Thursday, February 23, 2006

Family Friendly?

The following are just some thoughts on what "Family Friendly Ministry" means. I do not know how this all works out in ministry and how one changes how church is done to be truly family friendly. So this is just thoughts that I am working on to see how God leads to incorporate a God driven design for “Family Friendly Ministry.”

Is it just me or does it seem a little contradictory to advertise that a church is “Family Friendly” and then have the family split apart in every direction with numerous “age appropriate” activities. I guess it depends on how you view the family.

I realize that the motives may be good in trying to cater to families by supplying numerous choices for activities but the result is that families are fragmented. The spiritual growth of the children and youth is basically taken over by the Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, AWANA or some other activity.

This said I do see that there can be a place for some of these ministries as support for the family as a whole. Such as, youth can have time together but at as an addition to not in place of the family and the same for children, My issue is that while there may or may not need to be different studies on Sunday mornings, for example, what has happened is that this has spawned even further fragmentation with families not even worshiping together. Again, there can be times of added studies that relate to differing life situations and ages but this is in addition to worshiping together.

We have sort of taken the world’s view of supplying so many choices to the consumer that the church is more like a market place than a center of worship and we know what Jesus did when this happened. I think back to Judges 2:10 which speaks of a generation rising that did not know the Lord or the work He had done. As we fragment the family so to will the passing down the truths of scripture be lost. This function will be taken over by others and the family will cease to be what God designed it to be.

I am sure this is not how everyone sees church, obviously as one looks at the church today, but I do think we need to take a hard look and see if it is consumerism that is driving how we do church or scripture. I have to think about how this all works and where it is appropriate for separating ages and such but my personal opinion, for what it is worth, is that these decisions need to be based on how it affects the whole and not necessarily the individual. The individual is important, but as God designed us to be part of a community of believers, just look at Acts, we need to see the individual as part of that community and not simply a lone consumer searching for the next good buy.

This is not a call to go back to some time in the past but a call to be faithful to scripture today. Not to read today’s culture into scripture but to live scripture into the culture and thus change it or at the least be a beacon of light in a lost world.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

IT Support and Pastoring

As I do IT work along with Engineering in my secular job I found this at Team Pyromaniac to be quite funny in a weird/sad sort of way, but IT may not be quite as depicted: 26 ways in which doing IT Support is better than being a pastor.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Don't Waste Your Cancer

This is an Article written by John Piper before his recent surgery: Don't Waste Your Cancer

Thursday, February 16, 2006

There is much on the horizon for the SBC

After reading a number of blogs this week it seems that the SBC meeting this year could be an important one. From the issues with the IMB and it's proposed policies to the voting in of a new President and the promotion of many higher ups in the convention of Johnny Hunt.

The issues with IMB are complex as it is hard to separate the rights they have as an organization to set policy for who is to be sent to the mission field with the amount of say they should, in essence, have over the local church. Since the SBC really only exists once a year at the annual convention it is issues like this that set the tone for the coming years.

The issue of who will president is important as it to sets a tone. The man that is chosen will say much about the direction of the convention. Will the convention continue to go down the road of focusing on baptisms and confessions rather than going deeper and truly seeking to have a regenerate church membership? I for one would like to see a call for purging the roles of the Southern Baptist Churches of those that by there lack of attendance negate their membership. Let’s get the attendance in weekly gatherings to mirror our roles instead of having membership being so inflated. With this the case it would be good to see the new president be willing to show the way. So many of the men that seem to be mentioned as presidential material have memberships that far exceed their weekly attendance and no matter their baptism numbers the actual ratio of regular attendees to members seems to be spiraling downwards. Also of importance would be to have man that is theologically adept so that regardless of their position on the Doctrines of Grace they can fairly articulate the opposing sides views, this is not the case with many that may be named for this position, especially Johnny Hunt.

