Tuesday, February 26, 2008

CARE ~ Day of Serving Reshapes Church Culture

Externally focused churches want less talk and more action outside the walls. Large service events can serve as a catalyst for changing a church’s culture from an internal to external focus. The following six service events served as springboards to that type of shift in six churches profiled below. For more information on planning successful large-scale service events, download a free copy of Six Catalytic Service Approaches: Taking First Steps through Great Days of Service from Leadership Network’s online library of resources.

Two Hours that Make a Difference
Pantano Christian Church in Tucson, AZ, (www.pantanochristian.org) coordinates two hours of service annually called Serve Tucson. More than 600 people were involved in 2005. Projects completed during this short burst of serving included:

Offering free car washes
Handing out bottled water at major intersections
Putting quarters in washers and dryers at local laundromats
Handing out popsicles at parks and recreation events
Visiting nursing homes

Dave White, pastor of community empowerment missions, says volunteer leadership is key. "Events are organized by project with a project manager overseeing up to 10 locations," Dave says.

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Culture Change. Why?

The American church is losing ground as the population continues to surge. If trends continue, by 2050 the percentage of Americans attending church will be half the 1990 figure."
David T. Olson, The American Church in Crisis

Survey: Americans Freely Change, or Drop, Their Religions
(USA TODAY) A new map of faith in the USA shows a nation constantly shifting amid religious choices, unaware or unconcerned with doctrinal distinctions. Unbelief is on the rise. And immigration is introducing new faces in the pews, new cultural concerns, new forces in the public square. The US Religious Landscape Survey, released yesterday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, documents new peaks, deepening valleys, and fast-running rivers of change in American religiosity....
[Read the article] | [Pew Forum: "US Religious Landscape Survey"] | [The Christian Post: "Survey: US Religious Landscape in Flux"] | [Google News search results]

>Timely resources for further reading, listening, & viewing:
[] The American Church in Crisis: Groundbreaking Research Based on a National Database of over 200,000 Churches by David T. Olson (foreword by Craig Groeschel)
[] Death of the Church: The Church has a choice: to die as a result of its resistance to change or to die in order to live by Mike Regele & Mark Schulz
[] They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations by Dan Kimball
[] Dear Church: Letters from a Disillusioned Generation by Sarah Cunningham
[] Finding a Church You Can Love and Loving the Church You've Found by Kevin & Sherry Harney
[] The Unchurched Next Door: Understanding Faith Stages as Keys to Sharing Your Faith by Thom S. Rainer
[] Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them by Thom S. Rainer
[] Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap by Thom S. Rainer
[] Who Is My Enemy?: Welcoming People the Church Rejects by Rich Nathan
[] No Perfect People Allowed: Creating a Come-as-You-Are Culture in the Church (includes bonus DVD) by John Burke
[] The Multiplying Church: The New Math for Starting New Churches by Bob Roberts Jr.
[] Evaluating the Church Growth Movement: 5 Views by Elmer Towns, Craig Van Gelder, Charles Van Engen, Gailyn Van Rheenan, & Howard Snyder; Gary L. McIntosh, general editor
[] Un.orthodox: Church. Hip-Hop. Culture. by Tommy Kyllonen
[] The Multi-Site Church Revolution: Being One Church in Many Locations by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon, & Warren Bird (foreword by Erwin Raphael McManus)
[] The Out of Bounds Church?: Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change by Steve Taylor
[] The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives by Andy Crouch, Michael S. Horton, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Brian D. McLaren, & Erwin Raphael McManus; Leonard Sweet, general editor
[] Church Re-Imagined by Doug Pagitt
[] The Purpose Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message and Mission by Rick Warren
[] Building a Contagious Church: Increasing Your Church's Evangelistic Temperature by Mark Mittelberg
[] Worship Evangelism: Inviting Unbelievers into the Presence of God by Sally Morgenthaler
[] Seeker Small Groups: Engaging Spiritual Seekers in Life-Changing Discussions by Garry Poole
[] Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary: How to Reach Friends and Family Who Avoid God and the Church by Lee Strobel
[] Inside the Soul of a New Generation: Insights and Strategies for Reaching Busters by Tim Celek, Dieter Zander, & Patrick Kampert
[] Kingdom Triangle: Recover the Christian Mind, Renovate the Soul, Restore the Spirit's Power by J. P. Moreland (foreword by Dallas Willard) (website)
[] The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters by Charles W. Colson & Harold Fickett (free 66-page study guide)

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

CARE ~ Community Chaplains

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA

Visit our web site at: www.assistnews.net -- E-mail: assistnews@aol.com

Community Chaplains of America Mobilizes Individuals to Care Outside the Church
By Jeremy Reynalds, Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (ANS) -- Corporate Chaplains of America is training laypersons to provide physical, emotional, spiritual and personal care in their communities where they live through the Community Chaplains of America program.

