Saturday, April 30, 2005

Reformed Leadership conference

I referenced the Willow Creek Association's Leadership Summit in a post yesterday (and have mentioned it in some other posts in the past I think) and would like to share that there are other options. Sovereign Grace Ministries (started by C.J. Mahaney) also puts on a Leadership Conference. John Piper was one of the speakers at it this year.

The next Sovereign Grace conference is April 26-28, 2006, at Galt House Hotel, Louisville, KY. The Sovereign Grace Ministries' Leadership Conference is an annual event for pastors, leaders, church administrators, leaders-in-training, and potential leaders. We gather to survey the wondrous Cross, enjoy the exposition of God's Word, experience biblical fellowship, and passionately worship God together.

I may someday go to the Sovereign Grace conference, but for now I'm going to keep going to the WCA Leadership Summit.

The key speaker this year for SG was John Piper, who I greatly enjoy and respect. The key speaker(s) for the WCA were (August 04) Bill Hybels, Steven Sample, Pat Summit, Tim Sanders, Marcus Buckingham, A.R. Bernard Sr., and T.D. Jakes. I entered the event quite skeptical of what TD Jakes would bring, but his message was solid, informative, and avoided all areas he or his ministry might be disagreed with by conservative evangelicals. His scriptural text was based out of the Old Testament, and he really brought it. Tim Sanders works for doing leadership with them (as well as some other Fortune 500 companies), and his session was perhaps the most difficult to follow. Marcus Buckingham's presentation was outstanding, and worth watching a couple of times. Buckingham works for the Gallup organization, and has access to a ton of incredibly interesting information. I will refrain from elaborating on the others, but generally it was excellent. Each session has worship that is very powerful, there are skits, dance ministry performs, and other things that I'm probably forgetting.

Questions for Pastoral Candidates

Paul Alexander writes some great articles, and below is one of his that I ran across a while ago. Give it a read, and if you can think of any missing questions put them in the comments section. I've posted the whole article here for archival purposes, and if I think your questions are ones that need to be asked, I'll add them to the list. I believe that we don't have to continually re-invent the wheel. When we see something like the below set of questions, we should borrow from them unless we have something better. I don't have something better, so I will borrow them. I think the questions are pretty fair, and will give those who are asking much of what they need to properly assess the person they are inteviewing. I think it is fair for a pastor fresh out of school to not have every answer to each of these questions, but I would hope they have thought some and studied some on each of the areas. To expect a perfect answer on each question may be too high of a bar to set for a person new to the pastorate. I would even consider sharing the question list before asking, so the person has time to think things over.

I would like to thank for their ministry to me over the past few months.

Questions for Pastoral Candidates

By Paul Alexander

Many churches who need a new pastor aren't quite sure what kinds of questions they should be asking. They may know they want a man who can preach the Bible well and shepherd the congregation faithfully. But they are often unsure about what it takes to do those things well, or how to tell whether a candidate is the kind of man who will be faithful over the long haul. In the absence of real wisdom, worldly wisdom often fills the vacuum, and the questions begin to hover around issues of whether or not he has experience, or can manage a staff team, or cast a vision, or implement a program, or make the church bigger. But all these questions could be fairly asked of a new middle management employee at Sony. So what are some questions specific to pastoral fidelity that churches should be asking pastoral candidates? Here's a starter set. Can you think of more?

1. In 60 seconds or less, what is the gospel? In 5 minutes, how did you become a Christian?
2. Do you have a statement of faith we can look at? Perhaps a copy of the Constitution, Bylaws, and Church Covenant of your previous church? Are these documents representative of your views? Where might you differ from them?
3. How do you preach (i.e., expositionally, topically, textually, doctrinally)?
4. What are some of the most important ideas and practices that you think cultivate health in the local church?
5. How do you know a healthy church when you see one? What are the leading indicators in your mind?
6. How do you think churches grow biblically?
7. What is your theology/philosophy of ministry? What is the place of preaching in that philosophy/ theology?
8. What is your style of leadership (hands on, laid back, quick paced, CEO, facilitator)?
9. What are one or two things about you that we might not like if we knew them (theology, method, personal weakness)?
10. What is your philosophy and theology of evangelism? How do your thoughts on biblical conversion intersect with your thoughts on evangelism?
11. How would you encourage a congregation to engage in personal evangelism? What tools would you use? What program(s) would you implement? Will you depend on programs to accomplish evangelism?
12. How would you take new members into a church? What process would you use? Why?
13. What do you think is the purpose of church membership? Why?
14. How do you cultivate a sense of biblical, godly community in a local church?
15. What form of church government and leadership are you committed to? Why? Can you talk about authority relationships in the church, particularly between the pastor and other elders, elders and deacons, elders and congregation, and pastor and congregation?
16. Is practicing church discipline, or moving towards practicing it, important to you? Why or why not?
17. What is a local church supposed to be biblically? How would you seek to cultivate that identity?
18. What is the primary responsibility of the pastor? What are the next few priorities under that?
19. Tell us about your family. How does your wife feel about being married into pastoral ministry? What are your children like?
20. How long are you looking to stay with your next church? Why?
21. Do you believe in the doctrines of grace? Why or why not?
22. What are your thoughts on worship music for the Sunday morning gathering?
23. What books have been most influential in your spiritual development? In your pastoral development? Why?

Is Congregationalism a Democracy?

Paul Alexander has written an interesting article on the website about church governance. Paul S. (a reader of my blog) asked what form of church governance do I plan to pursue when I graduate from seminary.

My initial answer was: "I think the issues is much less about the form of governance, and more about good leaders leading well. Too many people are put in places of leadership, or take leadership roles with little understanding of how to actually lead. Good leadership in bad systems still find ways to make it work. Bad leaders in good systems just ruin good systems."

The truth is that we do not often have much say (at least initially) into what type of governance structure we are willing to work with. There are a limited number of structures, and the right people can make all the difference. The church I am currently serving at is a real mess as far as governance is concerned. I have been working with the senior pastor on this (as well as many other issues) and I think they are starting to turn things around. The difficult thing is that there is something like 12 or 13 years of poor overall leadership to counter. There were periods of time where a pastor was strong, but the overall structure was poor, and not filled with the right people, or at least not the right people with the proper training. All too frequently we draft/elect/beg someone into a leadership position in a church, and then do nothing to prepare them for success. It's trial by fire, learn as you go, we'll forgive you because we have to type of experience. This is killing the church. We need to train people into their jobs. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it might put some burden on the church staff initially. Eventually you work toward the goal being lay leadership training other lay leadership, but sometimes you have to do the work up front as the pastor to get the ball rolling. I am passionate about leadership, and I believe that rarely does good leadership happen by accident.

I think until churches begin to put more of an emphasis and priority on this, the church will continue to suffer. I am not saying churches should be run like businesses. But I do think we can improve greatly in this area, and improving these processes and practices will indeed serve toward Kingdom expansion.

One thing I have comitted myself to is attending the Willow Creek Association's Leadership Summit every year (I'm signed up for Eagle Brook Church satellite site). I picked up on this through my previous church (Northridge Baptist Church, Mitchell, SD). Each year the church staff, with a group of deacons as well as some elders and general church members attend this together. It's a time of great thinking, bonding, and spiritual renewal. I am constantly impressed by how much better I feel equiped to serve a local church after attending. I have purchased the DVD's of the conference each of the past two years, and watch them frequently. Certainly there are sessions that are better than others, and there are, speakers that I'm not always completely fond of, but the vast majority is pure leadership gold. I cannot speak too highly of this experience, and sincerely suggest that if you can, GO!!!! I get the benefit of student price, but it's worth every penny of the full price. If you can't go, get the DVD's and watch them as a staff/church leadership team.

Friday, April 29, 2005

The National Day of Prayer, scheduled as always on the first Thursday of May, proclaims "God Shed His Grace on Thee" as its theme for 2005. "America has never needed God's grace, blessings and intervention more than it does now," says NDP Task Force Chairman Shirley Dobson. Singer Dennis Jernigan has written a remarkable song especially for the May 5 celebration. For the lyrics and other information on your church's participation in the National Day of Prayer, please visit


I appreciate that isn't costing me a cent, but it sure is causing me frustrations. I just lost a great post. A post about listening based off a speach given by John Ortberg. Perhaps I'll give it a go again tomorrow, but I'm much too frustrated at this point (and too tired) to do it all again. All I ask for is a simple editor with an UNDO function. Perhaps I'll have to start editing in MS Word and cutting and pasting. That's not as easy, but it might be worth it to save the torment. Yes, that scream you heard a bit ago was me.....arrrggggg......

Thursday, April 28, 2005

the-ol'e-je (theology)

Found this on the web. If you click on it you'll get a larger view. I thought it was cool.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Call to ministry...

Paul Schafer asked me a question earlier today that got the gerbil wheels in my brain spinning. He asked: "What are you studying for at Bethel? How long have you known the call of God on your life and discern your giftings?"

If you follow the link, you'll see my initial response, but I would like to give a longer response and perhaps take it in a bit of a different direction. I appreciate the question(s) and the thoughts they provoke.

Before coming to Bethel Seminary, I spent 5+ years working for the Boy Scouts of America. I have found that this was a great training ground for my future ministry. I was not aware of it at the time, but I think it was as some like to call it -a God thing. Much of my life is marked by things that I was unaware of at the time, but looking back I can see God's finger prints all over it.

I became a Christian in college, my freshman year. It was in large part a combination of my dissatisfaction with the life I was living, as well as the testimony of some great men living around me. These men were living in a way that I wanted to live, they had something I wanted - JOY. I am proud to still have some of these men as my best friends today. One will be my best man in my wedding in December of 2005 (Thanks Cook!).

Within a few weeks of my becoming a Christian, I was off on my first missions trip. I spent Spring Break of my freshman year of college in the Guaymas, Mexico area trying to minister to other people. I believe I took much more than I gave. Ministry often works that way, but especially this time. I spent almost 5 weeks the following year at this same mission in Guaymas, this time giving more that I previously. Both were great experiences.

One of my friends in college, Cook, took me under his wing and spent time with me walking me through Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest". Many nights we would get together and he would explain to me what Oswald Chambers was saying. I owe him an enormous debt for being so patient and understanding.

I really began to come into my own as a Christian after moving from Pierre, SD to Mitchell, SD. I bounced from church to church for a while in Mitchell, not finding what I was looking for. On the reccomendation of a pastor from a neighboring town, I visited Northridge Baptist Church, and knew after the first visit I had found a church home. My time at Northridge fostered enormous personal spiritual growth. I got plugged into a fantastic men's Bible study, with some incredible men. I was part of some great small group ministries. I did the unthinkable and joined the worship team. I say unthinkable because I was the kid/guy who didn't sing in church. I don't mean didn't kinda sing, I mean I had gone to church for more than 24 years, and for most of those years I refused to sing as a type of rebellion. My mother didn't really believe that I was singing on the praise and worship team until she saw it with her own two eyes. I helped with the junior and senior high youth groups, filling in when there wasn't a youth pastor, and helping transition the program through numerous other changes. This church is still blessing me in many ways, not limited to but including prayer, continual encouragement, financial support for school, and allowing me to join them when they attend the Willow Creek Leadership Summits.

When I was graduating from college, I felt a quiet tug at my heart that I should perhaps examine the possiblity of going to Seminary. I really didn't trust those feelings at that time. I hadn't been a Christian all that long, and still was feeling the burden of the guilt of my past sins. While I understood I was forgiven, I still struggled with that on a personal level. So rather than listen to the small voice, I buried it and tried to move on with my life. Fast forward 4 years, and that voice, while never having left me, was gradually getting louder and louder. I still resisted. I had a good life, a good job, a good church. I was happy with where I was in life. So for another year, I kept putting off much thought about leaving my job and pursuing something else, specifically going to Seminary.

The second summer of my being camp director for Lewis and Clark Scout Reservation was the point at which I knew I needed to heed the call that had been on my heart for all these years. I still really didn't fully trust what I thought I was being called to, but I gave it up to God, and trusted Him to make it happen if it was supposed to. After spending a few weeks in prayer, I got what I felt like was the answer. I was driving down the road, listening to a Christian Radio station just on the outskirts of Mitchell, SD, when it all became clear to me. I had to pull over to the side of the Interstate Highway because the tears were streaming down my face. I knew I had to apply to seminary, I had no other choice if I was to be obedient. I still wasn't sure how things would go, but put my trust in the Lord. God threw wide open the doors that needed to be opened for me to go to seminary. I applied to only one school, and was accepted. My bosses took the news that I was quitting much better than I anticipated. My parents (while surprized and a bit confused) were supportive. I had no place to live, God provided. I was afraid I was too late for student loans, and I wasn't. I was worried what my roommate would think of me abandoning him and forcing him to find a new place to live, and he was enormously supportive. Many other things fell into place. I gave it up to God, and He made it happen.

