Thursday, August 31, 2006

20 ways Assembly of God Pastors can avoid Church Planting

Though this list is not original with me it speaks volumes to the issue.!

1. Call yourself an apostle. Have some business cards printed. Hand them around.
2. Throw lots of money at subsidizing unhealthy, declining churches.
3. Throw money at “experimental missional initiatives” and never evaluate their effectiveness.
4. Set goals for multiplying new churches but don’t make it clear who is responsible to accomplish the goals.
5. Make someone responsible but don’t give them any real authority, discretionary time, or funding. Change the appointment every two years. After ten years, save money by retiring the position and making everyone else responsible.
6. Appoint a committee to undertake a study and write a report. Wait three years then do it again.
7. Hire a consultant to undertake a study and write a report. Wait three years then do it again.
8. Appoint the wrong people to plant churches. When they fail conclude that church planting doesn’t work.
9. When you see a healthy church plant say, “Yes it’s growing but it’s not really a (choose one) Reformed/Baptist/Assemblies of God/Presbyterian/Methodist/New Vine/etc. church.”
10. Require pioneering leaders to be theologically trained before they can plant a church.
11. Throw your best leaders at your biggest problems, not at your greatest opportunities.
12. Watch pioneering leaders exit your movement and then comment on their lack of commitment.
13. Reward pioneering leaders with promotions. Get them away from the front line. Harness their drive to keep the institutional wheels turning.
14. In the 1960’s change the word “missions” to “mission.” To usher in the new millennium change “mission” to “missional.” Around 2010 plan to change “missional” to “postmissional.”
15. Agree to plant new churches when: (a) You’re large enough (b) You’re healthy enough (c) You have the leaders to give away (d) You have the money to spare (e) God has clearly shown you it’s time (f) When the cow jumps over the moon.
16. Run workshops on church planting. Hold conferences on church planting. Offer a course at your theological college on church planting. Do nothing to follow up with the people who show an interest. Make sure only experts get to teach. Keep the practitioners away from the students. Keep the students in the classroom.
17. Grow your church, facilities, staff, and budget as BIG as you can. Let your vision stop at your car park. Let church history end with you. Let the Kingdom dream die.
18. Set ridiculous but catchy sounding goals like “500 in 5 years,” or “2,000 by 2,000.” Three years after the target date expires set new goals. Don’t forget to change the dates!
19. Modernize your theology, then postmodernize your theology. Remove evangelism and church planting from the centre of God’s mission in the world. When decline hits make sure the paid professionals are the last to feel the pinch.
20. Lastly, set up a blog on church planting. Link to other bloggers on church planting. Be sure they link to you. Add smoke and mirrors.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Salvation and Follow through

One of the problems we have winning the lost in our world is our concept of salvation. It is wrong! When I say that I know that it is provocative but we have concentrated so much on the legal aspects of salvation and so little on the relational aspects of salvation that we often twist our terminology into unbiblical meanings. For instance, we hear people say things like, "He is saved, he's just not living for the Lord!" Well this is to be interpreted "he walked an aisle, raised a hand, prayed a prayer once a while ago to get his rear out of hell but he doesn't love God enough to be a disciple and love God with follow through!" Well of course, who ever lead this friend in a prayer did him a great disservice by asking him if he wanted to go to hell (those who do are very few). And then by decieving him into thinking that getting your butt out of hell is a seperate decision from the one where you live for Christ.

Declaring Jesus as the Lord is not some theological abstract that needs intellectual assent- it is a personal declaration. I fear that many will be surprised at their lost-ness on the judgment day. They will say 'but the pastor said if I repeat that prayer then I was IN!' God help us to be intentional and determined to preach and teach salvation as the beginning of a lifestyle of following Jesus. Where we spend eternity was not nearly as important to the early disciples as whether we live for the new king- Jesus- in our daily lives! He demands right living in my relationships, in my fellowship, in my marriage, in my home, etc. Knowing and loving Jesus- studying his nature and character- changes me out of the relationship with him. That prayer, that walk down the aisle, that raised hand... was the beginning not the end.

Am I glad that I am going to live with Christ forever? SURE! But that is only a small fringe benefit of the Kingdom of God and salvation. To say that salvation is the culmination of a small and ill defined prayer that is devoid of any lifestyle affects- you gotta be kiddin'!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hard Drive Crash

Wow- my hard drive crashed and I suddenly realized that I am really dependent upon my computer for ministry. REALLY DEPENDANT! I hate the fact that I am so dependant but think of it. A Blog, Email Newsletters, inter office email, finances, sermon notes, communication with parishoners, we ain't in Kansas anymore Dorothy!

And when the whole thing poops out - it is never convenient. How often is too often to back up your data... Can we live in the realm of paranoia? I guess the most bothersome thing I lost was my 18 page report for a class in my Masters Program. I have a few days to try and retrieve it but pretty much I have given up hope. I did pray. I did lay hands on it. I did throw a rather controlled but meaningful fit. I did give up my belt and shoe laces because I was so distraught. Oh well... we pick ourselves up, dust our drives off, and start all over again

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rude Service in Restaurants

While I was gone on vacation I came to eat with my family at a restaurant with a waiter who was obviously gay and irritated. (There was a time when it was impossible to be gay and irritated at the same time- but that is a different rant!) So this guy actually says to us " hurry up " when we are ordering! My son orders a shake- gay guy lets out big sigh!- as if we are pain in the butt. When giving us the check he tries to play it all down as part of his "routine". I can't tell you how preturbed I was. I wanted to rip his face off! But I refused to tip him- which caused a problem with my wife who is under the delusion that all wait staff is to be tipped regardless. I have always believed TIP meant "To Improve Service".

People who are in the service industry have forgotten something these days- SERVICE!

I'll give you my criteria- you can tell me if it is too strict.

Excellent Service - 20% tip - makes me feel like I am the most important customer in the place.
Good Service - 15% tip- made me feel like I was one of many important customers.
Fair Service - 10% tip - made me think that you forgot that customers are pretty important to your business- perhaps having a bad day!
Poor Service- 0 % - (often I leave a quarter to let them know I didn't forget!) Made me uncomfortable to have to ask for everything myself (Ketchup, Mustard, etc).

Am I being unreasonable? Is it unchristian not to tip?