Tag Archives: Capitol Hill Baptist Church

Reviewing Rapper Trip Lee’s New Album

Just published a review of rapper Trip Lee’s new album (out today), The Good Life.  Head over to the Gospel Coalition to check it out.

Here’s a teaser:

The rappers used to sit on the periphery of evangelical life. Now they’ve taken over. Their songs play not only in the streets, but in the minivans, the seminary offices, and the homes of folks who say they play the music “for the kids.” I’m here to call bluff on you, suburban pastor. I know you love the music for yourself.

Introducing Trip Lee

One of the leaders in this God-given revolution is Trip Lee, born William Lee Barefield III in Dallas, Texas. For many, the first encounter with Trip was in Lecrae’s ceiling-shattering “Jesus Muzik” video. In that song, Trip nearly stole the show with his guttural Southern drawl and quick fire lyrics. In the last six years, Trip has released three albums (two of which charted on Billboard), enrolled at bustling Boyce College as a student of the Word, interned at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and performed at venues like the prestigious South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. Trip is a talented lyricist blessed with an unforgettable voice, a smooth-as-a-milkshake flow, and a comprehensive grasp of the Scriptures. His fourth album, The Good Life, debuting today (April 10, 2012), is an impressive accomplishment, his best to date, and a must-buy for the evangelical public. (You can find it on AmazoniTunes, and Reach Records.)

Read the whole thing.

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Things You Should Go To: The 9Marks Weekender

I don’t know if you’ve heard about these, but if you’re interested in entering a full-blown “church lab,” a program that will allow you to savor God’s work to reform one local church–Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D. C.–then you need to sign up for May’s 9Marks Weekender.

It’s being held from May 17-21, 2012 (update: March is full, but May is still open) at CHBC, just a few blocks behind the Supreme Court.  Here’s a bit more information about this exciting (and often ecclesiologically transformative) event:

Three times a year, 9Marks and Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC host around fifty pastors, seminarians, and church leaders from Thursday night to Monday morning for a full-on immersion in the life and inner workings of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, a church committed to living and ministering biblically.

You’ll have box seats for a new members’ class. You’ll be front and center for lectures from Mark Dever on expositional preaching and implementing change. You’ll even go behind closed doors to observe an elders’ meeting. And all that’s just the first half of the weekend.

From leadership to worship to body life and more, it’s all on the table. So bring your questions, and don’t forget to stash some cash for the CHBC bookstall.

See a sample Weekender itinerary

Why should you attend one?  Well, here’s why:

We encourage pastors and church leaders to attend because, just as every Timothy needs a Paul, so every church needs a model. “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 3:174:9).

You may not implement or even agree with every last thing you see during your visit, but having this biblical model can help develop a more directed movement in the way you serve and lead in your local body.

Then again, maybe you know where to go, but feel clueless about how to get there: “I know I want elders, but what do they do when they meet? I know I need to preach, but how do I go about preparing sermons week in and week out? I know the budget needs work, but I’m no accountant.” The goal of The 9Marks Weekender is to provide an environment in which leaders can observe and discuss the biblical and practical dynamics of nurturing love and holiness in a local church.

Read the whole piece on “Weekenders” over at the 9Marks site.

You don’t need to be a Southern Seminary student or a Southern Baptist or even a Baptist to attend this event.  Regardless of your background, this would be a fantastic way to encounter some really keen thinking on the local church and its polity, its leadership, and the way a healthy church can function.

It would be hard for me to put into words how thankful I am that I did a Weekender and then a CHBC internship (which I also commend to seminarians and future leaders–well worth moving to DC to do!).  Even if you have no prior plans to buy into the “model,” I would encourage you to go, whether you’re from Maine or Chicago or Louisville or Oregon or Brazil or China.  It’s that formative for getting a framework for how to shepherd the members of Christ’s church, the engine of his triumphant, world-defying kingdom.

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Shai Linne & Fellow Artists Ask: Should Rappers Serve Churches?

