Sunday, December 18, 2011

PEOPLE ON MISSION WITH JESUS

“Leadership is not merely personal sanctification but the multiplication of disciples.” – Mike Breen 

The majority of churches in America are not growing. It is a well-documented fact. The number one reason for this is that churches have become institutions instead of missionary movements. Institutions tend to be inward focused, intent on preservation rather vision. Movements figure out what God is doing and where He is going and join Him.

In many ways we have succeeded as a church–but succeeded in matters that are contrary to the metrics of the Kingdom. We make the pastor the chief discipler but insist on most of time being spent on the wrong priorities. We want him present in programs whether there is a discipleship purpose or not. We want him to attend to our every need instead of focusing on the work that God is clearly calling us to do. We allow ourselves to be recipients of services instead of providers. In many cases we resist his allowing or equipping others to do what he does for fear that he will stop making our needs his highest personal concern.

And yet at the same time we want to see the church grow. But again, we focus on the wrong metrics. How many people are in the pews and how many dollars in the plate? (Some pastors refer to this as counting nickels and noses.) Because we are not really concerned with doing the work of Jesus ourselves, or that even the church as a whole does the work of Jesus, we never ask whether these additional people represent persons who will be a part of the ministry or simply more consumers of the ministry’s services.

In that scenario, the church is only growing at the expense of the pastor’s exhaustion or lowering the expectations of people who are part of the church. And in that scenario, we have a whole lot of people who are sure they are going to heaven but aren’t insuring that they are taking anyone with them.

Have you read the Great Commission lately? “Then Jesus came to them and said, `All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

Permit me to highlight two phrases: go and make disciples and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Jesus defined his mission as making disciples who would share the Good News of the Kingdom of God. He did not say, “Once you’ve got it made as a disciple” you’re finished. Nor did he say, “Once you have learned my commandments” just hang in there until I return. And he did not say the pastor takes care of the disciples and the rest of us watch.

People on mission for Jesus know that what Jesus counts is how many disciples we have made and disciples are measured by their obedience to the will and purpose of God.

The church is not growing because it is not making disciples, just highly savvy religious consumers.

It’s time to change that. Jesus IS returning.

(c) 2011 by Stephen L Dunn Originally posted in IMMEASURABLY MORE

Monday, December 5, 2011

10 WORST CHURCH MOMENTS FROM A CHURCH SECRET SHOPPER

Maurilio Amorin is a secret church shopper. He shares his insights on his blog, which we have added to our blogroll.  This post I found very interesting- Steve.


I have attended hundreds of church services as a church secret shopper. I’ve had thousands of conversations with volunteers, staff and visitors. Here’s my list of the top 10 worst things people said to me:

10. “Excuse me, but you’re sitting in my seat” It seems cliche but it happens more often than you think.

9. “ya’ not from around here, are ya?” Older man said to me after I asked directions to the restroom. I didn’t respond, but I was thinking: “What gave it away? having all my teeth?”


8. “Follow the blue line. It’s kinda of complicated. Good luck.” Said the two men sitting inside the information kiosk before turning to each other and finishing their conversation. They pointed to a board on the wall with multiple color lines leading to different locations on campus.

7. “Nazarenes are a lot like the Baptists, but holier,” middle aged man at a Nazarene church when I asked him the difference between a Nazarene and a Baptist church.

6. “You’re the prettiest thang I ever seen!” I’m not telling you who said it.

5. “We Lutherans are a homely bunch.” A greeter at a Lutheran church as I asked more information about her church. She was right.

4. “I don’t know anything. I can’t really help you. This is my first day at the information table and the person who was going to train me didn’t show up.”

3. “I’ve got dresses that are older than you!” I don’t really remember how I got into this one, but does it really matter?

2. “It must be a special day, I see a lot of strangers here today.” Misguided Music minister during a Sunday morning greeting time.  No warm and fuzzies for this stranger.

