Ready to transform
    December 1 2010 by Thomas Crane, BSC Communications

    If someone had nothing to go on except conversations overheard among pastors at Southern Baptist Convention meetings he might conclude that a successful church scorecard includes how well the church is doing on “nickels, noses, and seating capacity.”

    While nothing is wrong with “bodies, budgets and buildings,” the latest research from LifeWay Christian Resources suggests that the three Bs are not the most effective means of measuring a church’s impact on its community and the world for the Kingdom of Christ.

    Instead, the research results — which serve as the basis for the book Transformational Church — offer a new approach. “If we are not really making and producing disciples, then the church is not really being the church and is not fulfilling the Great Commission,” said Rick Hughes, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) senior consultant for discipleship.

    Hughes and Russ Conley, BSC senior consultant for leadership development, led a “Transformational Church” break out session Nov. 9 during the BSC annual meeting.

    BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

    Rick Hughes stresses the importance of making disciples during a breakout session at the Baptist State Convention Nov. 9.


    Rather than taking shots at the state of many local churches, Transformational Church identifies the positive elements noted in 250 vibrant and effective churches.

    A robust research project consisting of more than 7,000 churches led to interviews with churches among the top 10 percent in categories such as baptismal growth, overall church growth, and ratio of worship attendance to those participating in small group or Sunday School.

    Conley walked attendees through the seven points of emphasis noted in the book by authors Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer.

    The first focuses on a missionary mentality when church members love lost people more than their idea of how church should be done.

    Church members must study and understand their local community and meet people where they are in order to introduce them to Christ. Transformational churches think like missionaries and do what it takes to reach their community.

    A vibrant leadership is a must if the church is going to shift from a “mission” program to the entire church being engaged in missions. Leaders must also shift the focus from the three Bs to the mission of the Kingdom of God.

    Transformational churches are also marked by relational intentionality. People, and not programs, are the focus of the church.

    Relationships become the substance of the church’s culture. The cross should be the only stumbling block to an outsider. Conley said this sort of thinking requires the church to begin to think outward instead of inward.

    Prayerful dependence is the fourth emphasis of a transformational church. This does not necessarily mean a prayer ministry, but rather prayer itself. Church members must pray for the expansion of God’s Kingdom and should not focus all their prayer efforts on other church members.

    “The prayers of the people in church will reveal what the church values most,” Conley said.

    Transformational churches are focused on making disciples — not catering to consumers.

    A worship service is not to be reduced to a focus on style. Conley said God is the reason believers come together to worship and so they must come with a sense of anticipation, knowing man is not the center of worship.

    Community also plays an essential role in the life of the transformational church. People need to be connected into “life on life” relationships with other believers. Once involved in the community of the church an emphasis is placed on their growth, their service and their being sent out on mission. True discipleship never takes place apart from community.

    Finally, the transformational church emphasizes the mission of the church. Evangelism is a natural part of life and so people should not be taught to rely on “canned evangelism” or formal evangelism training.

    Transformation churches are not as concerned about coddling immature believers as they are with engaging, winning and discipling the lost.
    12/1/2010 4:44:00 AM by Thomas Crane, BSC Communications | with 10 comments




Comments
Nickolas Sanfratello
I'll gear this review to 2 kinds of individuals: present Zune owners who are contemplating an upgrade, and folks attempting to determine between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth contemplating out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this provides you sufficient info to make an informed choice of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as properly.)
12/7/2010 12:32:05 AM

Danilo Angton
If you're still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Very best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which 1 sounds far better to you, and which interface makes you smile much more. Then you'll know which is right for you.
12/7/2010 12:21:47 AM

Vernon Podesta
Hands down, Apple's app store wins by a mile. It's a massive selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I'm not certain I'd want to bet on the future if this aspect is essential to you. The iPod is a much far better choice in that case.
12/7/2010 12:21:36 AM

Dante Fasy
The new Zune browser is surprisingly excellent, but not as excellent as the iPod's. It works well, but isn't as quickly as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on utilizing the internet browser that's not an concern, but if you're planning to browse the internet alot from your PMP then the iPod's bigger screen and better browser may be crucial.
12/7/2010 12:20:55 AM

Jess Pinelli
In between me and my husband we've owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, and so forth. But, the last couple of years I've settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was pleased to discover how nicely-developed and enjoyable to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.
12/6/2010 3:09:49 PM

Reginald Monfils
Sorry for the large review, but I'm truly loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the superb reviews some other individuals have written, will assist you determine if it's the right option for you.
12/6/2010 3:09:36 PM

Erminia Scappaticci
In between me and my husband we've owned much more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, and so on. But, the last few years I've settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was pleased to discover how nicely-designed and enjoyable to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.
12/6/2010 2:59:06 PM

Pei Pollio
If you're still on the fence: grab your preferred earphones, head down to a Greatest Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which 1 sounds far better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you'll know which is correct for you.
12/6/2010 2:58:53 PM

Classie Rolon
The new Zune browser is surprisingly excellent, but not as great as the iPod's. It works properly, but isn't as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally strategy on making use of the net browser that's not an issue, but if you're planning to browse the net alot from your PMP then the iPod's bigger screen and far better browser may possibly be essential.
12/6/2010 2:58:36 PM

Annett Mannschreck
This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much choose the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like 'Mixview' that let you swiftly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you're listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and yet another set of "neighbors" will come into view, allowing you to navigate about exploring by comparable artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune "Social" is also excellent fun, letting you locate others with shared tastes and becoming buddies with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your buddies are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can stop the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.
12/6/2010 2:48:54 PM

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