Church & Ministry

Book Review (1 of 2)—Simple Church

Editor’s Note: Two men requested to review this particular book for SI. Because this book has been the topic of a fair amount of discussion in Christian circles since its appearance last June, I was glad to have two independent perspectives. This is the first of two reviews of Simple Church. —Jason Button, Book Review Editor

Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2006), 257 pp. $19.99/hardcover.

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Marketing Gimmick or Means of Grace? Part 2

More on the Blessings of Small Groups

In my last article, I sought to address some of the reasons that led us to begin a small-group ministry at our church. In this offering, my initial plan was to attempt to explain what a typical midweek service (Wednesday evenings for us) looks like at Calvary. However, the plans of men are plans at best. So as I considered ordus small groupus (not real Latin), I unity1.jpgrealized that there were a few logistical questions that probably needed to be dealt with before I explain what we do in our services. To be sure, we certainly still have much to learn about in this area; however, after being involved in this ministry for a couple of years, we have by God’s grace managed to work out a few of the kinks. It is my hope that this discussion will be a help to those interested in fostering a greater sense of community in their church body through the use of small groups. Lord willing, those reading will both glean from our successes and learn from our failures (which have been many). As you read, bear in mind that this is by no means a theological treatise but simply an attempt to address some of the practical issues that may arise with those involved in a small-group ministry.

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Translation Change Best for Us

For some time, I have believed we needed to make a change in the translation that we use at Red Rocks Baptist Church as well as what we use at Silver State Christian School. But I have been in ministry long enough to know that “change,” regardless of how small it may seem to leadership, can impact church members in a big way. Over the years, I have made a16111.jpg number of changes in our church, not in core beliefs but in the area of methodology and practical ministry. We have rewritten our constitution, moved our facilities (twice), changed our worship service format and times, changed our name, utilized technology in our worship services, restructured our outreach program, reformatted our Sunday school and children’s ministries, developed our music policy, and refined our membership materials and process.

From my experience, at least four essential ingredients make change happen “decently and in order.”

754 reads

Church Planting, Variety, and Elijah

In The Nick of Time
by Jeff Straub

Last week, my colleague and friend, Kevin Bauder, challenged my notion that North American church planting is little more than a preference for variety. He argued that people ought to choose churches out of a sense of biblical obedience. They implicitly make a covenant with a church that they believe teaches and practices what the Bible prescribes. He also suggested that while some places have an abundance of biblical churches, other places are woefully under-churched. Moreover, whole ethnic communities within North America—the Hmongs, Somalis, etc.—are virtually unreached. Of course, he is right on all three points. He has made a good argument for North American church planting, even in Atlanta, if one can find an area that evidences a legitimate need. One needs to keep in mind, however, that only mature Christians will be able to enter the kind of covenant Dr. Bauder suggests. Many believers are not mature in the faith and de facto choose churches for a variety of other reasons. The sheer number of church choices is a testament to the desire for variety. To go back to my ice cream illustration, the very fact that a flavor is on the menu suggests that it sells. If it does not sell, it disappears quickly from the list!

Expanding on Dr. Bauder’s good ideas, I would like to suggest appropriate general categories within a North American context where church planting ought to be considered seriously.

556 reads

Is Variety the Issue? A Response to Jeff Straub

In The Nick of Time
My colleague, Jeff Straub, has published a plea in which he combines two of the great loves of his life: church planting and ice cream. He sees American Christianity as a magnificent, ecclesiastical ice cream parlor offering multitudinous varieties. Drawing from his personal experience of Atlanta, Georgia, he wonders whether we can continue to justify church planting efforts in North America when so much of the world has no gospel witness at all. Would we not use our limited resources most wisely if we put them where the need was greatest?

669 reads