Metamodernism & It's Impending Challenge
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Postmodernism is dead…

- David Guterson, Novelist

It’s a new week at The Story Church Project and I have three exciting things to share!

First, the podcast series “Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks” is officially over which means you can hear the entire thing here.

Second, if you want to share the entire series with your church leaders but can’t get them to listen to a podcast - no worries! You can download the entire thing as an ebook below! It’s titled, “Heartbeat: How to Redesign Your Local Adventist Church”.

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Third, with this series finished, I am turning my focus for the rest of the year toward developing a really good understanding of the emerging secular ideologies that surround us and discover ways in which the local Adventist church can intertact meaningfully with those shifts.

To start off with, I want to focus on the death of postmodernity and the emerging metamodern oscillation that is already in full swing all around us. If you want to read about this in more detail, make sure you get the ebook “How to Study the Bible with Postmoderns” here. You can also check out my article “Metamodernism and It’s Impending Challenge to Christianity” at The Compass Magazine.

In fact, this weeks podcast will simply be a condensed version of that article.

Now here is why I think its so important to talk about the Metamodern arrival.

Adventists started talking about and responding to the postmodern challenge when postmodernism was already on its death bed. Since the 70's, a new perspective has been arising to take postmodernisms place: metamodernism. My hope is that Adventists invest in understanding this emerging vision of reality and find ways to reach this culture today, not 70 years from now when its old news.

Click Here to Read the Whole Article or listen to the podcast episode below!


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Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks (part 6)
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We have reached part 6 of the series, “Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks”.

This is the final episode for this series. I truly hope it has been a blessing and has given you some awesome things to think about. Most of all, I hope it has provided you with a neat and simple process for redesigining your local Adventist church for mission.

If you haven’t heard the first 5 episodes, hear them first before listening to this one. You can find them here.

If you feel like you need more then don’t worry! The book “Story Church: How to Awaken Your Church’s Wolrd Changing Identity” is on its way and will be released later this year. This book will include the steps in our podcast series but will also fill in all the space in between and beyond providing you with the simplest and most comprehensive book for local Adventist churches to redesign for mission. Make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter to be the first to know when it releases (subscribers will also get a subscriber discount when the book releases). Subscribe here.

Now, onto our final episode. In this episode we wrap up the series by bringing it all together and asking the question, “What exactly is your church trying to do?”

This question, much like “Why does your church exist?” and “How will your church accomplish its mission?” is a church-transforming question. If you never ask it and explore it, your church will never thrive. But once you have asked it, it can open the door to some wild new horizons.

I explore that with you in our final ep. of the series today. Check it out below!


Want to Share this Series with your Church?

The entire series is now a downloadable ebook!

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Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks (part 5)
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Welcome to part 5 of “Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks”. If you have not heard parts 1-4, make sure you do so here!

In part 5, we are going to explore the most controversial part of any local church redesign - the Cosmetics!

This is where the worship wars, dresscode battles and divisive culture skirmishes take place. How should you approach this issue in the local church?

That’s the key thing we explore this week. Listen below!


Pastor MarcosComment
Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks (part 4)

Do you hate board meetings?

How about business meetings?

How about any and every meeting?

Many church leaders enjoy doing ministry but when it comes to the administrative side we roll our eyes and secretly wish it could dissapear for ever. Can’t I just focus on bringing people to Jesus? I’m sick of being at all these meetings while so many are out there who don’t know Jesus! All this admin is a waste of time…

And guess what? I totally agree.

But what if I told you that with a few simple steps you could forver transform the way your church admin operates so that it becomes something you actually enjoy?

Because it turns out the real problem with admin in many local churches is not the admin itself (we’d be gone without it!). The real problem is how it functions. To put in in plain language, many of our church boards and committes operate for maintenance and not mission.

And if you are honest with yourself, its the maintenance you hate, not the admin itself.

Can we redesign our church structure (its muscle) to be focused on mission instead of maintenance?

Yes! And I share one way to do it in part 4 of “Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks”.

Check it out below!

PS. Make sure you listen to part 1-3 first before listening to part 4.


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FREE EBOOK REVEALS THE 3 MOST OVERLOOKED SECRETS TO REACHING A POSTMODERN WORLD…

Download Your Copy Today:


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Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks (part 3)
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Welcome to part 3 of the 6 part series, “Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks”. If you havent heard part 1 and 2, make sure to go here and hear them first.

In part 3, we are going to take a look at what it really means for a local Adventist church to redesign itself from the ground up.

But here is the crazy thing. In the last 5 years of investing in this journey I have found that the entire process for local church redesign begins with one simple but powerful question.

I want to make sure you get this. Im not talking about any old question.

This question, and the process it spawns, is seriously the secret weapon toward redesigning your local Adventist church for mission. I have used this one secret repeatedly to redesign youth groups and local churches over and over again. It is absolutely amazing!

And I reveal it all in this weeks podcast!

Check it out below:

PS. Download your free copy of the "Find your Heartbeat” PDF below! (Explained in the episode)


LETS CREATE A BIBLE STUDY SET AND YOUTUBE CHANNEL THAT TEACHES THE NARRATIVE OF ADVENTISM TO MILLENNIAL, POSTMODERN GENERATIONS!

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Imagine a YouTube channel where millennials and postmoderns could explore the narrative of Adventism in language that makes sense to them?

One where they could send in questions and receive, not just surface answers but deep theological content?

A channel that teaches them how to understand the narrative of scripture, how to explain it to their secular/postmodern friends and how to apply it in every day life?

A channel that empowers Adventist millennials everywhere to be agents of change in our world?

But there’s more.

Imagine a brand new Bible study set designed to explore the 28 fundamental beliefs of our church with millennials, post-moderns and post-Christian culture?

A set designed to speak life into their worldview, values and interests while inviting them into a totally new experience in knowing God and living out his purpose?

And what if that set was tied into the YouTube channel above and provided extra insights, training and skills for youth who want to share God with their secular friends?

The Story Church Project wants to make all of this happen!

But there is a big obstacle.

Both of these projects will cost money that TSCP doesn’t have (designers, equipment, advertising etc).

So today, I am inviting you to consider joining TSCP in making these two projects (plus many others) possible by becoming a Story Church Project Patreon. For as little as $7 a month you can help me achieve the two projects above (plus other TSCP projects) and open the door for many other future innovations. And if you want to help me get the projects going faster, there are other tier options you can choose from as well.

