New birth, or God's gift to the world, comes to us through Jesus the Christ, yet may manifest the Spirit in all sorts of ways today. I'm thinking that while a local church might get this that many denominations are stuck in old ways. Lo and behold, I have found a wise man (George Bullard) who gives guidance which has many matches with what I've been suspecting, questioning, and puzzling over the last few days. Perhaps as those of us in leadership positions have opportunities to help create new realities for our beloved denominations we will create stronger, healthier structures which will do even greater good for God and for people in the days to come. I think the tool below captures many truths which may help create a bridge from what we have been to what we must become.
Answer these questions of your denomination and see how you score:
Another strong example of denominational leadership required to build a bridge to the future in this tough economic, and culturally challenging time is courtesy of another wise man named Bill Easum. http://easumbandy.com/fileadmin/free_resources/word_docs/Workbook-proofed.doc
Easum has insights into what he finds isn't working anywhere in the U.S. with Natural Church Development being one of the recent fads noted. A key to growth that he offers is the good common sense of competent, passionate pastors who have the support of their denomination; an emphasis on the judicatory supporting the church with major role as that of resourcing the congregations; church planting serving as a major part of the effort; as well as other factors which seem consistent with what I've work in the local church setting.
Relevant to some of my recent questioning I find Easum helpful when he suggests:
"Streamlining the Judicatory Bureaucracy. Those judicatories who are cutting back on overhead and investing most of income back into the churches before they are forced to by dwindling numbers are at the forefront of much of the transformation and reproduction uncovered in this study. One example is Central Baptist Association (Phoenix).
On-going, on-the-job training and coaching is found in every one of the growing judicatories in this study. The training, however, isn’t done by armchair theologians but by people who have actually grown churches. Most of the growing judicatories either have a person set aside for the oversight or they have contracted with an outside consultant to give oversight. Much of the training is in reading the signs of the times and making the appropriate adjustments or metamorphosis."
It sounds like some of these actions might be gifts which would bring Christmas to a denomination.