Tuesday, October 30, 2007

JOURNEY THROUGH ROMANS

Here are some thoughts on my recent journey through the Paul's letter to the Romans.

  • Romans explains the "So what?" of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
  • Background--Paul writes to several hundred believers in Rome, a place he had never visited at the time. It wasn't long before his letter overshadowed all other literary pieces coming out of Rome.
  • I long to be as passionate as Paul was in his desire to share the gospel with others.
  • When we go the sin route, we are trading the glory of God for cheap figurines.
  • When God withdraws His pull, all hell breaks loose.
  • God is kind, but He is not soft. His kindness leads to radical life-change.
  • It's better to be a pagan who keeps God's laws than a Baptist who doesn't.
  • Chapter 3 makes it unquestionably clear that we all start out as sinners.
  • The job of leading Chapin Baptist is too big for me. It's something only God can do. I must trust Him to do it.
  • I'm a friend of God's. WOW!
  • God not only saves me from trouble; He gives me life.
  • I am free to sin. But when I sin, I am not longer free. I don't have to say yes to sin because of the resurrection. True freedom comes from saying yes to Christ and no to sin.
  • That Paul struggled with his sin nature and old way of living gives me great encouragement that I'm not alone.
  • Romans 8 still amazes me. Has to be one of the greatest chapters in the Bible.
  • Paul had an overwhelming burden for the Israelites because they were lost, without Christ.
  • 10:9-10 remind me that nothing I do gives me salvation. It's trusting Jesus to grant it to me.
  • God is good at pruning and grafting.
  • Israel will always have a place in God's master plan.
  • Chapter 12 is one of the most practical chapters in the Bible.
  • Christians need to be active citizens in the community.
  • The sum of all the laws is love.
  • My lifestyle should be consistent with my beliefs. Otherwise, I'm living in sin.
  • I should always have a "How can I help?" attitude even if responding is not convenient.
  • The final chapter lists more that 35 people by name, suggesting the importance of teamwork, volunteers, and everyone doing his/her share.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

BECOMING A BETTER COMMUNICATOR

One of my goals for 2007 was to explore ways that I can become a better communicator. I've been preaching sermons for almost 30 years. But if I keep preaching today like I did 30 years ago...well, I have a feeling I wouldn't have many listeners. Although God's Word never changes, the way people listen and the way people communicate is forever changing. Since preaching is one of my primary assignments, I believe it is critical that I keep improving my communication skills.

When I was in seminary taking preaching classes, the professor had a set form that he graded you by. Of course, for the most part, expository preaching was the acceptable means--that is, taking a short passage of Scripture and preaching verse by verse, highlighting two or three key points. There are some leaders today who believe that if you are not preaching expository sermons, then you're not preaching biblical sermons. It's interesting, however, if you study the history of preaching since the first century, the expository style did not come into vogue until the 20th century.

I was taught to preach either two or three point sermons. It was imperative that the points emerged out of the brief text of Scripture. The title of the sermon had to lead into the points. For example, if the sermon title was, "You Can Be Happy," point 1 would be: You can be happy by focusing on God. Point 2: You can be happy by loving others. Then every point had to have three subcategories: interpretation, illustration, application. The professor was very flexible in that you could do the "i-i-a" in any order you wanted to. Of course, before you got to the points, you had to have a "get the attention of the audience" introduction. And the introduction had to state your specific objective in preaching the sermon. A manuscript was not complete until you had the whole sermon summarized in one sentence. (By the way, that's still a great discipline.)

Remember, a blog can be the random ramblings of the author. And I believe that's what I'm doing now. But it's all good. I said all this to say that there are an infinite number of ways to write and communicate biblical sermons. And I want to do everything I can to be a sharp communicator of His Word.

