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Arquivo da tag: tendências

Quintais curitibanos

Marleth Silva

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Noite sim, noite não, cai um temporal em Curi­­tiba. Conversando com vizinhas, duas delas me contam que acordaram por volta das quatro da manhã com o barulho da chuva e lembraram que tinham roupas no varal. Já que, com o clima úmido da cidade, roupa seca é um bem precioso, as duas pularam da cama e foram para o quintal recolher o que estava por lá. (Eu também acordei na mesma hora que elas e lembrei que havia deixado uma rede no quintal, mas tive preguiça de le­­vantar e a rede amanheceu ensopada.) A operação resgate só foi possível porque os quintais encolheram. Na realidade, o que eu e minhas vizinhas chamamos de quintal é um retângulo de poucos metros quadrados, de chão coberto por lajota e muros altos sobre os quais se apoia uma cerca elétrica. Qual­­quer semelhança com a descrição do pátio de uma prisão não é coincidência. É assim mesmo que vivemos hoje. Para nós, é uma realidade tão banal que nem pensamos mais nela. Uma vez fui visitada por uma senhora fran­­cesa e, ao sairmos para o quintal, notei seu olhar voltado para o alto, espantada que ela estava com a cerca elétrica sobre o muro. A inocência dos olhos da francesa me contaminou e agora, toda vez que olho para cima, percebo que os fundos da minha casa parecem os fundos de um presídio.

Se nossos quintais fossem como os de tempos atrás (ou de cidades do interior ou de alguns sortudos moradores de casas antigas), as vizinhas teriam de caminhar muito mais para chegar ao varal, que talvez estivesse em um canto do terreno, perto daquele puxadinho onde se cuida da roupa. Teriam de passar pelo canteirinho de tempero verde, desviar a casinha do Bidu, prestar atenção para não pisar nas roseiras e, finalmente, chegariam àquele varal onde roupas tremulam ao vento que enlouquece os curitibanos.

// Quando rodei a cidade procurando uma casa para morar, percebi que os quintais se resumem hoje a uma areazinha cimentada que só é usada para alojar o varal dobrável ou um daqueles que parece um guarda-sol. Por me­­nor que eles sejam, me parece que está se desperdiçando di­­nhei­­ro sem se dar conta. Afinal, ao comprar ou alugar a casa, pa­­ga-se por cada metro quadrado, mesmo por aqueles que servirão apenas para secar a roupa – não é mais barato comprar uma secadora de roupas? Mesmo pequenas, as áreas externas deveriam ser tratadas como espaço nobre, com um pouquinho de grama, um jardinzinho ou pelo menos uma cadeira para o sortudo mo­­rador tirar uma soneca depois do almoço de domingo.

Nesse aspecto, o imóvel mais humilde e o mais sofisticado andam se igualando. Em condomínios e casas novos, o imóvel é construído para aproveitar o má­­ximo do terreno. Deixam descoberto apenas o mínimo exigido pela lei (há casos em que a lei vai para as cucuias e o imóvel novo encosta no muro do vizinho). A desproporcionalidade entre o tamanho do imóvel e a área do terreno cria um desequilíbrio visual desagradável. É feio.

Quintais já foram o paraíso das crianças, o universo da imaginação onde se travava batalhas e duelos usando os galhos das árvores como abrigo, onde se brincava de casinha sentando nos degraus da porta da cozinha enquanto a mãe, lá dentro, preparava o almoço. Hoje há quem desdenhe das crianças que passam horas jogando videogame ou vendo televisão. Mas onde está o quintal desta geração? Cada um constrói sua casinha e trava suas batalhas no terreno de que dispõe.

Fonte: GAZETA DO POVO

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Publicado por em 17/10/2009 em POIMENIA

 

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Os conhecedores da época

“Proferirá palavras contra o Altíssimo, magoará os santos do Altíssimo, e cuidará em mudar os tempos e a lei…” Daniel 9: 25a

Lendo sobre a II Segunda Guerra Mundial uma atitude do Hitler chamou-me a atenção; no início da guerra ele ordenou adiantar em uma hora os relógios em toda a Alemanha. Dizem que ele alterou o tempo porque queria que o exército alemão estivesse sempre à frente em relação aos seus inimigos. O mesmo principio também acontece no horário de verão. O Estado adianta em uma hora o horário oficial com o objetivo de aumentar a economia de energia elétrica. Então toda a sociedade se vê obrigada em respeitar os novos tempos. Mesmo que alguém não aceite tal determinação ele será afetado diretamente. O banco fechará às 16:00 horas do novo horário e não do horário antigo, e assim também acontece com o comércio, emprego ou cinema. Ou você se adapta ou está fora do sistema.

