Saturday, March 8, 2008

Why Do People Leave Your Church?

Here are the top ten reasons LifeWay Research found why people switch churches:
  1. The church was not helping me to develop spiritually. (28%)
  2. I did not feel engaged or involved in meaningful church work (20%)
  3. Church members were judgmental of others (18%)
  4. Pastor was not a good preacher (16%)
  5. Too many changes (16%)
  6. Members seemed hypocritical (15%)
  7. Church didn’t seem to be a place where God was at work (14%)
  8. Church was run by a clique that discouraged involvement (14%)
  9. Pastor was judgmental of others (14%)
  10. Pastor seemed hypocritical (13%)

SOURCE: The Biblical Recorder… Read more here.

What Should Pastors Give Attention To?

[From Pastor Steven Furtick]

Ephesians 4:1 begs me to “live a life worthy of the calling I have received.”As a pastor, I certainly realize the non-negotiable need for me to be pure, seek God, love my wife, stay off drugs … you know, the biggies.

But there are many less obvious demands that I believe come with the territory of pastoral ministry. If I’m going to represent Jesus and be the ambassador of God, everything about me matters. Everything.

Here are a few things that I started giving attention to after becoming a pastor that I didn’t monitor nearly as much before:
  • My health. I feel like my credibility would be severely damaged if I had a big bulging pulpit bumper (belly). I have a metabolism that would render me quite fat and sloppy looking if I ate whatever I wanted and never worked out. So I usually eat pretty well, and I work out as regularly as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from a health nut. I’ll probably have a hot dog tonight, matter of fact. And I drink way too much caffeine. But I keep it in check.
  • My dress. I think a minister of the Gospel should dress well relative to the culture he’s trying to reach. This means different things in different places to different people. I don’t intend to turn this into a discourse on whether it’s ethical for a preacher to buy a $2000 suit and wear a Rolex. I’m not really talking about price at all. I’m talking about maintaining a neat, current, appropriate, fashionable personal appearance. In other words, everyone can iron. We represent the most meaningful message known to man. We should look like able messengers.
  • My hugs. I know it sounds gay, but roll with it. As I become more and more detached from those who serve with me at Elevation Church, I find myself becoming increasingly touchy and huggy. (Spell check is telling me huggy isn’t a word. Spell check is wrong.) I rarely walk by one of our volunteers or staff members without giving them a hug. Because what may take 4 seconds out of my day could literally make their day. As a pastor, I need to realize the value of a simple thank you or acknowledgement of the people in my life. Sometimes it makes all the difference, even when I don’t recognize it.
  • My car. I keep it clean. It’s hard to set an example of a well ordered life with French Fries and Diet Coke cans piled up on the floorboard.
What little things could you begin tweaking today to make you a more accurate and credible representative of Jesus Christ?

Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference Begins

[By Ethan Cole - Christian Post Reporter]

More than 1,000 Christian leaders gathered Friday for the 2008 Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference to discuss and advocate for a wide range of U.S. policy issues outside of Washington, D.C.

The sixth annual conference, Mar. 7-10, brings together leaders from the ecumenical Christian community to learn, discuss and then mobilize the Christian voice to be a witness for justice and peace in regards to U.S. domestic and international policies. Attendees will hail from around the world including from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Participants will explore new ideas on how U.S. policies can be transformed to embrace more just, peaceful and effective actions at home and abroad to improve security for the United States, its neighbors and around the world.

“As people of faith and hope, we believe our nation is entering – and must enter – an era of renewal and re-creation,” says a statement on the Ecumenical Advocacy Days Web site.

"It is time to move beyond the misdirected strategies of the past few years and envision a new pathway to true human security – one which seeks not only the absence of tension, but the presence of justice.”

This year’s moral statement is “Claiming a Vision of True Security,” with the main Scripture reference taken from Psalms 20:7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Organizers explain that Psalms 20:7, in today’s language, could read as: Some trust in violence and take pride in technologies of war, and some in military power, but our trust is in the unfailing love and faithfulness of our saving God.

"As people of faith and conscience, we envision a world where security is not measured by military power, closed borders or corporate profits, but by the capacity to achieve the common global good and share the resources which sustain communities,” event organizers wrote on its Web site.

