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The Front Pew

A conversation between a few pastors scattered around, sharing their perspective on life, ministry, theology, culture and church.
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Aug 21, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! We really appreciate you listening! Today we are discussing a couple of important current events dominating the cultural conversation. First, today is the day of the big eclipse. Don't look at it without glasses or you'll go blind! We talk about why the Christian community is so interested in this event, especially when someone suggests that it could be a sign that the end of the world is near.

Second, we wade into a discussion about the recent events in Charlottesville, VA, where a white nationalist group marched in protest of the removal of a Confederate statue, and their clash with those who met in opposition to them. It has reminded us that there are serious issues in the human heart and in our culture when it comes to the sin of racism. How should we respond as Christians, and as pastors?

Have you subscribed to the podcast? You can on iTunes! If you can, leave us a review and share us with your friends. You can also connect with us through email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew), or on our Face Book page. We love hearing from you, and welcome your comments and/or questions.

Enjoy the eclipse!

Aug 14, 2017

It's that time of year when students are returning back to school after their summer break. With that in mind, we thought we would talk about the need for pastors to "study to show themselves approved," and to position themselves to be lifelong learners. Ministry in this day and age is more complex and complicated than ever, and we are being forced to understand and grapple with cultural ideas that we couldn't have imagined 10-20 years ago. So, we dig into topics such as: should pastors go to seminary or is the Holy Spirit enough? If they do, how do they survive? How can they continue to grow as a learner after seminary?  

We really do appreciate you being a listener of this little podcast by pastors for pastors. Our prayer is that it will not only encourage you, but enable you to serve the local church well. 

Please feel free to contact us and connect with us! You can do so via email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Face Book page. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. We would love it if you would give us a review and share us with your friends!

Thanks again for listening and learning with us!

Aug 7, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! This week we are talking about the practice of altar calls, or what is know as "the invitation." Is this biblical? Is it ok? What about emotionalism and manipulation? Should this be a part of our worship services?

To help us think through this, Chris interviewed Dr. Thomas Kidd who is a history professor at Baylor University, and is way, way, way smarter than any of us on the podcast. His insights are very helpful, and we hope that you find them to be so as well.

We had a fun time chatting through this important topic! Our prayer is that you will laugh with us and be encouraged in your ministry as we all seek to serve Jesus well.

Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, leave us a review, and share us with your friends! You can connect with us via email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Face Book page.

Music: "Softly and Tenderly," Johnny Cash

Aug 1, 2017

Welcome to a new, but delayed, episode of the Front Pew! Our summer schedules have finally crossed us up, and we just weren't able to get an episode done by Monday. So, that you for your patience!

Also, thank you for interacting with us. We appreciate the emails and comments that you send our way. You can subscribe on iTunes, leave us a review and share with your friends, and you can connect with us via email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Face Book page.

We knew the summer might be rough with our schedule to put out a fresh episode each week, so we thought that when necessary we would share a sermon from one of us. This week we offer a sermon preached by Chris a few years ago at Southeastern Baptist Theological seminary. Before the sermon, Chris and Matt talk a little bit about preaching then the sermon rolls out. The text is Mark 14:66-72 which deals with Peter's denial of Christ. The title is "Failure and Grace," and our hope is that you will be encouraged in the gospel as you listen!

Jul 24, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! So, have you been on vacation yet this summer? We hope so, since we believe that it is important for us as Christians to work hard and to take time off to relax and recharge. In this episode we discuss the importance of relaxation, but share that rest is much better for us. 

What is the difference between relaxing and resting? What does it mean to rest and how do we do it? Especially as pastors, when we live with the sense that there is always a need, always a task, and always a sermon in front of us.

Ben has done a lot of study on rest and why it is so crucial to us as believers. He actually preached a sermon series on it a couple years ago and took a sabbatical in order to practice what he preached! He shares a lot of wisdom in this episode (Capper is absent since he is away at youth camp...he will need some rest after that).

We also introduce a new segment on the show entitled "Depravity Files," which we think you may find quite entertaining!

Thanks again for listening and for sharing this podcast with your friends. You can subscribe at iTunes, and if you are able, give us a review! You can email us (frontpew1@gmail.com), tweet us (@thefrontpew) or follow us on our Face Book page.

Ben's book recommendation: "Replenish: Leading from a Healthy Soul," Lance Witt.

