Sunday, December 21, 2008

Changing The Culture ~ We're in the Midst of a Radical Shift

Leadership

Research shows that pastors' views of the gospel and mission are changing.
But should we celebrate or repent?
a Leadership Survey Report by Helen Lee

Missional Shift or Drift?

In the summer of 2000, Mike Lueken had every reason to be proud as a pastor of Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California. Every Sunday, thousands of people flocked to Oak Hill's sixteen acre campus with its 35,000-square-foot facility, and the church was doing everything that a thriving, suburban megachurch with a $2 million budget was supposed to do. But then Lueken took a class at Fuller Seminary taught by Dallas Willard. The experience led to a complete change of course for him and Oak Hills Church.

"[Willard] was teaching on the Sermon on the Mount and conveying the heart of the gospel through Jesus' teaching, and I felt I was sitting there listening to something I'd never heard before," Lueken recalls. "We realized that we had to rethink what the gospel was about. Does the Bible teach only the gospel of heaven and forgiveness of sins? Or is it about a new way of living that involves the power of God, the peace of God, along with your sins being forgiven and going to heaven when you die?"

Lueken's story illustrates the change occurring among today's pastors, change that reflects new—or renewed—interest in a fuller picture of the gospel and in a sense of mission.

In order to gain a better understanding of these changes, Leadership conducted a survey in May 2008 asking nearly 700 evangelical pastors how their perceptions of the gospel and mission currently compare with their understanding a decade ago. The results clearly indicate that pastors' attitudes and beliefs are shifting.
What the survey actually says

The survey was designed to uncover movement, not simply raw numbers, and this is important when analyzing the data. When asked if "the kingdom of God is a present reality, a future reality, or both," 37 percent of pastors said they currently believe the kingdom is a future reality in heaven, 20 percent said the kingdom is a present reality on earth, and 33 percent said both. But 58 percent said that ten years ago they believed it was a future reality, and only 9 percent said they believed ten years ago that it was a present reality. The movement is clearly toward understanding the kingdom as a present, earthly reality, even if it remains a minority view. Here are more trends uncovered by the research. Compared to ten years ago:

* Pastors are focusing more on the Gospels than on the Epistles.
* More pastors believe the gospel is advanced by demonstration and not simply proclamation.
* More pastors say the goal of evangelism is to grow "the" church rather than to grow "my" church.
* More pastors believe partnering with other local churches is essential to accomplishing their mission.

The typical survey respondent was a white male pastor in his 50s, with an average church size of about 400 people, with about twenty years of pastoral experience.
The Christian life has to be demonstrated, not just explained.

Leadership spoke with numerous church leaders to examine these results. And most were not surprised by the shifts.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

SHARE ~ Merry Christmas, 2009!

By Steve Sjogren
It's a Wonderful Life--if you live it in the outflow of kindness, just like George Bailey!




Serve! Spotlight
Holiday Glow
By Jim Reklis
Grace Church of Chapel Hill, North Carolina shows how to do an effective street festival outreach.
Connect Card Ideas
Awesome Holiday Connect Cards!
By Kindness Resources
Just in time for the holiday season! We now offer a number new connect card designs for SE/Outflow projects.
Servant Evangelism: Advice From a Pro
GOT EGG NOG?
By Ken Glassmeyer
Even if you haven't put together a Christmas Outreach yet, it isn't too late!
Living In The Outflow
Not Just A Day On The Calendar!
By Camey Gravley
Living in the outflow means not letting the thing that hangs on our wall tell us when we should be thankful or decide to show kindness to others. . .
Ask Dr. Savant
SECRET SANTA?
By Dr. Stimpy Savant
Dr. Savant helps this "scardeycat" evangelist.
Billy Bob's Movie Reviews
Who is the Best Scrooge? (CONTEST!)
By Billy Bob Briggs
Billy Bob puts a challenge out to our readers this issue to convince him the best all time Scrooge is. The winning entry will be awarded fabulous prizes!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Not Too Late For Next Year ~ A Grand Prayer-Care-Share Christmas Idea

Tempe McFarlane <Tempe.McFarlane@vineyardboise.org> wrote to leadership in Treasure Valley (Boise):

Hey guys...we had such a great time tonight. We had our annual "Old Fashioned Christmas". We gathered, prayed, broke into teams and went Christmas caroling. We handed out an invite asking people to donate a can of food for our food pantry. On the other side of that was an invite to our Christmas eve service. After caroling for an hour, we returned for hot cocoa and home-made desserts. It was a great family-friendly event in less than 2 hours. We had amazing small miracle and "touches".
  • One lady said her husband was diagnosed today with Leukemia and she was so glad we came to bring joy. She let us pray for her.
  • Another lady gave us a 12 pack of tuna and asked us a ton of questions about our church, food pantry, etc.
  • Many people thanked us for keeping tradition alive
  • The kids who caroled were really touched by helping bring in canned foods for the hungry AND we got a bunch of food.
  • Another gal on my team had never caroled before and had no idea how easy and fun it could be to love people in such a simple way.

