Steve Bremner http://stevebremner.com Author, Podcaster & Missionary to Peru Sun, 24 May 2015 14:35:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Join Steve Bremner, author, blogger and missionary to Peru as he interviews authors, bloggers and missionaries who'll challenge, encourage and strengthen you to burn for Jesus and increase your faith. Steve Bremner clean Steve Bremner steve.bremner@gmail.com steve.bremner@gmail.com (Steve Bremner) Fire Press Productions Kicking Christians out of the upper room to spread the fire Steve Bremner http://stevebremner.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/black-1024-x-1024.png http://stevebremner.com TV-G Chorrillos, Peru Pretty often Is God Preparing a Spiritual Awakening among the Millennials? | Discipling Culture http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/is-god-preparing-a-spiritual-awakening-among-the-millennials-discipling-culture/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/is-god-preparing-a-spiritual-awakening-among-the-millennials-discipling-culture/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 17:21:41 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=16316 Is God Preparing a Spiritual Awakening among the Millennials-

Photo credit: Discipling Culture Blog

Original post: Is God Preparing a Spiritual Awakening among the Millennials? – Discipling Culture

This article caught my attention because it wasn’t bashing millennials for a change. Nor was the author crying that the end of evangelicalism is near due to the decline of millennials attending church services.

Mike Breen, who I quote from a lot on this blog and on my podcast and whose Lifeshapes I borrow heavily in my discipleship and teaching on making disciples, hits the ball out of the park. He posted this post on Tuesday after reading survey data and books by Christian Smith, who works with the National Study of Youth and Religion,

The survey reveals both troubling and hopeful elements in the spiritual landscape of young America. We’ve all probably heard some of the areas for concern but I want to concentrate on what I see as some of the elements in the data that make me hopeful, because as I’ve engaged with the material I’ve been driven to ask whether God is preparing the ground for a spiritual awakening among the Millennials.

As a millennial myself, I could tell you “of course God is!”, but read on:

‘Do good. Be happy. God exists – but he’s not very involved’. That’s the millennial worldview. (Smith and Lundquist Denton – Soul Searching)

As missionaries to our culture, it’s important to understand the worldviews with which we are engaging. Understanding them will tell us:

(a) where the common ground for communication can be found

and

(b) where the intellectual and psychological inconsistencies that leaves space for the sharing of the gospel can be found. This space is what I call the ‘Gospel Gap’ – the place in a persons (or groups) worldview that leads them to frustration, sadness or hurt – in other words bad news that the Good News can directly address.

Breen goes on to elaborate examples of how we can find the common ground and bridge the Gospel gap in his article, but in light of recent postings of mine about the “dones” [those no longer fellowshipping within the walls of an institutional or organized church, but who consider themselves as strong as ever in their Christian faith], I found this nugget to be an encouraging confirmation that millennials leaving the church is not really the problem many have supposed it is,

Diminishing numbers of young Americans go to church, but more of them are praying! (Smith and Snell – Souls in Transition).

And apparently millennials don’t distrust the Word of God nearly as much as many have thought,

Finally and most shockingly, when asked ‘Do you believe the bible is the literal word of God?’ (surveys words not mine) around 80% say yes! I know it’s astonishing but that’s what the data incontrovertibly says. Millennials want to know the Bible want to understand and believe it is authoritative.

Mike Breen goes on to conclude the following,

So if we were to put it all together, the last time in history that many people were Deists, believing in a loving but remote God was in the 18th century. Then like now committed Christians could assume that most people respected the authority of Scripture and believed in the importance of prayer. But in the 18th century God sent a spiritual awakening of such vast proportions that the trajectory of world history changed!

Through the Great Awakening and its continuing effects generations later, countless millions of lives were transformed, churches planted, institutions established and society was changed forever, benefiting the entire world.

So, if that happened then, why not now?

To me there appears to be a convergence in the rise of the Missional movement and the influences within the millennial generation. To me the conditions seem to be ripening for a new spiritual awakening in America.

I realize that many do not see this and perhaps I’m mistaken. But what if the problem is a lack of vision rather than a lack of possibility.

I agree. And such thoughts get my juices flowing!

I appreciated reading this post, and encourage you to head over to Mike Breen’s blog to read the entire article in its context.

