Tag Archives: Church

Tim Keller: Missional vs Evangelistic Churches

2 Mar

I like this

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Motivation, message, method, means

20 Feb

Reuben Hunter gives 4 talks on evangelism:

talk 1 – motivation
talk 2 – means
talk 3 – message
talk 4 – method

Wicked!

What is a healthy church?

13 Jan

What Is a Healthy Church?In this shorter version of his “9 marks” book, Mark Dever gives an introduction to what we should look for in a church. The book is split into three sections:

Part 1: What is a healthy church. Deals with what church is all about at its core and how Christians and the church relate to each other.

Part 2: Essential marks of a healthy church. Three things that a church simply cannot do without: expositional preaching, biblical theology and a biblical understasnding of the gospel.

Part 3: Important marks of a healthy church. Six things churches should have, but which are of seconday importance: A biblical understanding of conversion, evangelism and membership, a right understanding of church discipline, discipleship and growth, and biblical church leadership.

Dever comes from a more ‘traditional’ church yet his principles aren’t tied down to a particular style at all. Rather they are soaked in scripture and thankfulness for the cross. Not bad at all!

Get one here

Driscoll’s Reformission

20 Dec

I’ve just finished reading Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll. It’s good. In fact, it’s so good that I’ve bought myself a copy. Among other things, it addresses Churches who are plodding along comfortably as they are with few signs of biblical, effective communication of the gospel with lost souls around them; it also speaks volumes to those who dilute the gospel to make it more attractive. I can’t say I agree with everything Driscoll says, but the overall sentiment is powerful. He writes

Reformission is ultimately about being like Jesus, through his empowering grace. One of the underlying keys to reformission is knowing that neither the freedom of Christ nor our freedom in Christ is intended to permit us to dance as close to sin as possible without crossing the line. But both are intended to dance as close to sinners as possible by crossing the lines that unnecessarily separate the people that God has found from those he is still seeking.

It’s all about how we engage with the lost and share Christ with them in a way that is both bibilically uncompromising and culturally accessible.

Reformission evangelism understands that the transformed lives of people in the church are both the greatest argument for, and the greatest explanation of, the gospel…

Reformission insists that evangelism is more about a lifestyle for all of God’s people… and that the gospel is made clearest by the honest words and open lives of those who have been transformed by grace.

Driscoll is big on lifestyle and culture, but won’t budge on the need to proclaim Christ as he is revealed in scripture. He often generalises and can be quite vicious in his attack on sub-standard Churches which can sometimes get in the way of an otherwise very helpful book. Also, I do wonder if sometimes his desire to be ‘in the world’ can give the appearance of losing some lifestyle distinctives, although he reminds us that we do need to understand our culture if we are to be effective at sharing the gospel in it. Taken with a pinch of salt and a careful mind, I commend this book to your reading lists. You can get a copy here.

Music and the lost

18 Dec

Growing up at my home Church I always appreciated the music and the style was never an issue for me. If anything I like the more ‘traditional’ feel of the services, but it seems that there is more at stake than personal preferences. I’ve seen people come to churches where the bible is taught faithfully, never to return because of the music, and who have settled for somewhere they felt more ‘comfortable’ but with a less firm grasp of solid Bible teaching. One student said something to me along the lines of “I know the Bible teaching isn’t as good and they’re all messed up with their spiritual gifts but I just feel much more able to worship God there”. I know that this is a wrong attitude to have, but it is a very common one nonetheless.

The first hurdle in Church-based evangelism is for people to come to Church in the first place, and most of the time for that to happen we need to invite people. The style issue could be more to do with people being willing to return and hear Christ preached again and again where conversion isn’t immediate. It is my hope to see churches as places where Christians feel able to invite their unbelieving friends, and where unbelievers will come under the sound of the Gospel as often as required and respond to it in faith.

As far as music goes, there is also the issue of how we best serve each other as we seek to worship God corporately.

A few disjointed thoughts:

Drums aren’t necessary for a more contemporary feel. They do help of course, and to be honest, for all the wrong reasons lots of young people do equate having drums with being a good church to go to!

People may be unhappy for change because they don’t fully understand the changes proposed. Good ‘contemporary’ Christian music is almost always different stylistically to anything in the secular music world. I am aware of people who are very set against any change. Is this because they believe in good conscience that modern music/drums/a different style is unbiblical, or is it more a matter of personal preference? Would it be right to risk offending a few if, by God’s grace, a style change led to more conversions? Of course God can work in all situations and it would be dangerous to assume that a simple change in style would directly lead to more conversions but at the same time we are called as Paul was, to be “all things to all people” as we witness to the lost.

I came across this rather insightful quote from Bob Kauflin (full article here):

Musical styles for congregational worship have caused quite a stir in recent years. Actually, they’ve been causing a stir for centuries, and for good reason. Music is a powerful medium that can affect us positively or negatively. However, the root of the division is often (though not always) people insisting they know what kind of music God likes. It hasn’t helped that “new music proponents” are often arrogant, insensitive, selfish, and impatient. However, we can make an idol out of what’s old and familiar as easily as we can make one out of what’s new and creative. Music must be wisely chosen for its ability to serve both the lyrics and the congregation in order to truly honour God. But thinking that we need a certain type of music to truly engage with God is, at its root, idolatry.

May God receive the glory as we become better at reaching out to unbelieving souls, and hearts are changed by the power of the Spirit.