February 28, 2011 by
Today is the last day of our annual February sale. Some of the best deals are listed below, but it's worth checking out the full music and book lists while the deals last. Everything is marked down at least 30% and all orders in the U.S. of $15 or more still get free shipping.
February 24, 2011 by
Categories: Pastors College
This week our Pastors College is honored to have Dr. D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, teaching a course on Hebrews. Nearly 100 pastors from various Sovereign Grace churches are here for the course.
The lectures aren't being recorded, but you get some insights from the class by following Twitter updates from C.J. Mahaney's research assistant, Tony Reinke. Some excerpts:
Last October, Christian Wegert was installed as the new senior pastor of Arche Church—the Sovereign Grace church in Hamburg, Germany. You may recall Christian as the Pastors College student whom we featured in our 2008 Mission Presentation.
A week after becoming senior pastor, Christian, along with his father Wolfgang, joined Jeff Purswell to film an interview that explores the history of Arche Church, how they joined Sovereign Grace Ministries, and what they are doing to reach German-speaking Europe with the gospel. The video below is an excerpt from that interview that explains how and why Christian became the senior pastor. The whole interview was an hour long, so we broke the rest into shorter segments which you can browse using the list of links below the video.
(If you're reading this in an email or RSS reader, you may need to visit our website to see the video.)
Table of contents for Jeff Purswell's interview with Christian and Wolfgang Wegert
- Converted and preaching at age 16: how Wolfgang became a Christian and began ministry
- 1974: Wolfgang takes the reigns as senior pastor of Arche Church
- The spiritual landscape of Germany: is it still a Christian nation?
- From TV to church planting: how broadcasting sermons paved the way for new churches in Europe
- "We decided to write an email": Sovereign Grace Ministries' surprising introduction to Arche Church
- From one generation to the next: why Wolfgang changed his mind about handing over leadership of the church
- Leading through change: how the elders prepared Arche Church for a new senior pastor
- The gospel must be preached: Arche Church's future with Sovereign Grace Ministries and the mission to plant churches
- Preparing the next generation of leaders: Wolfgang's dream for pastoral training in Germany
- Watch your life and doctrine: Wolfgang's counsel for young pastors entering the ministry
February 15, 2011 by
Categories: Donor updates | International
Two pastors from Sovereign Grace churches recently traveled to Burma and South Korea in order to visit the church planters whom Sovereign Grace Ministries supports in those countries. We shared about their time in Burma last week, and today will focus on the trip to South Korea. For security reasons related to Burma, we won't share their names.
As you may recall from a recent video our churches showed, in 2009 a pastor named Kang Songhwan graduated from our Pastors College and planted Lord's Grace Church in Seoul, South Korea. It was the first Sovereign Grace church in that country. What you might not realize is that our church-planting efforts mean much more than simply getting a church started—in fact you might say that most of what we do to help our church planters succeed comes after the church launches, not before.
Because of the many challenges that newly established churches face, opportunities for us to serve them are especially numerous in their first few years of existence. And thanks to the generosity of Sovereign Grace churches, in recent years we have been able to take advantage of those opportunities with increasing frequency.
Our pastors' recent trip to Seoul illustrates this diversity of opportunities well:
- In response to Songhwan's request for help teaching on marriage, they were able to plan and lead a three-session marriage seminar attended by church members and others from the community.
- To help Lord's Grace Church build bridges in a country where Sovereign Grace Ministries is still a relative unknown, they spent time with local Christian leaders to discuss how Lord's Grace Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries could be a long-term blessing to the Christian community in Seoul.
- Because Songhwan currently serves as the only pastor at Lord's Grace Church, they also spent an extended time encouraging him and helping him to think strategically about various ministry decisions.
On behalf of Songhwan, thank you for investing in our common mission of planting churches and providing them with long-term care in the years following their launch. Trips like this visibly display your partnership and care to the people of Lord's Grace Church, even though they are several thousand miles away from the nearest Sovereign Grace church.
Would you also join us in praying for them?
- There is a possibility that they will lose access to the building they currently use for Sunday meetings. Please pray that the Lord provides for them either in their current space or somewhere new.
- Please pray for God to raise up small-group leaders to help care for and disciple the members of the church.
- Please pray that in time Lord's Grace Church will become a church-planting hub, able to reach other areas of eastern Asia and the Pacific with the gospel.
Photo of the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul by Ziggymaster, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.
February 12, 2011 by
Categories: Weekly roundup
Desiring God invited Dave Harvey to write three articles on the topic of "Planting Churches That Last" for their blog. You can read them here: Study the Past, Study Mistakes, Study Others.
Want to become a better songwriter? Bob Kauflin offers some help.
