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[Cfamily]Are Evangelicals Donating Too Directly to Missions?
« Reply #560 on: June 23, 2017, 01:00:56 AM »

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Are Evangelicals Donating Too Directly to Missions?

When helping hurts the professional helpers.

Long before Google Maps, a couple of guys in a garage in California figured out how to use personal computers to create a digital map of the global church.

It was 1983, and their two-year project—meant to help organizations see where to send missionaries and who still needed translations of the Bible—grew into an organization called Global Mapping International (GMI).

GMI spent the next 34 years supplying products such as missions maps and studies on how missionaries could thrive. It didn’t charge missions agencies very much and supplemented by asking for donations.

In June , GMI closed its doors, unable to draw enough funding from today’s givers.

“The attention span of the donor is much shorter, and their desire for tangible, immediate impact from their gift is much higher,” said GMI president and CEO Jon Hirst.

Up-and-coming donors are bringing with them a new set of priorities. Nearly a quarter of millennial Christian givers (22%) say efficiency and effectiveness are good reasons to support an organization, compared to 12 percent of those over 35, according to a groundbreaking study by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). It asked about the motivations of more than 16,000 donors to Christian ministries. [See “Go Figure,” facing page]

Younger donors also are more likely than older donors to research an organization before giving (96% vs. 88%), as well as to choose ministries that do long-term humanitarian work such as caring for orphans (89% vs. 85%) or providing education (76% vs. 68%). They’re less likely to favor things such as making the Bible available (90% vs. 96%), teaching Christians to live as disciples (77% vs. 83%) or strengthening marriages ...

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[Cfamily]Five Leadership Axioms That Shape Your Ministry
« Reply #561 on: June 24, 2017, 01:00:59 AM »
Five Leadership Axioms That Shape Your Ministry

Healthy leaders make for healthy organizations.

1. Value People More Than Tasks

This first leadership axiom is one that I will occasionally just put on a post-it note on the top of my computer. Slow down and see people. Because I'm such a driven leader, I can be task before people by nature. I am sure there are others who feel the same way, right? Yet leadership is all about people, influence, and relationships. It has taken me some time to learn that I can get a lot done, but if I'm bulldozing people in the process, I'm not an effective leader. Leadership means taking people along the way and I know that I need to be intentional to slow down, to see people, to engage. When I do this, the results of valuing people over tasks have a far greater reward than the reward of knowing the task is complete. This is more Christ-like anyway and Jesus’ concern for people needs to be reflected in my leadership form and function.

2. Lead Yourself Well to Lead Others Better

One of the things that I am just deeply passionate about is the concept of self-leadership, as I believe that it has a direct correlation to our ability to lead others more effectively. The importance of leaders being intentional about our spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational well-being cannot be understated. Our inability to honestly evaluate our lives holistically may eventually disqualify us from the race God has called us to run. Good leaders tend to observe various dimensions of their life and recognize, "If I'm not leading myself well in that area, I am not going to have overflow to lead my teams, and those I have influence with." Self-leadership benefits the team and organization ultimately.

3. Love Learning and Be Intentional Not to Plateau

Every leader has their ceiling, ...

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[Cfamily]Our July/Aug Issue: The Upside of Disruption
« Reply #562 on: June 25, 2017, 01:01:03 AM »
Our July/Aug Issue: The Upside of Disruption

How unwelcome change can lead to a fuller life.

Even when we should see them coming, layoffs tend to arrive like a thief in the night. Mine came on Election Day 2008. I was sitting at my desk that morning, still wearing my “I Voted” sticker, when my boss entered my office with a look of forced nonchalance.

For just over a year, I had poured my sweat and my soul into my employer, an international ministry. But my work was no match for changing donor behaviors and the promised efficiencies of a looming organizational merger. My job—and within months, the jobs of many coworkers—was gone.

Job loss is scary and can be profoundly disorienting—even for Christians, as our cover story on tech-related unemployment acknowledges. Yet disruption is a tool God uses with frustrating frequency for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28), and even for those who don’t.

Recall that Jesus posed an existential threat to the status quo. Uninterested in political power, he nonetheless attracted great crowds, upended livelihoods (Matt. 21:12), and announced a new kingdom was at hand (Mark 1:15). That’s an unsettling combination if you were blessed with status and a plush job in the power structures of Jesus’ day.

But the disruption Jesus wrought was not punishment for misguided leaders any more than my layoff was a punishment for poor performance. It was disruption so “that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). This was Jesus’ mission, undermining oppressive systems that had outlived their purpose and replacing them with a new covenant by which all of creation could flourish.

Of course, disruption brings real losses that must not be trivialized or dispatched with truisms. But the loss is not the whole thing.

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Source: Our July/Aug Issue: The Upside of Disruption

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Why Each Day Matters: What Emerson and Mister Rogers Have Taught Me About Life & Gospel Opportunities

How are we using our days to point people to Jesus?

In one of his landmark essays, poet Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “The years teach much which the days never know.” The first time I read these words, I fell in love with them, but I wasn’t sure why.

And then I had children. I have a 3 and a 5-year-old. My 5-year-old recently had her first ballet recital. As I looked in my rearview mirror and saw her all dressed up in her glittery tutu and hair up in a bun, I shuddered. It seemed as though it was only yesterday I was changing her diaper. I blinked and lost five years.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, we track with the author as he continually cries out, “Vanity of vanities!” and ponders the meaning of life and our existence in it.

Time. Perhaps it’s something we all want more of, and yet it eludes us. Even Psalm 144:4 reminds us, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Time. It’s something we try to hold tightly and yet too often we get lost in such busy-ness that in the blink of an eye, our day, our week, our month…is gone.

There is no place where I feel the passing of days so acutely as in my desire to share Jesus with others. Those “days” which Emerson so poignantly talks about are the necessary ingredient to lead to the “years” that will teach us much. How are we using our days for God’s honor and glory? How are we using them to point people to Jesus?

The Bible is oddly silent on many of the days and years of Jesus when He walked this earth. But in the middle of one of these times of silence, we read, “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).

These are the days we seek to have, aren’t they? ...

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Source: Why Each Day Matters: What Emerson and Mister Rogers Have Taught Me About Life & Gospel Opportunities

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Here’s a Resolution: Denominations Should Stop Shooting Themselves in the Foot

The world is watching.

Dwight McKissic called the most recent SBC drama a “24-hour roller coaster ride.”

I called it shooting yourself in the foot. Again. Publicly.

What could have been a Tuesday condemnation of racism became a Wednesday mea culpa.

So, what really happened on Tuesday when the Southern Baptist Convention Committee on Resolutions offered nine resolutions on various topics but passed over Pastor McKissic’s resolution condemning the alt-right? As I conversed Tuesday night with some of the players, everyone knew that Dwight McKissic had brought a resolution, as he often does. With him regularly bringing resolutions, perhaps the Resolutions Committee had been predisposed to pass this one by—and some of the language in the resolution may have added to that.

But it’s time we see that decisions like this are more than just what happens in a room in Phoenix.

The Context

Let’s step back and look at what it means to exegete the national cultural context.

Here comes a well-publicized resolution on racism (of the alt-right, in this case). It had similarities to resolutions overwhelmingly approved in years past. But a national context is not built on the doctrine of “once-passed, always-passed.”

The number of resolutions passed on the issue of abortion (or alcohol!) testify to this. Things happen in culture that lead us to discern that we may need to speak up again.

If you’ve passed literally dozens of resolutions on alcohol, when everyone already knows where you stand, maybe another resolution on rasicm might help address some history and stereotypes. (Right now, the SBC resolutions mention alcohol four times for every one mention of racism—it’s not bad to close that gap.)

In addition, ...

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Source: Here’s a Resolution: Denominations Should Stop Shooting Themselves in the Foot

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[Cfamily]Judge Halts Deportations of Detroit Christians to Iraq
« Reply #565 on: June 28, 2017, 01:01:03 AM »
Judge Halts Deportations of Detroit Christians to Iraq

Court order gives 100-plus Chaldeans two weeks to make their case.

