Tag: Church (home)

The church is like the ark. You couldn't stand the stink inside if it weren't for the storm outside.

permalink source: Neil Anderson
tags: Church

We in the Western church don't come close to matching the level of commitment, determination, and strength of many Muslim groups. Until we do, Islam will continue to be the world's fastest growing religion- not because of its strength, but because of our weakness.

permalink source: Brother Andrew, The Calling
tags: Church, Commitment, Islam

Christian: One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

permalink source: Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"
tags: Church, Hypocrisy

Monday, n.: In Christian countries, the day after the baseball game.

permalink source: Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"
tags: Church, Sports

The church is looking for better programs; God is looking for better men.

permalink source: E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer
tags: Character, Church

Like every girl in a youth group, she wanted to marry a pastor and avoid marrying a missionary.

permalink source: Glen, 1996
tags: Church, Ministry

When we share in the Word we partake of communion: we are sharing the life of Christ with one another.

permalink source: Brian Jacobson, TNF 7/15/97
tags: Church, Community

During a service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the Shema prayer was said, half the congregants stood up and half remained sitting. The half that was seated started yelling at those standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up. The rabbi,learned as he was in the Law and commentaries, didn't know what to do. His congregation suggested that he consult a housebound 98 year old man, who was one of the original founders of their temple. The rabbi hoped the elderly man would be able to tell him what the actual temple tradition was, so he went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction of the congregation. The one whose followers stood during Shema said to the old man, "Isn't the tradition to stand during this prayer?" The old man answered, "No, that is not the tradition." The one whose followers sat said, "Then the tradition is to sit during Shema!" The old man answered, "No, that is not the tradition." Then the rabbi said to the old man, "But the congregants fight all the time, yelling at each other about whether they should sit or stand..." The old man interrupted, exclaiming, "THAT is the tradition!"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Habit, Humor, Paradigms, Tradition

Xvxn though my typxwritxr is an old modxl, it works quitx wxll xxcxpt for onx kxy. Xvxn though thxrx arx 46 kxys that work wxll xnough, just onx not working makxs all thx diffxrxncx in lxgibility, corrxctnxss, and xffxctivxnxss. Somxtimxs it sxxms that our group is somxwhat likx my typxwritxr, not all thx kxys function propxrly. You think, "I am only onx pxrson. Thxy don't nxxd mx. I can slack and it won't makx much diffxrxncx." But, you sxx, Christ has madx us diffxrxntly. Xach of us is uniqux, and xach of us is rxquirxd. It is writtxn, "God has arrangxd thx parts in thx Body, xvxry onx of thxm, just as Hx wantxd thxm to bx." And also, "Thx wholx body, joinxd and hxld togxthxr by xvxry supporting ligamxnt, grows and builds itsxlf up in lovx as xach part doxs its work." So thx nxxt timx you think you arx only onx pxrson and that your xffort is not nxxdxd, rxmxmbxr my old typxwritxr and say to yoursxlf, "I am a kxy pxrson madx by God for a purposx and am nxxdxd vxry much."

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Community, Ministry, Motivation, Teams

Russ Blowers is a minister who is active in his local Indianapolis Rotary club. At club meetings each week a member gives a brief statement about his job. When it was his turn, Russ said: "I'm with a global enterprise. We have branches in every country in the world. We have our representatives in nearly every parliament and board room on earth. We're into motivation and behavior alteration. We run hospitals, feeding stations, crisis pregnancy centers, universities, publishing houses, and nursing homes. We care for our clients from birth to death. We are into life insurance and fire insurance. We perform spiritual heart transplants. Our original Organizer owns all the real estate on earth plus an assortment of galaxies and constellations. He knows everything and lives everywhere. Our product is free for the asking. (There's not enough money to buy it.) Our CEO was born in a hick town, worked as a carpenter, didn't own a home, was misunderstood by his family, hated by enemies, walked on water, was condemned to death without a trial, and arose from the dead--I talk with him everyday." The church is the most amazing organization in the world!

permalink source: Internet
tags: Church, Kingdom Of God, Mission

D.L. Moody once called on a leading citizen in Chicago to persuade him to accept Christ. They were seated in the man’s parlor. It was winter and coal was burning in the fireplace. The man objected that he could be just as good a Christian outside the church as in it. Moody said nothing, but stepped to the fireplace, took the tongs, picked a blazing coal from the fire and set it off by itself. In silence the two watched it smolder and go out. “I see,” said the man.

permalink source: D.L. Moody
tags: Church, Discipleship, Community, Fellowship

"No God -- No Peace. Know God -- Know Peace." "Free Trip to heaven. Details Inside!" "Try our Sundays. They're better than Baskin-Robbins." "Searching for a new look? Have your faith lifted here!" An ad for a church has a picture of two hands holding stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed and a headline that reads, "For fast, fast, fast relief, take two tablets." "Have trouble sleeping? We have sermons -- come hear one!" "People are like tea bags -- you have to put them in hot water before you know how strong they are." "God so loved the world that He did NOT send a committee." "Come in and pray today. Beat the Christmas rush!" "When down in the mouth, remember Jonah. He came out all right." "Sign broken. Message inside this Sunday." "Come work for the Lord. The work is hard, the hours are long and the pay is low. But the retirement benefits are out of this world." ""If you're headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns." "This is a ch_ _ ch. What is missing?" ---------> (U R)

permalink source: Church Signs reported on the Internet
tags: Church, Humor, Advertising

A church member who had been devoutly active for many years suddenly was absent. One cold winter evening the pastor knocked at his door. Actually, the pastor and the church member had been long-time good friends. As they watched the wood burn in the fireplace, the minister mentioned the parishioner's absence from church. The man candidly confessed that he had decided he was just as well off without the church as with it. The minister didn't say a word. He took the tongs from the rack, reached into the fire, pulled out a flaming ember, and laid it down by itself on the hearth. He still said nothing. Both men sat in silence and watched the glowing ember lose its glow and turn slowly into a crusty, black lump. After some moments of thoughtful silence, the man turned to his pastor and said, "I get the message, my friend, I see what you mean; I'll be back next Sunday." And he was.

permalink source: Charles R. Leary, Mission Ready!, C.S.S. Publishing Company, 1990
tags: Church, Fellowship

The Church seems to have lost heart somewhat, has allowed the old assurance and enthusiasm to cool below the temperature at which big things get done, is always whimpering and complaining about something, has developed a foolish trick of gathering into corners in discouraged groups and bleating disconsolately that God seems to be strangely little in our day, the very mood that so maddened the Hebrew prophets that they itched to lay violent hands upon their countrymen, and literally shake it out of them. We Church people have become so prone to loud and abusive self-depreciation that the thing amounts to a disease... and though these doleful spirits are not altogether serious, the world is listening, and takes us, not unnaturally, at our own dismal and unflattering valuation.

permalink source: A. J. Gossip, The Galilean Accent
tags: Church, Evangelism

A pastor, apparently fed up with all the excuses given over the years to why people don't go to church, included this list in the Sunday bulletin: TEN REASONS WHY I NEVER WASH 1. I was forced to as a child. 2. People who wash are hypocrites -- they think they are cleaner than everybody else. 3. There are so many different kinds of soap, I can't decide which is best. 4. I used to wash, but I got bored and stopped. 5. I wash only on special occasions, like Christmas and Easter. 6. None of my friends wash. 7. I'll start washing when I get older and dirtier. 8. I can't spare the time. 9. The bathroom is never warm enough in winter or cool enough in summer. 10. People who make soap are only after your money.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Humor, Excuses

TOP TEN WAYS YOU KNOW YOU'RE IN A BAD CHURCH 10. The church bus has gun racks. 9. The church staff consists of Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor and Socio-pastor. 8. The Bible they use is the "Dr. Seuss Version." 7. There's an ATM in the lobby. 6. The choir wears leather robes. 5. Worship services are B.Y.O.S.: "Bring Your Own Snake." 4. No cover charge, but communion is a two-drink minimum. 3. Karaoke Worship Time. 2. Ushers ask, "Smoking or Non-smoking?" 1. The only song the organist knows is "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida."

