24 05 2014

Thank you Justin Meier for sharing this video from the VERGE NETWORK

Check them out





WHAT WORSHIP STYLE ATTRACTS THE MILLENIALS?

6 04 2014

Thom Rainer has again turned out a pertinent and perceptive reflection on the church and its  ministries. -STEVE

theGettysBY THOM RAINER

My son, Jess Rainer, and I recently spoke in Texas on the topic of the Millennials, America’s largest generation of nearly 79 million persons. Because we co-authored a book entitled The Millennials, we have had the opportunity to speak on the subject on many occasions.

We reminded this audience in Dallas of the birth dates of this generation, 1980 to 2000, and then proceeded to share our research. We had commissioned LifeWay Research to survey 1,200 of the older Millennials; the researchers did an outstanding job. We have thus been able to share incredible amounts of data and insights from these young adults.
The Question about Worship Style

As in most of our speaking settings, we allow a portion of our presentation to be a time of questions and answers. And inevitably someone will ask us about the worship style preferences of the Millennials.

Typically the context of the question emanates from a background of nearly three decades of “worship wars.” In other words, on what “side” are the Millennials? Traditional? Contemporary? Or somewhere on the nebulous spectrum of blended styles?

And though Jess and I did not originally ask those questions in our research, we have sufficient anecdotal evidence to respond. And our response is usually received with some surprise. The direct answer is “none of the above.”
The Three Things That Matter Most

You see, most Millennials don’t think in the old worship war paradigm. In that regard, “style” of worship is not their primary focus. Instead they seek worship services and music that have three major elements.

They desire the music to have rich content. They desire to sing those songs that reflect deep biblical and theological truths. It is no accident that the hymnody of Keith and Kristyn Getty has taken the Millennials by storm. Their music reflects those deep and rich theological truths.
The Millennials desire authenticity in a worship service. They can sense when congregants and worship leaders are going through the motions. And they will reject such perfunctory attitudes altogether.
This large generation does want a quality worship service. But that quality is a reflection of the authenticity noted above, and adequate preparation of the worship leaders both spiritually and in time of preparation. In that sense, quality worship services are possible for churches of all sizes.

The Churches They Are Attending

Millennial Christians, and a good number of seekers among their generation, are gravitating to churches where the teaching and preaching is given a high priority. They are attracted to churches whose focus is not only on the members, but on the community and the world. Inwardly focused congregations will not see many Millennials in their churches.

And you will hear Millennials speak less and less about worship style. Their focus is on theologically rich music, authenticity, and quality that reflects adequate preparation in time and prayer.

But they will walk away from congregations that are still fighting about style of music, hymnals or screen projections, or choirs or praise teams. Those are not essential issues to Millennials, and they don’t desire to waste their time hearing Christians fight about such matters.

 





GUERILLA LOVIN’ BREAKFAST

9 01 2014

 

 

This is an awesome example of the Bridgebuilders Principle (“building redemptive relationships with the community”).  I thank George for permitting us to reprint this from his newsletter.  George is the pastor of Turning Point Church in Mechanicsburg PA.  – Steve

by George Spangler’

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Jn 13: 34 – 35

 

Please Dont Do This

 

Recently, I became frustrated with the numerous stories of stingy Christians who made a point out of being overtly critical to the servers that waited on them.  Perhaps you saw the story of the Pastor who was offended that an 18% gratuity was added to his bill.  He crossed out the automated gratuity and wrote these words, “I give God 10% why do you get 18?”   On top of that I was frustrated with the stories and posts of how Christmas has become so commercialized.  I read an article about the number of people killed or seriously injured in Black Friday shopping related, crowd stampeding incidents.  My secular friends used these types of stories as rational to stay away from church altogether, and sometimes I can understand how they feel.

 

 

Turning Point Church

 

But these stories do not describe the Christ followers I know.  The people that I know who love Jesus are generous and loving and so I gave Turning Point Church a challenge.  I said, “These stories do not describe  the Christ followers I know, let’s get out there and intentionally love a server this Christmas season.  Let’s do our part to share the love of Jesus and be exceedingly generous in someones life.  I need nominations of hard work servers that are struggling to make ends meet.”

 

 We were led to a woman that we will call “Susan.”  Susan is a mother of four small children and is working hard to provide for them.  We called the restaurant she worked at and arranged with the owner to be seated in her section.  We told them what we were going to do and asked them to keep it a secret. She had no idea why we were there or why we requested her. We didn’t know her and she didn’t know us, but we were about to have a lot of fun getting to know each other.

 

 I  invited people to our “Guerilla Lover” breakfast.  That’s right!  Guerilla Love (jumping out from behind a tree, kind of guerilla, and showering her with love and kindness in the name of Jesus. )  I loved to lend you my Guerilla Lover book, just email me.

