Bill Campbell

Thoughts of Life and Ministry

CONSIDERING AN OFT MISSING CHURCH INGREDIENT

Frequently one hears a lot of negative comments within congregations today. Things are heard like:

  • “The services at my church are boring!”
  • “I never get anything our of church!”
  • “Our preacher offers little or nothing worthwhile in his sermons!”
  • “The music needs great improvement!”
  • “The congregation I attend is simply a dead church, and ready for burial!”

Congregations do often suffer from being stagnant and dead. That is a given. Furthermore, this disease serves to increasingly place its members in passivity, as well as turn a number of its visitors away.

Yet, while the spiritual condition of congregations is often regularly lamented, and understandably so, the solution to such ills will not be effectively solved by always highlighting the problem or problems. By always moaning and groaning about what ought to be, but isn’t.

Allow me to get things focused in a reverse direction. Here’s a most important question for those to consider who are perpetually unhappy with their church: “AM I PART OF MY CHURCH’S PROBLEM, OR PART OF IT’S SOLUTION?” Remember, no chain is stronger than its weakest link. It never is. Never will be. And YOU are one of the existing vital links in the chain of your church.

Over time I have learned that the answers for unsatisfactory congregations is not to be found in giving a lot of rational considerations for why a church is not what it ought to be. In other words, by endeavoring to set forth numerous principles that will make a church either healthy or unhealthy. While such principles have some importance, and need to be highlighted, I think we often miss other underlying spiritual issues that are ever at play. And these underlying issues relate to not a few, but every member in a congregation.

Consider the following as major examples:

  • When you are present in the services of your church, why are you there? Are you present with the end in mind to GET something? Or, are you present to GIVE something of yourself? Times of worship have come to be viewed in the present day as being much like attending a sporting event, or, attending a movie.
  • Additionally, are you coming to a church gathering for the purpose of offering praise and to glorify God? Or, is your heart and mind focused much more on a multitude of other personal things? Have you even gathered in a tired and unreceptive heart and mind? The manner in which you approach worship will either make or break the worship experience.
  • Is it even possible that you are putting the emphasis more on those who are leading the worship time than you are on yourself? Those leading worship cannot possibly make the worship time a spiritually rewarding experience if those who’ve gathered to worship are not in a spiritual frame of mind, and ready for what God wishes to offer them.

Acts ten records a most interesting worship time. Peter has been summoned to the home of Cornelius to preach. Note the important words of Cornelius to Peter: “Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us” (Acts 10:33 – NIV).

Every preacher I know would be thrilled to be in Peter’s shoes. Why? Because the persons are present and ready for what God has for them.

Lord, we pray for this attitude and spirit to prevail once again in our congregations today!!

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November 9, 2013 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, Preaching, Relationships, Scripture, Service, Spirituality | Leave a comment

Overcoming The Holy Huddle

With few exceptions congregations enjoy informing me that they are a friendly fellowship. And I must add here that they are friendly with me about highlighting their friendliness. They even go so far as to engage in bragging about being friendly. Yet, their friendliness is really all about the crowd with whom they’ve become familiar. They enjoy their private activities, like being together often, and eventually evolve into the assumption that friendliness isn’t a quality that’s lacking among them.

What’s amazing to these inside folks, however, is when they learn the feelings of those who enter their church for the first time from the outside.  These individuals see and experience a totally different picture than what the insiders experience. In place of friendliness they are aware of what I wish to designate as the operation of a “holy huddle.” This “holy huddle” group seldom ever breaks the huddle long enough to welcome newcomers who walk inside one of their congregations services. That is, those who are outside the normal crowd that the insiders are used to seeing.

Another thing that often happens in established congregations is small interest groups. They do form. And they enjoy being together. In fact, they stay together. Hang together. They enjoy doing things in which common interests pervade. They erect their own programs, establish marginal mindsets, and structure comfortable zones in which they seek to maintain and control their turf. But an outsider, even a member of the same congregation, cannot join their elitist group. They won’t let them. And anyone who endeavors to crack into their group will be ignored. They will even go so far as to try and exclude those who attempt to challenge their “holy huddle.”

