Monday, May 29, 2006

The spiritual life enters brave new digital world

Connection to god: FaithMobile will send a daily Bible verse to your cell phone for $5.99 a month. In this harried age, a founder asks, how else are you going to "get in touch with the Word?" This screen shot of the FaithMobile Web site features its Promise Keepers content on a mobile phone. - Los Angeles Times

The spiritual life enters brave new digital world

A recent national poll found just 17 percent of adults view the local church as essential for developing faith.

By Stephanie Simon / Los Angeles Times

A recent national poll found just 17 percent of adults view the local church as essential for developing faith.

Small wonder.

Sitting in a pew on Sunday morning seems almost embarrassingly old-fashioned in an era when you can watch a video re-creation of the Last Supper on your Palm or get Scripture text-messaged to your cell phone.

Bored with your pastor's ramblings? Select a peppier sermon from among hundreds of "godcasts" online. Just pick a topic: Christian dating? Old Testament prophets? Then download it to your MP3 player.

Finding the old leather-bound Bible a bit cumbersome? A quick download from Olive Tree Bible Software and you'll be able to search Scripture on your BlackBerry.

"At first blush, it may seem a little peculiar to connect with God on your cell phone," said Christopher Chisholm, a TV-executive-turned-digital-evangelist. He recently helped launch FaithMobile, a service that will send a daily Bible verse to your cell phone for $5.99 a month.

In this harried age, he asks, how else are you going to "get in touch with the Word?"

The explosion in digitized spirituality might seem likely to make the traditional sanctuary obsolete. But pastors are fighting back with high-tech tricks.

Read the rest here

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Promise Keepers Power Up Men to be Unleashed

Lillian Kwon from The Christian Post writes:

Eight weeks before one of the largest religious conferences unleashes in 19 cities, Promise Keepers has already begun to "Power Up" each conference venue for the tens of thousands of men ready to reach their full potential.

The Friday night rallies hit the first two cities – Ft. Lauderdale and Albany – where the 2006 Unleashed conferences will kick off beginning June 2 and will make its round to nine more ahead of the main city conferences. Hundreds of men have rallied to plan, pray and strategize for the annually anticipated event that even has women encouraging men's participation.

"It's just a taste of what guys will experience at the main event," said Steve Hutton, vice president of field ministry for Promise Keepers, in a released statement. "The men who know about Promise Keepers and respond early can come to 'Power Up' to pick up some strategies and encouragement to bring other guys to the Unleashed conference."

After blowing away the more than 176,000 men who partook in the Awakening conferences in 20 cities last year, ministry leader Phil Chapin has returned as keynote speaker for the local church momentum-building rallies.

"I really want to meet the men of Promise Keepers in a local church setting, where we can go a little deeper, and inspire each other to do some great things in this broken world," he said.

In response to high demand for men's ministry training, Power Up rallies are being followed by half-day training sessions for pastors, lay leaders and others.

The 2006 conferences have been retooled to centralize the focus on men discovering their potential, finding a pathway to optimize their talents, and moving in that direction with a few other like-minded friends.

"Promise Keepers wants to unleash men to reach their full potential," said R. Tom Fortson, president and CEO of Promise Keepers. "The 2006 experience will help men identify the power of God in them and empower them to reach their designed potential as husband, fathers, leaders, and followers of God."

Today, men are not just falling short of their full potential, but leaving the church altogether.

This year's keynote speaker, Dr. Bob Reccord, former president of the North American Mission Board, said that times are changing, and, for that matter, the church must change. Furthermore, the people in the pews must play the service role to help the church succeed.

As for the men, Fortson points to the conferences to recharge and unleash them at their greatest potential.

"Congregations on average are more than 60 percent female; and many men and youth are leaving traditional houses of worship in search for something else," stated Fortson. "There is a disconnect between men's deepest wants and needs and the churches that need men so badly. That's why Promise Keepers is so important. The man-friendly environment of our conferences recharges men, and when they leave the event, they are ready to serve their congregations, families and communities."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Meet the Head Coach of the "Man Church"

From the Promise Keepers May 2006 - Volume 40 newsletter:

Back in the October 2005 issue of this newsletter, we introduced you to Mark Doebler, Head Coach (pastor) of The Grove Church in Peoria, IL -- a church believed to be the first in the country specifically targeting men.  Mark was recently in Denver for the National Coalition of Men's Ministries conference and took time to visit our offices.

In this interview with Promise Keepers' Steve Chavis, Mark talked about the tremendous growth the church is experiencing...and why women are all for it.

Excerpt:

Steve: Describe a typical service. Sunday you meet around what time?

Mark: We meet at 10:00am. And it’s kind of funny that you would ask "typical," because we have a saying that comes out almost every Sunday. We say, “We’re going to do something a little different today.” We are predictably unpredictable, and that’s exciting. Because I don’t ever want to get in a rut.

But we meet around tables and, you know, I came from the business world until just a few years ago. And if you ever go to a training seminar or conference, you’re training, right? You’re learning. You’re gathering information. You’re becoming more skilled at what you do, and how do you enter that environment? You sit around tables, right?

