I need to blog. I don’t know how to find the time. I’m learning so much, experiencing so much, seeing so much change take place right before my eyes. I feel like I’m caught up in a whirlwind of change processing it all as fast as I can. I’ll be blogging soon about it – maybe. The past three months have been some of the greatest learning and events of my life. From being in Vietnam and receiving the Friendship Metal and being asked to do some things to having been in Morocco last week at the “Marrakech Declaration” and being asked to address the room of 300 world leaders. Now packing my bags to head to another part of the world to speak in mosques, churches, and other places. Read more
A few years ago, the primary conversation among church planters and pastors was how the church in the U.S. needs to be “reinvented” so it will grow again. I’ve seen many things in the past 30 years, from expository preaching trends, to worship trends, to unique generational churches, to prototypes be they seeker or purpose driven – and now missional. Yet, the reality is all of these trends were driven at how to grow or jump start the church once again. Most centered on how to communicate clearly with excellence or building relationships of intimacy – all those things are good and will always be good. Many brought necessary adjustments to the church, but for the most part responses were more tribal than transformative across culture.
Without an understanding of culture and where things are – all of those things are useless and can actually become counterproductive. A couple of decades ago Barna began to write about the increasingly irrelevance of the church in the lives of people in the U.S. Yet, two expressions of the church have gained momentum. One is the mega-church – focusing on religious goods and services, at the opposite end of the field are the missional-church focusing on relationships. In the middle ground everyone else is trying to figure out what to do pulling from everyone. In my opinion, none of these are effectively addressing sociological issues that are now impacting the church dramatically.
A NEW WAY OF ENGAGING THE WORLD, MULTIPLYING CHURCHES TO SEE RADICAL TRANSFORMATION
The time is getting close for the next Turbo Training! November 12th, 2015 at Northwood Church.
Some of you are asking, “What is a Turbo Training?”
Turbo Training is our one-day, general overview of our Church Planting, City Engaging and Global Engagement. It is designed for pastors, denominational leaders, church planters and half timers alike who want to learn how to plant more churches and also engage locally and globally more effectively. There are 4 components to our training:
- Kingdom: We start where Jesus started. He spoke 80 times on the kingdom and 2 times about church.
- Disciples: Re-defining disciples from learn, go and grow to Hear and obey
- Society: Domains are keys that unlock both the church and cities
- Church: The importance of the three dimensions of church
“We know things have changed and the church is grappling for answers. Doing the same old things and expecting different results is and will always be insanity. We live in a time where we must think and do things differently or we die. Just tinkering with the house and remodeling it will not suffice we must go back to the foundation and build a whole new way. We believe that KDSC is the DNA of a whole new way”.
To register: Click Here To Register or click Resources, Events Calendar on this page.
This week, Thursday night at First Baptist Church Glenarden, Maryland, just outside Washington DC, at the Ministry Center (not the new worship center) there is going to be a first time ever large gathering of evangelical pastors and imams. For the past few years, several of us have been on retreats together and even traveled the world to try to figure our how we use our influence with the masses to build bridges, bring down tensions, and protect religious minorities from persecution – be they Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist or whatever. THIS ISN’T THEORY OR IDEAS! It’s actually working and progress is being made. You will meet the people and hear stories of it and be given an opportunity to do the same. Be we Christian or Muslim, both of us have received heat from our own tribes from becoming friends and associating together. Neither of us have compromised on our beliefs – I believe Jesus is God, and Muslims believe he’s only a prophet. We do believe, as religious leaders with access to the masses we have a responsibility work for peace in our world and help the religious minorities among us be we Christians in America or Muslims in Pakistan. THIS IS THE FUTURE PRESENT. You can register www.spreadingpeace.net it’s free. Read more
There is always the need of wisdom, elders, and sage advice. I have five spiritual Fathers that I’m always talking to. Without them, we are all doomed to repeating previous mistakes, getting stuck in destructive cycles or worse yet, going to seed and becoming irrelevant if not obsolete. It isn’t easy to reach this culture and engage like it has been in days gone by. There are many responses to it. One is to ignore it and go about your daily routine only to wake up one day to realize the world has passed you by. Another is to try harder doing the same thing. Another is to go deep in the tribe. Recently I listened to the advertisement of a big church in a major city and everyone was dressed up for church like it was 1970 – mostly white – and the idea was a safe place to believe. Their market was not lost and non-believers, but believers who felt isolated, alone, and under attack. That’s a funeral service in the making. Read more
Is the church you are starting or the church you are pastoring the kind of church that Jesus is coming back for? That has to be one of the most important questions a pastor must ask. To not ask that question is to build a church simply for the church, not the groom – or even worse to build it in our image as leaders. The church is to be the image of Jesus on the face of the earth. I was asking myself that question in deep reflection. Hands down, there are some things that I can unreservedly say yes to – other things I just don’t know, and a few things if I’m honest I have to say no to. Read more
Christian, the most important thing you can do for the Gospel locally globally today is to stand up for a Muslims religious freedom in America.
