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.

Gratis e-boek oor Leierskap

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Leierskap

getimagelibrary.aspxBrandon Cox is ‘n Bedienaar van die Woord en kerkplanter. Tans is hy betrokke by die vestiging van Grace Hills Church in die Amerikaanse staat, Arkansas. Brandon is ook by pastors.com betrokke as redakteur van Rick Warren se Pastor’s Toolbox nuusbrief.

Pas het ‘n boek oor koninkrykgerigte leierskap – “More Influence: 21 From-the-Gut Lessons for Kingdom Leaders” uit sy pen verskyn. Hierdie boek is beskikbaar as gratis e-boek.

KLIEK HIER om die boek af te laai.

Kerkordelike uitdagings vir nuwe gemeente ontwikkeling

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Kerkplanting

Die begin van nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe

1. In watter mate en hoe moet die vorming van nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe geskied met die kennisname en goedkeuring van die plaaslike gemeente en breër kerklike verband?

Vrae in die verband is minder wanneer ’n plaaslike gemeente ’n doelbewuste poging aanwend om nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe te vorm. Die vrae word egter meer wanneer gelowiges aangemoedig word om geloofsgemeenskappe te probeer vestig deur hulle kontak met ongelowiges waar hulle hul ook ontmoet. In so ’n geval kan ’n nuwe
geloofsgemeenskap tot stand kom uit werksverhoudinge, sportaktiwiteite of betrokkenheid by ’n skool ens. Die plek van samekoms is dan dikwels heeltemal buite die geografiese grense van die plaaslike gemeente en diegene wat tuis kom in die nuwe geloofsgemeenskap kom ook uit verskillende gebiede. Nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe groei dikwels primêr deur familie en vriende van verskillende streke wat hulle tuis voel in die nuwe geloofsgemeenskap. Is dit bv. noodsaaklik dat die plaaslike NG Gemeente in die geografiese gebied waar so ’n ’n geloofsgemeenskap bymekaarkom, die projek moet goedkeur of moet dit net geskied met die kennisname/goedkeuring van die gemeente vanwaar die stigter/leier van die nuwe geloofsgemeenskap kom?

Die funksionering van ’n nuwe geloofsgemeenskap

1. Watter vorme van lidmaatskap geld in ’n nuwe geloofsgemeenskap?

By die vorming van nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe gebeur dit dikwels dat mense met ’n ander kerklike agtergrond aktief inskakel by die nuwe geloofsgemeenskap. Alhoewel hulle
vrymoedigheid het om in te skakel by ’n geloofsgemeenskap wat deur die NG Kerk begin en bedryf word, is baie om verskillende redes nie geneë om volle lidmate van die NG Kerk te word nie. Watter kerkregtelike opsies bestaan daar om enersyds aan die lidmate ’n geleentheid te gee om hulle op ’n amptelike wyse as lidmaat/deelnemer van die nuwe geloofsgemeenskap te registreer en andersyds om aan hulle die nodige vryheid te gee om deel van die geloofsgemeenskap te wees sonder om volle lidmaat van die NG Kerk te word. Is daar verskillende vlakke van lidmaatskap moontlik?

2. Aan watter vereistes moet gelowiges voldoen om in die leierskorps van ’n nuwe geloofsgemeenskap opgeneem te word?

Leierskap in nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe is gewoonlik ’n baie groot uitdaging.  Is dit moontlik om in die leierskapspan van ’n nuwe geloofsgemeenskap te dien sonder om ’n lidmaat van die NG Kerk te wees?  Baie nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe funksioneer sonder
die direkte teenwoordigheid of betrokkenheid van ’n predikant omdat die  geloofsgemeenskap deur die bediening van nie-predikante tot stand gekom het en/of daar ook nie ’n predikant beskikbaar is wat direk en dikwels by die geloofsgemeenskap betrokke kan wees nie. Gelowiges neem in die proses funksies oor wat normaalweg met ’n predikant geassosieer word en in die Kerkorde as sy/haar taak omskryf word, soos bv. prediking en die bediening van die sakramente.  Tans verleen die Kerkorde slegs aan predikante  bedieningsbevoegdheid oor verskeie aspekte van die bediening wat ook in nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe kernfunksies is, maar waarvoor predikante nie beskikbaar is nie.

