Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Can good management save the Church of England?

by Steve Addison

A report from the Spectator 
A new mood has taken hold of Lambeth Palace. Officials call it urgency; critics say it is panic. The Church of England, the thinking goes, is about to shrink rapidly, even vanish in some areas, unless urgent action is taken. This action, laid out in a flurry of high-level reports, amounts to the biggest institutional shake-up since the 1990s. Red tape is to be cut, processes streamlined, resources optimised. Targets have been set. The Church is ill — and business management is going to cure it.
Reformers say they are only removing obstacles that hinder the Church from growing. Opponents, appalled by the business-speak of some of the reports, object to what they see as a ruthless focus on filling pews.
According to the report two reforms in particular have generated headlines.
One is the plan to swipe £100 million from the Church’s investments to pay for more priests (target: a 50 per cent increase in trainee clergy by 2020).
The other is to give business-school training to bishops and deans and, more controversially, to identify a ‘talent pool’ of future leaders — in the official language, people ‘with exceptional strategic leadership potential for Gospel, Kingdom and Church impact’.
What can we say about all this from a movements perspective? 

The Anglican church is right to be worried. All the signs are evident of institutional decline and decay.  Even worse, they are lagging indicators of a  demise that has been going on for a long time and there are no signs that it is going away.

On the not necessarily brighter side, religious institutions are incredibly resilient. Even if the trends show a terminal decline, life is more complicated than statistical predictions. The Anglican church is likely to be around for a very long time.

The Anglican church in Britain is not a movement. Movements risk what they have for a cause beyond themselves. Institutions protect what they have for their own survival.

By all means, cut red tape and rationalise resources. Sure this is good business practice, it’s also good family practice, good sporting club practice, good local school practice. Nothing wrong with that. 

What about spending £100 for a 50% increase trainee clergy by 2020?

More paid clergy does not equate to more and better leadership for the church of England. Dynamic movements are led by “lay” people unencumbered by traditional constrains. Yes, John Wesley was an ordained Anglican clergyman, but overwhelmingly the Methodist movement was led by ordinary people who did extraordinary things. They signed up for a cause, not a career.

The plan is to identify a talent pool of future leaders and develop people ‘with exceptional strategic leadership potential for Gospel, Kingdom and Church impact’. But what on earth does that mean? 

So Jesus walks up to a bunch of ordinary fishermen mending their nets and says, ‘Lads, I’m looking for some people with exceptional strategic leadership potential for Gospel, Kingdom and Church impact.’ And they left everything and followed him. 

Jesus didn’t commission any reports on the decline of God’s people. He didn’t have access to £100 pounds to invest in future leaders. He wasn’t trying to save an institution. If there is any hope for new life in a declining institution it is by making an innovative return to tradition. Get back to first things—what did Jesus do? What did he train the Twelve to do? What did the risen Lord empower Paul and the early church to do in Acts and the Epistles? Get back to that heritage and ask, What does that look like today? 

Mission is not about us, or saving our institutions. It is about God revealed in Jesus Christ. God’s mission is always advanced when his people obey his call and put their hope in the power of the Gospel — his dynamic Word, and the Spirit — his dynamic presence. Obedience to the Great Commission is just the beginning. God has not given up on Britain.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Monday Funday: This is NOT an announcement

That scary moment when you wonder if God is letting you know that your wife is going to give birth to twins.

After all, He is a God of surprises.


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Sunday, August 09, 2015

A Few Summer Highlights and Good News!

I had so much fun speaking to students and youth leaders at Mission Peoria. My 13-year-old daughter and 16-year-old daughter were participants in the week-long mission adventure! (Click any photo to enlarge.)

We had a great time with disciplemaking friends from IL, MN, and PA scheming to take over the world one heart at a time like Jesus did. We're in the process of executing those plans right now!

It was so much fun to speak to about 1,000 jr. high students and youth leaders at Power Connection at Northwest Missouri State University for three days this summer. God did some very crazy and cool things. Keep reading below....

