Tag Archives: simple church

The results are in – people prefer short sermons followed by discussion.

To me this is ideal! What do you think?

Posted on January 18, 2014 at Church in a Circle

This week, I conducted some research on Twitter. I asked which people would prefer; short sermons with the opportunity for discussion, or long sermons without. The results of my poll were resoundingly conclusive – 100% of respondents would like to have short sermons or even long ones followed by the chance to respond and explore the topic together.

Now, I’m not going to pretend these are statistically significant results. This was a small sample group, and a very biased one. But I still think this is a simple and easy-to-implement strategy most pastors and churches can take on board, with the potential to equip and empower God’s people.

Next time you are preparing a sermon, think about stripping it back to the essential points, then letting people break into groups of 4 or so to discuss what they have learned. They could answer questions such as;

What stands out to you?

What did you learn about God?

About people?

Any life-lessons to apply?

How do you plan to apply them?

How can we pray for one another?

The advantages to this approach are huge. You are training God’s people to have spiritual conversations. You can give them the tools they need to think for themselves, and to communicate their knowledge to others. You are sending the message that the church is an equal laity under the headship of Christ, not artificially divided into “professionals” and “consumers”. You are giving them a chance to respond to God’s Word and message, and to teach one another.

However – please take note – this suggestion comes with the following warnings;

WARNING 1: Once people get used to participating and having a voice, they’re not going back. They will find it difficult to sit passively through lengthy monologues, once they realise they can be actively involved.

WARNING 2: Some people won’t like this. They think the current format for church is the way it has always been. They don’t realise the early church meetings were interactive, multi-voiced and participatory.

WARNING 3: Dialogue is an open floor, not a pop-quiz. People are allowed to give any answer at all. Pastors may have to go through a period of “unlearning” – instead of having all the answers, they have to learn to shut up and listen. Get used to a whole new way of thinking as you move away from performance towards facilitation and empowerment.

Don’t rely on the results of my not-very-reliable research – conduct a poll of your own. Ask your congregation whether they would prefer a 40 minute lecture next Sunday, or a 10-15 minute presentation followed by a chance to explore and discuss it together. Your ego may take a bruising if they tell you to shorten your sermons – but it could be the start of a new journey for you and your church community.

Read more great articles via Church in a Circle.

The Viral Gospel

Well said Doug! I hope and pray I am infected 🙂

#KingdomCome

Working in a hospital environment gives me a lot of knowledge of what causes people to get the flu. Wanna know how to get the flu?

Exist.

That’s right. You will get the flu by being around anybody who has it. Touch an unwashed hand. Breathe the same oxygen. Look funny at a picture of a person who once had the flu (ok, I’m a little bitter).

The Gospel can become like the flu, so much so that everyone who gets near one of the Infected will be exposed and either get infected or build an immunity.

You want people to catch what you have? Some simple practices help. Take all the hospital advice and reverse it!

¤ Stop Staying Home While Sick: You were sent by a Missionary God. Get out of your house and meet people. Have conversations at work or at your school or at your kid’s…

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Outside The Box

Now this is a great post of what even I have thought for quite awhile. Thanks Jim 🙂

An Essential Interview For Those Who Desire New Testament Church Life | Jamal Jivanjee

A very good interview here. I hope many folks will read and understand!

One of the privileges of blogging is the ability to introduce subjects and people of great significance to the body of Christ. I am excited to introduce a dear saint to you today that I wish everyone could come to know.

Milt Rodriguez

Milt Rodriguez has become a dear friend of mine. His life has had a deep impact on me, not necessarily because of what he does although he does a lot, but simply because of who he is in Christ. I truly wish everyone I know would have the ability to spend some face to face time with Milt. He is a jewel in the kingdom that leaves all who know him with a greater love and vision of Jesus Christ.

The church family I am a part of recently had the privilege of spending about 5 months of ‘face to face’ time with Milt and Mary Rodriguez. They were like ‘chefs’ to us. They served us a meal that none of us knew how much we really needed. The ‘meal’ they served the church here built up the body in ways that I could have never imagined. Simply put, we have witnessed a ‘planting’ of a group of people around nothing other than the person of Jesus Christ. It is a dream come true to say the least.

I have asked Milt to come on the blog today to answer a few questions that I believe could greatly benefit all those who are thinking through and exploring jumping into New Testament church life. So without further delay, let’s jump into this conversation with Milt!

