Why I Love the Church! – Guest Post by Mandy Heard

Why I Love the Church! – Guest Post by Mandy Heard

My name is Mandy Heard. I am thirty-eight years old. I have been a member of The Lord’s Church since I was fifteen. However, recently I began to second guess my baptism. Did I do it for me, or for My Lord? Was it because I thought I was earning my salvation by going through motions? To remove all doubt, I made my way down the aisle and was baptized a second time. This time, it wasn’t done out of fear of hell’s fire. It was done out of love and appreciation for My Jesus and the desire to be identified as His Church. Which leads me to the purpose of this article…who or what is the blood-bought Church, and what do I love about it?

First of all, the word “church” comes from a Greek word “ekklesia” which is defined as “an assembly” or “called ones.” So you see, the Church is not a building, but a body of believers.

Now, I mentioned to you already that I have been a member of the Church for a long time. I have grown up being taught from these Biblical principles. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled with identifying who the Church is.

You see, my friends are from many different denominational backgrounds. My friends and I pray together. We have attended Christian based conferences and events together. I do my best to encourage them, and they most definitely encourage me. I do consider my friends to be believers, and I know they love Jesus just as I do.

People often ask, “What’s the difference in the Church of Christ” and other denominations. Most people first recognize that we have no instruments. Others may notice our weekly participation in The Lord’s Supper. And while these are noticeable differences that others may recognize, I have noticed something else that has begun to decrease my confusion regarding who The Church is.

I have recognized in most denominational churches; there seems to be some disagreement or confusion about how they operate. They are usually based off opinions, ideas, or what they’ve learned from other organizations. There seem to be issues that arise based on change. Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever, so why would we expect His Church to be different?

While these opinions and ideas are not always bad, they can make things quite interesting. They can draw others in; they can make things fun and exciting but eventually, comes conflict and confusion. Why? Because they are ideas of “good people,” but not from God The Father. Only God has the authority to direct and lead The Church. Any other assumed authorities will fail. It’s not a matter of if, but when. It’s coming.

Only what God authorizes will stand.

Matthew 16:18- “…upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”

You see friends; God is not the author of confusion. The meaning of The Church wasn’t meant to be complicated.

1 Corinthians 14:33- “…for God is not a God of disorder…”

We have all that we need to fulfill our purpose within The Church. We are equipped. We don’t have to figure out the right way and the wrong way. We just have to know God’s way.

Hebrews 13:21- “…”may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”

We have been given an example by the early church. Why fix what is not broken?

We don’t have to add to it or take away from it. Simply follow it.

My husband and I have been blessed with two amazingly wonderful, yet hormonal teenagers. Now if you’re a parent, you understand the need for boundaries and rules. What would happen if there were none? Anything goes. Stay out as long as you like. Eat what you want. Go ahead, if it feels good, do it. How long would that last? Eventually, our family would crumble. Wouldn’t it?

Guess what? So will the Church.

Often, the Church of Christ is accused of being legalistic. I’ll be real with ya. I’ve struggled with believing this myself at times. But a few weeks ago, my favorite preacher helped me understand this a bit better. Legalism comes about when we act on our own behalf. In other words, it benefits us in some way by following the rules…but, obedience is when we act out of love, honor and for the Lord’s sake. You see, our salvation has been bought and paid for with a price we can never repay. We don’t work for our salvation, but because of it.

So to sum things up, I guess I love the Church because My Jesus first loved me.

May God bless you and keep you!

Mandy Heard is married to Jamie Heard. They have 2 teenage children, Anslee and Cain. Mandy is a home health nurse and considers her job to be an opportunity for ministry. She enjoys sharing with others how Christ has changed her life. She is a member of Roanoke Church of Christ.

Why I Love the Church! Guest Post by Roy Knight

Why I Love the Church! Guest Post by Roy Knight

I love the Church of Christ because of the beauty and simplicity of the doctrine which comes directly from the Bible. To understand my love for the Church, one would have to understand my conversion.

