Archive for Category: evangelism
UK Government Minister Slams ‘Militant Secularism’
LONDON (AP) â€” When it comes to religion, British politicians tend to heed the famous advice of Tony Blair’s spin doctor, Alastair Campbell â€” “We don’t do God.” In contrast to the United States, the deity is rarely invoked on the campaign trail or in political speeches.
But a Muslim Cabinet minister has become the latest member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s government to urge the country to embrace its Christian heritage. Sayeeda Warsi also said that “militant” secularism poses a threat to Europe, a comment that has angered atheists and highlighted the divisive political potential of religion.
Her views will strike a chord with some religious Britons who feel threatened by growing secularization and by recent anti-discrimination cases, including one that saw Christian hoteliers fined for refusing to allow a gay couple to stay in a double room.
In an article published Tuesday in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Warsi urged Europe “to become more confident in its Christianity.”
“You cannot and should not extract (the) Christian foundations from the evolution of our nations any more than you can or should erase the spires from our landscapes,” she wrote.
“My fear today is that a militant secularization is taking hold of our societies,” she added, accusing some atheists of having the same intolerant instincts as authoritarian regimes.
Warsi, a prominent member of Cameron’s Conservative Party, is leading a delegation of British government ministers to the Vatican, where they are due to meet Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday.
In a speech in Rome, Warsi said that “too often there is a suspicion of faith in our continent.” She said in Britain religion has been “sidelined, marginalized and downgraded” and “faith is looked down on as the hobby of ‘oddities, foreigners and minorities.'”
One in three young people in England have become heavy drinkers. Surely this fact factors into the recent riots across the United Kingdom.
Just how do we reach these? Surely we can pray. Surely we can support those who are holding up Christ among them already. And just who might that be, btw? Any contacts known to you? Might alternative churches have a role where the institutional churches are so mired down?
The problems among American youth are just as serious, we freely acknowledge.
A commentator writes on the site of a major UK newspaper:
Itâ€™s not just Labourâ€™s relaxed attitude to alcohol that is the problem, it is the entire culture that Labour creates: a lack of responsibility, a lack of morality, a lack of dignity, a lack of discipline and a lack of reality. The fact is there must be a lot of miserable people inhabiting this country to create so many alcoholics. Where is pride and respect? How awful to lead a country into this mireâ€¦ we used to be so proud. People used to have manners, they used to have loyalty, they used to have values â€“ they used to feel shame when they behaved badly. This shows a sad deterioration of society and the individual; a sense of loss and a growing feeling of self-loathing. An unhappy country. How can we get people to acknowledge and recognise that this isnâ€™t what they want? How can we bring them back to be the wonderful, happy, caring and loving individuals they should be? How can we rekindle that sense of self-worth and motivate them to act responsibly and kindly?
– Ollie, London, UK, 23/10/2006 15:41
Rowland Allen published a fine book by this title in the early 1900’s based on his experiences as a foreign missionary. I dig that title. Bring it on, Lord.
I found a text version of the book. In it, the phrases “church planting, church planter” did not appear. That is significant in that we too often see the church as something we plant rather than God adding to.
One plants (the gospel), one waters, God gives the increase!
Who would have guessed that, by some accounts, there are now more house churchers than Southern Baptists, the largest protestant denomination in the USA? House Churchers, therefore, are all around us, likely in every public place, even at every major intersection. If the “one in five adults” figure is accurate and you’re sitting in a restaurant, there are statistically several others present who could join with you for an impromptu church meeting.
These numbers mean that traditional churches have lost members by the millions, tithes and offerings by the billions. If “one in five adults” are participating in house churches, tens of millions of children would also be involved.
These new churches, we are informed, are not “cell churches” attached to a traditional church but real house church participants.
Is this the latter day glory or what? I am very optimistic in my prophetic views of the end times but I must confess that such figures exceed anything I could have ever expected. Oh me of little faith… The amazing findings of George Barna can be tracked in the articles below.
And somewhere, there must be a sizable group of “house church planters” who have been more fantastically successful than anything previously documented in the whole history of the church including the book of Acts. Might these please step forward and identify themselves? God will receive all the glory, of course, we just want to know who you are.