Allow me to openly say here that nothing is more damaging and divisive to having a healthy congregation than that of the existence of a “holy huddle” mentality. It’s wrecking many congregations in this day. How do I know? I’ve witnessed it. Have even heard church visitors who are extremely unhappy with it.

I’ve described the problem. Tried to describe it vividly and genuinely. But it’s not good to present a problem and offer no corrective. No solution. How can congregations break the “holy huddle” practice?

  • By highlighting the problem. This practice often continues to raise its ugly head today because no positive efforts are ever put forward to identify and describe its evil presence. It becomes a vicious growing snowball as it continues rushing downhill.
  • By each member committing himself or herself to being a solution to this existing problem. This will happen as he or she rufuses to become a contributing member to this “holy huddle” mentality.
  • By the effort to prevent any marginalized or private group or groups from forming and creating divisive cells within the larger church body.
  • By a faithful teaching and preaching of the Scriptures that attempts to focus on the dangers of such groups forming and disrupting a congregations unity.
  • By faithfully loving all of God’s creation, everyone He’s created, regardless of their ages, appearances or backgrounds. The human body has various members, but these members must work together rather than work against each other. This important lesson needs to be continually learned within the body of Christ.

The next step involves YOU. Will YOU be a contributor to the “holy huddle” clan? Or, will YOU choose to be the problem solver by faithfully and responsibly huddling with all God’s people in God’s great work in YOUR larger community and world??

July 3, 2013 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, Preaching, Relationships, Scripture, Service, Spiritual Gifts, Spirituality, The Devil | Leave a comment

LIVING OUR LEGACY

As a result of my life I wish to eventually leave a legacy. Leave something behind me that will make a lasting difference. My intention is to not take everything with me to the grave. Bury my blessings. Silence everything on which I’ve based my life.

Allow me though to share a concern I have right now. This concern is church related. About the church and its future. The church in relationship to my children and grandchildren. The church in relationship to your children and grandchildren.

In several different instances of my church health ministry I have encountered some discouraging remarks. They go something like this: “Bill our church is dying. We no longer have young folks. They’ve left us. Moved on somewhere else. As a result, our church is one of the last of a dying breed. Once our few members die, this building will be locked up and become part of the past.”

Several times I’ve been the listener to such open acknowledgments. I wish I could tell you that I’ve received these words without them having much effect on me. But I haven’t. For tears have welled up in my eyes. I’ve become intensely heartbroken. Depressed. Overwrought. Unable to believe what I’m hearing.

These church bodies began one day long ago with the highest intentions. The highest purposes. Motives. They were focused on ministering spiritual things to their families as well as reaching their communities. But the fire is gone. The hot passion is missing. They no longer are driven outward toward those around them. Instead, they are keeping the folks among them happy and pleased. They have become dried-up spectacles of a once exciting day of ardor and zeal for the Lord.

What has happened?

  • There is no longer a heart remaining for continuing what once began in great earnest. It’s now about  maintaining what’s left. What’s available. What these folks have to work with.
  • There is no interest in perpetuating what was once so important. With having a vibrant church body of believers. Leaving a legacy. They do not see the church as an ongoing relay race, in which they pass the faith on to those who will follow them. Instead, everything is about to be taken with them to the grave.
  • There is no sensitivity about the Lord’s final commission of “making disciples.” Passing the faith on to others. They now have the only disciples the church will most likely ever have. It’s no longer about others, it’s all about us. JUST US!!
  • There is no awareness of the impact and influence God meant for these congregations to continue making. They’ve pulled up the tent stakes so to speak, and are ready to close down business. Their prayers are for their own. Prayers for the salvation and transformation of persons around them is non-existent.
  • There is an established attitude that the church now exists for them. Them alone. Their own little crew. Even the sermons and lessons and activities are meant to be about them. What they want. What they believe is necessary.
  • There’s a great bit of lamentation being heard these days about what’s going on in our country. The loss of biblical morality and precious spiritual values. Everyone is tuned-in to the latest disheartening media news. But they’re not equally tuned-in to the current demise of the church.

