What scares the new Atheists

 2009 atheist bus campaign 012

 A thoughtful piece on the dangers of missionary Atheism by John Gray at the Guardian.

 

 

 

Taking Easter to your neighbourhood

Here’s what Dave and his team have been doing in the lead up to Easter:

We began visiting people last Wednesday.

Here’s what we did:

  1. Greeting: Hi my name is Dave and this is Fred, we are meeting our neighbours over this Easter period and wanting to share a little of the Easter blessing by giving a simple gift. Can we offer you this gift?
  2. Give the Gift if they are OK to receive. (we gave 5-7 small easter eggs in cellophane with a ribbon, Nice!)
  3. Question listening and Dialogue: We are wondering also if people have an opinion about Easter. Do you have an opinion about Easter? (Or you could ask “What do you think is the spiritual significance of Easter?)
  4. Prayer: After some discussion and interaction if you hear about a need offer to pray or: “We are also looking to bless our community with prayer at this time. If God was to meet a need of yours or of your family, what would that be? Can we pray that now?”

We now have thirteen people to follow up. We plan to follow up by telling a Bible story, bridging to a simple gospel presentation, finding out if they want to know more, inviting them to a Discovery Group in their neighbourhood.

Dave

It’s not too late to give it a try in your neighbourhood.

50 years of predictable decline for the United Methodists

IMG 1434 500x475

Mark Tooley reports that it’s 50 years since membership in the United Methodist church grew in the US.

The Methodist Church had 10,331,574 in 1965, an increase of about 27,000 over 1964. Then it lost 21,000 in 1966, a trend never reversed and in fact accelerated after the 1968 merger with the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Although becoming an 11 million member church, losses increased initially to sometimes over 150,000 annually. Today United Methodism in the U.S. stands at 7.3 million, an over one third decline.

Meanwhile how were the more evangelical Wesleyan denominations going?

The Church of God increased by two thirds. The Wesleyan Church increased by 75 percent. The Church of the Nazarene nearly doubled. The Free Methodist Church increased by 25 percent. The Assemblies of God have increased a whopping 500 percent. Growth for most of these churches over the last several years has leveled off, except for the still fast growing Assemblies. But none are experiencing United Methodism’s ongoing exodus.

Until 1967 Methodism was America’s largest Protestant denomination. That year the Southern Baptists caught up and today outnumber the United Methodists two to one.

What led to the decline?

Methodism’s official seminaries were all captured by liberalism by the 1920s. Most clergy weren’t seminary trained until mid century, but the course of study materials for non-seminary trained clergy closely followed seminary curricula. By the 1960s nearly all of the clergy would have been trained in theological modernism, denying or minimizing the supernatural and personal salvation in favor of Social Gospel and therapeutic themes. A 1967 survey found 60 percent of Methodist clergy disbelieving the Virgin Birth and 50 percent disbelieving the Resurrection.

The tragedy is that despite the lessons of history, a new generation of progressive evangelicals are treading the same path. You can get away with it for a while but sooner or later the outcome will be the same.

UPDATE: Evangelicals Dominate Fastest-Growing Large United Methodist Churches

Money and faith don’t mix, except in America

Wealth and religion Pew Research

Money and faith don’t always go together. The US is the exception.

Keeping it simple

Indonesia Church

Paul and Joy Hattaway write,

Recently a big Christian “think tank” contacted many mission organizations, including us, because they desired to clearly define what a ‘church’ is. We saw some of the responses from others. Their answers were so complicated it left us tied up in knots! Words were used that required a dictionary to find their meaning. When it came time for us to respond, we decided not to waste words. Instead, we simply sent them this picture.

I love it.

Download a classic on movements through history

The Dynamics of Christian Mission cover

Paul Pierson’s classic on missionary/missional movements through history is available as a free download through William Carey Library.

 

Fred on getting from zero to one [video]

Tim Scheuer hosts another google hangout for practitioners downunder.

Fred is the guest contributor. He’s the man to help get you from “zero to one.” From finding a person of peace for forming a new group of disciples.

It’s two hours and unedited, but if you’re keen you’ll want to watch and learn. Then go do something.

Hope for Muslims: David Garrison in the UK

H4m web logo2

David Garrison, author of A Wind in the House of Islam will be touring the UK in June, 20-15.

Watch this space for details.

Churchill on writing

Making history Winston 008

My friend Colin sent me this quote from Churchill on writing. I’m not sure if it was meant as an encouragement. It’s certainly true!

Writing a book is an adventure.  To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement.  Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him to the public.

Winston Churchill

The draft goes off to IVP today. It will be flung to the public by the end of 2015. The topic is Movement Leadership.

Now I can get back to life and the blog.

Two more discounted books on Kindle

 I’m getting the hang of this…

 $1.99

“Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” (Donald S. Whitney)

 $2.99

“Churchill: A Life” (Martin Gilbert)

UPDATE: The Collected Writings of CS Lewis. Three volumes @ $1.99 each.

“The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Family Letters 1905 – 1931 (Volume 1)” (Zondervan)