Monday, September 14, 2009

Improving Your Church Calendar

Here are some great ideas from the book Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal:

The church calendar usually starts with, “What do we want to do this year?” or, “What did we do last year?” In order to create a missional mindset and community focus, your calendar should start with the community’s calendar.

- Look first for community events, festivals, and rhythms (county fair, back-to-school, art festival, etc…)
- Make sure there are links within your calendar, and perhaps elsewhere on your website, to those events
- Then put in church events
- Reduce the number of church-centric events on the calendar, making sure your people aren’t too busy in church programs to be involved as missionaries in the community

If members feel that the church calendar is somehow different from the calendar of their community life, they will always feel that the community comes in second. By making sure that community events are calendared and not just church year stuff, you support your external focus.

[from Planting Space by Bradley]

Simple Goals

Vision will never be realized without measurable goals. Could it be as simple as follows?

1. Praying the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers.

This one is interesting because continually we see God answering this prayer request. I could share scores of examples, but will give you a recent one: Upon joining with other believers for a day of prayer for our city, a pastor came up to me and shared that he wanted to sit down and talk with me about small groups. On the spot I invited him and his wife to join us for lunch the following week. After the meal we began to share our hearts. One thing led to another and before they left the house we set up a time to begin training in his church.

After only a few weeks they now have opened 3-4 new house churches (their goal is five by year's end!) If Jesus himself commanded us to pray the Lord of the Harvest for laborers, it is because it is a prayer he wants to answer!

2. Every church plant a church every year.

Can you imagine what would happen if every one of our churches simply reproduced itself once per year? How hard can this be, and yet year after year our churches get involved in all kinds of programs and another year goes by without planting new works. We need to use all our influence, every opportunity given us to get across to our pastors, churches, leaders to start new works. We aren't talking about planting hundreds of churches; just start ONE this year. Multiplication will take care of itself if we will do our part of working towards one new church plant each.

3. Every believer winning/discipling four others to Christ in a year's time.

Part of the difficulty we encounter is fierce competition from many good and noble emphasis going on all the time. There is a continuous stream of programs, conferences, concerts, etc. All these are good, but they have a way of terribly distracting us from the "main thing." What we shpuld be saying to our people is FOCUS ON ONE THING and that is winning four people to the Lord this year and discipling them so that they become reproducing disciples themselves.

4. Repeat the above.

Concentrate on a few things and do a few things well. Try not to be reactionary to what comes along, but be pro-active in a few things. Focus on the above three goals, repeat them over and over, and leave the results up to God.

[from The M Blog by GuyMuse]

How much is retained from various learning methods?

[from The M Blog by GuyMuse]

16 Signs That A Leader Has Lost His Mind

1 – He refuses to admit his mistakes.
2 – He begins to blame the problems on people or circumstances rather than actually seeking out what the problem might be.
3 – He refuses to listen to the team assembled around him.
4 – He fights every idea that isn’t his own, thinking his originality is what must keep the church afloat.
5 – He refuses to face reality.
6 – He is unwilling to make the necessary changes because it would be highly unpopular.
7 – He tries to listen to what everyone has to say about every situation.
8 – He begins to believe that God’s favor on his life is because of how good he is rather than because of how good God is!
9 – He believes that he can’t learn anything from churches that are smaller than his. (This would be arrogance!)
10 – He abuses his staff to accomplish his agenda rather than leading them to accomplish God’s.
11 – He fears asking for commitment because of how people may perceive him.
12 – He becomes obsessed with the way things are rather than how they should be.
13 – He views himself as an expert.
14 – He tries to motivate with fear rather than vision.
15 – He doesn’t seek fresh revelation from God and often goes back to what has been done instead of seeking direction for what has never been done.
16 – He stops taking risks and becomes obsessed with playing it safe.
[from Perry Noble dot com by perry]


What is the vision of the Church? That was the sermon topic one Sunday a dozen years ago or so when I visited a friend’s church. But as I listened, I found my mind wandering. I had just signed a contract to write a book on Christian worldview, and I was experiencing writer’s remorse. Did this book really need to be written?

Suddenly the pastor’s words caught my attention. The mission of the Church, he said, is to prepare for Christ’s return in five ways: prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and evangelism. In that instant, all doubts about writing the book vanished. Of course, these five spiritual exercises are central to the Church’s life, but we can never overlook our responsibility to redeem all of culture as well. Though well-intentioned, the pastor’s words were a prescription for the continued marginalization of the Church.

Just like this pastor, many evangelicals define faith strictly in terms of personal salvation. Yet soul-winning is not an end in itself. We are not only saved from sin, we are also saved to something -- to the task of cultivating God’s creation. Genesis teaches that on the first five days, God did the work of creating. But on the sixth day, He made human beings in His image to carry on His work-to develop the raw materials of the world He had created.

This is called the “cultural commission,” just as binding as the “Great Commission.” It means our faith is intended to encompass every part of life, every sphere of work, every aspect of the world.

In short, our faith must be a complete worldview, the basic set of beliefs that function as a set of glasses helping us to see all of reality through God’s eyes. If God is creator and sovereign over everything, as we confess He is, then everything finds its identity and meaning in relationship to Him -- not only our spiritual life but also our work, politics, science, education, the arts, etc.

Developing a Christian worldview is not some ivory-tower exercise. It is crucial for every believer -- affecting every choice we make. The doctrine of creation tells us that God made the world with a moral and physical order -- that there are God-given norms for every aspect of creation.

If we don’t know the norms God as ordained for every area of life, then we will drift with the tide of this postmodern age, and, instead of transforming the culture, as we’re supposed to, we will transformed by it.

The mission of the Church is indeed prayer and evangelism, just as that pastor said that Sunday. But to be effective, we must also develop a comprehensive worldview. And that, too, is the urgent mission of the Church in a post-Christian world.

[By Chuck Colson]