There’s a renewed focus on the Bible in churches these days, as biblical literacy is making a comeback in congregations and publishing houses in the U.S. “What’s really encouraging to me is that deep Bible engagement within the congregation is eminently doable,” says Paul Caminiti, vice president of church and Bible engagement for the publishing firm Biblica. “But people today realize that we’re in trouble and that we’ve not given the Bible its due,” says Caminiti, himself an expert in this area. “There really is a Bible engagement vacuum in the church. I’ve watched lives transformed when pastors treat Bible engagement like a varsity sport. I’ve watched congregations transformed when instead of little camp fires, a big Bible engagement bonfire is built in the middle of the church.
“Every generation needs to go back to the source and put the Bible in the English idiom for themselves.”
Ken Whitten admits that his weakness can be that
Ever tempted to think “we’re just a country church of 30 souls, we’ll never grow much larger”? Or you’ve thought, “There’s no way we will ever see our church at 3,000 people.” Don’t tell that to Shannon O’Dell, senior pastor of Brand New Church in the small, rural church of Bergman, AR. O’Dell tells about his experience of raising up a church of 30 to 3,000 over just six years in Transforming Church in Rural America: Breaking All the Rurals (New Leaf Press, 2010). He talks about “the rules” about the rurals — “the unspoken but clearly understood values that permeate American Christianity’s beliefs about churches in the boonies.” Bottom line, he says, is “forget the rules.”
Church Executive shared some questions with Pastor O’Dell:
Describe the area in which the church is located; what is “rural” about the area? Bergman, AR, population 407, just got a Dollar General! There are no major employers in this town, but a great school and wonderful people. The Klu Klux Klan is headquartered just a few miles from our campus, but has no impact on slowing down the love of God to every race in our community.
New Year’s resolutions are often self-centered; it’s understandable. Successful people often reflect on who they are. They try to be more self-aware. They desire to develop themselves. So, good leaders often make resolutions involving individual goals, desires and objectives. Many leaders have resolve — the determination to see a goal and achieve it. Too often these goals involve what individual leaders can do on their own. By the nature of their roles, however, leaders have people around them – teams, subordinates and followers – who are necessary components of success.
Most people don’t think of churches as family businesses. Yet, as in most fields of endeavor, we find that young people often follow in their parents’ footsteps. Typically, this is the field that they know most about since they grew up around it. Most famous church family successions of late are the Schullers, the Falwells, and the Grahams (though a ministry, not a congregation). They are not immune to the issues that plague secular family businesses: greed, entitlement, jealousy and struggles over power and control. (See sidebar on the November sale of the Crystal Cathedral by the bankruptcy court.)
When “Old Blue” broke down with students for the fourth time in a year, it was time to make a decision.