Monday, April 28, 2008

Why settle for better than...?

One excerpt and the conclusion of "Dear Disillusioned Generation" by Katie Galli

In Life After Church, Brian Sanders writes specifically for "leavers"—people who are committed to Jesus Christ but often view church as a "failed experiment." They feel that following Jesus and staying in a local congregation have become mutually exclusive. Likewise, Sarah Cunningham in Dear Church writes for those who "question whether attending a local church has anything to do with a person's faith."

Both authors focus on local congregations as the primary source of disappointment. Sanders says leavers find Sunday morning services irrelevant—they're repetitive, they don't address issues that really matter to them, and they fail to provide meaningful outlets for service. Leavers often feel that they've outgrown what they perceive as simplistic, seeker-oriented messages; nor do they find churches conducive to deep community. Cunningham says 20-somethings are uncomfortable with overly cool, overly polished churches "whose onstage dress code seems to keep designer clothing stores in business." She also wrestles with the socioeconomic and racial homogeneity of local congregations.

Both authors identify a variety of complaints with the church. But naming a problem isn't the same thing as addressing it.

Conclusion: Sanders and Cunningham don't completely disagree. Each spends some time giving a kick in the pants to the disillusioned, and Cunningham's warning hits home: "This kind of unexpected idolatry—the obsession with living in despair over what is wrong with the institutionalized church—creeps up on you (like most shifty little idols do). … Criticism becomes what we end up worshiping." She encourages 20-somethings to have a little more grace and patience with the failures of the church and ends her book with a love letter to the church.

The church can indeed be bureaucratic, inefficient, and, at times, hopelessly outdated. It remains one of the most embarrassing institutions to which one can belong. But it has also given us a 2,000-year legacy of saints and social reformers, and a rich liturgy and theology—the very gift 20-somethings need to grow into the full stature of Christ.

Read the entire articile

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ain't this the truth...sadly so?

Western Confession of Faith - presented by Michael Goheen and posted on

I believe in Science Almighty. I believe in the power of human reason disciplined by the scientific method to understand, control, and change our world.

I believe in Technology and a Rational Society, its only begotten Sons which have the power to renew our world.

I believe in the spirit of Progress. I believe that a science based technology and a rationally organized society will enable me to realize my ultimate goals - freedom, happiness and the comforts of material abundance.

I believe in economism. I believe that the abundance of consumer goods and experiences and the leisure time and freedom to consume them will make me happy. To this I commit myself with all my money, time, energy and resources. Amen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Interesting new book

See the video

Let's just stop it...

Let's just stop inviting people to church and let's just start inviting people to Jesus!

I really mean it...Stop it!

I really mean it...Start it!

Where do you invest most of your life and resources? Do you invest mostly in the barn or in the fields that are ready for the harvest? Barn dwellers are those who invite others into the barn. Harvesters are those who meet the harvest face on.

Are you a "barn dweller" or a "harvester"? Barn dwellers pose the greatest threat of all to the harvest. They look like they are going to work but the harvest dies in the fields.

Barn dwellers BEWARE! Read God's word to the church of Sardis in the book of Revelation 3, "I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you."

Are you a barn dweller or a harvester? Be truthful with yourself.

Let's call a "time out" in the church

Let's call a "time-out" in the church. Let's get into one of those holy huddles and let's take a hard look at our game strategy for reaching the lost. How many new people in your church today are moving to your church from another church? The answer to that question is staggering and almost more than I can bare to face. Truth is, we are attracting people to our churches because we have the better pastor, facility, excitement and program. While the saints are doing the holy shuffle - the lost are still lost.

I spoke with an elderly gentleman yesterday and he told me he and his wife were leaving x church to begin attending y church. I asked him why they were leaving x for y. He said, "there is really nothing wrong with the church we attend, we just want more from a church, we need more spiritual feeding. Our new church is exciting, they have a weekly budget of $30,000 and they are adding onto their facility. Next Sunday we are going to attend our new church."

I have one word that describes how this makes me feel. "SICK"

LifeWay Research, Ed Stetzler

Unchurched adults interested in finding a congregation aren’t nearly as likely to visit one in person as a church member who is shopping for a new congregation. That means effective evangelism must begin outside the sanctuary in relationships between Christians and unbelievers, according to research from several recent studies from LifeWay Research...

"The location of our evangelism needs to shift if we want to reach the unchurched and not just move sheep around," said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research. "At LifeWay Research we want to encourage churches to grow through conversion. To do that, they must not rely only of the unchurched visiting our churches. Church switchers are primarily the ones who visit churches. The unchurched stay home...

"So, if you build your outreach on recruiting and reaching church visitors you will often build a church on church switchers," he said.

Stetzer continued, "For several decades we have focused on come and see, invest and invite, bring your friends to church by attracting them with a great program. We call that attractional ministry. Now we are facing the reality that fewer unchurched people are willing to visit a Christian church.

"This will compel us to embrace a go and tell – or incarnational – approach," he said. "Should we invite our friends to church? Sure. But should we be, do, and tell the Gospel to people in culture? You bet. It is not only biblical, but it is even more essential today as our culture grows increasingly resistant to the church."

While unchurched people are open to relationships, few church members are intentionally investing time developing relationships with non-Christians. A soon-to-be published 2007 survey of more than 2,500 adult church members found only 25 percent agreed they "spend time building friendships with non-Christians for the purpose of sharing Christ with them." A full 38 percent actually disagreed with the statement and 36 percent were noncommittal about it.

