Church Community Matters

I have recently started to inhabit a new church community. I want to talk a little about the differences between big and small churches, especially how community forms. Our new church is a plant from a very large, very successful megachurch that I will refer to as the “mothership”. We get new worship music from the worship band at the mothership. Most of our “methods” and “systems” come from the mothership. And frankly, we are a small to medium sized church. We have a sanctuary that seats about 300 people, and we have two services that are regularly about 2/3 full.

My wife and I have noticed that sometimes this church feels a little impersonal. It has a big church style small group ministry. We haven’t joined a small group yet. we have committed to doing so, and are waiting for the selected group to finish a special curriculum which should happen in a few weeks. We also haven’t started serving in any ministries yet. Continue reading “Church Community Matters”

The Church as a Family

Pastor preached a great sermon this week out of 1 Timothy 5 about how when we need to confront other believers about an issue of faith, (especially when they are near the cliff of a heresy) that we should treat them like a family member. He also talked about how we actually treat our own biological and cultural family members, and how if we don’t “provide” for them we are worse than an unbeliever.

This caused me to think about what it means to treat my family as God has instructed, and also whether our modern North American Evangelical church culture is really anything like a family. I was deeply convicted by the message, and this is the outworking of my thinking about the topic. Continue reading “The Church as a Family”

Literal Interpretation of Scripture

Once upon a Bible translation

About 12 years ago I was doing some web work for the church I was attending, and as a part of that I was posting sermon notes on the website every week. Pastor would send me his notes, and I would take the scripture references and look them up and paste the verse into the text, so readers wouldn’t need to do that. The problem at the time was that the pastor used NASB as his normal version, and I couldn’t find a free electronic copy of that translation. So while I was casting around for free electronic bibles I found the New English Translation – the first free and open source bible translation. Continue reading “Literal Interpretation of Scripture”

Programs are Programs

Programs are just programs. They’re a way to organize people and help them go where God has already called them to go and [do] what God has already called them to do.

I love this statement from Allison Vesterfelt’s post on the StoryLine blog.

I think when we look at our church (the one we are regularly attending) in North America, we tend to see its ministry in terms of the programs that it runs.  We have a view on ministry that says ministry = programs and programs = ministry.  That is, with more words, if some kind of ministry is important, we create a program to do it, and by default any ministry that doesn’t have a program wrapped around it isn’t that important. Continue reading “Programs are Programs”

Busy Work

Some times we just assume things. Like whether something “on our list” really needs to be done. Some times tasks turn in to habits – and we have to ask ourselves whether the original reason we started doing “it” is still viable. It really is a question of value. How much value do I get from doing the task, and how much does it cost me to do it?

Here are some ideas to help you think about busywork in life, career and ministry… Continue reading “Busy Work”

Spirituality and Science

Atheists often hide their belief system or worldview behind a facade of science.

One of the frequent things some of my atheistic friends will say to me is, how can you believe in God and all that “stuff” in the Bible, when science has “clearly” proven all of it wrong.

Atheism requires a belief system that is just as much faith as it is science. But that is hard for many to see or admit. They want to say that science is “fact” – they don’t like the word truth. Its a fact.

Science is based on proving a hypothesis. A proven hypothesis is not a fact, nor is it truth. It is an opinion, supported by facts, that has not yet been overturned by new facts. No more, no less. Continue reading “Spirituality and Science”

Authority and Church

In my last post, I said “As I read my bible, apostolic authority ended when the full canon of scripture was complete”.  My friend Adam called me out on that – saying that he would like to see where I read that.  (Adam, these are my thoughts, more or less informed by my own bible study, however flawed, and my observations of “church”)

I am neither a theologian, nor a studied church historian.  I am just a regular Christian guy trying to parse this world through the lens afforded by the Bible.  With that disclaimer, here are my thoughts: Continue reading “Authority and Church”

Church and The Church

This week I read two posts by Donald Miller on the Storyline Blog.  One was talking about how he doesn’t connect to God when singing in corporate worship, in which he shared that he didn’t attend church frequently.  Apparently the Evangelical community took issue with this and he followed up with what I thought was a really, really thoughtful treatment on the topic of church attendance and church community.

I have my own thoughts, and I know a lot of evangelicals who have walked away from church membership or regular attendance in a local church.  A few years ago I wrote a few posts about Church stuff, and while they are interesting, they are not nearly as incisive as his so I suggest that you all read his posts.

Regardless of whether my own thoughts are insightful, I thought I would share some new thoughts that came while reading the blog posts. Continue reading “Church and The Church”