1. “Hey, Mister, come back here! You’re not Catholic, are you? Give me the wafer back!” A Catholic Priest on the rightful suspicion I was impersonating a catholic worshiper during communion. I had to give

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

IS YOUR CHURCH AGING?

From Will Mancini. some brief but important evaluation questions:


5 Indicators that Your Church’s Average Age Might Have Increased Without You Realizing

#1  The senior pastor has been there for over 10 years and is still preaching over 90% of the time. (No team presence)

#2  You could not tell the difference between the worship (music, praise, liturgy) last Sunday and a video of worship 5 years ago.

#3  There are no leaders under age 40 among the top twelve leaders.

#4  There is no one under age 40 participating in the worship planning, programming or leadership.

#5  A majority of the top leaders still laugh about the fact they don’t do social media.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CREATING THIRD SPACES

Mark Batterson has an excellent article that speaks to a principle we are using in our Bridgebuilder Seminars.  I'd be interested in your feedback. - Steve



The cross must be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am claiming that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap, at a crossroads so cosmopolitan they had to write His title in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. At the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble, because that is where He died and that is what he died about and that is where churchmen ought to be and what churchmen should be about.

- George McLeod
A few years ago I had a Starbucks moment. I was studying for a sermon at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill, and I usually tune out the mood music, but one line of lyrics slipped through my reticular activating system. I’d never heard the song before and I didn’t know who the artist was. And maybe I just had too much caffeine in my system, but the juxtaposition of words struck me:

There’s a church on the periphery, Lady of our Epiphany.

And I had a thought as I sipped my vanilla latte: as long as the church stays on the periphery, our culture will never experience an epiphany.

Over the last few decades, the church has been pushed further and further onto the periphery of culture. Or in many instances, the church has retreated to the comfortable confines of its Christian subculture. So we are inside our churches looking out, but we really find ourselves on the outside looking in. God is calling the church out of the church and back into the middle of the marketplace.

I realize that I pastor one church in one small corner of the kingdom. And I don’t want to project my passions onto others. But if we are going to influence the spiritual tide in America, the church needs to stop retreating and start redeeming. The church needs to stop criticizing and start creating. The church needs to stop seeking shelter and start competing for the truth.

Paul didn’t boycott the Aeropagus.1 He didn’t stand outside in a picket line arguing against idolatry. Paul marched into the marketplace of ideas and went toe-to-toe with the most brilliant minds in ancient Athens competing for the truth. Staying on the periphery is one thing the Apostle Paul could never be accused of.

CHURCH STEEPLES

There was a time, just a few centuries ago, when nautical maps of Europe had legends that included the location of churches on land. Church steeples doubled as navigational tools for ship captains. Churches were typically built on choice real estate in the center of town or atop the highest hill. And in some places, there were ordinances against building anything taller than the church steeple so it would occupy the place closest to heaven.2 Nothing was more visible on the pre-modern skyline than church steeples. And in a sense, church steeples symbolized the place of the church in culture. There was a day, in the not too distant past, when church was the center of culture. Church was the place to go. Church was the thing to do. Nothing was more visible than the church steeple. Nothing was more audible than the church bells. And it might be a slight exaggeration, but all the pre-modern church had to do was raise a steeple and ring a bell.

Is it safe to say that things have changed?

The church no longer enjoys a cultural monopoly! We are the minority in post-Christian America. And the significance of that is this: we can’t afford to do church the way it’s always been done. Our incarnational tactics must change.

Don’t get me wrong: the message is sacred. But methods are not. And the moment we anoint our methods as sacred, we stop creating the future and start repeating the past. We stop doing ministry out of imagination and start doing ministry out of memory. And if we think that raising the steeple or ringing the bells will get the job done; the church in America will end up right where the Israelites found themselves in Judges 2:10:
After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.
According to George Barna, 61% of twenty-somethings who grew up going to church stop going to church at some point during their twenties. They become dechurched. They still feel connected to God in some form or fashion, but there is a disconnect with organized religion and the institutional church. And for one reason or another, they are checking out of the church at an alarming rate.

I love the church. I believe in the church. And I’ve poured ten years of blood, sweat, and tears into the church I have the privilege of pastoring — National Community Church in Washington, DC. But the church needs to change! And change always starts with some honest self-reflection.

Some people hear statistics like the one just cited — 61% of twentysomethings that grew up in church leave the church — and they wonder what’s wrong with this generation. I think that’s the wrong reaction. I can’t help but wonder what’s wrong with the church.

In the words of Pogo: we have seen the enemy and he is us. 

Continue reading at this article

 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TECHNOLOGY

This infographic from Tyndale University College and Seminary has a lot of great information.  Including, their top 4 reasons for churches to use technology:
1.  To enrich relationships/stay connected with members
2.  To reach the online community
3.  To evolve with the congregation
4.  To bring in new members
Here’s the graphic.  What stands out to you?
Thank you, Todd Rhodes, for bringing it to our attention.
 

Friday, October 21, 2011

5 CULTURE TRENDS THAT AFFECT THE CHURCH

FROM DUKE DIVINITY CALL AND RESPONSE BLOG

Carol Howard Merritt suggests that churches aren’t the most culturally savvy places:

I know that some congregations are still fighting about whether they should be singing “contemporary” songs, which were written in the 1980s. Or they’re wrestling over the use of PowerPoint, which can be tiresome for people who have endured two decades of PP board meetings… But there are cultural shifts that congregations and church leaders need to track and respond to sensibly. Here are five of them.

1) Finances.

Younger generations are not faring well in this economy. They didn’t do so well when the rest of the country was booming either. Why? Younger generations face high student loan debt, high housing costs and stagnant wages (if they’re even able to get a job). The shame they bear matches our debt load, and they feel like they need to get their life together before they go to church.

2) Work hours.

People who go to mainline churches are wealthier. Or wealthier people go to mainline churches. It’s a chicken-and-egg thing. We don’t know what comes first. But young workers know one thing: many people in their 20s and 30s work retail or in the service industry. The blue laws faded long ago, and you don’t get Sunday mornings off unless you’re management.

3) Families.

People marry and have children later in life. Some people say that adults in their 20s and 30s are just extending adolescence, having fun in their odyssey years, or they’re too commitment-phobic to settle down. Yet, we’re a society that expects financial stability before a couple gets married, and many younger adults can’t manage financial stability.

4) The Internet.

Church leaders have a lot on their plate. Many don’t think they have any time for Facebook or Twitter. They may still be working with the misconception that the only things people are blogging about are what sort of breakfast they had on Tuesday (although if you’re reading this, you probably realize that blogs are good for more than personal over-sharing). But there’s no way to ignore it any longer. Even if a church leader shies away from the web, people may be talking about you on Google Map reviews or Yelp.

5) Politics.

A new generation is exhausted from the culture wars. Many people growing up in the last few decades had a difficult time keeping “Christian” and “Republican” in two separate boxes. Emerging generations look at poverty, the environment and war as complex issues, and many younger evangelicals are less likely to vote on pro-life credentials alone. Many young Christians who grew up evangelical are trying out mainline congregations .

Read more here: <a href="http://www.faithandleadership.com/blog/09-22-2011/carol-howard-merritt-five-cultural-shifts-should-affect-the-way-we-do-church"> Duke Divinity Call &amp; Response Blog</a>

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TWO BRIDGEBUILDERS BEING OFFERED

Bridgebuilders Seminar is a six-hour training seminar to help traditional churches reach their unchurched neighbors.  The Seminar was designed by Dr. Steve Dunn on behalf of the Commission on Evangelism of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Churches of God.