What About a One Time Donation?
If you want to support the project but can't commit to be a monthly patron, you can donate via PayPal. Just send the donation to marcostorres@adventist.org.au and specify in the comments exactly what you want the donation to go toward (Bible Study set, YouTube channel, or 'Whatever Helps' the project).

Alternatively, go to www.thestorychurchproject.com/store1 and purchase one of the eBooks! All the funds go toward expanding project and launching new future initiatives.

Looking forward to working together!

Pastor Marcos

Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks (part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of “Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks”. If you missed part 1, make sure you go back and listen to it first so that part 2 makes sense.

In this 6 part podcast series, we are looking at the 3 bottom line things you need to know in order to redesign your local church for mission. And in this weeks episode, I explore the following:

  • The ONE thing that is killing your church

  • Why modern, hip churches tend to fail just as much as traditional ones

  • The single thing you need to know and do if you want your church to come alive

  • Plus more…

Now before you go ahead and listen to part 2, I need to make something very clear. When it comes to the topic of church revival, a lot of people immediately think of church growth. However, church growth is NOT what this podcast series is about. In fact, church growth is not the focus of TSCP period. Instead, the focus is church health. That is, how can we redesign our churches to be healthy and redemptive communities of faith?

Now why don’t I focus on church growth? There’s three simple reasons that I’ll expand on more in a future post but here is a brief overview.

  1. The first is that we don’t grow the church. Acts 2:47 tells us that it was God who added to the church daily those who were being saved, not the apostles, pastors or church leadership gurus. Our job is not church growth. Its something else entirely. When we do our job, God begins to add.

  2. Second, church growth overall is a terrible way of measuring success. Here are a few reasons why. A) Its a finite metric that fails to capture the infinite nature of the battle we are in. You can read more about that here. B) No matter how healthy your church is, some churches will simply not grow to astronomical numbers for a variety of reasons. And that’s OK. So instead of thinking we need big baptismal numbers to be successful we ought to measure success by how much our church impacts our community. In our modern age, that impact may not necessarily translate to baptisms - at least not right away - so we need to measure success differently. My suggestion is that we measure success by how many lives are impacted through our presence rather than how many people get dunked at the end of the year. If you focus on becoming that kind of church, God will take care of the numbers. For some churches that will mean explosive growth and for others, a slow and steady increase. We need to be okay with that. C) Church growth is a result not a foundation. Sadly, numbers are the main thing that we use to measure success in a local Adventist church. Some of you may even be thinking, “Marcos, why should I listen to you?” And if I said, “I grew my local SDA church from 70 to 500 members in 3 years” you would be all ears. But what I I said, “My church hasn’t grown in any dramatic way, but the culture has changed, the people have locked into mission, the spirit and vibe has moved from exclusion to inclusion, from preservation to innovation. No, we haven’t magically grown by hundreds as a result but we have developed a local church ministry that makes a real difference in real lives.” Would you be into that? I hope so.

  3. Third, church growth as a whole is a term that has been co-opted by the mega church movement - a movement that local Adventist churches simply can’t emulate for theological and practical reasons. You can read more about that here.

So, before you go on and listen to part 2 I want you to be aware of what this series is all about. It’s not about how to grow your church and make everyone else jealous. Its about how to transform your church from an insular self-focused community to an outward, other-centred ministry that impacts its community meaningfully. The result of this may in fact be explosive growth, but I’m not promising that. Instead, most likely you will begin to experience a slow and beautiful growth but more importantly, you will become a centre of influence and hope in your community. And that’s what its really all about.

So there you go! Part 2 is waiting for you below:


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Pastor MarcosComment
Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks (part 1)
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Is your local Adventist church dead?

Are you bleeding young people and scaring visitors away on a regular basis?

Does your community have no idea you exist as a church? Would they go on life-as-usual if your church suddenly closed down?

Then seriously, don’t miss out on the next 6 podcast episodes which will cover the absolute bottom line things you need to know to bring your church alive. Before you read that book, implement that strategy or make that change, trust me, you want to hear this first!

This six-part series is going to rock your world. You will either shout for joy that someone else is saying what you have been saying all along or you will be like, “boom! Mind-blown…!”

 
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Make sure you share this with your church leaders, pastors and whoever else has a heart for redesigning the local Adventist church for mission. While this series doesn’t cover everything, it gives you the most solid foundation you need to get started.

Listen below!


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Pastor MarcosComment
How to Free Your Local Church from Last Generation Theology (with pastor Mike C. Manea - part 2)
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A couple of weeks ago, pastor Mike and I sat down and talked about the challenges posed by Last Generation Theology and how to heal our local churches. In this episode we dive a little deeper and discuss questions such as:

  1. Can we have assurance of salvation? What did Ellen White mean when she said we should “never be taught to say that [we] are saved”?

  2. Did Jesus finish his work/ atonement at the cross? Or not?

  3. Do we have to reach a state of sinless perfection before the close of probation?

  4. Must I remember and confess every sin or else God will bring it against me in the judgement?

  5. How do I free my local church from these beliefs?

The goal of this episode is to show how rejecting LGT does not mean a person has to go to the opposite extreme of cheap grace and can instead revisit each of these themes through the beauty of God’s heart revealed at the cross. The end result is a narrative of belief that can fuel mission and nurture local churches capable of effectively connecting with the lost.

Listen below!


For a more indepth analysis of LGT, including Ellen White quotes on assurance of salvation, see the article “REclaiming Adventism”. Click here.

To explore the connection between the sanctuary and assurance of salvation in more detail, see: “How Adventism Ended the Gospel Wars” Click Here.

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5 Beliefs That Kill Local Church Mission
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Last week, pastor Mike and I sat down for an interview titled, “How to Free Your Local Church from Last Generation Theology.”

The episode has quickly become one of the most popular for The Story Church Podcast which prompted Mike and I to agree to a follow up! That followup will be published next week (I hope), and for this week I do a follow up of my own by addressing 5 beliefs that kill local church mission in the Seventh-day Adventist movement.

Those 5 beliefs are:

  1. The belief that the law of God is an imposed legal construct.

  2. The belief that sin is a choice and not much more.

  3. The belief that we must become perfect to be saved (or for the Great Controversy to end).

  4. The belief that we alone have the truth (no one else!).

  5. The belief that our job is to warn the world about all the bad stuff.

Of course, there are other unhealthy beliefs that damage our capacity to do mission as local Adventist churches, but these 5 are the ones I highlight this week.

