Compassionate Moment

Posted in church leadership, cultural relevance, social justice, uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on October 16, 2009

I ran across this video recently from the Catalyst Conference and had some conflicting emotions as I watched it. As a communicator of God’s Word, I am intensely aware of the power of emotion and the importance of using it effectively (though I often make mistakes). Take a moment to watch this video (especially starting from 3:45) and get an impression and then rejoin me for thoughts after:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve made mistakes as a communicator so when I watch a video like this and comment on it I do so for my own learning experience (and perhaps my readers can learn from this as well). Let me also say that I have full confidence in the integrity of Compassion International and for everyone on the stage during this video. However, I think some steps could’ve been taken to avoid an awkward situation. This post is sort of like a case study for communicator’s.

Jimmy and Mark’s story was very powerful. I can’t imagine a more compelling story and I know the Holy Spirit was at work in this moment. Compassion International is a reputable organization and I have lots of friends who have attended Catalyst conferences. But after Jimmy meets Mark, I thought the way the MC handled this situation was distracting and misguided. Again, coming purely from a communicator’s perspective, I think we need to learn from this moment and be aware of the power of emotion. This was a powerful moment but at the end it felt like a commercial (even though he said it wasn’t. I’m always extremely sensitive especially to the way we ask for money even for a worthy cause).

Now, I know that hundreds of children got sponsored through this event, but my concern with this video doesn’t have anything to do with poverty. In fact, it doesn’t have anything to do with motives. I’m sure the people who coordinated this moment were hoping to persuade as many people as possible to sponsor a child and that they were doing so for the right reasons.

I don’t want to attack anyone’s motives, but I do want to caution about methods. To me the moment after Jimmy and Mark met I was longing for someone to whisk them off stage and then lead the crowd in a time of praise for the One who made all this possible. Of course, no one doubted that it was the Spirit who was working in that room at that moment, but it seemed to go way, way too quickly to a plea for money.

So, viewing this as a case study, I invite your insights. Should this moment have been planned differently? Maybe with videos or with more tact? Should someone have prepped the MC to feel free to go off script if the moment was too powerful to proceed? What lessons do we learn as church leaders about the power of emotion and our need to carefully consider what may or may not happen in a moment such as this?

You can also continue the conversation over at the  Compassion Blog.

You can become a Compassion International sponsor here.


Want Free Books?

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on July 3, 2009

Tobias Stefani is the most recent winner of a free copy of Don’t Stop Believing by Michael Wittmer. This book give-away is for subscribers to ChurchETHOS and thanks to the generosity of Zondervan Publishers. If you want to get a free book, click here.

Free Book

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on June 26, 2009

This week I have two books to give away (I once again forgot last week. The two subscribers to ChurchETHOS who will be getting a free copy of Don’t Stop Believing by Michael Wittmer are: John Meche and Paul Dawkins!

I still have six more free books so it’s not too late. I will be posting a new question from Wittmer’s book early next week so I look forward to your comments and questions.

Free Books

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on June 6, 2009

Reminder: If you want a free copy of Don’t Stop Believing by Michael Wittmer, it’s not too late. After today I will still have 8 more weeks to give away one book per week. The sooner you subscribe, comment, and email, the more chances you have to get a free book!

Meanwhile, today’s winner is Prof Penguin. Thanks for subscribing and joining the conversations at ChurchETHOS! Congratulations!

Free Books

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on May 29, 2009

Well, I forgot to do the drawing last Friday so I’m doing two today.

If you want a free copy of Don’t Stop Believing by Michael Wittmer, it’s not too late. After today I will still have 9 more weeks to give away one book per week. The sooner you subscribe, comment, and email, the more chances you have to get a free book!

Meanwhile, today’s winners are Eve Lester and Mike Goodwin. Thanks for subscribing and joining the conversations at ChurchETHOS! I will be in contact with them but I wanted to make the announcement here. Congratulations!

Sunday Reading

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on May 17, 2009

Here’s what I’m reading today:

Michael Hyatt: Recycling Your Blog Content

John Meche III: Killing is Killing

Ed Stetzer: Weathering the Economic Storm

Benson Hines: Your seat (or tweet) on the road trip is waiting

Tom McClusky: How Pro-Abortion Can You Get

DSB Logo* Don’t forget to sign up to receive a free copy of Don’t Stop Believing. I still have eleven copies that I will be giving away one at a time each Friday. Find out how to get your free copy here.

DSB Giveaway #1

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on May 15, 2009

Congratulations to Paul Stebelton for winning a free copy of Don’t Stop Believing by Michael Wittmer.

Now there are 11 more chances for subscribers of ChurchETHOS to win. I’ll give another one away next Friday.

For more info, check out how to enter to get your own free copy here and make sure you read the first two posts about the book Don’t Stop Believing here and here.

