Month: December 2007

From my blogline

I added a new feature to the right sidebar — clips from my blogline that I find interesting.  Click the post title to go directly to the original post on the original blog.  You’ll find stuff about trends, culture, church, resources, and mostly things I like.  Hope you enjoy and find it helpful.  — Chuck

Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Advent

I just posted my sermon, How God Came To Be With Us, from Matthew 1:18-25, for the fourth Sunday of Advent, December 23, 2007. 

Friday free-for-all: images, ideas, inspiration and it’s all free!

Click thru these brooklyn-storefront-church.jpg100 photos of storefront churches in Brooklyn.  The church is alive and well and being reinvented by lots of people in contextual ways.  Very encouraging.  New expressions of church are happening in lots of places and cultures, and these are as authentic as you’ll find. 

Send Steve Taylor a postcard of your emerging church community.  In January, he’ll post up them up with comments to 4 questions he’s asking.  Steve wrote The Out of Bounds Church, which is worth the price of the book just for the last story in it. 

Three Advent videos that are free for downloading from Andy Michael.   

See Jonny Baker’s blog for a reimagination of the traditional 9 lessons and carols.  Jonny also writes about worship tricks, which is not at all like stupid pet tricks. 

Real Live Preacher is going to the Dominican Republic to install water purification systems.  You can help provide drinkable water for the YWAM headquarters there.  Plus, RLP has a great story there, too. 

Debbie has a heart-warming story about the Christmas that she and her family spent in Hong Kong. 

My sermon may not go up until Saturday, as ole Sandy Claus still has some stuff to do today!  Merry Christmas…

My church isn’t small, it’s mid!

I am proposing a new set of labels to describe a church’s size —

  • Mega-church.  Size: 1000+.  Everybody knows this term, because it’s already in use, so this is an easy one.
  • Meso-church.  Size:  300-to-999.  Meso, according to Wikipedia, means middle or intermediate.  So, this is the in-between size church.  In between mega– and mid-which I am now getting to.
  • Mid-church.  Size: 60-299.  This is “the-size-formerly-known-as-small.”  Mid- is a median size church according to A Field Guide to U. S. Congregations.  The median size church has 200 involved in church, and about 90 in attendance on any given Sunday.  That’s my church, and that size is the mid-point for all churches in the U. S., hence midchurch
  • Micro-church.  Size:  under-60.  This size includes a lot of family churches, and face-to-face groups like house churches.  NBC did a piece on micro-churches here.

Notice that we have four Ms here.  Could almost be a sermon.  But I think this new taxonomy will provide some relief to those of us in churches-formerly-known-as-small.  Now when you go to the pastors’ conference next week, you can exclaim — “I’m pastor of a mid-church.”  Sounds better, don’t you think?  Plus, it’s true, which is always a good thing.  Anybody want to join The Society for the Redesignation of Small Church to Mid-church?

Is your church a walled garden?

A walled garden is a site or companygarden-wall.jpg that offers content only to its subscribers, who have to “come inside the wall” to get the content they want.  The old AOL was like that — you had to subscribe to get access to their content.  But information wants to be free, and those walled gardens that charged for access were quickly bypassed for the open internet. 

Churches face a similar transition.  The old church model was the walled garden.  People were invited to come inside [join] to get access to all the stuff inside — pastoral care, committee participation, right to vote, name on a membership list, or whatever the “inside” stuff was.  The ministry of the church was what happened inside the wall — Bible studies, small groups, worship, fellowship, decision-making, and so on.  Success was measured by how many people were inside the walls at any one time. 

But all that is changing.  Today churches that are walled gardens are being bypassed.  Open access, decentralized leadership, participation, collaboration, bridges, and networking are the new order of the day.  Walled gardens struggle for survival while new, more open forms of church are emerging.  Many of us are trying to at least open the garden gate, if not tear down the garden walls altogether.  What’s your church doing?

‘A Highway for God’s People’ podcast

A Highway for God’s People podcast, Isaiah 35:1-10.  I preached this sermon on the third Sunday in Advent, December 16, 2007.