Blog: Do You Love Your City Enough To Let Go Of Your Church?

I was raised with this idea that if we got enough people “saved” and grew our church really big we would change our city.  It isn’t true.  It hasn’t happened. So the answer would be to start several mega or giga churches in an area and that will do it – right?  Where I pastor – within 10 miles of me there are 3 giga churches of 10,000 or more and at least 15 churches of 2000 or more that I can count sitting here at my desk.   Our city is not changed.  I take that personally.

For all the mega and giga churches we have today our cities are being impacted more by popular culture than the church.  I’m happy these churches – us being one – are growing and reaching people, but we have confused “worship services” with how the gospel (Jesus) or I should say Jesus (the gospel) impacts a city.  By the way I just read a stat that new members from evangelism make up only 1.8% of the membership of these churches.  That’s a huge message in and of itself.  Why are we doing church?  Everyone is talking about what and how, but few why – how do you answer the why and then respond?   Read more

Blog: NorthWood Church Becomes A Little Bit More Global

Many in the Western church would see themselves as global because the Western church sends missionaries, resources, and various forms of help and assistance around the world – but that doesn’t make it global.  It isn’t global until it’s connecting and receiving.  It must connect in humility as a learner – not as big brother and provider, putting strings on “gifts”.  It must also learn to receive from the global church, which is growing – while we in the West are not.

There are three expressions of the church.  The first is the cell/house/organic unit of a dozen or less which functions with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for equipping, building up and spreading the Good News of Jesus.  The second is the congregation – the coalition of the cell/house/organic to strategically engage the city requiring equipping and releasing from the pastors and disciples.  Then, third, is the global or universal church – from which the whole church in the whole world takes her cues.  The future of the church as a whole is always on the fringes of the global church, which today means more Asia than anywhere else in the world.  China isn’t just rising economically – but spiritually as well and we need as the Church in the West to listen.  India isn’t far behind if not neck and neck with the church in China.
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Blog: World Refugee Day – Why Every Jesus Follower Should Care

Today is World Refugee Day – click here to see what the United Nations is doing and how you can be involved.  Here is an article from the World Economic Forum blog that Chris Sieple, a good friend wrote.

I remember the first time I saw masses of refugees, I was in Afghanistan.  We came up on a tent city that spread out for miles.  There were huge families living inside little tents.  There was limited food, water, education, play areas for children – it was sad.  Yet, when we entered the area we were immediately swarmed by people that were starving for help, relationships, and hope.  Not long ago I was saddened by what I saw first hand in Gaza, as the UN tried to help children who had limited access to education, health, sports – to see others from both sides try to disrupt it for political purposes.   In Dallas-Fort Worth we have refugees from all over the world:  Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Palestine, Congo, Syria – you name it they are probably here.  There are so many refugees in the world today and migration taking place that it can dull our senses – but it shouldn’t. Read more

Blog: How Today’s Youth Will Redefine The World

I’ve watched the church I started, Northwood Church, evolve in many ways since a small group of us started it in 1985.  It has been several churches over its life span:

  • 1985-92 The beginning years of establishing
  • 1992-02 Discovering the Kingdom of God practically and what that looks like glocally, in my church and flowing beyond my local church.
  • 2002-08 Discovering the world, how it’s put together and how to relate.
  • 2009-Present Convergence of the church, the world, and the Holy Spirit Read more

Blog: Connecting Faith that Works

by Omar Reyes

Isaiah 58  “…And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted.  Then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become midday”

The connection of faith and works is missing in contemporary religion. People are finding out how limiting pure private religion is. There is a connection between faith and works; a spirituality of social responsibility. People are asking if faith works!

Isaiah suggests that it is impossible to separate the desire for personal growth from the call for social responsibility. The health and well being of our soul is of the utmost importance, yet can they ever be independent of the health and well being of the world, or the well-being of my neighbor. Read more

Blog: What Does It Mean To Be A Disciple?

by Bob Roberts Jr.

A disciple is another word for a student or a follower of a teacher.  As Jesus followers we are to be disciples and make disciples.  For the past few decades discipleship has been all about “learn, grow, and go”.  In other words, when you get everything down right, you have answered all the questions, you begin to grow and then you can serve God.  This isn’t how the early church made disciples.  Discipleship is “hear and obey” God.  If that’s your definition of discipleship, it is a game changer in terms of how you make disciples.  How and why?

First, a disciple must have a connection with God where they can hear God speak.  They need to hear him in the Word of God, in prayer, in community, and other ways.  Listening, more than memorizing becomes the chief skill of a disciple.  Learning about prayer, and, not just learning about – but spending time in prayer, is an absolute necessity.  Seeing the Bible not just as a book of information, but as a living book that will speak to specific situations in people’s lives is critical.  How well do you hear God?  How do you hear him?  Have you substituted information for transformation and communication?   Read more

Blog: Global Church Trends

By Bob Roberts Jr.

I’m often asked about trends I see in the world and the global church.  In the past month I’ve been with churches in the Middle East, South Africa, Australia, and the U.S.  In all places there is a sense that the world is changing and so is the church.  Obviously there is much more growth and excitement globally.  Whereas, in the West there is a sense that things aren’t working as they should and people are waiting for the next new thing(s) to grab onto in hopes that it will turn everything around.  I don’t think there is one.

Church planters are excited and mega-church pastors as well, but on the whole, the American church isn’t in a good place and that’s no secret.  Though individual churches and unique expressions may be good for some, the overwhelming state of the church in America is not healthy.  So, what is the next new thing for the American church? I don’t think it is new, I think its very old.  When the packaging becomes the focus, you have sacrificed the substance.  Our best hope, is to connect with what the global church is doing. What are the trends for the global church and what can we learn from them?  How do we get over our current destabilization? Read more