TGR Friends, we have discussed how the Christian Church is often the worse example of demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ. This article is an opinion piece that echoes that sentiment and offers some interesting insight to why Christians may be making more atheists than disciples.
Right now, most churches devote at least six-sevenths of their budget, staff, and attention to what happens on Sundays, and at most one-seventh to helping the congregation follow Jesus the other six days.
Can you imagine what we might accomplish if we flipped that on its head, and invested 85% of our treasure into the rest of the week?
Christianity Beyond is a movement of ordinary people who are learning how to make the same kind of extraordinary impact as the Jesus they love. We honor all the ways people have sought to follow Jesus in the past and present, but dare to go beyond that in order to demonstrate to a watching world just how good and worthy Jesus is.
It may be too late to have a happy childhood, but it is never too late to have a turbulent adolescence!
We as a society have lost sight of what it means to grow up. And that’s a good thing!
The gift (and curse) of the Enlightenment is that each of us must answer the question: who do I want to be when I grow up? It is tempting to envy our ancestors and traditional cultures who had well-defined “markers of maturity”, e.g., marriage, mortgage, and making money. There is enormous security, stability, and support in having society validate who you are supposed to be.
But there is also enormous danger, especially for Christians.
Until my twenties, I was almost never consciously aware of my anger. Over the last few decades, learning to identify and process my anger — especially towards God and people I love — has been a critical skill in enabling to break through spiritual strongholds and grow in maturity.
I still (and always will) have further to go, but at least I’ve started developing healthier habits for dealing with my anger. I am writing this down to remind myself, and hopefully help others who may have similar struggles.
“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface…” — Genesis 1:2
At first, it seemed there was no sound or light of any kind. But as my senses adjusted, I heard a faint tinkling of bells. Straining my eyes, I saw tiny patches of light scattered around the walls of the cavern, flickering in and out.
I walked closer. I saw a rainbow of light erupt accompanied by a marvelous chorus of music. I watched breathlessly as the singing lights — perhaps fireflies or pixies — became caught up in some sort of eternal dance. I was speechless, wondering if the dance would become strong enough to finally push back the darkness…
The modern church was born in the era of broadcasting: mass-market publishing, sound systems, radio, and television. These technologies enabled it solve certain tasks (e.g., teaching, worship music, announcing and producing events) incredibly well. However, by making some problems much easier to solve than others, those same technologies can subtly influence what we focus on and what we ignore.
We are now entering a new era of digital communication, with greater interactivity, richness, and immediacy than could have been imagined thirty years ago. What are the implications for learning, evangelism, discipleship, and outreach? What new problems does that enable us to solve? Which traditional problems and solutions can be profitably revisited? Can all these changes lead us to a deeper understanding of what God truly wants the church to be?
In a word: Institutions. A word that is largely despised today, but at the root of almost all long-term successes.
Our culture caricatures institutions as slow, bureaucratic, and dehumanizing. But institutions are what makes us what we are.
Some institutions were created by God, like Family and Church. Others were created by people, like runner’s associations and corporations. But all of them have great power to transform us, for both good and ill.
An institution is nothing more than a community built around processes and leaders:
I want to have a great day.
Watch over me as I learn and play.
Help me to listen and obey
my teachers, my parents, and you.
Remind me to always be a knight
Show me how to do what’s right
And walk away from every fight.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13 (CEV) Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name. Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.