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Humor

MEMO FROM THE PASTORAL SEARCH COMMITTEE In our search for a suitable pastor, the following scratch sheet was developed for your perusal. Of the candidates investigated by the committee, only one was found to have the necessary qualities. The list contains the names of the candidates and comments on each, should you be interested in investigating them further for future pastoral placements. Noah He has 120 years of preaching experience, but no converts. Moses He stutters; and his former congregation says he loses his temper over trivial things. Abraham He took off to Egypt during hard times. We heard that he got into trouble with the authorities and then tried to lie his way out. David He is an unacceptable moral character. He might have been considered for minister of music had he not fallen. Solomon He has a reputation for wisdom but fails to practice what he preaches. Elijah He proved to be inconsistent, and is known to fold under pressure. Hosea His family life is in a shambles. Divorced, and remarried to a prostitute. Jeremiah He is too emotional, alarmist; some say a real pain in the neck. Amos Comes from a farming background. Better off picking figs. John He says he is a Baptist but lacks tact and dresses like a hippie. Would not feel comfortable around him at a church potluck supper. Peter Has a bad temper, and was heard to have even denied Christ publicly. Paul We found him to lack tact. He is too harsh. His appearance is contemptible, and he preaches far too long. Timothy He has potential, but is much too young for the position. Jesus He tends to offend church members with his preaching, especially Bible scholars. He is also too controversial. He even offended the search committee with his pointed questions. Judas He seemed to be very practical, cooperative, good with money, cares for the poor, and dresses well. We all agreed that he is just the man we are looking for to fill the vacancy as our Senior Pastor. Thank you for all you have done in assisting us with our pastoral search. Sincerely, The Pastoral Search Committee.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Leadership

Vincente T. Montojo tells the story of the time his two-year-old daughter, Paige, was with her mother while her older sister was at the dentist. Paige kept herself busy playing with toys in the waiting room until she noticed that her mom was resting, her eyes closed. With about six other patients in the waiting room, Paige marched up to her mother, looked at her and shook her shoulder. "Mommy," she yelled, "wake up! This is not church!"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Humor

Some years ago, a new pastor was called to a spiritually dead church in a small Oklahoma town. The pastor spent the first week calling on as many members as possible, inviting them to the first Sunday service. But the effort failed. In spite of many calls, not a single member showed up for worship! So the pastor placed a notice in the local paper stating that since the church was dead, the pastor was going to give it a decent, Christian burial. The funeral for the church would be held at 2 p.m. on the following Sunday. Morbidly curious, the whole town turned out for the "funeral." In front of the pulpit, there was a large casket, smothered in flowers. After the eulogy was given, the pastor invited the congregation to come forward and pay their respects to the dead church. The long line of mourners filed by. Each one peered curiously into the open casket, and then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look. For inside the casket, tilted at just the right angle was a large mirror. Each one saw his own reflection in the mirror as perhaps never before! That is still what happens when human beings allow the living Christ to confront them in their sinful brokenness. This special day calls us to make a choice to receive God's Christ, and to let our lives be made whole again by the power of God. As you begin this Holy Week, can you truly say in your heart, "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" The choice is up to you!

permalink source: Robert A. Beringer, Turning Points, CSS Publishing Company, 1995.
tags: Church, Creativity, Apathy

Harry Emerson Fosdick tells this story: Some years ago a little church on the coast of England was ruined in a hurricane. The congregation thought themselves unable to rebuild. Then one day a representative of the British Admiralty came to the clergyman to ask if they intended to reconstruct the church. The clergyman explained why they could not do it. "Well," said the representative of the British navy, "if you do not rebuild the church we will. That spire is on all our charts and maps. It is the landmark by which the ships of the seven seas steer their course." A true parable, that! Never more than now, when the souls of men need divine help, stable and secure, strong, sustaining, and empowering, is the church's message needed. Though the hurricane of hell brought the sins of the world down upon the body of Christ, crushing the life from its limbs, that body was rebuilt on Easter. And the spire of the cross stands to this day as our chart and map. It is the landmark by which the church and our lives steer their course. The Cross and the empty Tomb: Stable and secure, guiding, strong, sustaining, and empowering help!

permalink source: Brett Blair, Sermon Illustrations, 1998
tags: Church

"When a person gets up to sing in church, the longer he or she takes to introduce the song, the worse that song will be."

permalink source: Dan Betzer
tags: Church, Music

A certain group of scholars, mostly German or influenced by German protestant theology, has rushed to abandon positions before they were attacked, and to demythologize the Gospel message when there was no clear evidence that intelligent minds outside the Church were any more frightened by her mystery than by her morals.

permalink source: G. I. Bonner
tags: Apologetics, Church

Our friend Russ Bredholt is back with a new entry for us to ponder. I always appreciate his musings and comments. Russ managed to have a household accident a few weeks back and dropped me a line to explain. I was real worried until he told me he was back playing golf, but only with a nine finger grip. He's back thinking too. Here are his thoughts on the Mindset of a New Generation "At a recent meeting of college presidents a presentation was given by Dr. Diana Oblinger, professor of business at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Oblinger's subject was changing technology and its implication for higher education. The more she talked, the more I realized just how much her material would also relate to the church. To underscore her point about a shift in priorities and values among younger adults, Dr. Oblinger listed the following as characteristics of the "Information Age Mindset:"* -Computers aren't technology -The Internet is better than TV -Reality is no longer real -Doing is more important than knowing -Nintendo over logic -Multitasking is a way of life -Typing is preferred to handwriting -Staying connected is essential -Zero tolerance for delays -Consumer and creator are blurring Each item listed above was commented on for clarification. Space does not allow us to go into that kind of detail. Most reading this column will be able to interpret these points. They make for interesting discussion. What I want to do is highlight Dr. Oblinger's response...offering advice to leaders of educational institutions and speaking to the issue of how, if at all, to respond. Her counsel comes in the form of questions (good advisors do this). The emphasis, you will note, focuses on internal values first. Dr. Oblinger raised four questions. I modified each and added a comment in order to fit the context of the church: 1. Why are we doing church? Before trying to get into the details of overhauling how we do church, can we simply ask ourselves the simple question: What causes us to be here in the first place? 2. What kind of experience do we want our people (members/attenders) to have as a result of being connected to our church? I believe in mystery and serendipity, but there is something about leaders working to intentionally shape and influence relationships and experiences so they are more positive than negative. 3. Does information technology change our traditional mission? Maybe it does not change as much as we think. Perhaps it is the context of mission where adaptations are to be considered. 4. What is distinctive about our church? We have written on this subject before. It is our observation that most congregations don't know what sets them apart from other faith groups. (A good way to find this out is to interview the newer members of the church.) Those that enjoy some measure of results do so in part because they are not the same as everyone else. Effectiveness is often related to the degree of difference. Churches can be long on vision and short on follow-up. Attention to detail is the most overlooked aspect of congregational life, other than time with the spiritual disciplines. Before we get too wrapped up in technological advances, it is still worthwhile to come back to a few basic questions that help us clarify what is important to us. It is becoming clearer what is of interest to young adults. The question is whose values will prevail?" Give feedback directly to our friend Russ Bredholt, Jr. by emailing him at rbredholt@aol.com. His source for the comments come from an article by Jason L. Frand in Educause Review (S/O 2000)