Check out the episode below! Don’t forget to subscribe, comment and share!

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How to Free Your Local Church from Last Generation Theology (with Mike C. Manea)
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Transforming your church is not simply about changing its structure, methods and leadership mechanisms. If you want to truly transform your church, you have to go deeper into its story. Sadly, in Adventism, many local Adventist churches are plagued by unhealthy theological paradigms that affect its capacity to do mission. Some of these beliefs include perfectionism, how we understand the nature of sin and the law, distorted versions of the gospel and - a shockingly common one - the idea that the battle between good and evil can’t be won until a group of last day believers achieve sinless lives.

This last view is a common idea taught by a theological paradigm within the church known as Last Generation Theology. And until it is addressed and discarded, the vast majority of local Adventist churches will simply never thrive.

 

Want to explore a healthy, gospel centred approach to Adventist theology?

Check out these books!

 

But why? Why are these ideas so dangerous to the mission of the local Adventist church?

This week, I share a new interview with pastor Mike Cyprian Manea as we discuss the root of the problem and how a healthy, Biblical alternative is imperative if we want our churches to thrive.

This episode is fire, so don’t miss out!

Listen below.


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Is Your Adventism Beautiful?
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Jewelry.

It’s a word that ruffles lots of feathers in Adventism. Some Adventists believe you can’t possibly be Adventist if you wear it. Other Adventists believe there is nothing wrong with it. And others still take a functional approach that supports the use of jewelry (like watches, tie clips, wedding bands) while rejecting jewelry that only serves adornment purposes (like ties I guess?). But to be honest, I kind of don’t really care. In fact, the whole debate pretty much bores me. But there is an angle on the whole theme of adornment and jewelry that I never hear during these debates, and its the one that I happen to find really interesting.

In Isaiah 61:10 the Bible says,

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Now notice the imagery here. The text is saying that God adorns us like a bride adorns herself in jewels. Picture that for a moment. A bride getting herself ready for her wedding. She is careful to comb and braid her hair just right. Her skin is brushed to perfection. She hangs a necklace around her neck and earrings that match. The jewels themselves can’t be just any old jewel. They have to be just right - not so strong that they steal the show and not so weak that they look out of place. They have to compliment her eyes, her dress - even the shape of her jaw and the length of her neck. It’s a work of art intended to enhance her beauty and draw attention to her joy.

The Bible says that this is what God does for us. He adorns us. He clothes us in his promise of salvation, in a robe of his perfect life and love. The picture Isaiah is painting is clear. God isn’t interested in dragging us into a religion full of rules and weird standards. The exact opposite is happening. God courts us romantically and then, the day we embrace him, he adorns us in all the beauty heaven has to offer.

In other words, God wants us to be beautiful.

David put it best in Psalm 90:17 when he wrote, “let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us…”

In other words, its not simply that God adorns us with his grace and forgiveness. According to David he adorns us with himself. He is like a jewel that enhances our beauty and draws everyone’s attention to his heart. (Too bad this amazing point is often absent in our silly debates over jewelry.)

But it goes deeper than this. God is not simply an adornment upon you and me that others see when they interact with us. Instead, the Bible paints an even crazier picture. Notice what Isaiah says in chapter 62 verse 3.

You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Not only does God adorn us with himself, Isaiah goes so far as to say that he adorns himself with us!

Did you catch that? Not only does God adorn us with himself, Isaiah goes so far as to say that he adorns himself with us! Imagine God placing a crown on his head, or a royal ring upon his finger. That crown and that ring represent you and me. It’s not that God needs us to make himself more beautiful because he is the height of beauty. However, in some weird way I don’t fully understand God still describes his people as jewels he wears upon himself. I would suggest that because the great controversy is a battle over the character of God - is he good or not? - then the biblical picture of God wearing his people as jewelry has theodical significance. In other words, when we live beautiful lives we beautify God in the eyes of people who think he is ugly. Our lives are the jewels that catch their attention and enable them to see the true beauty of his heart.

Zechariah also captured a similar picture when he wrote, “The LORD their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.” (Zech. 9:16) and speaking through the prophet Haggai, God said to Zerubabbel, “I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you…” (Haggai 2:23)

So let me ask again. Is your Adventism beautiful? Is your faith like a jewel that God would want to wear? Because buried beneath endless ping pong battles over whether jewelry is cool or not lies a narrative significantly more meaningful and important for us to ponder. I have never met a lost person who rejected church or Christians because they wore too much jewelry. But I’ll tell you what I have met - countless people who have turned away from God because supposed believers live lives that make God look ugly. Judgmental, arrogant, disconnected, sectarian, holier-than-thou, argumentative, critical, fault-finding, condemnatory, negative, obsessed with rules, traditions and mindless customs, tossed around by conspiracy theories and full of hatred toward those different from themselves. That’s the sort of stuff that makes God look ugly. Not your necklace or wedding band but your character.

So my question today is, is your Adventism beautiful? Is your life beautiful? Are you adorned with the character of Jesus? Are you kind, fun to be around, and encouraging? And on the flip-side, if you were a jewel would he put you on? Would your life be filled with care for the poor, the vulnerable and the lonely? Is it the kind of life that would make others say - “wow, God really is beautiful.”

The answer to these simple questions is the difference between a life of missional effectiveness and failure. So today I want to invite you, regardless of what your convictions on jewelry are - stop and think if you are adorned in the beauty of God and if, in turn, God would adorn himself with the beauty of you.


Help me create a YouTube channel that answers Bible questions millennials ask from an Adventist perspective.

Plus, help me release the first Bible Study set designed to study the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the SDA Church with millennials and post-moderns!

These things cost lots of money, but with your help we can make it happen! Click below to learn more.

3 Reasons Why "Jesus Loves Me" Is Not Enough
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The title of this weeks blog might surprise you.

Since when is the love of Jesus “not enough”?

Haven’t I consistently written that the love of God is the theme and song of all of scripture? Have I suddenly changed my mind?

The answer is no. I have not changed my mind. I wholeheartedly believe the foundational point of all of scripture is to bring us face to face with the unending and life-transforming love of God. Jesus is the centre and aim of every theme, prophecy and doctrine. It’s all about him, plain and simple.

I wholeheartedly believe the foundational point of all of scripture is to bring us face to face with the unending and life-transforming love of God.

However, here is my point. In an increasingly secular and post-Christian society where emerging generations are exposed to worldviews, philosophies and ideologies that impact the way they understand the nature of being, the meaning of life and the destiny of the human story you and I had better be able to say something more than, “Jesus loves me.”

