Tulsa Workshop

17 03 2013

Well, it’s almost time for the Tulsa Workshop, my favorite time of the year. It’s like a giant family reunion where I get to see friends from all over the country. This year looks to be the best ever with Francis Chan speaking. (Thank you Wes Woodell for your efforts to make that happen.) If you plan on hearing him you better get there early as they expect standing room only. Chan will speak Thursday night and again Friday morning.
I look forward to speaking with Wes Woodell about how to reach the 20-Somethings. We will be speaking once on Thursday and twice on Saturday. There are a number of books out there telling us how that generation is not receptive to the Gospel. But we will be explaining how we are seeing that generation reached by a number of CMU ministries. We will share what it takes to reach out successfully to the 20-somethings and make disciples that will last.

While you are there please stop by our booth #105 so we can say hello and give you an update on all the exciting things our ministries are doing.

See ya there!





Family Vacation 2013

10 03 2013

Family Vacation 2013 "Evolution: A Journey to Christ-Likeness"

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Why are our kids leaving the church?

7 02 2013

We don’t give them a reason to stay.

We’ve now seen numerous research clearly showing that when our kids leave high school a large number of them are leaving the Church. We have even had research asking them what they want or think they need in church. And now I am hearing if we change the way we worship, get bigger and more screens, newer music, better entertainment, speak their language, meet them in their culture, they will then stay around and not go seeking it somewhere else.

As we continue to pontificate why this is happening we should consider all possibilities. I will try to shed some light from where they are going. I was a campus minister for twelve years and still train and plant campus ministers and ministries. I am constantly exposed to the college-age level.

I regularly get phone calls from campus ministers and inevitable the discussion turns to: “How do I get my church kids to engage in our ministry?” They will go on to explain a very common problem of spoiled kids who will not show up for events, classes, retreats…etc. Regardless of the answer I give, the problem is the same as the problem of them leaving the church. These kids think Christianity is about them. Here are a few things that I feel is causing the problem. ( and there are other reasons as well.)

Most of our youth ministries operate from a model that is completely focused on the kids and their parents. What they like, want, feel and think. This has caused our youth ministries to be focused on two things: keep the kids entertained and keep them safe. Everything is focused on those two requirements. Our summer camps are for them, our classes are for them, and everything we do is for them. The only evangelism they ever see or hear about is either; Invite your friends or support our mission work in some foreign country. At best you will see the youth ministry travel somewhere to do some sort of service project. But even that is run through the filter of entertainment and safety. If they go and paint houses it will be about having fun and not about reaching people in the neighborhood and telling them why they painted the houses. You will not see them engaged in the fight over souls. How can that produce anything but selfish kids? And that is what it is producing.

Now before you get mad at the youth minister keep in mind that this is what he was trained to do. This is what our colleges taught him to do and it’s what he learned when he interned with a youth ministry over the summer, AND if he didn’t run it this way the parents would get mad and he would get fired.

The solution to the problem is to change the focus of youth ministry. Our kids need to learn that youth ministry is not about them. They need to learn about; dying to self, expanding the Kingdom, advancing on the enemy, becoming mighty warriors for Christ. They need to learn there is a mission that they have been called to that is bigger than the world has to offer, that their lives have purpose and meaning. That the God of all creation has called them into an epic battle that has eternal consequences.

For example; what would change about summer camp if in order to go you had to bring a friend who was not a part of your church? What would happen if you required your youth to bring a friend in order to go to events like Winterfest? What if we actually challenged our youth to be about the Lords mission?

But for all that to happen the parents also need to exemplify the same focus. Be about the same mission. Because the truth is, they are just as spoiled as their children. (And that is a discussion worth having in itself).

We cannot keep the saved, saved by focusing on them. We have tried that for almost 50 years and it is not working. All it is doing is making selfish, spoiled parents and children.

The second reason they are leaving has to do with a simple question; Where do they go? Most of our churches don’t have a ministry in their age bracket. Research shows that there are less than 130 active college-age ministries in the church of Christ in the United States. This is strange indeed when you consider the research that shows that about 85% of all conversions come from the 18-30 year old age bracket. So this shows that the average church not only has no ministry for their graduating kids to go to but that they also are not seeing their own church engaged in the battle.

The bottom line is that we are not giving our kids a reason to stay loyal to the church.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe we do need to upgrade the way we worship in most of our churches. We do need to be more relevant to the culture we are in. But the reason we need to do these things is not to try to please our kids. That’s just self-gratification and that’s sick.

Simple put: We need to return to being the Church and that means being about His mission. When our churches engage in the battle and start fighting the hordes of hell for the souls of mankind…our kids will want to be all about that and will stick around to see what’s next.





Every Christian is called to Bear Fruit!

24 10 2012

I’m often accused of being, “To focused on Evangelism”.  I’ve even had a few people say, “You focus too much on the gift of evangelism”.  I’ve looked, there is no “Gift of Evangelism” listed. But I noticed something, every person that has accused me… has no fruit.  They don’t evangelize.  Speaks volumes.

