Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blogging -- A Case Study For The Church.

Bloggers... Will we help create positive change... or negative change? Or neither?

The 'Saving Bellevue' issue could be a classic case study, as we consider how technological change offers a potential opportunity for...

  • radical improvement in the stereotypical American Church...
  • or just opportunities for backbiting or gossip at the speed of light, among some unhappy members.
At the very least, reviewing scripture will be a beneficial study for us all -- especially among Christian bloggers.

But first, read the story about the case at hand.

And here's a shot during the church's virtual tour introducing us to the church.

Here's a summary of Bellevue's history and vision.

On the other side of the aisle... here's the Purpose Statement & Background from the SavingBellevue site.

Purpose Statement:
"The purpose of the website is to provide members of Bellevue Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee with a greater degree of visibility of the government of our church. Our sincere desire is to honor Jesus Christ, Truth Himself, through an improved measure of accountability within His church."

" was created after numerous unsuccessful attempts to biblically resolve a dispute between a group of members of the church and some of the church's leadership. Principles of Matthew 18 were followed, first going individually to the offender, then by taking one or two witnesses to address the offender. In each case the offender failed to acknowledge the offense, and would not allow the accuser (a deacon of the church) to bring the offense before the deacon body. As a result, the only practical remaining way to complete the instructions of Matthew 18 in taking the issue before the church body was to create this website. It is regrettable that non-members will also have access to the issues as they are brought before the church, but with almost 30,000 members of record, any other means of bringing the issue before them was impractical. By failing to allow the dispute to be directly addressed through the full deacon body of the church, the leadership of Bellevue Baptist Church has caused the dispute to be addressed in a broader public domain. We regret the consequences of their actions."

Now let's hear from scripture... [Matthew 18:15-35, Amplified Version]

Any other bloggers tracking this case?

Comments from any of you who have read the above, and would like to venture your thoughts? What can we learn from this, and what conclusions do we now need to practically apply?

My Thoughts So Far -- Looking for your feedback...

Underlying Issues in play here:

  • The nature of the Church -- why do we exist as a body, what is our character, and what are we supposed to be accomplishing? If we have a firm grasp of our basic existence & mission, it'll give us a model through which to filter the discussion at hand. [Btw, it's the very questions we're posing at] For consideration, let me suggest a few to consider: Glorifying God... together; Enjoying Him as we model among one-another, the comprehensive, mysterious, diverse-yet-harmonious relationship of the triune God-head -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Make God well known as best taught in His inerrant Word and best demonostrated in the divine personage of Jesus Christ; Offer the good news of an eternally-abundant life through accepting Christ as Lord of our lives; Through the power of the Holy Spirit, doing the work He gave us to do from the outset -- tending the world so that it/they feel the impact of God's creative love... and perfect sense of justice. All this requires diversity and teamwork, and the essential attributes necessary in a great team. While we can't readily know all the factors in play at Bellevue in particular, what might the above picture suggest regarding diversity, openness, and team-work? Now multiply that apparently by 30,000. And does it not beg the question... if the 'local church' is neither local nor diverse, who is it exactly to whom one would appeal when scripture says 'tell it to the church'?
  • The nature of individuals in the Church -- We are all called to develop Christ-like humility & self-discipline. In fact, we're called to make our leaders job a joy (Heb. 13)... [and doubly-honor those who do a good job]. Perhaps this should lead to a predisposition on our part, to never frivolously address Church matters in the blogosphere.
  • The giftedness of individuals in the Church -- The body is comprised of diversely-gifted individuals, who are all to take an active role on the team. According to scripture, seemingly they should all be participating interactively as a form of worship. If that doesn't sound like the American Church today (and notably, any mega spectators churches), then perhaps there's great room for improvement. Positive involvement in Church life on Sunday might take the steam out of (negative) Monday blogs. Just a thought.
  • The nature of (servant) leadership in the Church -- they're selected based on biblical standards of merit, and called to be shepherds of the flock... servants... as Jesus himself modeled servant leadership. One might easily believe that, if well done, leadership would preclude such battles as are currently at issue.
  • The schemes of the devil -- The apostle Paul says 'we are not unaware of the devil's schemes'. So let's not be unaware. The devil loves to wreak his 'pride & divide' tactic on us. And he's done it to the American Church for centuries. Stop already! Let's not be so unaware. According to Jesus himself, one of the compelling testimonies to the good news is the harmony of the body, in our communities. Or what about isolationism -- does it operate best on behalf of the devil's purposes, or the Church's purpose? Let me suggest that God is a God of Light, not obscurity. Isolationism serves Satan's purposes exquisitely. Thus to date, we see the American Church largely fractured into a million splintered pieces... each consciously or unconsciously competiting with each other based on any number of dimensions. And as long as we can isolate our members we can (effectively) demonize other churches. Again... Stop already!
  • Is (servant) leadership a secretive or detached functionality on the team? If not, what are the implications to our Church communications systems? Does it not suggest open communications? How could that look today in the digital age? Think of the analogy of a local church, its building, and its people... The Church is not the building -- the Church is the people. And although they can congregate together inside a building from time to time, they continue being the Church every day of the week. Now let's apply that to the digital representation of the Church. While there might well be a centralized site among the people, it should help teach the scriptural model of the Church... ie, it should link off to its members and point to THEM as 'the Church'. The central site only serves as a convening point. Similar to a building, shouldn't that centralized convening site also have a private functionality... just for the members inside? And in all these things, including potentially-interactive egroups, shouldn't leadership help construct processes for open interaction among the membership? If so, would the case study at hand need to have ever involved public blogging of the topic? In the case at hand, we do not know if offers a log-in & discussion board that is not only available, but actively promoted among membership, such that the wide diversity of voices would have had ample alternatives. Let's just say that it would be the very rare church today (especially among mega-churches) that promotes active digital interaction among its membership. As we've suggested, isolationism has too often been the norm for churches and their leadership. Thus the open interoperation of the internet suggests a threat to the stereotypical local church leadership. And if you don't believe it, review the recent leadership change in the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention)... which by all accounts was greatly impacted by blogging. [article]

