Multikulturele konferensie

Written by Peter Adams on . Posted in Evangelisasie, GKS, Nuus, Taakspanne

gks hk

Hugenote Kollege in samewerking met Kommissie vir Getuienisaksie (KGA) en die Kantoor vir Nuwe Gemeente Ontwikkeling en Kerklike Samewerking (GKS) het ʼn konferensie oor Interkulturele Gemeente-wees aangebied op 22-23 Julie 2014 te Chrismar Villas (Bellville). Die konferensie het ook saamgeval met die jaarlikse KGA Jaarvergadering.
Tydens die konferensie is besin oor die aard en huidige funksionering van multikulturele gemeentes in die NG Kerk-familie, met die oog daarop om die vorming en funksionering van multikulturele gemeentes te bevorder.
‘n Opsomming van alle bydraes met skakels na die bydraes, navorsingsverslae asook individuele bydraes van die sprekers is beskikbaar en kan afgelaai word.

Om Jesus aan mense voor te stel

Written by Guillaume Smit on . Posted in Evangelisasie

Boonop loop evangelisasie en dissipelskap hand aan hand: Nuwelinge in ‘n geloofsgemeenskap moet intensioneel begelei word met geloofsvormende gewoontes na Jesusgelyke karaktervorming en ‘n koninkryksgerigte lewenswyse. Nuwe gemeentes gaan haal dus nie net geloofsvervreemde mense nie, maar bou hulle ook op in die nuwe lewe wat Christus moontlik gemaak het.

Hoekom jy in die kerk moet tweet

Written by Guillaume Smit on . Posted in Evangelisasie

Volgens Scott Williams, in sy artikel “Five Reasons You Should Twitter in Church” (churchleaders.com), is tegnologie ‘n neutrale ding en afhanklik van die intensie van die gebruiker. Omdat die hedendaagse wêreld ‘n gedeelde omgewing geraak het met die konstante uitruil van inligting en die onmiddellikheid van die digitale verbintenis, is dit moontlik om mense met God in interaksie te kan tree, met hulle eie verlede besig te wees en hulle insig in hierdie Godsbeweging met hulle vriende te deel – alles op dieselfde tyd.

Hou op om Jesus te bemark

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Evangelisasie

This process is one that is slower, more strategic and much more vulnerable than the long-standing “pound-the-phones” model, which is one of the reasons many older businesses don’t see the point in adapting. The outcome, however, yields something far more impactful and sustainable than a 10 percent response rate (a generous average for positive customer reaction to direct sales). When people feel deeply connected to a brand and they feel a sense of community and belonging in relation to it and others, when their voice feels truly heard and they have the freedom to ask questions and affect the future outcome, the byproduct is boundless brand loyalty.

Hoe om mense kerk toe te nooi

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Evangelisasie

Charles Arn has surveyed thousands of people: (Source: 3 Questions for Charles Arn)

In your research, have you found that there’s one specific reason that visitors come to church?

The friendship factor.

We’ve asked more than 50,000 people over the last 10 years why they came to church, and between 75 and 90 percent of respondents say, “I began attending because someone invited me.”

Charles Arn

In an earlier study, people came to church through the following forms of contact:

  • 2% by Advertisement
  • 6% by the Pastoral Invitation
  • 6% by organized evangelism campaign
  • 86% by friends or relatives (Source:The Inviting Church)

Did you know

  • One study found 37% of Christians linked their conversion to being invited to church (Johnson, p. 91, citing a 2003 study)
  • Martha Grace Reese’s work showed 40% who joined first came because a friend invited.

But only 2% of church people invite an unchurched person to church? (Thom Ranier, 2003).

Can we change that, particularly as Easter approaches?

Praying to Invite Visitors.

Recently, I listened to Church Talk Radio and they had a brief 5 minute segment on praying your work in inviting people to church.  I added the last four.

  1. Pray for your potential Guests (see How to Make a Prayer List of Friends)
  2. Pray for the opportunity to arise to invite them to Church
  3. Pray for awareness of their need (See What is Spiritual Thirst?)
  4. Pray for awareness of the opportunity
  5. Pray for the courage to invite them to church.
  6. Pray for favor that they would accept the invitation.
  7. Pray they would follow through and come.
  8. Pray that your church would welcome them.
  9. Pray that the message and worship would be awe-inspiring (See 2 Things Grow a Church)
  10. Pray that they would hear the message and grow one step closer to God.

Lees HIER meer oor Evangelism Coach.

Hoekom jong Christene die kerk verlaat

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Evangelisasie

To start with, could you give us an idea of the mission of the Barna Group?

The purpose of the Barna Group is to educate people about the broader culture, and we also think that part of our goal is to help the culture understand the Christian community.

As you are doing market research, measuring opinions and drawing conclusions about broader cultural implications, how do you and the Barna Group account for aspects of every issue that can’t be measured?

That’s always the balance, and I think our great challenge. You’ll see through the history of the company, this dynamic tension of reporting the things we can report on and trying to raise awareness of what we think may be happening, and then recognizing the limits of research.

