Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church, crucified by so many on the altar of modern secularism, is in danger of undergoing a bodily resurrection.

A new church named after one of the Church of England’s oldest martyrs tells the tale. Just outside the M25 between Oxford and London, a handful of people who started in a rented house in Beaconsfield found and acquired a derelict farm nearby. They repaired the barns. Named after Hugh Latimer, who was burnt at the stake in Oxford in 1555 for his Protestant preaching, Latimer Minster fits a model common in Britain before the parish system.

The model comes from the earliest missionary communities in the British Isles, organised to teach and evangelise and often including farming, crafts and hospitality. It is “a form of outward-focused monasticism”, says Frog Orr-Ewing, the rector. Young ordinands in the Church of England are queuing up to serve there. Latimer’s is an example of how “fresh expressions” phenomena are calling a halt on the long-term decline in church attendance, and, in some places, actually setting it on an upward trend. In two years, numbers have grown to between 150 and 200 attending during the week and on Sunday are bursting out of the barn. Latimer’s ordered a big top, due to be delivered next month. Many are meeting weekly in smaller groups around Buckinghamshire in what are being termed small “pastorates”, functioning groups of Christians living in community who know each other well.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted April 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Do the work of an Evangelist!” charged Bishop Mark Lawrence in his sermon to the 75 clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina who attended the annual Renewal of Ordination Vows service, held April 1 at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston.

“The clock is ticking,” said the Bishop. “There are seven billion people in the world – three times as many as when I was born – Seven billion trying to eke out a living and experience a meaningful life. Can you digest a fact like that and not hear the clock ticking?”

Read it all and there is an audio link to the sermon also.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 14, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[My husband and I]...both work in higher education and run in circles that are highly educated and liberal. In our community, intellect is the only viable form of religion, and the fact that I’m a Christian calls into question my intellectual grit. When my colleagues find out, they are hard-pressed to reconcile the bright, open woman they see before them with the stereotypes they understand about evangelicals. You know the ones: judgmental, anti-intellectual, homophobic, which we are not.

We are the types of young adult Christians who love our faith, but who’ve moved slightly left of center. Just enough so that we have to keep our social and political views quiet in our faith communities. On the other hand, we have to tamp down the religious talk in our work and social communities. I am constantly negotiating how much of myself to share in either group.

Nothing embodies the tension I feel around integrating my identity into both these communities like Noelle’s first explorations with faith. She is extroverted and vocal in ways I am not brave enough to be. She is unselfconscious — completely unaware of the stereotypes that linger around conservative faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

3 Comments
Posted April 7, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ed: Some are estimating that in the next couple of decades, they'll be more evangelicals in Brazil than in the United States. It's already the second largest mission-sending country in the world by some measurements. Honduras may be as much as half evangelical Christians now. With all these shifts of numbers of believers, what will that do in terms of global leadership? We've already seen the Anglican Global South assert its authority as the majority. How will this shift play out in the coming years?

Dr. Jenkins: So much of this change has happened very recently – within 30, 40, 50 years, which in the span of Christian history is not great. It's hardly surprising that some institutions have not adapted fully to take account of that. Other churches, however, recognize it. On a typical Sunday, there are more Assemblies of God worshippers in the greater San Paulo, Brazil area than in the United States. It's a radical change.

Let me suggest to you that in 30 years, there will be two sorts of church in the world. There'll be the ones that are multi-ethnic, transnational, and multi-continental. They are constantly battling over issues of culture, lifestyle, worship, and constantly in conflict, debate and controversy. And those are the good ones. The other churches will have decided to let all these trends pass them by. They'll live just like they've always done with an average age in their congregations of 80. Personally, I'd much rather be in one of the ones that is recognizing, taking account of the expansion with all the debates and controversies.

Read it all (and please note this is part three of a series and the links for the first two parts are provided in the top section introducing this interview).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistory* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaBrazil* Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The shifts in public sentiment have led Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention to draw an arresting conclusion: Contrary to what an earlier generation believed, there's no "moral majority" in America today, and never was. "There was a Bible Belt illusion of a Christian America that never existed," Moore told journalists at a conference sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center last week. "The illusion of a moral majority is no longer sustainable."

The Moral Majority, of course, was the Christian political caucus founded by the late Jerry Falwell in 1979. Falwell's premise was that conservative Christians were a sleeping giant, and that if they were organized and summoned to the polls, Congress and state legislatures would do their will.

Moore has concluded that although plenty of Americans call themselves evangelicals and attend church most Sundays, many have drifted away from orthodoxy on issues such as divorce, abortion and gay marriage. To Moore, that means the crucial mission for believers shouldn't be politics but rather to preach the Gospel and win souls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it there (using the button which says "download" underneath the link which says "listen").

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 31, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As biblical Anglicans, you all are doing a courageous thing to stand firm for Christ, His truth, and His kingdom. Ruth and I highly esteem you and all of the St. Michael’s congregation, especially the leadership of those who are weekly and daily wrestling with the rigors of adversarial legal action. May Christ give you a good resolution to this struggle, so that the congregation can continue in such an historic and crucial location.
The week following our friendly meeting, Franklin Graham asked me to assist the My Hope outreach in the United Kingdom. I accepted and look forward to devoting significant time and energies to motivating evangelism in the British Isles during 2014. One of my first emails was to the Rev. Richard Bewes, former pastor at All Souls in London, which Dr. John Stott pastored before Richard was appointed. I look forward to working alongside many Anglican pastors in the UK during this year. - See more at: http://www.stmichaelschurch.net/letter-to-the-clergy-2/#sthash.IeUrZLuu.dpuf

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* International News & CommentaryAfricaRwandaEngland / UK--Ireland

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Posted March 30, 2014 at 12:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Demographers tell us that Millennials are young adults aged 18 to 33. They’re often the ones you see sipping a latte at Starbucks, checking their Twitter feeds, or texting their friends.

According to a Pew Research report entitled “Millennials in Adulthood,” they are incredibly well connected to friends, family, and colleagues via all the latest digital platforms. But as University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox says, when it comes to “the core human institutions that have sustained the American experiment — work, marriage, and civil society,” the Millennials’ ties “are worryingly weak.”

Let’s take them in order. Concerning work, less than half of young people aged 18 to 29 are employed full time, and the numbers continue to fall. Wilcox says, “Work affords most Americans an important sense of dignity and meaning—the psychological boost provided by what American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks calls a sense of ‘earned success.’ ”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is chairing the first meeting of the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group at Lambeth Palace today.

The group, which comprises about a dozen experts and practitioners in evangelism, has been set up following a debate on intentional evangelism at the General Synod in November. It intends to encourage and equip every church and Christian proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

During its inaugural meeting, the group will consider how it can bring influence to bear on the church in the short, medium and long term. It will also discuss the group’s future structure and work. It is expected that the group will meet five times during its first 12 months.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

4 Comments
Posted March 25, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[My friend] Joseph also pushed me on the origins of the universe. I had always believed in the Big Bang. But I was blissfully unaware that the man who first proposed it, Georges Lemaître, was a Catholic priest. And I'd happily ignored the rabbit trail of a problem of what caused the Big Bang, and what caused that cause, and so on.

By Valentine's Day, I began to believe in God. There was no intellectual shame in being a deist, after all, as I joined the respectable ranks of Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers.

I wouldn't stay a deist for long. A Catholic friend gave me J. Budziszewski's book Ask Me Anything, which included the Christian teaching that "love is a commitment of the will to the true good of the other person." This theme—of love as sacrifice for true good—struck me. The Cross no longer seemed a grotesque symbol of divine sadism, but a remarkable act of love. And Christianity began to look less strangely mythical and more cosmically beautiful.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism* TheologyApologetics

1 Comments
Posted March 22, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches under Bishop Rimbo's purview are trying some unorthodox measures. In Williamsburg, Mr. McKelahan organized a life-size crossword puzzle inside the Lorimer Street/Metropolitan Avenue subway stop, where topics included Mexican art and nuclear physics, along with a few biblical questions. (Clue: Hebrew name meaning "He will laugh." Answer: Isaac.)

Another interactive art project used giant dye-filled soap bubbles on foam at an event on Governor's Island. Mr. McKelahan said that, while not explicitly religious, soap bubbles carry a spiritual message in that they must burst "if they are to leave a lasting impression"—referring to a passage in the Book of John.

"Did most people pick up on this spiritual message? Probably not," he said. "But hopefully they see that the church is inviting them to work together in bringing joy and beauty into the world."

Mr. McKelahan, who at 28 is one of the New York metro area's youngest ordained Lutheran ministers, said it was Bishop Rimbo's idea to send him to Williamsburg.

"I met with Bishop Rimbo and explained to him, 'I'm really interested in making art as worship, all my friends are atheists,'" Mr. McKelahan said. "Bishop Rimbo said, 'There's this neighborhood in Brooklyn called Williamsburg where lots of young creative people are moving. We are trying to figure out how to minister to them. Would you like to do something with them?' Even though I'd never heard of Williamsburg, I couldn't say yes fast enough."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheran* Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 17, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Saturday, March 15, the Diocese’s 223rd Annual Convention unanimously accepted an invitation to join the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) and temporarily enter into a formal ecclesiastical relationship known as provisional primatial oversight from bishops in the Global South.

The convention’s nearly 400 delegates also voted to create a task force to explore more permanent affiliation options for the diocese. The task force will offer recommendations at the next Convention, which will be held next March.