Several Sovereign Grace churches are hosting marriage conferences or seminars in the weeks ahead: Covenant Life Church (Gaithersburg, MD) on February 26, Riverside Christian Fellowship (North Lauderdale, FL) on March 12, and Metro Life Church (Orlando, FL) on March 18-19.
C.J. preached this sermon at Southern Seminary's chapel service on Thursday:
(If you're reading this in an email or RSS viewer, you may need to visit the website to see the video.)
February 10, 2011 by
Among other discounts this month at our store, Sovereign Grace Music MP3 downloads are just $0.69 each. If you're new to Sovereign Grace Music and wondering where to start, below are some of our top recommendations. The list is a mash-up of bestsellers and personal favorites from some of the worship leaders in Sovereign Grace churches.
- Before the Throne of God Above
- Let Your Kingdom Come
- O Great God
- All I Have Is Christ
- The Father's Love
- Completely Done
- God Over All
- I Have a Shelter
- Jesus Thank You
- I Will Glory in My Redeemer
To learn more about Sovereign Grace Music, see the website or visit the blog of executive producer Bob Kauflin.
Two pastors from Sovereign Grace churches recently traveled to Burma and South Korea in order to visit the church planters whom Sovereign Grace Ministries supports in those countries. Today's update will focus on their time spent in Burma, and our next update will highlight their time in South Korea. For security reasons, we won't share their names.
In Burma, we have the privilege of working with a budding church-planting ministry led by a recent graduate of our Pastors College named David. In a recent visit, pastors and members from Sovereign Grace churches got to demonstrate that partnership through both practical aid (mercy ministry) and strategic training.
The mercy ministry was extended by a team consisting of members from five Sovereign Grace churches (Gaithersburg, MD; Chesapeake, VA; Fairfax, VA; Spokane, WA; and Franklin, WV) who operated a series of medical clinics over the course of a week. Quoting from the blog of Covenant Life Church (which sent several people), "The team saw approximately 1500 men, women and children in four days of clinics! Three clinics were held in rural villages, and two of those were in areas that lack a church. The hope is to eventually establish churches in both locations. Another clinic was held in a more urban setting at an orphanage."
The other priority of the trip was to help David plan strategically for long-term growth and health in the churches he leads. Given the context and resources available to him, there are several questions and challenges he needs to address:
- What theology courses should he prioritize at his ministry school, which hosts men who are both recent converts and developing leaders?
- How can he provide ongoing care and training for pastors in a network of roughly 45 churches, some of which are several days travel apart?
- How can he lead the mercy ministries of his churches (an orphanage, disaster and famine aid, and other projects) without neglecting the care and training of current and future leaders?
- Where will funding for the ministry programs come from?
Although the visit was brief, the pastors who spent time with David were able to help him think through several of these critical questions and begin making concrete plans for future leadership training. Although building the right foundations there is going to take time, it is a mission we believe has significant potential for building the Burmese church, especially given David's proximity to people groups who have never been reached with the gospel before.
If you give to the Mission Fund, we want to sincerely thank you on David's behalf for the support you've given his ministry over the last several years. He is a humble and grateful man, and would be the first to tell you that your example of service and generosity have in no small way shaped and enabled the ministry philosophy he now models in Burma.
He would also be the first one to tell you that the Burmese church needs your prayers. When you think of them, here are a few ways you can pray:
- Pray for favor with local officials, who often are the deciding in factor, humanly speaking, in whether ministry programs can function or not
- Pray for financial provision, not only for the mercy ministries but also for the critical leadership training and church-planting work that David hopes to lead
- Pray for the next generation of leaders in the Burmese church, that God would raise men who can think, lead, and teach with theological precision
Image: Pagodas and temples in Bagan (public domain).
We’ve already told you about the main session speakers at our upcoming church planting conference, but you might not be familiar with the speakers for our breakout sessions. These experienced men are going to address in detail some of the real challenges that church planters face, so we hope you can join us to learn from them. Here is a brief introduction to them and a preview of the topics they will cover:
Tim Witmer—The Importance of Preaching in Church Planting
Tim is a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary and pastor of a revitalized PCA church in a multicultural urban setting. He also started The Shepherd’s Institute, an organization committed to equipping church leaders. Tim is a human intersection of ministry and mission.
Pete Greasley—How to Build a Church-Planting Church
Pete is the senior pastor of Christchurch in Newport, Wales, which has planted churches in the United Kingdom and Australia. He has a gift for discipling men into effective pastors and then sending them out on church plants. If you’re wondering what role you have in church planting after your church is established, Pete will give you vision.
