A GREAT TOOL FROM THE SKIT GUYS

8 10 2014

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BACK TO SCHOOL

11 08 2013

cbethel  One of the churches that has grasped the Bridgebuilders Principle is Center Bethel Church of God in Alverton PA.  It is part of the Allegheny Conference of the Churches of God and its people participated in our January 2013 event at Mt. Pleasant.  Lee Kline is its pastor.  Here is a recent report from their conference newsletter:

Center Bethel Church of God – On Sunday, August 4, Pastor Lee led both services in dedicating 62 book bags, filled with school supplies, that will be distributed to those children in need within our community as they return to school. All the items collected for this project were provided by those within the Church. This is just one of the many community outreach programs that we have set in place and are always looking to work in the mission field that is right outside the doors of the church. Center Bethel is committed to serving its community and those in need! We are the Church of the community!





UPDATE ON BRIDGEBUILDERS – PART 1

4 05 2013
BRIDGEBUILDERS - Building bridges to the Bridge

BRIDGEBUILDERS – Building bridges to the Bridge

God has been busy growing Bridgebuilders as a ministry to help churches reach their unchurched neighbors.  Here are some highlights.

Bridgebuilders has recently changed its workshop tag line.
Because our ministry philosophy and tools are not just for traditional churches, we have dropped that work from the title.  It is now called Bridgebuilders Seminars-Helping Churches Reach Their Unchurched Neighbors. 

We now partner with the Commission on Evangelism of the Eastern Regional Conference as the foundational element of their mission to equip local churches to make disciples in their local context. As the ERC uses Bridgebuilders, they use the tag line Building bridges to the Bridge.  The lower case bridgebuilders refers to people and churches. The upper case Bridgebuilder is , of course, Jesus Christ.  They also now use an email address tied to the conference web site for all Bridgebuilders and School of Evangelism ministries.  It is ercbridgebuilders@erccog.org.

Bridgebuilders is now providing two biweekly on-line publicationsFanning Into Flame is the tool for the Allegheny Regional Conference of the Churches of God to assist them in their vision for being “the best churches for the community” and to make new disciples of new generations.  Following the theme noted above for the ERC, their publication is called bridges to the Bridge.OHC-2.0_NEIGHBORHOOD-STATIC-04 Bridgebuilders is committed to resourcing other conferences and denominations along these lines.  If you are interested in a publication like this, including your local church contact:

Bridgebuilders Ministries

225 Lurgan Avenue

Shippensburg PA 17257

717-471-3018





THE BRAIN AND SUCCESSFUL CHURCH CHANGE

15 11 2012

Charles Stone has an excellent blog on church leadership. I would urge you to go to it and consider subscribing if you are serious about being a Bridgebuilding Church.

Wise leaders carefully manage church change. Healthy church management includes not just the bird’s eye view (big picture implications) but also considers the individual view, what’s going on inside the individual church member or leader when you, as the leader, present change. Neuroscience offers helpful insight about unconscious processes that go on inside our brains when people face change. Consider these insights and suggestions the next time you plan change for your church.

People appreciate certainty and autonomy because the brain craves both. David Rock, one of the leader proponents of applying neuroscience to leadership (neuroleadership) suggests an acrostic called SCARF that represents five essential brain processes that influence motivation and change management. See my blog here that explains SCARF. The ‘c’ and the ‘a’ stand for certainty and autonomy. I’ve listed 5 insights below that relate these two components to change management.

  1. People naturally assume the worst. Our brain is actually wired to pick up threats and negative possibilities around us more than the positive. 2/3 of our brain cells in the flight-fight part of our brain, the amygdala, are wired to pick up on the negative.
  2. People naturally fill in knowledge gaps with fear. Uncertainty about the future (and change) breeds this fear.
  3. Ambiguity creates more fear than measured risk. That is, the more people have to fill in the knowledge gaps, the greater the fear about and resistance to change. Measured risk, however, fills in some of those gaps and lessens anxiety.
  4. Undoing a wrong impression is harder than creating a good impression. It’s the old adage “you don’t have a second chance to make a good first impression.” That’s not just a quaint saying. Neuroscientists have shown it to be true.
  5. People understate their ability to ride out difficult future events. Uncertainty causes us to poorly forecast how well we can face difficulty. The term is “affective forecasting.” When you present change, people will initially assume that the church will come out worse than expected, although the opposite is often true.
  6. Emotions play a very important part in decision making. Just presenting the facts is seldom enough to move people forward.

