I am 0-2 at book reviews/discussions but like they say the 3rd times a charm! Starting Monday Oct. 6 we will begin a discussion on Rob Bell and Don Golden's new book Jesus Wants to Save Christians. Here is a brief description of the book. "There is a church not too far from us that recently added a $25 million addition to their building. Our local newspaper ran a front-page story not too long ago about a study revealing that one in five people in our city lives in poverty. This is a book about those two numbers."
This book i believe is based off a sermon series the two preached at Mars Hill Church. The plan is to do 2 chapters a week, one on Monday the other on Thursday. I will give a brief review and then ask a few questions. Hope you can join me in this!
The Blog of Gordon Pruitt the Pastor of St. Matthew's United Methodist Church in Richmond Virginia
Monday, September 29, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
For the 3rd time in the last 6 months we have had someone become part of our church family largely because of our podcast. In one case a lady that Leigh Ann and I knew through preschool had over time found out that i was a pastor and goggled my name. Which led to the blog and then to the church website, then to the sermons online. Before they ever came to the church she had listened to several of my sermons through the podcast.
In another instance a couple that had recently moved to the area was driving around and found our church. We have our website address on the church sign.
From the website they found the sermons and before they came to worship they had heard a few of my sermons and had even attended a Tuesday night small group.
The most recent case a man saw another one of our church signs (this was a directional sign that says the church is down the road) googled the church name, found the website and listened to the podcast before coming. This man decided to join our church family largly through the information he got through our website and podcast.
We get about 40 downloads a week (and yes most are my mom). We are a small church, about 220 a week in worship, and the podcasts have been an effective way of letting people know about our church as well allowing people to stay connected when they miss a Sunday. I bought 2 things to get our podcast ministry started, a digital recorder and Podcasting for Dummies which i give to one of our youth who is a tech guru, (you rock Austin) and he did the rest. The last 2 weeks we have put together a short video kind of as a sermon tease, Austin has also put this online as a podcast.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Richard Foster who perhaps has written one of the best books ever, Celebration of Discipline was interviewed in the latest issue of Christianity Today. One thing that really stuck out to me was his response to the question, "how did spiritual formation effect your early ministry?"
Early on we were moving into a building program. And we did the various studies and so on and so forth, so I really could justify it. But I was also learning about prayer at that time. I remember Dallas asking, "Have we really prayed about it?" I realized we really hadn't.I think at times I am like Foster, I get too caught up in wanting to be a successful pastor instead of a follower of Jesus. This is a good reminder of what my focus should be.
I remember calling a meeting, a worship gathering on a Sunday night, to pray over this building project. We had all the approvals, and we were about ready to launch the fund drive. In a Quaker context, there's an open meeting for worship. So singing would happen, silence would happen, Scripture would be read, different things like that.
During the meeting, nobody ever said we ought to do it or not do it—that was not the spirit at all. The service lasted a couple of hours. I went into that meeting feeling that we probably should do the building, and I came out of it sure we shouldn't. During worship, my heart was revealed to me—that a big building and a big church would have been for me signs that I was a successful pastor. If anybody had actually said that to me beforehand, I would have denied it. But that night, learning to die to that was important. I'm not against buildings, but for me, it was crucial to give that up.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Today is a big day in the life of St. Matthew's Church as the Neighbors Food Pantry opens today at 5 PM. One thing that we are doing to make this food pantry different is to create community by inviting all food bank participants to come to the Wednesday night dinner to share a free meal with others from the church. Often when we serve the poor we unintentionally do it in a way that you have little to no interaction with the participants. Our hope is that this will provide opportunities where community can be created. Please be in prayer for us as we enter into this new ministry. Who knew that there is Spam Lite?
We were blessed to have donated to us some nice shelves and 3 refrigerators.