Monday, December 14, 2009

Revelation Bible Study: What the last book of the bible really means

The Book of Revelation.

It's been called mysterious, puzzling, and frightening. Some people say it's not worth reading.

But why would Jesus' last word to His people be so irrelevant and unpractical?

Could there be more to this final message than we realize?

It's time to discover the inspiring, down to earth, and meaningful message of a misunderstood book of the Bible.

Read Michael W. Newman's "Revelation: What the Last Book of the Bible Really Means."

See why this compelling book of the Bible is so worthwhile. Study Guide included.

You can take a look at details or purchase a copy of the book by clicking the link below. Be sure to use this special discount code to get $2.00 off every copy you purchase: 8N347JTM


The book is a practical look at the inspiring, down to earth, and meaningful message of Revelation. It’s also written from a solid, Biblical, and Lutheran perspective. It has a study guide after each chapter and is perfect for large group, small group, or individual study.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

lectionary calendars for outlook

Both CPH (LCMS) and Augsburg Fortress (ELCA) offer a FREE lectionary claendar that you can download into Outlook, iphone or other devices

Two warnings:
They are you may need to alter the date format after downloading before importing into Outlook, if you are from Australia
Check the lectionary readings....LCMS altered their lectionary a few years ago and at times it differs from the RCL....

To obtain either vist Augsburg Fortress or CPH

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Book: Leading Congregational Change (a practical guide for the transformational jounrey)

It is refreshing to come across a book that is realistic about the challenges of change in congregational life, and offers hope, encouragement and guidance for those who are involved in being part of God's change over the long term.

Here are what some people say about the book:

This book is up front...but also encourages people to think that being part of change requires some active responses....for instance in the first chapter it makes no bones that change will bring conflict...but the question we need to consider is will our responses to change result in life threatening conflict or life giving conflict

Lt Roades (Amazon)
The authors quickly set the stage for the focus of the book--"Many Christian Congregations in American today need to experience life-giving transformation." The background of the book is not someone doctoral or master's thesis or some seminarian or bible college student's weekend project. The result of the book through processed hindsight is the end (but continuing) analysis of congregational transformation, both organizational and local levels, within the Union Bible Association (Houston, Texas). The authors became part of a team that sought to impact its denominational association by transformation its present state of ministry engagement to fuse into a renewed vision that matched to the Mission of the Church as established by Jesus Christ.

As stated in their intent, "This book presents the model and principles for congregational transformation that emerged from their journey. In sharing the lessons from our experience, we hope to encourage other congregations and to help them navigate their own tumultuous environments."

What was unique (in the reviews understanding) about this process as set out by this leadership team was its approach. Rather than developing an entirely new system of evaluation, analysis, and tools to accomplish such a diverse transition, the team integrated current research, programs, paradigms, etc. into a system that embraced transformation from the inside out--structure and people. This integrated model was not merely an agent to change programs or ministries, but the model first set out to change hearts and minds and to ensure the "church" was moving in the same direction--that is, the people were aligning with God rather than a system. The transformation was to continuously occur individually, corporately, and institutionally. The living system integrated for this organization was wholistic and not ambiguous.

The model, as impacting change for individual, corporate, and institutional levels, is a fusion of the a diverse set of origins--Henry Blackaby and Claude King's Experiencing God; Congregations such as Bill Hybels and Rick Warren; Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline; John Kotter's Leading Change; and John Aldrich, President of Multnomah Seminary.
The Congregational Transformation Model established by UBA leadership team categorizes the transformation process in three distinct areas (though the process is continuously revolving). It is not necessary designed to move from phase to phase. There is always a beginning and ending place, but continuous reflection and re-adjustment. The first phase is "Spiritual and Relational Vitality" and it is the imperative stage of entry into change. The authors define "S and R" as, "the life giving power that faithful people experience together as they passionately pursue God's vision for their lives". The second phase is the 8 step "Change Process" and it is the core stage of developing a Vision for the church to accomplish the Mission of the Church. The third phase is the "Learning Disciplines" and these are general principles that are important to implement to the process, leadership, and individuals committed to change. Each of these concentric phrases are intensely integrated and built upon the previous and following steps. The model is adaptable to each organization.

As great as the book is, it is somewhat difficult to evaluate. The process developed by the UBA is remarkable and appears to incorporate the necessary attention-to-detail to all the major and minor steps required to transform. And though the process of change was developed by depraved humans, the authors recognize that the transformation is the result of the Spirit of God and faithfulness to the Mission of the Church as established by Jesus Christ.

The authors made it clear that this process is not a fast and easy. As well, they did not leave the duration of change in any ambiguous terms. The authors state that the process could take as long as five years. This allows for specific planning, goal development and realistic future positions to move toward.

The reviewer was personally impacted by the simplicity of the process for application to an individual or the corporate body. The authors continuously engrain the importance of the personal commitment to the process, which is reflected in the individual's relationship with God and the Church. It starts and ends in this relationship. Change and transformation is futile without this faithfulness.

A second impact of the book was the development of "mental models", specifically the seven major subsystems with a congregation. This awoke an entirely new perspective of reflection and evaluation of the church that the reviewer had never understood. Fond of systems thinking, this book fundamentally changed how a pastor (or anyone) should to view the "living Church and church."

The only comment I would state as a negative would be the areas of Vision development. The core of the book is built upon a solid and functional Vision statement. The reviewer does not feel as if enough white space was committed to developing the Vision statement. The authors described Mission, Vision, and Visionpath adequately, but more description and examples/illustrations should have been used to help the reader/congregation in understanding the structure of development for imperative Vision and Visionpath.

The book was read thoroughly, but the reviewer would have to re-read the book and toil through the workbook for a wholistic understanding and life integration.

For more information about the book visit

Sermon launching Year of Evangelism

Our congregation is having an intentional focus on evangelism for 2010.

On December 6th we lauched our Year of Evangelism

You can find a copy of the sermon here

The evangelism-resistant church (and some solutions)

An article that appeared in The Lutheran March 2004

12 factors hold us back-but there are solutions

It's a matter of faithfulness to Jesus that the ELCA offer Christ's gospel as never before. Precisely because this is so important, we must understand that it will be difficult. Only when we appreciate why and how we have become an evangelism-resistant church can we overcome our historic weakness. At least 12 factors hold us back.

1. The "great omission." The Reformers didn't address evangelism in the confessional documents that formed us. A society with millions of unbaptized people would have been incomprehensible to them. So they left us no directions.

