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Showing posts from August, 2016

Three Things that can Cripple Discipleship in Churches 500 & less

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In Acts 3, we find Peter and John going to an afternoon prayer service at the temple. As they approach, they see a lame man at the gate. There, he sat and asked people for money as they walked by. When Peter and John came near, the lame man asked for an offering. Peter answered, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (Acts 3:6, NLT) 


The formerly crippled man's life was changed forever. He was healed. While this was probably the man's first Jesus experience, it wasn't his first begging experience. He was 40 years old and was born crippled. It's even likely he sat in the same spot for years.  In those days, most of the handicapped were totally dependent on the benevolence of others. 
Over the years, I have thought about this story. I can see this guy sitting on the ground at the gate called Beautiful, week after week, year after year asking the same question, "Can you help m…

Why You Need more than a Vision Statement

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I remember the days as a lead pastor when word-smithing a vision statement was of the utmost importance. Once crafted, I would post it everywhere a person may have the opportunity to read it (including the back door of the stalls in the men’s bathroom). I wanted people to memorize it, understand it and quote it at a moment’s notice. I think I may have been the only one who met those expectations. Vision statements, regardless of the innovative language, do not equate vision movement. I have seen some pretty nifty vision statements plastered on church walls and printed in bulletins. I have listened as leadership teams told me how many hours they spent creating their sticky vision blurbs. I am not knocking vision statements; if you have one, roll with it. However, a vision statement alone will not cause vision movement, regardless of the innovative language used. Your vision statement should answer these three questions: 1. What are we called to do as a church?
2. Who are we called to rea…

The Friendliness Factor

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Being a preacher's kid, I have seen my share of churches, especially rural churches. I have a lot of great memories from those experiences. I still remember the guys who stood at the front door, ready to shake my hand every Sunday. I also remember the infamous homecomings (which included a lot of fried chicken and casseroles) where church people talked, laughed and committed acts of gluttony. There are many churches (especially those 500 and less) that define friendliness by social church gatherings and greeters at the door.However, engaging outsiders (or the unchurched) requires more than comfort food and handshakes.  

While working with rural churches, I have noticed many are quick to claim their friendliness level as high. They believe the warm and fuzzy family feel is inviting to everyone. However, the family feel is often a big part of the problem, because the family typically doesn't include outsiders. There's nothing more unfriendly than awkward stares and internal c…