Conclusion? Maybe that the internet has INDEED catalyzed a paradigm shift... just as God seemingly used Gutenberg's press to expedite the Reformation. "Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy" states the ClueTrain Manifesto. Although secular, its truth speaks volumes to inappropriate hierarchy. Muzzling members. Monopolizing microphones.

Alternatively, open the mic to the masses, and truth will rise to the top.

"All Truth is God's Truth.
And Truth at the speed of light,
will prevail at the speed of Light."

Maybe even some frank truths about the American Church.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006


What Would Jesus Innovate?

Sorry. I couldn't help but laugh (and then post) when I read the following quote from an email I received today...

"If Jesus didn't like technology,
I bet he was an awful carpenter."

[I haven't yet received his permission to credit him by name, but let me just say he's a young guy from among some of the more 'innovative' folks I know. Stay tuned.]

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Which Theologian Are You?

"You scored as Anselm. Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period. He sees man's primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read 'Cur Deus Homo?' "

Which theologian are YOU?
Take the quiz.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Quoted in... "Faithful Blogs"

[A number of our related bloggers, including myself, are quoted in this article ...]

Religious journals show spiritual path of everyday life
By Dan McFeely,

Blogs -- the accepted word for "weblog," an electronic journal or diary that can allow people to post comments -- have been a part of online surfing since the late 1990s. Today there are almost 42 million blogs, according to the Web site

And according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, as many as 20 percent of the 11 million adult blogs are related to religion. Younger bloggers tend to write more about their own lives, but they do not shy away from faith.

Blog readers are also growing... [continued at]

[IndyChristian Ed.Note: While the article references 5 of my reasons to blog, you may want to see all 'Top 50 Reasons To Blog'. Also consider 'Why City Blogging? Top 10 Reasons'.]

Friday, May 05, 2006

  • 'internet phase one' was about creating 'brochureware' sites... that is, static ministry or business websites that didn't change particularly often; and...
  • 'internet phase two' was about adding fresh-content frequently on your ministry or business site...


  • 'internet phase three' will be about accelerating everything via 'tagging'. That is, quickly pointing to, and archiving, great items on the web.

And that's always been the case, really. Leaders tag.

They see which way we need to go in order to accomplish our collective purpose. And they lead the way there, tagging the way for the rest of us.

Only now it can be done at the speed of Light.

Thus the need now for innovative leaders to step up and 'tag' great sites, blogs, articles, photos, and videos. And they're already doing it. Very often by obtaining a personal ID at -- In fact, here's my personal tagging page there... .

At this point let me suggest that 'tagging' is something that you just have to start doing before you can really understand it very well. So let me just encourage you to 'trust me'... Go get an ID there... look around a bit... try 'tagging something'... and then come back. We'll talk.


