Archive for June, 2010

How Does the Church Connect with People in Crisis?

I firmly believe that most adults come to faith through crisis. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, the pain of a life-dominating addiction, a marriage falling apart, or battling with feelings of anxiety and depression, it seems like God reaches people through difficulty.

As C.S. Lewis famously said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Therefore, it seems that Jesus’ church should be at the front lines of helping people in crisis. As a church, our hope is to develop some kind of “net” that catches those who are being ripened for the gospel by the troubling circumstances God has allowed in their lives.

One church that has developed such a “net” is The Village Church outside of Dallas. They have a few weekly Recovery ministries to help people who are struggling with the effects of sin.

Here’s a brief paper that explains their philosophy of ministry.

What do you think? Is this a strategic way to engage the culture or is this capitulating to a world that has gone a little too far with the psychobabble? (be sure to read the paper before you answer).

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Size Matters

One of the most interesting things to study as a leader in a growing church is how we are impacted by the changing size of the church. A helpful resource along these lines has been Tim Keller’s paper, “Leadership and Church Size Dynamics: How Strategy Changes with Growth.”

Keller makes a few important observations:

  • Every church has a culture that goes with its size and which must be accepted. Most people tend to prefer a certain size culture, and unfortunately, many give their favorite size culture a moral status and treat other size categories as spiritually and morally inferior.
  • There is no “best size” for a church. Each size presents great difficulties and also many opportunities for ministry that churches of other sizes cannot undertake (at least not as well). Only together can churches of all sizes be all that Christ wants the church to be.
  • One of the most common reasons for pastoral leadership mistakes is blindness to the significance of church size. Size has an enormous impact on how a church functions. There is a “size culture” that profoundly affects how decisions are made, how relationships flow, how effectiveness is evaluated, and what ministers, staff, and lay leaders do… We tend to think of the chief differences between churches mainly in denominational or theological terms, but that underestimates the impact of size on how a church operates…A large church is not simply a bigger version of a small church. The difference in communication, community formation, and decision-making processes are so great that the leadership skills required in each are of almost completely different orders.

The rest of the article explains some of the realities of different sized churches as well as the transitions that have to be made as churches grow. It’s a fascinating read, especially if (like me) you are interested in organizational dynamics.

What’s your experience? What changes have you experienced in growing churches? Were the results good or bad?

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Joy in God When All Else Crumbles

Where does your joy come from? Does it come from circumstances or from the unshakable reality of God? Consider Habakkuk 3:17-18:

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

May our joy be in God, even when everything else crumbles.

17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 eyet I will rejoice in the LORD;
fI will take joy in the God of my salvation.
The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001). Hab 3:17–18.

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Recommended Blog for Parents

I want to recommend a relatively new blog for those of you who are parents: OrangeParents.org. The blog is led by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof, authors of Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, with some contributions from other authors. Their hopes with the blog are to help you, as a parent, to:

  • rediscover your family’s role in a bigger story.
  • widen the circles of influence in the lives of your sons and daughters.
  • stay focused on what really matters for your children’s future.
  • renew the fight for your closest relationships.
  • create a healthy rhythm in how you interact with one another.
  • learn to lead yourself as a parent.

I especially liked their posts on What Your Kids Want Most From You and Faith at Risk.

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