How do you feel about your curriculum?

How do you feel about the Bible Study Lesson you are using? I have asked this question a number of times when teaching Bible Study leaders: How many times has your life been changed by Bible Study Curriculum? More than once, groups have spontaneously laughed out loud. Bible Study Leaders don’t seem too fired up about the Bible Study […]

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Widows, orphans and evangelism

Jesus wed mission and message together seamlessly, proclaiming the kingdom that had come while healing the leper and feeding the hungry. He mandated concern for the widow and orphan, the homeless and naked, the imprisoned and hungry while speaking of the bread of life and a home in heaven. In other words, we should have […]

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Is innovation the goal?

Is it wrong to want to be an innovative leader or lead an innovative church? I don’t think so, especially if your goal of being innovative is to follow where God leads. We just need to check out motives and heart here early in this journey. One of my favorite tweets is from March 8, […]

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Reaching the NONES

The rise of the nones calls for not only a renewed commitment to conversion growth and a rethinking of evangelism as both process and event, but also a new understanding of strategic effectiveness. Simply put, there has been a seismic shift in outreach that few church leaders are understanding, much less pursuing. From the 1950s […]

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To tweak or not to tweak

What happens if ministries are not tweaked? They become a type of ministry we never want to have: a “just because” ministry or program. A “just because” ministry serves no purpose other than existing. Why do we do this ministry? Just because. What is the purpose of investing in this program? Just because. Why do […]

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A chrysalis can teach us about spiritual growth

The reminds us we must die to self. Scientists describe the process when a caterpillar turns into a chrysalis as a death of sorts. Most of the inside of the caterpillar turns into a slimy goo and is reformed into a beautiful butterfly. The caterpillar must die in order to ever take wings. Bernd Heinrich […]

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Why we are not reaching the NONES

Here is the uncomfortable truth. Almost everybody who follows Christ, and almost every gathering of those Christ followers constituting a church, says the same thing: “We want to reach the world for Christ.” Yet most don’t do it. So where’s the breakdown? It’s not strategy. There are vast numbers of churches who are successfully penetrating […]

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The slow, steady decline

It is undeniable that churches evolve over time. Over the life of a church, neighborhoods can change, leadership can expand and even fail, theological trends can take hold, unity can be lost, and splits can occur. Throughout all of this turmoil, congregations frequently become inward-focused and often obsessed with maintaining the status quo. Well-meaning members […]

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A caterpillar can teach us about spiritual growth

A caterpillar can teach us about spiritual growth Scientists call a caterpillar an eating machine. Some caterpillars consume 27,000 times their body weight during this life phase. Caterpillars increase their body mass by as much as 1,000 times or more. Imagine if a baby did this. A typical eight pound baby would grow to four […]

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The religion of the NONES

In Ross Douthat’s book Bad Religion, the New York Times columnist offers a synopsis of the core beliefs of America’s wave of “spiritual but not religious” teachers such as Deepak Chopra, James Redfield, Eckhart Tolle, Paulo Coelho, Neale Donald Walsch, Oprah Winfrey, and Elizabeth Gilbert. According to Douthat, their “creed” shares four beliefs.1 1. All […]

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How God changes us

The Greek word translated transformed in Romans 12:2 is metamorphóō. We get our word metamorphosis from this word. There is an interesting contrast between change that starts on the outside—conformed, and change that starts on the inside—transformed. J.B. Phillips’ paraphrase of this verse accurately describes change that starts on the outside, “Don’t let the world […]

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Getting to know the NONES

But it’s more than simply being nothing. Perhaps one of the more disconcerting marks of typical nones is that they are very content with holding their “nothing in particular” stance toward religion. Among those who say they believe in “nothing in particular,” 88 percent are not even looking for a specific faith or religion. Think […]

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Spiritual, but not religious

What is most important to understand about the average none is that most are not atheists. In truth, most still believe in God, and many pray on a daily basis. They consider themselves spiritual, or at least open to spirituality. The real mark of a none is not the rejection of God but the rejection […]

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Who are the “Nones”?

Now that we’ve documented the nones as the fastest-growing and now third-largest religious constituency in the United States—constituting one of every five Americans—who are they? Studies reveal that they are not made up of seekers who are looking for a spiritual home but simply haven’t found it yet (more on that later). Nor are they […]

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Numerical growth can never substitute for spiritual health

When churches settle into extended periods of decline, they sometimes adopt a defensive rhetoric that touts spiritual growth or spiritual health over numerical growth. Such false dichotomy often masks a tragic loss of vision, a lapse into spiritual sloth, and even defeat. Numerical growth can never substitute for spiritual health and may even cloak spiritual […]

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The High Price of Change

An excerpt from Transitioning the Church, by Zach Williams: Whether we like it or not, the community we serve is always in a state of transition. So our churches should also be in a constant state of transition. Is it worth it? This one question will arise in your head each and every day as […]

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What is a disciple?

One of the oddest things about church life is that we have no good way of measuring how well we are doing what Jesus told us to do. It’s not as though we don’t know how to count or are unwilling to count. We count almost everything. My denomination, for example, can cite reams of […]

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