For those of you who already 'get it'... and probably 'got it' long before I did, even... please consider going out and tagging all the great evangelistic sites, presentations, videos, etc.... with at least the special tag 'ied' -- Internet Evangelism Day... which is Sunday May 7th.

[But remember, doesn't update their search-engine immediately... it may take 24 hours for your tagging to be seen by the rest of us. So to be safe, try to do your tagging asap.]

The leading Christian news-aggregator on the web today -- -- has promised to try to compile a link-list of all the great IED sites, at their site for May 7th publication. So let's try to tag as many such sites as possible for them before Sunday.


And lastly, perhaps the only thing better than tagging, is a whole team of Bible-believing taggers working together in the future.

So for any of you who will tag your personal online site, blog or bio... with a "T4G" tag.... as in ''... we will try to check your site out and perhaps wrangle a special invite for you, to '' site so you can participate with us as we attempt to accelerate the gospel throughout the world. [ is by INVITATION ONLY. And sorry, I know that's not telling you much, but as they say... "If I told you the rest I'd have to kill ya." LOL]

Friday, March 31, 2006

Why City Blogging? Top 10 Reasons

To Accelerate City-Reaching!


Humbly we admit that God does not NEED any of us, nor our best possible systems for reaching the world. We're just called to be found being 'faithful'. Thus when he commands us to go into all the world and make disciples and teach them everything He's commanded... then we just need to DO IT. Don't just ask WWJD, but in fact DWJWD!

So why City Blogging? The apostle Paul said, "we spread the gospel rapidly". But let's be frank here, are we really doing it? Are we really spreading the gospel rapidly? Every researcher I've read in the last 30 years has noted the slow growth of the Church here in America. We, the Church, need to admit that indeed we are NOT accomplishing the mission Christ himself commanded us to do.


One of Jonathan Edwards' main resolutions says... "Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote [Resolution #1... 'whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory']. In order words, look for innovations to help accomplish the work at hand... better & faster.

Or notice what business gurus look for, as a basis for making more money, more quickly.... 'CHANGE'. That is, they often use the 'P.E.S.T.' model as they search for opportunities & threats. They realize that CHANGE is the source of new opportunities and threats, so they look for major Political, Environmental, Socio-economic, and Technological changes as a source for better accomplishing their goals. As Christians become driven to help accelerate the Great Commission, we too will look out for major changes as major opportunities.

Consider Wayne Gretsky's admonition, "Don't go where the puck is; go where it's gonna be!" In this case, here in the 21st Century God has given us great opportunities; not the least of which is connecting and communicating at the speed of Light. And like a hockey puck, we can see where this is all going -- more of the same... only faster... and even better. Technology will continue to change the way we conduct life. And our mission.

We hear sermon after sermon regarding 'stewardship'... of everything except... stewardship of new-paradigm opportunities. We leave the biggest most obvious new asset sitting dormant by the church-door. Technology. Internet. And at the same time, too often we leave our young, technically-adept, potential future leaders sitting on the sidelines of the mission, playing their handheld video-games on the back row of the church, if they're in church at all. Duh, Church.



The major power of the Church has been and always will be, LOW COST. God is never short of resources for accomplishing His will. We're the ones who always seem to be 'short'.

Consider the average preacher who at the end of a 20-minute sermon COULD say to his flock... "Now go. Pray without ceasing... for free. Read your Bible every day... for free. Love your neighbor as yourself and tell 'em the Good News... for free. Check in on your brothers & sisters this week... for free. The best things in life truly are free.

Shouldn't our monetary resources go where they're needed most... like leveraging as much of this 'free' ministry as possible? Following our folks who are doing the best 'free ministry'. Following them as they go help the poor, relieve suffering, or a myriad of other good ways that attest to the gospel. Use our money expeditiously to leverage and accelerate the spread of the gospel. Fund leaders and coordinators who are maximizing their gifts & capabilities. But why fund people who intentionally disregard new opportunities to lead/coordinate the Church of Jesus Christ... not just on Sunday... but everyday?

All 21st Century research points to the internet as being a new-found opportunity for 'the little guy' to have an enormous impact via the web. Case in point: Bloggers. At zero-cost, and as easy as email, suddenly anyone have the potential for being read by hundreds or thousands of people each day. Or better yet, taken together... along with their collaborative friends who are also blogging and referring hits to each other... they're advancing their impact at the speed of light. For good or for evil. Which will it be, Church? This new-paradigm 'wave' will either carry us for a great ride... or it'll wash us to the bottom of the sea. What makes the difference is our ability to 'catch the wave' and enjoy it.

