When to Leave Your Church

What are the good reasons to leave a local church? What are the bad reasons? When should you decide to leave your local church?

This is always a weighty topic, but we wanted to answer this question from a listener.

Resources Mentioned:

If you would like to ask us a question, click here. We’d love the opportunity to hear from you.

Women Deacons?

Gracious, intelligent people from almost every tradition disagree on this topic. Does the Bible forbid, allow, or even encourage women to be deacons in the church?

Can women be deacons? What role does a deacon fulfill? What is the purpose of the diaconate?

Three key texts: Acts 6:1-6, 1 Timothy 3:8-13, and Romans 16:1-2.

Resources Mentioned:
Does the Bible Support Female Deacons? – Dr. Thomas Schreiner for TGC
The Biblical Qualifications and Responsibilities of Deacons – Dr. Ben Merkle for 9Marks

Make sure to leave us your thoughts or questions on this episode. We’d love to hear from you. Click here to send us a message.

Denominations: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

“Denominationalism is destroying the church,” one man remarked to us a couple of years ago. Is this true?

What are the benefits of denominationalism? What bad comes from the distinctions and separations? Is there a better way? How can we be unified in Christ without violating our consciences?

We answer these questions while exploring the topic of denominationalism.

Click here to view the chart mentioned in the podcast.

We’d love to hear your feedback. Click here to send us any thoughts you had on this episode.

Civility in a Crooked Generation

Why can people, and even Christians, be so mean to one another? How can we deal with mean people?

How can we be bold proponents of truth while displaying the gentleness of Christ?

In this episode, we look at Ephesians 4:32 – 5:1 and discuss kindness among the brethren. How are we united in purpose? How can we disagree well?

Expository Preaching for the Soul

Let’s talk about preaching. Preaching is a pastoral tool used to care for the souls of those in God’s flock. It’s important to let God speak. But why?

  • How can we best do that when we get behind the pulpit?
  • Why and when should you preach a topical sermon?
  • How can we do that biblically?
  • Why do we preach at all?

The bottom line: If you want your congregation to be spiritually healthy, they need to be in the Word.

Why We Are Charismatics

We love the revelatory gifts of the Spirit. We love tongues, prophecy, healing, word of wisdom, and all the rest. But why? What does the Bible teach about the gifts of the Spirit? Why do we believe they haven’t ceased?

We’ll go through 1 Corinthians 12-14, Acts 2, Hebrews 1:1-4, Ephesians 2:20, and more as we search the scriptures for God’s teaching on the gifts.

Church Planting in the Heartland

Episode 1 – Right from the middle of the great cornfield called Iowa, Shawn and Brooks introduce the podcast and discuss church planting. How does one plant a church? Is it important? This has been our experience over the last year and a half. What are some unexpected aspects of church planting? Is there anything we expected that didn’t even happen? How soon should an aspiring church planter begin to plan?

Preach, Pray, and People

I recently watched a short video by The Gospel Coalition where Kevin DeYoung was featured. DeYoung shared his thoughts on what his time in seminary did not teach him about ministry. In this short clip, he also stated three areas he felt called to focus on when he entered the ministry. In typical alliteration, DeYoung focuses on preaching, prayer, and people. Since most good ideas are borrowed from other people, I’ve decided to borrow DeYoung’s ministerial focus and apply it to myself. Now, in my own words, I want to explain what it means for me to preach, pray, and be with people as a pastor at Redemption Hill Church.



One of my favorite quotes on preaching comes from John Calvin. “Wherever we find the Word of God surely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, there, it is not to be doubted, is a church of God.” I’ll table the conversation about the sacraments (Calvin is referencing communion and baptism) and focus on why preaching is central to a local church.


If the Bible is the revelation from God, then it needs to be opened up and shared with the church. The pastor preaches from God’s revealed Word and the congregation hears the preached Word. When God’s Word is preached dead hearts can come alive and weary hearts are strengthened. It is the delightful duty of the pastor to open up the Bible to show the church the glories of the gospel of God. When the pastor rightly points to Christ from the Bible, the people fall more in love with their Savior.


The Bible shows us more of Christ, and it also trains and teaches the church how to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). Second Timothy 3:16 tells us the value of having God’s Word preached and heard. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Therefore, all of the Bible, old and new testaments are for the good of the church.



