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Yesterday, I featured a post about why people attend church. Today, I give you this post about why non-christians are NOT attending church: Of course, this is NOT a real study… but a graphic compiled by Chris Rosebrough… one of my discernment friends. He also lists scripture references for each point. I’d like to hear what YOU think about this. How does this correlate with how you see the work of the church in evangelism? How does this relate to how your church relates to the non-Christian. I was challenged on Twitter that I would ignore this study.  OK… I took the bait.  🙂 What do YOU think?  Is this helpful at all in understanding the unchurched, non-christian mindset? Leave your comment below… Thanks, Todd

Christine Hoover is a pastor’s wife.  Recently, she was asked if she liked being a pastor’s wife.  Here’s how she answered: I want you to know that, in some ways, being a pastor’s wife is no different than being a doctor’s wife or a teacher’s wife. There are sacrifices that must be made and challenges that accompany every job. Just like you, I love my kids, I like spending time with my husband, I feel lonely and overwhelmed sometimes, I need encouragement, I doubt myself, I try my best, I want to enjoy God and know His pleasure, I struggle, I desire relationships with other women, and I don’t always know the answers. I want you to know that I need and desire everything that you do. I want you to understand, though, the unique joys and challenges that accompany being a pastor’s wife. There are expectations on me simply because of my husband’s job, many of which I don’t have a choice about, whether it’s attending certain events, hosting parties, or being open and available to women. I want you to understand this, not because I believe I am to be pitied or that this is an obligatory role, but because I value and appreciate your grace when I say no or am not available to you. I want you to know that I am equally as passionate about the church as my husband and equally as called into ministry. My husband’s role looks vastly different than mine, and I am not as “out front” as him, but I am just as involved, concerned, and vital to the ministry God has given us. I want you to know this, not because I’m looking for your validation or appreciation, but just so that you are aware that your critical asides about the church or decisions my husband has made feel personal to me.

The founding church of the Sovereign Grace ministries movement, Covenant Life Church, headed by Joshua Harris, has evidently asked it’s congregation to sever ties with the movement. Some of you may have been following the Sovereign Grace story over the past couple of years.  It’s an interested case study. I’ll admit, I have read some of the stuff… from both sides, and it really turns my stomach. Both sides have dug in and Covenant Life’s departure may be just the most recent casualty. I have no insider information, don’t know anyone inside the movement, and they are out of the circle I normally run with… so I’m looking at this from a total outsider’s viewpoint. My problem… at least in this situation… is that leaders on both sides have dug in their heels… insisting that they are right and the other party is wrong. That’s good.  There probably is a right and a wrong party here. But what has been  unfortunate is the pages and pages of documentation that has been released from both sides… hundreds, probably thousands of documents… timelines… email leaks… etc. trying to prove points. It’s really been maddening… unlike anything I’ve really ever seen in the church world. And I have no problem thinking there are great followers of Jesus on both sides of the issue. But at some point, it does no one any good to continue the bickering. Maybe that’s where Covenant Life is.  Maybe they’re tired of the fight.  Maybe their digging in their heels more by just leaving.  I don’t know… but it does make me sad, regardless. Case in point.  Full documentation.  Too much information?  Too public?  You decide. Are these public church fights EVER good for the church? What do you think? Todd

The Times of London has release text from a leaked memo from within the Church of England. (Learning here:  Nothing you write on paper or [especially] in an email is confidential) The Secretary General of the General Synod said the public and political fallout from the recent vote to not allow women bishops is “severe”:
“Parliament is impatient… Unless the Church of England can show very quickly that it’s capable of sorting itself out, we shall be into a major constitutional crisis in Church-State relations, the outcome of which cannot be predicted with confidence.”
More on the story: A former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, upped the ante when he called on church leaders to “rip up its rule book” and speed through the introduction of women bishops. He said it was “ridiculous” to assume that the General Synod could not reconsider women bishops until 2015. A full 42 of the 44 dioceses of the church voted for legislation that would have made women bishops next year. There are 3,600 ordained women in the Church of England and 37 female bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion, including Africa’s first Anglican woman bishop, Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, who was consecrated five days before the defeat in Britain. // Read more here…

