Previous month:
October 2017
Next month:
December 2017

The Dinner Church Handbook (A Book Review)

The Dinner Church HandbookI just finished reading The Dinner Church Handbook: A Step-by-Step Recipe for Reaching Neighborhoods. As an organic, missional approach to creating a neighborhood experience where gospel conversations can take place, the concept of the book rates a 5 star. As a book that fulfills what is promised in its title it rates a 3 star.

The Dinner Church as an evangelizing and congregationalizing strategy takes the concept of house church into the community and refocuses it as a neighborhood church. It is highly relational which fits the generations “Y” and “Z”. Since any movement of Christianity tends to long-term have an upwardly socioeconomic mobility trend, it a good to have a significant focus on lower income households—although the concept is not solely for these households. 

The metaphor of the Lord’s Supper/Last Supper and the early church pattern is powerful and worthy of the dinner church motif. Making dinner churches/neighborhood congregations focus on all of us sinners—some redeemed and some not yet redeemed—is a solid idea of getting beyond the captivity of the intra-church culture. 

Continue reading "The Dinner Church Handbook (A Book Review)" »


It Was the Day After Thanksgiving, and All Through the House . . .

Columbia House  April 2016It was the day after Thanksgiving--Black Friday for some--and all through the house the grandchildren were happily occupied. The granddaughter was helping her Mimi cook a special lunch for our daughter and new husband to come for their first visit since they married three weeks ago.

Our littlest grandson was building things with Legos as part of his future engineering life. Our oldest grandson was reaching greater heights with a new video game--playing remotely with friends.

Our son was using granddaddy's home/office to respond to inquiries for his work that have come in this week.

Granddaddy made the grocery store run to be sure we did not run out of everyone's favorite things. Upon his arrival home he exclaimed, "Football on television starts at Noon! Go Pitt!"

Everyone is anticipating Allison and Cole's arrival, an afternoon of fun, an evening of lights at the zoo, and S'mores by the fire. What could be better than this!

We all hope your Thanksgiving time includes a change of pace and warm relationships with family and friends.


Theological Education vs. Ministry Preparation?

Minister PreparingShould seminaries engage in theological education or ministry preparation? Of course the initial answer should be "both."

But, Let's go deeper.
 
Should seminaries primarily focus on theological education with minimal practical, real-time ministry preparation? Or, should seminaries primarily focus on ministry preparation with just enough theological reflection to be sure they are not producing heretics?
 
On a scale of one to ten, with one representing the position that seminaries should engage only in theological education and let students get ministry preparation on their own, and ten representing the position that seminaries should engage only in ministry preparation and let students be theologically grounded elsewhere, where along this scale should seminaries focus?
 
Why? Explain your answer.
 
Beyond this straightforward dichotomy are additional questions. Should seminaries provide theological indoctrination that fits the generally focused perspective of the seminary faculty? Should seminaries teach a style of ministry their perspective says is the generally accepted—perhaps even the only accepted—pathway to a successful ministry career? In other words, should seminaries seek to produce graduates in their image, or graduates in the image of God for engaging in with the unique set of spiritual gifts, life skills, and personality preferences each person possesses?
 
Perhaps the reality of these last three questions is to watch the graduates of seminaries that faculty and administration point to as examples of their best graduates, or those who they invite back to speak or teach, or alumni who they honor with some recognition, or those who they continually recommend for ministry placement throughout the ministry career of the graduate. This may say more than anything else where the seminary is along this continuum of theological education vs. ministry preparation.
 
What is your story about seminary? To what extent did you receive a theological education? To what extent did you receive ministry preparation?

Common Sense Security for Houses of Worship

Church Security

This is a repost from the summer of 2015 that is still relevant today and points to a resource that is still active!

In light of the mass murders this week at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC many congregations will think about, perhaps rush to deal with, security issues for their congregation. In the midst of their response congregations need to seek some common sense about security.

I recommend congregation download the Download Guide to Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship  published by FEMA. It is a helpful comprehensive, common sense piece.

Here is the FEMA site: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/33007

I also recommend congregations contact their insurance provider. Many have developed or have recommended material and guidebooks for houses of worship. 

Be wise. Be loving. Be inviting. Be careful. Be safe. Be Christian.


Who is the Primary Client for Seminaries?

Clients  Only for Our ClientsI am part of an accreditation team from the Association of Theological Schools for an Chicago area seminary this week. I am pondering various questions about seminaries and covet your insights into various issues. Respond by posting a comment, sending me a private message, or write me and e-mail to BulllardJournal@gmail.com
 
Who is the primary client of seminaries? Does the seminary I am visiting have clarity about who its client is, and who its client should be? In the case of this specific seminary, is the primary client they are serving and the primary client they ought to serve the same
 
Share your perspective. In your opinion, who is and who should be the primary client of a seminary—the primary people or entities they serve? Here are some choices to stimulate your thinking. In your answer choose three or less—one is best--and distinguish between who is and who ought to be the primary client. Provide not only your answer, but why that is your answer.
  • The seminary faculty.
  • The seminary president/administration.
  • The board of trustees.
  • The small group of the largest financial contributors to the seminary.
  • The denomination with which they are affiliated.
  • The agencies/association with whom they seek accreditation.
  • The students.
  • The congregations from whom the students come.
  • The congregations to whom the students are going to provide ministry leadership.
  • The persons in the pews/chairs of the congregations to whom the students are going to provide ministry leadership.
  • The preChristians, unchurched, underchurched, and dechurched people not actively participating in the congregations to whom the students are going to provide ministry leadership.
  • Other ministry organizations to which the students are going to provide leadership.
  • The educational and/or leadership institutions/organizations to whom the students are going as faculty.
  • The founding mission, purpose, and/or vision of the seminary.
  • The historic global Church, in general.
  • The future, emerging global Church, in general.

Extra Credit: Who is the primary client of the primary client of seminaries? Explain.