Ministry

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Attending Ministry 2.0 this weekend, Dr. David Foster kicked off the conference with a talk titled Advancing Your Church in the Brave New Wall-less, Wireless, Worn-out World.

We as Christians have a choice in our rapidly changing world.  We can advance the church of Jesus Christ or we will become increasingly irrelevant.  It depends on our attitude toward the world we live in and the way we embrace the way it is changing. Here are a few thoughts:

Does community happen only when we meet at the church?

If community only happens in the church building or our small groups, what happens when gas prices top $4/gallon and some don’t come?  What if some illness or circumstance prevents attendance?  Does the church community cease to exist for them?

The church I attend has an exciting focus on church planting enabling them to plant churches that can tailor themselves to a local community.  This seems to them to follow an Acts 2 model – However, community in today’s world is increasingly not based on geography. 

Living in the bedroom community of Hutto where more than 85% of the people leave town to work elsewhere, it is already clear that their tie to the geography of Hutto is limited. But more than that, people clearly find their community around their interests and their relationships and the technological advances in our world make that increasingly easier to do.

Community in the Church or Church in the Community

Jason Reynolds shared a Case Study of an Online Church Campus. Their experience with offering this type of campus has caused them to redefine Community as “What God does in the midst of people to change lives.”

Community – What God does in the midst of people to change lives.

Their online simulcasts complete with chat communities and more have enabled them to empower those who cannot attend church. These member have not only found fellowship with a body of believers but have also established purpose that they previously believed impossible by being able to minister to others despite circumstances that isolate them physically. 

As we move from the attractional church model of providing community in the church to the missional model of living church in the community, we need to realize our community is not bound by the geography of their daily walking distance such as existed in Acts 2.  They are free agents who are free to participate in any culture, at any time, on whatever terms they desire.

Reaching Across the aisle or Reaching across world

Today’s modern technology now enables people to transcend simple information retrieval to find true, authentic community with people of any geography, culture, or time of their life.  In fact, they often seem to feel free to be more authentic and transparent in these communities than in the brick-and-mortal ritual of forced smiles and greetings imposed upon them during the church program.

If we are to reach people with the life-changing reality of Christ, we are going to have to continue to let our lives be changed to reach people in the communities in which they live.  Today’s social networking platforms may seem foreign – but that they are way less foreign than those communities that Paul and the other early missionaries had to breach. In fact, they are more like a personal guide to the culture of each and every person we meet – providing a platform to more easily speak their language, interact with them on their terms and overcome many of the barriers that previously limited our reach.  These tools can be a time-machine, a teleporter, a translator/guide, and a facilitator to real relationship that can make a difference in peoples lives.

This is just a little of the promise in Ministry 2.0.

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Ps 111:6 He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations.

Psalm 111 is a beautiful praise to God, the holy one for all that he has done and given us and for all that he is ending with To him belongs eternal praise.  Among this short list of his wonders to us is verse 6.  Clearly a reference to the way in which God gave the promised land to the Israelites.   But it was not supposed to be about land rather it was supposed to be about the Israelites being a audio-visual to the world.

 

It is not hard for me to see how God has done this in my life.  For instance, I was hired to be a Imaging Product Manager at Dell in 2002 – a position that required an MBA (when I had no college at all) and had several qualified people already in the organization that had applied.  How does that happen?  I like to think it was my enthusiasm and understanding of certain job hiring practices, etc. but the reality is that it had God all over it – even in the way that I noticed the job was available and the timing of that.  It is clearly an example of God giving me the position of others.

 

But it wasn’t simply to have that position – it was to become God’s audio-visual to the Dell S&P group.  Some of that happened to be sure.  God blessed me to see many people impacted by His use of me in that group but like the Israelites, I did commingle with my neighbors in some ways that minimized my witness and I didn’t give God all the glory and I didn’t fear him and take as seriously as I should have the work he had given me there.

 

Heavenly Father, I do praise your awesome work in my life and in the world – I praise you for all your wonders and mostly for your great love.  Help me to be an instrument that effectively broadcasts the story of your glory.   Give me the lands of others – but not their positions – rather the lands of their hearts – give them to me for you, Father.  Help me to boldly enter enemy-occupied territory and route out the enemy and establish your son, Jesus as the Lord of many hearts.  And Father, keep me pure and clean so that I will be an attractive vessel for you to use.

 

To You, Lord, belongs eternal praise.

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Ps 111:6 He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations.

Psalm 111 is a beautiful praise to God, the holy one for all that he has done and given us and for all that he is ending with To him belongs eternal praise.  Among this short list of his wonders to us is verse 6.  Clearly a reference to the way in which God gave the promised land to the Israelites.   But it was not supposed to be about land rather it was supposed to be about the Israelites being a audio-visual to the world.

 

It is not hard for me to see how God has done this in my life.  For instance, I was hired to be a Imaging Product Manager at Dell in 2002 – a position that required an MBA (when I had no college at all) and had several qualified people already in the organization that had applied.  How does that happen?  I like to think it was my enthusiasm and understanding of certain job hiring practices, etc. but the reality is that it had God all over it – even in the way that I noticed the job was available and the timing of that.  It is clearly an example of God giving me the position of others.

 

But it wasn’t simply to have that position – it was to become God’s audio-visual to the Dell S&P group.  Some of that happened to be sure.  God blessed me to see many people impacted by His use of me in that group but like the Israelites, I did commingle with my neighbors in some ways that minimized my witness and I didn’t give God all the glory and I didn’t fear him and take as seriously as I should have the work he had given me there.

 

Heavenly Father, I do praise your awesome work in my life and in the world – I praise you for all your wonders and mostly for your great love.  Help me to be an instrument that effectively broadcasts the story of your glory.   Give me the lands of others – but not their positions – rather the lands of their hearts – give them to me for you, Father.  Help me to boldly enter enemy-occupied territory and route out the enemy and establish your son, Jesus as the Lord of many hearts.  And Father, keep me pure and clean so that I will be an attractive vessel for you to use.

 

To You, Lord, belongs eternal praise.

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