In my twenties I heard over and over again that I was part of a “special generation”, and “born for such a time as this.” Then in my late twenties that started to sour into hearing constantly about everything that’s wrong with what has now come to be dubbed the “millennial generation”, and I’ve explored some of these frustrations and observations before on this blog.

But what gives me hope about these kinds of blog posts by people like Breen is that not all the “data” or facts need to represent negative information.

They could be showing something encouraging.

The original post by Mike Breen appeared on May 19th, 2015 on the Discipling Culture Blog.

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That Time I Left My Laptop On the Subway in Rotterdam, Netherlands http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/that-time-i-left-my-laptop-on-the-subway-in-rotterdam-netherlands/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/that-time-i-left-my-laptop-on-the-subway-in-rotterdam-netherlands/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 16:09:38 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=16307 Rotterdam

Last night, we got a notification from our leaders Mark and Anna that upon returning from a three-week trip to the United States, Mark had left a bag with his passport and $4500 cash and other items in the taxi, and it sounded like he was really struggling with forgiving himself for the error.

After daily weekday prayer this morning which included taking some time to pray for the situation, and that maybe miraculously the taxi driver would give it back upon discovering it, I was reminded of the time I left my laptop on the subway in Rotterdam 9 years ago. 

I dug up the post in the archives of my original blog I wrote at the time. I fixed up some typos and left the content as is, other than re-wording a few comments to be a little more self-explanatory. 

Enjoy!

———————–

It was a long day. And thanks for asking.

The night before a day of change or excitement I never sleep well, so last night was no surprise to me that even though I was lying in bed at 1am, I failed to fall asleep for at least two hours before I stopped looking at the clock. I used the radio alarm clock in mine/David Lyons’ room, and to my surprise when I turned on the radio, it was some kind of French talk show. I normally would expect talk radio in the Netherlands to be Dutch. I was able to understand it and follow along, but it was too boring to listen to even if I had the time.

I took the train from Leeuwarden to Rotterdam, and it was a direct trip, no connections. Jayne met me at Rotterdam Station Centrale and helped me with one of my suitcases on to the metro subway. I really enjoy riding the Subway in this city. Not as much nice as Toronto’s subway system, but it’s definitely shorter, as this city’s population of around 1.2 million people so the public transport would naturally be less distance to travel. But the trains have nicer interior colors and are definitely cleaner.

My first ride on the Rotterdam metro I will never forget

Moments after we got off and began lugging my two suitcases down the escalator, it hit me like a ton of bricks—I forgot my backpack on the train! Why does this matter, you ask? Because it had my Toshiba Satellite notebook in it! And my digital camera, and both my pocket and slimline ESV Bibles. And the adapter to my phone I think.

I told Jayne — more like shouted at her in the midst of realizing my own stupidity for doing such a thing — and ran back up the stairs in case there was an information booth or office here that I could share my problem with in case they could do anything for me. Maybe go through the train at one of the stops and grab it.

That was what we decided to do.

Never mind my previous concern of not having any idea how to get to the apartment or that I didn’t have a key for it yet and was not able to get a hold of the landlord or the guy who showed me the apartment, nor Frank since he was in the hospital again with his little baby boy getting a check up after some fevers and symptoms have come back since his previous sick spell (stupid devil—I guess he doesn’t know how to mess with people his own size). Now I had my own headache.

We dropped off my suitcases at Jayne’s apartment, since it was close to the stop we had gotten off at. We got back on the metro and took it to the next stop where we spoke with a kind lady at the kiosk who was willing to keep calling other personnel and arranging for the train I was on to be checked for any belongings left behind.

We waited for a response for a while after the train was supposed to make its stop in some city just on the edge of Rotterdam, whose name I don’t know how to spell or pronounce if I could spell it, so I will refer to it as “Spike City“. After being made aware, Frank met us since the hospital he was at was apparently only across the street from the subway stop we were at. He came by and communicated for us with the lady since her English was only slightly better than my Dutch.

We went to get something to eat, and then tried the police station to fill out a report in case anyone turned it in to them then they’d have on record that I belonged to it. Since I didn’t have any documents on me to prove the computer belonged to me, I had to leave empty handed and theoretically come back tomorrow with stuff.