3 Watter amptelike dokumente is in ander tale as Afrikaans beskikbaar vir gebruik in nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe?

Nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe sluit dikwels mense van verskillende taal- en
kultuuragtergronde in. Watter amptelike dokumente (Kerkorde, Reglemente, liturgieë,
sangbundels, formuliere en belydenisskrifte) is in ander tale beskikbaar?

Die verband tussen nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe en die NG Kerk

1.  Watter vorm van verband kan met die NG Kerk aangegaan word waar ’n nuwe
geloofsgemeenskap tot stand gekom het deur die bediening van ’n NG lidmaat (e)
maar die nuwe geloofsgemeenskap wil nie ’n volwaardige gemeente van die NG Kerk
word nie?

Tans maak die Kerkorde ruimte daarvoor dat nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe kan ontwikkel tot volwaardige gemeentes van die NG Kerk.  Voor die status van volle
gemeente, bly die nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe projekte of bedieningspunte van ’n
bepaalde gemeente, of kan as ’n wyksgemeente funksioneer.

Dit is nie ongehoord dat inisiatiewe om nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe te vorm, dikwels daartoe lei dat gelowiges wat om die een of ander rede kerklos geraak het, by so ’n geloofsgemeenskap inskakel. Sodanige mense kom uit ’n bepaalde kerklike tradisie en spiritualiteit en voel om verskeie redes ongemaklik om te ontwikkel tot ’n volwaardige gemeente van die NG Kerk. Tog verwelkom die geloofsgemeenskap die betrokkenheid en ’n verband met die NG Kerk.

2. Op watter stadium kan die nuwe geloofsgemeenskap amptelik in verband tree met ander nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe, gemeentes, ringe en sinodes?

Die Kerkorde maak net voorsiening vir volwaardige gemeentes om in verband te tree met ringe en sinodes. Die vereistes vir volwaardige gemeentes sluit o.a. in geboue,
betaalde predikante en finansiële sekerheid ens.

Voorstanders vir die vorming van nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe verstaan ’n volwaardige
gemeente/kerk primêr organies en nie institusioneel nie. Kerk/gemeente is daar waar diegene wat in Jesus Christus glo, om Jesus as die opgestane Here versamel om God te aanbid en onder sy leiding na die wêreld in woord en daad uit te reik. In die proses word die Woord verkondig, die sakramente bedien en vind onderlinge bemoediging en vermaning plaas. Al hierdie dinge kan met ’n klein groepie in ’n huis of sel plaasvind. Dit is volwaardige kerk alhoewel nie ’n volwasse of volgroeide kerk nie. Gemeentewees word nie deur geboue of predikante bepaal nie.  Kan daar vorme van direkte en amptelike verband tussen “huiskerke” en ander gemeentes en ringe wees behalwe via wyksgemeentes of bedieninge van bestaande gevestigde gemeentes?

3.   Is dit moontlik dat ’n netwerk van nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe in ’n bepaalde streek as netwerk in verband kan tree met die NG Kerk in breër verband sodat die nuwe
geloofsgemeenskappe direk verteenwoordig kan word by ringe en sinodes?

Sommige leiers betrokke by die vorming van nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe het die ervaring dat alhoewel hulle plaaslike gemeentes vir hulle die ruimte geskep het om nuwe
geloofsgemeenskappe te vorm, hierdie gemeentes nie altyd werklik daarin slaag om hulle eiesoortige uitdagings en behoeftes by die ringe en sinodes te kommunikeer of hulle effektief in te skakel by besinning of bedieninge deur die groter kerkverband nie. Hulle gemeentes verteenwoordig net die nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe, maar daar is nie direkte verteenwoordiging van die nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe in die groter verband nie.