Example: alone enjoys thousands of hits each month... easily 25 times the average church's attendance in a month. Monthly cost? $25. But wait, when considering the impact of IndyChristian's entire network of blogging friends and their sites, many of which are free, it easily exceeds 1,000 times the impact of the average church. All this without needing a single donor. Thus it's sustainable for the long-haul. And without donors, no 501(c)3 is needed. No ministry bureaucracy. Move forward at the speed of your vision.


The internet has given us a great new opportunity to use it as a centralized drawing pad for what we desire the Church to become.

That is, like an architectural firm hired to help build a physical church building, we too can start drafting our vision on the internet, of what we understand from scripture the Church should be in reality. Then little by little we can continue fleshing it out -- much like an architect would then build a small-scale model... with little moving doors, furniture and 'people'.

A centralized citywide Christian portal begs the same great questions... "What should the Church in a city look like? And how will we accomplish the task?"

In fact, consider the internet itself. How did its growth explode... at nearly 'the speed of chaos'... and yet at the same time have enough 'order' that it created value and is accomplishing its purpose?

Some of us would point to network theory... ie, adopting an ethos of connectedness... with only minimal 'controls' put on it. Creativity was unleashed. And since the costs are so miniscule, most sites were free. Anything seemed possible... and thus we have seen an enormous growth rate. And yet there were a very few controls that had to be in place in order for servers, phonelines and people to be able to work together at all. We would point to 'protocols' that were a vitally essential. IP-addressing, HTML, and so on.

Wisdom seems to be found in the balancing of connected creativity and empowerment... with only minimal protocol. And doesn't that perhaps give us a picture of the model Church? For the citywide Church to be explosively effective, perhaps all we need is to determine the optimal 'protocol', then work toward creating an ethos of connectness and collaborative impact.

What might the requisite protocol include? Let me only suggest for starters, that our primary protocol is Christ as the only name under heaven by which mankind MUST be saved... and the core definition-set of what that means. Is there an absolute standard that we can all agree to adhere to? Sure. The historic truth that the Bible is God's Word to us. Notably, the Bible-believing Church of Jesus Christ tends to draw the same conclusions from the Word about the core salvific tenets.

And protocol must include humility among all of us. In fact, we'll each need enough humility to realize that beyond the core tenets above, EACH OF US hold some wrong views of what the Bible really says. Thus humbly, we must recognize our need of a 'John 17' ethos of connectedness in Christ's love, so that we can sharpen one another.

So does all this mean that an internet representation of the Church will be one centralized common site? Before I answer that, let me ask socratically... "Is your local Church one centralized common (building) site?" No, it's not. It's the people, even though they may most prevalently be known as they congregate there. But in reality, they are the Church every day... where they live, work, go to school and play. Same answer re the internet representation of the Church in a city -- it's the people, and their personal websites and their group-sites, even if that well-connected tapestry of sites has a centralized, convening site.

And yes, perhaps like every team, we need some capabilities to coordinate the connecting and communicating process. Team-sites are indeed handy mechanisms to expedite the accomplishing of our work. We call it being able to 'sing off the same hymnpage'. So yes, it seems apparent that the city Church, as represented on the web, would have a centralized point among the great tapestry of sites who follow the same protocol.

Here in Indianapolis, is a team site which connects to all the collaborating, Bible-believing churches, ministries, businesses and personal-sites in the metro area. Further, we also aggregate all the news & announcements that our participating sites provide automatically via RSS feeds.

Further, we've now at least started developing an "Annual State of The Church, Indianapolis" report. Immediately we're confronted with... "What SHOULD BE the goals and attempted accomplishments of the Church?"

So we've also started a general site... to at least 'beg the right questions', and stimulate thinking about what the Church in any city should be.

Let's virtually sketch the Church in our cities.


Here in Indy, our bypass rings the city. Largely everything inside the ring is considered inner-city. Outside the ring is suburbia. When I ask my suburban friends to go with me to the inner-city, they tend to say 'no way'. It's a totally foreign culture to them, and seems dangerous. And the reverse is often also true... my friends from the inner-city don't want to venture out to suburbia. It's totally foreign to them and seems unfriendly, if not dangerous. Maybe a place they'd get profiled, harassed and maybe even locked-up for no good reason.

But all these folks MIGHT 'click' across these dividing lines!