"Our vision is to have thousands of chaplains serving millions of people by 2012," said Mark Cress, founder and president of Corporate Chaplains of America, in a news release. "While community chaplains are not professional counselors, they can offer care to people who may not have anyone else. They can be the light in the darkness for a person in need."

The creators of Community Chaplains of America have been providing care in the workplace since 1996 through Corporate Chaplains of America. With almost 100 chaplains, Corporate Chaplains of America serves about 600 business locations around the U.S.

"We have seen the need to provide care and support not only in the workplace but in other areas of the community," said Chris Hobgood, Corporate Chaplains of America vice president of chaplain and project development, in a news release.

He added, "Data from The Barna Research Group indicates that 60 percent of people do not attend church on a typical weekend. What this data indicates is that a significant majority of people encountered in the community environment have no pastor or other caregiver to turn to during a time of crisis. By training church members to adequately provide care, we can show Christ's love through our actions and help those in the community face difficult times and situations."

The news release explained that a "community chaplain" is a person who reaches out to the community by building relationships with the hope of gaining permission to share Christ in a non-threatening way. Community Chaplains of America volunteers are trained never to force this evangelistic message, but to only offer it with the person's consent.

Training to become a Community Chaplains of America volunteer is done through an Empowerment Kit which provides books, interactive workbooks and CDs for 84 hours of education. Written by seminary-trained corporate chaplains, the resources in the Kit provide step-by-step training on not only how to meet needs of people in the community, but also how to determine one's best place to serve as a chaplain.

Upon completion of the training materials within the Empowerment Kit, those wishing to become an official, qualified Community Chaplains of America volunteer are required to be commissioned by their local church, attesting to the person's character and spiritual belief.

"The commissioning process is an important step for each chaplain," Hobgood said. "It confirms to Community Chaplains of America and other fellow chaplains that the person and church embrace our official statement of faith and that the church is officially 'sending' the chaplain out into their community as a trained representative."

Community Chaplains of America are encouraged to serve as a chaplain in an area where they are active. This can include their own workplaces, the soccer fields, airports, coffee shops, nursing homes and many more.

The news release noted that a membership is available for a yearly fee to an interactive Web site with discussion groups, prayer support, a network of chaplain contacts and additional materials. Membership is not required but highly recommended to provide support, education and advice from other trained chaplains.

Based in Wake Forest, N.C., Corporate Chaplains of America was founded in 1996 to provide "Caring in the Workplace," while following a structured business plan built upon process management principles. The full-time, long-term, career chaplains hold seminary-level or higher degrees and pursue certification through 154 hours of continuing education within the first year of tenure, helping combine workplace experience with professional chaplaincy training.

For more information on Corporate or Community Chaplains of America, visit www.chaplain.org.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quote; Unquote . . .

Evangelism is one of the highest values in the church -- and one of the least practiced."

Mark Mittelberg, Becoming a Contagious Church

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is This Why We Are Shy to Share?

Christianity Today January 2008
A Hole in Our Holism p 56
Why evangelicals might be shy about sharing their faith.
Stan Guthrie

Historian David Bebbington has identified four emphases of our evangelical movement: conversion, Christ's redeeming work, the Bible, and social engagement and evangelism. Right now our passion for social issues of all kinds is ascendant. And indeed, our old, narrow, world-rejecting fundamentalism needed a decent burial.

Today, it's great to see how much easier it is to draw crowds by organizing a conference dealing with race, anti-Semitism, abortion, Darfur, homosexual marriage, sex trafficking, AIDS, or environmental stewardship. Loving our neighbor via these issues is right and good. And our newfound activism also can help make the gospel we preach attractive to outsiders. As Jesus said, "[L]et your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

But it seems harder for us to get excited about evangelism. Our holistic mission has a hole in it ~ not enough evangelism. For instance, while the American population continues growing, our own evangelical numbers barely tread water.