Craig Cabaniss—How to Build a Church Planting Team
Want to plant a church in a place where folks would rather spend their free time doing anything but attending church? Try San Diego. Want to launch a new church in the heart of the mega-church Bible Belt? Try Dallas. Craig has led teams that did both, and is going to share what he learned in the process.
Failing churches don’t need to close down, but revitalizing one is no easy task. Mike knows from experience what it means to plant a church through revitalization, and is going to tell us about the challenges and rewards we can expect if we attempt the same.
Daniel Montgomery—Way Finding: A Map for Planting Your Church without Losing Your Soul
Daniel, the senior pastor of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky, says his vision statement is, ”Preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.” For him, that means building a strong, culture-penetrating church and training church planters to reach new areas. He has tons of ideas for church planters and a gift for working them into practice.
Shai Linne—Engaging the Urban Context with the Gospel
Shai does hip hop, but that’s not what he’s about. He’s about the gospel. He knows the city, but he’s passionate about the church. He understands the culture, but he’s shaped by sound doctrine. What he has to say isn’t being said many other places.
February 5, 2011 by
Categories: Weekly roundup
Earlier this week we announced the details of our annual February sale (30% or more off of everything). We decided to drop the price of music even lower though—so all Sovereign Grace CDs are now $6 or less and all Sovereign Grace MP3 albums are $5 or less.
If you're planning to attend our conference about worldview this May, we recommend you register and book airfare soon. Several of our breakout sessions (which you must register for) have limited capacity, so late registrants may not have their pick of speakers. And it's a holiday weekend near Disney World, so we expect demand for airline tickets to be high.
Dustin Neeley, author of Church Planting for the Rest of Us, is attending our church planting conference to interview all the speakers. He is taking question suggestions via blog comments or Twitter if you have topics you'd like to see addressed by C.J. Mahaney, Darrin Patrick, Mark Dever, Dave Harvey, or any of the other guys.
KingsWay Community Church (Midlothian, VA) has arranged for author Gary Thomas to lead a marriage conference February 18-19 near Williamsburg, Virginia. If you're in the area, check out the website for details.
Riverside Christian Fellowship (North Lauderdale, FL) will host authors Gary and Betsy Ricucci for a marriage conference on March 12. Registration is $25 per couple. Learn more or register at their website.
February 3, 2011 by
Categories: Conferences | Music
Bob Kauflin, our director of worship development, recently posted the following details about our upcoming WorshipGod conference on his blog. Read on for details about the theme, speakers, and why we'll be recording a live album at the conference:
Even though it’s still eight months away, I’m in the middle of planning for WorshipGod11, to be held Aug. 10-13, 2011 at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD.
This year’s theme will be “The Gathering.” The idea crystalized while I was reading Bryan Chapell’s excellent book, Christ-Centered Worship. When most of us plan our meetings we tend to think in separate categories - the songs, the announcements, creative elements, the message, communion, ministry time, etc. Chapell makes a strong case for having a gospel mindedness that affects not only what we do but how we put it all together.
In other words, every time we meet a clear gospel structure should be evident. Why? Because both Scripture and history point to the centrality of God’s redemptive work as the focal point of all we do when we meet. We’re meant to rehearse it, sing about it, pray in light of it, respond to it, work out its implications, and revel in it. The conference will hopefully help us think more clearly and cohesively about how God’s saving work in Christ should both inform and fuel our meetings.
Speakers confirmed at the moment are Ray Ortlund, Jr., Bryan Chapell, and Kevin DeYoung. [Ed: see update at the end of this post.] Waiting to hear back from one more…
In the past we’ve used musicians from Sovereign Grace churches to lead the music for the main sessions. We’ll do that again this year. But I’ve also invited John Martin & Enfield (from Resolved) and Mike Cosper & his band from Sojourn Church in Louisville to join us as guest musicians. I’ve appreciated the friendships and ministries of both for years.
This year will mark a first for the WorshipGod conference. We’ll be recording a live album (as opposed to a dead album?). My original thought was to record the album in the studio and have it ready for the conference, but when I looked at my schedule and the conference theme, it seemed like a no-brainer to record it at the conference. So that’s the plan for Friday night.
If you’ve attended a WorshipGod conference in the past, you know we raise the roof when we sing, and that’s what we hope to do Friday night. We’ll be sending out MP3s in advance of the conference to everyone who registers so they’ll already know the songs when they arrive. Should be a great time.
Finally, I’m planning workshops for the conference and would like to hear from you. What themes, topics, or speakers would you like to see at WorshipGod11? The more specific, the better.
We plan to open up registration mid-February. We’d appreciate your prayers in the mean time!
Update on February 3 at 5:23pm: Thabiti Anyabwile and Craig Cabaniss are now confirmed to speak at the conference. Kevin DeYoung is no longer able to join us.