You’ve got a cup of coffee in front of you. You’ve got a scratch pad of notes in front of you. And that’s the way men go and learn.

Well, why can’t we do that at church? I mean what is it about church that means we’ve got to sit in rigid chairs and be stiff as a board and totally uncomfortable. I learn much better in a comfortable atmosphere.

And so I think most men feel much more welcome and invited in that environment. And so we began by sitting around tables.

Read the rest of the transcript

Subscribe to Promise Keepers Newsletter here

PREPARING THE WAY FOR MIRACLES

From the Promise Keepers May 2006 - Volume 40 newsletter:

Have you ever noticed how often Jesus used “helpers” to perform His miracles?  It’s one of those things we don’t often think about because we’re focused on the miracle itself!  When water turns into wine, a large crowd gets fed from five loaves and two fishes, or a lame man begins to walk again, your attention is obviously taken away from those who may have prepared the way before the miracle.  That’s the way it’s always been, and it’s the way it always should be!

Yet, if you think about it, many of those miracles would have never taken place if someone would not have stepped into the gap and prepared the way.  Jesus was the “miracle worker,” but He often used ordinary folks to accomplish that miracle.  He asked the servants at the wedding in Cana to fill the basins with water before changing it into wine.  The disciples brought the meager lunch for Jesus to bless, and then personally distributed the bounty to the awe struck crowd.  Four strong friends needed to carry the lame man to Jesus and then break through the roof before Jesus healed the man from his crippled state.

Over and over again you see “volunteers” stepping into the role of preparing the way for God to perform miracles.  The things they do often may go unnoticed, but their role seems to be essential.  Certainly God doesn’t require our assistance to do the miraculous, but He does often ask us to be involved in the process.

Each year, thousands of men, women and teenagers fill that role at Promise Keepers conferences around the country.  They do simple, ordinary tasks that may go unnoticed, but which help prepare the way for miracles in men’s lives!  At PK we often say “every seat filled is an opportunity for a miracle.”  By giving people an opportunity to do that which God created them to do, which is to “serve others,” the volunteer effort at a local Promise Keepers conference lets everyday folks share in this life-changing ministry of miracles.

Don’t miss the privilege of being a part of this incredible experience at a PK Conference near you this year!  Sign up today as a volunteer and see how God will use you to help perform a “miracle” in someone’s life!!

Subscribe to Promise Keepers Newsletter here

God's Call Comes by Cellphone

Bible verses on a BlackBerry, sermons on an MP3 -- an explosion in digitalized spirituality is making true believers of online e-vangelists.
By Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer
May 16, 2006

A recent national poll found just 17% of adults view the local church as essential for developing faith.

Small wonder.

Sitting in a pew on Sunday morning seems almost embarrassingly old-fashioned in an era when you can watch a video recreation of the Last Supper on your Palm or get God's word text-messaged to your cellphone.

Bored with your pastor's ramblings? Select a peppier sermon from among hundreds of "godcasts" online. Just pick a topic: Christian dating? Old Testament prophets? Then download it to your MP3 player.

Finding the old leather-bound Bible a bit cumbersome? A quick download from Olive Tree Bible Software and you'll be able to search Scripture on your BlackBerry.

"At first blush, it may seem a little peculiar to connect with God on your cellphone," said Christopher Chisholm, a TV-executive-turned-digital-evangelist. He recently helped launch FaithMobile, a service that will send a daily Bible verse to your cellphone for $5.99 a month.

In this harried age, he asks, how else are you going to "get in touch with the Word?"

The explosion in digitized spirituality might seem likely to make the traditional sanctuary obsolete. But pastors are not giving in. They're fighting back with some high-tech tricks of their own, turning to the Internet to save souls, renew faith, inspire hope — and, not incidentally, to fill their pews.

Read the rest: God's Call Comes by Cellphone

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

How To De-Motivate Volunteers

Dave Ferguson has a nice blog posting regarding "How To De-Motivate Volunteers"

Jim Collins says that when you have the right people doing the right work you don't really need to concentrate on motivating them - they will show up motivated. What you need to do is make sure you don't do anything to de-motivate the people on your team. So, leaders, coaches and staff - here are the top 10 ways to de-motivate your volunteer teams:

1. A sense that their service is not valuable.
2. A sense that they do not matter as a person, only as a "worker"
3. A sense that their contribution is not as valid as others.
4. A lack of community.
5. A lack of connection with a bigger purpose.
6. Poor leadership and management.
7. Poor communication/direction.
8. Lack of appreciation.
9. Failure to recognize them as a donor.
10. Lack of development of them as a person.

Read the rest here!

Dave Ferguson and four friends from college launched Community Christian Church, a church that is passionate about “helping people find their way back to God”. This church has grown to 600+ leaders with more than 4,000 in attendance at eight sites every weekend throughout Chicagoland.

Friday, May 05, 2006

King of the Hill: Church Hopping Video

Here's the video mentioned a few posts back...
Obviously the writer knew something about modern day church culture!