Allow me to explain. Just a few months ago I read an article (can’t remember what it was called) about a conversation between an atheist and a Christian. The atheist was well schooled and a student of minds such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Friedrich Nietzsche. The Christian was a member of a church where it appeared the only thing anyone ever really talked about was “Jesus loves you.” As she sat face to face with profound existential questions related to suffering, injustice and ethics she found herself unable to say anything beyond, “Jesus loves me.” The atheist walked away underwhelmed by the exchange. The girl walked away flustered by the plethora of questions she was incapable of answering. It was an interactional train wreck.

With that foundation in place, let me now explain the 3 reasons why I believe that “Jesus loves me” is not enough.

1. A “Jesus Loves Me” Theology is Weak.

I can’t stand churches obsessed with doctrine. Particularly when doctrine is elevated above Jesus and relationships. However, I have an equal aversion for churches who reject doctrine in the name of “all that matters is Jesus.” Both of these camps are fuelled by people who clearly have no intimate contact with contemporary society.

If you are obsessed with doctrine, with rules and regulations and with unbending theological formulas then I invite you to hang out with some real people outside of your echo chamber. I guarantee, the stuff you think is so clear and important will start to fall apart rather quickly.

And if you are one of these, “just focus on Jesus’ love” people, I invite you to do the same. Explain to an atheist the dichotomy between the love of God and the injustice of the historical and modern church without resorting to cheesy one liners. Explore the nature of being with a postmodern, questions of origin, destiny and identity with an agnostic. See how far a shallow, “all that matters is Jesus love” theology gets you when you look into the eye of a self-proclaimed meta-modernist who wants to understand the logic of your faith but rejects the popular Christian tag lines of the day as reductionist and idealist foundations that function more as escapism than robust ideas capable of speaking life into societies crushing problems. I guarantee you, your “forget doctrine, Jesus love is all that matters” formula wont be able to handle the pressure.

So reason number one is that a “Jesus loves me” theology is simply too weak to interact with the complexity and agony of the human experience.

2. A “Jesus Loves Me” Theology Misses the Love of God

The love of God is the central theme of all of scripture. But that theme isn’t revealed in romanticised poetry. It’s revealed through profound metaphors, archetypes, and narratives arc’s known as doctrine. Thus, while the central theme remains the love of God, the doctrines enable us to explore that love in technicolor. A doctrinal system that overlooks God’s love totally misses this. But a focus on God’s love that rejects doctrine is doomed to forever remain shallow and consequently, it misses the very thing it claims to celebrate.

3. A “Jesus Loves Me” Theology is Corny

Doctrinal systems that ignore the love of God tend to be self-focused. Churches in this mindset are all about “right teaching” but often ignore “right action”. The end result is churches that will rush to condemn someone who steps out of their theological box, but that remain silent in the face of issues like discrimination against women, racism and the systemic suffering of the poor and marginalised in their communities.

However, a reductionist “Jesus loves me and that’s all that matters” worldview is just as incapable of fuelling individual and social transformation. As a result, we end up with churches filled with young people whose theology doesn’t go much further than the latest “Jesus loves me” worship song. This is not only a denial of discipleship in which Jesus instructs us to teach “everything” (as in, you know, ‘everything’) but a recipe for a corny faith that is incapable of sustaining our youth as they grow and encounter challenges, disappointments and attacks against their faith. In light of this, I am not surprised when Barna Research reports one of the reasons why young people leave church is that “[t]eens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.”[1]

Barna Research reports one of the reasons why young people leave church is that “[t]eens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.”

So then, what solution is there? I propose two things. First, we need to develop a simpler, more relevant understanding of our own faith that is likewise profound. This can only be accomplished by revisiting our theological narrative with the goal of re-experiencing it and contextualising its depth and beauty to the questions and needs to modern generations. Second, our churches need to develop discipleship strategies where our members, youth and guests can grow deeper in their experience with God in a step by step fashion that includes theology, service and missional living.

To help with this journey, I have written three books for church leaders and members. The first one, “How to Study the Bible with Postmoderns” is free and will give you insight into living missionally in our secular society. The second is “Weirdvolution: Adventism for a Post-Church Generation”. This book explores Adventist theology in depth but also in simple language. The objective of this book is to help you redesign your personal faith and also your church’s culture from either doctrine or non-doctrine focused to a truly Jesus centred expression of faith that has explanatory and applicatory power in post-church culture. The third is titled “The Hole in Adventism: Making Total Sense of the Old & New Covenant”. This book also explores Adventist theology in depth with a focus on Jesus and how the tension between the Old and New Covenant can bring our churches a renewed passion for the story we have been called to tell the world.

Regardless of whether any of the above resources work for you or not, here is my invitation - don’t settle for a cheesy expression of faith when there is so much beauty we can rediscover and offer to our broken culture. Search for that beauty. Equip your young people to search for it as well. And lets work together to bring Christ to a culture increasingly isolated from the profound story of his love.

____

[1] Barna Group. “Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow,” [Web: https://www.barna.com/research/six-reasons-young-christians-leave-church/]


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How Political Should an Adventist Be?
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Should Adventists have anything to do with politics?

Or, should we just focus on the gospel and forget about politics altogether?

And if we do engage politics, how should we do it?

These and other questions are explored in this weeks new podcast episode interview with Andrews University Professor Nicolas Miller.

Listen and subscribe below!


Want to help me produce more awesome content? Become a Patreon!

How to Keep Your Fire When Your Church is Frozen
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I talk to people all the time who are seriously fed up with the state of their local church. They preach, teach, admonish, rebuke and inspire the members (or try) with zero results. It seems, no matter how hard they work, the church simply will not change, evolve or revive. And if they manage to take a few steps forward, its only a matter of time before the church slides back into its old habits. Transforming our church culture feels like dragging a giant boulder up a soggy, muddy cliff.

Cynicism sets in. They keep attending church but have lost faith in the people. From time to time they run into someone who feels like them but for the most part they feel alone.

Over time, these people lose the capacity to say anything positive about the church. Everything is bad. Everything sucks. There is nothing redemptive. Their fire isn’t necessarily going out but its burning for the wrong reasons. What was once a flame ignited for mission and love, is now a raging inferno that burns with anger and disenchantment. If they have anything positive to say, its minimal compared to the long list of church-fails they have compiled.