Author Michael Emerson, in "Divided By Faith" makes the case that our tight social circles formed in evangelical churches accentuates these 'divides'. We've all heard the sad indictment that the most segregated hour of the week is Sunday morning at 11. Emerson goes on to point to our typically-tight, racially-homogenous circles as counter-productive -- ie, contributing to some of the very problems we'd all like to solve. Example: Job-networking. When a job opening occurs, we tend to alert and recommend people we know. Thus continuing the racial divide in economics. How embarrassing to the cause of Christ.

Suburban pastors often say they would LIKE to hookup with an urban church. And urban ministries often say their biggest obstacles to their mission could often be resolved by having some great suburban partners.

The devil has been way too effective, way too long, at his schemes of 'pride & divide'.

But all of us MIGHT 'click' across these dividing lines.

And if Indianapolis is any model, perhaps other cities could also be helped in their efforts to connect urban/suburban ministries... by starting with INTERNET connectivity. Find out about other ministries via the net. When & where are collaborative meetings taking place? Attend. It's easy to be critical from afar; but the issues become much more real when you get to know folks who deal with them every day. So get to know people NOT like yourselves. You'll be glad you did.

And if this is true across racial lines, might it also be true across denominational lines? Folks in another denomination are not so easily demonized when you see they don't necessarily believe what you always THOUGHT they believed. Inside the four walls of churches, it's fairly easy to demonize the 'other camp'. But out in the public arena of the internet, we all get a better hearing. We can read each other's statement of faith, and realize we very often agree on these essentials. And isn't it great to see they're also anxious to carry out the Great Commission and Great Commandment?


A first step in any city-reaching movement is to 'connect' with those who share our purpose & principles. Connect for prayer, planning and pursuit of the Great Commission & Great Commandment. The internet now offers us a plethora of new opportunities to connect at the speed of Light.

And it's way easier to get to know each other well, in a hurry. Click to your 'About' page. Click your 'Statement of Faith'. Click to your 'Bio' page. Read your blog -- stay in touch with the significant things going on in your life and ministry.

And thus, it's easy to STAY connected. Links stay connected.

And cyber links turn into relationships. When I launched six years ago, I was still new to the city and knew virtually no one. Now... virtually... I seem to know everyone. And our like-minded relationships are increasingly turning into action.

In fact, because the internet has now made it so easy to connect, we're all getting 'over-subscribed'... ie, too many connections. So we're even starting to subconsciously filter those connections. We needn't wait for new acquaintances to catch the vision -- we can zero in on connecting to 'driven Christians' who have been praying for years about harmonized city impact. We prioritize connections among those who value collaboration in the name of Christ. Critical mass has been achieved. The rest will catch up. "Thanks, Internet."

So it's no longer good enough to just build a database of connections. I now 'tag' each connection as to their level of collaboration, and what 'gifts' they bring to the table. It becomes easy then to know who we can most easily work with.

Btw, as the connections among collaborative Christians grow, so also does your ability to influence secular leaders. It's incredible how just an average Christian can start having a high visibility with city leaders. It's all because of connections, and visibility of those connections.


Be seen. Be aggregated. Read other bloggers; they tend to be well-informed and passionate about the mission at hand. You'll quickly see who you can trust and learn-from. Swap ideas & comments.

"Truth will prevail. And Truth at the speed of Light will prevail at the speed of Light."

In other words, the cream will rise to the top. Amidst our information explosion, God's Word will prevail as the best info on the information highway.

Caveat: "It's not as important that you make people understand, as it is that you ensure they don't MISunderstand what you're saying. The good news is that the internet is also a great place to debunk what people mistakenly may be thinking about 'the Church'.

Now, given that the internet is a great place to communicate, use it wisely... especially as a centralized place that your city-team can simply communicate the message of the Church, and can communicate with each other re meeting times, places, activities, ideas, great articles everyone should read, and major links to great resources. It's an opportunity to learn from others... and perhaps especially those in your city.

And importantly, a centralized website is a great place to enunciate the mission... over and over and over. It's a chronic reminder in order to keep focused, and not become too distracted by the day to day busyness. But more than that...


We're even now advocating for a behind-the-scenes secured site for centralized private conversations among cityreachers. Such an internal site might share prioritized goals, strategies, contact-lists and maybe even a centralized list of major project tasks. has been started for just this very purpose -- and not just one city, but city-reachers from all over. Thus, we're starting to compile great national contacts as well as state & local contacts, per city.