Allow me to raise a question in closing for doing some further intense praying and soul-searching: IS IT POSSIBLE THE CONDITION OF OUR COUNTRY AND WORLD IS THE RESULT OF A PASSIONLESS  CHURCH IN THESE DARK DAYS??

June 26, 2013 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, Preaching, Relationships, Salvation, Scripture, Service, Spirituality | Leave a comment

LIVING IN THE PRESSURE COOKER OF PROBLEMS

Problems. Difficulties. They are all around us, aren’t they? Constantly. On a daily basis. They never stop. Never end. Never have a deadend point. One problem ceases only for a new problem to raise its head. Problems simply refuse to sleep.

In the face of life’s problems we all want to find a utopia. A way out. A problem free existence. A life without difficulties. A life no longer tied to tough decisions; a life liberated from numerous u-turns; a life without troubling conflicts and unending hassles; a life that makes no demands and is without financial anxiety and instability.

Let’s face it. You have one of two possible choices. The first choice is to deny your problems and seek to avoid them. The other choice is to view them in a totally different fashion. How? By perceiving them as opportunities in disguise. That is, they can be approached as obvious obstacles, but difficulties that are  ready to be courageously faced, openly addressed, and then surmounted.

One thing is certain: problems are unavoidable. There’s no way around them. Like the sun, they have their times to rise up. Then, they bear down on you. There’s no utopia for being able to separate yourself from them. Being able to gain a release from their vicious assault. As long as you are alive problems will visit you. Without warning. Often. They will be a part of your day. They will refuse to leave the stage.

What is true for persons is also true of congregations. For life isn’t free of problems for congregations either. How do I know this? Through theory? Conjecture? No, because the  problems are not simply some kind of mind excursion on my part. Rather, I’ve learned that congregations have problems from having spent time in a congregation’s pulpit and in its pew. Also, through serving as a listening consultant or coach. Some problems I’ve encountered seem legitimate. Other problems appear to be nothing more than childish or selfish.

Now to the big question. The all important question: Why are there church problems? Why do they exist?

  • Because congregations are composed of imperfect people serving a perfect God.
  • Because congregations lose sight of their primary reason or reasons for existence.
  • Because people allow their selfish agendas to get in the way of God’s agenda.
  • Because congregations rely more on themselves than they do on God.
  • Because a congregations decisions are often based more on the decisions of church leaders than they are on the basis of prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
  • Because congregations have allowed themselves to become satisfied to live with their problems than they are with solving them.
  • Because congregations are, more often than not, guilty of tying the hands of their leadership from making needed congregational changes and improvements.
  • Because congregations are much more market and success driven than they are God driven.
  • Because congregations are caught up in the divisive effort to cast blame on others in place of sharing the blame among themselves.
  • Because congregations are frequently unwilling to go through periodic visits by a church health physician, who can give them a more objective understanding of how to be  effective amidst their current difficulties.

No congregation will ever be completely free of problems. For problems are part of the human arena. But we can nonetheless learn and be prepared to work more effectively through our problems as we courageously face them, and then work through them.

 

April 26, 2013 Posted by | Christ, Christian Life, Church, Church and Family, Church and Ministry, Church Growth, Church Health, Church Leadership, Church Unity, Coaching, Discipleship, God, Outreach, Prayer, Preaching, Relationships, Service, Spirituality | Leave a comment

A CALL FOR HEALTHY PREACHING

Healthy congregations are nurtured on healthy preaching. Always. Without exception. And just as healthy food on the table makes for healthy families, healthy preaching makes for spiritually healthy church families. Through my observation and study of congregations today I am thoroughly convinced this is true.

With the foregoing said, a congregation that’s dished out an unhealthy preaching diet, on a regular basis, will pay the price over time. A serious price. For its spiritual development and growth will definitely be blocked. Now the important question is: what are the important items that cause unhealthy preaching in congregations?

