Pope Francis: “Never abandon prayer, even when it seems pointless to pray.” pic.twitter.com/TiAA2GnHTX
— The Assisi Project (@Assisi_Project) November 4, 2019
Category : Adult Education
You can see the schedule in the link provided; I would apreciate your prayers, KSH.
Meetings often fill the calendars of office workers, but pastors say their days are often full of meetings as well.
A survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research asked 1,000 Protestant pastors if they regularly have any of six types of meetings. Virtually every pastor (99%) says they regularly have at least one of those work-related meetings.
“Churches are people, and church ministry is people ministry,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “It is not surprising that pastors participate in many meetings, but the nature of those meetings varies.”
Nine in 10 pastors (90%) say they regularly meet to counsel church members.
One third of Church of England churches run enquiry and “Christian basics” courses and two-thirds of these report that their courses are attended mainly by people who already go to church, new statistics suggest.
The figures have been collated for the first time at Church House, Westminster, in the Statistics for Mission 2018 report, published by the C of E’s Research and Statistics department.
Of the 13,003 churches that responded to this question, 34 per cent reported that they ran such courses (4400 churches). Of this group, 28 per cent ran courses that they had designed themselves; 28 per cent ran Alpha; 17 per cent ran the Pilgrim course; nine per cent ran Christianity Explored; and 30 per cent ran other courses, including Lent and confirmation classes.
Two-thirds (67 per cent) said that they were mainly attended by people who already attended church regularly. Ten per cent said that they were mainly attended by people who did not already attend regularly, and 19 per cent that they had equal numbers of church-goers and non-church-goers.
The Experiences of Ministry survey of 2011, completed by 2916 members of the clergy, found “an important association between the running of nurture courses and both forms of growth [spiritual and numerical]; growth is stronger when nurture courses are more frequently run.” Research by Dr Stephen Hunt published in 2001 found that 77 per cent of Alpha attendees were already churchgoers, although his sample size was small.
NEW: Enquirers’ courses are attended mainly by churchgoers, statistics suggest
“Most people need more help to explore Christian faith in a way which welcomes you in and makes no assumptions about what you already know”https://t.co/0Sq9RRR3Cp
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) October 17, 2019
(Washington Post) Jamie Aten–How A Stephen Curry produced documentary explores forgiveness in the 2015 Charleston church shooting
Q: What first drew you to the “Emanuel” project?
A: I had just gotten married in June 2015, and I was on my honeymoon in New York. I walked into the bedroom, and my wife was crying. She told me nine people had been shot in their Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina.
Then she looked at me and said, “You don’t understand, they’re forgiving him. The family members are forgiving the murderer.” I remember looking at her and saying, “I hope whoever tells that story doesn’t skip that part.” It was that moment for me — encountering this radical, scandalous forgiveness and love for the murderer — that drew me into the story. I wanted the world to know that part of the story.
Q: What was different in this story?
A: It was that they loved him. It was this moment when (survivor) Felicia Sanders said something to him that really changed me: “We enjoyed you.”
When I go out and talk about the film, I’m not just talking about them forgiving him because they wanted to be emotionally free from him. I’m talking about a kind of love you rarely see. Their love for the shooter was a love that said, “I will bear the full weight of the wrong,” which is the highest kind of love — a love for your enemy.
Thanks to @mercnews for picking up my interview with @EmanuelTheMovie director Brian Ivie. If you didn't get to a theater last night, you have one more chance to see this powerful film tomorrow night. @PrayAndActNow https://t.co/zoiGA128CQ
— Jamie Aten (@drjamieaten) June 18, 2019
Remembering Especially the Charleston 9 who died 4 years ago today in the Mother Emanuel Church Shooting
Four years ago today.😔#MotherEmanuel #Charleston
Depayne Middleton Doctor
Daniel Simmons, Sr.
Myra Thompson pic.twitter.com/qHsjhon4ia
— Christine Sperow WBTV (@ChristineOnTV) June 17, 2019
The Church has forgotten how to tell the Christian story to the 93 per cent of people who have little or no contact with it, a new report from the Central Council of Readers suggests.
