Friday, February 18, 2011

new blog again

It looks like we're going to reserve bibleonthebrain.com strictly for Scripture Memory Song Videos... so I've started a new personal blog at jasonwoolever.me... hope you are all well!

Monday, January 31, 2011

If anyone ever checks this blog. I am now blogging at www.bibleonthebrain.com.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

church growth and Kentucky Fried Chicken

I just finished reading Bishop Willimon's book about salvation, "Who Will Be Saved?" The last couple pages had some really good quotes about church growth and decline. Some are pretty funny.

"Any congregation that is not growing-not restlessly probing the world, not reaching with Christ, not curious about what new beachhead Christ has obtained lately, not getting hammered by the world for having lunch with people like Zacchaeus- is not a faithful church."
(130)

"'So, it's all about numbers is it?' This is the predictable response to my connection of ecclesiology and growth. It is unimaginable that Saint Luke, Saint Paul, or Saint John Wesley would understand the alibis that are offered for church decline and death under the guise that we are so faithful to Jesus, so theologically responsible that we are dying by attrition. Is it all about numbers? Take it up with Jesus." (130)

"When asked why the Episcopal Church in America is in precipitous decline, the presiding bishop replied that most of the growth is growing churches is through births to parents who are already church members and that the Episcopal Church, since it draws upon the better educated classes of society has a lower birthrate so therefore....Not one of the presiding bishop's better thoughts, I think." (130-131)

"I just closed a church after a seventy-year run. Their dying words were, 'There is no one anywhere near our church who might join our church.' What they meant is, 'We are in the middle of the greatest population growth that is all of a color and a language other than our own and it makes us uncomfortable that Jesus expects us to recognize them as part of us.' Church growth is an expected essential byproduct of a Savior who is relentlessly out on the prowl for fresh disciples. Church decline is an expected result for a church that refuses to follow a Savior who is relentlessly out to grow God's kingdom."
(131)

"It really gets me that Kentucky Fried Chicken loves the people of West Birmingham more than my church loves them, has found a way to build and maintain the best-looking place in West Birmingham whereas we United Methodists have mostly abandoned that part of the city. Belief in Christian salvation should produce as least as compassionate and bold a business that sells soggy chicken." (131)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

success and equipping

I'm just finishing up a really great book by Don Cousins called "Leadershift." Here are some of the things I hope to remember and apply:

What is Success?
- Success is being faithful – doing what God has called you to do, using that which He has given you.
- Success is bearing fruit, both internally and externally (internally as the fruit of the Spirit characterizes who you are; externally as the gifts of the Spirit make you a person of Christlike influence).
- Success is experiencing fulfillment, entering into the joy of God (see. Matt. 25:23) as you faithfully bear fruit out of that which God has given you.
- Success is making God famous by serving in “the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11). The aim and the result of faithful, fruitful, and fulfilling service is to make God famous. (241-242).

Equipping

“The job of all leaders is to help their followers discover and use their gifts. This is the heart of what it means to equip the saints for the work of service” (236).

“Believers become a force of incredible influence when they begin using their gifts in an area of passion. The leaders’ job is to help them discover the piece of God’s heart deeded to them. This will require some exploration, experimentation, and the affirmation of the Holy Spirit in times of prayer” (240).

“Unfortunately many leaders focus their attention on the needs instead of the servers, and as a result, see servers as a means to an end. I call this approach, ‘usery,’ and it’s the opposite of equipping. ‘Usery’ takes something from someone in order to accomplish something else. Equipping gives something to someone for the purpose of building that person up. Leaders who focus their attention on accomplishing ministry objectives see the saints as the workforce to getting that done. They value a person’s contribution more than they value the person. The saints become a means to an end. Again, ‘usery’ – but no one wants to be used” (243).

Thursday, May 08, 2008

perry noble on preaching

I'm always interested in hearing about how other people prepare sermons. Here's Perry Noble giving away the process he uses.

The Art of Possibility

I finished The Art of Possibility last week. And it was a very mind-opening read. I would recommend it. Each chapter is memorable slogan to represent a practice that the authors are trying to teach.

