Talk(s): A Parent’s Guide to Critical Conversations About Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables.” It has been created to help every parent to equip their kids to make wise choices in a sexually-charged culture. Find out more at www.infoforfamilies.com.

Unpacking the Vision

CFC logo_facebook

 

We recently re-stated our ministry’s vision after several months of praying, thinking, and discussing. It’s BIG and BOLD and captures the essence of what we’ve been working towards from the very beginning.

My goal here is to help you understand the vision so that it’s crystal clear in your mind.

 

 

Our Vision is to See All Christians Authentically Loving God and Loving Others.

“All Christians”

Note I didn’t say all people. We are about helping Christians (and those seeking Him). We’re trying to help those that want to be helped….those that acknowledge they need help. And through our message we are trying to convict folks that they need help. We aren’t trying to go out and evangelize and get new/more people into the kingdom. We believe that will happen naturally as the result of our work, but it’s not our focus. Helping those that are already here is already a God-sized challenge. And so we are confident that God will bring people that He calls into His church. For our part, He has given us the burden of helping them once they walk through that door.

“Authentically”

This qualifies the words that follow about loving God and loving others. Authentically means it’s real, sincere, genuine, and tangible. Going through the motions is not authentic.

the greatest commandment is to love God will ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength

Having great intentions or thoughts is not authentic. Jesus called out as a role model the Good Samaritan. He didn’t hold him up as a role model because he said “that’s really sad, I’ll pray for him” and continued walking by. The good Samaritan adjusted his life at a crucial moment in order to help his fellow man. His love was authentic and our love should be the same.

We all struggle with authenticity now and then. We want to do so much for so many people that we quickly become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. Or we give a little money to a good cause because it’s a whole lot easier than the alternatives. We often have great intentions, such as having a daily quiet time with our Lord, but then our busy lives cause us to lose focus and retreat from our plans.

“Loving God”

Our vision is based on Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God will ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This means we can’t pay lip service to loving God or partially loving God. He doesn’t want our divided attention. It begs the question “What does it mean to love God?” This means to truly (authentically) worship Him, praise Him, seek to know Him, seek to follow His ways, and ultimately to obey Him. We are to align our ways to His ways. We are to change our thinking to His thinking. We are to change our hearts to His heart. We are to live in His strength, not our own strength.

This is an area that I admittedly struggle. I think we all do. I don’t put myself on a pedestal and say “look at me” as a perfect example. I’m far from it. Like the apostle Paul, I’m merely human. The question in my mind is whether as a Christian I am struggling towards that ideal, acknowledging the grace that Christ gives even in my failing attempts, or is struggling towards that ideal not even on my radar.In this sense, our vision is an ideal worth seeking after. Are you seeking after it or not? You might know OF Christ or ABOUT Christ…but do you KNOW him and LOVE him enough to OBEY him?

humbly serve one another as an expression and reflection of God’s love for us

“and Loving Others” 

Jesus said that loving others was the 2nd greatest commandment. The Good Samaritan parable applies here as well. Loving others certainly includes praying for others, but it mustn’t stop there. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those we encounter, to love them in practical ways. I’m reminded of the teaching from James 2:16, “If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” We are to feed the hungry, clothe the clothe-less, and care for orphans and widows. We are to care for our families, our neighbors, as well as love those we consider to be our enemies. We are to humbly serve one another as an expression and reflection of God’s love for us.

This too is not easy. It’s so much easier to think about and serve ourselves. That’s what comes naturally. But God never suggested that we should act naturally. Instead, God wants you and I to get out of our own skin long enough to see the world through His eyes and to authentically love others.

So, our vision is to see all Christians authentically loving God and loving others. It’s an ideal worth pursuing and a calling we take seriously. Won’t you join us?

 

 

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Want to Create More Christian Disciples in 2014?

bigstock-Silhouette-of-man-and-sunshine-18659549When I talk with fellow Christians, many say that they would like to share their faith, bring more Christians in the door, and help other Christians grow in spiritual maturity. But they often don’t know WHO or HOW. It’s usually just a lack of self-confidence.

That’s understandable. But it doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference for God’s Kingdom. You Can!

What if there was an organization already helping Christians grow? What if there was an organization already working very hard to create Disciples of Jesus Christ? And what if you could make a difference…not by doing the work yourself, but by supporting an organization already doing the work?

Well, that’s what we’re already doing. And you can help us keep doing it in 2014’…all for God’s glory, by simply supporting us with your year-end, tax deductible financial gift. Read a testimony of our impact below. 

The result of your partnership with us is Christ-transformed lives.

