Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
That is interesting, considering I did not ask who did people want to win. I asked who they thought would win--a prediction.
How do you explain this prediction, since McCain is down in every poll? Is this a desire for McCain to win, or does this group know something others don't know?
I care about people, and it is always good to serve and try to show Christian love and care. I am not, however, a person who really enjoy just being a hospital chaplain. My gifts are more evangelistic than pastoral.
However, in most serious cases where people are in the hospital, there are non-Christian family and friends who are present. By showing genuine love and care, Christians can open doors to Bible studies, worship, and conversation with non-Christians who are present. These extended visits, where you are waiting with a family for several hours, can also help give a person credibility with these families. This credibility may enable a minister or church leader to then call these family members to greater Christian service somewhere down the line.
All of this fits into Christ's example of serving people before presenting the gospel. Anyone, no matter where they are in their Christian walk, can serve others. And hospital visitation is one such service. We need to encourage a whole church to do this whenever they can.
None of us can get to everyone, particularly in a large church. But with a whole church looking for these opportunities, we can try to cover all of those who are facing serious health problems.
Monday, October 27, 2008
For instance, if they find out a person is a teacher, they will talk about McCain's education plan. This strategy is light years ahead of non-targeted, one size fits all advertising and messaging of previous years. Here is a wikipedia article on microtargeting.
All of this made me think about outreach. What if we put this much time and effort into approaching people with the gospel with a "targeted message." For instance, going door knocking or visiting a family of four, telling them about our church's children's ministry. Or talking with a person who lost a loved one about the hope that Christ offers. Or sharing with a person who has been addicted how Christ can break the power of addiciton.
Are we less committed to reaching out than political campaigns are to getting people to vote for their candidates?
Should we seek to "microtarget" our outreach efforts?
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I view these types of weddings as an opportunity to serve and reach out. I've done some pre-marital counseling with them, and we have scheduled after the wedding a time to begin doing some Bible study as well. Please pray for this study and for their marriage.
Did you have pre-marital counseling? Was it helpful?
Friday, October 24, 2008
I have been reading several books on the power of social networking through the Internet and its implications for ministry and outreach, not to mention life itself. Crowdsourcing is one of these types of books.
The power of the crowd is phenomenal, but not perhaps how it might typically be thought of. The power of the crowd is not a "crowd" or "mob mentality." The power comes from each individual acting individually, in large numbers, problem-solving the same issue.
It is actually the diversity in this type of crowds that makes the crowd so effective in problem solving. If everyone thought alike, no new solutions would emerge.
Howe cites a Innocentive, an online group that posts problems in business, chemistry, and other fields that have not been solved, offering prizes for whoever comes up with the solutions. These are problems that all of the top people in a company have not been able to solve.
We might think that the solutions would come from other top people in the same field. For instance, a top chemist in another company solving a chemistry problem that no one else could solve.
Instead, most of the solutions to these problems came from people solving problems outside of their fields. For instance, physcicists came up with physic solutions to chemistry problems. They saw solutions that chemists never were able to see because of their different perspective and background. The power for problem-solving came from the diversity of the crowd--a physicist looking at chemisty problems.
This got me thinking. Rather than having only "evangelism experts," for instance come up with outreach ideas, we ought to have a wide diversity of people looking at these issues. Someone is sure to come up with a great idea that experts have missed, because of his or her different background.
Where else might the power of diverse crowds be helpful in ministry or outreach?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
What can we do to prevent suicide? Also, how can we best minister to families who has had someone in their family commit suicide?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
While losing our lives for Christ seems remote to American Christians, there are Christians around the world who are losing their lives for their faith. Note this news story about a Christian aid worker in Kabul who is killed for "spreading her religion."
We need to be praying for these Christians around the world.
Would you be willing to die for your faith?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This is a pretty funny video of a baby preacher who really gets down. See http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=9c69d4acc9dd49eaf89f. I think I picked up some preaching pointers here. Skip at least to the 1:20 minute or so mark and catch the end of this video.
How do you like this baby's preachin'?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
First, this is not their stated purpose. There is no intentionality for this.
Second, most small groups are study groups, and this only appeals to a limited number of people.