Local critics of the Diocese’s 2012 separation from The Episcopal Church had said the disassociation would isolate the Diocese from the Global Anglican Communion. While the Diocese has maintained many informal relationships with organizations that are part of the communion, this formal primatial oversight arrangement makes clear that the Diocese is officially part of the greater Anglican Church.

“There’s an African proverb that wisely states ‘If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together,’ said the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 14th Bishop of the Diocese, in his address to the Convention. “This will give us gracious oversight from one of the largest Ecclesial entities within in the Communion; one which includes Anglicans from a diverse body of believers from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, the Indian Ocean and many, many others.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* South Carolina

29 Comments
Posted March 16, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

4 years ago, missionary Doug Millar was frustrated by the lackluster amount of conversions in his Mayan village of Chan Chen, Mexico. Despite a steady stream of short-term mission teams, next to no one in the village had become a Christian.

Ministry partner Randy Carruth suggested a solution: Invite Native Americans.

In March 2013, after three such trips by Carruth's I Am Able Ministries, 25 to 30 Mayans attended the village's first worship service. Less than a year later, Millar's church has grown to 200.

It's not an isolated case. With many Native American communities reporting signs of revival and church growth, missions leaders are increasingly trying to send these missionaries to other indigenous groups worldwide.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-Watch* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 13, 2014 at 5:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The historic stone church on Cuyler Avenue, kitty-corner from Beye School, has seen decades of slow decline as its Methodist congregation aged and shrank. Eventually the congregation merged with another local Methodist church and for the past few years the 113-year-old stone church sat waiting for new life.

Now, with locals leading the way, a traditionally focused but very growth oriented unit of the Anglican Church in North America purchased the church building at 171 N. Cuyler in early January for $844,000 and services have returned on Sundays.

What was the Cornerstone United Methodist Church, and for decades had been Faith Methodist, is now Cornerstone Anglican Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

5 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 5:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After an extended, mediated negotiation, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, which has over 3,300 members, including former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University academia, and those in the Silicon Valley...[voted by 93% to]... move forward with the recommendation by their elders and pastors.

In a sermon delivered on Feb. 2, MPPC's senior pastor John Ortberg explained how the $8.89 million was arrived and explained why the elders still voted unanimously against the option of simply staying in PCUSA.

"As you all know, we have a vision. We have a mission. We want to reach thousands of people for Jesus Christ around this Bay Area that needs him so much," he said. "We want to launch new sites to help us do that."

Read it all.




Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian* Theology

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Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jiří Unger, president of the European Evangelical Alliance and general secretary of the Czech Evangelical Alliance, said: "Church-planting initiatives across Europe – particularly in the last two decades – have become major sources of innovation in a lifestyle of mission. It has also helped people identify new and effective ways of reaching neighbours with the gospel.

"In UK, Germany, France, Ukraine, Baltic states and in many other countries church-planting has been instrumental in bringing back denominational vitality, in recruiting new leaders and making churches more visionary.

"There is a long way to go but we can be encouraged that it's possible. We can reinvent ourselves and get a better understanding of how to relate to the people and communities around us in a fresh and authentic way."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 24, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An interesting resource--check out the oodles of ideas and links.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMediaReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted February 21, 2014 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As many of you know, I have just recently returned from a two-week trip to the Holy Land with Beth, my daughter Sarah, Ron and Claudia Boyce, and Meemee Williams, as well as about 25 other folks from other churches. It was, truly, a transformational pilgrimage and a greatprivilege to walk in the footsteps of our Lord. Thank you for your prayers.

One of the most interesting aspects of the trip was the realization of the central place that rocks have played in the life of our Lord...yes, I said ROCKS: The rock on the Mount of Transfiguration, the rock at Bethpage where Jesus mounted the donkey, the rock on which he blessed then multiplied the loaves and fishes in Galilee, the ro ck on which he leaned while praying three times in Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion, and the very rock of the crucifixion, Golgotha, just to name a few. Having been a geologist for man y years, this was a welcome, albeit surprising, revelation. Jesus Himself said (above) on Palm Sunday, that if we were not to praise Him, then therocks would have to shout to glorify Him....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted February 11, 2014 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For much of the last century in the United States, Protestant Christianity’s relationship with beer was cold or even hostile at times. Protestant organizations such as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League led the campaign to make alcohol illegal.

Even after Prohibition ended, many evangelicals defined themselves by their abstention from alcohol, called “the beloved enemy” by televangelist Jack Van Impe.

Drinking was, and in many cases still is, outlawed on Christian college campuses and among leadership of many churches and denominations.

But in recent years, change has been fermenting. Taverns and beer halls, once dismissed as the domain of the “worldly” in need of reform, are today the meeting places for churches

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingHistoryReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted February 9, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gospel tracts, sidewalk evangelism, street preachers with bullhorns—all of these things seem like evangelistic efforts of yesteryear. But if this seems true, where does that leave the state of evangelism today? Is faith-sharing a fading practice, or does it simply look different today? In all their innovative efforts to engage culture, have Christians left this ancient practice so integral to their faith behind?

Barna Group has charted evangelistic practices and attitudes for more than two decades, and the latest study sheds light on the gaps between evangelism in theory and practice, the social groups who are sharing their faith the most, and the surprising ways economics color one's outreach efforts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted February 3, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Only one quarter of Anglicans who responded to a Church Times survey are in the habit of inviting people to church.

Just 27 per cent of laypeople responding to a questionnaire agreed with the proposition: "I often invite other people to come to my church"; 56 per cent disagreed. Six per cent agreed with the proposition: "I would never invite anyone to come to my church."

Despite this, lay people continue to be optimistic about church growth: 40 per cent believed that their church would grow in the next 12 months; 42 per cent were uncertain, and only 18 per cent said that it would not.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted January 31, 2014 at 5:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The fact is that in one moment, while Christians like me (and maybe like some of you) would be a bit cynical at the simplicity and, yes, the "hokeyness" of skywriting evangelism, potentially up to 133,000 people (using the average daily attendance of the four parks in the resort) actually discussed what it means to trust Jesus. That's something that should not be dismissed.

Now, skywriting is not the ultimate form of evangelism-- that takes feet and faces, not just billboards and signs. Personally, I'm more concerned that I share Christ with my neighbor than some sort of placard, billboard or flyer.

But at the end of the day, I was convicted that maybe those of us who call ourselves "missional" should be a little less cynical about Christians who are trying to get the message out in ways that we might deem cheesy or ineffective.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new “pop-up” churches opening in pubs, bars and on the streets can attract and keep young people and serve to counter generations of falling attendances, a Church of England conference was told yesterday.
The Archbishop of Canterbury warned of “significant decline” in the number of people attending church and called on clergy, bishops and laity to focus on growth.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said that there was “every reason” to be hopeful about the future of the Church of England.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that "There is every reason to be hopeful about the future of the Church of England" as new research published today has found churches showing signs of growth across the country in a variety of areas of church life from newly established congregations and churches to ancient Cathedrals and parishes.

The Faith in Research Conference was held in London to publish and disseminate the executive summary of an 18 month systematic multi-method study into Church Growth in the Church of England.

The research is published against a backdrop of decline of 9% in church attendance over the last decade and identifies factors associated with growth as well as identifying factors in churches which are showing numerical decline.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England must stop losing teenagers and those in their early twenties, if it is to reverse the decline that threatens its existence.

This warning was delivered by one of the authors of a new report on church growth, based on research commissioned by the Archbishops and published yesterday. The three teams behind the research, based at the University of Essex; Cranmer Hall, Durham; and Ripon College, Cuddesdon, were asked to investigate the factors that might deliver church growth, in the light of a nine-per-cent decline in church attendance over the past decade.

On Wednesday, Dr David Voas, Professor of Population Studies at the University of Essex, who carried out some of the research, said: "A lot of people think of decline in terms of people stopping attending. The major factor underlying numerical change is that people never start attending in the first place.Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An award-winning pastor and the congregation he leads at the Flora-Bama lounge have left the United Methodist denomination, he confirmed Wednesday.

The Rev. Jeremy Mount, who received the Harry Denman Evangelism Award in June at the United Methodists’ annual meeting in Mobile, turned in his credentials in mid-December, he said. He is the third well-known pastor to leave the Alabama-West Florida Conference in 2013.

“We’ve always loved the local churches we’ve been a part of,” said Mount, who was discipleship pastor at Perdido Bay UMC and led Worship on the Water as a ministry of the church. “We have had a harder time dealing with the larger structure of the denomination.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What is the difference between the General of the Salvation Army and the Pope? Less than I presumed a week ago. Both, of course, care about the poor, which has ever been a mark of the Church.
“Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life,” declared St John Chrysostom 1,600 years ago. “The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.”
Until last week, I’d thought the Salvation Army was Calvinist. That is no crime. But the Army, I find, believes that the “saved” can backslide. “We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.” That is No 8 in the 11 succinct doctrines of the Salvation Army. As William Booth put it in 1879: “We are a salvation people – this is our speciality – getting saved and keeping saved, and then getting somebody else saved, and then getting saved ourselves more and more.” One hostile commentator on the internet characterises such a belief as “demonic works-salvation”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

2 Comments
Posted January 11, 2014 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The reality is that where you have a good vicar, you will find growing churches" @ABCJustin http://ow.ly/savN5 02:35:07 Disappointed.

Disappointed. As am I. Because although it is bad logic the assumption is that where you have a church that isn't growing you have a bad Vicar.