The solution is to recognize this and look to The Confessions for a directive: preach the word and offer the sacraments. Nothing could be more Lutheran. But today our vision must include those beyond the church.

2. How we got to be us. Two denominations moved beyond the Appalachian Mountains to win souls-the Baptists and the Methodists. Lutherans were more concerned about nurturing those who believed already. Evangelism became something others did, and an unhealthy arrogance, which still exists, set in.

Is there a solution? We need a revised self-understanding that considers evangelism as much our job as any other denomination.

3. Lex orandi, lex credendt. This means that our worship forms shape our belief. Talk of evangelism has been rare in worship, thus worshipers have quietly assumed it isn't important.
A solution: When the congregation gathers for worship, evangelism needs to be emphasized in the sermon, prayers or hymns.

4. The presence of vagueness. Too many remain unclear about what evangelism is : sharing the gospel of Christ to bring people to baptism and a life of discipleship. Evangelism isn't simply a membership drive, nor do we ever have enough members if we can pay all bills. It's not public relations or advertising. Evangelism is winning souls.

The solution includes promoting knowledge-classes and discussions that include evangelism's basic concepts.

5. Failure to teach evangelism. Lutheran pastors have received little training in evangelism. The list of our theologians who have written in this field is short. Our seminaries have considered evangelism more a practical skill than a theological discipline, something to be ac- ; quired after graduation.

The solution: Seminaries must teach the theology and practice of evangelism-to both seminarians and pastors.

6. Shortage of evangelists. Lutheran national offices once had evangelists available to congregations. We have · gifted people familiar with programs, but we need more evangelists.

Solution: Identify people with the spiritual gift to be an evangelist and find them creative venues for their gift.

7. Suspicion. Evangelists' concern with numbers can seem unspiritual. Televangelists haven't helped. But until evangelism is an honored ministry among us, our resistance will continue.

One solution is to expose parishioners to wholesome, positive evangelism resources-especially books and videos-that demonstrate the integrity of real evangelism.

8. Competing priorities. Evangelism is the church's primary mission. But that's not where everyone's heart is in the evangelism-resistant church.

One solution: Immersion in the Scriptures guides us to the Great Commission to share the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20), which is restated numerous ways and places throughout the New Testament.

9. Cold shoulder to "church growth." This movement took form in the second half of the 20th century. Its basic premise is that God wants the church to grow. While those who start missions benefit from the movement, others in the church have been neutral to cold.

The solution requires new openness to research about the value of biblical preaching, the wisdom of multiple worship services, the advantage of a Christian preschool, etc.

10. Myth of the silent witness. Countless Lutherans believe they witness silently each day by the way they live. But unless they make their witness specific, those around them won't have a clue what they're trying to say by their lives.

The solution is found in "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" (Lutheran Book of Worship, 228): "One little word subdues him (the devil)." That word is Jesus, and we must learn to speak it in all appropriate circumstances.

11. Alternative solutions. Aware of declining interest and numbers, an evangelism-resistant church prefers other solutions. all the mainline churches have tried appreciating the liturgy more, making language more inclusive, balancing the traditional and contemporary in worship, being more multicultural, showing more hospitality and offering the secrets of deeper spirituality so the people will come. They haven't.

The solution is to affirm that evangelism has no substitute. We will remain evangelism-resistant unless we give evangelism our full attention.

12. Spirit quenching. The Spirit calls the church to evangelize and moves believers to answer that call. Individuals and institutions can choose not to get excited. The Lutheran church is notoriously uncxcitablc about.evangelism. We dare not "quench the Spirit" as if the ELCA's evangelism initiative is just perfunctory busyness.

The solution involves renewal in the church. "Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches." How many more chances will we have to stop being an evangelism-resistant church?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Lutheran Leadership: Nehmehiah chapter 2

At least the day before you meet as leaders or the day before you intend reflecting further on the Nehemiah Chapter 2

Begin your time together by reflecting on the last week or month you have experienced as a leader.
What have been some of the good things?
What challenges or frustrations have you been facing?
How do the good things and the challenges fit into God's persepctive of being a leader for Him?
How has God been working?

Read Nehemiah 2:1-3
What situations in your congregation's life look similar to what Nehmehiah saw?
What is making your heart sad?

Read Nehemiah 2:4-5
Do you know what it is you would like to happen?
Have you asked God for guidance on what should happen?
Can you articulate what you would like to happen to ohers, especially other Leaders and those who have the ability to help?
Take time now to pray to Go and seek His guidance

Read Nehemiah 2:6-9
What help do you need for God's goals to be achieved through you?
Who do you need help from?
Who do you need to support what God is asking you to do?

Read Nehemiah 2:10
Have you ever faced opposition to what you believe God is asking you to do?
Why do you think people oppose initiatives that are God focussed?

Read Nehemiah 2:11-17
Do you have an understanding of the current situation facing your congregation?
Spend some time reflecting on what God is calling you to do.
Why might it be important spend time focussing on the current situation and what needs to be done?
What are some of the first things that need attending to that will make a difference?

Read Nehemiah 2:18-20
What is important for your team/congregation in undertaking any action?
How will you respond to those who oppose the project or criticise you?
Why may some people be threatened?

Daily challenge
Between now and the next meeting pray to God and ask him for guidance of what is required in relation to your congregation's current situation.

Team Leadership resources from Pastor Robin Stelzer

Pastor Robin Stelzer (a Lutheran Pastor of the a Lutheran Church in Rochedale Queensland) has prepared and presented a number of resources to assist pastors involved in team ministry.

Know your Leadership Style Assessment resource

Growing a healthy Spiritual Team

Effective Team Ministry needs a TEAM PLAN

Containing the Rent whilst building the house

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Evangelising Assessment Tool

For Christians, evangelism and discipleship are at the heart of living out their faith. Yet many do not easily share their faith or invite co-workers and neighbors to worship.
People become effective faith-sharing disciples through a change in head and heart. They come to know Christ’s command to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”(Matthew 28:19). By the power of the Spirit, they come alive in faith, eager to bring the good news to others.
This assessment tool will help you evaluate how evangelism and discipleship are being lived out in your congregation.

For a free copy of this assessment tool click here

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lutheran Funerals blog has commenced

There are some entries....

Will post more soon....