Think about it. To function as a city 'team', pastors & leaders need readi-access to contact info, and team reports. In fact, we have many common needs. So if we're not to reinvent the wheel, we'll need an easy and secure ability to 'share nicely'. Thus the need for a centralized, secured site.


Blogs also then become free & easy sites for your specific neighborhood area. Think of it as a neighborhood newsletter... online. Perhaps get an egroup going as well, to get your neighborhood talking with each other. It may be a good foray to meet some new neighbors; stop over and see if they'd like to receive the neighborhood email. It might be a great opportunity to get to know them. Or get to know them over time, as you communicate regularly online.

If you sponsor the new neighborhood site, then you get to help formulate the purpose, the style, access, etc. In our neighborhood, when we set up the neighborhood site, we've chosen not to overtly force Christ down anyone's throat on the neighborhood page. Rather, we've simply reflect that the site has been 'sponsored by'. Thus, if/when they're inquisitive or interested, they can click it to learn more. And from there, they're only a click away from the gospel.

Publish an ongoing offer to pray-for and try to help with any known needs in the neighborhood. At least people will readily know how to dig deeper if they want to. And they know they have a friend they could turn to, in times of need.

If you start a neighborhood Bible study, etc., you have a good opportunity to be clearly understood as you publish key info at a neighborhood site. Likewise all sorts of neighborhood outreach efforts.

In fact, connecting your neighbors to Christ doesn't seem so daunting, as key Christians increasingly can connect to pray and work together to share the Good News with their neighborhood. Barna Research indicates that one out of 14 Americans is an evangelistic Christian. Is that your home, among 13 others? Barna also indicates that more than 40% are 'born again'. That only leaves appx 8 homes. With a little help (see, can you optimally share the Good News with those homes in the next 2 years? We call that the '2-minute Drill'. Quarterbacks have a plan for the late-going. Do you?


Do you have a better plan for accelerating the Great Commission?

If the American Church has not been doing a great job over the last several decades, then surely the answer cannot be 'keep on keeping on'.

There may well BE a better plan for our time, but how will it be known and widely adopted if there's no (free and) easy method of communications that can be used to build understanding, acceptance, and harmonious action?

Certainly one great plan is to increasingly PRAY TOGETHER for your community. But we can't stop there. We're commanded to GO. Admittedly, God does not NEED anything made by human hands... including the internet. Yet still He calls us to be found being faithful, making the most with what's available. And not simply burying it.

Nehemiah 4:9 says... "we prayed to our God and posted a guard day & night to meet this threat."

Dare we paraphrase... "We prayed to our God and posted a blog, 24x7 ?"


And we're only at the tip of the iceberg.

Here's a 'traditional' example: The Billy Graham organization came to Indianapolis in 1998, raised considerable funds and built a network of supporting churches to put on a crusade in the year 2000. It was excellent. People got saved. And then it was gone, along with the network.

Alternatively, we now have a zero-cost network online at Pastors and leaders have started ministry networking meetings we call "Transform Indiana"... to pray together and build relationships for effective ministry together throughout the year. No official organization. No board. No budget. No fundraising. But collaborative initiatives have benefitted as a result.

For instance, the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) brought its national convention to Indy as a result of the growing network here who work together to change our inner city. Networks helped other new networks grow. By the grace of God, together we all helped CCDA's annual conference attendance go up 70% over their previous year.

"Faith, Hope and Love" (FHL) is an initiative which has benefitted from the TI network, and from the CCDA connections and efforts. FHL did a week of servant evangelism in one area of the city in their first year... on a near-zero budget. They leveraged relationships instead. This coming summer, the initiative will be citywide and will culminate in hosting a Christian festival at Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers... again, on a near-zero-budget. This demonstrates the value of relationships and communications using a tapestry of connections. And when the network is well-connected via the web, it doesn't fade quickly. It continues building.

CBMC here is growing greatly... creating many Paul/Timothy discipling relationships among businessmen. In the past year, they've doubled the numbers of such teams... dramatically defying the national average.

The Unleavened Bread Cafe (.org) is a little Christian cafe ministry in 'the hood'. Two years ago, our networking friends installed wireless connections there. As a result, it now serves as a great place for 'driven Christians' to hookup cross-culturally, across traditional dividing lines. They hosted all the CCDA host-city team meetings... and thus helped create an atmosphere of Christlikeness among now-well-connected Christians in our city. We now involve suburban and urban techs there, working together to train inner-city residents on the internet, and help them network for jobs.