4.  Watter vereistes, voorregte en verantwoordelikhede is ter sprake wanneer ’n nuwe
geloofsgemeenskap  amptelik in verband met die NG Kerk wil  tree?

Tans kom nuwe geloofsgemeenskappe tot stand wat geen amptelike verband met enige ander gevestigde kerk het nie.  Sommige van hierdie geloofsgemeenskappe sal ’n nouer verband met ’n gevestigde gemeente hoog op prys stel. So is daar bv. Franssprekende geloofsgemeenskappe in die Skiereiland wat ’n openheid het om in nouer verband met die NG Kerk te tree.

Leierskapslesse vir Nuwe Gemeentes uit ‘n Hoëprofiel Samesmelting

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Kerkplanting

Tchividjian’s church plant, New City, merged with the larger Coral Ridge, but the honeymoon was short-lived. Seven months later a group of church members, headed by Kennedy’s daughter, circulated a petition calling for his removal. On September 20, 2009, Tchividjian survived a vote to remove him from leadership.

Today Coral Ridge has largely moved past the conflict and is thriving. Tchividjian’s energy and enthusiasm (some Coral Ridge staffers call him “the tornado”) belie the recent ordeal. Drew Dyck sat down with Tchividjian to discuss how he endured those dark days, what he learned, and how he found light on the other side.

How did you respond when you received the invitation to come to Coral Ridge?

I was humbled. I was honored. But I wasn’t interested, for a variety of reasons. First of all New City, the church I had planted and pastored for five years, was going strong. God was doing great things in and through that church and I was very happy there. I also wasn’t naïve. I knew that whoever comes in after a founder is probably going to be gone in a year or two. The success rate of guys who follow a founding pastor isn’t great.

Second, Coral Ridge had been in pretty serious decline for 10 or 15 years. While everybody outside the church knew it was declining, most people inside the church thought everything was just fine. There were some people who realized things needed to change, but for the most part people in charge thought everything was okay. So I said “no.” They came back to me two months later and asked if I would reconsider. Again I said, “I’m humbled. I’m honored. But no thank you.”

What finally changed your mind?

They came back five months later, in December of 2008, and asked me to reconsider. And at that time we started talking about merging the two churches. So my ears perked up a little. We were having multiple services in a high school auditorium, so we were looking for property.

People would grab me in the hallway between services and say, “You’re ruining this church, and I’m going to do everything I can to stop you.”

We’d set aside some money, and were actively pursuing properties. And so it was initially intriguing to me because I thought, This could be God’s remarkable way of giving us the property that we need. They need a leader; we need a building. But that was really secondary. I started to envision how a merger could potentially serve as a model for other churches. But I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy transition, taking on an established church that had only ever had one pastor and preacher. It wasn’t like wow, we get the big building! We knew that it was going to be hell on earth. We couldn’t predict the specifics of what we were going to face, but we knew it was coming.

Some of the reasons you were opposed seem trivial. You didn’t wear a robe, like Dr. Kennedy did. You weren’t political enough from the pulpit. Was there something beneath those objections?

Not preaching politics was a big one. But yes, I’m sure there was something underlying those complaints. Part of it may have been an old-fashioned power struggle. There were people who had been in places of power under Kennedy who felt that this was their church, and they should be in charge of running it. I think some of them probably saw in me a young guy who would be wide-eyed by coming here and would basically do whatever they said. What they underestimated was that we had prayed and thought hard about what God wanted this church to be, and we were very determined to get there.

What was your initial reaction to the resistance?

Well, we expected it. But it’s one thing to talk about war and another to be a soldier on the ground when the bullets are flying. It was hard. It was the first time in my life where I was leading a church where I knew many people didn’t like me.

