This Week: 1/16-22/2022

  • Today @ 11: Potluck Cancelled for weather
  • Monday @ 5:30 p.m.: Girl Scouts
  • Tuesday Bible Study: @ Jeremiah’s, 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday @ 11: Spiritual Council
  • Thursday @ 6:30 p.m.: Consistory
  • Sunday 1/23 @ 11: Annual Meeting
  • AA Meetings: in the Parish Hall:
    • Tuesdays, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    • Wednesdays, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
    • Fridays 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Making Peace Seminar

Van Yperen develops the book in three parts. Part One covers the theological and biblical foundations undergirding his understanding of church conflict and its resolution. In this part he discusses the root causes of conflict, (cultural issues, structural issues, spiritual issues and theological issues) concluding that the most serious problem is a theological misunderstanding of the nature of the church.

In Part Two, Van Yperen introduces his premise that all church conflict is about leadership. “How leaders respond to conflict determines if, when, and how the conflict is reconciled.” He begins by suggesting, “Human conflict is surely a consequence of sin. But not all conflict is sin” and, citing James 4:1-10 concludes that conflict comes from “need-based, self-absorbed attitudes and actions.” Van Yperen wraps up his definition of conflict saying it is an opportunity to “work out our salvation according to God’s redemptive plan.” The rest of Part Two is an extended description of the major ways that leaders respond to conflict. Van Yperen describes passive responders, evasive responders, defensive responders, and aggressive responders. He explains the negative effect that each of these responses has on truth and relationships and concludes with suggestions for change.

Part Three shifts from what is wrong to a discussion of how to do things right. For Van Yperen that is a commitment to transformation, “being redemptive”. Being redemptive involves submission to the lordship of Christ and speaking the truth in love. Van Yperen traces an ideal progression: examination leads to confrontation of sin, which leads to confession, forgiveness and ultimately reconciliation and healing. The book concludes with a seven-fold call to repentance much like a closing prayer.

We will have a 12-week video series by Jim Van Yperen based on his book, Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict.

Meetings will be Sunday mornings, 11:00 a.m. beginning February6, 2022. Please make every effort to attend.

Big or Small? Can you tell me why a $10 bill looks so small at the grocery store but so big at church? 🙂

Church Decline?

By Glenn T. Stanton

JANUARY 22, 2018

(Continued…) The percentage of Americans who attend church more than once a week, pray daily, and accept the Bible as wholly reliable and deeply instructive to their lives has remained absolutely, steel-bar constant for the last 50 years or more, right up to today. These authors describe this continuity as “patently persistent.”

The percentage of such people is also not small. One in three Americans prays multiple times a day, while one in 15 do so in other countries on average. Attending services more than once a week continues to be twice as high among Americans compared to the next highest-attending industrial country, and three times higher than the average comparable nation.

One-third of Americans hold that the Bible is the actual word of God. Fewer than 10 percent believe so in similar countries. The United States “clearly stands out as exceptional,” and this exceptionalism has not been decreasing over time. In fact, these scholars determine that the percentages of Americans who are the most vibrant and serious in their faith is actually increasing a bit, “which is making the United States even more exceptional over time.”

This also means, of course, that those who take their faith seriously are becoming a markedly larger proportion of all religious people. In 1989, 39 percent of those who belonged to a religion held strong beliefs and practices. Today, these are 47 percent of all the religiously affiliated. This all has important implications for politics, indicating that the voting bloc of religious conservatives is not shrinking, but actually growing among the faithful. The declining influence of liberal believers at the polls has been demonstrated in many important elections recently.

These Are Not Isolated Findings

The findings of these scholars are not outliers. There has been a growing gulf between the faithful and the dabblers for quite some time, with the first group growing more numerous. Think about the church you attend, relative to its belief system. It is extremely likely that if your church teaches the Bible with seriousness, calls its people to real discipleship, and encourages daily intimacy with God, it has multiple services to handle the coming crowds.

Most decent-size American cities have a treasure trove of such churches for believers to choose from. This shows no sign of changing. If, however, your church is theologically liberal or merely lukewarm, it’s likely laying off staff and wondering how to pay this month’s light bill. People are navigating toward substantive Christianity.

The folks at Pew have been reporting for years that while the mainline churches are in drastic free fall, the group that “shows the most significant growth is the nondenominational family.” Of course, these nondenominational churches are 99.9 percent thorough-blooded evangelical. Pew also notes that “evangelical Protestantism and the historically black Protestant tradition have been more stable” over the years, with even a slight uptick in the last decade because many congregants leaving the mainline churches are migrating to evangelical churches that hold fast to the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

When the so-called “progressive” churches question the historicity of Jesus, deny the reality of sin, support abortion, ordain clergy in same-sex relationships and perform their marriages, people desiring real Christianity head elsewhere. Fact: evangelical churches gain five new congregants exiled from the liberal churches for every one they lose for any reason. They also do a better job of retaining believers from childhood to adulthood than do mainline churches.

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