Friday, May 31, 2013

Small Church Advantage, Big Church Challenge


If the people in your small church are loving and kind to others,
you already have what so many are longing for.
 
We can talk a lot about the numbers of people who are part of our church, how many services, campuses or video venues we have, and how big we are growing. But I believe most church leaders would admit that generally the most important aspects of spiritual formation occur in some sort of smaller setting.

At Vintage Faith Church, we put a lot of effort into our three Sunday worship gatherings that have preaching and music. We hope they are as big as possible, and we are praying right now about adding another one. But when I listen to stories during baptisms of people who have become Christians or people who made major life decisions, they speak about the small meetings and relationships formed in them. My life also was changed eternally in a small church. As a local church body, we dream of seeing hundreds more become part of Vintage Faith, but we know that the “small” is where God really does deeper things and decisions are made.

Finding Community

It may sound strange, but big churches should strive to be “small” churches. I believe this resonates with emerging generations. I am in enough conversations with young adults to hear that “big” is not always better. They define “community” as much more intense, open and vulnerable than their counterparts in generations past. Emerging generations also generally are suspicious of church leaders. The smaller the church, the easier it can be to build deeper relationships and gain trust. However, the good news is that even megachurches can achieve this “small” feeling and experience, if they place a value on it and design things accordingly to see people get into small communities within the whole. A church of 10,000 can feel like a church of 100 if it emphasizes the “small” in addition to the “big.”

Growing the Kingdom

For small churches today, this desire for “small” is something to celebrate. If the people in your small church are loving and kind to others, you already have what so many are longing for. But while we fully celebrate being small, we can never lose the vision of becoming big. I don’t mean wanting to become a megachurch. I simply mean “big” in terms of the passionate prayer and hope of seeing someone come to know who Jesus is and put faith in Him that never fades. We can take pride in being small like the house churches of the early church, but it can’t be at the expense of failing to help new people who aren’t already in our small church come to know Jesus. Too many small churches today are staying small because they’re content with their tight community of believers, to the detriment of the people outside their church who don’t yet know Jesus.

In big churches, we need to remember the importance of “small” for life transformation. And if small churches don’t have “big” prayers and dreams about seeing someone who isn’t a Christian become one, we need to remember the truth that church is about mission, which includes taking action to see the Gospel proclaimed to people outside our small churches.

Having all kinds of churches of all sizes is wonderful. But no matter the size, may we be concerned with those following Jesus experiencing life transformation in community and those who don’t know Jesus coming to know Him. May our size never interfere with seeing people find and experience new life.
By Dan Kimball • 02/29/2012

DAN KIMBALL serves on the staff of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, Calif., and is the author of a number of books. Dan is also one of the core leaders for Origins, a new network of individuals focused on evangelism to new generations.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ready for a little laughter?

 
 
I came across this clip a few days ago and as I watched it several times I had tears in my eyes from laughter.  Laughter is good medicine for the soul.  Enjoy... 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time for prayer: Beware of the rain clouds ...

Tonight we gather for prayer at 6:30pm at NRN.  Thought you would like to see this article as we prepare for a time of prayer.


Prayer is something that the Christian uses to communicate with God. Prayer takes place not only when there is a need, but also when giving thanks, praising and communicating with God. Communicating with God through prayer should never cease in the life of the believer.
The problem arises when prayer gatherings among believers take place and all that’s talked about is what the enemy is doing in the lives of the believers.

I’ve always been an extremely upbeat and positive person. It’s impossible for me to see the glass as half empty. In fact, my glass is almost completely full with only about ¼ inch of room for more liquid at the top.
 
With that being the case, I find myself in an awkward position when it comes to prayer gatherings where individuals take turns testifying of what the devil is doing in their lives and in the lives of their loved ones. If you’ve never been to one of these types of meetings, they can happen spontaneously almost anywhere there is a Christian gathering.

Optimism has always placed my trust in God and in His Word. I know He has the last say in my life and I immediately give whatever problem that arises in my life to Him.
Out of a genuine care and concern for the brethren, someone will ask if there are any prayer requests and someone else will begin the testimonies. Some pretty dramatic needs can come to light in these types of gatherings.

I’ve always wanted to be a contributor in these sessions, but almost 100% of the time I find myself not even listening to the prayer requests that are being made. As the prayer requests are going around the room, I find that my mind is racing, trying to grab hold of anything that I can share as a need in my life. Being a person of hope and optimism, I’ve always hated being in this position.

I know life is not perfect and we all have needs. But as I sit in these meetings I find it extremely difficult to come up with anything of any weight at all to contribute to the group. My optimism has always placed my trust in God and in His Word. I know He has the last say in my life and I immediately give whatever problem that arises in my life to Him. Consequently, I never have any problems to share.

Prayer Overdose

Most people from the age of 2 up can move a 5 lbs. dumb bell. Even if the 2 year old can’t lift the 5 lbs. dumb bell, he or she can certainly move it. Then as the child grows, they gain the strength to move heavier weights as their bodies grow and develop.
The same is true with prayer. If we begin to handle life’s 5lb problems through prayer, we grow stronger and much more able to handle the weightier things that come against us later on in our Christian lives.

What I’ve found however is that new Christians never learn to handle the 5 lbs. issues in their lives. Instead they develop a habit of seeking prayer from others in how to handle their 5 lbs. problems. They never gain the strength needed to handle the issues of life on their own through prayer.
Now years later you have a 20, 30, or 40 year old Christian who doesn’t have the spiritual strength to move 5lbs problems in their lives. When the 100, 500, or 1000 lb. problems comes along, they are completely overwhelmed and they have no recourse other than to seek help from the group because no significant spiritual growth has ever taken place in their lives.

Please don’t get me wrong, I believe in prayer. One person, no matter how strong, cannot move 1000 lbs. alone. Getting brothers and sisters to pray for you to get the hand of God to move in your life is scriptural and warranted when facing the weightier issues of life. However, sharing my 5 lbs. problem with a group of people and asking them to join me in prayer when I’m 30 years old in the Lord is a sign of spiritual immaturity and plain old laziness in my opinion.

Beware of Rain Clouds

As these negative testimonies continue around the room, in my mind I see the room getting darker and darker. It’s as if storm clouds are gathering and preparing to dump 6 inches of rain on everyone in the room. Just recently God revealed to me that this happens to me because evil is being glorified more than the power of God to overcome the evil taking place in the lives of those who are sharing.
If you are a part of a small group at your church or any group or organization who meets regularly to do these types of check ins, I encourage you to be the person that reminds everyone that the power of God is mightier than the problems that are being shared.

It’s understood that problems arise in our lives but don’t leave the prayer room with the problems magnified larger than God who is the solution to the problems. If 30% of what you share is dealing with a problem you are seeking prayer for, make sure the other 70% of what you share deals with the goodness of God that’s taking place in your life.
Sharing your testimony of the goodness of God taking place in your life will prevent the dark, heavy storm clouds from filling the room and will be the catalyst for the manifestation of answered prayer in the lives of those who need it.

 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

A tribute of Remembrance on Memorial Day 2013

On this Memorial Day I offer a tribute of remembrance:



Pictures of my dad: Paul Richard Hudgens during World War II

 
 
 
 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Reflections from my message today at NRN


Here are a few reflections from my message today about the Called Out Ones.  You can listen to the audio message at our church web site - NRN.

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”.  "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."    Matthew 16:13-19
 

1. What is the “Rock?”.
 Understanding Our LORD   AS   GOD.
Why we CHOOSE   TO   FOLLOW  Christ?
 
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."                                                                  Matthew 16:16 
 
 
 
2. What is the “Church?”
Understanding Our UNITY  in DIVERSITY .
                      Who we are in Christ?
I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.          Matthew 16:18 
ekklÄ“sia - “called out”
 
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
3. What are the “Keys of the Kingdom?”
Understanding Our  MISSIONAL    AUTHORITHY  .
              What we are to do in Christ?
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

ROCK   -   CHURCH  -   KEYS  
 
 "When we seek out that which is lost, we are loving our neighbor as we love ourselves and valuing people as God values them. If we as the Church keep this as our core focus and mission, we will never become an empty building or mere tourist attraction. We will be so occupied and fulfilled with doing what the Church was placed on this earth to do – taking what is inside the Church out into a broken world – that our doors will never close. The lost will be drawn to us because of our open arms and our loving, safe environment.
 
- Christina Caine, Stop Acting Like a Christian, Just Be One (Regal, 2007)
 
 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Preparing for Worship on Sunday May 26 2013

As I prepare for worship tomorrow at NRN God has spoken to me about  my message.  I am very excited about our time together.  It is a holiday weekend.  We will give honor to those who have served our country and give praise and adoration to our great God.  Here is the worship set we have planned:











We will then gather for prayer and bring our request and thanks for answered prayers to the altar.   We will also pause for a time of remembrance in Memorial for those who have given their lives in defense of our nation and in securing our freedom.





At the close of my message I plan to ask everyone to stand and sing to the Lord a song as a demonstration our dedication and commitment to Him to serve as one called out! 


I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.                                                                                       Matthew 16:18 

ekklÄ“sia - “called out”

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.                                                                                                          1 Peter 2:9 




Friday, May 24, 2013

Parable of the Fishing Trip

God has spoken to me about my message for this coming Sunday.  Though  I was planning to resume my teaching series on Mr. and Mrs. Betterhalf -  God has directed me to another message.  I plan to continue the message from last Sunday about the importance of being a Missional Church. 
 
 Here is a short primer for the message this Sunday.
 
 
 
 
Check back tomorrow for the planned order of worship! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The testimony of a bagpiper - enjoy!

Here is a little something I thought you would enjoy:

A testimony -

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions.

 I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.

 I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, and we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

 As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”                                                                                                                  ~ Unknown
 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why is prayer necessary?

Tonight we will gather for prayer at NRN.  The number of people coming to pray is growing and I believe God is moving in our church. So why is prayer necessary?  

Consider this message below and begin a day of prayer...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tornado rips through Oklahoma City area

I am having major problems with my blog and may have to walk away for several days to see if I can remove the add banner that blocks the edit bar for my posting.  If you know how to remove this - please send me a message via a comment.

Today I am praying for the people of Moore, OK.

 Several tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa on Sunday and Monday. The most severely affected town is Moore, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City.

The tornado struck Monday afternoon. The National Weather Service classified it as an EF-5 and said it reached up to a half-mile wide. At least 24 people are dead and more than a hundred are injured as of Tuesday morning.  Two area elementary schools, Plaza Towers and Briarwood, took significant damage. All students and teachers were accounted for at Briarwood, but
at least seven children were killed at Plaza Towers and some are still missing. The town has no running water and more than 40,000 people are without electricity.

Southwest Oklahoma District Superintendent Jim Cooper said Moore Church of the Nazarene, located about two miles from the destruction zone, wants to be a part of any relief effort to the hundreds without homes, clothing, and resources. He says that there are probably some from the church whose children attended the two damaged elementary schools.

General Superintendent Stan A. Toler will travel to the area on Tuesday with a Nazarene Compassionate Ministries team. Days before his election as general superintendent, Toler was elected superintendent of the Southwest Oklahoma District. He previously pastored two churches in Oklahoma City.

How to help
Persons and churches wishing to make a donation can do so online through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries at 
ncm.org.

 Here is a clip I saw on the news today that touched my heart:



Monday, May 20, 2013

Ministry beyond the walls of our church building

Here is a little more about being missional -
are you ready to hear from several pastors about this?
 
Ask yourself about what you are listening too...
does it ...should it ...make a difference in how you live your life today?  

 
 
 

I know this is a promo for curriculum - however the message comes through clearly....

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reflections from my message today: No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets

This morning at NRN I shared from my heart the message that God gave me for today.  The Scriptures are clear that we are to be missional in our lifestyle.  We have a clear mandate to glorify God and represent Jesus Christ in all we do.  Jesus should do more that hold first place in our life - He should be the Center of our life. We must take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.

