Rob Bell: Many see God as an Oldsmobile

Rob Bell will be back at the church he founded this Sunday.

Bell will speak at the 9 and 11 a.m. services at Mars Hill Bible Church this Sunday.

Maybe he’ll make reference to his newest video promoting his new book.  In the video, he suggests “for a growing number of people in our modern world, God is a bit like Oldsmobiles”.  According to an article on, in the 3-minute clip he questions long-held tenets of the “tribal church” including damnation of gays, prohibition of women in leadership and insistence on a literal 6-day creation in the face of scientific evidence.

Bell quote:

“What I’ve seen again and again is people with a growing sense that their spirituality is in some vital and yet mysterious way central to who they are as a person, and yet the dominant perceptions and conceptions and understandings of God they’ve encountered along the way aren’t just failing them but, in many cases, are causing harm… Is God going to be left behind like Oldsmobiles? I don’t think so. Because I believe there are other ways, better ways of talking about God and understanding God.”

“It’s not about having all the answers. It’s about asking the right questions…It’s not about long lists of regulations and things you can’t do. It’s about saying a giant yes to the world… I believe God is the one throwing the party and everybody’s invited and that includes you.”


More here…

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



“MERGE” is not a dirty word

Consider this quote:

“It’s in the nature of institutions that they want to maintain their independence. But in today’s economy it is increasingly difficult and, in my opinion, not good stewardship. We have a lot to gain to partner together.”

Those are the words of Bill Greer, the President of Milligan College.

Milligan is merging with Emmanuel Christian Seminary.

The reason?

“There’s just not enough money in our movement to support all the schools we have,” according to Emmanuel’s President Michael Sweeney.

The same could be true for many churches.

Small churches are having a tough time.

And economically, they’re tough to keep open.  Wouldn’t it be better to partner locally?

I think we’ll see more and more of this in the future with churches.  But before it can happen, we have to have people who are willing to give up their bruised egos.

And economic reasons are not the only reason to consider a merger.  Perhaps your church could have a great impact in your community by being partnered with another like-minded church.

Has your church ever considered or attempted a merger?

Do you think this is a trend we will see a lot more of in the near future?

More on this merger here.

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



What’s the worst kind of feedback for a pastor or church leader?

From Seth Godin this morning:

We armor ourselves against the cutting remark, the ad hominem attack, the person who just doesn’t like our stuff.

But all of this is the feedback we get when we touch a nerve and are doing work that matters enough to care about.

No, the worst sort of feedback is no feedback at all. That means we’ve created nothing but banality.


Read that again:

The worst sort of feedback is no feedback at all.

Are you a ‘banal’ pastor?

Or a ‘banal’ church leader?

Are people so indifferent that they offer no feedback whatsoever.

Maybe it’s time to ruffle some feathers.




More from Seth here.

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



You’re working too hard. Stop it.

An interesting study finds that people that are the most successful work the same or less hours than people who are not successful.

That sucks if you’re working 60 hours a week trying to keep your head above water.

And we all know people that seem to be really successful, but are cool as a cucumber, not seemingly all that busy, and much more relaxed than we are.

(which also sucks).

Enter the difference between ‘hard work’ and ‘hard to do work’:

  • Hard work is deliberate practice. It’s not fun while you’re doing it, but you don’t have to do too much of it in any one day. It provides you measurable progress in a skill, which generates a strong sense of contentment and motivation. Therefore, although hard work is hard, it’s not draining and it can fit nicely into a relaxed and enjoyable day.
  • Hard to do work, by contrast, is draining. It has you running around all day in a state of false busyness that leaves you, like the average players from the Berlin study, feeling tired and stressed. It also has very little to do with real accomplishment.

Click here to read this study about how this affects musicians.  It’s fascinating.

Turns out that average players and exceptional players both practice about the same amount of time… but the exceptional players work differently than the average players.

I think that also applies to our church work.

Too many of us have 8 hours of ‘draining’ work today that will really accomplish nothing except putting more draining work on our schedule for tomorrow.

Few of us will work hard and get better at what we do.

Work hard today.  Make some measurable progress in your skills and your work.

Then relax, and enjoy your day.

HT:  Take Your Vitamin Z

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



Would YOUR church accept a ‘lottery tithe’?

A laid-off man has won $1 million after buying some lottery tickets on a whim against his wife’s wishes, in Southern Oregon. After receiving his winnings the man immediately gave a 10 percent tithe to his church.

According to reports, Riley Gunn was traveling with his wife and three children to their one bedroom residence when he stopped to purchase some corndogs. It was a rare treat for his family, because after he had been laid off in May they had felt the squeeze on their finances.

So it was even more surprising that Gunn decided at that time to buy some lottery tickets as well. Even though he knew his wife would not approve of such a purchase with their limited cash, he couldn’t resist having a throw of the dice to see if lady luck was on his side.

And it proved lady luck was on his side; his $16 purchase of lottery tickets won him $1 million.