Third, the groups are made up of close knit, long time Christians, discussing things which only Christians are much concerned about. This is intimidating for non-Christians.
There are several different ways to make small groups evangelistic.
1. Make this the stated purpose of the group. This will drive the decisions that are made, and fellowship, prayer, and Bible study will probably happen along the way.
2. Have your group serve some group or individual in the community who is non-Christian at least once a month. When we serve others, it opens hearts and doors of opportunity to share what we believe and why we are serving.
3. Have your group study something of interest to non-Christians. Like biblical principles of money management or help for marriages. Have a specific start and stop time (8 weeks series, for instance), and let those involved know that there will be a mix of Christians and non-Christians at the study. Offer good food. Make the study portion no longer than an hour, and leave plenty of mingling time.
4. Make your group social groups that seek just to befriend and do fun things with non-Christian friends, such as having a barbeque, going to a ball game, etc. Do this repeatedly with the same non-Christian friends, out of genuine love and interest in them, and see what God will do with this.
5. Pray for non-Christian family and friends by name. This can be done every week, and I can personally testify that this is powerful.
Here is a good quote from Jeffry Arnold, in his book, Small Group Outreach, on how to make a small group evangelistic.
"As you and your group prepare for evangelism, each individual should sit down with a pen and paper. List family, friends, neighbors and work associates. To identify the people your group should pray for and talk to, look for the ones who (1) live close enough to attend the group, (2) need the life-giving offer of salvation through Jesus and (3) would be comfortable in your group."
What do you think of these suggestions? Do you have any additional suggestions for how to make a small group evangelistic?
Monday, October 13, 2008
Here is a video clip that I used Sunday in my sermon, "Making Positive Change in Our Lives." It is hilarious.
While this kind of blunt, direct, talk featured in the skit may not always work, the point I made was that we need others in our lives to help us make positive change.
In Sunday's sermon, I highlighted three ingredients needed to make change: relationships, a desire to change, and the Holy Spirit.
Do you like the skit? What do you think it takes to make positive change in our lives?
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
What is coaching? Well, the term itself actually is a bit problematic, since it evokes for many a very directive relationship--telling a person what to do. In fact, coaching as it is defined by Coachnet is coming alongside a person and helping him or her realize his or her God given goals and dreams.
In the coaching relationship, the person being "coached" sets the agenda, determines what needs to be worked on, etc. The coach asks a lot of questions to help the person help clarify the issues that need to be worked on, and put together an action plan to help with these issues.
This actually fits very well with the Strengths and Spiritual gfits discovery process, in which we ask a person how they can apply their Strengths and Spiritual gifts in their lives. The assumption is that because the Spirit of God lives in this person, he or she is the one who bests knows how to make these applications. Only after a person exhausts his or her resources or ideas does the assessor give ideas of his or her own. People are much more likely to follow their own ideas than the ideas of others.
I'm staying in a Best Western hotel. I got a good deal on it through Orbitz. I didn't expect a lot, but actually it is a great room right by the pool with a friendly, helpful staff. Too bad I don't have much time to enjoy it!
Last night I ate dinner with a guy from the seminar named Damien. He is from St. Petersburg, Florida. We went and ate at the Rain Forest Cafe. Gina and Emily would have really liked it, with the rain forest scenery and the elephant figures. Damian and I had an interesting discussion on what spiritual formation is and how it happens.
I just now finished today's seminar sessions. We did a lot of coaching in triads. Hands on training for this is essential. I'm catching a bit of political news before going to get something to eat. Catch you guys tomorrow!
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Last time I checked, food and gas are a key part of people's budgets. This is particularly true for lower income people.
This week, CBS Marketwatch reported that groceries are 10.5% higher this year than last year. See http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/Story.aspx?guid=41f26ef6ff284ea79bd5f8afa64a01ba&siteid=nwhpf&sguid=lIK9EAKeCEuJ74sBAiH5eA. That, combined with high gas prices, presents a significant increase in cost of living for a great number of Americans.
We are seeing this hit people as so many are now coming through to our food pantry.
Now, more than ever, is the time for us to be as generous as possible as a church and individually.
