Thursday, April 24, 2008

How Do You Build A Reproducing Church

1. Never stop growing personally.
- all leaders are learners.
- the vision of the church will never exceed the vision of the pastor.
- you can delegate a lot of things. But, you cannot delegate faith in Jesus.
- Most of us have polaroid vision. The longer you look at it, the more clear it gets.
- God’s will is not a giant map, its a scroll. As you read a little, God unfurls a little more of His view for you.
- How do you build significant growth for 28 years? Solid, steady discipleship.
- God builds a mushroom in 6 hours. He builds a solid oak tree over decades.
- its easy to get a crowd. A crowd is not a church.
- Integrity, humility, and generosity are the antidote to the traps of leadership.

2. You’ve got to pay attention to your family.
- Don’t be like Solomon who while tending other vineyards, left his own unattended.
- Take a day off. Take a sabbath. In fact, don’t call it a day off, call it a sabbath.
- Don’t read email. Don’t answer the phone.
- Don’t pay attention to the critics or to the compliments. Focus on what Jesus says about you.

3. Develop a Kingdom mindset.
- God’s agenda is bigger than your denomination, your network, your agenda.
- The competition is not other churches. Its other recreation, stuff, and things.
- What is God’s agenda? It is the Kingdom of God.
- “The Kingdom of God is like….”
- Where is the Kingdom of God? Summarized is wherever Jesus Christ is (in heaven, on earth, in your heart).
- The Kingdom of God is eternal, inevitible
- Everytime the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus changed the subject and began to talk about evangelism.

4. Focus on building people, not the church.
- In the first year of the church, the pastor is the glue. But your job is to wean people off of you.
- On the last Sunday of the first year, I stood up to preach and fainted. I had my midlife crisis when I was 26. Depressed and afraid.
- You have to have a system of incremental movement taking people to maturity.
- Why do people sit around in churches for decades and never mature? Because simply preaching doesn’t get it done.


The methods of the church must change with every generation.
For too long, the church has had no hands and feet … just a big mouth.

[From Rick Warren during a session at Exponential Conference - National New Church Conference]

IPHC Warns of False Prophets

[By Ethan Cole - Christian Post Reporter]

The International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC), a 108-year-old traditional Pentecostal denomination with about 4.2 million members in 95 countries, states its commitment to the Word and the leadership of the Holy Spirit in its 21-page “Apostolic Biblical Statement and Practical Guidelines.”

“God is moving in these days with an emphasis on the apostolic anointing and the prophetic,” said Presiding Bishop James D. Leggett, in a statement. “The Apostolic Position Paper recognizes and provides for the exercising of apostolic leadership. Yet it gives a word of caution about false prophets. The balanced approach is good for the church today.”

The document covers three levels of the apostolic: Jesus Christ, the foremost apostle; the twelve apostles, the foundational apostles; and functional apostles, who functioned both in the scriptures and in the church today.

The role of apostles is to “plant the gospel in every culture worldwide” and to do it on the “base built by Jesus Christ, the foremost Apostle, and His foundational apostles,” the document stated.
“We recognize the ministry of functional apostles and bishops in church history as having a close resemblance,” the paper read. “We also recognize that false apostles appeared in the apostolic church as well as in the church history, and that we must remain alert to the continuing danger of these emissaries of Satan.”

Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing segments of global Christianity with at least 500 million adherents worldwide. But along with its successful growth has come problems of false teachers who vow miraculous healing, promises of pending fortune in exchange for church donations that are used for their own personal wealth.

Many mainline Christian leaders in Africa have denounced false prophets who claim to be anointed Pentecostal preachers.

In the section titled, “Recognizing True and False Apostles,” the document states that there are false apostles, or people who are not appointed by God but rather “carnal men [who] usurped the role for their own glory.”

To distinguish true and false apostles, the document gave a list of characteristics of a true apostle that includes: ministers with total faithfulness to the writings and teachings of the foundational apostles; accept personal responsibility for the Lord’s Great Commission, even at great cost to themselves; continue to serve even when no one confers on them a title or recognizes their role; and are free from the love of money.

“The Apostolic Position Paper presents a sound Biblical foundation for both the historical and present day Apostolic Ministry,” said Rev. Ed Wood, Chairman of the Apostolic Commission. “The paper is the result of the International Pentecostal Holiness seeking to be Biblically based in its position regarding the current apostolic movement.”

In 2005, the denomination's General Executive Board, at the request of the General Conference delegates, commissioned seven denominational scholars and theologians to conduct a biblical/historical study of the role of apostle in the church today. The board also invited a representative from each of the denomination's 28 regional offices to participate.

The document was presented to the General Board of Administration, the highest governing body between General Conference sessions, and approved by the board on Oct. 30, 2007, with minor changes.

The document also includes practical guidelines for apostolic ministries and other current theological issues in the IPHC.

IPHC is a charter member of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Pentecostal World Conference, and was instrumental in creating the Pentecostal & Charismatic Churches of North America.

Southern Baptists Are Now In Decline

For now, Southern Baptists are a denomination in decline. Experts believe it is a local church issue.

Baptisms are at their lowest levels since 1970 with seven of the last eight years showing annual declines. Even though some might hope the decline in membership numbers is due to lack of reporting, the inescapable conclusion is that baptisms by individual churches is falling off. (LifeWay Research will provide more analysis next month.)

Some might say it’s "only one year," and they would be technically right. But, briefly dwell on the top of the above graph. Reality is, they have peaked.

[Click on image to enlarge it.]

Researchers believe three issues are involved:

First, that they have to deal with the continued loss of SBC leaders. They have witnessed a serious (and increasing) depopulation of young leaders at the convention. Also, ethnic leadership remains absent after decades of ethnic change in America. Vacant seats still exist at the SBC table for the ethnic and generational diversity that matches the America they are attempting to reach. The departure by the future leaders of the convention has led to fewer church plants, missionaries, and energetic pastors to lead their faltering churches. They must retain these leaders not because they need them for their churches. They need them to reach the lost whom their churches have yet to touch.

A second issue is the infighting which defines so much of the SBC—its meetings, its churches, and its blogs. It is public knowledge that they do not always settle their differences amicably. The national caricature once again colors many local scenes where First, Second, and even Third Baptist Churches exist in one town because of past infighting. Satan has used their incessant bickering over non-essentials to promote his last great mission on earth—to keep lost people lost.

People simply do not want to hear what they have to say when they can't speak kindly to one another. If the focus of every SBC meeting is a new controversy to be debated, new parameters to be narrowed, and new issues to be fought, the trend toward decline will only accelerate.

The third, and most important, issue is the loss of focus on the Gospel. They must recover a gospel centrality and cooperate in proclaiming that gospel locally and globally. David Dockery and Timothy George pointed the way with their helpful booklet, Building Bridges. They called for a unity around the Gospel, and the time grows increasingly urgent.

The Conservative Resurgence failed to produce a Great Commission Resurgence. It restored the denomination’s value of Scripture but application is often absent, at least in the area of evangelism.