Friday, December 28, 2007

Quote; Unquote . . .

Christians are now the foreigners in a post-Christian culture,

and we have got to wake up to this reality if we haven't."

Dan Kimball, They Like Jesus but Not the Church

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

SHARE ~ Various Approaches Needed to Overcome the Law of Evangelistic Entropy

God Weeps Over Your Unsaved Business Colleague Jesus tells of the shepherd searching for the one lost sheep out of a hundred and of the father welcoming his wayward son home. Jesus also tells of the woman who searches for lost coins, each worth about a day's wage. There is an urgency to God's search for each person.

Luke 15:4:10

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ORejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ORejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

In business terms ...

Christians can be hindered by traditional ideas of what evangelism looks like. The average Christian thinks, It means getting out and knocking on doors. I don't know if I can do that. We would like to reach lost people, but doing so doesn't feel like us. In the New Testament, Peter was confrontational, while Paul took an intellectual approach. The blind man in John 9 took a testimonial approach, and the woman at the well, an invitational approach. So let's free ourselves up. Let's not lay guilt trips on people by acting as though if they really loved Jesus, they would do it just like us. Let's find approaches that fit the personalities God gave each of us. Evangelism naturally tends to slip more than any other biblical value. It is what I call the law of evangelistic entropy. I've been negatively surprised by how rapidly this value slips, even in people who are fired up to share their faith. A year passes, and they've slipped into comfortable Christianity.

Denominations that started with evangelism as a priority can quickly become institutionalized. Evangelism is too often relegated to a statement on the front of a bulletin instead of a value by which we live. - Mark Mittelberg

Something to Think About ...

The gospel must be preached afresh and told in new ways to every generation, since every generation has its own unique questions. The gospel must constantly be forwarded to a new address, because the recipient is repeatedly changing his place of residence. - Helmut Thielicke

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Eight ways to build collaborative teams

Power Of Connecting logo

Eight ways to build collaborative teams

Excerpted from The Harvard Business Review
Article by Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson

The authors recommend these practices for encouraging collaboration in complex teams:
  • Invest in building and maintaining social relationships throughout your [network or partnership].
  • Model collaborative behavior.
  • Use coaching to reinforce a collaborative culture.
  • Train employees in the specific skills required for collaboration: appreciating others, engaging in purposeful conversation, productively and creatively resolving conflicts, and managing programs.
  • Support a sense of community by sponsoring events and activities.
  • Ensure that at least 20%-40% of a new team's members already know one another.
  • Change your leadership style as your team develops.
  • Assign distinct roles so team members can do their work independently.
Lynda Gratton is a professor of management practice at London Business School and a senior fellow at the Advanced Institute of Management. Tamara J. Erickson is president of the Concours Institute.

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SHARE ~ Mega-Church Secret: More Inviters Per Capita

Who is the book for and why should they read it?
[Dave and Scott] The book is for all persons interested in the megachurch phenomena. Megachurch leaders will profit from reading it because it helps them understand their own churches in a larger context. Leaders of smaller churches will enjoy reading it because it shows megachurch practices that are different from their own. Consultants, reporters and academic readers will see the important statistics and observations as critical to building their own frameworks and understandings of larger churches in the context of the entire American religious scene.

What's one thing you've learned from your experience with megachurches?
[Scott] One of the most basic and yet profoundly significant lessons from the
research for me was that these churches have attendees who are eager to invite others to church. It is absolutely clear that the churches with the larger percentage of attendees involved in inviting others are also those growing the most rapidly. These people are excited to be there because their spiritual needs are being met in relevant and practical ways, with great contemporary worship, and in a meaningful place to minister to others through their own gifts and interests.

Download a sample chapter or order the book online:

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Friday, December 21, 2007

CARE ~ More Than Care; Justice!

John Perkins
Lord, Give Us Leaders Who Can Lead Us to Justice—John Perkins

Big Idea:
Biblical leaders are more likely to emerge from the right environment.

Outline and Transcript
Audio Sermon

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CARE ~ Good Works Produce Good WIll To Share the Good News

Jan 9, 2007 Number 40 --

Good Works - Externally Focused Churches Facilitate New Ministry

===>Click headline to access . . .

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Monday, December 17, 2007

LC2C -Charleston, WV: A Christmas Story

Pastor Norm is a vital part of our local CIR and has been with us throughout the LC2C process. The networking relationships have contributed to the success. Instead of doing our regular outreach this Christmas Season ... we ... threw our support behind this outreach.
Blessings, Ron Thaxton, LC2C in Charleston, WV

Dear Friends,

I tell people that our Christmas Toy Store stretches my faith every year. But , more than that I get to see God do incredible things in the lives of people. First the statistics. We had right at 300 families representing about 740 children which is $51,800 in Christmas toys given away. In addition, we provided some gifts for some other ministries in our area that were reaching out to families during the hospital including a church in Ivydale that is doing a special program for foster children next week.

The best news of all is that 50 people made life changing commitments to Jesus Christ. Most of those were first time decisions. Among those was a lady Friday night who told her counselor that she had never heard the gospel message as a whole before in her life. We take so much for granted and forget there are so many who do not have a relationship with Jesus. Today, one of the parents we reached out to with toy store was the aunt of the six year old girl who was killed in Hamlin last week. We got to spend time with her before she went to the funeral.

I want to thank all of the many hundreds of people who have come through to be a part of the success of toy store this year. Just a week ago, I was concerned because the volunteer list was very low and we didn't even have churches scheduled to help with meals for volunteers. The last two shifts we had an abundance of volunteers and were able to minister more personally to all of the families.

