Archive for December, 2011

Another chance to win free books!

December 20, 2011

http://www.fundamentallyreformed.com/2011/12/20/the-12-days-before-christmas-book-giveaway-day-8/
http://www.credomag.com/2011/12/19/this-weeks-book-giveaways-3/

The 12 Days Before Christmas Book Giveaway

December 14, 2011

http://www.fundamentallyreformed.com/

New Living Translation Giveaway

December 10, 2011

https://www.facebook.com/NewLivingTranslation?sk=app_121121694568521

Simple Church (part four)

December 8, 2011

Simple Church: Returning to God’s process for making disciples
© 2011 by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger
Published by B&H Publishing Group
281 pages

The authors define a simple church as “a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth” (p. 186).

To have a simple church, leaders must ensure that everything their church does fits together to produce life change. They must design a simple process that pulls everything together, a simple process that moves people toward spiritual maturity (p. 26).

In this book they authors are encouraging us to design a process for discipleship. They key word of this book is “process.” Simple only comes into play because a complicated or complex process does not produce the desired result.

To help us design this process the last half of the book focuses on four elements: Clarity, Movement, Alignment and Focus. These four must flow. Clarity is the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by the people. It eliminates confusion. Movement is the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment. Alignment is the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process. Focus is the commitment to abandon everything that falls outside of the simple ministry process.

“A simple church is designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth. The leadership and the church are clear about the process (clarity) and are committed to executing it. The process flows logically (movement) and is implemented in each area of the church (alignment). The church abandons everything that is not tin the process (focus)” (p.67).

Chapter Five explains Clarity:

Five keys to clarity
1. Define
Church leaders must define more than the purpose (the what); they must also define the process (the how). People within a church must know the process because they are integral to fulfilling it. A clearly defined process encourages people to progress through it because they know the expectation. People cannot embrace the ambiguous (p. 114).

2. Illustrate
If you want your church members to see you simple process clearly, you must illustrate it (p. 116). The simple process is more likely to resonate with each person if it is visual (p.117). Choose a visual illustration for your process (p.119).

3. Measure
Our research also reveals that measuring your process is critical. Measuring helps bring clarity (p. 120). What gets evaluated gets done (p. 121).

4. Discuss
Discussion will lead to understanding and ownership with the leaders (p.126). When the process starts to feel old, brainstorm fresh ways to communicate it (p. 128).

5. Increase Understanding
They continually and intentionally confirm that their church members have a clear understanding of their process (p. 129). When you are tired of talking about it, people will just be in the first stages of understanding (p. 131). Share real stories of real people with real names (p. 131).

An article worth reading

December 2, 2011

Don’t know this pastor or his church, but I agree with him on this

Simple Church (part 3)

December 1, 2011

Notes from Chapters Three & Four:

Spiritual growth is a process. It always has been. Thus, it would make sense for church leaders to design their churches around the process of spiritual growth (p. 59).

They are talking about a design for discipleship. A design of church ministry. How a church is designed and structured so people can be transformed by God’s grace (p. 59).

In First Corinthians 3 believers are called God’s children (v. 1), God’s field (v. 9), God’s building (v. 9). Children, fields and buildings grow in process. Not only do simple church leaders understand that spiritual transformation is a process, but they also respond to this reality (p. 60).

What is the definition of a Simple Church? A simple church is a congregation designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth (p.60).

There is a highly significant relationship between a simple church design and the growth and vitality of a local church. A simple church strategy is effective (p. 67).

The leadership and the church are clear about the process (clarity) and are committed to executing it. The process flows logically (movement) and is implemented in each area of the church (alignment). The church abandons everything that is not in the process (focus) (p. 68).

Clarity – Movement – Alignment – Focus (p. 68ff)

Clarity is the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by the people…it eliminates confusion (p. 70).

Movement is the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment…it is about assimilation (p. 72). Movement is how someone is handed off from one level of commitment to a greater level of commitment (p.73).

Alignment is the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process (p. 74).

Focus is the commitment to abandon everything that falls outside of the simple ministry process (p. 76).

While movement is the most difficult simple church element to understand, focus is the most difficult to implement (p. 76).

The last half of the book will deal with these four steps.

In chapter four, the authors give us some real life examples. One I found particularly interesting involved the content of the adult Bible fellowships coinciding with the message in the worship service. The pastor writes what he calls “coordinates” each week that supplement his message. The Bible fellowship leaders use these coordinates as curriculum. The pastor is able to invite the people at the worship service to attend a Bible fellowship “to get more information and go deeper.” (p.89)

“Bible fellowship” or small groups are offered on Sunday Morning, Wednesday nights, and in homes during the week (p. 95).

An example of a simple process is (1) come to a worship service, (2) be in a small group, and (3) serve in a ministry (p.95).

Simple churches reject the menu philosophy of ministry that encourages church leaders to offer huge menus of programs. The authors believe ministry is done poorly in most churches. It is impossible to do things with excellence when energy and attention are divided. These churches have an inability to focus (p. 103).