Tuesday, October 25, 2011


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



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


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.

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

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


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


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.


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