service

Mark Zuckerberg, Meet Jethro

Mark Zuckerberg, Meet Jethro

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, recently claimed that as church attendance declines, Facebook will become the new church for people, offering a sense of community and meaning.[i] But Facebook can’t be the church, and not just because it isn’t built on a true foundation of hope in the good news of Jesus Christ. But it also can’t be the church because it can’t effectively form a community of a people on mission, serving God and one another together for God’s transformative purpose. In other words, Facebook neither has the content nor the form that can replace the church.

My hunch is that most Christians get the content part of what makes Zuckerberg’s claim faulty. We get that we need the gospel for the church. But I think that fewer might understand the gap on the form front. In other words, what am I really missing out on if I listen to worship music throughout the week, watch clips of my favorite preachers on YouTube and then share about my faith on social media?

One thing you’re missing out on is God’s purpose for you in serving a gathered community, the church.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the unlikely encounter between Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro, in Exodus 18.

The Promise 80% of Christians Miss Out On

The Promise 80% of Christians Miss Out On

600 years ago a church service looked far different than it does today.

The Medieval mass truly was a performance. The priest was turned away from the congregation for most of the congregation and spoke (by some reports mumbled is a more appropriate description) the service in Latin, a language the commoners didn’t speak and often the priests themselves didn’t speak.[i] The congregants observed the mass in silence. There was no participation.

600 years later much has changed. And yet much remains the same.

In the American evangelical church, our liturgy looks about as different from the liturgy of the church of the Middle Ages as you could imagine (and yes, while we don’t have a formalized liturgy, we share a collective informal liturgy – you can go to just about any evangelical church in America this weekend and expect a similar service). But church, as much as ever, is an experience those who attend come to watch. And like the church in the Middle Ages, we also are struggling with attendance, with a faithful church goer now coming to service a mere twice a month.[ii]

5 Ways to Make a Church Home

5 Ways to Make a Church Home

When I graduated with my BA in Biblical-Theological studies and came back across the country to marry my bride, I entered our new church like a bull in a china shop. I wanted to get my hands into ministry as quickly as I could and sit under a mentor as soon as possible. I reached out to the pastoral staff and tried to jump in as quickly as I could into various ministry roles and getting mentored. There were lots of good things about our experience at that church, but when we left two and a half years later for seminary, I was largely disappointed with the ministry opportunities that had been available to me and the pastoral mentoring I had received. Some of the blame for my experience falls on the church leadership. But plenty falls on myself.  

Many can identify with disappointment in a church. Many of you have been at a church for years without feeling a significant level of connection and belonging.

There are absolutely ways in which churches need to improve in helping newcomers feel at home quickly and well, but there are lots of things I would tell my 21 year old self about how to join a church and what expectations to have.