Part of the challenge of this effort is that it is often a cross-cultural experience for which traditional churches are ill-equipped by temperament, knowledge, and skills.  Even if they believe that they are called to reach the mission field that is outside their front door, they often see it as a matter of getting people in the door so that the church might survive. And too often they believe that simply re-packaging a bit what they do will make them attractive to people for whom church is simply irrelevant to their daily lives.


The Seminar breaks down into six sessions:
+”The Mission Field Outside Your Front Door”
+”What Every Missionary Needs to Know”
+ “Christ’s Respectful Ambassador”
+ “Listening to the Holy Spirit and the Culture”
+ “Tools to Building Bridges”
+ “Getting Started as a Church (And as Individuals)

Seminars begin at  9:00 am and conclude at 3:30.  Cost is $15 person or a flat $50 for churches registering four or more participants.  That price includes lunch and a workbook.


To date there have been three Bridgebuilders Seminars involving 20 churches more than 75 persons, plus two introductory seminars attended by 120 persons.





The remaining seminar offerings in 2011 are as follows:

Saturday, October 29, 2011
Germantown Church of God
16924 Raven Rock Road
Cascade MD
Host pastor is Mark Hosler.
Directions

Linglestown Church of God
5834 Linglestown Road
Harrisburg  PA
Host pastor is Barry Stahl.
Directions

You can register for Bridgebuilders by going to the BRIDGEBUILDERS SEMINARS Facebook Page or by going to ERC Evangelism's website EVANGELISM PLUS  Or by calling 717-898-8144.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

FISHERS OF MEN OR KEEPERS OF THE AQUAIRUM


People ask me all the time how we’ve been able to see so many people come to Christ in five years.
Outside of the favor of God, I could give you a lot of specifics. Tell you a lot of things that we’ve done. But none of it will help you until you make a decision we made in the early days of our church.

And that was the decision to be more focused on the people we’re trying to reach than on the people we’re trying to keep. As others have said, to be fishers of men, not just keepers of the aquarium.
We’re not going to cater to the personal preferences of the few in our pursuit of the salvation of the many.

And that includes if the few is ten people when we’re pursuing one hundred.

Or 5,000 when we’re pursuing 10,000.

Or 10,000 when we’re pursuing 20,000.

Most people and churches aren’t willing to do that. They’re keepers of the aquarium. They say they want to reach people, but in reality they’re more focused on preservation than expansion. On keeping people rather than reaching them.

They let saved people dictate style. Saved people dictate focus. Saved people dictate vision.

The result is a room full of saved people. Not people getting saved. Why? Because the people you’re trying to reach aren’t interested in the church that has been created by the people you’re trying to keep. If they were, they’d be coming. But they’re not.

For some reason, right here is where people usually play the discipleship card. They’re trying to disciple the people they’re trying to keep. They accuse you of pitting evangelism against discipleship.
But that isn’t the case. I just believe true disciples should care more about making disciples than freeze framing the church the way it was when they became one. Or wanting twenty-six programs customized to their liking. If the mark of Christian maturity is a bunch of people who want to create a museum glorifying and preserving their personal preferences and then sanctify it by calling it a church, count me out.

Some people say why can’t we have both? You can. Focus on the people you want to reach and you’ll keep the people you want to keep. Let the rest walk. They’ll find a church elsewhere to graze.

The way I see it is they’re just occupying the space of a person who needs to hear the gospel. You’ll fill their seat.

And it will be with the person who needs it the most.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

MEASURING THE CONNECTION - PART 2

This post is part 2 to the September 26, 2011 post CONNECTION AND COMMITMENT.

"Measuring the Connection"
In developing a strategy for helping your people grow to deeper levels of commitment to Christ and His church, it is important to have some simple measurements.  These are the measurements that we use at the Church of God of Landisville:




There are four desired outcomes to be considered in knowing whether people are growing in commitment.

