Church Planting Expectations, the Bible Is Not About You, & Taking a Stand for Justice

Wisdom for Your Weekend is your regular installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web. Presented to you by Chris Pappalardo (and Allison Dolbeer, filling in this week), with occasional guidance from Pastor J.D., this is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”

Articles of the Week

The Pipeline Is Shrinking: Reflections on the State of Church Planting, Bob Thune. Thune, a leader in the Acts 29 network, tries to account for a decrease in the church planting network’s growth rate and number of churches planted in the last five years. “If we’re talking about real missional church-planting … if we’re talking about moving a man ‘from pagan to planter,’ then we’re talking about a decade or more of discipleship, spiritual formation, and leadership development. The conditions that spurred the growth of Acts 29 in the boom years simply do not obtain anymore. We must adjust our expectations and our methods accordingly.”

Teach Children the Bible Is Not About Them, Sally Lloyd-Jones. The author of The Jesus Storybook Bible says the problem with asking children what they can learn from a Bible story about how God wants them to live is that it turns the Bible into a collection of rules instead of the greatest story ever told. “When we drill a Bible story down into a mere moral lesson, we make it all about us. But the Bible isn’t mainly about us and what we are supposed to be doing; it’s about God and what he has done! When we tie up the story in a nice, neat, little package, and give simplistic answers [to] all the difficult questions, we leave little room for mystery. Or discovery. We leave little room for the child. Little room for God.”

Justice Declaration: Take a Stand for Justice That Restores. Last week, Pastor J.D. became one of the original signers of the Justice Declaration, a framework grounded in biblical values to guide the church’s response to America’s crisis of over-criminalization. Check out this powerful statement on the church’s responsibility to address this crisis, and even sign it yourself. “Most of us in American life can agree, our criminal justice system doesn’t work the way it is supposed to,” Russell Moore said at a June 20 press conference. “We should fix it and, as evangelical Christians, we should be the first to say so.”

Video of the Week

We’re Not Who We Think We Are. As part of a series of videos about the World Measurement Project from the American Culture & Faith Institute, George Barna looks specifically at what percentage of adults in the U.S. have a biblical worldview versus how many Americans claim to be Christians. The implications are sobering but a necessary kick in the pants for those pursuing authentic and effective discipleship.

On the Lighter Side

Nicolas Cage Caged in a Nicolas Cage Cage. Just because we can.