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Archive for the ‘connected’ Category

Seal Beach (La Jolla Cove) Art Poster Print - 11x17
Recently, I spent some time away at a training in the La Jolla area of San Diego.  Known for its picturesque beaches and scenery, this area makes one recall thatlife is a great adventure.  You begin to wonder how much of the adventure you have taken advantage of or simply avoided over the years.

Laminated Torrey Pines, La Jolla, California satellite poster photo view map print: 36"x24" glossyThe training refreshed me spiritually and otherwise.  Also, it renewed my vision and focus.  I even made a connection with an old friend who had been just as busy as I have lately.   We committed to getting together and making things happen for the benefit of our communities and the generation coming up after us.

All in all, I would have to say that it was truly time well spent.  I thank God for the opportunity to have been selected from among my peers to gain this training and experience as well as the responsibility to bring back what I have learned to the larger group.
Near La Jolla, California, Alligator Head Formation, ca. 1903 - Exceptional Print of a Vintage Photochrom Image from the Library of Congress Collection

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From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Eph. 4:16 (NIV)

As the body of Christ, we have some real work to do.  Our work includes supporting, growing, strengthening, and loving together as the “whole body.” God expects us to do our work under Christ who is the head of the body.  We are to do our work joined and held together under Christ, the head of the body.  Our work is to be done in love.

Our work should lead to the body of Christ’s growth and strengthening.  The body should grow and grow stronger.  We are responsible to Christ for what we do and how we do it as a body of believers.  Paul says that if one part of the body suffers or receives honor, every part is impacted because it is one body with many parts.

  • Does what you do help to grow the body?
  • Does what you do help to strengthen the body?
  • Do you do what you do for the body in love?

Take these questions into careful and prayerful consideration.  Look at how you can help grow and strengthen the body of Christ.  Pray over your role and function within the body of Christ.  Build up and help grow the body of Christ.

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A person who wholly follows the Lord is one who believes that the promises of God are trustworthy, that He is with His people, and that they are well able to overcome.
-Watchman Nee

We connect in church many different ways and at many different points. The unbeliever connects with the entire, universal body of Christ upon accepting Christ as Savior and Lord. Once a believer, that same person has an opportunity to connect with his or her local church as an active and professing member. As I said, there are numerous ways people connect to the church. however, we must also understand that we, as the church, must offer new and numerous points where people can get connected to the church.

We need to offer connection points, places where people can connect with Christ, connect with other saints and connect with what the church or its affiliates and partners have to offer. Here is a short list of connection points to consider. You may want to talk to your small group or Sunday school class to explore more specific connection points that exist for you and your ministry.
  • Entrances: Think about first impressions. You can look at them as “touch points” or whatever, but you need your best greeters and brightest smiles working the door. Certainly, you should have “people people” working the door and meeting the visitors and guests, even returning people, into your church. Make sure that your people offer those who come in an opportunity to sign up for the church newsletter (handing them a copy) and be sure to provide them with any essential church literature, i.e. first-time visitors FAQ sheet and an outline of the order of worship. [Sometimes we invite people to church without helping them to know what to expect.]
  • Sanctuary: Most churches have some period during their worship service where they welcome or recognize visitors and guests. Be sure that people act genuine without a whole lot of “coaching” from the pulpit. People like other people to be friendly in a natural sense, not out of a sense of duty or obligation like “because the pastor said to do it.” Let it be part of the natural organic chemistry of who you are.
  • Exits: Don’t let someone leave without thanking them for joining you in worship. Invite guests and visitors to a special area to receive “gifts” like a free CD or DVD of a past sermon by the senior pastor, calendars or other items with the church logo and contact information or something as simple as a tract and a coupon for redemption at your bookstore or gift shop.

Be sure that you allow people to connect at least at each one of these points, offering them prayer, an invitation to salvation or joining the church, or even a special time for visitors and guest with the pastor and his special greeters. If available, assist people to fill out contact information and include business cards for staff persons who will contact the person as a follow up to their visit.

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I am an avid “web-crawler.” I search the web for sites that can help me with my work and ministry. I have discovered some sites that truly can support you as you seek to enhance and expand your ministry for greater effectiveness in this day and age.

