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Keep Trying Innovative Ministries

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People Keep Trying Innovative Ministries The cues people respond to today are different from those of even thirty years ago.  Think cell phones and social media.  Churches have always been a source of cues for recognizing and reacting to God.  What’s happening today is that the old …

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The Case Method Teaching Approach Offers Much for Spiritual Enlightenment

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People The Case Study Method for Spiritual Enlightenment By far, the most popular degree in colleges and universities is business administration.  It is very practical and seen as the gateway to a better job and pay. I did my M.B.A. right after graduating from seminary.  The contrast was …

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Finding More Switches for Enlightenment

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People Finding More Switches for Enlightenment Spiritual Enlightenment happens when switches get turned on. Ministry is all about finding those Spiritual switches that work for people at various stages and situations in life. Our first-grade daughter came home from school one day and skipped around the house shouting …

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Getting Switches Turned on for Enlightenment by the Spirit

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People Getting Switches Turned on for Enlightenment by the Spirit  According to Martin Luther, the Spirit’s job is to call, gather, enlighten and sanctify God’s people.  He explained that the Spirit enlightens with his gifts. Many church leaders fall into the trap of assuming this work is primarily their …

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Fine-Tuning Your Church’s Culture

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People Fine-Tuning Your Church’s Culture Do not quench the Spirit, Paul admonished the Thessalonians.  The context makes clear he is talking about their behavior as a gathered fellowship.  Respect those who work among you.  Encourage the timid.  Be joyful.  Whatever you do, don’t put out the Spirit’s fire. …

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Reducing Barriers to the Spirit’s Work of Building Fellowship

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People Reducing Barriers to the Spirit’s Work of Building Fellowship “If you want to build a ship, don’t summon people to buy wood, prepare tools, distribute jobs, and organize the work. Rather, teach people to yearn for the wide, boundless ocean.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery My book, Builder Ministry …

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Gathering in a Spirit-Shaped Congregation

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People Gathering in a Spirit-Shaped Congregation Eugene Peterson is well known as the translator of the Bible paraphrase, The Message.  I had the privilege of joining him in a conference small group addressing the issue of the relationship between spirituality and church administration.  His position was simple.  There …

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The Confusion Between Church as a Fellowship and Church as an Institution

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People Organizing a Fellowship of Christ Martin Luther gave us a wonderful description of the four-fold functions of the Holy Spirit.  This Third Person of the Trinity calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies God’s people.  The previous five essays reflected on how the Spirit calls people into a relationship …

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Some Basics of Church Growth

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People Some Basics of Church Growth Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who calls people to faith and gathers them together as a church.   But he works through people and relationships. How do we do our part? Let’s get practical. Church Growth studies can provide a framework for such …

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Fields Ripe for Harvest

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People Fields Ripe for Harvest In Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World (2020), Tara Isabella Burton offers a dizzying description of movements that are changing the religious landscape. She posits a fundamental distinction between religion in general and institutional churches that come in many brands. While it is apparent a whole …

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Approaching Life Head-First or Heart-First

The Spirit Calls, Gathers, Enlightens and Sanctifies God’s People Head-First, Heart-First and the Bell-Shaped Curve Much of what has happened to Protestant churches in America can be illustrated by the well-known bell-shaped normal distribution curve. The top of the curve represents the mid-point in the distribution of certain characteristics over a large population. People who have …

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Humble Yourself with a Discipline

Humble Yourself with a Discipline During the pandemic, I would drive by a house with a yard sign announcing, “I Am A Health Care Hero.”  What an odd thing to boast about.  Real heroes don’t brag.  Certainly, front-line health care providers are heroes.  But it’s like combat veterans whose bravery was recognized by a medal, …

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