This discussion from a bunch of gifted Lampmode artists like Shai Linne (a fellow Capitol Hill Baptist Church intern!) and Stephen the Levite about the state of Christian rap is quite interesting and entertaining.  Stephen the Levite, the dude with a wild beard, has some thought-provoking comments in several places.  Shai Linne shows his pastoral heart and theological bent.  At around the 16-minute mark, Json thinks out loud about how to handle jealousy, specifically of gospel rappers like Lecrae (whose star has risen like crazy in the last year or two–see his classic, window-shattering “Jesus Muzik”).  A great discussion ensues–an unusually honest one–about how to handle jealousy, kill sin, and be glad for others who prosper.

In general, this was a very encouraging conversation.  It explodes the idea that Christian rappers don’t care about doctrine and personal, Christocentric spirituality.  I’m thankful for these brothers and their work.

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“They obviously love my son very much”: The Search for Matt Hill of Capitol Hill Baptist Church

Updated (5/29/11): Matt Hill has been found and is okay.  Details to come.  Praise God.

Some out there have seen the notice about Matt Hill of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC.  He is a member of the church and the Campus Director of Campus Outreach ministry at George Washington University.  Matt has been missing for a few days now, which has stunned those who know him.  Please join people around the world in praying for Matt’s safe return.

Here’s the notice from one news outlet (HT: Challies):

On the morning of May 24, Matt Hill picked up GWU freshman Matthew DeGioia around 7 a.m. The two provided transportation for church member Shirley Luther who needed a transfusion at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland. After breakfast at IHOP, the pair left the area around 9:30 a.m. and arrived back in D.C. about an hour later, according to DeGioia, who was dropped off at the local Verizon Center around that time.

Matt Hill told DeGioia he needed to be at Capitol Hill Baptist by 11:30 a.m., but he never arrived.

CHBC, located right in the heart of Capitol Hill, has become command center for the effort to find Matt:

Capitol Hill Baptist Church has served as a makeshift command post for the search. Members of the church and community have been searching the streets and made fliers to distribute with pictures and contact information.

Those involved have also been collecting tips and relevant information, some of which precede information the police receives, Holger Hill said.

“It’s been nothing short of incredible,” Holger Hill said. “The people here, they obviously love my son very much. There’s been an overwhelming display of concern.”

In the midst of the search to find this young man, I found this quote from Matt’s father deeply touching.  The church has displayed such love for Matt that his father gives testimony to it in the article.  This is a profound instance of the church loving one of its own and displaying that love to the world.  The love we share for one another, when we have nothing in common but Jesus Christ, is evangelistic and doxological to a degree I don’t think we fully comprehend (Matthew 5:16).

Please keep praying for Matt, and remember the powerful impression Christian love makes on the world.

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Mike McKinley and the Wimps of Church Planting

You might have heard about Mike McKinley’s recent book on church planting: Church Planting Is for Wimps (Crossway, 2010).  If you haven’t, it’s a great read.

Mike is the senior pastor of Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia.  In God’s grace, he oversaw the revitalization of the church.  Church Planting Is for Wimps is the story of how that all happened.  Though the book is ostensibly about church planting/revitalization, it is an encouraging account of church life and Christian ministry.  I don’t think you would need to be a pastor to enjoy it and profit from it.  Uplifting stories about God’s work through His local church can be hard to find–particularly doctrinally savvy ones–but this text is exciting, easy-to-read, and quite funny.

My favorite section of the text involved McKinley’s account of how his church, planted from Capitol Hill Baptist Church of Washington, DC, reached out to local Hispanics.  At one point, McKinley and his wife hosted a dinner for a number of folks from their diverse neighborhood.  One of them told the couple as he left the house that he had never been inside an American home except to work.  That was a stunning story, one that shows just how wide natural divides are–and how incredible the power of the gospel is.  I was deeply challenged by this and other stories from McKinley’s experience.

