Time and time again, we hear of teachers giving their lives for their children.
Again, today… Teachers stayed:
Here. Go here and donate if you can.
It took a while, by my crack sleuths in South Korea tracked down a picture of the internet troll, Little Honey Tee Tee:
I know… keep the small children away… This look was achieved while he was on the run from United States authorities as he made his way back to South Korea.
Yes, this is the same guy who believes in Atlantis and Young Earth Creationism!
I don’t like inviting people to CHURCH. And no, Jesus never said go and invite people to CHURCH.
I do, however, like inviting my peeps to various aspects of our Church community.
Maybe it is just me, but I couldn’t care one iota about your “personal salvation” but would rather see you as an active member of a thriving community (of faith). Why? Because those who simply rest on one hand-shake with the pastor/momentary religious experience are not worried about community, but about individuality. They are satisfied by the experience someone else has given them.
I like the focus on the community, a community that is thriving based in diversity. Some conservatives, some liberals, some who don’t know the difference and couldn’t care less. I want believers, doubters, and nonbelievers. I want a community that is centered on the community and not on a set of must-haves, such as the pastor or a strict belief system. Orthodoxy is fine, and needed, but I rather like orthopraxy.
So, I got me to thinking… thinking something hard.
Came up with this.
Let me explain.
E is for social/media. You know, talking up your faith community via twitter and facebook, blogs or the what-not. The main thing to post? The stuff you are doing. Not the invites or the bible verses, but what you are you faith community does in the larger community. Going to a play? Post it. Assistance ministry? Post it. It is okay to look like you are bragging about the manifold things you and your community participate in to assist either the internal or the external community.
For you who insist on the attractional style of church, this should calm you just a bit.
Van is just as it sounds… getting people to come along. Don’t ask them to come to church; ask them to be involved in a project you are doing. Or to a small group meeting, such as a Sunday School class. Sure, bring them to a bible study and see what happens… Watch how you phrase it.
Say, George, I realize you are one ignorant something-o-something about the bible because you are a bloody heretic, so come with me to a bible study to see if God will save your soul. Also, Jesus rode dinosaurs. Remember, there are no atheists in hell. #holla.
Or, just maybe… Say, George, a group of us get together to talk about the bible. Some of us doubt and some of us question. You might enjoy it.
Better… Say, George, we could use your help at the assistance ministry on Wednesday nights. You like helping people right?
Here’s the other thing… be honest with them. If they feel like you are just trying to make numbers, that will and should backfire you bloody sot. If you are just using people to build your CHURCH, you don’t deserve the people you got. #amen.
When I invite people, I am honest. Hey, look. I just want you to come to make me look special. Or, hey, I just want your money in the coffers.
No, seriously. Try to be honest. Look, I like church and it works well for me. You might like it too. I don’t care if you ever come, and I don’t care if you ever believe. But, I sure would like you to come and see what we are doing because we are doing this, this, and that.
GEL relates how to get these people as part of the community over all. Maybe they are ready for Sunday morning. Maybe they need something more than the initial small group you introduced them to. Remember, these are not your people. They are you community and you are in theirs. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to go to Church on Sunday morning to be a Christian. Sure, I like worship service and believe you should if you can/could/would, but in the end, I would rather no one really spend their time inviting people to CHURCH (noun). Maybe, instead, invite them to church (verb). And once they are there, like new bricks and stone and wood, see where they fit in.
ISM. So, after a while, maybe they need to know what the community as a whole believes. This is where Sunday comes into play. Or maybe an actual bible study. Or a new members class. The doctrines, the creeds, the basic beliefs. Frankly, not everyone will get to this stage. Remember the first word in Evangelism is Evangel. You know, good news. So, if they don’t get here, who cares?
Because if they are gellin’ they are a part of the community, giving and taking, and giving, and maybe even inviting. They are learning along the way, of course, but more than that, they are teaching, reaching.
Is the church community more important than the Gospel?
Can you really separate the two?
I don’t want to focus on developing this, because, well, this is not what I do, but there are more ideas to be placed here, explored, developed.
I guess my main concern is the “We have to get people into Church!” No, no we do not. That sort of siege mentality has destroyed the Church and diluted the Gospel. If we are the kingdom, then our focus is the king. We can simply invite people to live with us without worrying if they will eventually publicly change their citizenship. There are no illegal immigrants in the Kingdom of God, after all…
My intention is to no longer invite people to CHURCH (noun), but to church with us (VERB).