Committed to Worship.  The heart of a truly missional community is the connection with Christ and with the Body in corporate worship.  Without keeping a regular focus on the sovereignty of God and the essential interdependent nature of the Church, we devolve into solo artists whose effectiveness for God is diminished.  Worship is the lifeblood of the church for we acknowledge that is all about Him.  Losing that shared commitment is one of the first warning signs of a person's disengagement.

Committed to a Small Group.  We need one another for prayer, encouragement, servanthood and accountability.  We need people to pour themsleves into our lives and to allow us to do so in return.  A person needs REAL PEOPLE with whom to be connected in an authentic, continuing and transparent way if they are to experience the love of Christ which sustains us daily.  People who only worship often are trying to hide out in the crowd.

Committed to a Ministry.  Membership means ministry.  The scriptures are clear that each of us has a part in the work of the Kingdom and are gifted for it.  If we are not involved in ministry we remain takers of spiritual nourishment but are not givers of spiritual strength.  Ministry places us in the pattern of discipleship that was commanded by Christ -- to be servants.
Committed to Discipleship Equipping. Our deepest desire is for people to be authentic disciples of Jesus Christ.  A disciple by definition is one who is learning.  In a our rapidly changing mission field it is important for people to be growing in their understanding of the Word, of the vision for ministry, and in the use of their gifts to carry out that ministry.  Is the person regularly participating in learning groups or experiences that contribute to this goal. Be it a Bible study, a discipleship class, a training program--are they maintaining a commitment to learning and applying in an intentional way that keeps them maturing and growing as faithful and fruitful disciples of Jesus Christ?

A person who can be considered a part of the core of the congregation is demonstrating a consistent involvement in at least three of these categories.


Our next post will focus on CREATING A STRATEGY FOR CONNECTION AND COMMITMENT.

Permissions: You have blanket permission to reproduce any original post by STEPHEN DUNN on this blog, as long as it is not altered in any way, is not part of a resource for sale, and proper attribution is made to the author.  A link to this blog is appreciated.  A copy of your use is appreciated as well. Send it to sdunnpastor@coglandisville.org

Monday, September 26, 2011

CONNECTION AND COMMITMENT - PART 1

 by Stephen L. Dunn

The outward-focused church is not simply about community outreach and community impact.  It is about life transformation and inviting people into the kingdom of God.  "Making disciples" is still the purpose of an outward-focused church---not simply growing a church but growing a community of faith.  And the target of this ministry is people previously unchurched, people without meaningful Christian roots.

Two words that describe the desired vision outcomes of this effort are connection and commitment.  People need two connections - first connection to Jesus Christ, and then connection to the church where they are
nurtured, equipped, and assisted in becoming part of the community on mission for Jesus.  The tie to Christ and the tie to the body make an unassailable knot that helps the individual live life to full and the church to accomplish the immeasurably more that Christ promises.

There are levels of connection in any church.  In the Church of God of Landisville we recognize five levels. They are tied to involvement in worship, which is often the initial entry or connection point for unchurched people and the church.

        LEADERSHIP CORE = These are the most strongly connected and clearly committed persons – they go the furthest mile by taking leadership responsibility for some ministry of the church.

         CORE = These are persons who worship on a regular basis, are connected to a small group or ministry, have an identifiable ministry in the church or in the community on behalf of the church. They are engaged at least once a year in some kind of training or discipleship learning group.

          CONGREGATION = These are persons who worship at least once per month or are connected on a regular basis with a  Sunday School class, small group or ministry team. They are occasionally involved in one of our ministries.

         COMMUNITY = These are persons who are connected to the church basically by worshiping with us several times a year, occasionally being involved in a program or ministry event, and generally identify us as their church.

          SHUT-INS = These are members of our church who can no longer be a part of active ministry or involvement in worship because they are now living in nursing homes or for health reasons largely confined to home.


      The goal of CONNECTION is to bring people into the body and then help them progress more deeply into that body until they can b identified as the CORE or LEADERSHIP CORE of the church.  If churches are prepared to do so, a strategy can be developed to work with the Spirit to accomplish this task.

