HELPFUL ADVICE FOR A VIBRANT CHURCH

It is interesting to read the comments of a pastor from  the Grace Capital City, which meets at the Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C. It is a growing congregation, with Lead Pastor Chris Moerman estimating that about 80 percent of its membership is millennial. Whilst I believe church growth can be a problem and the ideal church is the one described in the Book of Acts which is home groups, Chris Moerman makes some useful comments on how to reach millennial’s.

“I would attribute this growth to a combination of genuine and authentic relationships, a vibrant spirituality expressed through worship, teaching and community, and a passion to give people a vision for God’s work in their lives that impacts not just their Sunday’s at church, but their everyday existence,” Moerman added.

“At The Table Church, we’re passionate about Jesus, we create ministry around peoples’ gifts and empower them to put those gifts into action. We also have fun, do our best to love people well and we’re obsessed with helping people experience community. All of these things resonate with millennial’s, but I think everyone is hungry for the same thing.” We’ve discovered that millennial’s are looking for the many things other age demographics are. They’re looking for a church where the mission is clear and the path to getting engaged in community is simple and easy,”

Lum told CP that “keeping a clear mission” and helping people “use their gifts in the context of community” have enabled his church to stay vibrant.

“Congregations should look like the cities where God has planted them. If you’re in a city exploding with young people, then your church should definitely be reaching young people,” said Lum.

“Pastoring millennials requires a different approach to giving, but I think it’s a healthy and much needed transition. Millennials don’t give out of guilt or obligation, but instead they want to know that their generosity is making an impact.” Lum added that a key feature of giving in his church was “transparency,” adding that “everything is an open book.” “We provide quarterly financial updates that highlight the impact of our congregants’ investment in our church and our community,” he said.

While some majority-millennial churches are thriving, others have become a source of concern for what some believe is too great a focus on reaching out to one generation.

Jessica Lair with New Season church, a multi generational, multi ethnic congregation in Sacramento, California, told CP about a time when she worked with a millennial-centred church in Los Angeles.

Lair argues that millennial-centred churches deprive themselves of good spiritual wisdom from other age groups. “We as a generation need to quit with the attitude of ‘we can do it better,’ because sometimes, we can’t do it better,” wrote Lair, herself a millennial. “We as millennial’s NEED the generation before us. I have learned more life lessons at a multi-generational church in seven months than I did at a millennial church in two years.”

LET’S RESPOND ANEW TO CELEBRATE PENTECOST SUNDAY MAY 31ST

PRAYER: Lord give us a burning desire for souls. Break the bondage of idolatry in our nations, and release heaven’s justice. Help us pray for deep repentance for ourselves first, knowing that it is the way to salvation. Use us as an instrument of intercession to birth revival. Show us how we can participate to bring revival in our own nation. Pour out Your spirit afresh upon us, just like you did on the day of Pentecost. Come like tongues of fire and baptise us in your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

CHURCH AFTER COVID19

Most of you know what I believe God has already revealed to us in His Word about church. He initially set it up as described in the Book of Acts. Church was held in homes and small groups which is ideal for making disciples who in turn will make disciples. This is how church will be, once again, in the coming tribulation prior to Jesus return.

Phil Miglioratti • The #ReimagineFORUM Pray Network has provided a useful guide for church leaders to use post Covid19.

This guide is all about what God calls the church to do: disciple its members and impact its community with the Gospel.

Resist the temptation to merely reopen your church. Instead, reimagine how a church lives out faith, hope, and love in the shadow of a pandemic. Invite the Holy Spirit to take you (pastors, lead teams, affinity groups, congregations) on a journey of rethinking by:

  1. Assessing how the new normal impacts the calling and gifting of your congregation
  2. Blessing your constituents but also the diverse peoples in your community
  3. Confessing your fear and declaring your faith to move into the future

Make a fearless assessment of the new normal.

  • Have we made meaningful connections with every member? Attender?
  • Have we developed systems to identify practical needs of our families? Our community?
  • Are we identifying the degree of difficulty each person/family has experienced?
  • Have we surveyed our membership to know how to serve their:
    • Practical needs?
    • Emotional pains?
    • Spiritual status?
  • Gather (virtual, if not safe to meet in person) leadership to prayerfully discern:
    • Strengths – what new capabilities have we discovered in our people?
    • Weaknesses – in what ways has our ministry capacity decreased?
    • Opportunities – which needs or new options are we facing?
    • Resources – what undiscovered, unexpected resources have surfaced?
    • Risks/Rewards – have we counted the cost of making changes? Doing nothing?

Begin to daily ask for the mind of Christ so that you (personally but also with congregational ministers) discern how to reimagine how to develop:

  • Experiential worship
  • Enthusiastic (“in; theos/God”) fellowship
  • Equipped leadership
  • Extreme discipleship
  • Extravagant stewardship
  • Engaging citizenship

Pursue a Spirit-led, Scripture-fed journey. God always wants to move you on to a new level of service. Therefore, it should lead you to begin a new chapter of ministry. Your congregation or team may be called upon to make a radical change or to re-calibrate systems or reorient programs. Focus on Jesus. Fear less. Fear wisely. Follow Jesus… to the places where Almighty God is already at work; He is inviting you to serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. As you step out miracles will follow.

