Wednesday, July 17, 2013

15 Traits of Churches Who Reach Their Communities

No matter how much value you place on getting doctrine right, you’ve missed the boat if you aren’t making disciples.  I can’t escape this truth.  Of course, the first step in making disciples is sharing the gospel with people who are lost…

Here’s a list from Thom Ranier about churches that effectively reach the unchurched. I have two qualifiers for the list:

a) This list clearly focuses on churches that are “attractional" in nature. Thus it should be pointed out that this is not the ONLY way to reach the lost.
b) The items below are the characteristics of the churches that are effective, they are not necessarily the “steps" to being an evangelistic church.

That’s all I have to say about that. Here’s the list!

“Churches that are effective agents of transformation take the time to know the needs and expectations of those who are spiritually distant, and they focus on what is truly important.

Such Churches…

1. Major on majors
2. Are Biblical, conservative and convictional.
3. Give evangelism priority and passion.
4. Provide deep Biblical teaching.
5. Develop an effective comprehensive smallgroup ministry.
6. Discern patterns of relationships in their own church.
7. Check their facilities.
8. Cultivate a user-friendly greeter ministry.
9. Keep the friendliness issue before the congregation.
10. Seek excellence.
11. Provide an inquirers’/new members’ class.
12. Expect much/receive much.
13. Know their purpose.
14. Foster ministry involvement.
15. Never forget the power of prayer.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stop Sinning.

Sin is bad and we shouldn’t do it. In fact, if you are sinning right now, you should stop. And if you sinned earlier today, you shouldn’t do that anymore. And if you are planning to sin later, you should change your plans.


Easily said.

The problem with sin is that it is somewhat habitual. We all probably have those times when we do something that is out of character for us, and are immediately repentant and take quick action to make right the wrong. But probably the biggest hang-up we struggle with is those issues that continuously evidence themselves in our lives. Our besetting sins. 

One of mine is impatience. My impatience often causes me to act in ways that are unloving toward others. Sometimes, my impatience gets in the way of my relationship with God. Impatience is something I need work on.

 Marco Adragna at lifehack.com wrote a short post with instructions regarding how to quit a bad habit. DISCLAIMER: Marco seems like a fairly intelligent dude, but is clearly a bit humanistic in his writing. Thus while common grace may have provided him with some statements which reflect wisdom, he should not be looked at as a guru for spiritual growth. Glean what you can. 

Adragna suggests five reasons why it is difficult to break a habit. I’ve listed four below:

  • The forbidden fruit is always very attractive.
  • Quitting something is difficult when you always think about it.
  • There’s no excitement in just saying no.
  • You never simply quit something, you do something else instead. 


Think about your besetting sin, and contemplate whether any of these are reasons why you struggle for victory.

Later Adragna gives four questions you can ask yourself to fire into “habit-breaking mode":
1. What will you do instead?
2. Do you really want to change?
3. Is now the right time?
4. What’s in it for you?
 

 I would suggest this. Give these questions serious consideration… Then, notice how individual-centric these are. Understand this, you cannot defeat sin yourself, or by doing what is “good for you". So if you want to break a sin-habit, you’ll have to change these questions.
1. What is the virtue God has called me to in place of impatience?
2. Does God expect me to change?
3. —— forget this one, it’s always the right time to stop sinning.
4. What kingdom benefit is in it?
 

 Of course, the final step is to figure out the how of changing. I must rely on the Spirit to change me, but in order to do so, I must utilize the tools He’s given me for change, namely, the Bible and the community of believers.

 ┼
Stop sinning.
Rely on the Spirit.
Engage the Word of God.
Commune with the Body of Christ.
Open yourself to the correction of others.
Discover the actions the Bible is teaching you.
Consider the direction of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Determine the next step to end the sin that is besettting you.