Music: "A Shot in the Dark" by The Coffin Daggers

Jul 17, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! We appreciate you sitting with us as we chat about things that we think about as pastors. This week we received an email from a listener who asked if we could talk about church membership and what that looks like in our local churches. So, we want to thank Josh for the suggestion and this episode is our attempt to answer his question!

We also are giving away another book, and this week it's a good one--"Those Who Must Give an Account: A Study of Church Membership and Church Discipline" by John Hammett and Benjamin Merkle. Listen in on who you can get this book!

We really do appreciate you taking a hour or so out of your life to listen to us ramble on about church and pastor stuff. Thank you for reaching out to us as well with your comments and suggestions. You can email us at frontpew1@gmail.com, or follow us on Twitter (@thefrontpew) and on our Face Book page. 

Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, and if possible, leave us a review and share us with your friends!

Jul 10, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! We really appreciate you listening and joining with us! Remember to subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review and share with your friends! You can also connect with us through email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) and on our Face Book page.

In today's episode we talk about pastors and friendship. A recent study revealed that most pastors struggle to make and maintain good, healthy friendships. So, we thought we would weigh in on this and talk about why we struggle with friendship and how to we can be good friends.

This episode ends with a spontaneous musical moment that you won't want to miss. Plus, we are giving away another book! Listen to the episode to learn how to win it! Thanks again for listening!

Jun 26, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! This week we dive into the subject of mission trips and whether or not they are good for us to be involved in. Now, we all agree that the mission of making the glory and fame of Jesus known in all the earth matters, but are we doing that when we go on short-term mission trips? Isn't there a better use of all that money that we spend when we go on these trips? Do they really help anyone, really?

We wrestle with these and other questions in this conversation. It's just Chris and Ben, since ironically, Matt is on a mission trip!

Thanks again for listening! Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review. You can connect with us by email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Face Book page. 

Jun 19, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! This week we have a friendly chat about denominations were we ask: what are they? do they matter? what are the benefits? what are the liabilities? 

It was a fun discussion, especially since Matt and Chris are part of the Southern Baptist denomination and Ben is non-denominational. This show was actually prompted by Chris' involvement last week in the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix.

Join in the conversation with us! How? Send us an email (frontpew1@gmail.com), connect on Twitter (@thefrontpew) or send us a message on our Face Book page. We really do appreciate you listening and connecting with us!

Now, go grab you an ice cold Fresca and enjoy the show!

Jun 12, 2017

Welcome to another episode of the Front Pew! Today is a very special podcast as Ben welcomes his younger brother Rich to the program to talk about the highs and lows of international church planting. For the past few years Rich has been serving in Germany amidst the post-modern atheistic folks as well as the Middle Eastern refugees, with the goal of seeing the gospel take root in their hearts. It is a great honor to have him join us on the Front Pew for an honest conversation about ministry in Germany and how it contrasts with life in the States.

We want to encourage you to not only pray for Rich and his family, but to connect with them as well. You can do so through email at richardrudolph@gmail.com

From time to time we like to highlight some of the stuff that we celebrate as we see God at work among his people. We hope you are encouraged by these testimonies of grace and that you will rejoice as well that God is accomplishing His purposes in the heart of His church.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave us a review. Share it with all you friends and connect with us: frontpew1@gmail.com, @thefrontpew (Twitter) or on our Face Book page. Thanks again for listening!

Jun 5, 2017

We love books, and one of the things that we often talk about as pastors are different books that have shaped us and encouraged us in ministry. As the saying goes, every leader is a reader. So, in this episode we talk about books, reading, book allowances and how all of these help both pastor and people sharpen their mind, strengthen their faith and grow as leaders in the church. 

 

We review four reasons why reading is essential, as well as give our summer reading suggestions from several categories, including theology, history, the Christian life and potpouri! Look for these suggestions on our Face Book page.

 

We admit it...this is kind of a nerdy episode, but we believe it is more important than ever that we as pastors and people grow in our understanding of the gospel, know how to give a defense of the faith in light of the secular culture, and engage our minds to grow through reading. After all, reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

 

In this episode we also announce the winner of Mike Cosper's book "Rhythms of Grace" as well as announce a new contest where somebody is going to win another book! 