I grew up a staunch Methodist. My mother raised me that way as did her mother. Anything I could do, I did. I was not a lukewarm Methodist. It was my intent in college to attend seminary and go to Liberia in West Africa to be a missionary. I had two other roommates in college. One was the son of a Baptist preacher and the other was from the Church of Christ. Baptist and Methodist were the dominant churches in the area and I knew nothing about the Church of Christ.

We were good friends except when we got on each other’s nerves. One thing we did regularly was to sit in the commons room and discuss religion. It is the intent of most men to win religious battles and I was no exception. The question that stumped me the most for my roommate from the Church of Christ was: “Where do you find that in the Bible”? For example, “Where do you find Christians partaking of the Lord’s Supper quarterly and on special days?” After all, the Bible says in Acts 20:7, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread…” When did the disciples break bread (have the Lord’s Supper)? On the first day of the week which was Sunday. Which Sunday? Every Sunday. So on the weekends when I came home I would wear a trail to my preacher’s house which was next door and we talked about this topic. “Well”, he would say, “That’s the way they did it back then in the Bible but as Methodist we have specific days to have it.” Check one for the Church of Christ for biblical accuracy. But I was determined to win the war.

Our next battle would be over titles like Reverend. Here we go again. “Where do you find that in the Bible?” he would ask. So there I went to my preacher for the answers. “Well”, he would say, “They didn’t use titles like we use them today. It’s a Methodist thing to help distinguish between the different roles.” “Humm”, I thought. “It’s not in the Bible but we use them today?” I found it interesting that not even the apostles were called Reverend. Check two for the Church of Christ for biblical accuracy. But still I was determined to win the war.

The next battle would be fought over special clothing and the clergy / laity system. Here we go again. “Where do you find that in the Bible?” I could not think of any place but surely my preacher would know. “No, it can’t be found in the Bible” he said. “All the special robes and the clergy / laity system kind of evolved over the centuries to what you see today.” So I’m thinking to myself, “All of this is not in the Bible but we are doing it today?” I’m starting to see a trend. The only thing I could reason is that the system developed that way to elevate some above the masses to make them feel special, superior or more holy than others. I remembered in Acts 10:25-26 where it says, “As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” I think men and women like the lofty positions that the religions of today have made for them. Check three for the Church of Christ guy. But I was still determined to win or at least put a chink in his armor that would close his mouth.

Other battles were fought and months passed by but the biggest one was over the importance of baptism for one’s salvation. Finally, I thought. At least this was one point that we would agree upon. After all, I was baptized (sprinkled) when I was several months old. I even had the card from it and it said “Baptism” on the outside. Then came the question “Where do you find babies being baptized in the Bible.” This time I had an answer for him from the Bible. The Bible says in Acts 16:15, “And when she (Lydia) and her household were baptized…”. Besides, in the case of the Philippian jailer that “he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized” (Acts 16:33). See their “household” and their “family” were baptized. There must have been babies there. “How do you know?”, came the response. After all, one who comes to the Lord must come repenting of their sins (Luke 13:3, 5 and confessing (Romans 10:9). A baby can neither repent nor confess. Baptism is for those who are old enough to understand the commitment they are making to the Lord. That made sense.

Besides he said, “Baptism is always an immersion or burial (Romans 6:3-6) in water. It was never a sprinkling and the purpose of baptism was for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38; 22:16). This was a big one because it was not only a religious argument but it affected my very own salvation. So there I go back to my preacher with this wagon load of doctrine to sort out. This took time but most of the answers came back in silent or in snappy little jokes. Finally it got down to the point when I said, “I want to be baptized just like they were in the Bible, by immersion, and for the remission of my sins.”

So we agreed the following weekend when I came home we would go down to the river and he would baptize me. Next week came and so did the excuse that he could not do it that weekend but to come back the following weekend. This happened two more weekends. Seeing that I would not be deterred, he finally said, “Find someone else to do it. If people found out that I baptized (immersed) you for the remission of your sins, I could get in trouble.” I was floored and greatly disappointed. Why could he not do what the Bible clearly stated must be done for salvation, my salvation? It was then that I realized that the church in which I had devoted all of my young life to was not built on God’s word but upon human traditions.