Things started blowing up pretty quickly because there were things that had to change immediately. There were issues on staff that had to be addressed immediately, dangerous things. Yet if you’re not in the know, all you see are these changes taking place. To some it looked like we were just being disrespectful, that we were bulls in a china shop. We were coming in as the guest and taking over. So there were a lot of those kinds of accusations. They weren’t accurate, but we couldn’t disclose all the reasons we had to make the changes.

It was tremendously uncomfortable coming to worship every Sunday morning during that time not knowing who liked you and who hated you. There were people in the choir who, when I would stand up to preach, would get up and walk out. People would sit in the front row and just stare me down as I preached. It was extremely uncomfortable. People would grab me in the hallway between services and say, “You’re ruining this church, and I’m going to do everything I can to stop you.” I would come out to my car and it would be keyed. Some people would stop at nothing to intimidate.

When I speak to pastors I say, “There is only one thing that will enable you to survive, and that’s the gospel.”

They put petitions on car windows during the worship service. They started an anonymous blog, which was very painful. Here we were trying to build consensus and there’s this anonymous blog fueling rumors and lies. The blog almost ruined my wife’s life. Anonymous letters were sent out to the entire congregation with accusations and character assassinations. It was absolutely terrible.

Did you ever question yourself and think, Was I really called here?

Oh, definitely. The shelling got so bad I thought to myself this was a huge mistake. Two churches are ruined now. I could hardly eat, had trouble sleeping, and was continually battling nausea. I felt at the absolute end of myself. In the summer of 2009 when we were in the midst of this, my family and I left to go on vacation. On the first day of vacation, I went out on the balcony of a cabin we rent, looking over the Gulf of Mexico. And I finally just unleashed all of my fury on God. What have you done? I’ve been trying to keep a stiff upper lip and play the role of martyr for truth. But bottom line is, I’m mad. I’ve done everything you asked me to do. I put my baby, the church that I planted, on the altar. I didn’t want to do this in the first place but I submitted and did it. And this is the payment I get from you?

But then I started thinking, why does this bother me so much? Yes, I have people writing nasty things about me, lying about me, spreading rumors about my team. They’re after power. And they’re not getting it, and these are the tactics they’re using. But why does that bother me so much? I remember saying to God in that moment, “Just give me my old life back.” And he said, “It’s not your old life you want back. It’s your old idols you want back. And I love you too much to give them to you.”

I opened up my Bible. In the reading plan I was following, it so happened that the day’s passages included the first chapter of Colossians. As I read those verses, my eyes were opened. My true situation came into focus. I’d never realized how dependent I’d become on human approval and acceptance until so much of it was taken away in the roiling controversy at Coral Ridge.

In every church I’d been a part of, I was widely accepted and approved and appreciated. I’d always felt loved in church. Now, for the first time, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of being deeply disliked and distrusted, and by more than a few people. Now I realized just how much I’d been relying on something other than the approval and acceptance and love that were already mine in Jesus.

I was realizing in a fresh way the now-power of the gospel—that the gospel doesn’t simply rescue us from the past and rescue us for the future; it also rescues us in the present from being enslaved to things like fear, insecurity, anger, self-reliance, bitterness, entitlement, and insignificance. Through my pain, I was being convinced all over again that the power of the gospel is just as necessary and relevant after you become a Christian as it is before.

When that biblical reality gripped my heart, I was free like I had never felt before in my life. It gives you the backbone to walk into a room full of church leaders and say “this is what we’re going to do and this is why we’re going to do it, even if it gets me thrown into the street.”

There is a fresh I-don’t-care-ness that accompanies belief in the gospel. Whether you like me or not doesn’t matter, because my worth and my dignity and my identity are anchored in God’s approval. Christ won all of the approval and acceptance I need.

Your crisis awakened you to your idols. What about the pastor who goes through a crisis and just feels like he can’t even pick his head up off the pillow in the morning?

Oh, that was me. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. Initially I was sad, afraid, and angry. In other words, it’s not like I had this remarkably spiritually mature response. I was just as messed up as the next guy who initially faces a shelling. It’s like, I don’t deserve this. What’s wrong with you?! What’s wrong with me?! That was me. I was frustrated, scared, and mad.