So, this year here are some things I have been doing. First, I'm reading a bunch of books on communication. Without doubt, the most helpful to me has been Andy Stanley's Communicating for a Change. Second, I have been listening to my own sermons. Man, that is humbling. I probably need to be videotaping--that would probably even be more humbling. Third, I'm listening to the sermons of well-respected communicators via podcasts. Of all the ones I listen to, the one that I try to catch every message from is Mark Driscoll. What a great teacher of God's Word! Others include Andy Stanly, Perry Noble, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Craig Groeschel, Ed Young, Jr., and Wayne Cordeiro. And, finally, I'm trying to stay abreast of the emerging generation's way of communicating because it is not the way your high school grammar teacher taught you to write and speak. I've even learned how to Itap my text messages. Whoeeee! I've arrived!

There is one communication lesson I learned years ago that is still just as valid today. For me to communicate the Word sharply and relevantly, I must stay in the Word every day of my life. God's Word must be in me before I can do a good job of communicating it to others. That's one principle that will never change.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK"

Every now and then I like to read a non-fiction book off the NY Times Bestseller list. Notice I said non-fiction. I don’t read a lot of fiction. Yes, I read the Left Behind series; and I love to read John Grisham. Outside of that, reading novels is a rare thing for me.

Anyway, I recently read Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad about My Neck. It’s a well-written book about getting old from a woman’s point of view. It’s quite humorous as she talks about stuff anywhere from her hairdos to apartment living to marriage to purses. I know, I know. What in the world am I doing reading a book like that? Honestly, I didn’t have a clue that was the nature of the book. I just read a brief synopsis saying it was a humorous look at getting old.

Anyway, this is not a blog where I list a bunch of bullets that represent all my great takeaways from the book…because actually there weren’t many.

However, I was grieved with the ending chapters as Nora writes about death and dying. As funny as she was describing some of her life’s journey, the way she dealt with death made me come away grieving for her soul. She alludes to her Jewish heritage throughout the book. But when it came to death, she was more matter-of-fact and less humorous. She treated the subject as if there is nothing to look forward to on the other side of the grave. She tried to get a little humorous when she talked about deciding against cremation because that might destroy her chances of being reincarnated into something else (although she admitted she had no basis for believing in reincarnation).

If there was one takeaway from the book, it reminded me that without Jesus there is no basis for hope. For those without Christ, how could they write anything differently? They have no basis for hope.

I wonder how many people I see at Crooked Creek Park each day who don’t have a relationship with Christ. I wonder how many in the neighborhoods within a few hundred yards of our church don’t know Jesus. I wonder about the people I see in restaurants. I wonder about the people I see tailgating around us at Clemson or sitting around us in the stadium.

1 Corinthians reminds us that if there is no resurrection, then we have no basis for hope. Without the resurrection we are doomed and still in our sins. But thanks be to God that through Jesus there is hope—hope that death does not have the final word, hope that in Jesus I have life eternal, hope that life does have meaning, and hope that one day I will be reunited with family and friends who have gone before me.

As much as my hope is real, I Feel Bad about My Neck should prompt me to walk across as many rooms as possible and seek to engage people in spiritual conversations. I admit that I don’t know the author personally, nor anything about her spiritual journey. But from what I read, I believe Nora Ephron represents the hundreds who cross our paths each day who have not captured the joy of knowing, loving, and serving Jesus Christ.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

GOD SPEAKS IN THE BOOK OF JOSHUA

Here are some gleanings from my recent journey through the book of Joshua.

