We enjoy attending live events—concerts, musicals, sporting events, etc. While we enjoy community theater and high school football, we are fortunate to live in the greater Los Angeles area where we also experience world-class entertainment. We have been to many events at stadiums, arenas, and concert halls in our area. When we leave, one of my recurring thoughts is “Why are churches trying to replicate these events? We are wasting our time (and energy and money) doing so. We need to learn the discipline of doing what only we can do and doing it well.”

Except for a few very large churches with corresponding financial resources, most churches cannot compete with the show put on by top entertainment producers. Mid-size and certainly smaller churches cannot replicate what people experience at entertainment venues and even larger churches. As a result, some of them have a programming inferiority complex that convinces them they are out-of-date and out-of-step with what it takes to provide meaningful ministry to people today.

That’s simply not true. We actually have two incredible advantages in meeting the needs of people—needs much more profound than temporary, titillating entertainment. In two words, churches have content and community.

Our content is the gospel. We have good news which satisfies the deepest longings, cures the greatest ills, and offers true hope for hurting people. We have good news that God loves us, Jesus died for us, and salvation is available to anyone who repents and believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior. We have content no message from any contemporary entertainer or athlete can supersede.        

Our community provides need-meeting, support-giving, human connections facilitated by and available to every person who participates in a local church. Particularly when trouble comes—like sickness, death, job loss, or familial breakdown—fellow church members rally to the cause of caring for other members. Our family has received (and given) this kind of support for decades. It is a support network no fan base or booster club comes close to replicating.

We enjoy secular entertainment. We enjoy living in a place that does it with excellence. But we enjoy church services and church relationships much more. We don’t need a show on Sunday. We have the gospel to celebrate. We don’t need the energy of an anonymous crowd to sustain us. We have Christian friends.

No matter how small or plain or simple your church may be, never forget you have two great assets. You have content and community. Make the most of those and watch God energize your work for his glory!


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Dr. Iorg offers three ways leaders can better respond to change.

Jeff Iorg
President
Dr. Jeff Iorg is the president of Gateway Seminary. Prior to his service at the Seminary, Dr. Iorg was the Executive Director of the Northwest Baptist Convention for almost ten years. He was also the founding pastor of Greater Gresham Baptist Church in Gresham, Oregon, and has served as a pastor in Missouri and a staff pastor in Texas.

Being Young: A Biblical Theology of Youth – An Excerpt

Dr. Paul Kelly provides a biblically informed theology of youth that gives youth ministers and pastors a deeper understanding of the common experience and divine purpose of teenage years. You can find an excerpt of his new publication here.

Paul G. Kelly
Chair, Educational Leadership | Professor of Educational Leadership
Dr. Paul Kelly began his service at Gateway Seminary in Fall 2009 as the chair and professor of Educational Leadership. Prior to Gateway, Kelly served as vice president of ministry resources at Student Life Publishing, editor-in-chief of discipleship resources in Student Ministry Publishing at LifeWay Christian Resources, as well as a youth specialist in Discipleship at LifeWay.

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Woes on Israel – Isaiah 5 & 10-12

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Effective Listening for Ministry Leaders

Dr. Iorg explains how leaders can be more effective by learning how to be better listeners. Listening is a skill and like all skills it can be improved.

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Spirituality of Jonathan Edwards | JEC at Gateway Seminary

Dr. Chris Chun hosted a digital symposium with Dr. Michael Haykin and Dr. Robert Caldwell to discuss Edwards’ spirituality, devotional life and theological impact in American Christianity.

Chris Chun
Professor of Church History | Director, Jonathan Edwards Center
Dr. Chris Chun is the professor of Church History and the director of Jonathan Edwards Center at Gateway Seminary. Chris’ doctoral research at St. Andrews University was focused on the eighteenth-century Edwardsean Baptists in Britain. He also has served as president of The Evangelical Theological Society (Far West Region).

Faculty Dialogues: Dispensationalism or Not

In this episode of Faculty Dialogues, Dr. David Rathel and Dr. Paul Wegner held a live discussion on their views on dispensationalism.

David Rathel
Associate Professor of Christian Theology
Dr. Rathel is the associate professor of Chrisitian Theology at Gateway Seminary. Prior to Gateway, Dr. Rathel supplied pastoral care to churches in the United States and Scotland, served as an Adjunct Professor of Theology and Philosophy for the Baptist College of Florida, and provided teaching assistance for the University of St Andrews.

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