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The Master's Grip: In His Grip

Know Thy World
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

So I was reading the latest (Fall 2005) issue of Leadership: Real ministry in a complex world a journal/magazine for Pastors/church leaders...there were a few things I read that I wanted to share with you and comment on.

What Are You Still Reading?: A mentioned Barna Group survey (link to survey) of what books were on Pastor's reading lists made the statement:

When the books designated as the most helpful were categorized, there were three types of books that pastors found to be most profitable. A majority of pastors (54%) listed at least one book regarding discipleship or personal spiritual growth. Books about church growth, congregational health or ministry dynamics were the next most prolific, listed by 23% of pastors. Leadership books were equally valued, identified by 22%. No other category was cited by at least 10% of the sample.

Less influential types of books included those about theology (9%), evangelism and outreach (6%), pastoring (6%), and prayer (5%). Books regarding charismatic perspectives (5%), trends and cultural conditions (4%), and preaching (3%) also generated noteworthy interest.

Now, here is my concern...while I applaud those who read books on discipleship and spiritual growth (see my below post if you don't believe me) and the other types that were popular, it bothers me that "trends and cultural conditions" made only 4% of the reading lists. Maybe it is just me, but all the discipleship ideas, personal growth ideas, etc. put together how much good can they really do if you don't know about the world you live in and where it is headed/what it is doing.

Combined with that was a later article entitled "Doing Church at the Metro Stops" about a Pastor Mark Batterson and the church he pastors (National Community Church: http://www.theaterchurch.com/, Washington D.C.). One statement he makes in the article is:
Another core value is that "irrelevance is irreverence." According to Batterson, "Anything less than relevant is being irreverent to the Holy Spirit, who speaks more than six billion dialects in calling people to God."

I am glad that someone gets it...it would seem that this would be a trend of the younger generation of ministers/church leaders, a stronger focus on relevancy and culture. It is one of the primary values of the Postmodern movement. I must say I agree...to minister effectively you must make an effort to understand those who you minister to and what influences them. As a church leader there is no excuse for not being aware of what is going on in your community, etc. Just because it is "political" or "business" or another topic that "you aren't part of" as a church leader who is active in setting doctrine and theology for your flock you better be aware of what is going on.

Continue to learn how to better disciple your flock, how to spiritually grow, but if you can't help those of your flock with what is going on, they will find help elsewhere.

In His Grip,

James

Quotes from articles copyright either Leadership/ChristianityToday Int. or The Barna Group.


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posted by James Dasher @ 9:19 PM,




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