I’ve been thinking about the way ministers invest in church in the hope of growth. You can divide growth into two categories, I have named them dynamic growth and static growth:

Dynamic growth
1. Focussed on paving new ground
2. Change is quick
3. Results seen in increased reach (eg. numbers with newcomers, deeper repentance)
4. Characterised by innovation, movement, and problem solving

Static growth
1. Focussed on strengthening what exists
2. Change is slow
3. Results seen in increased stability (eg. confidence in belief, regular attendance)
4. Characterised by repetition, stability and procedures

Application number 1:
Both require different kinds of investment. Dynamic involves *stretching* or extending those who will grow, where static involves educating them.

Application number 2:
A formula for describing a churches as whole entities:
Too much dynamic, not enough static => flaky, shallow church.
Too much static, not enough dynamic => stagnant, luke-warm church.
Well-proportioned static and dynamic growth => healthy, thriving church.
Not enough dynamic, not enough static => dying church.

Application number 3:
I reckon true static growth requires dynamic application of procedures and repetition. I think the best dynamic growth will follow a set of norms and patterns common in all entities characterised by dynamic growth. Where is your church?

 

Postscript: After I wrote this, I saw a great post about how growth interacts with healthy business in particular applying it to the word entrepreneur which is packed to the hilt with the idea I have described as ‘dynamic growth’ above.

Notice how at the beginning of Mark (1:1-13) John prophesies that Jesus will baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Isn’t it interesting that immediately Jesus’ own baptism follows and he sees the very same Holy Spirit descending upon him. The voice rings out “This is my beloved Son, with him I am well pleased”.

Could it be that this statement is prophetic for the effect of the indwelling of the Spirit in every believer?

I’m going to venture that it is a foretaste of the achievements of Christ. I wonder if the explanation of the difference between John’s baptism and Jesus’ baptism is that Jesus’ results in the ability to ‘please’ God… as sons (and daughters)? It kind of fits with the Christian doctrine of adoption, as well as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

It also works on to highlight a couple of contrasts at the narrative level:
- the dismay of the crowds over their inability to stand before God because of their sins is contrasted with the pleasure of God in his Son.
- Water baptism, which has no saving effect but only a public personal resolve to please God, is contrasted with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who personally inspires and activates God-pleasing deeds.

When we start out in faith our suffering is highly educative. We ask questions like why did God allow this to happen to me? Why doesn’t God do something about this? We learn many things about God and the world – that God loves the world, but it is broken. God hates evil but allows it to remain. You learn many things about yourself, like it is hard to control my desire to react to my circumstances, it is hard to avoid sinning when pummelled to the ground. I want to lash out at others or myself by self-destructive behaviour. I want to give up, but know I can’t. When these lessons are learnt, what remains? When you know you can’t give up, just because it is hard. When you know others have brought this upon you and it is not your place to retaliate. When you know that self abuse will achieve nothing. When you know you have nowhere to hide from it’s pain.

I’ll tell you: grief remains.

Fearless, pure knowledge of the brokenness and evil in the world.

This works for suffering caused by others. You can have insight into the mind of Christ, how, exactly how, with what intellectual thinking he can turn to his crucifiers and pray for their forgiveness. He sees evil for what it was, and lowers his towering figure, bends down to eyeball it and speaks directly to it, eye to eye. “Forgive them, they don’t understand what they are doing.” Did these people cause him pain? Yes, they were his torturers, and his murderers. But the pain they inflicted did not cause Christ to give up, lash out, retreat…. He simply continued to do what he always did: he showed grace. When suffering has done it’s work on you, I venture that you may eventually know how to do the same.

This works for suffering caused by happenstance. When, by no fault of anyone, evil is unleashed upon hapless victims. You can have insight into the mind of Christ, looking upon the tomb of his friend, his dead friend, and weeping. No one to blame. Just the pure, infinite grief of a broken, fallen world. Weeping for its brokenness. Unadulterated, undistracted emotional pain. Grief remains.

But I tell you grief remains for a little while. For even the Messiah’s grief is replaced by joy.

Christ, after suffering and dying, rises.

Lazarus, after suffering and dying, rises.

This world, after all its suffering and death, will be restored.

I’ve been trying out Twitter for about 4 months now and I think I’ve got the twitter influence thing sussed out. Let me know what you think.

nobodies or n00bies = don’t follow many, not many followers
well-connected nobodies = follow many, many followers (similar numbers)
celebrities = don’t follow many, followers in 10,000s

spammers = follow many, aren’t followed by many

nobody companies = don’t follow many, not many followers
popular/powerful companies = don’t follow many, followers in 10,000s

Presuming you are a nobody, when building your twitter empire, aim to follow well-connected nobodies. They are the only ones who are likely to follow you back. I am a nobody trying to build a twitter empire too, so you can follow me here. (I’ve connected an application designed for aspiring-to-be well-connected nobodies that will automatically follow you back if you follow me.)

I’m kinda surprised that they rated it as being so healthy. Everything below this line is theirs….

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.

 

In 2010, there were 14 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 88 posts. There were 33 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 16mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was May 15th with 187 views. The most popular post that day was George Whitefield vs the porpoise .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, search.aol.com, mpjensen.blogspot.com, google.com, and stjudesrandwick.org.au.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for smile, nerd, cardboard box, hellfire, and diamond rings.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

George Whitefield vs the porpoise July 2009
10 comments

2

[Phew!]… [as in diamond-ring-level-phew!] October 2009
2 comments

3

Disappointed by Karl Barth July 2009
14 comments

4

George Whitefield vs the annihilationist August 2009
2 comments

5

Why it’s ok to believe in God November 2009
11 comments

Chris and Nat appear to be a bottomless pit of interesting reflections. The poem at the end surprised me with the clarity of it’s insight juxtaposed with the arrangement of it’s stanzas. Very clever.

On Sunday, Natalie and I had the privilege of listening to Andrew Katay preach what was quite possibly the best Christmas sermon we've ever heard. We'll post a link to it as soon as it becomes available. Andrew warned us against sleeping through Christmas because it's too familiar. And he woke us up to out how God's incarnation as a human changes everything. At one point, we paused to dwell on what 'getting' the incarnation does to our view of ju … Read More

via standing and waiting

I was quite proud of this Christmas play I wrote for a children’s spot.
It is 5mins, short, simple, includes several gags and a (hopefully) thought-provoking conclusion.
Hope you like it.

Christmas play – Jesus is other

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