Donate

http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/donate/

And if you want to get involved further and actually help us with the work, we need more spiritually mature Christians to act as mentors (disciples) for others. And if you don’t feel as strong in your faith and biblical understanding, why not ask us for a Christian mentor to help you? Our email-based Discipleship program is thriving doing just that; connecting Christians to help one another; creating Disciples of Jesus Christ. Just follow our discipleship program link to get connected.

Testimony from K. Wade: The idea behind the mentoring program may be primarily to help the mentee but I was getting just as much help as she was. God was keeping me on my knees in prayer about the worthiness of my own spirituality to be guiding someone else’s as well for the mentee that I grew to love in just a few short weeks as if she were my own daughter. I was blessed beyond measure through this program.”

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Experience the Joy of Discipleship This Christmas

Experience the Joy of Discipleship This ChristmasWhen you partner with us to disciple someone, you’re helping change that person’s life…forever! Miracles can happen when authentic love for God and loving others change the world they live in…even with global results.

Discipleship is a crucial piece of the puzzle that is missing in Christian communities today. People are busy. Churches often need help. Families are fragmented.

The solution is simple. Your financial partnership helps us to collaborate with churches and individuals who long to see all Christians respond, in unity with spiritually mature lives, to a world of confusion, turmoil, and suffering. 

The result of your partnership with us is Christ-transformed lives

With your prayers and financial help, YOU can be part of the solution.

Help us grow Disciples in Jesus and become a part of our GOD-SIZED vision of the future. If you believe in our cause,
please contribute by December 31 and see your donation doubled up to $2,500.

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

A New Bold Vision Of The Future

Our Mission and Vision

Every few years, it’s good to revisit what you are doing and why. This ministry is no exception. In fact, through the help of some very wise counsel, we have actually defined our vision of the future for the 1st time since founding Changing the Face of Christianity.

We have always been focused on reversing negative Christian stereotypes and I thought that was actually a vision/mission. As it turns out, that was really more of an anti-vision. In other words, we knew what we wanted to change (negative stereotypes), but we never clearly defined what we wanted to change TO. In comes the vision….

Our Vision

Our Vision is to See All Christians Authentically Loving God and Loving Others (Matthew 22:36-40)

What’s Next?

Our Vision is to see all Christians authentically loving God and loving others

 So, does this mean we are no longer focused on reversing negative Christian stereotypes? Not at all. One of our strategic goals will continue to address that problem. However, what it does mean is we have a clearer focus on what we are working towards. Our mission will be to work on strategic, purposeful goals that will lead us to fulfillment of the vision. In my view, negative Christian stereotypes will be reversed when we start authentically loving God and loving others. I’ll post more on our redefined mission statement as well as our strategic plan in an upcoming article. If you want to see our Strategic Plan google doc, click here. We’re busy working on a three-year strategic plan, with measurable goals, benchmarks, core values, etc. Check out the google doc to see our progress.

We hope you will enthusiastically join us in passionately pursuing this new bold vision of the future. Leave a comment and share your thoughts about our new vision below. Thanks!

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Do Introverted Christians Need To Be Fixed?

bigstock-Assortment-of-tools-on-plain-b-46755976

A reader shared the following infographic with me and I thought it would be interesting to review and discuss. The infographic compares introverted Christians with extroverted Christians. It suggests that in our culture we tend to hold up extroverted Christians as the model while diminishing the value or esteem of introverted Christians.

This reminded me of people in various small groups that have had no problems praying in private, but great reservations about praying in a public setting such as a small group. I’ve thought to myself…do these people need to be “fixed”? How can I help them?

This infographic has caused me to rethink my perspective on the more introverted Christians I know.

 This infographic has caused me to rethink my perspective on the more introverted Christians I know. Maybe they don’t need to be fixed after all.

Review the infographic below and let us know what you think on the topic. [Read more…]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Good Enough FOR Me

Survey questionnaire

Do you believe that there is such a thing as “good” people?  Or perhaps, you know some “good” Christians?  We throw this word “good” around all of the time; usually in reference to people that we love and admire and in response to something positive that they did.  I’d like to challenge you to consider the fallacy of this type of thinking, and ask you to consider that it is performance driven rather than Grace driven, thus contrary to the Word of God.  I believe that this subtle and seemingly innocent false perception often times grows into something quite larger and can in effect have a negative impact on non believers, believers, and ultimately the Body of Christ.
[Read more…]

About laura deleon

In 2004, at the ripe old age of 23, Jesus Christ met Laura DeLeon, His beloved prodigal daughter, in a hopeless pile of shame and regret on her bedroom floor. It was here, that the truth that she had always known traveled from her head and into her heart. His brilliant love and forgiveness altered her life's path and the great adventure of following after her King began. Having also struggled with severe depression and anxiety in different seasons of her life, she feels that she has been given a special ministry in helping others who walk down this road as well. Just as He called and continues to call her from her ashes and into a life of beauty and redemption, she now hopes to inspire other captives into His precious Arms. Laura is an Air Force wife, mother of 3, and a student at Liberty University, pursuing her degree in Christian counseling, with the purpose of showing others that Grace has no limits and that nobody is beyond Christ's reach.

