Category Archives for "Church Related"

Church LifeSpan?

The following excerpt is from an established church planter who is starting a new church plant. Questioning the lifespan of the church. It is certainly an interesting concept, a concept that I believe is rooted in the fact that many churches have become focused on themselves and not what Jesus would have us to focus on; others.

Crazy Thought…Help Me Process

Background question: Does the local church have a lifespan?

I was listening to a message by Andy Stanley and he was talking about how for a period of time, God had for whatever reason granted them favor the community. In passing, he said, “everything dies.” That got me thinking about the local church. Does it have a life cycle? I know the Church is eternal, but what about the church? I don’t think any of the first century churches are still meeting? I know some churches that still act like like it’s the 1950’s, but that’s another story.

I am a big believer in that the church should replicate itself…we ought to be about building the Kingdom and not building a church. With that in mind, what if we, in advance decided that Oak Leaf [www.oakleafchurch.com] would die one day? What if we said in our bylaws that on a certain date 40 years from now, the church would disband, and all the staff and members and leadership would go out and start over all around the world? What if we intentionally decided to reproduce? We could only get so big anyway? In a way, that’s what churches like Northpoint [www.norhtpoint.org] are doing with Buckhead and Browns Bridge. Replicating themselves.

Imagine if I knew I only had 10 years to live. Would that change what I did with my life and with my time? How much perspective would that give us as a church to know for a fact that we were only here for a time? We only have a certain amount of time to make a difference. We need to get things done because we won’t be here forever. And when the time comes, we’re breaking up and going all over the place.

It’s a crazy idea, and may always just be a concept. But maybe there is something there. I don’t know.

Creating A Healthy Leadership Environment

I’ve been reading a lot lately about church leadership, mostly in the area of church leadership structure. Elders? Deacons? Pastor? Staff led? What’s right? Better; what works? Perry Noble, pastor of Newspring in Anderson, SC Posted on his blog thoughts on their structure. Works for them? But would it, could it work on a smaller scale, in the “traditional” church? see his thoughts here: http://www.perrynoble.com (Nov. 7, 2005 post)

Dog Training, Fly Fishing and Sharing Christ?

The following link is to an interview by Josh Hunt with Ted Haggard, the author of Dog Training, Fly Fishing and Sharing Christ in the 21st century. I love Josh Hunt’s principles for Sunday School/small groups. It is an education to read his articles posted on his website. I read Haggard’s book last year. Refreshing thoughts on why traditional Sunday School bombs. Read the interview; get the book. http://www.joshhunt.com/haggard.htm

2 The Small Church…

As a Pastor of a “Small” Church I know and have been told all the advantages of the small congregation. Also as a Pastor I’ve learned some of the disadvantages, but I won’t go there. Fellow bloger, http://thediscipler.blogspot.com, has some great comments about the small church, but let me list you his disadvantages:

First, in a smaller church you get to know everybody. Yes, I know I put that as a strength, but it is also one of a small church’s greatest liabilities. You can easily identify the trouble-makers, gossip-mongers, and those who are spiteful and bitter. Because they are known, they are often accepted without question. Furthermore, because everyone knows everyone every statement must be examined lest it cause offense or misunderstanding.

Second, in a smaller church a threat to leave or withdraw support creates a crisis. In large congregations, a family may “take their ball and leave the game� without creating as much as a ripple. One unhappy individual choosing to leave a smaller church creates a crisis, especially when their friends know they’re unhappy. Those with money pose an even greater threat. A major contributor who becomes unhappy can create all kinds of problems.

Third, in a smaller church excellent leadership is often in short supply. More often than not, smaller churches are organized in a more traditional fashion with bylaws that require a specified number of leaders. Such specifications lead to ignoring biblical qualifications making availability the primary requirement. The traditional structures in most churches, including some megachurches, creates an adversarial system that leads to trouble. Fortunate are the congregations that have such systems and have successfully avoided conflict.

Fourth, in a smaller church the minister often becomes a chaplain rather than an innovative evangelist. Those smaller congregations surviving a few years with an innovative evangelist don’t stay small. The Ginghamsburg Church near Dayton is a prime example. When the Methodist Conference assigned Mike Slaughter to the Ginghamsburg pulpit, the congregation averaged about 90 in a small building located about 5 miles north of Dayton. The first year, according to Slaughter, the congregation grew to 70. Today, more than 20 years later, this congregation is one of the largest and most dynamic Methodist Churches in the country. Because of their inherent nature, most smaller congregations want a caregiver chaplain and, if the truth were known, do not expect nor do they want to grow.

Fifth, in a smaller church it is harder for new people to find acceptance. Smaller churches often see themselves as intensely friendly … and they are … with each other. A new family or individual often finds it difficult to break in. Only through persistence and effort can they make their way into the circle of acceptance.

If true, what do we do?

1 Halloween: A relational event?

For most; it is after Halloween that we begin to look forward to the “Big 2” of “Church” holidays. the first being Thanksgiving where we are mindful of the blessings of God and the second, Christmas, where we remember the birth of Christ, the greatest gift. But in the “Church” world Halloween is often overlooked as something worth celebrating. I’m guilty. But after this past monday, I’m rethinking Halloween. We ought to officially recognize it every week. The church says it relational, but we really do a poor job in general.

A couple of cool relational things about Halloween:
* Friends from my neighborhood come to my front door, unannounced, to visit.
* I get the chance to meet neighbors that I haven’t met before.
* I have the opportunity to engage in conversations I would not normally have.
* Hot dogs are great after a night of “trick or treat.”
* My kids are darn cute when they dress up in costumes.
* I have a rich assortment of candy that I can steal from my kids.
* I get to enjoy a fun evening with my family and friends.

Now that’s relational!
Just a thought.