A key partner in all this is Crossroads Bible College(, who trains Christian leaders to reach a multiethnic urban world for Christ. The school features a unique multiracial mix... 50:50, and is growing increasingly diverse. As the city network has grown, so also has CBC grown -- 20% in each the last two years.

Likewise, the college blesses the Bible-believing community. Recently, the college hosted a special forum on "Homosexuality, Civil Rights and the Church" -- allowing an even-handed cultural debate represented by both sides of the issue, but highlighting a clear understanding from God's Word.

The network and the college also co-hosted a series called "Breaking Out of the Jail Cycle"... thus raising awareness and understanding of some of the multifaceted issues of community ministry. As a result, collaborating ministries decided to try to help 'as far upstream as possible', by pledging to use our network connections to actively recruit mentors for at-risk young students.

All this... And we've only just begun.

So... "Why City Blogging?"

To Accelerate City Reaching!

Join us. Help accelerate city-reaching in your community.

[For more information on how to get started... Visit Blews.Network.]

Saturday, March 11, 2006

34th Anniversary...

The grace of God is soooooo obvious when anyone realizes the odds against two people, so very different, making it to our 34th anniversary today. He's awesome.

And everyday I live with Jan, loving her more and more, I realize His grace more and more. And I realize her grace more and more.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Goodbye Punky

Today, we had to lay our 15-year-old kitty to rest. The perfect little cat.

Words aren't sufficient here. You know how we must feel.

But let's just say it has also renewed my hate for the devil and everything he's caused... like death. He's gonna pay. The price has been paid, and the victory has already been effected... and he's gonna pay!

Goodbye Punky. See you on the other side. We'll be bringing all the friends we can. In the meantime, we're gonna miss you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Management Principle #13

[Can you find ME in this pic? Feels like it today, anyway.]

Management Principle #13:

"When you are in deep trouble, say nothing,
and try to look like you know what you're doing!"

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Each One, Teach One

By Neil Cox
"I may not be a poet, but I understand math."

I teach You.
You teach Somebody.
Somebody teaches Him.
Him teaches Her.
Her teaches Them.
Them teaches Who.
Who teaches Y'all.

"Y'all can teach Everybody."

[This is The Begats Tree methodology of our Ask Anything Saturday internet-training program at the UBcafe.]

[Wikipedia: Frank Laubach, Father of 'Each One Teach One' Method]

Monday, February 06, 2006

"We Know More Than Our Pastors"

I hesitated to even use Tim Bednar's chosen title as I link you off to his great white-paper. But if indeed there really is a new-paradigm wave breaking over the top of church leaders and they just don't realize it, then the shock value of Tim's title is worth it. It was written well ahead of its time (in 2004) re blogging.

Caveat: You and I may or may not agree with all of Tim's theology. But importantly, try to read through the surface and digest his important points. Then process them using your own theological filter to see which are vitally important for you or any pastor to be aware of.

[continue to Tim Bednar's .pdf paper]

Then test your conclusions... See some of the recent reports that have surfaced re the state of the internet and the tech-horizons at colleges (often the leading edge, re students in training). [See earlier articles.]

And visit some blogging pastors. Here's one such report regarding a pastor that blogs "Between Sundays".

What's on the tech-horizon at colleges?

Here's an insightful 5-year look, by Educause...

"The NMC's Emerging Technologies Initiative focuses on expanding the boundaries of teaching, learning and creative expression by creatively applying new tools in new contexts. The Horizon Project, the centerpiece of this initiative, charts the landscape of emerging technologies and produces the NMC’s annual Horizon Report. The 2006 Horizon Report is now available. The 2006 edition is a collaboration between The New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), an EDUCAUSE program."

[hat-tip, John Rafferty, Crossroads Bible College]

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mega Church Game...

Mega Church Game, from Tim Bednar. He really got me. Hook, line and sinker. Stunned at first... then LOLLLLLLL. Too funny.

Then I realized we'd helped evoke this, via So we added the game to our 'New Members Class' there. Visit And as always, your thoughts are welcome.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"Pass the Salt"

Even Freud might have laughed aloud.

In a classic journalistic faux pas perhaps betraying a predisposition in the culture-war, this week's Newsweek article "Cut, Thrust and Christ", originally misquoted Rev. Jerry Falwell as referring to their successful debate-team as 'assault ministry' (instead of 'a salt ministry').

It's an interesting article, though. Here are some excerpts...

"Debaters are the new missionaries..."