Along the way, through the journey of my education at Seminary, God has been giving me a vision of the way the church should work. I believe He has been equipping me to give life to this vision, and I pray for more opportunities to further His Kingdom. I has been scary, affirming, challenging, frustrating, rewarding, energizing, and tiring all at once. Thankfully it doesn't ride on my back. Christ carries the yoke, the Spirit does the work, and I try my best to help, or at least not get in the way whenever I can.

As far as being called to ministry beyond this, I believe that all believers are called to ministry. I think the question that is so often asked "when were you called..." is a flawed question. Certainly some are called specifically, but we are all called, and that is made clear in scripture. I think too many people in the modern church rely upon the pastor's ministry to be the workhorse of the church. That is so wrong. I believe that my job as a pastor (ok, future pastor) is to enable others to minister. I can only minister to a handful of people at any given time. My ministry mulitiplies though if I can teach and equip others to minister. I will consider my successful when I have worked myself out of a job.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Hard working immigrants

Watching the news today I saw that two men died in an accident where a car fleeing from police in Minneapolis crashed into them. The men were from Ecuador. One of the comments from a friend interviewed about their death was something to the effect that one of the two men was working two full time jobs to support his wife and 2? kids, and to send money back to Ecuador. I don't want to undersell the tragic loss these families are experiencing, as I am sure it is enormous. But what was triggered in my mind by this was a whole chain of thoughts about how hard working many Central and South American immigrants are, specifically those I work with at Red Lobster. The majority of our night time staff in our kitchen, prep, and dish areas are Central and South American. Some are pretty new to the country, many have been here 5-10 years. Most speak passable English (which is more than I can say about my Spanish). Many of them work 2 or 3 jobs. Almost every waking moment of thier lives is spent building the hope of a better tomorrow. They often work harder than any "American" would in the same job at the same place. They complain far less than their peers, and they almost never miss a shift or show up late. I enjoy working with them, and I think their work ethic is a blessing to me. Many have stories of great hardship they have overcome in just getting to the USA. I think we as Americans take a lot for granted, our jobs, being close to family, and safty to name just a few. Please keep these families in your prayers, and praise God for what you do have.

Sunday, April 24, 2005 is disturbing and powerful

Tonight I discovered while surfing some blogs. I am stunned. The sight contains a wealth of info, as well as some video footage that is ghastly. Abortion is ghastly. I did watch the whole video, at the highest clarity. It is powerful, moving, disturbing, sickening, and necessary. I don't really know where to go from here. Reading the site can ruin your day. Ruin your day in a good way. Check it out. Children should check it out with adult supervision, as there is very graphic images of aborted fetuses. So saddening. | We Dare You to Know

I have been uncomfortable with abortion since I came to realize that it was an "option". I don't think I was aware of it before 7th grade. I wrote a song in 7th grade against abortion, back in my more punk/protest days. I wasn't a punker, this was just one random song. I honestly don't think I wrote a song since. I have written some poetry, lots of papers, a pile of articles, miles of emails, but I think just one song. I even had a tune that went with it. I remember sharing it with a friend named Jason Schwans (a distant relative of the Schwans food family). Wow that was a long time ago. Through the years I've spent many days thinking about abortion. I had a friend in college who had an abortion, and it really hit close to home. I appreciate my parents choosing to give me life, even though they weren't fully prepared for the timing of my birth. There is a lot wrapped up in that. The fact that I am getting married in 249 days (Dec. 30th 2005!!!!!!!) is a new factor in this thinking. The fact that I may/will be bringing a life into the world someday with Banana (my fiancee) scares and excites me.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Albert Mohler's boy to man blog and thoughts

Albert Mohler, President of THE Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has been writing in his blog about boys moving into manhood. His thoughts are clear, concise, and insightful. I have included the key points below. His premise is to answer when does a boy become a man. The achievement of these things would mark the point of Biblical manhood.

1. Spiritual maturity sufficient to lead a wife and children. The Bible is clear about a man's responsibility to exercise spiritual maturity and spiritual leadership. Of course, this spiritual maturity takes time to develop, and it is a gift of the Holy Spirit working within the life of the believer. The disciplines of the Christian life, including prayer and serious Bible study, are among the means God uses to mold a boy into a man and to bring spiritual maturity into the life of one who is charged to lead a wife and family. This spiritual leadership is central to the Christian vision of marriage and family life. A man's spiritual leadership is not a matter of dictatorial power, but of firm and credible spiritual leadership and influence. A man must be ready to lead his wife and his children in a way that will honor God, demonstrate godliness, inculcate Christian character, and lead his family to desire Christ and to seek God's glory. Spiritual maturity is a mark of true Christian manhood, and a spiritually immature man is, in at least this crucial sense, spiritually just a boy.

2. Personal maturity sufficient to be a responsible husband and father. Christians often speak of raising boys to be men. In the face of today's cultural onslaught, this is an important goal. However, it is just not enough. Biblical manhood is always defined in terms of functions, roles, and responsibilities. True masculinity is not a matter of exhibiting supposedly masculine characteristics devoid of the context of responsibility. In the Bible, a man is called to fulfill his role as husband and father. Unless granted the gift of celibacy for gospel service, the Christian boy is to aim for marriage and fatherhood. This is assuredly a counter-cultural assertion, but the role of husband and father is central to manhood. Boys must be raised to see themselves as future husbands and fathers. They must be taught what to look for in a godly wife and how to fulfill all of the responsibilities that Scripture invests in a husband and father. Marriage is unparalleled in its effect on men, as it channels their energies and directs their responsibilities to the devoted covenant of marriage and the grace-filled civilization of the family. Boys must be taught what it means to be a husband, how to respect and honor marriage, and how to earn the respect and confidence of a wife. Similarly, boys must be taught about the responsibilities of fatherhood. Christians must reverse generations of inattention by speaking directly and clearly to boys about their future responsibilities, including the care, training, education, protection, and discipline of children. They must aspire to be the kind of man a Christian woman would gladly marry and children will trust, respect, and obey.

