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Archive for July, 2009

building a church in 7 minutes or less

July 30, 2009 Leave a comment

This morning I received an email of free resources from a group that offers church planters practical advice on successfully planting and growing new churches.

I downloaded the resources and started navigating around their website to see what else they had to say.

That’s when I stumbled across this image:

Picture 6

I found the image on a page offering an audio resource instructing planters on how to implement a fail-proof  way to “turn your first time guests into members.”

During the course of this three hour (downloadable) audio resource, this church planting group promises to teach planters:

  • How to WOW! first time guests by the way they are greeted, directed, treated and seated
  • How to effectively collect information from first time guests
  • How to follow-up on first time guests so that they are prayed for and invited back
  • How to survey first time guests
  • How to treat and follow-up with second time guests
  • How to move people toward baptism and membership
  • How to develop a customized assimilation strategy
  • Plus so much more!

Are you feeling a little skeptical? Starting to think that his sounds a little too easy?

What if I showed you an endorsement from a church that had great success with the program?

“This seminar offers you a strategic process for integrating newcomers into your church, with the goal of helping them become fully committed Christ followers. These are the steps that we’ve used in the past 13 years at Fellowship of The Woodlands as we’ve grown from 15 to 15,000.” [Kerry Shook, Senior Pastor, Fellowship of The Woodlands (TX)]

. . . . . . . . .

This is what I want to know – what do we do with a resource like this?

Let’s say you were offered this resource for free (in reality it costs $67), would you listen to it?  Would you implement any of their systems or heed any of their advice?  What if you found some legitimate, biblically sound wisdom in the resource?

I have to ask myself whether or not I am I truly teachable if I summarily reject everything some one has to say just because I disagree with their marketing-driven clip art?

Having read one of these guys books before (and having posting about it on this blog – hint, hint), I understand how incredibly dangerous it would be for a pastor to check their bibles, minds, and leadership at the door and just run with these guys’ system – I think there is a high percentage chance that the gospel would be lost.

But, I also wonder if there is a whole sea of men who have committed the same transgression, its just that we like the guys they are following a whole lot better?

Picture 7

experiment in blogging: abbey vamps … unsuccessfully?

July 28, 2009 1 comment

Still trying to crank out my papers for my seminary classes, so I didn’t have much brain energy for a clever blog idea.

I am a huge advocate of discipleship through providing opportunities for leadership, so I decided it was time for Abbey to carry her weight on the old family blog.

I had high hopes but …

I mean, at least she could have rolled over or something … its not like she doesn’t know any tricks.

It looks like we will be doing a little work on the impromptu video skills in the week(s) to come.

(As I write this, she is rocking from shoulder to shoulder … what a little teasing rascal)

experiment in blogging: you write the post

July 27, 2009 Leave a comment

This week I have back-to-back papers to write, limiting the time I have to post on the blog.

But I just couldn’t pass up posting this photo.

Its not exactly the kind of photo that simply stands alone – the context is everything

Here’s the photo, be sure to read the caption:

Picture 5

Israeli-Druze bride Arin Safadi, 24, departs through the United Nations buffer zone at the Quneitra crossing in the Golan Heights, to marry a Syrian-Druze groom on Septemper 25, 2008. Once she crosses into Syria, the bride is not allowed to return to Israel. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

Just in case you didn’t read the caption, the last sentence says, “Once she (the bride) crosses into Syria, the bride is not allowed to return to Israel.”

I have so many things that I want to say about this image . . . about marriage, willingness to leave all that is familiar for the sake of the one you love, crossing into a new kingdom, but I just don’t have the time to do it justice.

So I am going to gamble that some of you, as you look at this image and reflect on the power of what is depicted, will have what it takes to write the post for me.

Leave a comment with your reflection on the biblical themes that are embedded in the photo.

Sometime this week I will re-post the image along with the most thought provoking guest post (or posts).

Don’t let me down – the reputation of my blog (in the minds of the 6 of you who read it) hangs in the balance.

. . . . . .

[I found this image at The Big Picture … go check it out]

friday is a bad day to ask a question, but…

July 24, 2009 9 comments

Just a quick post, because I want to ask a quick question before it gets too late in the day and this post never gets read.