Here are the practices:
1. It's All Invented
2. Stepping into a Universe of Possibility
3. Giving an A
4. Being a Contribution
5. Leading from Any Chair
6. Rule Number 6
7. The Way Things Are
8. Giving Way to Passion
9. Lighting a Spark
10. Being the Board
11. Creating Frameworks for Possibility
12. Telling the WE Story

I recognize that these won't make much sense without expanations. You might want to read it for yourself. You'll probably enjoy it, but it is not a quick read. Its a "read a chapter and chew on it for a day and then read another one" kind of book.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

cool quotes about potential

"The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already." ~ John Buchan

"Focus on your potential instead of your limitations." ~ Alan Loy McGinnis

"If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Compliments of Leadership Wired

Friday, April 25, 2008

making a difference

This story has meant a lot to my good friend, Lon. I like it too.

Strolling along the edge of the sea, a man catches sight of a young woman who appears to be engaged in a ritual dance. She stoops down, then straightens to her full height, casting her arm out in an arc. Drawing closer, he sees that the beach around her is littered with starfish, and she is throwing them one by one into the sea. He lightly mocks her: "There are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see, for miles up the beach. What difference can saving a few of them possibly make?" Smiling, she bends down and once more tosses a starfish out over the water, saying serenely, "It makes a difference to this one." (The Art of Possibility, 55)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

being a contribution

I'm currently reading The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Ben Zander. Seth Godin said on a Catalyst podcast that if there was one book that he would recommend it would be this one. In this book they are trying to blow open old paradigms of comparison and scarcity with new paradigms of abundance and possibility. Ben Zander is a world renowned orchestral conductor, and Ros is a therapist/coach of some sort. Of course, since its largely secular, I must screen it all through the Bible, but it is refreshing to be sure.

Each chapter presents another catch phrase for reframing paradigms. I read part of the fourth one last night, which is entitled "Being a Contribution." Here's a blurb:

Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side. It is not arrived at by comparison. All at once I found that the fearful question, "Am I loved for who I am, or for what I have accomplished?" could both be replaced by the joyful question, "How will I be a contribution today?" (57)
This seems healthy to me as a part of the church world, where it sometimes feels like churches are competing against one another, as strange as that may sound. What if we all continually asked ourselves the question, How can we contribute to God's to world redeption and Kingdom expansion?, and refused to compare ourselves to other churches/Christians?

Galatians 6:4-5 All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

cool quote

It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.
- Confucius

save lives

April 25 is World Malaria Day. In Africa, a kid dies of malaria every 30 seconds because he/she got bit by a mosquito.

I started a BUMC team, for participating in Nothing But Nets. This is a campaign to help fight malaria. Millions of people die each year from malaria - but there's a simple, life-saving solution, and all it takes is $10 to buy a bed net, distribute it to a family, and explain its use.

I set a $500 goal for our BUMC team to raise. One net will cover a family of four and protect them for 4 years. For each $10 net you buy, you're potentially saving four lives. If we can raise $500, that's 50 families and 200 people that we could keep alive. Its so simple. I'm stoked about how easy it is to help our hurting neighbors. I'm also proud of the fact that the United Methodist Church is participating in this with the NBA and United Nations Foundation.

Join me by Sending Nets and Saving Lives:

http://my.e2rm.com/TeamPage.aspx?TSID=187208

From our Team Page, click on the 'Join My Team' button to register and help us fundraise. If you can't join us, you can also sponsor our team by making a donation online.

In Christ's Love,
Pastor Jason Woolever

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

7 Practices of Effective Ministry

In the last couple of days I read this short book written by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, and Lane Jones, founding leaders of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia. This is a list and explanation of seven practices that they have implemented since the beginning of North Point, which has taken it to a church of tens of thousands. Its a great, easy read, filled with baseball analogies.

Here are the practices:
Practice #1: Clarify the Win - Define what is important at every level of the organization.
Practice #2: Think Steps, Not Programs - Before you start anything, make sure it takes you where you need to go.
Practice #3: Narrow the Focus - Do fewer things in order to make a greater impact.
Practice #4: Teach Less for More - Say only what you need to say to the people who need to hear it.
Practice #5: Listen to Outsiders - Focus on who you're trying to reach, not who you're trying to keep.
Practice #6: Replace Yourself - Learn to hand off what you do.
Practice #7: Work On It - Take time to evaluate your work - and to celebrate your wins.

I'm thinking of going through it with some leaders of my church. But I truly need to wait and pray and see how much of this stuff will work for our smaller, more traditional setting. That's the catch. These guys have been doing this since before they got North Point going. Gleaning from their experience without trying to copy it - that's the trick.