permalink source: Church Champions Update Mar 13, 2001
tags: Church, Paradigms

Tom Bandy is one of the principals of Easum/Bandy and Associates and a great author and consultant too. He and Bill Easum facilitate regular learning forums for change leaders, church planters as well as denominational officials. I am a participant in several of their email forums. A few weeks back now, Tom addressed a concern in the forum about a positive role of denominational officials in helping churches in change. He was gracious to allow me to share it with you. If you are now apart of a denominational system, I think the same thing could be said for other interventionists that assist churches. ASSISTING SYSTEMIC CHANGE I agree that the terminology of "bottom up" and "top down" are probably no longer adequate to interpret how systemic change happens in the church. However, I disagree with the view that "bottom up transformation is a myth". It has happened ... and is happening ... all the time, and in all of the spheres of culture named. The initiative or motivating power for systemic change almost always emerges from below ... and also from the fringes. This is not because regional and national leaders are indifferent or insensitive to innovation, but because organizationally denominations (and other institutions) are designed for programmatic change ... not systemic change. We are caught up in portfolios and divisions and job descriptions ...and politics, and heritage protection, and preservation of denominational ethos. Recently I had the same experience re-enacted in another denominational meeting (I won't mention which). Judicatory leaders are most helpful, however, in maintaining MOMENTUM for transformation. While it may be initiated from below, strong leadership must accelerate the momentum. This leadership CAN be from the national or regional judicatories, but it does not HAVE to be. My experience is that if national or middle judicatory leaders cannot give systemic change leadership, then congregations will go around roadblocks to form their own networks (within or beyond the denomination), their own partnerships (within or beyond the traditional religious sectors, and even among business and non-profit sectors), and their own leadership development (with resources and mentors of their own choosing). In short, the water of change is rising, and it will find its new watercourse one way or another. Denominational leaders can be incredibly be helpful ... but do not in themselves initiate, channel, or control the rising tide of change. Let me test several ideas with all of you regarding the potential positive role of denominational leadership for systemic change in churches. 1) I like the comment from one of our participants that denominational leaders have the most impact by addressing ATTITUDE change, rather than TACTICS. They can teach, or better yet behaviorally model, a "new way of thinking" for congregations and congregational leaders stuck in old paradigms. 2) Denominational leaders can help channel change by offering help in synthesizing seeming opposites, breaking down old polarizations between "liberal" and "conservative", and helping congregational leaders (enthusiastic initiators that they are) to see a larger and more intricate picture when it comes to local and global mission. 3) The emerging configuration of leadership is the team. These teams may be formal, but are most often informal, partnerships between national and local leaders. As the micro/macro nature of change accelerates, middle or regional leadership may find itself marginalized unless they are very proactive and desire to participate. (I digress here to note that although I find middle judicatory leaders such as those in this forum who are "on board" with systemic change, they always express to me their own sense of isolation among their middle judicatory colleagues. Ten years ago I would have said that national leadership were among the most defensive and reactionary voices among denominations ... but I am not sure I would think that today.) 4) The most effective leadership teams not only model the macro/micro world, but they are often ad hoc or informal. They do not emerge through the institutionalized and politicized nominations processes of the denomination. They are formed at the initiative of a national or local leader "providentially", and may often contradict and alarm the actual official infrastructure. I think I have a different perspective from (another person), who suggests that denominational leaders can best lead systemic change through their own portfolios or spheres of influence. My personal experience, and that of colleagues, and my observation of others, is that denominational leaders best lead change when the STEP OUTSIDE their traditional job descriptions and begin to think and live holistically. Systemic change cannot be achieved programmatically, in the sense that various tasks can be divided among several offices. It happens when denominational leaders learn to shed their job descriptions and work in true post-modern teams of equals who individually and together share a holistic vision of congregational mission. A last comment about stress: If all of the above is true, denominational leaders who really do LEAD transformation (not just programmatic change) will be under tremendous stress from every direction. I am not sure that this is the place for me to tell my own story, and so I will refrain. I will only say that it is a very hard road to follow for denominational leaders, but that at least in my case it ended well. Attitudes and priorities in my national office did change ... people who formerly hated my mission became trusted friends and colleagues ... the division shifted toward team-based leadership. None of that came easily, and the colleagues who continue also experience enormous stress ... and joy ... as well. Thanks to Tom for his contribution. By the way the Easum/Bandy group has email forums as well as some new advanced learning options available this year. They have a brand new web-based seminar through the EBA Community as of January 1. There is a new topic in this EBA Community Coaching Seminar every month (except July). In addition, they are the featured presenters at The Easum, Bandy Convergence (Convergence - "The occurrence of two or more things coming together") EBA will hold two events in 2001 that involve all of the EBA team (eight). Dates and Places: April 24 -- Columbus, Ohio -- September 18 -- Baltimore, Maryland 8:30am to 9:00 pm. To get more information, check out their very cool web site at www.easumbandy.com. Warning though, Bill Easum's picture is on there so close one eye.:)

permalink source: Church Champions Update Feb 12, 2001
tags: Church, Paradigms, Change

"Why Only Start Congregations That Will Have At Least 200 in Attendance? George, you must be crazy to suggest this. If you look at the North American Protestant scene, at least three-fourths or more of all congregations have less than 200 in attendance. What makes you think that we should only start new congregations that will have at least 200 in attendance? Well, as is typical of a George Bullard list, here are seven reasons why we should only start congregations that will have at least 200 in attendance. First, congregations need to be started with a vision that does not have a low ceiling. When congregations are started with the image of a close-knit extended family then they stifle creativity and the Spirit. They bind themselves in terms of size, and do not allow God's Spirit to help them soar to unbounded heights. They act like Depression Era congregations. Second, for most congregations to have a significant, positive, spiritual impact on their setting the need to be a significant presence with loving power and influence. To do this they need a size that gives them visibility and perceived impact on the neighborhood, community, or region. Third, increasingly people are looking for places where exciting things are happening. They also want places that have regular experiences that inspire, challenge, and inform. It takes a congregation of at least 200 in attendance to regularly have celebrations and authentic gatherings with a critical mass of people present to make it attractive to others. Fourth, the best way to start new congregations involves a sponsorship or mentoring model. Unfortunately, the number of congregations that are fully prepared for this role is few in regard to the number of new congregations needed. Therefore, when a new congregation is started, let's make it one of significant size among a significant target group of people to make its starting a good stewardship of resources. Fifth, increasingly new congregations will require multiple staff persons almost from the first day of operation. With two-income families, careful empowering of precious lay leadership time is required from the beginning. A system of lay mobilization must be in the DNA of new congregations, and this takes staff leadership. To make this economically viable requires a congregation of approximately 200 in attendance. Sixth, persons seeking a relationship with a congregation have higher expectations of the relationship experiences and the programs, ministries, and activities that congregations will offer. It takes an attendance of around 200 to begin to offer the types of services for which people are looking. Seventh, it does come down to economics at some point. The cost of starting new congregations is extremely high. When that high cost results in a worshipping community of 80-85 in average attendance or less, the full impact of the time, finance, and people investment is not realized. Seven Types of Congregations to Start That May Never Have 200 in Attendance There is a counterpoint to the idea that we should only start congregations that will have at least 200 in attendance. The counterpoint focuses on highly specialized types of congregations. Here is a list of seven. If you can think of others, please let me know at { HYPERLINK "mailto:BullardJournal@cs.com" }BullardJournal@cs.com. House Church or Cell Group congregation: These congregations tend to literally meet in houses or other small gathering places. Small Town, Community, or Defined Neighborhood: At times the chosen population demographics may not support a congregation that has at least 200 in worship. Resort and Leisure community: Many resort and leisure areas are seasonal and may swell to 200 in attendance during the high season. Multifamily Housing Community: Getting residents of a multifamily housing area to leave that are to attend church can be difficult. Deaf or Hearing Impaired congregation: Often the concentration of deaf or hearing-impaired people may not result in a large congregation. Senior Adult community or institution: Senior adult congregations are needed highly specialized congregations. Non-English Language or Immigrant congregation: Often the concentration of various language and ethnic groups is not sufficient to have a large congregation."

permalink source: George Bullard in Church Champions Update Dec 15, 2000
tags: Church, Evangelism

