Growing the Church

Talking this week to a good friend of mine about LifeSpring made me start thinking about church growth. This month is my first year anniversary at LifeSpring. I’ll be quite frank. It wasn’t what I expected.

I knew of course that ministry would be difficult. But the first year was painful! There were so many things I went through–the personal disappointments and the hurts–that it is nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t simply give up and leave. About nine months into the ministry I was so discouraged that I considered leaving; that perhaps someone else could do a better job of it than me. But time after time I drew strength from God. And so I can only thank Him for seeing me through; and not just surviving, but coming out of it with a renewed sense of passion and joy because I see that God is right here working in our midst.

Every minister wants his or her church to grow. If they don’t, why are they in ministry? For that matter, why go into business? Why do you open a restaurant? (more…)


Love Wins, My Take on Rob Bell’s New Book

I chose not to make any comments on Rob Bell’s new book, “Love Wins” until after I had read it myself. So after reading it, let me state from the outset that Rob Bell is not a universalist; at least, not in the popular conception of what universalism entails: the salvation of all human beings everywhere regardless of whether they were an Adolf Hitler or a Mahatma Gandhi. Most people’s concept of universalism means that eventually everyone ends up in heaven. That’s not Rob Bell’s view.

Having said that, I don’t think this is Bell’s finest book. “Velvet Elvis” was a much better book. I think every Christian living in the 21st century should read that one! This book is more polemical, written to combat an extreme fundamentalist view of the afterlife. You know, you’ve seen those people carrying signs on the street corners proclaiming hell and eternal damnation. Frankly, they do more harm than good.

The book began when Bell’s Church had an art show regarding what it meant to be a peacemaker. Someone had included a Gandhi quote in her art piece to which someone else attached a piece of paper: “Reality check: He’s in Hell.” (more…)

Postmodernity & the Emergent Church from a 3/4 World Perspective

Emergent/Emerging Church – You can’t understand it unless you’re well versed in postmodernism.

When I was in seminary, postmodernism was all the rage. It seemed like almost every professor in every class had something to say about it. To be sure, not every professor was entirely sold on it although some definitely were. A great many students, however, were what I would describe as “postmodern zealots.” For them, the death of modernity was hailed with great aplomb, ala Nietszche’s Zarathrusthra hailing the death of god to a generation that wasn’t prepared for it. They were the enlightened having foreseen the future. And the future was postmodern.

I was never quite sold. (more…)