Looking for more ideas

Lutheran Leadership: Nehemiah study chapter 1

At least the day before you meet as leaders or the day before you intend reflecting further on the Nehemiah Chapter 1

Begin your time togehter by reflecting on the last week or month you have experienced as a leader.
What have been some of the good thing?
What challenges or frustrations have you been facing?
How do the good things and the challenges fit into God's persepctive of being a leader for Him?

Read Nehemiah 1:1-3
What situations are you facing or hearing about as a leader that parrallel those Nehemiah hears about?
What is the reality of your situation?

Read Nehemiah 1:4-7
Think and share about what verse 4 maybe suggesting to you as a leader for your congregation or your organisation.
Think and share about how God has been faithful and kept His side of the bargain with you, your congregation and community as suggested in verses 5-6
Think and share about what sins as leaders we need to confess on behalf of the congregation or organistion you are leading....(verses 6-7)

Read Nehemiah 1:8-11
Think about and share what verse 8 and 9 is suggesting for your congregation or organisaton.
What role is God playing?
Whose people are we actually leading and what does this mean for us as leaders?
According to verse 11 what is important for all leaders who are leading people for God.

Daily challenge
Between now and the next meeting pray daily the type of prayer Nehemiah prayed for His people.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A worship experience for families: Taste Worship

Peder Eide a musician has developed a contemporary worship experience that encourages families to be inspired through worship together.....
To explore what this is about and the affect it has on some people visit:

Taste Worship is a radically new experience where families:
• experience worship together—led by Peder Eide
• expand their vision and understanding of worship
• engage with each other in meaningful conversations
• explore practical "ingredients" to connect spiritually throughout the week

Youth Encounter

Youth Encounter is a Lutheran Youth movement offering opportunities for young people to grow with others as they grow with God

Youth Encounter partners with Christian communities to strengthen their ministry to, with, and through young people.

Partners and Desired Outcomes
We desire that Christian communities:
Give witness to Jesus Christ in ways that are heard by young people;
Maintain a sense of community that welcomes young people into the presence of God;
Have effective ministry activities for each grade level;
Offer support for and secure the support of families.

We desire that young people be
Established in Christian faith;
Engaged in Christian ministry;
Equipped for Christian leadership.

We desire that one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church
Make an evangelical, confessional, and healing Christian witness;
Advance Christian mission and growth throughout the world;
Develop faithful, evangelical, and effective professional and lay church leaders.

Their mission and ministry is arranged around:
Event Ministries
Sounds like love: an event that helps young people grow through music
Quakes: events that include awesome speakers, fun activities and Christian music
Zones: an event that helps young Christians and Christian adults connect with each other

Service Ministries
Global Work Crews
Katrina Work Crews
Customised Mission Trips

Team Ministries that travel together through USA and Internationally

If you are at secondary school/college or a parent this is well worth exploring at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Generation Church: A network of micro churches

Generation Church is part of the Church of the Lutheran Church which has developed a network of micro churches as the way the congregation ministers to people around Phoenix
to discover more visit

Monday, October 19, 2009

A giving brochure

The Lakes Evangelical Church has a simple brochure that explains why and how to give....To look at a copy of this brochure visit

Christmas CD: Chris Tomlin

Chris Tomlin has released a Christmas CD with a number of hymns played in a contemporary style.
To listen to tunes and buy the album or itunes visit:

ABCs of Faith Sharing

A two sided poster on the ABC's of faith sharing available at:

Three keys for sharing your faith....short study

Jerry Kosberg from the South East District has developed a short study on the three keys for sharing your faith
Leaders guide and participants guide available.

Worship: A LCMS thesis on worship

The Council of Presidents of LCMS has released a thesis on worship which is available at:

Friday, October 02, 2009

a quick thought: Is it time to tap into those rainy day savings

I remember growing up hearing that we needed to put money away for a rainy day. I also heard this in the church.
Well with our congregations declining or at best not keeping up with population growth, a shortage of pastors and other struggles maybe the rainy days are here or as someone else said I fell like we are living in a torrential downpour.
So are the rainy days here??

Foundations of Living 21 Lessons course

Foundations of Living 21 Lessons course is a course developed by two Lutheran Missouri Synod pastors that cover the following topics
The Natural Knowledge of God
The Bible
Creation and Preservation
Angels and Devils
Mankind, the Fall and Sin
The Law and The Gospel
What Do We Owe God?
What Do We Owe our Neighbour?
The Intertestamental Period
The Person of Christ
The Work of Christ
The Holy Spirit
Forgiveness of Sin
The Church
Confession and Ministry
Last Things
The Christian Life

You can use this course freely in your congregations and the workbook is available at:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chaplaincy Resources

A growing area of ministry is intentional chaplaincy. Chaplaincy is one way of bringing Christ into various situations including schools, aged care, hospitals, work places, sporting clubs, emergency services and beyond.

Lutheran Chaplaincy Resources
Lutheran Chaplaincy Services Ohio offers information about book reviews, articles, chaplaincy programs, employment and more
ELCA offers details about Clinical Pastoral Education, becoming a chaplain, what chaplaincy is about and other resources

Uniting Church of Australia chaplaincy commission offers information on courses and resources that are available
Chaplaincy Australia is a department of Australian Christian Churches (formerly AOG) offering information on crisis care, training, pathways and events

Sports Chaplaincy Australia offers details about being a sports chaplain and training

School Chaplaincy
National School Chaplaincy Association
Access Ministries
SU Queensland

Placer County Law Enforcement offers essays, articles, inspiration, marriage enrichment, Critical Incident Stress information, ausio information

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A congregtion to visit: Family of Christ Lutheran Church

The Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Ham Lake has an emphasis on families that flows through all aspects of the congregation.
They are members of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
You can explore their various worship times, listen to sermons, explore how they provide child care, adult education, small groups, mission partners, women's ministry, men's ministry, opportunities for children and youth, resources for parents, and more

Resources for Students moving to Secondary School

When young Christians begin Secondary School there is a big challenge for both themselves and their parents.
It is a new environment. They begin to explore more about who they are and who others are.