I think I kept a reasonably good attitude about it, even though the potential consequences of this were starting to torment me little by little. Like how I’d adapt to not having this important method of communication, how on earth I could justify another laptop for the second time in over a year. What if it’s been stolen—I have enough personal info on there that I’d hate the thought of it being hacked—and my internet passwords being saved on my browser, since I’m the only one really using my laptop. I was totally getting haunted by these kind of thoughts.

Around 4:40pm or so, right as I finish trying not to have a pity party to Jayne as I realized another grave consequence of having a complete stranger get their hands on the laptop, my cell phone rings. It was a man from the subway company letting me know it was found at the end of the train’s run, in Spike City. He tells me in English that I have until 6:30pm today to get it, otherwise the office will be closed and I’d have to do it tomorrow. We rush and take the 25 minute subway ride from where we were at the time, now accompanied by Jayne’s roommate Micah (I’m sure I’m spelling that the American way, but later when I find out the correct spelling, I will spell it right whenever I refer to her again).  She has now joined us for the adventure, and spoke with employees there for us in Dutch.

Much to my chagrin, we found out it was a was a false alarm. The employees here had no idea what we were talking about.

Urgh!

Considering one of them called me, I was now no longer feeling stupid for having left the laptop on the train, but mad that they’d call me and get me to come all this way for nothing.

So I tucked my tail back between my legs, and we boarded the train that was heading back up the subway line, and got off two stops over in Spike City centrum, just in case I had heard the man’s instructions wrong over the phone (even though he said to go all the way to the end of the line, which we did). We let Micah ask the woman at this kiosk about it, and she asked if Micah’s name was Steve. So she let us around back, and gave us the backpack, which I didn’t even check to make sure still had the laptop in it because I could tell how heavy it was when I put it on, that it WAS in the same conditions as when I had it earlier in the afternoon.

Me and my laptop stories! [This was in reference to how I kept having multiple problems with this Toshiba laptop before flying to the Netherlands the month prior]

I hope this is the last one to share. I am currently writing this from “my” apartment in Rotterdam, where it’s now (finally) thunder storming out, which is a badly needed break from the heat wave we’ve had the whole time I’ve been in the country so far.

So that marks my first day in Rotterdam. I definitely will remember it. Praise the Lord that my laptop was returned safely from being left on a Subway when it could have been stolen. Maybe the threat of anthrax or some other form of terrorism has some benefits, like if you leave a bag on a subway people don’t touch it because they think it’s a bomb.

I don’t know, praise the Lord seven times today as you read this.

I will try to post one more time before the Summer School this Friday. So until then, tot ziens!

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Keep Your Fire Burning | Podcast http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/keep-your-fire-burning-podcast/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/keep-your-fire-burning-podcast/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 12:51:00 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=16279 Keep Your Fire BurningIn today’s episode of the show, I continue sharing some thoughts, reflections and revelations on the fire of God and getting closer to the purging purifying fire of His presence.

What type of fire are you?

  • Is your fire invisible, yet giving off an odor?
  • Are you properly adding fuel to your fire, and spending time alone in intimate fellowship with the Father?
  • Are you fueling your life with the Word of God and the oil of His presence?
  • Are you allowing fresh winds of the Holy Spirit to fan those flames?
  • Or are you dabbling with sin in your life so as to remove the oxygen His fire needs?

Let me encourage you to stir up the flames in yourself and one another that we may burn fully aflame for the Lord Jesus Christ! In order to do that, you need to preserve your own fire and keep it burning at all times.

This episode is for not ear tickling, so if you don’t want to be challenged, you might as well just delete this episode from your smartphone or podcast app!

If you have the Stitcher Radio app on your smart phone, click the “listen later” button below and save this show for later.

Click here if you’d like to know how to subscribe to our podcast.

Before I let you go I need to ask you a quick favour. Please jump over to iTunes or Stitcher and give this show a rating, a review, or leave a comment. It would mean a lot to me and help people find us! Thank you so much, and I look forward to talking to you in the next episode of Fire On Your Head.

