20 Thoughts on the Church After 20 Years Pastoring Ashland Avenue Baptist Church

  1. I love the church, not just the notion of an ideal church or the idea of the church. I love my church. The flesh-and-blood, blood-bought, messy assembly called Ashland Avenue Baptist Church. 
  2. The local church is ground zero for God’s work and mission.
  3. Faithful biblical preaching of God’s inerrant Word is indispensable for the local church’s health, but a healthy church is far more than a preaching point.
  4. Preaching is transformative in the congregation’s life as is preached truth embodied in the lives of equipped saints applying their lives to biblical truth.
  5. Many congregants live the truth I preach far better than I preach it. 
  6. The more I love the flock, the better I preach to them and shepherd them. 
  7. Since my authority to shepherd is derivative of God’s call and God’s Word, not inherent authority, awareness of my personal neediness enhances my pastoral authority rather than weakens it. It also promotes awareness of the limits of pastoral authority.
  8. The church is what the Lord has built and is building by His inscrutable sovereign wisdom and power, and its work is ultimately invincible. 
  9. A faithful gospel church gathered for worship represents a group of people who are only together because Jesus was crucified, dead, buried, and is risen and ascended.
  10. The members of the flock who love Jesus and His church, but who are difficult for me to love (for whatever reason), are some of the most important people in the church for my sanctification and faithfulness as a shepherd. 
  11. Show-offs, theological or otherwise, harm the church and ought to be dealt with accordingly.
  12. The people of God want to be challenged to be involved in what can only happen if Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and the gospel is true. 
  13. Satan does not tremble at the sight of tanks, weapons, and earthly powers, but he knows the worshipping church is a living and visible witness of his doom no matter how feeble it may appear. 
  14. I have consistently learned the most about faithfully following Jesus from saints who love Jesus from their gut. Most have had no formal theological education or training, and some have had little formal education. 
  15. A local church genuinely animated by the gospel will strategize to reach everyone in its community across all ethnic, racial, cultural, and socioeconomic lines. Healthy biblical churches mock the so-called homogenous unit principle. 
  16. Programming and events have no inherent life and will accomplish nothing beyond keeping people busy apart from a people participating who are alive to the gospel. 
  17. There is no one, absolutely no one, outside of the gospel’s saving power. 
  18. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper change us as a body for gospel good in ways we understand and in ways we do not. 
  19. My family can never adequately express our gratitude for our church family. Every aspect of our family life is better and more faithful to Christ because of the love Ashland Avenue Baptist Church has poured out on our family. Outside our home, my kids consider the church the safest place on earth.
  20. I could not imagine life apart from the church. My local church, who loves me and holds me accountable, and because of Christ, the head of the Church, I will never have to for all eternity.
By |October 30th, 2023|Categories: Blog, Featured|

About the Author:

David E. Prince is pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky and assistant professor of Christian preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of In the Arena and Church with Jesus as the Hero. He blogs at Prince on Preaching and frequently writes for The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, For the Church, the BGEA and Preaching Today