The following resources may help congregations minister to families in their congregation or schools who are about to experience this change...
It's your move

Across Australia, there are thousands of students who will enter high school next year. Many of them are wondering how they’ll get on and what the future holds for them at this time of big change in their lives. Which is why Scripture Union Has produced It’s Your Move!
It’s Your Move! contains
An A-Z survival guide for high school
Loads of wise advice and helpful interviews
True stories, quizzes, puzzles and jokes
The results of an Australian student survey
In 2009 the Cost is $4.95 a book or $4 for 20 or more copies
For more information visit

There is also a leaders guide at which relates to the UK version

YP's guide to starting Secondary School

Introducing the YP’s Guide to Starting Secondary School: this little book is packed full of helpful advice for young people about to make the move from their primary school. Written by well-known youth author Steve Holloway, it also has puzzles, questionnaires – and a reminder that God is always with them. Some of the topics included are: leaving primary school well, facing fear, the first day at the new school, worshipping God anywhere, surviving parents’ evenings, and relationships.Also included are seven days’ worth of Bible reading notes to help young people get to know the God who loves them and has planned a brilliant future for them.

For more information visit

If you have other suggestions of suitable resources please feel free to share them through the comments page

Lutheran Leadership thought: Leaders are fathers who rely on the Father

As we look at the scriptures and the history of faith since the early church, fatherhood in the church plays a significant role. Now whilst some will say our society has changed with males and females being equally responsible for things, the concept of fatherhood is still important for us as individual Christians and as a bunch of people that God loves.

The New Testament Church emphasises God as father, far stronger than the church in the Old Testament.
There are only a few references to God as father in the Old Testament and most centre around God being the Father who creates us and rescues Psalm 89:26 and Isaiah 64:8.
But in the Gospel of John alone, God as Father is mentioned at least 115 times....
In John 14:9 Jesus says "The Father and I are exactly alike. If you have seen me, you've seen Him."
The two words in the New Testament used for God as father are Pater and Abba.
Pater is the more common one, and in the New Testament it is not just used for God the father, but also biological fathers, legal, ancestors and fathers of a clan.
It has the sense of someone who is senior, wise, mature, important, someone who guides, encourages and disciplines.
Abba is less common. We can find it in only 3 passages, all 3 refer only to God the Father.
Read Mark 14:36, Romans 8:16-17 and Galatians 4:6-7.
What are these passages saying about the type of relationship God desires with Jesus and us?
Does talking to God as Abba change the way we relate to God our king?

Something to think and talk about
What does it mean for God to be our Father?
How does this help us in our role as leaders?

Another important role that scripture reveals is that earthly fathers have a responsibility in caring for those who are younger and less mature in the faith than them. And when Jesus says "Go and make disciples of all nations", there is encouragement to the disciples not limited to those who simply bear children, but also leaders that they are encouraged to be fathers to those who are new to and growing in the faith.
Read to discover more what this entails Deuteronemy 6:4-12, Ephesians 6:4 and 1 Thesselonians 2:11-12
What is this saying about the role of fathers?
How does this apply to my role as a leader in the church?

Some things to think about during the week
What can I learn from God about being a father?
What young people has God put in my life (in my family, street, workplace, social scene and church) that God is calling me to train, encourage, comfort and urge in the faith?
Whether I am a male or female leader, how does the the bible's discussion on fatherhood shape how I nurture the faith in those God has entrusted me with?

If you have futher comments please feel free to leave them at the bottom of the page.....

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Christmas Resources

Following are some ideas for Christmas

Christmas scripts
Christmas Drama sites
Puppet Scripts
Christmas Ministry Resources
Christmas and other seasonal scripts

Christmas Outreach ideas and links
The Round Church in Canada puts together a shoebox of gifts for visiting seamen, Christmas baskets for those unable to leave their homes and hampers for families. suggests A Charlie Brown Christmas, a Karaoke Christmas, a formal Christmas dinner, A Grinch Party, White Elephant Christmas, Baking Party Ice Breaker Activities and Games and Gospel Presentation Ideas
Delaware Maryland Synod of the ELCA has a range of outreach ideas
Zondervan offers a range of ideas for small groups
Creative Church Attic suggests Living Nativity, the Nativity Story Movie Night, Angel Choir, Kids Christmas Project Day, and a lot more
Ministry Tools Resource Centre has a range of ideas, suggestions and information relating to Christmas including Celebrations from around the World, Children's ministry ideas, Christmas supplies, devotionals, history, music, traditions, scripts, how ministry people can enjoy Christmas, people who hurt at Christmas, dvds and other ideas
Community Christmas Church outreach ideas

more to come and if you have any suggestions please email at

Books on the Reformation

Tim George author of Theology of the Reformers recommends the following five books if you want to grasp a broad understanding of the reformation
Here I stand by Roland Bainton
The Radical Reformation by George H Williams
The Elizabethan Puritan movement by Patrick Collinson
Reformation of church and dogma (1300-1700) by Jaroslav Pelikan
Luther: A man between God and the Devil by Heiko Oberman

What good books on the Reformation have you read that you would recommend to others...list them in the comments

Intergenerational Congregations

Many Lutheran congregations say they are intergenerational or working towards being intergenerational. John Ortberg, a Presbyterian pastor has written the following article about leading a multi-generational church, it is worth reading and can be found here.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Bible 101 Study book

St Johns Lutheran Church of Ellisville offers an introduction to the Bible class called Bible 101

Bible 101 helps people get the BIG PICTURE of the Bible where you will learn the framework of the Bible and how it is structured. You will learn the Who, What, When, Where and How of the stories and events so that you can make sense of them and put them into perspective. They have structured the class in a way where people can ask any question and get answers and there is no homework! In addition to the study book they use an NIV bible and the book “Understanding the Bible” Max Anders

To get the study guide go here

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Children's Story books

Bright, colourful, entertaining biblical story telling books for children is the only way you can explain the Lost Sheep book series.

You can buy
hard cover colourful book for $7.95 Australia
Big Book for story telling for $29.95 Australia
Multi Media stories (a great way to engage a congregation or a class using a data projector)....Story telling kit for multi media story telling (4 books) $29.95 or downloadable multi media story books $10.00 a title
Colouring Books $3.95 Australia

Current titles include:
Cecil the Lost Sheep™
Bob the Bird™
The Good Samaritan
Basil the Branch™
Claudia the Caterpillar™
Zac the Taxman
Jonah and the Whale
Basil and the Secateurs™
Webster the Preacher Duck™
Jesus and the Children
The Man with Leprosy
Bill the Brilliant Branch™
Echidnas on Everest™
Peter the Fisherman
Cecil and Psalm 23
The Gardener and the Vine

Great value and a great way to freshly reveal the God stories to young ones....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Book: Personality based evangelism

Got Style?: Personality-Based evangelism by Jeffrey A. Johnson and Patricia G. Duckworth

Intimidated by the Great Commission? Cringe at the idea of evangelism on the street corner or going door-to-door? Pastor Jeff Johnson will transform your commitment to sharing the good news of Jesus as individuals and as a congregation. Identify the evangelism style that suits your personality, learn from biblical and contemporary role models who employ the same strengths, and discover the joy in introducing family, friends, or strangers to the life of faith.

