Archive for February, 2011

Overall, I thought this book was a decent read. The research was in depth and the deductions were of interest. There were several quotables throughout the text that made me stop and think and others that I shared to spark conversations with others.

I don’t know if I share all of the authors views of the deductions he landed at but it did stretch me to look at some new ways of thinking. I agree that the landscape (not the content) of the church is changing…. I would say this book does a good job of pondering those changes but isn’t dead on on the definition of the new landscape all the way around.

Read it…. see what you think. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

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OK, I will apologize up front because I am aware this next collection of babbling is just that; a collection of babbling. Random thoughts are running through my head and I just want to jot them down more than go through a large process of organizing them so good luck keeping up.

First, I am a church planter. The Shepherd’s Fellowship was planted with a team of 7 people about 7 years ago to be a relational church experience reaching out to those hurt by church and Christians before. At the time, that was not ground breaking on a national level but on a local level, the personality of the church was different than other options I saw in our area. Since that time, we have had the ups and down of a real community but we have been VERY blessed in our journey.

Over the last couple years, there have been multiple new churches planted in our area with different personalities. While I respect their heart and believe in church planting, I was surprised that even I started asking the question recently…. does Marion really need yet another church plant? It seems almost any conceived personality of a church is represented here to service the body of Christ from contemporary to traditional, home church to mega church, Lifechurch.com style to little country church, and beyond.

At first I was disappointed in myself. Am I jealous of these new churches? Am I threatened? In all honesty, that did not seem to be the case. I do believe the statistics prove that new churches are very powerful in the kingdom work so what was the thorn in my side?

After a lot of prayer and thought, I think I found two reasons I have been bothered by some (not all) of this news….

The first reason I’m disappointed is that the churches already in place aren’t stepping up in some critical areas so these church planters feel called to fill some gaps. I pray Christ does not have to bypass the established church again like He did in His days on the earth because His followers lost focus on Him. The established church has great opportunity to exalt Christ in our community and don’t want to miss it through lack of action, self focus, comfort zones or any other excuse.

The second reason is because SOME of these church plants….. give me some grace on this….. seem to be pastor based motives instead of God based motives. Too many churches seem to have a hint of being created because the pastor and some close friends are mad or upset at the church the pastor was at and start a new church because the pastor doesn’t want to have to move from the area and wants to have it their way.

Wow! How cynical is that! Take a breath … there are times God uses frustration and conflict to start something new and it’s blessed. However, some of the stories coming to my ears from church planters are not God centered.

Please be cautious! If God is calling you to plant a church, be certain and do it well by creating a firm foundation through mentorship, study, prayer, planning and more. My prayers are with you and let me know if I can help you in any way!

However, in the long run, if you are doing it for personal motives and not Godly, trust me…. God’s hand will not be on it and people will get hurt for all the wrong reasons. Please keep in mind that starting a church is a noble desire but MUST, MUST, MUST be God led and I would suggest not moving forward until He confirms His plans and leads forward. The joys of being in the leadership in the church are overwhelming but so are the tough days of challenge. If it is not a calling from on high, you will not survive the storms. When that happens, people who put their trust in you are dashed against the rocks. Tread carefully…….

Random thoughts……

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The Jesus Inquest is a very interesting book. In the same mindset of a Lee Strobel “The Case for….” book, this study is an in-depth, legal like presentation on the presentations of the resurrection of Christ. However, it has a twist… it presents both arguments of the defense as well as the prosecution.

It is not a casual read but it is well done as it goes point-by-point through the discussion. It will not be surprising that in a Christian genre book that the author leans towards the evidence supporting the resurrection but for all the right reasons. This is a great book for anyone wanting to understand both sides of how people view this pivotal event in our history or a skeptic who wants real answers on how someone could actually believe in the Easter story.

The only downside I have in the book is he presents both sides as “X” and “Y”. These generic terms can become confusing when going back and forth in the reading forcing you to go back to remind yourself which letter represents which side. A much cooler version of “Skeptic Sam” and “Believer Bill” would have made it easier to follow on the fly.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest (yet, overdue) review. Consider purchasing this book through your local, independent Christian bookstore. They need your financial support.

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