After sharing the Gospel on Saturday afternoon at Power Connection, I invited all the youth leaders to stand. I then asked those students who wanted to trust Christ as Savior to simply walk up to one of their youth leaders and ask for his/her help. It felt like half of the audience got up and moved toward the adults standing up! And God did His thing. It was amazing. In the words of one youth leader: “We have 20 students with us and ten of them trusted Christ as Savior!"

This student walked up to me with tears in her eyes and said, “I just trusted Christ as my Savior with my youth leader!” How much fun is this? Another student later wrote this to me: “Thank you so much for speaking at Power Connection. I showed my parents C323! They loved it. I will never forget Power Connection 2015 and accepting Christ as my Savior.”

I had the honor of investing a day to encourage and equip the staff of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, IL, in disciplemaking friendships.

Thanks for praying for us… and changing the world.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Monday Funday: Dadlife Summer

Embarrassing my kids. It one of the things I do best as a dad.

But they haven't seen anything yet. In a few years, I'm going to break out my plaid shorts, pull them up to my chin, and run out of the front door yelling, "Get off my lawn!"

At least one of my kids still thinks I'm cool... as long as I keep those Sponge Bob popsicles coming.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love being a dad?

Thanks for tracking with us via Cup O' Joe with Bill.  And thanks for your prayers. And thanks for your partnership with God, us, and Cadre. You mean more to us than we could ever express in words.


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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Monday Funday: Churches Using Facial Recognition Technology

It's being reported that churches are starting to use facial recognition technology.

Why?

According to this article, to scan congregants faces so the church can...
* "Keep track" of who attends
* Determine "who wasn't there so they can check up on them"
* See "who attends most frequently so they can ask those people for donations."

In other news, "The eyes of the Lord are everywhere" (Proverbs 15:3), so God already has the latest and most complete data on you.

That is all.

Have a great day.


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Sunday, July 12, 2015

The single most important thing you should do for your ministry this fall...

Our fall training schedule is filling up! So right now is the best time to schedule a time of encouragement and equipping—before all of your ministry activity this fall!
Don't think the volunteers at your church or ministry need a morning of training and fun?


We'd love to bring one of Cadre's disciplemaking training experiences to the volunteers and leaders who serve in ministry with you. Carefully consider the following...





Your Next Steps...
1. Click each of the three links above and carefully read about three of the core disciplemaking training experiences we can bring to those in your ministry.

2. Copy this URL http://bit.ly/1Hy0xeK and share it with those who serve in ministry with you. 

3. For complete details or more information, contact me.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

I double dog dare you...

Here's a crazy thought:
When we pray, God answers.
That's why I'm challenging you to pray the Disciplemaker's Prayer each day for the next 21 days—to see what God might do in and through you.

I know. You're already thinking of reasons why you can do this. I get it. That's our human nature, isn't it?

Yet, most of the people I know say they want to grow closer to God. Well, consider this post to be your invitation to the adventure of taking your relationship with God to a new level via prayer.

Okay, let me be a little more direct: I double dog dare you.

Here's a short, true story that explains why I'm inviting you to take this challenge/adventure.

Let's keep it real here people. It will probably take you less than one minute to do this every day. (I prayed it again slowly just now and it took me about 40 seconds.)
More Crazy/Fun Ideas to Consider...
1. Invite your family and friends to do this prayer challenge/adventure with you right now.

2. Print and share this PDF of the Disciplemaker's Prayer with them.

3. The Disciplemaker's Prayer comes from seven passages of Scripture. (They are listed under the title on the image above.)  Look up the passages and try to find where each of the passages are in the prayer. Better yet, do with with your spouse, family, friends, small group, Sunday school, etc.

4. Please let us know what God does in and through you as a result your prayers. We'd love to hear from you.

One Last Caveat...
Prayer isn't about mindlessly saying lots of words over and over again without any thought or heart behind the words. So please don't misunderstand what I'm inviting you to do here. I'm not inviting you to read the disciplemaker's prayer everyday. I'm inviting you to commune with God via prayer that is rooted in God's Word. I'm challenging you to the adventure of touching the very heart of God via prayer and being transformed by God's heart for you and those around you.

I'll say it again:
When we pray, God answers.

So what are you waiting for?