Is there a connection between our rediscovered social passion and our growing evangelistic indifference?

Evangelism -- calling sinful people to repent and follow Jesus -- is always a tougher sell than giving a cup of cold water in Jesus' name. As the apostle Paul said, "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing."

Does our heightened social consciousness--from the Left and the Right--actually drain our evangelistic zeal? It shouldn't, because we are called to do both.

But maybe our preference for social activism reveals a more basic problem: that we don't really believe our neighbor's deepest need is to be forgiven by and reconciled to God. We seem to think that if only he or she is fed, or lives in a society brimming with Christian principles, or sees our battles against the world's many injustices, then we will have discharged our responsibility to Christ.

I'm not sure Jesus would agree. "For what does it profit a man," the Lord asks, "if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" May our concern to make a difference in this world not blind us to our neighbors' eternal destiny in the next.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

CARE ~ Oregonian Editorial: Season of Service "No Gimmick"

The Oregonian

Portland's season of service

Luis Palau aims to put
Friday, February 15, 2008

E vangelist Luis Palau doesn't soft-pedal his mission in life: to preach the message of Jesus Christ. That's what he's done for many years in many places, from Bucharest to his home base in Beaverton. He draws enormous crowds at his Christian festivals, such as the one scheduled for Portland on Aug. 22 and 23.

But this year, Palau is doing something different, and because of it, he's been able to draw on the support of such secular leaders as Portland Commissioner Erik Sten, Portland Mayor Tom Potter, Beaverton Mayor Rob Drake and Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis -- the sorts of folks you don't normally associate with Christian revivals. The 73-year-old evangelist, his son Kevin, church leaders and elected officials shared a stage this week to announce Portland's "season of service," a massive public service volunteerism project to do good works in this region this year.

Palau says this isn't an evangelical mission, but an earnest effort to serve others in the community in a variety of ways. And that approach has opened doors in civic government, where volunteers are always welcome.

The emphasis for this season of good works in Portland will be homelessness, which is one of the reasons affordable housing champion Erik Sten is on board. As the Palau organization (www.palau.org) explains, "thousands of volunteers from the area's diverse faith community are expected to work on varied service projects addressing critical needs of the homeless, the hungry, the medically uninsured, the impoverished, the environment, and the public schools." Among the projects will be a City of Portland-Palau joint project called "Home Again Mentoring," which is intended to connect members of various churches with homeless families in the region.

Palau is a refreshing, vigorous personality who has made it his practice to be, as he puts it, "totally apolitical," refusing to endorse ballot measures or candidates because such things detract from his central message. He has won broad, ecumenical and political respect because of his evident sincerity.

His "Season of Service" is no gimmick, nor is it some sort of veiled effort to draw more people to his festival. At any rate, his last one in Portland drew about 140,000 over two days, according to his staff, so it's not as if he's hurting for an audience.

Palau's moral authority puts him in a unique position to harness the Portland area's pride of place and spirit of goodwill. He offers as good a reason for the season as any Portland will find.

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CARE ~ Showing Before Telling The Good News

World-Changing Kindness Projects

Simple, Effective Ideas To Show God's Love
By Steve Sjogren and Tracy Larson

In this short, lo-tech video Steve and CoastlandTampa's evangelism pastor, Tracy Larson, share and discuss ideas for showing God's love through servant evangelism.

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PRAYER ~ A "Macro" Vision for Prayer

When the Lord Guards the City
by Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain" (Ps. 127:1).

Before we speak on this verse, it is important to explain a particular characteristic often found in the Hebrew Scriptures. Often, the Old Testament writers communicated truth by repeating two views of the same thought. We see this especially in the wisdom and prophetic books. An example would be: "With the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips" (Prov. 18:20). The same concept is presented in two affirming ways. Another example is, "I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old" (Ps. 78:2). Truth is conveyed utilizing a poetic rhythm that is not only beautiful, but a way to unite two corresponding thoughts into one idiom.

In this regard, when the Psalmist admonishes, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain" (Ps. 127:1), he is saying the same truth in two interrelated ways. Whatever it is that we are doing to secure and protect ourselves, unless we bring the Lord into the process, "we labor in vain."

