Why not Canada?

Originally posted by Light Magazine Canada (but blocked by security browsers).

why-not-canada

by Don Klassen

“Why not here?” is the question that pesters me when I see the growth of the church in many parts of the world. What is it that makes the gospel so appealing elsewhere?  Is there something that Canadian Christians are missing? Have we adopted habits that are hindering us? 

Pastor Roy Moran in his book Spent Matches confesses he is weary of putting increasing effort and finances into practises that result in diminishing returns. Over time we have become more and more dependant on attractional programing, professional leadership and expensive buildings. There are a few larger churches that are able to experience modest growth with this approach but most of that growth is at the expense of churches that can’t provide the same level of attraction. Many Christians now gravitate to churches that “meet their needs”. Non Christian Canadians seem largely unimpressed by the attractions the church offers. Television, sports leisure and the great outdoors here in BC are more attractive than church.

In the first centuries the church experienced rapid growth. The early disciples had no money, no power, no human leader and they were outcasts in their own society. How did they begin a disciple making movement? The disciples had a life changing encounter with Jesus, the willingness to obey, the power of the Holy Spirit and lots of contacts. 

Large movements to Christ on other continents today share similar characteristics. We have the same potential in our area. We need to take a closer look at how essential ingredient of Disciple Making Movements can once again take centre stage among Christians in British Columbia. If we do our part I am convinced that God will do the rest. 

Pastor Merri Ellen Giesbrecht was exposed to Disciple Making Movement (DMM) over two years ago. She says “In the first year of focusing on DMMs, I found myself discipling a dozen new people I had met just out on the town. There were so many divine appointments. I have a new passion and joy in disciple making, without the need to find volunteers for any programs. I love it!”

Learning from what is happening around the world I would  suggest the following practises take centre stage in BC:

Refocusing on intense sustained prayer for the lost and for transformed communities; Unleashing the potential of Christ followers to share their faith and to disciple their families, friends and neighbours; Modeling obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit as Scripture is interpreted by ordinary people in the context of their culture and in the presence of friends or family; Focusing on multiplication rather than on addition.

Outreach Canada is promoting an event entitled “Disciple Making Movements: Why Not Canada?” Participants will take an exploratory journey into the steps of starting a movement in their own back yard.  

Ultimately a Disciple Making Movement is entirely dependent on God. The best we can do is begin praying and developing some of the same habits the early disciples had. Only God knows what will happen then!

(Posted originally here: https://lightmagazine.ca/2018/10/why-not-canada/ but many of you cannot access it because their site has not updated.)

My thoughts after going to this event listed above that happened on October 20 in Surrey entitled “Disciple Making Movements: Why Not Canada?” (outreach.ca/registration/dmm. ) :

Well, today was an incredible day!

We got to hear how disciple making movements are going in Canada, what prevents disciplemaking, and what key elements we need to remember. So many powerful stories! The key is to keep groups small 5-7 and no more, completely relying on Holy Spirit. Once you get bigger, you become formal and growth slows down.

A pastor I once worked with was there. He came over to me after lunch to say ‘hi’. I asked what he thought of it all. He said it is a big paradigm shift for him. One pastor shared how pastors need to work themselves out of a job in order to fulfill the Great Commission in Canada.

The question was asked: “What is the greatest source of error and false teaching?” The answer was revealed. Seminary trained leaders who want their own followers. Higher learning without reliance on Holy Spirit is the main source of error.

Oh my goodness, the day was incredible!! 60 people were packed in the basement. People were rocked with a new paradigm!!! But it was all well received! They got it! They saw the statistics of the decline of institutional churches in Canada and the high speed spreading of the Gospel in house church/disciple making movements.

We got to gather in groups of 3 to pray and to read the Word in such a way that we asked questions to allow Holy Spirit to teach us.

And we got to hear from Ray Moran who wrote: “Spent Matches” https://amzn.to/2J8ALIa for institutional churches to help them with implementing a hybrid strategy (kinda like a gas-electric car). I loved that book! In it he shared actual stories from his church who does this very thing of large gatherings BUT movements within. MUST read for any large church leader hungry for more of disciples who make disciples.

