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Current Study

Posted on Fri, Dec 28, 2007

"A Second Resurrection" by Bill Easum

The Deborah Group study for 2008 will be based on "A Second Resurrection: Leading your Congregation to New Life" by Bill Easum. Fitting right in with our Faith on Fire renewal process, this book explores the spiritual aspects of bringing a church out of exhaustion and self centeredness into a new vision and sense of mission. 
   Discussion: Current Study
Doug Southall · 14 years, 2 months ago
It's meant to shock the reader, the way Jesus did when he called the Pharisees "white-painted tombs."
I think success as a church rests on taking action to go beyond regular worship and building maintenance, and it better happen soon. We've been talking and talking and talking, and IMHO it's just another way to put off doing for one more day week month year. What are we afraid of?
What do you think?                                                                                                 Janet Southall
Janet W. Southall · 14 years, 1 month ago
Thought it might be helpful to post summaries of the chapters as we study them. We are already on Chapter 5 so I'll have to play catch up. Introduction-Churches that exist only to provide fellowship and focus on internal ministries are spiritually dead and just don't know it. There are three stages of resurrection: A New Pastor; New Leadership; and Fundamental, Tactical Change
Janet W. Southall Back · 14 years, 1 month ago
Chapter 1-When it's not a Matter of Sickness
Checklist of Spiritual Deadness.
No Mission
Focus on Fellowship
Pastoral Focus on Member's Needs
No Interest in Outsiders
Cherish Memories
Experience Conflict
Care More About the Budget than the Baptisms

To turn the church to Christ the pastor must stop being a funeral director and start being a midwife.
Money, time and energy must be spent on mission.
Too many meetings make us slaves to our institutions.
Society shuns the church because they see it's dead. Like in the story "The Emperor Has No Clothes" only outsiders can give a true assessment of reality. The church EXISTS for those not in it yet.
Janet W. Southall Back · 14 years, 1 month ago
Chapter 2-Are We Spiritually Dead?
Jesus gave only two Commandments: "Love One Another," and "Go, Make Disciples."
Every single thing the church does should be wholly focussed on these two commandments. Every decision made should be made asking "If we do this will it introduce more people to Jesus Christ?"

He ends the chapter with a cautionary tale about a church that he consulted for that "wanted to grow" so he recommended starting a new service, which grew to twice the size of the "original" service. Support was withdrawn from the new service because the "original" members were upset with the explosive growth, contemporary music, and style. Two years later the "original" church was no longer viable and merged with another church.

Janet W. Southall Back · 14 years, 1 month ago
Chapter 3-How Churches Die Spiritually
God does not care whether any individual church survives. God is a "what have you done for me lately?" kind of God. Is your church "Loving One Another" and "Going, and Making Disciples?" If not, why not?!!

Two Church Models
Model 1- Action: Excitement and Growth; Comfort: have enough and have become organized; Complacency: care for self; Status Quo: protect the institution; Fear: of change, of outsiders; Anxiety: about the future...a downward spiral.
Model 2- Action: gather the remnant; Discomfort: don't blink!; Passion: time is of the essence!; Change: out with the old, in with the new!; Excitement: taking risks; Courage: speed and flexibility; Growth: in spirit and upward spiral!

Janet W. Southall Back · 14 years, 1 month ago
Chapter 4- Turnaround is an Eternal Issue

Thriving churches share three characteristic beliefs:
All people need to be redeemed through Christ.
All Christians need to seek God's will.
Commitment to the Kingdom of God comes first.

Struggling churches share characteristics also:
Believe there are many ways to salvation.
Rely on democracy and consensus to make decisions.
Focus on maintaining the institution.

If you are going to be a Christian Church, you have to claim Christ: not a "higher power," the Great Spirit, clean living, good morals, or even good works.
Janet W. Southall Back · 14 years, 1 month ago
Chapter 5- Leaders, It's Time to Die to Yourself
It's not easy to do, and if you can't you should get out of the way of those who can.
best quotes
The "Second Resurrection" BEGINS when all of the leaders are willing to let their church die
and trust God to resurrect it."
"The church must be a training ground for missionaries rather than an
entitlement program for the existing members."
"The pastor and the leaders of the church must passionately believe that Jesus is peoples' only hope."
Janet W. Southall Back · 14 years ago
Chapter 6-A Life Worth Watching
The original goal of "the Way" was to follow Jesus' teachings-to live like him. To learn by doing, not by reading about doing. After the Emperor Constantine was converted in 362 there was a shift from devotion to Jesus to devotion to "the church." Now we have denominations and layers of bureacracy that the earliest Christians would have never imagined.
LEARN BY DOING. Actions speak louder than words. A life worth watching is a life that welcomes and enfolds everyone into the love and life of Jesus. Is your life worth watching?

Verlinda · 14 years ago
And as a training ground for missionaries, I think our group should spend an evening (or possibly a half-day retreat on a Saturday) brainstorming for ministry possibilities. This would force us to go beyond the "tried and true" in our thinking. But we shouldn't stop there. We need to step up and *own* something as our group's mission that reaches outside, and allows us (and others!) to use their God-given gifts.
Janet W. Southall Back · 14 years ago
Chapter 7- Resurrection begins with you. Christ in you. Expressed in several ways:
Obedience- filling the church with LOVE and HONORING God.
Living by Faith- taking risks, not afraid of change. Don't you believe that God will take care of His church?
Prayer- for strength, for power to follow through, for support.
Leadership-somebody has to be willing to step out and lead. Don't be afraid to tell people what to do. Power exists, and someone is going to claim it. Who will it be?
Perseverence- don't blink once the process has started, don't let 'em see you sweat.
Courage- Perfect love casts out fear. Spiritually alive leaders inspire confidence, create a culture of courage, and take action.

Doug Southall · 13 years, 11 months ago
Chapter 8-Rolling Away the Stone
Vision Comes First- Have one or go get one.
Gather a Group- Look for the people who "light up" when they talk about it.
Make Commitments-
1st, the leader must spend 80% of time on this only.
2nd, the group will put this first and stand firm behind the leader.
The Coup-The people who drove the church into the ditch are probably not the ones who are going to get it out.
Replace the ones who hold the purse strings, the ones who make the big decisions, the ones who decide whether the pastor stays or goes, and those who protect the status quo.
Prepare for Stress...
...when "controllers" are asked to leave office.
...when changing or adding worship.
...when the pastor stops playing chaplain
...when money must be spent on others
...when commitment encroaches on entitlements
...when longtime employees must be replaced.
Ways to Combat Stress
-Nurture your faith with prayer and dreamtime
-Intentionally serve the difficult
-Stay cool, don't take things personally
-Focus on people, not programs
-Preparation, preparation, preparation

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