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http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/keep-your-fire-burning-podcast/feed/ 2 In today's episode of the show, I continue sharing some thoughts, reflections and revelations on the fire of God and getting closer to the purging purifying fire of His presence. - What type of fire are you? Is your fire invisible, (http://stevebremner.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Keep-Your-Fire-Burning1.png)In today's episode of the show, I continue sharing some thoughts, reflections and revelations on the fire of God and getting closer to the purging purifying fire of His presence. What type of fire are you? * Is your fire invisible, yet giving off an odor? * Are you properly adding fuel to your fire, and spending time alone in intimate fellowship with the Father? * Are you fueling your life with the Word of God and the oil of His presence? * Are you allowing fresh winds of the Holy Spirit to fan those flames? * Or are you dabbling with sin in your life so as to remove the oxygen His fire needs? Let me encourage you to stir up the flames in yourself and one another that we may burn fully aflame for the Lord Jesus Christ! In order to do that, you need to preserve your own fire and keep it burning at all times. This episode is for not ear tickling, so if you don't want to be challenged, you might as well just delete this episode from your smartphone or podcast app! If you have the Stitcher Radio (http://stitcher.com/podcast/fire-on-your-head) app on your smart phone, click the “listen later” button below and save this show for later. Click here (http://stevebremner.com/subscribe-to-podcast/) if you’d like to know how to subscribe to our podcast. Before I let you go I need to ask you a quick favour. Please jump over to iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/fire-on-your-head/id255587390?mt=2&ls=1) or Stitcher (http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/fire-on-your-head) and give this show a rating, a review, or leave a comment. It would mean a lot to me and help people find us! Thank you so much, and I look forward to talking to you in the next episode of Fire On Your Head. Steve Bremner clean
International Mission Board Drops Ban on Speaking in Tongues http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/international-mission-board-drops-ban-on-speaking-in-tongues/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/international-mission-board-drops-ban-on-speaking-in-tongues/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 17:15:31 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=16252 Original Photo source: Christianity Today

Original Photo source: Christianity Today

New rules also loosen restrictions on baptism, divorce, and parents of teens.

Photo Source: International Mission Board Drops Ban on Speaking in Tongues | Christianity Today

Last night I saw in my Facebook feed the news that The Southern Baptist’s International Mission Board has changed some of their rules. Among them was the one that caught my eye: the IMB will no longer bar its missionaries from speaking in tongues, nor will they reject applicants who do.

On the surface this sounds like an amazing breakthrough.

So far so good, right?

Maybe even revolutionary on the surface, but let’s look at some key quotes from the post on Christianity Today:

The changes also address the question of charismatic worship and prayer practices, which have been controversial for Southern Baptists. Under the previous rules, candidates who spoke in tongues or had a “private prayer language” were barred.

And

A person who has spoken in tongues or may have a private prayer language is not automatically disqualified for missionary service. Further, IMB may still end employment for any missionary who places “persistent emphasis on any specific gift of the Spirit as normative for all or to the extent such emphasis becomes disruptive” to Southern Baptist missions work.

The Apostle Paul wrote to not forbid speaking in tongues in the first place

This is great news, considering the Apostle Paul clearly and in plain language told the Corinthian church not to forbid speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:39). So it was pretty unbiblical that the IMB were banning their missionaries from something plainly taught in Scripture in the first place.

“That’s one reason that Southern Baptists have been suspicious of glossolalia,” Hatley told CT in 2006. “If somebody believes they’re getting direct divine revelation from God, obviously that’s claiming an equality with Scripture that we would not allow.”

The unfortunate irony  about this statement, and the perspective it conveys, is when one speaks in tongues, they are edifying themselves, and part of that edification involves, often times, revelation into the Scriptures. Nobody who truly understands the gift of tongues, specifically the private prayer language, would claim “equality with Scripture”.

In my experience, speaking in tongues regularly helps one to be more sensitive to walking in other gifts of the Spirit, like the gift of prophecy, for example. Not only that, but I find an especially astute revelation of the Word of God comes. It’s like the Bible is the soil, and the Holy Spirit waters it with our speaking in tongues.

Not only that, but in their attempt to make sure they’re being Biblical, and frowning upon what they believe to be unbiblical behaviour, they themselves were contradicting something the Scriptures stated plainly while they were banning it. Who’s being unbiblical? Those who forbid its use, or those who use the gift of speaking in tongues?

In other words, Tom Hatley didn’t know what he was talking about when made that statement in 2006. I don’t say this to be insulting or disrespectful, but most people who’ve never spoken in tongues tend not to understand its role in spiritual revelation, since by default they have never experienced the benefits of speaking in tongues for themselves if they have never actually spoken in tongues. I can’t describe to you a rainbow if I’m color blind or completely blind. You have just got to see it to understand its beauty, and that my friend is an experience.