Chapters include:
Assertive Style: This is the way I see it...
Analytical Style: I think therefore I am
Storytelling Style; Have I ever told you about...
Relational Style: Have I ever told you about...
Invitational Style: Would you like to come
Incarnational Style: Preach the Gospel at all times...and if necessary use words

Paper: The Mission of the Church to Hispanic congregations

A paper by Pastor José Luis Avendaño

The mission of the church: a contribution to the evangelistic work with Hispanic communities in the United States, from the principle of discipleship as the central axis of the Christian Mission.

To view this paper visit

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lutheran Leadership 11: Diversity and differences a problem or a blessing

Do you see the differences and diversity in your congregation or organisation as problems or good?

Some people dislike differences simply because it is harder to manage and harder to relate to. However read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27....

God's perspective on differences is that they are actually a strength. Different ideas, talents, skills and opinions actually help us to grow and develop. Differences are needed for our organisation or congregation to be healthy, Godly and more complete.

Somethings to reflect on and discuss
What are the differences in your congregation or organisation?
How are the differences that exist in your congregation or organisation be of benefit?

Many people find it difficult to be part of an organisation or congregation where there are too many differences, however read Colossians 1:15-18, Ephesians 1:22-23, James 4:7 and Ephesians 5:21.
Somethings to reflect on and discuss
What do these passages suggest make it possible for a diverse congregation to survive?
What does this mean for your congregation or organisation?

Spend time praying about the difference in your congregation/organisation and how they can benefit the rest of the congregation/organisation.

Booklet: How to share Christ confidently

CPH has produced a little booklet to help people in sharing Christ....How to share Christ confidently, for only $2.99.

from the publisher
In too many instances, trying to witness becomes frustrating and an uncomfortable experience. Consequently, a large number of Christians rarely, if ever, say anything to anyone about Jesus.
How to Share Christ Confidently offers effective tips and techniques to help people boldly and confidently share the Gospel message. Practical and hands-on, this resource addresses the number one obstacle to personal witnessing - fear.
Each chapter concludes with exercises designed to confront and overcome that fear, helping believers to step out of their comfort zone and into everyday evangelism.

A congregation to visit: Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx

This month visit Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx and discover their approach to mission and ministry...

A school and congregation sharing Christ together

Read about how a school and a congregation are sharing Christ together in this article Immanuel Lutheran School, Batavia, Ill.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Illustration: Passion, Preparation and Perserverance all needed

Recently Mark Webber of Australia won his first formula one Grand Prix race.

He didn't just wake up one morning and decide that he was going to drive a car fast.

18 Years ago he began racing go karts, a few years later he moved to London to be closer to formula one teams, and he had 130 races before winning a Formula One race. On numerous occasions people, experts and journalists doubted if he was good enough for Formula One racing. His story is one of persistence, passion and preparation.

And as Christians these are three things we need as we live out our calling for sharing God's Good News...

Small Group pastors blog

A blog of ideas and information for pastors involved in small groups

Book: Lost and Found, the younger unchurched and the churches that reach them

Who are the young unchurched, and how can they be reached with the good news of Jesus Christ?

In a poll result highlighted by CNN Headline News and USA Today, nearly half of nonchurchgoers between the ages of twenty and twenty-nine agreed with the statement, "Christians get on my nerves." Now, researchers behind the larger study present Lost and Found, a blend of dynamic hard data and modern day parable that tells the real story of an unchurched generation that is actually quite spiritual and yet circumspect, open to Jesus but not the church.

As such, Lost and Found is written to the church, using often-surprising results from the copious research here to strike another nerve and break some long established assumptions about how to effectively engage the lost. Leading missiologist Ed Stetzer and his associates first offer a detailed investigation of the four younger unchurched types. With a better understanding of their unique experiences, they next clarify the importance each type places on community, depth of content, social responsibility, and making cross-generational connections in relation to spiritual matters.

Most valuably, Lost and Found finds the churches that have learned to reach unchurched young adults by paying close attention to those key markers vetted by the research. Their exciting stories will make it clear how your church can bring searching souls from this culture to authentic faith in Christ.

Those who are lost can indeed be found. Come take a closer look.

Ed Stetzer (missiologist in residence, LifeWay Christian Resources; Planting Missional Churches), Richie Stanley (team leader, Ctr. for Missional Research, North American Mission Board), and Jason Hayes (young adult ministry specialist, LifeWay Christian Resources) focus on 20- to 29-year-olds who don't currently attend church, outlining nine best practices for a church to reach such young men and women successfully.
The first section contains statistical analysis of current beliefs and attitudes toward religion and the church (some very surprising) as indicated in polls of members of this age group.
The second section delves deeper into these attitudes with results from focused interviews.
The authors develop some broad themes, backed up by statistics from the first section.
The final third of the book highlights nine strategies churches are using successfully to reach these unchurched adults. Helpful graphs and tables are included throughout as well as visuals such as text boxes made to resemble sticky notes, making the book both readable and useful. Highly recommended for practitioners and all interested in this topic.—Ray Arnett, Fremont Area Dist. Lib., MI Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Who are we taking the Good News to?

People involved in envagelism and mission are people involve in relating to and mixing with a range of people. It is helpful to understand who the people are we are relating the Good News to, as this gives us an insight into what parts of God's message may initially be helpful to them..

Roy Morgan research highlights that society is made of a range of people, who are motivated differently....
Their values segments help us to see how people are living and what motivates such people. They also provide a percentage of the population who fall into each value segment

visit for more details

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Leadership reflections: Being prepared for leadership

Being Prepared for leadership

Leaders in congregations, are often the people with ideas, people encouraging others and people who are responsible to make sure things happen. As Christians we can also feel at times we are expected to do more than others or that the standard is higher for ourselves. As a result we can feel under some pressure.

The following teaching is an introduction to help us as leaders prepare for and respond to the pressures that exist in our lives.

It is important to understand your situation

Various Vocations: Everyone has a number of vocations as individuals and as leaders, ie. roles God has called us to and placed us in and given us responsibility for. The reality is we need to be able to balance these various vocations and roles. Some roles are easy to enter and exit, others are not so easy but choosing to enter or exit a role is not our decision alone, it involves consulting God. What are the various roles you have in your life?

