Thanks!

hitchartOne In Jesus had 16,500 hits in December, which was a good month — but the site had 39,640 hits in March — up nearly 250%. Oh, wow! Continue reading

Advertisements

Humility

How to Argue Like a Christian: The Last-Verse-Read Argument

Perhaps the biggest failing of believers of all kinds is our persistent use of the last-verse-read argument.

For example, in the Churches of Christ, we deny once saved, always saved (the perserverance of the saints), as we are Arminian in theology. And so in our Sunday school classes we read the once saved, always saved verses first. We then read the yes-you-can-fall-away verses last. We tell our students that the yes-you-can-fall-away verses explain the once-saved-always-saved verses. The class goes home feeling affirmed in their beliefs.

Across the street a Baptist Sunday school teacher reads the yes-you-can-fall-away verses first. He then reads the once-saved-always-saved verses last, telling his class that the last-read verses explain the first-read verses. His class goes home feeling affirmed in their beliefs. Continue reading

The Future of the Progressive Churches of Christ: Shrinking Congregations, Part 4 (Community)

cooperation.jpgAlan Rouse noted in an earlier comment that congregations won’t lose members if the congregation is a genuine community. I agree. Community is a critically important part of the Kingdom. I’d just want to emphasize that the way we do community matters — a lot. And we often do it wrong. Let me explain.

Let’s go back to 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. had just led a march in Birmingham, Alabama calling for racial equality, only to find himself arrested and in jail. He was severely disappointed that the Birmingham churches had largely refused to assist him, despite the clear teachings of scripture in support of the equality of men regardless of race.

He wrote

There was a time when the church was very powerful — in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Continue reading

Dealing with Tough Financial Times: Money, Morale & Momentum, Part 5

money-churchHere are Driscoll’s final 5 suggestions for maintaining morale and momentum in lean economic times —

5. Budgeting

Eat what you kill and have a monthly and quarterly budget that you watch so you do not get too far behind. If you do, and you then lay people off, their severance will cost you for months, which will put you even further behind financially than if you had the financial data to make cuts earlier. The days of an annual budget are gone. Things are changing so quickly that ministry leaders need to carefully track income and spending weekly, comb over monthly reports, and not make budgets in anything other than pencil beyond a quarter in advance. Changes to the budget need to be made quickly; otherwise poor reporting and slow responding will sink the ministry financially. Continue reading

The Future of the Progressive Churches of Christ: Shrinking Congregations, Part 3 (Preaching Hebrews)

cooperation.jpgSo what does yesterday’s post have to do with shrinking congregations? Well, not as much as my conservative friends might think, but it does matter a lot. Churches that forget to get around to teaching the boundaries of grace will soon have the problems the writer of Hebrews warned against.

Indeed, I think our preaching should mirror Hebrews, with powerful lessons on confidence and assurance interleaved between lessons against the dangers of falling away. We don’t need to make our members afraid so much as aware — we have confidence, yes, but a confidence that can be thrown away. And while I don’t believe we should build our theology on fear, fear has a place for the immature.

You see, if we don’t do this, in a generation or two, we’ll  have lost our members — not to the Baptists and Methodists, but to Satan. Continue reading

Dealing with Tough Financial Times: Money, Morale & Momentum, Part 4

money-churchDriscoll continues the series with 9 suggestions for keeping staff morale up and church momentum going in lean times. Here are the first four —

1. Morale

The big dissatisfiers of staff are pay (including benefits) and policy, so the goal is to keep pay high and policy low, as is reasonable. Continue reading