I really needed comfort and encouragement, and thankfully, it poured in from many places. But I didn’t need encouraging words about my self-worth. I didn’t need to find the hero within. No, my problem was stemming from the fact that I’d dug deep trying to find the hero within when what I needed to do was to die. I didn’t need to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I needed to let go. I could only find the greatest sense of comfort and encouragement by looking up instead of in. It’s very counterintuitive. But like Jesus said, “If you want to find life, you have to lose it.”

How did you rebuild and restore unity?

There were a couple of things we did to rebuild. From Easter of 2009 to the end of September 2009, it was war. After the vote to remove me from leadership in September till December, it just felt like everyone was still in shock. It was aftershock. There was this big mess. The attitude was let’s just everybody grab a broom and start sweeping. There was a lot of pastoral care and counsel happening at that time. We were cleaning up the mess and it was hard. It was very painful. We were trying to reassure people, even those who stayed but were still skeptical. For many the jury was still out. They were sticking it out, but had heard so many bad things that they were watching and waiting to see what would happen.

Something changed at Christmas. We felt like the ship turned, and in January I started preaching through Colossians. The series was called “Jesus plus nothing equals everything.” And that was a foundation-laying series of 22 sermons. Basically it was me saying the answer is the gospel. The answer to everything we’ve been through as a church, the answer to everything you will go through as an individual, the answer to the brokenness of your marriage and the brokenness of your family, the answer is the gospel. It’s Jesus plus nothing. It’s not Jesus plus a particular style of music. It’s not Jesus plus a certain agenda. That was foundation-laying. There was real rebuilding happening through the winter and spring of 2010.

Then we made a big decision in June 2010. One of the things I inherited when I came to Coral Ridge was a contemporary / traditional worship service split. We decided to combine the services. This was monumental in terms of rebuilding unity. I knew we had to get rid of the two-service format. I had known all along it had to go away, but I didn’t address it immediately because there were so many other things I needed to address. But after I preached the “Jesus plus nothing equals everything” series, I went to the elders and said it’s time. It’s time to pull the trigger and eliminate these separate services. And so we made the decision and announced it to our congregation. We were all going to be coming together. It’s been incredible to see the energy and unity that has come out of that decision.

There’s been a lot of talk about how the gospel is for Christians. Have we forgotten that the gospel is for pastors too?

Yes! I mean it has to be for pastors first. There’s absolutely no way that our people will experience the liberating now-power of the gospel if the pastor doesn’t even know what the liberating now-power of the gospel looks like. When I speak to pastors I say, “There is only one thing that will enable you to survive, and that’s the gospel. It’s not whether your church grows or not. It’s not having the right leadership principle. All of those things might be helpful, but the gospel is the only thing that will save you in ministry.” You inevitably face crises, slander, unfair criticism, pressure to perform in your professional and personal life. You have to have a model marriage. You’ve got to have the model children. You’ve got to be the one logging hours of private prayer every day. I mean there is heavy-duty pressure on pastors to be spiritual giants. What I love about the freeing, liberating power of the gospel is I can stand up on a Sunday morning without fear or reservation and be able to identify my own idols in front of my people. I’ll say things like, “I hate to admit this, but part of my motivation for preparing the sermon that I am preaching today is because I want you to think I’m a good preacher. It accentuates my sense of worth.” Is that embarrassing to admit? Absolutely! But it’s incredibly liberating. I don’t have to feel like I have to always be on, that I always have to be performing well, that every sermon’s got to be a homerun, that I’ve got to be modeling perfect piety before all of our people. The pressure’s off. Jesus measured up so I wouldn’t have to live under the enslaving pressure of measuring up for others. And that’s good news.

Karaktertrekke van Goeie Leiers

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Leierskap

One of the areas of leadership where I have done my most recent literary research is that of high level leadership. What are the characteristics of the highest-performing leaders? How are they distinguished from other levels of leadership? Jim Collins, for example, has contributed greatly to the concept with his research on “Level 5 Leaders.”

