Tag Archives: interview

Interview with Jim Samra, author “The Gift of Church” pt. 2

Following is part 2 of my interview with Jim Samra, author of the new book, The Gift of Church: How God Designed the Local Church to Meet Our Needs as Christians. Read part 1 here. – AR

EC: Are pastors and church leadership teams not pushing church membership, attendance and gathering as a community to meet with God and celebrate – as much as they have in the past?  Why not?

Jim Samra, The Gift of Church, Calvary Church JS: There seems to be two factors at work here.  1) Some in church leadership are just as confused as lay people in recognizing the value of the church.  I know because for years I was unsure about the value of church.  I did church because it seemed like the right thing to do, but I didn’t have any way to articulate “why church”?  When I didn’t feel confident about the answer to this question, I certainly didn’t want to try to answer it for other people.  Nothing in my evangelical heritage or training had prepared me to answer that question.  It took writing a dissertation on the subject before I began to understand the value of church.  2) The second factor is that no one wants to seem self-serving.  For a pastor to stand up and preach church attendance sounds like he is only out for what is in his best interests.

These are two of the reasons I wrote this book.  First, to try to explain why God intends church participation as a gift. Second, to allow pastors to have someone else articulate to their people why participating in church is so important.

Interview with Jim Samra, author “The Gift of Church” pt. 1

Jim Samra Jim Samra is the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His new book, The Gift of Church: How God Designed the Local Church to Meet Our Needs as Christians, tackles the question often asked of Christians today: “Why Bother with Church?”

 Following is part 1 of a 2-part interview. The second installment is available here. - AR


EC: Why does God want us to assemble – how is church a gift to meet our needs?

Jim Samra, The Gift of ChurchJS: In my book, The Gift of Church, I highlight six ways that participating in a church meets very real needs we have as Christians.  Briefly, these are:

1) Church allows us to experience God’s presence in unique and powerful ways; 2) Church is where God brings unity out of diversity in Christ; 3) Church provides us with true community to overcome the loneliness we experience as a result of the effects of sin; 4) The church is designed by God to help Christians grow and mature; 5) Church is able to accomplish more for the kingdom of God than would be possible as individuals; and 6) The church makes visible the invisible Jesus allowing the world to see Him. 

Christ’s Love for the Nations – Pete Briscoe, “The Surge”

We just posted this video up of Pete Briscoe talking about his new book, The Surge: Churches Catching the Wave of Christ’s Love for the Nations. This book is part of the Leadership Network Innovation Series and releases in November 2010.

Look for The Surge on shelfve in November, and I’ll also be giving away a few copies here in December.

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I love what he says in this video about being a “mission-minded pastor.” What do you think? In your own church, are leaders encouraged to think this way about the Great Commision?

Mark Buchanan interview 2 of 2: On Spiritual Rhythm

Spiritual Rhythm by Mark BuchananYesterday we posted part one of our interview with Mark Buchanan. Here’s part two in which he discusses his new book, Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season of Your Soul. (Read a sample.)

EC: How can we help others who are in a different season then we may be ourselves?

MB: I think the idea of seasons of the heart is akin to the idea of love languages: just by being aware of them makes us more sensitive to others. For me, going through a deep and prolonged winter of the heart has made me safe for more people in my church. It made me a better pastor. By thinking of spiritual formation in seasonal language, I am now able to discern a person’s season and help them steward it best. Even more, I am able to help them find Christ in the thick of it.

Mark Buchanan intervew 1 of 2: On Spiritual Rhythm

Mark Buchanan, author of Spiritual RhythmMark Buchanan is a pastor and award-winning author who lives and speaks on the West Coast of Canada. His writing has been published in numerous periodicals, including Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, and Discipleship Magazine. He is the author of five books including Your God Is Too Safe and his new book Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season of Your Soul.

Here’s the first half of our interview with Mark on Spiritual Rhythm. The second half can be found here.

EC: What does spiritual rhythm mean?

MB: I distinguish between rhythm and balance. Balance is what most people seek, but I think it’s is a myth. Balance in life is something that, even if we can attain it, is not worth the effort. It’s like standing a kayak: it’s fragile, inert, and a misuse of the kayak.

Rhythm is what we seek when we paddle the kayak. Balance flows out of rhythm as a natural by-product of it. Balance is not the point of life any more than it’s the point of kayaking, but it’s what happens without our even having to think about it when we get our  rhythm right.

In a spiritual sense, rhythm is comprised of our pace of life and our ways of engagement in any given season. A good rhythm is what serves us best that season. In winter, we move at a different pace than, say, in spring. We engage life and God differently. That difference is defined by rhythm.

Interview with Geoff Surratt, pt. II: Churches and Online Community

"Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches from Growing" by Geoff SurrattFollowing is part II of our interview with Geoff Surratt from Seacoast Church and author of Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches from GrowingSee part I here.

Sometimes church communities can appear insular to outsiders. How can churches create a more open environment for welcoming and engaging interested and new members?

