Thursday, February 16, 2017

Assessing Church Health and Impact

Since leaving the staff of a church in 1989 to open a Christ centered Clinical Counseling and in-patient center I have had the opportunity to visit and minister in a lot of different churches. One of my ministries has been and continues to be Mentoring and supporting Christians in formal and informal ministries.

I have seen a lot of different churches here in the USA and around the world. As a result I have developed ideas about the effectiveness of leaders, various church structures, and theological approaches.

Assessing Effectiveness on a 1-10 Scale:
Orthodox Theology:
A Focus on Growth and Healing
Good Preaching and Teaching
Scripture: Truth
Relationships: Fruit
Gifts of the Spirit
Practical Life
Ministry to Children and Youth
Ministry to Couples and Families
Equipping Members to Serve
Worship Quality and Variety
Outreach to Non-Believers
Compassionate Outreach
Variety of Ways to Enter Church Activities
A Good Reputation in the Wider Community

There are possibly more.

What do you want to add to the list?

What do you think is quality?

Get our materials to learn how to do these things.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Laugh a Day Keeps the Undertaker Away

From my high school friend, Mary Helen Myers Watson
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

A person who has stopped growing at both ends
and is now growing in the middle. 

A place where women curl up and dye. 

The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead. 

A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours. 

Mud with the juice squeezed out. 

Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation. 

Cold Storage. 

Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.

An insect that makes you like flies better. 

A grape with a sunburn. 

Something you tell to one person at a time. 

A bunch of bones with the person scraped off. 

The pain that drives you to extraction. 

One of the greatest labour saving devices of today. 

An honest opinion openly expressed. 

And MY Personal Favorite!! 

Something other people have, 
Similar to my character lines.

Improve your Family Life

The very first new ministry I started when I was at College Hill Presbyterian Church was a Pre-Marital Preparation series. We all knew that some 50% of all Marriages were ending in divorces and we wanted to do something to prevent that from happening.

What we came up with was a series of classes on key topics with a follow up by one of the mature couples in our church to Mentor the newbies in the cold, hard realities of keeping a long-term relationship alive.

One of the best things that happened as a result of our series was some decided to cancel the plans to marry. When several people complained about the breakups, I said it was good to split BEFORE the marriage ceremony not after.

If you know a couple that is madly in love, ask them to answer on paper privately key questions about married life. Then share them with you present. Some are copied from Dennis Cole, Pastor of Lifegate Church in Northern Kentucky.

1. What are the greatest memories of your home growing up? (That is what they will want in the marriage.)

2. How many children do you want?

3. Which of you gets up at 2:00 AM to feed the baby?

4. How much money do you give to the church?

5. How much money do you want to save each month?

6. Where do we go on holidays like Christmas?

7. How do we discipline our kids?

Any other stormy issues?

Get my books on healthy relationships and avoid Toxic Conflict!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dealing with Disagreements!

My latest blog post on the Sweeten Life Blog focuses on the need for skills to deal with differences. I will say again that divorces and family conflicts tend to occur bcause people cannot agree to disagree agreeably!

My family of origin did not deal with differences well. Politics split us. Despite his commitment to free speech, Dad could not stand Republicans. He almost had a heart attack when my brother announced he voted for Nixon.

That kind of emotional reactivity is dangerous to any person that carries such out-of-control feelings. A reactive person is a slave to every person that wants to "push his buttons" and cause a meltdown. A manipulator can tell if their target person is reactive and can bait him to get upset and lose control. When the terget loses control the manipulator can turn him and twist him in the wind. Many people, especially in the media, are allowing President Trump to do that to them right now.

Here is my attempt to foster freedom of speech and freedom of thought in religion, politics and other issues.

A Great Service at Vineyard NW

I was really blessed by the services today. Great worship, inspiring interview with a couple that has launched a ministry locally to show love with hope and specific actions to women in prostitution. It is called Woven139 after Psalm 139 that says "God wove us together in our mother's womb.

Van spoke on the development of their new Vision and Mission and I found them to be profound. It is based partly on the Lord's Prayer

They Kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven

If my notes are correct, the mission is:

To establish a culture that welcomes the Kingdom of God on earth.

I like it. For the past few weeks I have been listening to Bishop Tom Wright teach on "When God Became King" and it is all about carrying on the Kingdom of God on earth. So, Van was hitting on all the cylinders that Bishop Wright had opened for me.

In the Kingdom of God we act like the early church. We are a beachhead in a fallen, broken society that desperately needs the healing and liberation of Jesus Messiah. We pray, we praise, we heal, we feed, we care, we love.

The Kingdom is here. We can't build it or enlarge it. God has already done it. We can seek it, love it, and live in it.

Contact the church here. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Shame and Shaming are on the Rise

I have written and taught extensively on the biblical difference between True Moral Guilt and Shame. I am currently reading a series of articles that focus on that issue in a very interesting manner. They are writing a lot about Shame Cultures and how Christians can commmunicate with them without offending the people in that culture.

Almost every writer and American talking head addresses Guilt and Shame from a psychological perspective that excludes the biblical approach. Secular psychology does the following when discussing guilt and shame.

They suggest that Guilt is the feeling that we have after having done something bad.

They suggest that Shame is the feeling that I am a bad, awful hateful person. 

Those are feelings and fail to trace the origins of them to a deeper truth. From a biblical/spiritual perspective, both Guilt and Shame are far different and far deeper.

Guilt is the reality of condemnation by a court of Justice when we violate God's will. 

A guilty person may or may not experience "feelings of guilt" but it is a fact that we are guilty. Many persons that commit awful acts against society and other people do not "feel" guilty. An inability to "feel" guilt is a mark of narcissism. The result of true moral is conviction by God and/or a moral sensibility that I deserve to be punished. 

Shame is the reality and sense that I have lost or betrayed my Identity and Inheritance as a Christian.  The result is a sense that I will be rejected from the community of believers. 

Some churches and cultures teach that failure to follow the rules of the group deserve to be Shamed and shunned. Shunning occurs in "Closed Systems" that want to send a message of eternal death to anyone that fails to mimic the preferred behavior and norms. 

If you are interested in culture, truth, fake news, how to respond to Political Correct friends, read those articles.

If you want to read my PDF eBook on the scriptural ideas behind both True Moral Guilt and Shame, get The Healing Release of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Positive Peer Pressure

Yesterday I posted my thought about how peer pressure can cause us to violate our integrity. Today I show how to resist peer pressure. Here is the rest of the research story.

The experiment was changed ever so slightly. One of the paid assistants was told to choose the truly longest line. This one small movement of support made a remarkable difference. What do you think happened when they did this?

The naive students felt free to choose according tom their own ideas. They would easily and happily speak up and choose the right one. Their countenance was bright and they never gave in to peer pressure. With the support of only one person on their side the feelings and behavior changed dramatically.

Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered in my name I am there”. 

They always had a partner to stand with to proclaim the good news. And, He always sent the disciples out two by two. 

We need each other if we are to make a difference in the world. We need community. We need mutual support.

You know why mountain climbers are tied together?                                                                                          

To keep the sane ones from going home.