“In such a world all children are treasured as sacred gifts and our elderly are regarded for their experience and wisdom,” they continued. “Each woman, man and child is safe from violence and has the resources for a life of dignity and sufficiency. Such a world looks to secure a safe and productive future for generations yet to come.”

Conference plenary speakers include the Rev. Dr. Mark Lomax of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Ga.; Dr. Lisa Schirch, professor of peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University; and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).

The conference will hold a Town Hall forum Sunday evening and presidential candidates have been invited to participate in discussions on economic security, health care, the global impact of climate change and U.S. military presence abroad.

On Monday, the gathering will cap off with a visit to Capitol Hill where participants will lobby their congressional representatives on the new visions for national and global security as decided by the conference.

“Accordingly, in a truly secure world, the earth and all its people will receive the respect they are due as God’s creation and bearers of the divine image,” organizers envisioned.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice began in 2003 with some 400 religious advocates, and grew to more than 1,000 leaders in 2007.

International Assembly Update

[From Bishop E. C. McKinley]

In just a few short months, delegates from around the world will gather at the Sommet Center in the heart of downtown Nashville, Tennessee for "Awake!" the 2008 International Assembly of the Church of God of Prophecy.

This year's Assembly promises to be an unforgettable experience, as delegates will enjoy a number of new components to the Assembly activity schedule.

The programming for this year's meeting continues to take shape as general session presenters and speakers are confirmed, and special events are scheduled.

Each morning, Tuesday through Saturday, delegates will be invited to participate in a unique prayer and worship experience, led by anointed prayer minister Kay Horner of Cleveland, TN and bi-lingual worship team ensemble from the state of California. This special time of prayer and praise will help delegates focus their hearts and minds on the activities and needs of the day.

On Thursday and Friday mornings, delegates will participate in "Leadership Awakening" sessions, especially designed to encourage, inspire, and equip church leadership for ministry. Dr. Doug Stringer, founder and president of Turning Point Ministries International, will be sharing during each morning's session. Doug's passion for mobilizing churches to influence their communities has led his ministry to the development of a network of organizations impacting communities through unified grassroots efforts, a ministry that has spread to influence communities around the globe.

On Friday evening, Dr. Jerry Macklin will share an anointed message as delegates gather to celebrate 100 Years of Pentecostal Power. Bishop Macklin is Senior Pastor of the Glad Tidings Church of God in Christ (Hayword, California), a church of influence, with more than 50 active ministries impacting hundreds of lives each week. In addition to his duties as pastor, Bishop Macklin also serves as Chairman of the Pentecostal Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA), and in November 2007, Bishop Macklin was appointed to serve as 2nd Assistant Presiding Bishop for the Church of God in Christ, Inc.

Bishop Randall E. Howard, General Overseer, said of this year's guest speakers, "I am thrilled that Dr. Stringer and Bishop Macklin have agreed to minister at this year's Assembly. I have known each of these gentlemen for some time now and have been impressed and blessed to see how God is using both of them to help His people move into new arenas of ministry and outreach. I know delegates will receive this same blessing as they experience their teaching and ministry. I believe that God will use both of these presentations to awaken our leadership to ministry opportunities and inspire them to go forward into their ministries with great passion and power."

Worship is always in important component of each Assembly. The world-famous Bahamas Brass Band will once again delight Assembly delegates throughout the week with their exuberant musical selections. In addition to the Brass Band, this year's General Session worship will be lead by the powerful, excellent ministry of the Bahamas National Praise Team. Additional information will be forthcoming in future web postings and through Connections, the e-newsletter of the Church of God of Prophecy International Offices. Additionally, a complete schedule of events (regularly updated) may be viewed by clicking here.

2008 Bahamas National Convention on the Web

[From Michael Swann]

Please see link below for live Streaming of the 2008 Bahamas COGOP National Convention which commences on Sunday, March 9th.

A pdf copy of the program can be downloaded from "Downloadable Documents" in the right column of this Blog.

Audio streaming only during the Day Sessions ~ Both audio/video available in the Evenings only.
Website Link: