Seth’s Blog: The lesson from two lemonade stands

Some time ago I read this article by Seth Godin,  “ The lesson from two lemonade stands“.  Go read it, then come back here.

For the church – what lemonade stand are we?

  • Are we passing out tracts and telling people the “bridge” story or are we loving people and walking with them to the bridge.?
  • Is it more important to us that people attend or that people encounter?
  • Are people an audience or are they participators?
  • Does tradition trump God’s leading?
  • Does playing it safe to protect what we have trump taking a risk in faith to go where God is?
  • Are we known more for what we take than what we give?
  • Or put another, way – for what we are against than what we are for?

I’ve purposely left the “in between” unfilled in this post.  Hopefully these questions get you thinking as much as they have me and I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments!  So, what lemonade stand is the church?

How is Mobile Technology Changing the church and the Non-Profit Sector?

The title of this post is taken from a question posed over at ChurchDrop a while ago (along with an iPhone giveaway – great way of generating comments on the subject!) and I left a comment there so good I thought I’d repost it here [tongue in cheek] and add to it.  Actually, there’s a lot of great comments over at the original post, feel free to add to the conversation there, or here!  So here’s what I wrote:

Mobile technology is changing the church and non-profit sector in the following ways:

1. Real-time communication

People react quicker to what they are experiencing. (especially applicable to multi-site discussions -> see tony morgan’s observations) This also applies to the reporting of people on the field (i.e. missionaries, short term missions trips etc). It can be easier to communicate via mobile than any other technology from a user standpoint and this means that the message gets out and is widely distributed in a matter of seconds rather than minutes or days.  Sometimes whether we want it to or not.

#PAOCGENCONF2010 – Ed Stetzer

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series PAOC General Conference 2010

Sorry for the delay in making these posts folks.  Here’s my notes from the final session at the 2010 PAOC General Conference.  Ed Stetzer was the speaker and I was really looking forward to hearing him speak because I’ve been a reader of his blog for quite a while.  Sometime this week I’ll write the final post in this series where I’ll sum up my thoughts and observations from my experience at this years General Conference.  Remember the notes below may or may not be verbatim.

The title of Ed’s message was, “Mobilizing all God’s people on Mission” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

1. All have gifts…

  • Everyone should use it to serve others
  • we need to teach people that the gospel involves knowledge AND ACTION
  • church is more than a theatrical show it is a team sport
  • 1 Cor. 12:7 “7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
  • God gives gifts for the common good
  • we need to lead more differently so people can engage God’s mission more faithfully

do we really get REVIVAL?

A few weeks ago I read a really thought provoking post by my friend Geoff Heeg called -> Revival Please* So thought provoking that while I read it I could feel a blog post coming on.  And here it is.

Revival. That word is kind of loaded. In it’s neutral form it simply means someone who has been revived. Were dead. Now alive.

In it’s controversial form it’s the pursuit of the religious fanatic – “give me some of that ol’ time revival” which is too often – sadly – really saying, “I want to be scintillated emotionally and spiritually by displays of wonder and power that will shock others into the particular brand of faith that I follow.”

In other words…

…Something started by someone really cool!

Something started by a person who’s particularly good at getting me hyped up about what God wants to do for me. If this person is really good with the spiritual vocabulary and does some cool things then I can feel a revival coming on.

…Something that makes me feel good.

Revival will give me the spiritual willy-nillies or it’s not really revival. The more hyped up, emotionally charged and awesome cool things that I experience – the better a revival it is. Oh, and when I go to a revival I better leave feeling better or it ain’t a revival. Which brings me to the next point.

… Something I go to.

Everyone knows that revival happens at certain places where God “breaks out” and “shows up” right? I mean everytime we describe a revival we’re talking about the place where it happened or is happening.  We even give it labels that begin with a place name when describing it.

Do the above points sound kind of off? They should. they are pretty representative of some of the comments I have heard when people have described revival.  Here’s a novel thought:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! — Paul (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins….But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much,5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. –Paul (Ephesians 2:1,4-7 NLT)

These scriptures tell me that revival is very simply nothing less than transformation! It exists when people are changed because they’ve met Jesus! It is when those who were dead are given life!  THAT is revival.

Revival is NOT driven by human personality! It brings people to the person of Jesus Christ. When people meet Jesus they are forever changed.  Things start happening when people are changed.

It’s not marked by feeling good. Sometimes revival will bring pain! You can’t have change without some pain involved.  When sin is confronted, when sin is exposed, when the Holy Spirit convicts, when the truth of God is preached and even more lived there ARE going to be some uncomfortable moments.  Somehow there is a segment of “christianity” in the world today that equates revival with painlessness, and euphoria.  Certainly,  true revival will bring joy and excitement – after all the change that Jesus brings is life-bringing.  But I wonder if we see so little of true revival today because there are churches that don’t want to get uncomfortable, who don’t want the messiness of those who are far from Jesus coming to him, who don’t want the pain and effort it takes to move as agents of life among the dead.  I wonder if its because the people in our churches don’t want the way we “do” church to be affected because that means our discomfort.  It’s okay if God shows up as long as its in a way that we can predict and plan for.

Read this carefully,  Revival is NOT marked by feeling good!  We don’t pursue revival for the feelings it brings – we pursue revival because of the change it produces.   And THAT only happens when we pursue, preach and live Christ who is the one who brings change.