“We desperately need skilled teachers who will live the story, tell the story, and accompany people as they explore the full implications of becoming part of the story,” says Resourcing Sunday to Saturday Faith, a booklet sent to every Anglican Bishop and every Reader in England and Wales this month. “Our argument in this booklet is that Readers are ideally placed to meet this urgent need.”
Setting out the Council’s “renewed vision” for lay ministry, it begins with a diagnosis of the current landscape for evangelism: “a time of great ferment in the Church”, given internal disputes over sexuality, safeguarding failures, and a society where “many are bewildered by the sheer scale of change”. A “fresh perspective” is needed, it suggests.
“The problem is that we have forgotten how to tell our story — or, to put it another way, we have only been telling part of the story,” it argues.
“In part, this is because we simply don’t know the story. The Church has been described as ‘a mile wide and an inch deep’. Many people in our churches simply haven’t reflected on how the story impacts that many different parts of their lives.”
I found this interesting – a new booklet that has been sent to all Readers and Bishops. It says the Church historically devoted “great time and care” to catechesis. Thanks so much to Readers @jembloomfield & @hamchick for comment: https://t.co/yV49KE73NX
— Madeleine Davies (@MadsDavies) May 31, 2019
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) May 21, 2019
The Spring issue of the Jubilate Duo has just published! A front page article salutes our church plant – St. Timothy's – https://t.co/0lrrUV6tRM
To subscribe tothe Jubilate Deo, go here: https://t.co/tiTmvbIx3O pic.twitter.com/889A11PtE8
— St Pauls Summerville (@StPaulsSVille) May 20, 2019
Whether a lesson be mastered in obedience to conscience, or from a dread of punishment, from filial affection, or determination to beat a rival, is a question of little moment, I grant, in reference to the stock of knowledge acquired, but of incalculable consequence when asked in reference to the bearing upon moral character. The zeal to make scholars, should, in the minds of Christians at least, be tempered by the knowledge that it may repress a zeal for better things. The head should not be furnished at the expense of the heart. Surely, at most, it is exchanging fine gold for silver, when the culture of gracious affections and holy principle is neglected for any attainments of intellect, however brilliant or varied. What Christian parent, would wish his son to be a linguist or a mathematician, of the richest acquirements or the deepest science, if he must become so by a process, in which the improvement of his religious capabilities would be surrendered, or his mind accustomed to motives not recognised in the pure and self-denying discipline of the Gospel. Not that such discipline is unfriendly to intellectual superiority; on the contrary, the incentives to attain it, will be enduring, and consequently efficient, in proportion to their purity. The highest allurements to the cultivation of our rational nature, are peculiar to Christianity. Hence, literature and science have won their highest honors in the productions of minds most deeply imbued with its spirit. The effect, however, of exclusively Christian discipline in a seminary of learning, when fairly stated, is not so much to produce one or two prodigies, as to increase the average quantum of industry; to raise the standard of proficiency among the many of moderate abilities, rather than to multiply the opportunities of distinction for the gifted few.
First, we should consider some objections to Christianity that need to be addressed. Then, we will look at ways of addressing them in the church.
Some issues concerning Christianity are perennial, such as the existence of God, the deity of Christ, and the reliability of the Bible. Of course, the
Gospel must always be explained and defended as the only answer to our estrangement from a holy God because of our sin.
Besides the timeless topics of apologetics, the church should also take up matters of contemporary concern, such as the LGBTQ philosophy and social movements. Many souls, particularly millennials, reject Christianity because of its endorsement of heterosexual monogamy as the norm for sexuality. Others try to warp Christianity to accommodate same-sex marriage, as well as Scripture’s teaching on such matters, alongside other unbiblical sexual arrangements. Great care must be taken with this carefully and prayerfully explained in order to remove obstacles to the Gospel. Gender is not a matter of choice, but a given category, rooted in our biology and status as creatures male or female (Genesis 1:26).