The apostle Paul demonstrates for us the importance of a pastor to be praying for the church. In his introductions to the Colossian and Thessalonian churches, he says, “We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you (Colossians 1:3).” And, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers (1 Thessalonians 1:2).” Paul’s emphasis on pray is repeated throughout his letters. Prayer is a discipline, and it is also a reflection of his love and affection for the local church. How should a pastor pray for members of the local church? Let’s allow Ephesians to be the guide. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (Ephesians 1:18).


A pastor, an undershepherd to the Chief Shepherd, can pray that the sheep of His local fold will know more of God today than they did yesterday.



Pastors need to be about preaching, prayer and have a passion for people. Having a passion for people can go in several directions, but I’ll keep my focus on people in the local church. A pastor must be about caring for people that are in his local church. Caring includes rejoicing at the birth of a child and grieving when there is death in the family. It’s about marrying two love-birds and then walking with them through a hard season of marriage five years after the wedding date. A pastor should strive to know the people in his church. But to know his people he must be with his people.


The metaphor of pastor/shepherd and church member/sheep is helpful. The smell of the sheep is on the shepherd, and the smell of the shepherd is on the sheep. Richard Baxter, a 17th-century puritan pastor, modeled the importance of knowing the smell of his sheep. Twice a week he visited people in his church. During his visits, Baxter offered counsel and instruction from the scriptures. Baxter would make his way through the entire church directory and then start the cycle over when he finished with letter Z. While pastoring in the 21st century is different from the 17th century, Baxter’s focus on knowing and caring for the members of his local church is exemplary.


There are other facets of pastoral ministry. DeYoung even mentions the need for a pastor to be patient in ministry (And this point is well taken). But if a pastor can hone in on using his time on the preaching of God’s Word, praying for members, and caring for people in his church, it will be time well served.


Soli deo Gloria

Every Day On Mission

God is on mission to redeem his people through Jesus Christ. We read about God’s mission in the scriptures where we also read that the gospel mission is the message of the church. Since my seminary days, this theological statement has shaped how I read the Bible and how I understand the mission of God.


I have made this statement several times over the years. It has a threefold emphasis: 1) God’s mission. 2) The location where we read about God’s mission. 3) And the role of the church in God’s mission to redeem elect sheep (John 10:3). It’s the third emphasis that I want to highlight by thinking about how the extraordinary gospel works through ordinary people.


American culture celebrates the extraordinary and looks past the ordinary. Local churches in America tend to do the same. Pompous and grandiose Easter services dominate the spring. Christmas Eve services include real live camels and a life-sized manger scene. And in between C and E, Sunday services resembles a rock concert with strobe lights and the fog machine. I am easily amused, so I get it. But in all the extraordinary events that dominate the 21st-century American church, the ordinary events of gospel kindness and hospitality are routinely lost. Evan at church. The command to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31) becomes giving an Easter invitation to said smoke and light show but not holding the door for the elderly at the supermarket, or inviting your neighbor to your house for a meal. The message of the gospel is getting lost in the smoke and strobe lights.


Muse with me for a moment. In Acts 16 we read about spiritually extraordinary moments that resulted in ordinary responses. God opened the heart of Lydia through the ministry of the apostle Paul (v. 14). How did she respond to the gospel? Lydia was baptized, and then she immediately opened up her home to Paul and his companions. Lydia began to understand what it means to be on mission with God by demonstrating biblical hospitality. No strobe lights. No super extra special Christmas Eve service with live camels. Lydia simply responded by ordinary means after the Holy Spirit revealed Christ to her heart.


The Philippian Jailer was also saved (v. 33) through the ministry of Paul. You can read the remarkable narrative in Acts 16. And look at the ordinary response of the Philippian Jailer. He was baptized like Lydia. He also took care of the wounds of his new friends (v. 33). The Philippian Jailer fed Paul and his friends (v. 34). And because of the extraordinary message of the gospel the Philippian Jailer rejoiced! Again, after you cut through the noise offered by many 21st century churches, what is left? Jesus.


When we read the book of Acts, Paul’s extraordinary ministry dominates the pages as he traversed through ancient Achaia, Asia, Galatia, etc. And it’s good to look to Paul as an example as one who looked to Christ (1 Corinthians 1:11). But do not look past the seemingly ordinary response to the gospel of saints like Lydia and the Philippian Jailer. It is the ordinary response to the mission of God that the gospel typically goes forth and we can let God handle the extraordinary.