Sharing your faith without feeling (much) like a cheeseball

A “catch all” seminar of quick-hits in which I touch on:

1) Newcomer/Assimilation ministry at your church.

2) A program to equip adults to read the Bible 1 on 1 with young people – works with ANY size church and needs no paid staff).

3. Two tools for sharing Jesus with others: Randy Raysbrook’s, “1 Verse Evangelism” and James Choung’s, “The Big Story.”

4. The two types of Christian spirituality: Pietism and mysticism, and why you want to encourage both.

5. What young people who didn’t leave the church have in common, and how knowing those three things can change your retention of young adults.

Evangelism Seminar: Click to go to folder of tools

Click photo to open dropbox folder of tools

Click on this pic to download slides and presenter notes

Click on this pic to download slides and presenter notes

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A prayer for the church

Roman Hospital

Snark MeterrealMID.003 

…to remember her call to the least and last, both individually and institutionally.

The invocation from today’s Phoenix Seminary fundraising breakfast by Dr. John Delhousaye…

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, you hold the universe together. We know you this way as mystery—as science attempts to trace your effects.

But you also became flesh and are with us until the end of this age. Immanuel, you are the Perfect Physician, always present to take our misery to the cross. You are in it with us.

In A.D. 321, after the Council of Nicea, what we call a hospital came from your heart—to every Cathedral city. But we have forgotten where the hospital came from. Our culture suffers under a collective amnesia; and now, as nearly every Phoenix hospital has been secularized—as if your presence were confined to a chapel—many doctors and nurses feel isolated and limited in their capacity to help the whole person.

Around A.D. 1000, what we call the university came from your mind. The university of Bologna, the first, came into being to study the digest of law from the Christian emperor Justinian, so that justice would be grounded in Truth, not the sway of public opinion. The University of Paris, perhaps the second—closed in the French Revolution, which brought in a fog of atheism yet to dissipate over Europe—came out of the cathedral schools whose founding desire was to know you as Lord in creation and Scripture. It was never faith against science. Faith nurtured science. But we have forgotten this, and secularized universities—as if your presence were confined to the study of religion—have lost their way; they are incapable of providing robust, virtuous, and attractive Truth.

But, Lord, you have never left. Everything belongs to you and is at your disposal. In our exile, we are called to join you in seeking the good of our city. You are the Crucified yet Resurrected one, and you have gone ahead of us to protect the weak, to care for the sick, to feed the hungry, to instruct the mind, to comfort the broken, to provoke the lazy, and to humble the proud.

But how will they know it is you, Lord, the source of all hope and comfort, unless we proclaim your name? For those who suffer from Dementia, family has the sacred task of reminding them who they are. Restore our memory, renew our mind, enflame our heart, until we are born again into new creation. Amen.

 

*John is professor of New Testament and Spiritual Transformation at Phx. Sem. Some day he will publish his translation and commentaries. They will be must-reads. For those who read theology, they are a bit like Frederick Dale Bruner meets Tom Oden, i.e. first rate biblical scholarship meets church history.

Tenebrae Reimagined

Click on pic to go to dropbox for files

Click on pic to go to dropbox for files

This is a powerful, millennial friendly, Holy Week liturgy to put in your file for next Spring. If Tenebrae is new to you, you might think of it as a camp “cross-video”…only one that happens in your mind and with much more emotional impact.

It is an adaptation of the ancient monastic service found in the Episcopal Book of Occasional Services. We kept what works best (the candles and the growing darkness of the room, the chant and participation through responsive prayers.) However, we adapted it to work better on every level.

1. Because it uses projected Keynote slides for the readings, you can have the room actually and impressively dark.

2. Rather than being lost in puzzling Lamentations readings, it now tells the story of Jesus’ Passion clearly through Old Testament messianic prophecy.

3. It has the opportunity to integrate modern sound (a terrific “earthquake” rumbles the room at the resurrection), and the best of contemporary hymnody (How Deep the Father’s Love) with the symbolism, participation, and chant. It is quite flexible: You can use the included charts for your own cantor or play the included chant recordings. You can have your own soloist and use a backing track, or play the vocal version of the hymn within the slideshow. (You will still need candles, a table, snuffer, and a black hooded alb. Now you will also need a Mac with Keynote, screen, sound system, and a good rehearsal.)

4. It is clear enough and brief enough for children to remain engaged.

We knew we had a winner the first time we used this. At the point of Christ’s death you could hear people quietly sobbing all over the nave. People stayed in the darkened church long after the service was over. We had to finally ask the last few to leave an hour later to lock up. As far as I can tell some 5-6k folk have attended this service.

If you use it, please shoot me an email with feedback and a photo or two if you can get one in the dark.

Blessings,

Matt+

Explaining the ancient church at PhoenixOne.

Parenting to grow great teens

Being parents has been one of the true life-joys for Kari and I the last twenty years. Youth ministry veterans Ken and Julie Moser like our children so much they wanted me to come lead a seminar on parenting teens.

I am not sure how much credit we can take for the people our kids have chosen to become (Kari can more than I can to be sure), and I fear that setting myself up as some sort of parenting “guru” might jinx them.

The slides and notes from parenting seminar at the “Q Event” in the diocese of Qu’Appelle is available by clicking on the photo.

Click on pic to download pdf of slides and notes

(Click on pic to download pdf of slides and notes)