I promised to share some of my notes from our time with Peter Drucker a few weeks ago. The Buford Foundation convened the meeting in order to discuss the topic of "Community Building." The participants included various leaders from Leadership Foundations, Local City Reaching type movements, city serving type movements, research organizations, and leadership training organizations. The common thread was the desire to see a city, or segment of a city changed. I would say most of the participants are effective in their role in changing their part of the city. In preparation for this meeting, Mr. Drucker had done quite a bit of reading, interviewing and thinking. In addition to his noted writings on business, he has devoted the last 15 years or so thinking about the role of not for profit organizations in the life of a community. This includes churches. As you will see in my notes below, they are a little rough around the edges. They are merely my scribbles on what Peter was saying. Our founding Chairman, Bob Buford calls Peter Drucker a social ecologist. He learns and translates the total ecology of a system, in this case, the US Society. Mr. Drucker's first point was that to focus some thoughts on the last 40 years. In his view, in 40+ years we have seen the explosion of not- for-profits, the explosion of mega churches but we have seen no results. If you look at the measurement of statistical figures, there's been no influence on the major key social factors. However, he also said that there has not been a significant decline in the social factors, as one may believe. At a time when the culture has slid downward, the social factors have remained steady. Sot the news is not all bad. There are a number of community organizations with significant results and we should learn from them. Those that have results have a clear definition of what they are trying to accomplish. They are very focused. They concentrate and abandon. In Peter's view the church is the worst offender in this regard. If it doesn't work, we work harder. Effective organizations try three things and one works. That is a good average. Don't worry about failure. His second point was that successful community organizations know how to mobilize community resources. They know how to work with others but also know they have to maintain control. They are leaders. It takes a leader, an embodied person that takes the risks in creating community. It has a center, a person, someone to take initiative and run, and someone who has energy to pass it. That is your role if you want to lead this type of movement. In addition they bring beneficiaries into the activity. The effective organizations don't look as beneficiaries as recipients but as co-laborers, as partners. It is not "give-away" charity but co-development of solutions and answers to problems. The recipients are involved from the beginning not as targets but as co- workers in seeking the solutions. His third point was that effective organizations are composed of effective volunteer groups. The volunteers are the real beneficiaries. In these groups of volunteer workers a healthy body is built and that helps to take care of a many afflictions that arise. They do not achieve results by taking care of social ills but by building a healthy body, a community. His fourth point turned again to the impact on those that serve not those that are served. To turn geography into a community means there will be the commitment and spirit to apply to the problem. There is not a problem in Peter's view to attract and hold volunteers. But there is often a problem to make them into an effective community. It is a community built on a common task that they expand to help renew yourself and your organization. In Peter's mind the difference between successful and unsuccessful organizations, whether they are for profit or not for profit is clear focus. A clear, specific focus helps them measure results. How does an individual start? To start is to see opportunity rather than a problem. Look for local opportunities rather than national. Do you have an opportunity next door? This is an entrepreneurial job. You have to do the work. What about working with the government someone asked him. Peter reminded a participant that in most places government is not a single unit. Non-profits will be the agents of government. Whoever pays the piper calls the tune so be very careful with government. "It's limiting and freeing working with government." Government is paper ridden and rule ridden. What about working with business? Businesses must be taken into confidence. They want to understand what you are doing. They are used to accountability. They want to understand the process. Keep them informed in ways they want to be informed even if it doesn't make sense. Government is used to obfuscation, business to be partners. Keep that in mind.

permalink source: Peter Drucker in Church Champions Update, Dec 8 2000
tags: Church, Leadership

A Question About Primates On the letterhead of: The Anglican Church of Canada Office of the Primate John Hearn, Director Wisconson Regional Primate Research Centre 1223 Capitol Court Madison, Wisconsin U.S.A. 53715-1299 December 11, 1991 Dear Dr. Hearn: Thank you for your letter of December 4 addressed to Dr. George Cram of the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund in which you seek information for your International Directory of Primatology. I should perhaps inform you that the term "primate" in our context refers to the senior archbishop and chief pastor of the Anglican Church of Canada. The Relief and Development Fund over which he presides is an agency for the alleviation of global poverty and hunger on behalf of Anglican Christians in this country. I think the primates in your study are perhaps of a different species. While it is true that our primate occasionally enjoys bananas, I have never seen him walk with his knuckles on the ground or scratch himself publicly under the armpits. He does have three children, but this is a far cry from "breeding colonies of primates" as your research project mentions. Like you we do not import our primates from the wild, however. They are elected from among the bishops of our church. This is occasionally a cause of similar, though arcane, comment. The subject of primate biology might be of great importance in your field but, alas, not so in ours. There are a mere 28 Anglican primates in the whole world. They are all males, of course, but so far we have had no problems with reproduction. They include such distinguished persons as the Most Reverend and Right Honourable George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of Capetown, South Africa. Have you sent letters to them? Most importantly, have they responded? They can, I believe, all read and write by themselves so perhaps this might distort your data. Thank you for writing. I wonder if your extremely efficient database might need just a little refining? Kindest Regards, The Reverend Michael Ingham Principal Secretary to the Primate

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church

Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Protestants do not recognize the authority of the Pope. Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Religion

The Ten Commandments of Worship, apparently found in an old English church. 1. Thou shalt not come to service late, nor for the Amen refuse to wait. 2. When speaks the organ's sweet refrain, the noisy tongue thou shalt restrain. 3. But when the Hymns are sounded out, thou shalt lift thy voice and shout. 4. And when the Anthem thou shalt hear, thy sticky voice thou shalt not clear. 5. The endmost seat thou shalt leave free, for more must share the pew with thee. 6. The offering plate thou shalt not fear, but give thine uttermost with cheer. 7. Thou shalt the minister give heed, nor blame him when thou art disagreed. 8. Unto thy neighbor thou shalt bend, and, if a stranger, make a friend. 9. Thou shalt in every way be kind, compassionate and of tender mind. 10. And so, by all the Spirit's grace, thou shalt find God within this place.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Worship

There was a preacher who took pride in knowing everyone's name. One Sunday a woman sat near the front who hadn't been to church in a long time. The preacher couldn't remember her name. Just before the benediction, memory returned. At the door, the preacher smiled and said, "You look like Helen Brown!" The woman looked startled, then shot back, "You don't look so good in black yourself!"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Fellowship, Assimilation

How Many Church People does it take to screw in a light bulb? * CHARISMATIC: Only one. Hands already in the air. * ROMAN CATHOLICS: None. They use candles. * PENTECOSTALS: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness. * PRESBYTERIANS: None. God has predestined when the lights will be on and off. * EPISCOPALIANS: Eight. One to call the electrician, and seven to say how much they liked the old one better. * UNITARIANS: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb, and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence. * METHODISTS: Two. One to change the bulb and one to check the "Manual for Changing Bulbs in the Methodist Church." * BAPTISTS: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and two or three committees to approve the change. Oh, and also a casserole. * LUTHERANS: None. Lutherans don't believe in change. And John Shearman adds to our misery: How many Anglicans does it take to change a light bulb? 1 Celebrant to bless the new bulb. 3 Acolytes to sit around and make faces. 1 Organist to write a hymn to praise the new bulb. 15 Choir singers (minimum) to sing said hymn. 1 Junior Warden to remove the old bulb and replace it with a new bulb. 1 Assistant clergy to give a eulogy for the old bulb. 100-200 Members of the congregation to answer "We will" when the celebrant asks: "Will you who witness this do all in your power to support this new light?" 5-10 people to form a new congregation using the old bulb.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church

A churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me I can't remember a single one of them. So I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all." This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: "I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Preaching, Spiritual Formation

* The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks On the Water." The sermon tonight, "Searching for Jesus." * Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack's sermons. * The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth into Joy." * Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days. * Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some others. * Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person(s) you want remembered. * Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch. * The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment and gracious hostility. * The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon. * This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin. * The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning. * Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door. * Weight Watchers will meet at 7PM. Please use the large double door at the side entrance. * Our next song is, "Angels We Have Heard Get High." * The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge! Up Yours!"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church

How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb? Charismatics: Only one. Hands already in the air. Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness. Presbyterians: None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times. Roman Catholic and Orthodox: None. Candles only. Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad. Episcopalians: Eight. One to call the electrician, and seven to say how much they liked the old one better. Mormons: Five. One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it. Unitarians: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb, and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence. Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved -- you can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Church wide lighting service is planned for Sunday, August 19. Bring bulb of your choice and a covered dish. Nazarene: Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy. Lutherans: None. Lutherans don't believe in change. Amish: What's a light bulb?