One of the stories that has touched my heart the most was the story of a teenager who has been an active volunteer in toy store for many years. The teen was one of a small group of people who knew exactly where we were moneywise and the fact that we were near the bottom of the barrel on this last day as we tried to provide for the last families. He came to me before toy store with about $100 in cash and handed it to me. I asked "who is this from?" assuming someone had come in and dropped it off. "Me," he said. I know this teen and know this was a mighty sacrifice on his part. We have had larger gifts, but this one touched me deeper than the most, because I knew it came from his heart.

Thanks again to allow who volunteered, provided food and other items, prayed and gave toys or money. God has used your gifts in mighty ways.
In His Grip, Norm Cannada

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CARE ~ Getting Your Church Started

Conspiracy of Kindness
Four Weeks To A Church That Thinks Differently
Start a Conspiracy of Kindness in your community... This encouraging study is based on the model of Jesus, who followed the approach of meeting the challenges of the people at hand.

Dissecting a Kindness Project
Coffee And Hot Chocolate Giveaway
Coffee, cappuccino, and good hot chocolate are all the rage these days; so wherever the chance presents itself, bring it to people during cooler months.

World-Changing Kindness Projects
Holiday Outflow Ideas
By Tracy Larson
If there is ever a season to seize the moments to show God's love to others it is during the Christmas season. It seems as though God just opens up the airwaves to his love and kindness during this time of year.

Ask Dr. Savant
How Do I Begin Teaching My People SE?
By Dr. Savant
This month Dr. Savant fields a question from a pastor looking for the tips on introducing servant evangelism to his congregation for the first time.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

CARE ~ Helping or Hurting the Poor?

How to Help the Poor Without Hurting Them...and Ourselves by Dr. Brian Fikkert, Chalmers Center Executive Director

We’ve all been in this situation: A poorly dressed person approaches our church asking for help with buying groceries. We want to help out, but how? If we give them money, perhaps they will waste it. And if we take the time to go to the grocery store with them, what will prevent them from needing help again in about a week or two? Many of us have a sense that our efforts to help the poor often fail to bring any lasting improvement. But the situation is often worse than we may imagine: Our efforts to help... Read More >>

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Coaching ~ Asking The Right Question Wrongly

The Five Top Asking Mistakes Coaches Make
(And How to Correct Them)

From the forthcoming book, "Coaching Questions: A Coaches Guide to Powerful Asking Skills"
By Tony Stoltzfus

From long experience as a coach trainer, here's my personal list of the top five asking mistakes coaches make.

1. Closed Questions
Our #1 offender is—closed questions! Open questions have two important benefits: they let the coachee direct the conversation (you can answ
er in many different ways) and they make the coachee think by eliciting more than one-word answers. While most people will answer the occasional closed question as if it were open, too many will shut people down.

To convert closed questions to open ones, first become aware of what you are asking. If you catch yourself before you've finished asking, you can simply restate the question. You'll know its a closed question if it can be answered with a simply "yes" or "no", like these examples:

  • "Is there a way to do that and still keep evenings for family?"
  • "Can you realistically take that on too?"
  • "Could there be any other ways to approach that?"
  • "Do you have any other options?"

If you catch yourself in the act of asking a closed question, here's a quick technique for readjusting: just start again with the word "what" or "how". Here are the closed questions above, made open:

Read full article

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Monday, December 10, 2007

CARE ~ Justice in the Burbs

The focus of Justice in the Burbs [Baker Books, 2007] by Will and Lisa Samson is on action—being the hands of Jesus wherever you live, as the subtitle says. This book, written by an award-winning Christian novelist and her husband, who’s working on his PhD in sociology, is half fiction and half non-fiction. The fictional part of the book describes a story of a husband and wife who live in the suburbs and start feeling the need to be more connected to issues of justice. The non-fictional component follows this storyline with Biblical facts and examples as to how and why the Christian couple were Biblically sound in their endeavors—and how they (and others reading the book) could do more to promote justice where they live.

This book was incredibly easy to read, with tons of great information and inspiration. And the fictional story is compelling—I cried several times at the heartache and joys the family encountered. I could see my friends and family in the faces Lisa described.

The only thing I didn’t love about the book was the last chapter. In the “Benediction”, Lisa ends the story of the husband and wife with a story of a happy family living simply. It’s a beautiful picture of love and grace, but it didn’t seem like enough to me. After ruminating on their words about justice, I wanted a vision of a world free from poverty and injustice.

But everything else about the book was beautiful, and the aspect I liked best was that Will and Lisa were providing guidance to all Christians about how to “bloom where you are planted”. This is important to me in my life and ministry because I thought at an early age that I was supposed to be a missionary. I’ve spent several summers in foreign countries evangelizing and working with churches and children’s ministries. But it never felt quite right. I kept feeling called to be at home, living in community and addressing the needs of my neighbors.

So this book is perfect for people like me who feel called into the mission field at their front door—it provides great examples, ideas, meditations, and tools that can be used in our ministries. But it’s also perfect for anyone who desires to learn more about Jesus’ heart for the poor and “least of these”.

Elizabeth Exley

Phone: 703-283-9786


Ministry: I’m currently working on my PhD in health policy, serve with a refugee ministry at our new church (Revolution) in Kansas City and an elder ministry, and run a couple of blogs ( and with my husband.

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