I know these people because I meet them all the time. I also know them because from time to time, I am one of them.

I’m human. And despite my faith in God I must admit, sometimes I lose hope in the vision of a vibrant, meaningful and world-transforming local church within Adventism. I hear stories of toxic church after toxic church, pastors uninterested in making a difference, church members vehemently opposed to anything remotely different and fear-mongering ministries derailing missional churches into pointless debates over nonsense that I wonder - are we simply too far gone to turn around? Its not simply our structure that needs to change after all - its our culture! Structure is easy. Culture is a whole other monster. Changing our culture from fundamentalist argumentation to relational servanthood could take another two generations at the least! What are we to do in the meantime?

Some people I talk to just give up. The SDA institution is simply incapable of generating missional churches designed for interacting with and reaching post-modern societies, they say. So they walk away from the church altogether. Others stick around, but they are not happy - sowing seeds of discontent wherever they go. And fewer still keep pushing against the grain, pacing themselves so they don’t get exhausted, but patiently waiting on Gods timing to do what they know can only be done by his Spirit.

Its a tough scenario, I know. But in the midst of this I have found that they key to keeping your fire when your local church is frozen is to recognise that the current state of the church is no surprise in the narrative of redemption. In fact, God revealed that our day would be marked by churches that think they are all that - but are “miserable, poor, blind and naked.”

 

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (Revelation 3:14-18)

So what do these verses say that can help us keep our fire despite the Laodecian state of the church? Here are five key points that I have found.

  1. They show us that the current state of many local churches as a program-centred, relationally lacking, culturally disconnected, tradition obsessed, mission-less clubs was foreseen by God over two millennia ago. In other words, our current experience is meant to be this way. It’s been prophesied. So before you get all bent out of shape and walk out, keep in mind - this is the way its currently prophesied to be. God is not in heaven surprised by our coldness so we shouldn’t act surprised either.

  2. They show us that our current disgust with the state of the church is shared by God. He goes so far as to say that the Laodecian vibe makes him want to puke. So if church ever makes you want to puke (or like, leave, run, hide, hit the snooze button) then you are not alone. In fact, its the people who are comfortable with the church’s condition that should be worried. But if you are uncomfortable with it you’re probably feeling a tiny bit of how God feels. So you’re in good company.

  3. They show us that we are not the solution, but part of the problem. God’s solution to the Laodecian church is not, “I counsel you to listen to pastor Marcos, subscribe to his podcast and download his eBook.” And his counsel is not, “pay attention to all those people sick of the way you do things and let them redesign your church.” And for good reason! You and I are not the solution. This means despite all our good intentions, we remain part of the problem. So before you run off thinking you are better off without this messed up church, stop and remember - you’re pretty messed up too. Let that humble you and balance you in your journey.

    This is a big one for me because my main focus is speaking truth to Adventist tradition with the goal of a redesigned Adventist local church. But I have to remember that the solution remains Jesus - not church strategies, methodologies or structures. Realising I am part of the problem also helps me to avoid cynicism and enables me to look at our broken church with enthusiasm, noticing the good things that are happening and not just the bad. Among those good things is a generation of passionate young people rising up as well as a generation of older leaders empowering and inspiring those young ones. I want to recognise and celebrate this as often as I can.

  4. They show us that Jesus is the only answer. He is the only one who can give us that gold, white garment, and eye salve that we need to be reborn in his image. And the result is spiritual wealth, health and vision. Now imagine a church filled with spiritually wealthy, healthy and visioning Christians! That would be awesome. But the answer is not the next trendy church growth book. It’s Jesus.

  5. They show us that Laodecia is not the end. After the church of Laodecia, the very next thing we find in terms of a church is the remnant of Revelation 12. That remnant are a group of people passionate about Jesus and living for him alone. In a world locked in an apocalyptic struggle over empire, there emerges a community of simple people who are all about Jesus and they stand alone against the darkness. Laodecia is not the end. Its just a chapter in the story. We are in that chapter today. But don’t be discouraged by it. Instead, look to Jesus and remember, he has a final remnant of people who are so in love with him they don’t have time for anything other than lifting him up for the world to see. And this is what our focus should be “in the meantime”.

If you are frustrated with church I want you to know, I get it. I sometimes get super jaded as well. But the solution is Jesus and I take comfort in knowing that he has a remnant in the end. So long as I lift him up in Laodecia, he will use those efforts to gather his true lovers into a final community that will walk through the injustice of beasts and liars reflecting the beauty of God’s heart of love in the midst of a generation that has lost the capacity to love. So focus on Jesus. Lift up Jesus. Be comforted in Jesus. And keep the vision of an “Adventism. Redesigned.” alive in him.


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Why I Do What I Do
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This past week was rough. One of my brothers was killed by a drunk driver on his way home from work. He was 46 years old and had three kids. The police said it happened so fast, he probably didn’t even have time to blink. In a split second his existence was over.

As I meditated on the fragility of life - how everything could be over so quickly and unexpectedly - I was once again reminded of why The Story Church Project exists and why I say what I say, preach what I preach and do what I do.

If you live until you are 80, how many weeks of life do you have left?

About a year ago, I was asked a crazy question. If you live until you are 80, how many weeks of life do you have left? Is it 80,000? How about 40,000? Or maybe its less - say, 14,000? I can’t recall my exact answer, but it was somewhere around 40,000.

How about you? How many weeks of life do you have left if you made it to 80? If you don’t know, then I want to invite you to consider the words of the Psalmist David who once wrote, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) So if you don’t know the answer, take a few moments right now to throw up a reasonable guess.

After I made my guess I then calculated how many years I have until I reach 80 (46 because I’m 32) and then multiplied 46 by how many weeks are in a year (52). The number that I saw freaked me out. None of my guesses were even close. At 32 years of age, if I live to the age of 80 I have a mere 2,496 weeks left.

2,496.

That’s all.

But my brothers sudden passing also helped me realize that life can end at any moment. So the truth is, I have anywhere from 1 minute to 2496 weeks left of life. In other words, that measly 2496 isn’t even guaranteed. It can end at any moment.

I do it because I literally don’t have the time to do anything else.

