I highly commend a new blog by my friend Todd Braye, a pastor who discovered the beauty and newness of the New Covenant while preaching faithfully through Galatians.
His blog is Unveiled: Resources for the New Covenant Church (http://tbraye.wordpress.com). I particularly appreciate his series “Towards Evangelical Revival.” Todd’s first two in the series are on “the dead orthodoxy of smug contentment” in which he quotes Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones extensively.
Over the past several years, I’ve seen, read, and participated in a lot of discussions about what laws or commandments we need to follow in the New Covenant, what a Biblical Theology of the New Covenant should be, or what the eschatology of NCT adherents should be. (That last one is a particularly volatile one at the moment, with some amills wanting to kick out the premills.)
In other words, there’s a lot of conversation about NCT orthodoxy.
But what about NCT orthopraxy?
What should a church that teaches New Covenant Theology look like? What are its hallmarks? Continue reading
I’m very moved and motivated by what I see the Rebuild Network (therebuildinitiative.org) doing to plant churches in urban areas. But there’s more to them than planting, and there’s something to learn from them in all churches who want to focus on discipleship and mission.
Here’s a video that tells the story of the first church they planted. I just love this.
On December 15, 2007, 25 families made the commitment to move from Denton, TX to Atlanta, GA to plant a church that was in the city, for the city, and looked like the city. It became the Rebuild Network’s first church plant—Blueprint Church.
About three years ago, we as the elders at our church read Colin Marshall and Tony Payne’s The Trellis and the Vine. I’m revisiting it now as I’m reading it with one of the new deacons in some trellis-and-vine style discipleship.
I’m saddened to see how poorly we’ve adopted what the authors recommend.
Chapter one provides a beautiful parable comparing the work done in churches to a vine growing on a trellis. The authors ask us, are we putting our effort into building a trellis (creating programs) or cultivating the vine (growing people.) The argue — and I agree — that way too much goes into creating structure and force-fitting people into that structure, rather than building, training and growing people for ministry.
Chapter two of the book outlines the “Ministry Mind-Shifts” that the writers recommend and which they flesh out in detail in later chapters. They say we need to transform:
- From running programs to building people
- From running events to training people
- From using people to growing people
- From filling gaps to training new workers
- From solving problems to helping people make progress
- From clinging to ordained ministry to developing team leadership
- From focusing on church polity to forging ministry partnerships
- From relying on training institutions to establishing local training
- From focusing on immediate pressures to aiming for long-term expansion
- From engaging in management to engaging in ministry
- From seeking church growth to desiring gospel growth
Getting buy-in on these as principles is not the difficult part. Getting buy-in on these as actions? That’s where the work is.
We’re very excited at Evangelical Church of Fairport to be the 11th Learning Site in the U.S. for the Porterbrook Network.
Our first fall term begins Oct. 3.
Update: we’re postponing the launch until January 2 so that we can get the largest possible participation.
More about the Porterbrook Network may be found on our local site’s website, porterbrookROC.com.
Porterbrook Network is a two-year church-based theological training program with a supported self-study structure with others who are training in a similar field, church or geographic affiliation.
Steve Timmis and Tim Chester, co-authors of Total Church and founders of The Crowded House, created The Porterbrook Network in the U.K. in 2006 in response to a conviction for churches to become more Gospel-Centered and for new Gospel-Centered churches to be planted.
The vision of Porterbrook is to equip individuals and churches to rediscover mission as their DNA, to become better lovers of God and lovers of others, and to proclaim the Gospel through word and action for the Glory of God. Porterbrook is being used in the U.K., U.S., Canada, Italy, Ukraine, India, South Africa, and Australia, and Porterbrook Learning material is currently being translated into Chinese, Russian, and Italian.
John Piper posted a video — which looks like he recorded himself in his study — about talking to people for whom God is unreal. They say “don’t give me that God talk. This is a real problem.” It’s an “overflow” from his sermon of this past weekend.
When Talking to Folks for Whom God Is Unreal from John Piper on Vimeo.