This Week: 1/9-15/2022

  • Sunday @ 11 Take down greens
  • Tuesday Bible Study: @ Jeremiah’s, 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday @ 11: Spiritual Council
  • Thursday @ 6:30 p.m.: Strategic Planning
  • Sunday 1/16 @ 11: Potluck Lunch
  • 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.

Evangelical

St. Paul Evangelical Church was founded in 1848 as a German language Christian church. Many German immigrants had found their way to Marietta, and had yet to master English. The church would serve two purposes: it would provide gospel worship in German, and it would help them learn English by being bilingual.

Protestantism came to Germany during the 16th Century Reformation. It was formed as a new direction from some Roman Catholic principles that were dominant at that time, and was led initially by Martin Luther, and later by John Calvin. Our particular branch of the that church was not Lutheran. It was evangelical.

The word evangelical (εὐαγγέλιον) originated in the New Testament. It means “good news,” and indicates the good news of the coming of the Messiah. Sometimes it expresses the giver (God), sometimes the subject (the Messiah), and sometimes the human transmitter (an apostle), who would bring the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, we are a GoodNews church. Our primary mission is to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the world.

Making Peace Seminar

Growing Redemptive Community In Your Church

Making Peace is a video seminar about church conflict written by the founder and director of Metanoia Ministries, Jim Van Yperen. In the preface of his book, Leaders on Leadership, George Barna introduced Jim Van Yperen with these words:

A marketing strategist and creative communications consultant, Jim has worked with a wide variety of churches, parachurch ministries and nonprofit organizations in the areas of vision development, strategic planning, communications, resource development and conflict resolution. Among his most recent efforts have been serving several churches as Intentional Interim Pastor (Barna 1997).

When Making Peace was written, Van Yperen had served for ten years in the field of conflict resolution, had conducted in-depth assessments for more than two dozen churches, had personally served as Intention Interim Pastor for five deeply conflicted churches and had led seminars across the nation on conflict resolution for pastors and lay leaders.

In Making Peace, Van Yperen shares his understanding of why churches become conflicted and how God wants to “heal them so they may become thriving communities of faith” (13).

He describes Making Peace as “a ‘why’ book, not a ‘how-to’ book” with two fundamental points: first, that church conflict is always theological, and second, that all church conflict is always about leadership, character, and community (24).

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 February 6, 2022. Please make every effort to attend.

Church Decline?

By Glenn T. Stanton

JANUARY 22, 2018

“Meanwhile, a widespread decline in churchgoing and religious affiliation had contributed to a growing anxiety among conservative believers.” Statements like this are uttered with such confidence and frequency that most Americans accept them as uncontested truisms. This one emerged just this month in an exceedingly silly article in The Atlantic on Vice President Mike Pence.

Religious faith in America is going the way of the Yellow Pages and travel maps, we keep hearing. It’s just a matter of time until Christianity’s total and happy extinction, chortle our cultural elites. Is this true? Is churchgoing and religious adherence really in “widespread decline” so much so that conservative believers should suffer “growing anxiety”?

Two words: Absolutely not!

New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth. This research questioned the “secularization thesis,” which holds that the United States is following most advanced industrial nations in the death of their once vibrant faith culture. Churches becoming mere landmarks, dance halls, boutique hotels, museums, and all that.

Not only did their examination find no support for this secularization in terms of actual practice and belief, the researchers proclaim that religion continues to enjoy “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America. These researchers found that our nation “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example to the secularization thesis.”

What Accounts for the Difference in Perceptions?

How can their findings appear so contrary to what we have been hearing from so many seemingly informed voices? It comes down primarily to what kind of faith one is talking about. Not the belief system itself, per se, but the intensity and seriousness with which people hold and practice that faith.

Mainline churches are tanking as if they have super-sized millstones around their necks. Yes, these churches are hemorrhaging members in startling numbers, but many of those folks are not leaving Christianity. They are simply going elsewhere. Because of this shifting, other very different kinds of churches are holding strong in crowds and have been for as long as such data has been collected. In some ways, they are even growing. This is what this new research has found.

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