An Underdog for Jesus (How to Make Your Church Grow)

News Flash! America is NOT a Christian country any longer! I hope that did not take any of you by surprise. And also I hope that it does not take you again by surprise in saying that non-Christian America was around way before Barack Obama became president. I, for one, am happy to admit that America not being a Christian country is a good thing. If I could just speak to America’s evangelicals all at once, there would be one thing that I would say to them, “Suck it up, pick up the pieces, and reevaluate how to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to a world, that for the most part, despises that very kingdom.” So the question becomes, “what does that reevaluation look like?” One word answer. Underdog.

I cannot stand how so many of these evangelical churches are trying to “get back to how the earliest Christians did things” when they do not realize that the earliest Christians embraced something that most present evangelicals fight against with every muscle in their body. These earliest Christians knew that they were the minority and embraced it. And because of this, Christianity exploded. These early Christians knew that they were the underdog… and do you know what everyone loves? an underdog.

For three years as a pastor of a small United Methodist congregation, I fought to make us the underdog. And I found out then that for the rest of my life I will continue to fight to make the church I am serving the underdog. Why? Because being an underdog makes you popular. And if you are an underdog for Jesus, it makes Jesus popular. And that is what it is all about. Following are 4 ways that being an underdog allows the Holy Spirit to move in ways that it did in the first century.

1. IF YOUR CHURCH IS AN UNDERDOG, your church will recruit volunteers like never before. An underdog team knows that it is going to take effort from every single person to succeed, and even the better players lose the I mentality for the we mentality. A team that is on top will just rely on the “best” players and leave the game in their hands. In a church that is an underdog, the person that only shows up on Christmas and Easter will know that they are not only wanted, but also needed in profound ways. People will work together like never before, and you will actually see a church become a community.

2. IF YOUR CHURCH IS AN UNDERDOG, your church’s morale does not drop after a loss. A team that is playing a better team can hold their heads up after a loss. If there is a vision that is not reached, an underdog is reminded of its humanity and knows that there is always improvement to be made. So after that goal in the church is not reached, you do not give up, you simply say we will get it next time, and you fight harder.

3. IF YOUR CHURCH IS AN UNDERDOG, you celebrate victories with all out abandon. When the team that is supposed to lose actually wins, people like Rudy get carried off the field. When a church accomplishes something that, in the eyes of many, it is not supposed to accomplish, a person by the name of Jesus is carried off the field with shouting, crying, and praising, knowing that without Him none of it would be possible. This brings to mind the thing about Jesus being strong when we are weak, right? Also when you celebrate with all out abandon, guess what happens, people celebrate with you. I think this might relate to something Johnny Wesley said, “If you catch on fire with enthusiasm, people will come for miles to watch you burn.” Celebrate like naked King David and watch what happens. (Note: don’t actually go naked).

4. IF YOUR CHURCH IS AN UNDERDOG, they will rely completely on God. This is the best reason to be an underdog church. An underdog knows that it should lose. An underdog knows that in order to win, something like a miracle has to happen. An underdog church knows that God has to do something, or else, nothing will happen. And if I know anything about God, it is that he loves when people fully rely on him to accomplish things that they themselves could not accomplish, and he blesses it.

If you want to be part of a movement that will reclaim the hearts of Americans that have long been lost, become an underdog. And once that happens, stay an underdog. The worst thing that could possibly happen to the church is for it to become a bandwagon team. We have seen this happen several times in the church’s history, all ending with epic failure and huge losses for the kingdom. When you are on top, there is no where to go but down. Lets humble ourselves, and fight all out, relying on Christ in everything.

 

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Praying for Jesus’ will be done, oh wait… I mean Romney’s will be done

If this election has shown me anything, it is that American evangelicals, generally speaking, put more faith in what they can control, or wish they could control, than what they cannot control.

When you step back for a moment and realize that millions of evangelicals prayed to YHWH, for a non-Christian Mormon to be their next leader, you realize one thing… something has gone terribly wrong!! It is a sad day when Christians plead to be led by a non-Christian. I can hear the people of God now pleading and praying to return to Egypt, after years of praying to get out of Egypt!

The president is not perfect and unfortunately has let many of us down (reason I did not vote for him). Romney would have accomplished many things. But friends, God is in control of all things and can accomplish all things, including creating jobs (who would have known?!?!). And it seems that today he has swayed the hearts of men and women in favor of the Christian candidate.

Can you blame him?

And before you start bashing me for bashing Romney’s faith, when so many say to leave religion out of politics. Friends, I can no more leave my religion out of anything, including politics, as one can poop without wiping.

From one who voted for neither mainline party candidate, Harrison

 

This is one of the best articles that I have read concerning Obama’s faith. If he played this card more often, he would have won the White House hands down. It is encouraging that the President, even though he might not be the strongest Christian out there, is wrestling with his faith in profound ways.

CNN Belief Blog

Editor’s note: This is the last in a series about the faith lives of the presidential candidates, which includes a profile of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) – President Obama’s prayers for a strong first debate may not have been answered, but that doesn’t mean the prayers weren’t happening.

Before he stepped onto a Colorado stage earlier this month to face off with Mitt Romney for the first time, Obama joined a conference call with a small circle of Christian ministers.

“The focus of that prayer was, ‘Oh, Lord, you know precisely what the president needs to say,’” says Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Methodist megachurch pastor from Texas who helped lead the call. “’You know what this country needs during the next four years.’”

“’And so I would pray that your primary will and words that you want the president to…

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Jesus over Romney

Jesus over Romney

The blog that has been linked is a wonderful example of how some people are truly more concerned about spreading Jesus than spreading politics.

Also, this link: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/11/03/cnn-religion-blogger-attacks-christian-conservatives-for-supporting-romney/ , criticizes a Christian for being anti-Romney just on the basis of his beliefs (Romney as a Mormon). I feel as though, as a Christian leader, that not supporting Romney on the basis of his religion is a fine reason not to vote for him. First, one’s religion should shape everything that one does. Second, most evangelical Christians want a return of American to Christian belief seen in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Voting in a non-Christian will not accomplish this. Third, the argument has been made that most Mormons do not understand their own beliefs, and that we will see many Mormons in heaven. This very well may be true, but the fact remains that the President above most people should be held accountable for their actions and their beliefs. If their personal beliefs do not line up with the religion that they have followed their entire life, they need to make a split. Lastly, even though this is a fallacious argument, most evangelicals would not vote for a Muslim (fact: Obama is NOT a Muslim), therefore why in the world would that same person vote for a Mormon? (Question of the century). Also fact: Islam is much closer to Christianity than Mormonism.

If religion, is not a basis on which you vote, then by all means, vote for who you feel is the best candidate. But, if you are an evangelical, who wants Christianity to prosper throughout the earth, then voting for a non-Christian seems not to accomplish this at all.

From one who supports neither candidate, Harrison.

16 Goals For Success

16 Goals For Success

Bill Snyder is perhaps one of the greatest coaches ever. His ability to improve men on and off the field is excellent. If a single local church would take his 16 goals for success and utilize them in every way, with every staff member, and every church attender, it would perhaps be the most dynamic church on the face of the planet.

1. Commitment

2. Unselfishness

3. Unity

4. Improve Daily

5. Be Tough Mentally and Physically

6. Self-Discipline

7. Great Effort

8. Enthusiasm

9. Eliminate Mistakes

10. Never Give Up

11. Don’t Accept Losing

12. No Self-Limitations

13. Expect to Win

14. Consistency

15. Leadership

16. Responsibility