It felt like I was witnessing a shift in people’s minds perhaps how Peter felt when Jesus changed his perspective! New glasses.

Who is My Shepherd?

jesushugDisclaimer: my thoughts are all over the place. There are birds flying everywhere. 🙂

I’ve been processing another recent moral failure of a church pastor and watching the church fall apart. This man was a mentor to me in many ways. It was because of him and his wife, that I was encouraged to marry my husband. It was because of him that my prayer life became more important than being busy. It was because of him that my leadership became more courageous. And yet, I have noticed something… His moral failure has not rocked me to the core. I watch as his church falls apart and I’ve been wondering if the church is falling apart because they knew the voice of him as their pastor more than the voice of Jesus?

I watch how the rate of burnout, infidelity, depression, and suicide amongst pastors seems to be increasing. Is this because people are following them rather than Jesus?

Sometimes I hear people say: “We go to this church because of the pastor, or because of a certain family invited us, or because of the program for my kids…” And then, I’ve watched how the pastor leaves, or the pastor falls into moral failure, or the kids get too old for the program… and then the family leaves completely disillusioned and maybe even walks away from Jesus altogether. But, were they truly walking with him in the first place? Or just with the pastor?

Lord, are we following people, programs, or you?

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:27,28

Yes, granted when one in our family falls into moral failure, the whole family suffers. Yet, I’ve also been pondering how when your whole foundation is built on Jesus, anything else that is loving is a bonus. And so when there’s moral failure in your leadership, you lean into Jesus more than ever and bounce back higher than you ever were before.

(As long as there’s repentance. And when there’s no repentance, you need to move on, or at least fire this person in leadership. No matter if you want to forgive them or not, without repentance, you cannot move forward …as is… under their leadership. Submitting to an unrepentant leader only brings curses upon yourself.)

Just some thoughts to process… as I’m going through a paradigm shift of…

“Who is called to lead the church?”

Some people say: Men only.

(…But, then we read the Gospels, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles and see women leading everywhere in the church…empowered by Jesus and by Paul.)

But, I’ve been wondering if we have focused too much on people period, regardless of gender, and not enough on Jesus?

Thanks to Constantine who sadly institutionalized Christianity using the book of Leviticus rather than the book of Acts model, and plus my own pastoral training, my mind still forgets that we are called to be the priesthood of believers!

No professional pastors required.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

(And He later told His disciples to wait until Holy Spirit came!

…Yet, we still seem to insist on relying only on our Theology. By the way, there’s a book called ‘Systematic Theology’, but why isn’t there a book called: “Systematic Marriage”? …I’m being sarcastic. We can’t put God in a box, like we can’t put our spouse in a box.)

I love when the professional religious leaders of the day took note because, “These unschooled, ordinary men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4)

There it is again. Relationship with Jesus.

Here’s another quote I heard back in 2014 which keeps coming to mind too lately…

“One day all the mega churches will fall apart, and we’ll look back and wonder what was going on in churches in North America.” – Dallas Willard

(Please note: Don’t think I’m entirely anti mega-church. In fact, this year I made a journey to attend a mega church to discover for myself if it was legitimately led by Jesus or not…and I was actually blown away by this church culture of honour. The Lead pastor continually honoured and empowered other leaders, male or female, and was quick to share the pulpit. He knew the love and goodness of God that He didn’t feel threatened by others. Rather, he cheered them on. In fact, it’s been through this mega-church pastor that I had been reminded that when leaders don’t think there’s enough of God’s love to go around, that’s when they walk in fear, jealousy, control and manipulation… But, when leaders know God’s love, they celebrate other people’s wins!  …But, here’s a thought… If this Lead Pastor were ever to fall into moral failure, would this mega-church fall apart?? Hmmm, that is the question…)

Anyway…

What are your thoughts on who should Shepherd the Church? Are we still relying too much on people and not enough on Jesus and Holy Spirit in North America?

Thoughts? 🙂 Share below…

Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) are Critical in Canada

set free butterflyI believe Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) are critical to the growth of Christ’s kingdom in Canada. Typically, church growth in Canada happens when people move from one church to the next. And, if there are new people coming to Christ, rarely is anyone discipling them. The goal is to make disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples. But sadly, traditional church growth is falling out of line with Jesus’ Great Commission.

However, with DMMs, the Gospel appears to spread more freely led by Holy Spirit, and within sub cultures that are typically hard to reach, with little to no money, seeing often whole families and neighbourhoods transformed, and with disciples making disciples (multiplication).

If we are honest, traditional church planting in Canada looks much like franchising a business – get a pastor, a worship leader, a building, and then run programs, a marketing program, and pray for a harvest. This takes an incredible amount of time and money navigating multiple variables and headaches.

On the other hand, I have noticed DMMs are primarily focused on building God’s kingdom, rather than little man-made kingdoms on the backs of one or a few pastors competing with other little kingdoms down the street. But, if we are competing, are we actually building God’s kingdom?

Two years ago, while digging in the Word after stepping down from 10 years of traditional pastoral ministry, I really saw how Jesus left the building and sent out His disciples to do the same with incredible power to displace the darkness. Since starting DMMs myself, I have seen God move faster than ever. I am seeing Him do things I never dreamed of.

Typically, a traditional church in Canada has been built on what God did in the past, and is often then forced to put tradition in the way of the Gospel.

Several years ago, as a pastor, I visited a strong Roman Catholic country which never saw the European Reformation. My heart broke watching people do things in order to feel like God loved them. Coming back to Canada, I realized we weren’t that far off in our Evangelical circles. So much of what we do in church is putting tradition above the Gospel. We tend to do things according to church membership and culture that is not necessarily the Gospel. Therefore, too often the Gospel is an afterthought behind running programs, recruiting volunteers and sitting in a pew listening to one person tell us what they think the Bible means. Where and when do we even personally interact with Jesus and hear God’s voice?

On the other hand, I have found DMMs to be more easily in flow of Holy Spirit, with people abiding in relationship with Jesus, hungry to hear what Divine appointments God has for His people each day, much like in the book of Acts. People learn to be directly taught by Holy Spirit, while in meditation of the Word, while in relationship with Jesus and others, and then immediately walking in obedience. I see so much opportunity to partner with Jesus in spreading the Good News, healing the sick, and bringing new life!

In this new season, each day is a new adventure!

For example, I wake up to pray: “Jesus, I’m thirsty for you!” After spending time with Him and His Word, I then ask: “What do you have planned for today?” One day, it looks like an incredible conversation with a person while walking my dog, or praying for someone while grocery shopping. One day, it is feeding the homeless with my family. Another day, it is praying for a woman walking with a cane on the street in her 70’s suffering with sciatica and watching Jesus heal her completely. Another day, it is sharing the Gospel to a man involved in a cult. Another day, it is hosting 2-3 people in our home for Bible mediation, fellowship and prayer. The emphasis is on relying on Holy Spirit to direct us to the person of peace. In the first year of focusing on DMMs, I found myself discipling a dozen new people I had met just out on the town. There were so many Divine appointments. I have a new passion and joy in disciplemaking, without the need to find volunteers for any programs. I love it!

Jesus loves to take us on treasure hunts, but we need to step out to search for Him and for those He is calling to Himself.I see how the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality is not at all what He called us to do. That was actually Constantine.

Jesus actually restricted 90 percent of his time to 12 men. And out of the 12, he restricted a large portion of his time to three: James, John, and Peter. This is now my focus: A dozen people and primarily three, teaching others to do the same. It appears even within a ‘Bible Belt’, God is doing a new thing and people are hungry for more of Him outside the traditional church experience. I am finding so many people walking away or disillusioned with the traditional church. No worries. It appears to be an advantage. DMMs appear to be the way to find those who are hungry for Him. After all, it’s Jesus who is the Good Shepherd, not our programs, the effectiveness of someone’s preaching delivery, or style of music.

If you seek to build a church, you rarely produce disciples, but if you seek to make disciples, you always get the ‘church’ …building God’s kingdom. 

DMMs are refreshingly focused on God, worship, fellowship, discipleship and evangelism. Disciples are trained immediately on how to make other disciples. It’s contagious!

But, what if you’re in a traditional church??

The tricky thing is being called by God into a traditional church.  But, when a person sees herself as a missionary in a traditional church and she has a hunger for Holy Spirit, I believe more movement can happen within the traditional church too. (In fact, some traditional churches are seeing the reality of the Great Commission vs. the obstacles of their church model and are making these necessary changes.) The key is whether the church leadership is surrendered to Holy Spirit or willing to be.

Need a Disciplemaking coach?

A DMM coaching circle helps me to keep focused on the goal of walking in step with Holy Spirit listening for His lead, rather than relying on my personal theological knowledge. After all, we are leading people, not to a belief system, but to the person of Jesus whom we are in love with, to hear His voice for themselves, and know His abundant life.

To learn more, come to our workshop…

If the Gospel is spreading so fast around the world through Disciple Making Movements: Why Not Canada?

Character of Leaders?

I was pondering the C’s of leadership lately as many of us have been disappointed in leaders lacking the character to walk faithfully and courageously.

Some people say that a leader should have character, charisma, commitment, courage, competence…

But, have you ever noticed how God seems to never look for people with outstanding character to call them to leadership?

Just read the Bible and look at the motley crew of disciples, the heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews…and all their mistakes…

Does rather, God seem to take people and transform their character (if they surrender and trust Him)? Or even like David who was initially in good character, but later lapsed in character under the pressures of leadership…Thankfully, he later repented and God’s compassion still came…

(That is the key for any leader. Repentance is a beautiful thing that returns us to the path God has chosen for us. Without repentance, we lose the inheritance God has promised – even often for those we lead.)

Yesterday, at a women in leadership luncheon, I got to hear the story of how an employee lapsed in character (out of fear of not measuring up to expectations). But, the employer’s loving response casted out the employee’s fear… resulting in huge trust in their relationship. It was a beautiful God-filled thing!

The employee told the story of her own lapse in character. To admit what she did – you could sense the room gasp and I saw her neck turn slightly red as she must have felt like she walked off a ledge… But the story of how her employer responded to her – no scolding but with love and compassion. Wow – Jesus with skin on. I think what was shared was a wonderful shifting in perspective of what many have experienced from our leaders (both men and women). Jesus never shames us, but only empowers and calls us up to walk out our inheritance in Him.

Our character may lapse, but when we admit our mistakes, God’s compassion and blessing affects not just us, but everyone we lead.

And when we forgive those who admit their mistakes, we invest in them and encourage them to take hold of the inheritance they have in Christ.

But, when those who lead us or those we lead don’t admit mistakes, the relationship is broken and God’s inheritance is unclaimed.

Repentance.

Restoration.

Relationship restored.

(PS. Also got to hear a cool story yesterday of how a person was healed physically after their leadership repented.)

My Radical Family is a Threat to Society

This morning I was reminded that I come from a history of people who were a threat to society… 🙂 Radicals.

“The Anabaptists’ reform efforts were a threat to their society, because they claimed Christianity was to be lived out in small communities in accordance with the explicit teaching of Scripture. Similarly, the first-century Christians were a threat to their society because they claimed that there was a more important kingdom than that of the Roman Empire: the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Both Christian movements spread because of the way people maintained their faith in Christ and love for others, even in the face of persecution.”

At what cost do we follow Jesus even when our ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ persecute us?

Read the full article here with an interesting video discussion…

Do you live in fear or in expectation?

nathan-dumlao-287713I recently was blessed by these words sent to me in an email story…

Expectation positions us to see miracles, big and small. It sharpens our vision and focuses our attention towards God. It liberates us from apprehension that blinds us to the majesty before us.

Instead of being shackled by fearing the worst, we’re free to recognize and receive what God is delighted to give.

What are your current expectations of God?

And how does He want to expand them? 😀 

Graham Cooke, Shawn Bolz and Jonathan and Melissa Helser are doing an entire 3 day event this coming weekend on how to create a lifestyle of EXPECTATION in God! The event is sold out but you can click here to join the Livestream!

And beyond the event? Enjoy some brilliant perspectives…

My Dream for the Church in Canada

fullsizeoutput_133b2What do you long for, for the Church in Canada or even all of North America?

Come dream with me…

My Dream for the Church in Canada

I pray for the Church to be so blessed by, and hungry and thirsty for Holy Spirit.

I dream of…

  • People hungrily meditating on the Word… not for knowing about God, but for knowing Him personally and for heart transformation, enjoying rich fellowship, breaking bread together with loving hearts, fervent praying, sharing with each other in unity, worshiping God together, joyfully serving together, giving, empowering, with external missional focus, flowing in love and grace.
  • People bearing fruit of Holy Spirit because they are first abiding in Christ, seeking His kingdom (not our own), relying on the strength of Holy Spirit and not on human talent or ambition.
  • God wanting to draw the Church closer to Himself and away from relying on tradition and mere intellect. (People are hungry for testimony and spiritual relationship with a relational God. We are in a post-modern age of people who want to know our story, not how much we know.) God is wanting us to be in love with Him, trusting Holy Spirit, truly doing life with Him that we are willing to hear His voice because we are His sheep, and He is our Shepherd.
  • The Church being a community of dreamers and not dream squashers.
  • Love being the greatest in the Church– because principles without love is legalism / rules without relationship leads to rebellion / because lacking in love and lacking in 2 way relational prayer puts tradition and religion in the way of the Gospel.
  • The Church introducing people to our loving God, and showing His love, with people being drawn to Him and His abundant life within us, instead of spending our energies on arguing, and aligning with the enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.
  • The Church understanding that lingering and resting in God’s love is the starting place. We do not earn His love by doing things for Him, nor do we earn other people’s love by serving. We serve out of loving intimacy with our Father – practicing prayer, rest and worship, and not serving out of anxiety, guilt, neediness, and a never-ending to-do list.
  • The Church known as a community that lovingly develops leaders and not as the organization that burns out leaders and volunteers.
  • The Church playing a strong part in bringing God’s love to the world, truly knowing His love and showing His love to each other.
  • The Church becoming a place where broken relationships are restored because of a hunger for righteousness and God’s love far above a hunger to be right.
  • The Church being a place where friendships are forged for building God’s kingdom and not for meeting selfish needs.
  • The Church as being a place of inclusive welcome and not exclusive cliques.
  • The Church being a place of loving, edifying language that is helpful for building up the community.
  • The Church being known for admitting mistakes and seeking to repair and restore hurts previously caused in Church history.

I dream of…

  • Disciples multiplying disciples because they are simply contagious in their faith.
  • Every day, the Church people experiencing Divine appointments and conversations with people on the street, in the marketplace, etc.
  • People who can’t help but bring the presence of God everywhere they go. If you seek to build a church, you rarely produce disciples…If you seek to make disciples, you get the church.
  • Each believer praying for God to give them 3-5 people to invest life in for the next 12 months, and challenging them at the end of 12 months to replicate the process, and watching what God does. Jesus spent 90 percent of his time with 12 men and a few women. And out of that, he focused on three: James, John, and Peter.

I dream of…

  • Men being spiritual fathers and women being spiritual mothers.
  • Men recognizing women as sisters in Christ.
  • Women recognizing men as brothers in Christ and not threats to favour, or competition.
  • Women seeing each other as sisters in building God’s kingdom and not threats to friendship or favour.
  • Women with leadership gifts not seen as usurping Christ’s authority but seen as faithful stewards of their gifts.
  • Holy Spirit not being quenched in the silencing of both women and men.
  • Women finding the Church to be a place of freedom and safety – empowered to bear His image and serve faithfully.
  • Men finding the Church to be a place of safety where they don’t have to be stoic, but can be authentic and vulnerable with other men, with no shame of sharing struggles because Holy Spirit’s love is stronger.

I dream of…

  • The Church being a place of celebration and empowering each other – rather than comparison and competition.
  • A people who seek to bless each other during gatherings – seeing themselves as priestly brothers and sisters partnering with any hired pastors.
  • Children celebrated and encouraged as powerful prayer warriors, worshipers and kingdom builders, that they inspire their parents, their teachers, and their friends with their faith, their prayers, and their unselfish service.
  • Youth so hungry and thirsty to see God at work, that the older generation is inspired and blessed to join them in the hunger and thirst – not caring if their music is loud, their jeans have holes, or arms have tattoos because their hearts are filled with grace.
  • The older generation recognizing the younger as arrows to invest in, craft and shape with gentle loving care (Titus 2 intentional discipleship of the next generation).
  • Families adopting other families into a discipleship lifestyle.
  • Couples mentoring other couples in marriage.
  • Parents mentoring other parents in the journey.
  • Parents discipling their children and partnering with the Church (who is intentionally discipling parents), rather than expecting volunteers and leaders to do it all.
  • Pastors equipping the saints to do the work of ministry, not the pastor or the staff executing all the ministry.
  • Pastors leading with a kingdom mindset – not envious of other leaders/ministry areas.
  • Congregation seeking to bless and pray for leaders and not worshiping them as idols or resorting to devour them when expectations are unmet.
  • Pastors, elders, and congregation loving and trusting each other in transparency.

I dream of…

  • The Church viewing hardship as necessary to rest in our identity and rise up against the enemy’s lies and proving God’s goodness.
  • Leaders resting in patience and perseverance to stand ground in Holy Spirit conviction, not intimidated by fear of people or money. People may choose to leave, but Spirit-led leaders stand their ground.
  • The Church not afraid of people, or money leaving the Church when we stand for truth, because we worship a God who has the largest bank in the universe and we are building His kingdom, not our own. He cares more about our obedience and sacrifice than people-pleasing which is idolatry.
  • The Church believing God is working something out on our behalf.
  • The Church going in with a few small stones and trusting God to deliver as we stand up against intimidation of Goliath or like the little boy with his lunch not expecting to eat a bite only to discover God can feed a crowd and provide leftovers.
  • Fear not being our motivating factor, but Faith!
  • Choosing to fight from victory, rather than for victory.
  • God seeing that He can then trust us, and birth a greater anointing over us and trust us with more.
  • The Church being a church that hires pastors only because Holy Spirit called us to appoint them.
  • The Church not being afraid of bad reports like the spies to Canaan, but instead we trust in God who has promised us the land and His protection.
  • The Church being an apostolic sending station/missional outpost/church planting/kingdom building church – to the city, the province, the country, and around the world.
  • The Church in Canada continuing to financially provide for missionaries while seeing themselves as daily missionaries too.
  • People going out healing the sick, bringing life from death, driving out evil in Jesus name.
  • The Church moving outside the doors of buildings to bring the love and kindness of God to the city and beyond recognizing that Jesus left the building(Interestingly, statistics still indicate that people are leaving the church in North America in increasing numbers to find …Jesus.)

  • The Church seeing the bigger picture together of kingdom building, dreaming and listening to Holy Spirit for each assignment.
  • The Church not limiting who is allowed to spread the Gospel of God’s redeeming love based on gender, or age, or education, etc… but on the anointing of Holy Spirit.

I dream of…

  • Prayer being a main activity because we are hungry for the voice and move of God – in community, not with just one person praying at the front, but clusters in homes, in the gym, in the sanctuary, prayer walks throughout the Church building and neighbourhood, and throughout the city as the Spirit leads because we are commissioned with the building of God’s kingdom.
  • The Church not guilty of silencing God’s voice by shying away from facilitating corporate prayer in gatherings and events because it may cause seekers or even long time followers to feel uncomfortable. I dream of the Church to be unapologetically a House of Prayer where people can take part and listen in on the greatest 2-way conversation we have ever been gifted, and to come away knowing they were in the presence of God and His people.

I dream of…

  • The Church not driven by flesh, or fear, not by arrogance, and not making each other angry or resorting to jealousy, but being a Spirit-led church as in Galatians 5 – being a loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled family who daily die to self, and who live by Holy Spirit.

How do we turn these dreams into reality? Pray them! 🙂
For myself, I’ve chosen to craft a 31 days of prayer guide to ask Holy Spirit to lead and fill the Church in Canada.

Intentional Meals Together?

“Cook at home and enjoy family meals.”
I read these words recently in the newly updated food guide…

feast.togetherThanks to a young friend recently visiting from Germany, who inspired us, I have been encouraged to ALSO include EVERY family member in the making of suppers, no matter the initial headaches, and turn them into a s..l..o..w.. going culinary social event from start to finish.

Food prep, feast, clean up…

I realize that though our Canadian family is one of the few (it seems) who aren’t running off to a million events after downing a quick fast food supper meal, I realized we still were not eating slow enough… like Europeans seem to do…

feasttogether

These folks across the ocean seemingly take 2-3 ours of everything together – food prep together, eat together, drink together, visit together… and often then games together.

I like this.
Intentional togetherness feasting.

I’m thinking too of the early house churches where the communion dinner was a full intimate meal and not like now in many places with little cups and little wafers done assembly line like and quickly with no interaction with others.

So, I’ve been re-inspired to swim upstream in my culture…

Make meals together.
Eat together.
Linger together.
Celebrate together.
Play together.
Bonus delight: invite a friend or two, or a family or two on the whole process! Adopt others into your family for dinner.

Forget the too many cooks in the kitchen theory.
(Yikes, did I just say that?)
Let’s make it work.

I wonder too…
Could we have less anxiety and depression in our country if we did this more…?
Less isolation…?

(Wow, all that prompted from the newly updated food guide…)

 

Inspired by:
8 ways Canada’s new food guide will change how you feed your kids…
https://www.todaysparent.com/family/family-health/new-canadas-food-guide-is-awesome/

Spiritual Abuse?

Spiritual abuse is not a widely discussed topic. It occurs when a leader manipulates people to achieve selfish goals. Most abusers are unaware of the harm they inflict.

Internal factors contributing to an abusive environment are: Christians wanting to trust their leaders; not wanting to be disloyal; not wanting to be “a problem”; and accommodating abuse because they become invested. A likely external factor in the rise of spiritual abuse is our culture’s obsession with results and an insatiable “thirst for more.”

There are two types of spiritually abusive leaders: insecure leaders use power to protect themselves; narcissistic leaders seek to accomplish some great cause for validation and self-worth. Narcissistic leaders are fueled by narcissistic followers who also find value from belonging to a great cause.

Signs of an abusive system are: power-posturing; distorted loyalty; people are being used; unhealthy centrality of the pastor; an elitist attitude; inability to discuss concerns; and people being labeled as divisive for raising valid issues.

Those trapped in abusive systems can either flee or fight.

If this sounds like your journey, you are not crazy…

Read the full article… Spiritual Abuse: The Unspoken Crisis

Other resources:

Emotional Abuse: The Crushing of the Human Spirit

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church

‘Doing’ Church – “We make victims of our heroes.”

“Doing” Church in North America – “We make victims of our heroes.”

Graham Cooke brilliantly describes how “doing” church today must start with leaders who can model freedom.

He goes onto say that church revolves around 3 types of people:

  • Initiators,
  • Enablers and
  • Resisters.

He skillfully describes if that if we have any hopes of accomplishing anything in church, we must understand each people group and learn how to lead them.

Graham warns that if we’re not careful, we will unconsciously make victims out the people we value most.

Visit: www.GrahamCooke.com for more.