Friday, June 29, 2007

Coaching ~ Quote, Unquote...

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"Don't tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." - George Patton

"Strategies and goals have their place. But they don't define leadership. Leaders see and seize opportunities. And in most cases, the opportunities take them by surprise." - Andy Stanley, Next Generation Leader (Multnomah, 2007)

"We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." - Albert Einstein


•Become part of the Mission America Coalition ~ Visit: http://www.MissionAmerica.org

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pilot CIty Cedar Rapids Reaching the Community

Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival
Voices of Hope Patriotic Concert

June 27, 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

Category: All Ages, Music

Sponsored by Serve the City


Voices of Hope is a choral presentation o fpatriotic music and narration that draws on our great heritage of hymns, folk music, new songs, classic poetry, prose and scripture.

The concert will include recognition of veterans, military service men and women and civil servants.

Bring the whole family for a patriotic evening.

The concert will be rebroadcast on KMRY-1450 AM Radio at 7p on July 4th.


•Become part of the Mission America Coalition ~ Visit: http://www.MissionAmerica.org

Monday, June 25, 2007

SHARE ~ Stop Witnessing??

Note>>>Both the book and this interview present radical new thinking on evangelism. Whether you agree or disagree, John presents issues and concerns we must face as seek ways to pray for, care about, and share the gospel with our neighbors and neighborhoods . . .

Q & A with John Shore
Author of I’m Ok – You’re Not
I'm OK—You're Not:John Shore

1. What is I’m OK—You’re Not about?

It’s about the difficulties inherent in trying to simultaneously live out and fulfill, with any given nonbeliever, both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

2. Why is that difficult?
When I love a nonbeliever as much as I can—when, as the Great Commandment tells me to, I hold them as dear as I hold myself—that means (or at least seems to me to mean) that I love them unconditionally, absolutely, truly. But the fact that that person is not a Christian means that I also want them to be a Christian, doesn’t it? And what that means is that I want them to change. So there I am: Wanting to love someone unconditionally — which is to say, exactly as they are—and yet at the same time desiring that they radically change the very essence of who they are. That means that I am wanting, at once, two things that are necessarily antithetical. That’s the dilemma I explore in this book.

3. Why is it important to love a nonbeliever exactly as they are?
Because people can sense when you don’t. People know when you’ve got an agenda for them, and they don’t like it. I don’t like it when I know someone is trying to change me. Especially if what they’re trying to change me into is someone who thinks and believes as they do. Once I sense that the reason someone is in a conversation with me is because they want something from me—and especially if I understand that what they want is for me to be someone other than who I am--then I’m no longer interested in that conversation, am I? Then I feel, at best, like I’m just being sold something.

If I send the message to a nonbeliever with whom I’m meaning to fully engage that I desire them to be significantly different than they are, then I will alienate that person. And that means I won’t have a relationship with them. And I can’t love someone with whom I have no relationship. And not being able to love someone means breaking the Great Commandment with them.

4. What solution do you offer in “I’m OK” to the problem of trying to simultaneously trying to live out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment?
I offer what, as far as I know, is virtually the only solution to that problem: When dealing with nonbelievers, we believers have to completely set aside our desire for them to become Christian. We have to utterly ignore within us our natural drive to fulfill the Great Commission.

5. But how can any Christian ignore their desire to fulfill the Great Commission?
Because we must. We must fulfill the Great Commandment, which is Jesus’ supreme, overriding directive to all of his followers. We must love the nonbeliever with everything we have in us. If while we are loving a nonbeliever we are also holding in our minds that we wish that nonbeliever would change into a believer, then to that extent we are disrespecting them: We are feeling that the choices they’ve made about God, the afterlife, morality, and so on, are simply wrong. If we feel that about so much of what’s vital in life the nonbeliever is just plain wrong, then we are going to communicate that—which means that that person is going to be repelled from us, which means that with that person we are going to break the Great Commandment. And that’s just not, or shouldn’t be, an option for us. So we must ignore our desire to fulfill the Great Commission.

6. So you’re saying that we must simply forget that we want nonbelievers to be saved?
Well, of course it’s not possible to out-and-out forget that we want the nonbeliever to be saved—but as much as we can, we’ve got to respectfully set that desire as far as possible from our minds. And that’s a challenge, of course. But it’s one we can meet. And the reason we can meet it--the reason we really can absolutely ignore our concerns about the ultimate welfare of the nonbeliever--is the simple, joyous fact that here in America today, everyone already knows about Christ.