David Platt on Speaking in Tongues

From reading the article, it seems the current president, of the IMB, David Platt, has been the one who helped facilitate this change in policy,

Platt also addressed the question of speaking in tongues. He remains wary of some charismatic practices, which he says may introduce errors that contradict Scripture.

“I have seen and confronted the dangers of the charismatic movement,” he said.

Still, Platt said, the IMB has policies that will protect Baptist principles while allowing missionaries who do speak in tongues and have a private prayer language.

I have no idea what alleged dangers in particular he has seen and confronted, but I have some ideas. Not long after my book, 9 Lies People Believe About Speaking in Tongues came out, a friend sent me the following video of Platt teaching on the Holy Spirit.

The friend who sent it to me wanted my opinion on what is said in the video and I wrote back “he believes at least 5 of the lies I demolished in my book. Maybe we can send him a copy?” half joking. But only half.

My takeaway: though this change in the IMB is a positive thing, it’s really only an incremental change, since Scripture is pretty plain on this and they shouldn’t have been barring missionaries from glossolalia in the first place. Not to mention they will still, in their own words, discourage and frown upon anything “too charismatic” in their missionaries. Unless I read the article wrong.

However, I realize a lot of people don’t understand speaking in tongues, hence why I wrote my book — to address the most common misconceptions about the gift of tongues.

Really all the IMB did was take a couple of steps away from being the hardcore cecessionists they have been up until recently. But it’s a start! Those few steps are at least a step in the right direction.

Could This Be The Real Reason For the Change of Policy?

Just after publishing this article I saw Charisma Magazine has also posted something about the policy changes. Check out some comments:

Allowing Southern Baptist missionaries to speak in tongues, or have what some SBC leaders call a “private prayer language,” speaks to the growing strength of Pentecostal churches in Africa, Asia and South America, where Southern Baptists are competing for converts and where energized new Christians are enthusiastically embracing the practice.

“In so many parts of the world, these charismatic experiences are normative,” said Bill Leonard, professor of church history at Wake Forest Divinity School. “Religious groups that oppose them get left behind evangelistically.”

And,

Southern Baptists have long prided themselves as among the world’s most ambitious missionaries—reaching countries and regions few dared to go—but they are increasingly finding competition from fast-growing Pentecostal Christianity, which now has an estimated 300 million followers worldwide.

I commend the Southern Baptist Convention for this step.

Would you Like to Join Our Street Team?

9 Lies Audiobook cover

Recently I was asking different friends and former guests of the Fire on Your Head podcast for endorsements for the upcoming published version of 9 Lies People Believe About Speaking in Tongues, and one of them wrote me back saying the following,

I actually learned some great stuff from the chapter on initial evidence [of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit]. I hold credentials with the Assemblies of God, so I’m trained to believe and teach that way. But until now, I was never quite satisfied with the arguments I heard for why tongues was the only good evidence for the baptism. I thought that chapter finally cleared my conscience on signing my paperwork every year stating that I agree with the AG statement of “fundamental truths” (the jury is still out on their eschatology, but the AG bylaws allow credential-holders to believe whatever they want on that so long as it doesn’t “cause a problem”…whatever that means). Anyhow, I found that chapter particularly helpful.

That kind of encouragement helped encourage me that I’ve written a book that will be helpful to both evangelicals as well as charismatics, which is what I’ve striven for.

As mentioned previously, we’ve signed a contract with Destiny Image to publish the book in 2016 to reach a wider audience. If you would like to be notified of how you can help at a grass-roots level to help the book have a successful launch, please sign up for the Fire On Your Head Newsletter and tick the box that says you’d like to join our street team.

I believe the Body of Christ in general will be blessed and edified by it, and many obstacles holding people back from speaking in tongues will be removed.

Thanks for reading!

Check out other posts and podcast episodes on my blog about speaking in tongues.