Over the past few weeks, I have aaccumulated the distinguishing characteristics of high-level leaders from a number of written sources. For the purpose of this article, I will list them without comment. I do hope to return to this topic in future aritcles to unpack some of the characteristics. For now, here are  fifteen traits of great leaders:

1.  Great leaders see possibilities rather than obstacles.
2.  Great leaders do not blame others.
3.  Great leaders do not have a victim mentality.
4.  Great leaders give credit to others.
5.  Great leaders seek what is best for the organization rather than for themselves.
6.  Great leaders learn to respond to some critics and to ignore others.
7.  Great leaders are able to see past the latest obstacle or challenge.
8.  Great leaders are continuous learners.
9.  Great leaders exhibit true humility.
10.  Great leaders admit their mistakes.
11.  Great leaders take calculated risks.
12.  Great leaders are more likely to make quick decisions.
13.  Great leaders have a love and a passion for what they do.
14.  Great leaders are first great leaders in their families.
15.  Great leaders mentor others to become great leaders.

Lees die oorspronklike artikel HIER.

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.

Vier Praktyke van Dissipelmakende Gemeentes

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Leierskap

Praktyk 1: Hulle kry mense aan die beweeg

Eerder as om ‘n wye verskeidenheid bedieningsgeleenthede te bied vir nuwelinge, bevorder  en verskaf hierdie kerke ‘n hoë-impak, ononderhandelbare roete van gefokusde eerste treë. Hierdie roete is spesifiek ontwerp  om geloofsbelewenis van die grond af te kry en mense te beweeg tot ‘n Christus-gesentreerde lewe.

Praktyk 2: Hulle bed die Bybel by alles in

In  hierdie kerke gaan die Bybel heelwat verder as die tradisionele rol van fondasie vir lering en lewensvorming. Hierdie kerke adem die Skrif. Elke ondervinding en ontmoeting binne die gemeente begin met die vraag, “Wat sê die Bybel hieroor?” En hulle gemeenteleiers modelleer die lewe volgens die antwoorde op daardie vraag.

Praktyk 3: Hulle skep eienaarskap

Gemeentelede in hierdie kerke behoort nie net aan die kerk nie; hulle glo hulle is self die kerk. Hulle omarm die kerk se dissipelskapswaardes as deel van hulle identiteit. Hierdie gemeentes inspireer mense tot en hou hulle verantwoordelik om hulle gedrag te verander – om meer Christusgelyk te word in hulle alledaagse lewens as ‘n uitbeelding van hulle geloof.

Praktyk 4: Hulle pastor hulle plaaslike gemeenskap

Hierdie gemeentes dien nie net hulle gemeenskappe nie. Hulle tree ook op as die gemeenskap se herder, deur intens betrokke te raak by gemeenskapskwessies en dikwels in invloedryke posisies te dien saam met gemeenskapsorganisasies. Dikwels tree hulle in vennootskap met nie-winsgewende organisasies en ander kerke om die hulpbronne wat nodig is om die belangrikste plaaslike kwessies aan te spreek, te bekom.

‘n Oorkoepelende leierskapsbeginsel

Benewens hierdie vier praktyke is een oorkoepelende leierskapsbeginsel geïdentifiseer vanuit die ondersoek se interaksie met die predikante van die top vyfpersent gemeentes. Hierdie gemeentes word gelei deur mense wat totaal behep is daarmee om dissipels te maak. Om dissipels van Christus te maak is ongetwyfeld die belangrikste aspirasie en die diepste begeerte van hierdie leiers se harte. Hierdie eienskap het al vier die praktyke van brandstof voorsien.

Vir meer inligting oor die ondersoek, skaf gerus die boek, MOVE, aan.

[Hierdie artikel is oorgeneem uit Churchleaders.com; geskryf deur Greg Hawkins en Cally Parkinson en vertaal deur Guillaume Smit.]