CHURCH AND SPONTANEOUS WORSHIP

What is spontaneous worship, and why do it?

The Bible tells us to do it so we must have what it takes to be led by the Spirit and step out during a worship set to lead a spontaneous moment.

Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Ephesians 5:18-20

There is a difference between singing a song already written and singing a spiritual song. While there is power in singing and declaring a song already written for our Sunday setlist, God also wants to meet us where we are in a specific moment in time.

He wants to speak straight to our hearts, and this can happen when we open up our worship set and allow Him to move!

A spiritual song, as referred to in Ephesians 5, is a song that comes from your spirit, and your spirit is connected to God’s Spirit.

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 

This is the connection God longs for, to be in communion with us—spirit to spirit.

A spiritual song is something that comes straight from your heart and your history with God—expressing to Him in your own words what He means to you.

These moments come from a heart that is in love, and it captivates God’s heart to hear your voice.

Home groups where you are well known is more conducive to spontaneous worship. Once again church as described in the Book of Acts.

St Matthew's Harwell with All Saints' Chilton : Homegroups

Besides connection, spontaneous songs can be a prophetic doorway into deeper breakthrough for you and others.

In the story of Jericho in the Bible, God commissioned Joshua to command the people of Israel to march around the walls of Jericho 7 times, and on the 7th day after they marched, Joshua told them to “shout, for the Lord has given you the city.” At the sound of their shout, the wall around Jericho fell down flat. This shout from the Israelites was prophetic because they hadn’t yet physically conquered the city, but God promised that He had given it to them. So in faith, they shouted aloud before they saw the victory—prophesying that He would give them the city.

In the same way, spontaneous moments can become prophetic in nature when God is breathing on them.

Breakthrough will always follow a spontaneous and prophetic act.

Sometimes the songs we have planned to sing on Sunday are prophetic in themselves, but sometimes God wants to interrupt our agendas and speak in a different way. In the end, it’s all about His desire to capture your heart and draw you closer to Him.

IMMENSELY POWERFUL LIFE TESTIMONIES

Image may contain: 10 people, people sitting, suit and indoor
Nabeel Qureshi and Ravi Zacharias

Two men that have both gone to be with their Lord and Saviour. One of them from an Anglican family in a Hindu culture, the other from a Muslim family. One is Indian, the other Pakistani. The world would have them to be enemies, but Jesus Christ made them brothers.

Nabeel Qureshi: 1983-2017
Ravi Zacharias: 1946-2020

Whether we live to be 34 like Nabeel or 74 like Ravi, may we fight the good fight, keep the faith and finish the race as they have done!
Brothers who ministered powerfully together and testified of the One who gave them new life, eternal life. Both remained steadfast in their suffering with cancer. And as of today both are now in the presence of Jesus, together once again!
I praise God for the lives and testimonies of these two men. Many are in the Kingdom of God because of their efforts. I for one, have been blessed by many of Ravi’s dissertations. Heavens gain is our loss.

From a Facebook post by Lauren Rushiti.

HOW TO HELP CHURCH HOME GROUPS THRIVE

What to look for when evaluating church home groups. Here are six problems that have been observed with suggestions for correction.

1. Unclear purpose. Some groups are designed for outreach, with members inviting others to join. However, others are more closed, with members focused on their own problems with a Bible study tacked on. Many groups, though, do not know their primary purpose. Members struggle, not knowing if they should bare their soul to others, invite the unchurched or both.

Correction: The primary purpose must be about making disciples of Christ that want to share the Gospel with others. All other essential activities should have that primary purpose in mind, whether communion, praise, prayer, Bible study, and testimonies.

2. Bad leading and/or teaching. This is significant problem that must be addressed. I believe each member of the group must have a Biblical World View that they can share.

Correction: Enlist teachers that believe the Bible is inerrant. The following basic knowledge is essential.

Proof the Bible is inerrant are the many fulfilled prophecies. The many unfulfilled prophecies provide a road map for the rest of HIS STORY.

Genesis is a true account of the creation of the Cosmos, The Fall and Noah’s Flood. Understanding Noah’s Worldwide Flood provides an answer for the alleged billions of years of earth’s history is essential. http://www.creation.com

God established the nations at the Tower of Babel.

God established Israel to be His nation as a witness to other nations. Israel’s Messiah, Jesus, came to earth to provide the only way for sinners to come back into a right relationship with our Heavenly Father (“He became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinth. 5:21). Israel rejected Him and were scattered for a time.

Jesus established the church as His vehicle for believers to preach the Gospel to all the world. Prior to Jesus return, there will be a tribulation period when Jesus refines His church before taking His saints to heaven (dead in Christ first then those that are alive) in the Rapture and then pouring out His wrath on the earth (on unrepentant sinners).