And of course growth is a rather slippery term. My involvement in Fresh Expressions has seen a number of projects grow fast, and then contract as circumstances change. Such periods often mark spiritual growth and individuals embracing discipleship, but the bottom line shows shrinkage.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted December 31, 2013 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Englewood runs counter to the church culture — and its own past — in some other ways. Where the church once focused primarily on evangelism, attractive programming and high membership growth, Englewood seems more interested in getting to know people.

"A lot of times churches just think it is about getting people to be baptized and saving their souls so they can go to heaven," said Benjamin, the church secretary. "We believe the picture is so much bigger than that. It is about what God intended life to be. He intended people to have good shelters. He intended people to have the basic needs of life. He intended people to live together in harmony and share together."

That philosophy is what Smith, the editor of the church's book review, describes in a new book he has co-authored called "Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus."

Borrowing some of the language of the Slow Food movement, it proposes to resist what some have called the "McDonald's-ization of the church."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral Care* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christmas holiday brings peak attendance for most churches, and an increasing number of U.S. religious groups are using the boom time to wow parishioners with virtual choirs on YouTube and Instagram advent calendars.

More than 500 churches will stream Christmas sermons online this year, up from just a handful in 2007, said DJ Chuang, host of the Social Media Church, a podcast with church leaders about social media. Hundreds more started Instagram and Pinterest accounts this year to post photos of baptisms and quotes from the gospel, he said.

"Instagram is like the modern day stained glass window," Chuang said. "They use it to tell the stories of the church."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventChristmasParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yet strangely enough, my idols are not strange to me.

They call to me. Personally. They appeal to me from my past. They make their persuasive case for why I need them so badly and how much they can do for me. They try to convince me that we can all get along here in one place together, that I can share space with both them and my Christian devotion at the same time, and that God will understand.

So my idols are much more personal than a piece of stone or a block of wood. Anything from my past or present that shapes my identity or fills my thoughts with something other than God, especially on a regular, ongoing, irresistible basis, is an idol. Idolatry does not count the cost of worshipping anything but God. And although few of us could ever imagine worshipping a picture of ourselves, the reality is--we are either worshipping God or some form of ourselves. When we are driven by physical and emotional appetites rather than being led by the Spirit of God, we are worshipping the idol of ourselves. Paul spoke as a prophet on fire to the Colossian Christians: "Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry" (Col. 3:5).

Read it all from Ed Stetzer.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 12, 2013 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In their introduction to the Annual Report, Church Army Chair and Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, and Church Army Chief Executive, Mark Russell, said: "During this year under review, one of our main focuses has been the implementation of our DARE strategy which we launched in 2011; doing evangelism, advocating evangelism, resourcing evangelism and enabling evangelism. Therefore, our staff and evangelists have been working hard as they’ve endeavoured to convert this strategy into operational reality - particularly in relation to encouraging and challenging the wider church in evangelism.

"Yet, it is the individual lives changed that speak best of Church Army's impact during 2012/2013. It is their names and faces, along with the statistics and finances, which will give you a real insight into our work. People like Jenny, from The Amber Project in Cardiff, who has struggled during her teenage years with self-harm but thanks to our support has found hope. Or Dot who lives on the deprived Flaxley Road housing estate in Selby and has come to faith through our Centre of Mission....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 4, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthSpirituality/Prayer* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted November 30, 2013 at 7:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What about what some call the greatest mission field, which is our own secularizing or secularized culture? What do we need to do to reach this increasingly pagan society? I think we need to say to one another that it’s not so secular as it looks. I believe that these so-called secular people are engaged in a quest for at least three things. The first is transcendence. It’s interesting in a so-called secular culture how many people are looking for something beyond. I find that a great challenge to the quality of our Christian worship. Does it offer people what they are instinctively looking for, which is transcendence, the reality of God?

The second is significance. Almost everybody is looking for his or her own personal identity. Who am I, where do I come from, where am I going to, what is it all about? That is a challenge to the quality of our Christian teaching. We need to teach people who they are. They don’t know who they are. We do. They are human beings made in the image of God, although that image has been defaced.

And third is their quest for community. Everywhere, people are looking for community, for relationships of love. This is a challenge to our fellowship. I’m very fond of 1 John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us.” The invisibility of God is a great problem to people. The question is how has God solved the problem of his own invisibility? First, Christ has made the invisible God visible. That’s John’s Gospel 1:18: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

People say that’s wonderful, but it was 2,000 years ago. So in 1 John 4:12, he begins with exactly the same formula, nobody has ever seen God. But here John goes on, “If we love one another, God abides in us.” The same invisible God who once made himself visible in Jesus now makes himself visible in the Christian community, if we love one another. And all the verbal proclamation of the gospel is of little value unless it is made by a community of love.

These three things about our humanity are on our side in our evangelism, because people are looking for the very things we have to offer them.

You may find the whole article from which it comes there. I quoted this at the early morning service sermon this past Sunday--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthPastoral Care* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

1 Comments
Posted November 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...Teo Bishop, while keeping up a career in pop music, accomplished something less predictable and altogether curiouser. Beginning about three years ago, he began a rise to prominence in the Pagan community. Then, last month, he shocked the Pagan community by re-embracing Christianity.

“I’m overwhelmed with thoughts of Jesus,” Mr. Bishop wrote on Oct. 13, on his blog, Bishop in the Grove. “Jesus and God and Christianity and the Lord’s Prayer and compassion and forgiveness and hope. ... I don’t know what to do with all of this.”

For American Pagans, Mr. Bishop’s defecting to a big, bad mainstream religion is bigger news than winning a Grammy, bigger than shooting a Vanity Fair cover. If you’re a Druid, a Wiccan or any of the nature-religion followers grouped under the label Pagan, you’re not talking about Britney, JT or Xtina. You’re talking Teo Bishop.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsWicca / paganism

1 Comments
Posted November 27, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like lots of college students, Lauren has a smartphone loaded with some of the most popular apps around — Facebook, Twitter and eBay. And like a lot of unbelievers, she asked to not use her full name because her family doesn’t know about her closet atheism.

One of the apps she uses most regularly is YouVersion, a free Bible app that puts a library’s worth of translations — more than 700 — in the palm of her hand. Close to 115 million people have downloaded YouVersion, making it among the most popular apps of all time.

But Lauren, a 22-year-old chemistry major from Colorado, is not interested in the app’s mission to deepen faith and biblical literacy. A newly minted atheist, she uses her YouVersion Bible app to try to persuade people away from the Christianity she grew up in.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsAtheism* TheologyApologetics

0 Comments
Posted November 6, 2013 at 11:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev Baden Stace, rector of St Cuthbert’s Carlton and chair of the Jesus brings steering committee says the aim is really to support the local parishes to push particularly hard in 2014 with mission.

“We’re trying to energise the parishes,” he says. “Connect 09 was a great time for many churches across the Diocese, and they sounded energised to be part of something bigger, and to be part of something together... we’re wanting to equip them and give a mission focus such that 80,000 Christians in Anglican churches across Sydney and the Illawarra can collectively shout out to our region what Jesus brings, and get to the heart of the gospel.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

0 Comments
Posted November 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With mainline religious congregations dwindling across America, a scattering of churches is trying to attract new members by creating a different sort of Christian community. They are gathering around craft beer.

Some church groups are brewing it themselves, while others are bring the Holy Mysteries to a taproom. The result is not sloshed congregants; rather, it's an exploratory approach to do church differently.

Leah Stanfield stands at a microphone across the room from the beer taps and reads this evening's gospel message.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheran

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Posted November 3, 2013 at 5:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The day began with a Eucharist in Nairobi Cathedral where there was standing room only. Afterwards the 331 bishops, over a third of those in the Anglican Communion, gathered for a group photograph in which they gave the "One-way" sign.

In his chairman's address Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya said the challenge facing the church "is that the nations which were once the spiritual powerhouses of world wide mission have now become deeply secularised and even hostile to the Christian faith".

"What really rots the fabric of the Communion is the process by which weak churches are gradually taken captive by the surrounding culture," he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of KenyaGlobal South Churches & PrimatesGACON II 2013* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 23, 2013 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Carey Nieuwhof is not a United Methodist. Nope, he’s the pastor of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, Canada which is part of a network of churches that have been influenced by Andy Stanley’s North Point Ministries. And yet, he’s a voice we should be listening to because again and again Carey posts pithy articles on church leadership and evangelism that are worth thinking about. Today (which you have have already read) he unpacked the 8 reasons most churches never break the 200 in attendance mark:

You know why most churches still don’t push past the 200 mark in attendance?
You ready?
They organize, behave, lead and manage like a small organization.
Think about it.
There’s a world of difference between how you organize a corner store and how you organize a larger supermarket.


Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyPastoral Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"We are a very media-conscious generation. We know the power of the mass media on the public mind. Consequently, we want to use the media in evangelism. By print or tape, by audio or videocassette, by radio and television we would like to saturate the world with the good news. And rightly so. We should harness to the service of the gospel every modern medium of communication which is available to us.

Nevertheless, there is another way, which is still more effective. It requires not complicated electronic gadgetry; it is very simple. It is neither organized nor computerized; it is spontaneous. And it is not expensive; it costs precisely nothing. We might call it 'holy gossip.' It is the excited transmission from mouth to mouth of the impact which the gospel news is making on people. 'Have you heard what has happened to so and so? Did you know that such and such a person has come to believe in God and has been completely transformed? Something extraordinary is happening in Thessalonica: a new society is coming into being, with new values and standards, characterized by faith, love and hope.'"
--John R. W. Stott, The Message of 1 & 2 Thessalonians (Bible Speaks Today)[Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1991], pp.37-38, and quoted by yours truly in this morning's sermon

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyEcclesiologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church as people who are Gossippers of the Gospel

[Evangelism] is telling the good news about Jesus, and doing it with honesty, urgency, and joy, using the Bible, living a life that backs it up, and praying, and doing it all for the glory of God.

