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Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in Blog | 2 comments

Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church – Barna Report

Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church – Barna Report

Barna recently released some of their findings regarding young Christians and their reasons for leaving the church. The more in-depth treatment of this information can be found in David Kinneman’s book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Church In reading the article on their website, one of the snippets that jumped out at me related to teens’ experiences with sexuality: “One of the significant tensions for many young believers is how to live up to the church’s expectations of chastity and sexual purity in this culture, especially as the age of first marriage is now commonly delayed to the late twenties.” While I haven’t read The research yet, what is noticeably absent from this excerpt is a connection between the church’s expectations regarding sexuality and Christ’s expectations. Whether accurate or not, the article gives the impression that today’s young Christians experience far more angst over the fact that the church’s stance on sexuality is too conservative compared to popular culture, rather than the realization...

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Posted by on Jan 19, 2012 in Blog |

Feeling the Pains of a Rapidly Growing Church? – Leadership Network Blog

Feeling the Pains of a Rapidly Growing Church? – Leadership Network Blog

I made my first post on the Leadership Network Blog today regarding rapidly growing churches.  Here’s the intro for the post: Churches that grow at an accelerated pace often experience unanticipated strain on budgets, facilities, organizational systems, and staff. Unchecked, these “growing pains” can threaten the long-term health and sustainability of the church and its leadership team. If this sounds familiar, you don’t have to travel this path alone. Imagine walking alongside other leaders who understand your situation, and who will collaborate with you as you develop goals and strategies for ongoing growth. That’s what the Rapid Growth Leadership Community is all about! You can find it on the Leadership Network home page or head directly to the post here. Do you know any churches that are experiencing accelerated...

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Posted by on Jan 19, 2012 in Small Group Resources |

Guess Who’s Coming to Small Group?

Guess Who’s Coming to Small Group?

You’re getting ready for your couples’ small group, and you’re excited: you have a new couple joining you tonight. In his e-mail, Jacob was very happy to have found a group that both he and his wife could attend. They’re a new couple to the church, and you’re excited that they’ve decided to get plugged in. When Jacob and his wife, Rachel, arrive, you can tell there’s something a little off. Rachel seems very uncomfortable, and she quietly says hello only when others initiate conversation. Nevertheless, you decide to proceed with group as usual so they can get an accurate taste of what happens at each meeting. You start the group with check-in time, where couples share a high moment and a low or learning moment from the week. As the couples share, you can’t help but notice Jacob and Rachel whispering and getting into a bit of an argument. When it’s their turn to share, you find out why. “Well, the high moment,” Jacob starts,” was our anniversary...

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Posted by on Jan 17, 2012 in Small Group Resources |

Creating a Trustworthy Group

Creating a Trustworthy Group

Mark Ingmire recently wrote an article called “Evaluating Trust in Your Group” for our training resource Are We Building Trust? Mark points out ten key factors that indicate a trustworthy group including authenticity, confidentiality, and listening. Two other factors, though, particularly caught my eye. Mark points to confession—sharing our shortcomings and a desire to change—and serving others in the group as key indicators of trustworthy groups. We often think that confession in small groups only applies to the strongest, most trusting groups. However, any group that has an appropriate amount of trust should be a safe place that invites members to share their shortcomings. Even if members don’t share with the whole group, sharing with even just one other member is a sign that trust is present. Serving one another, on the other hand, may not seem like such a big issue. Some might believe the group should be focusing on serving others rather than themselves. But Mark has a good point: “The age old adage is still true,...

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Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 in Small Group Resources |

Resource Review: The God Questions

Resource Review: The God Questions

Imagine a book that answers big theological questions in easy-to-understand terms while still giving satisfying answers—questions like these: Is God real? Do all roads lead to heaven? and How can a good God allow suffering? Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But when a co-worker recently gave me The God Questions by Hal Seed and Dan Grider, I was pleasantly surprised. It consists of 40 daily readings and six small-group sessions. The idea is to do the study over six weeks. Each week has a theme question and each day discusses subsequent questions. And they really are big questions: Is God real? Is the Bible true? Do all roads lead to heaven? Each daily reading discusses a major question in about three pages and includes a fourth page that allows the reader to respond, including a main idea to chew on, a verse to remember, a point to ponder, and space to reflect on personal feelings about the question. My initial thought after seeing the questions is...

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