  • Unhealthy preaching is in operation when the preacher doles out a regular diet of topical preaching. This is preaching that’s dictated by the preacher rather than Scripture. So, which comes first is the major issue here? Is it Scripture or what the preacher thinks need to be shared? Scripture must always be the foundational and initial point of departure for the preacher in his preaching.
  • Unhealthy preaching is in operation when a preacher rides perpetual hobby horses. When he fails to let Scripture give direction he will predictably run off into many areas that become his own pet peeves. As a result, a congregation will not be fed a healthy spiritual diet.
  • Unhealthy preaching is in operation when the preacher is constantly negative in his pronouncements. For some reason, when a preacher strays off into topical hobby horse style preaching, he will move in negative directions. Without exception. While there are definitely times to offer “thou shalt nots,” to much of this negative strain can easily ignore the more important “you shall.”
  • Unhealthy preaching is in operation when a congregation is not exposed to “the whole counsel of God.” Variety is the key word here. There are sixty-six books in the Bible, not only two are three biblical books that are the preacher’s favorites.

Allow me to view preaching from the other side. What makes for healthy preaching? For preaching that makes a congregation a healthy fellowship?

  • Healthy preaching is in operation when the preacher is first and foremost in touch with the original biblical text. He sees clearly what the biblical text said after having studied it in its original context. The preacher should clearly understand: You cannot handle the biblical text with objectivity, and in a healthy fashion, if the Scriptures are subject to the preacher’s initial subjective interpretations.
  • Healthy preaching is in operation when the preacher is not only familiar with what the text said originally, but also with what the text is ultimately saying for his hearers today. In other words, making the responsible leap to bring the message the text offers for the needs of contemporary worshipers. Should this not happen the sermon will become a history lesson and will lack relevance and interest.
  • Healthy preaching is in operation when a preacher prepares well in advance of Sunday, or, whenever he’s scheduled to preach. Last minute preparation cannot prepare the preacher spiritually, or, with content that’s nutritional and helpful.
  • Healthy preaching must be bathed in study, prayer and careful reflection. When all three of the foregoing items become part of the sermon process, a preacher’s preaching will possess the necessary qualities that will make it ready for delivery.

My thoughts here have been brief. Furthermore, effective preaching will require many more items to consider. But these are the basic items for having healthy preaching in any congregations today.

 

 

February 9, 2013 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, Preaching, Relationships, Scripture, Spirituality | Leave a comment

OUTSIDE THINKING FROM THE INSIDE

My previous blog focused attention on developing turnaround thinking in congregations. Yet, why is turnaround thinking necessary? Because the thinking that goes on in numerous established churches has become visibly counterproductive today.

As a result of this counterproductive thinking, congregations find themselves heavily discouraged in being unable to grow. Not only is non-growth experienced, their church has become involved in a rather heavy reverse slide, and they do not know how to stop the slide and make a turnaround possible.

In the previous blog I posed the question frequently heard in these declining congregations: “What can we do to reverse our slide?”

Transitions or turnarounds are not going to happen without the willingness to do things differently than the ways they’ve been done in the past. The most problematic of all issues for established and traditional congregatons is the ability to bring outsiders inside a declining church.

This being true, how does a church bring outsiders inside a declining congregation? It will not happen immediately.  With the flash of a magic wand. Overnight. It will require considerable patience and time for turnaround thinking and action to begin.

So, what kind of thinking needs to emerge for a non-growing church to grow once again?

