How many new church plants start to decline after they acquire a permanent building? I recently received this question in an email. Though I don't have the statistics, I do have stories. These are stories of churches that have slowly started their decline after completing building projects and others that have built and are still thriving today. But what has made the difference?
The church is getting some tragically and disturbingly well-deserved bad press these days. I do not excuse the bad actions of any who are a part of the church. We are all responsible for being light and salt in our world, and the church must take care to provide a safe and secure environment.
However, when my adult daughter and I have conversations about the state of the church, I remind her of her grandma, a powerful example of a loving life. Even in the midst of bad publicity we've brought upon ourselves, the church is still filled with good people quietly doing good things. That's worth taking a moment to remember.
Jesus can do a lot with little acts of kindness, small steps towards faithfulness. He multiplies even the simplest sacrifice given for Him even in the most difficult times. I've learned this truth through a family near to me. I've learned how the church is family and what it looks like to grow with and towards one another.
2018 has brought a lot of things our way: heavy losses, exciting possibilities, and hard discussions. Likewise, our blog also had a lot of fascinating and pertinent articles for the year. As we prepare for what God has in store for 2019, we'll first pause to remember and celebrate the top 10 articles of 2018.
We all have different masks—or false selves—we put on, versions of ourself we wish were true. These identities can range anywhere from helpful, to innocuous, to even detrimental to our spiritual health. Let’s take a moment to examine the dangerous false selves we present and how they might damage not only our walk with Christ but also our witness and community.
What are the little things we let divide the church? As small differences carve deeper divides in the church, we must be careful not to turn our eyes and weapons against our brothers as the Israelites were tempted to do. We must fight not to look at those who have been in the trench with us and wonder if they, too, are just a little too dangerously different.
What are the first things on your mind when you first wake up? Metaphorically, when the staff of UBA get moving in the morning, there are a few core convictions that put steam in our step. Behind our values, our mission, our vision, and our day to day activities, these are our rally points and our resting positions.