The rise of the “nones” needs to be discussed as well. Many Americans believe in God or some form of spirituality, but identify with no specific religious tradition and view involvement with a church or other religious organization as optional at best and soul-killing at worst. The percentage of Americans in this category is rising. Thus apologetics should address both worship and social transformation. There are no “nones” in the Kingdom of God.
If these are some of the topics that apologetics should address (and there are many more), how, then, should the church fulfill its apologetic calling? An Easter sermon should give some arguments for the historical reality of the resurrection, not just its spiritual significance. Messages related to Christmas can cite the evidence for the virgin birth and the trustworthiness of the Gospel accounts about the life of Jesus. A sermon series might address “Objections to Faith” or “Reasons to Believe.”
Second, the church’s educational ministry should not neglect apologetics at any level—from children to adults….
“The good news is that truth is still truth, that it provides a backbone for witness and ministry in postmodern times, and that God’s truth will never fail.”
– Douglas Groothius pic.twitter.com/nAGWEfPbvT
— Apologetics 315 (@Apologetics315) December 29, 2018
It’s time to rethink our assumptions about where theological education happens. Though much has changed since the Middle Ages, retrieving the cathedral model of learning has the potential not only to reinvigorate faith formation in congregations but to revitalize seminaries and divinity schools at this critical juncture of their evolution.
I see four benefits in making the church a viable site for seminary-level theological education. First, the cathedral model challenges us to rethink the very purpose of theological education. When we associate theological and biblical training with seminaries, it is hard not to think of theological education as a pathway to a professional degree. The M.Div. and related degrees are seen as the functional equivalent of a master’s of business administration degree or a master’s degree in nursing insofar as they prepare candidates, both in terms of skills and credentialing, to work in a particular profession. Prior to 1563, it would have been more natural to see theological education as an aspect of discipleship, not an act of professional credentialing.
This idea is hinted at in the final chapter of Luke’s Gospel in the story of two travelers meandering toward Emmaus on that first Easter afternoon. When Jesus approaches, they mistake him for a stranger and begin telling him about recent events in Jerusalem involving the crucifixion of a man from Nazareth and the rumor of an empty tomb. Eventually, Jesus interrupts. Then, in what must have been the greatest Sunday school lesson of all time, Jesus “interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures” (Luke 24:27).
What is striking about this story is that instead of directing these two travelers to quit their jobs and enroll in a theology course in another city, Jesus brings the teaching to them….
I love this piece and feel that so much of laity would too. On “the assumption that serious biblical and theological reflection is the prerogative of academic institutions” & desire for it within churches. I like the idea of a “scholar in residence” https://t.co/oVQ6Z4SxbU
— Madeleine Davies (@MadsDavies) February 5, 2019
Researchers contacted 410 senior ministers in 29 evangelical and mainline Protestant denominations, along with non-denominational congregations.
Pastors were asked about 18 issues, including marital infidelity, premarital sex, same-sex relationships, sexting, gender dysphoria and the use of pornography by husbands, wives, teens and young children. Among the findings:
- Eighty percent of these Protestant pastors said they had been approached during the past year by church members or staff dealing with infidelity issues, and 73 percent had faced issues linked to pornography.
- Seventy percent of the pastors said they dealt with serious “sexual brokenness” issues in their flock several times a year, with 22 percent saying this took place once a month or more.
- Only one-third of the pastors said they felt “very qualified” to address the sexual issues being raised by their staff and church members.
- Two-thirds of pastors “agree strongly” that the church should help people dealing with sexual sins. However, fewer than 1 in 4 said their churches openly discuss these issues in Bible studies, small groups, training for laity or support groups.
- “Mainline” church pastors were much less likely (39 percent) to address “sexual health” issues than evangelical or conservative clergy (78 percent). Many clergy offer “pastoral counseling,” and that’s that.
