Interviews from 2013

I linked to some of the top posts from this blog in the past year. In reality, some of my favorite posts are the interviews I conducted from the past year. Here's a list:

Planting with New Kingdom Citizens: An Interview with J.D. Payne

Church planting is missionary work. It is more apostolic and less pastoral. It is about raising up new believers, not working to fulfill the desires of long-term Kingdom citizens.

Urban Church Planting: An Interview with Mark Reynolds

I’m also seeing a growing awareness of the need and opportunity in cities for church planters, but we’re still lagging behind in the competencies and proficiencies to do it well.

Ministry in a Post-Christendom Context: An Interview with Barry Parker

We need a radical humility that is grounded in the Saviour of the World because we are not the saviour of anything.

Scholarship and Warmth: An Interview with Bruce Walkte

If my theology does not change my life, it is not good theology, but an idol.

Kutoa — How to Make a Difference for $1 a Month

Kutoa is about people everywhere helping people everywhere because people everywhere matter.

The Ongoing Influence of C.S. Lewis — An Interview with Kathy Keller

Lewis fits into no category, theologically or culturally, and yet he punctures all manner of pompous cultural assumptions of our day.

Top Posts from 2013

A look back at some posts from the past year:

Planting is for Every Church

It's the way to reach new people, and it's the way for the established Church to maintain its vibrancy.

Sabbatical Reflections Three Years Later

Here’s what I can say now, some of which I wouldn’t have realized then.

All That Remains

What will remain in our churches long after we're gone?

Wrestling the Text

I think I know what the text is going to say, but as I study I find out that the text isn't interested in conforming to my ideas. The wrestling match begins.

How Many Hours Should Pastors Work?

There's no place for laziness in the pastorate, but there's no place for capitulating to unhealthy cultural patterns either.

Weakness Evangelism

What if our weaknesses are actually part of the way God wants to use us in ministry?

Going to Pastor an Established Church?

I’d go about pastoring an established church differently than before. Here’s what I would do differently.

Learning Missional Community

I’ve read and listened to a lot of material on missional community, but this is one of the first examples I’ve seen of people living this way in Toronto.

Playing It Safe?

For the past couple of years, I've been thinking a lot about Jesus' famous parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).

The Forgotten Parts are the Most Important Parts

I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing apart from Jesus' promise of his authority and presence. It's the only way that church planting and evangelism could ever make sense.

Be Famous for Not Trying to be Famous

Be okay with being overlooked. Be okay with getting less than your due, a smaller share than what you had coming.

Hope for Difficult Churches

Learning to deal with churches that attack pastors is, I think, one of the key pieces we need to address if we're going to see revitalization happen more.

Comfort and Contentment

Be on guard against drifting into a life of comfort. At the same time, work hard to develop a life of contentment.

Seven Reasons to Preach God-Centered Messages

Here are seven reasons why God-centered preaching is better than human-centered preaching.

Blogging and Social Media

I've written a short piece for The Institute of Evangelism in Toronto on how and why you should consider starting a blog. Here's an excerpt:

One of the best ways to maintain an online presence is through a blog. Mohler says that we used to think that bloggers were all “twentysomethings in their pyjamas writing online rants.” But blogs are now “one of the most significant platforms for our cultural conversation.” It’s one of history’s “most cost-efficient way of communicating big ideas and solid content. If you are not writing a blog, you should be.”
I agree. Here are four reasons why you should blog...

Read the rest here.

Speaking of web stuff, I was interested to read about how astronaut Chris Hadfield made it onto Twitter:

He initially balked when his sons began preaching the merits of Twitter and Facebook more than three years ago...
During a family Christmas get-together in 2009 his son Evan, who now lives in Germany, and Kyle, who's in China, pointed out that they relied on the Internet to find out what's going on.
They got on his case again when his five-month mission was announced in early September 2010. It was then that they decided to set up his two social-media sites...
Upon his return to Earth this week, Hadfield was hovering around one million Twitter followers and more than 325,000 "Likes" on Facebook.

I'm sure glad his sons got on his case. I'm glad the same thing happened to Tim Keller (except, of course, the part about going into space or singing a David Bowie song). What I should say is that I'm glad his son pushed him onto Twitter.

I agree with Al Mohler.  If you’re not active online, you’re limited in your ministry to those who aren’t online. “That population is shrinking every moment. The clock is ticking.”

RSS for the Top 200 Ministry Blogs


I'm grateful for the list of the Top 200 Ministry Blogs compiled by I always learn a lot from that list every time it's updated.

I've often wished that someone would do the tedious work of taking that list of 200 or so blogs and converting them to a file that I could import into my RSS reader. That would save the work of going through each of the blogs and adding them manually. I finally gave up waiting for someone else to do the work, and did it myself, with a little help.

So here are the files. You can download the complete list, or just the top 100 or 50, or a compressed file with all of these options:

What can you do with these files? Download them by clicking on the link (or right-clicking and saving the file). Import them into your preferred RSS reader like Feedly or Google Reader (while it lasts). Most blog readers support importing a list of blogs in this format. You can also import them into a program like Fever, which is what I plan to do.


The Best of 2012

This is a little late, but I thought I'd share the top nine posts from last year as selected by Angela, my virtual assistant with eaHelp. Thanks to Angela for reading over last year's posts and picking out her favorites. Don't miss the bonus quote at the end. That one is my pick, and it's a good one.

You'll notice that a lot of the posts have to do with patience and perseverance. It was that kind of year for me. This year, so far, is much different.

Don't Put the Bibles Away

I've noticed something. People in our churches are used to opening their Bibles during the sermon. I assume that many of them are reading their Bibles during the week at home. But, except for during the sermon, and maybe small groups and Bible studies, Bibles remain closed…

I am wondering what church would look like if we didn't put the Bibles away so quickly.

Vision Delayed

Whatever you're facing today, take heart. Wilberforce persevered for 46 years. Hang in there.

Wait for the Lord

I'm good at some things. Waiting isn't one of them. "Nothing is more difficult than to give God the honor of relying upon him, when he hides himself from us, or delays his assistance," writes Calvin. This is a something I'm finding to be true.

The Other Side of the Boundary

It's not like I'm giving up my boundaries. But I'm continuing to learn from brothers and sisters on the other side of these boundaries. I'm continually humbled by what I see every time I do so.

Keep Pumping

With a great little quote from Seth Godin on not giving up.

Watering Mud

I spent a lot of time watering mud last week. Nothing seemed to be happening. I felt a little foolish, actually.

That all changed on Saturday when I went outside and saw this…

Disrupt Yourself

The way to avoid stagnation, individually and as churches, is to confront our fears and idols. Disrupt yourself.

Redeem the Commute

Early last year, Ryan Sim put his house in Toronto for sale and moved an hour east to Ajax to start a new church, Redeemer Church. I'm excited to ask Ryan about his church planting efforts in this short interview.


Relentless. Not a bad word for anyone who’s been gripped by the gospel, not to mention church planters.


My favorite quote from last year comes from an interview with Scotty Ward Smith:

Live as close to Jesus as you can. Constantly preach the gospel to yourself. Walk closely with a “gospel posse”. Risk or rust for the rest of your life. Love one spouse well the rest of your life. Never be surprised to discover how broken the bride of Jesus is; how immature and selfish you can be; or how much God loves you in Jesus. Ache for heaven and serve in this moment.