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This Is Your Brain on Podcasts: Why Audio Storytelling Is So Addictive | The Atlantic http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/this-is-your-brain-on-podcasts-why-audio-storytelling-is-so-addictive-the-atlantic/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/this-is-your-brain-on-podcasts-why-audio-storytelling-is-so-addictive-the-atlantic/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 21:07:15 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=15857 This Is Your Brain on Podcasts

Photo Credit: http://www.theatlantic.com

The emotional appeal of listening

I thought I’d follow up yesterday’s post about why I don’t vlog but record audio podcasts instead with this interesting article from The Atlantic that I came across recently. It detailed the effects of audio bok story telling as well as podcasting on the brain and how we listen to audio differently than how we read things on the printed page. Or tablet.

Check out some insights:

As a New York magazine piece noted last year, the increasing popularity of audio storytelling owes a lot to technology, as smartphones allow people to consume shows on demand anywhere, and cars increasingly come equipped with satellite radio and Internet-friendly dashboards. A recent report by Edison Research estimated that 64 percent of 12- to 24-year-olds and 37 percent of 25- to 54-year-olds in the United States listened to online radio weekly in 2104. The same year, 30 percent of respondents reported that they had listened to a podcast at least once, with 15 percent indicating that they had listened to a podcast within the last month.

Source: This Is Your Brain on Podcasts: Why Audio Storytelling Is So Addictive – The Atlantic

I really found this particular article fascinating. I don’t read a lot of fiction, nor are the audio books I listen to of the fiction variety either, but everything I read in this article from The Atlantic makes total sense.

It’s another reason I’m trying to incorporate personal story telling into my writings and podcasting.

Check it out:

…the best stories will always have an increasing level of tension, and that there exists a type of universal story structure—one in which a protagonist faces some sort of stressful challenge or conflict—that draws attention because it’s engaging emotionally and intellectually.

“What we have found in our research is that people require some sort of stressor, some sort of arousal response in the brain to have this type of narrative transportation where we begin to share the emotions of the characters in a story,” Zak says. “It makes sense that we need some sufficient reason to have that response. Our brain is trying to save resources and energy and having this arousal response is costly. Therefore we only want to give attention to something when it matters, when there’s something going on.”

And further on,

Podcasts and audiobooks benefit from the advantages of any character-based story. But some research, like a recent study conducted at the University of Waterloo, has shown that people who listen to the narration of a passage, like the audio storytelling found in traditional audiobooks, remember less information, are less interested in the content, and are more likely to daydream than those who read the same book out loud or silently to themselves.

But anyone who has gotten hooked on a podcast knows that audio can be much more than just narration. Emma Rodero, a communications professor at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, studies how audio productions retain people’s attention. Her work has shown that a dramatized audio structure, using voice actors who tell the story exclusively through dialogue, stimulate listeners’ imagination more than a typical “voice of God” narration. Participants who listened to the dramatized structure reported that they generated more vivid images in their minds, and conjured the images more quickly and easily than those in the narration condition. They also reported being more emotionally aroused and interested in the story.

So this just reinforces for me how I need to include interviews and interaction on my podcast and not just do “voice of God” monologues.

But you already knew I like mixing it up and not following just one version of the other, anyway.

I encourage you to check out the rest of the article for yourself, and if you haven’t already signed up for the Fire On Your Head newsletter, you receive a free audio version of Increase Your Faith: Practical Steps to Believe For The Impossible. I share a lot of stories in that book, and this article reinforces for me why I made it a freely-available audiobook.

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Done with Church, But Not with God | Holy Soup http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/done-with-church-but-not-with-god-holy-soup/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/done-with-church-but-not-with-god-holy-soup/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 11:39:39 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=16219 Church Refugees: Done with Church Not with God

Today’s blog post is inspired by Done with Church, but Not with God | Holy Soup.

Last week I posted a half-written-by-me/half curated post about the buzz surrounding the done with church movement — if it can be called a “movement”.  I had a hunch it might get a few more hits than my normal posts. But I have honestly been quite surprised by how much traffic that one post has generated to my blog in the several days.

In fact, it has helped rejuvenate an archived episode of the Fire On Your Head podcast I did with Stephen Crosby last year on whether church attendance is necessary for the Christian walk. It has already proven to be my second-most listened-to or downloaded episode of the podcast ever.

But one thing that didn’t surprise me at all, and in fact is something I expected, was the negative comments it has received on social media. In fact, I still wonder if some people even read the article before commenting on it. It has also been shared and re-shared and amened by people who loved it. But it definitely has struck a nerve on both ends of the spectrum.