On Religion: Many pastors clueless when swamped with sex, tech issues https://t.co/6QZVWvvddo
— Ukiah Daily Journal (@UDJnews) January 19, 2019
Dualism is perhaps the most insidious and dangerous heresy of the Christian church today and it is globally widespread.
It has multiple sources. Dualism comes from transferring Old Testament concepts of leadership and ministry into the radical new world of New Testament life and work.
There is radical continuity between the Old Testament and New in peoplehood, in God’s grace and mercy, and in God’s purpose for the renewal of everything, but radical discontinuity in certain critical aspects.
For example, under the Old Testament, people had to learn to distinguish between the holy and the ordinary (Leviticus 10:10-11).
But under the New Covenant, in Jesus we are able to present our whole bodily life (working, relating, spending money, etc) to God as a living sacrifice, “which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1-2).
Further, dualism was fed to the infant church by the Greek surrounding culture, which treated the body as an evil shell for the sacred and immortal soul imprisoned in the body.
Biblically, the body is good and the soul is not an immortal organ planted in the evil temporary body, but the soul is the person with longings and hunger for God. We don’t have a soul; we are souls, just as we are bodies.
So, instead of saying that pastoral work is sacred and business (or any other kind of societal work) is secular, that pastoral work is eternal while business work is temporal, we can envision all kinds of work as holy towards God and having eternal consequences.
If seminary students and others want to dive into studying Hebrew, that’s wonderful, says the Rev. Matthew Richard Schlimm.
But he believes that just getting into the wading pool with that language leads to deeper understanding of the Old Testament.
Schlimm, a United Methodist elder and professor of Old Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, is the author of the new book “70 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know.”
Even understanding that fraction of the Old Testament’s original language can make a big difference, Schlimm maintains. In his book, he sweetens the deal by providing lots of historical and cultural background, as well as theological commentary.
“My hope is that I’m giving students of the Bible a new tool so that they spot new things in the biblical texts,” Schlimm, 41, said by phone from Iowa. “Being able to access the depth that Hebrew brings is a huge gift.”
— Rio Texas (@RioTxAC) November 21, 2018
New research by Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research Shows the Lamentable state of Theological Education in Many Parishes
When it comes to Americans with “evangelical beliefs” [see below for LifeWay Research’s four-part definition], the survey found that a majority say:
- Most people are basically good (52%)
- God accepts the worship of all religions (51%)
- Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father (78%)
“However, all these beliefs are contrary to the historic Christian faith,” stated Ligonier, citing Romans 3:10 on sin, John 14:6 on God, and John 1:1 on Jesus. For example, while an overwhelming 97 percent of evangelicals do believe that “there is one true God in three persons,” 3 out of 4 of them attempt to give Jesus first-place honors even though that belief “has been rejected by the church down through the centuries.”
Strangely, while most evangelicals strongly believe in justification by faith alone, they are confused about the person of Jesus Christ. On one hand, virtually all evangelicals express support for Trinitarian doctrine. Yet at the same time, most agree that Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God, which was a view espoused by the ancient heretic Arius.
Arius was condemned at the Council of Nicaea in 325, and again at the Council of Constantinople in 381. Yet the number of American evangelicals who agree with his view has increased from 2016, when 71 percent agreed and 23 percent disagreed, to today when 78 percent agree and 18 percent disagree.
“These results show the pressing need for Christians to be taught Christology, especially as the outcome has gotten worse since 2016,” stated Ligonier. “There is a general lack of teaching today on the person of Christ, a doctrine for which the early church fought so hard.”
Hey local churches, what’s your plan for training your people in sound doctrine? They won’t learn it by accident or osmosis. Let’s commit to teaching them. https://t.co/h8gT3raNUy
— Jen Wilkin (@jenniferwilkin) October 16, 2018
ZHOROV: Pew Research found that people who leave their religion, often cite science for their lack of faith. Sunday school teacher Matthew Groves says for churches to be relevant cultural institutions, they have to engage with the things people are struggling with today.
GROVES: Climate change is a substantive issue. Artificial intelligence, bioethics – a lot of big issues humanity is going to face in the next hundred years are focused on science and technology.