Here is a short list of sites for support:

  • http://www.outreach.com/ Great resources from banners to do-it-yourself templates; be sure to take a look at http://blog.outreach.com/ for tips and ideas on a wide range of outreach topics and http://www.outreachmagazine.com/ for articles and information on outreach. Look into their church-planting resources, too.
  • http://www.lifetreecafe.com/ If you are in ministry or seeking to get one started, here is a possible resource that will cause you to be “missional.” Check out what this conversational and casual gathering can do for your church and the un-churched. Read what it’s about. It will take some planning and strategies on your part.
  • http://www.lifechurch.tv/ This church is taking multi-site ministry into a whole new era. You have to check out their online worship experience as well as their resources and messages (even those that are not live.) Open is a great resource for downloads of templates and forms that will help administration and ministry leaders. YouVersion has to be one of my favorite sites on the web. With everything from “live” worship and the audio Bible to Bible reading plans and the means for sharing via Facebook and Twitter, this site will rock your world. Church Metrics is a cool free tool that allows you to track everything from attendance to commitments and baptisms. It’s web-based and even has a mobile application for on-the-go ministry and small group leaders.
  • http://www.urbanministry.org/ Tons and tons of information and resources for “street ministry” and beyond. I use the Word Press blog application for Saved2Serve, our network for ministries, faith-based organizations and parachurches. You have to check out their Church Grants and Volunteer sub-sites. This site is a real winner.
  • http://www.ebase.org/ I like E-Base for nonprofits and donor tracking because it does something different from Church Metrics. This download allows you to track donors, volunteers, and other things such as outreach campaigns. It allows you to see what works and what doesn’t in a data storage format almost like CRM software for business.

These sites are useful and worth exploring. I see them as mechanisms for strengthening and supporting your work in ministry. Be sure to visit our web database for the free download of “When the Laborers are Few.” This will help those who have few “workers” for the harvest that is before them in their part of the vineyard.

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 Evangelism is a lot like College

It is a lot like college in many ways.  You can only imagine how so, but here are a few of the ways that evangelism resembles college life.

 

  • You are tested by people at times who may know just as much as and sometimes even more than you on the subject at hand 
  • You have to use a lot of what you have already learned to face new challenges
  • You meet people from nearly every walk of life
  • Doing your homework pays off
  • You’re own your own but you can always come back home
  • The study and discussions help you when you interact with others outside of class
  • You can just show up if you want to, but you have to put in some hard work in order to reap the rewards

 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” –Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

 

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Technically Speaking
(Also Known As: The Massacre of the Message)

There will come a day before the last days
When prophets will instant message sermon series
And blog their latest Holy Land and missionary adventures
And then post images of JC, formerly known as Jesus Christ,
On MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
Without even considering what it means to the masses.
Preachers will preach from portable pulpits,
Giving mobilized messages of mass confusion
With cordless microphones and big screens overhead
As every bell and whistle explodes with evangelistic effort
Reaching multimedia masses over colossal airwaves
In the blink of an eye with the click of a button.
Missionaries will no longer be stumped by adversaries
Who cast the first stone during online forums on salvation
And the doctrine of total depravity versus God’s elect.
Seminary scholars will wrestle with street theologians
In text message arenas and with YouTube streaming
While electronic scanners are beaming bar codes for benevolence.
The message will find a new medium.
The new medium will carry the message.
Nothing will be lost.
The Good News will be just as good as it’s ever been
And the blood of Jesus will work the same as it did on Calvary.
Only we’ll Photoshop the image of Jesus on the cross
To keep it politically correct and all.
We will touch up His makeup to make Him up
To be a multicultural blend of all the ends of the earth
So that no one will be excluded or offended by his name in His name.
By the time we get done with the Last Supper,
There will be a disciple in wheelchair and one openly gay
Along with an obvious woman of color with a baby on the way.
There might even be a meatless meal of veggie trays.
The message will find a new medium.
The new medium will carry the message.
Nothing will be lost.
The Good News will be just as good as it’s ever been
And we will use the image of Christ
To endorse everything from blue jeans to bottled water.
The message will find a new medium.
The new medium will carry the message.
Nothing will be lost.
Nothing much will be gained.
Nothing will be said
For our methods will have left the message
Virtually dead in an online atmosphere
Among a universe of the spiritually dead.

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Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)

It’s all in your mind.  What makes a difference is already within you, if you believe in Christ as your Savior, but what may be holding it up, what may be blocking it from becoming your way of life, may also exist within you, too.  It may be what’s in your mind.

God wants you to have the mind of Christ.  God wants your thought process to change.  He wants your thoughts to mirror the thoughts of Jesus.  He wants your mind to operate like the mind of Christ.  The New Century Version says that we should “think and act like Christ.”

Yet, a lot can clutter our mind, especially in this “information age.” We are so connected these days through Facebook, IM, Twitter, Gmail, and other means that we can often grow disconnected to the serious business of being a Christian.  We can easily lose our way and find ourselves thriving in worldly success and failing at faith. 

God is calling you to be like Christ.  He wants you to become like the Son.  He is not asking you to be Christ.  He is not asking you to die on the cross for the sins of the world.  He is not expecting you to be Christ, but He does expect you to be like Christ.

We should embody the very essence of Christ’s being, starting with a change within us that manifests through our actions and interactions, even our words.  Yes, we were created in His image at Creation, but we have not been transformed into “new creations” until we accept and embrace being changed by Him to become like Him.

For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
John 13:15 (NKJV)

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