Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Book Review - Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

Purpose - This book chronicles the beginning years of Mars Hill Church. Driscoll wrote this extremely transparent book to help others with their ministry. It's not hard to find a book that is extremely honest about mistakes made in church planting. Rarely, though, is the book written by the church planter.

Content - You always know a book is going to be interesting when it has a "Chapter Zero!" That chapter doesn't disappoint. It discusses ten theological and philosophical point, apparently discussed in greater depths in The Radical Reformission. He discusses the differences between the traditional, the contemporary, and the missional church, the 'gospel' proclaimed by each group, the missional and attractive approaches to church, and a few other topics. "Chapter Zero" is foundational for the remainder of the story. The rest of the book is stuffed like a Christmas stocking with fascinating stories, painful mistakes, public repentance, and gospel triumphs. 

Analysis - The book is full of fantastics insights, such as "It was at that time I realized our church would never have a sign out front that said "Everyone welcome," because I did not want everyone. Instead, I wanted people who would reach out to the lost young people in our area" (63). Driscoll seems like he was largely unprepared for starting a church, especially one with the impact that his was going to have. It seems that each stage of the church brought challenges that he didn't have an answer to. His response was to dig down deep and study out the issues. He worked through ecclesiology, reformed theology, male leadership in the church, and spiritual gifts by this forced process. Driscoll's language is at times a bit vulgar, especially in recounting a counseling situation.


Who will benefit from the book? Those curious about the process involved in starting Mars Hill, or just a church in general. It's very honest regarding the things a church planter has to work through and the challenges that are faced. Those seeking information about cultural changes and different responses to them will find this a helpful introduction. This book is certainly not perfect though (namely because it was written by a human and humans tend not to be perfect). For anyone who has a huge beef with Driscoll already, I was advise against reading this book. You are likely to be jumping on every point of disagreement while missing the good insights the book does offer.

How will they benefit? This book will prepare you for some of the challenges face in church planting. It also will help guide you through the often painful process of reaching people and growing the church for the grace of God.

Where does this book fit into the process of ministry design? God is an infinitely creative God, so it is doubtful that anyone's church planting story will or should look like Driscoll's. The book would be very useful to those starting a church to ensure that they've thought through some key issues. This book would also be useful to pastors who wake up to find that their church is stalled, in decline, or is having a hard time breaking through to the next level. I wouldn't follow this book like a blue print, but it certainly provides some helpful points. If you are desperate or time deprived, then perhaps read a book specifically on the subject. If you want a fascinating book to pull you through the points, then this book would provide that.

Aha Thoughts? "Our church was not the people we had but primarily the people we did not yhet have, and I needed to go get those people. I'm still not sure if most pastors are aware that their churches are comprised of peple they don't know yet."
"With things going so well, I feared we'd get too comfortable, and so I decided it was time to blow it all up, create some strategic chaos, and start over yet again" (please read the book for crucial context).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ditching Comfort for a Greater Commission

A few months ago, I was helping a friend put a roof on a house. Another guy that my friend had hired asked me what my future plans were. When I told him that my wife and I were heading to Maine to start a church, he was floored. He asked, “Why would you go start a church when there are existing churches that need pastors?” This guy was a well-meaning individual who had spent years in decent churches and was almost a graduate of a Bible college. But church planting was completely unimaginable to him. Then it got me thinking. Could this way of thinking be more widespread? Sure hope not, but just in case, let me attempt to answer the question – “Why plant churches?”

1. Most existing churches aren’t cutting it – Gallup polls from 2002-2005 provide the rather depressing statistic that 40-44% of Americans attend a place of worship on a weekly basis (please note that I do not confuse attending church with repentance and salvation in Jesus. I think it is reasonably safe to assume though that not too many regenerate people sit out of church for years on end). However, David Olson, author of The American Church in Crisis, states that only 17.5% of Americans actually attend a church of any type. Church attendance in 2006 totaled 51,668,200, while the population grew by 51,773,556 people between the years 1990 and 2006! Grab the Prozac! Clearly the American church is not even keeping even with the population growth, much less gaining on it. A noted church planter, Albert Einstein, famously said insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Maybe it’s time for some new gospel-centered churches.

2. Most existing churches are aging – Aging churches are like aging bodies. Eventually they break down. God’s universal church remains invincible and unthreatened, but the local manifestations of God’s church all have a life cycle. 57% of the churches over 40 years old are in decline (Olson, 84). The older a church is, the better the chances are that the church is not fulfilling the Great Commission purposes for which that church actually exists.

3. Church plants reach more people – Yes, new churches are actually better at reaching lost people with the Gospel. Ed Stetzer’s research suggests that a new church reaches 10 people for every 100 members in its first year. Churches that are 15 years old only reach 3 people per year. Seems like existing churches get comfortable, or perhaps a spiritual version of amnesia.

4. Church plants are more focused on Great Commission work – Church planters of gospel churches are inherently focused on reaching people. Why? Because they don’t have anyone except their wife and a couple of snotty-nosed kids (unless they are smart enough to recruit a team, but that’s another tangent). The church planters look at the risk, and take the plunge. All their energies are focused on the power and spread of the gospel. Compare this to an existing church. They fight to maintain their culture instead of striving to promote the gospel. They start sniping at their allies and ignore their enemies. The big focus of the calendar year is making sure that the Christmas party comes off well and that the electric bills get paid. Sure, there are fine examples of churches that keep a Great Commission focus, but it seems too many churches become consumed with their particular breed of Christianity. When a church loses its Great Commission focus, it quickly degenerates into a social/humanitarian club. Church plants don’t have that luxury.

5. Church plants are apostolic, or at least Pauline – Hopefully it’s apparently clear by now the necessity of planting church in order to make disciples of Jesus. Here’s a bonus though. Church planting is Pauline! In Romans 15:20 Paul states “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” The world needs to be reached. Your neighbor needs to be reached. Paul’s solution…. preach the gospel, start churches.

I’m not here to bash established churches. I love them. I’ve benefitted from them. The question is, “why do you love them?” Is it comfortable? Is it “safe?” Does it have all the established programs to cater to your desires? If your church isn’t focused on Great Commission purposes, or if you can’t focus on Great Commission purposes while there, then it’s time you consider starting a church.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Review - Viral Churches

I gave a sneak preview of this book earlier this year but neglected to post the full review. This book was totally worth the time spent to read it.