3. Economic maturity sufficient to hold an adult job and handle money. Advertisers and marketers know where to aim their messages--directly at adolescent boys and young men. This particular segment of the population is inordinately attracted to material goods, popular entertainment, sporting events, and other consumer options. The portrait of young manhood made popular in the media and presented as normal through entertainment is characterized by economic carelessness, self-centeredness, and laziness. A real man knows how to hold a job, handle money with responsibility, and take care of the needs of his wife and family. A failure to develop economic maturity means that young men often float from job to job, and take years to "find themselves" in terms of career and vocation. Once again, an extended adolescence marks a huge segment of today's young male population. A boy must be taught how to work, how to save, to invest, and to spend money with care. He must be taught to respect labor, and to feel the satisfaction that comes from a job well done, and a dollar honestly earned. Too many boys are coddled and entertained, demonstrating a laziness that will be highly detrimental to their future prospects as husband and father. Slothfulness, laziness, and economic carelessness are marks of immaturity. A real man knows how to earn, manage, and respect money. A Christian man understands the danger that comes from the love of money, and fulfills his responsibility as a Christian steward.

4. Physical maturity sufficient to work and protect a family. Unless afflicted by injury or illness, a boy should develop the physical maturity that, by stature and strength, marks recognizable manhood. Of course, men come in many sizes and demonstrate different levels of physical strength, but common to all men is a maturity, through which a man demonstrates his masculinity by movement, confidence, and strength. A man must be ready to put his physical strength on the line to protect his wife and children and to fulfill his God-assigned tasks. A boy must be taught to channel his developing strength and emerging size into a self-consciousness of responsibility, recognizing that adult strength is to be combined with adult responsibility and true maturity.

5. Sexual maturity sufficient to marry and fulfill God's purposes. As a boy develops into a man, he becomes aware of the sexual powers God has put within him. In an age saturated with distorted sexuality, bombarded with sexual stimulation, and confused by unbridled sexual passion, boys must be taught to discipline their sexual energies into anticipation of marriage. Even as the society celebrates sex in every form and at every age, the true Christian man practices sexual integrity, avoiding pornography, fornication, all forms of sexual promiscuity, and corruption. He understands the danger of lust, but rejoices in the sexual capacity and reproductive power God has put within him, committing himself to find a wife, and to earn her love, trust, and admiration--and eventually to win her hand in marriage. Boys must be taught to respect this incredible gift, and to protect this gift until, within the context of holy marriage, they are able to fulfill this gift, love their wives, and look to God's gift of children. Male sexuality separated from the context and integrity of marriage is an explosive and dangerous reality. The boy must understand, even as he travels through the road of puberty and an awakened sexuality, that he is accountable to God for his stewardship of this great gift.

6. Moral maturity sufficient to lead as example of righteousness. Stereotypical behavior on the part of young males is, in the main, marked by recklessness, irresponsibility, and worse. As a boy grows into manhood, he must develop moral maturity as he aspires to righteousness, learning to think like a Christian, act like a Christian, and show others how to do the same. The Christian man is to be an example to others, teaching by both precept and example. Of course, this requires the exercise of responsible moral reasoning. Boys will not learn this on their own, but must be taught. True moral education begins with a clear understanding of moral standards, but must move to the higher level of moral reasoning by which a young man learns how biblical principles are translated into godly living and how the moral challenges of his day must be met with the truths revealed in God's inerrant and infallible word.

Biblical manhood does not develop in a vacuum. A boy's most important teacher is his dad, and one of a father's chief responsibilities is to instruct and inspire his son into true manhood.

7. Ethical maturity sufficient to make responsible decisions. To be a man is to make decisions. One of the most fundamental tasks of leadership is decision-making. The indecisiveness of so many contemporary males is evidence of a stunted manhood. Of course, a man does not rush to a decision without thought, consideration, or care, but a man does put himself on the line in making a decision--and making it stick. This requires an extension of moral responsibility into mature ethical decision-making that brings glory to God, is faithful to God's word, and is open to moral scrutiny. Parents often leave their sons unprepared for this role by making decisions for them, and by failing to teach boys how to think and reason in responsible terms, how to weigh evidence and think clearly, and how to prioritize values according to a biblical standard. A real man knows how to make a decision and live with its consequences--even if that means that he must later acknowledge that he has learned by making a bad decision, and then by making the appropriate correction.

8. Worldview maturity sufficient to understand what is really important. An inversion of values marks our postmodern age, and the predicament of modern manhood is made all the more perplexing by the fact that many men lack the capacity of consistent worldview thinking. For the Christian, this is doubly tragic, for our Christian discipleship must be demonstrated in the development of a Christian mind. The Christian man must understand how to interpret and evaluate issues across the spectrum of politics, economics, morality, entertainment, education, and a seemingly endless list of other fields. The absence of consistent biblical worldview thinking is a key mark of spiritual immaturity. A boy must be taught how to translate Christian truth into genuine Christian thinking. He must learn how to defend biblical truth before his peers and in the public square, and he must acquire the ability to extend Christian thinking, based on biblical principles, to every arena of life.

9. Relational maturity sufficient to understand and respect others. Psychologists now talk of "emotional intelligence," or EQ, as a major factor in personal development. While the world has given much attention to IQ, EQ is just as important. Individuals who lack the ability to relate to others are destined to fail at some of life's most significant challenges and will not fulfill some of their most important responsibilities and roles. By nature, many boys are inwardly directed. While girls learn how to read emotional signals and connect, many boys lack the capacity to do so, and seemingly fail to understand the absence of these skills. While a man is to demonstrate emotional strength, constancy, and steadfastness, he must be able to relate to his wife, his children, his peers, his colleagues, and a host of others in a way that demonstrates respect, understanding, and appropriate empathy. This will not be learned by playing video games and by entering into the privatized world experienced by many male adolescents. Parents--especially fathers--must draw their sons out of inwardness, and demonstrate what it means to relate to others as a man and as a Christian.

10. Social maturity sufficient to make a contribution to society. While the arena of the home is an essential and inescapable focus of a man's responsibility, he is also called out of the home into the workplace and the larger world as a witness, and as one who will make a contribution to the common good. God has created human beings as social creatures, and even though our ultimate citizenship is in heaven, we must also fulfill our citizenship on earth. A boy must learn to fulfill a political responsibility as a citizen, and a moral responsibility as a member of a human community. The Christian man bears a civilizational responsibility, and boys must be taught to see themselves as shapers of the society even as the church is identified by our Lord as both salt and light. Similarly, a Christian man must learn how to relate to unbelievers, both as witness and as fellow citizens of an earthly kingdom.