  • It must start with the understanding that merely having the church doors open every Sunday will not grow a church. Perhaps it did at one time. Individuals rushed to the meeting place when they heard the sound of the church bell. But that’s no longer true. Churches must go to the people. Take an interest in the folks around them.
  • Another important factor is having a church that’s both open and passionate about reaching persons outside its four walls. A leadership and membership that is not seriously sensitized to reaching the unchurched, will not be able to see their church grow again.
  • Christians need to enlarge their circle of friends. One serious problem a church often faces is that it becomes a closed society of people that resembles a private exclusive club. Enlarging friendships with non-Christians will enable those in a church to identify with and invite those who are on the outside.
  • Establish in your church a contagious and effective children’s ministry. This is not a ministry to teens mind you, but to children. Here is where non-growing congregations often lack insight, and fail to reach outsiders. Calling aboard a children’s ministry specialist, one who is allowed to openly lead and attract children and families, is a must today for having a turnaround church. Why? Because parents are greatly influenced by the likes and wants of their children.
  • Put heavy responsibility on having the best nursery facility. This means having a nursery that’s clean, safe, spacious, eye-catching and functional. The nursery staff must be knowledgeable, cheerful, sensitive, caring, well-staffed and arrive ahead of a congregations service times.
  • You must know your community. Know their likes and dislikes. What attracts them and what repels them. Tailor the ministry of your church to magnetically attract these persons. Scripture never changes, but our methods must change. Growing and effective congregations are always focused with and outward and inward balance. Keep in mind that the church is not about what I/We want. Congregations  must be unselfish if they are going to reach outsiders.
  • Provide a service of worship that is positive, inspirational and instructive. It needs to be a service without bothersome gaps, annoying announcements, as well as begin and end on time.
  • A turnaround church also has members who can share their faith journey with others. Furthermore, they have a very sensitive spirit for broken and hurting people around them in this age.

When a church follows the foregoing path, along with bathing itself well in constant prayer and kingdom thinking, be prepared for God to do some really great things in and through you.

 

February 2, 2013 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, Preaching, Relationships, Service, Spirituality | Leave a comment

SOME CASUAL CHURCH OBSERVATIONS

Recently I was asked what important church attributes I look for when I visit a church for the first time. I thought the question was interesting, even arresting. Allow me to share a few quick responses to the inquiry.

  • My first concern is with the parking lot. Is it heavily crowded? Lots of vehicles in evidence? Yet, more importantly, is there a place where I can comfortably and quickly park my car?
  • Am I greeted when I enter the church facility? By at least one person? Is the greeting warm and casual without giving the sense of being smothering?
  • Does the service begin on time? Not three minutes or ten minutes beyond the starting gate, but promptly at the scheduled time? I and many others are most conscious of time in this clock driven age.
  • As the service flows is it smooth without notable gaps that create serious distractions? Each aspect of the service should take place without long walks to the podium, or, significant lapses. Special announcements in the middle of a service is one intrusion in worship time that can be annoying.
  • Is the music worshipful and does it contribute appropriately to the days service direction and theme. Style of music is not as important as what the music contributes to a meaningful worship experience. Is the music sensitive to a variety of worship needs.
  • Preaching is something I also note. Is the preaching biblical with effective present day application. Does the sermon presentation touch me at various levels. Is too much negativity present in the sermon? Am I challenged to do something with what I’ve heard?
  • The nursery and children’s ministry during the worship time is also crucial. Is the nursery clean, efficient, and well staffed with cheerful and clean looking workers? Is there a well prepared church experience for older children?
  • What ages are represented in the service? Is everyone older? Younger? In mid-age? Or, is there a good sprinkling of various ages present? Are there persons present with whom I could quickly identify? But I also need connections with all ages, not just my own age group.
  • Is there a kingdom mentality that permeates the service. Or, is it a church that’s focused on us, with our selfish interests and wants?
  • Am I being pushed and prodded to provide extra information about myself? Is there a concern with hooking me up quickly to become a member of this church? Or, do they warmly welcome me and encourage me to return?
  • Does the service end on time? Or, is it a service that seems to have no end in view? Lengthy services that are not conscious of time restraints are a serious problem in this age.

These are just a few of my responses to an initial visit to a church. I hope these help answer the inquiry. But what are your thoughts and experiences?

