FMI REPORT – JULY
PARADOXES FOR AMERICA'S FAITH, BILL BRIGHT, G12, PROPHETIC OR PATHETIC?
THINGS ARE OF GOOD REPORT... THINK
ON THESE THINGS" PHIL. 4:8
a pleasure it is to be in touch with you again.
like to thank all those of you who have been forwarding these messages to friends and family.
In This Month's Report:
* Editorial - "Seven Paradoxes Regarding America's Faith"
* Feedback - great testimonies of God's power working
* July Events - some of the events we were involved in
* July Ministry - our ministry activities over the last month
* Resources - order "No Greater Sacrifice" through our website (see link below)
* Partnership - invest in God's program for the Northeast of America
We would love to hear from you, so
send us your feedback today. Don’t forget the ever-popular 'GOD THOUGHTS'
at the end of this report. Enjoy! JB
EDITORIAL – Barna Identifies Seven Paradoxes Regarding America’s Faith
consider the following abbreviated article so pertinent to this time and
season here in America that I have included it, with permission from Barna
Research, instead of my own editorial this month -
In most of his recent studies, renowned researcher George Barna noticed a pattern of paradoxes, contradictions and deception in people's attitudes, opinions and beliefs related to their faith. Until these misunderstandings and misperceptions are addressed, he contends, it will be difficult for churches and individuals to focus effectively on faith development.
The Success Paradox
Barna discovered that people's views of success had little to do with their faith but focused more on personal accomplishments, family solidarity and emotional fulfillment. "The Christian faith commends sacrifice, servanthood and sharing as the means to significance," he noted. "How is it possible to have more than 120 million adults attending Christian churches on a regular basis, but only 15 million who grasp the message that success is not about personal accomplishment or material possessions?"
The Commitment Contradiction
Various studies pointed out how a large majority of Americans identified faith as a key factor in their life. Yet, less than 50% who described themselves as Christian, also described themselves as "absolutely committed to the Christian faith." Less than 10%
'tithe' to their church. A majority of teenagers attend a Christian church today, but only one-third is likely to do so once they reach adulthood. The persecution delivered by the terrorist attacks of
9/11 has produced no increase in spiritual practices. Barna suggested that many Americans may have fallen in love with faith rather than the object of their faith. "It's much less demanding to be devoted to the idea of faith than to invest yourself in a true relationship with the living God."
Deceptions Regarding Truth
Almost everyone in the U.S. believes that truth exists. However, a large majority of Christians and non-Christians contend that there is no absolute moral truth. While most of these people describe themselves as followers of Christ and say that the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings, they nevertheless believe that truth is based on feelings, experience or emotion.
"This is one of the great deceptions of our age," Barna pointed out. "Embracing relativism under the guise of Christian faith facilitates comfort with sin. By claiming the authority to determine right from wrong, we crown ourselves the kings of reality, yet we have no such authority, and we constantly pay the price for the arrogance of believing and acting like we are in control of our destiny and experience. What an affront it is to God for us to claim His name and protection but to resist His moral truths on the basis of human feelings."
The Deception of the Worship Wars
While many people believe that churches are paralyzed by infighting over the style of music in worship services, the study found relatively few churches experiencing such angst. The bigger issues were people not understanding what worship is and who it is for - resulting in the failure to connect with God through genuine worship - and the widespread use of
'blended worship,' which winds up hindering rather than helping people's worship. The American Church desperately needs a back-to-basics movement to fill in the cracks in our spiritual
The Contradictions Regarding Religious Beliefs
More than 80% of Americans claim to be Christian and 40% born again Christians. Most adults read the Bible during the year and a huge majority
claim they know all of the basic teachings of the Bible. How, then, can most people say Satan does not exist, that the Holy Spirit is merely a symbol, that eternal peace with God can be earned through good works, and that truth can only be understood through the lens of reason and experience?
