Faith, Love & Health

Archive for the category “Church Culture”

Ministry VS Organization

As I was running this morning I took a pause and began talking out loud about Ministry VS sustaining an Organization.   So you can download a copy of my first attempts to podcast a short dialogue about this topic.  There is so much more to share about and to think through as followers of Christ.  We must all decide in our hearts where our focus is…people or keeping a organization functioning?  Here is the download!  Enjoy!

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New Worship Album

A friend of mine recommended that I check out http://elevationchurch.org  As I went to their worship page  I found that they have produced a couple of albums.  If you like Desperation Band, I think you’ll love this team of worshipers.  Their new album is called “We Are Alive.”  you can listen to samples through CD Baby

As of July 15th they were giving away 100 CD’s  of the new album “We Are Alive.”  I’d like to thank Wade Joye for posting the give away.   Your team seems to be doing amazing things for the Kingdom.  This is a must for all worship leaders to check out. 

I’m interested to hear if you are finding any new worship albums.

Community Within The Local Church

I’ve been thinking a lot about community within the local church.  What does it look like?  I know some central values must be in place: Trust, honest communication, care and acceptance of diversity.  Due to us being imperfect people,  it seems like we mess up this thing called community, but maybe community is suppose to be messy.  It’s an environment filled with individuals who look, think, and act different then we do. 

The key to community is accepting and caring for everyone.  This is where I think community gets difficult.  It is esaier to accept people who are like us, but how about people who are marginalized, hurt or the polar oppisite, secure – strong energetic leaders?  Community says that everyone belongs.   Though we don’t always agree with everyone within community, we can communicate that we care for each other.  But how?  The first step is showing that you are interested by interacting and engaging in conversation.   Go out of your way to meet people.  Then we must take the next step and include those within community in our lives.  Spend time together, eat together.  At least that is what I like to do.  Many of us get stuck here.  We develop a relationship with a person or a couple that we like and we stop trying to build other relationships.  Community is an ongoing process where we all engage in building relationships and continue to be an extention of God’s love to those within our community. 

What are you experiencing within your community?  How is community being built within your local church? 

Stephanas

gift 

Have you ever met people who authentically care and show their love for each other by meeting people’s needs?  I have seen snap shot pictures of this in my life.  People in the church making meals for those who have been in the hospital, a teacher who actually cares about how a child learns and gives extra time and attention to see the child succeed, a phone call of encouragement, unexpected gifts for those who are in need, people just showing support by sitting with you as you go through tough times in your life and people using their giftings to help you accomplish a need in your home or life.  This could be as basic as household maintenance to using your area of expertise to help a person reach their desired goal – there are endless possibilities. 

The family that scripture marks as a giving family is the household of Stephanas.  We see that from his conversation that “their families heart was devoted to the service of the saints.”  We don’t know the extent of their service, but we do know that it was noble service.  Paul encourages other believers to join the work that this family was doing and not passively stand and watch on the sidelines.

You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it.   I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.  1 Corinthians 16:15-18

(Read more: Paul baptized this family.)  1 Corinthians 1:13-17

We see that they had such a large impact upon the church that Paul also encouraged other believers to submit to the leadership of those like the Stephanas family.  This family must have had a heart of love that extended to those they came in contact with.  They would have been encourager’s in word and in their deeds.  I know many of our Christian communities have individuals like this, but there is a great need for each of us to be part of helping build up the body of Christ. 

I know during the holiday season we are encouraged to help those in need, but it is my hope that the love of Christ will motivate each us to carry the gift of giving throughout the year.  

Merry Christmas?

Wish Me a Merry Christmas

A recent survey released by Rasmussen Reports after the Thanksgiving holiday showed that 67 percent of Americans favor the phrase “Merry Christmas” being used in seasonal advertising while only 26 percent would choose “Happy Holidays.”  There are many Christians choosing not to shop at stores that are choosing to market Christmas with the terminology’s “Happy Holidays” they feel this is one step of taking Christ out of Christmas.  In fact there is ” Wish me a Merry Christmas” campaign to combat against  retailers who are choosing to take Christ out of Christmas. 