January 31, 2013 Posted by | Celebration, Christ, Christian Life, Church, Church and Family, Church and Ministry, Church Growth, Church Health, Church Leadership, Church Unity, Coaching, God, Preaching, Relationships, Scripture, Service, Spirituality | Leave a comment

DEALING WITH DIOTREPHES

Are you aware of the four books in the New Testament that have only one chapter? If so, have you read them? Considered them closely? Pondered their message?

In past days I have not given much time or attention to these documents. In fact, I have largely ignored them. Brushed them aside. Why? Because I thought their size must indicate the unimportance of their content. It appeared the writers of the New Testament were including them to simply add further bulk to the existing New Testament material.

That was wrong on my part. Terribly wrong. A response I should not have taken. Because they have much vital  information for believers and the church. It is sad we have often missed the foregoing fact.

An example of their significance was brought home to me in III John 9-13. These verses of John the Apostle focus the reader’s attention on a church leader by the name of Diotrephes. He is mentioned nowhere else in the New Testament but here alone in these verses. He isn’t a good guy either. Rather, he is a notoriously bad guy.

Diotrephes is creating much division in the church. He is heavy-handed and iron-fisted. A dictator and controller of the first order. He has set himself on top in the church. Become the preeminent one. The one in charge. The CEO. It was either his way or the highway. A willingness to be under his thumb or be black-balled from the fellowship.

He obviously was rejecting the leadership function of John and any other appointed leaders in the church. No one had delegated him to this upper role. Named him as being the chief. Put him out front. He rather elevated himself. Diotrephes was rejecting and removing not only accepted and recognized church leaders in his first century setting, but anyone else who stood in the way of his dictatorial path.

I asked myself the question: Why was this information about Diotrephes included by John in his Letter? One general response is because it was an inspired writing that emanated from God Himself. But I think it is an intentional eye-opener for congregations in the first century and in the 21st century as well. Specifically, these individuals, like Diotrephes, will become a formidable problem with whom the local church will need to be aware of. A failure to recognize their presence will be a dam or roadblock to achieving the mission of the church.

In every congregation I have served there has been at least one, if not more, Diotrephes types. They can become a nightmare for pastoral leaders. More importantly, they can become the devil in disguise within the church. You can tolerate them, or confront them. Face them or let them go free. But their presence makes a smooth path in congregational life impossible.

John revealed in the tenth verse that he was not going to tolerate Diostrephes in his time, nor was he going to remain silent about the evil practices he was exercising in congregational life. If congregational leaders and the church as a whole is going to be a healthy fellowship in the 21st century, we cannot set idly by either. Always we need to be aware of a Diotrephes!!

In a forthcoming blog I will suggest some important ways to address and deal with Diotrephes types in your congregation. Always remember that followers of Christ must speak the truth in the spirit of Christian love, regardless of the problems that are present.

November 21, 2012 Posted by | Christ, Christian Life, Church, Church and Family, Church and Ministry, Church Growth, Church Health, Church Leadership, Church Unity, Coaching, Discipleship, God, Outreach, Prayer, Preaching, Relationships, Scripture, Spirituality, The Devil, The Tongue | 1 Comment

DEVELOPING HEALTHIER CONGREGATIONS

I was sharing with a friend today regarding having a healthier church. He wanted to know if congregations make Christians unhealthy, or, Christians make congregations unhealthy. My response was that the problem was not an either/or, but a both/and.

The response I gave did not originate with me having a good armchair theory. Or, with having some of my personal feelings expressed. My experience in church life, coupled with a knowledge of Scripture, has demonstrated the presence and operation that takes place on both sides. The following items will definitely render a church as being an unhealthy body. Here is the list:

  • It is a church that is a religious institution and is not kingdom oriented.
  • It is a church where legalism is birthed and grows, and members are kept under the thumb of control.
  • It is a congregation where fighting and wrangling has taken the place of unity and love.
  • It is a church where hate and animosity reigns. This spirit being practiced will grow and will create a congregation of fear and intimidation.
  • It is a church where guarding money is more important than practicing faith in God’s promises.
  • It is a church where cliques or groupie types politically operate their fellowship and are not subservient to the overall purpose of the Lord and His church.
  • It is a church where consistent and positive biblical preaching and teaching is applied to daily living.
  • It is a church that practices the reason it exists: to glorify God by continuously engaging in disciple making.