11. Verbal maturity sufficient to communicate and articulate as a man. Here's a striking phenomenon of our times--many adolescent boys and young men seem to communicate only through a series of guttural clicks, grunts, and inchoate language that can hardly be described as verbal. A man must be able to speak, to be understood, and to communicate in a way that will honor God and convey God's truth to others. Parents must work with boys, requiring them to speak, to articulate, and to learn respect for language. This respect must extend to an ability to enunciate words so that articulation is clear and communication succeeds. This skill must be learned at the dinner table, in family conversation, and in one-on-one talk, especially between father and son. Beyond the context of conversation, a boy must learn how to speak before larger groups, overcoming the natural intimidation and fear that comes from looking at a crowd, opening one's mouth, and projecting words. Though not all men will become public speakers, every man should have the ability to take his ground, frame his words, and make his case when truth is under fire and when belief and conviction must be translated into argument.

12. Character maturity sufficient to demonstrate courage under fire. The literature of manhood is replete with stories of courage, bravery, and audacity. At least, that's the way it used to be. Now, with manhood both minimalized and marginalized by cultural elites, ideological subversion, and media confusion, we must recapture a commitment to courage that is translated into the real-life challenges faced by the Christian man. At times, this quality of courage is demonstrated when a man risks his own life in defense of others, especially his wife and children, but also anyone who is in need of rescue. More often, this courage is demonstrated in taking a stand under hostile fire, refusing to succumb to the temptation of silence and standing as a model and example to others, who will then be encouraged to stand their own ground. In these days, biblical manhood requires great courage. The prevailing ideologies and worldviews of this age are inherently hostile to Christian truth and are corrosive to Christian faithfulness. It takes great courage for a boy to commit himself to sexual purity and for a man to devote himself unreservedly to his wife. It takes great courage to say no to what this culture insists are the rightful pleasures and delights of the flesh. It takes courage to serve as a godly husband and father, to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It takes courage to maintain personal integrity in a world that devalues the truth, disparages God's word, and promises self-fulfillment and happiness only through the assertion of undiluted personal autonomy. A man's true confidence is rooted in the wells of courage, and courage is evidence of character. In the end, a man's character is revealed in the crucible of everyday challenges. For most men, life will also bring moments when extraordinary courage will be required, if he is to remain faithful and true. Parents should give close attention to their sons' character, for if character is corrupt, nothing else will really matter.

13. Biblical maturity sufficient to lead at some level in the church. A close look at many churches will reveal that a central problem is the lack of biblical maturity among the men of the congregation and a lack of biblical knowledge that leaves men ill equipped and completely unprepared to exercise spiritual leadership. Boys must be taught to know, to treasure, to honor, and to understand the Bible. They must know their way around the biblical text, and feel at home in the study of God's Word. They must be taught how to read with care, "rightly dividing the word of truth," and they must learn how to apply the eternal truths of God's Word to the challenges of modern manhood. Furthermore, they must stand ready to take their place as leaders in the local church. While God has appointed specific officers for his church--men who are specially gifted and publicly called--every man should fulfill some leadership responsibility within the life of the congregation. For some men, this may mean a less public role of leadership than is the case with others. In any event, a man should be able to teach someone, and to lead in some ministry, translating his personal discipleship into the fulfillment of a godly call. There is a role of leadership for every man in every church, whether that role is public or private, large or small, official or unofficial. A man should know how to pray before others, to present the Gospel, and to stand in the gap where a leadership need is apparent.


Mohler then goes on to say:


Dads, you are absolutely crucial to the process of man-making. No one else can fulfill your responsibility, and no one else can match your opportunity for influence with your son. By word and by example, we are teaching our sons the meaning of manhood. May God make us faithful as we seek to lead our boys to become true Christian men.


I have included Dr. Mohler's list unedited, as I belive they are great thoughts, and I wanted an archive of them on my own site for future reading, as well as for those who read my blog (yep all 3 of you :-) ) who might not read his blog.

I have been blessed with an outstanding role model father. Sure, he made mistakes along the way (I'm the oldest, therefore had to suffer more of the "learning" experiences my brother was spared), but I am proud to call him my father. I respect him, and owe him enormously for the man I am today.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

H.B. London Jr. from Focus on the Family shared the following article this week in "The Pastor's Weekly Briefing."

George Barna in a recent "State of the Church Message" wrote, "Bringing about genuine and lasting religious transformation requires leadership that is more aggressive than simply constructing bigger buildings, replacing the overhead projector with a big screen projector system, and introducing a few new programs ... Leaders must spearhead a thoroughly conceived and highly targeted plan that runs a significant level of risk ... Merely tinkering with the existing system is a recipe for irrelevance and abandonment."

Mr. Barna was alluding to the fact that people invest themselves in your congregation (i.e., time, money, human resources). What are their returns?

I am not a church-growth expert and, in fact, we do not give a lot of space to that subject in PWB, but I am an observer. I have noted several things of late in healthy churches of all sizes:

1. There is unity, but not uniformity.
2. They know their strengths and weaknesses and don't attempt to be something they are not.
3. They are not clones of any other church or program, but have discovered what God wants them to be.
4. The pastor is committed to longevity (5-7 years minimum) and has a shepherd's heart.
5. They are fiscally responsible & unimpressed with material images.
6. They have a vision beyond their property line.
7. They deal with contention in a pre-determined manner — they have a plan.
8. Worship is spirited, yet pleasant and well-presented.
9. Attendees are not simply "pew fillers" — they are cared for and engaged in ministry.
10. They are relevant to the culture and focused on biblical teaching and holy living.

The list I have shared is in no way exhaustive. Our space limits that. I am sometimes burdened by the lack of depth I find in the church world. I'm just being honest because I feel time is short. What say ye?

Have a blessed weekend. —HBL

I have been studying Church Health quite a bit this semester (growth is the result of health, don't study growth, study health!) and I think HBL is spot on with his concern and I appreciate his sharing Barna with people.

Pastor's Summit Notes - CBMW

Below are my notes from a meeting I attended last Thursday, where we discussed the complementarianist viewpoint of manhood and womanhood as described in the Bible.

Pastor’s Summit Notes
April 14, 2005
Crystal Evangelical Free Church

The website for CBMW is lots of resources for you.

J.S. has the annual calendar for you to see what the events are that are available through the Fidelis Foundation. See the bottom of the agenda for upcoming local CBMW events.