Finally, revival isn’t dependent on your where you are or where you go to! It’s not about your physical location, it’s about your spiritual position.  True revival happens when people meet Jesus and are transformed from death to life.  True revival happens when you are lifted up from being a mere “son of Adam” to adoption as a child of the King.  When people embrace Christ and His life is at work through them THEN you see revival.  And this is NOT location based.  True revival will not be confined to the four walls of a building.  It impacts the community the church of Christ is in.  It impacts families, it impacts workplaces, it impacts the rhythm of life that the world is used to.  When there is real revival, newspapers won’t be reporting on the strange going ons at such and such church.  The reports will be about the unexplainable drop in crime rates, the strange miracles happening in the hospitals, the unbelievable drop in divorce rates, and the remarkable generosity happening.

I cringe when I see churches advertising a ‘revival event’ or ‘revival camp meeting’.  Please, please you can’t label a place or an event as a revival! Especially if you know this event or camp meeting is targeting those who are supposed to already be revived!!!

Revival is when the dead become alive. Nothing more, nothing less.

The New Marketing

StreamingFaith.com conducted this interesting interview with Seth Godin discussing how the church isn’t doing a very good job of reaching people with their message in today’s new “marketing era”.  I really like his observations on the usefulness of blogging – something that I think the church is way behind on…check out the interview at, Is Today’s Modern Church Busy Making Meatball Sundaes?

Article Review – The Blessing of Pain

I must admit I never quite looked at pain the way that Paul Brand and Philip Yancey record in the article Putting Pain to Work which is posted on BuildingChurchLeaders.com. Illustrating from his experience working with people suffering from leprosy, Paul highlights the importance of pain in healthy bodies. This correlates directly with the healthiness of the body of Christ as well. He says,

As I turn from the network of pain in biology to its analogy in the Body of Christ, comprising all believers, again I am struck by the importance of such a communicative system. Pain serves as vital a role in protecting and uniting that corporate membership as it does in guarding the cells of my own body.

He goes on to relate that these connections within the body of Christ should unite us with the plight of fellow Christian brothers and sisters all over the globe – both locally at home and abroad oversea. His appeal to the church is whether we feel the suffering in the world as God does – does that pain move us to action?

Today our world has shrunk, and as a Body we live in awareness of all cells: persecuted Russian believers, starving Africans, oppressed South Africans and Indochinese and Central Americans ? the litany fills our newspapers. Do we fully attend? Do we hear their cries as unmistakably as our brains hear the complaints of a strained back or broken arm? Or do we instead turn down the volume, filtering out annoying sounds of distress?

And closer, within the confines of our own local membership of Christ’s Body-how do we respond? Tragically, the divorced, the alcoholics, the introverted, the rebellious, the unemployed often report that the church is the last body to show them compassion. Like a person who takes aspirin at the first sign of headache, we want to silence them, to “cure” them without addressing the underlying causes.

Then Paul goes on to say this,

In the human body, when an area loses sensory contact with the rest of the body, even when its nourishment system remains intact, that part begins to wither and atrophy. In the vast majority of cases?95 of 100 insensitive hands I have examined?severe injury or deformation results. The body poorly protects what it does not feel. In the spiritual Body, also, loss of feeling inevitably leads to atrophy and inner deterioration. So much of the sorrow in the world is due to the selfishness of one living organism that simply does not care when another suffers. In Christ’s Body we suffer because we do not suffer enough.

What a potent observation! And humbling as well. A church that has lost it’s feeling for the suffering in the world is a church that has lost it’s impact as well. It’s a truth – the more the church feels the more it will serve. After all we read in scripture that Christ acted as He was moved to compassion by the suffering of those he saw (Mt 9:36, Mt 14:14, Mt.20:34..and many other examples).

Finally, Brand finishes with the story of a man named Pedro who because of an anamoly in the artery structure of his hand there was one spot where the leprosy bacilli didn’t take over his nerves because of the warm temperature in that spot. It became a sensitive spot which helped Pedro to guard his hand against injury. Paul makes this beautiful observation,

 

That single warm spot, the size of a nickel, which Pedro had previously viewed as a defect, had become a wonderful advantage to him when he contracted leprosy. That one remaining patch of sensitivity protected his entire hand.

In a church that has grown large and institutional, I pray for similar small patches of sensitivity. We must look to prophets, whether in speech, sermon, or art form, who will call attention to the needy by eloquently voicing their pain.

I agree wholeheartedly with Paul Brand’s observation and echo with him that we need to put pain to work in the body of Christ! Needless to say this article was a great read!

 

Help Wanted: Apostles

Apostles and The Emerging Apostolic Movement

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

Author: David Cannistraci

Year: 1998

Category: Apostles, Leadership

Publisher: Regal Books

ISBN: 0830723382

David has written a book that is an attempt to elucidate and give shape to an understanding of the biblical office of apostle and make an argument for the validity of restoring this office today. I think he has done a good job pointing out the important need for apostles and their ministry as well as clearly outlining the characteristics, work, and authority of the apostles as written about in the New Testament. There wasn’t too much in this book I disagreed with and I would recommend it as a read for any leader in the church.

As I was reading it however I began thinking of my own fellowship (PAOC) and how to some degree while it may not be directly recognized as such (with the term “apostles”) there are men functioning in that role already. We have sectional presbyters (who “oversee” groupings of churches in a district) and regional directors (who oversee groupings of sections in a district) and district superintendents (who oversee a district) and then the General Superintendent (who oversees the districts). I think it might benefit our fellowship more to understand (and perhaps recognize) the role these leaders have as “apostles”.