--Mark Dever

Evangelism is not simply a matter if bringing individuals to personal faith, though of course that remains central to the whole enterprise. It is a matter of confronting the world with the good, but deeply disturbing, news of a different way of living…the way of love.

--Tom Wright

To evangelize is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Savior, and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His church.

--William Temple

How do the definitions of evangelism above speak to you right now where you live and move and have your being? Think and pray over them.

Think of the word witness and the word eyewitness. What are the qualities of an effective witness to you? In a lawcourt? In an accident?

In the service of Baptism, the baptismal covenant includes the following Q and A:
Celebrant: Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? People: I will, with God’s help.
Against the standard above how would you evaluate yourself as a witness? In word? In deed?

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). What is the role of prayer it witnessing? What is the role of prayer in your witnessing?

If you could name one person in your life for whom you had a particular burden for them to come to know Jesus as Savior and follow him as Lord who would that be? How have you been praying for that person? Is there a way your prayers could be changed going forward? If so,how?

Suppose you had to study Jesus as a witness to God’s kingdom in the gospels? What specific things does he have to teach us about how to witness?

What is the role of listening in witnessing? Of question asking? What are the ways this week God is calling you to listen and ask kingdom oriented questions?

Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ. How does this saying speak to you about witnessing? Are there ways for you to pay about your friends God is calling you to? Is there anyone in your life you may be missing who needs a friend?

--From this morning's Bulletin insert in our series on the Church, cited by yours truly in the sermon




Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyEcclesiologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I walked in Wednesday night for a prayer meeting and the chairs were there, and they were beautiful," she says. "I thought, 'Nancy Shane, even at 68 years old, young woman, you can change.' "

She isn't the only churchgoer being asked to take a stand on new Sunday seating arrangements. Pews have been part of the Western world's religious landscape for centuries, but now a growing number of churches in the U.S. and U.K. are opting for chairs, sometimes chairs equipped with kneelers.

At bottom: churches want to trim remodeling costs, maximize space flexibility with stackable seating, or create a more approachable atmosphere to draw in unchurched young people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture

3 Comments
Posted October 8, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all, noting especially the bishop's first blog entry for those of you who may have missed it.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMedia* South Carolina* Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 4, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As we come to these lists each year, we look for three things: a characteristic trending across the church spectrum; something that stands out as unique; and something that may fly a bit under the radar and yet is surprisingly influential among growing churches.

This year, as my team processed the data, we saw something that excites me and is thoroughly biblical. What's more, it's something in which every church can engage. Something in which every church must engage if it wants to reflect the character of God as a church body: self-sacrifice.

Growing churches are showing a great commitment to multiplying themselves, as we see in the discussion about multiple campuses, and this commitment to multiplication often creates a need for sacrifice. Sacrifice is inherent to the experience of every growing believer—and every growing church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted September 26, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group of Zambian Anglicans wowed by the impact of rural evangelism has challenged the Church to evangelise to the farthest parts of the country.

The challenge came following a week of church planting in one of Zambia’s most remote and neglected towns of Chama, a small town in the Eastern Province of Zambia. The headquarters of Chama District, Chama town is one of the most remote district headquarters in the country, lying just inside the eastern edge of Luangwa National Park.

Fr Katete Jackson Jones is a priest from Lusaka Diocese and one of the organisers of the project. He told ACNS today, “Most of the churches that we currently have in Zambia were planted by missionaries many years ago, but the Church today has not done much to plant indigenous churches in the country”.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Central Africa* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* International News & CommentaryAfricaZambia

0 Comments
Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“What a great clergy day,” said the Very Rev. David Thurlow, Rector of St. Matthias in Summerton, SC at the end of the gathering of clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina on September 12, 2013. Over 85 clergy of the Diocese gathered at St. Paul’s in Summerville for the once-yearly event.

“The legal update was clear and understandable,” said Thurlow, “the questions asked and answered were insightful and helpful. Alan Runyan’s personal testimony and witness to God's work was incredible and powerful. Bishop Lawrence did great in setting before us an updated picture of where we are and giving us vision, hope and encouragement as we journey on together. All in all the day could not have been better!”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyApologeticsEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It happens at St. Paul's, Summerville, S.C., from 10:30 a.m. until 4:00.

Thank you.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 12, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over the last year, La Iglesia de San Juan (the Hispanic ministry of the Diocese of South Carolina) has been in transition. This summer the church changed direction in its witness to the Hispanic people of Sea Islands. Instead of the traditional “open our doors and they will come” model, worship and pastoral care are now taken to the people where they live. Each Sunday evening the “Church on the Move” can be found at one of the many work camps on Johns Island.

The ministry is a mission church of the Diocese of South Carolina under Bishop Lawrence. It was supported for most of its existence by St. John’s Church and other churches in the Charleston area. In its current form the people involved in leadership are from many churches including a number of parishes in the Diocese and Presbyterian churches as well. The list of volunteers from other denominations is growing.

Our goal is simply to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in Spanish, to the people of the Sea Islands.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* South Carolina

8 Comments
Posted September 10, 2013 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before I ever met you personally, I saw these witnessing videos that went viral. Are you the evangelism linebacker? How did that happen?

That's me. When they were developing the idea, someone had heard me speak at the University of Montana State and said I would be perfect for the role. In 2004, they flew me to Bozeman, Montana and told me the idea for the character. We started to film and I just made up every line as we went.

It started as a bundle with other videos for Campus Crusade, but the Evangelism Linebacker ended up on YouTube. It had a million views way before a lot of other videos did, since this was still the infancy of YouTube. If that had happened today, it would be crazy viral. It ended up with this cult following. In one way it was a positive, but in another way people assume that all I can do is give a motivational talk. So when I started to talk ecclesiology and soteriology, people didn't know what to do.

Read it all and consider following the many links also.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSports

1 Comments
Posted September 6, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchChildrenPoverty* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted September 3, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Communication is evangelism...."

Ugh. Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

1 Comments
Posted August 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One out of five non-Christians in North America doesn't know any Christians.

That's not in the fake-Gandhi-quote "I would become a Christian, if I ever met one" sense.

It's new research in Gordon-Conwell's Center for the Study of Global Christianity's Christianity in its Global Context, 1970-2020. Missiologist Todd M. Johnson and his team found that 20 percent of non-Christians in North America really do not "personally know" any Christians.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologySoteriology

2 Comments
Posted August 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt. Rev. Paul Lambert has been named chaplain of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Bishop Lambert was introduced June 20 during the brotherhood’s National Council meeting in Irving, Texas. He succeeds Bishop Keith Whitmore of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.

“We’re honored Bishop Lambert will be our spiritual leader,” Brotherhood President said Robert Dennis, the brotherhood’s president. The Brotherhood of St. Andrew has more than 4,000 members in 390 Episcopal and Anglican churches in the United States and thousands more worldwide. “I’m looking forward to working with him to further the Brotherhood’s goal of bringing men and youth to Jesus Christ.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

0 Comments
Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Few dioceses, only 12% of the full sample, report that any congregation they started within the last five years is now self-supporting, although another 16% expect that they will have at least one new start independent within three years. On the other extreme, nearly a fourth (23%) of the dioceses responding report that they have at least one new start they do not anticipate will be self-supporting within even ten years. Three dioceses describe a congregation established within the last five years that has already been closed. Given this diversity in projections of financial independence, it is further understandable why dioceses are going the renting route in addition to or instead of buying much property.

Read it all. Readers may also be interested to note that according to TEC's own statistics the number of parishes has gone from 7,055 in 2007 to 6,736 in 2011.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

1 Comments
Posted August 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After 25 years of consulting and researching local congregations, I have found four common approaches churches take to break attendance barriers regardless of size. There are certainly more than four possibilities, but allow me to evaluate these four more common approaches.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 21, 2013 at 4:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and check out the many links if you have not seen it.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

0 Comments
Posted June 2, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anthony J. Burton, Rector of The Church of the Incarnation, said in a statement that despite the encouraging numbers his congregation's focus "is not about growth, but changed lives."

"Size does not make a church better, but if its clergy and parishioners are sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, God can cause their work in His name to grow a parish that is a resource of great blessing to its community and denomination," said Burton.

Based in the Uptown neighborhood of Dallas, The Incarnation is looking to add three new buildings: another worship facility, a welcome center, and an educational facility.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

0 Comments
Posted May 14, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tony DeLLomo is on a mission from God.

In a hard-to-miss motor home covered with biblical passages, “Jesus is God” signs and an offer of a free Bible, DeLLomo has been spreading the Gospel by parking in high-traffic spots throughout central Florida.

“It’s all to glorify God,” DeLLomo said while wearing a sleeveless, white hooded sweatshirt with “Jesus is King” in red letters.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTravel* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyChristologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted May 4, 2013 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Small wonder, given the harrowing times recently, that news about a long-running property fight over a picturesque church in northern Virginia escaped most people’s notice. But the story of the struggle over the historic Falls Church is nonetheless worth a closer look. It’s one more telling example of a little-acknowledged truth: though religious traditionalism may be losing today’s political and legal battles, it remains poised to win the wider war over what Christianity will look like tomorrow.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: VirginiaGlobal South Churches & PrimatesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranMethodistPresbyterian* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Salvation (Soteriology)Theology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 30, 2013 at 7:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Is the Church in the UK as confident in the gospel as it should be?