I left there because it is so much easier and reassuring to follow God’s word, book, chapter and verse than it is to defend the traditions of men and cross my fingers and hope that God would save me. I love the Church of Christ because I can know that when I follow God’s word that I can be saved. 1 John 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…” I pray that you are never content with man’s traditions but that you too will come to love the beauty and simplicity of God’s word that is found in the Church of Christ.

Roy Knight

Roy Knight is the minister for the St. George church of Christ located in St. George, South Carolina. Roy also has a weekly podcast entitled, “The Christian Gentleman” located at http://thechristiangentleman.podbean.com/

Personal Note: I appreciate Roy’s words and thoughts on his love for the church. Since meeting Roy for the first time, I have respect for his work and words. Roy has a great heart for the church and a great knowledge. His work in the coastal South Carolina area has been a benefit to the Kingdom and the churches in the area.

Free Sermon on the Mount Study Guide + BONUS

Free Sermon on the Mount Study Guide + BONUS

The Sermon on the Mount is definitely one of the greatest messages ever known to mankind. The words of Jesus have a transforming power when practiced. His words were living, active and life changing to the audience of His day and they can be the same for our generations as well.

This study guide is provided for you to use a resources in your study of the Sermon on the Mount. It is not a perfect study guide because it is just that a study guide. A study guide will ask questions and point out significant cultural and textual points to interest you in digging deeper into the text.



As a special bonus for downloading this resource, you will have full edit rights to the study guide. Simply meaning…

  • You can add your own comments, questions, statements, thoughts, pictures, etc. and claim it as your own.
  • You can use all or portions of this guide and no credit need to be given (other than the documented sources)
  • You can remove any pages of this document for your personal, congregation or private Bible study use.
  • It is yours once you download it.

All I ask is that you do not sell this guide for profit. It has been freely given.

Click Below to Download the Study Guide in Microsoft Word

Here is a Sample Page View

Click Below to Download the Study Guide in Microsoft Word


More Resources Coming Soon!

Stay tuned for more resources from the Preacher’s Pen. The old resources are being revised and more are on their way. Stay up to date by joining the Preacher’s Pen Facebook page, following the Preacher’s Pen on Twitter and signing-up for our free weekly newsletter.

Guest Post – Why I Love the Church! By Scott McCown

Guest Post – Why I Love the Church! By Scott McCown

Seven years ago, Chris Gallagher asked me to write a post of What I love about the church. I gave three reasons then. Here are the “edited for content and to fit in the allotted space” reasons I gave then.

  • I love the Church in view of the fact that God loved Her enough to purchase Her at a sacrificial price.
  • I love the Church that is precious to Christ.
  • I love the Church that has the promise of an eternally joyous relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father.

I still love the Church, in fact, I can honestly say, “I love her more now than I did then or ever have.” But before I list more reasons, allow me to tell you a little about my background.

I grew-up church. My grandparents raised my mother in the Church and my father’s mother and aunts taught him about Christ and His Church. When my parents married there was no question in their young married life about the role of Christ and the Church. As they started a family the role of the Church increased as did their roles within her. During my growing up years my parents taught Bible classes, had members, church leaders, and ministers over for dinner, and held church socials at our house. Dad served as a deacon and was the volunteer minister for the deaf ministry. He later became an elder and continues to serve in that role.

I literally grew-up in Church. I attended a private Christian elementary school, where my mother served as a secretary. When were not at school or school functions we are at Church or church functions. By my upper high school years my peers and I were leading the youth program – we did not have a youth minister. Church was my life.

As high school graduation approached and all the opportunities for adulthood came, I could not think of a better way to live than to dedicate all my time to the Church. I went to school to become a minister. For 28 years, I have served in fulltime ministry with three different congregations. Church involvement was never an option in my mind. I knew I would be a part of Her. I love the Church.