Here’s a TV story about a church in North Carolina. Big feud between past members and current members. According to the news story… a settlement has been reached. The current leadership will remain in power, and the pastor stays.  The pastor was accused of child abuse at his last ministry, but says those claims are false. My question… what good can come out of this? Seriously? This “Bible preaching, KJV” church is not positioned to reach anyone after a very public fight, and a pastor shrouded in controversy. When should a pastor or a church just call it a day? I think this may be one of those instances (for both the church and the pastor)  IF  they are serious about reaching people in their community. If they want to keep a small group of people together to read and preach from the KJV, I guess it’s ok.  But their very presence will not be good for the overall name of Christ in that community. Am I totally off base here? (I’ve been known to be from time to time) What do you think? Todd

Leadership is a big topic in the church these days. Heck… I work for “Leadership” Network. But some say our leadership culture has gone too far.  Lance Ford has written a new book called “UnLeaders”.  He’s a quote from Lance:
The leadership culture in the Church has fed a lot of egos and crowded out the character of Jesus in the name of leadership.
You can read this quote in full context of an interview here… As with anything, when we concentrate just on one thing, we will get derailed. I think leadership in the church is vitally important.  Without great leaders, churches flounder.  Seriously. But do you agree with Lance, that all this concentrate on leadership has fed egos and crowded out the character of Jesus? What do YOU think? Todd

Lovett H. Weems, Jr. writes: It turns out that five seconds or less is all we need to realize we may have said something we will regret. Unfortunately, when we speak those words, we do not have an “undo send” button. We live with the consequences, sometimes forever. Peter Bregman cites a neuroscientist to explain what is going on in our brains when we react in ways we later regret. When something unsettling happens to us, the emotional response center of the brain immediately evokes emotion. That is not bad, except that emotion is not the source of our best decisions. There is something of a battle going on in the brain between the emotional and more rational. The solution offered by the neuroscientist is, “Take a breath. If you take a breath and delay your action, you give the prefrontal cortex time to control the emotional response.” No more than one or two seconds normally is sufficient. So whether communicating by email, texting, telephone, or in person, leaders keep in mind that every word carries with it the potential to build up or tear down, to enhance credibility or damage it. Leaders do not depend on a Gmail tool. They cultivate an internal “undo send” button that they use generously. // Read more here… How do you manage your live ‘filter’? Todd

“You’re a high-risk candidate for career burnout, warns the Mayo Clinic, if you are in a helping profession; identify so strongly with your work that you lack a reasonable balance between your work life and personal life; and try to be everything to everyone. Hmm … sounds a like lot pastoring.” Read more: Ministry Burnout (Part 1): Examining the Threat Read more: Ministry Burnout (Part 2): The Signs and the Cure Read more: Ministry Burnout (Part 3): An Ounce of Prevention

Is call to ministry important these days?  To be honest, I don’t hear the words ‘called to ministry’ much anymore.  Heard it all the time when I was growing up… either you were ‘called to ministry’ or your were not.  If you were ‘called to ministry’ and you decided at any point that God had you in anything other than a church role… well, then you had some ‘splainin’ to do. Perhaps the whole discussion of ‘calling’ broke down when the church started hiring so many specialists.  Sure, senior pastors are ‘called’.  But what about children’s pastors; and music pastors, and tech people; and first impressions staff… the list goes on and on. That’s why I was glad to hear about Andrew Warnock’s 9 minute interview with Matt Chandler on “Calling to Ministry.  It’s obviously a couple of years old… but great, none the less.”  Take a look and tell me what you think. Specificially… 1.  How important is ‘calling’? 2.  Tell us about your ‘calling. 3.  Do you require that people on your staff feel ‘called’?  What does that look like? I’d love to hear from you! Todd