Archive for April, 2006

"Toronto Court Ruling" from the Globe and Mail Newspaper

“Toronto Court Ruling” from the Globe and Mail Newspaper

Toronto,Canada (AP) -A seven year old boy was at the center of a Toronto courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with the child custody law and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the degree possible. The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him. After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him. After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Toronto Maple Leafs, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.

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Gender and Leadership in Organic Churches

Gender and Leadership in Organic Churches

This quote illustrates why I think the whole women in leadership debate is a non-issue for me.

“How could you as an IMB missionary sign the BF&M2000 and allow women to be out there planting churches?”

I welcomed the question and we began a dialogue more or less along the following lines…

“Well,” I responded, “for starters I didn’t read the part in the BF&M where it prohibits women from starting churches…”

The student clarified, “they are teaching and leading churches…”

“Yes”, I replied, “and not only that, they are winning new people to the Lord, discipling them and starting new churches. They consider themselves ‘ministers of the Gospel’ just like you and me…”

“But the BF&M2000 says that only men may be pastors, you have women who are pastoring out there…”

“Very few of the house churches have leaders who are called ‘pastors’. Leadership is usually shared amongst several individuals according to their spiritual gifts and talents…being the ‘church planter’ does not make them the ‘pastor’…”

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Organic Church : Introduction

Organic Church : Introduction

The introduction begins with “Houston we have a problem.” He is quoting the Astronaut who began to tell ground control something was terribly wrong on the Apollo 13 mission. Here are some his points he uses to make his case:

  • The world is interested in Jesus but not in the church
  • The true measure of how well the church is doing is transformed lives while we focus on attendance
  • The church has ceded ground to parachurch ministries becoming less relevant
  • We use the attractional approach to church tempting us to compromise the gospel message
  • Wherever the church follows the western pattern it is in decline

I agree with Cole that we have a problem. A cursory glance at church attendance figures or a quick scan of “The Present Future” by McNeal or “The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience” by Sider all tell us the same grim tale. The church is dying and on average the people in the church aren’t behaving any differently than the people who don’t attend.

It seems that the stakes are high. The problems we face are far deeper than our own personal dissatisfaction. There are a number of Jesus’ parables that speak of things like good trees bearing good fruit, seed bearing lot of grain, lamps shining in the darkness, the vine and the branches. We are called on to be stewards of all that God gives us. We should all be concerned.

Sometime ago God showed me Mark 4 and I wondered what his point was. As time developed that chapter became deeply profound and challenging for me.

Cole’s book doesn’t get in to it but there is a real need for repentance. The church doesn’t change because ultimately we don’t want it to. I think a lot of church people will take Organic Church and try to replicate it and will fail because church people are trained in passivity.

I think the world is interested in Jesus but the church isn’t.

We can’t count transformed lives when we are all just faces in a crowd.

Parachurch ministries grew because people who did want to do something got frustrated or impatient

The attractional approach to church makes it easiest for the bulk of us

Cole is correct when he says the answers are not found in another model. I also agree that we need the scriptures and the Spirit but I think he fell a bit short. He hasn’t stressed the need for a total shift in those who follow Christ. Our priorities are all messed up and unless there is a deep heart change to go along with a change in church it won’t get us far. I think that is the primary reason why so many cutting edge efforts have failed to make much of an impact. We think we can change the church without allowing God to change us.


NDP Corporate Tax Cuts!

NDP Corporate Tax Cuts!

I just about fell out of my chair! I wonder if Jack Layton will run commercials about Lorne Calvert’s 100 million dollar corporate tax give away. This must be the bizarro NDP government. Anyways I think I like this budget. This is the most positive step towards building the Saskatchewan economy in a long time.

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A new blog on the system :

A new blog on the system :

I’m happy to introduce another WordPress convert hosted at PrairieFusion. The tag line says Prefatory remarks or observations on :: history, philosophy, politics, poetry, theology.

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Organic Church

Organic Church

Neil Cole’s “Organic Church” presents a radical vision of the local church. His ideas about evangelism, leadership, and ministry mark a clear departure from conventional think. They also run counter to the thinking of guys like George Barna. Up until now I’ve never read a book on organic churches and I’m glad this is my first one.

Organic church is unlike many books in the Emerging Church genre because it is written by someone who speaks from experience rather than theory. He writes as someone who as found a way for churches to go beyond survival and actually thrive.

The book represents a refreshing change because Cole doesn’t monkey with the gospel. He clearly believes in a God that does something in this world. He frames his conclusions in the midst of his own story including his failures. He sees scripture as an authoritative guide for church but unlike so many others he starts with Jesus’ parables. Because of this he comes to some very interesting conclusions about the organic nature of the kingdom of God.

I found a wealth of general practical information concerning general issues in church multiplication. However some might be disappointed with the lack of specifics. I’m assuming that Cole believes people need to work out the specifics in their own context. Fair enough but I’d still love to hear stories of how things in the CMA network grew.

Over the next little while I’m going to work through each major section of the book blogging my thoughts, challenges and reflections.


I'm in an odd place right now

I’m in an odd place right now

Sometimes life is such that the main things I am thinking about probably shouldn’t be shared on a blog.

Right now I’m doing a very thorough read of “The Organic Church.” I’m surprised how much more I get out of a book when I intentionally take thorough notes. What I appreciate the most about Neil Cole is that he is writing from a position of experience. His attempts to do church diferently stem from a study of scripture.

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