Yet, the positive side of this is that, when the Lord builds the house, its foundation will be built firmly upon the rock of eternal truth; it will stand. And, when the Lord guards the city, He will supernaturally align Himself with our efforts, and the city He guards will be protected.

You see, the house of the Lord is a house of prayer: intercession brings the presence of God into the city; it releases laborers for the harvest (see Luke 10:2), and it brings reconciliation between enemies. In fact, the summary truth is this: when the Lord builds the house, then the Lord will guard the city. The specifications of His building plans require His people to be praying, loving and investing themselves into their cities. Empowered by the anointing of God, the living house of the Lord can transform communities!

Jesus confirms this in His promise, "I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18 KJV). He is stating that, when His house is built in obedience to His word, the strongholds of evil over individuals, neighborhoods and communities will be impacted and broken.

When revival explodes in a city, what happens to the powers of darkness in the heavenly places? Where do they go? The answer is: they are displaced by the fullness of God's Spirit in the regional church!

Paul tells us that it is "by the church" that the manifold wisdom of God is revealed "unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places" (Eph. 3:10 KJV). And what is happening in the spirit realm? The church is blessed with "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3)! The prevailing influence upon society is not lawlessness and evil, but the power of heaven. Beloved, let us rejoice in the promise that, in spite of increasing evil in the world, where the church is Christ-centered and obedient, there the Lord will guard that city!

However, when the church is not built according to Christ’s directives, but remains selfish and divided, the principalities and powers have access in a greater degree to the souls of men. In such cities, spiritual wickedness guards neighbors and communities.

One does not have to be very discerning to see this is true. On your next drive from the country into the city, see if you cannot discern a distinguishable cloud of oppression as you enter various regions of your community. That invisible barrier is the range of influence of the ruling spirits which manipulate the thought-life of the people. The demonic power of that area of influence is the "strong man, fully armed," who "guards his own homestead"; whose "possessions are undisturbed" (Luke 11:21).

But when the church is alive with obedience to Christ, it will be united with other believers and will be unstoppable by the powers of hell. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church Christ builds, for through its prayer, love and action, the Lord will guard the city.

Lord, guide me to others in my city who have a heart to pray together. Help me to be a means to seeing Your house built in our community. Lord, I believe that when You build Your house then You will guard our city. Amen.

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Coaching ~ Principles and Practices of Collaboration

Power Of Connecting logo

Partnership Coaching audios available

Listen to recorded partnership coaching calls led by visionSynergy staff in mp3 format (streaming audio):

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Coach: An Etymology Lesson

Creative Results Management
===>Click headline to access CRM website . . .

The Hungarian Cart Maker and the Coach

In the Little Hungarian Plains of northwest Hungary lies the village of Kocs. The name means ram or sheep, but the village is famous for the invention of the modern carriage or coach.

flag of Kocs
The Kocs village flag.

In the 15th century, the village of Kocs made its living from building carts and transporting goods between Vienna and Budapest. Around this time, "an unknown carriage maker in Kocs devised a larger, more comfortable carriage than any known at the time. It was called a Koczi szeter, a 'wagon of Kocs,' which was shortened to kocsi," writes Robert Hendrickson.

Over the next century the kocsi was copied throughout Europe and the name became kutsche in German, coche in French, and coach in English.

French coche
A French coche

"From the name of the English horse-drawn coach came all stagecoaches, motor coaches, and finally air coaches," according to Hendrickson.

Coach as a Metaphor

Our modern use of the word coach is actually a metaphor and was applied first to instructors, not athletics.

In 18th century England, students used tutors to prepare for exams. The slang reference for tutors became
coach because they quickly and comfortably carried students to their goal of passing exams.

Athletic coaches were known as
coachers until the late 1880s, when the name transformed to coaches.

coach in our sense of the word is a person who empowers a client to achieve their goals and fully live out their calling. Through ongoing conversations, coaches facilitate personal growth and goal attainment quicker, easier, and more comfortable than going it alone.

Share your thoughts on the metaphor
coach at our blog.

Reference: Hendrickson, Robert. (2000). The facts on file encyclopedia of word and phrase origins (Rev. ed). New York: Checkmark Books. p.155.

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