Monthly Archives: March 2012
This June Zondervan will be publishing Contagious Generosity: Creating a Culture of Giving in Your Church. The issue of money and giving is (obviously) not an easy one to talk about in churches. It’s easy to make a mistake and put congregants on the defensive when you’re talking about money the church needs. It’s also challenging to present solid biblical teaching on generosity without seeming like you’re using the Bible to goad people into giving more money.
For lack of the a better term the whole thing becomes a real “sticky wicket” for pastors and church leaders.
Enter Chris Willard and Jim Sheppard. These two have spent years working with churches and ministries on how to inspire generosity – how to really create a culture of generosity – in a way that honors God and reflects his generous nature. I’ll let the authors speak for themselves in the following video and I’ve posted some endorsements below as well.
“In Contagious Generosity, Jim Sheppard and Chris Willard want to show you a better way to approaching giving: God’s way.” - Dave Ramsey
“Generosity is a mark of a healthy church and this book will help you and your church get healthy.” - Darrin Patrick, lead pastor of The Journey, St. Louis, and author of For the City
“For years I have been passionate about helping Christians understand what God has to say about money and generosity. The generosity conversation is crucial to discipleship and to funding the mission of the church. All too often, the church avoids the topic and pays a big price for it. I am grateful to Chris and Jim for taking the topic head-on with practical advice based on their hands-on experience with so many churches!” - Howard Dayton, founder, Compass—finances God’s way
A complete overhaul of Building a Church of Small Groups, in Building a Life-Changing Small Group Ministry authors Bill Donahue and Russ Robinson present a broad introduction for pastors and point leaders to use as they navigate through the process of establishing and developing independent groups or a church-wide ministry of small groups.
For today’s giveaway tell us, how many small groups have you led? And, has there ever been a significant paradigm change in how your church does small group ministry? 2 winners will be chosen randomly tomorrow. The more you tweet, the more chances you have to win. Thanks!
About six months ago my 4-year-old son “asked Jesus into his heart”. I did the same around that age, and I know that many people do the same. But should we use that language? As Dr Mohler stated a number of years ago, it is not heresy, but it is not helpful. Recently, I watched the first session from Jim Cymbala’s six-session group Bible study, When God’s Spirit Moves. Cymbala teaches on the power and presence of the Spirit and how Jesus taught that it was better for him to go so that the Spirit could come. Cymbala said this is true because no outward teaching can replace the inward power of the Spirit.
I wasn’t raised with much of a theology of the Holy Spirit, and most people I know would say the same. The Spirit was something that some people took too far, so it was best to not get wrapped up in emotion and swing to the other side and treated as the black sheep of the Trinity. But as Cymbala says, Christians are distinct from all other religions and cults because of the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
I am challenged and excited to see what God will do when I open my life to the Holy Spirit. I also am challenged to instill in my boys a better knowledge and understanding of the Holy Spirit than what I knew. Maybe the language we should consider is asking the Spirit into your life, rather than Jesus into your heart. I would encourage you to watch the first session from Jim Cymbala’s When God’s Spirit Moves on YouTube for free below, and check out his new book on the same topic, Spirit Rising. In the video below, you will hear Cymbala’s inspiring teaching on the person of the Holy Spirit, and an amazing story of transformation from a former gangster named Roma:
I spent Monday in Atlanta with a few other Z employees at a Catalyst One Day event. Throughout the day I heard Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel speak on how to create and maintain positive, life-giving cultures in organizations. It was a fascinating day. I couldn’t help but think about my own church, Zondervan, and other orgs I’ve been a part of as they presented their material. Following is a quick list of some of my favorite nuggets of wisdom:
- Healthy cultures never happen by accident. They are created.
- The number on force that shapes your culture is your values.
- Determine honestly what your actions say you value. (This one really got my head spinning. I tried to imagine what my church looks like to a visitor, and especially, to a non-believer. What do they see when they come to our worship service for the first time? Are the core values of the church effectively being presented?)
- [Leaders need to regularly ask those in their org] What can I do to help you succeed in your role?
- Do you for one what you wish you could do for everyone. [I heard Andy say this in another context at Catalyst last fall and it blew my mind then.]
- Systematize top-down service.
Seesion 3 – Craig Groeschel
- Leaders have a limitless capacity for self-deception.
- Don’t delegate tasks, delegate authority.
Andy spoke on chapter 9 of his new book Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend. He didn’t announce it that way from the stage, but I know that’s what it was. Here’s the first official Engaging Church teaser to go and check out this product. Seriously, it’s a book every pastor will need to read in the coming year.
All this week the blogosphere will be filling with reviews of Mark Buchanan’s Your Church is Too Safe . I’ll be keeping a running list of the reviews here and tweeting the links with @EngagingChurch. Join us for the tour and find out if your ministry needs to be a little bit more dangerous.
Reviews posted so far:
Blog tours. You gotta love’em. Blog tours are a time when free books are given out and lots of meaningful conversations happens online. Is there anything better? (Probably.) But because this is a blog about books, I’ll say “definitely not!”
We’ll be hosting a blog tour for Jonathan Morrow’s book Think Christianly: Looking at the Intersection of Faith and Culture April 30 – May 4th. If you love books that help you discern how to interact with cultural trends, if you love books that help you understand the Christian worldview, if you’ve got a soft spot in your heart for apologetics, and if you love books that will help you encourage others to make better decisions: this book is for you. Here’s a video from Jonathan that discusses a bit more about the book:
See the table of contents and read a sample PDF here.
Sign up for the blog tour with this convenient google doc. Books will be shipped out next week. We’ll limit free books to the first 75 people to sign up!
Here’s more from the “My New Day” interview with Mark Buchanan. The blog tour for his book, Your Church is Too Safe, starts next week!
A number of Zondervan’s church and ministry ebooks are on sale this week for $3.99. You can find this price anywhere eBooks are sold. Here’s the list – get’em while they’re hot! The sale ends on Friday.