Thursday, October 4, 2018

Is You Is or Is You Isn't?

The idea of an “inactive [church] member” is really a contradiction of terms.  So let’s stop pretending about who is part of our churches.

Paul seemed to be clear in his letters to the churches that not only should every believer belong to a local church, but that every one who belongs does so to contribute in an active way.
From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part. - Ephesians 4:16 HCSB (Emphasis mine).

To the struggling Corinthian church he wrote
A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial… - 1 Corinthians 12:7 (My emphasis again).

The historian Luke recorded that those 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost who believed and were baptized became part of the Jerusalem church.
So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.  (Yes, I’m still emphasizing).

Also check Paul’s words to the Roman church in Romans 12:3-10 about using the gifts God gives to benefit the church.  An uninvolved “member” really isn’t a member.





Taken from The Replanted Church.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Giving Grace

Last week (and all week) a commercial truck was parked in our church parking lot.  We don't mind during the week...we have plenty of space.  But on Sundays (including last Sunday) we often not only see every parking space filled, but we park along the street and anywhere we can put a car.  (That's a great problem to have at church, by the way.)

But the company owning the truck didn't ask if they could park it there.  It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission.  And they didn't move it for Sunday.  I called the number on the side of the truck and left a message on Saturday.  "Just wondering if you were going to move the truck before Sunday morning?"  But, it was Saturday and their office was closed.  So, I didn't really expect a reply. 

And I didn't get one.

There was some talk among a few at church on Sunday about having the truck towed.  It seems the owner of the company doesn't have the best reputation in the community.  But I said, "No.  I'll talk to them tomorrow.  It's OK for now."

My office window faces the place where the truck was parked, and on Monday morning I saw a guy open the truck door and prepare to drive off.  So, I went out to meet him.  I explained that we didn't mind him parking here during the week, but we needed the space on Sundays. 

He apologized and said the truck wouldn't be back.  The driver lives in the neighborhood, by the way.

Tuesday afternoon, while working on Sunday's sermon, I looked up to see another truck (same company) parking in the same space.  Since I had told him it was OK during the week I thought nothing of it.  But, after parking it I saw him coming to the office door, so I got up to meet him there.

"My wife has been transported by ambulance to a hospital.  Is it OK if I leave the truck here for a couple days? I'm on my way there now." 

I had heard the page (I carry a fire/ems pager) to transport her earlier.  So, I knew she was pretty sick.

"Of course.  Park it here.  What's your wife's name? Can I pray for her?"  He shared her name and his as well and thanked me for the prayers. 

It got me thinking about grace.  Had we had the truck towed, or even told them not to park it there I somehow think Christ would have been not only absent, but ashamed.  Instead, He saw to it that we get to minister to this man.  Who knows what might come of it? 

Grace is far better than law.  Law was on our side, had we towed the truck or put up a sign, "Church Parking Only!".  But grace says something far greater, doesn't it? 

This recovering fundamentalist is still learning.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Be in tune with the Spirit


I’m a firm believer in the church being the body of Christ, and that the Holy Spirit places those in the body who will be productive and cooperative within the body.  See 1Corinthians 12:1-11.  And since the Spirit has that role, He also has the role of moving people out who no longer work with what He is trying to accomplish.  The role of the pastor/replanter is to be in tune with the Spirit and follow His lead.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Letting the Back Door Swing


One of the toughest pills for a replanting pastor to swallow is that some need to leave.  Every pastor called by God is a shepherd at heart.  We don’t want to lose a single sheep, even one who disagrees with us.  Surely, we convince ourselves, they’ll come around.  We pray for them.  We walk on eggshells around them.  We lose sleep over them and get that queezy feeling in our stomachs with each phone call, text, email or Facebook post from them.

But let’s be real.  If God has called you to replant He has called you to be His agent for change leading the church back to life.  Those who will work against you and that change must be converted to the vision or they must go elsewhere.  And that’s OK.  In fact, it’s necessary.  A replanter is like a planter in this regard: God gave the vision to you.  Your job is to help others see it and embrace it as well.  Hopefully many will.  But some will not.



Taken from The Replanted Church. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A New Review!


"The Replanted Church" is a book that needs to be read by so many today. The author is a veteran pastor and church leader, faithful in his work for decades, and he speaks with wisdom and experience. Even if you are not in the trenches of full-time Christian ministry, the book is a good primer on leadership. Lawrenson gives pointers on how to creatively navigate struggles that churches of any size will face. As one who has spoken in (and served as consultant for) hundreds of churches throughout the U.S., I know many of the issues that Lawrenson so aptly writes about. Struggling congregations everywhere will benefit from this."

Thanks to my friend, author, apologist, evangelist and educator Dr. Alex McFarland for reviewing the book, The Replanted Church on amazon.com. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Replant Happening in South Carolina!

I met with a young 27 year old pastor from South Carolina this morning for breakfast.  For the last 5 months he has been the pastor of a church that was about to close its doors.  But, God has him there to keep that from happening.

His church is a perfect candidate for replanting.  Although it is 130 years old, it is ripe for a new beginning.  A few months ago someone put a copy of The Replanted Church in his hands, and he's now in his second go-around with the book. 

Listening to his heart for the church - the church he grew up in - leads me to believe God's not through with them yet!  I'm excited for him and the church as they watch what God can do.

Will you join me in praying for them?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Easy-peasy? Nope.

There's nothing easy about replanting a church.  Consider the Hebrews seeking to take back their Promised Land.  During their 400 years in Egypt others moved in, squatting on their farms and living in their cities. 

"It would have been so much easier to settle in Canaan had no one moved in when they left for Egypt.  But, easy isn’t usually a part of God’s plan for us.  And if something is easily gained, it tends to also be easily surrendered." - The Replanted Church

 
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Change that lasts...

Change is slow.  Maybe I should say that change that lasts comes slowly.  And one reason is should be slow is that it starts with little things. - The Replanted Church.

It takes change to bring a dying church back to life.  But, it can be done!  Just know where to start with the changes.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

What I Learned from Yanni and Laurel

Try as you may as a communicator to be clear in what you say, not everyone hears it.  Their presence and even an affirming nod means nothing!

Preaching since I was 16 and just finding this out now.  Good grief!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

What We Have Here is a Failure...

Perhaps nothing is both more critical and at the same time more difficult in leadership than effective communication.  Sometimes what is said isn't heard or perceived as it was intended, which leads those being led to confusion and frustration.

So, work hard at making your communications as clear as possible.  Not everyone listens well, especially in this day of texting without true verbal interaction.  And the filters we have all accumulated in our minds can affect the communication both coming and going.

"I thought I heard you say...", when that wasn't at all what you said is a perpetual challenge that even good leaders will experience.  What takes them from good to better finding ways to improve.  And there is always room for improvement in all of us.