Monday, August 31, 2009

A Godly Example

I've had a night and a little bit of a morning to reflect on yesterday's events. No doubt about it, yesterday was a BIG day for the Curry church of Christ. Yesterday, one of our Shepherds (who has been guiding us for longer than I know) announced that he was stepping down from that position. At first, I was a little surprised and a little worried for the congregation. But it didn't take too long for my thoughts to switch over where they need to be - on my former shepherd and his wife.

I love that godly couple more than they'll ever know. And they have had more of an impact on my life than what they could ever imagine. He has been example for me of what a Christian husband, father, businessman, and church leader should look like - he has shown me by letting me watch is life. So once I got done worrying about myself and the congregation, I starting thinking about these two wonderful people. And then I started praying for them. I am so blessed to have that kind of an example of humility, strength and courage all wrapped up in one man.

By stepping down he put his family and the church first. He understood that, for whatever the specific reasons, that he was not at point in life that he felt he should be leading the church in that capacity. I have known of too many others in his position that made the wrong decision and remained with the Eldership for the wrong reasons, or with only half their heart invested in it. He had the courage and humility not to do that.

Let's not forget that a title is something you take on. But leadership is a role that it given to you by the very people who are following your lead. He may not be wearing a specific title - but I'll still be following close behind him.

I love you guys.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Exposure Youth Camp

Check out the promo video for Exposure! It's already September. December will be here soon!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Are we acting like the Jews?

So what's causing our congregations to stop growing and as a result, start dying (or at least letting atrophy take hold)? I wonder if a little bit of it is because we're acting like the Jewish Christians described in Acts. Check out these scriptures for yourself.

Acts 10:1-22; 34-35 It took a vision from God and three men sent to get him before Peter would consider preaching to a gentile.

Acts 11:1-3 When word got back to Jerusalem (where all the Jewish Church leaders were) that Peter had preached to (and ate with) Cornelius they demanded an explanation. So Peter had to explain to them about his vision and how it was God who sent him to do it.

Acts 11:19-22 This scripture describes how the Jewish Christians who had fled Jerusalem after Stephen was stoned had only shared the gospel with other Jews. But there was an exception. A few men were preaching to the Gentiles also. And when the folks in Jerusalem found out, they sent Barnabas up to Antioch to investigate the situation.

Now, I don't think we blatantly do what they did. These Jewish Christians were purposefully prejudiced against the Gentiles. And as a result, they were willing to "allow" or "accept" that the Gentiles were being converted - but it had to be done on their terms. More specifically, they had to become Jews (conversion) first, then they would be deemed acceptable for conversion. I don't know if we can paint with a real broad brush on this, but I don't think we'd be completely wrong in saying that some congregations are a little guilty of this.

For example, we are certainly guilty of confusing habit, tradition and custom for scripture - there's no denying that. And when our habits, traditions and customs are disrupted, we get disrupted. That's not inherently wrong. That is, there's nothing wrong with customs and traditions. But it is wrong for customs or traditions to be placed at a greater importance than people and their souls. Or, like the Jewish Christians did with circumcision, require people to accept our opinions, before we accept them. That's not right, and it alienates people. And when people are alienated they leave or don't come back. That's one reason for a lack of growth.

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Church Growth in Walker County

Okay, so here's recommitment number 1. No more lay offs for more than a few days. Hopefully I won't need another recommitment. I've already got enough of those going. I think I'm on number 4 with my promise to myself that I'll start working out again and get back in shape. :-) Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one in that boat.

Last month I introduced a new topic that I want to get into a little - the state of the Church. Are we growing? Are we not growing? Why are some congregations able to grow and others are dying? Here we go . . .

Since I've been in Jasper, I've heard three different comments (from three different people) that essentially stated that the church in Walker County is dying and they don't know why. I haven't done any research on this (though it probably would be a good study). But judging soley from comments made people who have been around a while and checking old bulletins from a few congregations, I can tell that it is probably true that the church "numbers" are in decline. In fact, for a few of the congregations the numbers are down substantially.

This is a good moment for pause. How do you define a dying church? How do you look at a particular congregations and say, "that congregation is dying," or "that congregation is growing?" Here's my answer, if there isn't consistent numberical growth, then it's dying. That's sounds a little harsh, but once a congregation stops growing it's only a matter of time before it begins declining. And it should really be pointed out that when our own kids make the decision to become a Christian, that really isn't growth in this sense. To me that seems more like maintaining.

So back to the thought. If the church in Walker County is dying, then why? Starting with the next post, I am going to spend a little time trying to answer this question. I welcome your comments. I think a discussion on this topic is well past due and well worth the time. If you are a regular reader, please encourage your friends to check us out. I would love to have input from as many people as possible. I look forward to your comments.