Even though the roads were bad and the night very cold...we had over 50 people show up and they were all blessed. We felt like we touched lives.

SO....what if....

What if...every Christian church in the Treasure Valley did the same thing. What if we picked a day (probably next year, 2009) that we all go Christmas caroling on the same night, and we impact an area maybe a mile or 2 radius around our own churches. We would make a huge impact in our cities AND it's such a fun event...Santa hats and all :)

Whadda ya think ?

:) Merry Christmas

Tempe


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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cityreachers Christmas Party!

The tradition continues. For our December cityreaching conference call, we grab a beverage, dial in and listen to short "sound bites" from cityreaching friends across the country.

We hope you will join us (Glenn and Jarvis) for the December 18th conference call at 10 am CST, both to listen and share how the Lord has brought you and taught you through the last year in your cityreaching ministry. We learn from each other, whether it is what worked or what didn't work.

Glenn and Jarvis look forward to this time with y'all. They have a gift for the first 50 who RSVP for the call! Email info@cityreaching.com requesting the dial-in number.

Your hosts,

Jarvis Ward, Mission America City/Community Ministries
Glenn Barth, GoodCities

P.S. Transcripts of previous calls are available at www.cityreaching.com at the “view and listen” tab.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

LC2Connections ~ Collaborating in Prayer-Care-Share

Loving Our Communities to Christ logo


Communicating · Cooperating · Collaborating
Quick Clicks
Leadership Teams
LC2C 101
Loving Our Communities to Christ
Dear Collaborators in Christ,

As the culture shifts from turkeys to reindeer, believers continue to give thanks, now focusing on our savior's birth. And our energies and efforts at mobilizing the Church into a praying-caring-sharing lifestyle expresses our gratitude in thousands of ways in cities across the nation.

Your LC2C coaches and team members will be eager to report to donors and city leaders the stories of how God has been glorified in your city. No better time than Christmas to recast the vision!

Merry Christmas blessings

Phil Miglioratti, for the entire LC2C team



Collaboration among Youth Ministries
in Cedar Rapids has Impact Potential
Student ministry pastors have embarked upon an ambitious collaboration.

SOS - Save Our Schools - eliminates the distinctions of various church youth groups and identifies every Christian student in a positive and constructive way. Check out this prayer-care-share. initiative thta just might impact the student population of Cedar Rapids.

Check it out - click here ...

LC2C Strategic Partner ~

logosm


Dear "LC2C" City Leadership Teams:

As you may know, Alpha is a strategic partner to Loving Our Communities and is already connecting in a some LC2C cities to reach the unchurched with the good news of Jesus Christ.

  • Over 12 million people have gone through Alpha in 163 countries.
  • In the USA we estimate that near 2 million have attended the course.
  • We have 9,000 churches registered to give the course.
  • Alpha works ANYWHERE! ~ It fits in a private home, church facility, prison, workplace environment, military base and school campus.
  • Our Alpha Marriage course is transforming many marriages.


We've taken a look at the churches that run Alpha in your LC2C cities and I'm attaching that list for your review. Some of these congregations might belong to your collaborative work already.

Please consider these ideas of how we might work together to love these cities for Christ:

  1. Alpha USA would be very interested in meeting with your local leadership teams to present Alpha and discuss a strategic, customized plan for your city.
  2. "Taste of Alpha"is a 1.5 hour lunchtime event where a local pastor who has already hosted Alpha invites pastors from other churches for a time of fellowship, hearing Alpha testimonies, view a short sample of an Alpha talk plus Q & A.
  3. Alpha fits well on all LC2C levels.
    1. "Micro" ~ Offer Alpha to local congregations as a way to stimulate prayer-care-share among Christian believers (even if only a few respond, it raise the level of praying, caring, sharing in your city). [congregational]
    2. "Mezzo" ~ Several congregations in a specific location can work together or a particular denomination may want to coordinate an Alpha emphasis. [Community]
    3. "Macro" ~ Your Leadership Team might consider a citywide emphasis; a sharing of calendar and finances to blanket the city with the Alpha Invitation http://www.alphana.org/Groups/1000024318/The_Alpha_Invitation.aspx ... The Invitation brings churches in a community together to raise awareness for the course in advance of new courses being started.The results in Lake County, IL were extraordinary 30 city Invitations are being planned for 2009 across the country! [Citywide]
    4. "Getting Started Course": Alpha resources churches run this one-day training for area churches that want to run the course. We could provide this training for LC2C churches.

