Archive for the 'Understanding Context' Category

Books / Readings, Change!?!, Spiritual Formation, Understanding Context, Young Adults

Another book to suggest and maybe dialoge about…

I am almost done reading Ron Martoia’s book Static: tune out the ‘Christian noise’ and experience the real message of Jesus.  I would highly recommend this book to you and encourage you to read it with an open mind.  It will be challenging to say the least because Ron challenges some of the long held assumptions we make about salvation.

 Some highlights… Ron suggests that when we read the Bible, we often read it through the lense of the people Jesus ministered to… those who received healing, the poor, the lame, the marginalized…. since many of us are not poor, or marginalized, then maybe the better lense to look through is that of the religious leaders.  That really changes how I hear Jesus’ teachings!

He suggests that we often twist, add to, change the biblical texts to fit our preconceived theologies instead of letting the biblical texts form our theologies.  He deals most with the salvation as a way to heaven issue and pushes a deeper understanding of salvation as a restoration of shalom which impacts our life now and in the future.  This is a view I have held for a long time and have wrestled with as well…. If so many of us are “saved” then why aren’t things here on earth different.  Or to put it another way, if so many of us have said yes to Jesus, then why are we still cheating on taxes, ignoring the poor, fighting with our neighbors, and divorcing our spouses?

 The book is done in a mostly narrative style (similar to McLaren’s New Kind of Christian trilogy) but not as masterfully.  It is a fast read until you get to the last few chapters where he really moves beyond the story line with the major part of his thesis. 

 Again, I would highly recommend it and would love to be part of a group that has a converstation around it.  Jeff, wanna set that up too!?

Decline/Growth, Leadership, Understanding Context, Worship

A blog to recommend!

Hi all,

I have been reading Mark Batterson’s blog evotional for a good while now and want to highly recommend that you check it out!

He is doing some great stuff and has lots to offer us!

Community, Understanding Context

Do You Have a Christian Symbol on Your Car?

I subscribe to’s ezine. Today, they have an article by Steve Sjogren, former pastor of the Vineyard in Cincinnati. Now, he is lead pastor at Coastline Tampa Church. He’s got an interesting article here that should spark some agreement or disagreement.

“During your weekend services, do a spot check before you speak. Tally up how many vehicles sport some sort of Christian symbol. Usually churches that are seeing many come to Christ and have an internal book shop that sell these things have a high percentage of people who sport these on their vehicles. Enthusiasm to declare Christ is magnificent, but there is no worse way to do this today than by putting a symbol on your vehicle. . . ” To read more of this article, go to:

What do you think? In our culture, is it a good idea to have a Christian symbol on your car? Does it help or hurt your witness for Christ? Does it draw others into conversation with you or separate you from others?

Jeff Glass

Missional, Understanding Context, Young Adults

Finding, Keeping, and Developing Young Adults

As I look around the Church of the Brethren, I don’t see many active young adults. Something seems to happen to our youth as they go off to college. What’s your experience? How do you reach out to and attract young adults?

Today, I ran across this article on reasearch that’s been done:

LifeWay Research Uncovers Reasons 18 to 22 Year Olds Drop Out of Church
Written by Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A new study from LifeWay Research reveals that more than two-thirds of young adults who attend a Protestant church for at least a year in high school will stop attending church regularly for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.

To read more of the article, please go to:

I’d love to hear of your experiences of working with young adults!


Understanding Context

It’s all about Context

The other night I was reading the book “Emerging Churches” by Ryan Bolger and Eddie Gibbs. I don’t have the book in front of me but from what I remember they were writing about context. That to pastor missionally we need to know the context in which we find ourselves in, the changes that are taking place in our culture (postmodernism, etc..), but also to know the inside context of the church that we are in. I agree with them 100% but my question to them is…how…How do we begin to understand the culture and context where we are? So my question to you all is…. what things have you done to know your local context, the culture that we find ourselves in, and the inside the church context?

Something else that I am struggling with is this….how do you know if the context in which you are ministering is fitting with the content of your ministry? How do you know if the person you are called to be is fitting the context of where you have planted yourself. A member of Veritas ( our emerging generations ministry said to me… you need to figure out your calling and is that calling to the context of where you have planted yourself. And then he went on to say, “you have a few options… develop a ministry where you are currently planted that takes into account the local context, or move into a context that would connect with the type of ministry you want to develop.”

would love any and all replies.


Ryan Braught

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