Why Millennials ARE coming to church

“There have been plenty of articles about why Millennials – those twenty somethings – are not coming to church. Plenty of time and attention towards what would bring them back.

Well, in our church at the moment plenty of Millennials ARE coming. It’s been noted by the older crowd that they’re starting to get outnumbered by that particular cohort this year. …”

– Here’s an encouraging article by Stephen McAlpine.

The Slow Killing of Congregational Singing

“Here is a great historical irony.

Fifty years ago choirs ruled the church. Usually, they were supported by a very loud organ. To be frank, many choir members were performers, and when the choir was large they drowned out the singing of the congregation. So, sadly, the very people appointed to help the congregation sing actually smothered congregational singing. Bit by bit, choirs disappeared. I think most churches didn’t mourn the loss.

Here’s the irony: we then replaced the choirs with song leaders (or, what we inaccurately call ‘worship leaders’). Over time the number of song leaders grew and grew until they became as big as a choir. Then …”

There is both challenge and encouragement in this Gospel Coalition Australia post by Mike Raiter.

(Photo courtesy GAFCON.)

Church leaders: realistic idealists

“Here’s a thought I’ve been musing over: leaders in ministry need to be realistic idealists. Primarily, we need to be idealists because we are gospel people. We are people of God’s word who seek to do all we do through the lens of Scripture.

However, secondarily, we also need to be realistic. We need to remember that we operate in a fallen world, full of sinful people, where the first heaven and the first earth have not yet passed away, and when God has not yet made everything new (Revelation 21). …”

– Mike Leite explores how this looks in Christian ministry – at The Australian Church Record.

Does the Secular Party know better than a child’s parents?

“An extraordinary claim before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal recently, Secular Party of Australia Inc. v the Department of Education and Training (Human Rights) [2018] VCAT 1321 (27 August 2018), alleged that a child at a public school should be prevented from wearing Islamic religious garb in the child’s own interests!

Thankfully the claim failed, but the fact that the case could even be argued illustrates the pressure that some groups on society are placing on parents and children of faith…”

– Associate Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

Have we finally hit peak Attractional?

“As I watch the video announcing the series, I can’t help but feel some pity for the countless thousands of pastors who have been convinced by this model. James Montgomery Boice once warned ‘what you win them with is what you win them to’ and the attractional model bears this out: If you draw people with stunts like Wrastlin’, you’ve got to keep them with other similar or bigger stunts. I feel sorry for the pastor who knows that to keep his congregation, he has to keep coming up with bigger and more shocking ideas. …

Ed Young’s latest desperate attempt to draw a crowd is a good opportunity for us to consider the hallmarks of the attractional church model and to compare it to something far better …”

Tim Challies on something far better than the latest cringeworthy attempt to fill a church building.

Depending on Others

“O that it would rain! I admit to not knowing a whole lot about sheep and cattle and seasonal crops but I have been a person for sixty years and I’ve been farming people vocationally for thirty years of my working life.

I hope that doesn’t sound inappropriate and if it does, please forgive me. But like a farmer who hates to see his stock in poor condition, I am a person who hates to see any of God’s people in a similar condition. Sadly, those two things go hand in hand in times of drought. …”

– Bishop of Armidale, Rick Lewers, writes on his diocesan website.

What is the gospel? — An appeal for clarity

Dr Mark Thompson“I remember, more than twenty years ago now, an international visitor to Sydney being asked this question. Throughout the week that he had been here, the speaker had appealed to the gospel many times.

Clearly in a part of the world well-known for the strength of its evangelical witness, such an appeal was essential if he was to get a hearing. But the appeal had not been convincing and it had become increasingly obvious that at this most basic level our guest had a very different idea of what exactly it was that he was appealing to repeatedly throughout the week. So some brave soul — someone braver than me — publicly asked him the question. What is the gospel?…”

– Dr. Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore College, tackles a crucial question in a new essay.

Take the time to read it all here. [This is a re-post from 2015.]

You can also download it as a 240kb PDF file.

Religious Freedom and land-clearing

“A religious group has claimed that “religious freedom rights” allow it to ignore Australian laws governing land-clearing and other provisions regulating land development. The claim is clearly wrong. It is important to spell out why, so this false claim does not affect other, justifiable, arguments that can be made about appropriate protection of religious freedom. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Assoc. Professor Neil Foster points of that Religious Freedom does not give a license to ignore the law.

Middle-aged white men can tell the Truth

“Maybe we never realised it, but John 1:1 changes the way we understand everything.

It means that we believe in objective truth. That is to say, truth is real, it sits above us all, and all things ought to be conformed to it.

Truth is not merely ‘my truth’ or ‘true for me.’ Truth is true for everyone. …

But truth is dying in the West. …

This is why identity politics has caught on so quickly. It teaches us that we are no longer to measure things by what is said (ie whether it’s true), but rather who said it.

There are those who have no right to speak about things because of who they are. Because their group identity makes them ‘privileged’ they cannot speak about issues affecting other groups who are ‘victims.’

Examples abound. Only yesterday…”

– Here’s a thoughtful piece from Martyn Iles at The Australian Christian Lobby.

We can’t talk about unethical transgender medicine involving children?

“Here we go again.

Now the University of Western Australia has caved in following protests by the LGBTI lobbyists and cancelled a talk by Quentin Van Meter, an American paediatric endocrinologist who has been visiting Australia this week, speaking out about unethical transgender medicine being practised on children.

Dr Van Meter is a clinical associate professor at both Emory and Morehouse Schools of Medicine and he trained at John Hopkins, which did much of the early work on transgender.

The Perth talk was to have been the last in a week-long tour sponsored by the Australian Family Association. …”

– This opinion-piece in The Spectator Australia includes an hour-long ‘must-watch’ video of Dr Van Meter’s Sydney talk.

Related:

Findings from the New Atlantis Report on Sexuality and Gender, October 8 2016.

There’s no need for an epic moment every Sunday

“If you measured church life only from the tweets of some pastors, you’d assume church services are awesome for every other congregation but your own. Phrases like, ‘Killer praise band,’ ’Home run sermon,‘ and ‘Amazing stage design’ fill Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds on Sunday afternoons.

Meanwhile, at your church, the lapel mic stopped working halfway through the sermon, the Scripture verses on the screen were in the wrong version, and the date for the church picnic was incorrect in the bulletin. …”

– Maybe your church isn’t an epic church. Here are three reasons it doesn’t need to be. (Link via Gary Ware.)

Australian Church Leaders, Prepare your People for Persecution

“Mr Ruddock will soon hand down his recommendations – which are expected to include certain legislative protections for so-called ‘religious people’ (doesn’t  everyone have a world-view?).

Laws will likely be made to guarantee certain rights to worship, to publicly communicate one’s religious beliefs, and to work and educate our children according to one’s religious convictions.  I expect that many in the church will raise a cheer when such legal protections are made.

Here, however, is my prognostication, which I extrapolate from parallel events in France some four centuries ago. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Campbell Markham has some important observations for Australian Christians.

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