Bill Campbell

Thoughts of Life and Ministry

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A CHRISTMAS GIFT?

The Magnificent Church     With Christmas and the New Year being just around the corner, you may be looking for that ideal gift for a family member or friend. Perhaps I can help solve your problem. I have written two books with specific ends in mind.

   The Magnificent Church has been written for those who are concerned with having a healthy church in these unhealthy times in which we live. This book grows out of my own experience in church ministry, along with considerable familiarity with the ever growing field of church health. Unhealthy congregations are in a state of existence in which they cannot progress, grow, and move ahead.

The Magnificent Life is written to assist those who are struggling with discovering direction for a meaningful and fulfilling life. It focuses attention on extraordinary living in an ordinary age. This book was written in response to specific struggles persons have brought to my attention during several years of church ministry. 

   The Magnificent Church retails for $15.99, and The Magnificent Life retails for $14.99. But you can secure either of these volumes online through Amazon at a reduced price.

The Magnificent Life

The Magnificent Life

Advertisements

December 15, 2012 Posted by | Celebration, Christian Life, Church and Family, Church and Ministry, Church Health, Church Leadership, Church Unity, Coaching, Discipleship, Outreach, Relationships, Scripture, Service, Spiritual Gifts, Spirituality | Leave a comment

MOBILIZING FOR THE MARATHON

A growing hunger is developing in people today. How do I know this? How am I aware of it? It’s happening all around me. It comes across in numerous words, actions and attitudes. Many Christ followers are no longer happy with merely attending  church on Sunday and then forgetting about their walk with Christ during the rest of the week. Being a follower of Christ is more to them. Much more. It now involves a commitment to Christ in daily life. Compartmentalizing one’s walk with Christ has been vacated and left behind.

This is refreshing for me to see and experience. Even more so, it’s most encouraging to observe. I would further add, it’s a breath of fresh air. Why? Because modern Christianity has frequently appeared today in Sunday clothes with little understanding of the more demanding call to discipleship. Christianity is not some mere instantaneous decision that concludes once one has initially become a follower of Christ. Rather, Christianity is to be understood as a marathon. A lifelong race we are called to run with endurance on life’s track.

Why then have many in modern congregations settled for a Sunday only form or style of Christianity? With showing up to become lost in the crowd of worshipers. It’s not because this is taught in Scripture. God’s Word knows nothing about compartmentalizing or making Christianity a mere “add on,” or, sidelight of life’s main flow. This is nothing more than a modern development that has no complementing Divine stamp on it.

Many years ago the martyred Christian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote and taught about “the cost of discipleship.” He recognized the developing problem of a so-called “easy” Christianity with no expectations required. Bonhoeffer understood that Christianity was costly. Expensive. A lifelong serious commitment to Christ Jesus. A death to one’s self and becoming totally alive to Christ was necessary to Bonhoeffer, so that one would be able to position himself or herself with Christ to suffer and face death with Him.

In the church we’ve often evangelized without educating. Taught without seeing the converts transformed. Programmed persons into congregations apart from helping them become firmly positioned in life with Christ. The church has often birthed numerous spiritual babies without having helped raise them to run the spiritual marathon of life as a Christian disciple.

Healthy congregations today are increasingly making a turnarond. They are returning to the awareness that spiritual babies in our congregations need to be prepared to live in the spiritual world of adulthood. You cannot remain a baby and ever expect to become a fully functioning adult believer in Christ Jesus.

The great commission in Matthew 28:18-20 directs the church to engage in “making disciples” and then “baptizing” those we’ve discipled. Yet, we’ve often ignored or sidestepped verse 20 which further instructs that we are to be involved in teaching them “to observe all things” that Jesus commanded.

As one continues to grow in his or her relationship with Christ, it will be an ever ongoing marathon race in life. It will take one beyond simply knowing something about Christ. It will really become a process of growing closer to Christ, so that in time one will experience an increasing awareness of actually being connected to Him.

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Celebration, Christ, Christian Life, Church, Church and Family, Church and Ministry, Church Health, Church Leadership, Church Unity, Coaching, Discipleship, God, Relationships, Salvation, Scripture, Service, Spiritual Gifts, Spirituality | Leave a comment

HOW TO MOVE OUT OF REVERSAL AND PASSIVITY

I read recently that roughly seventy-five percent of established churches in North America are not growing. What I mean to say here is that they are either standing still, or, they are in gradual decline.

Why do I need to report this statistic? Stress it and highlight it so visibly? Not because I need something to write about. Not because it’s an armchair academic problem to solve. Rather, it’s the actual truth. It’s no fabrication. Not just something a church leader like myself enjoys sharing.

Another reason it needs to be highlighted is because congregations once grew. Increased. Advanced. Doubled. Multiplied. The book of Acts portrays early fellowships as being in constant progression.

So, why the current reversal? The slide backward? The loss of momentum? The loss of spiritual drive? The loss of contagious enthusiasm and passion that once ignited and propelled the church forward?

Believe me when I say there are no quick answers or magic solutions available. If there were, all the current  emphases on church growth and church health would not be necessary. Church consultants and coaches would not be needed. Colleges and seminaries would not include these courses in their curriculum. Conventions and conferences would cease their operation. And writers would lay down their pens, or, remove their fingers from the computer keyboard. All of these efforts would be nothing more than a worthless exercise in futility.

Yet I and others have thought about it. Reflected on it. Observed local congregations. Witnessed numerous contributing factors. Allow me to mention just a few of the important observations that have surfaced. Here they are.

  • Congregations have frequently evolved into religious institutions that lack a real sense of purpose to fuel and drive them. Church is more about keeping the institutional doors open each Sunday. In short, it’s about us and what we want in place of what Jesus wants and expects.
  • This leads to the second observation about the passive character of congregations. Leaders today are often seeing the church and its mission through their own eyes and not through the eyes of Jesus. If church leaders ever grow to really see things through the eyes of Jesus they will become Jesus directed and not us directed. This lens transition will change passive and stagnant fellowships into being kingdom organisms in place of being operated by leaders who are nothing more than “keepers of the aquarium.”
  • A third observation is that when church leaders see things through the eyes of Jesus they will return to a congregations primary function of “making disciples.” Church is not about and never has been about following out-dated procedures; running endless programs; and keeping a group of church folks happy.
  • One final observation is having a well-balanced congregation. A congregation that regularly engages in enlisting disciples; training disciples to follow Jesus; providing fellowship opportunities for mutual growth; engage in maturing together through private and public praise; and last but not least, equipping the followers of Christ to faithfully use their spiritual abilities and gifts.

Transitioning to the kind of congregational life described here, I am convinced, will help greatly in re-enlivening a stalled and declining church body.

December 7, 2012 Posted by | Celebration, Christ, Christian Life, Church, Church and Family, Church and Ministry, Church Growth, Church Health, Church Leadership, Church Unity, Coaching, Discipleship, God, Outreach, Prayer, Relationships, Scripture, Service, Spiritual Gifts, Spirituality | Leave a comment