What I’m saying in I’m OK is that in this country the Great Commission has been fulfilled. Everyone is aware of what our faith is about. They know that Christ was God come to earth as a man; that we was born of a virgin; that he performed miracles; that he died on the cross for the atonement of our sins; that he was resurrected. Everyone is familiar with those basic truths of our religion. That means that when I’m dealing with a nonbeliever, I can relax around the idea that they need to hear about Christ. I can rest assured that they have heard about Christ, that they have heard the Good News. That means the obligation to tell them about Jesus no longer belongs to me. That’s a wondrous, glorious thing, for which all of we modern Christians are of course deeply indebted to all the good, proselytizing Christians who came before us. It’s due to their amazing efforts that now, today, we can just be with nonbelievers, without having to worry about whether or not they convert. Now we really are free to simply love them, as Christ directed us to.

7. And if the nonbeliever does want to know more about Jesus?
Then the Holy Spirit is moving in that person, and hallelujah for that! And the great thing is that anyone
who wants to know anything at all about our faith is certainly not hurting for access to information about
it, are they? Christianity is everywhere around us. We’ve got churches everywhere—we have radio shows, TV shows, movies, DVD’s, books galore, the internet—it’s simply not possible for someone who wants to know about Christianity not to pretty quickly become immersed in it as deeply as they care to go. That’s what’s so terrific about our time. It means that all we Christians now have to do, in our dealings with nonbelievers, is to obey the Great Commandment. If we love people, and they get interested in Christianity, then we’ll be able to point them to a million places where they can learn more about it.

And the truth is, we’re much more likely to get them interested in Christianity if we just love them, than we are if we try to love them and convert them at the same time. That’s a mixed message we no longer have to deliver.

8. So you’re not suggesting that we stop making the Good News available, then.
Absolutely not! Just the opposite. It’s vital that we continue to offer in so many ways whatever of the gospel message anyone might ever want to hear. We should, of course, keep churches open, and preachers preaching, and teachers teaching. Anyone wanting to learn about Christ should be able to rent a DVD about it, or get a book about it, hear it on their radio, watch believers celebrating their faith on TV.

All of it that is pure gold, of course. And it all means that in our immediate, one-on-one relationships with
nonbelievers, we’re free to simply and finally relax. The Commission’s already being taken care of. Our two-part obligation relative to our relationship with nonbelievers has now been effectively divided. The Commission has been, and is being, covered. Our job, now, is to just love, love, and love our neighbors. In the end, that’s all we can do anyway. No one converts because of what they hear from another person; conversion is an emotional experience, not an intellectual one. What people need is to experience Christ’s love. The best thing we can do—ultimately, the only thing we can do—is show them as much of that love as the Holy Spirit has put in us.

9. Do you think we believers sometimes simply fail to understand the mindset of nonbelievers?
I do. That is, in large part, why I wrote this book. In a way—both explicitly and implicitly—this book is all about what it’s like to be a non-Christian. Not having become a Christian myself until I was 38 means I’m very familiar with what it’s like to be a non-Christian who is forever being proselytized to by Christians. It’s why in I’m OK I have, for instance, a list called “Top 10 Reasons Nonbelievers Don’t Like Us.” And it’s definitely why in the book I included some 50 first-person testimonials from non- Christians about what it’s like to interact with Christians—and especially Christians seeking to convert you. Those statements are some of the most touching, heart-breaking stuff I’ve ever read. They show, in the starkest terms, why and how we’re failing to reach so many. It’s a real problem. And its one for which I daresay I’m OK has an answer.


•Become part of the Mission America Coalition ~ Visit: http://www.MissionAmerica.org

Sunday, June 24, 2007

SHARE ~ A Lesson from a Missions Srategist

"In the old days, development tended to follow evangelism.

First we would proclaim the gospel then minister to physical needs by providing help with water, agriculture, and health needs.

Now it is often the reverse: development work provides an entree intro restricted countries, and conversations flow out of our compassion."

Neil, OMF National Director, quoted in Yancey, Prayer, Zondervan, p. 127

•Become part of the Mission America Coalition ~ Visit: http://www.MissionAmerica.org

Friday, June 22, 2007

SHARE ~ Contagious & Curious Resources

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Only as we begin to value those outside our Christian circles

will we be truly fulfilled and functioning according to God's purpose for us."
Mark Mittelberg, Becoming a Contagious Christian




