A Little Respect for Dr Foster

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Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times on the public perception of evangelical Christians:

Today, among urban Americans and Europeans, “evangelical Christian” is sometimes a synonym for “rube.” In liberal circles, evangelicals constitute one of the few groups that it’s safe to mock openly.

Yet the liberal caricature of evangelicals is incomplete and unfair. I have little in common, politically or theologically, with evangelicals or, while I’m at it, conservative Roman Catholics. But I’ve been truly awed by those I’ve seen in so many remote places, combating illiteracy and warlords, famine and disease, humbly struggling to do the Lord’s work as they see it, and it is offensive to see good people derided. On a recent trip to Angola, the country with the highest child mortality rate in the world, I came across a rural hospital run by Dr. Stephen Foster, 65, a white-haired missionary surgeon who has lived there for 37 years — much of that in a period when the Angolan regime was Marxist and hostile to Christians.

read on…

What does baptism look like in a disciple making movement?

Want to learn more about what movements do?

Financial dependency and the death of a movement

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Dependency occurs when a local church [ed. or church planting movement] requires funding or leadership from outside of its own members in order carry out the core biblical responsibilities of a local church under normal conditions.

Consequences of financial dependency include a lack of ownership, stunted growth, mixed motives in leadership, confused accountability, suspicion of foreign influence, and compromised witness.

For a church to be sustainable it must be able to carry out its core biblical functions without relying on foreign funding or leadership.

The benefits of sustainability are the opposites of the consequences of dependency listed above.

Ken Stout

In this masters thesis, Ken Stout does a great job of wrestling with the relationship between financial dependency and the health of a movement.

Following and Fishing in Leicester: June 26-27

 Follow me I ll teach you to fish

Michelle and I are training in Leicester on June 26-27, 2015.

Holy Trinity Leicester are the hosts.

The promo will be out later this week.

What is Britain?

What is uk

As a newly arrived colonial to the motherland I’ve been confused about what to call, well Britain. “England” used to cover the whole thing until the Welsh, Scotts and Irish complained.

But what’s the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom? Where do the British Isles fit in?

My problem was solved when a friend shared this Venn diagram.

Interestingly Guernsey and Jersey are part of the British Islands but not part of the European Union, but are part of the Customs Territory of the European Community, by virtue of Protocol Three to the Treaty on European Union.

That clears things up!

Although I’m still struggling with the difference between the British Islands and the British Isles.

Appealing to the Qur’an

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It seems like we wake up every day to stories of new atrocities committed by the Islamic State.

Mark Durie examines the Islamic State’s appeal to the Qur’an to justify their deeds. Here’s what he concludes:

Persuading Muslims to take the words of Muhammad seriously is the core strategy of radicalization.  This tactic works as well as it does because it appeals to a plain reading of Islam’s holy texts.

To be deradicalized, a Muslim needs to repudiate the theological authority of the teachings of Muhammad and the Qur’an. This is a hard call for pious Muslims.

more ….

Movements do

What separates movements from everybody else is that movements do. They don’t make excuses.

From Seth Godin…

Icn seths headSeen, heard, gotten, changed

Most of the news/advice/insight you run into is merely seen. You might acknowledge that something is happening, that something might work, that a new technique is surfacing.

Sometimes, if you work at it, you actually hear what’s being said. You engage with the idea and actively roll it around, considering it from a few angles.

But rarely, too rarely, we actually get what’s going on, we understand it well enough to embrace it (or reject it). Well enough to teach it. And maybe that leads to a productive change.

It’s not clear to me that more stuff seen leads to more ideas gotten and more action taken. We probably don’t need more inputs and noise. We certainly need to do a better job of focusing and even more important, doing the frightening work of acting ‘as if’ to see if we get it.

It starts with more doing, not more seeing.

Training church

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I caught up with Chuck and Debbie Wood recently and hear Chuck mention the concept of a “training church”. I wanted to know more, here’s what Chuck wrote back,

Steve

We’re doing Training Churches and Timothy Churches.

The training church focuses on people who are already believers who want to be trained on how to plant churches. It’s usually an existing church that has attended one of our training events. Once we identify a group of people who are serious about training, we pick a house in their target neighborhood and begin to meet together. We start off by explaining what the training church is and how we plan to conduct the training. The second week we model the first of the Seven Stories of Hope and have them practice. The third week we’re out knocking on doors looking for houses of peace. We then start an every other week training scenario. One week they are being trained in the training church. The next week they’re training others in the new house of peace that they have found. We work our way through a couple of Stories of Hope and then we begin to work through the Commands of Christ. We do just enough to get them started. Once they feel competent and confident we launch them and then check back occasionally to see how they’re doing. It really goes at the pace of the church that has requested the training. Often leaders take over the training process within 5 to 8 weeks.

The Timothy Church consists of the budding leadership of the next generation of laborers. They are found either in existing churches or the harvest. The primary purpose of the Timothy Church is to model church and to encourage and coach Timothy’s as they plant their own churches in the harvest. If you look it Ken Blanchard’s leadership model this is a great way to get people through the discouragement of a lack of competence in the skills (C2 all the way to C4). It is not uncommon to see Timothy’s plant churches that fade away out from underneath them. Them Timothy Church gives them a consistent source of fellowship and coaching whiles persevering through the process.

Both Training and Timothy Churches use the Three Thirds Process and the primary value is modeling and encouragement.

Chuck

If you want to know more, connect with Chuck.

BTW that’s Chuck on the left. I think the others are two gang leaders he was witnessing to.

 

 

Did 7.5 million Americans really lose their faith since 2012?

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Matthew Maule questions the figures.

A recent Religion News Service (RNS) analysis piece by Tobin Grant claims “7.5 million Americans lost their religion since 2012.” He bases his analysis off the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) done by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago; the survey is funded by the National Science Foundation. He further elaborates that “When asked their religious preference, nearly 1 in 4 Americans now says ‘none.’” An examination of the numbers, however, brings both these claims into question.

more

Tim Scheuer: How to share God’s story within your story

Tim Scheuer demonstrates how he shares God’s story (the gospel) within his story.

Here’s how Ray Vaughn does it.

Why not have a go with your own version? Use your own headings for each section, not Tim’s.

If you put it on YouTube, send me the link.

If you lead someone to Christ, teach them to do this immediately and share it with family and friends.