A Bíblia também nos adverte que os tempos e a lei serão alterados para e pela presença do anti-cristo. Se não consigo compreender completamente como ele mudará o tempo, consigo entender as conseqüências: ele magoará (ou em outras versões: esgotará) os santos do Altíssimo. O mundo está passando por uma altíssima transformação e que ninguém tenha dúvida, essa mudança é para pior “nos últimos dias sobrevirão tempos difíceis” (II Tm3:1). Os tempos estão sendo alterados e nosso ritmo de vida também. As exigências do mercado de trabalho impõem cada vez mais especialização e dedicação. Não é de se estranhar que o esforço para um pai de família sustentar sua casa hoje é muito mais árduo se compararmos um pai de 30 anos atrás. O sistema tem mudado. Ou você se adapta ou está fora.

Quando em Crônicas menciona-se a coroação de Davi como rei em Israel, existe uma expressão que sempre fala muito ao meu coração. Ali, quando o escritor lista as tribos que compareceram em Hebrom para “transferirem o reino de Saul segundo a palavra do Senhor” nos é dito: “Dos filhos de Issacar, conhecedores da época, para saberem o que Israel devia fazer, duzentos chefes, e todos os seus irmãos sob suas ordens” (I Cr 12:32). Aqui existe um registro diferenciado para os da tribo de Issacar. Eles não estavam ali de qualquer maneira ou simplesmente porque todas as outras tribos também estavam o fazendo. Mas eles estavam ali porque conheciam a época e sabiam o que Israel deveria fazer. Eles estavam fazendo exatamente aquilo que aquela época exigia na perspectiva de Deus e não da dos homens.

Assim como aconteceu em Israel na época de Davi hoje, entre o povo de Deus, também existem aqueles que são capazes de discernir os tempos. Não são seduzidos pelos apelos e insinuações deste mundo. Apesar de toda mudança nos tempos, não andam segundo o relógio do mundo mas andam segundo o tempo de Deus, o verdadeiro Senhor do tempo. Enxergam o que o mundo natural não pode ver. Investem no que é eterno e não no que é passageiro. Possuem uma viva esperança que, a cada profecia que se cumpre, se fortalece mais e mais.

Fico pensando em meu cotidiano. Tenho percebido as mudanças nos tempos ou simplesmente tenho sido atropelado pelo dia a dia? Como me relaciono com meu tempo: eu o governo ou sou governado por ele? Como tenho reagido com as pressões e imposições da nossa época? Será que tenho aceitado o ritmo e o padrão de vida sugerido pelos filhos da perdição? Mesmo conhecendo o tempo, será que tenho preferido viver sob a negridão das trevas?

“E digo a vós outros que conheceis o tempo, que já é hora de vos despertardes do sono; porque a nossa salvação está agora mais perto do que quando no princípio cremos. Vai a alta noite e vem chegando o dia. Deixemos, pois, as obras das trevas e revistamo-nos com as armas da luz.” Romanos 13: 11-12

Fonte: PENSAMENTOS DE UM PEREGRINO

 
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Publicado por em 07/10/2009 em POIMENIA

 

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Metade das crianças que nascem hoje chegará aos 100 anos de idade

BBC


Metade das crianças que nascem hoje chegará aos 100 anos de idade
Mais da metade das crianças nascidas em países ricos desde o ano 2000 chegará aos cem anos, caso a tendência de aumento da expectativa de vida atual continue. [Imagem: Benjamin Gimmel/Wikimedia]

Crianças de países ricos

Mais de metade das crianças nascidas em países ricos desde o ano 2000 chegará aos cem anos, caso a tendência de aumento da expectativa de vida atual continue, segundo um estudo publicado na revista científica Lancet.

