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August 2014
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It is Still Amazing What You Can Accomplish If You Do Not Care Who Gets the Credit

A Travel Free Article Truman on Who Gets the Credit

By George Bullard

A quote similar to this title can be found in many places attributed to various people. The exact quote and who said it first is not the point of this article. The meaning of the quote is the point.

To me it means that if you are willing to empower others who do same or similar work you do to serve the same or similar clients you serve, then your desire is for your current and future clients to succeed more than for you to succeed. If you have to be the one who is helping them succeed, then you have made yourself the client for the leaders, teams, or organizations with whom you are working.

In this article I choose to apply the meaning of this quote to those persons and organizations helping congregations achieve vitality and vibrancy as Christ-centered, faith-based communities. It really does not matter who gets the credit as long as congregations are empowered in response to God’s call upon their life and ministry.

As President of The Columbia Partnership [TCP] that is the stance we are taking with our new initiative called FaithSoaring Churches Learning Community. This is a learning community for congregational leaders plus the congregational champions who work with them as third-party providers in their effort to respond to God’s leading and to be on a purposeful, significant, and intentional spiritual and strategic journey.

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Shallow Congregations Only Take Off Their Shoes and Socks

Shallow Pool
A Travel Free Article

By George Bullard

Since they only plan to wade into the shallow end of the pool, or a few feet into the river, lake or ocean, the typical congregational participant only needs to remove their shoes and socks. And we are not talking about feet washing here.

They have no plans to change into a swimsuit and get fully immersed in water, to swim in the deep end above their heads, or to allow the currents or the ocean’s undertow to challenge them. And we are not talking about baptism here.

Shallow congregations, like people who only wade into shallow water, only plan to lead people connected with them into a Christian lifestyle that gives them just enough Jesus to get their feet wet. That is not enough to call for a full commitment to a Christ-like lifestyle, and an ever deeper journey into a Christian community characterized by significant discipleship and mutual accountability.

A previous post spoke to the shallow and private nature of many Christians–That’s Between Me and God [And God Ain’t Talkin’]. That post suggested congregations often lack a commitment to open sharing, personal accountability, and meaningful community. Such a posture leads to an overall shallow congregation.

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When Pastors Live Out the Mission and Vision of Their Church . . .

Sam Tolbert

A Travel Free Learning Article

By George Bullard

. . . it is a thing of great beauty.

Recently I spent a couple of days with Samuel Tolbert, the pastor/teacher of Greater St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church in Lake Charles, LA. [See the church at] I have known Sam for a half-dozen years or so, but this was the first time I had an opportunity to be with him in his place of ministry.

I did not notice until after our visit that on the back side of his calling card is the following: “Mission Statement: Greater St. Mary will bring people to Jesus and Membership in His family, develop them to Christ-like Maturity, and equip them for their Ministry in the church and life Mission in the world, in order to Magnify God’s name.”

I did not need to read that statement to know that Sam is living out the mission and vision God has for his congregation. It is obvious in everything he says and all the actions he takes. He is the embodiment of that mission statement. It is obvious he has a clear vision from God about the life and ministry of his congregation not only in its community context, but throughout the world.

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Are Millennials Different than Baby Boomers 40 Years Ago?

A Travel Free Learning Article Baby Boomer Couple

By George Bullard

Back in the 1970s a lot of congregational prognosticators warned that the Church, in general, was in the process of losing a whole demographic generation known as Baby Boomers. Existing congregations, new congregations, and denominational approaches to ministry were losing the ability to appeal to this numerically largest generation ever born in North America. Generally the birth years of this generation were 1946 through 1964.

As this generation approached their 20s during the 1960s they became a generation known for their rock music, pursuit of mind altering drugs, guilt free sexual love, and demand for peace. While not nearly all—or even a majority—of this generation connected with all these issues, the segment of the Baby Boomers who did was loud. They rejected institutions and authority and saw the Church, in general, and congregations, specifically, fitting into their perception of irrelevant.

I was part of this generation, but missed out on most of the experiences. The only parts that infected me was a pro-peace bias, a belief popularized by Jacques Ellul that institutions do violence to individuals, and some learnings from Saul Alinsky about community organizing that have helped me work with congregations to organize them as social systems.

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