I was reminded at that moment why I do what I do. I do it because I literally don’t have the time to do anything else. Jesus said it best, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4) Since I started writing blogs 6 years ago, I have been criticized, misunderstood and made fun of. Some people have called me arrogant, negative and I’ve even been labeled a Jesuit. But honestly, I don’t really mind. I don’t have time to pay attention to nonsense. Like literally, I don’t have the time. Instead, I choose to live my life as Paul instructed: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

The truth is, our world is desperately in need of Jesus. People are dying without him. Suicide and addiction are strangling our society. And if there is one thing we all know, its that the church is struggling to make an impact. The traditions, customs and structures that perpetuate that struggle are things that need to be discussed, challenged and discarded. Its a serious conversation that is bound to ruffle some feathers. But I have to do it. I have to because I simply don’t have the time to not do it.

I don’t know how much time you have left, but I want to invite you to not waste it. You don’t get much. And in the end, you can either use your days to make a meaningful difference or you can waste them.

I’ve made my choice.


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Is Adventism Falling Behind? (with DMing Truth&Tech)
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Have you ever heard the phrase, "Adventists are always [x number] of years behind?"

If so you are not alone!

This weeks latest podcast ep. is an interview I was invited to by the guys over at the DMing Truth&Tech podcast where we talk about this very topic!

You don't want to miss it. Listen below! (Also on iTunes and Spotify)

To read the original article this episode is all about, Click Here.

Check out the DMing Truth&Tech Podcast!

On Anchor.Fm

On iTunes

On Twitter


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Pastor MarcosComment
The 3 Bottom Line Reasons Why Local Adventist Churches are Dead
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Last week I had the privilege of talking with a pastor from the US. We chatted about secular outreach, missional culture and the challenges faced by Western Adventism. At one point in our conversation, the pastor dropped a massive bomb. “There are close to 60 SDA churches in the region I work,” he said. “Only two of them are healthy.”

I was bummed out by the news, but not surprised. In my experience, most local SDA churches are dying churches. The membership is ageing, the mission is nonexistent and the youth are fading. Adventist Record editor Jarrod Stackelroth described tackling this crisis as dealing with “the very survival of the Adventist Church.”[1]

In the midst of these dying churches there are a few that tend to stay afloat. They do so by putting as much energy as possible into survival. They work hard to retain their youth. They put on lots of programs to keep them connected. And they change a few things here and there to meet the needs of emerging generations. However, after all is said and done, these churches are not living, they are merely staying alive. And we all know that staying alive is not the same as living. The tragedy of this is best captured in the words of Bill Henard who wrote, “When a church decides to become a survivor, it unfortunately sets the stage for death.”[2]

And of course, within this decaying church environment, there are still the odd churches that are thriving. But these are about as mythological as a unicorn. Okay, not really but you get the point. They are rare and super hard to to find.

But why?

Why are stagnation and death our norm?

I believe there are many answers to that question and if you step into a room full of pastors and mission minded folk, you would probably get 100 different answers to this question. But in this article I want to offer the 3 bottom line reasons are churches are dead. These are based on my personal observations so I don’t claim infallibility here, but I think you will find that they make a lot of sense. I’ll also end with some practical steps on what we can do to turn things around.

So here we go! The 3 Bottom Line Reasons Why Local Adventist Churches are Dead:

We have convinced too many people.

Suppose you write a book. The purpose of the book is to convince everyone that New York Pizza is the best pizza in the world. You do this in a very simple format. You state your case in the introduction and then, for the next 12 chapters, you argue one point after another. Chapter 1, the cheese is richer. Chapter 2, the base is thinner. Chapter 3, the sauce is more authentic. And so on and so forth.

By the time you get to the end of the book, you have argued 12 reasons why New York Pizza is the best pizza in the world. Along the way, you have demonstrated how Boston and Chicago just don’t compare and, of course, how Atlanta and Los Angeles never stood a chance. Your book is published and becomes a huge hit. After a year, a massive convention gathers in Manhattan to celebrate your best seller. Thousands of people who agree with you attend to celebrate with you. You now have a “NYP-Only” cult following that sweeps across the globe. Congratulations.

Okay, back to reality. The point I am getting at is this: the above scenario is pretty much how Adventist evangelism has historically worked. Adventists have historically approached the great commission as a great debate in which we argue for our theological brand. “Here is why Adventism is the best denomination in the world!” we cry. Chapter 1 - We go to church on the right day. Chapter 2 - We alone can explain what really happens when you die. Chapter 3 - We have got end time events figured out way better than everyone else. Then, sprinkled in each of our presentations are passive and active arguments about how the Pentecostals and Methodists are so wrong. And those non-denominational Christians? Stay away from them. But of course, nothing gets our blood boiling more than that Roman Catholic Church! Now that’s just straight up Satan!

If you are a conservative Adventist (like me btw) you might be appalled right now. Am I making fun of our message? Not at all. What I am doing is pointing out how so much of our SDA churches are like conventions filled with people who are convinced by our arguments. And they join our movement because they think we are right and everyone else is wrong. They are not necessarily converted (will come back to this) but boy, are they convinced we’ve got the truth! And what do you get when you have reached people by arguing them into the church? You get a church culture more interested in arguing than in serving.

I’m not impressed by gigantic post-evangelistic baptism numbers. What I’m interested in is, how many of them where won with love and to love? Because so long as we keep winning people with arguments we will win them to arguing. And this, I believe, is one of the main reasons why so many of our local churches are dead. Everyone just wants to keep arguing. No one wants to serve.

We have freaked out too many people.

Let’s use our imagination again. Suppose you decide to start a business selling insurance but no one sees the need. Eventually, you discover a marketing trick that works like a charm and with it you are able to scale your business and put food on your table. The trick? Sell to peoples fears. If you market how good your product is, no one cares. But if you market how urgent it is “or else”… well now you have the phone ringing off the hook!

In his article “Why Fear Sells: The Business of Panic & Paranoia,” Martin Lindstrom stated clearly that “fear is a powerful persuader…. [w]hich is why the marketing world uses scare tactics to sell us everything from antidepressants to condoms, dental floss to laundry detergent, burglar alarms to cell phones, bottled water to pizza dough, as well as countless other brands and products.”[3] Using this handy information you switch up your marketing campaigns and sell to your prospects fear of death, disease and financial ruin. And caching! You are rich.

But what does this have to do with why so many local Adventist churches are dead? Because this method of selling to fear is precisely what many ministries use in order to get you to buy their products. Add to this the difficulty of a small Adventist market and a ton of competing ministries, and you end up with new start ups having to develop unique selling points. One ministry exists to warn you about the dangers of x, the other to warn you about the dangers of y, and if that’s not enough a new guy is on the scene raising the midnight cry on how if you don’t understand z you and your children’s souls will be imperilled.