Purpose - The subtitle of this book is "Helping Church Planters become Movement Makers." That pretty much says it all. Stetzer and Bird largely assume that if you are a Christian that you are interested (or preferably involved) in church planting. The purpose of Viral Churches is to "inspire and help you develop a church multiplication movment--an exponential birth of new churches that engage lost people and that replicate themselves through even more new churches" (5).

Content - The book leads you on a mental journey from your status quo (church planting, finers crossed) to the author's preferred reality (church multiplication). Each chapter is dedicated to one specific concept, and the authors have kindly included an example of a church or movement that they believe exemplifies this principle. This book discusses the need for church multiplication, the necessity of evangelism, and the dire lack of leaders in the church. The church needs to actively develop leaders if it is going to have the capacity to reach this generation. Viral Churches also discusses the process of training, launching, and streamlining networks of churches.

Analysis - I loved the fact that they weren't trying to shove one method or one group down your throat. There is definitely room for such books, but it wonderful to read a book that was much more concerned with the destination than the precise path traveled. Chapter 6 demonstrates that proper recruitment, assessment, and deployment all contribute to the viability of a church plant, but shows a variety of way by which each of these points can be accomplished.

Who will benefit from the book? Any pastor or church planter who is concerned about the growing population of the globe and the current inability of the church to keep pace will benefit from this book. Those who already have this burden will benefit greatly from the mechanics and examples that Viral Churches provide.

How will they benefit? This book will radically transform your vision of what God could and desires to accomplish in this world. It will give some practical suggestions for making this possible. It also identifies some pitfalls that will thwart even the best of intentions.

Where does this book fit into the process of ministry design? Any pastor who is looking for what God has called their church to do in this lifetime should consider reading this book. Church planters are more likely to adopt the principles in this book as they are already vested in starting a new work of God rather than maintaining existing works. These concepts might be rather daunting to those in previously established works as it is so far from the realm of their thinking, but if you find yourself in this category, it's probably all the more reason that you should read this book.

Aha Thoughts
  • The concept of deliberately building church multiplication into your DNA from the very first day was revolutionary.
  • One impediment to church multiplication has been the development of a professional clergy that limits ministry to the ordained.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Book Review - Sun Stand Still

I'm trying out a new format for book reviews. Let me know if you like it or not.

At the recent NewSpring Leadership Conference, Steven Furtick kindly gave all participants an "Advance Reading Copy" of his new book, Sun Stand Still. The book has been waiting in que, until now. I half expected the book to be an account of the startup and "success" of Elevation Church in Charlotte. I was pleasantly surprised. 

Purpose - Sun Stand Still was written to inspire audacious faith in an incredible God. Believers often live life to the lowest common denominator, but God remains a great God, desirous of doing amazing things.

Content - Joshua's battle against the Amorites in Joshua 10 provides the backdrop for most of this book and, obviously, the title. God had promised Joshua victory over the pagans, but night was creeping up, threatening to short-circuit a complete victory. Joshua requested the absurd from God - that God would make the sun stand still. Not a whole lot of precedent for this prayer. Furtick encourages believers to place their faith in an awesome God and similarly ask for incredible things from God, in all areas of life - Sun Stand Still prayers. Furtick also encourages the development of Page 23 visions. He was reading the book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire and came across this sentence on page 23: "I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God show himself mightily on our behalf." Furtick isn't promoting a gospel though that promises you the world if you only plant the seed money. In fact, he cautions that "if the dream in your heart isn't biblically based, focused on Jesus, affirmed by the key people in your life, and tethered to your passions, gifts, and life experiences, chances are, you're way off prompt." In short, this book isn't that different from William Carey's encouragement to "expect great things from God, attempt great things for God."

Analysis - For some reason it's natural to start uncomfortably squirming in your chair when someone starts into the "believe in God and watch Him do incredible things" line. However, this book was one of the better sources I've read on the connection between faith, prayer, and our relationship with God. He demonstrates all the biblical reasons to absolutely believe in God for a Page 23 vision while firmly staking our expectations on the word of God and the faithfulness of God. He aptly addresses the cost of asking God for great things, why God doesn't grant us the miracles we desire every time, the delays in God's answers, and the need to "push while you pray. This book would have been less than half the book it turned out to be if Furtick had ignored these questions that press on most of our minds. 

  • Who will benefit from the book? Every believer can and will benefit from this book. The examples given in the book range from the page 23 vision to start a church to reach Charlotte to the passion to reach a loved one for Christ.
  • How will they benefit? This book is fantastic help for those seeking God's direction and plan for their lifes. It encourages us to looks above the pile of work we are buried in and seek what God desires to accomplish. It pushes us beyond existence to participating in God's plans. Furtick also soberly reminds that there is a price to be paid and that we must put feet to our prayers.
Where does this book fit into the process of ministry design? Reading through this book would be particularly helpful early in the stage of setting up your ministry. It encourages you to think beyond what everyone else is doing and seek God's face for what he would have you to do. Probably not a bad book to read before planning a new year either!

Aha Thoughts - "The world is waiting for change. God's people are the change the world is waiting for. So seize the vision. Activate audacious faith. Make your move."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Church Planting for Dummies

I had been putting all this work into church planting. Studying the Scriptures. Praying. Reading books. Going to conferences. Yep... pretty much eating and breathing anything church-planting related. Last night I realized all my work was unnecessary when I watched this short 3 minute video! Here are all the basics of church planting in a tiny package.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spooky on Your Mind?

The holiday called Halloween is almost here, unleashing hordes of little children to do the dirty work of gathering candy for their parents who are in little need of it! The planet has generally embraced the holiday with capitalistic fervor. Haunted houses alone draw in between 300-400 million dollars and over 400,000 visitors eager to be spooked.

It's hard to know what Halloween even celebrates. Unlike most holidays which celebrate something or someone, this holiday seems more like an excuse. An excuse to eat lots of candy. An excuse for adults to relive their childhood and play dressup. An excuse to play Michelangelo on a pumpkin. An excuse to watch horror movies.

I don't pretend to offer the final word on this subject, but I would like to point out a few pros and cons to help us analyze this holiday biblically. After all, if I completely solved the problem this year, Christianity would be without a problem to discuss at this time next year!

