Illustration results for church discipline
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. JOHN WELSEY
Traveled over 250,000 miles on horseback over a period of 40 years preaching the Gospel
Preached 40,000 sermons
Wrote 400 books
Knew 10 languages
At 83 he was annoyed that he couldn’t write more than 15 hours a day without hurting his eyes.
At 86 he was ashamed because he couldn’t preach more than twice a day. He complained that he had to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning.
Over the years Wesley endured much hardship. His church rejected his message. Because of his strong preaching against alcohol and other evils of his day he was beaten, robbed, spat upon, ridiculed, and mocked in the press. But he kept on pouring out his life as an offering.
Discipleship Measured: Barna Research Group has discovered that 1 of every 6 adults who attends Christian church services also is involved in some type of group or 1 to 1 discipleship training (about 22 million people). As Christian retailers have long known, women are twice as likely to be involved in spiritual growth activities. 18% of Protestants participate compared to 8% of Catholics. Small groups are the most common means (69%) followed by Sunday school (20%), 1 to 1 (14%), special faith oriented class (11%), and online (3%). (Barna.org 5/9/00 & Foster Net)
Religious Practice Varies By Race: A new Barna survey examined 8 elements of religious behavior (reading the Bible, praying to God, giving money to churches and watching Christian television) and discovered that blacks are the most religiously active racial group. Blacks were also notably less likely than others to be unchurched. Asians are least likely to be active in Christian-oriented behaviors and generated the lowest scores for all 8 religious activities measured. Asians were the least involved in attending church, reading the Bible, praying to God, attending Sunday school, participating in a small group for religious purposes, watching Christian television and gave the least average amount of money to churches. They were also the group most likely to be unchurched. Hispanics are the most likely to share their faith in Christ with non-believers. Although Hispanics were below average on most of the religious behaviors examined, they were especially low in regard to the amount of money they donate to churches. White adults stood out as being neither the highest nor lowest on any of the measured behaviors. (Barna Update 8/10/04)
Documented in a book by James Patterson and Peter Kim, the Day America Told the Truth, (1991), Americans were asked: “What are you willing to do for $10,000,000?”
Would abandon their entire family (25%)
Would abandon their church (25%)
Would become prostitutes for a week or more (23%)
Would give up their American citizenships (16%)
Would leave their spouses (16%)
Spiritual Satisfaction: 87% American adults are able to identify an activity that brings them the greatest degree of spiritual satisfaction or fulfillment. 23% named attending church services and events as their most fulfilling spiritual activity. 12% indicated spending time with their family produces the greatest sense of spiritual satisfaction, while another 12% noted a variety of endeavors as their greatest source of spiritual fulfillment. Those included engaging in music, art, or other creative media; participating in sports or hobbies; secluded meditation; and enjoying nature. 9% identified prayer as their most fulfilling spiritual activity, while Bible reading was named by 7% and helping other people was listed by 6%. Just 3% identified the maintenance or enjoyment of their relationship with God as their greatest source of spiritual fulfillment and only 1% credited their relationships with other believers. Less than 1% listed worshipping God or leading someone to Christ as their means of fulfillment. Although 62% of adults consider themselves to be “deeply spiritual,” 46% are satisfied enough with their spiritual condition that they have no aspects that they would like to change. Men were twice as likely as women to say there was nothing in particular that gave them a sense of spiritual fulfillment. Researcher George Barna notes, “One could easily conclude that most Americans have no plan for spiritual advancement and are not exerting much effort to grow in their faith.” (Barna Online 11/29/04)
Alternative Church: In a typical week, 22% of American adults engage in spiritual encounters outside the traditional church, 9% participate in a house church while more than 10% turn to the Internet as their foundation for interactive faith experience (Most in tandem with another form). Revolution, a new George Barna book, claims •Baby Boomers are largely responsible for mega churches redefining the church landscape during the past 25 years. •Adults involved in a marketplace ministry are twice as likely as those connected only to a congregational church to have a biblical worldview, twice as likely to identify the Bible as the source of truth, and a third more likely to contend absolute moral truth exists. •About 66% of all adults engaged in a house church attend weekly, with the remainder attending at least monthly. •The Midwest is the stronghold for congregational church connections, while the southern states are the most fertile for marketplace ministry involvement. •Evangelicals are those most likely to get involved in an alternative form of the church – and the group most likely to participate in both a traditional and alternative church. •Adults with below-average levels of education and income are twice as likely as upscale individuals to be active in an alternative church form. (Barna Update 10/24/05)
The Graduate School of Ministry Management (GSMM) has launched a graduate program designed to support top level Christian ministry and marketplace executives. Modeled after Executive MBA programs established by major universities, GSMM’s mandate is to empower and equip Christian leaders with practical management disciplines so they can achieve all that God has destined them to achieve. (Foster Network 11-2-05)
SERVANTHOOD AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH
I surveyed my church to see if people saw a relationship between ministering to others and spiritual growth. When asked, "To what extent has your ministry or service to others affected your spiritual growth?," 92 percent answered positively. None responded that ministry had a negative effect on their spiritual growth. Sixty-three percent indicated that service was equally significant in their spiritual growth compared to other spiritual disciplines, such as Bible study and prayer. Twenty-four percent responded that ministry or service to others had been "a more significant factor" to their spiritual growth than Bible study or prayer. Over half (58 percent) of those who were not actively ministering to others felt either "not satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with their level of spiritual growth. [Eric Swanson What You Get from Giving (Leadership Journal, Spring 2003), p. 37]
The survey shows what the Bible has said for centuries: "Serving is good for you because it will make you happy and it will have eternal value." The problem comes into serving when the person who serves comes with the wrong attitude.
Listen to what Bill Hybels has to say about this: "The right motivation for Christian service is love. When we discover God loves us with an everlasting love and that we matter deeply to him, we want to serve. He has given us salvation as a free gift. He has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. He has shed the blood of His most precious Son as a sin sacrifice for undeserving souls like ourselves. When all of that comes together and clicks, an unquenchable, divine energy is infused into the spirit of the believer. There is an insatiable desire to return love to God. That love is returned to God through worship and service. It is so natural that anything short of passionate service seems unnatural. One major cause of servant drop-out is faulty motivation. Some people are motivated to serve beca...
4 out of 10 adults attend a church service on a typical Sunday. (Foster letter 4/15/00)
Youth Pastor Burnout: The Bridges Project, a research study of the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary, has identified several factors common to youth pastors who experience burn-out or a lack of success in ministry: ►Inability to shape healthy work relationships with other staff members, especially the senior pastor. ►Lack of tangible congregational support for youth ministry. ►Accepting an assignment that was a “poor fit.” ►Inadequate compensation--not enough to allow them to live in the community they serve.
Pastoral practices which were found to help youth ministers thrive included: ► Tending to one’s own spiritual health through prayer and devotional disciplines. ►Keeping the Sabbath in creative wa...