Church Greeting Teams - The Search for a Friendly Church

When in the USA recently, one of our church staff members visited two large, well-known churches. The facilities and church services were first class, but at both churches ... no one spoke to him. Sadly, this is all to commonplace today. Have we become high-tech and low-touch? Here is a great article by Will Mancini called Smiling is Not Enough: Top 10 Mistakes of Church Greeting Teams. The team at Auxano enjoys playing the role of “secret worshipper” when we take a church through our visioning process called the Vision Pathway. We call it a guest perspective evaluation. As I... Read more →

What do Protestants think of Pope Francis?

A recent article from the Barna Group: March 18, 2014 — He was the most talked-about person of 2013 and winner of TIME’s “Person of the Year” award. Google Translate coders have set his name to translate as “a better world.” Yet Pope Francis insists that he is “a normal person,” and has no desire to be “a superman or a star.” Some religion columnists and commentators attribute the public’s esteem to his humble insistence that he is ordinary. In fact, humility may just be the pontiff’s paradoxical trademark. The Washington Postsummed it up in one headline: “Like Pope Francis?... Read more →

What God can do with 57 Cents

A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was too crowded. “I can't go to Sunday School”, she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday School class. The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus. Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of... Read more →

7 Predictions for American Churches in 2014 (by Thom Rainer)

Predicting is as much of an art as it is a science. And if any prognosticator is honest, he or she will tell you that they don’t always get it right. I know. I certainly don’t always get it right. But I don’t pull my predictions out of thin air. To the contrary, each of them has a reasonable explanation. For these seven predictions, I gleaned from several sources: Data-based research, particularly LifeWay Research. Trends that are already underway and gaining momentum. Conversations with hundreds of church leaders. My own experiences, based on 25 years of consulting and research of... Read more →

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

During the month of November, many churches around the world set aside time to prayer for the persecuted church. Believers in countries such as Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan and Vietnam face violence, imprisonment and even death because of their faith in Jesus Christ. There are other places in the world such as North Korea where acts of persecution take place, but we don’t see or hear of it. Brother Andrew of Open Doors once said: 'Our heroes are not with us simply because they are in prison.' IDOP is a time set apart for us to remember thousands... Read more →

8 Commitments for Small Group Leaders (Mark Howell)

Any church with over 50 people needs some form of small group ministry so that genuine relationships are developed and discipleship occurs. Whatever form of small group ministry you may, have is a helpful article on small group leadership by Mark Howell: Whether you use a low or high bar of small group leadership, I think all of us have hope that our leaders will do more than open their home, facilitate a discussion or convene a meeting. And … I think some of us have begun laying the foundation for a kind of leadership pathway. See also, Raising the... Read more →

The Prophetic Ministry

The ministry of prophecy is to be an important part of the local church and the development of every church leader. This is a biblical concept and was used often in the appointment of leaders to various roles and ministries in the early church (see Acts 13:1-3. 1 Timothy 1:18-19; 4:14). The Prophetic Ministry A prophet is someone through whom God speaks His heart, mind and will. The Old Testament concept of a prophet is “one called (by God) to speak for God”. God spoke to and through prophets. A prophet was not independent. They spoke God's message, not their... Read more →

For Parents with Young Children in Church

A friend pointed me to a very good article recently in the Huffington Post religion section by Jamie Bruesehoof to parents with young children in church (especially relevant when kid's church is having a break during the school holidays!). Here is it: You are doing something really, really important. I know it's not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring. I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant car seat and the diaper bag ('nappy bag' for the... Read more →

Reaching Millennials

Research in America shows that 59% of millennials (also known as Gen Y) drop out of church after attending regularly as a teenager. For the past decade, Barna Group has been working to understand this important age group. After interviewing more than 27,000 millennials and conducting 206 studies of this group, they have amassed a significant body of knowledge on millennials. Now they are sharing that knowledge via a special section of their web site that contains research, articles and carefully curated information on this elusive and often confusing age groups. Check it out at In many ways, Australia... Read more →

Choose Your Own Adventure

Life as Adventure Have you ever thought of your life as an adventure? Our kids used to love reading the Choose Your Own Adventure book series when they were younger. The stories are formatted so that, after a couple of pages of reading, the reader, as the main character in the story, faces two or three options, each of which leads to more options, and then to one of many endings. The number of endings could range anywhere from 12 to 40. This allows for a realistic sense of unpredictability, as the reader chooses their own adventure. Life is a... Read more →

