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7 ways larger and smaller churches can work together

Last week, Dr. Bob Kellemen of RPM Ministries posted two articles about megachurches, multi-site churches, and smaller churches. Dr. Kellemen and RPM Ministries are one of my go to resources, thus the presence of his blog on my blogroll. Many moons ago, while he was still teaching at Capital Bible Seminary in Lanham, MD (and while I was still living in the DC metro area) I took a class with Dr. Kellemen, and appreciated the man and admired the material. He is currently the executive director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition, and serving as an elder of a smaller sized church in Indiana. He has written two posts on the kingdom purpose and kingdom placement of the megachurch, multi-site churches, and the smaller church. The question he asked at the end of his first post was “How can the mega-church with a multi-site vision for kingdom ministry cooperatively support, empower, and partner with like-minded smaller churches in the community?” As the pastor of a smaller church, I commented on his post, and he graciously offered me the opportunity to do a guest post on his blog, which appeared on Monday. I am grateful for the opportunity to share about the smaller church, and specifically the rural smaller church such as those served by Village Missions, as well as to offer suggestions on how the larger church (whether it is big, large, mega, or multi) can partner with the smaller church.

Below is what I wrote, and I do want you to read it. To get a bit of context, I suggest you read Dr. Kellemen’s posts. Here is part one, Multiplying Kingdom Ministry Together and part two, Through the Eyes of the Smaller ChurchContinue reading

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Correcting the Elvenking

In my reading diet, rarely will you find servings of fiction. I feast much more on non-fiction works, and generally concentrated in two areas: stuff written by dead guys from a long time ago, and stuff written by living men in field of biblical counseling. Of course, when I read to my children, I avoid reading John Owen’s “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” to them, but I reserve the right to adjust that as they get older.

There are two notable exceptions to this rule, and that is C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. I’ve read the Chronicles of Narnia over and again. I was introduced to The Hobbit by my mom when I was 8 or 9, have read it numerous times in the three decades since. So, it was with great anticipation that I gathered with other Tolkien nerds to go the second of The Hobbit films at the midnight showing.

For those of you concerned about this being a review, it is not, other than to say I really enjoyed it. And if you are concerned I am going to give some big plot piece away, not to worry, I will not wreck it for you. There is much about the film that is compelling – the story arc, the music, the visuals, the tension, and some well timed moments of levity.

But one scene in particular grabbed me. It was not an action sequence, it was not a panoramic view of Middle-Earth, it was not the fulfillment of something anticipated. It was simple dialogue. The situation is that, for reasons I will leave untold, the Elvenking has decreed that the gates to his realm are to be closed – no one is to enter, no one is to leave. In response an… individual (see, I’m trying to not give away details) questions this decision. The individual says something to the effect of “are we to be protected while the world around us dies?”

The dialogue was simple. It was not drawn out, but it was poignant. As a follower of Christ, as a husband, a father, a pastor, it pierced me. Believers are called to find their comfort and security in Christ, and praise God He provides both! But what are we doing with it? The world around us is dying. It is dying, it is lost, and it is going to hell. Do we interact with the culture around us, or just condemn it? Do we invest ourselves in the lives of lost friends and neighbors, or do we run from them as if they are carriers of spiritual cooties? We find our comfort and security in Christ, which should then give us greater courage to go into the world to proclaim the glorious gospel of Christ because we do so while under His protective umbrella. If we say we find our comfort and security in Christ, but do not intentionally invest in the lives of the lost, what we are really saying is that we do not find our comfort and security in Christ, we are finding it in something else. Whatever that something else is will fail. That something else is likely an idol. That something else has taken reign over the heart.  Meanwhile, our lost friends, family, and neighbors are in peril. My comfort and security is in Christ. I have friends and neighbors who if they died tonight would spend eternity in hell. Jesus said He is sending us out as sheep among wolves. He did not invite the wolves into the sheep-pen. We long to see repentance and revival sweep our communities, our country, our world. It will not happen if we hide behind our own gates. Jesus’ call was to come to Him, and when you come to Him, He sends you out. He is your comfort and security. A lost and dying world awaits.

Go.