It appears that while mission is clearly at the heart of what many churches are doing, talking about our faith as Christians is proving increasingly difficult.

Our desire is to see churches throughout the UK have a renewed confidence in the gospel and engaged in creative evangelism which is producing lasting results. This timely campaign is not about providing busy churches with more programmes; rather it is about looking at how we can make small changes that will nurture a gospel-confident culture within our churches.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 30, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is a very sobering time for ecclesiastically minded Americans. At a steadily growing rate, more and more Americans — especially the young — claim no religious affiliation. The figure has climbed from 15% to 20% of all Americans in the past five years. Pew researchers call the trend “nones on the rise.”

In reaction, Protestants and Roman Catholics are proving that the author of the Bible’s Book of Ecclesiastes had it right when he wrote that there is nothing new under the sun. In a classic attempt to turn adversity to advantage, Christian leaders who once assumed a cultural dominance (in the beginning of the baby-boom era, Christian identification among Americans was at least 91%; today it’s down to 77%) are now arguing for a double-down strategy. Rather than softening the Gospel message to make it more marketable to an America skeptical of institutions — a frequent reform point of view — what draws the real energy among the faithful is a renewed commitment to what Christians call the Great Commission, the words the resurrected Jesus spoke to his apostles at the end of Matthew: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

At the center of this strategy of unapologetic apologetics stands George Weigel, the papal biographer and prominent Catholic writer who has just published Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church, a handbook for Catholics seeking to keep the church out of the catacombs. “It’s a recovery of the basic dynamic of New Testament Christianity, but that passionate impulse to live the Great Commission and convert the world cooled during centuries when the ambient public culture helped do the church’s job,” says Weigel.

Read it all from a recent issue.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I would especially like to draw your attention to the article entitled "St. Christopher Celebrating 75th Diamond Anniversary on June 22-24--"read it all (pdf).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral CareYouth Ministry* South Carolina

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Posted April 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amidst allegations that Anglicans worldwide do not recognize the Diocese of South Carolina and its Bishop, Anglican Bishops from East Africa strongly announced their support for the Diocese’s dissociation from The Episcopal Church Tuesday during comments at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston. 


The Bishops from Sudan, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania proclaimed unqualified endorsement of Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Diocese. Their comments seemed to dispute the claims of Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, the newly elected Bishop of the recently formed Diocese - The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. In January, vonRosenberg announced that the Anglican Communion has not acknowledged Lawrence’s Diocese, even though it represents the vast majority of local Anglicans. However the four Bishops, all members of the Anglican Communion in good standing, specifically recognized the Diocese during the gathering.


The four were guests of the Diocese following their participation in the New Wineskins Conference in Ridgecrest, North Carolina, the largest Anglican missions conference in the world.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of KenyaAnglican Church of TanzaniaChurch of RwandaEpiscopal Church of the Sudan* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* South Carolina

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Posted April 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The reform of the Church already evident in the words and witness of Pope Francis may be starting, but it won’t be stopping at the revamping of the Vatican Curia and the renewal of the clergy.

It also will involve a thorough reform of the laity, since some of the cancers the cardinals elected him to confront in Rome have metastasized throughout Christ’s mystical body.

In his conclave-changing address to the cardinals four days before his election, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio identified what he believes is the Church’s fundamental illness: “ecclesiastical narcissism.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Laity* Culture-WatchGlobalizationPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted April 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On April 9 at 6 p.m. we have the rare opportunity to hear from several Bishops from East Africa. We’ll hear first hand accounts of the vital work God is doing in the Anglican Communion. We’ll also hear how we can pray for their ministries and explore opportunities for further partnerships in “Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age.” Supper will follow in the Bishop Allison Courtyard, hosted by the Anglican Communion Development Committee. Students are encouraged to attend and to bring their youth leaders. We also welcome The Rev. Dr. Peter Moore who will moderate the conversation with the Bishops. Parking is available in the Cathedral lot and the CPW parking lot on Vanderhorst St. behind the parish house.

Read it all and we ask your prayers; thanks..

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of KenyaAnglican Church of TanzaniaChurch of RwandaEpiscopal Church of the Sudan* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* South Carolina

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Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly 400 people attended the 222nd Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina at the Francis Marion Performing Arts Center in Florence, South Carolina, March 8-9, 2013.

"Wasn't the worship incredible last night?" said Patricia Smith, remarking on the Convention's Friday evening service of Holy Eucharist. Smith is a member of St. Paul's, Summerville, and attended with her husband who is a delegate. "I felt like I was coming in to the gates of heaven. It had that triumphant sound. I guess, now that we've made a stand there was a unity, a lack of confusion. We were uniting in worship. It felt like God's favor was there."

For the second time the Convention voted unanimously to remove all references to The Episcopal Church from the Diocese's constitution--the final step in severing their ties to the denomination they helped to found in 1789, five years after the South Carolina Convention first met in 1785.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedYouth MinistrySpirituality/Prayer* South Carolina* TheologyApologetics

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Posted March 13, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At our convention last March I stressed two dimensions of our diocesan calling: Our vocation to make Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age working in relationship with Anglican Provinces and dioceses around the world; and secondly our calling to make disciples by planting new congregations as well as growing and strengthening our existing parishes and missions in an era of sweeping institutional decline among almost all of the mainline denominations. These remain two constants for us today even while so much around us is in flux. You will be relieved to hear that it is not my intention in this address to retrace the road we have traveled in these intervening months since our Special Convention on November 17th. Suffice it to say that since these two dimensions of our common life and vocation remained unshaken when the tectonic plates of the diocese shifted, I remain convinced that they were God’s mandate for us then and they are God’s mandate for us now. The reason for this is two-fold: What is at stake in this theological and moral crisis that has swallowed up the Anglican Communion since the latter years of the 20th Century is first and foremost, “What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as this Church has received it?” We did not create it and we cannot change what we have received. So what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Anglicans have received it? There is nothing in Anglicanism that cannot be found elsewhere among the churches of Christendom. What is unique is how we have blended certain aspects of what other churches hold together. But we have received a Gospel. What is it?

The second thing is “What will Anglicanism in the 21st Century look like?” While the former is the more important, the latter is the more complex. Put another way, proclaiming the Good News, “the whole counsel of God” as St. Paul declared in his parting address to the presbyters of Ephesus in Acts 20:27, that should be our first concern. Proclaiming the good news – the whole counsel of God. But the charge to “care for the Church of God, which he obtained with his blood” (Acts 20:28) or as our text last evening put it, “which he obtained with the blood of his son.” was also part of St. Paul’s charge to the bishop-presbyters. If we apply this second charge to take care of the church of God, which he obtained, with the blood of his son, if we apply this charge to ourselves – those of us whose leadership is in this vineyard where the Lord has placed us – I believe this means caring for emerging Anglicanism in the 21st Century. Frankly, this caring for Anglicanism in the 21st century gets wearisome at times, painful almost daily, exhausting, but it is a charge we cannot relinquish without abandoning our vocation. What does this mean specifically for us here in this Diocese of South Carolina? Let me take up three aspects of this charge as it I believe it applies to us.

Read it all and a pdf version is available top right of the page.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral CareYouth Ministry* South Carolina* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 350 people are expected to attend the 222nd Annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina at the Francis Marion Performing Arts Center in Florence, March 8-9. The last time the Convention was held in Florence was 1976.

This year the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, the 14th Bishop of South Carolina, is focusing on the future. “We cannot afford to focus on the backward glance,” said Lawrence “Christ calls us to look forward and carry out the Great Commission to make disciples and to proclaim the Gospel to a hurting world.”

This year’s convention workshops are designed to equip the Diocese’s lay members and clergy for the work of ministry. Bishop Lawrence promised that such workshops would be key parts of future annual Diocesan Conventions....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedYouth Ministry* South Carolina* TheologyApologetics

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Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"On one occasion I was travelling with the late lamented Bishop Weeks, then a simple minister. I went with him on a visit to a friend in the country. While I was in the railway carriage with him, a gentleman attacked him, knowing that he was a friend of missions. The gentleman said, 'What are the missionaries doing abroad? We don't know anything about their movements. We pay them well, but we don't hear anything about them. I suppose they are sitting down quietly and making themselves comfortable.' Mr. Weeks did not say anything in reply, I having made a sign to him not to do so. After the gentleman had exhausted what he had to say, I said to him, 'Well, sir, I beg to present myself to you as a result of the labours of the missionaries which you have just been depreciating;' and I pointed to Mr. Weeks as the means of my having become a Christian, and having been brought to this country as a Christian minister. The gentleman was so startled that he had nothing more to say in the way of objection, and the subsequent conversation between him and Mr. Weeks turned upon missionary topics. On the banks of the Niger, where we have not been privileged to be ushered in by European missionaries, native teachers have maintained their footing among their own people. Their countrymen look upon them as very much superior to themselves in knowledge and in every other respect, and listen to them with very great attention when they preach to them the Gospel of our salvation."

On St. Peter's Day, 1864, perhaps the most important event of his life took place, when in Canterbury Cathedral Samuel Crowther was consecrated as the first Bishop of the Niger. The scene was a memorable one, and is not likely to be forgotten by those who stood in the vast crowd which filled every aisle of the grand cathedral that day. The license of Her Majesty had been duly promulgated in these terms:--

"We do by this our license under our royal signet and sign manual authorise and empower you the said Reverend Samuel Adjai Crowther to be Bishop of the United Church of England and Ireland in the said countries in Western Africa beyond the limits of our dominions."