More than 100 Iraqi Christians arrested in immigration raids earlier this month will get to stay in the United States—at least for another two weeks, according to an order issued yesterday by a federal judge in Detroit.

Judge Mark Goldsmith halted the immediate deportation of the recently detained Iraqi nationals for 14 days, while he decides whether the district court or an immigration court has jurisdiction over their case, Hamama v. Adducci.

The court described their plight:


Petitioners state that because of their having resided in the United States and their status as religious minorities—many are Christian, others are members of oppressed Muslim sects—they are likely to be persecuted, tortured, or killed by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the de facto government in many parts of Iraq.

The written order follows outcry from the Detroit area’s Chaldean Christians, who were shocked when officials detained scores of them on June 11. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has defended the detainees, who were identified by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because of their past criminal records.

“The court took a life-saving action by blocking our clients from being immediately sent back to Iraq,” stated Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case. “They should have a chance to show that their lives are in jeopardy if forced to return.”

The order prevents the government from deporting the Iraqi Christians, along with a few others from minority sects, before a court can hear their case. It applies to “all Iraqi nationals within the jurisdiction of the Detroit ICE field office with final orders ...

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[Cfamily]Character: The Secret to Leading for the Long Term
« Reply #566 on: June 29, 2017, 01:01:13 AM »
Character: The Secret to Leading for the Long Term

D.L. Moody described character as “what you are in the dark.”

It comes as no surprise to anyone when I say that pastoring is hard. Pastors bear the spiritual responsibility of a church. They grow it to sustainability, help it thrive, drive the vision, and care for the culture.

I recently wrote an article for Influence Magazine on “Leading for the Long Term.” In it, I try to debunk some false facts about longevity, and share some insights on how to stick it out. I wanted to take some time here to explain how the secret to longevity and sustainability for the long haul is character.

In the midst of difficulty and stress (which pastors readily acknowledge), we have found through quantitative research that pastors are pretty resilient. We’ve worked hard over the years to debunk fake statistics suggesting otherwise.

In the article at Influence Magazine, I address the actual statistics on the longevity of pastors:


Statistically, about 1% of pastors drop out of ministry per year. 93% of Protestant pastors strongly agree that they “feel privileged to be a pastor.” Nearly 8 in 10 pastors (79%) disagree with the statement, “Being in ministry has had a negative effect on my family."

Math does not care about our feelings, and the statistics point to seeing that pastors recognize the stresses associated with their jobs, but are much more resilient than popular (church) culture gives them credit for.

In 1988, I was ordained. In my denomination, local churches do the ordaining and hold the credentials. So, at 20, I was ordained and pretty much off to the races with little training, preparation, and mentoring. But my character was far from ready—and I want to help pastors see clearly what took me years to recognize; namely, you can't shortcut character.

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Source: Character: The Secret to Leading for the Long Term

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Supreme Court to Decide If Christian Businesses Must Serve Gay Weddings

Colorado baker faces fines for refusing cakes for same-sex couples.

As same-sex marriage became legal in more and more states and then across the country, evangelicals and others with religious objections have worried about their obligations to accommodate gay and lesbian couples. After several state-level disputes involving florists, photographers, and bakers, America’s highest court will finally rule on the issue.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court announced it will take on the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which involves a Christian baker defending his decision to turn down wedding cake orders for same-sex couples.

The case exemplifies the tension between upholding religious freedom rights and protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination. Americans are evenly split on the issue: about half (49%) say wedding vendors should be required to serve same-sex couples, while nearly as many (48%) say they should be able to refuse on religious grounds, according to the Pew Research Center.

In a similar PRRI poll, majorities of every major religious tradition, including white evangelicals, said they did not believe small business owners should be allowed to “refuse services to gay and lesbian people.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represents Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. The Christian religious freedom group argues that, as a person of faith and as an artist, Phillips has the right to use discretion in the projects he works on—particularly when they oppose his religious beliefs.

He was found guilty of violating Colorado’s antidiscrimination policy for turning down an order to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception in 2012. Colorado has upheld the penalty, while courts in ...

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Source: Supreme Court to Decide If Christian Businesses Must Serve Gay Weddings

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