Milt, you and Mary came to know Christ during a unique time period. Could you describe a bit about what the culture was like and the type of things you experienced during the ‘Jesus Movement’ of the late 1960′s and 1970′s?

Yes. My wife Mary and I came to Christ when we were both twenty years old. This was in the early seventies oh, oh – aging myself! during what was called the “Jesus People Movement.” It was definitely a unique time. Many of the young people in my generation were involved with what was called the “hippie movement.”

Many from this generation were saved during that movement. It seems like people were coming to Christ everywhere! There was a lot of organic church life happening as well. We had no idea what we were doing but there was lots of community and the focus was Jesus. Hence the term “Jesus People.” Things didn’t get very deep, but we were very sincere and passionate about the Lord and learning to love one another.

What is your assessment of what went wrong with the ‘Jesus Movement’?

Like they say: “hindsight is 20/20.” Looking back at the movement I believe it’s very clear what went wrong. Two things mainly: One, there were two other movements that happened right after the “Jesus People Movement.” One was the “Discipleship/Shepherding Movement.” The other was the “Charismatic Movement.”….. read the full piece via An Essential Interview For Those Who Desire New Testament Church Life | Jamal Jivanjee.

10 Myths About Organic Church – Part 1 « The Blog of Milt Rodriguez

This is an excellent post by Milt Rodriguez which delves into truly being the church. I have to thank Josh from Called to Rebuild for reminding me of Milt’s blog. There are [so far] 5 parts to this topic of ’10 myths about organic church’ and I am reading all of them as well as other posts by Milt Rodriguez.

Myth #1 – Organic Church is a New Method for Doing Church

My co-workers and I sometimes hold organic church conferences throughout the country. These events are designed to do several things. One is to equip believers to be prepared to live “body life”. Another is to connect people together who are like-minded concerning organic church in their geographical area. These events are training and equipping events, they are not meant to be organic church meetings.

Most people come to these events planning on filling up their notebooks with all of the “how-to’s” of organic church. They are looking for the “method” of doing organic church. They are looking for a “system” whereby they can implement starting an organic church when they get home. They are expecting information that will help them to construct organic church life. All of those folks are surprised by the fact that they never receive anything like that at these events. Some go away very frustrated and even angry that this kind of content was never given to them. Others go away startled by something that shakes them to their very core.

What is the difference? Let me put it this way:

Some come as Nicodemus and leave as Nicodemus.

Others come as Nicodemus and leave as the Samaritan woman at the well!

The Difference Between Knowledge and Life

These two people (stories) show us the difference in approaches that people can take towards the Lord.

Nicodemus

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’” John 3:1,2

We see here that Nicodemus came to Jesus on the level of a great teacher and miracle worker. Nicodemus was himself a well respected teacher among the Jews and was a Pharisee. He came to Jesus for knowledge. “Rabbi, we KNOW …”. He thought that he knew where Jesus was coming from and so he was looking for more knowledge so that he could implement a better “method” in his work. His heart was in the right place, in a sense. He wanted to help people. But he was still approaching the Lord on a totally irrelevant playing field. But before another word could come out of his mouth, the Lord totally switches the playing field. Nicodemus was approaching the Lord intellectually and in the realm of the soul-life. The Lord refuses to engage him on that level. So what does Jesus do?

He tells Nicodemus that he needs a NEW LIFE!

He (in essence) is telling Nic that it’s not about knowledge, it’s all about life. God’s life, eternal life, divine life, uncreated life. And that he will never understand anything that He is doing or saying until he has this life of God within him.

The Samaritan Woman

“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’” John 4:10

Here, the Lord again approaches this woman on the basis of life, His Life. She was definitely very thirsty. She had tried to quench her thirst by many other things such as her many husbands. We can see by reading the story that she was also very religious and traditional (by her referring to Jacob and the mountain). But none of those things had quenched her thirst. She needed Life! She needed the Living Water!

Why is it that we don’t come seeking life instead of more information and knowledge? Why don’t we come seeking Christ instead of other things? Organic church is really only about one thing – the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! It’s about His life and living by His life with a group of believers. How could it be about anything else?

Jesus Christ IS the Church!

via 10 Myths About Organic Church – Part 1 « The Blog of Milt Rodriguez.

Please be sure to go to Milt’s blog and read the other parts of this topic.

To God Be The Glory!