Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

Any time a quote is attributed to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it demands attention and possibly the breaking out of a handy Moleskin because memorization may help you become a better person.

He once was quoted discussing the issues associated with the Church when he said, “11 a.m. Sunday is the most segregated hour in America.” For years, pastors among diverse congregations have either combated or contributed to this axiom for decades.

Although some may have no clue this aphorism was ever uttered, it seems one man in Florida with quite the ecumenical legacy not only knows about it, but also is heaven-bent on doing something about it. Tullian Tchividjian is a man with both an incredible anointing on his life, and one huge pair of feet. Why? The shoes this cat has been placed in some massive shoes to fill.

Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr. Billy Graham

Who knew a guy named Tullian could connect these dots?

His first pair of wing tips belong to his granddaddy, a gent named Billy Graham? Maybe you have heard of him? I was told he was a big deal. Moreover, Dr. Graham has met the aforementioned Dr. King, so he would know a lot about the hour of segregation.

The second pair of Hush Puppies belonged the highly esteemed Dr. D. James Kennedy. A couple of years ago, Dr. Kennedy went home to be with Jesus and left the pulpit of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) vacant. After what seemed like American Pastor Idol was complete, the Elder Board called upon young Tullian to pastor the historical church.

It wasn’t without creating some cantankerous hullabaloo that needed to happen, but once cooler minds prevailed, the church lowered their old-man pants from midriff and got a little more progressive.

And now, thanks to this article in the Christian Post, we see things are even more progressive – and somewhat inspired by Dr. King.

CRPC in Fort Lauderdale now offers only one service at 10:15 a.m. with, essentially, blended worship – that means no more separation based on age, likes and comfort. The aim by church leaders, including Senior Pastor Tullian Tchividjian, was to unite the congregation and demonstrate the power of the Gospel.

Praising God should be without face, but all voice

How old is this person? Does it matter?

Naturally, there will some compromise between the “Old Rugged Cross” and “For the Cross,” but despite the whimsical guitar riffs and slow melodious chords on the pipe organ, the object is getting everyone to the Cross.

Yes, Dr. King was clearly discussing race, but Pastor Tullian took another demographic clearly segregated more seriously and decided that wall needed to come tumbling down.

The best way a church can demonstrate unifying power of the Gospel before our very segregated world is to maintain a community that transcends cultural barriers,” Tchividjian said in a sermon earlier this month. “The church should be the one institution, the one community – this countercultural community – in our world that breaks barriers down.”

Man, preach that. Saints, we need to learn because this decision – as bold as it was – reflects the microcosm that exists inside the entire Church, not just his. Go to any church or watch TBN for any period of time and you will easily see we are not a “Catholic” church. There is nothing universal inside of it.

Country clubs have strict rules about keeping out the riff raff. Why? Because they can. The only difference with churches is that there are no printed signs in the parking lot. This may seem like a stretch to make an ideological statement out of removing the Gomer worship service, but there is validity in it.

Churches should dig internally and discover ways to unify their congregations in every way possible. And if that means worship leaders can mix in a classic hymn with an upbeat twist versus some random David Crowder tune no one outside of folk with the CD has heard, then so be it. If you don’t believe, check out the guy who sounds like he is channeling Grandpa.

Explaining the significance of removing barriers, Tchividjian told the congregation, “The only way to know God deeply is to have many different types of Christian people in your life since each person will reveal a part of God that you cannot see by yourself. That means this: that the great tragedy of segregation is not so much that we see less of each other but that in seeing less of each other, we see less of God.”

Yeah, the next time I am in Fort Lauderdale, I am so checking out this worship service. I’m sure the pastor isn’t that shabby either.

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It all began with “The Passion of the Christ,” I suppose. And thank God it did.

Then, from the ashes of cutting floors everywhere sprouted wonderful films “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof” that did something most Christian movies didn’t – made Hollywood stand up and take notice.

Typically, and unfortunately, the term is “Christian movie” and not “movies that are Christian”. There is a difference because perception is reality and people determine that reality with their movie ticket. (Tell that to the makers of “The Omega Code“… woof!)

The Potter's House in Dallas, Bishop T. D. Jakes

If Jakes can fill this house weekly, a box office is far from unlikely

And now, comes the prolific Bishop T.D. Jakes – from preaching to writing to screenplays. Now, his movies are giving Hollywood pause, as seen in a recent article from the Christian Post:

Bishop T.D. Jakes is attempting to change the “Hollywood machine” – what has at times been considered a “tool of the devil” by Christians – into a platform to potentially reach millions of unchurched with Christian messages.

Jakes just completed shooting of his third film, “Jumping the Broom” described as “an upcoming faith and family movie that follows the clashing of two families from different backgrounds during a weekend wedding.”

Pastor of the more than 30,000-member church The Potter’s House, Jakes told The Christian Post that he was drawn to this film when he looked at the script and saw the many ways it speaks about bringing together people from different backgrounds.

The story about a husband and a wife from fictional Taylor and Watson families with divergent socioeconomic backgrounds is also a step – in the bishop’s mind – to de-alienate Christians from Hollywood. It’s a chance for Christians to get their message out through Hollywood’s “megaphone.”

Mel Gibson. Kirk Cameron. And Bishop T.D. Jakes?!

There’s a troika you wouldn’t expect, but it seems they have done the unthinkable – given Hollywood a little faith.

As a megachurch pastor, however, Jakes is looking for that “sweet spot” where he can find harmony between Hollywood’s definition of entertainment – where blood, gore and sex often overrule moral concern – and Christian, family values. “We are trying to find balance. I find that people, as a rule, don’t go to see films that are overtly medicinal. They really want to be entertained, so we are trying to find our sweet spot between entertainment and humor and message.”

A school of Christian fish. Classy.

WARNING: Certainly a bad driver

This is something so close to who I am in that an ichthus needs to stand for something more than shady business people, dolts looking for short cuts and manners that would Emily Post dog cuss your mama. Say what you will about the man, but his methods to bring awareness and glory for God is working.

“Christian movies” are largely considered to be cheap, poorly written, terribly acted and carries those three familiar words that most Christ followers have become accustomed, “Straight to DVD.”

Apparently, that’s the not the case any more. “Jumping the Broom” (which is slated for a Mother’s Day 2011 release) has an all-star cast featuring the incomparable Angela Bassett… and uh, a bunch of other folks whose name I don’t remember. (I’m so partial. Sue me.) Certainly, the script has dynamic possibilities. More importantly, there’s a cryptic message to be learned as well.

The term “Jumping the Broom” comes from slave wedding ceremonies that would offer both the husband and wife a chance for “Decision Making honors” in the home with a test of jumping height. Whoever wins, wins.

Such is life for what Bishop Jakes is trying to accomplish – let’s see if a “Christian movie” can jump high enough to capture box office supremacy for at least a week. It will create a buzz in Hollywood and could make the elite question what they do and how they do it.

Oh sure, the blood-gore-sex recipe will never fade, but possibly productions with a purpose can still make a profit. And let’s be honest, in that town, that’s the Gospel truth. Preach on, brother. Preach on.

Plenty of headlines. Choose one.

8.5 percent.

Many don’t relate to the number of America’s unemployed. Mainly because percentages are faceless, unless you are one of them. Now add the statistics of those not receiving benefits any more because it’s been too long or those who were making a nice living and are now settling for sacking groceries.

Add those – the underemployed – and that terrible but nameless number spikes to 17 percent. To make it real, there are more than 309 million people in America. Doing the math, there are 54,075,000 people in this country dealing with the economy worse than most.

Now that’s real. And what is the Church doing about it? Praying about it? That’s sweet considering 10 percent of your church is probably one of these people in need of a miracle. Anything else?

An article from a Charisma magazine says we should doing much more in lieu of a government that is not:

With unemployment at record highs, churches and Christian organizations are stepping in to help job seekers both practically and spiritually. Ministries such as Florida-based Christian HELP and Career Solutions in Dallas began helping the unemployed find work long before the recession hit in 2008. But since the unemployment rate shot up, the groups say the ministry needs—and opportunities—are growing.

The Church is to be a place where we take care of each other, but how many churches have job boards in the bulletin or employment workshops on Wednesday nights? Prayer changes things… but so do prayerful people doing things.

“Most people don’t realize just how deeply affected people are, and the church is not doing near what it could do,” says [Career Solutions founder David Rawles, author of Finding a Job God’s Way] Rawles, a former human resources executive at GTE and Disney who developed career coaching curriculum for churches.

It’s no secret the birth of this blog came as a result of being unemployed. I was begging God for something to do to bless him while I was waiting for him to bless me… and the ‘Wall’ happened.

That unemployment lasted many months and took quite a toll on my life. It’s bad enough if you are single dealing with it. Now, raise a family and be without work? It’s torturous and although I greatly appreciated the prayer, I would rather some hand me a business card, you know?

According to the article, some churches across the country are taking a cue from these necessary ministries and creating job placement groups for their congregations:

Entrepreneur Tim Krauss estimates that less than 40 percent of churches offer some form of employment ministry, but he hopes to change that through his Job Connection. The online service enables churches to list available jobs in their areas while weeding out scams. It costs $195 to set up, with a monthly service fee ranging from $95 for churches of 6,000 or less to $245 for larger congregations. So far, more than a dozen ministries are on board, including Willow Creek Community Church and Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, and Second Baptist Church in Houston.

If that investment is what it takes for your congregation, then it’s worth it. The Church is a safe haven for the hurting, and right now there are more than 54 million people hurting. And this is the pain that can cause addictions, divorce or even death.