  • Time to work on our relationships - Should we need a holiday to slow down and notice those around us? No! However, life gets busy and often we neglect to spend the time with our spouse, kids, and friends. Relationships require investments, but often we get so busy with work, bills, meetings, and raking our dumb lawns that we neglect to enjoy those God has blessed us with. Let's not forget that "the man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord" (Pr 18:22). Enjoying time with ones spouse, kids, and/or friends is definitely a good thing!
  • Fun - "Come on!" you say. "This is hardly a theological reason." Well, since when has fun been a crime. Carving pumpkins are really fun, especially when your brother knows how to transform the seeds into an amazing snack. Dressing up in costume might not be everyone's cup of tea, but hey, if being a cowboy for one night is your idea of fun then go for it! It's not that different than the escapism from reality evidenced by those who enjoy fiction novels, action movies, or reality TV shows. God is the one "who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Tim 6:17).
  • Cultivates creativity - For all of you who have more creative thoughts in one second than I do in a year, this is your day. Honestly, how creative can you be with a turkey? Sure, a Christmas tree might give you a few opportunities, but nothing beats a pumpkin!
  • Connects you with your community - When's the last time you talked with all those neighbors? Last Halloween? Did you forget you have neighbors? Intentionally involving ourselves with the community isn't a negative. In fact, it could potentially gives us inroads to do the most important thing - share the gospel!
  • Free candy - Need I say more :)
  • Economic realities - Money is a resource from God. An awful lot of mulah can be spent on consumables. Candy costs a bunch (until the post-Halloween sale). Costumes certainly aren't cheap either. And how many times a year are you going to don your Captain Jack Sparrow costume?
  • Trivialization of spiritual beings - In my estimation, this is one of the biggest dangers. You can dress up as demons, angels, or the devil himself without ever taking time to appreciate the character you are representing. Spiritual warfare isn't a joke. It's for real. It's for keeps. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Granted, we don't know what this spiritual beings look like (if such a "look" is even possible for spiritual beings), but trivializing and representing the enemies of God is a frightful position to be in.
  • Cavities and obesity - These dangers can both be mitigated by a trip to the dentist and another New Year's resolution that will come in less than 2 months. Be careful that we don't give in to one of America's favorite sins - gluttony.
  • Provocative costumes - It's concerning that this holiday is so sexualized, but it's hardly surprising. In a culture that's using sex to sell everything from shoes to cars to a season worth of entertainment on a TV show, the influence of evil hearts and minds on Halloween should not be surprising, but that doesn't make it any less wrong. There is a vast array of sexual costumes for any adult party you might attend. Even more concerning is that the provacative costumes available for adults come in kid sizes.
An Alternative
A healthy alternative for Halloween is Reformation Day. The idea of running around in an itchy, hooded robe nailing pieces of paper on all your neighbors' doors is just too good to pass up (aside from having to shave part of your head for one night of fun)!
What about you?
I think there are some serious postives as well as some grave negatives. The answer - a Spirit-controlled, Word-dependent personal decision.

What about you? Do you and your family celebrate Halloween? If so, how? Why? If not, why?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dangerous Dependencies

No, I'm not necessarily talking about crack, cocaine, lsd, or marajuana. I'm not even talking about the more mild versions of addictions to alcohol, tobacco, and gambling. Nope, I'm not even talking about the acceptable Christian addictions to caffeine, food, and "acceptable" medicines.

These addictions are awful for your physical body, but our spiritual dependencies can be far more harmful. Many of these tendencies are exemplified in our personal lives, but I think our ministries magnify these to an even greater extent.

1. Ourselves - This is the first dependency that may come to your mind - yourself. I'm sure this is a human nature temptation, but I think the American culture has elevated this vice to levels of virture. We value the self-made man. The Batman who single-handedly takes on the forces of darkness. The Michael Phelps who establishes previously unimaginable records in the Olympic pool. The welfare mother who starts a million dollar business. These are stories that we as Americans thrive off of, and they encourage us onto individual acts of greatness. Unfortunately, this characteristic of America is not likewise a characteristic of God. Proverbs 3:34 states that God "mocks proud mockers, but gives grace to the humble." The ability to please God is not found inside of us. Neither is the ability to minister for God.

2. Experts - Did you know that you could get a college degree in International Historic Preservation  (Savannah College of Art and Design), Australian and New Zealand Studies (Georgetown University), or Concrete Industry Management (MTSU)? This is the age of specialization! If you love to obsess about the obscure, hello 21st century. There is an expert for your every need. These experts are even kind enough to supply an endless stream of blogs, articles, books, and conferences. I'm certainly not saying that all experts are part of the secret Satanic plot to bring in the reign of the antichrist. Experts, in fact, can aid us toward finding and accomplishing the will of God, but be careful. Through narrative, 2Chr 16:7 and 12 give us a solemn warning through the life of King Asa. He relied on the king of Eram to deliver him militarily and his doctors to deliver him from his foot disease. These were the experts of his day! He failed... God judged him for relying on experts rather than on the Almight God.

3. Education - For the record, I think everyone who gets the MDiv is serious about preparing for the work of God while everyone who goes on to get a doctorate is depending on their eduction for godliness and growth! End of story. :) Just kidding! As tidy as that might be, education can present a real dependency challenge to all of us. Whether you have a high school degree, a PhD in New Testament Interpretation, or 274 years of Sunday School experience, we tend to discern and navigate our path through life based on our own knowledge and application of it. However, depending on our learning is the antithesis of trusting the Lord to direct our paths (Pr 3:5-6).

4. Strategy - Yep, we not only like our own experts and our own knowledge, we typically like do to things our own way. Our self dependence results in using our own schemes. The psalmist contrasts those who depend in chariots and horses to those who trust in the Lord (Ps 20:7). Would anyone use a horse to build their church? Probably not. The chariot has potential as an eco-friendly extension of the bus ministry, but few would use it. To depend, however,on horses and chariots to win military victories (3,000 years ago) is as ludicrous as it is to depend on them to build a church. We are terribly flawed whenever we rely on human devised strategies, plans, or 12 step processes to accomplish the work of God.