McKinley is a punchy, clear writer.  The text reads effortlessly and clocks in at a short 128 pages.  Once in a while Mike tosses out a line that will startle some readers.  I didn’t exactly understand the book’s title; is McKinley ribbing church planters–arguing that revitalization is the way to go–or is the title indicating that all of us are wimps and thus need to step out in faith to do things for God?  I wasn’t sure.

Church Planting for Wimps is a fun, edifying book that offers some of the best “church planting” theology I’ve seen.  Mike’s story and his teaching will encourage, chasten, and bless you.  If church planting is for wimps, reading about church planting is for everyone.

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Find excerpts here, and a TGC Reviews interview with McKinley here.  He’s worth listening to.  You can also hear his preaching at the church website.

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Sandra Bullock’s Dilemma, John Piper’s Decision, and Parenthood’s Complexity

David Brooks poses an interesting question in his column today:

Two things happened to Sandra Bullock this month. First, she won an Academy Award for best actress. Then came the news reports claiming that her husband is an adulterous jerk. So the philosophic question of the day is: Would you take that as a deal? Would you exchange a tremendous professional triumph for a severe personal blow?

He concludes his editorial with this–it’s worth chewing on:

[M]ost of us pay attention to the wrong things. Most people vastly overestimate the extent to which more money would improve our lives. Most schools and colleges spend too much time preparing students for careers and not enough preparing them to make social decisions. Most governments release a ton of data on economic trends but not enough on trust and other social conditions. In short, modern societies have developed vast institutions oriented around the things that are easy to count, not around the things that matter most. They have an affinity for material concerns and a primordial fear of moral and social ones.

Adultery and the dissolution of a marriage is always a complicated matter, and I of course don’t know the particulars of this sad situation.  I can say, though, that Brooks’s words make one think, especially as so many of us are thoroughly enmeshed in modernity, with its hyper-speed, adoration of status and money, and distaste for traditional–seemingly enduring–things.

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Collin Hansen reflects on John Piper’s recent announcement to his church that he will be taking some time off to focus on his marriage and soul. Hansen’s historical work in the piece deserves careful pondering.

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As you may have seen elsewhere, the Christian Science Monitor just did a story on surging Calvinism that prominently features Capitol Hill Baptist Church.  I recognized a number of people in the pictures–pretty cool.  With thanks to Stuart Taylor, one of my mentors in the faith, for the link.

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Some of you may be watching the engrossing tv show Parenthood on NBC.  It follows the various branches of an extended family as they confront the challenges both traditional and modern that so many families today wrestle with.  I thought this piece on the show was worthy of attention.  The author, Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune, calls for one of the show’s characters, Julia Braverman-Graham, to continue to honestly reflect the realities of working motherhood.

In particular, this section of the essay struck me as noteworthy:

So do me a favor. Don’t blow this. Don’t be picture-perfect “Cosby Show” Clair Huxtable working mom. Don’t be “Desperate Housewives’” Lynette Scavo mess of a working mom. The archetypes don’t leave a lot of room for being insanely enamored of your kids.

Just be a working mom who desperately tries to please her boss, compete with the stay-at-home moms for face-time, find more time for her daughter and still squeeze in wife/sister/daughter/homeowner duties.

I know. It sounds impossible. But here’s a tip: Have more tender moments with Sydney. Cut out paper dolls. Do each other’s nails. Make pancakes and play Candyland and Uno and tell her stories about your childhood.

Read the whole thing.

I discussed this article with my wife, a homemaker who identified the excellent point I now seek to develop.  Many modern women today, intimidated by archetypal June Cleaver and Betty Huxtable figures, scoff at these figures, viewing their lives as impossible to achieve.  While few stay-at-home moms would claim that their lives are complex, it seems unrealistic to suggest that traditional womanhood makes life harder than modern womanhood.

