A deep and abiding passion to see our churches grow is a very dangerous thing.
That may seem an odd observation to make, but it is a critical one. If we run with a passion to grow things without at the same time being aware that it is one of the most dangerous passions you can have, then the passion will destroy us and our work.
One of the great Sydney Evangelical Anglicans, Bishop Ken Short died this week. Alongside parish ministry, he’d been a missionary in Tanganyika (later Tanzania), a military chaplain, Dean of Sydney, Bishop of Wollongong, then of Parramatta, and of the Australian Defence Forces. (more…)
Of those who witnessed the evangelistic crusades of Billy Graham at their high point, many would later ascribe his success to a combination of gospel preaching and gospel singing. Of these two elements, it seems that the latter was at least as potent—if not more so—than the former. As one observer recalls:
I have never thought of myself as a technologist, but now I realize that we all are. As Tim Challies has pointed out in his book, The Next Story, humans are incurably and inherently technological. We shape and form and make things constantly as we fulfil God’s creational purpose for us to multiply and subdue the earth. The things we make are usually neither good nor evil in themselves—a wheel, a fork, an office block, a chair, a screwdriver, a book—but each one can be used well or badly, and each one comes with both risks and benefits. (Some technologies, I would contend, are just inherently evil—such as the office laser printer—but we will leave that discussion for another time.) (more…)
The third principle of children’s ministry is to reach the family and friends of the children we are ministering to with the message of the gospel. (more…)
Do we simply share the gospel? Not really.
We present the gospel in a way that is understandable to the person we are speaking to; we take their background understanding about God into account. In the book of Acts we see the apostle Paul do this. To the Jews he presented Jesus as the fulfilment of the promises God made through the prophets. To the Gentiles he proclaims that God is the creator, idols do not represent him, and that his true representative is Jesus who he raised from the dead. (more…)
Friends, is Jesus Lord of your holidays? For many of you, the answer is yes!
Jesus says the two great commands are to love God and to love your neighbour. So I see people making Jesus Lord of their holidays, when they continue to read the Bible and say their daily prayers while out of regular routine in relaxed mode. Or when they take the chance to read and reflect on a solid Christian book they’d not normally get to. (more…)
We are a society that wants more. More money, more gadgets, more food, more fun. But strangely, wanting more often leaves us feeling dissatisfied. We finally get the thing we longed for, and yet all too soon it is broken, or the batteries have run down or it isn’t as good as we hoped. (more…)
Tim Zulker, one of the contributors to GoThereFor.com, on where to start in evangelism:
We often discuss barriers to outreach: fear, lack of knowledge, rejection, cultural disconnects, etc. These may be real barriers. And there are more. But the deeper barriers to fruitful outreach are what hinder the glory of Christ from shining out from our hearts: willful, unconfessed sin, and broken relationships between Christians in the church. If the gospel is fundamentally a heart issue, then it stands to reason that that’s where the battle will be—in our hearts. If we’re at odds with the Spirit, by consciously allowing sin to fester, we will be out of step with the Spirit and not seeing his fruit. In other words, we will not be abiding in Christ.
Hunting down quotations is one of the most delightful of occupations, and a Briefing reader set me upon the track of the expression in the teeth of our exertions—employed by Spurgeon in one of his sermons. What, I was asked, does Spurgeon mean, and where did he get this expression from? (more…)
Who are your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you? Most of us have many. In our childhood we may have been privileged to have parents who taught us God’s word, or there were Sunday school teachers or youth fellowship leaders at our church, or ISCF/Crusader teachers at school. For many it has been the pastor of our church, or the Bible study leader. During the lifetime of a Christian we usually have a range of leaders, who teach us God’s word.
There are some people whose leadership stretches well beyond personal ministry to affect whole communities with their teaching of God’s word. They speak at conventions, write books and articles, and travel to speak at evangelistic gatherings and church conferences. They become well known to the community as a whole, as they influence the culture of church life. And as we consider the outcome of the lives of those who lead us personally, we also remember and consider the lives of these more public leaders. (more…)
Here at The Briefing, we honour our esteemed friend, the late Dudley Foord.
One of his sons, Martin, a lecturer at Trinity Theological College in Perth, has just announced:
Tim Brister has written a great post about responses churches make to the Great Commission:
When it comes to the Great Commission, there are basically three responses a church can have. A church can do nothing, something, or one thing.
This is where we need to be brutally honest with ourselves. As a church, are we hitting the target? Are we making disciples of Jesus? More pointedly, are we making disciples who make disciples of Jesus? The sobering fact is that I don’t know of a single church who does not struggle with this. The difference is there are those who want to grow through their struggles while there are others who, unfortunately, are happy to substitute some other target other than the Great Commission that is easier to hit. A proper handling, or stewardship, of the struggle means that we deal honestly with our challenges that recognize our dependence on Christ and our determination to keep the main thing the main thing, even when we are not that great at it.
Where do you (and your church) land?
Chris Little, minister out at Albury Bible Church, writes about the perfect disgrace of our Lord, and what that disgrace means for our evangelism.
The whole Bible shows God’s concern for the whole world.
The first three quarters of the Bible maintain focus on one people: Israel. The final one quarter is where God’s word goes out to all, freely offered to all cultures, languages and people.
Why the difference? And what made the change? A short passage in Hebrews powerfully captures the switch. It tells me that God spent great effort establishing a system of imperfect honour so that he could trump this system with perfect disgrace.
Good stuff. Go read the whole thing.
Multiply the workers. Deploy the workers aggressively. Remember, the work is evangelism! Remember, evangelism means Christ!
The detailed tactics must change in a different time and place, but well over a century later, I reckon this is still a pretty good strategy for reaching a large urban diocese where the vast majority are un-churched.