Archive for September, 2008

Real Preachers of Genius

Posted in Church, God, Religion on September 18, 2008 by Scott

Heads bowed, eyes closed… I wondered where that phrase originated from. I thought it was just to keep my wife from staring at the people who raised their hands.

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A Real Revolution

Posted in Christianity, Church, Discipleship, Evangelism, Faith, God, Jesus, Religion on September 17, 2008 by Scott

This from Dave Gibbons, Pastor of NewSong Church in Irvine, Ca.

When I looked more closely at our budget, I realized that over 55% of our budget was staff related. While our staff is amazing, it had unintentionally created a bottleneck in our mission—it impeded the development of our people because we were “staff-driven.

Our first instinct to address needs in the church tends to be hiring professionals. The economy is going to force us to re-examine that practice.

Am I saying we should do away with pastors? Of course not. But we must see the congregation as the leading edge of the church and redefine our pastoral role to support and resource them. The movers and shakers should be in the congregation, not the professional staff. We serve, support, and at times lead—but we lead in the way Paul defined it…equipping our people to do the work of the ministry.

Can you imagine what would happen if the bulk of our resources focused on the development of our people rather than on staff and facilities? Can you imagine the impact that would have on our mission?

It might just result in the greatest transfer of wealth in church history.

Let’s face it, most of us sitting in the pews don’t want this transfer of wealth. It’s easier to sit back and let the church staff do the hard work. Discipleship, evangelism, missions – that’s up to the staff. Just let me know where I need to be and when. With any luck I’ll already have something planned…

One sign of knowing we ARE the church, instead of going to church… when the movers and shakers are in the pews, not the pulpit.

That would be a revolution worth joining.

MegaWhat

Posted in Christianity, Church, Megachurch, Religion on September 16, 2008 by Scott

A new study by Leadership Network and Hartford Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research shows that U. S. megachurches continue to strengthen their foothold in the American religious landscape.

Some of the more interesting findings from the study:

  • Megachurches love the suburbs.
  • Inner-city…not so much.
  • 78% of megachurches thought the term “contemporary” described their worship quite or very well. Drums, guitars, keyboards, and video equipment.
  • They left out fog machines.

  • They define themselves as having a clear mission and purpose, holding strong beliefs and values and being spiritually vital and alive.
  • As opposed to those churches that would answer that they have a blurry vision/purpose, have weak beliefs/values, and are spiritually dead.
  • 50% of income went to salaries, a quarter to buildings and a quarter to missions and programs
  • Don’t ever let anyone tell you these guys don’t earn their money. If they don’t, they shouldn’t be on staff.
  • Their average rate of growth for 5 years is around 50% increase in attendance
  • They must be doing something right…. or wrong. Depends on who you ask. Just ask the Preacher down the street with dwindling attendance, he’ll be happy to point out everything they are doing wrong.
  • 84% of megachurches affirming the centrality of a small group strategy
  • So Big is the New Small

Here’s a question you won’t see on the survey…. What percentage of megachurch pastors shop at Buckle and/or drink Starbucks daily?

Kissing Girls in Hell

Posted in Christianity, Church, Culture, Discipleship, Evangelism, Faith, God, Missional, Religion on September 15, 2008 by Scott

For 24 hours, the message board outside Havens Corners Church read, “I kissed a girl and I liked it, then I went to Hell.”

This reminds me of the time our Youth Minister took us to the local Christian college to hear a guy speak about rock music, which we all know is from the devil. We heard about KISS (Knights in Satan’s Service), backward Satanic masking, Hotel California (which really is hell), etc..

Afterward, we couldn’t wait to run out and purchase KISS, Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Styx, etc… albums. We didn’t turn into Satan worshipers (at least most of us), but it had the opposite effect.

The church put up the sign for shock value and it has generated discussion.

Here’s what we ask… Are lives actually changed by this onset of church signs, billboards, newspaper ads, etc… that admonish a particular group of people? If so, sign us up?

But if not, and if it only serves to drive people away from the church, what’s the purpose?

This feels like God Hates Fags with better packaging.

The 25th Hour

Posted in Christianity, Faith, God, Religion on September 15, 2008 by Scott

The 25th Hour depicts the last day of freedom for a young man before he begins serving a seven-year jail term for drug dealing. Prowling through the city until dawn with his two close male friends and his girlfriend, he is forced to re-examine his life and how he got himself into his predicament…

Only 24 hours left.  Do you hang out with friends and/or family? Go to your favorite restaurant? Sit alone? Perhaps you would spend your last 24 hours serving others.

Maybe we should think about how Jesus spent his last hours before deciding…

  • Jesus Stands Trial Before Pilate
  • Jesus Sent to Herod
  • Jesus Returned to Pilate
  • Jesus is Sentenced to Death
  • Jesus is Led Away to Calvary

The Crucificion

  • Jesus is Crucified on the Cross 
  • The Soldiers Cast Lots for Jesus’ Clothing
  • Jesus is Insulted and Mocked
  • Jesus and the Criminal Luke 23:40-43But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” (NIV) Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
  •  Jesus Speaks to Mary and John
  • Darkness Covers the Land
  • Jesus Cries Out to the Father
  •  Jesus is Thirsty 
  • It is Finished

John 19:30a  When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Luke 23:46Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

How’s that for a little perspective?

Pitching Your Tents

Posted in Church, Religion, Video on September 11, 2008 by Scott


Oops…

The Fake Shake

Posted in Christianity, Church, Megachurch, Religion on September 10, 2008 by Scott

Read this in the Dear Abby column yesterday:

Dear Abby:

I am writing about a change I have seen in church. I accept the loud guitar music and informal settings, although I do miss the traditional hymns and formal altars.

What I cannot get used to is the forced “friendly” greeting and handshaking. I attend church to meditate and worship with my family. I do not go to shake hands with strangers and give them a greeting dictated by a pastor.

I like people. I am naturally caring, outgoing and friendly. However, I believe that a greeting or handshake should come from my own heart.

I have mentioned this to friends and family from all faiths, ages and walks of life. None of them like this scheduled “greeting” either. Many say they head for the restroom at that time, turn their backs or just shake hands with the people they came with, come to church late to avoid it, or don’t come at all. Others feel the practice is unsanitary.

I suggest that church leaders take an anonymous poll and ask how many in their congregations agree with me. What do you think, Abby? — MINISTER’S DAUGHTER, CAYUCOS, CALIF.

The response…”Something is wrong in our fragmented society if, for one moment in a house of God, people cannot find it in their hearts to reach out and make sure that everyone feels included and welcome. And for those who fear it is unsanitary — bring small bottles of hand sanitizer.