A beautiful improvisation of an arrangement for “Were you There?” by my former classmate and fellow graduate of IWS, Jeff Rogers.
I was amazed at the words that the children recalled hearing in the sermon and their delight as they shared their joy with me warmed my heart. The adults in the congregation were thrilled to see the children so involved, so engaged, and so well behaved in worship. And their parents were grateful to have the opportunity to worship as a family and to not feel stressed during that time in the pew.
A really cool idea.
This article isn’t discussing breaking news, but I finally got to catch up to a few items on my “to read later” list. From Leadership Journal: The Painful Lessons of Mars Hill.
Western Seminary’s Dr. Gerry Breshears, a past friend and co-author with Driscoll, says many churches today have a problem with “giving lip service to ‘co-laborers,’ while depending on a single superstar.” And if it is all about the superstar, he says, then what if things go wrong with him or her?
I have first-hand experience of churches operating on a smaller scale but in the same way: around a single charismatic individual who does not believe he or she is really working alongside others. Those churches were built, to varying degrees, on the cult of personality rather than the Church. I’ve seen the devastating fall-out when things go wrong with that kind of leader—and felt it personally.
On the one hand, I’m not the prototypical church planter. I don’t tend to draw crowds and I’ve never been confused with a socially popular guy. On the other hand, I do have a strong (if introverted) personality, and the danger remains. We are spending a ton of time building up and equipping leaders for the labor of planting a church-planting church. We have not talked a lot about “growth strategies.” We have not talked marketing, or efficiency. We talk instead about Kingdom values (more than conversions!) and the desire to hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” when we meet our maker.
From The Washington Post:
Hawkins said he wouldn’t have worn his Redskins jacket — at the producers’ insistence — if he had been expecting to square off with Native Americans, especially one of the leading activists against the team name.
If there’s nothing wrong with the jacket or the logo that adorns it, why wouldn’t he wear it in front Native Americans? How can it be claimed that it’s not offensive or derisive to a people if you can’t then wear it in front of them. I think some of these fans are in denial.
In other words, God glorifies Himself by forgiving our sins, and we glorify God in our worship by thanking Him for His mercy in Christ. Why does God command Christians to be baptized and celebrate the Lord’s Supper? Not because He needs our obedience in order to be glorified, but because He wants to glorify Himself by wrapping us in His glory through the waters of regeneration and feeding us with Christ, the very bread of life, in the Sacrament of the Altar. Why does God command Christians to gather together in worship? Not because He needs the sacrifice of our praise, but because we need the sacrifice of Christ’s life, which is given to us in the Word of the Gospel proclaimed in Christian worship. How does God want us to glorify Him? Not by saying, “Lord, look what I’ve done for you,” but by saying, “Lord, thank you for what you’ve done for me.”
Here’s the whole thing. Worth reading.
Here’s video of Walter Brueggemann on the competing world views—he calls them scripts—operating in the world. He mentions the ongoing crisis in Ferguson as a point of illustration. I’m not certain that he is spot on in his discussion of liberalism and conservatism in the Church, but I do think reframing the discussion as he suggests can only improve things.
Engaging people in meaningful conversation—even if not overtly spiritual or evangelistic in nature—is something we can all be better at. Especially me.
We stagger through our romantic, professional and social worlds with the goal merely of not crashing, never considering that we might soar. We go home sweaty and puffy, and eat birthday cake in the shower.
I’m attending the 20th Anniversary Celebration for the NAMS Network on my way to Florida next month. I’m really excited to catch up with some old friends, make some new friends, and to sit on on some of these workshops, like:
- Learning to Share the Gospel Relationally & Effectively
- Staying Happily Married While Church Planting
- Global Mission & the Survival of the Local Church