"In a sound bite society you get sound bite theology," Barna lamented. "Americans are more likely to buy simple sayings than a system of truth that takes time and concentration to grasp. People are more prone to embrace diversity, tolerance and feeling good than judgment, discernment, righteousness and limitations. People are more focused on temporal security than eternal security and its temporal implications. Hopefully, once Christian leaders comprehend this, we can be more devoted to effectively challenging the superficial spirituality of our nation."
The Paradox of Ineffective Outreach
A survey among Protestant pastors showed that evangelism and outreach ranked as the top priority of churches. More than $50 billion was spent on domestic ministry in 2002. However, Barna says that the proportions of both non-Christian adults and unchurched adults have remained unchanged since 2000. "In fact, because our population has increased, the number of unchurched and non-Christian people in the nation has actually grown. Regardless of its true character and intent, the Christian community is not known for love, nor for a life-transforming faith," explained the researcher. "Outdated means of outreach, inappropriate assumptions about people's faith, and a lack of passion for helping non-believers to receive God's love and acceptance are hindering the Church from fulfilling its mandate. America remains one of the largest mission fields in the world, and the American Church remains the most richly endowed body of believers on the planet. There is no lack of potential."
The Deception of Effective Leadership
A national survey among pastors revealed that a majority feel they are doing an excellent or good job in leading people spiritually. In fact, the larger the church is, the more likely the pastor is to feel pleased with his performance as its leader. Barna confessed confusion over that outcome. "Pastoring is a difficult job," he acknowledged, "and it's important not to become discouraged by the magnitude of the spiritual battle in which we are engaged - after all, we know that we are aligned with the winning camp. However, it's a bit troubling to see pastors feel they're doing a great job when the research reveals that few congregants have a biblical worldview, half the people they minister to are not spiritually secure or developed, kids are fleeing from the church in record numbers, most of the people who attend worship services admit they did not connect with God..."
"Pastors, alone, cannot be held accountable for the spiritual disrepair of America. But it's worrisome when there is a strong correlation between church size and self-satisfaction, because that suggests that attendance and budget figures have become our mark of success. It's troubling when our spiritual leaders cannot articulate where we're headed and how the Church will fulfill its role as the restorative agent of our society. Maybe the comfort afforded by our buildings and other material possessions has seduced us into thinking we're farther down the road than we really are."
the full article, go to: http://www.barna.org/cgi-bin/PagePressRelease.asp?PressReleaseID=128&Reference=B
George Barna will be in Trenton, New Jersey, Tuesday, September 23. Details and registration at:
"Dear Jeff, it's nice to continue to hear from you. Thanks for your inspirational thoughts on being a team (FMI Report, June '03 "SWAT"), it really spoke to me. Keep up the great work you do. Regards.
Paul Fleming, Adelaide, Australia"
"Dear Bro. Beacham, Thank you for coming to Northeast New Jersey to minister at Praise Assembly as well as the Northeast Section Pentecost Outpouring
Service (Sun, June 8, '03). God did a powerful thing at our church as scores of people filled the altars, receiving a divine touch from God. We had 21 churches represented at our Evening Worship Service. Hundreds came around the altars hungry for more of God. Reports are still coming back to me
- people committing their lives to Jesus Christ, people baptized and refilled with the Holy
Spirit, physical healings, reports of deliverances from alcohol and nicotine, and the list continues. As you saw, revival has set in in the Northeast part of New Jersey and I thank you for allowing God to use you
to fan the flame!
Believing for great things! Pastor John Czubkowski, Pastor of Praise
Assembly, Garfield, NJ Presbyter - NE Section NJ District Assemblies of God"
the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, passed away in the evening of
July 19, 2003. He was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, and at the age of 81, he stepped into eternity. More than 6000+ US Campus staff were there in prayer and a time of worship together. Tears of sadness soon turned into tears of joy as
they realized that he is receiving what he longed for these past 40 years: to be with the Lord that he
loved so much.
