Saturday, December 18, 2010

Riding a Bus is Like Going to Church (part 1)

Imagine for a moment one day being faced with having to ride the bus to your destination. For some people this is a welcomed change, but for others it arises out of an uncomfortable need. Think of the questions that could run through your head...

"Will I even fit in with those people? What if I get on the wrong bus?
"Is it easy to figure out how to get where I need to go ?"
"Will the driver be helpful or judgmental?"
"How and who do I give my money to?"
"Will it be something I become more comfortable with?"
"What will it feel like on the bus? Will it be clean?"
"Who will I sit next to?"

In the next few posts I want to unpack the similarities of riding a bus for the first time and going to church. I will break the posts down into five topics, The Need, Overcoming Fears, First Impressions, Fitting In, and Telling Others.

We can learn a lot about our churches and how visitors feel and then remove some of the barriers that prevent people from coming back.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Attracting a Crowd or Making Disciples

What has happened to the spiritual landscape of the American Church? Why are we declining in new people coming to faith, and also in “membership” numbers in many churches?

I believe that the push to become bigger has not made us better. “Bigger IS NOT Better, but better is better.” I do not believe that God has called us to attract large crowds to measure our success, but rather to make disciples. Too often we are content with filling up seats with butts, because in our economy, “butts=bucks.” But what if bigger was only a by-product of better?

Let me explain…

Jesus tells us in the great commission to “make disciples.” Even Jesus, during His time on this earth was spent building a few to reach the many. Jesus had no problems with attracting a crowd, as a matter of fact, He often intentionally weeded out those who were just consumers and not sincere followers. His whole mission was to make disciples. He did this by identifying those who would sincerely follow. These men were faithful (not perfect); they were available, and they were teachable. They were F.A.T (faithful, available teachable).

Jesus built the success of the church on people who would go do likewise. The church is people and as we go we will grow. It really is more about sending rather than seating. Attracting a crowd is not the goal only a by-product of making disciples who “go”, “baptize”‘ and “teach”.

The church was meant to grow, but large crowds are not the litmus test for growth, but rather making disciples. I want to close with a quote from Robert Coleman from his book, The Master Plan of Evangelism.

A few people so dedicated in time will shake the world for God. Victory is never won by the masses.”

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Is Hell an actual place or just something one experiences living apart from God?

I ask this question, because there has been some debate on this topic from emergent church leaders and others. Does Jesus just speak in metaphor or does "hell" really exist as a physical place? I am withholding my view for a moment to invite some discussion on this topic.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why Don't Christians Care About the World?

I had a great conversation with a Jewish person at a party recently, who said that "All Christians care about is life after death. What about the world now...the poor and less fortunate? Why don't Christians care about the world?"

As we talked, I mentioned that there are those Christians who do care more about the afterlife than the present life, but some are balanced. As I shared a little of my story and thoughts, he thanked me for not proselytizing and just conversing. I can understand where he was coming from.

I did share the good news of Jesus, but it does not have to be shoved down people's throats. It really is good news. It ended up being a great conversation.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why are Christians so Judgmental?

Over the years I have heard people say that Christians are just mean-spirited and judgmental people who only care about themselves. I would say this claim is both true and false.

I had a conversation with a woman one time who said that the reason she doesn't go to church is because she was immediately judged because of her tattoos and dress. She doesn't feel that the church even cares for her (she's not part of the club) and that church is irrelevant to her life. "Why would I go to a place that offers no hope for my life and makes me feel worthless?"

Church should be a place of broken and fallen people who have now been called into a new way of life. The way of Jesus. The problem is that, many times, people mistake "going to church" with a new way of life. Jesus way of life calls us to reach out and love those who are marginalized, broken-hearted, and in need of grace. That is the life Jesus has called me to live. That is the life that I want to live, but be patient with me as I am a work in progress.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Conversing with the Masses

Life is a beautiful thing. What I love the most is interacting with people in daily life doing normal tasks and engaging people in conversations. I love to hear people's thoughts on God, Jesus, the Bible, church, etc. The fear of many people (including Christians) is talking to people who think differently.

This blog is a stop and go journey of people's thoughts on faith, God, and life's ultimate destination and then some commentary. Hope it will give you some perspective.