 

Thanks for listening to us on the Front Pew, and we would love for you to connect with us through email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Face Book page! Make sure you subscribe on iTunes, leave a review and share with your friends!

May 29, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! We appreciate you taking some time to listen in and interact with the show. This week it is a mythbuster episode where we try to deal with a common myth that exists when it comes to pastors and churches. 

Have you ever heard someone say that pastors only work 2 days a week, or that they keep bankers hours? It's a silly little joke that has floated around for a while that every pastor has heard at one time in his ministry. So, we thought we would try to bust this myth by talking about how ministry is work and what that work should look like. We enjoyed swapping some stories, sharing how we organize our work week, and how we have learned how to find some balance between family, ministry, preaching and other responsibilities that we have as pastors.

Have you subscribed to the podcast on iTunes yet? Subscribe and leave us a review and share the show with your friends! You can chat with us through email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Facebook page. Thanks again for sitting with us on the Front Pew!

May 22, 2017

Welcome to our newest episode of the Front Pew! Last week we started a discussion on worship that we affectionately called the "Worship Wars." This week we continue that conversation, but we don't really finish it...there is so much to say about this important subject. 

Anyway, last week we focused on liturgy and in this episode we focus on leadership. Which one is right...the regulative or normative principle? How does a pastor lead the church and the worship team in worship? Should he pick the songs? What about the choir and special music? What should happen in our worship services according to the Bible and how do we get there? We try to tackle these and a few other questions.

Remember that we are giving away a book, and we would love for you to get it! And it is a great book called "Rhythms of Grace," by Mike Cosper and made available from our friends at CrossWay Publishing. All you need to do is leave us an honest review on iTunes and your name will be entered in the drawing.

We really appreciate that you take time to listen to a few pastors ramble on about various ministry issues that matter to us, and we really appreciate the kind comments a few of you have passed to us along the way. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. You can chat with us through email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Facebook page. 

May 15, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! This week we thought we would talk about worship, which we know can be quite an exciting subject in the church world these days. Every church gathers for a "worship service," and every gathering is planned with certain purposes and goals in mind. So, how should we think about worship, and what do we do when a worship war breaks out?

This episode is the first part of our conversation and we focus on worship liturgy. Next week we will talk about worship leadership. We are also very thankful that we are able to give away a great resource, a book on worship by Mike Cosper entitled "Rhythms of Grace, provided by CrossWay books. For a chance to win this book all you have to do is give us an honest review on iTunes, and we will randomly selected a reviewed and have the book sent to you!

Thanks for listening in as a few pastors chat about life, ministry, mission and other things that matter to us. Please connect with us either through email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Facebook page. We would love to hear from you! 

May 12, 2017

Thank you for listening to the Front Pew! We enjoy discussing various issues that we as pastors talk about when we get together. Sometimes a lot of what we see from the front pew are challenges and concerns, but we also are privileged to see the amazing change that happens when Christ transforms a life. We really do have a front row seat to observe the powerful grace of God in the lives of the people we pastor and love.

So, from time to time we want to share with you these stories of grace. Today we are happy to introduce you to our friend, Charlie Brown. Yes, that is his real name--he will explain why in this episode! He has a powerful testimony of God's grace delivering him from addiction and then using him to plant a church in the inner city of Baltimore. We think you will be greatly encouraged by this testimony of grace!

If you want to connect with Charlie, you can do so though his church website (www.ebgraffitchurch.org) or email (ebgraffiti@outlook.com). 

 

Thanks again for being a part of the Front Pew! You can connect with us through email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on Facebook. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, leave us a review, and share with your friends!

May 8, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! We really appreciate you listening and joining in the conversation. This week we chat about how to handle the problem of evil, not from a philosophical or apologetical approach, but from a pastoral one. 

The Bible teaches us that we live in a broken world filled with broken people, including us! It is inevitable that pain, suffering, tragedy and hurt will break upon us at some time in our lives. When we ask the normal and common question, "Why Lord?" what is the answer? Is there an answer? And how should we as brothers and sisters in Christ walk with those who have experienced the effects of evil against them?

These are hard but important questions that we try our best to answer in a way that is biblical, helpful, and pastoral. We hope that this episode will not only be instructive, but give you some tools as a believer, no matter which pew you sit on, to process suffering in your own life and minister to those around you who are struggling.