Why?  Because the Tribune piece, as is common to more contemporary feminism, seems to suggest that women can do it all.  They can be a lawyer working 90-hour weeks, “have more tender moments” with their kids, and ” still squeeze in wife/sister/daughter/homeowner duties.”  Let me just say that a woman in action boggles the mind.  I grew up under a very gifted woman and I live with one now.

However, I have to call bluff here.  How on earth can even the most omni-competent mother simultaneously complete all her responsibilities at a very demanding job, increase her special time with her children, and function in all her other roles–wife, family member, child?  That’s unrealistic.  It’s unfair.  It’s exhausting, damaging, and dangerous, whether for the woman herself, her kids, or her marriage.

Maureen Dowd, a feminist’s feminist, noted some time ago that “blue is the new black.” In public, and to her credit, she noted that modern women are unhappy, and that this unhappiness is tied to a feminist way of life.  She would not agree with much of what I stand for, I’m sure, but her candor suggests what I’m getting at here: the Julia Braverman-Graham model is untenable.  It won’t hold.

Or, if it does hold, it will come at great cost.  There is no substitute for quantity with children.  If you want to love them and see them flourish, you simply must spend lots of time with them–not time on your cell while they play, not time on the computer while they try to get your attention–but real, thick, loving, focused time.  Moms have an essential role to play on this point, even as dads do as well when their daily out-of-the-home work ceases.

Heidi Stevens is a gifted writer, and I’m guessing she’s a very sweet mother, but her model is deeply flawed.  Just as men don’t need to run themselves into the ground for the sake of career, women don’t need to run themselves into the ground for the sake of some vaunted but impossible ideal of womanhood.  Nobody said June Cleaver’s life was easy.  There’s no way, however, that an honest viewer could say that Julia Braverman-Graham’s life is any easier. The exhaustion, frustration and guilt she feels stems in substantial part not from the reactions of others, but from the model she follows.

(Image: Babble.com)

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Deep Church Shallow: Greg Gilbert’s 9Marks Review

The new 9Marks eJournal just arrived, and it’s on–take a deep breath here–church discipline.  I know, right–why don’t they settle down and pick a single issue to focus on already?  Good grief.

I’m just kidding.  In actuality, the new issue looks typically helpful.  Some of you will know that I have a particular affection for the writings of one Greg Gilbert, he of Capitol Hill Baptist Church.  Greg has a nice review of a hot new book called Deep Church written by a PCA pastor named Jim Belcher that includes some very helpful comments on unity, gospel, and how the two relate in our day.

Here’s a nice chunk (read it all–Greg is a punchy but deep penman):

The real irony of Deep Church is that Belcher actually does a pretty good job of laying out the real, substantive, and ultimately fellowship-breaking issues that stand between emergents and traditional evangelicals, but his whole stated project of finding common ground on which those two camps can reunite falls completely apart, I think, in the first few pages of his book. Let me show you why I say that.

In the book’s introduction, Belcher recounts a meeting between Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and John Piper. The meeting ended badly, with Piper telling Pagitt, “You should never preach,” because Pagitt rejected what Belcher strangely calls “Piper’s view of atonement,” which I have to assume is penal substitutionary atonement. As Piper summed it up, because they rejected penal substitutionary atonement, Pagitt and Jones were “rejecting the gospel in toto.”

Now, this is not the place to rehearse the biblical case for penal substitutionary atonement. I and others have done that elsewhere. So let me just skip to the conclusion of that case and say that Piper is right: To reject the idea of Jesus dying in the place of sinners, taking their punishment on himself for their sins, is to reject the gospel in toto. And therefore it is to make any sort of union between yourself and traditional evangelicalism impossible. To reject penal substitution is to reject the gospel, and to reject the gospel is to put oneself outside traditional evangelicalism.