 I am interested to hear back from you guys and tell me your thoughts on this.  How do you think the body of Christ should respond to this?  I know James Dobson  believes that we should communicate to retailers by choosing not to shop at stores who take this stand.  What do you think??

Demas

no Turning Back

One of the hardest parts of ministry for me is investing into a person’s life for a season and a couple years down the road they make a choice not to follow Christ.  They begin connecting with wrong relationships that lead them astray or they just choose that the pleasures of this world is more valuable then following Christ.  So today let’s look at Demas who was one of Paul’s followers who abandoned him after ministering with him for 2 years. 

 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. Colossians 4:14

Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.   Philemon 1:23-24

Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.  2 Timothy 4:9

Many of us have heard Bible stories of the rich young ruler who had to chose to follow Christ and he didn’t, but I found a guy named Demas who was a co-labourer with Paul.  Demas went through many difficult situations with Paul, we know this because Paul held Demas in high regards, and was even imprisoned with Paul for the sake of the Gospel.  What is so hard to comprehend is when a person has been exposed to the miraculous, has sat under personal teachings of Paul and even stood up for his faith; he chose to deny Christ and follow after his own fleshly desires.  I’m sure Paul was sadden as he shared the news of his once companion in the good fight of faith and now has been deserted. 

The thing we must always remember is that Demas didn’t deny Paul, he denied Christ and made a personal choice to follow the world.  We in our ministries must not take the choices of those serving with us personal, it is spiritual.  The enemy would like nothing better than to make those who are serving in our ministries to stumble and follow after their fleshly desire, we must never stop believing in prayer that God would keep our people strong and do our best to equip each one of them. 

Discipleship In Motion

constructing the church

 

I was reading Emerging Worship the other day and one of the paradigms that Dan Kimball was presenting is how the church is being built.  The traditional church is being built by focusing on weekend services as its foundation.  On top of the foundation is the staff and ministry team to support the weekend service, then additional ministries, values- philosophy-cultural theology, and finally the mission.  Dan goes on to say this is why we have so many consumers within our church today.  Believers are focused more on the Sunday service than the mission of who the church is and who the church should be. 

 

To change the mentality of the church and begin being the church that we see in Acts we must shift our focus to the mission that Christ has called the church to fulfill.  That is “go into all the world and make disciples of all men.” (Matthew 28:19)  The foundation of the church needs to be the mission and not the Sunday service.  If you have read any of my leadership concepts you will know we lead this way by putting a high focus on what is valuable and in this case it is the mission.  That means 80% of our week’s focus will be directed to reach the mission and not the Sunday service.  The emerging paradigm’s foundation is the mission – making disciples, and built on this the mission is the cultural philosophy – theology – values, Leadership support team, building community, and last is the weekend gatherings.  Many read this and agree, but the process in how we make disciples is what I want to focus on. 

 

The disciple making process is a high value, but I don’t believe it is a person in a classroom setting or even in a small group setting.  It could be, but my idea of the Biblical discipleship training is doing ministry together. (Discipleship in Motion) It is a community of believers coming together and individually presenting the gospel, being active in the community by having a voice in our community.  It is believers learning who they are – their gifting as being part of the body of Christ and operating according to God’s design – the way God has designed each of us.  We see in the gospels that Jesus and even John’s disciples did ministry as they were instructed by Biblical concepts of Jesus’ teachings.   It was discipleship in motion, not in an institutionalized structure.  Yes, we all need good teaching, but disciples act out his /her beliefs through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  They don’t consume church services – looking for ministries that suit them and meet all of their family needs.  Instead, they live out their faith as is directed by Christ. “To GO and MAKE disciples” – this is a motion (act) not a lecture!   

 

This leads us to begin thinking how are we as leaders using our time in our ministries?  Are we focusing most of our time on Sunday services or making disciples?  I’m not saying don’t have a great Sunday worship gathering, but we will never be the church until we begin acting like the church. 

Traditional or Modern?

ministry

I was reading in Matthew 13:15 today and it is interesting to me that each person grew to deafness and then they closed their eyes! (I think this is a clear picture of what is happening within many ministries today.)

How many of us are growing deaf or have closed our eyes to what God is trying to do in our life or through our life?  Some of us are in this condition due to our hearts being dulled by traditional opposition and we have just quite listening to what God has told us because we are tired of fighting against traditional ways of trying to reach the modern culture.  