Adrian Zahid captured this issue well in his article, “Beyond the One project: The War Over the Local Church (5b)” He writes:

Because they are often competing with other independent ministries for the same number of churches who are open to such speakers, they have to differentiate and establish their “unique selling point” against that of another independent minister. It is a zero-sum game. Either they are invited to churches and they quickly establish urgency in the minds of the members regarding their topic and sell materials at the end of the weekend series or they and their family will starve. Enormous pressure, is therefore put on the independent minister, to present information in such a way as to create a thirst in the mind of the member that can only be quenched by buying the materials on sale after the series is ended. The member then adds the materials to their ‘threat-matrix’ system so that they can see this latest ‘spiritual danger’ coming at them a mile away. Often the member does not have the time to really study the materials in any organised fashion or depth because the next weekend another speaker is ready to present yet another ‘testing Truth’ or ‘threat’ that they have to be vigilant about. And the cycle repeats itself.[4]

This process, Zahid argues, has a “tremendous effect on the local church” in which (among other issues) “every person views the other as a potential spiritual threat to their salvation”. Such a culture quickly degenerates into toxicity. Add to this the already existing foundation of argumentation and you end up with a nucleus of people too freaked out about existing to have any meaningful impact in the world. The church quickly becomes a fortress rather than a hospital.

We have short-sold too many people.

I want to go back to point one here. When we win people by convincing them with arguments we can publish sexy reports about how many baptisms we got, but in the long run it bites us in the butt. The truth is, belonging to the church is a passage that takes place on the heels of conversion. When a person receives Christ and is born again, the Bible says they pass from death unto life, from the headship of the first Adam to the second Adam, from humanity 1.0 to humanity 2.0, from the kingdom of men to the kingdom of heaven. This conversion experience transcends a shift in worldview. It involves being born a new from above and this is a miraculous, divinely initiated metamorphosis.

But this rebirth doesn’t happen like a physical birth. In a physical birth a person is conceived and then born into the world. But for a rebirth to take place it must be preceded, not by conception, but by death.

In other words, we must die first, before we can be born anew. And this death experience is imperative in the Christian life. It is death to self. Death to the old man. And a rebirth into an entirely new experience as a child of God. And you cannot accomplish this by convincing people that we are right. And while this is certainly the least popular thing I will ever say, I maintain that the reason most of our churches are dead is because they are filled with people convinced by the truth but not converted by it. To put it differently, most of our churches are not filled with men and women who have died and been reborn into newness of life. Instead, they are filled with men and women who have re-branded their worldview via Adventists theology. Mixed with the argumentative spirit of our historic evangelistic style and a constant bombardment of fear based sales pitches and you end up with a culture that is constantly trending toward death because it is, in essence, composed of individual souls who are already spiritually dead and have yet to experience the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit - a power that sets us free from self, from argumentative and judgmental spirits and fills with a love so perfect it casts away all our fear.

Okay, so I said some heavy stuff there. I’m anticipating some angry comments maybe? Or maybe I should be less cynical. Either way, the question that is now before us is simple: What can we do about this? I mean, its one thing to identify the issues. Its another to solve them. Here are some points I hope can be of help:

  1. Adventist preachers, leaders, influencers etc. need to focus on conversion more. We need to preach Jesus not as a nice idea, but as a living person who is calling us to death. So many gospel presentations these days gloss over death or skip it altogether and the result, I’m afraid, is that we are simply convincing people to give Jesus a go and see how his philosophy of life improves ours. But this is not the gospel! We must come by way of his death. And that death experience is imperative not only for our individual spiritual life but for our collective mission as well. Imagine, what would Adventism be like if it was filled with less people who were staunchly convinced that the Sabbath is on Saturday, but who had died to their self-centred, argumentative and narcissistic selves and been born again a new creation in the likeness of Jesus - compassionate, kind and other-centred? You get my point. Preach conversion!

  2. I’m not against independent ministries, but for those who are reading who perhaps lead one - please think about two things. First, think about how you market your material. The last thing our churches need is more people exploiting their fears to sell them the next DVD with the urgent warning. And please, for the love of all that is beautiful, stop calling every new thing you don’t like the “Omega Apostasy”. Seriously, if I have one more person tell me their DVD or book exposes what it really is, I’m going to puke.

    Okay, let me get back to serious for a moment. If you run an independent ministry its because God has gifted you with innovation, charisma and the spirit of entrepreneurship. And that’s awesome! Use it! But chill out with the fear stuff. And I’m not just talking about marketing here. I’m talking about content as well. When it comes to marketing, I’m not even 100% against using pain points and urgency to get someones attention. What I am really frustrated with is the emotional manipulation that then leads people, not toward something redemptive, but toward more fear based content that engrosses the mind with the work of evil until the love of God becomes relegated to the pile of “cheesy milk doctrine”. Not cool. Everything you say must point to Jesus. If it doesn’t you are not doing God’s work no matter how you spin it.

    For church leaders, a word of advice: don’t try and convince your members to stay away from this stuff. It turns the leaders of these ministries into martyrs and makes life harder. Instead, keep calling your flock back to the scriptures and deal with the principles of having the mind of Christ. Not everyone will get it, but it will inoculate new members and slowly lead the ones hooked on this stuff to turn their eyes to Jesus.

  3. Focus on the good. In my second podcast episode I interviewed pastor Robert Stankovic about restoring churches high-jacked by fanaticism. He said something so wise I never forgot it. “Focus on the good and eventually the bad will discover it doesn’t fit in anymore.” I think that’s an awesome bit of practical advice and a sweet spot to end.

Do you have any thoughts to add? Feel free to comment below!

___

[1] https://record.adventistchurch.com/2018/06/08/growing-young-how-to-save-our-church/

[2] https://factsandtrends.net/2018/05/30/surviving-church-is-dying-church/

[3] https://brainworldmagazine.com/fear-sells-business-panic-paranoia/2/

[4] https://thecompassmagazine.com/blog/beyond-the-one-project-the-war-over-the-local-church-5b

Should Adventist Churches be Involved in Social Justice? with Nathan Brown
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Should Adventist churches be involved in social justice?

If we do get involved, how do we avoid getting sucked into politics?

Isn’t social justice an ideology driven by the political left? How can I serve the needs around me without getting swept into supporting ideas the Bible doesn’t gel with?