The Search to Belong

In his most recent book, What Makes Us Tick?, Australian sociologist Hugh Mackay observes that “from the family to the workplace, from the school gate to the local coffee shop or pub, and from religious, political or sporting affiliations to friendship circles, both online and offline, we are as socially interdependent as ever. Our default position, as humans, is together, even for those of us who cherish time alone ... We need to belong.” He goes on to say that “this desire to belong drives our attachment to two kinds of groups: herds and tribes ... The herd, typically comprising... Read more →

Bible Engagement in Churchgoers Hearts, but not Always Practiced

Lifeway Research reports: While the majority of churchgoers desire to honor Christ with their lives and even profess to think on biblical truths, a recent study found few actually engage in personal reading and study of the Scriptures. "Bible engagement" is one of the eight attributes of discipleship identified in the Transformational Discipleship study conducted by LifeWay Research. The study produced the Transformational Discipleship Assessment, which measures an individual's spiritual growth in each of these areas of development. The survey found 90 percent of churchgoers agree "I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do," and 59 percent... Read more →

A Letter to the Church at Sardis

Jesus had John write another letter to the church at Sardis. Revelation 3:1-6. I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you're dead, stone dead. Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there's life in you yet. But I wouldn't know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God's work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears - grasp it again and turn back to God. If you pull the covers back over... Read more →

A Letter to the Church at Ephesus

Here is a copy of a letter from Jesus to the church at Ephesus in the first century, as given to John as he was in the Spirit praying ... Revelation 2:2-7. "I see what you've done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can't stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out. But you walked away from your first love - why? What's going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you've fallen? A Lucifer fall! Turn... Read more →

Heretic Hunting?

It always concerns me the amount of so-called ‘Christians’ who spend their time throwing mud at other Christian ministries, claiming that so-and-so is a false prophet or spreading heresy. Jesus does call us to discern ministries (by their fruit) but to go beyond this and place a judgment on a person is something we are strongly commanded to NOT do (see my previous BLOG post 'Discern, Don't Judge). To quote my previous post, Derek Prince recommends five key things that we should look for when discerning whether any church, ministry or so-called “move of God” is genuine or not (from... Read more →

Living in the Last Days (1 Peter 4)

The apostle Peter presents us with a strong challenge for times like ours: 1 Peter 4:7-11. The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God... Read more →

Religious Belief in Australia (2011 Census Results)

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on the evening of August 9th last year? It was census night here in Australia, a day every five years where the government requires every person living Australia to complete a survey (conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics). It includes questions about personal details, the people we live with, our education, our employment, and any significant changes that have taken place in the last few years. This helps to provide a snapshot of our nation, which becomes useful for the government as well as many other organisations. One... Read more →

New Archbishop of Canterbury: Justin Welby

[The following article is by Cole Moreton from the Telegraph] The next Archbishop of Canterbury woke up yesterday with something on his mind. “Thought in the night,” he wrote on Twitter. “Those who made money betting on me give it to their local church!” Chatting wittily online to 6,429 online followers is not something the present Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, would find easy. But as one observer suggested when the appointment was announced on Friday, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, may be the most worldly man ever chosen for Canterbury. “Good gracious,” he said in response, raising... Read more →

The Church in Australia - latest NCLS data

Religious editor, Barney Zwartz, wrote the following article entitled "Flock keeping the faith - and feeling blessed" in this week's AGE newspaper: FALLING church attendances in Australia may have plateaued and churchgoers are considerably happier than 10 years ago, according to the five-yearly church ''census''. ''The complete Australian church is growing stronger, or holding its ground, and those who go to church are feeling pretty good about it,'' said Associate Professor Ruth Powell, from the Australian Catholic University and research director of the National Church Life Survey. ''The churches are not out of the wilderness yet, but the signs are... Read more →

The Church of Jesus Christ

Over 2,000 years ago Jesus said that he would build his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The church is his master project. Nothing else occupies his mind and heart as much as this. The church is not a building, not an organisation and not an event. It is God's people - a community of Christ-followers, empowered by the Spirit to participate in God's mission in the world. As long that is happening, the form and style of the church is not overly important. In fact, it takes all sorts of churches to reach the... Read more →