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Stuff From the Mind of Dr. Barry Kolb

+Vision+Mission+Passion+ - Stuff From the Mind of Dr. Barry Kolb

THE LAST 10 WORDS OF DYING CHURCHES by Brian Dodd

This is a great article — it may not feel comfortable reading it — but there is too much truth to avoid it!  Read on …

10622949_774501549239664_8958848538726265800_n“If you don’t like change, you‘re going to like irrelevance even less.”

Those are the words of General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army who is currently in the news because of the VA scandal.

I originally wrote this post in April 2012. However, in the last week it has gone viral primarily through Facebook. Therefore, since the message has incredible relevance to ministry today, I am re-releasing this post with some updated information. Get ready to be challenged.

There are few things as sad as watching a once great church grow old, become irrelevant, and slowly die. What is worse is that they either don’t know they’re dying or they simply don’t care as long as those remaining are happy. Sadly, I have witnessed this more times than I wish to count. In addition, I have attended this type of church before.

Here is what I have noticed about many of these churches – at a pivotal point, a decision was made to continue doing ministry the way they always have rather than alter their approach to reach a changing community or the next generation.

After months of committee meetings and off-line conversations, the church finally utters the The 10 Last Words Of Dying Churches –

“We’ve never done it that way before. We’re not changing.”

Those 10 powerful words subsequently have a ripple effect that lasts generations. As a result, the following are additional comments those attending these churches are bound to say and/or hear shortly thereafter:

“Isn’t it great that our music is never too loud?”

“Isn’t it nice seeing people in coats and ties and not disrespecting God by wearing jeans and shorts?”

“We’re more spiritual and doctrinally pure than that fast-growing, watered-down gospel, baptizing-hundreds–maybe-thousands-every-year church down the street.”

“Can you believe that church is stealing all our young people?”

“I hear we’re having to cut the budget because giving is not what it used to be.”

“Isn’t it great having all this room on the pew to spread out.”

“I love singing all four verses.”

“Don’t worry about our attendance. Let me tell you how large our membership is.”

“Are you coming to Monday night visitation? How about the Wednesday night prayer service?”

“Remember the good ‘ole days.”

“Visitors, please stand.”

“I hear it’s just a show over there.”

“We just formed a Committee on Committees.”

“We don’t talk about money. We preach the Bible.”

“You don’t want that fast growth. Slooooow growth is what you need.”

“Isn’t it great getting out of the parking lot quickly?”

“The poor will always be with us.”

“I’m really tired about having to hear about lost people all the time.”

“Pastor, I think we need to start praying for revival.”

Do these phrases hit close to home for you? Are there any more comments you want to add that you’ve heard?

TO READ MORE: http://www.briandoddonleadership.com

Reaping a Harvest … But When?

waiting-for-a-harvest“I have shared Jesus with so-and-so for as long as I can remember, but it doesn’t seem to be doing any good.”

Have you ever felt that way?  If the truth were told, I have felt that way many times … in the past!  But things began to change when I realized that “soul-winning” or seeing the harvest was a bit more than I had understood.

It started when a man, off the streets, came to see me one day.  When he sat down, I asked what I could do for him.  His reply was simple and straight-forward.  “I have just accepted Jesus into my life and I want to be baptized.”

For a moment I thought, “Hold it!  That’s not how it works.  I had no part in this.  He has never been in my membership class or even heard me preach!”

Before I could say anything, he asked if he could tell me his story.  After years living a pretty rough life, in and out of home, in and out of jail, in and out of marriage, in and out of rehab, and after many people speaking into his life, he finally came to his senses, confessed his sin, and headed to the nearest church.

It was then that I realized how many people had played a part in where he sat that morning.  Some had been hard on him, some had made him think, some had just loved him no matter what, some had sowed … and now here I sat … humbled that I would be part of the harvest.

While I grew up in a small town, I had some farming and gardening roots, thanks to my grandparents who raised me.  Along the way I learned about getting ready for the harvest.  It went something like this:

First, the field had been made ready.  On occasion, this meant removing rocks and stumps, trees, and really big weeds.

Second, once the “junk” had been removed, you had to plow–and plow deep–to stir up the good soil and make it ready for the next steps.

Third, when the soil had been prepared, there came a time of seed scattering.

Fourth, after this you watched that field and watered that field/garden, and made sure the weeds were taken care of on a regular basis.

Fifth, there often came a time of pruning or cutting back, or thinning out, or dead-heading to encourage growth.

Sixth, of course you added fertilizer when needed, to encourage growth.

And seventh, you waited for the harvest.

Now friends, think about this in the context of soul-winning for a moment.

How many people do you know that need some stumps or rocks removed from their life before any seed can be planted?

How many people literally need to be plowed through a few times?

Do you recognize a field that is ready for planting?

Once the seed is planted, have you followed up by watering?

Has there ever been a time when you had to encourage or rebuke or challenge a fellow Christ-follower?

Have you been a constant and consistent fertilizer?

Each of us plays a role in making disciples, growing the new believers.  But let us remember that it is the work of the Holy Spirit that cals, gathers and enlightens as Martin Luther said.  We are but laborers in the vineyard.

Who knows what role we play in this process.  Some of us may spend our entire lives helping get rocks and stumps out of people’s lives.  And some of us will unexpectedly experience harvest.  But no matter our role, it is an important one.

As for me, I rejoiced that day to be part of what the Spirit had done in that man’s life.  And I also rejoiced in the role that many, many people had played in his life leading up to that point.

This is also why I continue to pray for wisdom, asking the Spirit to show show me my roll, as I scatter the seed!

Galatians 6:9, And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (ESV)

It’s No Wonder

When I was young and woke at night with a cough or fever, my grandmother would always show up with something for me to take.  Her comment was always, “It’s good for what ails you.”

Like a good soldier, I sat up and drank.  In a matter of minutes I fell asleep, usually for a long time.  When I woke, I generally felt better, though with a slight headache and a dopier than usual feeling!

Recently I uncovered the reason!  Here it is!

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Just Wondering About Love

moonPerusing Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and even some church newsletters, I am amazed at how much we “love” something or someone.  But … and there is always a but … if we loved some things as much as we say we do … what do we say about our “love affair” with Jesus?

Just a few examples for you to think about …

  • I love you more than anything else in this who, wide world …
  • I love you to the moon and back …
  • I love no one more than …
  • You mean everything to me …
  • I don’t know how I could ever live without …
  • My dog/cat/horse/etc is my life …

Now understand this, I love a lot of things as well … a good pizza for example … but never would I attach any of the above to it!  Maybe I am making too much of this, but I often wonder how much we say the same about the One who has done EVERYTHING for us!?

As a “Lutheran” (OK … a lutherabapticostal), I think of a couple of lines from old hymns:

“And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife, let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won, the kingdom ours remaineth…”  (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God)

“Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold …” (Take My Life and Let it Be)

And, I close with this … You Are My All in All (Natalie Nordeman) … you can listen to it here.

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I’d be a fool
You are my all in all
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Oh, Your name is worthy
Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again I bless Your name
(I bless Your name)
You are my all in all
(Oh yes you are, yes you are)
When I fall down You pick me up
When I am dry You fill my cup
(You fill my cup)
You are my all in all
(My all, Lord, hallelujah)
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
(Oh, Your name, Your precious name is worthy, Lord)
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
You’re my everything
The beginning and the end
The first, the last You are
The great I am
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
(Oh, my Jesus, my precious Jesus)
Worthy is Your name
Worthy is Your name
Worthy is Your name