A couple weeks ago Beth was “trapped” in the house with no internet.  She wanted the internet so badly that she decided to wait it out by reading every single word on every single page that I had open in Firefox on my laptop.

monkposterAt the time, I was doing a little research on people’s thoughts about the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.

In particular, I left a post by a SBC blogger calling himself the Internet Monk, who had some great thoughts about the SBC Annual Meeting (‘My Thoughts on Today’s Southern Baptist Convention Meeting‘) that generated a great deal of buzz among internet savvy SBCers.

Southern Baptists have never been known for holding back their opinions, so “internet buzz” equates to some seriously long comment threads on “buzz-worthy” posts.

As Beth was laying siege to the high speed internet service, waiting for it to throw in the towel and start working again, she read through I-Monk’s post and every single one of the 100+ comments that accompanied it.

She came across something that was really fascinating and really concerning, which leads us to the real point of my post.

Here are a couple observation points made by I-Monk:

5. The motions brought from the floor did reveal what an utter waste of time the culture war has been for Southern Baptists. With a $40 million dollar missions’ shortfall, some SBCers still want to boycott Pepsi and harp about Mark Driscoll. [. . .]

6. The patient teaching of the Gospel and church-centered theology by the Founders Ministries and 9Marks has paid off in more fruit than can be put in a basket. Hundreds and hundreds of young people, hungry to hear how to build a Gospel centered, God honoring, missionary focused church. It is astonishing. It may not be revival, but it is a solid outcome that will make a huge difference for a small number of churches.

The mention of Mark Driscoll’s name stirred up some seriously spirited debate among the commenters on the blog, including an intriguing series of comments by a impassioned woman named Lydia who expressed very strong concerns with the influence of Mark Driscoll over young Southern Baptist future-leaders.

Here are some of the things she had to say (condensed from a long series of comments):

These folks (IX Marks and Founders Ministry) promote a heavy top down structure of authoritarianism in the Body as does Driscoll, (Albert) Mohler’s men like (Russel) Moore, (Bruce) Ware, (Denny) Burke and others.

[. . .] It is an ‘anointed’ few running everything. They are very man centered in their view of their ‘roles’ as pastors and elders in the Body. [. . .]

They still want power and control over others in the Body. [. . .] they see themselves as the earthly priests over others.

And the result of their taking over the SBC will be even MORE horrific for the women of the SBC . . . Have you seen how Driscoll preaches about the roles of women? ‘They are more easily deceived”. ‘They are gossips and cannot be trusted’ and MUCH WORSE. He sees them as an object of man’s pleasure.

My goodness, did you not hear his ’sex’ sermons? And these young men in the SBC REVERE this man. Perhaps you have to be a gal to be concerned.

. . . . .

(Responding to a comment that Driscoll is not the “model for SBC reformers”)

But he is for the young seminarians and pastors! I live and breath [Southern Baptist Theological Seminary] as I live here know what of I speak.

And since Driscoll spends so much time on the ‘roles’ topic, you cannot separate it from ‘how’ he does missions and plants churches. We are Christians first..women second.

I am very nervous about this ‘brand’ of young pastor. They are angry, vitriolic and lack humility and respect.

. . . . .

I do want to caution folks that the up and coming wing of the SBC is quite patriarchal. I know because I am surrounded by these young magistrates.

Having read Lydia’s cautionary words and the (not-so-very) short background story leading into her comments, here’s the question(s) that I really want to hear back from you on:

Are Lydia’s fears well-founded? Do her warnings resonate with you?

When you listen to Mark Driscoll, Albert Mohler, Russ Moore, Bruce Ware, and Denny Burke, do you fear a future of patriarchal domination of women marked by  anger, vitriol, and the absence of humility and respect?

Or, do you think Lydia has missed the mark on her reading of these men (young and old)?

links worth clicking

July 23, 2009 1 comment

newsiconThere are a bazillion blog and news aggregators out there, making their money and reputation by being the best at passing along other people’s journalism and blog pondering.

I have no intention of competing with them or getting into the “aggregation” business.

But occasionally there are a handful of links that all deserve a “spotlight” when I don’t have time to do individual posts.

Hence, “links worth clicking

(LWC comes with a money-back guarantee)

. . . . . .