In closing of my message I shared about the life of William Borden:



 
 
In 1904 William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. As heir to the Borden family fortune, he was already wealthy. For his high school graduation present, his parents gave 16-year-old Borden a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world's hurting people. Finally, Bill Borden wrote home about his "desire to be a missionary."1

     One friend expressed disbelief that Bill was "throwing himself away as a missionary."
     In response, Borden wrote two words in the back of his Bible: "No reserves."

     Even though young Borden was wealthy, he arrived on the campus of Yale University in 1905 trying to look like just one more freshman. Very quickly, however, Borden's classmates noticed something unusual about him and it wasn't that he had lots of money. One of them wrote: "He came to college far ahead, spiritually, of any of us. He had already given his heart in full surrender to Christ and had really done it. We who were his classmates learned to lean on him and find in him a strength that was solid as a rock, just because of this settled purpose and consecration."2

     During his college years, Bill Borden made an entry in his personal journal that defined what his classmates were seeing in him. That entry said simply: "Say 'no' to self and 'yes' to Jesus every time."3

     Borden's first disappointment at Yale came when the university president spoke in convocation about the students' need of "having a fixed purpose." After that speech, Borden wrote: "He neglected to say what our purpose should be, and where we should get the ability to persevere and the strength to resist temptations."4 Surveying the Yale faculty and much of the student body, Borden lamented what he saw as the end result of an empty, humanistic philosophy: moral weakness and sin-ruined lives.

     During his first semester at Yale, Borden started something that would transform campus life. One of his friends described how it began: "It was well on in the first term when Bill and I began to pray together in the morning before breakfast. I cannot say positively whose suggestion it was, but I feel sure it must have originated with Bill. We had been meeting only a short time when a third student joined us and soon after a fourth. The time was spent in prayer after a brief reading of Scripture. Bill's handling of Scripture was helpful. . . . He would read to us from the Bible, show us something that God had promised and then proceed to claim the promise with assurance."5

     Borden's small morning prayer group gave birth to a movement that soon spread across the campus. By the end of his first year, 150 freshmen were meeting weekly for Bible study and prayer. By the time Bill Borden was a senior, one thousand of Yale's 1,300 students were meeting in such groups.

     Borden made it his habit to seek out the most "incorrigible" students and try to bring them to salvation. "In his sophomore year we organized Bible study groups and divided up the class of 300 or more, each man interested taking a certain number, so that all might, if possible, be reached. The names were gone over one by one, and the question asked, 'Who will take this person?' When it came to someone thought to be a hard proposition, there would be an ominous pause. Nobody wanted the responsibility. Then Bill's voice would be heard, 'Put him down to me.'"6

     Borden's outreach ministry was not confined to the Yale campus. He cared about widows and orphans and the disabled. He rescued drunks from the streets of New Haven. To try to rehabilitate them, he founded the Yale Hope Mission. One of Bill Borden's friends wrote that he "might often be found in the lower parts of the city at night, on the street, in a cheap lodging house or some restaurant to which he had taken a poor hungry fellow to feed him, seeking to lead men to Christ."7

     Borden's missionary call narrowed to the Muslim Kansu people in China. Once he fixed his eyes on that goal, Borden never wavered. He also challenged his classmates to consider missionary service. One of them said of him: "He certainly was one of the strongest characters I have ever known, and he put backbone into the rest of us at college. There was real iron in him, and I always felt he was of the stuff martyrs were made of, and heroic missionaries of more modern times."8

     Although he was a millionaire, Bill seemed to "realize always that he must be about his Father's business, and not wasting time in the pursuit of amusement."9 Although Borden refused to join a fraternity, "he did more with his classmates in his senior year than ever before." He presided over the huge student missionary conference held at Yale and served as president of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa.

     Upon graduation from Yale, Borden turned down some high-paying job offers. In his Bible, he wrote two more words: "No retreats."

     William Borden went on to do graduate work at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. When he finished his studies at Princeton, he sailed for China. Because he was hoping to work with Muslims, he stopped first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted spinal meningitis. Within a month, 25-year-old William Borden was dead.

