TGC 2021: I’m looking forward to participating with Alisa Childers, Preston Perry, Brett McCracken, and Derek Rishmawy in a breakout panel on “Before You Lose Faith: Dealing with Doubt and Deconstruction in the Church” at TGC’s 2021 National Conference, Jesus is Greater: Christ’s Supremacy in a Chaotic World. 

Also at TGC, I’m leading a workshop on “The Multi-directional Leader: Responding Wisely to Challenges from Every Side.” One-directional leaders are skillful in spotting and thwarting threats to the sheep that come from one direction of the field. Multi-directional leaders can fend off threats from more than one direction. We are to hold up the Scriptures and fearlessly proclaim truths that get to the root of our sins, failures, and dysfunctions, no matter what political or theological categories get crossed.

You can register now and decide later whether you want to attend in person or online. All registrants receive books!

Podcast Pick of the Week: Scott Gottlieb has been one of the most knowledgable and consistent voices I’ve listened to over the course of the pandemic. Here is a recent interview with Scott on the National Review editors podcast.

Kindle Deal: The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Love, Marriage, Sex, and Redemption by Matt Chandler, with Jared Wilson. $1.99. 

Seven of the best articles I came across this week:

1. Kristy Etheridge – The Vanishing Bible Belt: The Secrets Southern Churches Must Learn to Stay Healthy. Eye-popping stat: The current percentage of Christians in the South today is similar to the percentage of Christians in the Northeast (74%) and West (69%) a decade ago.

2. Ray Ortlund – For Low Moments in Ministry: Why Pastors Need Revival. Revival begins with the real us coming to the real Jesus.

3. Benjamin Vrbicek – Do Not Despise the Gentle Nudge. Quiet and unseen acts of piety may not have sound and fury, but they do signify something.

4. Kelsey Dallas – For these conservatives, winning religious freedom lawsuits isn’t enough. “Religious freedom is a defensive tool in that it preserves the right to think, believe and practice the things we hold to be sacred. At the same time, it’s an offensive weapon. It enables us to freely make the case for our beliefs.” – Josh Wester

5. Cameron Triggs – I Long to See You: A Pastoral Plea for Valuing In-Person Gatherings. “If we are streaming merely for the sake of comfort, convenience, and compromise of convictions then we have sold our brothers and sisters in Christ short. We have sold our corporate privileges for a bowl of digital soup.”

6. Randy Newman – When Darkness is My Closest Friend. A powerful, pastoral article. “I have learned a tremendous amount in my decades infested by depression. Along the way, I have seen the goodness of God, his power to lift, and the hope of the gospel.”

7. Arielle Pardes – The Digital Divide Is Giving American Churches Hell. I didn’t choose this title, but I’m glad WIRED leaned on Lifeway Research in reporting on how the pandemic has hit churches differently depending on their abilities to move to online.

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