  • This book helps you understand why "land" is such a big issue for the nation of Israel. They lived for 400 years in Egypt away from their homeland and then another 40 years in the wilderness. 440 years without a home.
  • God's military strategy for Joshua--no survivors. Why? Because the 13th century BC culture was one of child sacrifice, sacred prostitution, practices that used children and virgins to manipulate the gods. There needed to be a total cleansing.
  • God promised the land to His people, with Joshua as the leader. What "land" is God promising to Chapin Baptist Church?
  • The key to success in fulfilling a vision--meditating on God's Word and obedience.
  • The people completely bought into the vision God gave Joshua.
  • God used a prostitute (Rahab) to accomplish His purposes (and even allowed her to serve a role in the messianic line).
  • We must consecrate ourselves before we will see miracles.
  • We must take the first step, a step of faith, before the miracles come.
  • There is great value in the people of God remembering key events that demonstrate the hand of God.
  • When the leader leads with obedience to God, the people respect the leader.
  • One of the interesting parts of Joshua's job descriptions was using stone knives to circumcise. Ouch! That was under the section "Perform other duties as assigned."
  • One sin in the camp can remove the blessings of God.
  • After the victory of Ai, an altar to God was built, giving Him all the credit.
  • Chapter 9--you better check with God before making decisions.
  • It's not wise to go up against the God of the universe. He can send hailstones bigger than bowling balls. He can even extend the hours of the day if He so chooses.
  • Joshua didn't completely wipe out Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. This came back to haunt the people of God later (Goliath was from Gath).
  • About Caleb, 85 years old: "He gave himself totally to God." That's the way I want to be when I'm 85.
  • Chapter after chapter about the distribution of the Holy Land to the people of God. Again, great evidence as to why Israel serves such an important role in history.
  • God lived up to His promise that He would restore all the land to Israel.
  • Chapter 22--great example of how to handle problems. The tribes went directly to some of the other tribes when they saw a possible problems. Instead of jumping to conclusions, gossipping, and attacking, they went directly to the source of the issue and got everything clarified. Oh, that all Christians would do the same. They used the bucket of water instead of gasoline.
  • We must engage our culture; but we must also guard our souls against its ungodly influences.
  • God's past blessings should always be a motivation for total commitment.
  • God's hand of judgment always falls on those to decide to serve other gods.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

MILLION DOLLAR QUOTES

Sometimes in my reading I will come across quotes that jar me into some deeper reflection. Here are a handful. See if they hit you like they did me.

  • "Churches today are using more methods to do more ministry in more different ways to accomplish more different results to reach more people and to involve more workers."
    (from 11 Innovations in the Local Church)
  • "Don't be content by doing things 10 percent better; do them 10 times better by jumping to the next curve." (Guy Kawasaki)
  • "If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative." (The great theologian Woody Allen)
  • "If Jesus had a church in Simi Valley, mine would be bigger. People would leave His church to attend mine because I call for an easier commitment." (Pastor Francis Chan)
  • "The church doesn't need to handhold people who are moving along in the later stages of the spiritual continuum." (Cally Parkinson in Reveal)
  • "Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of God on earth." (John Wesley)
  • "I've always found that God is seldom at the forefront of what is possible. If it's possible, we don't need God. However, I've always found God in the impossible." (Bill Easum)
  • "Vision is the most powerful tool in the church outside of the Holy Spirit. It moves people toward what is right, what is biblical, what God wants for our lives. But the very nature of vision puts a big ol' bull's eye on the leader's chest." (Ben Arment)
  • "Where there is light, there are bugs." (Chuck Swindoll)
  • "Remember, it is only when the whale rises to the top that it is harpooned." (Rick Warren)
  • "It's the worship service, stupid!" (Ed Young, Jr., {remember Bush's campaign slogan, "It's the economy, stupid?"})

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."




Monday, October 15, 2007

BLOGGING FROM RIDGECREST

I'm blogging from Ridgecrest Conference Center in the mountains of N.C. It's beautiful up here. I'm with our other senior staff (Steve, Rick, Virginia, James, Michael). It just so happens that Philip Vaughn has about 25 of our senior adult members up here as well. They are attending a conference. We got to see them at supper tonight. They are extra-special people and a joy to be around.

The reason our senior staff is here is to get away from the office for a couple of days to think, pray, and strategize. We have been engaging in some very healthy discussions lately. Basically, it all comes down to this. We talk a lot about our vision of helping people connect with God and become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. And we're thinking out loud about how successful we are in achieving this vision. We've been asking some tough questions like: how successful are we in seeing that vision work? What percentage of our members are actually fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ? Are our current programs and structures designed to help people move toward Christlikeness? Are we reaching our potential for growth? I could keep listing the questions we're exploring, but I think you get the idea.

God has given us some super-excellent staff pastors. There is a great spirit of teamwork and mutual trust and encouragement. We're challenging each other not to be satisfied with status quo. We're taking our vision statement and trying to create ways that we can best fulfill it. If the bottom line is transformed lives, then we better make sure that everything we do as a church is designed to reach that objective.