I think of the Church the way the psalmist thought of the House of God. “I was glad when they said to m, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psa 122:1)


  1. I love the Church because she is the Elect Bride of Christ. (Eph 5:21-33). Paul’s description of the Church as the betrothed of Christ is a beautiful portrait. Whenever I see a long-lasting marriage relationship that is beautiful and I see the way the husband dotes on his bride of many years, I think about Christ doting on His Betrothed Bride – the Church. I think of how He is preparing Her for the day He presents His Chosen Bride to the Father. How proud He is of Her beauty and accomplishments that glorify Him. I love the Church because the Christ loves Her.
  2. I love the Church because she is the Kingdom of Christ. (Col 1:13-14). Jesus earthly ministry was about repentance and the Kingdom. As Christians, we are a citizen in that Kingdom now. Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20) as we are part of the earthly kingdom, His Church now. I love the Church because the King of kings is Her Sovereign.
  3. I love the Church because the Bride and Kingdom are a glimpse of heaven. Christ will present his Elect Bride to the Father at the Great Wedding Day (Rev 19:6-10). Christ will turn the Kingdom over to the Father when the end comes (1 Cor 15:24). I love the Church because the Bride and Kingdom will be translated to heaven.
  4. I love the Church because I love Her people. Here people share a common bond. There is a love that is not easily broken. We understand each other’s struggles and pray for each other. We are there to help each other with spiritual, emotional, and physical battles. We rejoice and weep with each other (Rom 12:15). I live hours away from my parents and my brother, but I have family near me, the Church is our family. I love that family and the fellowship we have.

Maybe these are some of the reasons the Hebrew writer penned these words, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Heb 10:24-25)

Why do you love the Church?


Scott McCown is a minister with the Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He and his wife, Amy, have one son, Andrew, who is a Junior at Faulkner University. Scott is a graduate of Faulkner University with a BA in Bible and an MA in Ministry. He regularly publishes The Morning Drive (scottmccown.com).

Personal Note: This month I have asked several people to write for a Guest Post on the Preacher’s Pen website. You will see articles written by people you know and people you don’t know…yet. There will be articles from men, women, preachers, non-preachers, etc. This is an opportunity to see how others love the church. So, enjoy the month of “Why I Love the Church!”

I thank Scott for writing the beginning article for the guest post series, “Why I Love the Church!”  I have always enjoyed Scott’s writings and encourage you to check them out at his websitehttp://www.scottmccown.com

Polishing the Pulpit 2017 – A LONG Review

Polishing the Pulpit 2017 – A LONG Review


After attending Polishing the Pulpit for the past three years and a few times before 2015, I felt the need to share a few thoughts on Polishing the Pulpit and offer few suggestions for those looking to attend in the coming years.

The Polishing the Pulpit Workshop is an annual event among the churches of Christ in Sevierville, TN. This last year there were over 4,700 individuals attending this workshop. The workshop is a refresher for many preachers, elders, deacons and members across the brotherhood. The sessions are given by speakers, both well-known and not so well-known, ranging from current challenges in the church to the basics of the Bible.

This year’s Polishing the Pulpit Workshop was held on August 18 – 24, 2017

A Few Notes: (1) The pictures in the article below are taking from the Polishing the Pulpit Guidebook handed out to registered attendees.  (2) From this point forward, Polishing the Pulpit will be known as PTP.

Brief Background of PTP

From the Polishing the Pulpit website:

Polishing the Pulpit began with three friends getting together to brainstorm sermon ideas. We soon invited other friends and someone said, “This is great! We should tell others.”

We did and invited a speaker to discuss sermon preparation and give sample sermons. Interest increased; more speakers were invited. We moved to a hotel conference area. We dreamed big. “Let’s invite the best speakers in the brotherhood and see who we can get.” They came. Wives wanted in, so we added women’s classes. While these great speakers were assembled in one place, we decided to offer classes for elders. They loved it. People began coming from all over the country.

Youth workers and deacons became interested. We added tracks for them. PTP moved to a larger event center in the Smoky Mountains. Attendance approached 1,000. Christians from other nations began coming.

“Why don’t you have classes for regular members?” we were asked. So, we added the Spiritual Renewal Weekend, as well as tracks for members, teens, and children. Attendance passed 4,100.

