as though time passes quicker each day. Hard to believe the weekend is already past and a new week has started.
The house is coming together very nicely. The colors that SU picked really work to both relax and make you feel like you are in a special place. Very nice.
Class was okay yesterday. I don’t think it was one of our better ones but there were some good points brought out. One of the newer guys felt comfortable enough to talk about himself in a way that was both revealing and positive. That’s always nice to hear, a sprinkling of negative intertwined with positive faith results.
The pastor’s sermon was again about the spirit world. Truthfully, I don’t remember everything about it but his emotions stood out as he talked about the role his grandmother played in raising him and laying the foundation for his acceptance of Christ.
Almost had a disaster in church. One of the ladies that went on the weekend women’s retreat was asked to talk about it. And did a fine job, it’s always interesting to hear from someone that is “a face in the crowd”. By that I mean someone that doesn’t usually speak in front of the church. Anyways, after she finished, she attempted to come down the front of the stage, where there are no handrails. Her heal caught in the carpet and she went tumbling down four steps, hitting hard. Luckily, only her pride was bruised but we really need to learn from that.
Lunch with Pop at Dinner Bell. Pleasant enough but it was one of those days where we had to work to keep on positive tracks about certain people.
I found a NY Times article yesterday that bugged me. Used to be I would instantly rail about stuff like this but these days I’m more apt to think about it for a long period of time before saying anything. I made copies of it and gave them to the guys in class, I want to hear their opinions of it next week. It’s another look at how far some in the church are going these days in an attempt to be ‘relevant’.
Far from being defensive, church leaders who support Halo â€” despite its “thou shalt kill” credo â€” celebrate it as a modern and sometimes singularly effective tool. It is crucial, they say, to reach the elusive audience of boys and young men.
My immediate reaction is similar to this quote in the article.
“If you want to connect with young teenage boys and drag them into church, free alcohol and pornographic movies would do it,” said James Tonkowich, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a nonprofit group that assesses denominational policies. “My own take is you can do better than that.”
I mean, really, why do churches feel the need to do things like this? It’s funny that SU picked up on something right away. James Dobson’s group, Focus on the Family, is quoted in the article as saying that they haven’t formed an opinion on it yet. Please. He’s got time to play politics every day and rail against homosexuals, etc. but no time to think about a growing trend by modern churches to purchase adult rated material and market it to young kids. Get real.
Study after study has found that there is a definite link between extended playing of violent video games and violent behavior.
Playing violent games increases aggressive behaviors, increases aggressive cognitions, increases aggressive emotions, increases physiological arousal, and decreases prosocial behaviors. These effects are robust; they have been found in children and adults, in males and females, and in experimental and nonexperimental studies.
Is it okay to promote this type of activity in church to reach young boys? I don’t know but it seems rather odd to me. I found this in my library while thinking about the article.
Driven people are seldom driven to be good. They are driven to win. That’s true of even ministers. We set our sights on being successful â€” larger attendance, larger staff, larger budget â€” often on the assumption that being successful and faithful are one and the same.
During my early years here at North Coast, I took failures hard. Whether we were struggling with a lack of unity, lackluster worship, or stagnant growth, I assumed the blame, sure that God was sorely disappointed with me. I strove to get my act together, pray more, study more, sin less, increase my faith and vision â€” hoping then things would turn around.
The result was a lot of sleepless nights, a battered sense of self-worth, and a joyless ministry.
Then one day I came across a passage in Proverbs that became a catalyst for a radical change in my outlook: “ï»¿There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lordï»¿” (Prov. 21:30â€“31).
The key insight was this: I wasn’t ultimately responsible for success or failure. Though I’d read it many times before, I’d never actually applied this verse to my ministry. While I could certainly sabotage my ministry, thereby guaranteeing failure, there was nothing I could do to guarantee victory. That was out of my control. My job was simply to prepare the horse for battle the best I could. It was God’s job to decide who won and who lost the battle.
This revolutionary insight called for a drastic change in the goals I set and the way I judged my ministry. I had to stop asking how successful or unsuccessful our church was and start asking how faithfully I was preparing it for battle.
Among other things, that meant shifting from a focus on numerical growth to spiritual health. For example, home fellowship groups are key to our discipleship emphasis. We want to have 70 percent of our Sunday morning attenders involved in them. So now, whenever the percentage drops below that, we stop all communication with visitors â€” something we’ve done twice. We get tough, because we do not want to grow faster than we can assimilate people. The goal is a horse better prepared for the battle: not more people attending North Coast but more people growing in the Lord and doing ministry.
Briscoe, D. S., Larson, K., & Osborne, W. L. (1993). Measuring up : The need to succeed and the fear of failure. Mastering ministry’s pressure points (21). Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Books.