I have no idea at this point where all these discussions will take us. Thom Rainer, president of Lifeway, in his recent Simple Church book, noted that his research team had to lower the bar in order to find a large enough sampling of churches to be classified as vibrant, growing churches. Their original bar was set at 10 percent growth a year for three consecutive years. Of the 43,000 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, fewer than 200 met that requirement. That is sad! Unfortunately, Chapin Baptist would not have met the criteria for a vibrant, growing church. That's less than one-half of one percent. I'm not satisfied with where we are. And I don't believe God is either.

That's why we are having these discussions. We don't want to be like the rest of SB churches. We want to demonstrate that God is still in the business of transforming lives and He wants to do in it a big way that will result in the ongoing growth of His church. But for this change to happen, certainly it must be a God-thing. But it also requires that we honestly explore everything we do, how we do it, when we do it, where we do it...and then develop systems and strategies that will put us in a better position to touch many more lives for the kingdom.

What does it mean to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ? Do we have a process in place that moves people toward becoming such a disciple? Have we made it clear what that process is? We are seeking to clarify these answers and then establish a simple process that will help every member reach his/her fullest potential in Christ.

We're evaluating worship services, Sunday School, Chapin U, Class 101, deacons, every ministry, times we meet, length of times we meet, etc.

Again, where these discussion lead us, I do not know. But I have a feeling every one of us would jump on board with any change that would produce greater disciples for the kingdom. Agree?

In my very first blog, I indicated a desire to write about what God is doing in my life, what I'm reading, what I'm thinking, and where I see us headed. So take this blog as a reminder that your staff pastors are diligently seeking the answers to these questions. And please pray for us as we seek the heart of God.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

CATALYST CONFERENCE (PART 3)

Here are a couple more takeaways from last week's Catalyst Conference.

Craig Groeschel

Craig is founder of lifechurch.tv, a new way of doing church. Home base is in Oklahoma. The services are satellite fed to ten cites in the U.S. Because of its innovative approach to doing church, Lifechurch.tv finds itself on lists of the largest, fastest growing, and most innovative churches in America. His topic was practical atheism.

  • A practical atheist is someone who believes God exists but lives as though He doesn't exist.

  • He shared from his own experience how doing the work of God was destroying the work of God in Him.

  • Three problems with practical atheism: (1) I start to believe my effort is greater than God's power. I think it's all about me. (2) I believe my private life doesn't affect my public ministry. (3) I believe I must please people more than please God. My question becomes, "What can I preach to bring people in?" and not, "What can I preach to bring glory to God?"

  • To overcome these three temptations, our prayer must become: God, disturb me.

Dave Ramsey

Dave is a NY Times Best-selling Author and national radio host. He's best known for his Financial Peace University. This is the first time I've heard him speak--excellent communicator.

  • Basically, he was telling young leaders how important it is to have a written budget and to get out of debt. I won't bore you with his outline. But I think his definition of prosperity is worth repeating: Prosperity is having the money to do God's will in your life.

  • Interesting observation he shared from a pastor: Tithers never divorce. Why? Because givers are unselfish and get along with others better.

  • What could the people of God do for the kingdom of God if they were debt-free?

  • Pastors would do well to preach less on tithing and more on how to plan finances and get out of debt.

Andy Stanley

Andy's final talk was worth the price of admission. He talked about building systems. There's no way to do justice to his talk with just a few bullets, but here goes.

  • There are organizational systems that are conducive to ministry and organziational systems that impede ministry.

  • There are organizational systems that free leaders to lead and organizational systems that obstruct leaders.

  • Systems defined: Your organization's approach to getting things done.

  • Systems create behavior. Example: Why is it that you can hit a grand slam on a five-week series of sermons on the family, but there is no noted change in people's lives? It's because there is no system in place to facilitate and prompt the change.

  • What is rewarded, people will do. The problem is that we tend to reward the wrong things.

  • Systems have a greater impact on organizational culture than do mission statements.

  • The New Testament does not present us with a comprehensive system or model. We learn what the early church did. But the Bible doesn't really tell us what church leaders need to do. Therefore we must distinguish what is descriptive and what is prescriptive.

