Five Steps to Denominational Renewal

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Miscellanies | 1 comment

Most pastors will acknowledge that the relationship between their congregations and their denominations is tethered by but a thread. One simple explanation for this is that denominations serve but a small percentage of the essential needs of their congregations. For many congregations, denominational services may be limited to insurance plans, pensions, seminaries, and ordinations. Outside of such, congregations have found few denominational resources essential to their lives and ministries. And that’s OK.  From my perspective, I don’t think a denomination need provide much more than...

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PC or MAC? Relational or Attractional?

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Miscellanies | 1 comment

For years I have used and loved my PC but my employer just provided me with a new MAC. As you may know, the two computer systems are similar but differ significantly – and the difference between the two is frustrating me! I am an older, pleated-pants kind of guy and am tempted to give my MAC to someone else on campus. I am sure a young, hipster would treasure it. Two different models, the PC and MAC, operate similar but different systems. Similarly, congregations typically employ one of two models or systems in their efforts to seek and save the lost. For the sake of this conversation,...

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Congregations Explore “One Church Multiple Locations”

Posted by on Jun 2, 2014 in Miscellanies | 4 comments

An historic meeting took place on Monday, May 19, 2014 in Morrison. Fourteen individuals, representing three congregations (First Christian Reformed Church of Fulton (IL), Bethel Christian Reformed Church of Fulton, and the Morrison (IL) Christian Reformed Church), came together, with the authorization of their Councils, to discuss a future of shared ministry. The conversation was led by Sam Hamstra, founder of ChapterNext. The two hour meeting characterized by hope and joy as the participants embraced the promise that God is able to do far more than we ask or imagine by His power at work...

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A Servant’s Prayer

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Miscellanies | 0 comments

Heavenly Father, creator of the universe, source of perfect love, to You belong all glory and praise. To you belong all things. In your bounteous love you have provided for us. You provide for our needs before we know that we have needs. You love us in our inadequacy. You offer us salvation in our unworthiness. You guide us in our blindness. You care for us when we are abandoned by all others. Too often I have failed you. I have held back in fear. I have ignored your call. I have run from my obligation to you, the Father. And yet, you continue to love me, forgive me, and call me to You. I...

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A Relational or Attractional Approach to Reaching Out?

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Miscellanies | 2 comments

As congregations determine how best to seek and save the lost, they often choose one of two models or a hybrid of both.  These types of approaches may be labeled “attractional” and “relational.” The attractional model hopes to attract people to Christ through programs, such as a Sunday morning service. Once in the doors of the church, the church invites its guests to take additional steps in their journeys. The relational model hopes that its members will attract people to Christ through genuine relationships with unchurched individuals in the community.  From the strength of these...

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Connecting the Dots

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in Miscellanies | 1 comment

Connecting the Dots: An observation, a Gospel Reading, a pastoral experience, and a word from the fourth century. An Observation: Christianity is hurt more by the inconsistent behavior of Christians than the abhorrent behavior of non-Christians. Take, as one example, the number of professing Christians who refuse to seek reconciliation with fellow Christians, even fellowship Christians who are members of their nuclear families. Each Sunday, a brother and sister gather for worship with their respective congregations wherein they often find themselves in leadership positions. Yet, in the days...

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