Thanks again for listening! Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave us a review. You can also connect with us through email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Facebook page. If you like the podcast, feel free to share it with others!

Apr 28, 2017

We are happy to announce the addition of Matt Capps to the Front Pew! In this episode we get Matt to share his story of faith, church, and pastoring. As a relatively young pastor, Matt will bring a different perspective to our conversation, since Chris is almost 50 and Ben is now over the hill at 41.

So, today we want to use this episode to introduce you to Matt, and to ask him what challenges he faces as a youngish pastor in a new ministry context. We discuss ministerial loneliness, the pressure of being the leader, handling staff issues, and other things we aren't taught in seminary! You will also be disappointed to learn that Matt has never enjoyed chipped beef and gravy. Oh well. It's a very interesting conversation, so join us on the Front Pew.

Don't forget to subscribe on iTunes, give us a review and share the podcast with all your friends! You can also contact us via email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) and on our Facebook page (The Front Pew). Thanks again for listening!

Apr 21, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew! We really do appreciate you subscribing to the podcast and being a part of the conversation. 

This week we discuss a subject that isn't talked about that much, but it an important issue for pastors--something we are calling "pastoral PMS" which stands for "post message syndrome." A lot of pastors experience what is called the "Monday Blues," or the "preacher's hangover" after a busy Sunday of preaching and ministering. It's not depression--we are going to tackle that subject in a future episode--but it is a real thing that effects the body, soul and mind of the pastor.

Listen in as we talk about what pastoral PMS is, what it feels like, and some ways we can work through it as pastors, and how church members can help their pastors to avoid "bread truck Mondays," as Ben calls it.

Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and give us a review if you can. You can also connect with us through e-mail (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Facebook Page (The Front Pew). Let us know if you have a question or a topic you would like us to address on the podcast!

Apr 14, 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the Front Pew...we appreciate you listening! Are you ready to celebrate Easter? We have a little chat about how Easter services have become really important in the modern church, so much so that we often talk about Easter Sunday as the Superbowl of the church year. Some churches have giant egg hunts, give away really nice prizes, and have all kinds of special things happening in the service. It really is a big deal.

Well, is that ok? Chris and Ben discuss this and a few other things in this special, just-in-time-for-Easter mega-podcast! Have a listen, and we hope, in all seriousness, that when you gather with the saints in your local church on Easter Sunday that your heart will rejoice in the good news of a risen Savior.

If you like the show, feel free to share it with others. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and leave us a good review if you want to. Also, you can connect with us through email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Facebook page (The Front Pew). 

We really do appreciate you tuning in and joining in the conversation from the front pew! Have a wonderful Easter celebration!

Apr 7, 2017

We record the show on Friday mornings, so we thought we would just go ahead and try to upload it on Fridays! So, welcome to our first Friday show...hope you enjoy it!

It is impossible to live in this day and avoid political discussions and events. We are surrounded by a constant political conversation, and every time we surf the internet, turn on the TV, or listen to talk radio (or podcasts), politics makes an appearance.

So, how should pastors engage in political discussions, especially in the church? Should church members encourage or discourage political sermons? We aren't really sure what the answers are, but we give it a shot on this episode. 

We also talk about a new BBQ restaurant in our little village of Denver, as well as the UNC victory and we even have an audio clip from the TV show "The View" that is very enlightening!

Thanks for listening! Be sure to subscribe on iTunes or any other pod catcher, and if you can, give us a review. Contact via email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Facebook page (The Front Pew). Have a great weekend and we will see you next week on the front pew!

Apr 3, 2017

Thank you for joining us on the Front Pew! Today we want to start what we think will be an on-going series entitled "Myth Busters - Pastor Edition." We want to talk about some subtle myths that people my have about their pastors, which might actually lead to them believing wrongly about themselves! Today we tackle the issue of the pastor's super, amazing, deep and much better spiritual life than the average Christian!

So, do you have a quiet time? Do you think it is as awesome as your pastor's time in the Word? We have a lot of fun busting up this myth in this episode.

Admittedly the recording isn't that great...and that is due to human error! I think we have it figured out and that it will improve. It does get some better around the 3 minute mark. I think we have figured out what went wrong and it should improve in upcoming episodes.

