Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
I recently read a headline and an article that said, “Christianity on the Decline in America”.
I’d consider whether or not church attendance decline represents a decrease in Christianity or just a decrease in church involvement. From what I am hearing all around the country, solid Christians are discouraged about what the churches are doing and the lack of effectiveness in training, equipping and outreach in their emphasis.
Years ago, the typical church schedule included Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday nights for the average Christian family. This allowed for several times each week to emphasize the different aspects of the Christian life. I remember hearing that Sunday evenings were often called “church training”.
Today, most families’ schedules are so hectic, they primarily only go on Sunday mornings. Many churches emphasize reaching out to those who are lost or guests and lack the biblical training and equipping of Christians in the Sunday morning service. Some have Sunday small groups but these too are often lacking in equipping Christians for maturity and outreach – if the families attend at all.
All of this to say, many mature believers are standing back from their church involvement asking themselves why they are there. Some are leaving for smaller groups that are more focused on issues important to them and authentic connection with others for edification and challenging support.
I have personally seen more church “splits” than I can remember. These are often quarrels about the church structure or leadership vs. members. When the split occurs, there is a remnant that moves on to more powerful service, ministry, and personal growth. Typically 1/3 stays with the church organization, 1/3 moves on to a new work together and 1/3 wander around for a season not motivated to do anything. I wonder if God is allowing us to divide to get us out of our comfy places, the familiar daze of the moderate Christian life.
I heard a Christian leader say recently, “If we don’t change the way we do church, we will lose an entire generation”. I take this a little further and say we have already lost many and it is very important that we consider how we must change in order to be the powerful life changing entity that God intended us to be.
I pray that Christians will be more equipped each week for the ministry of the streets! We may find ourselves forced into smaller groups so we’d better get used to closer quarters and relationships.
Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
Grace Rivers Development
Today I am preparing a brochure for the Family Freedom Event to occur in Clinton MS. I am so thankful that God has given us this wonderful opportunity to minister to families. I am somewhat taken aback by the business of October. I have five weekends in a row booked with speaking and conferences. I’m really looking forward to all of these diverse events to share God’s grace with those whom I will be connecting with.
I had excellent meetings with Central Church leadership as well as The Love of Christ Church leadership this past week. Both churches are very open to the potential of working with Grace Rivers within their church families.
I have had positive responses from six men who have welcomed the idea of becoming involved in Grace Rivers as a “Steering Committee”. The responsibilities of this committee will be to assist in establishing Grace Rivers as a ministry.
These men come from a diversity of vocational experience, church involvement and history with me personally. I chose men that I know well enough to trust their godly character. But these are men I am not regularly socially involved with which allows for a healthy potential for accountability in this very important process.
We have had our first meeting which was very exciting and productive. The group connected very well and offered some great feedback and ideas. We spent the majority of the time just getting to know more about the mission of Grace Rivers and laying out the initial foundation for a leadership structure and our initial statement of Core Values.
I have certainly learned through the years the incredible significance of both of these structures. I also know all too well the struggles that can occur when they are not clear and understood by the leadership of a ministry. It is my hope to build into the very foundation of Grace Rivers both of these documents.
We have also begun to search for legal advisors regarding establishing the corporation and non-profit paperwork. This is a very serious process and needs incredible wisdom since it will dictate now and in the future how we will operate and function from a legal standpoint.
I have had several wonderful conversations this week with people who want to be intimately involved in Grace Rivers Ministry. Some have said they want to promote GR in their own churches and cities. I have also heard from some who want to help facilitate conference events. I am very encouraged that God is sending people from afar and near that are really excited about the potential of Grace Rivers Ministry.
I have to run to keep up with God on this. He has set something in motion I find very surprising some days.
Please pray for:
• God’s direction for ongoing meetings with Central Church and TLC
• God’s covering and anointing on the Steering Committee
• Development of Core Values and Leadership structures
• For divine selection of legal advisors who are proficient with non-profit corporation development
• God’s development of the GR Team
• My preparation for all of the events coming up