A pesquisa, feita no Centro de Pesquisa sobre o Envelhecimento da Universidade do Sul da Dinamarca, analisou dados de 30 países que mostram que a expectativa de vida vem crescendo desde 1840 e que não há sinais de interrupção na tendência.

De acordo com o estudo, em 1950, a probabilidade de se viver até os 80 ou 90 anos era de 15% para mulheres e de 12% para homens. Em 2002, esses valores aumentaram para 37% e 25%, respectivamente.

“Se a expectativa de vida estivesse chegando a um limite, alguma desaceleração do progresso provavelmente ocorreria”, disse Kaare Christensen, que liderou o estudo.

Vivendo mais e melhor

Os dados levantados pelos pesquisadores sugerem ainda que, além de viver mais, também se viverá melhor, com menos problemas físicos e menos limitações.

De acordo com o estudo, entre 30% e 40% das pessoas que vivem dos 92 aos cem anos são independentes.

Os dados corroboram os resultados de um estudo realizado nos Estados Unidos com idosos acima dos cem anos.

Uma pesquisa com pessoas com idades entre 110 e 119 anos indicou que, mesmo na idade avançada, 40% eram independentes ou precisavam de pouca ajuda para realizar atividades como comer, tomar banho, trocar de roupas, entre outras.

Limitações e deficiências físicas

Segundo Christensen, há uma tendência de adiamento nas limitações e deficiências físicas causadas por saúde precária, apesar do aumento no número de doenças crônicas.

O pesquisador afirma que isso se deve, principalmente, aos diagnósticos precoces e tratamentos aprimorados, que reduzem o impacto de algumas doenças.

O presidente da Faculdade de Saúde Pública da Grã-Bretanha, Alan Maryon-Davis, afirmou que os resultados ressaltam a importância da prevenção.

“Você pode questionar as previsões, mas o que importa é que a prevenção realmente é melhor do que a cura”, disse.

“Não estamos adicionando anos às nossas vidas, mas, sim, vidas aos nossos anos”, afirmou Maryon-Davis.

Fonte: DIÁRIO DA SAÚDE

 
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Publicado por em 07/10/2009 em POIMENIA

 

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The X Factor – What have we learned from the rise, decline, and renewal of “Gen-X” ministries?

Collin Hansen

When the willows sway in South Barrington, the evangelical world notices. So Willow Creek Community Church provoked headlines in 2006 when leaders said they would end Axis as everyone knew it. As recently as 2001, about 2,000 young adults had gathered on Saturday nights for alternative music and relevant teaching. But before temporarily closing in 2006, Axis attracted fewer than 400 twenty-somethings. How could a trend-setting ministry decline so severely in just five years?

Due in no small part to Willow’s example, ministry leaders across the country once viewed separate, age-targeted services as the key to reaching a generation largely absent from the churches built by their Boomer parents. Little more than 10 years after Willow launched Axis in 1996, many of these once-prosperous twenty-something ministries have folded, spun off, or morphed. Leaders from these ministries have learned differing lessons from the experiment. Some are now advocating new messages for reaching the emerging generation. Others have changed their ministry’s structure. Still more want better biblical preaching and radical discipleship. All have been provoked to think deeply about the nature and implications of the gospel and have seen their ministries leave lasting effects on the larger church.

Costly conformity

Only one thing surprised Dan Kimball about the Axis reorganization: it took 10 years. Kimball, who teaches and oversees the Sunday gatherings for Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California, has tracked many young adult ministries over the years. He estimates that 90 percent of worship services targeting a younger generation run into serious trouble after three years. One factor is the way these age-specific ministries isolate young people from the rest of the church.

He talked to Axis leaders, including Nancy Ortberg, for his 2004 book Emerging Worship. Ortberg told him that the Axis staff interacted little with other Willow Creek leaders. As Axis participants aged, few connected with other Willow Creek ministries. Trouble was brewing. Kimball questioned whether a ministry based on generational preferences could long survive.