There is still hope for the convention but as Tom Nettles shows in his book Ready for Reformation there is work to be done and changes to be made. Reform has to start somewhere and I feel it will tend to come from those that may not have been so ingrained in Southern Baptist life or those that have been on the front lines for some time and now have more reinforcements to work towards the needed reforms.

Tom Ascol’s blog is a good source of information on this and Tom has a good manner in his dealing with the issues.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What Does Truth Matter?

As I was walking by a Barnes and Noble I noticed something in the window that speaks, at least to me, volumes. There, prominently presented, in a window display was large layout of the book A Million Little Pieces. This is the book that has recently shown to contain much fabricated material when it was supposed to be showing the actual happenings of a man in the midst alcoholism, drug addiction, and criminal behavior. Once it was revealed as not what it appeared to be Oprah Winfrey had the author on to speak about this. Winfrey was led to this as she was largely responsible for building up this book and making it a best seller.

The point is that even after it has been revealed to be based on falsehoods it is still being sold and promoted. The world cares little about truth or thinks so little of it that even if a story is fake but gives them some sort of feeling it is OK.

While I realize that it is the state of man’s heart that leads to denying the Gospel we can also from this see why when speaking of truth to people to day it is not all that important to them. This is also why we need to pray for God to work on peoples hearts so they do see truth. Also, churches need to not be enamored by the new emergent look at truth or lack being able to know truth for certain. We, the church, need to preach the truth because in the end the church may be the last refuge of truth as the world spirals further into relativism.

Don’t forget the next big blockbuster movie to hit the big screen will filled with half truths and blatant falsehoods and people will flock too it, The Da Vinci Code.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The new Pope of the Emerging church?

Well maybe he is just a cardinal since Brian Mclaren may be the Pope.

In my wanderings around the web it is interesting to see how often Bono, of U2 fame for those that do not know, is looked to as some sort of enlightened follower of Christ. People seem to clamor to see if he is a Christian or not, obviously his answers to this question are not enough or they would settled the issue long ago. In reality he answers questions with regards to his faith as clearly as most in the Emergent movement. His rhetoric is essentially focused on social issues and as a Christian I would agree that often we fall short in doing what we can. But when it comes to the spiritual bankruptcy of the world he appears to leave well enough alone or is quite vague.

This all leads me to ask: Why is it that Christians are forever looking for that silver bullet to slay the dragon? The Christian community is looking for the next author (Anne Rice), movie star (Jane Fonda), or Rock Star (once it was Bob Dylan and now it is Bono) to cling on to so as to sort of say to the world look who we have. We do the same with other cultural trappings such as movies (The Passion). Well for one I do not see any thing greater about the salvation of a movie star than the salvation of a neighbor or co-worker. We are a culture of excess and it has invaded the Christian world. We have bought into the celebrity-itus, I am sure that is not a word, and constantly laud praise on those that are famous who proclaim to know Christ. We neglect to see that throughout scripture God did not use the famous as much as He used the unlikely; Abraham, Joseph, Moses and David (among others) all leading up to the most unlikely, in the eyes of the world, Christ.

Back to Bono, here are some articles:

Andy Stanley and Bono: Together at Last!
Bono Lauds, Prods Prayer Breakfast
St. Bono Help of Christians

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Covenant Theology and Baptists

I have been listening to some very good talks on Covenant Theology from the 2005 Founders Conference Southwest. They do a very good job of explaining how Covenant Theology is not new for Baptists and especially is not new for Southern Baptists. How you interpret scripture will drive your interpretation of the Covenants and how they apply to the church today. Covent Theology also helps one to see that the Church is not simply a parenthesis but has been part of God’s plan from eternity. Covent Theology should not be mistakenly seen as Replacement Theology, as I think some do, but instead shows how all believers are the church, both Jew and Gentile.

Listen for yourselves as you can download the MP3s from the Spurgeon Baptist Association of Churches in Kansas. I encourage you to listen and see how God has worked from the beginning to bring His chosen people, both Jew and gentile, to Himself.