So, in light of these insights, what are some positive steps you can take to most effectively manage church change?

  1. Build in small, short-term wins along the way. These wins will give a greater sense of certainty. Remember, people (and their brains) love certainty.
  2. Fill in the knowledge gaps with truth. In other words, communicate, communicate, communicate. Keep people in the loop about your progress with the change initiative.
  3. Provide a feedback loop. Give people in your church a real, tangible way they can give feedback to you about the process. Simply knowing they have that ability to communicate to you and that you are really listening will decrease their anxiety about the future.
  4. Within reason, provide people small ways they can choose about how the change will look. Although the leadership will have decided the big picture change, providing options and opportunity for people to hone what those changes within the big change will look like increases autonomy. Remember, people love autonomy.
  5. Fill in knowledge gaps with Faith. Preach and teach on faith. Keep verses like Hebrews 11.1 often before the people.

Heb. 11.1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (NLT)

What have you done that has helped smooth church change?


Related Posts:





CAN YOU ARGUE SOMEONE INTO THE KINGDOM?

1 11 2012

This is from a great blog by Luke Nix called FAITHFUL THINKERS which we have added to our blogroll (right hand box)

Can You Argue Someone Into the Kingdom?
Posted by Luke Nix at 6:00 AM

A while back I was listening to Greg Koukl’s radio show “Stand to Reason”, and a caller challenged the need for apologetics (1 Peter 3:15) at all. His main concern was that nobody could be “argued” into the Kingdom, and that apologists were wasting their time with “hollow and deceptive philosophy” (Colosians 2:8).

I have to agree that his first premise is valid, but I don’t agree with the second premise and thus, his conclusion. I don’t think that anyone can be “argued” into the Kingdom. For example, knowing that someone exists is different from wanting a loving relationship with them. Someone can believe that the Christian God exists, yet not want to have a personal relationship with Him. That person can recognize that the evidence points toward the Resurrection being a historical event, but not want to dedicate their life to that fact. A belief that is different from a belief in.

A belief that means you know that something is true. A belief in is a life-commitment to that truth (a conscious choice to change your actions to be consistent with that truth). See Psychology Class Series for more on this.

Having said that, a belief in something requires a belief that that something exists. If someone does not believe that something is true, why would they commit their life to it?

Apologetics is important because it helps people to take the first large step into the Kingdom. For many people, an apologetic approach is not necessary (they may not have philosophical, historical or scientific questions). They may simply have never understood the Gospel. In this case, no, we don’t need to waste our time with philosophy. We don’t want to create a stumbling block where one does not exist or is not realized by the person himself (1 Corithians 10:32-33).

I have to admit that I have focused so finely on the arguments that I fear I have created stumbling blocks where they weren’t before. When to use apologetics and when to simply present the Gospel (or both) is something that I have to learn. I believe the caller above had a good point in showing a possible extreme, but he must recognize, though, that his side is also an extreme. Greg Koukl’s book Tactics (My Review) is a great resource to start to help determine when to use which approach with a nonbeliever.

This reminds me of the value of the different parts of the Body of Christ. Granted, all Christians are called to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15), but there are some who have deeply studied specific challenges and their answers. Christians should never think of one “gift” as less valuable than another (1 Corinthians 12:24-26) because some day, they may need to swallow their pride and refer someone to a Christian whom God has given the answer to the question being asked of them.

