Friday, July 25, 2014

 

Friday Humor


Thursday, July 24, 2014

 

Nah - Just Seven Ways To Grow

Ron Edmondson lists "7 Sure Ways to Grow as a Leader":
  • Desire growth
  • Accept correction
  • Listen to wiser voices
  • Invest in others
  • Recognize weaknesses
  • Refuse mediocrity
  • Embrace failure
Folks, that just seven ways to grow as a Christian, not a leader.

I realize that Edmondson's blog is for people that want to be leaders, but I think he does s disservice by putting this post this way. He serves to set apart common Christian growth as something reserved for leaders and that the average church attender need not bother. Either that or he perpetuates the presumption that we are all leaders.

In a sense we are all leaders, but not in the get in front and organize the church sense. But organizational problems are the least of my concerns. What does concern me is that common Christian maturity is being placed in the realm of leadership. This is how the church got into the mess to begin with.

Frankly, the church needs more common Christan maturity and less leadership right now.









 

Illuminated Scripture


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

 

Making Innovators?

Todd Rhoades quotes extensively from a guy by the name of Patrick Scriven:
The next time I hear a pastor argue that what the church really needs is more innovative pastors I might lose my hair. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against innovation or against innovative pastors in principle. The church certainly needs transformation and we desperately need folks with new ideas. My problem is with our temptation to locate innovation with the clergy and the way it perpetuates a savior mythology, one that oppresses them as much as it does us we lay folk.
That’s a quote from Patrick Scriven, Director of Communications and Young People’s Ministries for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church.

[...]

Our churches need, desperately, to become places of change. While the occasional new idea from the pastor can be good modeling, the pastor that innovates continuously sucks the air out of the church and leaves no room for innovation elsewhere. Our churches would be better served by clergy who excelled at creating and nurturing cultures of innovation.

I would expect that some might say that this sentiment is nice but they know, or serve, churches where creating a culture of innovation is impossible. Where we find this to be true we should be quick to lock the doors and shutter the windows. Before we do this however, we should consider that there is a difference between a church that continuously rejects its pastor’s new ideas and one that refuses to create their own when given a chance.

The Spirit of God is the church’s true innovator. Relocating the process of innovation where we know the Spirit resides – the community – is our most faithful path forward.
I am forced to wonder if the culture God needs to create in the church is one of "innovation?" Is the mission of the church any different now than it was 2000 years ago? Of course, we may be discussing innovation in the limited sense of how we fulfill that mission, but even about that I wonder.

You know, it's funny - technology has changed so much about how we do things, and yet nothing has changed. Take wood working for example. We have developed all sorts of machines to aid the wood worker. But to build a truly excellent piece of furniture, no matter how much of that vaunted technology the builder will employ, it will come down to the builder using chisels and abrasives to fine tune the joints to that perfect fit. Sure, you can buy lots of furniture built entirely by machine, but it is of lesser quality that the stuff where the artisan has done his best.

Regardless of how much we innovate in the church, making disciples will come down to what it has always come down do. SO the question becomes do we need to innovate so we can make more "cheaper knock-off" Christians or do we need to build the skills necessary to build the finest Christians out there? There are economic reasons why we buy cheap knock-off furniture, but what is our motivation to settle for cheap knock-off Christianity?

The reason we buy cheap knock-off furniture is a lack of capital. we can never get enough cash together to buy the good stuff so we get the lesser stuff. We will probably have to replace it again in our lives, but at least we can afford it. Can people replace Christianity later in their lives when it breaks down due to inferior construction?

To learn how to wood work well, you learn the old skills first. Until you can handle a plane a chisel and sandpaper - a table saw and router are cool, but your work product is still mediocre. I think rather than innovate, the church need to learn the old skills first. We are craftsmen, not manufacturers,


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

 

The Pastoral Role

Mark Roberts:
According to Ephesians 4:11-12, pastors and other church leaders are to do something for you. This something may indeed involve preaching and caring and leading. But the primary task of pastors is to equip God's people for their work of ministry. To make it more personal, the primary task of your pastor is to equip you for your ministry. Or, it might be better to say that your pastor's job is to equip you to live your whole life as ministry.