Molly Piper’s postWe used to be happy people… I even have proof.”  If you’re a crier, you better grab something tear absorbent, this is a great, hard, heart-wrenching post to read.

. . . . . .

Rainn Wilson’s twitter account (@rainnwilson). Rainn, who play’s Dwight Schrute on NBC’s hit sitcom The Office (it grieves me that I would have to explain that for some people out there), informs his “followers” that today he is sitting down for the first table read (reading through the script with the other cast members, usually sitting around a large table) of the new season of The Office.

Get caught up with missed episodes at Hulu.com.

. . . . . .

FailBlog.org.  If you have not heard of it, shame on all your friends who have kept you in the dark.  This is your go-to place for ridiculous photos and videos of the stupid, thoughtless, ridiculous, unimaginable things that people with publicly do, post, wear, and say.

Prepare to be amazed.

. . . . . .

You guys have any secret “web jems” you care to share?

we’re speechless, abbey most definitely is NOT

July 22, 2009 Leave a comment

I have no idea what Abbey is doing in this video, but she is doing it with all her might!

Abbey really had a verbose day practicing her ever increasing range of sputters, yells, giggles, grunts, sneezes, splurts, gurgles, and groans.

Is it possible that she has voice modulation syndrome?

Only time will tell.

spotlight: drunk evangelism*

July 21, 2009 1 comment

*Evangelism to drunks, that is.

Part of being involved in a church in the downtown corridor, a block away from the Greyhound station, and just down the street from low income neighborhoods spotted with numerous abandoned houses, is that you get to respond to situations that more suburban churches don’t usually have to deal with.

Its pretty tough, after all, for intoxicated and strung out people to walk much farther than a dozen or so blocks.

Having partnered with a church in the city, it is not at all uncommon to be faced with situations I have never experienced before and people with issues that are completely of the map (especially when you are working with a relatively small map).

For this reason, I am incredibly thankful to have friends like Tyler Glodjo who daily work with people who have fallen upon hard times (and many who have pulled the hard times down on top of themselves).

Tyler has recently jumped into the middle of the blog craze, and I am thankful that he did, thankful for eye opening posts detailing his daily experiences with ‘Gospel Sharing & Homeless Drunks‘:

I get to share the gospel with homeless drunks quite a bit.  It’s hard.

Sharing the gospel with drunks is hard because, for some reason, at least where I work, liquor tends to make men more spiritual.

I work at a local relief ministry running a daytime drop-in center for Jackson’s homeless community. Intoxicated homeless men come in to my life on a regular basis.

This morning I could tell that most of my clients spent the early hours passing a few 40 oz. bottles before coming to the center, so I knew I had an interesting day ahead of me – almost everyday is an interesting day for me.

While winning a game of bumper pool (as I usually do), I kept hearing how “JESUS IS ALL I NEED” along with “THERE AIN’T NUTTIN’ BETTER THAN JESUS!  HE TAKES ALL MY SINS AWAYS!”  (The all caps notates the louder volume my men tend to speak at when drunk).

Those types of comments always throw both my theology and evangelism into a strange confusion.

For example . . .

[To keep reading, head over to Tyler’s blog A Shining Barrier Growing Brighter and read ‘Gospel Sharing & Homeless Drunks‘]

The point of this post is not to direct attention toward the “novelty” of interacting with homeless alcoholics, drug users, and prostitutes; its not to take a pot shot at churches who have relocated out into the suburbs; its not to draw attention and gloat over the ministry opportunities our church gets to experience in downtown Jackson.

The point is that we need to believe that the gospel is for all people, all kinds of people … everywhere.

The gospel is for the addicted, for men and women who do not even seem capable of comprehending what we  are saying.

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all men, and we need to lay down our lives and break up our “comfort zones” so that we live as though we actually believe that to be true.

We need to learn to make the gospel known to the very same people who make us check whether out car doors are locked when we pull up at a stoplight.

The gospel is for them, too.

Let’s learn from Tyler – follow him and I’ll keep you up to date with the ways he is serving us through his blog.

. . . . . .

What are some intentional ways that you (or someone you know) approach helping, conversing with, and sharing the gospel with the homeless?