Pastors and church leaders, I encourage you to consider a ministry like this in your church. You know some of the unemployed, but there are many more that may surprise you. Bring in community advocates, job placement experts, human resource recruiters and even hold a job fair for the community in your lobby.

Whatever you do, do something. Now is the time for the Church to stand up and lend a hand because that action alone could be the difference:

“At the very least [the ministry has] provided a better hope,” says [a facilitator of a similar church ministry in Michigan, Geoff] Brown, who became the first to find a job through the ministry. “And I think that’s the biggest thing I needed after nine months of unemployment—hope.

Maybe he can add a baptismal to give it credibility?

So, aside from his regular global telecasts, annual believers’ conventions and running his ministry from high atop a hill in North Texas, it seems Kenneth Copeland has been wheelin’ and dealin’ with his local government.

And that always makes for a salty headline when discussing a “mand of Gawd.”

According to the AP, the Tarrant County tax appraisal district has agreed to exempt the $3.3 million jet owned by Kenneth Copeland Ministries from property taxes. Get that? “Agreed” to do it. There was kissing up and shilling done under the table here.

Again, always good to hear when discussing a televangelist.

The Tarrant Appraisal District’s concession is at the heart of a settlement reached with the Newark-based television evangelist’s ministry last week. KTVT-TV of Fort Worth and Dallas reports the district also agreed to drop its requirement of salary information on the ministries’ directors.

See there? While little man here is in his staff meeting thanking God for his faithfulness, what lies at the heart of this matter is he had to rob Peter to pay Paul. How shady… and oh yeah, un-televangelistic like… is that?!

Essentially, Kenneth Copeland has been at the center of a vicious mudslinging federal investigation led by Sen. Charles Grassley where he wanted to know what was being used for God and how these six televangelists could bling like a New York City rapper.  A good metric for his suspicions would be to discover what he is paying his top executives (because you know his rank-and-file is making minimum wage or anointed food stamps).

Tarrant County thought that was a good idea so they took Grassley’s hand off and ran for the end zone. And, of course, they wanted to spike said ball down Copeland’s gullet. And wouldn’t  you know it, an agreement was made.

KCM agrees that the plane isn’t “totally” used for ministry activities and his triple-figure board of directors can be kept in seclusion – for now. Classy, and completely reeking of spirituality.

I suppose it’s a good thing that he made the jet his – and his alone. Why? Because when the cops come barreling down his door for tax evasion or some other ballyhooed IRS activity, he’ll be “leave-ing on a jet plane… and don’t know when [he’ll] be coming back again.”

Ah, I love the classics.

Answer: Rick Warren.

"Psst. Yo, brother. Can you spare some of that stimulus money?" (Source: AP)

Despite what popular opinion is about the guy’s psychopablum and mushy mandates of the Gospel, I really have never heard of this guy beg for a dime.

What with the books, the appearances (presidential and every other type) and his sizable bank account, I thought at least he was above this.

Perhaps he was inspired. Hmmm… [cue harp music]:

Not too long, we tagged the Wall with the bemoaning of one Rod Parsley who believes Satan is stealing his cash.

Now while I firmly believe Ol’ Slewfoot is fully capable of such a diabolical act, we discovered this $3 million beg was not the case.

Turns out some “teacher” at World Harvest Church’s baby sitting factory for BeBe’s kidser, daycare pummeled some kid, the parents sued and oh yes, won $3 million from Parsley!

Spare the Rod, spoil the child, I say. State of Ohio – 1. Devil – 0. You twit.

Fast forward to the aforementioned (and linked) story from the New York Times and we find a destitute and dang near poverty-stricken Rick Warren [honestly, I’m surprised].

In an urgent letter posted on the Saddleback Church Web site on Wednesday, Warren says expenses are up because parishioners are out of work and ”the bottom dropped out” when year-end donations dropped dramatically. He asks parishioners to donate $1 million before the new year to keep the Orange County church out of debt.

This is a pill, albeit horse-sized, that’s much easier to swallow. It’s no secret the economy blows and people are praying for God’s understanding and mercy as the tithe stays in the storehouse from it which it resides for now.

The slightly shady part is Warren knows the press monitors his Web site as much as his church members do. And to put that up online, you don’t think somewhere in the recesses of his mind there was a thought, “You know, this could become a national story. Sweet.”

Here’s an idea, mands of Gawd (shout out IST): Exercise the same faith you espouse when praying for the throng of folk who, you know, are near poverty, have no money to tithe because they need to keep on the lights and are believing God for more than just you staying on T.V.

If the Lord is big enough to answer their 911 calls to heaven – and he is – then he “sho’nuff” can answer yours.

However, forgive our Savior if he’s a little preoccupied with those who probably can’t get a loan and doesn’t have the cache reserves that you two have. Happy New Year.