In the next post we will talk about MEASURING THE CONNECTION and first steps in the process of intentionally connecting people with the Church.

Permissions: You have blanket permission to reproduce any original post by STEPHEN DUNN on this blog, as long as it is not altered in any way, is not part of a resource for sale, and proper attribution is made to the author.  A link to this blog is appreciated.  A copy of your use is appreciated as well. Send it to sdunnpastor@coglandisville.org

Sunday, September 4, 2011

HOW TO MEASURE THE EVANGELISTIC HEARTBEAT OF YOUR CHURCH

Kevin Harney is an author on outward-focused churches that I have come to appreciate dearly. He is especially articulate on the essential role of evangelism, which is my passion. I use his excellent book Organic Outreach for Churches in a course I teach called "Developing a Strategy of Evangelism in the Local Church."  Recently an adaptation of his material was posted in Church Leaders.Com  which I am reposting here. - Steve

How to Measure the Evangelistic Heartbeat of Your Church


How to Measure the Evangelistic Heartbeat of Your Church
When God looks at the spiritual heart monitor of your church, what pattern does He see?
When God looks at his bride, the church, he longs for her to have a healthy heartbeat. He wants our hearts to beat with his love for the lost, and he longs for evangelistic passion to flow through our veins. The Maker of heaven and earth wants to see each and every church alive with love for the lost and engaged in reaching out with the message and grace of Jesus in natural, organic ways.

God wants to draw people into our fellowship with the assurance that they will be embraced by grace and introduced to the Savior, Jesus. But this can happen only when the people in our church are deeply in love with God.

When we are, our heartbeat is strong. When we do not love God, it is difficult for us to love others. As God looks at the spiritual monitor that registers the evangelistic heartbeat of a church, he sees one of several different patterns. What do you think God sees when he looks at your church?

FLATLINE

Some churches have a loud, high drone and a flatline on their heart monitor. There is no love for God, nor is there a relentless love for the lost. These churches are closed off to visitors, their community, and the world. They don’t reach out or train their members to share Jesus’ love.

Prayer for their community is nonexistent. There was a heartbeat at some time in the distant past, but today the church is flatlining.

If this describes your church, don’t lose hope! We believe in a God who can raise the dead. Heaven is watching your church’s heart monitor, and the Spirit of God is always ready to send a pulse of heavenly energy into your congregation’s heart to bring it back to life. God is ready to return your church to her first love, Jesus Christ. And the Holy Spirit is ready to move your church from apathy to passion.

WEAK PULSE

Sometimes when a doctor checks for a pulse, he’ll say, “I have a pulse, but it’s weak.” There is still life in the body, but action needs to be taken quickly to sustain it.

Many churches have a pulse and there is life, but it’s faint. There is love for God and for people, but it is waning.

If this is a picture of your church, be honest and admit it. You might have a map on a wall somewhere with several pins showing where you send money to support missionaries. You might do an event or two each year that “spiritual seekers” are welcome to attend. You might even try to be friendly if a guest or visitor happens to wander into your church on a Sunday morning.

But honestly, your passion for outreach is gone.

Your church lacks a desperate love for God that will drive you into the world with his good news. You are nice to people who visit your church, but you don’t go out of your way to reach those who are far from God. You send money overseas, but you don’t engage the mission field right next door.

If this describes your congregation, you too need to fall in love with God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—all over again. Yes, you still care. You love God, and you love people. But it is time to rehabilitate your congregation’s heart.

You might need to do some spiritual exercise and fortify your heart to make it beat strongly again. The heart is a muscle, and if you use it, it becomes stronger.

Read Page 2 >>

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

EVANGELISM AND MISSION: WHY YOUR GROUP NEGLECTS THEM

This is a great post from Rick Howerton worthy of discussion in your small group if your church wants to grow in its outward focus.

Evangelism and Mission: Why Your Group Neglects Them


Evangelism and Mission: Why Your Group Neglects Them
Every group should be evangelistically effective at some level.
Not every group is going to experience leading the masses into a relationship with Jesus. Every group should be evangelistically effective at some level though. So, why is it that some groups are ineffective when it comes to being evangelistically missional?
 
1. The leader isn't praying enough. In Jim Egli and Dwight Marable’s book, Small Groups Big Impact, after interviewing more than 3,000 small group leaders, their research showed that, “Of the leaders with a strong prayer life 83% reported that their group had seen someone come to Christ in the past 9 months, but only 19% of the leaders with a weak prayer life could say the same.”
 
2. The leader of the group isn’t directing the group to have an outward focus. Again, Small Group Big Impact… “Ninety percent of the groups surveyed with a strong outward focus had seen someone come to Christ in the last six months, but only 11% of the groups with a weak outward focus could say the same.
 
3. The group leader doesn’t consistently remind the group that they exist to bring others into a relationship with Christ. From Small Group Big Impact… “Group outreach begins with group purpose. If you are launching a group, you should make it clear to those forming the team and those joining that the group exists to experience and extend Jesus’ truth, love, and power. This needs to be repeated over and over again.”
 4. The small group leader isn’t modeling a evangelistically missional lifestyle. Small Groups Big Impact speaks again… “As leaders reach out to their own friends, relatives, and associates – praying for them, loving them, introducing them to their small group members, and bringing them to small group and church events – the small group members capture a vision and imitate their example.”

If This Was Helpful Check Out...
People Into Projects: Let's Use Language That is Actually Missional by Scott Boren
Sympathy for the Devil by Randall Neighbour
The Future of Church/Community, Is Your Church Ready by Kirby Holmes
  
Rick Howerton Rick has one passion... To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet.” He is presentlythe Global Small Group Environmentalist at NavPress Publishing. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as a collegiate pastor, small group pastor, teaching pastor, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer speaking at or leading training in forty settings annually. More from Rick Howerton or visit Rick at blogs.navpress.com/rickhowerton/

Monday, August 29, 2011

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO MISSIONAL?

An outward-focused church is a missional community. The church, as a body, is living on mission with Jesus. But this is far more than a program, it is a lifestyle. And outward-focused churches are shaped by the Spirit to become a missional community made up of individuals living missionally. This video poses some important questions to be asking and reflecting upon as your congregation takes on a missional focus.

Come Explore the More from Jeff D. Johnson on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

WILL MANCINI ON VISION VEHICLES

The Six Vehicles for Church Vision: How Many Are You Using?

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Every pastor wants to get people excited about God’s activity in the world through their local church. But not every pastor understands how to use the multiple vehicles at their disposal. 

The idea of vehicle is easy to understand. If a community is in desperate need of medical supplies, what vehicles are you going to use? A wheelbarrow or a 18-Wheeler or a C-130 cargo aircraft? And if you could, would you want five C-130’s or just one? You get the picture.

Keep in mind that the concepts we are covering are very powerful when implemented. The truth is that pastors have trucks in their fleet that have never seen drive time. The cost is high as the precious cargo of motivational kingdom fuel never dispenses to hearts and minds of their people. But get those rucks rollin and you will see things happen like you’ve never seen before!

This post is the second in a series on “Vehicles for Vision.” The first post dealt with a primary challenge on the subject- the default setting in the pastor’s mind that preaching is the primary vehicle for vision. It is the default mode because it is the easiest. After all, pastors are preparing messages every Sunday already and they don’t have to get other people involved in the delivery process. It’s simple and clean.
In that post we revealed that despite the important role of preaching, the primary vehicle is the church’s connecting environment. So let’s start there and continue our list:

Vehicle #1: The Connecting Environment. This is the primary vehicle because it is the most relationally intensive. Therefore most of the validation, understanding and appreciation takes place here. Don’t complicate this too much. If you have small groups or Sunday school or missional communities, I am suggesting that those leaders or facilitators and the environments that they create are crucial to the delivery of vision.

Vehicle #2: The Leadership Pipeline. If you understand the importance of vehicle one, you might be asking, “How does that actually work?” That’s a great question because it reveals an even more foundational vehicle. In fact, I consider it the prime mover. The leadership pipeline is the vehicle where vision is transferred from leaders to other leaders. It assumes a leadership development culture. It supposes there are time and places where only leaders meet to pray, dream, dialogue and train together. 

Vehicle #3: The Preaching Event. Now we get to everyone’s favorite. And this vehicle is important as it carries a special authority and motivational dynamic with the congregation at large. Preaching connects the vision to the Word of God, to the act of worship, and rallies the entire body of Christ together in a unique way.

Vehicle #4: The Structural Story. This is a meaningful piece that I look forward to unpacking with you. By structural story I mean everything from staff and volunteer position titles, to budget categories, to systems. It’s everything in the background; the supporting processes of the organization. And these  pieces will either make a random, static-like noise or work together to contribute to the story and the vision.

Vehicle #5: The Visual Brand. From screens and worship guides, to curriculum and websites, your church is creating visual palettes from which people are digesting information. It may be a church sign, or a e-mail from the pastor. Everything speaks. As we explore this often overlooked vehicle we will show how you can constantly reflect and reinforce your vision.

Vehicle #6 The Voice of Each One. The icing on the cake is always the word on the street. Vision transfers through people not paper. And the ultimate test is not how well vision was communicated leader to leader, but from a participant to participant. By that I mean, what does Joe attendee say to a co-workers after he’s visited your church for six months? There are important steps that you can take, to help the vision transfer on the front line. Do you know what they are?

As we continue the series we will explore each vehicle further. For now I would encourage you to evaluate your ministry. How many of these vehicles are you currently using?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

BRIDGEBUILDERS SEMINARS - FALL 2011

Bridgebuilders Seminar is a six-hour training event created by Dr. Steve Dunn to help traditional churches reach their unchurched neighbors.  Part of the challenge of this effort is that it is often a cross-cultural experience for which traditional churches are ill-equipped by temperament, knowledge, and skills.  Even if they believe that they are called to reach the mission field that is outside their front door, they often see it as a matter of getting people in the door so that the church might survive. And too often they believe that simply re-packaging a bit what they do will make them attractive to people for whom church is simply irrelevant to their daily lives.

The Seminar breaks down into six sessions:
+"The Mission Field Outside Your Front Door"
+"What Every Missionary Needs to Know"
+ "Christ's Respectful Ambassador"
+ "Listening to the Holy Spirit and the Culture"
+ "Tools to Building Bridges"
+ "Getting Started as a Church (And as Individuals"

 The next two scheduled Bridgebuilders Seminars are in the Middle Atlantic Region.  They will be held at:

September 24, 2011
Newville Church of God
(near Carlisle PA)
9:00 am-3:30 EST
Host pastor: Rev. Wayne Good

October 29, 2011
Germantown Church of God
9:00 am-3:30 pm EST
Host pastor: Rev. Mark Hosler

Under a special agreement with the Commission on Evangelism of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Churches of God (which is sponsoring these two events) the cost is $15 per person or $50 flat fee for churches registering four or more.

To register go to the Commission's web site EVANGELISM PLUS and follow the Bridgebuilders link.

If you would like information about bringing these seminars to your church, region or adjudicatory, please contact Steve Dunn at sdunnpastor@coglandisville.org (717-898-8144)


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE MISSIONAL?

An outward-focused church is a missional community. The church, as a body, is living on mission with Jesus.  But this is far more than a program, it is a lifestyle. And outward-focused churches are shaped by the Spirit to become a missional community made up of individuals living missionally.  This video poses some important questions to be asking and reflecting upon as your congregation takes on a missional focus.

Come Explore the More from Jeff D. Johnson on Vimeo.