Gilbert goes on to conclude the point as follows:

Knowing what Belcher was trying to do with this book, I entirely expected him to try to show later in the book how emergent leaders don’t in fact reject penal substitutionary atonement. I expected him to quote a passage here or there in one of their writings which leaves open the possibility of penal substitution. That never happens. Quite to the contrary, Belcher concludes in his sixth chapter, titled “Deep Gospel,” that the emergent church (represented here by Brian McLaren) is indeed guilty of “gospel reductionism” (118). “Nowhere,” Belcher says, “does [McLaren] mention…the doctrines of atonement, justification, union with Christ, or our need to be forgiven” (118). True, Belcher makes that statement about a certain article in which McLaren is claiming to articulate the gospel, but his point is that he doesn’t find those doctrines anywhere in McLaren’s writings.

But then, if that’s the case, what’s up with all this hope for a reunion?  How exactly do you find a “third way” between affirming the gospel and not affirming the gospel?  Yes, of course, Belcher softens his hit on the emergents by saying that traditional evangelicals are guilty of “gospel reductionism,” too. They “make the opposite mistake” of “car[ing] only about their own selves” and ignoring the kingdom of God, he says. But even setting that infuriating straw man aside for a moment, wouldn’t you think that when Belcher finally realized—after a third reading!—that Brian McLaren in fact does not affirm the gospel of forgiveness of sins through the penal substitutionary death of Jesus, he would maybe temper some of the “reunion” talk?

Amen to that.  It’s right to want Christians to unite around the gospel.  Problems arise, however, when people who profess to be Christians won’t affirm the core truths of the gospel.  Who on earth would think that it makes sense to pursue unity of this kind?  And why would a pastor from the PCA, a denomination doing such great good in our day, argue along these lines?

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Ministry Is About Faithfulness, Not Numbers: Gospel Growth 2009

But don’t take my word for it–let the Gospel Growth=People Growth conference to be held October 14-16, 2009 at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL) convince you.  I highly recommend that you go if you’re in the area–you’ll benefit from talks by Don Carson, Mark Dever, Philip Jensen, and more.  It’s kind of a mini-Gospel Coalition.

It’s very cheap–$59 for students, $99 for pastors and others.  It’s sponsored by a number of organizations, including the Henry Center and The Gospel Coalition.

Here’s the event blurb from the website:

At Matthias Media’s 2007 Conference, several hundred pastors, church workers and other ministry-minded Christians gathered at Washington’s Capitol Hill Baptist Church to think about ‘Gospel Growth vs. Church Growth’. We explored what the Bible says about gospel growth, and how it basically proceeds through three foundational Ps: Proclamation, Prayer and People.

At our 2009 conference, we’re going to zero in on the third and often neglected ‘P’: people. Because gospel growth happens in people and through people.

It happens in people. You can have growth in numbers, in budgets, in programs, in activities, in staff, in baptisms, in buildings, in reputation, and even growth in the quality of preaching, but unless individual people are growing in knowledge, in faith, in godliness, and in love as disciples of Christ, it’s all a noisy clanging gong. Are your people really growing? How would you know whether they are or not? Who is discipling each person in your congregation?

Ministry really is all about the three p’s: prayer, proclamation, and people:

Gospel growth also happens through people. Jesus commissioned every disciple for disciple-making, and a pastor-teacher’s job is not only to Proclaim and to Pray but also also to equip, train and mobilize People for the task. Gospel growth multiplies as Christians get involved in the three P’s: in prayerfully speaking God’s word to other people, in whatever way they can, large or small, at home or at work, in small groups or one-to-one. Is this happening where you are? Or is the ministry basically done by the staff? How many people in your congregation, for example, would be willing and able to do the foundational personal discipling work of following up a new believer and establishing them in the basics of the faith?

