Friday, October 31, 2008

Some things I'm Learning

I heard a minister speaking that had an interesting thought which shed new light on a sector of American Christianity that has always troubled me. He looked at it from the perspective of child psychology.

He noted that as children we are very needy people and we constantly ask our parents for everything. Preschoolers are extremely self-centered creatures. The entire world revolves aroud them and many parents will atest that their world revolves all around them.

But sooner or later we expect that child to grow up. We expect them to walk for themsleves and eventually we start giving chores to them. You have to make the bed, clean your room, wash the dishes, mow the yard. If you have a child that isn't taught that they need to take care of themselves what do we call that child, a spoiled brat. They never grew up.

This is how the minister characterized the health and wealth preaching and teaching you see so much on television and why it is popular. It is infantile in it's appraoch to the Bible. it neglects the fact that we called to leave our spiritual milk and bite on real food. We called to mature in Christ, to made perfect in him. We are called to work out our salvation in Christ.

In the health and wealth camp you don't hear to much about how we, who have been so richly blessed by Christ's grace, are to give to the needy, the poor, the oppressed, the widows, and the poor. Health and wealth teaching just assumes that you are are the poor and the oppressed. It never asks you to look beyond yourself, until it's time to give in the offering. Anyone ready to plant a seed! My thought on that is if I believed that I would be giving my money to you instead of me asking for your money.

Also, be careful of just accepting any kind of teaching you hear. We are called to put the teachings of others to the test to be sure they are from God. How do yo know that it is of God? Test it against God's word. Are they being held accountable by reputable men to the word of God? Any ole guy or gal can attach Bible verses together to make his case. You need to be sure those scriptures are being used correctly!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sticky Churches

What makes a sticky church?


A sticky church is a church where people come and they start developing into disciples of Christ.

So what makes a sticky church? Again people. Environments where new people can have a fun relationship with others.

Our weekend service should be a sticky environment. Small groups are other sticky environments.

What are some other sticky environments? Fun stuff like the church picnic we did last month, bowling, or whatever is fun.

I think another sticky environment is service. Service to the church and to others.

These are some thoughts I've been thinking on as I've gone through my day. If we wnat to reach 10,000 disciples then we need to be a sticky place.

Oh yeah... I drove a golf ball 327 yards the other day... totally awesome! - At least according to the yardage chart...


Sunday, October 26, 2008

What a day today!

Today was an awesome Sunday. It was youth Sunday i really appreciate how y'all came out and supported our youth. They did a great job too. I was really proud of our teens and children displaying their love for God. Way to go! Also, I am thankful for Paeeny's and Scott's leadership. You can see their efforts reflected in our youth.

Also, it was great to see Brittany, Kendall, and Sophia come forward this morning. It truly is awesome to see how God is changing lives. THis is why i preach and why we do church!

I've learned a few things aoong the way today...

> God is unexpected.... He fits all patterns and he fits no patterns. I'm learning in many ways that God can exist as a paradox.

> It is awesome to see people's lives changed by faith in Jesus. There is nothing like it in this world.

What a great Sunday! Give praise to God!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Something I really enjoy is an engaging debate or conversations where people can share ideas, even competing ones, and enrich each other in the process. I am an egghead and I love considering other ideas. Even one's that I disagree with. I like to ask why do they think this view is legitimate? Why do they disagree with me? Is there something I hadn't thought about? How does this fit into my worldview? How does this affect my preaching?

After all preaching has some kind of bias behind it and effective preaching instills a mental conversation between you and me. The purpose of preaching is to persuade you to take action on God's word.

I enjoy conversations where opposing views are thrown around becasue many times they challenge my bias, my understanding of God, or what I think is right or wrong. These kind of conversations sharpen my thinking and really get me to take the time to know where I stand on issues. As someone said to me this week, "As iron sharpens iron..."

I know for some people discussing different ideas just makes them mad. They know what they think and they don't want to change what they think. I appreciate that kind of thinking too.

In one conversation I had this week is I learned the church is a place that demands unity, but not uniformity. The church must unite around the message and ministry of Jesus Christ. On this we must be united. But the church is not to be a place of uniformity. Uniformity is when everyone else is like you. They dress like you, they are the same skin color as you, they all have tattoo's or don't have tattoo's, like the same kind of worship music as you, and so on.

What's amzing about the church is not it's uniformity, but it's diversity. In church you will have CEO's sitting with people on welfare. You'll see the straightlaced praying with the ex-con. You'll see people from many different races worshipping God together, proclaiming his name to all.

Our world in contrast, loves to be uniform. Police have a uniform, doctors have a long white coat, ministers have the collar, sports teams have their colors.

The church is not like that. We have the suits and dudes in T-shirts in the same room. What brings us all together?

Unity in Christ. All is level ground at the foot of the cross.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Church Budgets

Church budgets are tricky animals. On the one hand you want your budget to step out in faith. On the other hand you don't want to go so far out that you it just seems ridiculous to try and acheive it. I for one believe in God-sized goals and God is pretty big!