“If we are talking about a mindset, then to make someone switch to another approach to spiritual formation and worship when they reach a certain age is a difficult undertaking,” Kimball wrote in Emerging Worship. “It would be like birthing a Korean worship service that uses Korean language, Korean music, and a Korean mindset in all their communications, and then—when they reach a certain age—telling them they can’t worship as Koreans anymore.”

“If your model is based on the big event with one person teaching, I just don’t think it’s going to work.”

Kimball learned this lesson the hard way. In the mid-1990s he served as the young adults pastor at Santa Cruz Bible Church where he began experimenting with a new worship gathering. He darkened the room, arranged the chairs, lit candles, and served coffee. While these moves seem cliché today, they were radical for the time. Within a few years, Kimball’s experiment had become the church’s largest worship gathering. Then the questions started. When will the twenty-somethings start coming to “normal” church?

“So what began as a very exciting missional adventure slowly turned into a tension-filled dilemma. It felt like two churches in the same church,” Kimball said.

Church leaders opted to introduce commonality across generations. The two groups shared a small group structure, music ministry, and even sermons. The strategy didn’t work. Though he started with candles and coffee, Kimball had begun to realize that his generation thought about community, evangelism, leadership, and communication very differently than the older leaders. The relationship had to change, so he decided to end the next generation ministry at Santa Cruz Bible and plant a new church. For the first year, Vintage Faith Church rented space from Santa Cruz Bible Church. Later it merged with another aging congregation. They had facilities; Vintage Faith had people. Those from the older church who persevered through the merger have become grandparent-like figures to the twenty-somethings at Vintage Faith.

“I feel that if we can see church as the people, and not just define church by the worship gathering, a lot would be solved in bridging generations,” Kimball said. “We could focus more on the older mentoring the younger, the older opening their homes and being sages and guides to the younger. Instead we focus so much on getting the twenty-somethings into the main worship gathering. But just sitting in a room for an hour and half looking at the backs of everyone’s heads does not make something intergenerational.”

Conspicuously absent

Not even Kimball knows the exact origin of twenty-something ministries. As more young adults delayed marriage and parenthood, there developed a need for adult ministries that were not family-based. The simplest solution was to follow the model of high school and college ministries. The result was age-specific programs that functioned like youth groups for young adults.

This approach appeared to be working until “Gen X” became a catchphrase in the 1990s and Boomer church leaders noticed their conspicuous absence. Churches across the country began launching worship services designed to attract the missing generation. Willow Creek had Axis, McLean Bible Church launched Frontline, Applewood Baptist in Denver began The Next Level, and North Point in Atlanta started 7|22. The “church-within-a-church” model became the preferred strategy for reaching Gen X.

Daniel Hill attended the first-ever public Axis service in 1996. He remembers it being dark and sad. A young woman dressed in black and wearing black makeup read poetry, fitting the stereotype of Gen X as cynical and pessimistic. But the young adults attending the service were ambitious young executives like Hill. He had moved to the western suburbs after college to work for an internet startup company.

Bill Hybels captivated Hill during a leadership conference when he described the local church as the hope of the world. After this transformative experience, he became more involved in Axis as a small group leader. Then he began to coach leaders and grew close to the Axis staff. But during one severe conflict, every Axis staff member except one quit. The interim director asked Hill to carve out one day per week to help the struggling ministry. By the end of the summer in 1997, Hill had joined the staff.

When Nancy Ortberg took over Axis, she saw promise in Hill. She had little interest in discussions about the emerging church, so she dispatched Hill to represent the Willow Creek Association in meetings with Mark Driscoll, Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren, and others. While working for Axis, he moonlighted at Starbucks and engaged in regular evangelistic conversations. Hill began to feel restless. Like Kimball, he began to see that his generation sought more than a new worship style. Hill was developing a burden for racial reconciliation and social justice, but he felt constrained by the affluent suburban location of Willow Creek. Ortberg encouraged him to dwell in the tension.

Hill decided to experiment with starting an Axis ministry in Chicago. But he despaired when he sensed an expectation that the urbanites attend services in the far northwest suburbs.

“There is a collective sense in the emerging generation that one of the areas of failure in the modern church has been its inability to preach and live a gospel that cuts across racial, cultural, and socio-economic lines,” Hill said. “But people are struggling to know what to do with that sense.”