As mentioned in the Psychology Class Series, emotions (the heart) is key to the acceptance or rejection of a belief. The Holy Spirit is who works on the heart of people to bring them to Christ. The Holy Spirit prepares the emotions (heart) to accept the evidence. Christ commanded his disciples to go make disciples. The Christian’s duty in evangelism is to provide the evidence to the person, so that the emotions (the heart that the Holy Spirit has been working on) will accept it- thus changing a life. Those whom the Holy Spirit has been working on are drawn to Christ, but may need an intellectual reason to accept Him. Apologists can provide that intellectual reason. We need to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have”.

Near the beginning of this post, I stated that no one can be argued into the Kingdom. The reason for this lies in the above paragraph. If the Holy Spirit has not prepared the emotions (heart) to accept the evidence, no number of arguments will convince them. They are emotionally attached to a non-Christian idea, and will satisfy themselves with all sorts of rationalizations and absurd philosophies to avoid acceptance.

As the Church, we need to learn to recognize our role in the Great Commission. It is not to convert; it is be a witness- provide evidence from experience, nature, and philosophy. We also need to recognize the role of the Holy Spirit. It is to soften the heart to allow for the recognition of and commitment to The Truth.

I remember my frustration when in my “earlier” years as an “apologist”. I would always think that I’ve got the Truth and impenetrable arguments to support it. When one argument didn’t cause a conversion, I would arrogantly whip out another (unwittingly, this probably cause more stumbling blocks). When someone still didn’t accept it, it caused much frustration for me. I just didn’t understand how or why someone just couldn’t get it. When that happened, lots of ad-hominem attacks were having a party in the back of my head and were attempting to dance right out my mouth.

When I finally recognized this balance of duties with regard to The Great Commission, my frustration with people who “just don’t get it” went down considerably. I had to swallow my pride. I am not that great. The salvation another a non-believer is not because of me. It is because of the Holy Spirit who worked in the life of the non-believer and myself (which is a result of the Holy Spirit working on my heart, which is the result of the Holy Spirit working on the heart of another, etc…). There is no need for me to get so frustrated or be arrogant. If an argument that I present helps a person come to Christ, I thank God that He allowed me to be an instrument in His orchestra. I am still in the process of being sanctified by Him, and at times, I will be out of tune and hit wrong notes. Because my choice is to worship Him with all my heart, soul, and mind, He can still use me to be an ambassador, while He prepares me for eternity with Him.





WHY THROWING PARTIES IS MISSIONAL

3 06 2012

One of the key ideas of BRIDGEBUILDERS is to learn to throw parties with a purpose. This video elaborates on that idea.





BRIDGEBUILDERS SEMINARS FOR THE FALL 2011

5 08 2011

Bridgebuilders Seminar is a six-hour training event created by Dr. Steve Dunn to help traditional churches reach their unchurched neighbors.  Part of the challenge of this effort is that it is often a cross-cultural experience for which traditional churches are ill-equipped by temperament, knowledge, and skills.  Even if they believe that they are called to reach the mission field that is outside their front door, they often see it as a matter of getting people in the door so that the church might survive. And too often they believe that simply re-packaging a bit what they do will make them attractive to people for whom church is simply irrelevant to their daily lives.

The Seminar breaks down into six sessions:
+”The Mission Field Outside Your Front Door”
+”What Every Missionary Needs to Know”
+ “Christ’s Respectful Ambassador”
+ “Listening to the Holy Spirit and the Culture”
+ “Tools to Building Bridges”
+ “Getting Started as a Church (And as Individuals”

The next two scheduled Bridgebuilders Seminars are in the Eastern Regional Conference. They will be held at:

September 24, 2011
Shippensburg Church of God
Note new location

9:00 am-3:30 EST
Host pastor: Rev. Paul Tatum

October 29, 2011
Germantown Church of God
9:00 am-3:30 pm EST
Host pastor: Rev. Mark Hosler

Under a special agreement with the Commission on Evangelism of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Churches of God (which is sponsoring these two events) the cost is $15 per person or $50 flat fee for churches registering four or more.

To register go to the Commission’s web site EVANGELISM PLUS and follow the Bridgebuilders link.

If you would like information about bringing these seminars to your church, region or adjudicatory, please contact Steve Dunn at sdunnpastor@coglandisville.org (717-898-8144)