Thursday, April 29, 2010

Final Project

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Millenial Generation will see Churches closing as quickly as GM Dealerships

Can I be scared? Should I be scared?
Ideally I shouldn't be, cause God's in control right? He has my back, he has the plan, and everything is going to work out to His will.  
What is causing me to feel these emotions and think these thoughts?
That is what has me scared.
If you don't have time to read the article, here's the deal: The State of the American Church isn't too good.
I love the tweet by @prodigaljohn a quote of Lifeway President Thom Rainer-"the Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships," 

Crazy right?

So why am I scared, well technically that means what I'm planning on as a career is disappearing. Christ will provide a way though, I realize that.

This also means though, that the harvest is more than plentiful, it is bountiful.

Christians need to step up in their faith, and be willing to share it.  This is something that I am trying to grow in, cause I am honestly no good at it.

Sorry the formatting is weird on this, I really don't know what happened.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Divided Down the Line

So in today's "emerging church" (what are they emerging from anyway?) the concept is megachurch with multiple campuses (I guess this is how Paul did it? He was the spearhead of the whole movement, or would that be Peter, since he was the rock that the church was built upon?) Before there was consumer transportation, people didn't visit other churches, they either went or they didn't.(in the early 17 & 1800's). There was only one church in your region and this church was generally a denomination that the majority of residents in the area were associated with. This church was lead by someone with or without any theological learning, typically the person with the best grasp on theological matters was the one who led the congregation. Then someone with theological knowledge would travel the circut and preach about once a month.  

Then we have today, where in Garland County alone there are over 142 something churches of at least 15 denominations (probably more) to choose from. You could easily drive to any of these within enough time to get to service on Sunday morning. Why do we have so many churches? Sure there are things in the Bible that people don't agree on, as well as rituals that people think should or should not be in place, but why not just agree to disagree? I realize that orginally Protestant's reformed from the Catholic church and thus the church is constantly evolving in order to stay in line with the scriptures and not get bogged down in ritual but surely we could all agree.  

The thing is, there wasn't two churches in Phillipi or Ephesus just one, and the only reason during the early days of our country (1800's moreso) that there was more than one church, was to reach the different cultures. So why then, can't we all agree on one general group and thus be more effective for the Kingdom? I realize that Paul talked about differences in culture, but did he ever talk about different denominations among believers? I don't believe so, at least I've never heard that preached on before in church. So then should not our churches be divided along cultural lines, and not on whether or not a person is a Calvinist.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The State of the American Church

America! The nation founded on the premise of religious freedom, is experiencing a disdain against the church because for generations the church has placed people in religious bondage. Living in Arkansas we can be skewed in our view because according to pew forum research, seventy five percent of Arkansans view religion as an important part of their lives. On top of that stat, ninety percent of American's say that they believe in some form of a universal being (or God). So why then is the church in America repulsive to so many people?

According to pew forum research released this year, only four percent of my generation, the millennial generation, are professing Christians. This means that the church is shrinking, magnificently.
In 2009 the church only grew by fourteen percent, twelve percent of that growth was simply transfer from other churches. Which means in reality, church growth in America was only two percent. The amount of people who left the church last year either from denying its principles or death, was more than two percent. Once again though, why is the state of the American church is such disdain?

The American church only has itself to blame. A majority of American churches have failed to remain culturally relevant. Which is hard
when the church preaches to be in the world but not of the world. It is not about being in the culture, it is about showing the basis of Christianity to the culture. Research done by the Barna Group shows that people aren't looking for a set of rules and rituals to live by, which is what the American church has produced. People are looking for something real and challenging. Which is what true Christian faith produces.

In being a place that is set in ritual, that is known for standing
against things, the church sounds nothing like what Christianity is. The word Christian means "little Christ". The church seems more like a group of hypocrites who are focused on themselves instead of focusing on Christ. This is completely opposite of the way that Christ lived his life on earth. One of the main reasons why people don't want to be involved in church is because the church focuses on itself and not on Christ and others.

The church was originally known for begin compassionate towards the
down trodden. They were about helping the widowed and orphaned.  The church during the Roman Empire was known for taking in mentally and physically defective children that were discarded by the Roman families as undesirable.  The church in the Medieval Times was known as the main group that stayed and took care of people during the Black Death putting themselves at risk of dieing.  The Salvation Army was also founded upon Christian principles and servicing those in need.  In more recent times, Christian organizations have been the first to respond to natural disasters.  This is what the church is supposed to be about, worshiping Christ and helping those in need. Showing love to people. 

If the church is to be about worshiping Christ and helping others, why do so many people avoid referring to themselves as Christians?  Because of the hypocrisy and failure behind the term Christian that has resulted from the churches focus on pleasing and serving itself.  The name Christian has such disdain that in the last decade there has been a move away from the word "Christian". Some pastors have taken to calling their congregation "Disciples of Christ"  or "Followers of Christ".  This response has begun to peak interest, as well as soften the  challenges that come with Christianity in America. 

What will it take to change the connotations behind Christianity? To be able to change these connotations the church and Christians have to be known what they stand for, not what they stand against. Christians need to be known for being advocates for social justice, caring for the environment because it's God's earth, having personal integrity, building harmony among races, willing to give their lives for the cause of peace. Christians like that will change not only America, but the world as well.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Minor Things, Like Prophets

In recent times I have been reading in the minor prophets.  This was an interesting time (this week I've moved back to the NT).  I was reading there, trying to find some light on what the Israelites did, when they were confronted with everything that had happened to them in relation to them straying from God.

The crazy thing is, is that they really didn't do much, I mean what can you do?  Works don't get you into heaven, faith does.  So they can't just be like "here you are God, our good deeds, don't kill us now."  No, for forgiveness they actually had to sacrifice animals.

