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July 25, 2012Culture

Morning Roundup - July 25, 2012

Jason Dukes and I share a similar message of "living sent." These 10 diagnostic questions are effective for calibrating a missional mindset.

Are You Missional? 10 Diagnostic Questions -- Trevin Wax

In the book Live Sent: You Are a Letter, Jason Dukes lays out 10 questions to help Christians discern whether or not they are operating with a missional mindset. Challenging words!

1. When you speak of church, what prepositions do you use?

2. When you think of missions, do you think of a mission trip to a distant city and a service project in your own community or do you think about daily life among your family, neighbors, and coworkers?

3. What is your common declaration about lost people around you? "Can you believe the way those people act?" OR "When can you come over for dinner?"

4. Is my tendency to disengage from culture and retreat into safer, more Christian environments? Or is it to engage culture even amidst discomfort and danger?

5. When you hear "make disciples," do you think of a classroom or your relationships?

6. Do you spend a lot of time wondering whether you should quit your job to surrender to ministry? Or do you simply live to minister to anyone and everyone where you are currently?

7. When you think of a friend who needs help, do you think, "I need to get him to see the pastor" OR "I wonder what I can do to help"?

8. When you think of heaven, do you think "kingdom come" or "kingdom is here"?

9. Do you think godliness is measured with a mirror or within community?

10. Do you have a lost friend who would actually introduce you as his or her friend?

As busy as my schedule is, I can attest to the benefits of working out sermons and series in advance. Whether you pastor a small church or a large one, it's always better to have flexibility when it's needed.

6 Reasons Pastors Should Work A Month In Advance -- Mark Pierce

working ahead does not come naturally to me. In college I was the guy who could type (yes, we used a typewriter back then) his paper the night before. As the pastor of a small church I used to get my week's work done "just in time". From many conversations with lots of my pastor friends, I know many of you are also working frantically at the last minute to finish everything for the coming Sunday.

Now that I'm working a month out, I never intend to go back to those pressure-filled days. Here's 6 reasons why working well in advance of deadlines works so well for me.

#1 - My work is better.

#2 - My work is more focused.

#3 - My work is more flexible.

#4 - My congregation can be more involved.

#5 - More volunteers can serve routinely.

#6 - I can better respond to pastoral emergencies.

Cathy shares more research documenting the "rise of the nones." We've seen the same trend at LifeWay Research.

Survey Finds 19% Without Religious Affiliation -- Cathy Lynn Grossman

Unbelief is on the uptick. People who check "None" for their religious affiliation are now nearly one in five Americans (19%), the highest ever documented, according to the Pew Center for the People and the Press.

The rapid rise of Nones -- including atheists, agnostics and those who say they believe "nothing in particular" -- defies the usually glacial rate of change in spiritual identity.

Barry Kosmin, co-author of three American Religious Identification Surveys, theorizes why None has become the "default category." He says, "Young people are resistant to the authority of institutional religion, older people are turned off by the politicization of religion, and people are simply less into theology than ever before."

Kosmin's surveys were the first to brand the Nones in 1990 when they were 6% of U.S. adults. By 2008 survey, Nones were up to 15%. By 2010, another survey, the bi-annual General Social Survey, bumped the number to 18%.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church, the nation's largest religious denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, Methodists and Lutherans, all show membership flat or inching downward, according to the 2012 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.

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Morning Roundup - July 25, 2012