One of the founders of the market research industry said, “Certainly research is one of the worst ways to understand how people think and act, except it’s better than all the others.”

So, it’s extremely limited. The idea that we could understand someone’s spiritual journey through a handful of questions in a survey is the height of arrogance. But the kind of self-examination that good research should do of ourselves personally, of our organizations, of our businesses, of our churches, that’s where research is really most potent, when it begins to start a new way of thinking about a subject area. And even when the research itself has limitations, and it does, it becomes a window to the way we live, the way we run our organizations.

In You Lost Me, in addition to the research, you show us the lives of individual young people to help explain the larger cultural trend. Are there risks in telling the stories of young people walking away from faith and church? Alternately, what are the risks of not telling these stories?

One of the risks of not doing research is that you fail to capture some of the important nuances that take place in the real stories and in the combination of the stories plus the research. There’s another risk that you run in people thinking that you are trying to highlight just the bad news or sensationalize the bad news, looking at or pushing people to consider walking away from something they held confidently. I think that’s a fair concern. Certainly Jesus gives a stern warning against people that would pull faithful followers away.

There’s a sense that I feel pretty responsible for having at least helped to elevate the conversation about young people dropping out of church about 7 or 8 years ago when we released something talking about young Christians struggling with their place in churches. Overnight it was just a huge hit on our web site, and people started quoting a lot of the data about 7 out of 10 young people walking away from the church and their faith. Part of my intent [with this book] was to really help clarify and to bring some sanity back to the conversation about the fact that people had really run too far with some the data. It’s a constant battle of urgency because the world is changing, and this generation requires our appropriate response. But also a biblical sense of humility and wanting to be honest and accurate.

In chapter 6, “Shallow,” you talk about the majority of 18-to-29 year-olds in your study reporting that during high school they had no close, personal friends who were adults. The solution, you propose, is a type of spiritual apprenticeship or spiritual parenting. How does this happen meaningfully and organically in churches that are so segregated by age?

In many cases young people are getting connected with older adults and the church is providing that, so I don’t want to look negatively on the good things that do happen. We should celebrate those.

However, we see clearly that the vast majority of Protestant and Catholic young people don’t develop good solid relationships with other adults in the church, and that’s something to be very concerned about.

It starts with just asking the question: what are we doing now in separate age-segregated buckets that could be done more intentionally with other older adults? Are their ways that we could integrate the youth ministry with the men’s ministry, with the women’s ministry, with other aspects of the small group ministry that maybe we didn’t ordinarily consider? As a researcher I’m concluding we’re just not doing enough of that between generations. We have to be willing to rethink the way we do this. Each church will have to work that out given their own size and particular approaches, but there are ways to do it. We’re able to put people in the building for various kinds of programs and services and opportunities, so it’s largely a failure of imagination and courage to do that.

One of the confounding problems is that a lot of times, we measure success for youth ministry and college ministry based on the number of people attending. That creates a challenge for many youth leaders because they feel as though they are not successful enough if they go deeper with a smaller number of people. It’s a huge challenge for a senior pastor and senior leaders of a congregation; they have to have the courage as well to say they’re going to measure the success of their youth ministry staff and college ministry staff based on a better, deeper, more wholistic approach to actually helping these young people grow and develop into the people they’re supposed to be.

Another theme in the book is vocation. In your research, many young people said their church taught them little about how to connect their faith and work. How can churches use vocation and calling to reconnect generations and give young people a renewed sense that everything they do matters to God?

One of the first ways to reconnect and de-silo the church is to talk more and more about our professions and our callings and the various vocations in which we serve, vocation being a broader concept than just what we do with our professional interests, although that’s a huge component of it. One of the most important themes of the book is, in my view, that we’ve really failed to connect faith to vocation at an early enough age so that all the most significant decisions that they make about vocation, including education, mentors, reading, travel, their digital lives—not to mention family and relational choices—can be driven ultimately by a sense of vocation.

Everyone has a sense that they want to do something that matters in life. Even if they’re not that sanguine about it, they’re certainly interested in making a living or making a paycheck or earning money on some level. So my concern is we’re simply this: we’re not giving young Christians a sense of what the historic Christian faith means for who they are and who they’re becoming. That’s one of the major challenges.

We have a really amazing opportunity because this generation is so cause-oriented, very purpose-oriented, very much asking questions of meaning. I think the church has an opportunity to step in there and expose young people to the breadth and beauty of serving God with our vocation.

What makes the young people of the Mosaic generation, those born between 1984 through 2002, different from members of other generations when they were 18-29 years old?

This is more of an escalator than an elevator, so I don’t think young people are now on floor 50, whereas when the Gen Xers or the Boomers grew up, we were on floor 0. We are all riding this escalator at the same time, and young people are at a significantly different cultural height than we’ve ever seen. Look at just some of the social and technological changes: fatherlessness, going from 5% to 41% births to single moms; institutional skepticism  towards Christianity, government, media; everything’s being reinvented, even our economy is undergoing some significant duress. The pace of life is so much different, and a lot of that’s brought on by technology.

