Archive for the ‘On Our Hearts’ Category

The Three Opportunities

“As people reconciled to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are called to respond to conflict in a way that is remarkably different from the way the world deals with conflict.  We also believe that conflict provides opportunities to glorify God, serve other people, and grow to be like Christ.”  From THE PEACEMAKER’S PLEDGE, Peacemaker Ministries  

Let’s acknowledge that “opportunity” is not the first word that comes to mind when confronted with a conflicted situation, especially if we ourselves are one of the parties in that conflict.  However, after further, prayerful consideration, we may properly conclude that biblical resolution to the matter does hold great potential.  Let’s briefly examine the three opportunities mentioned in the pledge above. 

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Saturday, October 8th, 2011 | No Comments »
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God’s Command to Multiply

Bob Nieuwendorp was the church planting director for the NCD from 1999 to 2008.  For the past 4 months Bob has been struggling with cancer.  Since going back into the pastorate in 2008, multiplying disciples and churches has grown.  I would like to share with you Bob’s summarization of God’s command to multiply.

“When God created the universe, world, and all living creatures He issued a command to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.  And rule over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the face of the earth.”  (Underline mine)  In Gen. 1:22 He had previously verbalized His intention for the sea creatures, monsters, as well as the birds to multiply.  Thus, Gen. 1:28 is the first command that God gave to our first parents.

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Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 | No Comments »
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Church Health in the Old Testament?

Here in the NCD we talk a lot about healthy churches.  More recently we’ve been talking a lot about emotionally healthy spirituality, a main root of church health.  Are these concepts Biblical?

One Biblical place we can find them is the book of Proverbs.  Wisdom is the theme of this book.  Wisdom is skill—skill for living.  It refers to the ability to function well in life, navigating the realities of life (such as relationships, values, and work) with God at the center (the fear of the Lord) and his instruction (the law, Scripture) guiding our steps.   In this light I think we can regard wisdom as roughly equivalent to “church health” or “emotionally healthy spirituality.”  Proverbs thus offers us Biblical footing for understanding and cultivating “health” in our inner man, our families, and our churches.

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Friday, July 8th, 2011 | 1 Comment »
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Being a Steward of Our Master’s Interests

“A steward is not supposed to manage things for his own pleasure, convenience, or benefit.  Instead, he is expected to follow his master’s instructions and look out for his master’s interests, even if they conflict with his own personal desires or convenience….

“The concept of stewardship is especially relevant to peacemaking.  Whenever you are involved in a conflict, God has given you a management opportunity.  He has empowered you through the gospel and entrusted you with abilities and spiritual resources.  His Word clearly explains how he wants you to manage the situation.  The more faithfully you draw on his grace and follow his instructions, the more likely you are to see a constructive solution and genuine reconciliation.” 1 (more…)

Thursday, June 9th, 2011 | No Comments »

Helping Pastors with Sexual Purity

Sexual compromise + fear + silence = growing trouble.  This is true for any Christian.  It is true for pastors.  Maybe you and I are stumbling on the internet (for example), viewing sexually explicit material.  We tell no one about it because we are afraid of the consequences to our families or to our ministries.  So we continue in the bondage of guilt and shame and loss of power.  And we feed a growing reservoir of trouble that will eventually burst a dam.

Yet this enslaving cycle—sin, guilt, confession, resolve, sin, guilt, confession, resolve—within the self-perpetuating shroud of silence may be a reality for as many as half of the men in our congregations and as many as a third of the pastors.  (This according to various studies.)

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Thursday, April 28th, 2011 | No Comments »
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Equipping Leaders for the Harvest

What “game-changing” impact would you make in your own life and the lives of your congregants, if it was within your power to do so?   Mine would look something like EQUIPPING laborers and leaders for greater, sanctified OBEDIENCE and for maximum MULTIPLICATION (“100-60-30-Fold Harvest” Matt 13).  Aren’t we all cultivating, planting, and reaping in our Master’s field toward that very end? 

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Monday, April 4th, 2011 | No Comments »
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Training leaders for Team-Oriented Ministry

Engaging in ministry together as a team can simply be a stylistic preference for some of us.  However, there is also rationale for team-oriented ministry which could be considered integral to God’s intent and design for us as His laborers in the harvest.  Our conference brochure, for example, commends living in and preserving the Spirit-generated unity within the Family of God (Psalm 133; Eph 4).  The need to prioritize the unity of the Spirit throughout the Church cannot be over-emphasized, for God’s glory. 

In the creation story in the opening chapter of Genesis, as well as throughout Scripture, we observe that the very nature of the members of the Trinity is to exist and act in concert with one another.  This includes deferring to one another!  As we are made in the image of God, our relationships with one another are a criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful (Francis Schaeffer; cf. John 17).  When we minister together, it is easier for people to recognize that we do not come in our own name, but IN THE NAME OF JESUS (Henri Nouwen).

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Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 | No Comments »
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Multi-Site / Multi-Venue — Feb 2011

Know a community God has called you to reach but you cannot see any possible way to plant or start a church there?  Have a vision to help your church reach your whole area, but little chance you can start the 15+ churches needed?  I think God is challenging us to think outside the box to accomplish his call on our lives and churches.  Let’s try something different!  How about multi-venue or multi-site or some hybrid?   Before you say no way, please think with us.  We would probably never imagine that circuit riding was a good way to reach unreached Americans and start churches, but it was the basis for one of the fastest church-planting movements in the USA.

Multi-site ministry is a church, no matter its size, multiplying itself to another site through personnel and ministries.  They may use live or video preaching, but the leaders of the additional site (possibly including a campus pastor) lead the ministries at that site and raise up additional leaders there. 

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Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 | 3 Comments »
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On Our Hearts: January 2011

If we could sit down with each of you over coffee, or with several of you in a retreat setting, what would we share with you?

It would be something that’s on our hearts. That’s what you’ll find us writing about each month in this portion of our website—something important to us, something we’re thinking about, something vitally connected to life and ministry.

Here you may find a principle of church ministry, a theological reflection, a grappling with culture, a book review, a case study, or a challenge to action. We’ll be speaking especially to pastors and church leaders, sharing thoughts that are in some way strategically related to healthy and fruitful leadership in the church.

Frequently the On Our Hearts article will link to the NCD blog, inviting your response and interaction with what you read here. Tell us what you think. Let other NCD leaders hear and benefit from your perspective.

Look for something new On Our Hearts each month.

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 | No Comments »


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