Archive for the Missional Category

Who’s Fault Is It?

Posted in Christianity, Church, Culture, Discipleship, Evangelism, Faith, God, Jesus, Missional, Politics, Religion on November 12, 2008 by Scott

blameNo…not the election.

Who’s fault is it that we have become reliant on the government to solve our societal issues?

Christians have become a pawn in the political process and we allowed it to happen.

Meanwhile, our society is full of people who need help – the homeless, young women considering abortion, kids who are starving, families breaking apart, and more.

And where are we?  Canvassing for our favorite politician so that they can cure everything that is “wrong” in our country.

Pastor Greg Matte of Houston’s First Baptist Church puts it this way:

…government policy has stepped into theology. The beginning of life and definition of marriage are theological issues, not political… We redefine family and look to government as the lone savior – and here we sit.

Baby Boomers moved from biblical values to “do your own thing” which included raising their kids to enjoy a lazy Sunday morning instead of church.

We now raise our kids on the sporting fields while shoe polishing our SUVs each weekend with “Go Team! On to the ‘ships!” instead of teaching the difference between eternal rewards and plastic trophies.

All valid points.  So, now what?

Roxanne Wieman at Relevant Magazine has some great ideas:

We do not rest our hopes for change on a political party or candidate…. in January when Obama takes office, we get up and we continue our sojourn to follow Jesus. We live our votes for life, for justice, for peace, for equality.

We comfort our friend who tells us she’s considering abortion. Then we gently tell her why we believe life in the womb is precious. We help her find alternative options … and we stick by her side all through the pregnancy and birth and after. She is not a statistic or a faceless evil to us.

We love beyond racial, gender and sexual lines. We reject stereotypes. We embrace individuals. We work for reconciliation.

We do not talk about “that side of town,” we live there and work there and mentor there. We are a part of educational reform, and ESL, and rehabilitation.

We recycle. We reduce our imprint. We consciously make our purchases, recognizing the global implications. We strive to “live simply that others may simply live” (Ghandi).

We personally pray for our soldiers in Iraq, for the citizens of Iraq, for our leaders who are making tough decisions that affect millions of lives. We really do pray, and we believe our prayers matter.

We continue to work hard in the jobs God has given us, saving our money and stewarding our resources. We tithe. We donate. We volunteer.

We continually challenge each other to deepen our understanding of whole life ethics and Jesus’ call to follow Him.

Rather than sitting around and “grieving” the election results like James Dobson, it’s time we stop blaming the government, look in the mirror and heed the words of Jesus:

Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

If you really want to make a difference in the issues that plague our society, that’s where we start. It’s time to stop going to church and time to start being the church.


Advertisements

Saving Christians

Posted in Books, Christianity, Church, Discipleship, Evangelism, Faith, God, Jesus, Missional, Religion on October 29, 2008 by Scott

In their new book, Jesus Wants To Save Christians, Rob Bell and Don Golden examine the disparities between the message of Christ and the message of the modern, Western Church.

From Relevant Magazine:

“To preserve prosperity at the expense of the powerless is to miss the heart of God.”  (Rob Bell)

In what ways do you believe the church in America has “preserved prosperity” at others’ expense?

Perhaps one obvious question a church can ask herself is “What percentage of our budget is spent on us and what is spent on others?”

The Church has missed the heart of God by speaking out against abortion while keeping silent about war. Both are forms of violence used to preserve prosperity. Abortion is prenatal war against the powerless child. War is postnatal abortion that destroys innocent life. The kingdom is life for the fetus and life for the civilian. The church embodies this life in a world of expedient and preemptive killing.

It can be difficult to understand the plight of the powerless when we have so much, what can church leaders do to help connect their communities with the heart of God for those suffering right now?

The most powerful thing we’ve seen is when people make a friend from outside their bubble—through a tutoring program, a job skills training class, a Habitat for Humanity build project-when “the poor” has a name and a face and personality for you, everything changes.

As the title of the book suggests, Jesus Wants To Save Christians. In your opinion, what are the biggest things we need saving from?

Boredom. Which is really despair in its non-caffeinated form. And boxes. Where we live in fear and where we put those who unsettle us.

You describe the plan of God for the church to be a gift to the world. Many people today would say that the church is anything but. What are some crucial changes that our churches need to make to become a Eucharist that is broken and poured out for the world?

