Growing up as a pastor’s kid, Dan Nichols had firsthand knowledge of the uglier sides of the church. Because of the hurtful things he’d witnessed throughout his childhood, he went into college disdainful of the church and its imperfections. Thankfully, the Lord used the book of Acts and healthier ministry experiences to change his outlook, eventually leading him to plant a church in Pennsylvania.
These days, Dan is the lead pastor at Grace Christian Fellowship in Cortland, New York. He’s also played an integral role in founding The Northeast Collaborative, an organization that provides tools and resources for pastors to lead and launch healthy churches. He has a tremendous heart for seeking the lost, particularly in the Northeast area, which is considered the most unchurched corner of the nation.
In this episode, Dan shares with us his timely and wise thoughts on why he thinks our nation is moving into a post-Christian culture, how God is trying to get our attention, and what we can do moving forward to build healthy churches and make disciples.
Links to Resources Mentioned or Related
- Northeast Collaborative Website
- The Northeast Leadership Summit: Redefining Success (November 5, 2022)
- Grace Christian Fellowship Website
- Chemistry Staffing Website
- 95Network Coaching
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- Read Stalled: Hope and Help for Pastors Who Thought They’d Be There By Now
- Watch Podcast on YouTube
1) People have moved away from the church because they think it has failed them. Many people who have left the church haven’t seen Jesus for who He is and the Gospel for what it is. Instead, they’ve witnessed counterfeit performances and people being imperfect.
2) God’s design for his Church is wonderful. Just because we fall short doesn’t mean that God’s plan isn’t perfect and holy. As Dan says, “Beethoven isn’t a bad composer just because someone plays his music poorly.”
3) God is trying to get our attention now more than ever. According to C.S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” God is using the pain of what’s happening in our world to wake us up. People are desperately searching for hope right now.
4) Nothing we do for the Lord is ever in vain. In the American church, we’ve avoided messiness for too long. God has a vision for the church to be healthy in a holistic way.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV)
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