Dec
13
2010

Missional Monday: Does Lifestyle Centric Understanding of Church = Mission Statement?

I’ve been struggling with the difference between an Activities Centric understand of church vs. a Lifestyle Centric understanding of church.  You can read an overview by clicking here. When I first started working all this through in my head I struggled to find see the difference between having a lifestyle centric understanding of church and having a mission statement. Before we get to far lets all get on the same page.   My definition of a […]

Dec
10
2010

Finance Fridays: Ten Things Churches Need to Think About for 2011

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Matt Note:  Brad Leeper has been a friend, mentor, trusted advisor, and confidante of mine for years.  Brad currently serves as Vice President of Generis, an organization that partners with churches looking to create a culture of generosity.  Brad’s wisdom and expertise in the area of stewardship has benefited countless churches across the nation, and I am excited to have him share his wisdom with us here. Welcome to year three of the recession.  The church […]

Dec
9
2010

Taking Back Christmas (from the marketplace)

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Yesterday Donald Miller, of Blue Like Jazz fame, tweeted “I really wish more stores would take Christ out of Christmas to distance Him from over-consumerism”.  I like this idea. Every year it seems as though we head into this time of year and there is a suspension of reality.  Black Friday becomes just a little more over the top, Christmas advertising gets just a little more outrageous, and we seem to buy in just a […]

Dec
8
2010

Surviving Church Burn Out: Seeking the Rest You Need

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About a month or two before I burned out from church and ministry, I had started working at a church in a basically administrative office position. We were planning to move into the same area as this church after marrying, and I figured there was a good chance we’d also attend the church. Then I crashed. Then I visited the church. I knew it wasn’t going to work. So many things frustrated and offended me. […]

Dec
7
2010

More from Paul: Conflict is Important!

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You may have noticed that I have been camping out in Galatians lately.  My Tuesday morning men’s group has been walking through the book together and it has been rich.  My last post on Paul spoke about some thing that I see in my generation that are troubling to me.  This morning I was struck by how Paul deals with conflict and drift in the church: When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to […]

Dec
6
2010

Missional Mondays: Activities Centric vs. Lifestyle Centric – The Example of Abraham

To get a basic overview of this topic click here. It is one thing to hammer away at a problem, to point at something and say over and over, “This is broken.”  It is altogether a different and more challenging thing to offer an alternative. I’m still processing all this myself and don’t fully have it defined…even so, in between describing what is broken (activities centric definitions of “church”) I want to give examples of what I believe […]

Dec
3
2010

Just What Can a Gospel Centered Community Do?

Hands!

The gospel does not become public truth for a society by being propogated as a theory or as a worldview and certainly not as a religion. It can become public truth only insofar as it is embodied in a society (the church) which is both “abiding in” Christ and engaged in the life of the world. Leslie Newbigin, Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship My small group is working through a study that […]

Dec
1
2010

Surviving Church Burn Out: Handling Hurt and Disappointment

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Sending an angry e-mail to a close friend about my disappointment with both serving and attending church marked the low point of my own struggles with church burn out. At my most pessimistic, I saw the church as this monstrous machine that consumed people as its fuel, and I blasted off a series of stinging bullet points to make my case. When anyone rants about the church or questions the wisdom of the current Sunday […]

Nov
30
2010

Grace in Conflict: What Can We Learn From Paul?

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Over the last several years it seems as though our society has begun to value division more and more.  Turn on the tv and you can not help but see the talking heads rallying their troops to their side of the day’s argument.  While divisiveness sells tv advertising, I think it also begins to diminish our abilities to resolve conflict amongst ourselves. This morning I was reading through Galatians 2:1-10 and was struck by the way […]

Nov
29
2010

Missional Mondays: Activities Centric Church – Two Examples

Example #1 – The Visitor I was cleaning up the Sunday School party yesterday at Valley (the institutional congregation I serve) when one of the youth brought a visitor to talk with me.  She was a thin woman in her mid forties with two teenage girls in tow.  She started the conversation off with, “Hi, I was wondering what programs you have for youth.”  She didn’t make any attempt to introduce herself or shake my […]