Wednesday, March 11, 2009

RAND Corporation for the church

As I make my way through seminary, I would like to say that they provide the answer for the future of the church. However, I cannot say that. While I think that seminary is essential to the development of ministers and churches, I think we need more. We need what i have called, in the past, a "Bell Labs for the church" but now refer to the "Rand Corporation for the church."

These corporations provide a "think-tank" to solve problems. RAND's name actually comes from "Research ANd Development. Their website says, "RAND's tradition of problem-solving continues to this day. RAND conducts research and provides analysis to address challenges that face the United States and the world"

The church today has lots of challenges. How can we address these? Should every church put together a team to "solve the problem of the church in the world?" I don't think so. Should denominations do this? Maybe. A few weeks ago I spent two day in Nashville and Atlanta. While in Nashville and the ATL we spent time at Lifeway, the SBC Executive Committee, and NAMB. I came away with much respect for the leadership of these these entities.

Lifeway is preparing great material and they are doing a great job training teachers and leaders; but are they the Rand Corporation for the church?

The Executive Committee is filled with godly men who really do want to reach people for Jesus, but is it the Rand Corporation for the church?

NAMB was amazing. I have great respect for the leaders. But what really got me excited was just sitting in the cafeteria and talking about the future of college ministry in the church. This conversation revealed that they are thinking about the future of the church in North America. Of the three I think NAMB could the RAND of the SBC.

However, are denominations the place to answer the challenges for the church?

Or is the answer a place like Catalyst. I have not been to the Catalyst office so I don't know what the atmosphere is really like. But from what I have learned from benarment.com it seems to be the closest to our Rand and with the addition of Catalyst One Day (which seems similar to Ben Arment's Whiteboard Sesssions) they are beginning to reach more people with the "R & D."

What is answer for the future? I think we need to come together to and work together with the intentionality like RAND and other companies.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday school

its is about causing them to want to come. You know in marketing they talk about creating a need for the product. well i dont know if that is the case with sunday school. we do not need to create the need; the need is already there. so how do we get them there. there was an article in fast company a few months ago about how the smart phone could save the newspaper. it seems that people will download an app to their phone to receive the new york times simply because the app is free. this is an app that they do not need, an app they might even normally want...

what does that mean for sunday school? the need is there.... the app is free.....it seems like everything is in the minster of educations favor. It seems like everyone would flock to sunday school. it seems like every church should be discipling its people. but...but we are not. To quote my mama, "its like pull i-teeth" to get them there.

so why do they not come?

let me tell you why i dont like going to sunday school/small groups/bible fellowship groups....

1. we tell people to go to small groups (you tell me to go to small groups)b/c that is where we are discipled. they say that small groups is where someone becomes more Christ-like. In other words they tell me that it is Bible Study. Yet, by the very nature of the sunday school one can't have life changing bible study. the groups are "open." this means that the curriculum must be arranged so that a new person can get involved. As a result the groups that was promoted as "discipleship" is not............that's not a good reason not to go.

2. we tell people to go to small groups (you tell me to go to small groups)b/c that is where we develop community. they say that small groups is where someone understands what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. but i can't develop community in that small time..........that is not a good reason not to go.

3. we tell people to go to small groups (you tell me to go to small groups) b/c that is where we are able to find service opportunities for the church. really? well that never happens...........that is not a good reason not to go.

So....sunday school.....why should you go? All of these reasons are wrong.....you dont go to sunday school for you! you go to help the church build a place for the unsaved and for the new to Christ to find a picture of the church. you go b/c sunday school is the perfect entry point to the church....you go to fulfill the great commission.....

don't forget its not about you.....its not about me......its about the ones being chased by God.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

living together

so yea i figured something out today.....this is huge! i figured out that the people i my dorm would this:

"We live together in the dorm."

