Archive for May, 2007

Mars Hill

Posted in Church, Church Planting, Evangelism, God, Megachurch on May 31, 2007 by Scott

Are you familiar with Mars Hill? No, not Rob Bell’s Mars Hill Bible or Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church, I mean the Mars Hill of the Bible. It is where Paul preached to the gentiles in Acts 17 after preaching to the Jews in the synagogues.

Old Truth.com has an interesting article on seeker churches, the co-mingling of the unequally yoked and what unbelievers should see and hear when they come through the doors of the church. Here is an interesting comment.

“By no means did Paul ever intend for church gatherings to conform to these worldly paradigms. In other words, he did not try to bring Mars Hill into the church. Though unbelievers should be welcome to attend our church services, when they do – they should encounter a plainly spoken biblical message based on the whole counsel of God, amongst a group of people that are worshipping in spirit and in truth.”

Are our churches becoming so mediocre that there is no visible difference? Given that God is holy, is this pleasing to Him?

If kids are making-out outside of the building on youth night, if people are smoking near the doors and people are swearing in the hallways, is this casualness an over-correction of the pharisaical attitiudes of the past?

What is our goal; is it to create a place that Christ would come to find the lost or is it to make it Christ-like…like his bride. How do we do that?

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ”…Gandhi

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Did Newspring Cross the Line?

Posted in Christian Music, Church, Church Planting, Discipleship, Evangelism, God, Megachurch, Religion, Video on May 30, 2007 by Scott

We at Floating Axhead try and take a little vacation  and a fight erupts between the fundamentalists and emerging churches.  In case you haven’t heard, here is a recap.

Newspring Church in Anderson, SC, where Perry Noble is the Pastor, recently kicked-off Sunday morning services with this rendition of Garth Brooks I’ve Got Friends in Low Places”  seen here:

In question, is whether the lyrics “Where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away” are appropriate for church (or in this case – pre-church). 

To complicate matters, apparently Tony Morgan, Chief Strategic Officer at Newspring, then made a reference to the Commodores song, Brickhouse.  No need to explain – we all know what this song is about.

Several bloggers, including A Little Leaven, Slice of Laodicea, Jon Earls, and Apprising Ministries are outraged that a church would use a song with such lyrics.

We like Perry and Tony.  They have some great insight and challenge us to search the scriptures for truth.  You’ll even find them both on our Blogroll.  But we like some of these other guys too.  They know their Bible.

Did Newspring cross the line?  Probably.  Did some people enjoy it?  Sure. Did they offend some people?  Absolutely.  Did they reach someone that no one else has reached? Only time will tell.

After carefully reviewing what both sides have  to say about this, we are ready to declare the winner – SATAN

Instead of doing what we have been commanded to do, we are still sitting around arguing and debating about what songs to play or what hymns to sing on Sunday mornings.  Anytime Satan can distract us from our calling, he wins.

Did Jesus Sin?

Posted in God, Megachurch, Religion on May 29, 2007 by Scott

I was reading an article at Barna and there was a stat that floored me. Now I realize that we can get a survey to justify what we want by the sample size, sample make-up, etc, but this is too much to let go.

The article stated that only 37% percent of American adults strongly believe that Jesus was without sin. This is in correlation to 83% of Americans saying they are Christian and 49% saying they are committed to Christianity.

Here’s some Floating Axhead math based on the above…46% of Americans saying they are Christians are lost as a stinkin goose and 12% of those committed to Christianity are flying right behind them…statistically speaking.

It’s simple, if you believe Jesus sinned, you are not a follower of Jesus Christ.

You may believe he died, you may believe he lived an extraordinary life but you are not marked in him with a seal (Ephesians 1:13). If he sinned then he was not a sacrifice worthy to atone for our sin. The good news is that all you have to do is believe in your heart that he was who he said he was, a perfect sacrifice, and the pardon is yours to redeem.

It went on to say that only 25% of adults possess an active faith, meaning they pray, fellowship (go to church) and read the bible in a given week. These three things that God has commanded us to do have a real impact on our knowledge and belief of who Jesus is/was, and forsaking them can definitely lead someone to believe that Jesus was more like us (sinful) and less like God (sinless).

We cannot live what we do not know.

I think these types of statistics scream to pastors that as people ride the crescendo of relevant teaching they need to be urged to follow that up with group and individual study in the word so that we do not drift away (Hebrews 2:1).

Perry Noble just posted that he is on an amazing journey through scripture…he is not saying “wait and hear what’s next”…he’s saying get on the journey with him!