"They're tough. [But] we're not afraid to debate Liberty," says Harvard coach Dallas Perkins Jr., whose varsity team was beaten by Falwell's last month."

Cedarville University in Ohio just tripled its budget for debate scholarships. Falwell's school, in Lynchburg, Va., pours a half million dollars into the debate program every year, with the goal of eventually flooding the system with "thousands" of conservative Christian lawyers. "We are training debaters who can perform a salt ministry, meaning becoming the conscience of the culture," says Falwell, who is also hoping the team will elevate the humble academic reputation of Liberty itself. "So while we have the preaching of the Gospel on the one side—certainly a priority—we have the confronting of the culture on moral default on the other side."

[Read the updated-Newsweek story.]

[See related commentary]

And on a related, but 'coincidental' note, I totally appreciated Dennis Ryerson's editorial in Sunday's Indianapolis Star: "Accuracy improving, but we can do better.". It has to be a tough job to maintain accuracy amid the information explosion.

In any event, Newsweek's journalistic slip might best be utilized as a gentle reminder for us all...

"Truth is nourishment for the soul.
But 'assault' seldom leaves a good taste in anyone's mouth."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Evangelism at the Speed of Light

[great pic... hat-tip, Rob Williams, Effective Web Ministry Notes]

Thursday evening I'll be leading a discussion at Crossroads Bible College, in the Evangelism 101 class. So I thought I'd jot a few notes here, and use this as a live outline for the evening.

Stay tuned...

See today's headlines in Indianapolis?

Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions (excerpt)

  • 1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad's of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
  • 2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.
Great Internet/Evangelism Resource Sites:
Effective Web Ministry Notes
"Why Blog? Top 50 Reasons"

Interesting articles...

Subsequent Links of Interest:

Friday, January 20, 2006

Can we handle this?

I regret being so slow to find any news from this protest in Washington, D.C. in December. Apparently the mainstream media didn't pick up the story. Only the internet seemed to carry the story, and then only from the perspective of the protesters.

Dr. John Perkins is led away by police.

"115 religious leaders were arrested in front of the Cannon House Office Building while kneeling in prayer to protest the immoral budget and tax agenda which slashes spending on the poor to finance tax breaks for the rich. Led by Jim Wallis of Call to Renewal, national faith leaders, clergy and faith-based providers of services to the poor held a press conference."

Reverend Jim Wallis

[Jim Wallis' article and set of pictures]

What shall we make of all this? Seeing our beloved Dr. Perkins in handcuffs should not surprise us. He has always tried to be seen standing with the poor. Reverend Jim Wallis being led away in handcuffs? No surprise either, if you've read his book, "God's Politics".

It all begs the question for the Church at large though -- can we handle this? Can we handle political dissent among Bible-believing Christ-followers? I mean, after all, for some of us it defies our Christian experience to date. Surely God wants everyone to be saved, firstly and foremostly... followed shortly thereafter by becoming good Republicans... Right?

We wouldn't be caught dead in chains. [Well, except for an occasional abortion protest perhaps.]

Personally, my economic background leads me to a different point of view than Pastor Wallis regarding the economy, taxation, and budgets. Since we 'work for the government' from January to May each year, it's hard to imagine that we aren't 'over-taxed'. And it only makes sense to me that if the major tax burden has fallen on those in the upper-income brackets, they should get the biggest proportion of the relief. And they're still by far paying the greatest percentages of taxes. [...not to mention, the sound economic theory that these business folks will be much more productive with their re-investment of these returned funds... thus producing more jobs for everyone.]

So I'm not one to begrudge how much tax relief 'the rich' are getting.

But who can't appreciate a pastor or other leader going to bat for those least able to successfully fend for themselves economically?

So right or wrong on taxation theory, I hope we can give great grace to leaders who stand with the poor.

"The poor of this world are rich in faith."

"It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."

And it bears repeating: If Bible-believing churches would come together and 'be the Church'... we wouldn't need our government to help the poor.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

CCDA & Tech Mission... a perfect combo !

What an awesome time we had together at CCDA Indy 2005. The folks from TechMission (headquartered in Boston) are a very special variety of CCDA type folks -- tech-capable, well-networked, driven Christians who care about the inner-city and the digital divide that exists there. Need help? Call 'em. Check 'em out at, and be sure to sign up for their egroup, where we all share ideas from Christian community computing centers in cities across the country.

And join some us here in Indy's inner-city each Saturday, 10:00am for free computer help, fun and comradery. Surfing. Emailing. Even 'blogging'.