Source: https://polishingthepulpit.com/about-us/

Past Experiences

I have had the privilege of attending PTP several times; first in Chattanooga, then Birmingham and several times in Sevierville. In my short period of time, I have witnessed as the PTP workshop has grown and expanded their reach and their program.

My first experience with PTP was in Chattanooga, TN. At the time, PTP was smaller than it is now, but the material was just as well put together. Before the Chattanooga PTP, I had only heard of the workshop by word of mouth. After attending PTP in Chattanooga, I felt it was an excellent workshop for every member of the church, especially preachers.

My second experience was in Birmingham, Alabama and I could tell the workshop had grown in a variety of ways. The numbers of attendees had definitely grown and the classes had expanded to a larger schedule. In Birmingham, the workshop was well attended and I remember a variety of the lessons I heard during that year.

For the past three years, I have attended PTP in Sevierville, TN. I have never publicly reviewed PTP until this point.

My 2017 Experience

Let me begin by encouraging you to take this review for what it is worth — my review of PTP 2017.

Allow me also to set the background for my visit to PTP 2017. I had been on the road for over 1,800 miles before arriving at PTP.  I was a little tired, but I was ready to be refreshed and encouraged.

Now, saying that, also understand I do quite a bit of “hiding” at PTP. I normally sit in the back of the room; many times at a table and I keep to myself. I am not trying to be elusive, but I want to take a break from the normal day and spend my time gaining as many insights as possible.

There are many people I see at PTP that I have known from years past and sometimes we talk but most of the time we walk by each other. It is not that I do not want to speak, it is my desire to use this week as a moment to gain knowledge, relax and enjoy a little quietness.

With all that said, I bet next year I will found.

#bibleclass #polishingthepulpit

Funny personal storyLast year (2016) during one of the last session, I was sitting in the back of the room in my normal seat and noticed someone staring at me. I kept to myself, opened my small tablet and write something on Twitter. When I did I turned around to see the individual looking at me. He smiled and said, “You’re the Preacher’s Pen guy, aren’t you?”

 I laughed and said I was that guy. He said he had been trying to figure out where I was because he noticed the pictures I had posted on Twitter all week. It is great to be quiet sometimes. Anyway, if you decided to follow me on Twitter too you can follow the Preacher’s Pen here or my personal Twitter here.

Anyway, here are some quick thoughts on PTP 2017.

Hosting Location

For the past several years, the workshop has been held at the Sevierville Convention Center in Sevierville, TN. This provides an excellent location due to the size of the facilities and its location in the Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area.

The Convention center is in Sevierville and provides quick access to the western side of Pigeon Forge for the restaurants and area attractions.  Also, there are plenty of hotels near the convention center if you decide not to stay at the one attached to the Convention Center.

With close to 5,000 people to fit into a convention space, the facilities at Sevierville are excellent. While not picture perfect, the convention center provides the ability for a large room for a full gathering as well as smaller rooms and a large vendor display area with additional class rooms attached.

The Sevierville Church of Christ building is also used for some “off-campus” space.

A map of the facilities found in the book is included below so you can see the layout.



The area provides some nice restaurants due to the overwhelming tourist attraction the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area has become over the past decade. You will be able to find national chain restaurants as well as smaller local resturants. The area has grown tremendously and provides for a nice vacation spot as well as a great place to have PTP.

You are able to attend sessions in the beauty of the Smokey Mountains and then go see the area if you would like.  There are many attractions and sights around the area for you to enjoy. I know several families who have made a vacation/PTP trip. They combined some relaxing times with class times and made it a great weekend for their family.

While the area is a great place to have a workshop like PTP, so is the time of the year. During the third week in August, many schools are already back in session or they are starting very soon. As a result, many people do not like to travel because of the time of year, which makes the area a little sparse of the tourism that so commonly occurs.

I will say there is a place to eat in the conference center, but I have never eaten there. I know several who did and they said the food was good. I have had a few cups of coffee there and was pleased.