Remember to subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review if possible. You can drop us a line at frontpew1@gmail.com or on Twitter @thefrontpew. Try to find and like our Facebook page as well: "The Front Pew." And, if you are enjoying the podcast feel free to share it with your friends!

Mar 30, 2017

Thank you for joining us on the Front Pew! One of our desires with this podcast is to glorify the Lord by sharing stories of His transforming grace in the lives of some people we know. Our first testimony of grace is from our friend Kemp England.

We hope you are encouraged by this conversation about a kid who grows up in a little town, raised by a single mom, who grows up to be a star athlete in high school, married, a father of two, who lived in great spiritual despair, trying to do everything he could to be saved. One day, sitting at a picnic table in park, that all changed as God's grace opened his eyes.

This was such a fun conversation as we talk about worshiping in a black church vs. a white church, speaking in tongues, and what it was like for a black man from Maiden to marry a white girl from upstate New York, among other things!

Thanks again for listening and don't forget to subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review. You can connect with us through email at frontpew1@gmail.com, Twitter @thefrontpew, or on our Facebook page. 

Mar 27, 2017

Welcome to a new episode from the Front Pew! A couple weeks ago we received an email from a listener asking us to talk about how to lead change in the church. Here is part of the email:

"How do you lead change? Some say you really need to bring people along during change...get investors, create buy-in. Others say 'I am the pastor...God has called me here, I know where to go, just follow me.' Which way is right? And how do you lead change when the folks you are leading are much older?"

Those are great questions, and hopefully we answered them in a helpful way. Take a listen and let us know what suggestions you might have as either a pastor or a pew sitter for navigating change in the church.

In this episode Chris takes time to mourn Chuck Berry and makes fun of Ben's name. Ben tries to claim that Chris is a Calvinist, and they both reflect on a recent visit to a Brazilian steak house. 

Also, this week we air a special commercial that we think will inspire you!

You can connect with us by email (frontpew1@gmail.com),  Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on our Facebook page (The Front Pew). Thanks again for listening!

Mar 20, 2017

Every community has several churches, especially in the South. Jesus prayed that His followers would be one, that we would be united in His mission, even though we may attend different local fellowships. In the heart of many pastors and church members, we often view other ministries, other churches, and other pastors as competitors. We compete for church members, we compete for dollars, we compete for ministry influence. 

 

What if we viewed each other as co-laborers in the gospel, rather than competitors? What if we collaborated together instead of competing with each other?

 

In this episode we discuss how pastors and churches can show the community our unity in the gospel and mission by being intentional about collaborating with each other. We discuss 6 ideas that we believe will encourage this in your church and community:

 

[1] Pastors being committed to gathering with each other weekly to pray for one another.

[2] Praying for other congregations when your local church gathers on Sunday mornings.

[3] Finding a time to worship together as a collection of churches in one service, for example, a Good Friday Service.

[4] Doing community ministry together.

[5] Agreeing to pastor together by encouraging healthy church membership and discouraging church hopping in your community.

[6] Preaching a sermon series together and swapping pulpits.

 

This has been our experience as 2 local pastors serving 2 different churches in 1 small town, and it has been transforming for us and hopefully for our congregations as well. That's why this episode was so enjoyable for us to record. We hope you enjoy it as well!

Thanks for listening and interacting with us. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review. You can contact us at frontpew1@gmail.com or on Twitter @thefrontpew, and also on our Facebook page, The Front Pew.

Mar 13, 2017

Well, it happened again. We recorded a show, which was a great show by the way, and Chris' computer crashed for a second time! So we now have two lost episodes, both of which were phenomenal! We grabbed an old laptop and recorded to it, and we aren't real sure how the sound will be...thanks for listening and being patient with us as a couple of very un-technical pastors try to be technical with sound equipment!

In this episode we conclude our discussion of the 5 questions that help us form an biblical understanding of the church:

[1] What is the local church?

[2] Why do we gather?

[3] Who is the pastor?

[4] What role does the Bible play?

[5] How do people really change?

 

Before we discuss our love for the church, Chris goes on a little Carolina rant, which he is apt to do from time to time. And if you listen carefully, the always nice and gentle Ben gets a little negative and mean!

Thanks again for listening to The Front Pew. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and if possible leave us a review. You can connect with us through email (frontpew1@gmail.com), Twitter (@thefrontpew) or on Facebook.

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