Ortberg observed that Hill’s loyalties were divided between Willow Creek and the city, so near the end of 2002, she finally nudged him from the nest. He left Willow Creek and founded River City Community Church in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Community hubs

The younger generation’s commitment to social impact, as seen in Daniel Hill’s story, came to impact Axis when it reorganized in 2006. Nine full-time Axis staff and ten interns found other employment within and outside of Willow Creek. Only John Peacock remained. That fall he began rebuilding Axis from the ground up. As the millennial generation replaced Gen X, the time-tested combination of relevant teaching and cool music no longer sufficed. Media-savvy young adults could download all the great teaching and music they wanted for their iPods. Nothing seemed to impress them.

Peacock, 29, recognized he would need to equip twenty-somethings to go and serve as missionaries in their own zip code. He launched missional community hubs, where a core group of four to six young adults move into an apartment complex or condominium unit. Meeting three times per month there, the missional community hubs focus on prayer, Scripture, and community. Keeping with Willow Creek’s mission, the small-group gatherings must be accessible to unbelievers. Outside these Tuesday night meetings, missional community hubs host social events where Christians can mingle with unbelievers. They also serve their neighborhoods with justice and compassion initiatives. Those who want to invest even deeper can meet in gender-specific life transformation groups where two to five young adults study Scripture and hold each other accountable. Everything Axis does today comes back to the need to build tight-knit communities in order to reach the millennial generation.

“The model must be relational,” Peacock said. “If it is based on the big event with one person teaching, I just don’t think it’s going to work. We’ve learned to break these things down into smaller communities where people actually know each other. We didn’t come up with it, but our mantra is, ‘People belong before they believe before they behave.’ Many people in this generation are already coming in with distrust toward God and the church. The more relational environments we have, the more trust can be built and people will be more open to exploring Christianity.”

The hubs come together only one time per month for the Axis Experience, where Peacock teaches briefly, a band leads worship, and representatives from the missional community hubs celebrate stories together. But even these gatherings have been broken down into smaller segments. Peacock leads the Axis Experience in South Barrington at the main Willow Creek campus on the first Friday of the month, but the first Saturday he leads a similar meeting in Chicago near Wrigley Field, where many young adults live.

A commitment to relationships rather than events also explains Peacock’s drive to partner Axis members with mentors. There are currently more than 30 people over the age of 50 attending Axis gatherings and actively mentoring younger believers. Those involved in the eight urban hubs are also a bit older than the suburban demographic. According to Peacock, the city groups range between the ages of 24 and 34. He isn’t sure whether these older members will stay involved with Axis or transition into other Willow Creek ministries, but he has encouraged them to mentor younger leaders.

If small, home-based, relational groups are the best way to reach twenty-somethings, then one question begs to be asked: What will happen to Willow Creek and its massive auditorium? Peacock says Willow Creek’s senior leadership sees Axis as a research and development department, and Bill Hybels has been one of their “biggest fans.” But does the Axis shift indicate that Willow Creek will need to put even more emphasis on its small groups and perhaps scale back its Sunday morning services? Or will today’s nearly 400 Axis members, 95 percent of whom are single and without kids, grow into “Big Willow” as they age?

“I do think when variables change in their lives, like getting married and having kids, that will adjust some things,” Peacock said. “However, this generation’s desire to connect will always be there. I don’t think that when they turn 30 they will suddenly want something different. But we’ll need to be flexible to adapt to their lifestyle and life stage.”

Peacock has already shown flexibility in his leadership style, which he describes as open-source leadership, likening it to Wikipedia. He establishes a baseline of trust but then unleashes other leaders to do the work of ministry. He and three other staff members spend the bulk of their time developing lay leaders, equipping all believers to live up to their priestly calling. To make this decentralized structure work, Peacock has laid out strict training requirements for prospective leaders. Over four weeks he and other staff imprint leaders with the Axis vision so they can shepherd missional community hubs and deal with day-to-day crises. Driven by principle and necessity alike, Peacock said working with younger generations demands a new leadership style for fellow staff and lay leaders.

“Your staff culture has to represent the culture you’re trying to create in the wider church,” Peacock said. “That’s one of the biggest misses in contemporary church work. You have a business-run, top-down, bottom-line culture yet you’re trying to bring around a loving, transformative culture in your community. It just doesn’t work.”