     When the news of William Whiting Borden's death was cabled back to the U.S., the story was carried by nearly every American newspaper. "A wave of sorrow went round the world . . . Borden not only gave (away) his wealth, but himself, in a way so joyous and natural that it (seemed) a privilege rather than a sacrifice" wrote Mary Taylor in her introduction to his biography.10

     Was Borden's untimely death a waste? Not in God's perspective. Prior to his death, Borden had written two more words in his Bible. Underneath the words "No reserves" and "No retreats," he had written: "No regrets."

--------------------------------------------------
Portions based on material in Daily Bread, December 31, 1988, and The Yale Standard, Fall 1970 edition.
Chronology / Dates:
  • November 1, 1887 -- birth
  • 1904 -- High school graduation (Chicago)
  • 1905 -- Round-the-world trip
  • 1909 -- Yale graduation
  • December 17, 1912 -- Sails for Egypt on way to China
  • April 9, 1913 -- Death in Egypt
1Taylor, Mrs. Howard. Borden of Yale '09. Philadelphia: China Inland Mission, 1926, page 75.
2Ibid., page 98.
3Ibid., page 122.
4Ibid., page 90.
5Ibid., page 97.
6Ibid., page 150.
7Ibid., page 148.
8Ibid., page 149.
9Ibid., page 149.
10Ibid., page ix.
 
 



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Preparing for worship on Sunday May 19th

Tomorrow will be a great Sunday at NRN.  I am very excited about what God has laid upon my heart to share about our church's future.  This Sunday is our annual:
















Here is the planned songs for worship:
 








Being a Missional Church

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Luke 19:10

 Being missional is intentionally representing Jesus Christ outside the walls of the church and demonstrating His love, truth, and grace to the places we work, go to school, do our shopping, have our fun, take care of our health, where we live, and places we visit.

Following my message we stand and sing together this song of dedication and worship:


Friday, May 17, 2013

One person can make a difference




As we prepare for this Sunday at NRN - our worship begins earlier than normal.  We will begin at 10:30am  We have so much to share and celebrate together!  We invite people to our church not to just come and join us - but to join in with us - to reach the world for Christ!  Where will God use you to impact the life of another person?  Consider this:




Once homeless herself, Kathryn has been feeding the homeless men, women and children of Tracy, Ca. for over 11 years with her own money and assistance from the community. Her outreach brings bags of food, water and clothing to the city parks every Saturday afternoon rain or shine with the mission of meeting people's immediate needs as well as encouraging and helping them get off the streets.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A primer for prayer I used this morning...

This evening at 6:30 several people will join me in prayer at NRN. I appreciate the prayer team that meets so faithfully on Wednesday evening It is always a special time as we gather in faith.  We enjoy good conversation with one another - laughter and sometimes tears.  Then we turn to God in prayer. 

We pray for the request before us. We pray for one another. We pray for our church and stand in the gap for the ministry of NRN. We pray for our city - and state - and nation. 

 If we are aware of your prayer request - we pray for you.

Here is a primer I used to prepare for prayer this morning:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

9 signs your church is ready to reach the unchurched



Almost every church I know says they want to reach unchurched people. But few are actually doing it.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that many churches don’t really understand unchurched people.

And part of the problem is that our model of church is designed to reach and help churched people, not unchurched people. Churches haven’t embraced change deeply enough.

So you can say you want to reach people all day long. You can teach about it every week. But if you haven’t designed your church around ministering to people who don’t go to church, you might as well be preaching that you want to lose weight while eating a triple cheeseburger.

Your model simply doesn’t match your mission.

So how do you know that your church is actually ready to reach unchurched people?

Here are 9 signs your church is ready to embrace unchurched people:

1. Your main services engage teenagers. 

I’ve talked with many church leaders who want to reach unchurched people who can’t understand why unchurched people don’t like their church. They would be stumped until I asked them one last question: do the teens in your church love your services and want to invite their friends? As soon as I asked that question, the leader’s expression would inevitably change. He or she would look down at the floor and say ‘no’. Here’s what I believe: if teens find your main services (yes, the ones you run on Sunday mornings) boring, irrelevant, and disengaging, so will unchurched people. As a rule, if you can design services that engage teenagers, you’ve designed a church service that engages unchurched people.

