Small groups are about forming disciples of Jesus. Maybe it’s less about what we are studying and more about following our living example.
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This guest blog by Alan Johnson, organizer of Widening the Welcome, asks how we talk about mental illnesses. He writes, "Language can be tricky. It can elucidate things or muddy things. So what can we do? Keep on keeping on working on language seeking to describe how things are. Perhaps the best thing is to talk with the person who is affected by a “mental illness” or a “brain disorder” or a “disability” to see how they see it themselves. This is all about relationships anyway."
I came out of the meeting with a strong sense that God is a God of Action, not a God of inaction. The Lord desires you to be moving forward in your life, and especially in your faith. He wants you to be doing something, to be bettering yourself for His purposes, so that your righteousness will surpass that of the Pharisees.
Even if your church doesn't have a website or will never start using Twitter or Facebook, I'm sure your church records sermons. With tape players obsolete and CD players common, it would be good to make the switch to recording your service digitally if you haven't yet. Not only will this be more compatible with your church listeners, but will allow you to easily podcast your sermon.
Last week I asked why we tend to limit our idea of diversity in church to ethnic diversity. Like one reader responded to the question last week, diversity of ability falls outside of most people's thinking because most people don't want people with disabilities included in their activities.
A few weeks ago, Herm confided in Deacon Henk about the foreclosure notice he'd received. It's been a tough few weeks and Herm needs a bit of strong friendship! "I wish me and the wife could talk about doughnuts and weight. Seems like we don't talk at all, or we're fussin' at each other about money."
Whatever your committee’s or team’s name or function it is easy to get in a rut, to do things a particular way because that’s the way it has always been done (even if it’s only the second year you have been doing it). So how do you get out of a liturgical rut? How do you discern when a once helpful practice has become unhelpful or when a 100 year old practice needs to be retained? How do you lead your congregation to grow in the area of worship?
When we envision the diverse church, in our minds' eye, we see a diversity of skin colors, foods, ethnic identities, and languages. Usually, we also see we see the young and the old, male and female. But in our vision of the diverse church, we rarely see a boy who uses a wheelchair, woman who lives with mental illness, a girl with Down Syndrome, a man who is blind, or a woman who is Deaf and uses sign language. Why?
Yesterday I preached on the parable of the prodigal – with emphasis on the elder son on the story. This morning I read Psalm 1. The two passages provide an intriguing intersection of ideas. Psalm 1 celebrates the Law of the Lord. It is a source of life and hope. Such a life of righteousness is a place of abundance. Yet the elder son who did everything commanded stands on the outside of the celebration of redemption.
How do you get volunteers to serve in ministry along side you? Brian Bierenga, Youth Pastor at Brookside CRC, shares his approach by using the internet. He suggests three things: Use email, Use template, Track Smarter.This is a fantastic blog to equip you as a Youth Ministry Leader in recruiting volunteers.
It appears that confessional preaching/teaching and the second worship services are both going the way of the dodo bird and passenger pigeon in most places in our denomination. Check out this article about second services by Matt Vande Bunte in a recent on-line issue of The Grand Rapids Press and then read on. I hope the article remains available for a while.
A while ago I wrote an article detailing several items that every church website should include no matter the size of their church or website. Mick Mel's recent post "Don’t be like a “University Website"" details many of the items I mentioned along with several items that are unnecessary on your church's homepage. Most of the items are aimed at presenting a good impression for your church, but also help with not frustrating return visitors.
I understand their fear. We haven’t had enough time together to know one another all that well. Most are new to this whole small group thing and relatively new in faith. Today I’m asking myself how I can gently lead them to feel comfortable praying out loud as a group. Here’s what I’ve thought of so far:
Christian Reformed World Missions and CRWRC provide a series of webinars whose presenters come with a variety of expertise but under the heading of Global Mission. By using the internet and an 800 number, you can engage in this learning community free.
More and more software programs are becoming available online or 'in the cloud'. Currently, there are several popular services like Google Docs or now Microsoft Office Web Apps that make working in the cloud advantageous. Recently, Intuit unveiled Quickbooks Online which allows an organization to manage their books, run reports and more online. Now those who keep track of the church's finances and books can do so in the cloud.
Our use of money is one place where our spirituality gets incarnated. Spirituality in our imagination is rather high-minded, mystical, and holy. But money matters seem stressful, mundane, practical and –in these days of recession – discouraging.