When the service began it was an impressive sight to see the Archbishop of Canterbury, attended by live other Bishops, enter the choir; and following them the three Bishops to receive the solemn rite of consecration, viz: the new Bishop of Peterborough, the new Bishop of Tasmania, and the new Bishop of the Niger. Remembering, as doubtless many did, the touching history of his childhood and early struggles as a slave, not a, few in that vast building were moved to tears as [118/119] the African clergyman humbly knelt in God's glorious house to receive the seals of the high office of Shepherd in His earthly fold. Most of all must one heart have been affected, that of Airs. Weeks, the missionary's wife, at whose knee he received his first lessons in the way of the Lord.

No one could fail to see how God had called forth this native from the degradation of a boyhood of slavery, to become a chosen vessel in His service. He had proved himself as a true-hearted standard-bearer of the Cross in much toil and patient endurance, and it was meet that to him should be committed the spiritual interests of the district in which he had spent hitherto nearly the whole of his life since he became a Christian.

On his immediate return to the Niger, the work began afresh with renewed energy. Special attention was given to the Delta, for King Pepple, having been on a visit to England, made an application to the Bishop of London to send missionaries to his dominions. A more degraded district was not to be found in Africa. Although its trade was very flourishing, being one of the chief markets for palm oil, the people were sunk in the lowest vices and superstitions. At the time of which we speak, when Bishop Crowther was forming the Christian Church there, the shocking practice of cannibalism was not yet wholly given up, and the people were entirely under the power of the priests of the Juju or fetish worship. As in Dahomey, no regard for human life seems to have existed; men were sacrificed at every high festival, and at the burial of any of their chief men a number of poor creatures would be slaughtered. The ghastly spectacle of their temple, paved and elaborately decorated with human bones, showed the ferocity of their religion.

In the midst of this awful darkness came Bishop Crowther and his fellow-helpers, bearing the light of the Gospel, and in due time many believed and were saved. It was as in the early Church of the first centuries, the adherents of the new religion were mostly slaves, and to escape their persecutors had to meet for worship and counsel in retired places.

--Jesse Page, Samuel Crowther: The Slave Boy Who Became Bishop of the Niger (London, 1892), Chapter Ten (emphasis mine)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsChurch of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* South Carolina

14 Comments
Posted November 25, 2012 at 5:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you're a church leader who doesn't excel in personal evangelism, can your congregation still enjoy conversion growth? Or if you have been particularly gifted by God to lead others to Christ, do you know how to teach others to follow your example?

Three pastors who have welcomed many new believers into the kingdom of God talk together in this 10-minute video about how churches can grow in evangelism. They discuss, for example, why new Christians are so zealous in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. Darrin Patrick shares colorful stories about how he preached the gospel to his friends in the middle of wild parties. But he also explains what happened when he made the mistake to assume everyone else is extroverted like him.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

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Posted November 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What will be the role of the United States on the global stage in 2062?
India and China will be thriving super nations and leading the world in arts and sciences. People in the United States are already being operated on by Chinese and Indian surgeons. Another nation that is emerging as a surprising international power is Canada. That nation is now exploring its vast natural resources in the north and is in the midst of a renaissance. Some of the best novelists, musicians, poets, artists, now live in Canada. It already has been awarded “best cheese in the world” (“Cinderella cheese”) and the number one place to do business. The role and place of the United States is uncertain. Our future in 2062 may be similar to the position of France and England in 2012 if we continue on the present trajectory.....

Daniel Pink has observed that the well curve has replaced the bell curve....The middle class is declining and the United Methodist Church is a church of the middle. All middles are in trouble. The challenge for the church is to tribalize (particularize) in order to globalize (universalize). We need to “make my parish my world” before we can follow John Wesley in saying, “The world is my parish.” We need churches to love their zip codes and their heritage—I don’t mean love their bishop and polity. I mean churches must know and love people in their community and their “campfire” heritage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyAnthropologyApologeticsEcclesiologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 14, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

6. Apologetics (17, 18, 19, 20, 54, 55)
A major new initiative is called for here though its shape is less precise. Theologians, universities, new media experts, artists and scientists are all called to be involved. There have been similar calls recently within the Church of England for a major new initiative in apologetics and for more resources to be invested here.

7. Adult Catechesis (28, 29, 37, 38)
Amen to this sentence:
One cannot speak of the New Evangelization if the catechesis of adults is non-existent, fragmented, weak or neglected.
The Synod has rightly paid major attention to the development of catechesis, building on the publication of The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Attention is focussed here on the formation of catechists. Again there have been similar calls recently for a new focus on catechesis within the Church of England and for the development of new materials.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyApologetics

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Posted November 5, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mallon: The greatest thing that I can hope for from this Synod is this pastoral conversion, which means we have to change the very culture of our Churches. The predominant culture of the Churches where I come from and my experience doing this work, is that we have a maintenance culture within our parishes. In the past we had strong Catholic cultures that helped people go to Church and to believe. Usually the only growth we had in parishes was from demographic shifts. We didn't really have to do anything: we just had to schedule Masses and pay the light bills. And for the culture of the time that worked. There was no sense of being missional. Today the culture is toxic, not just neutral. If you do nothing you will be stripped of faith.

We have got to apply new methodology, which means we must move from a maintenance culture to a missional culture. That means addressing the values that we – perhaps even unconsciously – hold as local Churches within parishes. We can be very quick to say "I value this, this, and this." But, it's one thing to say what you value; it's another thing to actually look at how you function as a Church, and what you put your money and resources and time into. By analyzing those, we find out what we truly value.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicOther FaithsSecularism

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Posted October 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ZENIT: Why this emphasis on the "Kerygma"? What was the inspiration that the "Kerygma" is essential to preaching the Gospel?

Marc de Leyritz: Alpha was founded in England in an Anglican parish 30 years ago. Florence and I brought it back to France and we adapted it to a Catholic setting, which is a big challenge because when you're in France, anything that comes from England is really a bad start. But, this distinction between Kerygma and catechesis is really something key, since the beginning of the Church, since the very first day. You see on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, Peter gives a very short speech, the nucleus of the faith, which is what Kerygma means, the proclamation of the nucleus. And, he speaks probably one minute or two minutes, and the Bible says that listening to this, people's hearts were pierced and they asked, "Brother, what shall we do?" And he said, "Repent," and then they were baptized. And on that day, the first day of the Church, 3000 people were baptized. And only then, the nascent Church started to help people to grow into full disciples of Jesus Christ.

So, Pope John Paul [II], in a very foundational text called "Redemptoris Missio" which is an encyclical and in another post-Synodal exhortation called "Catechesi Tradendae", he makes this distinction. He says you cannot give catechesis before Kerygma.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted October 24, 2012 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was my pleasure and privilege to preach for nine Sundays in Canada, in Toronto, in 1932. I well remember being welcomed on the first Sunday morning by the minister of the church who, though on vacation, was still not out of town. He introduced me, and in responding to the welcome I thought it would be wise for me to indicate to the congregation my method as a preacher. I told the congregation that my method was to assume generally on Sunday morning that I was speaking to believers, to the saints, and that I would try to edify them; but that at night I would be preaching on the assumption that I was speaking to non-Christians as undoubtedly there would be many such there. In a sense I just said that in passing. We went through that morning service, and at the close the minister asked if I would stand at the door with him to shake hands with people as they went out. I did so. We had shaken hands with a number of people when he suddenly whispered to me saying, 'You see that old lady who is coming along slowly. She-is the most important member of this church. She is a very wealthy woman and the greatest supporter of the work.' He was, in other words, telling me to exercise what little charm I might possess to the maximum. I need not explain any further! Well, the old lady came along and we spoke to her, and I shall never forget what happened. It taught me a great lesson which I have never forgotten.

The old lady said, 'Did I understand you to say that in the evening you would preach on the assumption that the people ljstening are not Christians and in the morning on the assumption that they are Christians?' 'Yes,' I said. 'Well,' she said, 'having heard you this morning I have decided to come tonight.' She had never been known to attend the evening service; never. She only attended in the morning. She said, 'I am coming tonight.' I cannot describe the embarrassment of the situation. I sensed that the minister standing by my side felt that I was ruining his ministry and bitterly regretted inviting me to occupy his pulpit! But the fact was that the old lady did come that Sunday night, and every Sunday night while I was there. I met her in her house in private conversation and found that she was most unhappy about her spiritual condition, that she did not know where she stood. She was a fine and most generous character, living an exemplary life. Everybody assumed-not only the minister but everybody else-that she was an exceptionally fine Christian; but she was not a Christian. This idea that because people are members of the church and attend regularly that they must be Christian is one of the most fatal assumptions, and I suggest that it mainly accounts for the state of the Church today.

--Martyn Lloyd Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), pp.147-149 (emphasis mine); used by yours truly in a recent sermon

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologySoteriology

2 Comments
Posted October 24, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The New Evangelization is not a strategy or program, but an invitation to an encounter and life-long relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. It involves falling in love with the person of Jesus Christ and his bride, the Catholic Church. This encounter with Christ takes place in and through the Church so as not to foster a false dichotomy between spirituality and religion. Encounters with Christ in the Church help the faithful to understand the need for salvation and forgiveness from sin. Following the initial encounter with Christ, the faithful desire to spend time with the beloved in prayer, sacrament and to contemplate the face of God (Novo Millennio Ineunte).

