How the Church Gets Born Again (NW Indiana NMI Report 2017)

How the Church Gets Born Again (NW Indiana NMI Report 2017)

  James Emery White rocked the Christian world in 2014 with The Rise of the Nones. No, it’s not a horror movie about some Catholic sisters who try to take over the world.  It’s a book about the increasing number of people who check “none” on the religious preference form in the US census.  When asked if they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or whatever, more and more American’s are simply saying: “None of the above.”

    No religious affiliation:
        1940 : 5%
        1990 : 8%
        2008 : 15%
        2012 : 19%
        2014 : 23%
    
    The curve is much steeper if we only measure adults under 30 (36%).  The curve is even steeper in Europe.  In the UK, for example, 66% of 18-24 year olds say they have no religion whatsoever.  
    This is not just because of immigration either.  20% of Americans now consider themselves “former Christians.”
    The Barna group decided to do a more thorough study, considering people’s actions and and beliefs. In 2013, they found that 37% of Americans were Post-Christian. Just two years later, in 2015, that number had jumped to 44%. Not only are we losing ground every year, but the pace of our decline is also increasing exponentially.  

    The Church of the Nazarene mirrors this trend. ...

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Lord Have Mercy on Us Your Church

Lord Have Mercy on Us Your Church

This is a prayer of confession based on Isaiah 61. The leader prayed the written words on behalf of the people and then invited the congregation's to a sung response with the chorus of "Lord Have Mercy." 

Oh, Sovereign Lord, we your Church confess our distance from the Spirit you have placed upon us.
We have strayed from the mission for which you've anointed us.
We have mostly been good news for the rich.
We have comforted the bloated.

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Think Big, Think Small: Partnerships as a Revolution in Global Missions

Think Big, Think Small: Partnerships as a Revolution in Global Missions

This article was published in Evangelical Missions Quarterly, summer 2015.

We Think Small about the Gospel.

    Over the past 50 years, Christians have usually defined the Gospel like this: “We sinned - Jesus died - Trust Jesus - Go to heaven, not hell - The end.”  
    This is a very small understanding of the Gospel.  It’s true, but it’s not the whole truth, like a few pieces out of a stained glass window.  
    That kind of Gospel doesn’t actually change our world.  That kind of Gospel is contained to a 6 inch box around our hearts.  That kind of Gospel is just a ticket to heaven instead of hell.  That kind of Gospel is too small - WAY too small.  
    But that’s the kind of Gospel we usually preach and teach.  We imagine and live a small Gospel. ...

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Facing Our Addictions

Facing Our Addictions

After being a pastor for a few years, I began to realize that I had several addictions to “good” things and that these addictions were destroying me from the inside out.

Perhaps most fundamentally, I am addicted to acknowledgement from others. I desperately want to be seen as valuable or important by others. Sprouting off from this central addiction like crab grass shoots are addictions to perfection(ism), success, and work.
    Overworking and overvaluing work in my psyche led me into a mild, long-lasting depression. Over the past decade, I’ve slowly been unpacking and recalibrating my inner world to think of work, success, approval, and grace in healthier ways. This has been a messy up-and-down process, but the fruit is a more peaceful, more relaxed, much healthier life (and family).  

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