5. Tradition - This one may kind of strike you as odd. How does tradition fit as a dangerous dependency? Well, let me ask you this. If you were going to start an outreach program, what would you do? Exactly what you've always done? What another church you admire does? If you were going to plant a church, what would it look like? What would you do? Would you duplicate the church you just left, regardless of the geographic or cultural changers? I think the difference between depending on tradition compared to depending on experts, education, or strategy is that depending on tradition is not usually deliberate. It's usually the default mode. It takes work to seek out experts, get an education, or study and develop strategy. Tradition is an easy master. It's cheap, and readily accessible, even though it's not the most sophisticated of dependencies (kind of like sniffing glue). For a very interesting passage regarding dependence on tradition, see 1 Samuel 4:1-11.

Pretty negative so far? Personally, I don't think so. Identifying the problem is always the first step to solving the problem. And the solution is oh so simple. How can we accomplish the work of God's kingdom? How can we start local churches through evangelizing the lost? How can we train Christ-followers to the point of spiritual maturity and reproduction? We Can't! Jesus can and will! Jesus said that He will build His church (Mt 16:18).

So does that mean we sit around and do nothing? Hardly. Our job is to trust the Lord, be faithful what He has called each one of us to do, and leave the results to the Lord.

Our General's Warning: Beware of dangerous dependencies! They possess a lifetime of danger!

  • Did I miss any dangerous dependencies?
  • Were any misdiagnosed?
  • Which one do you think is the most dangerous?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Interview with Jud Wilhite

Last month I was privileged to be able to attend the NewSpring Leadership Conference with Dan Threlfall. Dan's company Sharefaith was an official sponsor of the conference. Due to this arrangement, I was able to sit in (as official photographer) on an interview with Jud Wilhite, one of the speakers at the conference. Jud is senior pastor of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas. Jud prefers to call the city typically known as "Sin City," "Grace City!"

Sharefaith has been kind enough to post the entire interview on their blog. Here's a couple of highlights from it:
The “Grace City” concept is rooted in what I think God can do, and how he sees a city. The world sees this place [Las Vegas] as Sin City, but if you step back from it, you see that God’s grace is available. When it comes to connecting with our culture, this idea of telling the truth in love is the linchpin for us. We don’t try to be relevant. We don’t try to be cool. We’re not making a big effort to “connect.” What we’re trying to do is live the gospel in our culture—honestly and truthfully.
There are a couple things that are dear to my heart. These are the culture of radical grace and radical truth... Today, it seems like it’s hard to find a church that values the Bible as the Word of God–that values it as the truth, that doesn’t want to compromise or bend it, that doesn’t want to take it in a liberal direction. But it’s hard to find a church that does so in the context of a truly grace-filled culture—a culture that lets you come in jacked out of your mind, and still be loved. I’m encouraged to be seeing this in church plants and church starts. I’m seeing a love for grace and a culture of grace that loves people, but also a love and respect for God’s Word and a willingness to take a stand on his Word.
Make sure you check out the entire interview here!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Book Review - The Trellis and the Vine

A friend of mine sent me a video of Mark Dever reviewing The Trellis and the Vine, in which he states, "this is the best book I've ever read on the nature of church ministry." Now if I stated something like that, it wouldn't mean much. But, when Mark Dever makes a statement like that, it's worth taking a second look. So, my search to get my hands on a copy of this book began. That leads me to one of the few negative comments I can make about the book - the title and cover. Neither the title nor cover real jump out and get your attention. I can prove this! My search for the book finally ended up on my bureau! I had been given the book by a friend back in April, but the book had never caught my attention. In fact, it did little more than collect dust with some of my other "someday books." Maybe it's just because I'm not into the whole gardening thing, but a book with a title about vegetation and lawn ornaments doesn't exactly demand my attention.

Now that my big negative is off my chest, the rest of the book remains! To be fair to M & P, the trellis/vine analogy makes a lot of sense, once you read the book. The authors compare the trellis to the structure and programs of the church while the vine represents the people of the church. Sometimes structure is helpful to support the growth of people, but more often than not, the structure soon becomes an uncontrollable prima dona, demanding all the attention and resources of the church. Eventually, the church forgets about its mission to build people and focuses on building and maintaining an organization. As beautiful and as impressive as the structure may be, the authors contend that this structure is not accomplishing and is even impeding the work of God.

This book calls for a radical ministry mind-shift. Here are 11 shifts that the authors feel are necessary:
  • from running programs to building people
  • from running events to training people
  • from using people to growing people
  • from filling gaps to training new workers
  • from solving problems to helping people make progress
  • from clinging to ordained ministry to developing team leadership
  • from focusing on church polity to forging ministry partnerships
  • from relying on training institutions to establishing local training
  • from focusing on immediate pressure to aiming for long-term expansion
  • from engaging in management to engaging in ministry
  • from seeking church growth to seeking gospel growth
I know that list is tedious, but think about those paradigm shifts. I'm sure that your church may not land on every bad side of the issue, but I think every church struggles with the gravitational pull of focusing on the organization. Or, if they aren't struggling, they have simply succumbed to the pressure.

The authors make it clear that they aren't advocating more lectures or classes on the issue of discipleship. Convictions, character, and competency must be carefully developed through life on life interaction.

For those of you whose version of packing light for a trip includes bringing a U-Haul on an overnite trip, this book is your ministry philosophy equivalent. I don't possibly have time to give all the highlights of this book. I simply want to encourage you to read it. Here's a few questions this book attempts to address:
  • I'm very busy with ministry as it is! How can I possibly make time to invest my life in people?
  • Should I prioritize the people I invest my life in? If so, who? and why?
  • If every believer is actively ministering God's word to each other, what is the need and role of the Sunday sermon?
  • If everyone is really called to minister, why do we pay someone in particular to do it (the pastor)?
  • Oh yeah! Let's say I buy into all the stuff and I want to shift my thinking and practice. Where in the world do I begin? (yes, he thankfully does answer this question in great detail.
The book concludes with a very insightful section addressing possible objections to his paradigm shift. The neat thing is the questions he is answering are genuine questions that many readers might be left asking.

The question is, was Mark Dever right? Is this really the best book on church ministry? I would answer with a hearty affirmative! Apart from the Bible itself, this is the best I have seen.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

To Multi-site or to Biblically Plant Local Churches

Isn't it great when a debate is framed so openly and fairly? :) Here's a discussion/debate between James MacDonald, Mark Dever, and Mark Driscoll that I got tipped off to by Dan Threlfall. Mark Dever ably takes the position of uni-site church plants. Dever spends most of the interview asking questions of Driscoll regarding his multi-site philosophy.

