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Tag Archives: spiritual growth

You Can’t Do Discipleship in an Hour

A few years ago, a Christian publisher strongly recommended we reduce EHS discipleship into four, one-hour sessions because that was all that most American Christians can handle. “Let’s keep it simple,” many pastors and leaders argue. “If your people attend weekend services, participate in a small group and serve, that is all you can expect.” People are not experiencing deep transformation in our churches. Large numbers of people live off other people’s spirituality (e.g. worship teams, sermons, Christian radio and podcasts) and do not intentionally cultivate their own personal relationship with Jesus. We now have tens of thousands of believers in Jesus who are not necessarily disciples. And we continue to work day and night to add to this number. This raises a number of questions: Can a person be a Christian without being a disciple who makes daily, intentional choices to follow Jesus and remain/abide with Him? Can a nominal Christian who has. Read more.

The Crisis of Discipleship

The explosion of change (e.g. the impact of new technologies) is happening so fast in Western culture that it is difficult to get perspective on its long-range impact in our churches. Willow Creek’s Reveal study, released in 2008, demonstrated conclusively that people are not experiencing spiritual transformation in our churches. Now seven years later, another comprehensive, multi-phase research study on The State of Discipleship in the United States has been released by the Barna Group. Their findings confirm the continuing crisis around discipleship. The study is so important that I want to highlight a few applicable points for you to consider: Only 1% of church leaders say “today’s churches are doing very well at discipling new and young believers.” Few believe churches – their own or others –are excelling in this area. Participation in discipleship activities (e.g. Sunday school, spiritual/mentoring group Bible study) is weak – as low as 20% in our churches. The. Read more.

EHS: An Urgent Call to the Church

The following is a 3 minute summary of the invitation of EHS to the church. It is the text behind a video Zondervan is producing to invite pastors and leaders to the EHS journey.   The church is in deep trouble today. It is like we are sitting on top of an iceberg that is melting, but we reluctant to make the needed changes. Millions of dollars have been spent to analyze the complexity and trends of what is happening in the church today. Here is what we know:• The broader culture of the USA is becoming more opposed to the values of Scripture more quickly than most of us realize. In the next 30 years.. “Christians can expect to be seen as increasingly hateful, small-minded, backward and extremist” (The Great Evangelical Recession, John S. Dickerson) • In most congregations, ages eighteen to twenty-nine are the black hole of church attendance. This age group. Read more.

EHS: An Urgent Call to the Church

The following is a 3 minute summary of the invitation of EHS to the church. It is the text behind a video Zondervan is producing to invite pastors and leaders to the EHS journey. ——————————————————————————————– The church is in deep trouble today. It is like we are sitting on top of an iceberg that is melting, but we reluctant to make the needed changes. Millions of dollars have been spent to analyze the complexity and trends of what is happening in the church today. Here is what we know: • The broader culture of the USA is becoming more opposed to the values of Scripture more quickly than most of us realize. In the next 30 years.. “Christians can expect to be seen as increasingly hateful, small-minded, backward and extremist” (The Great Evangelical Recession, John S. Dickerson) • In most congregations, ages eighteen to twenty-nine are the black hole of church attendance. This age. Read more.

The Reveal Study and Transformation

I just finished reading the Reveal study that was released by the WCA in August 2007.  I was personally challenged by their courage to ask the question in a brutally honest fashion about whether we are really transforming lives in the church. Few of us as pastors and leaders have that kind of guts to actually look at the hard data. We owe Willow Creek a debt of gratitude for modeling characterand good leadership for us. Some of their insights very helpful. For example, the study revealed that increased involvement in church activities does not equal increased love or maturity in God. The connection between church activity and spiritual growth appears to be limited. 25% of people in our churches are stalled. People (80,000  surveyed) showed their top 3 needs were to understand the Bible in depth, get help for their emotional needs and help developing relationships that encourage accountability (from p. 38 Follow Me). There is a. Read more.

Hearing Silence!

When God appeared to Elijah after his flight from Jezebel and suicidal depression, he told him to stand and wait for the presence of the LORD to pass by. God did not appear in ways he had showed up in the past. God was not in the wind (as with Job), an earthquake (as in Mount Sinai with the giving of the Ten Commandments), or fire (as in the burning bush with Moses). God finally revealed himself to Elijah in “a sound of sheer silence.” (See 1 Kings 19:12). The translation of God coming “in a sheer silence” does not capture the original Hebrew but what could the translators do? How do you hear silence?   God saying” Don’t go back to the safety and predictability of the past, of what I did then, or how I did it.” God speaks to Elijah in a very new, strange, uncomfortable way —  silence.   This is so different than. Read more.