2. People who attend your church actually know unchurched people. 

Many Christians say they want to reach unchurched people, but they don’t actually know any unchurched people well enough to invite them. Think about co-workers who you sometime catch lunch with but have no church. How about that son or daughter and their children who do not go to church. Think of that person you see often in grocery store and coffee shop that you have not invited to church.  One of the reasons we offer our baseball field to an outside organization is so you can stop by and help serve hotdogs and get to meet new people. One of the reasons we host HOA meetings at our church is so you can volunteer to bring refreshments and greet new people to the church. If the only people you know are people who come to our church – you need to rethink your friendships…. Think of ten unchurched people you know and write their name on an index card and place that card into your Bible to pray for them daily and ask god to open a door when you can invite them to our church.

3. Your attenders are prepared to be non-judgmental. 

Unchurched people do not come ‘pre-converted’. They will have lifestyle issues that might take years to change (and let’s be honest, don’t you?). Cleaning up your behavior is not a pre-condition for salvation, at least not in Christianity. What God has done for us in Jesus saves us; not what we have done for God. Is your congregation really ready to love unchurched people, not just judge them? One of Jesus’ genius approaches was to love people into life change. If your people can do that, you’re ready to reach unchurched people.

4. You’re good with questions. 

This one’s still hard for me. I like to think that every question has an answer. I think one of the reasons unchurched people flee churches is they feel shut down when every question they ask has a snappy or even quick answer. They will find answers, but you need to give them time. Embracing the questions of unchurched people is a form of embracing them.

5. You’re honest about your struggles. 

Unchurched people get suspicious when church leaders and Christians want to appear to have it ‘all together’. Let’s face it, you don’t. And they know it. When you are honest about your struggles, it draws unchurched people closer. I make it a point to tell unchurched people all the time that our church isn’t perfect, that we will probably let them down, but that one of the marks of a Christian community is that we can deal with our problems face to face and honestly, and that I hope we will be able to work it through. There is a strange attraction in that.

6. You have easy, obvious, strategic and helpful steps for new people. 

I am still such a fan of thinking steps, not programs (Here’s an older but awesome (free) Andy Stanley podcast of all Seven Practices of Effective Ministry). One sure sign that you are ready to handle an influx of unchurched people is that your church has a clear, easily accessible path way to move someone from their first visit right through to integration with existing Christians in small groups or other core ministries. Most churches simply have randomly assembled programs that lead nowhere in particular.

7. You’ve dumped all assumptions. 

It’s so easy to assume that unchurched people ‘must know’ at least the basics of the Christian faith. Lose that thinking. How much do you (really) know about Hinduism or Taoism? That’s about how much many unchurched people (really) know about Christianity. Don’t fight it. Embrace it. Make it easy for everyone to access what you are talking about whenever you are talking about it.

8. Your ‘outreach’ isn’t just a program. 

Many Christians think having a ‘service’ for unchurched people or a program designed for unchurched people is enough. It’s not. When you behave like reaching unchurched people can be done through a program or an alternate service, you’re building a giant brick wall for unchurched people to walk into. You might as well tell them “This program is for you, but our church is for us. Sorry.”

9. You are flexible and adaptable. 

In the future, you will not ‘arrive’. I think the approach to unchurched people and the strategy behind the mission of the church needs to be flexible and adaptable. Don’t design a ‘now we are done’ model to reaching unchurched people. You might never be done. Churches that are adaptable and flexible in their strategy (not in their mission or vision) will have the best chance of continually reaching unchurched people. “How quickly can your church change?” will become a defining characteristic of future churches. 

Those are 9 signs I see that your church is ready to reach unchurched people.

What do you see?
 
 
 
This article is by Carey Nieuwhof: Carey Nieuwhof is lead pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of the best selling books, Leading Change Without Losing It and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. Carey speaks to North American and global church leaders about change, leadership, and parenting.
 