Integrated, Sort Of

Justin Buzzard was hired by a church that couldn’t help but notice the obvious lack of twenty-somethings attending worship services. Central Peninsula Church in the Bay Area of California charged Buzzard to preach the gospel to the least-churched age group and cast a vision for them to live radically centered on God and his gospel. Three years later, the church’s twenty-something ministry claims about 150 members in a church whose attendance tops 2,000.

Buzzard, 30, has found a receptive audience among young professionals who moved to the Bay Area for work and longed for community. Many had some religious background which they had rejected. Some who grew up in the church had heard distorted messages more concerned with good morals than grace. The welcoming community at Central Peninsula allowed them to take another look at Christianity.

Buzzard’s approach is a departure from the “church-within-a-church” model pioneered in the ’90s. Rather than building a next generation worship gathering Buzzard regularly reminds the young adults their ministry is no substitute for the local church. Sunday morning is more important than Thursday night, he says. The body of Christ needs them to serve children, mentor high schoolers, and glean wisdom from aging members.

“Twenty-somethings want and desperately need someone to yell at them from the Bible. They need an authoritative voice in their life.”

Having learned from the example of other next generation ministries, leaders at Central Peninsula Church suppressed the tendency toward intergenerational dissension with one key decision made when hiring Buzzard—he regularly preaches before the entire congregation on Sunday mornings. The church doesn’t see him as a youth pastor for young adults, but as another shepherd and teacher for the whole congregation. Just listening to a young preacher and seeing many young faces in the congregation has reminded the church that their God is mighty to save.

“The Baby Boomer’s strategy was getting the people most likely to attend church,” Buzzard said. “Our strategy is to find those least likely to come to church.”

Beyond preaching the gospel and loving people, Buzzard doesn’t claim any special strategy for reaching twenty-somethings. In fact, Buzzard said he approaches church elders twice a year to tell them to shut down the twenty-something ministry. But these leaders continue to recognize a need to set aside at least one teacher who will focus his efforts on young adults, injecting the larger church with life, vitality, and sound doctrine. It’s the best job in the church, Buzzard said.

“My very strong opinion is that twenty-somethings want and desperately need someone to yell at them from the Bible,” Buzzard said. “They need a pastor, an authoritative voice in their life who will stand up and proclaim God’s Word, to proclaim the gospel.

“I’m always saying that this is a prime, ripe season in your life to catch a vision for God and get centered on Christ. The choices and decisions you’re making during this decade are setting a trajectory for the rest of your life. The older you get, the harder it is to change. A lot of older folks in our church say they wish they could have done their twenties differently.”

Over the long term, Buzzard wants the twenty-something ministry to be the hose that waters the rest of the church, encouraging older members to take risks for Christ.

Adopted for Life

While Buzzard joyfully if reluctantly leads a separate ministry for young adults, several others have folded for good. Shortly before Axis reorganized, Jarrett Stevens moved to suburban Atlanta where he led 7|22, a twenty-something ministry at North Point Church. But church leaders recently closed down 7|22—not for lack of interest, but because the larger church had taken on the ministry’s ethos. It had simply become redundant.

“So many churches have responded positively to what was being experimented with by twenty-something ministries,” Kimball said. “Now these experiments are being adopted into the life of the main church itself.”

Nevertheless, churches differ on exactly how to experiment with twenty-something ministry. Some younger leaders have favored independence, concluding that older models neglected discipleship and commodified the gospel in order to build bigger churches. Some have forsaken centralized teaching and large worship events in favor of small group discussions. Yet others advocate stronger preaching, heavy doses of doctrine, and passionate challenges to apply the gospel.

But across the spectrum, twenty-something ministry leaders say reaching the millennial generation will require more than playing mainstream music, dimming the lights, and talking about sex. All see deep, genuine community as a crying need and key avenue for communicating and displaying the gospel.

Collin Hansen is a Christianity Today editor at large and author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists.

Copyright © 2009 by the author or Christianity Today International/Leadership Journal.