In order tohelp our church to think big and realize what God can do through us let suggest to you a tool to that with with. Simply add a zero to the church budget. Our budget for 2008 was 136,000. What of we added a zero? 1, 360,000. What kind of ministry would we have if we did that?

You can do that with attendance too. Right now we average about 113 people. Add a zero. 1,130 people. What kind of facilities, staff, volunteers, would we need if we became a church of 11oo people?

This kind of exercising faith helps us prepare for the future. It helps us be ready for the growth God has planned for us.

This is why I appreciate our elders. They are going to be presenting the budget to you soon. When i found out about the budget I was amazed. We have men who are expecting God and us to see this church grow in in it's ministry in an effective way. it really is exciting. I am truly blessed to be serving with them.

I know ecenomic times are down, but our God isn't. We may have two fish and five loaves to offer, but our mighty God can multiply our faith!

Friday, October 10, 2008

An Entertaining Week!

This week started out for my by attending the Externally Focused Church Seminar with Don Handyside at Roanoke Bible College. The focus of the seminar was to teach us how our church can get more involved in the community.

One of the biggest statements that was emphasized was we help others becasue it is part of who we are. We help others because we are Christians. The seminar also helped me realize the potential of our church getting involved in the community.

The potential is we will win more people to Christ and we will become a influence of good in this community. Thay explained the process this way. You help some people out. While you help others out you develop relationships. As these relationships grow opportunities will pop up where we can share our faith in Jesus Christ. As we share people begin turning to him.

It's not like we go into the community breathing hellfire and passing out tracts. We build relationships with people and then we simply open the door for Jesus to cross their path.

I left the seminar pretty jazzed by this idea.

Also, I am currently reading a book about how to bring and keep people into our church. In the book the author has some startling numbers. If you want to maintain the current attendance of your church then you need at least 3 new visitors each week per 100 people. If you want to grow moderately then it jumps to 5 new guests per 100 in atendance. For a fast growing church you need 7-10 guests each week.

If our church is going to continue to grow rapidly then I suggest we all begin to pray for 10 new guests a week.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Some Random Thoughts from Kirk

In the Simple Seminar and the last blog I emphasized how structures, how we get things accomplished, is vitally important in how a church makes disciples. Understanding this can lead to a lot of practical talk on how we make connection cards, arrange the chairs on Sunday morning, and the discussing details about the order of the worship service on Sunday morning. To be honest sometimes all this talk doesn't seem all that... spiritual.

So I ask the question, "How does the Holy Spirit fit into our structures?" Or maybe a better question is, "How can we create our structures so the Holy Spirit can be effective?"

Right now two operating thesis are running through my mind. One is what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit. He told Nicodemus that the Spirit is like the wind. "You cannot tell where it coming from or where it is going." - Jesus. Now you can get all scientific and say the wind comes from this weather system and all that. If you do that you miss the point. Jesus' point is wind is unpredictable. Wind can be a gentle breeze that is refreshing on a hot summer afternoon. Other times it can so violent that it levels entire towns. Wind is unpredictable and constantly changing.

The other operating thought in my thinking is God works through systems. The universe is a system. So is a baby. Your body works through different systems. You have a nervous system and a pulmonary (sp?) system to name a couple. The law in the Old testament is a system. Governments are a system. Nature is full of all kinds of different systems.

So my thought is how does God take something predictable, like a system, and mix that with the unpredictable Holy Spirit? What systems work with the unpredictable Holy Spirit on a practical level?

This is the question I am seeking to answer. So far I have come up with a couple of answers and it's nothing exotic. First, Jesus said specifically to go pray in your closet, a private place. It seems if you have a system of prayer where you go to the same private place everyday God is apt to reward you. To me, it would be logical to deduce this is a system where we can feel the wind of the Spirit.

Secondly, I see the church as the second structure the Spirit works through. Jesus died for the church and there is something special about Christians gathering as a large group to worship God through spirit and word. God has chosen to work through the system of the church. I have felt the wind blow through the church many times.

And I just thought of one more item, the institutions of the church: Baptism and Communion. In Acts 2 Peter says notes that baptism brings about the gift of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was baptized scripture notes that a dove from heaven descended upon Jesus. It seems there is a deep connection between baptism and the Holy Spirit. Then communion. Whenever we remember our Lord's death and we honstly examine ourselves I would attest that God is there. That is a structure that favors the Holy Spirit blowing through our life as well.

This is what i'm thinking about this morning....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Simple Seminar was great

The Simple Church Seminar this past Saturday was great. Romy did a great job of getting everything together and everyone had a great attitude as well.

During the seminar I discussed how the very structure of our church, how we get things accomplished, is vitally important to making disciples. What I didn't share is there are 8 different structures within the church that need to be lead well. These eight structures are essential to the life of the church. You need all eight running well to gain peak performance in the church.

Here are the eight structures within the church.

1. The Weekend Service System
2. The Evangelism System
3. The Assimilation System
4. The Small Groups System
5. The Ministry System
6. The Stewardship System
7. The Leadership System
8. The Strategic System

All of these systems affect the overall effectiveness of discipling others in Christ. Many times what we think is a people problem is more of a system problem, how things are structured to get stuff accomplished. Think about it.