How can we lead our churches in healthier ways? Research Spotlight is a collection of live interviews with leading scholars, based on their original research.
A Word About Elders, Ministers, & Transitions
Reflections about times of transition and the interactions between church leaders.
Design on the Grid
To make slides more impactful, pay attention to the basic principles of photography.
Groups Can Be Good
In many settings, identifying groups can lead to negative things. But to encourage positive change, it can benefit a person to know how and with whom they identify themselves.
Rightly Ordered Illustrations
To help people stay with you, when you have a variety of content, the order matters in which you give it.
Remember: You’re On A 2-Way Street
One of the most helpful books I’ve read in a while is Bowdle’s Rethink Communication. It’s all specifically about churches and how we communicate. I
You Have Ten Minutes
People’s lives are constantly stimulated and distracted. To keep them with you, you must vary your content style frequently.
Don’t Replace Yourself WIth Slides
If it’s all on your slides, why do they need you? Let visuals be an aid, not a replacement.
Speak to the Middle Space
Speak to the intersection of theology and life. If your theology doesn’t “become flesh” it won’t provide anything useful.
Don’t Send Rabbits Running
People are distracted enough as it is. Don’t contribute to your listeners’ struggle to focus on your message.
Five Foundations For Spiritual Growth
If you are wanting to grow spiritually, here are some foundational ideas upon which to build your routines and expectations.
Rethinking How We Interpret Scripture with Rachel Howell
In this episode, we talk with Rachel Howell about Biblical interpretation. A scholar and missionary herself, Rachel has taken a deep dive into Alexander Campbell’s influence on Churches of Christ in the way we view and interpret Scripture. She will critique some areas of imbalance and suggest what it might look like to build an even healthier hermeneutic as we move forward.
Balance your Commentators
As you prepare to speak, how do you go about researching what you will share? It might help to balance out the commentaries with which you’re interacting.
Keep a Sermon Garden Growing
For your sermons to be of consistent in their quality, you need to give them room to grow. Here’s one way to do it.
Help One Person Take One Step
If you want people to put your message into action, help them put it into steps they are capable of taking.
Speak To The Senses
One of the best ways to make a story come to life is to help people explore it through their senses.
Reflections on the Art of Preaching
An introductory post for a new series of short insights on preaching.
Sustainable Spiritual Leadership with Dr. Daniel McGraw
Drawing from his original doctoral research at ACU, combined with his experience as a minister and as a Navy Reserve Chaplain, Daniel McGraw talks about how to lead effectively while continuing to nourish one’s soul.
Spirit-Shaped Ethics for Churches with Mac Sandlin
Dr. Mac Sandlin describes the active way in which the Holy Spirit leads us into greater virtues, helping us to become more like Christ. Beyond asking, “What should I do?” Mac invites us to ponder, “What kind of person should I be?”
Advice for Young Ministers: A Conversation
Dr. Mark Adams sits down with Dr. Kevin Burr to share some experiential advice for young ministers…and really, for anyone looking to grow spiritually.
Building Love Maps
Needing to reconnect with your partner? Working on deepening a relationship in your life? Here are some great places to start.
Top 10 Posts of 2020
Looking back at 2020, here were the most viewed posts at Kingdom Upgrowth.
Haikus from the Minor Prophets
A collection of my devotional Haikus based on the Minor Prophets.
Mark Powell: Discipleship In Community
Mark Powell talks about Discipleship in Community, a book he co-wrote containing a theological vision for the future of churches of Christ.
A Review of Discipleship in Community: A Theological Vision for the Future
My book review of Discipleship in Community: A Theological Vision for the Future by Mark Powell, John Mark Hicks, and Greg McKinzie.
How is Philosophy Valuable for Christians?
Surely one of the antidotes to cultural chaos is principled people who are intentional about their presence in the world. Chet Duke talks with us about the value of Philosophy for Christians in our faith, our ministry, and our interactions with the world.
Overcoming Negative Emotions
It’s been a hard time for all of us. Here are some things you can do to help you get through.
40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years
For my birthday, I’m sharing 40 things I’ve learned over the last 40 years.
The Two Things You Should Know for Church Leadership
Know these two frameworks, and you’re largely up to date on contemporary thought about healthy church leadership.
A Review of Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World
My book review of Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World by Tara Isabella Burton.
Getting to Know the God of Israel
Scripture speaks often of the “God of Israel.” But who did Israel believe that God was? What kind of a God did Israel envision as she worshiped? Dr. John D. Fortner provides insight into this compassionate, active God we encounter in Scripture.
The Positive Side of Grace
Why grace might be even more amazing than you think it is.
Helping Your Tribe Be Healthy
What does it actually look like for people to get healthier incrementally? How do we help dysfunctional tribes become high-functioning teams? Here are a few ideas.
Denied: A Mother’s Request
Mrs. Zebedee believed more than anything that she wanted her sons to be at Jesus’ right and left hands as he entered his kingdom. But at the foot of the cross, her perspective may have changed.
A God Who Suffers With Us
Certainly, we don’t know what it’s like to be God, but how well can God really understand what it’s like to be us? This is of special significance in times of suffering and difficulty. Can God suffer with us? Does God suffer with us? Alicia Williamson shares insights from her research into this important question about the nature of God.
Helping Members Find Where They Fit
Spiritual gifts or ministry roles? Dr. Matt Carter shares his research about best practices for helping church members connect to life-giving ministry, and the kind of leadership that makes this possible.
New Translations for New Perspectives
Here are some recent translations of the Bible I have been reading and am intending to read soon.
Best Practices for Church Finances
In financial matters, ethics matter. Dr. Carl Williamson draws from his original research to provide principles for best practices in church finances.
Advice for Planning a Funeral
All of us, from time to time, end up in the unenviable spot of needing to prepare for a funeral. Here are bits of experiential wisdom and advice from my time in ministry.
From Development to Deepening
Rather than merely discovering or developing your interests, what if you took things to the next level?
Useful Books for Church Leaders
People often ask me for book recommendations about specific situations and questions. Here are some of the questions I encounter most frequently, along with the resources I recommend.
Reading John Through Ancient Eyes
Kevin Burr helps us gain a more culturally-informed view of John’s Gospel. What would John’s original audience have assumed that we might not? This conversation helps to bridge the gap.
Reading John Theologically
Dr. Mark Powell of the Harding School of Theology talks about how John’s Gospel enhances our understanding about God.
Using John for Spiritual Formation
Lauren Calvin Cooke guides us in how to utilize the Gospel of John for personal spiritual growth.
John’s Unique Voice
Dr. Kindy De Long shares insights into some of the things that John’s Gospel uniquely contributes to the Gospels’ telling of the story of Jesus. What might John be showing us that he considers of special importance?
John’s Legacy in the Church
Dr. Keith Stanglin shares how John’s Gospel was valuable to the early church, and how these insights help us to utilize it today.
Scripture Reading Strategies
As you get ready for the new year, here are a few ways to think about how you approach Scripture, with some insights on how to get the most out of your efforts.
Join us for a Journey Through John!
In 2020 we’re going on a journey through John’s Gospel. We hope you’ll come, too!
My Favorite Reads of 2019
Here are my favorite books I read in 2019, along with a full list of all the books I read this year.
Haikus from I John
Engaging Scripture creatively helps us engage it more deeply. Here are some of my haikus based on I John.