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Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Articles of the Week

Prince: “Don’t Die Without Knowing the Cross,” Denny Burk. It’s been 8 days since the one-of-a-kind rock icon Prince passed away. I (Chris) don’t recall as much of his career as Burk does here—though I do remember the 2007 Super Bowl performance, where it actually rained during “Purple Rain.” Epic. But I join with Burk and many others in reflecting on Prince’s life, wondering if—and hoping that—he truly believed what he wrote 29 years ago: “Don’t cry, he is coming. Don’t die without knowing the cross…”

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This weekend we had the bittersweet joy of commissioning another 75 Summit members, who are planting another four domestic church plants—in Los Angeles, Orlando, Brooklyn, and Winston-Salem. In the past 5 years, we’ve sent out 400 people to plant new churches in North America. Praise God!

I call this “bittersweet,” because we always feel a little torn as we send out our people. We’re sending out some of our most effective evangelists, key volunteers, and close friends. They’ll all be missed. In some ways, saying goodbye to these friends is a loss for our church. But we also celebrate this “loss,” because that’s how the kingdom of God grows. God’s kingdom doesn’t go forward as we protectively hoard, but when we open our hands and give God our best. Growth in the kingdom of God works on the principle of the harvest: we reap only as we send out; living comes by dying; gaining comes by losing.

As we often say around the Summit, we’re okay with celebrating numbers, as long as we’re celebrating the right ones. Here’s why I’m particularly thrilled about these 75. We’ve been sending people to plant churches for five years now, and we’ve recognized that for every one person we send, twenty new people end up worshipping every weekend. So the 75 people we sent out this weekend represent 1,500 people that, Lord willing, will one day hear the gospel message. That’s the power of multiplication.

I’m praying for great fruit for these teams in the coming weeks, months, and years. Would you pray with me?

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The past few years have been challenging for many Baptist churches. Across the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole, we’ve seen the number of baptisms steadily declining. And while there are plenty of causes for thanksgiving in the SBC, I think we, as a Convention, have to ask some tough questions our ourselves. But we do so with the confidence that Jesus has appointed us to bear “much” fruit, (John 15:8), and promised that if we follow him he will make us effective fishers of men—-so much so that we’ll like the “nets” of our boats are breaking (Matt 4:19)!

First things first: Our primary problems are spiritual. Quite simply, many of us no longer feel the urgency of the gospel message. We have grown complacent in our success, and don’t burn with the same evangelistic zeal that we once did. A recent Lifeway study revealed that nearly 90% of active, church-going evangelicals have never even shared their faith with someone outside of their family. Only 20% of churches in the US are growing, and only 1% are growing by reaching lost people.

Our goal should be that we make it as hard as possible to go to hell from our communities. Has everyone in your community heard a compelling presentation of the gospel, and been given a chance to respond? I think often of the words of Charles Spurgeon, who said,

“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”

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