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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Monday Funday: Rain drops keep fallin' on my head

In honor of the record breaking amount of rain we've gotten in Central IL in June of 2015.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Power Connection, Here I Come...

Hundreds of junior high/middle school students.
Crazy youth leaders.
The band Remedy Drive.
And OneTimeBlind bringing the performing arts.
(Click image to enlarge for viewing and reading.)

This will be my third time as the speaker for Power Connection and I can't wait!

Would you please say a prayer RIGHT NOW for our ministry to students and youth leaders?


BONUS:
Here's a video of Remedy Drive.
(If video doesn't play, go here.)


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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Monday Funday: This is so funny and so disturbing on so many levels...

At first this made me smile.

Then it amused me.

But the more I thought about it, the more it disturbed me. (And it wasn't only because of the deeply flawed theological underpinnings of the meme.)

In many ways this meme is a brilliant and insightful commentary that strikes to the very heart of the problem with much of current Western Christianity.

But before we throw "current Western Christianity" under the bus, just a gentle reminder that WE are current Western Christianity.

Ouch. Sorry about that. This ain't much of a Monday Funday is it?

But as that great 21st century philosopher/theologian, Michael Jackson, once sang: "I'm looking at the man in the mirror. I'm asking him to change his ways."

So I'll go first.

I confess.

I have the uncanny ability to make even my relationship with God about what I get.

How about you?

As Americans, we are consumers to the core of our beings. Too often, God is simply a means to a selfish end for so many of us. We don't love Jesus. We love what we get because of Jesus. We're not in love with the Master, we're in love with what is on the Master's table.

But there is a better way.

Are you interested?

If so, I dare YOU to do something absolutely crazy, revolutionary, and against the grain of culture.

I dare to join me in aspiring to be a disciple of Jesus
...who lives a disciplemaking way of life like Jesus
...and seek to infect everyone you know with a Jesus' disciplemaking way of life 
...and then help them to help others make MORE disciples like Jesus.

This is our only hope for turning the tide.

Best of all, it's exactly how Jesus changed the world.


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Bonus Song...

True Confessions
by Mark Heard
(If video doesn't appear, go here.)

Oh the sun runs its course from the east to the west
With the best of our motives illumined
Then it sinks with a sigh in the dusk of the heart
And our virtue lies worthless as rumor

You can be what you like if you like what you are
We reflect but the sum of our creeds
But we don't seem to seize on the tenets we hold
And they slip through the sieve of our deeds

When we see our mistakes we ache with regret
And the pain makes a lasting impression
But we are stoics at heart when the time is at hand
To beat our breasts and make a true confession

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

27 years and 7 kids later...

We are celebrating 27 years of marriage on June 11, 2015.
Here's how we were rolling the first year of marriage in the 80s. Yes, I'm holding on tightly to my Bible. Still am. One of the older guys in my life whom I deeply respect passed this gem on to me: "Make God your #1. Make your spouse your #2. Then pursue your #1 with your #2." Thank you God that I get to pursue you with my best friend.


Still crazy (and fertile) after all these years.

So. Much. Fun.
God. Is. Good.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Here's how YOU are God's wind in our sails...

The best way to view this is to go here. Or you can click any image below to enlarge for reading. Thank YOU for every prayer you breathe to God on our behalf and for every penny you send to Cadre Ministries to support the mission of disciplemaking.
Will you please pray for us? We are disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre MinistriesWe need you. About 2-3 times a month, I'd like to send you a short email with details about how you can say a quick prayer for us. If you are willing to say a quick prayer for us 2-3 times a month, please email me and put "prayer team" in the subject line. I'd be glad to pray for you too. THANKS!
We need you. We couldn't take any of part of this Jesus-like disciplemaking adventure without people like you who love us, pray for us, and give $ to Cadre. We need you. You make our ministry powerful and possible. Every expression of partnership breathes life into our souls… and enables us to do the same for many others! For more information about how you can partner with God, the Allisons, and Cadre Ministries, go here. To make a secure online tax-deductible donation, go here.  Cadre Ministries is a recognized 501(c)3 ministry.

For up-to-date ways you can pray for us, go here.