If not, it’s just a guy telling meaningless stories.

Floating Axhead Salute to Our Soldiers

Posted in War on May 26, 2007 by Scott

On this Memorial Day weekend, we at Floating Axhead wish to say Thank You to those who serve, those who have served, and those who have given their life protecting our families. 

Whether you are for the war or against it, liberal or conservative, red state or blue state – whatever – this is what should happen every time you see a soldier…

Derek Webb’s Prayer of Jabez

Posted in Books, Christian Music, Church, Church Planting, Culture, God, Video on May 24, 2007 by Scott

We featured Derek Webb earlier in A New Law and here he comments on the adulterous nature of the church and our fascination with the vending machine gospel. He specifically comments on Bruce Wilkinson’s Prayer of Jabez.

I value Derek’s insight. Are we so in need as a community to believe that our worldly success somehow best glorifies God, and that God’s plan for us always includes what makes us happiest, especially when it is at our own bidding?

Read Paul’s prayer…2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Please view both videos…the first is his commentary and the second is his song.

ONE Church – Part ONE

Posted in Church, Church Planting, Evangelism, Megachurch on May 23, 2007 by Scott

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says, “… and on this rock I will build my church…”  Since that time humans have worked diligently to divide the church into many pieces.

But are we now seeing the beginning of ONE church?

It doesn’t take long to realize that churches across the country are sharing ideas, information, video, and sermon series.  In just a few minutes we found multiple churches with messages such as Confessions of a Pastor, Girls Gone Wild, Parental Guidance, Identity Theft and more. 

Groups such as the NewThing Network, Lifechurch.tv Network, Leadership Network, Cowboy Church Network, and others offer church planting advice, multi-site planning, mentoring, messages, graphics, videos, and other materials.

Check a quick rundown of church conferences and you’ll see the same names appear over and over: Ed Young Jr., Mark Batterson, Craig Groeschel, Marc Discoll, Dave Ferguson, Scott Hodge, Rob Bell and others.  They read the same books, wear the same clothes (not literally), and speak similar language.  

We are not saying these churches are heading toward a huge corporate office somewhere translating scripture and making decisions for everyone.  We have enough of those. What we are saying is that they are sending the same messages, sharing similar visions, and challenging both believers and non-believers to become not just Christians, but disciples of Christ.

Walls are being torn down and traditions thrown aside.  People around the globe are hearing the same messages, singing the same songs, and breaking through the apathy. ONE mindset.  The vision seems to be that we should go into the world – not separately, as different churches/denominations, but as ONE. 

Coming Soon:  Part Two: Is ONE Church a Good Thing?

Gen Y

Posted in Church, Creativity, Leadership, Management on May 22, 2007 by Scott

CNNMoney.com highlights an article in Fortune Magazine on Gen Y or the twentysomething worker. One of my favorite insights is this…

“They’re ambitious, they’re demanding and they question everything, so if there isn’t a good reason for that long commute or late night, don’t expect them to do it. When it comes to loyalty, the companies they work for are last on their list – behind their families, their friends, their communities, their co-workers and, of course, themselves.”

For additional resources on managing Gen Y’s in the office, read Generation Y Voodoo. It is discussing their Heroes, Characteristics, Flexibility Demands and Communication Methods .

Now taking these factors into consideration, what does it mean for churches who are actively recruiting this class of worker for their organizations? LifeChurch.tv : swerve, Tony Morgan, Terry Storch and others have posted positions, and though not overtly advertising to Gen Y, is this their implied target since they are the latest college and high school grads?

Church staffs are being populated with twentysomethings that are single, cheap, and are available on demand. Unfortunately, they are often inefficient and therefore ineffective. Are churches turning away older and more experienced talent that is 2.5x as productive as Gen Y’s because they are more costly or because they may challenge the current processes with their own perspective and thus hinder team unity and the missional purpose?

The US Department of Labor has the national turnover rate at 3.3%. What will turnover be in the church organization with a staff of people less content than their parents and is the burnout fuse already lit? Will churches need more aged volunteers to compensate for the lack of productivity?

I hired a Gen Y MBA a while back; he missed 7 days his first month of employment (there are only 21 business days in a month) and he sent me a text message calling in sick one day…which was also his last. He cried when I fired him.

Developing leaders is crucial in every organization but as leaders we have to recognize that leaders and critical personnel can be recruited from multiple segments; if we keep too narrow of a focus, we will realize, and often too late, that the only thing holding our staff back is talent.