Tag Archives: Church Growth

Bucket Drops 8/4/10

 

Church in China experiencing “tremendous” growth

There is an amazing paradigm shift taking place throughout the world as countries that have traditionally been anti-Christian, even to the point of hostile toward the Gospel, are beginning to grow in large numbers.  This article talks about the explosion of church growth in China, moving from an estimated 3 million Christians in the 1970’s to about 130 million today.  The growth has been so exponential it has forced the Chinese government to make amendments to their constitution in order to accommodate more religious freedom.  Despite the occasional persecution of house churches, as the article mentions, worshipping in public is no longer against the law.  Two concerns, one: I pray that these Christians in other countries are growing in God’s Word and that they are becoming mature enough to avoid getting “tossed around by every wind of doctrine.”  Secondly: as I’ve mentioned here before, the largest “unreached people group” is actually the group that has been reached, i.e. Bible Belt/American Christianity, because many believe they are Christians, but really have no idea what that means.  It is good thing to see God working overseas, particularly in Asia & Africa, but let us not lose sight of the needs here at home or soon enough these other countries will look at the United States as the greatest missionary field need.

 

Church hosts “Jesus Shore” event as an alternative to “Jersey Shore” TV series

John MacArthur wrote a book several years ago which was re-released this past year entitled Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church becomes like the World.  In this book, MacArthur compares the “Downgrade Controversy” of Charles Spurgeon’s day to the downgrade taking place today.  The controversy of that era, like today’s, was a rapid descent away from the teaching of sound doctrine and as MacArthur points out in his book the inclusion of church growth methods, entertainment value, and gimmicks to increase church attendance.  Perhaps there is no clearer definition of this than the story linked above where a New Jersey church has organized a “Jesus Shore” event, playing off of MTV’s morally corrupt series, “Jersey Shore” and featured concerts and a Christian tattoo contest.  Look, it’s simple, preach sin, repentance and Christ crucified and leave the growth up to God. 

 

2 Christian Families in Bangladesh extorted and beaten.

Sometimes I think we forget just how blessed we are to live in this country and how thankful we should be to God that His grace has allowed us the opportunity to worship Him freely.  At the same time, we are guilty of taking this for granted and not living out our faith actively enough.  Once, in a Bible study discussion, we were talking about Romans 5:3-5, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” and we centered around the idea that most of us have no idea what this suffering that Paul mentions is all about.  However, the people in this story know firsthand what suffering for Christ is all about.  I pray that as you read it, you thank God for placing you in a country with freedoms.

 

Christians are under attack in academia

The link above is to excellent follow up commentary on the two female counseling grad students who were accused of being homophobic and insensitive to homosexuality.  The original stories were included here:  Bucket Drops 7/29/10

“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:14-16 NASV).

 

 

“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; behold he takes up coastlands like fine dust.” Isaiah 40:15

Bucket Drops 8/2/10

 

Church Grows by Targeting Those Who Don’t Go

Ok, I know what this is going to sound like, you’re going to read what I’m about to say and think how can I be critical of anyone who desires to reach the “unchurched”, but hear me out first.  Picture the following analogy (I realize some reading might have experienced this firsthand and in no way am I minimizing it).  In war, injuries are a fact of life.  Most of us have seen movie scenes where someone get’s injured in battle and the medic races over to assist.  Let’s say the injury is their leg.  There are two options, one is a field amputation, quite painful and will leave a lifelong disability, but the soldier will live.  The other option is repeated doses of morphine to make the injured soldier as “comfortable” as possible, until he passes away.  This second option is precisely what this “outreach” church is doing.  They are treating the symptoms rather than eradicating the disease.  One leads to death, the other leads to life. 

A young lady interviewed in the story states she, “was invited by a neighbor and drawn back to newlife by the contemporary worship music.”  In her quote she says, “It gets me all teary-eyed.  They are so funny and yet at the same time I’m always learning something or having my heart expanded.”  Entrance into the “sanctuary” is described as follows, “Bass pumps through the floor of the auditorium at Klahowya as greeters hand out programs with the smiling face of a young woman on the cover. For about 20 minutes, a rock band plays upbeat contemporary Christian songs on stage. Audience members follow along reading lyrics projected on a screen above the stage.”  The service begins with one of the pastors reading through the many prayer requests that have been sent up front, followed by a series of “commercials” and then a review of a sermon series, which at this interview was entitled: “House: What’s up With My Family.”  The article states this included short Bible readings interspersed in the sermon, along with clips from the ABC TV series “Modern Family”.  The sermon concluded with songs by secular artist Chris Daughtry followed by an upbeat Christian song.  As you can read in the article, it has some closed theological views, but the rest remain open. 

So what’s the problem with this you might be asking?  Where’s the Gospel is my response.  Where is the conviction from sin, where is repentance, where is understanding that God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of all those who believe in Him.  Where is the resurrection?  Where can these unchurched people increase their knowledge of God and His Son?  At best this sounds like a rock concert with a feel good motivational talk given at the end and it is not how God builds His Church.  God’s church, i.e. the bride of Christ consists of people broken from their sins, who are healed by the blood of Christ, buried with Him in baptism and raised to walk in newness of life.  They are repentant sinners saved by the grace of God through faith in His Son.  Until this church/movement/outreach understands that, they are simply handing out morphine to festering deadly wounds.

 

Philistine Temple Ruins Unconvered in Goliath’s Hometown

Although the body of Christ needs no additional factual evidence to prove the Bible and the people/places/events it records within are true, I am constantly amazed at the archeological finds that support the historical facts of the Bible.  Sometimes I think when we read the Bible it seems to have occurred in such a distant time and land that it’s difficult to even relate.  But when stories like this come out it brings us to a realization of just how close to home the events of the Bible truly were.

An atheism debate writ large, on billboards

Last year I posted several stories from the United Kingdom detailing their growing atheist population and the debate over the atheist bus ads (see: Thrown Under the Bus ,   Atheist bus ads follow up ,  and Atheist Bus ads – The Saga continues).  This article is reminiscent of that issue, only this one is happening in the U.S., within the “Bible Belt” no less.  Every world power throughout history has fallen because their society chose to ignore and suppress their knowledge of God.  More recently England, Germany, and Russia have been no exception.  What makes anyone think the United States will be any different? 

 

“Economic Justice” as “Social Justice”

This is an interesting article on the historic implications of the term social justice versus the use of the term today.  I’m often concerned about the blurring of lines that has occurred far too much between that of politics and religion, namely Christianity.  Let us be reminded that Jesus said His kingdom is not from this world and as believers we are co-heirs with Him.  We are but mere aliens here as our citizenship belongs elsewhere. 

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”  Hebrews 11:13

 

 “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; behold he takes up coastlands like fine dust.” Isaiah 40:15