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Vision: Working your Way Back

Vision: Working your Way Back

As part of the opening session for Impact 365, Rev. David Lindrooth spoke about how we can become a church that makes a profound difference in the world.

He discussed the process in three parts: clarifying our vision, combining it with prudence (our ability to think, strategize, and gain the necessary information) and then working in partnership with providence. He explained that this process “prepares the way of the Lord.” By this kind of partnership we achieve amazing results that would not be otherwise attainable, causing “miracles to happen in our own lives and in the life of the church.”

First, David explained, we need vision. As an example of the importance of vision, David recollected a time when he and some other New Church leaders felt their time and energy were taken up with troubleshooting issues, leaving little time for forward positive action.  After talking to a business expert who repeatedly asked them, “But what do you DO?” these church leaders realized that lack of clarity in the church vision was yielding chaos and poor results. They more acutely saw the need for a clear vision, purpose and goal.

As important as vision is, David explained, we also need prudence, and we need to gain the necessary information. To illustrate this point, David gave an example of a time he’d had a vision for how to change a small, old, historical church in Stockholm Sweden.  As a young, newly ordained American minister, David thought he’d come in and “get the place hopping.” He wanted to rip up the hard old pews, do a billboard campaign, and modernize the music. The long-time church members, however, had been worshiping that way for years.  Although their response was kind and forgiving, David realized he had tried to implement his vision without first gathering the necessary information. He hadn’t spent time listening to or paying attention to the dreams of the others in the congregation.

David added that when a church unites vision and prudence with a willingness to hear the Lord’s call, great blessings occur. He referred to the story of Jacob in Genesis, quoting the Lord’s promise to Jacob: “In you and in your seed, all the families of the earth will be blessed.” David used this quote to remind us that the goal is to create a church that seeks to serve and bless all the families of the earth. David concluded with the message that “the Lord has put us in a place of challenge, but He has also given us tools to move forward and bring blessings to all the nations.”

Written by Sasha Silverman

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Vance Genzlinger’s “Outreach Training Course”

Dear Friends:

I am happy to send you the enclosed “Outreach Training Program” designed by Vance Genzlinger, a longtime member of the Oar Arbor Society.  Vance built this program based on his career in the sales industry and his intense desire to help the people in the church learn how to share the NewChurch with others.

He has done several trial runs of this program and staff in my department helped him with editing.  You might like to use the program, or parts of it in your evangelization training.    I am hoping you find this a resource to add as one way to help prepare members of the church to gain confidence in the work of evangelization.   Please note that Vance would love feed back and questions about the material in the hopes that it will improve with the input.   Vance writes the following:

This training program is patterned after the “New Church Journey Programs” that have been given so successfully throughout the Church in recent years.  It is like Journey in that it has a similar length and that the intention is for it to run church wide.  It is also a program with intense group mode participation and interaction.  It is being worked into a format that is similar to Journey.  It differs in focus from our own regeneration to our outreach prospects and their concerns.  Instead of practicing techniques on how to bring the Lord into our lives, we will be practicing techniques on how to discuss our beliefs with our outreach prospects.  Although this training program contains some quotes from the Bible and Writings, it contains more information on how to understand the marketing of ideas, how to understand the backgrounds of the prospects and some understanding of our teachings about the most difficult problems we may encounter that are not usually covered in Journey and our regular doctrinal classes.

One thing that is new in this program is the experience of role playing.  It gives our members and friends experience talking to prospects about our teachings by taking the role of member and prospect and trying to respond to the prospect’s concerns.  Many sample role playing dialogues are included in the text to show our members how to get started.  They are not included with the goal of memorizing specific doctrinal positions. They are included for the same reason examples are included in math and science texts – to stimulate thinking about how to approach and solve different types of problems.  They are to show our members how to initiate dialogue, how to focus on the prospect’s questions or concerns, how to create their own answers to prospect’s concerns and to develop true empathy for our prospects and the ideas they have been taught.

It is hoped that at least 50% of each two hour session will be spent with group participants actually creating their own dialogues.  This is to be preceded by the participants discussing the text for the week which hopefully they have read before coming to the workshop.

This type of the training is designed to help eliminate the reason most of our members feel inadequate to discuss our beliefs with others.