The schedule for PTP is huge. I am sure the logistics of finding speakers, then room for speakers while trying to anticipate the audience which might be present is an overwhelming task. The schedule is very detailed as it offers classes for all ages, all categories and many different topics.

The schedule is built for someone to gain as much as they want from the workshop. There are attendees who go to every session from early morning until late in the evening. There is a section for youth that has activities taking them late into the evening as well.

The classes begin at 7:00 am and continue until 9:45 pm. You can attend any class you would like, but you still need to find a time to grab a quick bite to eat as you go from class to class. (Note: Only women can attend the Women’s Classes.)

As you can see from a few pictures below, the schedule is packed. You can pick and choose to sessions and line up the various categories you would like to follow.

This is a page from the PTP Workshop booklet. This is a sample of part of the classes from Monday. At the time this article is being posted, the 2017 PTPT Workshop Schedule is still available online at https://polishingthepulpit.com/event/



Each lesson at PTP falls into a specific category. (See photo above) Having the classes arranged by category or tract, allows you to follow the different parts of the discussion.

Here are the class tract divisions as listed in the 2017 PTP Workshop Booklet:


One thing I have consistently enjoyed with PTP, is the topics for the classes. There are many topics that I would never have thought would be in a workshop, but they make a big difference. Who would have thought of having a class on “Church Building Security” a few years ago? There were a few classes dealing with the current social climate (ex. Transgenderism) that were well attended and provide relevant material.


The registration cost for PTP was $225 for 2017. As the workshop has grown, the costs have risen to meet the workshop costs.  I tend not to think of this as a cost, but as support.

I do not mind paying a fee for registration if the material and workshop provide me with motivation, ideas and a readiness to apply what I have learned. However, when it comes to PTP, I am hearing good men who have dedicated their lives to preaching and teaching the Gospel of Christ. In doing so, they are not paid, but they are supported for what they are doing.

Further, I imagine a workshop of this magnitude undertakes more effort than many of realize due to its expanding size.  The costs of renting the facility would be huge because the entire space is rented during this time. The transportation of materials, equipment, and other necessary items is beyond my imagination.

So, when I support Polishing the Pulpit, I am supporting a good work which enables others to spread the gospel of Christ.

Note: You do not have to go for the entire week. There is a lower cost/support option for those who want to be part of the beginning weekend called the Spiritual Renewal Weekend.

Ideas to Save for PTP:

  • Stop drinking soft drinks and save the money you would have spent in a jar and use it for PTP 2018.
  • Sell books – How many books do you have laying around that you never read, will not read and do not plan to read? I know you are not supposed to sell books (as a rule), but this can help to save funds.
  • Plan now. Use a budget and save money now for PTP in 2018. DO not let it sneak up on you.

How to Keep Costs Down

This year, I kept the costs of attending the workshop to a minimum. I did this in two ways; first with the hotel and second with food.

I found a room at the Clarion Inn a few miles from the Sevierville Convention Center for $59 a night. This helped to keep the cost of the room down to a minimum.  If you want to defray the costs even more, then you can find someone to split a room. In fact, next year, I think I am going to rent a cabin and invite a few people to split the costs.

Regarding food, I have heard of a few people who got together at someone’s cabin and had a “potluck” meal. Everyone picked up something, or cooked something (if they could) and brought it to one location. This is a great idea not just to keep costs down, but to spend time fellowshipping with one another.

The second way I was able to keep costs at a minimum was to eat in the room. The room I stayed in had a microwave and a refrigerator; that is all I really need. I bought some groceries before I left home and carried them in a cooler. When I arrived at the hotel, I put everything in the refrigerator for the week.

(WARNING: adjust the temp on the fridge and keep an eye on it. Who knew you could freeze lettuce solid?)

I went to a local grocery store, Kroger, and bought frozen pre-cooked chicken I could warm up each time I had a salad. Each day for lunch, I drove back to the hotel and warmed up the chicken and ate a grilled (microwaved grilled) chicken salad. I was able to sit and relax while I checked email or watched a little television while eating. Not only did this save money, but I lost weight on the trip! Double-Bonus!