Here’s what I believe: We are on a mission.  As Christians we are supposed to have purpose;  Be about the Fathers business.  Telling the world about Jesus and His path back to the Father.  And yes I believe He has called you for that same purpose.

Every Christian is called to Evangelize!

We are all called and given different talents to be different parts of the body to be used in different ways. (1 Cor 12)

But we’re all called to Evangelize!  (Nobody is exempt).

Think I’m stating it to strong?  Consider Jesus’ teaching on the vine in John 15. (First look at verse 1&2.)

“I am the true vine, and the Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Look at how simple and direct this is, Jesus uses a grapevine to make these points:

Jesus is the Vine – You are a branch

God will do whatever is necessary to cause you to bear as much fruit as possible.

And here is a fearful and yet truthful fact:

If you are not a fruitful branch, God will cut you off!

Oh, we don’t like that.  It’s not comfortable or popular.  But understand it’s undeniable!

Some will say, Lynn, you are taking one story of Jesus and making too much of it.  Really?

OK, Let’s look at another of Jesus parables; The parable of the unfruitful fig tree (Luke 13:6-9)

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

There it is again, Jesus making simple, strong points:  We are expected to bear fruit! And if we don’t…He will cut us down!

Every Christian is called to Bear Fruit!





Overflowing Hope!

31 08 2012

Romans 15:4

4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Hope is found in; The “endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures.”

Drop down to verse :13;May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Overflow with hope. I like that. What does it look like in a Christian life?

I saw it in a College group in Tampa and It caused a lot of growth. Hundreds were added to the role of believers as a result.

It was the love they had and displayed in God and the love they had and displayed towards each other.

When someone see’s this “Overflowing Hope”…This “Love”.

They Want IT!

It’s what causes growth in the Lords Church!

But – are they seeing it in you?

What does the world see us focus on?

I’m too fat           Too skinny

Too Short            Too tall

Too Blond            Too Brunette

Too white            Too Black

Get the point?

Is our focus on us or God?

Don’t you know that God made you, just the way He wanted you to be?

You’re not an accident!

God said:   “I know you inside and out” – Psa. 139:16

“I saw you before you were born” – Psa.139:16

“I choose where you were going to live” – Acts 17:26

You’re not an accident! You’re not strange!

 

I think this poem by Russell Kelfer sums it up:

You are who you are for a reason.

You’re part of an intricate plan.

You’re a precious and perfect unique design.

Called God’s special woman or man.

 

You look like you look for a reason.

Our God made no mistake.

He knit you together within the womb,

You’re just what He wanted to make.

 

The parents you had were the ones He choose,

And no matter how you may feel,

They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind.

And they bear the Masters seal.

 

No, That trauma you faced was not easy.

And God wept that it hurt you so;

But it was allowed to shape your heart

So that in His likeness you’d grow.

 

You are who you are for a reason,

You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.

You are who you are beloved,

Because There is a God!





It’s Bigger than that!

14 06 2012

Jesus came to set us free from sin.  That’s good news to a world engulfed in sin…don’t you think?  But really, it’s bigger than that:

“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:18

And look at Romans 6:22&23  “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You see it’s not just being set free from sin.  It has eternal consequences.  We are set free for eternity. That’s pretty good news.  But wait – It’s bigger than that!  It’s not just “our” sin that has been set free:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:1&2

Look at what that says; Those “In Christ” have been “Set Free” of Sin and Death.

I fear too many of us do not understand what that means.  (If we did we would be so excited to share it that we could not hold back and the Church would explode.)

Here’s what it means:  “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it,…”  Romans 8:19&20

Do you see it now? It’s bigger than that!

Ever since Adam and Eve ate that forbidden fruit, creation has been living under a curse.  This computer won’t last forever…carpet, cars, homes…you and me…mankind itself is in a state of decline.  Mankind has been trying to reverse this curse forever…but can’t.  The curse is irreversible.  The curse is SIN!

Sin is not just something bad we do! It’s bigger than that!

Sin is a curse all creation is under. Science calls it, the law of thermo-dynamics.  It means everything is in a decaying order.  Everything will fade away.

But here’s the good news:  Jesus brought the cure!

If you believe in Him and follow His teachings, we are set free from the curse…Forever!

Now tell me…Isn’t that Big news…news worth sharing?





Tent-making

5 06 2012

A new approach is being added to Campus Ministry United’s support plan. Beginning in May, I have teamed up with OkieBug Pest Control business to develop a ‘tent-making’ approach to campus ministry support. In these inaugural days of ministry planting we believe it will strengthen and stabilize the sustaining of new plants. This business has potential for minimal investment and feasible working hours that will allow for proper campus ministry focus plus a sustained income to support our people. We are modeling and developing this plan so to be able to train young new ministers. We are convinced this does not detract from trusting God’s provisions and appealing for financial support—our goal is to develop new ministries that will remain effective over time and reap the fruits of hard labor and influenced lives. We are trusting in the example of Apostle Paul who was never afraid of the present challenges. We want to be willing to do whatever God calls us to do to accomplish His Mission. We want to thank Randall Adams (owner of Okiebugs) for his vision and training for this approach. We solicit your prayers in this endeavor. We continue to thank you