In order for this training program to be effective, we must first perfect a complete draft of a training manual for the “Outreach Training Program”, and second we must prepare a manual for the small group leaders, and third we must train the trainers who will train the small group leaders, particularly in the art of role playing.

Please contact our Bishop, anyone in the General Church Outreach office and/or this author (vance@genzlinger.com) with your reaction to this material, suggested improvements, and its value to our Church.

David Lindrooth

Week 1 – Role Play Training Program ed

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Select Links to Christian Church Growth Websites

Here are a number of websites that contain useful and mostly free information on church planting and growth.  They make good reading for anyone who is considering participating in a church plant.  Please use the comment tab to add any links to sites you have found valuable.

Links to Evangelization Sites:

http://www.leadnet.org/default.asp

http://www.edstetzer.com

http://www.stephengrayonline.com/default.asp

http://www.barna.org/

http://www.outreach.com

http://www.churchleaderinsights.com/

http://www.churchplanting.com/ (Steve Sjogren)

http://www.churchplantingresources.com/home/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_planting

http://www.sermoncentral.com/

http://www.sermoncentral.com/articleb.asp?article=top-100-fastest-growing-churches

http://www.purposedriven.com/

http://www.preaching.com/

http://www.churchmarketingstinks.com/

A Couple of Noteworthy Conferences:

http://www.exponentialconference.org/

http://outreachconvention.com/

Podcasted Sermons can be found on Itunes: Podcasts:  Religion and Spirituality: Christian

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The Lord’s Forgiveness

The Lord’s Forgiveness

A few amazing teachings on how the Lord forgives:

“The Lord is never angry, never takes revenge, hates, condemns, punishes, throws anyone into hell, or tempts him.  Thus the Lord never does evil to anyone!” (True Christian Religion 650)

“There is in fact a sphere continually radiated from the Lord which raises all to heaven.  This fills the whole of both the spiritual and natural worlds.  It is like a strong current in the ocean, which invisibly draws a ship along.  All who believe in the Lord and live according to His commandments come within that sphere or current and are raised up.”   (True Christian Religion 652)

These are powerful teachings speaking to how hard the Lord is working for your salvation.   Because the Lord’s purpose is blessing people with heavenly life, He is always working to help people let go of their evils.   Another passage from the True Christian Religion says: “the Lord being mercy itself, forgives everyone his sins, and does not hold even one of them against a person.”  (TCR 539)  Wow!

Even so, forgiveness does not come in a moment.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One is he complexity of the lusts that are attached to each evil.  In Divine Providence, we read: “There are thousands of lusts which enter into and compose each evil.” (Divine Providence 279 [5])  The practice of repentance gradually clips away these evil ties over time releasing the person from the addiction associated with that evil – that takes time!

A fascinating defination of ‘forgiveness’ is found in the Arcana Caelestia:  “being able to be maintained by the Lord in the good of love and the truths of faith and to be withheld from evils and falsities constitutes the forgiveness of sins”  (Arcana Caelestia 9448).

Really, that means that a person can’t forgive another person of their sins – only the Lord can do that.   There are tons of passages in the Bible directing us to forgive others.  How is this possible?  Rather than taking responsibility for another’s sins, the Lord teaches that true forgiveness is: “regarding someone not from the point of evil but of good” (AC 7697).  That is a bigger issue.  It involves letting go of resentments, hurt and anger related with a people who have caused you harm.   So ‘how many times should we forgive our brother who has sinned against us?  Seventy times seven – basically an infinite number because we are taught to train ourselves to view others from good rather than evil.  That is a high road that involves the discipline of repentance.

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New Website Called “NewChurchPerspective.com”

Here is some interesting news emailed to me by Brian Smith.  He writes: “I would like to plug an awesome new project called ‘NewChurchPerspective.com’. Its basically an online magazine about New Church topics. NCPerspective now has articles by over 10 writers on a wide variety of topics. This is designed to be a platform which allows people to express their ideas, questions and efforts to apply concepts from the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. As a reader have the opportunity to read and respond in the comment lines. You are also warmly encouraged to write and submit what ever New Church topics have been burning on your mind.”

To check out the website follow this link: New Church Perspective

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