I realize that most church members do not expect their pastors to equip them for ministry. Our expectations have been shaped by centuries of church life that has exalted ordained ministry as "the ministry" and minimized the calling of all Christians to be ministers of Christ. Yet, in the last sixty years, Christians throughout the world have been rediscovering the biblical truth that all of God's people are ministers, and that pastors have the primary responsibility of training and encouraging the true ministers for their true ministry.
My question is, "What constitutes our ministry?" I think that too often that question is answered by cramming people into little boxes marked "trivia the church needs done." Yes, there is much necessary to the operation of an institution like a local congregation and yes all of it is ministry of some form or another-but recruiting and motivating volunteers does not constitute preparing people for ministry,

A second point I would like to make is that ofttimes ministry is not what we do, but who we are. What is essentially Christian about helping put on a congregational dinner versus doing the same thing for the PTA? Is it just the fact that it is for the church that matters? Ministry is often not about the work itself, but the quality of the work and the attitude of the worker.

Jesus did not come to make us do "stuff," He came to change who we are - to recreate us. It is that recreative process that pastors are supposed to be aiding. I wonder how many pastor do?


 

Kitty Kartoons


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Monday, July 21, 2014

 

Can You Answer This Question?

Mark Roberts:
This common way of speaking is not supported in Scripture, however. For example, let's look closely at Ephesians 4:11-12. In this passage, we have clear identification of the kinds of people we would call ministers: apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers. But are they the ministers? Are they the ones who do the ministry of Christ?

No, not according to this passage. The NIV translation says that these leaders are "to equip his [Christ's] people for works of service" (4:12). That's a reasonable paraphrase, but it can blunt the sharp edge of the original language. A more literal translation is found in the ESV and the classic RSV, where it says that the leaders are "to equip the saints for the work of ministry."

[...]

Thus, according to Ephesians 4:11-2, the leaders of the church are to equip the saints (all of Christ's people) for ministry. The leaders are not the primary ministers. Rather, the ministers are the people of God, who have been drafted into God's ministry, and who are to be equipped for their ministry by the leaders. When we call these leaders "ministers" or when we say that they have gone into "the ministry," we run the risk of obscuring the fact that, according to Scripture, all Christians are ministers ... including you.
This is so right and yet so abused. So often we tell people they are fulfilling their ministry by inviting their neighbor to church. It's not that numerical growth in church is a bad thing - it's that such serves to narrow the vision for what constitutes ministry and to reinforce the understanding that any ministry other than invites belongs to the professionals.

I am increasingly running into professionals that jealously guard their territory. When an able volunteer comes forward they are squelched because the staff member has a job to protect. I understand volunteers are hard to control, often unreliable and sometimes not very good. But I wonder...

...Do we really need to control things that tightly?

...Are we relying on God if we are worried about the reliability of the volunteers?

...What matters more - the development of the volunteer or the quality of the program?

...Why can't we "make" volunteers that do not have these problems?


Saturday, July 19, 2014

 

Comic Art

So Bad, They're Good

Best looking baddie n a long, long time. Feast your eyes on HARVEST.






Friday, July 18, 2014

 

Yes - They Think Of Us This Way

Ken Conner asks:
Is Christian Education an Oxymoron?
Yep, a lot of people think so. They think that simply because we believe in God we are somehow less educated and more stupid than most. Conner points out the origin of the rational study of creation:
Western civilization's earliest scholars embarked upon the pursuit of knowledge believing that there was a Divine Intelligence behind all of creation and a divine "natural order" that governs it. "In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was God, and the Word was with God" (John 1:1, NIV). Because God is the Creator, Creation is infused with order and meaning. Because Creation is intentional, it is intelligible. Even pre-Christian thinkers such as Heraclitus and Socrates observed this fact, and their philosophical projects reflected the conviction that the pursuit of knowledge was not a futile endeavor. Theology was once deemed the "Queen of all Sciences," with philosophy as her handmaiden.
While cosmology and order are compelling, what I find most disturbing in non-Christian thought is the ideas about human behavior. They utterly fail to see sin in its many manifestations.

On the most personal of levels I ache for what that means for their souls. ON a societal level it means that many people suffer deeply at the hands of those that we simply do not believe can be that bad.

Monsters are not the exception, they are the rule and only by the grace of God do we avoid letting our monster out.

But I must also confess that it is nearly criminal that we have Christians have behaved in such a stupid manner that opinions like this could be formed.


 

Friday Humor


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