My contention is that if we were to look at our culture 50 years ago and 25 years ago and now, I think the spirit of the age is increasingly one like Babylon and the tower of Babel and is one of human self-centeredness, self- aggrandizement, and self-gratification, and a hedonism of technology, of hyper-individualism, of institutions becoming increasingly disconnected from human flourishing and more about the accomplishment of esoteric goals.

We’re in a period of significant alienation from the traditional ways that families and institutions have interacted with humans. Some of these institutions are reaching almost what you would think of as a breaking point. Can politics, can American government work in the way that it has for centuries? And this idea of spiritual authority and hyper individualism, everyone is their own spiritual authority.

When you combine all those factors, you have to start to conclude that young people are facing a different culture than we’ve ever seen before. So it’s our job to have spiritual discernment and cultural awareness to be faithful in that environment because today is different than the 1960s. It’s different than the 1970s when I grew up.

In one of the last chapters of the book, you recount a discussion with a friend that the church is not a collection of separate generations, but a group of people all living at the same time as one generation, being the church. Can you explain more about this idea?

After a conversation with an older friend, I realized I was thinking of “generations” in the church as one generation giving the next generation a faith to pass on, the metaphor of handing off a baton in a race. The church is the one place that ought to stand in opposition to that kind of segregated thinking. There’s a real opportunity for the church to imagine its role as a group of generations, an entire generation alive at one time, serving God’s purposes rather than simply the metaphor of passing on the baton. And that’s the metaphor of the body of Christ, that we all have different functions to serve. To have a whole demographic of 18- to 29-year-olds, 18- to 35-year-olds, essentially missing from most of our churches is a tragedy to that metaphor of the body of Christ.

This is a great opportunity for the church to reconnect; again, there’s a lot of really great things that are happening in that regard, in various families and various churches, so let’s recognize where it’s happening and celebrate it, then look for places where we need that new mind, that new courage to reconnect some of our differences and to begin to demilitarize some of the generational warfare that most of pop culture says is so important to us.

Trick or Treat? It’s Martin Luther

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Evangelisasie

Why Halloween?

Of course Luther wasn’t trick-or-treating when he approached the threshold of the church in Wittenberg, but it’s likely no accident he picked October 31. There’s another angle on Halloween that many are unaware of some 500 years later.

Halloween’s history is shrouded in some of the same mystery and confusion the holiday is known for celebrating. Some historians claim the origin is really in pre-Christian harvest festivals among pagans, and that the occasion was later Christianized when the gospel spread through the Roman Empire nearly two millennia ago. It may be the case that things started pagan (as with all of us!), but it may be that we Christians have let unbelieving historians cloud the true origins of observing October 31.

All Hallows’ Eve

One thing that is clear is where the name comes from—and that it is Christian. The English Halloween is short for “All Hallows’ Eve,” the night before the November 1 Christian feast of All Saints (Hallows) Day.

As for trick-or-treating, some claim that marking All Hallows’ Eve may have originated as just such an occasion to “trick” Satan, the most prideful of all creatures, by giving him what is most offensive to his arrogance: mockery. As Luther would say, “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him for he cannot bear scorn.”

Mocking the Devil

In “Concerning Halloween,” James Jordan explains the thinking behind it: “to drive Satan from us we ridicule him. This is why the custom arose of portraying Satan in a ridiculous red suit with horns and a tail. . . . [T]he idea is to ridicule him because he has lost the battle with Jesus and he no longer has power over us.” Jordan continues,

Thus, the defeat of evil and of demonic powers is associated with Halloween. For this reason, Martin Luther posted his 95 challenges to the wicked practices of the Church to the bulletin board on the door of the Wittenberg chapel on Halloween. He picked his day with care, and ever since Halloween has also been Reformation Day.

As for kids playing dress-up, “the custom arose of mocking the demonic realm by dressing children in costumes.” According to Jordan, celebrating All Hallows’ Eve started as “the joking mockery of heathendom by Christian people”—which many historians would take issue with, no doubt.

First Thesis

Moving beyond the date, and looking at what Luther wrote, we see that the truth of his first thesis would reverberate throughout his lifetime, even finding expression in his last words.

The first thesis reads,

When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.

All of the Christian life is repentance. Turning from sin and trusting in the good news that Jesus saves sinners aren’t merely a one-time inaugural experience but the daily substance of Christianity. The gospel is for every day and every moment. Repentance is to be the Christian’s continual posture.

Last Words

Almost 30 years later, on February 16, 1546, Luther’s last words, written on a piece of scrap paper, echoed the humble theme of his first thesis:

We are beggars! This is true.

From first thesis to last words, Luther lived at the foot of the cross, where our rebellious condition meets with the beauty of God’s lavish grace in the gospel of his Son—a gospel deep enough to cover all the little and massive flaws of a beggar like Luther and beggars like us.

For All the Saints

Because of God’s grace in and through Luther, All Hallows’ Eve is now both an occasion to call to mind Jesus’ triumph over Satan and his minions with a bloody cross and empty tomb (see the recent “Sent” post), as well as a day to thank God especially for the Scriptures and the blessed reforms launched by imperfect saints like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and many more nameless visionaries.