Here’s the schedule (all at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School):

WEDNESDAY (OCTOBER 14)
10am Registration Open
11am D.A. Carson Introduction, On Biblical Exposition
12:30pm    Lunch Break
2pm Jensen and Helm Preaching Workshop: Principles of Biblical Exposition
3pm Jensen, Dever and Helm Q&A
3:30pm Break
4pm Mark Dever The Four Ps of Evangelical Ministry
5pm Dinner Break (Registration Open at 6pm)
7:15pm Phillip Jensen Biblical Theology of Ministry 1: The Aim and Method of Ministry in People
8:45pm Phillip Jensen Q&A
THURSDAY (OCTOBER 15)
9am Phillip Jensen Biblical Theology of Ministry 2: All God’s People as Prophets and Disciple-Makers
10:30am Break
11am David Helm Training Initiatives
12:30pm Lunch Break
2pm Jensen and Payne Training Session
4pm Dinner Break
6:30pm Phillip Jensen What is Training? People not Programs.
7:30pm Break
7:45pm Marty Sweeney Obstacles to Training
8:15pm Marty Sweeney Q&A
FRIDAY (OCTOBER 16)
9am Tony Payne Training Practices
10:15am Break
10:45am Phillip Jensen How a Training Mentality Leads to Gospel Workers
11:45am Phillip Jensen Q&A
12:30pm Closing

Hope to see you there.

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Exceptional Pastoral Ministry Internships: CHBC, TBI, NECEP, and More

mark-deverThis is a post that needs writing.  So here we go: a primer on the best pastoral ministry internships that I am aware of.  Please note that I don’t know every detail of these programs; I may get something wrong.  Check the websites below for definitive information (and see a great resource by 9Marks on how churches can train pastors).

My personal suggestion for seminarians and pastors-in-training would be to couple your academic learning with an internship.  These are some of the best you’ll find. 

Without further ado, ministry internships for future pastors and leaders that I highly recommend:

The Capitol Hill Baptist Church internship.  Washington, DC.  In my eyes, with TBI (see below), this is the top of the line (full disclosure: I did it).  The program is nothing less than rigorous, the curriculum is expertly plotted, and the staff with which you work is incredible, including Mark Dever, Michael Lawrence, and Matt Schmucker.  This is a semester-long internship.  They offer a generous stipend, housing, and lots of time with supervisors and church members.  Ideal for single men.  If you do the CHBC internship, you’ll come away exhausted, enlived, and educated.  You will learn a ton about polity, ecclesiology, and preaching.  If those things don’t sound important to you now, rest assured that after the internship, you’ll think rather differently.

The Bethelehem Institute.  Minneapolis, MN.  Bethlehem Baptist Church has been shaking this up of late, and truth be told, I’m not exactly sure what form TBI is now taking in light of the MDiv being offered at Bethlehem College & Seminary.  TBI as it now stands is one year long and unaccredited.  At any rate, I have gotten to know many TBI grads through Southern Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and they are without fail godly, smart, and well trained.  How can you not be, when you’re training under John Piper and other highly faithful and gifted men at a great church?

The First Baptist Church of Durham internship.  Durham, NC.  At the church led by Andy Davis, a pastor worth attention and emulation, you can do a semester-long internship based on the CHBC program.  This would be ideal for Southeastern Seminary students, though if you want great training, you could consider moving to Durham, working part-time at Starbucks, and doing this excellent program.  Davis and Andy Winn, a great guy and faithful shepherd, have just started this internship up, and the opportunity is ripe for students/future pastors to go and get top-notch ministry training at a church I love.

The New England Center for Expository Preaching internship.  Hampstead, NH.  Led by Dave Ricard, a choice guy and a personal friend, this internship is ideal for men who want to commit to the hard labor of gospel work in New England.  Semester-long, with lots of preaching opportunities (unlike many of the other internships listed).  Dave has placed a number of his interns in New England churches, one of the most exciting developments in New England Christian circles that I know of.  Small stipend, and again, tremendous opportunity to listen to and preach sermons in the region that started it all in America.

The NETS Center for Church Planting residency.  Williston, VT.  Another excellent ministry training program, this one more intensive.  A two-year residency followed by training.  NETS sends out its planters with funding for church planting, which is terrific.  Grounded in great theology, an aggressive, Christ-centered approach, and led by Wes Pastor, one of the more dynamic guys you’ll meet.  For those who have a few years to train and want to do an intensive program, this is a great option, one that is yielding rich fruit from the hard soil of New England.