While i would say this

"I live in the same dorm as you"

there is a huge differance here.....you see they "live together" and i live i the same place as them...of course this distiction has ramification that are far reaching...How many married couples dont "live together" but instead live in the same place? How may churches are made of people who dont "go to ther church together" but instead go to the same church.....dang that is HUGE!

but i dont need to expound any more....i think yall can put one and one together....

by they way....i found a super walmart today.....i am so freaking happy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

mail, thom rainer, and richard foster

so i was telling someone the other day that the only mail i get is bills....and that is so true! and now even the only e-mail i get is bills....i got one today from the school telling me that october payment is due and one from citibank telling me that my student loan payment is due from the last school i attended....do you realize that between my citibank loan and my car loan i am abut 30k in debt....dude that is alot of money for little boy like myself....

but i did have taco bell for supper....one can't not eat right?

so yea i got the new thom rainer book essential churches....i think it is gonna be good.....but in reality we will never be able to "re-claim the de-churched" until our membership gets it.....we have to teach them to stop looking inward and begin to understand what our call is....we are to go out and make disciples.....we think we are pretty dang good at disciplship but it is all for naught if we are not discipling new people!...and in reality if we were really good at discipling our church members then this issue would be mute...they/we would be out there fulfilling their calling.....

i read this quote tonight in Foster's Celebration of Dicisipline

"In our day haven and earth are on tiptoe waiting for the emergence of a Spirit-let, Spirit-intoxicated, Spirit-empowered people. All creation watches expectantly for the springing up of a disciplined, freely gathered, martyr-people who know in this life the life power of the Kingdom of God. It has happened before. It can happen again." (Foster, 175)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Romans 1:1b

Roman 1:1b continues a description of Paul’s relationships. As we saw yesterday Paul was a servant to Jesus. Today we see that he is “set apart.” Wow what a concept. Just like our servitude to Jesus will change our relationship with him so shall our set apart nature change our relationship with this world. Paul says that he is set apart for the Gospel. You see kids, when we come to saving relationship with Christ he sets us apart from the world. I guess it is like when you get really good at algebra in school and the school sets you apart in a more advanced class. Well we are not in an advanced class (and we for sure are not really good) but we are specializing in something. We are specializing in the Gospel. We are set apart from the things that this world specializes in. It specializes in feeding its own desires. It specializes in following its own path. It specializes in getting its way. But we on the other hand have been set aside for the gospel. Really what that means is that we have been set aside to make the gospel known. We have been set aside to helping people out of darkness and into light. Like I said this changes our relationship with the world. We now have a responsibility to the world. Not like the green-peace folks say that we do. No, their commitment is a temporal one. Our commitment is an eternal one. We are now on a different path. This is not a path to prosperity or even really happiness. It is a path toward the things of God: the joy and peace he offers, the purpose he offers, the home he offers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Romans 1:1

so this morning i am reading Romans...i started it yesterday but i realized that i had only skimmed it and not paid much attention as we often do when reading the Bible...so i started reading it this morning and i could not get past 1:1.....actually i could not get past 1:1a....."Paul, a servant to Christ Jesus" !!!!!!! do you hear that? a SERVANT to Jesus Christ. Many times in our life we think of Jesus as our friend, or as our brother in Christ...but how many times do we honestly think of ourselves as Jesus' servant!.....I think that would change everything about our relationship with him....The other day i was reading Foster's Celebration of Discipline, a book on the spiritual disciplines, and he talks about service. He remarks how service is a way of freeing ourselves to not get our way.....WOW!....do you get the irony in that....normally when we see something or someone as free we think about their ability to get their own way...but here foster is saying that service frees us NOT to get our way.....now go back to being the servant of Jesus Christ.....just think of the freedom that, that voluntary service would bring to our lives.....If we actually submitted to him and became his servant we would be free not to get our way....how many of us are living life in which we are trapped in "our way"....it is our way that got us to this point....it is our way that actually hurts us....but in our service to Jesus Christ we are free to not suffer from our own decisions....

now all of this brings me to another point that, it is OUR choice to submit ourselves to Jesus service.....but that is for another day or maybe this afternoon....

today, you might wanna pray like i am this morning.....Jesus how can i be your servant today? what does that mean for me in class....what does that mean for me in the office and on the sidewalk.....Jesus what does being your servant mean in terms of my job interview.....in a job interview you are "supposed" to be self aggrandizing....well how can i go to this meeting and serve you....