Limited Resources: We have 3 main resources that are all limited by worldly standards. One is money, another is time and the third is talent. At times through creativity, better management, working with others and new approaches we are able to better use these resources. It is important to keep in mind that we are called to manage these resources, not allow these to control us. When we allow our resources to control us, it often limits what God can do through us. Which of the resources do you need to manage more effectively?

It is important to understand what your role is:

Being aware we are leading not representing:

God has called each of us to lead. We may be leaders in our family, our community, our social scene, at church, in a work situation. In following God God has placed amongst people where we have the opportunity to lead people. Fortunately leading for God is not about having everything in place, it is about leading people for God, and allowing God to help us. It is also not about imposing your own ideas but about introducing and leading people with God’s ideas. It also involves continual learning and growing. At times it also involves letting go of the past. Who do you have the opportunity to lead? What do you need to rely on God for to help you as a leader?

Being aware of what is expected of you from the organisation or community:

As a leaders in a church it is important that we understand what is expected of us. A good organisation has clear a mission and vision and descriptions of what is expected and how you fit into that mission and vision. Can you tell others what is expected of you and how you are contributing to the congregation’s mission and vision?

It is important to understand who you are:

God has created each of us, not as robots but as individuals who are part of a community and the church

Some of the areas that will help us understand who we are include:

Being aware of your Talents: What are your interests, your natural bent and what you do well?

Being aware of your Spiritual Gifts: The New Testament talks a bit about Spiritual Gifts, unfortunately many people focus on the supernatural ones, but many of the Spiritual Gifts are not. Do you know what are the inner giftings that God gives you so you are part of the bigger picture, the Body of Christ? Have you undertaken a Spiritual Gift inventory?

Personality Types: There are different personailites that God has given us, some of us are by nature introverts, some of us extroverts. Some of us think more with our heart and others more with their head. So what are your built in preferences for where you feel most comfortable, what energises you, how you take information in, how you make decisions and how you steer your life. Do you know your personality traits and how they relate to others?

Values: Each of us have ideas of what is important. And what we understand to be important affects our decisions. What do you think is important about church and Christian life? Is this consistent with the bible?

Passions: What do you like doing? What are the things that make you feel you happy? How are these affected by your leadership?

And finally: It is important to understand you are part of the Body of Christ,

you are not the body of Christ!! reflect on what this means for you!!!

evangelism connections

Evangelism connections is a resource dedicated to helping congregations and individuals develop a way of life helping others recognise the power and present of God.
At this site you will find:
definition of evangelism
opportunities to grow
a toolkit of resources

Monday, June 15, 2009

Free Studies for adults based on bible stories

Free studies for adults based on bible storis of both the Old and New Testament are available at Also available are studies on Winning friends for Christ, Christmas Stories and Lent Devotions

Friday, May 29, 2009

A congregation to visit: Bethlehem Lutheran Church Lakewood

Bethlehem Lutheran Church and School Lakewood is a diverse congregation that understands its calling to be a regional center for Missouri Synod Lutheran Christianity, to be an equipping place that helps as many people as possible experience the fullness of life in Jesus:

  • Cultivating remarkable worship, that people would receive and respond to God’s gifts,
  • Intentionally discipling, that people would become more like Jesus,
  • Nurturing significant relationships, that people would grow spiritually by sharing together their life in Jesus.

They offer a broad range of opportunities for people to engage with God and with each other.

Their features include:

Two worship sites running simultaneously on the same campus
Saturday – Contemporary worship, Sunday - Traditional and Contemporary worship
MIDI technology (computer controlled instruments) integrated into contemporary worship
Dynamic leadership training for ministry team leaders
Thriving and well-organized LifeLight Bible study program for 300+ adults
Day school ranked consistently in Denver’s top 25 private schools.
370 in the Day school, Preschool through 8th grade
Expanding rotational Children’s Ministry
Youth Coffee Shop/Ministry Center
Fall musicals drawing crowds of 2,000 on a weekend
Mission field is the 100 foot circle around each member
A staff that works and plays well together
Emphasis on staff health/wellness and healthy boundaries
Team-based governance
Ownership of a medical complex divided between church use and medical tenants
Willingness to try new things
Identity as a “sending place” with several internship programs including a vicar
Family Ministry Resource Center to strengthen family life

There are even some resources available which you may be able to adapt and use, including devotional DVDs

Go to

Paper: A process of discipleship, Gifts discovery and Spiritual Formation

Randall Olsen has put together an academic paper that is practical, relevant and informative for new houselholders of Ascension Lutheran Church but also for others interested in developing and having in place a process that welcomes, nurtures and encourages new disciples in their congregation.

The paper is available at

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Video devotions from Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Lakewood offers 5 video devotions available online, including one on fear, big, global, veils and filled.

You are welcome to view them at

Stories of our hymns

Singing hymns are an important part of the Christian life, but our life is enhanced even further when we know the story behind the hymns

Stories behind our hymns provide stories and reflections about many of the hymns including those written by:
Clement of Alexandria
John of Damascus
Joseph the Hymnographer
Rhabanus Maurus
Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Cluny
Martin Luther
Paul Speratus
Paul Eber
Nikolaus Decius
Nikolaus Selnecker
Bartholomaus Ringwaldt
Martin Behm
Philipp Nicolai
Johann Heermann
Jacob Fabricius
Martin Rinckart
Paul Gerhardt
Thomas Kingo
Hans Brorson
Nikolai Grundtvig

you can find the stories at

Lutheran Leadership 10: Handling complaints in a healthy way

Complaints are inherit part of being church, especially a church that is welcoming, has a diverse range of people and lives the reality of being a bunch of saints and sinners. If you want a biblical example of a church complaining, read 1st and 2nd Corinthians and see how they acted and how St Paul responded.

Some complaints are legitimate, that is why we have processes in place and biblical guidance. Many other complaints are not legitimate especially when you consider the full context of a situation and what the church is called to do.

The following teaching is about dealing with complaints in a healthy way, a way that encourages others and helps us grow more like Christ and as the body of Christ.

Some of the issues that lead to complaints
We have the basic issue of sin, people mess up and people think primarily of themselves. We sin and people sin against us.