Lakeview Baptist Church internship.  Auburn, AL.  Led by Al Jackson, a renowned pastor, this program has turned out a number of really solid guys I know.  I can’t find a webpage on it (feel free to share it), but here’s a 9Marks profile of the program.  Contact the church for more info.  Great for SBC guys who want a staunchly biblical approach to pastoring.  Holistic, involves a serious commitment, and allows you to do seminary while you intern, which is unique and much-needed.

Here are some other programs that you should know about that also offer excellent ministry training (I think most are unaccredited):

RE:Train through Mars Hill Church.  Seattle, WA.  Just started, with a great faculty (Piper, Ware, and Driscoll, among others). 

Cornhill Training Course.  London, UK.  I know little about the specifics, but I have met a few grads and they are some of the sharpest minds I know when it comes to exegesis and preaching.

Simeon Trust.  Chicago, IL.  I don’t know a great deal about the rudiments of the course, but this is run by great leaders with international connections.  Seems very nicely plotted out, and it’s in Chicago.  Led in America by David Helm.

Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College.  Gaithersburg, MD.  I almost applied to the Pastor’s College some years ago because it seemed to combine an emphasis on head and heart so well.  With instruction by CJ Mahaney, Josh Harris, and Jeff Purswell, this is a great program to consider.  Nine months, I think.

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As I said earlier, I’m sure I’ve missed some great internships–please share any you know of in the comments.  Here’s info on a few more from 9Marks, particularly some international opportunities.  You can go all over the world to train for pastoral ministry–maybe you should (particularly if you’re young and single).

And if you want to be a pastor, I think it is absolutely essential that you couple your formal training with a ministry internship in a program of the kind suggested here.  Oftentimes, you’ll learn as much from a great internship as you will from seminary.

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New 9Marks eJournal: Business for Missions

missionaryThe latest version of the 9Marks ejournal is up (PDF here).  It’s all about missions, and there is a great deal of material to work through.  I found the following article, “How to Get Businesspeople into Missions”, quite interesting.

The article first outlines how many Christians think of missions:

“Most churches already understand how they can support missions through prayer and financial support. Yet many churches overlook how members can put their business skills to work for the sake of overseas missions. Not only that, but it’s the members with real business skills who may provide the best access for Christians to obtain access to closed or restricted countries.”

It then shows how Christians of diverse backgrounds can involve themselves with missions:

“Business-as-Missions (BAM) is about creating legitimate businesses that enable church planting in areas that would otherwise be closed to evangelism.

BAM is needed today because it is increasingly difficult for church planters to live and share the gospel in many countries around the world. Think places such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and China, where governments continue to crack down on mission work. If we make it our “ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named” (Rom. 15:20), then we need to help church planters find creative means for gaining access into these countries.”

Great stuff.  Read it and learn–and then support an exceptional business-as-missions group called Access Partners.  They do terrific work out of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, wedding stout theology with passionate work.

Readers also will be interested in a great article by missions pastor and strategist Andy Johnson of Capitol Hill Baptist Church on “evangelical missionary pragmatism”, Jonathan Leeman’s insightful editor’s note on the import/export relationship in missions, and another piece by an unnamed author on rightly conceiving of contextualization.

As usual with 9Marks, there’s much more to be had here, including a review by Patrick Schreiner of a recent Os Guinness text.  Read this stuff, pass it on, discuss it with a friend, and pray for an “evangelical missions renaissance” to counter “evangelical missionary pragmatism”.

I remember thinking about such things when in Hong Kong.  Unreached cultures are wholly dependent on the teaching of missionaries and thus bear the marks–for good or ill–of the teaching they have received.  How important it is that we ground foreign converts in permanent, strong, biblically faithful things so that their faith might not quickly fade into existing culture but persist until the day of Christ.

(Photo: YWAM website)

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