Monthly Archives: May 2010

We Have the Gospel: A Perspective for Small Churches with Small Resources

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GBTG: We Have the Gospel from Matthew Perry on Vimeo.

This is a video I shot in my living room back in September 2009 (eight months and 30 pounds ago!). But this truly lines up with the mission of this blog. I’d enjoy any feedback you may have!

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To Be Young At Heart: Rethinking Senior Adult Ministries

I so appreciate the ministry of Thom Rainer at LifeWay. He has now given us some helpful information on five major trends for churches in America. I am already starting to see some of these trends. Allow me to share with you one particular trend:

Senior adult ministries in churches will experience steep declines. As the large Baby Boomer generation moves into their older years, they will resist any suggestion that they are senior adults, no matter how senior they may be. Unfortunately, many churches are slow to adapt to new realities. If they do senior adult ministry the way they’ve always done it, it will be headed for failure.

Our “senior” adults act younger that at any other point–and this is typical of the ‘boomer’ generation (those born from 1946-1965). And even at my church, there are those who are in their late 50s and early 60s (seniors by AARP standards) who do not have a senior adult mindset of ready and waiting for ‘retirement.’ Our newer senior adults do not want to stop!

I think of that song Frank Sinatra made popular: “Don’t you know that it’s worth every treasure on earth to be young at heart.” That typifies most of our new senior adults.

I appreciate Dr. Rainer’s advice on rethinking senior adult ministry. It cannot be as before, and it cannot be business as usual. These younger seniors do not want a chaplain, they want to be part of the army marching for the Lord!

What are some things you all are doing in rethinking senior adult ministries in 2010?

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Success from a Godly Perspective

We should never dumb down God’s power to our level in order to protect ourselves from disappointment. We should determine to offer people what God has promised and willingly deal with the consequences. I would rather fail according to human standards, by offering people the hope of transformation God has promised, than to succeed by watering down God’s truth, ensuring they never find it. . . . I’d rather fail believing in God’s promises and power than succeed by diminishing them (Brad Powell, Change Your Church for Good, p. 45).

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A History of the Church (Powerful!)

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Two Histories of the Church from Granger Community on Vimeo.

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A History of the Church (Powerful!)

Two Histories of the Church from Granger Community on Vimeo.

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Reflections on Mother’s Day Service 2010 at Boone’s Creek

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=11623047&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Reflections on Mother’s Day 2010 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church from Matthew Perry on Vimeo.

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A Great Enemy to Sunday Mornings: Saturday Nights

What do you, as a Christian, do on Saturday nights?  (Take time to make a list here.)

Now, examine that list, and ask: “How will this help preparing my heart and mind to absorb the Word and fellowship with His people on Sunday morning?”

Here is a way to get ready for Sunday morning.

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When Your Church Loses Momentum

I’m currently reading through Gary L. McIntosh’s book Taking Your Church to the Next Level: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.  He spends time talking about what an emerging church, a growing church, a consolidating church, a declining church, and a dying church look like.  In a sense, he seems to say that what makes churches more dynamic than not is whether they have a clear vision of what the church should be and are willing to pursue that vision in their cultural context.

I pastor a 225 year old church here at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church and one of the words that has started to move forward in my mind is the word ‘momentum.’  Listen to McIntosh’s analogy:

Think of a large cruise ship traveling at top speed.  What would happen to such a ship if it suddenly shut off its engines while in the middle of an ocean?  Would it come to an immediate stop?  No, the momentum established would keep the ship going.  The passengers would not notice the slowdown at first and would likely keep enjoying the various activities on deck.  Very slowly, almost totally unrecognized, the ship would begin to show down.  The friction of the water and waves working against the hull of the ship, while at first hardly perceptible, would create drag, slowing the ship.  Winds blowing against the upper decks, again going unnoticed, would push against the ship, adding to the overall resistance.  Eventually the ship would come to a stop, drifting aimlessly on the waves and currents (p. 97). 

This is a danger for every church older than 25 years of age, in my opinion.  They start their church, find a mission, love the Word, love the people in their culture and in their church, and momentum ensues.  When they reach their goals, the danger is for a satisfying lull to take place afterwards.

Ed Stetzer noted one time that the reason so many are planting churches now is that it’s easier to birth a baby than raise the dead.  He has written an excellent book with Mike Dodson called Comeback Churches that I highly recommend.  He notes that the priority of pastors in comeback churches are to

  • Preach/disciple the Word of God clearly and boldly
  • Train the leaders and thus help effectively multiply your ministry;
  • Win the lost to Christ.

Smaller, historic churches lose momentum when they begin to see what the church can do for them, rather than what they as the church should do for Christ and the culture in which he has planted them.  They begin to see pastors as Captain Chaplain who keep the boat steady, keep the passengers happy, and keep the activities eventful for those already on board. 

Rather, the pastor ultimately has Christ and the glory of God fully in mind.  When churches begin to live beyond their means and rely of Christ’s riches rather than their own resources or comfort, momentum will build in Jesus’ name by the power of the Spirit. 

It’s His church.

He knows how best to pilot it.

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Books Read in April 2010

  • Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals by Trevin Wax.  So many Caesars are vying for our attention:  money, sex, success, leisure, etc.  Wax brings a very pastoral tone to this very important topic.   
  • Visit the Sick by Brian Croft.  A wonderful book on the biblical, historical, and practical reasons for pastors to visit.  Check out my review here.
  • Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer.  For the most part, a helpful understanding of why many young adults have left the church.  From their vantage point, the church is not interacting well with what’s being taught in schools.  We must be more proactive in teaching them the truth of creation.  For more information about their ministry, log on to http://www.answersingenesis.org .
  • It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel.  A helpful book on developing vision and maintaining the momentum of that vision.  He gets a bit silly at times with his illustrations, but chapters 11 and 12 are worth the entire book.
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Recommended Reading

Recently, I was asked to offer some recommended reading in various areas and to have it posted on our website.  Feel free to suggest other books that may be good to add to these lists!

Bible Doctrine

Christian Life

Leadership

Ecclesiology (The Study of the Church)

Church History

Evangelism and Missions

Biographies

Apologetics

Marriage and Family

Ministry

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