At times, we think of ourselves as individuals above what we agree and have agreed to do together as the body of Christ. Our position by itself may not necessarily be wrong, but it is wrong when we are part of the Body of Christ and yet put our position above that or in competition to the rest of the body.

At times, we don’t understand the context God has called us to shine His light into. We ignore generational differences, time differences, cultural differences, geographical differences and social differences.

At times, our loyalty is to things other than God. (ie. We are more interested in a particular style of worship, our friends, maintaining a tradition, even an attitude of what is right in church, money or anything else above God.)

At times, we allow the law to dominate over the Gospel (ie. We don’t help people see that God accepts them and forgives them), or we don’t speak any law at all, ultimately resulting in the Gospel being irrelevant (ie. We allow people to do whatever they want).

Responding to complaints
When it comes to complaints, God gives us some fundamental tools and principles.
The primary principles come from scripture.

The most frequent scripture passage used by the Christian Community is Matthew 18:15-20
15 "If a brother or sister sins, go and point out the fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18 "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Two other important passages in this area are:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Ephesians 4:29-32
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Also Luther’s Small Catechism offers some guidance…
The Eighth Commandment says
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. Luther also pointed out that the bible says we are not to tell lies about others, betray or slander them or destroy their reputation. Instead we are to always defend them, speak well of them and interpret everything they do in the best possible light.

These three passages and Luther’s explanation to the 8th Commandment highlight that there is a process and attitude which is biblical when it comes to complaints.
1/ They recognise that complaints will occur.
2/ Forgiveness and love are essential goals in dealing with complaints.
3/ When we have an issue with someone in the church (or a group) we should first meet with that person or when it is a complaint against a team decision or action, the responsible team leader. We should not to wait for a meeting, especially a congregational meeting. If we don’t believe it has been dealt with appropriately we need to inform the person we have complained to and then bring the issue up with the relevant team. If it still has not been handled appropriately then it becomes a matter for the BCL (Church Council) and then the congregation as a whole.
4/ Our motivation for raising issues is to encourage people, build them up and help people and the church grow.

What happens when others complain to us or we hear a complaint on the grapevine?
One of the most damaging complaints in a church is the anonymous complaints, eg. someone has told me, I have heard on the grapevine, etc.. People who raise such complaints should not expect any action to occur in regards to their complaint. Apart from ignoring biblical principles, these complaints are damaging because:
· We cannot clarify the nature of the complaint, there maybe misunderstandings.
· It does not allow informed discussion about the complaint, why an issue occurred or what is happening.
· It does not allow people to defend themselves, explain their actions or provide another side of the story against a complaint.
· It prohibits us educating people of why and how certain things occur or do not occur, or even what it means to be church at our congregation.
The most appropriate way to handle these complaints officially is to ignore them until the person who instigated the complaint is prepared to come forward.

What to do when people complain to us about someone else?
If we are not the appropriate person when we hear people complaining, an appropriate and biblical consistent approach to take is:
1/ Listen to them. They maybe just blowing off steam or getting an opinion if others think that way.
2/ Encourage them to take the complaint to the person or team they have a complaint with. If they are not confident in doing this, say you are prepared to go with them, but you will not speak on their behalf. It is not your role to represent them and bring complaints to others on their behalf. As a last resort, encourage them to talk the issue over with the pastor.
3/ If they are unwilling to go directly to the person they have a complaint against encourage them to drop the issue and forget about it, suggest they read the above passages. Also don’t listen to the complaint any further.

If someone complains to us or to the team we are leading.
1/ Listen to them.
2/ Clarify with them what their complaint is.
3/ Let them know we are following the principles in the above bible passages.
4/ Put the complaint into context. What have others said? How many have complained? Has there been praise for the very thing people are complaining about? Does a once off, mean it happens all the time?
5/ Explain your side of the story and why things were done or not done.
6/ Judge your complaint and actions based on what we are called to do as a church, against what our congregation’s objects are, our mission statement, your team’s responsibilities, our congregation’s decisions, member’s responsibilities and what scripture say.
7/ If necessary agree to disagree.
8/ Seek forgiveness and offer forgiveness.
9/ Pray to God about the situation
10/ Help the person be more involved in the congregation.

Due to laws and our responsibility as a congregation if you hear of a complaint of a criminal matter, sexual abuse nature or abuse relating to children or the elderly regardless of how you have heard it this must be discussed immediately with the pastor of the congregation and not discussed widely.
© 2009 Richard Schwedes. Please feel free to use this for congregational and church use.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mother's Day and worship

Mother's Day seems to arch up some emotional discussion when it comes to worship.
On one extreme some worship services seem to glorify the mother above God, people are caught up in the entire day. The there are those who are so fed up with the commercialism of Mother's Day or they are so worried about offending those who can't be mothers that when you attend worship services led by them you wouldn't even know mother's exist.

Both responses to Mother's Day deny the Gospel, God speaking to us in the situations we live in. Neither of these responses I believe are biblical or helpful to us in seeing how God is at work in our lives.

I have always preferred to take the point of view that Mother's Day is a great opportunity to remember how we have been blessed through our mothers (even if it is only the life we have), how mother's aren't always perfect but God is and that biblically and realistically one of the main ways people receive the faith is through their mothers.

Ideas for worship in mother's day
Lutheran Church of Australia's suggestions for mother's day worship
History and ideas from Rev Richard J Fairfield
Family Worship
New ideas from Baptist Press
Ideas from the Reformed Church in America
Fresh ideas for Mother's day
Mother's Day Litany based on Proverbs 31
Mother's Day service ideas from John Mark ministries
Hymn suggestions
A new hymn for Mother's Day
Mother's Day Remembrance pin

Bible readings
Proverbs 1:7-9
Ephesians 6:1-3
John 19:25-27

Hymn Suggestions
Make me a channel of your peace
Now thank we all our God

Friday, May 08, 2009

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Discover your spiritual approach

God has created each person different and as a result there are some legitmate ways to relate to God. Not every Christian relates to God in the same way.

Natural Church Development will release a book in October 2009 relating to people discovering and understanding other people's spirituality.