Additional Ways to Keep Costs Down:

  • Room with a group and split the costs. Several preachers could room together in a large cabin and split the costs evenly. They could also split the cost of food and lower costs further.
  • Search using a travel site and also look at a site like AirBnB.
  • Use this as an opportunity to drink lots of water. I took a case of water and loaded up the hotel fridge and carried one with me all the time. After walking from session to session all day, you will get your steps in.

A Few of My Secrets to PTP

Having attended PTP for a few years straight, I have learned a few secrets that I will share with you. One thing I like about attending workshops is how to derive the maximum amount of value with minimal effort. (Yes, call me lazy at times. However, it works)

Technology can be your friend at Polishing the Pulpit; if used appropriately. Here are a few ways you can gain some insights at Polishing the Pulpit…

(1) Download the PTP app. The app not only provides you with a schedule, but many of the speakers provide notes and information you can have available with a click or two. You can also review the sessions on the app. The app also has notifications to remind you of various events and changes during Polishing the Pulpit. It is a must have.

(2) Thumb Drive – “It’s what everyone really wants.” After the last lecture on Thursday, a thumb drive containing 90% of the lessons, along with some bonus material (singing, etc.) is given to each person attendee. This thumb drive is a valuable resource for several reasons: (1) You can listen to lectures all year long, (2) You can listen to the lectures you missed, (3) You have an audio library of more than 500 audios.


(3) Planning – If you want to get the best value, plan your week. I typically look through the app, not the book schedule, and add the lectures I want to here to my schedule. I will load up my schedule with every lesson I want to hear; even if some of them are at the same time. When I do this, I will then go back and find the ones I REALLY want to hear. Since I know I will get a thumb drive, it makes this process a little easier.

(4) Hotel Location – There are many hotels in the Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area but not all of them are the best. When booking your room, you can find low rates, but be sure they are not too far away from the Convention Center. It is a burden to have a room all the way across Pigeon Forge because you will be fighting traffic throughout the day. The traffic around dinner time can be a small nightmare if you are not ready. I have found that staying close to the convention center is worth the cost.

(4b) Saying the above, I have never stayed at the hotel by the convention center. I usually find a cheaper rate elsewhere and drive to the convention center. There are several hotels nearby with great rates. A short drive is not much if you are saving some money.

(5) Restaurants – Finding a place to eat in the area is always a dilemma due to a lot of places and the busyness of each one. I have found a few off the beaten path places from using the TripAdvisor app that are excellent. Most of the places I have found around the area had great food at excellent prices.

(6) Technology – The Convention Center has Wi-Fi that you are able to log into, but do not expect it to be blazing fast. The reason: every one of my brethren seems to be on it at any given time. Instead, I use the hotspot on my cell phone. It seems that most companies allow you to use your phone as a hotspot. Check with your phone carrier before taking my advice. I have found using my hotspot is much faster than the Wi-Fi.

What to do after PTP?

After attending a workshop like PTP, you come home with many ideas, thoughts, concerns, a few pages of notes, a thumb drive full of hundreds of audios and a need for a nap.

This is going to be where the rubber meets the road. How will you take all of the information you learned and use it for the glory of God?

This can be a challenging task.

Here are a few suggestions that I have begun to utilize:

(1) The first thing I do after arriving home is to take a break from PTP. Granted, I learned much, but I need to take time and look at the other areas of my life to reorient myself back into the normal swing of things. I am typically away from my family so I end up coming home, taking a short nap and relaxing with them for the evening.  Over the next few days, I find myself taking it easy as I prepare for the lesson I will present on Sunday.

(2) Review your notes. Personally, I take notes in almost every session and I like to go back and review those to see what I can rework into the ministry I am providing. This will take a few days, but I develop a list of what items to work on first. During this, I also see notes about re-listening to the sessions I found most impressive.

(3) Review the lectures you missed. In my case, there were a few lectures I wanted to hear, but they occurred at the same time of another one I wanted to hear. For those that I did not attend, but they were high on my list, I go back and listen to those first.

