Michael McKinley from 9Marks, a ministry dedicated to promoting church health, has recently attended a number of sessions with Australian Colin Marshall, one of the authors of The Trellis and the Vine with Tony Payne. The sessions looked at various ways to encourage each other, visitors and the pastor. Michael noted some practical things we can do when we meet on Sundays:
Before the Service
- Read the passage in advance
- Pray for the gathering
- Greet newcomers (act like you are the host)
- Think strategically about who you should sit with
- Arrive Early
During the Service
- Sing with gusto (even if you can’t sing)
- Help with logistics (if there’s a problem, help fix it)
- Don’t be distracted
- Listen carefully
- Be aware of your facial expressions (you may affect others and discourage preachers)
After the Service
- Connect newcomers with others
- Get newcomers information
- Start a conversation about the sermon
- Ask someone how they became a Christian
- Stay late
As I’m not able to upload the regular Sunday sermon, let alone hear it myself, I thought I’d share one of the resources I’ve been enjoying instead. While nothing can replace being at worship with God’s people, as I have been, I’ve also listened to recordings of well-respected teachers from around the world.
One resource is Living Grace, which presents the sermons of the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. My only problem with this service is that the messages are split into half hour segments, meaning you have to wait till the next week to get the conclusion of his message.
Before I left for Fiji, I downloaded a bunch of lectures from Reformed Theological Seminary on iTunes. They have made a comprehensive range of their cources available on the net, as have Coventant Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary.
Also on my playlist have been recordings from Together For the Gospel and 9marks.com
One final audio gem that I have yet to hear myself is a sample of the Radio Dramatization of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (author of Mere Christianity and The Chronicles of Narnia) produced by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. You can read a review and listen to a sample at Boundless Magazine Online.
You could do a lot worse with your bandwidth than to spend some of it downloading from any of these sites.
The Guardian‘s Andrew Brown writes:
“Although Calvinism is shrinking in western Europe and North America, it is experiencing an extraordinary success in China…
There may be some parallels with the growth of Calvinism in South Korea, where the biggest presbyterian churches in the world are to be found, but it’s absolutely unlike the pattern in Africa and Latin America. There, the fastest growing forms of Christianity are pentecostal, and they are spreading among the poor.
But in China neither of those things are to be true.” Read more.