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Two of the interesting things I’ve read recently

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I have lately been taking up interest in some developments at the denominational level. I am working on a significant blog post related to the denominational picture more than to Nobleford, but it is not fully ready. I’m  not sure it every will be, actually.

Instead, for now, I’ll share a few things by others which I have read recently and which are pretty close to my own views. Transition Team members are especially likely to appreciate the applicability of the second one.

This first one you can skip the first four paragraphs about a particular dispute, and begin reading at the heading “What to make of little progress.” I do agree with him that the self-awareness he writes about is a big part of transformation.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/may-web-only/real-transformation-happens-when.html?start=3

This one is by a consultant who has worked with many many churches. He says the single common factor in churches that are dying is their inward focus. Here is his list of warning signs:

Warning Symptoms

  • There are very few attempts to minister to those in the community.
  • Church business meetings become arguments over preferences and desires.
  • Numbers of members in the congregation are openly critical of the pastor, and lay leaders in the church.
  • Any change necessary to become a Great Commission church is met with anger and resistance.
  • The past becomes the hero.
  • Culture is seen as the enemy instead of an opportunity for believers to become salt and light.
  • Pastors and other leaders in the church become discouraged and withdraw from effective leadership.
  • If the churches are a part of a denomination or similar affiliation, meetings of those denominations mirror the churches in lost focus and divisiveness.

http://thomrainer.com/2014/05/31/common-factor-declining-churches/?fb_action_ids=10152407711820129&fb_action_types=og.likes

Happily, not all apply here! But the ones that do will likely sting a little. More hopefully, the prod will be seen as an opportunity to work more on transformation in the congregation!

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Anxiety in the preservationist church system

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Warning. This is probably the most complex and longest posting to date, one which ties a number of things I have talked about before together. It will take some time to read and digest. Be prepared to invest that.

This posting is very important, particularly for anyone in leadership. In the blog posting I take some small matters related to practices or the way we do things like preaching, worship and Lord’s Supper and attempt to show how I see them as issues that arise because we’ve lost a principled Reformed way of shaping worship and have in fact fallen into simply keeping and maintaining what was done before. All of that to the detriment of making room for God to grow us spiritually, emotionally, and personally in relationship to him and each other. Here is the actual posting: http://wp.me/P3etrg-eb

An illustration I just had to run with this week it is so true to life

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There’s a very bad pun in that title. Some days I just can’t resist walking right out to the edge of what is appropriate.

Some folks from our congregation made a presentation about a water project in Nicaragua last Saturday evening. The project is a great example of how we can help people help themselves instead of moving in and deciding what help they need. During the presentation I was sparked by a couple of things. They make up the blog post for today: http://wp.me/P3etrg-e5

 

I changed the look of the blog.

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Don’t be thrown off by the change in appearance please. It is still the same content. I was getting tired of the jumbledness of the tabs. This is neater. We’ve gone from a chalkboard to a notepad.

Transition

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DSCN0551

This barn is in transition from standing to lying down. It is no longer a barn, nor is it a pile of rubble, it is changing from one state to another. This is a transition of deterioration (to most people).

The word means change: moving from one phase to another.

I wrote out some reflections about it here: http://wp.me/P3etrg-8n

For a printable version: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5uzx71hge9f5c25/Reflections%20on%20Transition.pdf

Video editions will be created if time allows and link posted here.