In the end though, grace and mercy was what God provided to get them through.  Cause they still did not follow him the way they were supposed to.  In the end, they spent over 500 years between the OT and NT without hearing from God.  How crazy is that?

Anyway, with all that being said, after spending the last semester and half reading and rereading the minor prophets, I realized yesterday that if I don't grow closer to Christ, then I will become just like the Israelites myself.  So I ended my reading of the minor prophets and began doing some studying across the four gospels this morning.

My favorite minor prophets were: HoseaJoel, and Obadiah

In fun news I'm going to be playing in a disc golf tournament this week, so hoorah!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quality over Quantity

When a person thinks of ministry, they shouldn't think of doing things, however this is typically the thought that comes to mind.  Ministry is something that is supposed to be integrated into our lives.  If you say however that you aren't called to ministry, I beg to differ.  In the book below, if you read through it, you will see what I mean.

As I have grown in my walk with Christ I have come to understand that it's not about the amount of things to do as stated in Ephesians 2:8-9.

The way our brains work we need to do things in order to gain acceptance, to feel like we have accomplished things in order to show what we are. With Christ and our relationship, its not about quantity, it's about quality. James 2:18 backs this statement up. So what we need to realize is that no matter how good something is, if we are strung out among several different "ministries" you aren't being affective. To be affective you need to focus on the quality of what you are doing, not the quantity.

Monday, April 12, 2010


This weekend was spent with a group of youth from the church in Marvell, AR. and the surrounding Phillips County doing service projects.  The Southern Baptist Convention entitled the weekend "Connect" signifying connecting with, God, Students, and the Community.

It was a really exciting weekend.  During the weekend students are challenged to get outside of their comfort zones and go out within a community to complete construction type projects for area churches and residents.  This year over 200 students and their adult chaperones worked on 14 projects across the Arkansas Valley Association.

The projects ranged from painting to hanging sheet rock,  from cleaning to building gates.  The diversity within the projects allows for people of different skill levels to offer their assistance.

The area that was worked in is very poor, and in need of a positive light to be shown.  The students who participated from across the state provided that positive light.

This trip is very instrumental in showing students what it means to do missions, and it doesn't take a whole week to participate.  That's what makes the weekend truly exceptional.   This is a great trip for students to go on if they have never participated in missions before, in order for them to understand what it means to be mission minded.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


So I just finished watching Killer At Large a documentary about obesity in America. Then we also have One Day Without Shoes coming up on  Thursday.  I began thinking, what is it with us and our causes?

Now arguably the documentary addresses the cause differently then how we would think of a cause, but it still addresses it nonetheless.  Why though do we attach ourselves to causes?  I heard someone tell me they weren't purchasing Toms, because on their universities campus they have become more of a fashion statement then supporting a cause.

Why though can we not be this way about the cause of Christ?  I hinted at this earlier tonight in a tweet that said "If we are a nation of addicted people, then why as "Christians" are we not addicted to Christ?"  Our calling as Christians is to make his name known, this was presented in several places, the most popular being the great commission: Matthew 28:16-20.

This is what we are supposed to do, support the cause of Christ.  We however have a tendency to get caught up in supporting other causes, that are just as great, but we miss Christ in the cause.  If our cause is Christ, then we won't miss Him, and everything that happens when we are furthering the cause of Christ, will help further other causes as well.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Montana Pt. 2

So as stated in the last post, I am continuing with talking about Montana and things that I observed.

All of us were excited to be able to help out the church that we were staying with.  We hit the ground running, with no real plan on what we were doing, just knowing that we were helping.  That was a pretty exciting experience in itself.

What really got to us though was that we felt that the church that hosted us, served us more than we served them.  I have been on trips in the past where we were told what was expected of us and just left to get the work done.  While we were at the church though, there was someone there pretty much every waking moment, willing to answer questions to the best of their ability.  This really ministered to us, because it showed us not only that we were serving them, but they were appreciative of us, and thus serving us in return.  Simply put, they were loving us their "neighbors" as themselves: Matthew 22:34-40.

That subject is also something I used, when I spoke at the elementary chapel at the christian school.

Overall the trip was amazing and I really enjoyed everything that I learned, not only in what I posted above, but all the little moments with people on the trip.

(me speaking at chapel)

Friday, April 2, 2010


For Spring Break I went to Montana with a group of students from the University of Arkansas.  We stayed with South Hills Baptist Fellowship in Montana City, MT and served as encouragement to the local church as well as completing local service projects.

On our first day we went to Great Divide where a local minister has a Sunday morning mountain top service.  It was really amazing and we experienced the largest local crowd ever! Really exciting stuff, as well as exciting for the group to go skiing as well.  That evening our group brought a special evening service to the church so that they could get a better understanding of the group there to serve them.

On Monday we rested up and spent the day painting the church.  It was a good experience just to help us get accustomed to being in Montana and prep us for the week ahead.

On Tuesday we went and prayer walked Boulder, MT.  This city is being swayed towards New Age ideas and is a very dark area.  It was very good to be able to just pray for the local church.

Wednesday we led chapel at the Helena Christian School which was great.  I grew up in a christian school so it was great to be able to give back to the school and show our support through providing chapel service for them.  That evening we once again led a special Wednesday night service at the church we were staying at.

Thursday was our final day at the church.  We stuffed door hangers and then took them to local neighborhoods to show the churches support for the community.  Going door to door presented alot of interesting conversations with local residents.  That evening church members came and we prayer walked the church .

Friday morning we woke up and left extremely early to return home.

This is just a highlight reel of what happened in Montana.  My next post will be about things we learned ect.