These and many more questions are answered in the long awaited podcast interview on social justice and the local Adventist church. I am joined by Signs book editor Nathan Brown to discuss one of the most important topics of our day.

Check it out below and don’t forget to subscribe and share! (Also on iTunes and Spotify)

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Connect with Nathan:

  • Get his latest book at: falafelsandfollowingjesus.com/

  • Facebook: bit.ly/2ueQDlq 

  • Email: nathanbrown@signspublishing.com.au


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Top 5 Annoying Things Adventist Preachers Should Stop Doing
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Today I would like to get 5 Adventist preacher annoyances off my chest. My bias of course, is that my passion in ministry is secular people. And these are 5 major turn off’s that I see Adventist preachers do more often than I wish I did.

1) Speaking in Adventese. Annoyance number one is Adventist preachers who use conservative SDA jargon as though everyone knows what they are talking about. "Spirit of Prophecy, Remnant, Reformation, Pen of Inspiration etc." These words and terms have zero meaning to anyone who is not already an Adventist and some are even theologically suspect. Not going to get into all the specifics here, but my advice is watch your language. If you must use an insider term, explain it before hand. I recommend you do this even if you are 100% sure that everyone in the room is already Adventist. That way, not only do you develop the habit of talking like a normal person but you also destroy the habit of assuming everyone knows what you are talking about. The last thing you want is for your entire sermon to speak only to the people who already agree with you. That’s not a God-thing, ever.

2) My dear brethren… Annoyance number two is connected to number one, but slightly different. It’s preachers whose sentence structure, phraseology, prose and speech rhythms are identical to people from the 1800's. Its as if they have read so much Ellen White that they have lost their own contemporary speech patterns. Some basic examples are preachers who say things like, “My dear brethren” or, “Let us now turn to the Holy Scriptures.” These are mild examples, of course, because what I am really talking about is not just how a sermon or text is introduced but how an entire sermon is spoken (something that I can’t really reproduce here). But the basic rule of thumb is, pay attention to your sentence structures. If you sound like you could add a top hat and a monocle to your outfit then you need to seriously snap out of it. Other conservative Adventists won’t have a problem, but outside of that most people will find you disingenuous and potentially laughable.

3) Thou wouldn’t, wouldest thee? Point number three is also connected to 1 & 2 and its this: lay off the KJV will ya?

Disclaimer time: I'm have zero interest in a debate over which translation is best. So please, save yourself the effort of pasting that YouTube doco in the comments below. I won’t watch it. What I'm interested in is which language is best. And the best language, hands down, is the one that the people are using. So the moment I hear a preacher whip out the old KJV my immediate thought is, Who in the world is he preaching to?

I recently had a lady stop attending a Sabbath School class because she was from a foreign country, struggled with English to begin with, and had to put up with the class wanting to use the KJV. When I visited her she asked me, “Isn’t the point of learning the Bible to be able to share it with others?” She then read me a verse from the NKJV (a more modern version) and asked me, “What in the world does that even mean? How is this supposed to provide any meaning to my friends?”

I’d say this non-Adventist was spot on. And please, leave the "the KJV is grade school reading level" argument in the bin where it belongs. Grade school reading level for who? I can read philosophical PhD's with greater ease than the KJV (also, here’s an article that debunks that claim). The bottom line is the KJV is not easy to follow and as Christians we should aim to make the gospel as accessible as possible. It's Christ we are called to proclaim, not a bygone linguistic European era.

4) Stop touching my feels! Ladies and gentlemen, the 90’s are over and with them, the one preaching practice that we must - for the love of all that is good - retire, is the cheesy emotional ballad at the end of the sermon. Yes, it get’s people all “feelsy” and responsive, but that has more to do with how the pretty hymn on the piano manipulates emotion than with an authentic spiritual experience.

David Neff aptly referred to this emotional manipulation as “comin’-to-Jesus music” which, in his experience with an evangelist, consisted of “gradually increas[ing] the volume as he turned up the emotional pitch of his invitation.”[1] The downside of course, is what happens when the emotional high collapses and you find yourself in need of another one to feel “spiritual” again. This method was used all throughout my childhood with an addictive effect that had zero impact on our faith. In fact, I remember kids in my youth group leaving the sermon because they were bored, only to return just as the music kicked in (and then go to the front!). It’s not God they were responding to. It was the emotional experience that they craved.

Finally, the culture today is the most advertised to generation that has ever lived. Companies are constantly pulling their emotional strings to get a sale from them. As a result, this generation can spot a sales pitch a mile away. The cheesy song at the end of the sermon? Yeah, totally “salesy”. Don’t do it.

5) Stop “wowing” people. Finally, to all my fellow Adventist preachers, please for the sake of the church’s soul - stop preaching “wow” sermons. Young Adventist preachers are especially prone to this. They hear their favourite celebrity preacher making applications and biblical connections they have never seen before, and then they go to the Bible and try to do that same. In the end, they come up with all kinds of super interesting ideas that make the audience say “wow” but that have zero impact on a persons spiritual health. Don’t be that gal (or guy).

Instead, I leave you with the words of my biblical exegesis professor (which as a preacher you should totally study by the way) Martin Klingbeil. “Dont preach sermons that make people say ‘wow’. Preach sermons that change peoples lives.”

Wise words, Dr. Klingbeil.

So there you have it! My top 5 list of annoying things Adventist preachers should stop doing. I have others, but I’ll leave it at that. Share your own below!

_____

[1] https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2018/february-web-exclusives/billy-grahams-altar-calls-were-more-than-moments-of-decisio.html

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How to Do Evangelism in a Post-Christian, Secular Society with Shelley Poole
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I am so incredibly excited I can’t contain myself!

This week, I am releasing an interview with artist and missional enthusiast Shelley Poole where we talk about evangelism in a post-Christian, secular society. This is one of the most fun interviews I have ever done! Not only is Shelley super engaging and knowledgeable but she also brings her experience as an artist in touch with the culture and its contemporary conversations.

Here are some of the things we talk about:

  • How far behind is the SDA church in the cultural conversation? And how can we catch up?

  • What are some things we commonly do as a church that turns the culture off? Let’s name them so we can learn from them!

  • What are some things we can do to adapt our evangelism to the current cultural milieu? Plus a whole lot more :D

If you are an Adventist member, pastor, administrator, president, evangelist, youth leader, or just about anyone remotely interested in reaching post-Christian society, you don’t want to miss this interview. Listen and subscribe below! (Also on iTunes and Spotify)

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