It always seemed to me that the uni-site approach was the more theological position while the multi-site approach was more strategic and yes, cool. I'm sure there are a wide variety of philosophy and strategy among those who advocate multi-site, just as there are innumerable approaches to the uni-site approach. On both accounts I'm sure there are plenty examples of churches that are not equally well thought out and enacted. It's easy and somewhat enjoyable to pick apart examples on either side that are ill conceived or executed poorly. That's what makes this interview so enjoyable. You get to see leaders of both approaches discuss their approach to the matter.

So, forget the personalities representing the positions. The real question is, what do you think? Pros/cons?

(Please note that the pictures are deliberately contrasting just to confuse the issue further)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review - The Church Planter

Posting a book review by someone else seems completely like cheating. It probably is. I've got a few other books i'm working on right now though so I'll let you take a look at Dan Threlfall's review of The Church Planter by Darrin Patrick. This is a highly anticipated, highly endorsed book on one of my favorite subjects - church planting! Even better, this guy has actually done it!

If it's a subject you're interested in, but like me haven't had a chance to read the book yet, don't feel bad! Just read the review and use it to salve your conscience until you have a chance to read the book for yourself!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Church Planting in New England

Tonight I was privileged to be given the opportunity to present our burden to plant churches in Maine and New England. It was an absolute joy to share with the people at GBF what the Lord is doing in our hearts and lives. It might be a little difficult to completely understand the presentation without the audio, but I thought I'd post it regardless. Get any profit or enjoyment out of it that you can!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Old Hymns - Treat with Love, Use with Care

Yes, I know I tread on ground that is sacred. Ground that begs me to remove my sandals, exposing a well developed sandal tan. But tread I must. :)

One thing that is quite sad, perhaps even tragic, about the music debate in conservative Christianity is that while we are studying, debating, and evangelizing our applications of Scripture, we often overlook was Scripture actually says! What a strange occurrence. The vast majority of scriptural information on music is focused on the text. Yes, I said the text. Not the genre, or the beat, or the instrumentation. The two purposes for Christian musical texts are the worship of God and the edification of believers. Excuse me for a sec while a briefly explain these two purposes since they are foundational for my points of concern.

Glorifying God - Life is all about GOD. GOD created the world. GOD intitiated the redemption of man. GOD sacrificed His Son for us! Kind of makes sense that our songs should enthusiastically praise this God (1 Chr 16:9, 23; Ps 92:1; Heb 13;15; etc.)

Building up believers - The other scriptural goal of Christian music is building up our brothers and sisters in Christ (Col 3:16; Eph 5:19). These are in no way inferior purposes. Lyrical edification is essential!
So, here are 3 main problems with many older songs:

1. Theological error - This one is pretty much inexcusable in my mind. How is it that after 700 years this stanza of All Creatures of Our God and King can still be found in our hymnals? "Dear mother earth, who day by day, Unfoldest blessings on our way, O praise Him! Alleluia!" This should be the official hymn of the green movement! It is dangerous to be teaching through singing incorrect doctrine. Thankfully this isn't rampant, but we need to be careful.

2. Foreign words/phrases - This is kind of basic, but if you don't know what something means, you can't really teach, learn, or worship. Just sayin'. A couple examples you say? How about "Gladly for aye we adore him" and "here I raise mine Ebeneezer" (which some have thankfully translated to "sign of victory"). Holiday hymns also join the ranks by using different languages in the same song. Some Christmas favorites are "G.....L.....O.....R.....I......A. in excelsis Deo" and "Noel x 6."
3. Archaic or awkward language - This principle is similar to #2 and there is some overlap depending on the person. Typically though, the hymns in this category use mostly familiar words. You can clearly identify this category if, as you are singing, you find yourself scratching your head thinking "Could they have worded this any more awkwardly?" These hymns probably weren't always awkward, but they are now quite dated. While it is true that God understands and appreciates 1st century Greek, 17th century English, 19th century German, and 21st century English equally well, the same cannot be said of us. We read, speak, learn in, communicate love through, and express our deepest pains by means 21st century English. Shouldn't we worship in that language as well? The first verse of The Lord's My Shepherd, I'll Not Want is a perfect example. "The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want; He makes me down to lie / In pasture green; He leadeth me The quiet waters by." If you talk like that, I have a speech therapist you can see! Other words in this category include "thou, thy, hast, and ye."

The Good News:
1. I'm not advocating the abandonment of all old hymns. To some of you this is a sigh of relief. To others, perhaps a disappointment. The New Testament encourages the singing of psalms, which at that time were quite old (they had, however, been translated into "modern Greek"). I think we ought to respect and enjoy old hymns.
2. We need to examine what we sing, preferably before we sing it. Is it theologically correct? Is the language understandable? Are we able to sing with understanding or are we mumbling through 18th century incantations?
3. We need to adapt the older songs to make them theologically correct, understandable, and suitable for worship and for building up fellow believers. Thanks to technological advances, this is much easier to do with power point than it would have been to alter hymnals by hand.
4. We need to recognize the biblical emphasis on new songs (Ps 40:1-3; Ex 15:20-21; Lk 1:46-55). The church today needs to be writing and singing new expressions of what the Lord is doing in and through His people. For the record, I think that is one of the biggest reasons that conservative circles enjoy Sovereign Grace music, regardless of the style of musical accompaniment. The theological texts are phrased in modern English. Blows my mind why current authors would write their texts chock full of archaic language, but I don’t want to be too judgmental. Maybe it’s their language of love!
Guess that leads me back to the title. Use and respect the old hymns, but do it with care. Don’t overlook God’s purpose for you singing amidst the debates. And definitely continue bringing in the new songs!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"How Good is Good Enough?"

I signed up for several podcasts recently, curious to learn from the theology and preaching styles of different men. I enjoyed Andy Stanley at the Newspring Leadership Conference so he was a natural inclusion into that list. Today, while driving, I listened to the first sermon in his series "How Good is Good Enough?" Apparently this sermon series borrows content from a book he wrote with the same title back in 2004.

The first sermon was fantastic! Stanley closely examined the most common argument for people believing they are going to heaven - they are good enough. He engagingly and kindly shows the biblical problems with this argument, leaving the listener to recognize the enormous holes in their belief system.

