How To Be The Church

Successful house churches follow the example of Jesus and simply imitate the very natural progression of what He did

  • He prayed
  • He met people
  • He made disciples
  • He gathered those who were future leaders closer to Himself
  • He poured Himself into these future leaders to multiply the impact for the Kingdom

Let’s look at these five things briefly…

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand how house churches are to function

If you simply remember these five steps – pray, meet, make, gather, and multiply – you are well on your way to understanding how to be the church

Not “do” church – but, how to “be” the church

These steps work for any generation, any culture, any social strata

Read more

Youth – Part Four

 

We are looking at the major characteristics of the youth today. We need to understand how the young people today see their world and interact with it. As the Church tries to reach them with the Gospel we need to recognize that the message does not change but the methods we use to reach those who don’t know Jesus must change. And, often we cannot know the changes we need to make unless we first come to understand the mindset of the youth we are attempting to reach.

The Millennial generation as they are known are an amazing and large segment of the world’s population today. And, before we broke for the summer and early fall, we saw that there are many amazing characteristics of this generation what we need to come and understand…

So far we have looked at the following:
They are sheltered
The are special (entitled, narcissistic)
They are confident
They are team-oriented
They are conventional
They are pressured
They are achieving

This generation is very familiar and very dependent on the technology that allows them to have instant communications with others. This includes, Facebook, Instagram, text messaging, and other social apps. They no longer rely on the standard television and radio media for their news as the older generation does. They are into digital technology and it impacts the way they receive information as well as the way they relate to the world around the.

They are liberal in their approach to politics and economics. They also have a higher level of unemployment than other generations before them due to the Great Recession. And, they approach social change in a way that has been called “pragmatic idealism” and want to be involved in changing society and basic social values.

There are three other characteristics to add to our summary list above…

TOLERANT

The young people today are very open and tolerant of most things in life. A good example, they are accepting and open about homosexuality. Even those that consider themselves to be believers see nothing wrong with being attracted to people of the same sex. They see this as a personal choice and thus not wrong, though different from their own lifestyle. Thus, they are viewed as tolerant and accepting.

DEFENSIVE

This generation is very defensive of their life style and are often not open to others seeking into their lives. They are somewhat self-contained and thus not looking for constructive advice or input. They have a very independent spirit and simply prefer to live life the way they choose and have the values that others in their peer group hold to. So, they are defensive of their life-style.

 

AFFLUENT

The Millennial generation, compared to past generations, is considered to be affluent. They have the financial means to do almost anything that they want to. They are world travellers and spend a large potion of their income on non-essentials. They farewell educated and thus often well paid in their chosen professions. They are less concerned with some of the basics like owning a house and more focused on building relationships and experiencing new places and making new friends in the nations of the world.

More tomorrow…

 

YOUR WALK WITH JESUS (and His Church)

In the early Church – its early days recorded in the Book of Acts in the New Testament – the believers had a powerful, life-changing encounter with Jesus and then a daily experience of His love…

And, they recognized that together they were the people of God

And, that they were, together, the Church – a new entity upon the earth

They understood that the Church was not a building or an event that you go to once or twice a week

They saw that the Church is the people of God

People who were born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit Read more

The Most Ignored Sin

The following article was written by Jon Zens in 2008.

Three things to keep in mind:

1> Most Christians never realize or understand the despicable, sub-human act that gossip and slander are in the eyes of God until it happens to them.

2> Zens is using the biblical definitions for “gossip” and “slander,” not the modern, American legal definitions. They are quite different.

3> Some people have wrongly used the biblical teaching against gossip and slander to contradict Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18. For instance, if a person is sinning against others and doesn’t stop after being corrected in private by one person, then in private by two or more people, and then corrected by an entire body of believers, it’s not gossip or slander to make that person’s continuing sin public if they refuse to stop (repent). It’s also not gossip to go to a police officer and report a crime.

Zens does talk about the Matthew 18 principle in the article, but his point is that many Christians skip steps 1 and 2 and go straight to 3. And this also is sin.

Zens’ article on gossip and slander… Read more

Warning: The World is Watching

How We Christians Treat One Another

“If Christians cannot extend grace through faithful presence within the body of believers, they will not be able to extend grace to those outside.”

James Davison Hunter

In line with that … a non-believer writes:

“I’m not a Christian because of how most of the Christians I’ve known treat each other.                  Not loving like their founder taught but just the opposite…”

This harkens back to Gandhi’s famous line,

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your                           Christ . . . If it weren’t for Christians, I’d be a Christian.” Read more

Youth – Part Three

 

Let’s continue to look at the major characteristics of the younger generation today so that we can come to understand them a bit better …

Last time we saw that they were” special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented… Let’s continue:

ACHIEVING:
Grade points are rising with this generation and crime is falling. The focus on getting good grades, hard work, involvement in extracurricular activities, etc. is resulting in higher achievement levels. They see college as the key to a high paying job and success, and may miss the bigger picture of what a college education is all about. They are pressured to decide early on a career – and have been put on a career track orientation since grade school. Their focus is more on the world of achievement rather than personal development. The Boomer generation (born before 1964) made their mark in the humanities and arts, whereas the Millennials prefer1math and science fields.