I Need Your Input

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on April 24, 2009

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World Missions

Posted in discipleship, theology, uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on January 5, 2009

picture-11Today was the first day of my winter session course on World Missions at GCTS. Tim Tennent is my professor. The class is 3 hours a day for 2 weeks including reading 1200 pages and 7 assigned theological journal articles, two tests, and exact memorization of 20 Bible verses and 150 countries on the world map. Since I read about 30 pages an hour, the task seems daunting as it will take me an estimated 120+ hours for lectures, reading, and memorization/studying. However, after the first lecture, I am extremely excited about this course.

For one thing, the professor began with an amazing description of the “Seven Mega-Trends Affecting Global Missions in the 21st Century”. Here are some of the highlights from my notes:

1st Mega-Trend “The Collapse of Christendom”

◊ For the longest time, Christianity was at the center of American culture. It was socially acceptable and sometimes even profitable to be Christian in our society. In the 21st century, however, Christianity will move more and more towards the periphery.
◊ Hendrik Kraemer said, “The Church is always in a state of crisis; its greatest shortcoming is that it is only occasionally aware of it.”
◊ We are moving from a state of belief to a state of unbelief.
◊ We are moving from a denominational to a global identity. Being Presbyterian or Methodist is not as important today.

2nd Mega-Trend “The Rise of Postmodernism”

◊ There are theological, cultural, and ecclesiastical crises that arise from postmodernism. People no longer believe that truth is true. The power of the word is lost for most people. For a preacher who believes that God has revealed Himself through words, this is a dangerous mindset.

3rd Mega-Trend “The Collapse of ‘the West Reaches the Rest’ Paradigm”

◊ The emergence of a Post-Christian West (4200 people are leaving the Christian faith per day in Western countries).
◊ The emergence of a Post-Western Christianity (In non-Western cultures, Christianity is blossoming, for example, in Africa alone Christianity gains about 24,000 new members per day!)

4th Mega-Trend “The Changing Face of Global Christianity” (related to Mega-Trend #3)

◊ Top 10 people groups that are most accepting of the Gospel today are in India and China.
◊ Top 10 people groups that are least accepting of the Gospel today are in Europe and North America.

5th Mega-Trend “The Emergence of a Fourth Branch of Christianity”

◊ Traditionally, there have been three: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant. Today, there is an undefined and indistinct fourth branch emerging.
◊ Sometimes, this branch is referred to as “independent” but that is a very limited title.

6th Mega-Trend “The Impact of Globalization”

◊ If it weren’t for the immigrant population in the U.S. the Western Church would be in serious trouble. Most of the growth in American churches are in minority populations. Contrast that with Europe where Islam is growing rapidly because of immigration.
◊ The rise of urbanization and new technologies also affect our approach to missions around the world. 19th century missions was geared towards rural communities. Today, most of the largest unreached people groups are found in cities.

7th Mega-Trend “The Rise of a Deeper Ecumenism”

◊ There’s no reason to forsake our denominational identity but we can no longer be exclusive to our denomination, or allow our denomination to be our overarching identity. Though Protestant, I can’t be confined or defined by some events that took place in the 16th century, there are millions of Christians around the world that don’t place the same emphases on what the Reformers emphasized.

The conclusion to this particular lecture was that as young pastors and missionaries, we will be engaging in a new frontier. Almost everything is changing. It is an exciting and challenging time to be joing God’s mission around the world.

My Top Ten Christian Books

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on December 5, 2008

banner1Many of my readers have read my post about the Christian fiction book from William Paul Young entitled The Shack. I appreciate all of your comments and questions about that post. This new post is in response to what Mike asked. He said.

Hey, can you give me a list of maybe 10 Christian nonfiction books you would recommend and maybe 10 fiction books to read? Thanks.

So, Mike, thanks for that question. I can only give you a sampling from the books I personally have read. If others would like to offer suggestions in the comment section of this post…that would also be helpful.

Top Ten Christian Nonfiction Books (in my library that I believe everyone should read).

ß. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

ß. The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer

ß. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ß. On the Incarnation by Athanasius

ß. A Mind for God by James Emery White

ß. The Question of God by Armand M. Nicholi Jr.

ß. The Post Christian Mind by Harry Blamires

ß. Does God Believe in Atheists by John Blanchard

ß. Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

ß. Sacred Companions by David G. Benner

Top Ten Christian Fiction Books (in my library that are not necessarily the unorthodox pop fiction of today like “The Shack”)

ß. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

ß. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

ß. Ben Hur by Lew Wallace

ß. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

ß. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

ß. The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain

ß. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan from Baker

ß. The Zion Chronicles Series by Brock and Bodie Thoene

ß. The Zion Covenant Series by Brock and Bodie Thoene

ß. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

What about you? What are your favorite books? What would you like to see on this list?