MY PERSONAL LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE WITH ALPHA

Some of you may know of Alpha or even participated in an Alpha course. If I may, I'd like to briefly tell you how I connected with Alpha.

I met my wife, Angelika, in Germany, some 14 years ago. A one year foreign study program turned out to be 20 years spent studying and working in Germany and Switzerland. Angelika and I were non-believers. I returned to the US in the Summer of 1996 with a new wife and 6 month old child, but without a job. I ended up in the Chicago area working in international HR for Abbott Laboratories. Thinking that our daughter Julia should be "exposed" to the Christian faith, we went the responsible route (but without conviction) and joined a local church. At a dinner party one night Angelika sat next to a lady who told her about Alpha and suggested that she "try it out". This lady was very persistent and Angelika reluctantly agreed to go - just one time. As the weeks went by I began to notice a change in my wife's attitude, and I could only attribute it to Alpha. By week seven she had given her life to Christ and was now working on me to attend the next Alpha course.

Long story short, I attended the next course and I too gave my life to Christ! During the past 8 years Angelika and I have supported Alpha as a small group leaders in our local church. We've probably run 25 courses, a few of them being at the local county jail. Seeing lives transformed on every course is such an awesome experience and Barna research has shown us is that 50% of the people who attend an Alpha course make a commitment to Christ (either first time or re-commitment).

In July 2007 I left my corporate job at Abbott to join Alpha fulltime. (www.Alpha.org) Working for Alpha has been such a blessing and I have the passion to share it with everyone who has a heart for those who don't know Christ.


We would consider it a privilege to partner with you to help transform your cities for Christ.

How can Alpha serve you in sharing the Gospel across your city?

In Him,

Burt Lohoff-Gaida, Director Marketing and Project Management
Alpha USA, Central Support Team

Tel. : 224-588-8532 / Cell: 312-451-6527 / Fax: 847-317-9627

BurtLohoff-Gaida@AlphaUSA.org
www.Alpha.org


LC2C 101

Question ~" Phil, how do you describe "LC2C?"
Response ~ Here is a quick and, hopefully, comprehensive way of describing the LC2C process...

Loving Our Communities

is a catalytic expression of congregations and ministries working in collaboration to change the culture of the Church into a prayer-care-share lifestyle that results in believers of all ages loving their communities

... FOR Christ = Our motivation

... WITH Christ = Our power

... TO Christ = Our goal


Prayer-Care-Share


· Community Impacting Prayer
Pray FOR the community

Pray IN the community

Pray WITH the community

· Care
Acts of Mercy = individuals

Service Projects = collaborative teams

Community Development = partnering with social service agencies

· Share
Individuals

Congregations

Citywide Church

Been Blogged Lateyl?
LC2C in Tuscaloosa, AL


LC2C Brethren--

Thought you'd be blessed by this report from a service last night in Tuscaloosa. This is MAJOR breakthrough! Reported by John Kearns, United Methodist pastor.

Tom White, LC2Coach


Dear Friends,
You all had a hand in what happened last night, so I wanted to fill you in.
One result of our Israel trip was an immediate entree with the Tuscaloosa mayor. After only two months of meetings with him, God gave him a plan to impact the city by joining the strengths of the municipal government and the churches. Congregations were asked to adopt one of the seven worst neighborhoods of the city, and partner with the congregations located in that area to do home mission work. As a result, last night five African-American churches from the west side invited three white churches from the north side to join them in a Thanksgiving worship service. It was anointed.
One black church hosted, a choir from another black church led worship, a white pastor prayed, and black pastor preached, a white pastor gave the invitation, and a white man from the richest neighborhood in Tuscaloosa came down the aisle of a church in the poorest neighborhood in town to accept Jesus as his Savior!!! It was quite a moment. At the first worship service to come out of the Hope Initiative a person was saved to eternal life. THAT is good stuff.
The eight churches will gather again on January 18th for a service of prayer and praise. We look very forward to what is going to happen in, and through, our people as this continues. Thanks for having a part in it.
John Kearns
How Can We Help?

1:1 Coaching > Talk with your LC2C coach when you face decisions or relational circumstances.
1:3 Communicating > Your LC2C needs direct access to (at least) three key persons: 1) Your prayer contact (we ask intercessors across the nation to pray for you), 2) Your communication contact (the person who will forward this e-letter to your network of participating pastors and leaders), and 3) You leadership team contact (for scheduling information).
1:12 Consulting > Invite your LC2C coach to your Leadership Team meetings to give feedback and perspective on strategic planning and action steps for mobilizing congregations and marketplace leaders.
1:72
Conferencing > Involve the LC2C team of coaches and facilitators in a one-day gathering of pastors and leaders to cast a prayer-care-share vision

Put us to work on behalf of your efforts to love your communities to Christ!


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