(4) Keep your booklet and create a “listen to list.” I feel that Jeff Archey mentioned this one night of PTP, but you can create a list of lectures to listen to as you drive to work, travel or just around the house. Use your booklet as your guide.

(5) Set a reminder list. Make a list, or set alarms on your phone to go back and review your notes and a few of your favorite lessons from time to time.

(6) Develop your own lessons. You can use the topics of the PTP lessons and the audio to begin to develop your own lessons for a Bible class, a sermon or personal study. Remember, do not plagiarize and if you use a lesson information to cite the source.

Additional things to consider:

  • Load the audio files on your computer. Thumb drives are easy to lose.
  • Write a review of PTP in your journal to reflect on later.
  • Write those you meet and begin to develop the relationship you have through Christ.
  • Write and thank the staff of PTP and let them know the experience you had throughout the week.
  • Encourage others to attend with you the next year.

Some Overall Pros and Cons of PTP


  • Large Workshop offering many different options (many classes, many speakers)
  • A workshop with proven, lasting value (many attendees returning year after year)
  • A Thumb drive (you know that is what everyone wants)
  • Location (lots to do in the area)


  • Cost/Support (a $225 registration might be too high for some)
  • Time of year is hard on some with school starting.
  • Location may be a far drive for some

Final Thoughts:

PTP 2017 was not only a week of instruction, lectures, and fellowship, but it was a week to spend with some of God’s family with a bunch of ideas intertwined.  Throughout the sessions, I was able to write down a variety of information to look up later and to start seeing how those ideas will be able to work in my ministry.

The sessions, as every year I have been, were always exceeded expectations. I look forward to the sessions and hearing how others deliver a message from the Word of God.

I was able to meet several people for the first time outside of social media, as well as renew some friendships with others I have not seen in several years. It is amazing how interlaced we are because of the blessings of God.

I am planning, Lord willing, to attend PTP 2018 on August 17- 23, 2018. I look forward to being with great speakers, great teachers and most of all, my brethren throughout the world for a few days in August.

Until then, see you later.

Just my thoughts,


8 Things Not to Say in Front of Your Children

8 Things Not to Say in Front of Your Children

Do you desire to see the church grow?

I am sure everyone reading this desires to see the church grow not only in number, but also in our fellowship with each other. However, we might be hindering the potential of future generations by our current speech in front of our children.

Through science, we know that our brains are forming until our early twenties and children are more influential due to their trusting nature. Children are miniature video cameras who “film” everything they see, hear and experience and it begins to form a bias for later life.

In considering the influence we have on children, I would ask you to examine your words that you speak in front of them.

Things Not to Say to Children about God, Church and the Bible

Do not curse God – I believe this one is self-explanatory.

Do not degrade the elders – Many congregations are struggling to find men who are qualified to be elders and I often wonder how many aspire to be elders after hearing what their parents say about the current eldership? Are your children hearing you treat the elders with respect?

Do not degrade the deacons – See explanation above and replace “elder” with deacon.

Do not degrade the preacher – OK, this one really gets me. I believe preachers are evaluated much more (many times more) than elders and deacons because preachers are usually at the forefront of the congregation at all times. Many times the preacher, and the message, are evaluated in the parking lot, the local restaurant at lunch or in the car driving home — what are the children hearing? Ever wonder why churches are suffering to find preachers? – and why there are few preachers?

Do to say the Bible Class is awful – Just because you did not get something out of the Bible class, does not mean someone else did not. Children hear the words you say, then they do not want to go to Bible class and then the church has a large Bible class problem…yes, just as we are seeing now.

Do not say the church is not as important as ___________________. (fill in the blank) – Let your children see that church is an important part of your life. Many times, young people become more liberal than their parents in terms of attendance. This problem will grow more as they see the church not being an important part of their lives.

Do not talk bad about church members – Your children see this and will imitate it as they grow. By the way, should we be gossiping, backstabbing or speaking unloving of a brother or sister anyway?

Do not complain about giving to the church – When children see how adults react to money, it puts a huge weight on their lives. Do your children see you scramble for the checkbook at the last second for the contribution while you always have money prepared for sports expenses?

Just my thoughts,


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