Nuff Said: Bonhoeffer too popular? When $17.38 changes a life.. Churches & communication... The death of cultural Christianity... A college president stands up... Star Wars cast acapella
“Nuff said” is a collection of saved entries from across the interwebs. Here are some interesting, provocative and fun things for your reading and viewing:
1. Bonhoeffer too popular?
Geoff Holsclaw wrote last year about the danger of German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer's rising popularity causing us to miss the point of Bonhoeffer. Quoting the pastor is trendy as isbuilding theological constructs out of his writings. He's mesmerizing to many because of his tragic death - he was killed in a Nazi prison camp just days before the Allies liberated the camp.
Holsclaw points out:
The forgotten lesson of Bonhoeffer is not that we should all strive to be more like him, but that we should strive to be a church that wouldn’t need him!
I worry that people will either look for the next Bonheoffer or try to be the next Bonhoeffer in some heroic protest, rather than entering the more humble protests of daily life.
You see, Bonhoeffer had to be Bonhoeffer because the national church in Germany failed to be the church at all.
[The real fear is that] we in America might be the type of church that, in a time of crisis, will capitulate to preserving the American Dream rather than living as a Kingdom Reality.Let us not make Bonhoeffer merely into a Christian Celebrity…
2. When $17.38 changes a life
You've got to read Andrea Gardner's account of when someone graciously paid her grocery bill of $17.38. It begs us to ask "do we see people?" It encourages us to assume the best. To put ourselves in someone else's shoes instead of getting wrapped up in our own life's mini (or many) dramas.
We never know when simply putting someone else first enables them to feel "seen." Noticed. Appreciated.
A $20 bill is worth breaking when $17.38 winds up being a difference-maker in another's life. Keep that $2.62 change as a reminder that it's worth seeing others.
3. Churches and communication
This 2013 Christianity Today article may seem a moot point, but you'd be surprised how many church leaders stink at communicating well. I don't mean preaching. I mean simple telling people "what's up." Our associate pastor Neal Nelson reminds our church staff often, "Communicating is one of the hardest things we do."
The article urges churches:
It's a post-website world, but you still need a website.
No longer are first impressions what a guest receives when they visit your church meeting. Rather, guests form their first impressions through your digital front door. Does your "greeter ministry" extend to your website and social media? Are you warm, welcoming and loving online?
Some will find your church through its website, but more than likely, they'll find it through a friend on Facebook or Twitter who recommends the church, points to a video or story on the church's website, or some other form of word-of-mouth communication.
Great practical tip! Most will visit your website on their iPhone. How does it look there? A beautiful site on a computer screen may look downright ugly on a small screen. Make sure your mobile version is easy to use and navigate.
Don't forget email.
Email is a communication ballet. Make yours attractive, well-written and as succinct as possible. People are bombarded with email daily. Don't let yours fall through the cracks by unnecessary email. Be wise, timely and strategic. Also...
Use your emails to point to specific places on your website. Collect email addresses whenever possible, and make sure your lists are current.
Time is precious.
Essentially, if what you're wanting people to click on isn't helpful, inspirational or fun consistently, you're conditioning them to stop clicking. It's one thing to provide links to your website, but if your content is boring, people will learn not to visit again. Don't waste people's time with boring. Have fun.
A recent post by two of our church staff illustrates that your website needs to interesting, light-hearted and fun just as much as it is informational and directive.
Put high-quality articles and videos you already have onto your church's website so that there are always valuable things to point to from your social media and e-mail channels. Encourage your staff and volunteers to use scheduling tools in Facebook and Twitter that allow you to post updates in advance, keeping them on a regular schedule and limiting effort to one or two blocks of time each week.
4.Cultural Christianity Is Dying, and That’s a Good Thing
The reality is that the number of those professing to be Christians may be in decline, but that's because it's unpopular to be a Christ-follower in today's culture.
Cultural Christianity is dying because nominal Christians are becoming more and more comfortable with giving up their labels.
In short, people realize that they don't get cultural mileage anymore from identifying as a Christian. Why call yourself a Christian these days if you really don't believe in the Bible's teachings? If it creates discomfort at work or school? It may appear that the church is losing ground, but ifthe people leaving were only associated for personal gain or comfort, were they really part of the church to begin with?
5. A college president stands up
President Everett Piper ofOklahoma Wesleyan University called America's college students to the carpet in a recent blog post on the university's site.
“Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them ‘feel bad’ about themselves, is a ‘hater,’ a ‘bigot,’ an ‘oppressor,’ and a ‘victimizer.’”
When a student at his Christian university complained that a sermon in chapel made them feel victimized and guilty (apparently, some college students today don't know what conviction feels like?), rather than capitulate, Piper pounced:
The university needs to recognize that our obligation is to challenge bad thinking and bad ideas and not coddle individuals in their self-absorption and narcissism.If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for.If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place."
2015 has been a year where we've seen the alarming erosion of the high value of the right of expression (unless it's liberal expression). Whether it was outrage at the University of Missouri that led to its president's resignation or to Yale where students signed a petition to repeal the first amendment, college students across America seem more interested in mob rule than disciplined thought and open discourse.
6. Star Wars cast, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots... acapella
We showed this as a bumper to our church's special showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night. We call events like that "funtivities." They are intentional opportunities that we embrace toprovide a fun place to invite people and build relationships and goodwill.We rented one of the theaters, and catered a meal in the movie.We also provided several free tickets to the Virginia Tech Police Department for the showing.