The Oxymoron Church: Series Introduction

Oxymoron. It’s one of my favorite words. No, it isn’t a cleaning a solution, nor a personal insult. The term describes the appearance of two words in one thought, but those words are typically understood as opposites.

Cold that burns. A dark light. Deafening silence. These are examples of an oxymoron. Each of these can be true, as well.

Church is another favorite word of mine. It holds so much promise, power, and potential. But it can also fit into the category of an oxymoron. This series of posts are meant to shine a light on the way our churches contradict all the power and promise they should deliver.

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Which Kind of “T.P.” Describes Your Church?

Disclaimer: If you are squeamish or believe that every picture or message about God and the church must be proper and finely tuned, do NOT read this post.  Read at your own risk.

Have you ever had one of those “Eureka!” moments that you felt like you couldn’t share with anyone? That happened to me today. One crazy thought led to a series of truths that are so, well, true.

They are truths about the church. Not the “big C”, Church, the living body of Jesus Christ where He is the head and all the pieces are being brought together and shaped into a living temple of the Holy Spirit. I’m talking about the church, the local assembly of believers that joins in a building to worship, pray, serve, and preach the Gospel.

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Oh, and there’s one more thing you need to know up front. These truths are inspired by T.P. That’s code for toilet paper. Yeah, I know your mind is racing at top speed thinking about things it shouldn’t, so let’s jump to the good stuff.

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Book Review: “Redeeming Church Conflicts”

RedeemingChurchConflictsGod, in all of His wisdom, gave the world His Church. We are one Body made up of many members, saved by the same faith, united by the Holy Spirit. He gave leaders and gifts to the Church to help it grow and minister to each other and the world. And yet there is one element of church life that can destroy all that God desires to accomplish through this Body: people.

I have often said that the church is made up of people, and where people are involved things get messy. Conflict is a part of church life. It doesn’t take twenty years of church membership to know this is true. Unfortunately, though we know conflict exists in the church, we usually go on without knowing how to deal with it, solve it, and move on in our walk with Christ together. Yet there is more to conflict than just “dealing it.” We have the ability to redeem conflict and come out of it healthier, closer to God and each other.

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Developing Yourself and Others

Pastors and Leaders: Do you take the time to develop yourselves and/or others? Many of us have heard of or even read John Maxwell’s Developing the Leader Within You and Developing the Leaders Around You.

If you’re like me, you could read a lot of books in a year and forget what you read. Some of it will stick with me, but have I really taken the time to apply it? There are so many ways to develop and mentor ourselves and others, but if we get discouraged by the things that say it isn’t possible for us, we miss them.

As a staff pastor for nine years before becoming a senior pastor, I have served under those who made it a priority to include development and those who haven’t. I know the power of being developed. I also know that there are issues that keep us from including development in our ministry.

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Relationship via Prayer Meeting

Pastors, how do you begin a prayer meeting?

In the past I used to put a different prayer focus on each slide of a PowerPoint presentation. This would run throughout the meeting, giving constant direction for prayer, but leaving the meeting itself unstructured. Another model I’ve used is to set a quiet, personal atmosphere in the room by turning the lights on low, turn on some instrumental or intimate worship music.

In each case, those attending were welcome to come and go as they please. There was no opening or closing prayer. One could enter, pray or worship or read their Bible, and quietly walk out the door when finished. Occasionally we might have prayed together, but not regularly.

I have discovered the power of leading the group into prayer. Remember, I’ve led prayer groups for over fifteen years, and I’m no stranger to the prayer meeting. I’ve also seen it done a few ways that I have chosen not to employ in my own ministry. But recently I’ve stumbled on some of the benefits of being the pastor and leading the group in prayer.

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