If you have any unsaved friends, relatives, or even just live in a world full of people blinded by the devil, it's definitely worth your time. The good news is that you can save the money on the book and listen to the sermons. The bad news is North Point Community Church won't allow me to link directly to the message so you can either listen to it on itunes or you can find the series here and then locate "How Good is Good Enough?" on your own.

If you're interested in the book (which I'm assuming is similar to the sermon series), Tim Challies did a basic review of the book in 2004.

What do you think? What are the biggest arguments against Christianity? How well does Andy Stanley address them?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Interview with Ed Stetzer

Here is an interview with Ed Stetzer. He just spent a large amount of time researching the American church planting scene and wrote the book Viral Churches as a result. He certainly has a better perspective on the national church planting scene than most others. I certainly appreciate his empahsis that planting churches is not the end goal. The end goal is the salvation of lost souls and church planting is the God ordained means to that end. Our confidence should be in the Lord, that He will keep his promise to build His church!

I think you'll really enjoy this inteview!

RT @ dan threlfall

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Review - Exponential

A few months ago, Zondervan sent me a free book to review. Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement came to my doorstep. I started the book with great excitement, but a kitchen remodel, a new roof, and two hard drive crashes set me back a little in completion time. However, I finished the book yesterday and here's the bottom line on it.

The book was written by Dave and Jon Ferguson, two brothers who started a church in Chicago. They founded the church with almost no resources - nothing but a vision from God. This one church has birthed several campus churches, started various other churches, and has now organized many of these into networks.

The book is written from Dave's perspective, with Jon throwing in random snide comments. If my brother Peter ever writes a book, I definitely want the "snide comment" job! The book is well written and easy to read as it's largely just their story.

The book could be summarized by two points. 1. Stop thinking small, get all your friends together, and plant a million churches. Then, keep going. They use their story to convince, motivate, and persuade you that this can be a reality. Should we need this encouragement? No, we probably shouldn't. The Great Commission commands the radical, widespread, yep, even exponential growth of God's kingdom throughout the world. This command is backed by the power and presence of God. If you're still unsure about Christ's ability to bring His plans to fruition, check out Revelation 19-20. However, years of disobedience and a lack of faith have given us spiritual cataracts, leaving us unable to see what God really desires to do. This book is encouraging, not because they give us some magic formula, but because their story affirms today what we should already know - that God will build His church!

2. Intentionally develop leaders! Here again, this should be kind of a no brainer. That's what discipleship is all about, but this book does a really good job of giving some practical ways to develop leaders. Community (their church) believes that every person in every position ought to have an apprentice. In this way, leadership is being intentionally developed on every level. The Fergusons correctly point out that if you wait to mentor leaders until you need the leaders, it is way too late and you are actually hindering the progress of winning souls. Unfortunately, most leadership training occurs more like this. "Hey, I've got the flu. Can you teach my class this morning?" It's sink or swim. What a great way to help people!

At Community they laid out a leadership flow chart. Everyone starts as an individual (obviously!). Then follows leader, coach, director, campus pastor/church planter, and finally network leader. I think it's interesting to how Community is structured, but it doesn't need to be precisely emulated. The big point is, the are intentionally developing leaders. Sounds kind of like 2 Timothy 2:2, doesn't it? :)

They do a great job of breaking down leadership development into five basic steps:
1. I do. You watch. We talk.
2. I do. You help. We talk.
3. You do. I help. We talk.
4. You do. I watch. We talk.
5. You do. Someone else watches.

This completes the leadership circle and creates mature believers who are training others. I've seen these steps listed very similarly somewhere else, and I have no idea who canonized it first, but I think this approach is simple and effective. The three questions that guide their conversations are (1) "What worked?" (2) "What didn't work?" and (3) "How can we improve?"

In summary, it was a great book if you want one path to do this. I loved the emphasis on leadership development and faith in what God can do. Some chapters kind of reitterated their previous motif of leadership develop (ex, reproducing artists, reproducing groups, etc). Each chapter added a little to it, but not exceptionally. Worth a read? Definitely.... but I still like Viral Churches better.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Christ and the Arts

No, this isn't the final treatise on Christian aesthetics or the solution to the iconclast debate of eclipsed centuries. I came across an inteview that my good friend Dan Threlfall did of Jesse Bryan, the creative director at Mars Hill. Jesse is responsible for anything artistic at Mars Hill. The interview is brief but it does a fabulous job of communicating Bryan's philosophy - one which is I think is extremely helpful and biblical. I'll spare you my rehash of the interview, but make sure you read it here.

What do you think? Is it biblical? Have you heard a better philosophy?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Leadership in the Church

Leadership, particularly male leadership, is conspicuously absent from the modern church. The church is suffering from a dearth of intentional leadership development. Think about it. How may of the leaders in your church were identified, mentored, and equipped by your church? Or does your church solely grab those individuals that the business world graciously develops for you. Every now and then a leader will arrive that God has incredibly gifted and once he is thrown into a position of authority he will develop the skills necessary to meet the challenge. This is wonderful when it happens, but it is far from ideal. We need to return to the days of deliberately mentoring those around us to be better leaders than we are.

Several church planting books that I have been reading lately have brought this subject to mind. Exponential by the Ferguson brothers reiterated the need for leadership development. They gave 12 ways of indentifying whether leadership is lacking in your own life:
1. I wait for someone to tell me what to do rather than taking the initiative myself.
2. I spend too much time talking about how things should be different.
3. I blame the context, surroundings, or other people for my current situation.
4. I am more concerned about being cool or accepted than doing the right thing.
5. I seek consensus rather than casting vision for a preferable future.
6. I am not taking any significant risks.
7. I accept the status quo as the way it's always been and always will be.
8. I start protecting my reputation instead of opening myself up to opposition.
9. I procrastinate to avoid making a tough call.
10. I talk to others about the problem rather than taking it to the person responsible.
11. I don't feel like my butt is on the line for anything significant.
12. I ask for way too many opinions before taking action.

While there are some churches that are doing a fantastic job in developing believers into kingdom leaders, it is probable the exception rather than the norm. Maybe this list pointed out some weak areas. Maybe it's time to look at who the Lord has put around us, adopt the attitude of Jesus and Paul, and mentor them (2 Tim 2:2). Unless Christ returns soon, we'd better be busy making disciples and training the next generation of church leaders!

