Midwest Leadership Summit

Last week I attended the Midwest Leadership Conference in Springfield, IL with a few of our pastors. Like many conferences you go to, there are a few key statements you take away. One was, “Growing churches dream dreams, stagnant churches solve problems.” It is a good reminder that focus determines direction. What we set our eyes on determines our destination. If it is inward, often it is problems, if it is outward, more than likely it is a vision to fulfill. When Jesus said, “I will build my church,” he had a dream that he calls us to participate in. It was a dream that no problem, even as big as the gates of Hades, would prevent it from being accomplished. So as faithful followers may we focus on His mission, and help accomplish His purpose, trusting that He will equip and enable us to fulfill His will. Let’s keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith! – Dr. Gary Mathes

Throw Out Your Skinny Jeans, But Keep Your Coffee Cup

Recently, I have been reading a lot regarding how churches can reach all generations. It has been my observation that many churches in particular struggling to reach the younger generations.  As a result some churches have attempted to become “cooler’ in their approach hoping it will draw young people to their services, but often times it can come across simply being disingenuous, if not uncomfortable.  The title of an article I came across speaks volumes, “Millennials Don’t Need Hipper Pastors, They Need a Bigger God.”  Simply put, younger people are looking for what is real and authentic and are open to honest dialogue.  They are not drawn to an awkwardly produced version of our faith for the purpose of cultural relevancy. However, they do gravitate towards a faith that is clear, and honestly addresses the candid questions of genuine seekers.  They are drawn to a real faith in a real Jesus.   So, throw out your skinny jeans, but keep your coffee cup, and sit down with and have an authentic gospel conversation with some young folks.  You may be surprised how they will respond.  By the way, they know where the good coffee is.   -Dr. Gary Mathes

Tis The Season

I have to admit that Christmas is one of my most favorite time of the year.  I enjoy the decorations, lights, music, food and the fellowships.  But of course, the most precious part of Christmas is focusing on the reason for the season – the advent of the divine who took on flesh and dwelt among us; the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Indeed, Jesus brings joy to the world because he has fulfilled the eternal plan to redeem his people from their sin.  Thank you CPBA for shining the greatest light in our dark and broken world by sharing the gospel message and reminding our respective communities of the glorious truth of the Christ of Christmas. -Dr. Gary Mathes