  • We cannot have a first century church today because we are not living in the first century. The first century used the systems that was best for them. Churches today need to determine the systems that work best for them.

  • Congregational rule is not biblical. The times congregational rule was practiced, disaster resulted: Joseph's brothers voted to throw him in the pit; the people of God built a golden calf; they decided to appoint a king instead of following the prophet.

  • 4 system imperatives: (1) Your system should allow you to involve and hire the best person for the job. (2) Your system should provide you with the flexibility to get the right people to the table. (3) Your system should allow you to make complex decisions within the context of a small group of empowered individuals. (4) Your system should ensure that only one person answers to "they". ("they" would be the elders, deacons, leadership team, or whatever)







"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."


CATALYST CONFERENCE (PART 2)

This year’s Catalyst Conference in Atlanta was jammed up with great, well-known speakers. Check out my Sunday’s blog for a capsule of some of the other speakers.

Rick Warren
Rick’s influence for the kingdom is astounding. God is using this man to reach every corner of this world with the simple message of the gospel. I always enjoy hearing him share his story and cast vision in such profound yet simple terms.

If you want God’s anointing and blessing, you have to get with God’s agenda. His agenda is summed up in one word: Kingdom.


Stop asking God to bless you. Instead, ask Him to let you in on what He is blessing.


We should not be interested in changing culture. We should be interested in creating culture.


He took the story of Moses’ staff turning into a snake. The staff represented his identity (shepherd). It represented his income and possessions. It represented his influence (moving sheep). Experiencing God’s miracle was all about surrender. The staff came alive only when he turned it loose. From that moment on it was never called Moses’ staff. It was called the rod of God.


We are living in an era of a new reformation. The last reformation took place under Martin Luther 500 years ago. It was a reformation of creeds. The new one is a reformation of deeds. The old one was a reformation of beliefs. The new one is a reformation of behavior.


Unfortunately, the hands and the feet of the church have been amputated and all that is left is the mouth. (Ouch! He’s referring to the fact that the only thing the world sees the church doing is running its mouth about what it is against.)


Rick vision consists of five components. He calls them five global goliaths. He devotes his ministry to equipping Saddleback and churches around the world to tackle the world’s five most desperate problems (spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, poverty, preventable diseases, illiteracy).

John Maxwell
No one has helped me more in the arena of leadership than John Maxwell. God has given him a platform of helping the world’s top leaders understand that a relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in the world. Maxwell, whose vision helped start Catalyst, was honored at this year’s conference.

As he gets older, he learns more how important it is to trust God more and to trust self less.


His one primary message to young leaders: Intentionally add value to people everyday.


The greatest sin of the leader is to put self first.


If you don’t add value, you’re subtracting value (sucking life from people)


4 ways to add value to people
You must value people (if you don’t value, you de-value)
Make yourself more valuable—keep growing and developing
Know and relate to what others value
Do the things God values



"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."


Sunday, October 7, 2007

CATALYST CONFERENCE

The Catalyst Conference began some years back as a leadership conference geared especially toward the under-40s crowd. In the last few years, however, they've stopped advertising it as such because us "older folks" have been infiltrating the conference. Still every year in Atlanta about 10,000 mostly young leaders converge for two days of great teaching and worship experiences. John Maxwell's organization sponsors the event. Last week a handful of us attended (James, Kenny, Matt Westlake, Pat Jeffcoat, Jody Flowers (Methodist pastor), and me) and came back with fresh vision and zeal for seeing God do His thing in us and among us.

With two or three posts I will try to give you some highlights of some of the things we learned. It's easy to give summaries of talks, but words can't express the moving times of worship and the outstanding creativity the Catalyst leaders bring to the event.

Andy Stanley--Andy opened the conference with a message from John 13. He stated that the person speaking or the person in charge of leading a meeting is the most powerful person in the room. What do you do when you know you're the most powerful person in the room? You leverage your power for the sake of the people in the room. You respond with servanthood and humility. The disciples were stunned at Jesus' humility. Has anyone been stunned lately at your humility? My humility? If we don't respond this way, then we're suggesting that we must be better than Jesus. Ouch!

