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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Church growth strategies have been named many things by many pastors. Others call it “vision casting” others call it being “purpose driven” and others merely call it what it is….pragmatism. I came across these ten interesting myths that made me chuckle:
1. If You’re Not Growing, Something’s Wrong
If growth and a bigger crowd is “always” the result of obedience then some of the OT prophets will have some serious explaining to do.
Of course, if you’re not growing—or you’re declining—I think it is cause to evaluate what you’re doing, but it’s not a given that something is always “wrong.”
God could be doing something different—more Jeremiah and less Peter…
2. The More You Grow, the Healthier You Are
We would love to believe this one. It certainly feels good to have a bigger crowd. There’s a built-in justification for ministry leaders when more people show up, I know. However, just because your church has more people attending doesn’t mean your church is completely healthy. In fact, it might be cause to closely evaluate the message the crowd is hearing…
3. Contemporary Music Will Save Your Church
It can help at times—depending on the community and the people you’re trying to reach—but it’s not always a help. In fact, sometimes it’s an obstacle.
Changing your music and the feel of your worship gathering should have a reason bigger than, “We want to reach young people!” or, “We want to stay hip.” Hopefully, the music you sing is an authentic expression of your distinct makeup as both a church and a community and not a grasp at straws for church growth. …Read More!
Going through my old mail (this article was first run in 2011) I came across a copy of one of the hardest letters I have ever come to write. I have edited the particulars and specifics but featured the letter in it’s entirety. I have featured it not to cause any malice but to perhaps help somebody who may be in a similar situation. When breaking fellowship with a church that is digressing from orthodoxy, it is never easy especially after you have been a devout member. I thank God for the journey I have come through, without which I would not have known his providence and grace.
Dear Pastor XX,
Warmest summer greetings to you and your family. The last six or seven months have been a period of soul searching and re-evaluation of our own lives, our family and church visions in light of the Gospel. Read More
This is an excerpt from a Table Talk (TT) magazine interview with an African pastor (Conrad Mbewe) of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia…
TT: What are two important lessons that Western Christians can learn from the African church?
CM: Western civilization has lost a lot of its interpersonal virtues. It has become overly individualized—if you see what I mean. Issues like hospitality, respect for authority and the elderly, being more people-conscious than time-conscious, and so on are largely lost. This has affected not only the society generally but Christians as well.
Western Christians have filled their lives with too many things (toys?) that have robbed them of eternal perspectives. Electronic gadgets, holidays, sports, recreation, and so on have almost become idols. Even church must be about having fun.
Well, by the time you ask your self that kind of question its very likely you may be in the wrong kind of church or your church has probably missed the point and gone off with the wrong priorities. That being said, it is always a good thing to start thinking about evangelism and having a desire to see others come to a true knowledge of Christ through the gospel. The gospel rightly should be the beginning place for every evangelistic endeavor or discipleship program. In this day and age where churches have resorted to hiring ‘church growth’ gurus to bring about astronomical increase in numbers (with no love for the things of God or commitment) it’s quite encouraging to come across pastors who are keen on evangelism and biblical discipleship.
Missionary and church planter David Cloud (together with his wife Linda) have got a free ebook called Ideas for Evangelism (see free download link below) that is a fruit of collective effort gleaned from many sources as well as from their more than 40 years missionary experiences. They have been church planters, ministered on bus routes, in jails, taught Sunday School classes, witnessed on military bases and university campuses, nursing homes and gladly and humbly tackle several issues in Ideas for Evangelism. This book is for people and churches that feel ‘stuck in a rut’ with their gospel outreach and feel they need to – prove all things; hold fast to that which is good in a bid to uphold a biblical standard in their worship and practice. …Read More!
The Christian Institute reports…
Wealthy gay dad, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, says he and his civil partner Tony will go to court to force churches to host gay weddings.
He told the Essex Chronicle that he will take legal action because “I am still not getting what I want”.
A Government Bill legalising gay marriage passed Parliament recently but it included measures to protect churches from being forced to perform same-sex weddings.
Mr Drewitt-Barlow said: “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church.
“It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognise us.”
He added: “It upsets me because I want it so much – a big lavish ceremony, the whole works, I just don’t think it is going to happen straight away.
“As much as people are saying this is a good thing I am still not getting what I want.” …Read More!
[This article was first posted in August 2012] When I came across this church “marketing advert” I was reminded of something that Alistair Begg once said:
A good church is a Bible-centered church. Nothing is as important as this–not a large congregation, a witty pastor, or tangible experiences of “the holy Spirit”. – Alistair Begg
It seems these days church services are geared to be social entertainment events created to provide a euphoric buzz but the least emphasised aspect seems to be Biblical teaching and discipleship. No wonder some so called pastors have very little or even no reverence for God.
For Reformation theology to affect the life of a local church, it needs to be fleshed out in new perceptions of the dynamics of the corporate life of the local church. While there has been much talk about recovering biblical churchmanship over the last twenty years, and even efforts to recapture the simplicity of the first-century house church, what we have actually seen is the rise of the following:
(1) consumer churchmanship (meeting felt needs);
(2) commercial churchmanship (marketing religious enterprises or entities); and
(3) cultural/countercultural churchmanship (church life that mimics patterns in the broader culture or Christian versions of the counterculture).