ZHOROV: He says if the church wants to be a part of shaping the direction humanity takes, it needs to have a seat at the table.
GROVES: And you can’t have a seat at the table if you don’t speak science.
ZHOROV: During each class, in addition to pushback, Groves also gets a lot of people like Carol Butler, who don’t see an inherent conflict.
CAROL BUTLER: We don’t understand all the mysteries of science. We don’t understand the mysteries of creation. But we know that they’re one and together.
Matthew 28:18-20 is the most well-known biblical record of what is commonly referred to extra-biblically as “the Great Commission.” But despite the significance of these and other verses that call Christians to “go and make disciples of all nations,” a surprising proportion of churchgoing Christians in the U.S. are generally unaware of these famous words from Jesus.
In partnership with Seed Company, Barna conducted a study of the U.S. Church’s ideas about missions, social justice, Bible translation and other aspects of spreading the gospel around the world, available now in the new report Translating the Great Commission. When asked if they had previously “heard of the Great Commission,” half of U.S. churchgoers (51%) say they do not know this term. It would be reassuring to assume that the other half who know the term are also actually familiar with the passage known by this name, but that proportion is low (17%). Meanwhile, “the Great Commission” does ring a bell for one in four (25%), though they can’t remember what it is. Six percent of churchgoers are simply not sure whether they have heard this term “the Great Commission” before.
A little more than one-third of churchgoers (37%) correctly identifies the Bible passage known as the Great Commission from a list of verses. https://t.co/r3ZprCLGg2
— Barna Group (@BarnaGroup) April 2, 2018
Diocese of #SouthCarolina to offer Basic Christian Theology Class this Easter https://t.co/IHtnNH46mJ Beginning April 4 and for the following six Weds, we will offer a course on Basic Christian #Theology taught by Canon Theologian Dr. Kendall Harmon with Bp Mark Lawrence +othrs pic.twitter.com/9yrGSpFEnI
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) March 26, 2018
Beginning April 4 and for the following six Wednesdays, the Diocese of South Carolina will offer a course on Basic Christian Theology taught by Canon Theologian Dr. Kendall Harmon with Bishop Mark Lawrence and others. The first five classes will be held at St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, and the last two will be held at St. Michael’s Church, Charleston. The classes will be held in the church parish halls.
The format of the evenings will be to have a teaching from 7 to 8 pm (after which people who need to leave may do so), with an open Question and Answer session to follow for those who wish to stay from 8 to 8:30 p.m.
The class will cover the following topics in order:
- Authority and Revelation
- The Holy Trinity
- The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
- The Nature of Human Beings
- The Christian Life
- The Church
- Eschatology, or the Last Things
Though there is no charge for the class, participants are asked to register online at www.diosc.com and obtain the book, Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief, by Bruce Milne. Participants are asked to bring the Milne book and their own Bible to each session. There will be reading assignments as well as a minimum of course work to be completed. Though there will not be credit awarded, at this time, we hope for this to be the beginning of a lay theology curriculum offered by the Diocese in the future.
Download a poster to share in your parish.
You can find the mp3 link there.
Kendall Harmon’s teaching on the Hope of Heaven at the recent #SouthCarolina Diocesan Convention https://t.co/WNRPq41p4s #parishministry #theology #teaching #eschatology #afterlife #joy #worship #fellowship #anglican pic.twitter.com/qTRpbtmiPu
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) March 19, 2018
From Rev. Todd Simonis, Senior Associate: I very much appreciated Bishop Lawrence calling local churches to have a mission mindset. It was great to have conversations about the changing demographics of the Lowcountry and how we, as the church, must be ready to reach out to those demographics. As always, it was an encouraging time to be with others from the diocese.
From Rion Salley, Senior Warden and Delegate: Bishop Lawrence shared how a little intentionality can go a long way for the Kingdom of God. First, as sowers of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ we can take more time to familiarize ourselves with the people in our community and build deeper relationships with those God has put in our midst by walking through life together as Jesus did.