“What is a church’s front door? The ‘front door’ of a church is not the physical front door and has not been for a long time. It is not the sign in front of the building. And it is not the Yellow Pages ad. The front door is on the Web. We have found that when coming to our church for the first time, a majority of people, even if they come with a friend who is already a member, checked us out on the Web first. Churches need to be aware of this. And these researchers do not just go to www.yourchurch.org, they go to Google. Everything that appears in Google is what they check out – everything about your pastor, your Facebook page, etc.

Interview with Geoff Surratt: On technology and stupid church things

Geoff SurrattGeoff Surratt is on staff of Seacoast Church, a successful and high-visibility multi-site church. He’s also the author of Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches from Growing. In a recent Zondervan interview Geoff shared his thoughts on how churches use technology to stay connected.

How do “old school” communications practices keep churches from growing and thriving?

“When I think some of the old school communications practices churches go back to again and again, two or three come to mind. A few years ago, the way you started a church or promoted a new event was to send out a mass mailer. I see churches continue to do that, but the response is going down and down and down. For the most part, response to mailers is completely dead. I also see churches communicate outside of their community via newspaper ads, and print newspaper effectiveness has dropped significantly too. Within the church, I see announcement services page used a lot. Public announcements are not very effective at communicating either. When you survey TV watchers after viewing three commercials in a row, nobody can remember the middle TV commercial. A few can remember the first, more the last. The same is true for announcements; most people are not hearing what is being said because they cannot. By the time a pastor hits three announcements, he has lost people.”

Kevin Harney talks about Organic Outreach

kevin harney is the senior pastor of shoreline community church in monterrey, ca, and author of several books with zondervan.  his most recent book is organic outreach for ordinary people: sharing good news naturally.  in organic outreach for ordinary people, kevin helps readers experience the sheer joy of helping someone encounter Jesus; find natural openings to begin spiritual conversations; and use creative approaches to discuss faith in attractive ways.  i wanted to share an interview i had with kevin regarding his book.  here is the interview:

what reasons do you hear for why people aren’t more active in evangelism?

kevin harney: some of the common responses are: “it is not my gift… it just does not feel natural for me.”  others say, “i don’t want to be pushy, obnoxious, and drive people away from God with pressure tactics.”  i also hear people say, “i just don’t know where to start!  i would like to share my faith, but i don’t know what to say.”

would you explain the one degree rule?

kh: the one degree rule is simply the idea that we can increase our passion and heart for outreach incrementally.  if you think of a scale from one to ten (1= cold and 10= hot) i ask people, what is your present temperature for outreach?  is it sizzling hot, ice cold, or somewhere in-between.  almost everyone can give a number right away, we have a sense of where our heart is when it comes to outreach.  the one degree rule is about making a commitment to increase your temperature by one degree today.  i suggest three things that can act like gas on the flames of our hearts when it comes to outreach. 1) pray for people who need Jesus. 2) spend time with those who are still far from God.  3) tell stories of how God has and is changing lives.

what are 3 simple ways a person can start evangelizing?

kh: 1) begin praying for and with people.  When someone is hurting or in a time of great joy, offer to take a moment and pray for them.  its amazing, almost everyone says, “yes!”  when we pray, right there and then, the Holy Spirit shows up!  we spend so much time trying to get people to church.  but, when we pray, we bring the church… the presence of Jesus … right where they are.

2) serve in the name of Jesus.  look for chances to serve those who are in need and when they ask you why you care, love, and serve, let them know about the one who loves you and them.

3) tell your story.  God is at work in your life.  he is doing things.  share your stories of God’s faithfulness and power in your life.  don’t force these, just let them flow.  if you love and know Jesus, stories of his goodness will often be on your lips.

can a person just be not cut out for outreach?

kh: there are some people who are more naturally gifted for outreach and who share faith on a very regular basis.  but, every believer has a story to tell.  every christian can be God’s salt and light in a dark world.  i have met many believers who say, “i can’t do outreach.”  but, when they discover that outreach can be organic and very natural, they get excited and it becomes part of their daily life.

what mistakes do people make in outreach?

kh: one of the biggest is that they force things.  they don’t let the Spirit lead and doors open, but they have an agenda and program they force on people.

another is that they reserve outreach for special moments of life like mission trips and special weekends at their church with an “outreach emphasis.”  outreach is more about who we are than some pre-set program.  when we get this, it becomes a part of the fabric of our life.

if more christians accepted the call to become evangelists, how would the world look different?

kh: people who don’t know Jesus would not have silly stereotypes of christians and evangelism.  instead they would hear about Jesus on a regular basis and they would not feel pressure, but love.

also, many more people would be hearing stories of faith, the message of the gospel, and would be receiving loving care and service.

churches would be growing and lost people would be looking to christians to help them find meaning and purpose in life.

to read a sample chapter from organic outreach for ordinary people, click here.

to purchase a copy of organic outreach for ordinary people, click here.

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