Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Life Cycle of a Church or Christian Movement

Remember: The curve is common but not inevitable. Both growth and decline can be stopped at any time.

1. Birth- Begins with a founder and/or founding group who burns with passion to make a difference in the lives of others.
2. Infancy - Group expands it's external focus and almost exclusively works to bring others into the cause.
3. Adolescence - Programs and services are added to take the strain off the Founder and founding group.
4. Prime - ministry and action is being done through a variety of people. The movement is "in the zone." Ephesians 4.
5. Maturity - Movement/church begins to lose momentum and begins to develop an "our way of doing things." Subtly becomes more inwardly (us) focused.
6. Aristocracy - Momentum takes an even greater hit, marked by less energy and less effectiveness. Status quo is maintained. Cliques form. Turf is protected.
7. Bureaucracy - The birth story and accompanying passion are forgotten. The activity of administration substitutes the accomplishment of the real mission. Disgruntled members begin to look for someone to blame for ineffectiveness.
8. Death - The skeleton is all that remains. Survival continues until the door is locked for the last time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Jesus' Three Habits

Jesus had three simple habits. He "stood up to read the Scripture" as was his custom. Second, he "went into the mountain to pray" as was his custom. Third, "he taught them" as was his custom.

1. Daily Read the Bible. Spiritually mature people know the Bible and apply the truth of the Bible. Knowing the Bible comes from reading and hearing it. If you don't know much about the Bible you don't know much about Jesus.

2. Get Alone with God and Pray. The depth of one's relationship with God will remain shallow without private prayer. Intimacy with God grows through conversation with Him.

3. Pass it on. A proven way to retain a lesson is to teach it to someone else. A lesson learned but not taught is often forgotten. And therefore must be relearned.

(adopted from E. Stanley Jones, Conversations)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Have you ever tried to search the web on an old computer. It can be pretty annoying. Webpages half loaded. You know the look. Content illedgible. Boxes with little red x's litter the screen. The hour glass is laid out in the "infinity" position. It's stuck. You get frustrated. So maybe you wait (some can wait much longer than others) until you can take it no longer then you click refresh or renew. And if you're lucky the page displays, the content is ledgible, the hour glass disappears. Happy surfer.

People get stuck. Christians get stuck. Churches get stuck. Stale. Frustrating. Renewal is usually what's needed. But for renewal to happen the page has to be cleared. Yes, I know it's scary, but what other option do you have? Merely staring at 'stuck' doesn't 'unstuck' it.

That's what God was telling Israel through the prophet. You're stuck, time to refresh.

Habakkuk 3.2 Lord I have heard of your fame. I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. RENEW them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy."