Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Wide World of Wesleyans

The Transition Team took a week off after our Unified Service and then jumped into the next task: Looking at Denominational and External Relationships. We will introducing or reintroducing the denominational heritage and beliefs to congregation members. We will also explore other external relationships (other churches in Bessemer City area) that have been nurtured in recent years. The goal is that the congregation come to a better understanding of what it means to be a Wesleyan Church in the Bessemer City community.

This goal will be accomplished through a two-fold approach.

1) Sept. 16th - The Wide World of Wesleyans

10 am - An all adult Sunday School class will be offered in the Family Life Center. All eight of our adult classes will combine for a presentation by the Transition Team on how The Wesleyan Church has been and should continue to be an agent for social change in our world.

6 pm - An Event of Denomination Information. Our special guest will be Rev. Jerry Lumston, Assistant District Superintendent. Jerry will inform us about how our District Assessment funds are distributed and how the pastoral search/call process works. We will also be given opportunity to ask any district or denominational questions.

Our seating for the evening will be around our round tables. Each table group will be led by a Transition Team member in an activity that will help you to reflect on what it means to be a Wesleyan. This should be both a fun and informative exercise. Child care will be provided for infants through fifth grade for the entire evening.

This is an event is being planned so that no one will want to be late nor leave early. Several door prizes will be given away from a drawing of names from those who are present by 6 pm and everyone is asked to bring pickup items, desserts and beverages for us to share as we fellowship around the tables after the service.

2) I will preach a series of messages - Wesleyans Believe In ...
Sept. 2nd - The Inspiration of Scripture
9th - The Family of God
16th - The Security of Believers
23rd - The Sanctification of Christians
30th - The Return of Christ

For those who are interested and are unable to attend our services I will post each week the highlights of my sermon notes. (I haven't figured out how to do a podcast yet. Plus, with sermon notes you can read in 2-3 minutes the essence of the sermon instead of listening for 25-30 minutes.

Until the next post - may God bless you!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Living in Peace

For those who take the time to visit my blog - let me apologize for not getting more posts up this month. I will try to do better in the future - NO, I will have to do better in the future because I am promising to post notes from my weekly sermons during the month of September for those who miss a service on Sunday.

Now, let me catch you up on the follow-up of the Unified Service. During the month of August I preached a series of sermons focused on the concept of "living at peace". Our two foundational verses were Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14. The idea was that many of us had made peace at the Unified Service and that we needed to be reminded of how to now live at peace.

The weekly themes included:
1) Community requires Communication. Christian communication has a balance of truth and love. Ephesians 4:15
2) We need to be a Church of Peacemakers in a World of Troublemakers. The congregation was challenged to renew the Peacemaker's Pledge taken from Ken Sande's book: The Peacemaker.
3) How to Publicly Admit you are an Idiot. This sermon encouraged the congregation to be a confessional community. James 5:16
4) How to Handle your Hurts. This message reminded the people that people will often offend us. When we are offended as Christians we must either overlook the offense or confront it. Either way, we must also always have an attitude of forgiveness.

Even as the Transition Team continues to lead the congregation on to the next of the four transformational tasks I desire to provide teaching that will help our church to always be a community were forgiven and forgiving saints live out the gospel. To that end, our mid-week teaching will focus on the "one another" verses of the New Testament starting on Sept. 5th.

Later this week I will have another post about the Transition Team work and what is coming next for the congregation as we continue our journey through the year of intentional interim ministry.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Book Review: Transforming Church

The question needs to be asked: How can church leaders go about transforming church so that it can be a transforming church? Ask another way: What needs to be changed about the church within so that it can become a change agent without?

Kevin Ford gives his answer to these questions in Transforming Church. Ford, based on his work as a church consultant, has developed a Transforming Church Index that measures five key indicators of church health. The premise is that church health, not church growth, is the primary indicator of a church’s ability to transform its members, fulfill its mission, and reinvent itself. Ford’s book guides leaders in how to measure their church health and how to become more healthy in each area.

The five key indicators of church health are given as:
1) Consumerism vs. Community – How church members relate to each other. Unhealthy churches are a collection of individuals acting individually, while healthy churches relate as a community.
2) Incongruous vs. Code – The church’s “genetic code”. Unhealthy churches lack a clear identity, while healthy churches have a clear sense of their DNA and take steps to align their ministries and culture with their code.
3) Autocracy vs. Shared Leadership – How the church leadership functions. Unhealthy churches tend to be overly autocratic or bureaucratic, while healthy churches view leadership as a shared function and as a ministry.
4) Cloister vs. Missional – How the church relates to the local community. Unhealthy churches disengage from the world around them, while healthy churches are focused on their mission and have an outward orientation.
5) Inertia vs. Reinvention – How church members think about the future. Unhealthy churches resist change and fear the future, while healthy churches embrace change, even when it is painful.

The next to last paragraph reads, “Is your church ready for change? Are there problems that need to be addressed? If you have the courage to face the adaptive issues, the tenacity to deal with inevitable resistance, and the humility to ask for God’s help, then be assured: Your church can and will be transformed into the image of Christ – one step at a time.”