It should be noted that serious disparity does exist in the polling. The Time magazine article first mentioned it. Take, for example, the data reported in the Friday Fax, published by researcher and author Wolfgang Simson. About a year ago (May 13. 2005) it was documented that USA house churches “had probably doubled in the past 18 months, from 2,500 to 5,000.”
Hmmmm… Let’s take that “43 million” number of house churchERS and then double again the number of house churchES to 10,000 to represent another doubling for the year 2006 – this time in only a year, actually much less. That translates, I believe, into about 4,300 adults per house church!
What do YOU think about the implications of the alleged “70 million who regularly attend or have experimented with a house church?” What do you see in your corner of the world to confirm such an unprecedented shift in social behavior?
Me, I’ve gone door to door for 20 something years as a UPS delivery driver in more than a dozen counties in Tennessee and Virginia. I’ve gotten close to a lot of families along the way. Total number of known house churchers encountered? Zero.
Furthermore, I’ve read literally thousands of email messages, public and private, over the past decade from those within or interested in the house church community. Folks alooking for a local house church have outnumbered those who actually found one by a ratio of hundreds to one.
Where are all the house/micro/simple/home/nano/organic/family/nameless church bloggers, btw? If our numbers are greater than the Baptists (and all other denoms) why isn’t it reflected in the blog traffic and the tags? I see hundreds of reformed bloggers, for example, but hardly a few dozen house church bloggers who post regularly if even that many.
Question: Other than the Barna Group what other pollsters have examined this matter and what did they discover?
Why Are More Americans Lonely Today?
by Janice Shaw Crouse, Posted Jul 13, 2006
Human Events Online
Rarely has news from an academic paper struck such a responsive nerve with the general public. The National Science Foundation (NSF) reported in its General Social Survey that unprecedented numbers of Americans are lonely.
Published in the American Sociological Review (ASR) and authored by Miller McPhearson, Lynn Smith-Lovin and Matthew Brashears, sociologists at Duke and the University of Arizona, the study featured 1,500 face-to-face interviews, where more than a quarter of the respondents — one in four — said that they have no one with whom they can talk about their personal troubles or triumphs. If family members are not counted, the number doubles to more than half of Americans who have no one outside their immediate family with whom they can share confidences. Sadly, the researchers noted that the number of “socially isolated” Americans has doubled since 1985.
These dramatic statistics from ASR parallel similar trends reported by the Beverly LaHaye Institute — that over the 40 years from 1960 to 2000 the number of people living as “unrelated individuals” increased from 6 to 16 percent of all persons. Additionally, about 70 percent of those classified as “unrelated individuals” lived alone.
How did this come about? A number of streams feed this river. Dependence upon government rather than neighbors is surely a factor. And look at all the fun which can now be experienced alone compared to just a few decades ago prior to the era of endless cable TV programs and video games. Not to mention the internet.
The implications for the followers of Christ, in view of this trend, are real and they are vast. Is not old-fashioned hospitality part of the solution? No wonder that the older ones or overseers in the churches were/are required to be hospitable.
The phrase “friendship evangelism” is a new one but the concept is ancient.
Andy Stanley is Betting the Farm on Doubling Groups
Before Northpoint Church ever started, Andy started a group in his home. He met with a handful of other couples to encourage one another, study the Bible together, pray and fellowship. This accidental community group became the model for their exploding group ministry that exists today in every facet of their ministry.
Here are a few quotes from their web site and from some Northpoint small group training CDs that emphasize this passion for doubling groups:
“We believe the small group is the best place for sustained life-change to occur. In a small group, people study God’s Word together and are in a safe enough environment to discuss the issues and challenges of life. It’s also where they pray, care for one another, and are missed if they don’t show up.”
“Success at Northpoint is defined by how effectively our ministries move people from our large environments into small groups.”
“I believe I will have more kingdom impact with the 10 people that meet in my home on Monday night than I will with the thousands whom I preach before on Sundays.” -Andy Stanley
Andy has set the goal of having 100,000 people in community groups by the year 2010.
Hmmmmm….wonder what would happen if any or many of these “small groups” eventually declared their independence of Stanley’s mega-church, North Point Community Church, and decided that their fund$ and time would be better spent elsewhere. That they could have more accountability and more ministry without formal ties to the mother ship, so to speak.
I wonder what precautionary measures are in place to keep such a thing from occuring. Any ideas?
Wondering as I wander…