Podcast Ep.64: What Makes for Toxic Churches (Dr. Chris Creech)

 Let me start with a question, maybe a bit tongue in cheek. What if during this Covid 19 season while the church has been fasting from meeting corporately that the antagonist in the church have had a huge change of heart and are now determined to come back fully supporting the pastor and the church leaders?

Well, we hope this would be, but I would imagine that the pastor and church leader will in time be under attack again. I am sure for many pastors this break has been a reprieve from ongoing attack and criticism from what our guest today refers to as hero persecutors. Similar to how Satan left Jesus to tempt him again at an opportune time, I have no doubt that this respite for the pastor from attack, will resume again, at an opportune time. What do leaders need to do and understand when the church becomes a toxic environment? How can the church nurture a climate where the work of the gospel thrives even when there is conflict? I have the privilege in this Before You Quit podcast to look at these questions with with Dr. Chris Creech, author of the book Toxic Church.

Chris Creech and his wife, Faith, have been in ministry for over forty years. During this time they have served in pastoral ministry for over twenty-eight years in five churches, including one church they planted in Toronto. Chris earned an M.Div. and Ph. D. from Southwestern Seminary. He has taught at seminaries in Singapore and Malaysia as resident faculty and as adjunct faculty at other seminaries in Asia, Europe, North America and South America.  Currently they are serving Pinnacle Ministries as Directors of Pastoral/Missions/Church Health and as adjuncts in several Asian and US seminaries.

Click on book cover for order information
Click on book cover for order information

Podcast Ep.63: The State of the Gospel in America (Brandon Kimber)

During this Covid 19 season (I’m sure it will have a better name down the road) I have been thinking a lot about what this will do to or for the church. Will we be stronger for it? Is this one of those events that God will use to sift the church, from those who are lukewarm to those who are deeply committed? During this time many give testimony of opportunities to reach people they would have never reached before. Online messages have a reach unlike anything else we have seen. READ MORE

Podcast Ep. 38: How the Soul Grows Through Loss (Dr. Gerald Sittser)

Aside from the Bible, one other book served as my lifeline during the hardest period of my life; my wife’s brain surgery and subsequent struggle to recover her speech, reading/writing skills, and my son’s passing to cancer just months after. That book was A Grace Disguised by Dr. Gerald Sittser. I’ve read the book probably four times, and recommended it to many who needed a healthy dose of theological perspective. What a thrill to land an interview with the author of this book, Dr. Gerald Sittser.

Sittser serves as professor of theology and senior fellow at Whitworth University, He has written eight books, among them A Grace Disguised, A Grace Revealed, The Will of God as a Way of Life, and Water from a Deep Well.  He is currently writing a book on “The Third Way,” which will explore how the early Christian movement developed such a clear and unique identity in the ancient world and, against all odds, grew into a formidable force long before Christianity became a legally recognized religion.  It will be published by Baker.  He enjoys music, literature, gardening, hiking, woodworking, and he attends the Oregon Shakespeare Festival every year with his family. Married to Patricia since 2010, he has three married children, two married step-children, and six grandchildren.


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Podcast Ep.25: Leaving A Godly Legacy! (John and Janine Schultz)

Oh, the great stuff we can gain from the previous generations. But how will we ever do that unless we pause long enough and listen to their stories.  When is the last time you sat down with an elderly saint in your church, or even sat down with your parents or grandparents and listened to their stories and the experiences that shaped them? READ MORE

Podcast Ep.61: The Pastor and Good Doctrine (Pastor Dan Samms)

We live in a day when increasingly people are living in a vacuum, many around us not sure what to believe or even not sure what they believe. This is why it is so important that the pastor and church leaders and even those who are part of the body of Christ own what they believe.    READ MORE

Podcast Ep.60: A Theology of Suffering (Michelle Bates)

Today we’re going to talk theology, especially the theology of suffering. If the church is ever going to become a healing community it needs to have a solid theology of suffering. A pastor who has a theology of suffering  prepares his people for times of hardship and also empowers his people to serve one another when one member is hurting. All of this has to come out of a deep and committed understanding of the gospel. 

The church committed to the gospel is a church that will understand the role that suffering has in God’s purposes. I have the privilege today to talk to someone who could not have survived deep suffering had it not been for the gospel of Jesus. She talks a lot about the gospel because it’s been her and her family’s lifeline. My guest today is Michelle Bates who in the span of several years faced unbelievable loss. Michelle wrote a book titled Beyond The Shadow, How Suffering Led Me to the Deep End of Grace. It is an excellent book and something we spent a lot of time talking about in this interview. Michelle lives in Humansville,MO where she and her husband Mike and their three children run an Inn.

 

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Podcast Ep.59: The Third Cord in Our Marriage (Our Story-Mitch and Elaine Schultz)

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Eccl.4:12

Some have asked me when we will tell our story of loss and recovery in our family. And what was it like on our marriage. If you listen to this podcast enough you know I have made reference to my wife’s struggle in recovering from brain cancer, and my oldest son’s death to cancer. AS it happened, we recently were invited to speak at a valentine banquet for a local church. I decided to record it. So here we are, the two of us, telling our story of how Jesus, that third chord, held our world together during the hardest of times. 

Recent photo of Elaine and Brett

Our family just two months before Travis’s passing

Podcast Ep.58: The Story of Being Adopted (Tatiana Fortney)

Some of the most beautiful stories that we hear today are those kind of stories that help us understand the gospel. The gospel story is simply the story of us, people made in the imagine of God who rebelled against him, but he because of his great love pursued us by dying for us, Jesus dying in our place, taking on himself the wrath of God we deserved, and then exchanging our sin for his righteousness. The most amazing verse I think about when I think of the gospel is 2 Cor 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  READ MORE