(also, because this is a blog, I don’t care ne’r a bit about editing, etc…)
Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. – John 19.27
I admire the independent book and bible publishers out there, even if it is a Calvinistic book shop. I don’t review for Crossway for a reason – their rather adamant Piperitish. The only ESV I have is the one with the Deuterocanon (well, that and the electronic ones). But, they are a Christian ministry, and an independent Christian publishing house and they need your help. I would urge you to consider helping in some way, if possible.
As you may have heard, a flood recently swept through Crossway’s headquarters. About two feet of water poured into our 32 first-floor offices due to unrelenting rains. The damage was extensive and repairs and rebuilding will take five or six months. You can see the damage here in thisvideo.
More important, however, is the impact this could have on major ministry projects that we have planned.
Find out how at the link.
As many of you know, I now attend a United Methodist Church, a place that has become our home. To say we enjoy it, or like it, are both understatements. Further, you know where we have come from – the dank, musty hiding place of superstition and cult behavior, fundamentalism.
When we first stepped foot into the doors of Christ Church United Methodist, it was during the annual conference, meaning the pastoral staff was away. The second time, the former associate pastor was preaching his final sermon. The next time, we were introduced to the Rev. Shauna M. Hyde. This was our first encounter with a “woman preacher.” To be honest, I didn’t know how I was going to handle it given that I was raised to believe women were better in front of the stove or behind their husband rather than behind the pulpit.
To shrink this story to where I can make my point quicker, we came to enjoy Shauna and know Shauna quite well. Further, my daughter came to really like Shauna and has spent several days helping her at Tent Town or this or that. In other words, Shauna became a leader for us, a mentor for Abigael, and frankly, someone who helped blossom us. Shauna is one that embodied for us the communal (awareness and responsibility) expression of Christianity we were looking for.
We had to tell Abigael that Shauna would be moving sooner than we thought. And with several buckets of tears washed away, I get to turn introspective for a moment. My fear with hearing that the lead pastor was to ever leave — although he has already established an expiration date for himself — was to wonder if I would still like Christ Church. I know this is the same feelings some of my family have about Shauna. The simple answer is, of course, sure we will. I guess.
This is not the pastors’ church. Even with the episcopal system in place, this is still very much the congregation’s church. Previously for us, it was the pastor’s church. You didn’t cross the pastor, you had no free will, nothing. What the pastor said, was what the congregation did and believed. So, when you lose a pastor, you’ve lost your church, or as with the case of one parishioner at the former church, you lose your mind. But, what about here? If we lose a pastor, is Christ Church still the same?
Have we lost the heart and soul, leadership, drive, and the like, if we lose a pastor?
No… no of course not. Some of us will be rather mournful for a while, and others may not care, given that this is the however-many-it-is-now pastor to come and go. And others may mourn with each passing of the pastor. They are not ours to keep, but God’s to send where he so pleases. But, coming from the fundamentalist church where a great fear was what to do if you wake up one morning and the pastor is dead (because pastors don’t leave usually because no one kicks them out), having to face this soon into our new residence the changing of the guard is a rather emotional thing.
So, I bid Shauna well into her new role as senior pastor in a church somewhere else and I know that she will continue to bless Christians, the United Methodist Church, and us (also, she’s an Energion author). Further, I bid Darick, our present youth leader, success as well. As Kathy who has retired, and the others… July 1 will mean big changes for our congregation, with new faces, and new leaders, and new directions. We’ll survive because we are Methodists now. We don’t follow the leader, we follow Christ. We do not have dictators, we have pastors who will come and go, and shepherd us along the way.
No, the itinerant program is not evil. Today, I am not a fan of it. But, it serves its purposes to insure that the Church is not a social club where we can join the cult of a pastoral personality. Instead, we go to our church to a part of the wider community. We entrench ourselves there and will outlast pastors and others who must by necessity come and go. I am saddened at the expression of Methodism today, but I am reminded that this is what has prolonged Methodism, that we focus on Christ, rather than the pastor — that it is not the pastor who is supposed to be the heart and soul of the congregation, but the Spirit knitting us together.
So, no. The program is not evil, but welcomed.
Found on Reddit – will keep for later use