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RG2G 056 21 Ways We Are Saving the American Church

I believe in the church.  Yes, I know. It’s messed up, abusive, and sometimes outrageous the way “church people” behave. But I’m not talking about the institution, the organization, or the denominational artifact.  I’m talking about the dynamic, vital, spiritual community that Jesus had in mind when He said that His church would prevail.

When I entered into the ministry many years ago, it was an ominous time.  The church was declining, people were leaving church en mass, and there wasn’t much on the horizon to give us hope that things would change.  But I have to say that I am more encouraged than I’ve ever been.  I see really good signs that things are being done to not only save the American church and her influence on society, but to turn things around and begin to grow and make a larger impact.

On today’s show, we talk about the 21 movements we see going on in the American church, why they’re important, how you can recognize them, and more importantly how you can find a church to be a part of that embodies these qualities.

If you agree, and you know examples of these kinds of churches, send me an email or leave a comment here on my blog.

RG2G 055 Ten Good Reasons You Need a Great Church

Something I hear constantly when I’m around people are war stories about how they’ve been burnt by the church.  If you are not careful, you’ll end up thinking that just because a lot of churches are messed up, all churches are messed up.

I know good people who have opted out of attending church or being a part of a church for a period of time just to be able to get their sense of self back together.  And I respect that.  But I, for one, am committed to the church as taught in the Scriptures; that it is a dynamic movement of God’s redeeming grace.  It is a collection of messy people who have found not only their joy, but their peace and their wholeness in a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

So today I talk about the 10 good reasons why you need a great church.  Remember that just because there are a lot of broken churches doesn’t mean the idea of church is a bad one.  We don’t stop eating just because there are some bad restaurants.  We don’t stop attending ballgames just because the teams don’t play well.  I urge you to listen.  Talk these ten ideas over with your family, co-workers, and small groups.

Out there somewhere is a dynamic, growing, vital, vibrant gathering of people seeking to know God, love God, and live the life for which they were created.  You can be a  part of that.  You can be a  part of something big, something that makes a difference.  Or you can just be mad, sad, cynical, and stay home.  Your choice.

RG2G 054 Why Nobody Wants to Join Your Church

There seems to be a lot of controversy these days about church membership.  In fact, there is a lot of debate going on about whether or not we even need churches with all of the online resources available.  So in response to a pastor who asks the question, “Why does no one seem to want to join the church?”  aren’t people committed anymore, or is everyone looking just to be a church shopper or hopper?”

The idea of church membership as it relates to joining an institution is no longer attractive, if it ever was.  The idea of membership was that you joined the institution called church and you were owned by that church for the rest of your life.  I am not sure that was ever the idea, but it’s the idea that gets communicated.

Membership classes, membership covenants all seem to give the impression that joining a church is all about obligations with few benefits.

I think the paradigm shift is better understood as join the movement rather than join the institution, the organization, or the denomination.

Christianity is a movement.  Understand that.  If you think it’s an institution or a religious force, you’ve gotten it backward. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t religious institutions that are very powerful and very forceful.  Denominations have served their place in the past.  But unlike my parent’s generation, people are no longer loyal to the institution.  They want to be a part of things that matter, that help, that move forward, that benefit not only them, but those who need help.

So as you listen to today’s podcast, think about the four aspects of belonging to a movementany movement. I’ve applied this to The Gathering Nashville because it’s a spiritual community that I am a part of.  But ask yourself, “If all four of these qualities aren’t present, are you really a part of anything that really matters?”  What are the four things that are required to have a sense of belonging? Attending, serving, giving, and supporting.  These are the four dynamics that allow movements to be vital, healthy, and resourced in order to do the mission that they’ve been given by God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RG2G 053 Why 42 Million Christians Have Left the American Church

In a recent research study, the Barna Group has reported that over 42 million Christians in America are no longer actively attending and supporting a church.

In today’s show we talk about some of the reasons why, and what can be done.   If you’re one of the 42 million, there is hope.  Good things are happening and you can find a church that will not only challenge you, but allow you to fulfill your desire to make a difference for God.

RG2G 052 How Do You See Yourself?

One of the haunting questions I’ve had to deal with over and over is, “Why do people who call themselves Christians behave so badly?”  Is it because they are bad people, or is something else bigger going on?

Here’s what I’ve learned. Identity determines behavior.  How you truly see yourself is how you live. Too many Christians have been told and taught that they are just sinners saved by grace and nothing more.  Others have been taught that their relationship with God is initiated by grace but depends on their faithfulness over a lifetime.  All of this leaves people confused.

Here is the truth.  We tend to live either down or up to the expectations and the influences in our life. So the question is, is Christianity a big God-stick that people use to beat you up and keep you in line? Or is your faith something more?  Has it just changed your behavior and your lifestyle, or is it a brand new life?  We deal with all these things today on episode # 52.

And we end by the three declarations.  I don’t know if you’ve heard them.  But listen, learn them, memorize them, say them over and over and over to yourself.  Because the truth of the matter is, a lot of us sabotage our success simply because we see ourselves, at the core, as someone unworthy of God’s blessing.

As I’ve said over and over, the number one problem in American Christianity is self-loathing.  We have not accepted our acceptance.  On today’s show I give you some core reasons why.

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