Source: COMMUNITY LIFE

 
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Publicado por em 15/09/2009 em POIMENIA

 

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Currents Shaping My Church: How Smaller Churches Grow

The secret includes goals and Wal-Mart.

Many smaller churches reflect a rural mindset, marked by crisis and hardship. A few show growth and vitality. What makes the difference? A recent survey of 109 growing smaller churches in the middle United States shows 15 common characteristics. The growing churches exhibited a majority of these traits:

  1. The pastor and members were involved in community activities.
  2. They were located in towns of 2,500 people or more.
  3. They were fewer than ten miles from a Wal-Mart.
  4. The population was in transition.
  5. They were pastored by younger pastors.
  6. The church was “very friendly,” not just friendly.
  7. The church was open to new methods.
  8. Evangelism was a number one priority.
  9. The atmosphere of the church was open and safe for newcomers.
  10. The church had multiple children’s ministries.
  11. Mentoring activities were available for newcomers.
  12. A high percentage of members were involved in ministry.
  13. Evangelism was the strongest skill of the pastor.
  14. Guests were welcomed and treated as though they were members.
  15. The church had written plans and goals.

—The McIntosh Church Growth Network newsletter.

Source: CHRISTIANITY TODAY

 
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Publicado por em 13/09/2009 em POIMENIA

 

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Rocking the White Citadel – A review of “The Next Evangelicalism”

Soong-Chan Rah

My life and worldview will never be the same after living seven years in Uganda. My wife and children, our mission team members, and I all made friends with and learned from people who were struggling out of poverty but still lived full of joy and hope.

Unfortunately, few Western Christians have the opportunity to learn from believers in other cultures. As a result, we impose our own perspective on Christians worldwide.

In The Next Evangelicalism, professor and pastor Soong-Chan Rah says the evangelical church has been held captive to Western-white power and must be released in the same way the early Christian church was released from Jewish ethnic control. Nearly 95 percent of Christian churches in America have more than 80 percent of one particular ethnic group. Most evangelical churches are white monoliths.

“Racism,” he says, “is America’s original sin.” Our culture and economy were built on the backs of Native Americans and black slaves. But American individualism and consumerism keep Christians from understanding and confessing corporate sin.

According to Rah, today’s “slavery issue” is immigration. Rah says church leaders maintain a “conspicuous silence” on the issue of immigration. Though some view immigration as a huge problem, Rah interprets law changes as far back as 1965 as catalysts for making immigrants the next hope for evangelical churches.

But the road to change is long and full of pitfalls, and the cards are stacked against non-whites. A 2005 Time story featuring 25 influential evangelicals included only two non-whites. Rah tells stories of churches resisting ethnic change in their communities, but has hope for a few shining examples of churches learning from and embodying ethnic change in their neighborhoods. He says the “colorblind American” approach is superficial and serves only to cover over and hide racial hatred.

Korean-born and raised in a Korean immigrant community, Rah is critical of the modern church growth movement and repudiates the homogenous unit principle, saying God never intended church leaders to target a particular race of people. Rah claims that race itself was never used in the Bible but “nations” is the preferred category, that slave trading states created the concept of race to perpetuate manifest destiny.

The author also finds the term “emergent church” offensive, saying “the real emerging church is the church in Africa, Asia, and Latin America,” which now makes up 60 percent of the world’s Christian population. He says these immigrant communities form a social network that cannot be extricated from their religious practices. The community helps people find jobs and homes, and white Americans can learn much from immigrant communities.

Many churches, meanwhile, have preferred numeric growth to hearing prophetic and diverse voices. Yet only a small group of churches are multi-ethnic, and the melting-potturned-salad-bowl of cultures has been covered with a “creamy ranch” that makes even kimchi or jalapeno all taste like salad dressing.

The next evangelicalism, Rah says would embrace a theology of suffering as well as celebration, intentionally give up power, and follow the lead of liminal (in-between) second and third-generation immigrants.

This will require that white leaders intentionally give power to Hispanic, Asian, black, and other minority cultures.

The Next Evangelicalism resonated with me because I grew up white, rich, and Christian. I’m still all of those things, but in a changing world. This book describes the world as we know it today and a vision for what churches could look like tomorrow. Rah warns us that if we fail to wake up and realize the center of the Christian universe is not white America, then we will become increasingly irrelevant and, more tragically, unfaithful to our task to take the gospel to all nations.