1. Master the art of doubt. Faith needs it to survive.

2. Surrender the compulsive need to constantly remind people that according to your worldview you’re going to heaven forever when you die and they’re going to burn in hell forever.

3. Celebrate the good and the true and the beautiful wherever and whenever you find it regardless of the label it wears or the person it comes from or the place you found it. All things are yours.

4. Remember that the tax collectors and prostitutes loved to feast with Jesus and the religious establishment gossiped about him and dissected his teachings and questioned his commitment to orthodoxy and eventually had him killed. There’s a lesson for us there.


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.

Discovering Your Calcutta

Posted in Christianity, Church, Community, God, Jesus, Missional, Relationships, Religion with tags on June 15, 2008 by Scott

What’s your Calcutta? It’s not about doing because you think you need to…because it gets you right with God…or makes up for something Christ already died for.

It is about when your heart follows the heart of God, it’s the only appropriate response.

The War on Poverty is Over

Posted in Church, Culture, Missional, Religion on April 23, 2008 by Scott

You heard it here first. The war on poverty is over. Okay, actually you heard it at church first.

A recent poll found that “two-thirds of Americans surveyed in a new poll say their churches are doing enough to help the poor despite the latest United States Census Bureau statistics showing consistent year-to-year increases in the numbers of Americans living in poverty.”

Sixty-seven percent of respondents “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement, “My church already does enough to help the poor in my community.”

“These results, when combined with current census and economic data, expose a discrepancy between Christians who believe they are doing enough and the reality that Christians are just scratching the surface in our communities,” said Steve Haas, vice president for church relations at World Vision.

Question…. How do we as Christians define “doing enough?” Is there a break even point where we decide to utilize our resources elsewhere?

What is an acceptable amount of poor in the community?

Viral Evangelism

Posted in Christianity, Church, Discipleship, Evangelism, Missional, Religion on March 9, 2008 by Scott

viral-marketing-strategies.jpgBrad Abare from Church Marketing Sucks was recently featured in the local newspaper. We assumed it would be another fluff piece on how innovative churches are at attracting non-believers with their corporate-like marketing campaigns.

Until we read this:

“If churches were doing what they’re supposed to be doing, they wouldn’t need advertising. If churches were more active in the community and addressing its needs, they would grow naturally from the original form of marketing: word of mouth.”

Sounds more like an indictment of those of us sitting in the chairs (pews for the old-school people) every Sunday. Viral marketing – or word-of-mouth – is something the church has been doing since the beginning. So what happened?

Somewhere along the way we decided it was easier to be a pew potato – a consumer-for-Christ – than to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). We’ve left it up to the church staff to evangelize. I mean, we all have our own jobs and problems to take care of first. Right?

I don’t know what churches spend annually on marketing, but it’s safe to say if would feed a lot of people, clothe thousands, build homes, start medical clinics… change entire communities.

The Center for Church Communication says:

“Churches have the greatest story ever told, but no one’s listening… That remarkable story is lost thanks in part to poor research, little or no planning, bad clip art, cheesy photos and ignorable ads… It’s not simply flashy designs or catchy slogans, but effective and authentic communication. If we can’t communicate, how can we fulfill he great commission?

If your church isn’t worth talking about, you’re going to the wrong church.

Moving the Bus

Posted in Christianity, Church, Discipleship, Evangelism, Faith, God, Jesus, Lifechurch.tv, Megachurch, Missional, Religion on January 2, 2008 by Scott

makeover.jpgOur friend Trevor spoke this weekend about one of his favorite shows, Extreme Home Makeover.  His favorite part is when they move the bus out of the way so the family can see their new home. He gets a little choked up when he sees the reaction of the family.

Trevor grew up in Edmond, OK, where there are churches on virtually every corner.  Surrounded by tens of thousands of Christians for years, not one person spoke to him about accepting Christ into his life.  Hard to believe… Or is it?

There are a lot of people out there – even in cities with hundreds of churches – that need someone to “move the bus” out of the way so they can see the makeover Christ has to offer them. 

So here is the Floating Axhead challenge for 2008…. “Move the bus” for at least one person this year. If you don’t do it, chances are no one else will.