Hence, the Synod Fathers might propose a lifelong accompaniment of each Catholic on their journey of faith modeled on Christ's walk with the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus. The faithful need the continued work of systematic, comprehensive and lifelong catechesis. Evangelization and catechesis should help the faithful know, understand, live and share the faith. A catechesis for youth and adults that is age-appropriate and presented in an appealing and apologetic manner that answers the genuine questions of those participating in their formation would enhance the New Evangelization. This basic presentation of the fundamentals of our faith, as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in an attractive and appealing manner, for example at World Youth Day, will help to revive a confidence in the faith and a greater ability to share it with others.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted October 23, 2012 at 5:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I think the Episcopal Church has really shot itself in the foot by doing this," ...IRD spokesman [Jeff Walton] comments. "They're losing one of their larger, more vibrant dioceses. Indeed this diocese is one of the few that's posted growth in recent years, and there is just nothing that the liberal leadership of the Episcopal Church is really gaining by effectively forcing this diocese out the door."

Walton does not believe the national office wants to tolerate the type of public dissent displayed by South Carolina.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC DataTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* South Carolina

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Posted October 22, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The challenges of being human and of living in a world that does not always want to hear about faith do not lessen the obligation to proclaim the Gospel and to call the baptized to live their faith more fully, said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington.

"We already know our difficulties, the tensions, our restlessness, our faults and our human weakness," Cardinal Wuerl told members of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization Oct. 17.

Nevertheless, God calls members of the church to proclaim salvation in Christ to the ends of the earth and to re-propose the Gospel "to those who are now distant from the church," said the cardinal, who was serving as the synod's relator.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted October 18, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr. Steven Croft, has today commended the work of the fresh expressions movement and encouraged new ways of evangelism in an address in Rome.

Speaking as the Anglican Fraternal Delegate to the Roman Catholic Synod of Bishops on the theme of "new evangelisation", Dr. Croft also spoke of the need for life long discipleship to be at the heart of evangelism: "new evangelization calls for a clear vision of what it means to be a disciple. The new evangelization is a call to whole life discipleship: an invitation to follow Christ for the whole length of our lives, with every part of our lives, and into wholeness and abundance of that life"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The Christian is not a seeker; the Christian is one who has found. “Come, see a man…” (John 4:29); “We have found the Messiah…” (John 1:41); “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth…” (John 1:45). Christians are men and women who have found; they have found something to give; they are not merely seeking…By definition Christians have something; they have something to say… So the great question we must all ask ourselves is this: do we have something to give to people who are in need? I like to think of it like this. Imagine that tonight when you are in your home, somebody knocks at your door or rings the bell. You go to the door, and there you find a messenger. What is the message? Well, it is a request, an appeal, from a man whom you have known for years; perhaps you have known him since you were children together. Unfortunately, poor fellow, he has gone wrong in life, he has lived a godless life, and yet you somehow liked him. Whenever you met him, you were glad to see him, you always spoke to him, and you often tried to urge him to come with you to listen to the gospel. But he would not come; he laughed it off, as such people often do.

Now here is the message – this afternoon that poor fellow had a sudden heart attack, and he is desperately ill; in fact, he is dying. The doctor can do no more for him. He has told the family, and this man realizes the truth – he can see it in their faces. And suddenly he has come to himself. He sees that his life is finished, and he is going to the unknown and to darkness. He has nothing – nothing to lean on in his past life, nothing to lean on in the present. Nobody can help him. He is absolutely alone, as we all shall be sooner or later, as our soul passes from time to eternity and into the presence of God. He does not know what to do or where to turn; he is in agony of soul. But suddenly he has thought of you because he thinks of you as a Christian and as a member of a church, because you have invited him to go with you to church. So he has sent for you – that is the message. Of course, you have no choice; you must go. And when you arrive in the room, there is your friend lying on his back in bed.

This is the test as to whether or not we are Christians. Do you have something you can give him that will make all the difference in the world to him? What is the point of telling this man that you are also a seeker and a searcher after the truth – he will be dead before midnight? What is the point of saying to him, “I hope that my sins are going to be forgiven sometime, I’m doing my best, I’m living a good life”? Does that help him? That puts him into hell while he is still alive. Or how does it help him if you turn to him and say, “Well, at last you see it. How many times have I told you that the life you were living was wrong? If only you had live as I live!” What is the value of that? That is sheer cruelty. That, again, is putting him in hell while he is still alive. It is of no value at all.

No, no; that is not the Christian way. Christians are not seeking truth or seeking forgiveness. They are not trying to make themselves Christians by living good lives; they are not merely church members. What are they? Well, in the end it just comes to this: they are men and women who, like the woman of Samaria, have met Christ, the Son of God. They are able to tell this poor fellow that it is not too late, that it is not hopeless, that no one is justified by their works or by their lives, that we are all sinners, and there is no ultimate difference between us at all, but that this is the message: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever [even he] believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Christians can tell this man not about their own experience but about Jesus Christ. There is no time to give experiences; there is no time to go through your drill and mechanically quote this or that. All they can say is, “Jesus Christ – look to him!” They just tell the dying man about him, who he is, what he has done. And that is the only way this man can be helped, the only way he can find peace and rest for his soul.”

--Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), Living Water: Studies in John 4, quoted by yours truly in yesterday's sermon

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

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Posted October 15, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Perhaps because of our youth, we have many reasons for hope and promise as we consider the New Evangelization and the Transmission of the Faith in North America.

Here are some of those reasons:

For one, the United States is actually very religious, contrary to the caricature that it is a pagan, secular, materialistic country. Not at all! As Chesterton, the acclaimed British apologist, wrote, America “is a nation with the soul of a church.” The very foundation of American life is the Jewish-Christian tradition. Over 50% of Americans take the Sabbath seriously; over 90% of us believe in God, and consider the Bible a source of God’s wisdom and teaching; and over 80% believe Jesus to be divine. As a recent poll demonstrated, the overwhelming majority of American citizens would have no problem voting for an evangelical, a Catholic, a Jew, a Protestant, a Mormon, a Hindu, or a Buddhist as president – but never for an atheist!....

Three, the Church in America is vigorous with sacred enterprises of charity and education, especially in care for the sick and our elders, in schools, and in agencies of service. These apostolates are ambassadors of evangelization. Pope Paul VI remarked that men and women today learn more from witness than from words. We attract folks to Jesus and His Church by radiating love. Just look at the witness of our soon-to-be canonized Kateri Tekakwitha and Mother Mary Anne Cope.

Four, the clear, consistent teaching of the Catholic Church is well known, if at times misunderstood or attacked. Even those who disagree with these teachings of the Church – and “their name is legion” – usually, at least, grudgingly admire the Church for her tenacious preaching on the dignity of human life; peace, justice, and charity; solicitude for the suffering of the world; and defense of marriage and the family.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 12, 2012 at 10:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are in a place and time of growing evangelistic opportunity and obligation....Our secure, wealthy and beautiful region is alive with people, especially new people. Many of these people know nothing about Jesus and they need to hear about the way to eternal life. We are here for them. It is as simple as that....

You could say [after looking at the statistic profile of Australia's spiritual landscape], don’t fret: Our business is to look after the religious needs of the descendants of the English. We are a declining chaplaincy church. Christianity is a religion of consolation rather than salvation.

You had better say: The gospel itself utterly forbids us to think like that. The gospel addresses all men and women without exception in the same tone of voice, with the same demands and the same promises, the same Lord and the same Saviour. It is a matter of salvation, not consolation: of salvation, not of growing our numbers. Any gospel church is aptly described as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, universal words which embrace all nations and peoples and languages. If our denomination, will not accept the challenge posed by the new and increasingly different world which has come to us, we are not being faithful to the gospel which has formed our churches and saved our souls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

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Posted October 9, 2012 at 10:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday opened a meeting of Roman Catholic Church leaders from around the world to debate how to counter rising secularism on the 50th anniversary of the momentous Second Vatican Council.

The synod of 262 archbishops, bishops and other senior clerics heard a call from the pope for a "new evangelism" for the Catholic Church, which is fast losing followers in Europe and feels increasingly discriminated against in many parts of the world.

The three-week synod coincides with the announcement on October 11 of a "Year of Faith" to mark the anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which changed the face of Catholicism.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 8, 2012 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The theme of marriage, found in the Gospel and the first reading, deserves special attention. The message of the word of God may be summed up in the expression found in the Book of Genesis and taken up by Jesus himself: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Gen 2:24; Mk 10:7-8). What does this word say to us today? It seems to me that it invites us to be more aware of a reality, already well known but not fully appreciated: that matrimony is a Gospel in itself, a Good News for the world of today, especially the de-Christianized world. The union of a man and a woman, their becoming "one flesh" in charity, in fruitful and indissoluble love, is a sign that speaks of God with a force and an eloquence which in our days has become greater because unfortunately, for various reasons, marriage, in precisely the oldest regions evangelized, is going through a profound crisis. And it is not by chance. Marriage is linked to faith, but not in a general way. Marriage, as a union of faithful and indissoluble love, is based upon the grace that comes from the triune God, who in Christ loved us with a faithful love, even to the Cross. Today we ought to grasp the full truth of this statement, in contrast to the painful reality of many marriages which, unhappily, end badly. There is a clear link between the crisis in faith and the crisis in marriage. And, as the Church has said and witnessed for a long time now, marriage is called to be not only an object but a subject of the new evangelization. This is already being seen in the many experiences of communities and movements, but its realization is also growing in dioceses and parishes, as shown in the recent World Meeting of Families.