While Rah’s tone is challenging, his message is ultimately one of hope. The curse of Babel was reversed at Pentecost, he says. If we heed his message, a renewed vision for this kind of multi-cultural Christianity can bring new life to Christ’s church in the United States.

Copyright © 2009 by the author or Christianity Today International/Leadership Journal.

Source: LEADERSHIP

 
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Publicado por em 13/09/2009 em POIMENIA

 

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Three Trends in Church Consulting

Will Mancini
Almost a decade ago, I transitioned from pastoring to consulting full-time for local churches. It has been an amazing experience as I have felt euphoria in my kingdom service like never before. Therefore, I report these trends with the tingle of optimism and a feel of fervor. There has never been a more viable time for the role of the consultant, and the need is dire for more of us. In 1995, Lyle Schaller wrote that there would be a five-fold increase for the need of consultants in the next 25 years. This has been true in my experience and is the motivator behind my interest and role in the Society of Church Consulting.

Trend #1: From Knowledge Expert to Learning Broker: If you want to be a consultant today, stop calling yourself one. The market for knowledge experts is decreasing because we have been, as Gary Hamel puts it, “mugged by change.” If you presuppose that you have an answer for a local church before you show up on-site, you are less likely to be helpful. Knowledge is important, but only as it transcends itself to become perspective and conviction that leads to skillfully crafted, hand-made solutions. To reflect this emphasis at Auxano, we call ourselves “navigators.” I oftentimes write “consultant” on the board in front of a team to explain how our service is different in helping discover solutions on the inside rather than importing them from the outside.

Trend #2: From Wide and Shallow to Focused and Deep: Over time, the advantage belongs to the specialist not the generalist. Although consulting has existed in broad categories for a while (creating some sense of specialization), you can expect the categories to expand and diverge. A consultant will be a better learning broker, by being a one-trick-Johnny rather than a Jack-of-all-trades. So you want to be a church growth consultant? That might have worked as a general category in 1970, but not today. Think of the myriad of ways you can help a church grow in 2010. I am seeing new categories emerge in the capital campaign industry as ministries like Generis expand how they help churches in the field of generosity and stewardship. Lance Witt of Replenish recently left a prominent mega-church staff to be a “soul coach” to pastors. William Vanderbloemen of FaithSearch Partners is another pastor who has taken executive staff search for churches to a new level. Other expanding categories include consultants in new forms “ministry space” like Jim Tomberlin with multi-site and Rack & Roll Church with rental facilities. The list of expanded categories goes on from specialists in marketing and communications to conflict resolution. I have carved my particular niche by focusing on vision. Every day I earn a living as “clarity evangelist,” having created a useful divergence from strategic planning called the Vision Pathway to make clarity and vision more real for leaders.

By the way, it’s not uncommon to run into consultants that have a lot of different services to offer. Usually the more services they have the less busy they are. The one exception may be the consultant who works within a small geographic boundary with smaller churches.

Trend #3: From Denominational Boundaries to “Tribal” Networks: In the 20th century the needs of churches could be clustered by denominational differences. Since theological identity or ethnic heritage was the taproot factor for a church’s uniqueness, the consultant would naturally develop a client base within that domain. Today, however, the consultant is more likely to serve churches by cultivating a “tribe,” to borrow a term from marketing guru, Seth Godin. This tribe is of group of “followers” (clients) that is created from the value a consultant delivers and sustains through an ongoing relationship. An effective tribe today will quickly cross denominational boundaries. Tribes are defined by three dynamics: 1) the role that geography plays in the consultant’s work, 2) the degree of specialization the consultant maintains, and 3) the consultant’s skill in building awareness through relational networks.

What’s the bottom line? Churches are navigating all kinds of change and complexity today and, as a result, they are in desperate need for qualified consultants. It remains true that profound knowledge comes from the outside. If you are teetering on the edge of a new ministry calling, or are just getting started, I don’t think there could be a better time to jump in!

Source: CLARITY EVANGELIST

 
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Publicado por em 11/09/2009 em POIMENIA

 

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