Day Seven: 7 Ways in 7 Days to Participate in George Bullard’s Legacy Season

Legacy Word 01August 1st George Bullard begins a four-year Legacy Season as a capstone for his full-time Christian ministry. A Legacy Season for George is not about retirement. It is a refocusing on his full-time energies so he can “download learnings” or “pay-it-forward” to others in Christian ministry.

It is a season where George will be sharing what he has learned during more than 50 years of Christian ministry—starting at age 15—about how to help congregations to continuously function in a vital and vibrant way that he calls FaithSoaring. Forty of those years have focused on consulting, coaching, writing, teaching, and speaking about congregational vitality and vibrancy, and also about similar patterns for denominational organizations.

Each day—beginning today—George will share a way you can benefit from and participate in his Legacy Season for the enhancement of your Christian ministry. After today, the other six days will be posted at www.BullardJournal.org and on George’s Facebook Page.

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Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence [Book Review]

Fields of BloodSee the book--Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence.

I picked up Karen Armstrong’s book—Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence—to read while traveling around North America this summer. I thought it would be a nice read on airplanes. I found a book that was intriguing, in-depth, and that significantly slowed my reading as I sought to learn new words and concepts, and kept referring back to the more than 80 pages of [foot]notes and bibliography. I actually studied the book rather than read the book. As a result, it took 12 days of reading an hour or two per day to work my way through it.

It was wonderful and a true learning experience for me. I had also read The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan during an earlier period this year, so I was continually thinking about how each provided an in-depth approach to religious pluralism from a central Asia perspective. They both stretched my thinking.

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Insight 207: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Caring About People Who Are Not Part of Your Church

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform realize the truth of this statement: “The church exists primarily for those who are not a part of it.” [Queen/Davids. Hopeful Imagination, 2014.] Transformation involves not seeing things primarily from the eyes of the church, but from the eyes of the immediate community context or affinity group, and the whole rest of the world.

Any congregation that says the church exists primarily for those who are a part of it are in great trouble, will likely not be vital and vibrant, and may have fully lost their first love. That’s no your congregation is it?


Insight 206: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Encouraging a Deep Spiritual and Missional Journey

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRFor congregations to transform 20 to 25 percent of the active adults must be on a deep spiritual and missional journey in their personal lives, and see their congregation as their place of gathering and scattering that enhances the impact of their individual journey.

Community is important. Congregational community is extremely important. Beyond the core group of people on a deep spiritual and missionary journey, another 20 to 25 percent of people in the congregation community must be preparing or pursuing a deep spiritual and missional journey. Without this the overall journey of the congregation may be too shallow.


Insight 205: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Asking One Another About Missional Engagement

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform regularly ask congregational participants direct questions about their missional engagement. This is the other of the two most important questions to ask. For congregations to transform they must be part of an ongoing missional journey of many people connected with the congregation.

Without this the changes in the congregation are transactional rather than transformational. They are short-term, not long-term. They are organizational rather than the actions of a living, breathing, moving, ever-changing organism.

The challenge is the vast majority of congregations are too shallow in their relationships with God and one another to ask these questions.


Insight 204: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Asking One Another the Right Questions

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform regularly ask congregational participants direct questions about their spiritual formation. This is one of the two most important questions to ask. For congregations to transform they must be part of an ongoing spiritual journey of many people connected with the congregation.

Without this the changes in the congregation are transactional rather than transformational. They are short-term, not long-term. They are organizational rather than the actions of a living, breathing, moving, ever-changing organism.

The challenge is the vast majority of congregations are too shallow in their relationships with God and one another to ask these questions.


Reclaiming Glory: A Key Motivation for the Pathways to Revitalizing Churches [Book Review]

Reclaiming Glory

[See the book--Reclaiming Glory: Revitalizing Dying Churches]

The past almost 45 years of my life has been significantly dedicated to helping congregations who are aging, declining, or dysfunctional to once again live as vital and vibrant congregations. So, when I see a new book that focuses on a nationwide effort by a major denomination to replant churches, I rejoice.

It is especially good to see it coming from a ministry friend of 35 years—Mark Clifton—who like me began his ministry focused on the planting of new congregations, but is now using that experience to help old congregations reclaim glory.

Mark admits this is not easy when he says, “It’s often easier to close a dying church and go across the street to plant a new one than it is to replant.” [18]

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Insight 203: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Greater Discipline

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform realize that one core meaning of being a “disciple” is to be “disciplined”. However, as Jim Collins says in his monograph Good To Great and the Social Sectors [Jim Collins, 2005] it is not discipline around business principles, but discipline around being great rather than just good.

Many congregations are good. Often they are good enough to meet their expectations. Few congregations are great. Greatness requires being faithful, effective, and innovative. Great congregations have the discipline of a runner who runs ten yards past the finish line to be sure they are going at full speed.


Pokemon Go: How Well and Long Will Our Congregation Know You?

Pokemon GoPokemon Go is an instant phenomenon. Some congregations are immediately connecting with it. Others are clueless. Agile, responsive congregations have instantly set up ministries around the game, and support systems for those playing the game. But, a legitimate question is, "New friend, how well and how long will we know you?"

Here is an article article by Jeff Brumley of Baptist News Global where I expressed some of my opinions about Pokemon Go: Pokémon Go has old, young generations talking. Will the conversation last?

Here is what I had to say: 

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Insight 202: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Rejecting a Business Model

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform realize they are a ministry and not a business. They heed the advice of Jim Collins in his monograph Good To Great and the Social Sectors [Jim Collins, 2005]. “We must reject the idea--well-intentioned, but dead wrong--that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become ‘more like a business’.” [p. 1]

The typical business, says Collins, is mediocre. Why would congregations want to be mediocre? Congregations need a ministry model that may embrace appropriate, selective business principles, but which is empowered by a passion for ministry fulfillment and the discipline to achieve it.


Insight 201: Become a FaithSoaring Church By Anticipating Contextual Transitions

FaithSoaring Churches 100CLRCongregations seeking to transform love what their community context has been over the years. At the same time they are more than in love with their community of the past. They are in love with their community context of the future.

They see the transition of their community not as a loss of the past, but an opportunity for the future inherent in the new people moving in the context. While their human character is concerned about the loss of the community they once knew, their spiritual side sees the opportunities in the new people groups coming into their area.