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church

The problem is not that the churches are filled with empty pews, but that the pews are filled with empty people.

permalink source: Charlie Shedd
tags: Church

My young son asked what the highest number I had ever counted to was. I didn't know, but I asked about his highest number. It was 5,372. "Oh," I said. "Why did you stop there?" "Church was over."

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Worship

In particular, I had learned that that intensity is crucial for any progress in spiritual perception and understanding. To dribble a few verses or chapters of Scripture on oneself through the week, in church or out, will not reorder one's mind and spirit--just as one drop of water every five minutes will not get you a shower, no matter how long you keep it up. You need a lot of water at once, and for a sufficiently long time. Similarly for the written Word. (I use this as an illustration of worship in the church as well)

permalink source: Dallas Willard, the Divine Conspiracy, p 356
tags: Church, Discipline, Habit, Worship

I was watching a show called "Monster Machines" on The Learning Channel a while back, and I saw a special on coal mining. There's this one kind of machine called "the long wall." It's really pretty amazing: it's got a huge rotating spiked barrel up front that chews up coal and throws it onto a conveyor belt behind it. Alongside the converyor belt is an automated hyraulic support system that holds up the newly formed wall in the wake of the machine. The coal is collected, I guess somewhere towards the back. Here's the wild part: the miners let the roof cave in behind them. They’re like a moving bubble of life in a world of darkness. Longwall mining yields four to five times more coal than the old-fashioned way of carving rooms and support pillars out of the coal bed because every bit of coal winds up being used.

permalink source: TLC special
tags: Church, Commitment

We talk about our five purposes being to communicate God's message, fellowship with other believers, demonstrate God's love, educate God's people and celebrate God's presence. Five sentences share what Saddleback is all about. When somebody comes and asks, "Why does your church exist?" I can say it in little sentences.

permalink source: Rick Warren
tags: Church

It was Palm Sunday and Sue's five-year-old son had to stay home from church, with a neighbor, because he was sick. When the family returned home carrying palm branches, he asked what they were for. His mother explained, "People held them over Jesus' head as He walked by." "Wouldn't you know it," the boy said. "The one Sunday I don't go, Jesus shows up!"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Jesus, Easter

Love God, Love People Help People Love God

permalink source: Will from PostmodernPentecost
tags: Church, Evangelism

You heard what happened to the banana, didn't you? When the banana left the bunch it got skinned.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Community, Fellowship

** CHURCH'S INTEGRITY WELL RECEIVED FOLLOWING NIGHTMARISH ORDEAL It hasn't been an easy couple of years for J. Lowell Harrup, senior pastor of Northland Cathedral in Kansas City, Mo. Less than a month before Harrup and the Assemblies of God congregation planned to relocate to new $12 million facilities in August 2001, a member called and told the pastor to flip on his television to a local news report. Harrup saw a church council member (name withheld), a pharmacist, being charged with an unthinkable crime: diluting drugs of cancer patients. Eventually, the church member pleaded guilty to 20 counts of misbranding, tampering with and adulterating cancer drugs for 34 late-stage cancer patients. Now 50, he is serving a 30-year prison sentence after being convicted in the worst drug-dilution case in modern U.S. history. Although the pharmacist ultimately admitted greed motivated his behavior, initially he claimed he watered down drugs in part to finance a $1 million pledge for the church building fund. In reality, he never paid $400,000 of the pledge, and he confessed that he had started altering doses a decade earlier. In the aftermath of the consuming nightmare, Northland Cathedral has emerged battered but strengthened. For months, the church received daily calls from media outlets seeking comment. With resolution of the court case, Harrup has broken the silence that he maintained through the ordeal. In March, the church announced that it would donate $600,000 to victims of the drug-diluting scheme. That figure represents the amount of stock the pharmacist liquidated to donate to the building fund, even though the entire amount probably didn't represent tainted money. To avoid the appearance of gaining from the atrocities, Harrup and the Northland Cathedral council decided to relinquish contributions the member had made. The church decision to act with integrity prompted a laudatory editorial in the Kansas City Star plus commendations from U.S. Attorney Todd Graves, who prosecuted the case, and lawyer Michael Ketchmark who represented victims. "From the beginning, the church found itself in an awful situation, not only because he was a member of the church but because of the wide media coverage," Ketchmark, 37, says. "It was a tremendous witness to their faith that they returned the money, which they thought had been rightfully given. For nonbelievers to see a church act in a Christlike fashion was marvelous." After selling two houses, the church has made a $250,000 contribution to an existing $11 million restitution fund for victims and their families. Northland Cathedral also has committed to donating $350,000 to a victim trust fund during the next three years. That money will have to be raised by additional contributions from church members. The dollars the pharmacist donated to the building fund were spent long ago. Harrup, who has been Northland Cathedral's pastor for 14 years, believes he couldn't preach ethically to the congregation if the church somehow had benefited from oncology patients who didn't receive the prescribed chemotherapy dosages. "One wants to be careful how he builds the kingdom of God," Harrup said. "I cannot deliberately build a church with money that I know was illegally gained." The pharmacist led a secret life hidden from even his family members. He began weakening chemotherapy drugs administered intravenously or through injections and pocketing the gains. Authorities seized the two pharmacies he operated, his home and investments. The man's wife and children remain active members of the church, where attendance averages 1,200 on Sunday mornings. Instead of withdrawing, Harrup says the family has allowed others to minister to them. Harrup says he empathizes with those whose loved ones have suffered. "I understood their hurt," Harrup says. "My wife is a cancer survivor. If someone had given my wife watered-down drugs I would have been angry." Still, Harrup has not forsaken his former church member, whom he visits in prison in hopes of bringing restoration and redemption. "The activity was terribly evil," Harrup says. "My job is not to make him feel good; my job is to make him be good. I'm still his pastor. Pastors do not wash their hands of people." --John W. Kennedy

permalink source: AG Email
tags: Church, Integrity

Frost: Do you believe in the Sermon on the Mount? Gates: I don't. I'm not somebody who goes to church on a regular basis. The specific elements of Christianity are not something I'm a huge believer in. There's a lot of merit in the moral aspects of religion. I think it can have a very very positive impact. Frost: I sometimes say to people, do you believe there is a god, or do you know there is a god? And, you'd say you don't know? Gates: In terms of doing things I take a fairly scientific approach to why things happen and how they happen. I don't know if there's a god or not, but I think religious principles are quite valid.

permalink source: I have not verified this
tags: Apologetics, Atheism, Church

Gates was profiled in a January 13, 1996 TIME magazine cover story. Here are some excerpts compiled by the Drudge Report: "Isn't there something special, perhaps even divine, about the human soul?" interviewer Walter Isaacson asks Gates "His face suddenly becomes expressionless," writes Isaacson, "his squeaky voice turns toneless, and he folds his arms across his belly and vigorously rocks back and forth in a mannerism that has become so mimicked at MICROSOFT that a meeting there can resemble a round table of ecstatic rabbis." "I don't have any evidence on that," answers Gates. "I don't have any evidence of that." He later states, "Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning."

permalink source: I have not verified this
tags: Apologetics, Atheism, Church

We have decided to have four worship services each Sunday. There will be one for those new to the faith. Another for those who like traditional worship. One for those who have lost their faith and are seeking to get it back. And, one for those who had a bad experience with the church and are constantly complaining about it. After long discussions we agreed to a name for each of the services: FINDERS, KEEPERS, LOSERS, WEEPERS!