Monday, May 13, 2013

MLK - To Serve - This is Powerful

Today my focus turns to preparing for next Sunday at NRN:












Sunday, May 12, 2013

A little something for all the moms on Mother's Day 2013



Here is a little something for all the moms out there...








Saturday, May 11, 2013

Preparing for Worship for Mother's Day 2013

 
Tomorrow at NRN will take time to express appreciation to all ladies present with a free gift of fresh cut carnations. We will honor all the mother's present with a short video clip and applause.
 

My good friend Pastor John Kelly will bring the morning message once again for Mother's Day.
          
He was our guest speaker last year on this day and once again he has agreed to bring the
 message for the day.  We have scheduled an awesome set of songs of our time of worship.

  Enjoy:



Everyone will be welcomed to the time of worship!
And we will stand to offer our praise to God!











Friday, May 10, 2013

Cool Mom - A LOL clip by Anita Renfroe

One more funny clip about Motherhood.

Take a minute to Laugh Out Loud with comedian Anita Renfroe brought to you by Kraft Foods

What's the secret weapon to espionage? Kool Aid! Cool moms know this is the best way to keep track of the neighborhood kids.




Plan to join us for Mother's Day at NRN.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Mom Song = What a mom says in 24 hours...

Time to prepare for Mother's Day - this coming Sunday.

Here is a little something I thought you would enjoy:"The Mom" song, sung to the William Tell Overture, by Anita Renfroe.

What a mom says in 24 hours, condensed into 2 minutes and 55 seconds!



Here are the words:
Get up now
Get up now
Get up out of bed
Wash your face
Brush your teeth
Comb your sleepyhead
Here's your clothes and your shoes
Hear the words I said
Get up now! Get up and make your bed
Are you hot? Are you cold?
Are you wearing that?
Where's your books and your lunch and your homework at?
Grab your coat and gloves and your scarf and hat
Don't forget! You gotta feed the cat
Eat your breakfast, the experts tell us it's the most important meal of all
Take your vitamins so you will grow up one day to be big and tall
Please remember the orthodontist will be seeing you at 3 today
Don't forget your piano lesson is this afternoon so you must play
Don't shovel
Chew slowly
But hurry
The bus is here
Be careful
Come back here
Did you wash behind your ears?
Play outside, don't play rough, will you just play fair?
Be polite, make a friend, don't forget to share
Work it out, wait your turn, never take a dare
Get along! Don't make me come down there
Clean your room, fold your clothes, put your stuff away
Make your bed, do it now, do we have all day?
Were you born in a barn? Would you like some hay?
Can you even hear a word I say?
Answer the phone! Get off the phone!
Don't sit so close, turn it down, no texting at the table
No more computer time tonight!
Your iPod's my iPod if you don't listen up
Where are you going and with whom and what time do you think you're coming home?
Saying thank you, please, excuse me makes you welcome everywhere you roam
You'll appreciate my wisdom someday when you're older and you're grown
Can't wait till you have a couple little children of your own
You'll thank me for the counsel I gave you so willingly
But right now I thank you not to roll your eyes at me
Close your mouth when you chew, would appreciate
Take a bite maybe two of the stuff you hate
Use your fork, do not burp or I'll set you straight
Eat the food I put upon your plate
Get an A, get the door, don't get smart with me
Get a grip, get in here, I'll count to three
Get a job, get a life, get a PHD
Get a dose of,
"I don't care who started it!
You're grounded until you're 36"
Get your story straight and tell the truth for once, for heaven's sake
And if all your friends jumped off a cliff would you jump, too?
If I've said it once, I've said at least a thousand times before
That you're too old to act this way
It must be your father's DNA
Look at me when I am talking
Stand up straighter when you walk
A place for everything and everything must be in place
Stop crying or I'll give you something real to cry about
Oh!
Brush your teeth, wash your face, put your PJs on
Get in bed, get up here, say a prayer with mom
Don't forget, I love you
And tomorrow we will do this all again because a mom's work never ends
You don't need the reason why
Because, because, because, because
I said so, I said so, I said so, I said so
I'm the mom, the mom, the mom, the mom, the mom!!
Ta da!!!