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February 2014
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April 2014

Impacting Tomorrow is Not a Goal for Many Congregations

Future City
A Travel Free Learning Article

By George Bullard

Congregations seeking to be vital and vibrant ten years from now are congregations seeking to impact tomorrow. Congregations hoping tomorrow will bring a return of the past are seeking to praise yesterday. Too few congregations are in the former category. Too many are in the latter category.

The Truth About the Past?

Traditional congregations praising the past have convinced themselves that certain things are true. First, their quality of worship, discipleship, and fellowship is so rich that they do not need to change it. They have arrived in terms of unity of worship style and meaningful fellowship among long-term members. Second, they have finally arrived at theological clarity, and even if it is not resulting in increased vitality and vibrancy—much less numerical growth—it is still the right pathway for their congregation.

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Enon Tabernacle Rocks!

A Travel Free Learning Article Enon-tabernacle

By George Bullard

I thought if I arrived for worship about 20 minutes before the service was scheduled to start I would be there in plenty of time. I was wrong. Even though Enon Tabernacle, which can be found at www.enontab.org, has a very large parking lot it was full and all the on-the-street parking near this Philadelphia mega congregation was taken. I circled the church and went back to a shopping center nearby to park. The distance from my car to the worship center was almost a half mile.

I was expected. An associate pastor met me and took me to a seat near the front of the worship center that holds several thousand people. The music and celebrative worship of the Triune God was in full swing. The choir of 200 to 250 people and the many instrumentalists were leading a truly inspiring time of worship. Music, scripture, and organized creative movement tastefully engaged the congregation in praise and worship. It was all authentic and inspirational.

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Get Off My Back, Leonard Sweet, I Am Trying to Get Some Work Done Here!

The Well Played LifeA Travel Free Learning Article

By George Bullard

Purchase this book by clicking HERE.

Play? How dare my friend, Len Sweet, suggest I interrupt my lifelong commitment to workaholism and please God with play. I’m too busy working for God to play with God. Fortunately that is exactly what Len Sweet does for me and every reader in his new book The Well Played Life: Why Pleasing God Doesn’t Have To Be Such Hard Work.

He immediately shows he is not a fan of the Protestant work ethic when he declares that “after five hundred years, the Protestant work ethic has not made us better disciples, only weary and cranky human beings.” [2] But he suggests an alternative when he later says, “If humanity needed Protestantism to show it how to work, humanity now needs Godplay to teach it how to play.” [21]

He starts in on people like me immediately in his acknowledgements with statements like, “the quality of life depends on the quality of our play.” [vii] Is it O.K. if I work at play? Colleagues throughout my ministry have observed that I dedicate time to play because I place it on my “To Do” list. Does that count? Perhaps not if the point is to experience playful joy in relationship with God.

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