Speedlinking – June 4, 2010

Church Planting – What if…

What if entrepreneurial small group leaders were asked to equip others to invite people to Christ and multiply small groups?

What if these groups participated in worship and discipleship together?

What if these leaders were asked to oversee the networks of small groups which they helped to initiate?

What if faithful and effective leaders were encouraged to organize a group of groups as a local church?

What if these new churches sought to be recognized by the United Methodist Church, instead of the denomination starting new churches?

    What if it was facilitated by a live internet stream of worship from leading churches?

    In this way, an internet live stream of worship could be used to raise up leaders and plant churches. This would serve to create new places for new people and develop principled Christian leaders for the church and the world.

    KS West Dreams for the UMC

    At the young adult clergy booth at the Kansas West Annual Conference, participants were invited to add a post it note sharing dreams for The United Methodist Church. The responses were (in no particular order):

    • Be Bold
    • to no longer support abortion
    • All means All..
    • Love God. Love people.
    • Relevance
    • To respect & value young clergy
    • AC is all Twitter
    • 1. Prisons close for lack of business; 2. Ignite your ministry where the flame meets the cross; 3. Put your faith to work where the flame meets the cross.
    • Social Revolution!
    • Wow we have met our church budget and it’s only July
    • Our whole church invites our whole town to VBS
    • Economic and Environmental Justice; The church as a prophetic voice.
    • That we would dream More!
    • Relax
    • Transformation of the world through Jesus Christ
    • Recruit young people!

    Christianity and Other Religions

    I had a great breakfast at First Watch with Scott on Tuesday morning. He wanted to talk about an experience in which he felt that a church leader depreciated Christianity in relationship to other religions of the world. The relationship between Christianity and other religions is a topic that I find to be quite complex. Here is some of my response.

    Christianity and world religions
    Judaism has a distinct relationship with Christianity among all other world religions. The God to whom Jesus prays and speaks to as Father is the God of the Hebrew scriptures. God remains faithful to the covenant that was made with the people of Israel. Paul wrestles with this relationship in several chapters in the book of Romans.

    Will persons of other faith traditions be saved? I am not sure. I do believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. I believe that the Christian hope is that all things will be made new in the second coming of Christ. I do not think that anything will remain that is old. I believe that Christ’s incarnation, life, death and resurrection is a part of God’s work for all of creation. What exactly this means for persons of other religions, I do not know.

    As a pastor, it is part of my responsibility to be concerned with how it is with others’ souls. I believe that this is the responsibility of all Christians – to watch over one another in love (as Wesley would say). However, I believe that it is more important to first be concerned with the state of my own soul and my journey of discipleship. I believe that one should be more concerned for the state of one’s own soul than with making judgments on the state of others.

    Thoughts about conversations with those of other religions

    • Do not ever belittle your own religion when confronted with another religion. There is no need to be bashful or reticent about your beliefs. However, at the same time be careful not to belittle another’s religion.
    • Focus on invitational conversations. In interfaith conversations there needs to be a readiness to both give and receive.
    • I believe that it is more important for Christians to focus on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with non and nominally religious persons than with those who already have a faith.

    I recognize that this is a broad topic and that this response does not even come close to touching all areas that would be needed. What would you add to this conversation? How do you understand the relationship between Christianity and other religions? What thoughts do you have about interfaith conversations?