From Rev. Chuck Pollak, Priest Associate: For me a highlight was the sermon by Bishop Lowenfield, who described his difficult decision to leave the Episcopal Church, and the joy he now feels as a member of ACNA. His journey is similar to one that many of us have experienced, and we know how wrecking that decision has been to us and to others as well. His message is one of hope.
From Jane Manos, Delegate: It was great to be with the Parish Church of St. Helena at the convention – a true honor! From Bishop Lawrence’s address, what stood out to me: “Uncertainty is WHY we need to sow the seed (of the Gospel).”
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) March 13, 2018
The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence–both a Trinity School for Ministry alumnus, and Board of Trustees member–led the faculty and residential student body several years ago in a day of meditation and quiet reflection, beginning with the Ash Wednesday service of Holy Communion and the imposition of ashes.
Principally focusing on John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (ESV), Bp. Lawrence related how this verse addresses why suffering so often draws people in varying ways to the foot of the cross. He also shared his own personal experience of seeking the Truth as a young man.
Audio recordings may be listened to here.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) February 14, 2018
While many Christians are actively involved in devotional Bible study, he laments the lack of formal catechetical study, without which, he says, “Well-intentioned minds and hearts will repeatedly go off track.”
Like Scripture says, we all, like sheep, have gone astray. We need constant shepherding and guidance, and knowing and repeating a catechism can be a way to ground our hearts in unchanging truth. The tradition of repeating established statements of faith helps with that shepherding, and it has a long history. Many modern congregations, however, have allowed a lapse in the practice.
In Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know (Crossway, 2013) Packer says:
As the years go by, I am increasingly burdened by the sense that the more conservative church people in the West, Protestant and Roman Catholic alike, are, if not starving, at least grievously undernourished for lack of a particular pastoral ministry that was a staple item in the church life of the first Christian centuries and also of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation era in Western Europe, but has largely fallen out of use in recent days.
That ministry is called catechesis. It consists of intentional, orderly instruction in the truths that Christians are called to live by, linked with equally intentional and orderly instruction on how they are to do this.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) February 10, 2018
When Reformed theologian and Ligonier Ministries founder R. C. Sproul was once asked what he wanted written on his tombstone, he replied cheekily, “I told you I was sick.”
That was in 2015, after the esteemed teacher and author’s health declined severely following a stroke. This December, the 78-year-old was hospitalized and was forced to rely on ventilator support to breathe during his 12-day stay, due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He died on Thursday.
“His tombstone wouldn’t be able to hold the words of what he’s meant to so many,” tweeted Kansas pastor Gabriel Hughes. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Now great is your reward.”
R. C. Sproul has died https://t.co/6CcMX7YIek
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) December 14, 2017
England’s vicarages and parsonages are almost as iconic as its churches. But campaigners say they may be all but gone after a 70-year process of selling-off which began after the Second World War and has seen thousands of vicars ejected from the historic buildings and moved into private houses.
What’s more, they have raised concerns that many modern priests have no interest in living in the properties – leaving them vulnerable to being sold.
Campaign group Save Our Parsonages estimates that 8,000 such houses have been sold by dioceses since the Second World War, causing the Church of England financial loss because of the growing value of property.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) August 31, 2017
I wanted to share with you the prayer note that I’m sending out today: As a church, we are going through a huge trial. The injustice of the courts may result in 32,000 people in the diocese being told they must leave their buildings… including Trinity Church. It’s hard to imagine. But, people in our congregation face the unimaginable day in and day out. Suffering happens in a broken world… and that’s why we pray. Tomorrow we will be observing a day of prayer and fasting. And while we pray, corporately, for a deep wrong to be made right, please know that I will be praying for each of you, individually.
Trials come, “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1st Peter 1:7) I’m praying that God will awaken us to the necessity of prayer, outreach, and mission to a broken world.
If you would like to know more about our church’s trials or are looking for a resource for prayer, go here.