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

startin up the blog thing again

so yea i think i enjoy writing notes....maybe this will turn into my new blog....even though blogs in and of themselves are kinda funny.....they are based on the idea that the blog writer thinks he is important enough or has something so profound to say that everyone will wanna read it....well my issue is that i dont have anyone to talk to all day...i mean if a few people had not called me today (and today was actually unsual on that front) i would not have had a conversation with someone since about 10:50 this morning...that is crazy! so i have alot of stuff to say.....well that is until right now....i dont have a ton to say right now....except that i am going home on Thursday and that i have a job interview tomorrow.....woohoo on both accounts!...i can't wait.....tomorrow is actually my favorite day of the week....i really enjoy my pastoral minstry class...we talk about practial stuff in ministry....like tomorrow we are talking about "leaving well" in other words, "how to quit!"...sweet! that implies that i will not be fired....which is so much more likely! haha.....

so yea today i went to Tulane again to study...i dont know why i go there....i mean it is not like all of my friends here on campus are keeping me doing my work...i guess i just feel more comfortable in a liberal enviroment! haha....but they do have a new student center (but no electrical outlets)....they also have a nice food court but i am afraid to buy anything b/c they might ask for my ID or something then realize that i am not a student and then kick me out.....which would be sad.....oh yea btw (by the way) i had some really good "new york pizza" last night at this place on magazine st.....it was great.....but the price was kinda inflated.....maybe that is for like shipping and handleing cost from nyc....haha.....

so yea thursday i have test.....jeez! i have no clue what to do....i think i am gonna wing it!...haha...after filling out the "study guide" he gave us i have 9...yea count them...9 pages of typed notes to study plus 2 maps full of places i cant pronounce (much less spell! and the lord god almight knows this over educated boy can't spell)... on top of the 9 pages and the maps i have to memorize the dates and names of the different historical periods from the neolithic period to the early arab period.....and just for you knowledge here they are....

5000-4300 BC (or as like to say, just becuase i am a rebel) Neolithic period
4300-3300 BC Chalcolithic
3300-2300 BC Early Bronze
(2300-2000 BC Intermediate Bronze)
2300-1550 BC Middle Bronze
1550-1200 BC Late Bronze
1200-1000 BC Iron I
1000-586 BC Iron 2
586-332 BC Persian (Iron 3)
332-63 (37) BC Hellenistic
63 (37)BC- 70 AD Herodian
70 -324 AD Roman
324-640 AD Byzantium
640-1099 AD Early Arab

so yea i got the titles right without looking and did fine on the dates until they stoped being easy....some are ok to remember like 70AD (the destruction of the temple) and 1099 AD (the first crusade) but jeez man....i guess my issue is i HATE and always have hated objective information...even when i taught i did not have people memorize a ton of objective info....and when i was at NYU we were taught to teach so that the kids had to anaylize the info not just spit it back at me....of course with that one might see a post modern bent to my ideas....

ok whatever i want to go to bed.....

what i have learned

(this is my article for the EBC newsletter coming out next week...it has not been proofread so get over it! haha)

So what have I learned in the past month? Oh man where should I begin? How about The Providence of God? What about The Faithfulness of God? Oh yea and lets not forget the Mercies and Graces of God! But let me tell you something else I have been forced to remember….life is hard. Being on staff at a church we often forget what real life is like. Now I grant you, I am a seminary student so yes I am not “in the trenches.” But over the past few weeks I have remembered that many times our lives can be cumbersome and they can be messy. Seriously, lets set aside those devastating moments in life and think about the everyday. Today, yes today, was messy. You interacted with people. You might have argued with people. You might even have waved at another driver using only one finger. (or does that happen only in New Orleans?) But more than those things, today someone might have hurt you deeply. Today you might have been tempted in a way that you have not been in years. Today, just out of the blue, you might have thought about that night ten or twenty years ago when that, whatever that is, happened. Yall those are the things we experience. Those are the things that have reminded me of God’s faithfulness and His providence and yes His mercies and His grace. Life is hard, but never forget that you are sons and daughters of the King who is faithful in spite of out faithlessness and is sovereign in all things.

Please continue to you pray for me as strive for righteousness. Moreover, to use one of Mark’s inane expressions, I am looking at this call that God has put on my life like a cow looking at a new gate. I don’t understand how he could call me to lead people. Yet, he has. Please keep me in your prayers that I will become the man God has called me to be so that I can be the leader He wants me to be.