Allow me to change directions at this juncture. What will make a Christian an unhealthy member of a church body?

  • When being a church member replaces being a Christian disciple.
  • When life in a church is for personal reasons of promotion, connecting with certain people that one prefers, and with lacking an understanding of what being a Christian really means.
  • When they are certain about their salvation. Certainty helps one grow in positive ways among others.
  • When they mix their congregational life with public and private worship; fellowship is enjoyed with other believers; attending meetings is accompanied by acts of service; discipling others is developed and continuously practiced as an important means of glorifying God.
  • When they identify their spiritual gifts and then utilize them. They assume responsibility for living in the way God designed them.
  • When they possess positive attitudes in place of having negative and destructive attitudes among those inside the church and outside the church.
  • When they are passionate and not passive with their faith. They demonstrate a contagious spirit and attitude.
  • When they are positive persons about their church and do not engage in bashing their fellowship.
  • When they spend time in daily Bible study and prayer.

I have been suggestive and not exhaustive here. But I do believe that the points emphasized will serve to make possible both healthy congregations and healthy Christians.

What do you think??

October 16, 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, Preaching, Relationships, Salvation, Scripture, Service, Spiritual Gifts, Spirituality, The Devil | Leave a comment

MY CURRENT PROJECT

Currently I am on a new journey. A long one. A journey that I did not personally choose. The journey source was my middle son, Mike. He suggested that I should begin writing my life story. For some reason he thought that I had an important story to tell. For my family members primarily, but even for a host of friends.

Initially I was reluctant to embrace the challenge. In fact, I put the idea out of my mind. Divorced it from my thinking. And I was determined to get on with other things that I deemed more important. My reluctance was because I viewed such an effort as a rather vain adventure into self-importance. Furtheremore, why would anyone, my family included, be interested in my story along with the various people and events that have served to shape and form my life?

The idea suggested by Mike though would not let me go. Allow me freedom from pursuing the challenge. So, it’s in process. Coming together. Being orchestrated. I spend time daily thinking and reflecting about what to write. I jot down various items of insight. Frequently I will pull out my I-Phone or I-Pad and begin typing thoughts and remembrances. These remembrances include events, people, life changing moments. At times I will eventually catch myself day dreaming. Off somewhere in a mental island of my own.

In all honesty this has been fun. Rewarding. It has helped me to better understand myself. To see what makes me tick. What is really going on inside. At times I have laughed. Laughed out loud. In other moments I have wept. The weeping has also often been loud. Perhaps even louder than the laughing. Sometimes I will even return to relive many of those thrilling and agonizing moments that are now recorded in the archives of that huge ledger known as life.

In the book I am recalling my early years of shaping and development. What led me into leadership ministry. My marriage to Sue, and the years spent in educational pursuits. A big part of the journey will give place to my pastoral work, along with teaching as an adjunct college and seminary educator. And of course, I cannot forget to tell about my precious children and grandchildren. Last but certainly not least on the agenda I want to lay out various lessons I’ve learned along the way, and the legacy that I one day wish to leave behind.

Abraham Joshua Heschel caught my attention with these words: “The course of life is unpredictable … no one can write his autobiography in advance.” So true!! That’s why I have waited a long while before embarking upon this  project. I am hoping it will help persons see important things about life in advance. For others, I am praying that it will simply be a memorable adventure into one man’s simple quest for discovering purpose and fulfillment.

Louisa May Alcott puts the cap on everything that I would envision through this project: “Life is my college. May I graduate well …”

If you are interested in the finished life story product, let me know in advance.

June 6, 2012 Posted by | Celebration, Christian Life, Church, Church and Family, Church and Ministry, Humor, Marriage, Prayer, Preaching, Service, Spirituality | Leave a comment