The format of this summit will be discussion with the idea that iron sharpens iron.

What is complementarianism?
• “Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth” by Wayne Grudem is available on the website.

See back page of agenda for notes on Authoritarianism, Egalitarianism and Complementarianism. I.W gave an overview of the different views.

Comments on the views:
• If we showed this handout to the outside there would be argument.
• People who hold the different views will think that they are biblical and use differing words to show their view in a positive light.
• Authority of the scripture lies in the hand of God.
• Changing roles of leadership and those being lead creates new dynamics.

Discuss chart by Wayne Grudem as found in the before mentioned book. This chart is shown on the agenda.

Discussion: Assuming you embrace complementarianism, how can it be effectively integrated into a church body? And w hat are you doing currently in churches?

• Pre-marital counseling: One opportunity to teach the truths of complementarianism in a ministry in your church is in pre-marital counseling. There is a need to teach couples about working together as they are designed. Equipping them with the truth of how God has designed them is a wonderful blessing to work through before they are even married.
• It is affirmed that this should be introduced at a watershed point. Many people that come into our evangelical setting hold views that are not complementarian and it opens doors for debate. We can give them this pearl of truth.
• Make this truth for your church known whether it is agreed upon or not. We need the biblical base and confidence to speak that openly and unabashedly.
• People are surprised that the Bible speaks of this issue and that it is against what we are taught in the culture. And that with many it is very thoughtfully accepted.
• The topics are covered at Grace Church in pre-marital courses and with marriage mentors who specifically discuss this topic. R. O’B. does not find this to bring animosity.
• Find that “headship” in the biblical sense is not authoritarian.
• Learning from a negative lesson can have just as much impact as teaching a positive one. As we can learn from the culture and its flaws we can see what the church has to offer in comparison to the negatives of the culture.
• Wayne Grudem’s book is a great resource tool to reach out with this truth to the pre-marital groups, marriage mentorship groups and other ministries.
• Vision casting and implementing this truth on every level is vital; starting with making this truth known among the staff.
John Piper’s book “What’s the Difference” is a great resource for what a mature biblical man/woman looks like. Available at
• J.D. found great success in this area through the Bill Gaither(?) ministry.
How do you integrate this into leadership at church?
• Affirm what you can, deny what you must and live with the ambiguity in between. (Motto taken by Bethlehem) Make beliefs known and stand by them.
• How does the pastor who feels deeply about this issue, but doesn’t have a big stick within the denomination, make an impact in the church?
• Can you serve in a church/denomination that does not support this belief? Not trying to be a separatist, but can you submit to a church that isn’t in agreement?
• Analogy: Money came from Coors to the FCA unsolicited, what do they do as an agency that does not support alcohol with this money?----- As servants call by God we cannot permit things that are unbiblical.

How do we integrate this in the local church?
• The ministries of CJ Mahaney’s church are based around training everyone involved in all the ministries in the truths of the complementarianism views, as well as teaching it from the pulpit, though this method is not enough.
• It is important to be a living example. As you live your life you can honor God and draw the truths out to impact others with this truth. Impacting through a personal discipleship method. As I impact others they go out and impact others and so one.
• Two fronts for reaching the church: 1) leadership 2) Men and Women ministries. Teaching men and women how to be biblical men and women. Using Robert Lewis’ material at Bob Brueggen’s church. Also, visit
• Marriage ministry is another avenue to get this truthful message out.
• Step back and address the bigger issues. Complementarianism is a secondary issue to the bigger issues of the sovereignty of God and His great creation.
• The modeling method of teaching is irreplaceable.
• Experiencing and showing that submission is a blessing and something not be against.
• The area of missions is very important to address when it comes to this topic.

Next time to come back together is August 11, 2005. The topic is, “How should we do business outside of the local church?”
(notes taken by Missy S. - THANKS!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Expanding the Kingdom...

Tonight the Lord's Kingdom was expanded by one. We had a young man come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior during our Wednesday night Junior High Program. In spite of the turmoil, struggles and problems we have experience, our J-Hi group has kept moving forward. I started the year focusing on Senior High, and have spent the past 3 months working exclusively with the J-Hi program, and have really been enjoying it.

J-Hi kids are nutty and full of energy, but more and more I am beginning to enjoy thier quirks. J-Hi can be frightening to new volunteers, as they really can drain the energy out of you by the end of the night. We start the night playing some tunes at a moderate-loud decible level, playing foosball, air hockey (though our puck is now missing), basketball, lots of giggling/screaming/hanging out, consuming large quantities of Mountain Dew and candy. We follow that with some sort of competition game. Tonight we played the game where you stick your head on a baseball bat, run around it 5 times, run to half-court, grab a basketball and try to shoot at the other end -- all as a relay. Great fun, kids screaming/yelling/cheering/dancing to encourage their team. We followed that with a mental challenge all played in silence. Each of the 3 teams were given 1 can of spray cheese, one box of Triscuits and had to build the tallest structure possible. That is followed with what we call a stage game where two student compete in an eating contest of sorts. Usually something messy or gross, and best when both messy and gross. We then worship, followed by a message, then small groups to end the night.

Friday, April 15, 2005

ELCA going in the toilet -or- Actively Gay Clergy?

The bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — one of the nation's largest Protestant bodies with almost five million members — under a proposal advanced by a council Monday, could allow gay and lesbian clergy in committed relationships to become pastors of congregations.

Church policy currently bans gay and lesbian clergy who are involved with partners, but allows those who are celibate. The proposal, which would require a bishop to seek an exception to the ban for a particular candidate, will be voted on at the Evangelical Lutherans' annual assembly in August. The ELCA's 37-member council reaffirmed the church's stance against blessings for same-gender couples, declaring that the church does not officially approve of such ceremonies.

I grew up in the ELCA, and my parents and a number of extended family are still active in the ELCA. I have been couseling them to get out for a couple of years. The ELCA is a rotting mess. The issues with homosexual pastors is just the tip of the iceberg. Places like Luther Seminary are producing relativists who do not believe in absolutes, who are unwilling to be pinned down in their theology to the fact that Christ is the ONLY way to heaven. I was in the ELCA church until I was 18 (Ok, part of that time the ELCA wasn't yet the ELCA, but in a church that became an ELCA church), having been born, baptistized (sprinkled) and confirmed as a Lutheran. I did not have saving faith in spite of my almost never missing a Sunday church service or Sunday School for 13 years, going through the full confirmation process, and everything else associated with my time there. It wasn't until college where I met some Baptist who were living out their faith that I came to know Christ as Lord and Savior. I always had questions that could not be answered when I was Lutheran, and the theology of the Baptists made so much more sense to me.

