The Church has a sin problem. The problem is complex, and difficult to understand. If we don’t solve it, we are likely to lose our relevance in our culture. The problem is that our toleration of sin is completely inside out. What I mean is that we tolerate sin among our membership, but we don’t tolerate it in the culture around us. Continue reading “The Church and Sin”
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”
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”
In a conversation with and old friend, discussing the challenges of solo pastorate churches… Years ago, before the advent of the mega-church or the corporate church, I seem to remember seminarians being placed in small pastorates, Solo pastorate churches in established communities. I was newly saved or not saved yet, so did not understand the dynamics of ministry and expectation.
Perhaps expectations were lower then. Perhaps the propensity of member or attenders to spectate, rather than participate were lower. Perhaps we had more common cultural norms and value systems. I don’t know but I think the challenges of the solo pastorate church were less then.
When I reflect on it now, the challenges of a small urban or suburban congregation are many, and as a much older person, I struggle to imagine a recent seminary graduate having the capacity to lead in this situation without burning himself out.
Here are things that have changed over the last 30-40 years that have made this more (rather than less) challenging: Continue reading “Solo Pastorates Are More Challenging Than Ever”
I could ask the question differently. I could ask what is preventing your church from growing faster. I could ask what is preventing your congregation from growing deeper in relationship with Christ. I could ask the question relative to any specific goal you have what is preventing you from acheiving it. But I really want you to think about your ministry holistically. What are your ministry bottlenecks?
Sometimes the bottleneck appears to be finances. Sometimes the bottleneck appears to be human resources or volunteers. Sometimes that bottleneck appears to be a cohesive vision. I am going to say that none of these things are really bottlenecks. All of them are symptoms of a different bottleneck. A leadership bottleneck. Continue reading “What are Your Bottlenecks?”
I suppose I used to think that the idea of church marketing was a bad idea. A concept from the business world, applied to a non-profit organization, whose mission is not competitive. However, I think the idea of sharing the gospel is marketing. In fact, all churches and all chrisitians are marketers. If we understand a little about sales and marketing, we realize that we use many of the same techniques and ploys in sharing the gospel that marketing and sales professionals do in their work.
We all should be marketing Christ. But along the way, we want to market our church. We want people who accept our message of hope in Christ, to also join our community. We want to recruit them to help us share that same message of hope with others. Continue reading “Church Marketing”
A couple months ago, I read this article about five signs of a declining church, or something like that. When I wrote my curation post, I said that I might write a post about five signs of a recovering church.
Your church has been through a difficult time. A split, a staff member is disciplined, core members dribble away for a couple years, a big fancy mega-church opens a campus down the street and half of your congregation is now “over there”, your senior pastor left to answer a call in Tucumcari, NM. Stuff happens, and it can take the wind out of your sails.
What are 5 signs of a recovering church?
1) Leadership is not in denial about the underlying problems that caused <whatever problem> and are actively forming a plan to correct them. Continue reading “Five Signs of a Recovering Church”
I saw this article by Nova Spinack (internet entrepreneur, and pragmatist) who is advocating a separation of corporate interest and state. He patterns this after the separation of church and state (Establishment clause).
Except that most people today don’t understand certain truths about the founding of our country, the establishment clause, and freedom of religion. While I don’t claim to be an expert – I want to push a non-political view forward that will help us (Christians) understand what the founding fathers intended. Continue reading “Church and State”
A few years ago, my senior pastor asked me what I looked for in a church. At the time, I had been attending and a member of that congregation for about 15 years, and I really hadn’t thought about it before.
The answer I blurted out was “a platform for ministry”. To this date, I do not know what pastor thought about my answer. He asked me what I meant, and I shared (see below) and about the only response I got was “Hmmm”. I however, have continued to value the church as a platform for ministry, and I think that many mature believers instinctively look for something similar. Continue reading “Church as Ministry Platform”
I read this article by Neil Cole, author of “Organic Church” several other books, and it set off a chain reaction in my brain. Neil was reacting to the idea of church mergers and talking about whether the church is a “business”. I posted on facebook, a got a slew of reaction from both churched and unchurched friends. Continue reading “Church-as-a-Business Metaphor”