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Change

You shouldn't speak until you know what you're talking about. That's why I get uncomfortable with interviews. Reporters ask me what I feel China should do about Tibet. Who cares what I think China should do? I'm a damm actor! They hand me a script. I act. I'm here for entertainment, basically, when you whittle everything away. I'm a grown man who puts on makeup. Right around the time that Fight Club came out, Pitt was interviewed about one of the themes in the movie—the idea that the American dream is somehow unfulfulling. Here’s what he said: Pitt: Man, I know all these things are supposed to seem important to us—the car, the condo, our version of success—but if that's the case, why is the general feeling out there reflecting more impotence and isolation and desperation and loneliness? If you ask me, I say toss all this—we gotta find something else. Because all I know is that at this point in time, we are heading for a dead end, a numbing of the soul, a complete atrophy of the spiritual being. And I don't want that. Rolling Stone: So if we're heading toward this kind of existential dead end in society, what do you think should happen? Pitt: Hey, man, I don't have those answers yet. The emphasis now is on success and personal gain. [smiles] I'm sitting in it, and I'm telling you, that's not it. I'm the guy who's got everything. I know. But I'm telling you, once you've got everything, then you're just left with yourself. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it doesn't help you sleep any better, and you don't wake up any better because of it. Citation: Rolling Stone (10-28-99) It's only when we later drift into an unlikely debate about one of the New Testament parables that I realize just how different a kind of God Pitt grew up with. To him, the parable of the prodigal son is an authoritarian tale told to keep people in line. "This," he explains, "is a story which says, if you go out and try to find what works for you, then you are going to be destroyed and you will be humbled and you will not be alive again until you come home to the father's ways." It is not hard to see how he relates this to his own departure westward. When I ask whether he thought he would come back, he says, "I never thought past the leaving." (same interview) “I remember one of the most pivotal moments I’ve had,” says Pitt, “was when I finally couldn’t buy the religion I grew up with. That was a big deal. It was a relief in a way that I didn’t have to believe that anymore, but then I felt alone. It was this thing I dependent on.” (another Pitt quote, Rolling Stone Dec 1, 1994)

permalink source: Brad Pitt on religion and other stuff
tags: Church, Politics, Faith, Religion

When young and just converted, D. L. Moody used to fill up a pew in a rather aristocratic Boston church with street urchins. Many of the upper-crust church members resented this intrusion. When Moody tried to join the church, the board discouraged him. “Think it over for a month,” they advised. “And pray about it, too.” They thought that would be the last they would see Moody. But they failed to take into account his indomitable drive. The next month he appeared before the board again. Rather taken back, they asked, “Did you do what we suggested? Did you pray about it?” “I did,” Moody quietly replied. “And did the Lord give you any encouragement?” “Yes,” said Moody, “He told me not to feel bad because He has been trying to get in this same church for the last twenty-five years, too.”

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Hypocrisy, Compassion

A Baptist preacher and his wife decided to get a new dog. Ever mindful of the congregation, they knew the dog must also be a Baptist. They visited kennel after kennel and explained their needs. Finally, they found a kennel whose owner assured them he had just the dog they wanted. The owner brought the dog to meet the pastor and his wife. "Fetch the Bible," he commanded. The dog bounded to the bookshelf, scrutinized the books, located the Bible, and brought it to the owner. "Now find Psalm 23," he commanded. The dog dropped the Bible to the floor, and showing marvelous dexterity with his paws, leafed through and finding the correct passage, pointed to it with his paw. The pastor and his wife were very impressed and purchased the dog. That evening, a group of church members came to visit. The pastor and his wife began to show off the dog, having him locate several Bible verses. The visitors were very impressed. One man asked, "Can he do regular dog tricks, too?" "I haven't tried yet," the pastor replied. He pointed his finger at the dog. "HEEL!" the pastor commanded. The dog immediately jumped on a chair, placed one paw on the pastor's forehead and began to howl. The pastor looked at his wife in shock and said, "Good Lord! He's Pentecostal!"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Spiritual Gifts, Denominations

People who attend religious services and pray perform more acts of kindness each year than those who don't attend services, reports The National Opinion Research Center (NORC). An NORC study found people who never attend services helped others about 96 times a year. Weekly worshippers were good for 128 selfless acts per annum. The study also found liberals were no more altruistic in their deeds than conservatives. Nor were small-towners more altruistic than city folk. People who prayed at least once a week performed nearly twice as many altruistic acts as those who never prayed. Those who prayed many times a day did three times as many good deeds as non-kneelers. Acts of kindness include helping a homeless person, returning money to a cashier after getting too much change, allowing a stranger to go ahead in line, donating blood, offering one's seat on a bus or in a public place to a stranger who is standing, giving directions to a stranger, or spending time talking with someone who is a bit down or depressed. The study also measured empathy, perhaps proving the obvious: Women are more empathetic than men. While 46 percent of the women were pained by other people's misfortunes, only 25 percent of the guys gave a hoot.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Apologetics, Church, Compassion

Pray Together, Stay Together? Want a marriage that lasts? Dust off your hymnal. A 15-year study found that couples who went to church once a month were less than half as likely to divorce than non-churchgoers. In the study, 37 percent of those who rarely attended church divorced, while only 14 percent of regular churchgoers parted company. Researchers James P. Swyers and David B. Larson of the International Center for the Integration of Health & Spirituality found faith had "a strong, beneficial influence on the stability and quality of marriages. Spouses who attend church regularly have the lowest risk of divorce." But if one attends church much more than the other, the marriage is less likely to endure. Swyers and Larson say churchgoers solve problems more constructively than church-skippers who are more prone to verbal aggression and stonewalling. And it doesn't hurt that religious couples see their marriage "as having sacred, spiritual significance." Whether they were of the same denomination didn't seem to matter. Prayer played a big role: 53 percent of those who prayed about conflicts reported good marital adjustment, compared with 17 percent who didn't seek divine help. So to shore up your marriage, you may have to cancel Sunday brunch!

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Apologetics, Church, Marriage, Relationships, Dating

In Europe, by contrast, 49 percent of Danes, 52 percent of Norwegians and 55 percent of Swedes say God does not matter to them at all. When the European Union agrees on a constitution, it will likely dispense with any mention of God. The acerbic British critic A.A. Gill dismisses the Europeans' flirtation with secularism, knowing that people need more. "Christianity," he says, "started out with 11 members and was at its strongest and purest. If it goes back to being 11, or if I'm the only poor creature in the world still afflicted with it, it will make no difference. God will still be there and will still love us unrequited. The world was still round when nobody believed it." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50983-2004Jan2.html

permalink source: Religion, The Eternal Growth Industry - David Yount, The Washington Post Sunday Jan 4, 2004 pB03
tags: Atheism, Church, Christianity

There was an article recently in the Los Angeles Times about party consultants. They say the key to avoiding lawsuits at company office parties are: no alcohol, no kissing, and no dancing. Isn't that church?

permalink source: Jay Leno (early Jan 2004)
tags: Church

How to Stay Safe in the World Today 1. Avoid riding in automobiles because they are responsible for 20% of all fatal accidents. 2. Do not stay home because 17% of all accidents occur in the home. 3. Avoid walking on streets or sidewalks because 14% of all accidents happen to pedestrians. 4. Avoid traveling by air, rail or water because 16% of all accidents involve these forms of transportation. 5. Of the remaining 33%, 32% of all deaths occur in hospitals. Above all else, avoid hospitals. You will be pleased to learn that only .001% of all deaths occur in worship services or in bible studies, and these are usually related to previous physical disorders. Therefore, logic tells us that the safest place for you to be at any given point of time is at church!

