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Does Anybody Really Know What Tithing Is? Does Anybody Really Care?

A Travel Free Learning Article Tithing

By George Bullard

Has a more general, difficult to measure, New Testament-oriented concept called generosity snuffed out the clear, easy to measure, Old Testament concept of tithing?

Let me try that again. Has a left-brained legalism about tithing interpreted as 10 percent of income given way to an even greater, right-brained commitment to generosity that blows past a 10 percent mark?

One more time. Has the giving pattern popularized by the Silent and  Builder generations, then questioned by the Baby Boomers generation, given way to a new dimension of giving called generosity and created a reconceptualization of how the Missio Dei is financially supported? Are Baby Busters and Millennials redefining sacrificial giving to the work of God’s kingdom as an issue of generosity rather than tithing?

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If Spiritual Gifts Are From God, Why Do They Make You Uncomfortable?

Spiritual GiftsA Travel Free Learning Article

By George Bullard

Many years ago when walking down the hall in the building where I worked, I decided I would stop by Ken’s office and ask about him. It was discovered several months earlier that Ken had a growth behind one of his eyes. The surgery to remove the growth would result in him losing his eye. He had rejected the surgery and sought alternative treatment.

The disease impacted Ken physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He sought religious counsel from sources that were outside what he previously experienced during his life. He announced he had received the gift of speaking in tongues, and he was convinced God would heal him.

We were all praying for him. Although he and I had only known each other for a year, we connected deeply early in my time with this ministry organization. I was really concerned about him, but I was not prepared for what would happen during this visit.

We talked for a few minutes, and then he said he had something special to ask me. He got up and closed his office door, sat down next to me, looked at me and said, “I want to ask you to pray for God to give you the gift of speaking in tongues. It is a wonderful gift. It will change your life as it has mine.”

My first thought was, “Can I make it out the door without him stopping me?”

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Great Commission and Great Commandment Without Synergy?

A Travel Free Article Denom Synergy

By George Bullard

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001? I do too. That is a morning very difficult to forget.

I was sitting in the lobby restaurant of a hotel in a major USA city having breakfast with the national director for church planting for a mainline Protestant denomination. We were talking about what it would take for his denomination to move from starting around a dozen new congregations per year to starting 100 per year.

This seemingly impossible goal would take his denomination to the level of starting a number of new congregations each year equal to three percent of the number of congregations they currently had affiliated with them. Three percent is the foundational figure I learned from Lyle Schaller several decades ago. It is a solid figure that is still true for denominations.

Within three years this denomination was starting or having affiliated with it around 80 congregations per year. Within this short time they were experiencing great success.

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How Hurricane Hugo Broke the Racial Barrier

A Travel Free Article

By George Bullard

Twenty-five years ago on September 21, 1989 Hurricane Hugo made landfall in the Charleston, SC area and brought significant destruction in almost two dozen counties. At that time I was working for Baptists in South Carolina and supervised the department that handled disaster response.

One of our responsibilities was to suggest places where mobile industrial kitchens–some contained within 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer rigs–should be set up. With that in mind I recommended that one of the feeding units be stationed on the parking lot of a particular church we will call Hope.

I was leading a strategic planning process with this congregation which decided to relocate seven miles away as it was no longer effective in reaching its community context and was continuing to decline. This all-white congregation had the reputation of not allowing a black person in their building except to make a delivery after which they were to leave immediately. Their community context was 99 percent black and the church’s reputation was well known.

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