Matt Steen and Todd Rhoades discuss…


CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH VIDEO (Length:  6 min 43 sec)
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What do YOU think?  Leave a text or video comment here…

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



Do me a favor?

Todd Rhoades and Matt Steen discuss this piece by Chris Huff:

Here are some corollary thoughts about doing favors in the workplace:

It is never a favor when my boss, supervisor, or anyone else “above me” asks me to do something. It’s my job. No matter what it is…no matter how small or seemingly unrelated to my day-to-day responsibilities.

Therefore, watch yourself and be careful not to begin an emotional “bank account” with people above you in the organization. They are never indebted to us. We are always clean — fair and square- after every paycheck.


CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH VIDEO (Length:  5 min 15 sec)
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What do YOU think?  Leave a text or video comment here…

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



You might be a heretic if…

Kurt Willems writes:

There is an unspoken (or, often overly spoken) code of theological, cultural, and political beliefs that many within evangelical churches often champion as “TRUTH.” Rather than admitting that we all need to be humble in these matters, some are quick to drop the “heretic” bomb (just read the comments section of any blog about the work of Rob Bell :-) ). The link between “heresy” (well, some folks’ definition of that word) and evangelical rejects is sad and obvious. Many faithful disciples of Jesus find themselves in situations where they are labeled a “heretic” because their views don’t line up with the status quo.

Sometimes, if I’m honest, I’m tempted to pull the lever on a reverse heretical bomb. I’d love to give some people a taste of their own medicine. So, l when I’m accused of not fitting some sort of unspoken code or litmus test, I often think that demonstrating the fallacy of such thinking and labeling it as “heresy” might be a fun reversal of fortunes. I think of saying: O, so you believe that the world was created in 7 literal days… Well, you know, that reading the bible in its proper genre, historical, and theological context renders your view as heretical. What if some of these issues that get us deemed “heretics” were labeled as the new “conservative” viewpoint, and we started calling various forms of fundamentalism the new “liberalism?” But then, that thought quickly fades as I remember how it feels to be labeled a heretic and thereby become an evangelical reject. Such a reversal would lead to more infighting, which should not be our goal. I long to be part of a movement of reconciliation – on every level.

My personal view is that outside of the Apostle’s Creed and the four convictions of evangelicalism, that we do well not question the sincerity of anyone’s commitment to evangelical Christian faith. I would say that the four convictions may not be necessary for those expressions of faith that have not historically claimed such a label. The movement of Jesus is diverse and we should have a “big tent” that allows for multiple voices. Sure, there is tons of value in identifying with a specific tribe (Anabaptist, Pietism, Roman Catholic, Wesleyan, Reformed, Orthodox, Anglican, etc.), but within those traditions and as they interact with each other, wouldn’t we do well to not drop the “heresy” bomb every time someone has a view that diverges from one’s own?

Do you ever experience rejection from evangelical culture? Perhaps you know what it’s like to have “heresy” bombs tossed in your general direction. I’ve decided that I’m okay with being labeled a “heretic” – in quotes – because ultimately I’m convinced that this sort of heresy isn’t heresy at all. Sure, none of us will get every part of our belief system absolutely perfect. But if “heresy” in quotes helps us partner in the mission of God, then I’m convinced that being a “heretic” of this sort isn’t so bad after all.


Read more here…

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



Two steps to intentionally celebrating victories at your church

After just getting back from visiting two new churches over the weekend, I agree with Diana Davis and her piece over at Baptist Press this morning.  Diana writes:

I’ve noticed an interesting common denominator in vibrant, growing churches: They always seem to be celebrating something God’s doing there. Your church can do that.

As Diana outlines, the process is so simple, EVERY church can do it.

But many don’t.

Both successful churches I attended this past weekend were masterful at it.

Your church should be too.

Here are the two simple, easy steps:

1.  Be vigilantly observant to see what God’s doing in His church. He is at work! Keep an ongoing list, and select at least one current praise to mention each Sunday.

2.  Plan the best way to tell everyone what God is doing. Use varying methods to praise Him for that specific blessing during Sunday worship’s announcements.

Diana gives some examples that you can read here… very simple ways to celebrate victories in 30 seconds or less.

Vibrant, growing churches celebrate victories by communicating them.

How is your church doing in this areas?

What is ONE victory that YOUR church communicated this past Sunday?

Share it here below in the comment section!

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



The Changing Role of the Executive Pastor

The title “Executive Pastor” covers a pretty broad range of job functions in the church today. According to David Fletcher, the job typically falls into one of three categories:

Overseer of Operations
The Ministry Strategist
The Second-in-Command
In this edition of Ministry Briefing we discuss the evolution of the role, how it functions in the church today, and what churches need in the days to come.

How does YOUR church define the role of Executive Pastor?


9 Leadership Commitments

Those who lead others take on special responsibilities…and must hold themselves to the standards that they ask of those they lead. That is not always easy and it takes a humble vigilance because none of us do these things perfectly. But the “commitments” of leaders ought to be the norm not the exception.

Matt Steen and Todd Rhoades discuss…



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