Don't wait for the rats to jump off the ELCA boat, get off now, join a Bible believing Bible preaching Bible teaching denomination/church today! I can suggest a few, my personal favorite is the Baptist General Conference, though there are others that are great as well (my second choice would a tie between Covenant and E-Free churches).

An Alternative Teachers Group - leave NEA!

I got this from a Focus on the Family email. I am directly affected by the evil of NEA, as my beautiful Banana has to deal with NEA in the school she is attached to.

If you are a Christian whose profession is teaching, what can you do when you object to the political posturing of the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, which has been leaning hard to the left for decades? For many, an alternative is the Christian Educators Association International, which was the first national organization of professional Christian educators working in public, private and charter schools.

From its beginning in 1953, CEAI has served the education community by encouraging, equipping and empowering Christian administrators, teachers and support staff in both public and private education. Like NEA, CEAI provides many benefits for its members, such as professional liability insurance. But it also views teaching as a God-given calling and ministry and it promotes the Judeo-Christian ethic in public schools.

Unlike NEA, CEAI does not become aggressively involved in local school debates, although it does work at grass-root levels to defend faith and family values. One regional group of CEAI recently provided information that helped prevent a gay and lesbian club from being approved by students at a high school in Lawton, Okla. Another alerted parents that a school board in Roseville, Calif., was about to amend district policy to allow students to leave campus for medical procedures, including abortion, without parental knowledge. Parents packed the January board meeting and found the board responsive to their concerns and rights.

When moral concerns or parental rights are at stake, the group is eager to see parent-friendly results. "Parents must not abdicate their parental responsibilities to their child's public school," says CEAI executive director Finn Laursen, who worked in public schools for 32 years. And with a stated purpose of preserving traditional Christian values of faith and family in schools, it's no surprise that a major emphasis and weapon of CEAI is prayer.

For more information, visit

Complementarianism vs. Egalitarianism

Today I went to Crystal Evangelical Free Church for a pastor's summit on Different by Design, which is an un-official local branch of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). We discussed ideas on how to integrate and implement the complementarian view in our churches. I have been studying this subject for the past year fairly intensively, and have moved from a moderate egalitarian view to a moderate complementarian view. I'll explain the views below for those unfamiliar with them. It was a great chance to meet with others who share these same views and see how it is working in their lives and ministries. I was able to share my passion that churches begin to integrate this at water shed points in people lives in the church, especially (but not limited to!) pre-marital counseling. I think that if we help people come to an understanding of who God has created them to be, we will save them from some potential problems later on in their marriages. I am blessed with a wonderful woman who has a Biblical worldview and understands who God has created her and I to be, and how our uniqueness works to complement each other. I picked up a few good ideas, but the meeting was in large part a reminder of what I learned earlier this year at a conference put on in Minneapolis by the CBMW in conjunction with Bethlehem Baptist's Pastor's Conference. I did have the chance to meet some great people though, and I hope to foster those relationships in the future meetings.

Below is a summary first put together by Pastor Irv Woolf of Crystal E-Free with some additions and tweaks by me.

a. Key idea: Uniqueness
b. Other designation: Different by design
c. Characteristics:
i. Roles are unique and clearly defined by flexible
ii. Abuses -- without love can lead to egalitarianism or authoritarianism
iii. Underlying mood is one of peace and harmony
iv. Appeals to biblical thinking
a. Key idea: Equality
b. Other designation: Equalitarianism (equal status)
c. Characteristics:
i. Roles are interchangeable, loose
ii. Abuses lead to chaos, anarchy, leadership vacuum
iii. Underlying mood is one competition, no structure, rights
iv. Appeals to feminist thinking
a. Key idea: Control
b. Other designation: Hierarchicalism (hieros -holy, meaning "structure, order")
c. Characteristics:
i. Roles are fixed, rigid with male, or less frequently female dominance
ii. Abuses lead to dictatorship, tyranny
iii. Underlying mood is one of fear, intimidation
iv. Appeals to chauvinist and radical feminist thinking

Complementarianism affirms that men and women are equal in value and dignity. God created both in His image. That does not mean that we are not unique. God created us differently to complement each other, with different skills and abilities, all of which are necessary for a healthy and balanced relationship. In using proper hermeneutics, we find that men and women have different roles in marriage as part of the created order. Egalitarianism does not advance on the strength of exegetical examination of scripture, but instead rides piggy-back on our corrupt culture. Complementarianism is very counter-cultural, or at least it is in the USA in 2005. I believe we need to take a stand, and begin to retake churches and denominations that have walked away from this view. For a deeper understanding of the subject, I reccomend Dr. Wayne Grudem's fantastic book (I'd call it his Magnum Opus) - Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Crazy schedule and a wonderful class

My schedule this semester is pretty brutal. I work 4 nights a week, and am at church with the Jr. High Student Ministry on Wednesdays. I get to see my lovely Banana on Fridays and Sundays if I am lucky. I have class 4 of 5 week days, church staff meeting every Tuesday, plus a handful of other meetings and responsibilites on a weekly or monthly basis. June 11th can't get here fast enough! Adding to this is the stress of studying graduate level Greek. I am terrible at languages, especially Greek. I'm praying and hoping for a "C". I am not normally a "C" student, but if I can pull that off it will be a victory. "C" is the minimum acceptable grade to allow a student to move onto the next course. Anything less will require my re-taking it. I really don't want to do that both because of time and cost.

I am taking a course at the seminary called "Understanding the Congregation" and am amazed at the information and ideas it is blessing me with. One of the best things so far has been a book by Kennon L. Callahan called "Twelve Keys to an Effective Church". The first segments of the book called Introduction, Part I: Planning and Hope and Introduction, Part II: Mission and Success are solid gold for ministry. The rest of the book is outstanding as well. There are a few parts I would update/revise, but those are only very minor points that do not take away from the wonderfulness of this resource.

This past Sunday Miss Banana and I completed our pre-marital counseling at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, MN. The pastor we have been meeting with actually married 2 of our friends Saturday night at the beautiful Northwestern College wedding chapel. We talked about our finances and our future plans for finances. I believe we can make it work with a lot of effort and grace.