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church

For many Mystery Worshippers the most challenging part of the review process is its requirement that they test the degree to which each church welcomes strangers. The instructions are clear. At the end of the service, they are asked to stand alone in the back of the church for five minutes -- looking sad and lonely. The goal is to count the number of people who approach them to chat. Nearly 50 percent of the time, the answer is "zero."

permalink source: Terry Mattingly on Ship of Fools Mystery Worshiper
tags: Church, Evangelism

Craig Brian Larson reminds us of the time that, "Not long ago, the world watched as three gray whales, icebound off Point Barrow, Alaska, floated battered and bloody, gasping for breath at a hole in the ice. Their only hope: somehow to be transported five miles past the ice pack to open sea. Rescuers began cutting a string of breathing holes about twenty yards apart in the six-inch-thick ice. "For eight days they coaxed the whales from one hole to the next, mile after mile. Along the way, one of the trio vanished and was presumed dead. But finally, with the help of Russian icebreakers, the whales Putu and Siku swam to freedom. "In a way, worship is a string of breathing holes the Lord provides his people. Battered and bruised in a world frozen over with greed, selfishness, and hatred, we rise for air in church, a place to breathe again, to be loved and encouraged, until that day when the Lord forever shatters the ice cap."

permalink source: (Craig Brian Larson, Leadership, Vol. 11, no. 2)
tags: Church, Worship, Call To Worship

Big wind, lotta dust, no rain.

permalink source: American Indian chief after attending church.
tags: Church, Preaching

It is difficult to be indifferent to a wide-awake Christian, a real live person of God. It is even more difficult to be indifferent to a whole body of Christians like this. You can hat them or you can love them, but one thing is certain. You can’t ignore them. There is something about them that won’t let you. It isn’t so much what they say or what they do. The thing that seems to haunt you is what they do. The thing that seems to haunt you is what they are. You can’t put them out of your mind any more than you can shake off your shadow. They confront you with an entirely different way of life -- a new way of thinking, a changed set of values, a higher standard of living. In short, they face you with the kingdom of God. There is no washing of hands. These people must be crowned or crucified, for they are either mighty right or mighty wrong.

permalink source: Clarence Jordan, Koinonia Farm
tags: Church, Commitment, Discipleship, Community

I need the Christ in you, and you need the Christ that is in me. We need each other.

permalink source: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
tags: Church, Discipleship, Community

The church also communicates ungrace through its lack of unity. Mark Twain used to say that he put a cat and a dog in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did, so he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic; soon there was not a living thing. – What’s So Amazing About Grace, p. 33

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Conflict, Religion, Denominations

The church… is not the master or servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Politics

I do not think much of “spiritual” communities. They do not last. People are friends for a while, but it eventually ends. Anything that is going to last must have a much deeper foundation than some kind of spiritual experience. Unless we have community in the body, in things material, we will never have it in spiritual matters. We are not mere spirits. We are human beings of flesh and blood.

permalink source: Christoph Blumhardt
tags: Church, Community, Fellowship

A truck driver declared, “I always thought I was in the world to go to church. Now I see that I am in the church in order to go into the world.” By: Nelvin Vos Source: Seven Days a Week, Nelvin Vos, Laity Exchange Books, 1985, pg. 20

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Work, Evangelism

Mr. Business went to Mass; he never missed a Sunday. Mr Business went to hell for what he did on Monday. By: Ed Willock

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Work

"On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return." (40)

permalink source: Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk (40)
tags: Church, Faith, Call To Worship

<img src="http://glenandpaula.com/quotes/uploads/1106697866CC408.jpg" width="320" height="421"> mosaic

permalink source: source
tags: Church, Body Of Christ

http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2005/001/3.8.html American Christians live in the richest nation on earth and enjoy an average household income of $42,409.17 The World Bank reports that 1.2 billion of the world's poorest people try to survive on just one dollar a day. At least one billion people have never heard the gospel. The Ronsvalles point out that if American Christians just tithed, they would have another $143 billion available to empower the poor and spread the gospel.18 Studies by the United Nations suggest that just an additional $70–$80 billion a year would be enough to provide access to essential services like basic health care and education for all the poor of the earth.19 If they did no more than tithe, American Christians would have the private dollars to foot this entire bill and still have $60–$70 billion more to do evangelism around the world. ... Fully 26 percent of traditional evangelicals do not think premarital sex is wrong, and 46 percent of nontraditional evangelicals say it is morally okay.24 And extramarital sex? Of traditional evangelicals, 13 percent say it is okay for married persons to have sex with someone other than one's spouse. And 19 percent of nontraditional evangelicals say adultery is morally acceptable.25 ... Only 9 percent of born-again adults and 2 percent of born-again teenagers have a biblical worldview

permalink source: The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience Ronald J. Sider in Books & Culture Jan/Feb 2005
tags: Apologetics, Church, Sex, Greed, Giving

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2005/01/08/do0806.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2005/01/08/ixop.html Sacred mysteries By Christopher Howse (Filed: 08/01/2005) Will cathedrals pay the price? English cathedrals have started reimposing admission charges or introducing more or less compulsory "donations". Their finances are under strain because fewer foreign tourists have been bringing in money since September 11 2001. But the reappearance of the turnstile is "bound to create disquiet and raise some fundamental questions about the nature of the cathedrals' future work". That is the opinion of the Very Rev Trevor Beeson, whose new book The Deans (SCM Press, £19.99) is published on Monday. He speaks from experience, for he spent a decade as Dean of Winchester. It is the deans who run cathedrals, with the cathedral chapter, and local bishops have less say over them than over any other church in their dioceses. Trevor Beeson does not use the word "betrayal", but he does say that the abolition of such obstacles to entry is "essential to a cathedral's mission". It is only 80 years since cathedrals were opened up without payment to visitors and worshippers, and the man who made it possible is one of Trevor Beeson's heroes, Frank Bennett, who transformed Chester cathedral in the 1920s. Bennett did not want to be Dean of Chester when he was appointed in 1920. He had had little contact with cathedrals and "looked upon deans as the fortunate occupants of an office in the Church of England that could easily be dispensed with altogether". But by 1925, when he published The Nature of a Cathedral, he had not only changed his ideas, he had established a working model of a cathedral as "the Bishop's and his Family's great House of Prayer". By "Family" Bennet meant principally the people of the diocese, and he saw as "outrageous" the charging of sixpence for those people "to whom the cathedral really belongs" to spend a limited time looking round it. That was the usual thing. Vergers could act almost as showmen. In the 19th century, Westminster Abbey had waxworks exhibited for the paying customer. Frank Bennett threw open the doors of Chester cathedral from early morning to dusk. Beautifully printed and framed notices explained the purpose of various parts of the building. Side chapels were looked after by diocesan organisations - the Mothers' Union, the Scouts and so on. There were no locked gates and no officials demanding 6d. Voluntary donations outdid former fees fourfold. Dean Bennett abolished the singing of early-morning matins, preferring to concentrate on sung evensong, choosing popular items of music when larger congregations gathered on Saturdays. The daily services were: matins (said, not sung) at 7.30am; Eucharist at 7.50am (said, but sung on Wednesday and Friday at 9.15am); sung evensong at 5pm. A far reaching innovation was "people's Communion" at 9am on Sundays. In most parishes at the time the lengthy programme of Sunday services was enough to "fairly wear the godly out and frighten the not very godly clean away". A 9am Communion, with organ and singing, was not as daunting as an earlier service, for working people who had spent the week getting up early, and it gave families free time after its conclusion at about 10am. For him, tinkering with service times was not the whole answer. If the cathedral was to be the great House of Prayer for the bishop and his "Family", then he had to live near the cathedral and enter into its life regularly. Bennett rebuilt the ruined monastic refectory at Chester not just as a commercial teashop, but to serve the parties from all over the diocese who came to use the cathedral. Parish groups would hold short services in the cathedral and end their visit with lunch or tea in the refectory. Since Bennett's day, ordinary life has become less integrated with the parish church. But interest in cathedrals remains high. BBC2 has just begun a new prime-time series on their history. In Trevor Beeson's view, the realisation that mission is the priority in Christian life means that parish system will be remade. Meanwhile cathedrals must retain their "heritage" role, provide theological resources for the diocese, and, foremost, ensure that worship of the highest level is offered.

