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Communal Worship as celebration of spiritual growth

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I gave a brief description of aspects of this line of thought on Sunday evening, but here is a post that lays it out in written words. The idea is that too many people come to Sunday worship with their spiritual batteries too low for an effective recharge that can last a whole week. It is better that people come as wells of living water, not as dried up cisterns. How fair is it if the majority arrive dried out like that and then expect the worship leaders and pastors to ‘fill them to overflowing’? It is not.

Here is the post: http://wp.me/P3etrg-g6

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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!

Listening in on a conversation about how church structures affect size

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This seems to have been a week of finding many interesting things others have written, most of which I chose not to share. This one is very specific to the CRC and talks about how the way we organize the operations of a church actually contribute to how big it is able to grow. And many other things. Warning, both my buddy Paul and Larry Doornbos who writes a good comment tend to be a a bit rambly. You’d think they thought they were getting paid per word typed.

http://paulvanderklay.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/how-does-size-matter-crc-edition/

Interesting church growth reading

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For those interested, I’m going to do more frequent sharing of interesting reading I come across in the course of my week. This is one I’m not finished with myself, but what I’ve seen interests me greatly. This is an interview by a pastor (It might even be the pastor from the youth group’s SERVE trip if I have my details right) interviewing a lady who did a study of what was helping established Reformed Church of America (RCA) and Christian Reformed Churches grow: http://yalt.crcna.org/crc-rca-how-does-your-garden-grow/

R before T

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Yes, a bit of a mysterious title, but that’s a way to pique your curiosity and have you feel compelled to follow the link.

I am in a time when I am making many new theological and scriptural connections, and even though I have a gut sense it might be time to slow down in presenting you with new-to-you interpretations and understandings, when God has me in a phase like this when many things are converging into ideas and applications that make sense, I just have to share them!

So here are this weeks thoughts: http://wp.me/P3etrg-5x

Faith begins by letting go.

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Today’s reflection grew from something I read last week and was thinking about a lot, especially on Sunday. It is about the art of discerning what is truly essential to a church’s practice and what is ‘layer.

For a printable edition (pdf) of this blog posting, click this link:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xtjxomt0csy01hg/The%20Trauma%20of%20losing%20that%20which%20we%20believe%20we%20cannot%20live%20without%20in%20the%20church.pdf