Here is a short article with a good thought for all\"Planting a Church Without Losing Your Soul\" by Ed Stezer
From: Freya Fitzpatrick [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 3:07 PM
To: Lindrooth, David
Subject: Outreach opportunity
I went to a Neo-Latin conference in Uppsala Sweden in August and had a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of Swedenborg. I thought that because of your involvement with the outreach you might be interested in how this all turned out.
I went to the conference for several reasons, not the least of which was to learn something more about Latin. But another goal was to raise awareness amongst Neo-Latinists about the incredibly prolific Neo-Latin writer named Swedenborg. I hoped that at least I’d get a few people to start to recognize the name. The amazing thing is that by the end of the conference, numerous people were saying things like, “This is amazing. I’d never heard of this guy before and every time I turn around during this conference, I hear his name again.”
I also found out how we can collaborate with an on-line publishing company (at no cost to ourselves) to get Swedenborg’s Latin works into their database which is used at academic libraries and by private Latinists all over the world.
While I had hoped that this conference would do at least a small part in spreading awareness of Swedenborg, I never dreamt the level of interest or opportunity it presented. I guess I figured, probably like many people, that translation and Latin are this ‘behind the scenes’ part of the New Church. But from this conference what I learned is that because Swedenborg wrote in Neo-Latin, he has a natural ‘in’ with this body of scholars.
Now I’m not saying that all the Neo-Latinists are about to fall into the doors of the nearest New Church house of worship. But, there’s a well-defined body of people out there who have a reason to want to hear about Swedenborg even if he’s writing theology. Neo-Latinists are totally OK with theology, Many of them work with theological material because that’s part of what the field of Neo-Latin obviously ties into. So, I’m excited about the possibilities for using this ‘hook’ to reach a new population who have demonstrated an interest in hearing about Swedenborg.
I have attached my ‘report’ on the conference (which will be presented to the General Church Translation Committee meeting in October), but I thought you might be interested in it too.
I have also attached my proposal for a Swedenborg Neo-Latin Association which is an idea for a body who can continue the momentum of creating awareness of Swedenborg within the world of Neo-Latinists.
I’d love to hear what you think about these attachments and whether you have any thoughts on how this can contribute to making Swedenborg better known in the world.
1984. Author unknown (Doug Taylor?)
Evangelization committee vision and purpose:
The vision contemplated by the Evangelization Committee is that of the Lord in His Second Coming being widely known and deeply worshiped, and of His kingdom established world-wide, so that His will is gladly done on earth as in heaven.
The purpose of the Committee is therefore to cooperate with the Lord in the spread of His kingdom by proclaiming the New Evangel and assimilating into membership those who willingly accept it.(portions edited out here)
- This vision and purpose could be explained in terms of END, CAUSE, and EFFECT.
a) The END in view or aim is to serve and spread the Lord’s kingdom, to those who are prepared.
b) Cause (ways and means): presenting the Heavenly Doctrine and its applications to life in an interesting and helpful way
c) EFFECT (Result): new readers of the Heavenly Doctrines and new committed members of the Church drawn first from those in the Christian world who are receptive.
- The Rationale: If our aim is anything less than this, for example, merely getting new members, we could indeed achieve that without spreading the Lord’s kingdom very much. We could gain the whole world and lose our own soul.
We know from Doctrine that there must indeed be an organized body of the Church, and common sense dictates that it must be financially sound and numerically growing. Numbers are important, but not supremely important. To focus all our attention, or our primary attention, on the external organization; to look only to the enlargement of the organ or instrument to the exclusion of use for which it is formed, would be a gross form of externalism (the worship of the golden calf).
If, however, we aim at spreading the Lord’s kingdom, the Lord Himself will take care of numerical growth and prosperity of the organization. We do want the organization to grow numerically. But this needs to be seen as a desirable effect or result of the end and the cause (the means) combined. It must not become an end in itself. That would be a form of idolatry – placing the external above the internal or the body above the soul. In that case, we would only grow numerically.
If we proceed according to Divine Order (as just indicated) then the Lord can bless our efforts in His name. We will be working in conjunction with Him, and where He is present, there is always real growth – both spiritual and natural, both qualitative and quantitative.
To achieve this vision and purpose the Committee plans to launch a progressive program in four areas simultaneously, However, the emphasis will first be on the education and training of the Clergy, who will help prepare the Laity to reach out to non members and assimilate new members.
Here is a brief description of the four areas:
To work toward harmony among the priesthood regarding the aim of evangelization.
The Clergy need to be inspired so that they in turn will inspire their societies, leading their members to see the vision of evangelization, and presenting what the Writings say about it. It is also important that the Clergy have the best techniques and tools available, and that they be kept up to date in all developments and progress in the church’s evangelization program.
To work toward the removal of any obstacles that may exist in the minds of some of the laity – obstacles to seeing the use and objective of evangelization, and to broaden the base of support.
Having been inspired and become eager to learn, they must be trained in the ways and means of evangelization, so that they feel comfortable and confident in entering into this use. This training is done through courses, seminars and workshops.
The major thrust is to arouse curiosity, create interest, and attract non-members to the church. This will require the best techniques in all medial fields (films, audio-video, literature, etc) with the aim of making the church more visible, increasing public awareness of and interest in the church and what it has to offer.
The first kind of instruction would follow the interests of the inquirer. Interest levels have been tabulated in the Denny report. This would be followed by systematic instruction in the doctrines, leading to baptism and membership.
This involves making new members feel comfortable, welcome and part of the organization, so that they participate in those uses of the Church for which they have an interest, talent, and affinity. This requires constant follow-up of new members on the part of all our members, and is essentially an act of charity.
New Church Planting Model:
- Expanded core group
- Group should consist of 15+ committed core members
- Launch large
- Soft launch phase involves 3-6 months of trial services and experimentation with locations, while group is initially inviting new guests to church and training in outreach/assimilation technique. This is in preparation for public launch
- Public launch is timed to ensure maximum impact in community. Major marketing campaign is coordinates with intensive grass roots invitation effort made by participants.
- Aggressive time-line (3-5 years)
As was said in an earlier post, the Lord is really the One who grows a church, we just do the cultivation.
- General Church financial will extend for a maximum of 5 years ending in self-sufficiency. Congregation will strongly cultivate stewardship model with the intention of offering support back to the central office for the purpose of enabling future outreach efforts.
- Delay building purchase until after group is self-sufficient and financially capable of maintaining self-sufficiency while assuming the responsibility of building and maintenance costs.
- The model is rapidly evolving based on research indicating for example a higher success rate with congregations that are on an aggressive track toward self sufficiency. Buildings often seen as a goal of a congregation frequently choke off growth because of financial pressures, the space not being large enough for future growth, time required by pastors and members toward maintenance issues. the congregation needs to keep an exclusive focus on sharing the good news – while working to limit distractions.
Waiting for the MRI for Kerstin’s knee
David is testing his iPhone Twitter feed.