Thursday, July 16, 2015

Currently Trending

Most of you know by now that I am a trends guy. I read a lot of articles and stats about trends in America, especially those having to do with church. I appreciate those people out there keeping the pulse of our culture. People like Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research, George Barna of the Barna Institute, Thomas Rainer, Will Mancini and others.

These trend evaluators present some very thought provoking considerations. This issue of Freshly Bru’d will present 3 trends that may happen in the next ten years. Think about them and see if you agree as you look out on America’s church landscape. These trends come from Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research.

Trend number one: The hemorrhaging of mainline Protestantism. Mainline churches are in trouble numerically, especially the United Methodist church, Evangelical Lutheran church in America, Episcopal church, Presbyterian church (USA), American Baptist church, United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Christian church (Disciples of Christ). There is a substantive decline of these churches and the numbers of people they are losing and connections does not look promising.

Trend number two: Continued growth of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement. They have won the spiritual gift debate concerning cessationsim, have tamed down their practice of certain gifts and are moving toward a Spirit filled and Spirit led experience. They also have won the worship war debate.

Trend number three: Networks will explode in number and influence. Denominations still matter but networks are growing in influence and impact. Some are becoming their own denominations. (Like Vineyard, Calvary Chapel).

All of these trends have implications – some good, and some not so good. What good implications or bad implications do you see in the future relating to these three trends?


P.S. Ever wish you knew more about the Bible? I’m not talking facts about it but the “How to’s” of it. How to read it, interpret it, apply it, how it’s put together and most of all, how to believe it. If you are interested in such things come this Sunday at 9:15am or 11:00am and bring a friend. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Relationship is paramount

This post of Freshly Bru’d is committed to a very important reminder. The reminder is: only a very few people hear the gospel or show up at church without first being in relationship. In other words, most people who come to trust in Christ are invited to do so by a person they know.

That means God calls all of us not just pastors, to evangelize our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc… Personal relationships are the best way to reach out to people with the gospel.

Every Christ follower is to be on board with investing their lives in others. This investment will provide opportunities for those you are investing in to hear the gospel and see the gospel lived out in you, their friend.

As a pastor in the church it is true to say “I don’t know your friends” but you do. I can’t invest in your friends – you can. I can’t invite your friends to church – you can. What I can do is to make sure the gospel is presented well, over and over again and teach it well, but only you can invest and invite your friends who need the gospel.

There isn’t a person who gets through this broken world unbroken. As you live your life each day, week in and week out, connect with broken people as broken people who have met the One who restores. Invest in people’s lives. When the time is right offer restoration of the brokenness through Christ. That is evangelism. God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ to be sent out to reconcile others to Him. That is what I wanted to remind all of us.


P.S. Need the courage to say “No” to something? Going along with the crowd? Some temptation? Some addiction? Filthy language? Drinking? Can I have the courage to say “No” to something that will ultimately cause me pain and sorrow in the long run? Yes, you can. Come and discover it this Sunday at 9:15am or 11:00am.