"Too often the way our churches measure success revolves around what happens at church when we ought to be focusing on what happens in building intentional relationships with those far from Christ," McConnell said. "Some of the activities on our church calendars may actually be preventing effective evangelism by keeping believers away from the people they need to reach."

"Believers must resolve to step into their world to share the Good News with them," Stetzer explained. "If we are waiting for them to someday walk into our churches, that someday may never come.

"We have tried that approach for decades – many church buildings/services are looking great. They have new looks, new music and new strategies," he added. "We have gone to great length to fix up the barn, but the wheat is still not harvesting itself. I believe we must move from attractional ‘come and see’ ministry to incarnational ‘go and tell’ and join Jesus in the harvest fields all around us."

Click Here for more

Do you need a good laugh?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another stupid pastor doing a stupid thing

A really stupid pastor does a really stupid thing...

Who in their right mind would threaten an 80 year old lady's membership for not tithing? Pay up or lose it! reports

Monday, April 21, 2008

Two disturbing conversations...

CONVERSATION NUMBER ONE: I've been reading the book, "UnChristian - What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity and Why It Matters" by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons

On page 110 we read, "When Greg, who is gay, discovered I was a pastor, his demeanor changed. His wounds had history. After a few minutes of hyberbolic invective, I stopped him. 'Tell you what, you don't assume I'm a gay hating bigot, and I won't assume you are a pedophile. Deal? If we buy into stereotypes, we'll never be able to love one another.'

Tears streamed down his face. He asked, 'Are you sure you're a Christian?' Now there were tears of my own. Christians may say, 'Love the sinner; hate the sin,' but Greg and many homosexuals hear, 'God hates fags.' It's unfortunate. It's wrong. And it's our fault."

CONVERSATION NUMBER TWO: Michelle and I were in Muncie, Indiana over the weekend watching our grandson. It was wonderful beyond words. While there, I made a quick visit to the local Marsh supermarket for a few things. I ran into this retired gentleman who looked familiar so I asked him if I knew him. Even though we had never met, he poured out his anger/pain.

When he found out I was a pastor, he immediately admitted that he was gay. He no doubt noticed that I was unmoved by his admission of being gay. My response may have surprised him. Anyway the door was opened for more conversation. Gene then said, "I just gave the church I grew up in my baby grand piano. But now I want it back. In fact I have a lawyer to make sure I get it back. You see my partner and I went to a dinner at the church a couple of weeks ago and one guy told me that people like me (homosexuals)are not welcome here. Another lady asked if I was the donor of the piano and when I said yes, she turned and stomped rudely away from us. If that is how they are going to treat people, I want the piano back."

Was it anger or pain or both? I found myself defending Jesus. I'm still bewildered as to why God allowed this encounter. Maybe Gene needed someone who cared enough to listen instead of judge him. Maybe I needed to see how much of a bigot I have also been. Do we in the Christ family really love the sinner and hate the sin?

Interesting post

Incarnational Practices
By Mark Van S


You are church before you do church. This is one of the fueling insights of the missional church movement. This isn’t a new idea…but it is pretty provocative, especially when one considers its implications. If we take Jesus at his word when he says (as recorded in John 20:21) “as the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” then we realize that our being sent is the basis of our “doing” church. In other words, missiology precedes ecclesiology.

If this is true, then why does modern church planting amount to “service starting?” This is putting the cart before the horse, ecclesiology before missiology. We decide how we are going to “do” church before we have built missional relationships. Putting missiology first changes how we think of ourselves as the church. (If you find this stuff confusing, I encourage you to check out this article on Andrew “Hamo” Hamilton's blog, Backyard Missionaries).

Just to prime the pump on how we might move forward to engage our neighborhoods missionally, I’d like to suggest to you 6 incarnational practices. These are the sort of things that a group of Christians can do out of their existing church, but I think it is better for a group of Christian friends to practice these sorts of things BEFORE a church is established. As they engage in these practices, they'll begin to meet people and know people and as those people need to be discipled and grow in their faith, an ecclesiology for that context should begin to emerge.

For more follow here.

The Planter says, give me your thoughts on this article.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Do you like Church?

What do you like about Church and what do you NOT like?


Does going to Church every Sunday make you a believer? Than what does going to Church have to do with things?

Jus....curious, that's allllll!

Today, I had lunch.....

Today I had lunch with my brother Rick and his family. We talked briefly about Jesus turning water into wine. I changed the subject!

Was it real wine?

Was it fresh without fermentation?

Was it fresh with miraculous fermentation?

Did Jesus drink and make real wine?

Have you read the passage of Scripture that talks about this wine being the best ever?

Are we we missing something here?

What are we missing?

Are we creating a barrier that need not be a hurdle for the world?

What does Jesus really think about wine?

Let's deal with this issue once and for all.

IF YOU....

If you went to Church today....

How did it benefit you and how did it advance God's kingdom work? Can you help us here?

The Greatest Weekend

We just spent the greatest weekend with our grandson Silas who is just over 6 months young. We had a blast. We now know why God makes parents young. While tired we are so blessed to have been asked to come and watch Silas while mom and dad attend a staff retreat. What a blessing Silas is. God has great plans for this child of His.

Just giving thanks for the things or people who really matter!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Quoteable Quote...

"What you use to call them into, is what you call them to."

Think about that the next time you try to decide how to grow your church.

One of the reason's I believe that believers are not personally making disciples is because that is not what they signed on for. This is why I believe the saints can say "amen" to making disciples without making disciples themselves. They know it is right but they do not believe it is personally for them. That's not what they signed on for.

People do not like us changing the rules they originally agreed to when they joined our church(s).


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