The End of The World – Part 2 of 2


In the first article in this series on the end of the world, we explored the Mayan myth and what NASA thinks about such end-of-the-world predictions.  (Click here to read  – http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/christian-news-and-insights/the-end-of-the-world-part-1-of-2/)

In this 2nd part, let’s continue exploring this fascination with end-of-the-world predictions and try to make sense of it all so we aren’t deceived.

[Read more…]

About Kasey Harris

Kasey is a long time Christian who only recently found Christ. She tells people that she was 31 years old before she finally realized there was a huge part missing in her Christian walk, a part that made her long for something deeper, more relational and less ritualistic. That part was a day to day relationship with Christ Himself and a working application of His word. She has since committed herself to a deeper understanding of the Bible and God, and has come to the conclusion that for many years she was trying to change herself and not allow Christ to change her. She has completed four years with Bible Study Fellowship, enjoys leading women’s ministries, and is a member of The Gospel Coalition. Kasey is also a former board member of Changing the Face of Christianity. As a Christian Pop Culture writer, she loves sharing how we can be Christians IN the world, but not OF the world.

The End of The World – Part 1 of 2


Do you might remember that Prince song “1999” that goes:

“I was dreamin’ when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray.
“But when I woke up this morning, could’ve sworn it was judgement day.
  So, say, two-thousand, zero, zero, party’s over, oops-out of time.
So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.”

[Read more…]

About Kasey Harris

Kasey is a long time Christian who only recently found Christ. She tells people that she was 31 years old before she finally realized there was a huge part missing in her Christian walk, a part that made her long for something deeper, more relational and less ritualistic. That part was a day to day relationship with Christ Himself and a working application of His word. She has since committed herself to a deeper understanding of the Bible and God, and has come to the conclusion that for many years she was trying to change herself and not allow Christ to change her. She has completed four years with Bible Study Fellowship, enjoys leading women’s ministries, and is a member of The Gospel Coalition. Kasey is also a former board member of Changing the Face of Christianity. As a Christian Pop Culture writer, she loves sharing how we can be Christians IN the world, but not OF the world.

Seeking Christian T-Shirt Ideas

We’re designing a few Christian T-Shirts to sell on our new online store, and we’re looking for t-shirt slogans that would fit our ministry’s purpose and help us get the word out.

If you have ideas, share them using our comment form below using this format:
FRONT: <text goes here> BACK: <text goes here>.
Please avoid previously copyrighted or trademarked slogans.

All store proceeds go to support our ministry.
http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com/store/

[Read more…]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

Christianity Quiz Shows Sharp Increase in Worldly Christians

Quiz Results

Changing the Face of Christianity Inc has released the results of a Christianity Quiz; an anonymous self-assessment scoring how well Christians live the teachings of Jesus Christ. E.g. The quiz answers the question: “How Christian Are You?”

Answer 10 multiple-choice questions and the quiz returns a score, indicating how well the person lives up to the Christian ideal as modeled by Jesus Christ. The results indicate if you are “Far from Christ”, a “Worldly Christian”, a “Good Christian”, or a “Spiritually Mature Christian”.

Over an 8 month period, from September 2011 through April 2012, Changing the Face of Christianity collected over 1,500 responses to their Christianity Quiz.

Here is a summary of the results: [Read more…]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White

R. Brad White Predicts Return of Jesus Christ – Save the Date

With the increasing popularity (and disdain) of “Jesus is coming on x date”, I thought I would join the ranks of those with a Jesus second coming prediction.  I hope you aren’t disappointed.  But before I give the date, let me build up some suspense. [Read more…]

About Brad White

R. Brad White is the Founder and President of Changing the Face of Christianity Inc. Brad is a former atheist and became an "on fire for God" Christian in 2005. In 2008, Brad became incredibly burdened by what he perceived as a Christian faith far off course, and Christians far from living the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 2010, Brad submitted to the calling to reverse these negative Christian stereotypes, by starting "Changing the Face of Christianity" (a 501c3 Texas non-profit corporation). Read more about R. Brad White