David Bycroft seems to be someone who can be counted on for scriptural encouragement (and correction), and his most recent contribution to The Christian Standard is no exception. Apparently the beginning of a series on evangelism, the new article is entitled “Evangelism Is Natural Church.” To get an idea of part of what I like about this article, here’s a sample:
I believe we find here a critical component of failure in the modern church. Instead of churches looking for an evangelist to help lead the church in natural growth, we try to find men who will make our lives comfortable so the congregation can “be at ease in Zion.” Thus, we look for a minister who will work feverishly to meet all the needs in the local body.
Mr. Bycroft’s comment, elsewhere in the article, on the likely reaction of elders to an empty collection plate actually made me chuckle.
Click here for the article.
There was a very good article recently in The Christian Standard about youth ministry. “Reimagining Youth Ministry” by Curtis Booher and Phyllis Fox explores the problem of young people being involved in youth groups, but then not being able to cross the divide between the youth group and the rest of the congregation. To a large extent this issue probably exists simply because in their little group, the youth are separated from the larger life of the congregation, often enjoying a style of worship and an intimacy with each other and the youth leader(s) that they won’t find after they graduate from high school. One solution may be to create college or young adult programs, but I suspect that would only prolong the difficulty.
What youth really need is to be mentored. They need to be fully involved in the life of the church as a whole as well as challenged to actually minister. If youth only get together with each other for ministry projects, they’ll never learn how to deal with those older and younger than themselves in carrying out the work of the church. They won’t have as good a chance as they might to see the foibles as well as the wisdom of older members, and learn patience in dealing with children.
Take a look at the article, linked above, and tell me what you think. How can youth ministry be made more missional and about mentoring, and less about programs and entertainment? Is there some other solution, or are you happy with the way youth ministry is being done?
Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, posted what I considered a balanced, thought-out discussion of homosexual marriage and boundaries in civil society. He opposed same-sex marriage on the basis of Scripture, but recognizes that this isn’t enough for a pluralistic society like ours.
Read “Marriage: the Public Debate”
For a long time I’ve wanted government out of the marriage business, but that would not resolve the issue of public and private benefits derived from marriage, as well as relatively simple things like the rights of a spouses to have access to one another in hospitals.
DisciplesWorld has an interesting article about Disciples of Christ congregations engaging in refugee resettlement as a ministry.
Click here to read it.
The part I think would be a challenge to Christian Churches and Churches of Christ would be found in the last sentence of the article:
“Do not evangelize.”
Although I hate the bait-and-switch techniques of many congregations, offering one service and then swapping it for hard-sell evangelism, I also have reservations about activities wherein it is actually forbidden to share the Good News of Jesus.
What do you think?
Wade Hodges has an excellent article worth checking out over on New Wineskins:
He discusses the inability (he suggests for lack of trying) of many churches to really make disciples. I have seen in some people (myself included) and some congregations much of what he says. There’s an underlying – and false – idea that a person has to be “active” to really be a full member with a voice in the church, and “active” appears to be defined by appearing at church meetings. This isn’t a stated view, normally, but where it is present it seems to come up whenever controversy strikes.
We all need to think and pray about this, I believe.
I liked the way this video shares in a brief way how the Jewish Mikvah was a predecessor of Christian baptism. It’s far from in-depth, but it gives you the idea.
David Phillips created a pretty good “scorecard” for missional churches. Check it out: Measuring Success in Ministry.
Some points are completely different from what many churches are currently doing, while others would be recognizable to some churches that have never even heard the term “missional.”
What do you think about that list? Is there anything you would add? Subtract?