I believe that if we are going to be affective ministers of the gospel, we must “STOP” and listen to what God has been trying to say to us and be obedient to what He has said to us.  This means that we must live out our faith- reach those that you have been called to, we cannot continue to do ministry within the same framework that many of us have been raised in.  

I still see multiple cultures within our society; we have the Jews- traditional church attendee in America and the Gentile- those who are the post-modern/ post-churched.  Many traditionalists are doing a great job reaching the traditional believer, but some are blind and deaf to the voice of God because they are trying to reach a Gentile people within the Jewish structure….it doesn’t work!  

As we look into scripture we see that Paul was reaching the Jews and Peter was reaching the Gentile people.   It would have been a nightmare if they worked together trying to reach their target people within the opposing structures of their target people group.  Why should we think that it is any different for us as we are trying to reach our people groups?  The struggle between the traditional and the Emerging is in my opinion the individuals trying to reach opposing people groups within the structure of the traditional or vice-versa.  It will never work!

So this all leads me to ask who have you been called to?  Reach the people that God has called you to, but do it because God has spoken to you and He has called you to.  He hasn’t called you to do ministry within any structure, but to do ministry within the structure that best reaches the people God has called you to!  Who are you called to reach?

My Life?

my life3

You may have notice the mynakedpastor.com tag on my blog.  I just heard about Troy Gramling this morning.  Troy will be on a 24-hour webcam for five weeks starting 9/9.  The thought that came to me as I read about Troy was, “what would people see in my life if I had a webcam connected to me for 24 hours?”  Would my life look any different than our culture?  Would I display Godly characteristics that would encourage and help others to live out their faith? 

I am all for reaching the post-modern / post church, BUT – yes but, I believe their is a fine line between reaching people with the gospel message and blending in with the culture so much that we no longer carry the presence and the power of God for daily living out our life as we see in 2 Peter 1.  I would hope that people would see that being a believer is fun, that I take my relationship with God seriously, that I honor and interact with my family in a way that builds them up in Christ.  I know for me, each morning after I spend time in scripture and prayer I go to my wife’s computer and I see digital scripture note on her desk top…that is so encouraging to read what God is doing in her life.  So I would hope that my life would give honor to God (true worship) and bring encouragement to the body of Christ.  What would people say about your life?

Ministry Measurement

It has been said, “What gets measured, gets done.”  So that leads us to ask, what needs to be measured in our ministry?  What intentional steps do we need to take to be affective in our ministries?

First we must identify what needs to be measured as we cultivate a healthy church body?  Here are some areas that I believe that must be measured.  (There are many more areas that need to be thought through, but this is all based on your ministry core values.)

  1. Relevant Relationships
  2. Clear communication
  3. Teachings that equip believers to live out their faith
  4. Learning environment
  5. Ability to connect guest with the church body
  6. Mobilizing believers to reach out to the community
  7. Nurturing environment that offers support and care

Put together practical action steps that you can measure how well the identified areas are doing.  (Here are two examples)  (How can ministries within your body apply this measuring system within the ministry to keep the area affective?)

 Relevant relationships

          Are leaders throughout the church taking steps to engage in relationships?  If yes, how and to what existent do the relationship transcend outside of the church body?

          Do members within your church take initiative to meet new people and help guest connect with others within your church body?  If yes, how far do the relationships extend throughout the body?

          Are relationships under every ministry extremely strong, good, needs improvement, or needs a makeover?   (Measure this by communication that is done outside of the church service, and commodity among your leadership team.)

          Are relationships within your church body open to new relationships?  (Measure this by how well new relationships are being cultivated within your church body?)

 Clear communication

          Are listeners able to clearly communicate the main idea of what is being communicated?

          Are listeners initiating discussion with individuals from within and outside the church body? 

          Are listeners searching for ways to apply content of what is being communicated to their individual life and or to their family’s life?  (If yes, what ways are they appling what is being discussed?)

We also need to think through how regularly do you measure the identified areas?  Is it weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, etc. 

Before any of the above can be done, you must know your organization core values, have a clear vision of what needs to take place and how do you develop the desired culture within your church body.  

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