G12 Regional Conference was co-sponsored
by City Covenant Coalition and New Life Christian Fellowship,
Darien CT, in New York City, July 16 - 18. The keynote speakers
were Larry Stockstill and
César and Claudia Castellanos. In late 1992, Senior Pastor Larry Stockstill of Bethany World Prayer Center, made the decision to transition his church into a cell church model. On Easter
Sunday of 1993,
Bethany's first 54 cell groups were opened. Multiplication was rapid and explosive as the congregation caught the vision of cell life. That expansion has continued to the present with approximately 1200 cells currently in existence. Pastor Stockstill's
ministry emphasizes not only cells but also prayer and world missions.
Jesus' vision for the world is to "win souls and make
disciples." To achieve His vision, Jesus worked closely with twelve men that He mentored to take His place on the earth. Following Jesus' pattern, the apostle Paul also
trained a number of young men ("Timothys") who later became the great leaders of the New Testament Church. We call this
mentoring technique the 'principle of
The number twelve is the number of government in the Bible. Jesus established His kingdom and government on the earth by using the same principle that God had used to establish Israel in the Old Testament. Just as Israel had twelve tribes, Jesus had twelve disciples. Using this pattern, Jesus intended to show us a model of how to disciple not only our local communities, but also the nations of the world. The
'principle of twelve' was first implemented by Pastors César and Claudia Castellanos at International Charismatic Mission in Bogotá, Colombia. This church has used this discipleship principle to build the largest small group network in the world: 30,000 small groups in a single congregation! Now, churches worldwide are implementing this dynamic principle. Its simple, personal nature is easy to duplicate. It is not a program, but the development of
'fathering' relationships that help every believer become a multiplying leader who can disciple others.
Prophetic or Pathetic - On
July 31, FAITH Alliance, a covenantal network of New Jersey
ministers and ministries, hosted a seminar on the prophetic ministry. Are there really New Testament prophets today? What is the Gift of Prophecy? What is the Office of the Prophet? Are they the same? What are the perils of Prophecy?
These were some of the questions that were addressed in an attempt to bring balance to one of the most controversial areas of ministry today.
Audio cassettes of this seminar can be ordered by calling (732) 349-1550
Last month we were at the following churches and events:
5th - South Orange Avenue Pastor’s Prayer Vigil, Newark NJ, Pastor Gloria Harris
6th - Beth El Church Ministry, Newark, NJ, Pastor Gloria Harris
13th - Word of Life Christian Ministries, Dover, NJ, Pastor Linda Bellini
15th – Market SeaChange (Believers in Business) Meeting. Toms River, NJ, Chris Healy
16th and 17th – G12 Cell Church Strategy Conference, Calvary Cathedral of Praise, Brooklyn, NY.
20th - Abundant Life Worship Center, Whippany, NJ, Pastor Joe Arminio
31st - FAITH Alliance - "Prophetic or Pathetic?" Toms River, NJ
"Dear Brother Jeff, It was indeed a rich time we shared with you during the South Orange Avenue
(Newark, NJ) Prayer Vigil and Sunday worship. The message on forgiveness was an essential message to the Body of
Christ and was needed to minister to the people of God. The head of our Sunday Morning Scripture Ministry said,
'I went home so excited about the message Pastor Jeff preached.' She went on to say that she called a couple of people to tell them about the message and the manner in which you ministered the Word. Now this in itself is a miracle because Andrea is not an
excitable person, she is usually very laid back and not generally expressive, but she was extremely impressed with the delivery of the message you shared with us on that Sunday. The church is still talking about that
'white boy is anointed to play those drums and...!' You have such a bubbly personality with a humorous side that wins people to Jesus Christ. Thank you for being our friend and brother in Christ. We hope you might come again to minister to Beth El... In His Service,
Pastor Gloria Harris, Newark, NJ"
EXCITING CD AVAILABLE THROUGH FMI
NO GREATER SACRIFICE
Live worship and praise from the Church of Grace and Peace, Toms River, New
a touch of heaven into your car, living room or worship service
"This CD is as good as any worship album I have heard anywhere" Jeff
Order online at: http://www.firepowerint.com/products.htm
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"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them
- every day begin the task anew." - Saint Francis de Sales
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MINISTRY OF JEFF BEACHAM