Luke 23:26-56

First impressions

A couple of small bits strike me as quite important but not totally understandable – Jesus speech to the wailing women  (is this just about Roman destroying the temple), Jesus promise to the criminal on the cross (is this a special salvation case? Is paradise the place between death and resurrection), and the death scene (the curtain ripping gets mentioned but not further explanation – strange).

What is the main theme?

Crucifixion -> death -> burial

Planting Missional Churches

By Ed Stetzer. On Amazon

Overall thoughts: Presents itself as a comprehensive guidebook to church planting. Although a fair assumption that people reading this book would already be supportive of church planting activity, the first few chapters do a good job of building the theological and evangelical rationale.
Written with a firm North American target audience. Some of the details were a bit specific to that audience, but most of the content overall has broad application. Could do with a firm edit – several ideas and references are repeatedly mentioned. However the benefit of this approach is that it is easy to dip in and out of chapters without needing to have read all the chapters preceding.
I am not sure how I feel about the chapters on marketing and advertising  – firstly, the methods feel a little out-of-date – lots of talk about bulkmail and cold calling. Hardly any mention of online marketing, despite the benefits of geo-targetting and cost-per-click activity which makes it very measurable and cost-effective. Secondly (and more importantly), I think the message starting to feel like ‘use whatever means necessary to get more people to turn up on launch day’. Whilst I don’t think that is the overall argument, I would have appreciated more nuance and balance to the list of tactics that more helpfully promoted the role of personal relationship building and evangelism ahead of secular promotional methods. I am also slightly uneasy about the emphasis on numbers – the numbers at launch day, the ratio of core team/guests, the % and numbers required to be long term viable etc – all begins to feel like a numbers game and not distinct from a secular business. I understand the importance of numbers though, and found it all quite interesting; but these parts of the book did feel a little lost in the mindset of today’s business strategy.
Lots of helpful stuff to think through on vision casting, the predominant importance of prayer and preaching the Word, the concept of prenatal, birth and then after birth stages, systems for follow-up and assimilation… lots more.
Overall a really useful resource.
Totally unedited raw notes from each chapter:
Chapter 1 – basics of church planning

Goal – glorify God, grow his kingdom, develop healthy churches with new converts

  1. Missional – plant a church that’s part of the culture you are seeking to reach i.e. you are not only a church planter but a missionary i.e. this is the posture
  2. Incarnational i.e. being among people
  3. Theology (obviously!)
  4. Eccelesiological (church matters), and
  5. Spiritual – Christ centred, transformed by the gospel

Objections?

Large church mentality. BUT new churches are more effective than large churches in evangelism

Parish-church mind-set. BUT new churches aren’t being planted to match population growth/changes

Professional-church syndrome. BUT professionals expect FT salaries and MAY be inverse relationship to education and evangelical effectiveness!
Rescuing perishing syndrome. Need to do both – revitalise and plant.
Unchurched myth. We need to assume people lack biblical worldview i.e our neighbourhood is mission field. Christendom has come to an end.

Continue reading “Planting Missional Churches” »

John 11:1-45

First impressions
A deliberate setup of Jesus to help his followers believe, show his power over death, and to teach his followers something about his impending death and resurrection.
Interesting insights into the ‘humanity’ of Jesus e.g. ‘he wept’. Insights into the disciples in that they were ready to go and die with Jesus.

Lazarus still referred to as a dead man even after he was made alive?

What is the main theme?
Jesus powerful over death