• Towards a Healthy Church – The Five Levels of a Church

    Over the past few weeks, I have spent time discussing the importance of the church having a vision statement, a mission statement, a calendar, systems, etc. If you are reading this article as your first on this blog site, you may think that I am advocating business principles over the Bible. Well, I am not, but as I have mentioned in several articles in this series, I do believe that all truth is God’s truth and the principles that businesses use work if they are true, not because a business developed it. As I wrote here, Moses, Paul, and, yes, Jesus had their own mission statements long before these types…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – From Strategy to Systems

    By now, you might be tired of reading about vision and mission. Good news, we are moving down one more level, but only because it is the next level that allow us to begin to fulfill the mission, which, in turn, allows us to achieve our vision. The next level: strategy. If mission is the objective of a church (or organization), then a strategy is the plan that is needed to make the mission successful. In other words, the strategy is how a mission is fulfilled. Mission statements are important, and people have developed all types of mission statements which might solve or satisfy most every need or ambition known…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – A Need for Systems

    Perhaps you have noticed that your life has become busier than it used to be. For most people, life is not only busier, but much busier. And this busy-ness impacts the church – greatly. The busy-ness of man impacts even the best intentions of any church. Of course, the church represents the people, and although a church may have a mission statement, most people do not. Thus, people get busier and busier. Worse, not only do they not know why they are busier, they also do not know how to break free from the busy-cycle. So, for many, the church is one of the first items to be removed from…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Developing A Mission for the Local Church

    In last week’s post, I shared that the mission of the Church is wrapped into two primary statements from Jesus. These statements are to love God and love others (The Great Commandment, Mark 12.30-21) and to make disciples (The Great Commission, Matthew 28.19-20). These concepts must be included because it was Jesus who said that He would build His Church and these are two key elements of how that will be done. What is true for the universal church is true for the local church as well; however, each local church can adapt those elements to make it specific to the context of that church. For instance, a church in…

  • The Gift of Talent(s)

    For the final scheduled post this year, I will conclude this brief series on the gifts of our time, treasure, and talents. I have previously posted on time and treasure, so this post will be on our talents. For those who have a biblical background, a mention of talents will likely lead to thoughts of the parable Jesus taught on the talents (see Matthew 25). From this parable, we read what I call, the Great Commendation – “Well done good and faithful servant.” It is a phrase that every believer should long to hear, but let me point out two thoughts related to what I quoted. First, the phrase is…

  • The Gift of Treasure

    In last week’s post, I gave a bit of an account of the gift of time that God has given us. The reality is that time is the only gift we all have that is completely equal for all of us – at least on a daily basis. We all have twenty-four hours in a day. The question is: what we do with the time we have each day? Of course, because of our humanity (i.e. sinfulness through Adam), we have illness, disease, early deaths, etc. So even though we all have the same number of hours each day, the length (and quality) of our lives is often quite different.…

  • The Gift of Time

    As we approach the end of the year, many of us take an inventory of the year we are leaving behind and begin to make plans for the year to come. With only three blog posts left for this year, it would seem to be the time to do this on this blog. But rather than a generic look back, I want to structure my focus on three gifts that God has given to each of us, with the focus being on how these gifts have impacted me this year. I will cover each of the three gifts in a little detail over each of the next three Fridays. (These…

  • Being a Part of the (Toy) Story, Part 3

    Just over two weeks ago a teaser trailer for the next Toy Story movie was released. On the day I saw it, I altered my scheduled posts because the words of the spork resonated so well with how many people feel about finding a church to call home (let alone find a place to serve within the church). The first post of this brief series spoke to that end a bit by recalling how Jessie had to forge her way into the group known as Andy’s toys (you may read that article here). After watching the trilogy again, I was prompted to list an attribute of how many of the…

  • Being A Part of the (Toy) Story, Part 2

    Last week’s post began a three-part look at how a person choosing to attend and become involved in a church can be a challenging process. This three-part series was prompted by the new trailer to Toy Story 4 which is due to be released next summer. While I do not know the exact premise of the story, based upon the trailer, the movie will include a spork who is trying to find his identity within the group of toys. Last week, I centered on the addition of Jesse to the group. This week, I had intended to focus on the idea of the spork; however, I must admit that having written…

  • Being a Part of the (Toy) Story, Part 1

      By now some of you will have seen the teaser trailer for the next Toy Story movie which is due out next summer. If you have not seen the new trailer, click the link here to go to youtube. Frankly, I knew nothing about the story-line (and now know just next-to-nothing), but the first thing that went through my mind was how much the spork reminds me of the church. Apparently, the story will center around the spork trying to find his identity because, after all, he is not a toy. (More on the spork next week.) The toys within the movie are all well-known to us, and well-known…