 

 I had two expectations of the participants:  1.) Come and eat breakfast with us at this diner on a Thursday morning, order whatever you want and 2.) leave at least a $20 tip.

 

 I found 11 people from Turning Point who were able to make the Thursday breakfast and who were willing to leave a generous tip. I was also blessed to reach out to one of our ministeriums which brought about the attendance of some awesome COG pastors like:  Dan Masshardt, Zack Wilt, Stefanie DiFrancesco, Charlie Zahora, and Dave Williams. Tracy Connor, who is planting VisionPointe Church in York, was also able to attend.

 

Participants at the Guerilla Love Breakfast

 

 After enjoying a breakfast together and spending time getting to know our server, we presented her with a Christmas Card signed by all of us and containing our tips.  I explained,  “We got together to celebrate Christmas and the joy that Jesus brings us.  That’s why we are eating together today. God has been so good to us and we want to celebrate it together and share it with you.  So we got you a Christmas Card too.”  She looked at me a little confused and said, “Thank you.” When she opened the card, she noticed it contained a wad, and I mean a wad of dough.  She was taken back and overcome with tears.  In the name of Jesus, we were able to bless this wonderful hardworking mom with a tip of $440. At the same time, we gave witness to the wonderful generosity of our awesome savior, who entered the world to give his life as a ransom for ours.

 

 I couldn’t think of more enjoyable way to spend that $20 than to eat with people I care about, celebrating the love of our amazing God, and giving generously to a stranger who God prepared in advance for us to meet.

 

 Here is what some of the others are saying:

 

  “It was fun.  Sure we all have our ups and downs but overall as we express Christ’s love and action to the world around us should’nt it be a blast?   I will never forget the expression on Susan’s face as she experienced that love for real.” -Tracy Connor

 

 

“It was fun to be there, but mostly it was fun to make an impact on one life that day.”

 

– Dan Masshardt

 

 “The following Sunday I told the story of our experience and I shared the story of the starfish.  With so many “starfish on the beach”  what difference did we really make?   We made a difference in Susan’s life.  It mattered to her.” – Stef Difrancesco

 

 

“There aren’t very many days and experiences that a person will never forget. This was one of them. Our server will always remember this and so will the 17 of us that participated. I shared this story with our church on Christmas Eve, as an example of what God’s church should look like in the world. If I leave a $20 tip, that’s not a big deal. But when a whole group of us each leaves a $20 tip, that is a big deal. Thanks for the opportunity!”

 

– Charlie Zahora

 

 

“It was probably the best part of Christmas break. Just for us as a group of pastors to be meeting the same time as your act of love so we could join in–that was a divine plan. Living out my faith in practical ways has always been my style so joining with you was a blessing. Thanks for inviting us. Also as a conference guy I typically hang around with pretty committed believers so I am always looking for opportunities to meet with people not yet a part of the faith community. So thanks for the opportunity to share God’s love in a very practical way.”– Dave Williams

 

 “It was the best part of my Christmas week. the opportunity to see Christ’s love in action was a real blessing.”

 

– Zack Wilt

 

 

I am looking forward to next year’s Christmas Guerilla Love Breakfast, perhaps it will become a movement with multiple locations and multiple blessings.  Who knows?  Maybe we will eat together and perhaps be an answer to someone’s prayer for God to miraculously provide.

 

 Share the Joy,

 

 George Spangler





CREATIVE WAYS TO HELP PEOPLE GIVE TO THE MISSION

24 12 2013

dpt-thanksgiving-1by Steve Dunn

It is now well-established that people are most likely to give to vision. In other words, people invest it what they believe is both vital and is likely to do be done in a way that bears kingdom fruit.

If you think of this as merely fundraising, you lose a key opportunity to get people to take responsibility for ministry by investing themselves and not just give money to something. When an investment of time is connected to the check, an opportunity to build redemptive relationships is created. People move from mere philanthropy to participating in building bridges to the Bridge. You also create an opportunity to build community among those who are investing in the mission (or the part that they are being called to invest in)

1. Identify a ministry that is vital to the mission of your church.

2. Create a case statement for that ministry that talks first the importance of this ministry, then about the outcomes you are looking for, the strategy to accomplish.

3. Identify how someone can invest in this ministry–both financially in direct gifts–and how they can invest themselves in carrying out the ministry. The amount of time is not an issue, but even a small investment of time begins to help them develop a sense of ownership over it.

4. Provide well-conceived equipping for their personal involvement and coaching while the ministry is being carried out.

5. Evaluate, correct what is not working, celebrate what God is doing through them and the ministry.

6. Invite the giver to tell the story.

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN FANNING INTO FLAME (December 2 2013) This is a publication that Bridgebuilders does for the Allegheny Conference of the Churches of God, General Conference.  If you would like a sample of this and an idea of what Bridgebuilders Ministries might create for you and your ministry contact sdunnpastor@gmail.com





INCARNATIONAL

9 11 2013

This is the first in a series of articles sharing core aspects of the Bridgebuilders Principle which provides the foundation for both the Seminars and Bridgbuilders Ministries.  A book by this name is being prepared for publication in early 2014.

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BY STEVE DUNN

When churches think of reaching their unchurched neighbors, they often think of creating programs to attract people into their church buildings. Create the right program, make it attractive enough, and people will come into the church and find Jesus. Tony Campolo says. “The church puts up a sign, ‘Come one, come all.’ Jesus put up another sign. He said, ‘Go ye!” This is called the attractional model and it is meeting with decreasing success, especially in suburban and urban areas of the United States

The church needs to get out into the community where the unchurched live. It needs to build redemptive relationships with the unchurched. Those redemptive relationships build upon redemptive opportunities. Through those relationships people are led to Christ and brought into the church.

A redemptive relationship is a significant commitment by a Christian to a non-Christian where they share life together on many levels with a large amount of time spent together. Its purpose is for the Christian to speak into the life of the other as you

The church in the 21st century has come to realize that incarnation must be the model. For the authority of this claim, we only need to turn to the example of Jesus himself. “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14, The Message) The church outside its walls in action, the gospel lived out in the transformed lives of Christians who are living out in the world and building redemptive relationships with people who may be a long way from considering “coming to church.” Noting that Jesus Christ is the bridge from sinful humanity to a holy God, Dan Kimball says, “The church must be the bridge to the Bridge.” A bridge must be anchored on both sides of the distance to be bridged in order to actually help people “cross over.” (Robert Lewis)

Kevin Harney adds, “People need to hear about Jesus, but they also need to see him. As his ambassadors on earth, we are to reflect his love, show his heart, and incarnate his presence wherever God sends us.”

It is vital for us to understand that as the representatives of Jesus Christ out in the world, we must be the “real deal.” We must genuinely be persons transformed by God and following Christ. This is why two things must be true of us as the people of God, the Church. We must be people whose lives are rooted and grounded in the Grace of God ourselves. We are not good people doing a good thing for God. We are forgiven sinners, whose lives have been made new, by the unconditional love of God. In a world where “performance” is king and “measure up” is the command, a fallen and broken humanity hungers for “a taste of heavenly grace.”

(C) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn

excerpted from THE BRIDGEBUILDER PRINCIPLE (c) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn





A SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE WITNESS

8 03 2013

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BY STEVE DUNN

“Would you be willing to put a cross on your front line as a simple expression of witness?”

This is how an older lady in a Methodist Church in Harrisburg PA began  a quiet announcement in her church.  “People have all kinds  of signs on their front lawns for many purposes.  How about a simple cross that simply says ‘A Christian lives here.”

Ultimately 250 persons from her church living around the Linglestown area of the city had crosses on their front lawns.  Not garish.  No other messages–but the most powerful one.  “A Christian lives here.”

One day a lady knocked at the door of a house with this cross on the lawn.  “My car broke down, my cell phone doesn’t work, and I am lost,” she told the homeowner.  “I really didn’t known what to do, and then I saw your cross and thought, ‘Someone with  cross will surely help.”

What a wonderful serendipity of the Spirit!  What a wonderful witness!  What a wonderful way to say to a community in an inviting and non-threatening way, “A follower of Jesus lives here.”





BRIDGEBUILDING IDEAS

22 02 2013

page25_picture0_1345493656These are some ideas Bridgebuilder churches have used to begin developing a redemptive relationship with their communities.

Volunteering to help the cafeteria workers in the schools

This is a great one for building a rapport with the school and helping your people see that side of life

Taking a Vacation Bible School INTO a neighborhood

This helps people meet you—lets them see their children are safe with you—lets your people meet neighbors who may hide out in their houses otherwise

Offer A GOOD QUESTION Forum in a neighborhood coffee shop

This I can share in detail—but you create a middle space where people are invited to come, enjoy coffee and ask questions about the Bible, God, Christianity etc—where they will not be asked to join anything , agreed or commit to anything.

Throw a Baby Shower for an Unwed Mother

Walk the Neighbor Hood and Ask “How can we make this a better place to live for you?”Great starter for spiritual conversations)

Adopting a Food Bank and Offering Coaching in Food Preparation

Microwavable and easy-to-prepare food is not often present and people have to learn how to use the food they receive

Diaper Changing Stations at Community Festivals

Setting up a Prayer Station at a Community to Pray for Loved Ones in Afghanistan, etc.

Does your church have an idea they would share with us?