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Viral Churches"

I was recently given the book Viral Churches. The book remains unfinished as reading with my daughter definitely slows down my typical pace. However, the first 50 pages have been inspiring, challenging, and thought-provoking. The premise of the book (the best I understand it after 50 pages) is that the current model of planting a church is both small-minded and not in keeping with the Scriptural precent. Our goal should be towards the frequent and widespread multiplication of churches rather than being content with the addition of a single church.

I'll try to post a more complete review later, but so far it's been fantastic. I feel like I've been reading a more intelligent, better researched, and passionate version of myself. The book's emphasis on leadership development is right on!!

Here's an excerpt from the book:

It's very possible to plant a church but not enlarge God's kingdom or to limit Satan's domain. Churches based on worship preferences and musical styles, or built around celebrities with the Christian subculture, reinforce consumerism and promote church shopping among those who are already believers (34).

Do you think this is an accurate assessment of some segments of American Christianity?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Panic in Fundamentalism

Winds of conern seem to be blowing through the ranks of Fundamental leaders. "Where are all the young people going?" In the last week I have heard noises of these concerns from several sources. "Why are young people leaving Fundamentalism?" "Why are they going to Evangelical seminaries?" "Why is a young man hard to find at the FBF meetings?" And I think all these "why's" are simply an attempt to find one "What?" "What do we do to stop it?"

Unfortunately, I think the motivations are complicated, the reasons are varied, and the situations are unique. Chris Anderson posted a insightful answer as to why young people are leaving fundamental churches, suggesting that the question itself might be the wrong question. Here is an exerpt from his answer:

My two cents? Kids are leaving their churches because the churches are unhealthy, not because they’re too conservative. Sheep who are shepherded well don’t tend to wander. Most don’t, anyway. So rather than blaming young people, or Christian colleges, or music, or John Piper, or Calvinism, labor to have a healthy church. And rather than preaching on why people shouldn’t leave, give them reasons to stay. Take care of sheep. Endeavor to be a good shepherd. See worship as a call to adoration, not a call to arms. Exalt the Chief Shepherd. Minister grace.

Make sure you read the rest of his article.

Personally, I'm glad the problem is getting noticed and publicly discussed. For too long it has been denied or ignored, hoping that it will go away. Recognizing that a problem exists is always the first step to solving it.

What do you think the problems are, if they exist? If they exist, should they be solved? If so, how?

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Perspective on Separation and Church Discipline

Lately I've been absorbed with writing and touching up my doctrinal statement in preparation for ordination. Thus, no blogging. While you might have been interested in some subjects, others, such as supralapsarianism, may have bored you just a touch.

I'm currently working through a section on church discipline and separation. I ran across the following perspective and I'm really curious to know your feedback. Is it good, but incomplete? Absolutely right? Wrong? You are welcome and encouraged to post any perspective that you have if you would kindly tell me Scripturally why you think that. That is, unless you don't want me using your name as my defense of your view when it comes to my ordination! :)

The Unity of the Church—Jesus wants his church to be unified (John 10:16; 17:21-23). This unity is possible because Jesus baptizes believers from vastly different backgrounds into the same body and the same Spirit (1 Cor 12:12-14). “Those who cause divisions” must be avoided (Rom 16:17). Those who practice separation where there should be unity should be confronted (Gal 2:11-14). Separation should be practiced in the case of an unbelieving false teacher (Gal 1:8-9; 2 John 9-11). If someone is living in sin and refuses to repent upon confrontation (Matt 18:15-17), he should be warned as a brother (2 Thess 3:6, 14-15). Persistent stubbornness in sin exposes him or her as an unbeliever (1 John 2:19). Based on this understanding of church discipline and purity, the church is never to separate from other believers.

Happy reviewing!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Christian Carnage

Ever since the days when flying projectiles were added to the standard battle armament of clubs and swords, "friendly fire" has been the unfortunate result. It's kind of hard to know where an arrow will fall or what hot lead will ultimately pierce (just ask Stonewall Jackson about this). Modern warfare has done much to reduce the number of "friendly fire" victims but it remains a terrible reality.

As much as "friendly fire" is hated on the battlefield it seems to be a quite cherished part of Christianity. We often seem eager to turn our clubs (blogs), swords (sermons), artillery (websites), and nuclear weapons (blacklisting) from the enemy around us against our brother next to us (like the allegory? :) ). We spend so much time and energy beating the daylights out of our own team that we have little fight left for the enemy. We slash those more "liberal" than us and jab at those more conservative. Why?

I'm not always sure why. Pride maybe, thinking that I have arrived at all the right conclusions and everyone else must be beat into thinking my way. Insecurity with what we believe or the reasons that we believe the way we do? Tradition and the refusal to look at something a different way? The love of change and refusing to consider that perhaps a certain tradition may be correct? A variety of explanations may explain this propensity, none of which are flattering.

I have learned a lot from my pastor in this regard and greatly respect his wisdom and maturity. He is comfortable with what he believes, is humbly continuing to learn and grow, knows who the Lord has called him to be, and spends his time on doing what the Lord has called him to do rather than blowing up anyone who disagrees. No matter our position or theological persuasion, maybe we would all do better to follow this example. Maybe we need to accept the fact that God has included a variety of people in His army. The army doesn't attack the navy just because they aren't doing the same job. Perhaps we should let God be the general and just focus on the task that He has given us to do. Learn from the other units, keep your focus on your task, and leave the rest up to the General.

No, I haven't been smoking some pipe left over from the 60's. I don't expect the church to all come to agreement on Calvinism, Bible translations, worship styles, and eschatological views all in this decade. We need to be well studied, and constantly studying. However, it should be possible to also think the best of others and unselfishly give ourselves for our fellow army buddies (I Cor 13). At the very least we must learn to rejoice wherever and however the gospel is proclaimed (Phil 1:18). Mark 9:38-40 addresses such a situation. John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." But Jesus said, "Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us."

Remember that the order "Ready, Aim, Fire" is important. "Ready, Fire, Aim" can cause a lot of unncessary carnage and pain.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Jesus wants everybody happy, happy, happy and He doesn't want anybody sad!"

