For three weeks the Sunday School kids have been learning a song from Cambodia called “Now I Know.” The text is a great reminder that we are children of God.
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John Calvin includes this peculiar statement in the introduction to his institutes: “Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God.” It is such a strange statement from someone so focused on God first and foremost. This statement sounds like something that would come from a 20th century proponent of the therapeutic approach, rather than from a 16th century Reformer.
We love to do good. Sometimes though, our desire to do something good leads us to turn people into projects. In the latest issue of Partners, a diaconal newsletter, Linda Weening shares a story of assistance which may make you think about how you speak with those you serve.
In our time there are many who participate in the life of the congregation but do not become members. Part of the ministry of the leadership needs to address the importance of membership covenants and relationships. This is about our life together in Christ.
In my brief time as guide for the Classis network I’ve encouraged its readers to give voice to the frustration and angst I often hear about Classis in the CRC. A comment that’s been repeated both on and off line seems to reflect the perception that Classis is often resistant to influence and leadership. I very much imagine that observation to be true.
Last week, we had a guest blogger for the Youth Network who did a wonderful job reminding us of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways we label young people and keep them at arm’s length in our congregations. So, if we are going to own this challenge we have with making young people feel welcome, what are we going to do about it?
Can technology be a tool to increase your devotion to God? Have you ever signed up for a thought or Bible verse a day? Did it help you spiritually? Have you ever developed or experienced a system using technology to increase your own or others’ devotion?
Some in Denmark aim to make the nation a “Down syndrome-free perfect society” (actually a headline from a Danish newspaper). If you were to build a perfect society, how would you build it? What you would include in it would be telling. But perhaps more revealing would be what you might exclude from your perfect world...
Christianity Today reports, "In North Carolina, Elevation Church leaders removed a boy with cerebral palsy from church because he was disrupting the service. Then asks six prominent worship leaders to the question: “Should churches try to minimize disruptions in services?”
You're a nurturer, but are you being nurtured? Our culture tells us we need to be productive and efficient. Usually that means every minute of our day has to be filled with some commitment. The reality is that's not healthy, truthful, or the gospel.
I often find myself in conversation with other church ministry staff and the topic of curriculum often comes up. We talk about ease of use, how well the activities work, and how the materials help us connect to parents but it is surprising how often the theology of the curriculum does not come up. Theology matters — even to 5-year-olds.
In the mind of Christ, young people are not animals, aliens or closed spaces. Those things scare us. When we are scared of them, we can’t love them. Instead, we call or yell at them from a distance to come to Jesus, come to faith and come to church, but Jesus said, “Go. . .into all the earth,” not get them to come...
I wish I could be afraid. Like Peter was afraid, once.
It happened this way. One day, after a fruitless night of fishing, Jesus told Peter to throw the nets out on the other side of the boat. Peter thought, "No way. Wrong place; wrong time." But to humor Jesus — who had, after all, just healed his mother-in-law — Peter did as he was told. And according to the story Luke tells, Peter caught a huge load of fish. It seemed a miracle.
I was told that the synod and the classis don’t really exist. These are not organizations that exist over time; they were not intended to become pieces of bureaucracy. They only exist when they are in session. They are decision making bodies that are convened to do specific business, and then they go out of existence until the next one happens.
As deacons we can often find ourselves in situations that are unfamiliar or uncomfortable to us. As easy as it is to try to ignore or avoid these scenarios, we know that at some point, we need to venture out into that unknown. Are you ready to risk it?
Here's a church really challenging the status quo of what church is supposed to be. Jeff Vanderstelt, pastor of the Soma Communities seeks to be a missional community. It's a challenge for all of us. This is the stuff we need to be talking about in our churches. Check it out.
As a kid, I thought of a cross-cultural missionary as a church planter or community developer sent by a denominational agency to some remote country in Latin America, Asia or Africa. As I grew older I realized that my childhood image was not all that Biblical.
Nobody likes getting a letter of complaint about their work. Worship leaders are no exception. I slipped on my rhino-skinned armour and began to read but the precaution was unnecessary. He simply asked that we put more attention on the Psalms. He said that singing the Psalms had led him to Jesus. I was disappointed to discover how few of them seemed singable. How should we respond to his request?
My oldest son has a part-time job and I’ve realized that our church doesn’t have anything set up to receive his tithing. Sure, he can drop cash in the offering, but there’s isn’t any communication, offering envelopes, or focus on his tithing. How cool would it be to have a focus in our youth ministry around tithing?
Those of you who follow The Network may have seen the forum discussion led by Tim Postuma regarding Google’s decision to no longer give Google Apps free to religious organizations. It’s really too bad, isn’t it? Maybe the CRC Network can help to change their minds, what do you think?
A few years ago I came across a cartoon that struck me as unfortunately true. In the first few panels, a pastor was engaged in various dimensions of ministry: consoling a grieving family, talking to a judge about one of his parishioners who had been arrested, encouraging a man who just got laid off. Then, in the last frame, a angry parishioner confronts the pastor in his study and says “You ministers don’t know what it’s like out there in the real world!”