PRESSURED:
Tightly scheduled as children and used to having every hour of their day filled with structured activity. This generation may have lost a sense of pure spontaneous play. They may struggle with handling free time and time management in general. In elementary, middle, and high school, have had more hours of homework and less free time than any of the previous generations. They feel pressured to succeed. They’ve been pushed hard to achieve, to avoid risks, and to take advantage of opportunities. They may take on too much, and then think others should be flexible with them when they want to negotiate scheduling conflicts. They think multi-tasking saves time and is a smart thing to do, but aren’t usually aware of the poorer quality of results.

CONVENTIONAL:
Respectful to the point of not questioning authority. They are civic-minded and believe the government knows what’s best and will take care of them. They fear being considered non-conformist. Their clothing, music, and cultural markings will be very mainstream. They value their parents’ opinions very highly. They support and believe in social rules, and are more in line with their parents’ values than most other generations have been. They are trying to invite rules and norms back into the culture.

More next time…

Youth – Part Two

 

Last time we looked at how often God touched the lives of young people and worked through them in amazing ways. Many of our favourite Bible characters were young men and women in their mid to late teens or early twenties. God has always been interested in the young generation and has often worked through them to bring about major changes in the Kingdom and in the world.

There are many amazing characteristics that exist among the younger generation that God uses to impact others. Today’s young people are no exception. The Millennial generation as they are known has a number of well-recognized characteristics… Let’s look at a few today and finish the list next time.

SPECIAL:
Have always been treated as special and important. This generation of children has been the most wanted. Every milestone was marked with celebrations and praise. They may carry a sense of entitlement about them and have an expectation of frequent positive feedback. It’s been instilled in them that they are vital to the nation and to their parents’ sense of purpose. They feel they are here to solve world problems that older generations have failed to solve. They may claim they want privacy, but they crave attention.

SHELTERED:
Highly protected as children. Grew up in a time of increasing safety measures (car seats, baby on board signs, school lockdowns). They were rarely left unsupervised. They were sheltered from having to take care of their own conflicts as parents advocated on their behalf, and “spared” them from unpleasant experiences. As college students, they may expect faculty and staff to shelter, protect, and nurture them – and resolve their conflicts for them. Millennials are the focus of the most sweeping youth safety movement in history.

CONFIDENT:
They are motivated, goal-oriented, and confident in themselves and the future. They expect college to help launch them to greatness. They may brag about their generation’s power and potential. They have high levels of optimism and they feel connected to their parents. They are assertive and believe they are “right”. They are often known, in my nation, as the “Sunshine Generation.”

TEAM-ORIENTED:
They are group oriented rather than being individualists. They may sacrifice their own identity to be part of the team. They prefer egalitarian leadership, not hierarchies. They are forming a tight-knit generation. While they are group-oriented within their own cohort, they may “politely” exclude other generations. They do not want to stand out among their peers, they want to be seen as part of the group. They dislike selfishness and are oriented toward service, learning, and volunteerism.

More next time…

Youth – Part One

 

God is interested in young people. And, in my ministry I work with young people between the ages of 16 to 36 everywhere that I go. In fact, many of the team members now coming with me on overseas trips are in their late teens and early twenties. They are an amazing asset to the ministry and I enjoy working with them immensely.

Young people today are looking for acceptance in the Church. Often they don’t feel accepted because they are treated as “kids.” Teenagers today are much more mature and wise in the ways of the world than previous generations. They see life and engage with life at a level that previous generations never did and, in many ways, still don’t. They are looking for meaning, purpose, and something to invest their lives in. And, the Church needs to notice them, work to understand them, and integrate them into the life and finer of the Church in a meaningful and challenging way.

God has always interacted with young people … and there are many examples of this in the Scriptures. A few include:

Joseph (the guy with the coat of many colours) who received two prophetic visions or dreams of his future role for God. He became a leader in Egypt and saved his people from starvation.

Joshua was just a young man when first chosen by Moses to be discipled and mentored and eventually released to lead God’s people into the Promised Land after the death of Moses.

Daniel was used by God as a teenager in the Babylonian Empire as he interpreted the dreams of the ruler and as he received many visions regarding the end times – viewed now on the same level as John the apostle’s Book of Revelation.

Jeremiah was chosen before he was conceived in his mother’s womb and became a prophet while still very young – a teenager. God even had to remind him, “Do not say, I am only a youth…” (Jeremiah 1:7a)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was in her middle teens when she became pregnant through the work of the Holy Spirit. She was used mightily by the Lord and was a vital part of the early Church.

Timothy was a young man discipled and mentored by Paul and he became an apostle and did some amazing work in the city of Ephesus and elsewhere in his early years of life.

The list could go on … but, my point is that God used and uses young people and we need to not neglect the amazing asset that young people are in the Church today.

And, the young people need to not let the Church and church leaders just brush them off, ignore them, entertain them, or keep them from being a part of the ministry and the leadership of the Church. Young people need to stand up and be noticed.

Paul’s comment to Timothy bears repeating: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

More next time….