I use Twitter more as a reading tool than a personal platform. I follow a lot of different organizations and people, and once or twice each day I use it to catch up on news and commentary. One of the voices that both challenges and inspires me is Ed Stetzer, a pastor and author with a PhD, who is the Executive Director of LifeWay Research and also recently joined the faculty at Wheaton College. His posts often link to articles that he and others have written on an array of discipleship, leadership, and churchy topics.
Here are a few articles, mostly by Stetzer himself, that have stood out recently in terms of what they asked me to think about or do:
- Ron Sylvia, Don't Be the Bottleneck (The Exchange Blog, July 25, 2016) »
- Ed Stetzer, Trends in Church Architecture (Parts 1 to 5) (The Exchange Blog, July 18, 2016) »
- Ed Stetzer, Di-ver-si-ty: Overcoming Homogeneity in Our Churches (The Exchange Blog, July 11, 2016) »
- Ed Stetzer, Churches in America (Parts 1 to 4) (The Exchange Blog, July 5, 2016) »
- Galen Carey, Engaging the Elections at Church (The Exchange Blog, July 4, 2016) »
- Ed Stetzer, Issues in the Future of Evangelicalism (The Exchange Blog, June 29, 2016) »
- Ed Stetzer, Three Challenges in Urban Ministry (The Exchange Blog, June 28, 2016) »
- Derwin Gray, Gospel Centered Evangelism for a Multiethnic World (The Exchange Blog, June 25, 2016) »
A few comments
Admission: I have not read every word of all these articles. I have read some, skimmed others. But I did find enough in each to provoke me to think, which is why they made the list.
The church architecture series is super relevant to Mosaic right now, especially the profiles of churches that have found ways to make their buildings "third spaces"--gathering places or resources for their communities. That was one of our hopes for Weider Hall when we moved here, and we have already been able to do that to some extent. The more progress we make on the building, the more opportunities we will have to do this kind of work.
The Engaging the Elections article suggests a very concise set of seven principles that Christians could use as a starting point for engaging public policy. As the article says, "Adopting these principles will not resolve every policy question, but it provides a balanced agenda that can keep us centered in our public engagement."
There are a couple of articles related to diversity (or the lack thereof) in church congregations. This is on my mind all the time, and although these articles aren't silver bullets, they offer some helpful insights and exhortations.
The Don't Be The Bottleneck article is written to pastors of larger churches than ours. Nevertheless, it included a couple bits of advice that I thought were really good for everyone: nothing will change unless the daily routine changes; and the simple 20-minute assessment exercise.
Evangelism--intentionally sharing a belief with the hope that it will be believed and adopted--is a repeated emphasis in these articles. That's because it's at the core of what Ed Stetzer believes churches and Christians should be about. He teaches and trains it. He has planted churches using a strategy of building primarily through new belief, rather than transferring existing believers from other congregations. But among Mosaic's members, what we imagine and what we feel when we hear or use the word evangelism is fraught with baggage. If you find evangelism to be a painful or embarrassing word, it's probably for good reason. We are a church whose membership includes people who have been hurt by poor evangelistic efforts--either as the evangelized or evangelizers. But our members also include people whose lives have been transformed because someone introduced them to God in a way they had never known was possible before. Clearly there's a way to do it well, and the search for a definition of healthy evangelism is worth our time and consideration.