Thinking Outside the Circle

Lyndsay Jacobs, Christian Churches NZ/Associated Churches of Christ in NZ, Uniting Congregations Partner Representative, in "The Wider Church – Number 7, July 2007 (Occasional news and updates prepared for Uniting Congregations in Aotearoa New Zealand with Christian Churches/Churches of Christ participation)" writes:

I am very encouraged by the way many union/cooperative churches are responding to their call to ministry and witness in this new century. But being effective parishes/congregations in this post modern, post denominational, post Christian, post Christendom era is a huge and constant challenge to us all.

IT IS A NEW WORLD. Like many others, I feel absolutely sure that trying to do what we’ve always done, but doing it better, JUST WON’T WORK. That is like looking through the wrong end of the telescope or trying to get ice cream into the cone through the bottom. It’s coming at things from the wrong end. That’s thinking ‘Inside the Circle’ – looking out from where we are. THE WORLD HAS CHANGED. We’re not where we were anymore.

The first (and major, huge) step for any congregation wanting to be real in 21st Century New Zealand, is to understand today’s community and HOW THE COMMUNITY SEES CHRISTIANITY and the CHURCH. We need to step outside our circles, see ourselves (our congregations) from the outside looking in. We need to think outside the circle.

I have prepared a one day or two evening discovery/action program for congregations which feel they’re ready, like Abraham, to explore moving into a ‘new country’. Let me know if you’re game. ( Contact info: lyndsaylorrainejacobs at xtra.co.nz, PO Box 211, Kirwee 7543, New Zealand. Ph: +64 (0) 3 317-8011. Mobile: +64 021 424516 ),

Prophets’ University at Abilene Christian Univeristy Lectureship September 16-19

<ed.note>Kate Miller ( miller at bible.acu.edu ) sent me a head’s up about this event at my alma. While living in Abilene I attended Minter Lane where I had the blessing of attending the class which Tom Olbricht* taught ( I can’t remember a thing except the emphases on compassion and unity ). In a class at ACU, John Willis* had the unenviable task of getting the concepts of mercy and justice into my thick skull via the prophetic literature. As a teacher he modeled what he taught and he inspires his students to greater holiness ( oy, what a challenge ) reminiscent of Assisi Frank’s admonition to "preach the gospel at all times — when necessary, use words". I might mention also that ACU is a sponsor of the World Convention ( Christian – Churches of Christ – Disciples of Christ ) scheduled for Nashville next summer. Mark your calendars now ( July 30th – August 3rd, 2008 ).</ed.note>

Each year ACU’s Bible Lectureship brings outstanding scholars to lead us deeper into the holy writings. This year, we have assembled a team to lead us into the rich worlds of Israel’s eighth-century prophets, namely Micah, Amos, Hosea and Isaiah. The powerful pictures offered by these prophets will aim to give you a greater understanding of God and his concern for the world. More info available here.

Eighth-Century Prophet Classes

Dave Bland
Experiencing the God of the Prophets:
Experiencing God’s Lament: Amos
Experiencing God’s Love: Hosea

Phillip Camp
Injustice is Blind … and Deaf: Isaiah
Confronts Injustice in Judah and in Us

Christopher Heard
God’s Favorites: Election and Uniqueness in the Book of Amos

*Tom Olbricht
God Loves Forever (hesed in Micah)

Glenn Pemberton
Worship Wars, Israelite Style: Three Psalms, a Sacrifice and a Prayer? And Other Burning
Questions From Worship

Rodney Plunket
The Wild, Wild, Near East: The World of the Eighth Century Prophets
Superpowers, War Crimes, and Coups d’Etat

Mark Shipp
A Harlot’s Wages: No Knowledge, No Mercy, No People
God Sows: Mercy, People, Knowledge of God

Trevor Thompson
Micah at the Margins: Micah as Medium, Micah Muted

*John Willis
The Message of Micah
God’s Central Concern for the Oppressed
God’s Treatment of Hardened Sinners and Persistent Sin
God’s Work in and Through His Chosen People and and the Nations

Timothy Willis
Anyone Want to Play ‘Follow the Leader’?
Being an Elder in Biblical Israel

Deaf Missions launches new ASL sermon series

Just imagine not having a local church you could attend each week. How would you grow spiritually? For many Deaf people, this is a reality, because they live in isolated areas where no Deaf church or interpreted services are available.

That’s why Deaf Missions is providing a new ministry on the Internet beginning in June, 2007. This new ministry is called LINK: ASL Sermon Series. Sermons will be presented weekly in sign language via streaming video on a new website owned by Deaf Missions — http://www.linkasl.com.

Now Deaf people will be able to “link” with Jesus and with solid Bible teaching in their natural language—ASL. Skilled and experienced Deaf preachers will each present a series of four or five messages on a particular Bible passage or theme. Every month, a new series will be webcast, with a new sermon in the series posted each week.

The sermons, which will be about 15 minutes in length, will include passages from The Bible: ASL Translation, graphics and other elements to enhance learning. Viewers may also download PDF files of discussion questions in English over each sermon to use for further study or for group study. A PDF file of the English manuscript also will be available. In addition, viewers may subscribe to free downloads of the sermons in ASL for their iPod, Windows Media Player or H.264, with a choice of file sizes.

Past sermons for the month and some former series of sermons will also be archived on the website, so visitors may watch previous messages. After a series has been shown on the Internet, those sermons will be made available on DVD for purchase from Deaf Missions’ online store. Viewers may order the DVDs directly from the LINK website.

In late April and May, six Deaf and hearing preachers will be videotaped in Deaf Missions’ new studio, using the high definition video equipment we recently purchased. They include Chad Entinger of Deaf Missions, José Abenchuchan (Jacksonville, FL), Mark Lowenstein (Fairfax, VA), Rick McClain (Birmingham, AL), Jeff Jackson (Bakersfield, CA) and Dave Borgaila (Council Bluffs, IA). Their sermons will be webcast throughout the rest of 2007, beginning with four sermons by Chad Entinger in June.

LINK: ASL Sermon Series will be a great resource for individuals and groups. Check out www.linkasl.com during the first week of June for the premiere of this exciting new program.

Fairtrade Fortnight

<ed.note>Gillian Southey, Christian World Service, Aotearoa New Zealand, informed me: Thanks for your enquiry. CWS has prepared resources for Aotearoa New Zealand churches – some of which can be downloaded from the web and others are available from the Fair Trade Association of Aotearoa New Zealand. In terms of US churches promoting fair trade I suggest you initially look at this, and this – which has links to all sorts of church ‘coffee projects’.</ed.note>

Churches of Christ 2007 Ministers Salary Survey Results

Charles A. Siburt, Vice President for Church Relations, Frazer Professor of Church Enrichment, of Abilene Christian University <ed.note>my alma</ed.note>, writes:

Church Leader Friends, I am pleased to inform you that the 2007 Ministers Salary Survey Results are now available on the ACU Ministry Resources web site. The number of ministers participating in this year’s survey is larger than ever before. The results are available in either Excel or PDF formats. Hopefully, the data is more intelligible and more accessible than previous surveys. You can access the results… Thank you for your interest and participation in this year’s. Peace, Charles

Churches of Christ Business School Alumni Network

<ed.note>While I’m working on my Honorary MBA, this note from Alan See may be of interest to some:</ed.note>

Greetings:

I graduated from Abilene Christian University in 1981 (BBA) and 1986 (MBA). I would like to see a strong "Church of Christ" related business alumni network and hope you will join me in this effort. There is a growing network of ACU alumni currently meeting on yahoo.  The charter for this group has recently been expanded.

Discussion Group Description: Founded in 2004 by Abilene Christian University College of Business alumni. This group has expanded to include all "Church of Christ" related Universities.  Our objectives include:

1. Growing "Church of Christ" University/College alumni related networks throughout the business community.
2. Sharing business thought-leadership content.
3. Sharing job opportunities.
4. Sharing prayer requests and helping old friends stay in touch.

The Web-site: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ACUBusinessSchoolAlumni/

Several hundred job postings and business related thought-leadership articles have been presented on this web-site. In addition, you will find prayer requests and family updates. Isn’t that what made the Christian University/College experience unique? The ability to nurture your career while living a Christian faith.

Please help me grow this unique network. Forward this message to your classmates and encourage them to connect.

Regards,

Alan See
Abilene Christian University
Class of 1981
AlanSee at AlanSee.com