My heart is sad and it’s hard for me to comprehend how far we’ve strayed from the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That we can have mosques in 20 cities targeted for “armed” protest and there is so little outcry? Where are the tweets and blogs from my fellow evangelical pastors? Have we forgotten, especially those of us as Baptist that we were in the forefront fighting for religious freedom in America? Some of our Baptist forefathers wound up in jail because we refused to minister under any authority but our own – Baptist. It was Jefferson that came to our defense and that is how we as Baptist became some of the strongest defenders of religious freedom in the U.S. and around the world. Read more
CHRISTIAN EVANGELICAL PASTOR apart from prayer – the most important thing you can do to help a Christian in Pakistan, Syria, or somewhere else in the Middle-East or world is to become friends with a Muslim imam! Politicians have failed, governments have failed, and the U.N. has failed. Those of us that influence the masses of people in places of worship must step up to the challenge that is facing us all.
This isn’t theory – it’s already been practiced and it’s working. Now it’s time to spread it.
Imam Magid Mohamed and I got to know one another a couple of years ago. We were at a meeting of top Muslim and top Christian leaders from Pakistan. The whole issue was that of the minority rights of the Christians, Bahi, Ahmadi, and other religious minorities in Pakistan. As we talked it became fascinating how that religious freedom was more incumbent and more dependent on the religious minority than any other group. We also realized that just having “preachers” talk theology wasn’t going to do a lot to deal with the issues of religious bigotry and persecution. Read more
by Bob Roberts
This is the kind of engagement that members of Northwood Church do! Chad Griffin, a NorthWood member, works with orphans in Uganda through Yonder Life. His good friend, Frank who helps runs that organization in Uganda, shared a great story of friendship about a Ugandan gym owner who was moved so deeply that he began supporting their ministry to serve poor children. The gym owner is Muslim as are the majority of those in his community – so who winds up helping him with ministry to serve the poor? Muslim athletes and body builders . . . read it and shout!
“In 2014 I joined New Beginnings Fitness Gym, a gym owned by my Muslim friend , Arafat Ssekitoleko. It was the typical gym environment, where by whoever comes in is focused on working out while being surrounded by motivational fitness charts on walls and music being played. Shortly after attending there I was nicknamed Pastor due to the way I used to behave. I wasn’t involved in abusive language and tried to stop whoever used bad words, so they called me pastor. Well later I kindly asked the gym instructors, Ibrah and Arafat, if they could offer us one day of Gospel songs because all the songs that were being played were secular music! To my surprise they accepted and chose Friday. At first some members opposed it and started complaining that the music was to slow and that “worship” slows them down, making them feel sleepy. Arafat insisted, so we collected all sort of gospel music and they started getting used, singing along with the player I loudly made words being heard to those of English songs I knew. Today even when I am not around, since I left the gym 250 miles away, Gospel Friday is known by all members and they are ok with it. The only thing you can hear are voices of them singing along with the player praising God!!
When I was sure it was ok to share, I shared the Yonder Life mission with Arafat and his elder Brother Asad. They were interested in learning more so they boarded the bus traveling 250 miles to see what we are doing on this side of Uganda. When they saw the children and the communities we work with and the great needs, they took action to help by providing clothes and shoes! Seeing half way naked kids was what made them realize they needed to help with that first!
A clothes drive was organized as the New Beginnings Gym celebrated its first year anniversary (a gym that that was officially opened by Chad on his first visit to Uganda)! All the clothes, shoes, bags, and other items were donated to the children and elders of Nyabuharwa, Mirongo, Mbale and Kyakashoro communities. The people were so appreciative and still send in their thanks for the support. Seeing Ugandans serving Ugandans in their country despite their religion or background is a blessing. Glory to God.”
The world today is boiling hot in hate, violence, discrimination, and war. Christians are literally on the brink of extinction in parts of the Middle-East and being forced out. A true fact is that numerically, more Muslims are being slaughtered by extremist Muslims in the Middle-East than any other group. Neither the United Nations nor governments seem to have the will or ability to address the issues. It’s time for those of us as religious leaders to stand up, stand together, speak out, and WORK HARD against religious bigotry and for religious freedom worldwide starting right here in the good old United States of America.
Fifteen years ago I began working in the Middle-East and Near-East with Christians, Muslims, Jews and others. Prior to that, all of my perceptions of Muslims, Arabs, and that part of the world were shaped by 2 minute news stories. There is no way, you can understand another group by short news stories or editorializes on either side of issues where the news deals only with the most shocking or sensational stories. I began to read broader, listen to many different news sources, and then meet people and talk to them directly.