>Inspiring resources for timely reading, listening, & viewing:
[] The Journey: A Bible for the Spiritually Curious, Judson Poling, Mark Mittelberg, & Bill Perkins, general editors
[] Beginning the Journey from Willow Creek Association
[] Just Walk Across the Room: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith by Bill Hybels
[] 3Story Evangelism Training Curriculum Kit: Preparing Teenagers for a Lifestyle of Evangelism by Dave Rahn & Youth For Christ
[] Becoming a Contagious Christian: Communicating Your Faith in a Style That Fits You by Mark Mittelberg
[] More Ready Than You Realize: Evangelism as Dance in the Postmodern Matrix by Brian D. McLaren
[] Evangelism and Discipleship: in African-American Churches, Lee N. June, editor; Matthew Parker, consulting editor
[] The Case for... -- Compelling Books that Make People Consider the Claims of Jesus by Lee Strobel
[] Who Made God?: And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith, Ravi Zacharias & Norman L. Geisler, general editors
[] Why Become a Christian? by Garry Poole
[] Glocalization: How Followers of Jesus Engage a Flat World by Bob Roberts, Jr.
[] Making Ripples by Mike Breaux
[] NOOMA short films with Rob Bell


Become part of the Mission America Coalition ~ Visit: http://www.MissionAmerica.org

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

CARE ~ Reaching Out to Schools

NEWS RELEASE
Contact: Finn Laursen (CEAI)


Let’s Take Back Our Schools

“Churches were the birthplace of public education in this country,” says Finn Laursen, Executive Director of Christian Educators Association International. “It’s time the church retakes its historic accountability for our nation’s children.”

“Many precautions schools have taken, and should continue to take, focus on outside threats to the safety of the children. However, as we learned from Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, and other horrifying examples, the shootings were committed by angry and hopeless students. The consistent trait of these violent killers is that they were angry at their peers and the culture and felt so hopeless they were willing to commit atrocities, knowing it would end their own lives.”

Why should our churches take back the responsibility of influencing our children? “Followers of Jesus Christ have the hope that the young killers were missing,” says Laursen. “We need to reject the notion that the church is irrelevant to the educational process by responding to one of the greatest challenges of our lifetimes.”

“Churches should reach out to their schools and offer support wherever needed. Churches can provide volunteers to work and serve within the local school culture as well as be activists on staff, on committees, and in leadership roles on boards of education. In California, for example, a large church ‘adopted’ two local schools, participating in fix-up days, tutoring, and security programs. In Ohio, a church released its pastor to spend time monitoring suspended students on campus as a way of developing positive relationships. They have made a difference that Christians should be making everywhere.”

“Christian students should do the same and take their faith outside the four walls of the church. In meeting with the mother of the Columbine High School martyr Rachel Scott, I learned that even Rachel felt the lack of Christian fellowship at school and wished she could find Christian friends at school,” says Laursen.

“Christian educators also must come out of their ‘faith closets’ and reach out. As a professional association of Christian educators in public schools, CEAI encourages its members to befriend those in their schools who appear on the ‘outside’ of the mainstream school culture, those being ‘picked on,’ bullied, or teased, ignored, feeling alone, hurting, and without hope. We need to be willing to share the hope we have within through our personal relationship with our Lord. Our vision statement represents this strategy clearly: To demonstrate God’s love and truth to the educational community.

“CEAI is willing to support the efforts of any church that will take the challenge. CEAI stands ready to provide training, resources, and even a website to post prayers for every school in America at www.raiseyourhand.us ,” says Laursen.

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(Finn Laursen is the Executive Director of CEAI, est. 1953.
To interview Mr. Laursen contact Doreen at 1-888-798-1124 or doreen@ceai.org)


CEAI > P.O. Box 45610, Westlake, OH 44145 > (888) 798-1124 > www.ceai.org > info@ceai.org



•Become part of the Mission America Coalition ~ Visit: http://www.MissionAmerica.org

Friday, June 08, 2007

Leadership Teams ~ The 7 Questions: Preserving Momentum

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The 7 Questions

As we call God's people together to love our communities to Christ, we must not allow administrative detail nor a full calendar of activity to divert us from our compelling vision.

Our vision is for an authentic and lasting culture change throughout the Christian community that impacts our neighbors and neighborhoods, even our nation.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon all of us in the "LC2C" process to frequently ask . . .

The 7 Questions


INTEGRATING - How are we reminding pastors and leaders to introduce and assimilate prayer – care - share into every aspect of congregational ministry and activity?


INSPIRING - How are we recasting our vision to participating pastors and leaders in a consistent and compelling manner?


INVITING - How are we reaching out to additional congregations and ministries that share our biblical values?


INFORMING - How are we releasing the stories of God's work among us and through our cooperative efforts to the people and pastors engaged in "LC2C"?


INCLUDING - How are we relating to under-represented segments of the Body of Christ?


INCORPORATING - How are we recognizing the value of every participating congregation and organization?


IMPLEMENTING - How are we realizing culture change ... Is the Church praying for lost neighbors, caring in neighborhoods, and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Become part of the Mission America Coalition ~ Visit: http://www.MissionAmerica.org