In the meantime you and your friends can undertake a survey to discover more about how you relate to God and compare this with others at your congregation

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Online training for Sunday people living a Monday world

Life Journey Ministries has its roots in the Lutheran Church Missouri synod.
It is committed to helping Christians live out their Christian calling by helping them:
  • Understand and live their newness and freedom in the Gospel
  • Clarify and be empowered to perform their distinctive God-given purpose and irreplaceable contribution in life wherever God places them
  • Develop deeper dialogue and relationship with God
  • Help others meet and experience God
  • More intentionally be God’s presence in the world as we partner with Him in caring for life as accessed and influenced through our various arenas of life

Currently they offer the following online courses:

  • Managing Conflict From a Christian Perspective
  • Touring the Sites of Biblical Leadership
  • Called to Be Free, on-line
  • Freed to Let Faith Transform Your Work
  • Soul Talk in the Workplace

For further information visit

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Emerging Church

One of the phrases being thrown around by those involved in anything new in the church is 'Emerging Church'. Just about anyone who wants to be different can claim to be part of the Emerging Church, for some people it means one thing for others it means something else. When I first started exploring what is the emerging church, some people indicated it was about bringing the old stuff of the church into a new environment and some times understanding it in different ways. Some even used the term Ancient Future. Others said it Christianity as it originally was. After awhile I soon realised that the best way to understand the Emerging Church is to read, visit, participate and explore what it was about it. The following information hopefully helps you on this journey....

Understanding the Emerging Church
Article from Christianity Todays that explores five streams that lead into the lake called the emerging church; they are prophetic, post modern, praxis (how the faith is lived out) orientated, Post evangelical and Political
Wikipedia entry on the Emerging Church provides a quick overview
Religion and ethics news weekly has an discussion that introduces the emerging church
What is the emerging church? article by Scott McKnight
What should we think of the emerging church? article in Christian Post by R Albert Mohler jnr
Apologetics index has a number of articles explaining and crtiquing various aspects of the emerging church
Richard Bennett of Berean Beacon offers an online video that gives an overview of the Emerging Church and some of its leaders.

Concerns about the emerging church
Take back Canada examines and collates a number of articles, books and papers that oppose the Emerging Church
Understanding the times offers a number of articles and resource critizing the emerging church. Some of what they call the emerging church (like Purpose Driven Life) is generally not seen as the emerging church.
Sound witness critiques the emerging church

Resources and web sites relating to being an Emerging Church offers an introduction, emerging church stories, reflection from those in the emerging church, research, prayer and links
Emergentvillage is a growing, generative friendship among missional Christians seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It offers events, PODCASTS and WEBLOGs
The OOZE is one of the original and premier sites for the emerging church movement with a host of articles, conversations, recommendations and a lot more.
The Next Wave is an online magazine for the church in a post modern culture
Tyndale University and College online reading room offers articles, books and links relating to the emerging church
Anglimergent offers details of events, stories, information on books and other resources, discussion and a lot more
ChurchNext is a place where Christians forming new expressions of faith can share stories and ideas
FutureChurch NZ is a platform for emerging forms of Spirituality

Specific Lutheran articles and resources relating to the Emerging Church
Emerging Lutherans offers a range of resources, conversation opportunities and ideas on Lutherans being emerging
Perspective: A good fit for Lutheran theology....the Lutheran (ELCA) magazine
The emerging church, emerging eucharist and the U2charist article in the Lutheran ELCA magazine
Lutheran Emerging Huddle on Facebook
Emergent Leaders Network is a site for sharing resources, stories, experiences, hopes, dreams and prayers
The Lutheran Zephr offers a range of articles and blog articles relating to the emerging church
The Lutheran wikitionary entry relating to emerging church
Emerging Lutheran Blog
Father Hollywood offers a discussion and critque on the claim that Lutherans can be emerging
A short discussion from the WELS church about the emerging church

Emerging Church Congregations
House for all sinners and saints
Church of the Apostles
The Well
The SimpleWay
Solomon's Porch
The Living Room
Cafe Church

Blogs from Emerging Church Leaders
Jesus Creed: Scott McKnight offers great resources including a chart comparing various eras of Christianity
Leonard Sweet article and blog
Brian McLaren
Dan Kimball
Erwin McManus
Josh Reich
Dion Forster
Doug Pagitt
Tall Skiny Kiwi

Books and other resources for those exploring the emerging church
Book Reviews in Christianity Today

Emerging Ministry: Being church today (Lutheran Voices)

An Emergent Theology for an emergent church

The Emerging Church

Emerging Churches

Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church

The Emerging Church:

Listening to the beliefs of the emerging church

They like Jesus but not the church: Insights from the emerging church

Church in the emerging culture: 5 perspectives

Emerging Worship

Confessions of a reformission Rev

If you know of anything else relating to the emerging church please feel free to email me at

Friday, April 24, 2009

Commentary Directory

Looking for a commentary or want to compare commentaries....

Maybe you are looking for a commentary written by a particular scholar... is a handy directory of commentaries...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lutheran Leaderhship 8: Obstacle removers, not obstacle encouragers or enforcers

The core mission of Jesus is extremely clear....

Read John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Reflect and share
As one of his disciples how does Jesus core mission affect how you lead?
Where can you see examples of Jesus core mission in your life and the organisations you are leading?
Where can you see Jesus core mission missing in your life and the organisations you are leading?

One of the issues every leader faces is that there will be obstacles to us living out and leading people in being in touch with Jesus core mission, at times we even put obstacles in the road.
We can assume there are more important things than Jesus core mission. This could be the hoops people need to jump through to receive God's love, that they must participate or like a certain style of music or worship, that they need be living perfectly up to our standards before God would even consider loving them, that everyone must worship at the same time or anything else that we say is crucial that the bible doesn't say is crucial (remember the Lutheran principle we do and not do what the bible clearly says, but where it is not covered there is freedom).

Even the disciples fell into the trap of putting up obstacles of others developing relationships with Jesus.

Read Matthew 19:13-14, Mark 10:13-16 and Matthew 18:15-17
Reflect on and share
What do these texts say to us as leaders about people being in contact with Jesus?
What do they mean for us?
Are there any practices or thoughts in our organisation that needs to be reviewed to remove the obstacles that exist for people to develop a relationship with Jesus?
Why do you think we want to develop and enforce obstacles?

One of the things in life we need to face is that people are different...there are different generations, different personalities, different backgrounds and experiences....
This situation of differences often results in what one person sees as good another sees as bad...but for many things, not all the reality is neither is good nor bad maybe just more appropriate for one type of person and less appropriate for another. And the bible does talk to us about this situation read 1 Corinthians 12 and 13....

and if you are interested in learning about the different types of people that maybe in your organisation and how they may connect with Jesus read the book Sacred Pathways by Gary highlights 7 different types of people and the ways they relate to Jesus....