What seems to be on the decline is the sort of vibrant, vital churchmanship described in the New Testament (1 Cor. 10:16–17; Eph. 4:11–16; Col. 1:3–14, 3:12–17). Reformed theology casts our churchmanship in a light that might be unfamiliar to us, but seems to be more consistent with the actions and dispositions found in the New Testament. …Read More!
What happened to modern church youth ministries? Why are many youth walking away from church as soon as they are old enough to leave home? Why is there very little reverance for God among the youth? “Divided” the movie has interesting findings…
Theology gives the alarm at the first and so often decisive moment, when the language of religion among a people begins to decline from the truth, and when error, like a rising weed, sprouts and grows into a plant. It then gives timely warning, and people hasten to root it out.-Louis Gaussen – 1840
A very interesting development of late has led me to ask, is the digital age phasing out the printed Bible?
DETROIT — Not too long ago, the sight of someone using an electronic device during a worship service might lead an observer to assume that person was not fully engaged. But not anymore. Reading the Bible used to mean reading a book, but increasingly, people are getting the Word on smartphones, iPads and other electronic devices.
So then, what will happen to the printed Bible? The last word has not been written on that, but experts speculate that its unchallenged reign is over.
“The Bible is sort of the flagship of the printed book culture,” said Timothy Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible” (Mariner, 2011, $15.95). “The printed word is losing its place as the dominant medium for reading.”
He pointed to the traditional family Bible — once commonplace in many homes — as evidence of the decline in printed Bibles. “Most families don’t have them anymore,” he said. “The family Bible as we know it is already a thing of the past in most families. What was once a perfect product during its time has become kind of an artifact.”
Hardcover Bibles are no longer always found in hotel rooms worldwide, either. Last month, a hotel in Newcastle, England, replaced the hardcover Bibles in all 148 guest rooms with Amazon Kindles, preloaded with Bibles. It’s exploring doing the same in all 44 hotels the InterContinental Hotels Group owns worldwide.
Another hotel — the Damson Dene, in England’s Lake District — replaced nightstand Bibles with the popular novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.” …Read More!
An urban legend says that mixed martial arts is the “in” thing for boys to do to prove they are macho men. In a relentless bid to remain cool and relevant several churches have caught up with the culture of the age and have adopted a similar stance towards mixed martial arts. They have abandoned bible study and taken to the mat. But since fads do not stay for long, a new fad is on the rise. It involves using “bath salts”. So, how long will it be till the first youth pastor takes up the culture challenge?
A little tip: “Bath salts” is actually a misnomer (it actually has nothing to do with taking a bath but it sure will salt up your brain). They are a synthetic amphetamine cocktail known as ‘the new LSD’. A new designer drug that has been responsible for altered states of consciousness and zombie like experiences.
With trend setting youth pastors already using snake handling gimmicks as a proof of their faith it sure wont be long before a “bath salts” communion cup is fatally passed around a youth group of eager Bible illiterate enthusiasts.
Sadly, this sickening downgrade of the gospel for temporal experiential highs has led to bible study being a looked at as a stale alternative for Christian growth for my generation of young people and the drum beat of that old limbo song “How low can you go?” has become their mantra.
Leonard Ravenhill was right:
They want their own football field and tennis courts. Dear God, do children go to church to learn to play tennis? God help the preachers! Why can’t we get them spiritual so they want prayer …Read More!
Okay not that I want to cause a stampede but this year’s Shepherd Conference 2012 media is available here.
Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Ca usually hosts an annual event (Shepherd’s Conference) for pastors from all over the world. The topics discussed are usually very nutritious and mouth watering (of course in the spiritual sense). No skinny jeans or sex sermon series or prosperity shtick. The one clip from a couple of years ago (2010) that always reminds me of the Shepherd’s Conference is this one:
With the tongue firmly planted in cheek…
One of the most important questions for a Christian after where will I spend eternity and whom shall I marry is what church shall I attend? Well of course if you just need a joint where to spend Sunday morning ‘s hang over then you may as well a steer away from this site. Steer far away.
I was recently asked by a friend how to choose a good church. To be honest it is a head ache. Possibly a migraine of a decision. With the plethora of churches on the high street these days one needs a lot of prayerful patience. You probably won’t find a perfect church but a good solid Biblical church with sound doctrine is indeed a God send. There’s More
It’s been coming and soon it will be here. Crowd control has always been a nightmare since the days of the ‘brood of vipers’ open air sermons of John the Baptist to the modern day children’s trampoline tea and biscuit parties of a pastor’s wife. Many delighted mega church ushers seemed to jump for joy this week supposing they had landed themselves a useful gadget in ultimate crowd control but stopped mid air as police in the UK seized large numbers of a gadget that has been supposedly dubbed ‘the ushers touch’.
A MILLION-volt stun gun disguised as a mobile phone is being smuggled into Britain by criminals. Potentially-lethal K95s are 24 TIMES more powerful than a police Taser. But There’s More