Our friend's wedding was a great wedding. Banana was a bridesmaid, and I was the "do whatever needs done guy." It was nice to see how things went for them, since our wedding is coming up December 30th 2005. I think my beautiful fiancee got some things to think about from it, and some things to do/not do from observing up close. We have been working on asking our special people to be groomsmen/bridesmaids and participate in the service. So far so good. I need to talk to my long-time best friend "Cook" to be my best man still, but I'm confident he'll say yes.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

A Measure of Media Bias

"A Measure of Media Bias"

Political science professors Tim Groseclose of the University of California at Los Angeles and Jeff Milyo of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago ranked major media outlets to determine whether they had an observable political bias, reports the Agape Press. Groseclose and Milyo used an objective standard by which members of Congress are regularly ranked according to their political views.

In the report, "A Measure of Media Bias," media outlets were given scores according to the objective standards designed for the study. On a scale of 0-100, the higher the score, the more liberal the outlet. Also included were the average scores for members of Congress.

Here are some of the results from the research:

Wall Street Journal 85.1
New York Times 73.7
CBS Evening News 78.7
Los Angeles Times 70.0
CBS The Early Show 66.6
Washington Post 66.6
Newsweek 66.3
NPR Morning Edition 66.3
U.S. News & World Report 65.8
Time 65.4
NBC Today Show 64.0
USA Today 63.4
NBC Nightly News 61.6
ABC World News Tonight 61.0
ABC Good Morning America 56.1
CNN Newslight with Aaron Brown 56.0
PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer 55.8
Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume 39.7

U.S. Representative Average 44.5
U.S. Senator Average 40.0

More information can be found in the American Family Association's April 2005 issue of AFA Journal at

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

None Dare Call it Bigotry...

Understanding the Post-Election Rants against Social Conservatives
by Francis J. Beckwith

"The re-election of President George W. Bush, according to many pundits, was the result of a larger than normal turnout by socially conserva­tive voters, most of whom are Christians. In the 11 states in which there were marriage protec­tion referenda on the ballots, social conserva­tives were provided with an extra incentive to go to the polls. Christianity Today reports that "exit polls show that 22 percent of voters cited 'moral values' as the one issue that mattered most when considering how to vote for President. In what will surely come as a shock to mainstream media, more voters cited moral values than either the economy/jobs (20 percent), terrorism (19 percent), or Iraq (17 percent)." [1]"

Beckwith offers his analysis of the rants against social conservatives in this essay. I found it an interesting read, and think he makes some good points.

The Problem of Evil

A good summary on the existence of Evil.

The question often asked is if there is a God why is there evil in the world. Would not a God of love eradicate evil? It was H. G. Wells that said that, faced with what we see around us in the world, we are forced to conclude either God has the power and does not care, or that God cares but does not have the power. So many take this discouraging position. Evil is a foreign intrusion upon mankind it is allowed but does not flow from God as he is love, evil is not the opposite of good but devoid of anything good. The question of evil has puzzled philosophers for centuries. If there is a God why does he permit it? If God does exist, why is He so remote and not involved in our situation doesn't he care?

If God is all powerful (which he is) why can’t he get rid of the evil in the world? Just because someone doesn’t exercise all their power doesn’t mean they do not possess all power. If God were to take care of the problem of evil right now, many of the people who complain about him not solving the problem of evil would find themselves going out with it. So the answer is found in His patience and longsuffering. He is “longsuffering not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance.”

Mankind has free will, the entire universe is God's and under his control, but not everything is according to his will. Nothing happens that God is not aware of or ultimately is not in control of (set boundaries.) He allows evil to continue even though it is not his will. If evil were God's will it would contradict his perfect and Holy nature and everything he stands for and has told man not to do. -- More --

Big Giant Head

Church Blog Aggregator

The XML aggregator lists information from blogs relevant to the conversation of the church in one easy place. You'll find the Allelon and other articles, stories and news as it unfolds from bloggers in the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia and other places around the globe.

The aggregator has been put together by Malcolm Hawker, so check it out! It updates hourly so the information is always the latest.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

More Americans oppose gay 'marriage,' poll finds

Washington Times Insider

More Americans oppose gay 'marriage,' poll finds
By Jennifer Harper
From the Nation/Politics section

Public opposition to "marriages" between homosexuals is at an all-time high, according to a poll released yesterday.
When asked whether they thought same-sex "marriages" should be recognized by the law as valid and come with the same rights as traditional marriages, 68 percent of the respondents in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll said they should not.
Twenty-eight percent said same-sex "marriages" should be valid and 4 percent had no opinion. The survey of 443 adults was conducted March 18 to 20.
A similar poll by Gallup last year found that 55 percent thought homosexual "marriages" should not be valid, while 42 percent said they should be recognized.
In addition, 466 adults were asked in the same time period what marital arrangements they thought should be recognized for homosexual couples.
The poll found that 20 percent favored same-sex "marriage," 27 percent said civil unions, and 45 percent said "neither."
When asked whether they favored a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as "between a man and a woman," 57 percent said yes, while 37 percent were opposed.
Last year, 48 percent favored the amendment and 46 percent opposed it.
Currently, 43 states have laws that bar recognition of same-sex "marriages," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Twenty-six states have only statutes defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, and 17 have constitutional language. Seven states -- Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin -- have neither.
Kansas voters will decide Tuesday whether their state should amend its constitution to outlaw same-sex "marriage." Voters in Alabama, South Dakota and Tennessee will weigh in on the issue next year.

The debate is a complex one. The South Carolina state Senate will vote on a bill Thursday that would place the question on the state's 2006 ballot.
One economist told the lawmakers that the state will lose "money, talent and opportunity" if it gains a reputation as being intolerant. The economist cited a 1993 study that found anti-homosexual attitudes in Cincinnati cost the city $46 million in convention business.
Meanwhile, Connecticut's state Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee approved a bill Wednesday granting same-sex couples the same rights as traditional married couples. The General Assembly will vote on the matter next month.
Things differ in one corner of the consumer realm, however.
"Same-sex marriage might have polarized lawmakers, but it has galvanized advertisers in the gay press," the Gay Press Report said March 21.
The survey from New York-based Rivendell Media found that spending on advertising in 139 homosexual publications reached $207 million last year, an increase of 28 percent from 2003. Fifteen percent of ads for services were for same-sex "wedding" consultants, the analysis found.