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Posts Tagged ‘Church’

A Barna Report on Technology in the Church

Barna has a new report on the use of technology in the church. Interesting numbers, to say the least. Barna also says the following:

The incorporation of digital technologies into church-based ministry is an important frontier for churches to master, according to George Barna, who directed these studies for The Barna Group over the course of the decade.

My only question, and I can’t help but to ask, how does all of this - especially the above quote - jive with all that Barna proclaimed in his controversial book “Pagan Christianity?” Seriously? Is technology and the mastery of technology rooted in the New Testament way of doing church? I do think the church should get a grip on technology and use it for the Kingdom of God, but Barna sure shouldn’t be thinking so, after what was written in “Pagan Christianity,” should he? Barna has seriously lost me somewhere along the line. I guess I’m asking what is the purpose and/or goal of his research and research reporting, post “Pagan Christianity.”

The Unchurched Prefer Sacred Spaces Over Common Spaces

The idea of sacred space is not lost on the unchurched, it seems. Recent research by Lifeway has revealed a surprising fact about our church buildings:

People who don’t go to church may be turned off by a recent trend toward more utilitarian church buildings. By a nearly 2-to-1 ratio over any other option, unchurched Americans prefer churches that look more like a medieval cathedral than what most think of as a more contemporary church building.

The unchurched preference for medieval cathedrals over utilitarian or all-purpose church buildings should not be reduced to mere whims of architecture. The preference is rooted in unconsciously expressed theology and our deep need to worship and inhabit sacred spaces. Our contemporary multi-purpose, conference-like halls do not offer enough of a break from the world’s common spaces to facilitate the dance with the sacred we naturally look for during worship times. This research should not be ignored or hastily discarded.

The Contemporary Relevance of the Anabaptist Faith 6

The following commentary addresses the sixth point as advanced by Myron S. Augsburger in “The Contemporary Relevance of the Anabaptist Faith” (Brethren in Christ History and Life, August 2000), which is: “Interpreting Our Participation in Evangelism as Socially and Ethnically Inclusive.”

Augsburger begins his thoughts with a reminder of the meaning of compassion. “The meaning of compassion,” Augsburger writes, “is not limited to any ethnic sameness but is a call for us to see all peoples alike created in the image of God. The kingdom of Christ is inclusive, and our witness of grace must be consistently so.” Read More »

Call for Worship Presentation Software Reviews

This is a question for all the worship leaders: which worship presentation software would you rate highest and recommend? I’ve been looking at a few different products, but I am really quite uninformed about worship presentation software. Your experience in this area and product recommendations are seriously coveted. We are in the midst of acquiring the basic equipment we need for our church plant, and quality worship presentation software is a priority. So, if you were building your worship experience from zero, which presentation software would you have to have? Thanks, leaders.

10 Reasons Why Church Planting Sucks

Planting a church is anything but easy. In fact, it is quite difficult. I’m sure the only reason people actually do it is because the intersection of God’s call and personal passion/gifting creates missional unction that can not be ignored. Why else would someone choose the personal and vocational insecurities that accompany church planting over a comfortably secure and salaried position at an established church? If you have ever planted a church, or are planting a church, then you know what I mean. There are great joys to be had in church planting, but there are also great trials and tribulations. It’s the nature of the mission; it’s a direct result of being on the bleeding edge of Christ’s expanding kingdom. The bleeding edge comes with all sorts of challenges, spiritual and otherwise. Overall, I have to say, that church planting is an exciting, joy-laden, and incredibly rewarding ministry, but it is not for the faint of heart.

I recently discovered a post by Dan Taylor, a church planter in Edmonton, Canada (h/t Mike Clawson), called “Why Church Planting Sucks.” It was a great read, and completely accurate! I’ve experienced everything on the list in five months time. The following are quick hit and miss excerpts of the most resonate and sometime humorous points raised by Dan in this fun and encouraging list. Read More »

A Herd of Ragamuffins: The Body of Christ

The Body of Christ is a beautiful assembly of recreated ragamuffins. We are people who realized that we could not do this thing called life all on our own. We need one another; we need God. We are people who have made good on Christ’s grace-laden invitation. We are people who live and work in God’s Kingdom, in spite of ourselves. Only a ridiculously loving God would have – or could have – imagined and made real a body of people like this. We don’t deserve the Church, but we have it. Not only do we have it, but we also are it! We are the Church; we are the Body of Christ! Blemished as the Church is as a result of its composition (us), it shines beautiful because Christ made it so through his perfect life, ministry, death, and resurrection. The Church is, therefore, beautifully pure, in spite of the blemish we bring to it with our presence. It’s quite a picture. It’s remarkably beautiful, thanks to Christ Jesus. Jesus is the beautiful shepherd who gently herds us. We are his Church.

Emerging and Classic Brethren in Christ Ecclesiology

I am a devoted member of the Brethren in Christ Church. Many of you know that I was converted and baptized under the grace-laden spiritual guidance of an old, pious, and wise BIC pastor. I am now a pastor and church planter within the Brethren in Christ. The BIC is my spiritual home. I’m also conversant with the Emerging Church. The fusion of the emerging conversation and classic BIC expression works well because it’s a combination that offers plenty of opportunities for practical and relevant congruence. The Emerging Conversation resonates with very, very important aspects of classic BIC theology, expression, and praxis. Some say the Emerging Church reflects the principles and theology inherent to Anabaptist expressions of Christianity, of which the BIC is a part. I tend to agree. Read More »

God’s Kingdom Coming Here on Earth

I think everyone should go read what my friend Brian Miller has to say in his latest post: “Entrepreneurial church.” Here’s a brief but profound excerpt:

So I think about what it means to be a Christian, to be part of a community of followers who have the audacity to believe that our lives matter - that our lifestyle choices, our words, our actions–have something to do with God’s Kingdom coming here on earth as it is in heaven.

A Tale of Two Meals

Setting: Jesus’ Table Meals vs. Religious Broker’s Table Meals. These meals clashed at Simon the Pharisee’s House (See: Luke 7). In this story we find a 1st century religious elitist named Simon extending a shared meal invitation to Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus accepts, and journey to Simon’s house.

I can easily imagine Jesus facing his inner-circle of friends and trying to explain why he can’t join them at the evening meal, as originally planned. Read More »

Trinity as Model for Church Community

Jesus’ prayer in the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel is that we would be as one. Unity! Let’s put this prayer in perspective. Jesus and his disciples gather in a small upper room. They gather there for one purpose: to share the Passover meal. They sing a few songs together, praise God, pray a lot, eat, and drink their wine. During this meal, Jesus institutes our sacrament of the Last Supper. He also washes the feet of the disciples. Jesus, after they finish with all of this, prays the John 17 prayer.

Jesus either prays this prayer right there in the room, upon completion of the other events shared, or he prays it as they walk towards the Garden of Gethsamene, where he prays some more while the disciples pass out under a tree from too much Passover wine. Jesus knows what is coming. He knows he’s going to be arrested, tried, and killed. How important is this prayer for unity in light of this foreknowledge? Seriously! Jesus, knowing full well death is imminent, prays first that these disciples find unity; the same unity that he shares with the Father. Read More »