These are lyrics from a common kids' jingle. Any thinking believer obviously would agree that there is more to Christianity than just being happy all the time. This Easter I've begun to wonder how much this sort of kid's theology has permeated mature Christianity. The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ are rightfully the climax of the year for believers, but how do we present it? How do we think about it? I wonder if we are so eager to get to the joy of the resurrection that we unwittingly mitigate the impact of the crucifixion.

The gospel of John is largely an account of Christ's last few weeks on earth. Chapters 13 through 19 climax towards the crucifixion while only 2 chapters cover the resurrection and the events following it. Maybe it would be better to sit for a while and let the full impact of the worst day in history to really sink in. Do we really understand the betrayal of a closest friend? The reversal of popular opinion in Jerusalem? The confusion and desperation of Pilate? What about the heart of Mary being shredded as she helplessly watched the inhuman treatment of her first son? The pounding regrets Peter felt as the last moments with his friend and leader were vehement exclamations of denial? The fear and bewilderment of disciples who expected to follow Christ to a kingdom, not a cross? And what about Christ? How deeply do we feel the utter abandonment He experienced from his friends, disciples, and even His Father? His silence at the rigged trial by his countrymen? The humiliation and pain experienced at the hands of calloused soldiers? Do we understand Him being hated for His perfection and being crucified for His love? Is it even possible to understand His concern for his mother's well being and for the soul of a thief while dangling in utter agony from a tree? This was the worst day in human history. The blackest. The end. Deicide. Those in bondage killing their only Savior. It was finished!

Then came Sunday!! The cry "It is finished" now screams hope and salvation rather than desperation.

I'm not arguing for a diminishing of the resurrection. It should be everything to us (1 Corinthians 15). However, it would do us well to spend some time absorbing the darkness of John 13-19 before basking in the light of John 20-21. I believe the incomprehensible miracle of the resurrection will appear more spectacular as we absorb the darkness that brought us there. The sun is always more radiant after a spell of rain. The flowers of spring are always more beautiful after a long, cold winter.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What is Really in a Name?

Kevin Bauder's blog In the Nick of Time lit up much of the FB and blog kingdom recently. The content and spirit of the post were like the warm spring breezes that envelope you after a cold winter. The spirit of love and respect for other brothers in Christ was refreshing. Here are a few excerpts from his blog if you have not seen it yet.

Conservative evangelicals are not our enemies. They are not our opponents. Conservative evangelicals have proven themselves to be allies and even leaders in the defense of the faith.

If we attack conservative evangelicals, then we attack the defense of the faith. We attack indirectly the thing that we hold most dear, namely, the gospel itself, for that is what they are defending. We should not wish these brothers to falter or to grow feeble, but rather to flourish. We must do nothing to weaken their hand in the face of the enemies of the gospel.

If we believe that we must respond to conservative evangelicalism, then let us begin by addressing the areas in which they have exposed our weakness. Let us refocus our attention upon the exaltation of God. Let us exalt, apply, and defend the gospel in all its fullness. If we were more like what we ought to be, perhaps we would feel less threatened by those whose exploits attract the attention of our followers.

Dave Doran responded to Kevin Bauder's article stating that he agreed with much of what Bauder had to say. Doran correctly pointed out that labels are not always quite as accurate as we might wish. There is a wide variety of men and beliefs within conservative evangelicalism (as there is in fundamentalism). In a more recent article Doran suggests that we "throw away the labels and ask these two questions: Of what are you in favor of? To what are you opposed? Agreement on those two items will more likely produce workable partnerships and real fellowship."

I don't know that Doran is actually suggesting we throw away the label "Fundamentalist" since it has been hijacked by those vehemently claim the inspiration of the KJV. I certainly don't wish to put words in his mouth. However, it does make you wonder. Labels are supposed to be helpful... I think. An applesauce jar should contain applesauce, and a baker would be quite disappointed if the flour bag actually contained baking powder. So what about the label "fundamentalist?" Historically, I couldn't agree with it more!! I have the utmost appreciation and respect for many of the men who have proudly worn the label before me and who have given me my spiritual heritage. But how helpful is the label now? Unsaved people likely think of compound polygamists, underwear bombers, or sadly enough, Bible burners. It is understandable why some believers hold the label "fundamentalist" with some hesitancy (see Bible burning). Granted, the label has been hijacked. But if it cannot be reclaimed, what is most expedient for the sake of the gospel?

What really matters is the gospel! I am a wicked sinner, saved by the precious blood of Jesus! The labels I should claim the most fiercely are "child of the King" and "a sinner, saved by grace!" How quickly my renegade heart turns its focus from my Savior to earthly associations. God, keep my focus on you!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In Search of Worldliness (or at least a definition)

Worldliness is the trump card used against offense that not clearly stated in the Scriptures. Is worldliness spiking your hair or wearing clothes that are in style? Is worldliness catching a decent show at a movie theater or is it using a more modern translation of the Scriptures?

I'm sure there are some helpful definitions of "worldliness" or the "world" around, but I am still searching for them. Sidwell defines worldliness as "an attitude of friendship toward, a desire for, and a wish to be recognized by the world system." What, you ask, is the "world system." Well, the world system is "the unregenerate people of this earth as organize and dominated by Satan." Condensed, worldliness becomes friendship with or the desire to be recognized by unsaved people. This definition is far from satisfactory though. Christ accused of being a friend of sinners in Luke 7:34 (an accusation he never denied) and He loved sinners so much that He died for them.

Here is another definition of worldiness by Driscoll. I think it is much closer in some regards.

I plan to thoroughly study out the issue myself and post my conclusions here, but until then, what do you think worldliness is? If you have done some study on it, please post your results. Make sure you take the poll since it's National Sensus time!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Blog?????

"Whatever lead you to this madness?" you might ask. I can definitely understand that reaction!!! I certainly did not decide to start this blog because I feel like the world has been lacking my amazing perspective or because I need the additional publicity to launch my speaking career. My aspirations for this sight are simple. I desire a place where a community of believers in Christ can honestly and prayerfully wrestle with the challenges that face us as we seek to continue on Christ's mission. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but maybe we can help each other along in the journey.

I intend to post articles, papers, and videos from any source that I feel would get us that much closer to accomplishing Christ's mission or that would deepen our relationship with our Savior. Send me anything that you think others would benefit by viewing or discussing. All discussions must be intellectually honest and loving towards others.

May we have countless Kingdom Conquests in this world as we prepare for the next!