Monday, April 14, 2008

"Finding the Sacred in the Secular: The Conclusion"

In an attempt to wrap up the “Finding the Sacred in the Secular” series, I am going to target three final bullet points. This series has been eye opening for a lot of people. I have received some interesting responses via email. It seems that there are many who agree,(though silently) with some of the discussion and there are others who have felt that their values/beliefs system has been challenged. There was also a majority who are fed up with “church as usual,” they are ready to break down the walls of religion and tradition.

So, in this attempt to wrap it all up, I will begin with the obvious…

• Internet…
Almost every growing church has an active, up to date website these days. In the age of the internet with the www literally at our fingertips 24/7 through PCs, laptops and mobile devices churches must have a web presence.

I’ll admit that I rarely even touch my telephone directory anymore. In the time it would take me to climb the step ladder to retrieve my phone book, grab a pen and paper and flip through several thousand pages, I have already Googled the destination I am seeking, surfed their site and printed a Mapquest to get there.

When families are looking for a new church, chances are huge that they will check out area churches online first. Pair that with an actively blogging staff and without a doubt, you will get some attention!

Want more information on this? Check out The Blogging Church….

• Outreach
What do you call an Easter Bunny, 50,000 candy-filled plastic eggs, and thousands of dollars in bikes, game systems, gift cards, etc.? OUTREACH! Really, it is!

How about handing out free sodas and water at the beach on a scorching hot day? OUTREACH! Feeding quarters into three blocks worth of parking meters? OUTREACH!

Outreach Ministry today looks quite a bit differently that it did 10 years ago! As a matter of fact, even the description and name has changed to Servant Evangelism or Random Acts of Kindness.

According to Servant Evangelism guru, Steve Sjogren, “Small Things Done with Great Love Are Changing the World" because that's what's happening. We get reports from pastors, lay leaders and ordinary Christ-followers all over the world who have discovered the power and impact of "showing God's love in practical ways.”

(more from the SE website)"To get a complete understanding of Servant Evangelism, you should order and read Conspiracy of Kindness by Steve Sjogren, founding pastor of a church that grew from a handful to an average attendance of 7,500 in just fifteen years. Such things happen now and then. What makes this story unusual is that this happened in Cincinnati, Ohio --- a city that has long been known for its in-your-face unfriendliness! Mark Twain spent a good deal of time in this city on the Ohio River and often commented about how rude people were. When this church was launched, Cincinnati was ranked as the third most unfriendly city in America. After serving about 12 million people over those fifteen years the, tone of the city literally changed and that change had made a permanent impact on the city in innumerable ways. Servant Evangelism (SE) connects people to people in a natural, easy, low-risk, high grace way."

"Who doesn't like to be given a cold Coke on a hot day? Especially by someone who is smiling, happy and having fun."

"SE wins the heart before it confronts the mind. A small act of kindness nudges a person closer to God, often in a profound way as it bypasses ones mental defenses. The average Christ-follower is willing to hand a stranger a can of cold Coke on a hot day (low risk). The high grace is seen in the typical reaction. "Oh, thank you!" "This is so nice!" "I can't believe this is for free!" And, "Why are you doing this?" "

"Kindness builds the bridge for the person to receive a touch of love from God. It's simple, practical, effective, inexpensive and fun!"

"Steve's latest book, Outflow, takes the conspiracy of kindness to a whole new level by releasing "regular" Christ-followers to live the Jesus-style life of noticing and responding to those around us with kindness, love and generosity.” "

Relevant Teaching
In the last decade pastors have started to hone in on the value of reaching and touching people where they are. By finding a common denominator that is relevant to a multitude, a wealth of wisdom and revelation can be broken down into bite size pieces and that investment will return a giant bang for the Kingdom!

On virtually any Sunday a series dealing with topics relating to the family structure, values, sex, dating, relationship building, character building, and so much more can be found anywhere in the country. People want to live better! They are buying the books, CDs and watching the infomercials… and then they are offered even better advice, from the Bible no doubt at the church on the corner!?

Not every Christian agrees with such relevance in the pulpit. On this one, we’ll agree to disagree. For the record though, people ARE giving their lives to Christ, and they ARE living better because of the change He’s making IN them through relevant teaching! You can’t argue with success!

Like my mother used to say, “You’ll catch a lot more flies with honey than you will with vinegar!”

Well, it’s been fun. I’ve loved doing this series, but this one is done for now. I am confident it could have gone on forever... the list growing and growing… but to that, I’ll pass the baton on to someone else.

Just remember, as Christians we have the power to “rightly divide” as the Word says. Judge fruit (results)… not methods or covers.

Love & Blessings!

1 comment:

Steve said...

good thinking...we've been a pretty good church doing some good might want to see for some creative things...