What if a paedophile came to your church?

Great piece by our Kids Pastor

Christian Parenting for Christ's Sake

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Church families are a great place for kids to make friends and see a loving community in action. We want them to learn about Jesus in a place that is safe with people they can trust.

This same body of people, saved by grace, ought to want non-Christians to feel welcomed, to hear of the gospel of Jesus, repent of sins and trust Him to change them by his Spirit. This process of ongoing sanctification is not just for new Christians, but continues for all of us this side of Jesus’ return.

How would you respond if a non-Christian, or a Christian new to your church, has a history of child pornography or child sexual abuse and wants to attend your church?

As a parent, wrestling with this would have to be the hardest part of Jesus’ command to love our enemy.

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do…

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Tim Kellers “Mini-decisions”

Tim Keller in his book Center Church talks about conversion as a series of mini-decsions that people make along the way. “…faith often works as a process, not only an event. It can occur through a series of small decisions or thoughts that brings a person closer and closer to the point of saving faith.”

Awareness: “I see it”

They begin to clear the ground of stereotypes and learn to distinguish between legalism or liberalism.

eg.

“She’s religious but surprisingly open-minded.”

“You can be a Christian and intelligent.”

“A lot of things the Bible says really fit me”

Relevance: “I need it”



They begin to see the slavery of religion and irreligion and are shown the transforming power of how the gospel works.

e.g.

There must be some advantages to being a Christian

An awful lot of normal people really like this church

It would really help if I could believe like she does

Credibility: “I need it because it is true.”

This is a reversal of the modern view that states, “It’s true if I need it”. If people fail to see the reasonableness of the gospel, they will lack the endurance to persevere.

e.g..

I can see the Bible is historically reliable

You can’t really use science to disprove the supernatural

There really were eyewitnesses to the resurrection

I see now why Jesus had to die – it is the only way

Trial: “I see what it would be like”

They are involved in some form of group life, in some type of service ministry, and are effectively trying Christianity on, often talking like a Christian – even defending the faith at times.

Commitment: “I take it”

This may be the point of genuine conversion, or sometimes a person will realise that conversion has already happened, and they just didn’t grasp it at the time. e.g..

I am a sinner
I need a saviour
I prayed a prayer to ask Jesus to forgive me
I will live for Jesus

Reinforcement: “Now I get it”

This is the point where the penny drops and the gospel becomes clearer and more real.

 

It seems to me that these are good things to take into account as you design and think through what things you might include in a course that helps people investigate Christianity.  But there are probably a whole bunch of other mini-decisions that need to take place prior to #1 before a non-Christian would be willing to accept an invitation to church or a LIFE series etc.

A conversation with a church planter about mission…

LIFE

We roll out a few versions of LIFE series.

Unichurch:
LIFE series (discussion – talk – discussion – Q & A)
God & Sex/Science/Suffering (discussion – talk – discussion – Q & A)
Mark’s Gospel (Bible Study – Q & A)
Just for Starters – Bible Study
Next Step (our membership series) with the LIFE leaders

AM/PM:
LIFE series (discussion – talk – discussion – Q & A)
Mark’s Gospel with apologetic questions attached to them (Bible Study – 10 minute talk – Q & A)
Just for Starters – Bible Study
Next Step (our membership series) with the LIFE leaders

It doesn’t really matter in the end what you do but the goal for us is to keep preaching the gospel every week and just hold people for as long as possible because it takes ages for people to become Christians. One girl last year started at Life in March and was there every week in one format or another and became a Christian in November.

Hope that is helpful…

Sam

Oh yeah…..

and every time we changed location or made a drastic setting / time / place change we dropped people left right and centre. so we just roll it out every week of term – same time – same place. but it will take a while for your crew to be able to achieve something like that regularly.

The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church

Shaller argues for a fluid church government that changes and adapts to the size of the church.  I think he is right!

pp. 43… if one views the fellowship church as a family, the small church as a clan, the large church as a tribe, and the mini-denomination size church as a nation, the question is raised as to whether each should use the same form of congregational organisation. Perhaps it is not just acceptable, but essential to adapt the form of church government to the nature of the institution as reflected in the size of the congregation.

Thoughts?