Have you noticed the increase in food prices? Has it affected your family or others that you know?
Friday, October 03, 2008
The Coachnet philosophy (www.coachnet.org) is that each person generally has the solutions within themselves. By asking good questions, developing a relationship, and listening, coaches can help those with whom they are working to grow in the areas that they have identified.
This very much fits into the philosophy of Strengths and Spiritual gifts--that God has created a person uniquely, and that the Spirit of God is at work in each person's life. Thus, while at times people need information and advice, primarily the goal of a Strengths and Spiritual gifts assessor is to help a person become more aware of how God is already at work in his or her life.
For instance, when I go through a Strengths and Spiritual gifts assessment, I ask a person to try to apply his or her gifts in the three areas of his or her life--family, workplace/neighborhood/world, and the church. However, I resist making these applications for them. They know themselves better than I, and they will take more ownership of applications that they make for themselves. By asking good questions, an assessor can help someone make these applications.
I am looking forward to this conference, which is also a part of my D.Min. work at Fuller.
What do you think of the coaching philosophy?
Thursday, October 02, 2008
I saw a lot of friends--Keith Stanglin, who teaches at Harding, and his wife Amanda. Chuck Monan, who preaches at Pleasant Valley Church of Christ in Little Rock, AR, and his minister friend Jeff Spry. Chuck helped encourage me to go into ministry, and we used to minister together in Oklahoma.
Jeff is doing some great work partnering with government and charitable organizations, helping connect churches to these groups to serve the community. He will be leaving Pleasant Valley soon to start a non-profit organziation to help churches connect across the country. We'll probably bring Jeff in in the Spring to talk about this.
One ministry that we will definitely be looking into is Celebrate Recovery, a ministry that helps people recover from various forms of addiction. http://www.celebraterecovery.com. I met with one of the ministers from White's Ferry Road, Mike, who does work with World Radio, to discuss this.
White's Ferry Road has been using this ministry, which was started by Saddleback, to reach many people for Christ. (By the way, anyone who has interest in this ministry, both for members and as an outreach, or know of people who might be interested, let me know). They have 150 people attending on Friday nights.
I also saw friends from Liberty, Oklahoma Christian University, students from High Pointe, and old friends from all over. Lectureships really do bring people together, for learning, connecting, and discovering successful ministries across our fellowship.
- ► 2009 (111)
- Archaeologists find 3000 year old Hebrew text
- Who will win the election?
- Hospitals and Evangelism
- Microtargeting and the McCain campaign--a model fo...
- I'm about to perform a wedding
- Crowdsourcing - Why the Power of the Crowd is Driv...
- A sad mission
- Starting a Missional Network
- Are you using Twitter?
- Taliban Kill Christian for Sharing Her Faith
- This baby can preach! (Video)
- How to make small groups evangelistic and outward ...
- Bob Newhart Skit/Video on Therapy - "Stop it"
- Heading Back Home
- I arrived late Monday night in Ontario, California...
- Groceries have risen 10.5% this year
- Coachnet - Helping People Realize their Goals and ...
- Our trip to Harding
- ▼ October (18)
- ► 2007 (176)
Theology and Popular Culture Blogs/Websites
- Churches in coffee shops and homes a growing trend
- Harvard's New Emphasis on Applied Knowledge is Instructive to Churches
- Young Adults want a lifestyle and authenticity, not religion
- My neighbor asked me to bless his house yesterday
- Exiles-Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture
- Christianity is about a lifestyle, not one hour a week
- Emotion in Worship
- Death by Suburb
- The Don Imus Firing--Lack of Redemption or Justice?
- Books That I Have Read in the Last Year
Some Other Blogs & Sites I frequent
- James Nored
- I currently am a preaching minister, evangelist, and missional leader at the High Pointe Church of Christ in McKinney, TX. I am working towards a Doctor of Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, studying missional church, evangelism, and postmodern culture. I give missional church and Spiritual gifts seminars for churches. I have written an evangelistic Bible study for postmoderns (Story of Redemption), New Members class material, and a work on Spiritual gifts. I am blessed with a wonderful wife (Becki) of 13 years and two beautiful daughters (Gina-age 7, Emily-4), the loves of my life.