One of the important ideas of the renewed impulse that the Second Vatican Council gave to evangelization is that of the universal call to holiness, which in itself concerns all Christians (cf. Lumen Gentium, 39-42)....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

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Posted October 8, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) met for its Standing Committee Meeting (SCM) at Cathedral Church of Emmanuel, Okesa, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, September 11-15, 2012.

The well-attended event had the theme: ‘Resist The Devil And He Will Flee From You’ (James 4v7)....

At the formal opening of the SCM on Thursday, September 14, while delivering his opening address to delegates, the Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, described the Devil as a spiritual being. Quoting John Piper, the Primate said: “Satan lies, and is the Father of lies (John 8:44); Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4); Satan masquerades in costumes of light and righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15), and has disciples within the Church through whom he teaches doctrines of demons (I Tim. 4:1).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

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Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:49 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 14, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Latinos are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, but only 5 percent of all Hispanics attend a mainline Protestant church. The vast majority are Roman Catholic.

For the Episcopal Church, those numbers are an opportunity.

The denomination is seeing fast-growing pockets of new Latino congregants. Episcopal churches in Nevada and Washington, D.C., are seeing considerably higher attendance from Latinos. In Oregon, there were only 150 Latino Episcopalians 20 years ago. Now, there are more than 800.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

9 Comments
Posted September 13, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What do Charles and John Wesley have to teach Catholics in the United States about the New Evangelization? With the release of Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization (USCCB, 2012) and the Catholic Church’s upcoming synod on the “New Evangelization,” these two ministers seem as relevant as ever to how we think about evangelization in the modern world.

Charles and John Wesley were ordained in eighteenth century England, a time when the sacrament of Holy Communion was often regarded with indifference or neglect. Church historian John Bowmer remarks that the sacraments and Christian life were widely disparaged in this “new age of reason,” and most people in the Church of England aimed for the minimums of religious practice—receiving the Eucharist three times a year and treating it as an historic custom, rather than encounter with the living God. Unsurprisingly, most in the Church of England were not looking outward to form disciples or share the Gospel. In fact, many clergy and laity in the Church of England believed that England’s growing urban masses were beyond influence and simply had “no taste” for Christian liturgy and sacraments. Christianity was on its way to becoming a fruitless cultural niche.

This creeping indifference characterizes many U.S. Catholics today....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistRoman Catholic* TheologySoteriology

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Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Oregon, the number of Latino Episcopalians has increased more than five-fold over the past decade. Church leaders say the influx is, in part, because the denomination's worship services look and sound familiar to Hispanics raised in the Catholic Church. But Northwest Episcopal Churches are luring Latinos with a focused marketing campaign.

The 10 o'clock high mass at Saints Peter and Paul Episcopal Church in Portland, Oregon probably sounds a lot like it did when the congregation was founded nearly a century ago.

Father Kurt Neilson leads the liturgy, as he has for the past 17 years. He says attendance at the two morning services has been relatively flat. The real growth is in the afternoon.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

3 Comments
Posted August 13, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The influx of foreign-born people into North America gives Southern Baptist churches a unique opportunity to reach the nations, a veteran International Mission Board worker said at the 2012 Send North America Conference.

Most churches, though, are failing to take advantage of the opportunity, he said at the conference sponsored by the North American Mission Board.

"We need to look at some other models and methods when we start churches among people groups," IMB representative Bryan Galloway said during a conference breakout session on "Reaching the Nations in North America." "We're just not doing that."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesBaptists* TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

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Posted August 7, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1998, John Shelby Spong, then the reliably controversial Episcopal bishop of Newark, published a book entitled “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.” Spong was a uniquely radical figure — during his career, he dismissed almost every element of traditional Christian faith as so much superstition — but most recent leaders of the Episcopal Church have shared his premise. Thus their church has spent the last several decades changing and then changing some more, from a sedate pillar of the WASP establishment into one of the most self-consciously progressive Christian bodies in the United States.

As a result, today the Episcopal Church looks roughly how Roman Catholicism would look if Pope Benedict XVI suddenly adopted every reform ever urged on the Vatican by liberal pundits and theologians. It still has priests and bishops, altars and stained-glass windows. But it is flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.

Yet instead of attracting a younger, more open-minded demographic with these changes, the Episcopal Church’s dying has proceeded apace. Last week, while the church’s House of Bishops was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, ...[Episcopal] church attendance figures for 2000-10 circulated in the religion blogosphere. They showed something between a decline and a collapse: In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the country saw churchgoing increase.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Please note--directly related to the preceding blog entry--KSH).

Read the original here and check the amended version there. The explanation follows:
The Report of the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church presents a church in where key statistical areas from 2000–2010 show significant decline (Average Sunday Attendance -23%, Easter Attendance -21%, Baptized Members -16%, Communicants in Good Standing -16%). There are significant places of hope and vision where significant efforts are being made to turn this around. These include the Office of Congregational Vitality and the Office of Emergent Church and Church Planting. This resolution seeks to give these ministries solid budgetary support to allow this work to continue and by doing so to bring vitality and growth back to the Episcopal Church.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC DataTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

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Posted July 9, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now [for Episcopalians] the apt word seems "life support".
The average Episcopal Church attendance dropped a staggering 23% in the ten year period between 2000 and 2010 (via Whispers) In 2010, just under 700,000 attended TEC Churches in the whole world.
In the Seattle area, (Diocese of Olympia) where St. Mark's Cathedral still looms and KING FM has broadcast their lovely Sunday evening Compline for many years, average attendance in the whole diocese was 9,500. 9,500? I've worked in Catholic parishes with larger weekly attendance than that.
The Episcopalian Diocese of Quincy, IL attendance has dropped 71% and averages 363 people in attendance at 9 parishes. I've taught Called & Gifted workshops that were larger. No wonder they are openly talking about reuniting with the Diocese of Chicago (attendance: 12,925).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC DataTEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

14 Comments
Posted July 9, 2012 at 5:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...average Sunday attendance in Episcopal churches has plunged 23% in the past decade to 657,831. In the Michigan diocese -- which includes southeast Michigan, Lansing and Jackson -- attendance has dropped 31% from 2000 to 2010. During the same time period, the number of baptized Episcopal members in the diocese dropped 30% to 20,825; nationally, it dropped 16% to 1,951,907.

Some say the drop is because the Episcopal Church has drifted too much to the left on social and political issues. But [Bonnie] Anderson notes that other mainline Protestant denominations have also seen declines in membership; regardless, the church won't shift its views because people are leaving, she said.

"We're prayerful, we're careful, and we pay attention to what we believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to do. And if we lose members because of that, it's still the right thing to do."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth

12 Comments
Posted July 7, 2012 at 10:57 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christian faith is not simply teachings, wise sayings, a code of morality or a tradition. The Christian faith is a true encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ. Transmitting the faith means to create in every place and time the conditions which lead to this encounter between the person and Jesus Christ. The goal of all evangelization is to create the possibility for this encounter, which is, at one and the same time, intimate, personal, public and communal. Pope Benedict XVI stated: "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. [...] Since God has first loved us (cf. 1 Jn 4:10), love is now no longer a mere 'command'; it is the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us." In the Christian faith, the encounter with Christ and the relationship with him takes place "in accordance to the Scriptures" (1 Cor 15:3, 4). The Church is formed precisely through the grace of this relationship.

This encounter with Jesus, through his Spirit, is the Father's great gift to humanity. We are prepared for this encounter through the action of grace in us. In such an encounter, we feel an attraction which leads to our transformation, causing us to see new dimensions to who we are and making us partakers of divine life (cf. 2 Pt 1:4). After this encounter, everything is different as a result of metanoia, that is, the state of conversion strongly urged by Jesus himself (cf. Mk 1:15). In a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, faith takes the form of a relationship with him and in remembrance of him, especially in the Eucharist and the Word of God, and creates in us the mind of Christ, through the Spirit, a mentality which makes us recognize our brothers and sisters, gathered by the Spirit in his Church, and, in turn, see ourselves as witnesses and heralds of this Gospel. This encounter equips us to do new things and witness to the transformation of our lives in the works of conversion as announced by the prophets

Read it all (official version) or there (plain text and for some easier usage).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 20, 2012 at 6:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The topic of evangelism made national headlines in Canada recently. It all started with a twelfth grade student in Nova Scotia wearing a T-shirt boldly emblazoned with the words, “Life is wasted without Jesus.” William Swinimer continued to wear his yellow T-shirt even after the vice-principal at his school asked him not to do so, after some students had complained that they found the message offensive. Swinimer’s refusal to obey led to a series of in-school suspensions, and finally a five-day at-home suspension. The normally shy 19-year-old refused to comply even though it might have meant permanent suspension and the loss of his chance of graduating. “I believe this is worth standing up for,” he said, “it’s not just standing up for religious rights, it’s standing up for my rights as a Canadian citizen; for freedom of speech, freedom of religion.”

The regional school board initially supported the actions of the school administration, with Superintendent Nancy Pynch-Worthylake maintaining that repeated defiance of school authorities was justified grounds for suspending Swinimer. The school board issued a statement clarifying that “students may choose to wear clothing that embraces their beliefs.” However, “it is expected that students will not wear clothing with messages that may offend others’ beliefs, race, religion, culture or lifestyle.”

The nationwide debate ignited by this incident was most revealing....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

10 Comments
Posted June 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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