Posts tagged ‘Church’
Have you ever gotten home from work and thought to yourself, “I just need some time to myself?” This is a natural response that many of us, including myself, are prone to having. But it is important for us to realize that the very thing many of us naturally gravitate towards (isolation) is a result of sin and is really the opposite of what we need. Community by Brad House is a book that addresses this need of every single human for community. Americans have especially developed an individualistic mindset that often completely ignores or denies community. Yet we see in Scripture over and over how it is not good for man to be alone. God did not design us to live alone and in seclusion, instead He created us to desire acceptance and approval and connection in community.
Brad House tackles this Western mindset of individualism and how it has seeped into churches today.
Community within the church today is hemorrhaging. Attention spans are dwindling, noise levels are increasing, and we can’t seem to find time for real relationships.
The answer to such social fragmentation can be found in small groups, and yet the majority of small groups–at least in the traditional sense–are often not the intentional, transformational community we really want and need. Somehow we need to get our groups off life support and into authentic community.
Pastor Brad House helps us to re-imagine what gospel-centered community looks like and shares from his experience leading and reproducing healthy small groups. With wisdom and candor, House challenges us to think carefully about our own groups and to take steps toward cultivating communities that are able to glorify Jesus, bless one another, and participate in the mission of God.
This is an incredible book that was a constant source of conviction and repentance on my part. What a breath of fresh air to realize that community is not intended to drain life, but to give life. You don’t recover from community, you recover in community.
This book is intended for pastors and church leaders, but most of it would be beneficial to any and everyone, especially the first section which deals with the theological foundation for community. Community has become a Christian buzzword, and so it is critically important that we understand why community is so important before we can truly grasp what community will look like. I would encourage you to read this book and examine your own community (or if you are like me, your lack of community). I hope that this book both challenges and encourages you!
If you have a desire as a Christian to trust what the Word of God says above and beyond anything else (feelings, culture, circumstances, etc.) then Radical is a ministry you should be familiar with. This ministry started by David Platt has a number of great resources to encourage, challenge and equip believers.
Radical exists to serve the church in accomplishing the mission of Christ.
We long to see the church making disciples who make disciples who make disciples throughout the world – from our neighbors across the street to the unreached people groups across the globe – all for the glory of God.
Radical is a parachurch ministry that serves alongside the local church, providing multi-lingual biblical resources birthed in the context of a local church that we hope will support disciple-making in other local churches around the world. Radical serves these churches by providing resources in multiple languages, organizing events on multiple levels, and facilitating opportunities through multiple avenues that all aim to encourage followers of Christ in the global purpose God has designed for us as His people. Many of our resources come from the ministry of David Platt, who serves as one of the pastors of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama.
One of the most powerful and unique resources you will find at Radical is Secret Church. Secret Church is based off of experiences David had while ministering with underground churches in southeast Asia. It is not intended to be a gimmick to “recreate” a Secret or underground church atmosphere, but instead is based on those within these churches willingness and desire to study the Word of God. It is not a show or performance, but very simply is one man attempting to be faithful in teaching God’s Word for several hours at a time. I want to encourage you, if you’ve never experienced Secret Church, to check it out (you’ll find the audio and video for free on the internet, or you can order a DVD). You will want to purchase a study guide that corresponds with the Secret Church you’re watching (they’re about $5). These are less like study guides and are more like books with a wealth of Scripture resources. When you look at the different Secret Churches, you’ll see that each one is arranged around a specific theme. We watched The Cross and Suffering with our Student Ministry, and I can say that if you are or have gone through significant struggles, difficulties, or suffering, this is a Bible study that will encourage and strengthen you through God’s Word on suffering. Be warned that these lessons are fast paced (which is why the study guide is so helpful) and are intended to look at a given topic holistically. So instead of just teaching on one or two verses on suffering for example, David attempts to look throughout all of Scripture on what each and every book of the Bible has to say about suffering. If you are serious about wanting to grow as a Christian, I would certainly encourage you to watch these lessons!
David is a pastor who has a heart to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth and who desires to see the local church make disciples who make disciples. One of the reasons I appreciate David so much as a pastor, is that his heart is always focused on God, and not man. And so the result is not a church or ministry that seeks to just give people what they want to hear but to teach the Word in its entirety for the glory of God. I have learned so much from hearing him preach (both in person at a number of conferences and online through podcast), and I would encourage you to become familiar with what he is teaching. I don’t want to point to David and say how great he is, because I know what’s really great about his teaching isn’t him, but Him. Too often Christianity here in the west has looked more and more like culture, and it has been both a challenge and an encouragement to me to be faced with Scripture’s call to us as Christians. When Jesus calls his disciples to follow Him, we know where He’s ultimately going (His throne), but He goes to the cross first. It is curious to me that many Christians assume Jesus is calling us to follow Him without really acknowledging where He went (or at least accepting the implications for us as Christians). Indeed, the thorn room is next to the throne room. I encourage you to check out David’s teachings as he embraces this truth and carries it out to its full extent for us as Christians: making disciples who take the Gospel to the ends of the earth for the glory of God.
For more about David, visit his about page on Radical.net. You can also visit the website for his Church, The Church at Brook Hills.
(By sharing about this ministry, I am not endorsing it or all of its views. I have no connection or affiliation with this ministry.)