Patrick Lencioni--best-selling author. Patrick recently released his newest book, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. Usually I thoroughly enjoy hearing Lencioni. And I enjoyed this one. However, he is a professing ADHD person, and sometimes he gets side-tracked (but always uses humor to get redirected). And with this talk, he admitted that this was the first talk he's given on his recent book. And it was evident. He would be in the middle of telling a story, realize he was in the wrong place in his talk, change directions and leave us all confused. However, the message of his new book whetted my interest enough to want to read it.

The three signs of a miserable job are:

  1. Anonymity--All have a need to be known
  2. Irrelevance--People want to know that what they are doing is making a difference
  3. Measurement--People want to be able to measure their contribution. They want to know how well they are doing.

Francis Chan--my first time to hear Chan, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA. A very powerful message that keyed on Jeremiah's call in Jeremiah 1. Some nuggets:

  • When I get up to preach/teach, do I really believe the Holy Spirit is inside me and will speak through me?
  • Do I really love my people? Chan shared some of his personal story of being a good pastor but not really loving God or his people.
  • Never say, "I can't." To do so is to put God down.
  • Alway be ready and willing to say with boldness what God wants you to say.
  • We are empowered by a great God, indwelt by a great God, and one day will give an account before a great God.
  • A quote from Chan worth pondering: "If Jesus had a church in Simi Valley, mine would be bigger. People would leave His church to attend mine because I call for an easier commitment."

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Review of REVEAL

I just finished reading Reveal by Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson. The book reveals the results of an intensive church-wide survey conducted with the membership of Willow Creek Church. The results were surprising and serve as eye-openers for any church whose mission is to help people grow toward Christlikeness. Here are some of my takeways from the book:


  • Although numbers matter to God, the health of the church is not about numbers. It is about the movement of people toward Christ and and genuine love for others. In other words, it's quality and quantity.
  • The primary surprise in the research project was that increased attendance in ministry programs does not automatically equate to spiritual growth.
  • It is much easier to count heads than to measure heart change.
  • The research revealed four distinct segments that people move through in their spiritual journey: exploring Christianity, growing in Christ, close to Christ, and Christ-centered.
  • Why isn't there a solid connection between participation in church activities and spiritual growth? Because God wired us first to be in a growing relationship with Him, not the church.
  • The church is most important in the early stages of spiritual growth. Then the church's role shifts to a secondary influence. As one moves toward spiritual maturity, the church moves from playing a spiritual development role to playing a platform for serving role.
  • For people to keep moving toward spiritual maturity, they must learn to develop spiritual disciplines and practice them on their own. In other words, the church doesn't need to handhold people who are moving through the close to Christ and Christ-centered stages. Instead, the church must do a better job of equipping mature Christians in spiritual disciplines (prayer, Bible study, serving, etc.)
  • The more one grows, the more he/she serves, gives, and evangelizes.
  • EYE-OPENER--More than 25 percent of those surveyed described themselves as spiritually "stalled" or "dissatisfied" with the role of the church in their spiritual growth. This dissatisfaction occurred primarily in the Close to Christ and Christ-centered stages. This phenomenon is likely due to lower levels of personal spiritual practices. This 25 percent have even contemplated leaving the church. The 25 percent of respondents represents about 10 percent of the membership.
  • A large segment of those contemplating leaving the church are those in the Christ-centered stage. In other words they are mature, serving, tithing believers.
  • Churches need to do a better job of preparing maturing believers for their journey ahead.
  • We must move people from dependence on the church to an interdependent partnership with the church. To do this we must transition the church from being a spiritual parent to being a spiritual coach.
  • Starting up spiritual dialogues with members would be a helpful thing to do. Ask questions like: How is your relationship with God? What could the church do differently to help you grow more?
  • Every church ministry should be evaluated with the question: How does it help someone grow?

This was an excellent read. I love for books to challenge me and to mess with my mind. I would give this book an A+ in that category. I've already given the book to some of our staff and look forward to some healthy discussions in upcoming planning meetings.





"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."