permalink source: news wire
tags: Church, Evangelism

<img src="http://glenandpaula.com/quotes/uploads/1106724636scott-mutter-churchaislelg1204.jpg" width="385" height="600">

permalink source: Scott Mutter "Surrational Images"
tags: Church, Evangelism, Culture

Religion is a popular thing and, in that sense, a vulgar thing. Anyone who's fastidious by temperament or refined by education or upbringing, will usually find something in the average church service to displease them, either intellectually or aesthetically.

permalink source: I'm not sure who said this
tags: Church, Religion

<b>But many Christians would look at this church and say it's dead, merely an institutional expression of the faith.</b> What other church is there besides institutional? There's nobody who doesn't have problems with the church, because there's sin in the church. But there's no other place to be a Christian except the church. There's sin in the local bank. There's sin in the grocery stores. I really don't understand this naïve criticism of the institution. I really don't get it. Frederick von Hugel said the institution of the church is like the bark on the tree. There's no life in the bark. It's dead wood. But it protects the life of the tree within. And the tree grows and grows and grows and grows. If you take the bark off, it's prone to disease, dehydration, death. So, yes, the church is dead but it protects something alive. And when you try to have a church without bark, it doesn't last long. It disappears, gets sick, and it's prone to all kinds of disease, heresy, and narcissism.

permalink source: Eugene Peterson, "Spirituality For All The Wrong Reasons", http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/003/26.42.html
tags: Church

If I had to choose between the university and the Church, I will let go of the university and I will keep the Church. For the Church would have the intelligence to build the university again, for they did it once. But the university would have neither the intelligence or the spirit to build the Church.

permalink source: Ernest Cadman Colwell
tags: Church, College

To say "I was hurt by the church and just can't consider it any longer" is as silly as someone saying ""I had my heart broken as a teenager and just can't consider relationships anymore." Of course you had your heart broken as a teenager. But the problem was not with romance itself, but with your context and habits. Mature people do not give up on the goal, but learn to pursue it differently. Likewise with the church. Pursue the goal of Christian community, but do it in a different way.

permalink source: Glen
tags: Church, Community

I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence.

permalink source: Doug McLeod
tags: Church, Faith

Christianese: "If it be God's will." Translation: "I really don't think God is going to answer this one. Christianese: "Let's have a word of prayer." Translation: "I am going to pray for a long, long, long time." Christianese: "That's not my spiritual gift." Translation: "Find someone else." Christianese: "Fellowship" Translation: "Organized gluttony." Christianese: "The Lord works in mysterious ways." Translation: "I'm totally clueless." Christianese: "Lord willing . . ." Translation: "You may think I'll be there, but I won't." Christianese: "I don't feel led." Translation: "Can't make me." Christianese: "God led me to do something else." Translation: I slept in instead of going to church. Christianese: "God really helped me with this test." Translation: "I didn't study but I guessed good, so I'm giving God credit in the hope that He helps me again." Christianese: "She has such a sweet spirit!" Translation: "What an airhead!" Christianese: "I have a 'check' in my spirit about him." Translation: "I can't stand that jerk!" Christianese: "I'll be praying for you." Translation: "There's an outside chance I'll remember this conversation later today." Christianese: "Prayer concerns" Translation: "Gossip" Christianese: "In conclusion . . . " Translation: "I'll be done in another hour or so." Christianese: "Let us pray" Translation: "I'm going to pretend to talk to God now, but I'm really preaching at you." Christianese: "You just have to put it in God's hands." Translation: "Don't expect me to help you." Christianese: "God wants to prosper you!" Translation: "Give me all your money."

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Evangelism, Language

I have little tolerance for this notion that you can be a follower of Christ and skip this whole church thing. It's kind of like saying you're a swimmer but you never saw the importance of water. If you don't like water, you're not a swimmer--and if you think church is unimportant, you're not a Christian. Let's see, Jesus dies for the Church and you treat her with disdain? Don't claim love and fidelity for the husband and treat the bride with contempt.

permalink source: http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2006/01/church-definitely-local.html
tags: Church

Now, I know there are some who say “Well, I hope I have given myself to the Lord, but I do not intend to give myself to any church. “Now, why not?” "Because I can be a Christian without it." Now, are you quite clear about that? You can be as good a Christian by disobedience to your Lord’s commands as by being obedient? Well, suppose everybody else did the same, suppose all Christians in the world said, “I shall not join the Church.” Why there would be no visible Church, there would be no ordinances. That would be a very bad thing, and yet, one doing it—-what is right for one is right for all—-why should not all of us do it? Then you believe that if you were to do an act which has a tendency to destroy the visible Church of God, you would be as good a Christian as if you did your best to build up that Church? I do not believe it, sir! nor do you either. You have not any such a belief; it is only a trumpery excuse for something else. There is a brick—-a very good one. What is the brick made for? To help to build a house with. It is of no use for that brick to tell you that it is just as good a brick while it is kicking about on the ground as it would be in the house. It is a good-for-nothing brick; until it is built into the wall, it is no good. So you rolling-stone Christians, I do not believe that you are answering your purpose; you are living contrary to the life which Christ would have you live, and you are much to blame for the injury you do.

permalink source: Charles Spurgeon from sermon no. 3411 "Joining the Church"
tags: Church

“Today’s Christianity is a matter of being elevated for an hour once a week just as in the theater. It is now used to hearing everything without having the remotest notion of doing something.”

permalink source: Provocations, The Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard
tags: Church, Entertainment

We Best See Ourselves Through The Eyes of Others

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. –1 Thessalonians 5:14 This is one of my favorite passages. It helps us see there are people in our midst who are idle, some who are fainthearted and others who are weak. A wise minister/counselor will use a different tool for each person. .... When someone is set in their ways and living in active rebellion you don’t coddle them with a message of grace and Jesus loves you. You admonish them. But at the same time you don’t admonish the faint-hearted. As one person has said, “Wisdom dictated that they should not ‘warn the weak’ nor ‘encourage the idle’”. Instead we are to “encourage the faint-hearted”. ... We don’t see things correctly. The idle often think they’re weak. The faint-hearted rebuke themselves for idleness. We need another set of loving eyes to come alongside us and properly apply the gospel. And for that you need a local church. And for that to actually “work” and matter and do what it’s supposed to do—you need to pursue being known and to know others.

permalink source: WHY YOUR ONLINE “CHURCH” ISN’T ENOUGH, DECEMBER 17, 2018, MIKE LEAKE, http://www.mikeleake.net/2018/12/why-your-online-church-isnt-enough.html
tags: Church, Wisdom, Counseling, Community, Self-awareness

Church Attendance Is Complicated

Stated simply, the number one reason for the decline in church attendance is that members attend with less frequency than they did just a few years ago. Allow me to explain. If the frequency of attendance changes, then attendance will respond accordingly. For example, if 200 members attend every week the average attendance is, obviously, 200. But if one-half of those members miss only one out of four weeks, the attendance drops to 175. Did you catch that? No members left the church. Everyone is still relatively active in the church. But attendance declined over 12 percent because half the members changed their attendance behavior slightly.

permalink source: The Number 1 Reason For The Decline In Church Attendance… (Thom Ranier, Facts & Trends), https://factsandtrends.net/2018/12/17/the-number-1-reason-for-the-decline-in-church-attendance/
tags: Church, Statistics

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