Jesus returns to this earth with the resurrected saints, saves a regathered Israel and rules and reigns from Jerusalem for 1000 years. (Satan is bound in the abyss during most of this time but is released at the end and sadly is still able to raise an army to come against King Jesus). He is defeated and this earth is destroyed with fire prior to the second resurrection and the White Throne Judgement.

After the White Throne Judgement, sinners are cast into the Lake of Fire where Satan and His Demons are. For humans this is the second death. God creates a new earth and even a new heaven for His saints to live in, where they enjoy eternal life, creatively engaged, in a glorious new body.

3. Little or no Scripture. Too often attended hour-long Bible studies that included no more than 15-20 minutes of actual Bible study.

Correction: Enlist the best teachers, and make sure they know the expectations. They are responsible for making sure the Bible is taught. Leaders who cannot lead a group to maintain this standard should not be leading.

4. Unfriendly members. A lot of groups say they’re friendly, but are not welcoming of new members. Typically, groups that see themselves as friendly are friendly only to people they know.

Correction: Train members to reach out to people they don’t know. You might even enlist one sociable group member who is first responsible for greeting guests.

5. Not expecting guests. The intent of the group must be outwardly focused. Here are some signs this is not the case: No available seats. No extra curriculum materials. No one ready to get contact information. No one providing or wearing name tags. No one helping guests know where to go after the class. Simply put: A guest who feels like an intrusion will not return.

Correction: Make sure the leader is outwardly focused. Remind the group weekly of their responsibility to invite others. Schedule other activities to which the unchurched might come. Get everything ready for guests who might attend the regular small group meeting. Expect God to bless your preparations.

6. Gossip sessions. All members must be encouraged to be actively engaged in each meeting whether conducting communion, praise, worship, prayer or giving a testimony. Avoid this scenario, in the name, of “prayer requests,” somebody shares information that should likely be kept in smaller circles. The request then becomes a launching pad for talking about somebody else’s problems.

Correction: Enlist a group prayer leader who gently controls the prayer request times. Provide other opportunities to share concerns without gossiping about others.

HOW CITIES ARE IMPACTED FOR GOD

Click on the link below to view an interview with the Mayor of the Gold Coast on how prayer, joint prayer with church leaders across the city has impacted the city for God. As far as God is concerned there is only one church on the Gold Coast His unified church.

Mayor Tom Tait (City of Gold Coast) shared his faith journey and how churches getting together to pray has made an impact on the city of Gold Coast.

Gold Coast council election 2020: Mayor Tom Tate unveils plans to ...


If you are passionate and believe that churches should and can make an impact on their city, you do not want to miss this interview.

JOEL’S PROPHECY PROVIDES “BOOKENDS” FOR THE CHURCH AGE

CHURCH CONCEIVED AT PENTECOST

“After all of this I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your elderly will have revelatory dreams; your young men will see prophetic visions. Even on male and female servants I will pour out my Spirit in those days.Joel 2:28-29

Pentecost, The Outpouring of Holy Spirit and The Feast of Harvest ...

CHURCH COMPLETED AT THE DAY OF THE LORD

I will produce portents both in the sky and on the earth– blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sunlight will be turned to darkness and the moon to the colour of blood, before the day of the LORD comes—that great and terrible day! Joel 2:30–31

Peter’s understanding of Joel’s prophecy construes it as “bookends” of the church age. The first part with the pouring out the Spirit on all people at Pentecost is a sign that God is doing a new redemptive work as the church age is conceived.

When the second part of the prophecy happens, it is a sign that the church age is completedThe consistent message in Scripture concerning the celestial disturbance event is their function to signal the future two-fold event of the deliverance of the saints and the impending day of the Lord’s wrath (see Luke 21:25–28; Matt 24:22–31; Mark 13:20–27; Rev 6:12—8:5; Joel 2:31). Luke and Matthew are shown below but makes sure you check out Revelation 6:12 to 8:5.

And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

Jonathan Edwards resolved “that I will live so as I shall wish I had lived when I come to die.”

Before he died, he helped spark the First Great Awakening, became president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton), and is widely considered America’s greatest theologian.

Edwards was right to live each day in light of his death: he died at the age of fifty-five from the then new smallpox vaccination.

Those who lived in days of plague, influenza epidemics, smallpox, polio, and other infectious outbreaks learned from personal experience what we need to remember: we are “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). This is because “our days on earth are a shadow” (Job 8:9).

We are one day closer to eternity than ever before. And we have only today to be ready. What if it we died today? Dr. Jim Denison is the founder of the popular Denison Forum. He suggests preparing to die is the best way to live.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:1-3

READY FOR JESUS RETURN
available on Amazon

THE WINNER OF VOICE 2020

Pastor Todd Tilghman sings the Mercy Me song “I Can Only Imagine” during the Finale Performances on The Voice. He sings it with the passion you can only express if you truly believe the words you are singing. Todd does and He won THE VOICE 2020. What a testimony!