I linked to a post by Thom Shultz in passing in the content of last week’s blog, but just today I saw he has posted a review on his site for the upcoming book Church Refugees by sociologists Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope.

I plan on reading it when it comes out, but to my pleasant surprise Shultz zeroed in on a few things that not only I’ve been saying on the blog, but I have also been accused of both indirectly and personally by people I’ve never met.

Ah, the benefits of social media. Let me count the ways…

In the review for this book, Shultz writes

That’s what’s interesting about the Dones. They’re not running away from God. Many of them say they’re now running better toward God. So, why is that? What is driving them away from the institutional church? The sociologists discovered several recurring themes after interviewing the Dones.

and

The research reveals that the Dones craved the sense of community that a congregation could provide. But instead of community they found judgment. The authors describe Elizabeth who longed for community. But she said, “Today things are so divided and judgmental, especially around superficial issues, that I can’t go into a church and pretend anymore to be someone I’m not.”

The problem with these statements, is like I said in the other post and have found myself repeating over and over is that NOT all those who are “done” are offended or hurt by the church and leaving it in reaction to some bad experience. To say otherwise is just a generalized over-simplification on the part of those who don’t bother to find out why people become “dones” in the first place.

Done with Church

He also goes on to say,

Some church people have judged the Dones as guilty of “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” as mentioned in Hebrews 10:25. But many Dones say they’re not forsaking assembling. They’re just not assembling in that place with the steeple on top. They’re getting together organically with others to share their faith journey. One described a weekly mealtime with fellow believers: “A bunch of people coming together around a common meal to talk about life. It’s nothing like church. We all talk, and we all listen.”

Boy, how true this is!

True Fellowship is Not Mere Attendance of a Weekly Event

I don’t normally do this for blog posts, but if you can bear with me, I’m going to post some comments I’ve seen on Facebook in the last few days of people falling into this exact trap of assuming I must be hurt and that’s my motive for not going to church. Never mind that I have not really even become a “done”, but I value organic community, and fell into this lifestyle out of necessity, not out of reaction to something I did or didn’t like.

Beneath the quotes I’ll either copy and paste the response (but in a bloggified way) or write my own response here if I didn’t already on Facebook or a comment wasn’t exactly addressed to me personally but I want to put it below.

I prefer channeling my energy into writing on my blog instead of getting into debates on the internet, so here it goes:

Regarding the post, one Facebook commenter said,

“The “done movement” seems to be carnal. Dead to self seems to be not a priority.
It’s true that baby Christians should be cautious about their surroundings. The mature Christian isn’t effected by the environment, a mature Christian Loves those in need of a Shepherd.
Being light in darkness means exactly what it says. It doesn’t say be a light in total pitch black, black hole darkness.”

Do you notice that implicit in such a comment is that a so called “MATURE” Christian will never leave but loves those in need of a Shepherd. But yet people who make remarks like this don’t seem to acknowledge this does not automatically preclude sitting in a pew once per week under a steeple. One can and should shepherd other weaker believers during the other 6 days of the week. Discipleship is not church attendance. And neither is discipleship the pastor’s job, but everybody’s job.


Discipleship is not merely church attendance.
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“We don’t go to church to get entertained, and we go to church to give. Paul said to the Corinthians, if you’re hungry eat at home.
I guess you could say he was talking about food only. But then you’ll miss the larger picture.
Jesus said they’ll know you’re my disciples if you have love one for another. It’s hard to do that sitting in your briefs surfing the net looking for complex theological issues to discuss.”

Notice the language “go to church”, which betrays the idea that the Body of Christ followers themselves ARE the church, a building made without hands. Also notice the condescending remark that dones are just people who sit in their underwear having theological arguments on the internet. Do I jump in here and go on about what I’m doing in Peru and how we’ve been seeing our neighbours get saved?

For WAY more on that, I encourage you to check out a podcast from several months ago, The Holy Spirit Flows Through Intimacy and Community [Stream it right now in a new window. Download mp3] where I attempt to document a few key moments in the book of Acts where monumental things happened to and through Christ followers when they were NOT meeting the temple of their day, but often times in people’s homes. I mean come on, did you really think the Holy Ghost came down in the upper room of the temple?

The latter commenter continues,

The fruits of the spirit aren’t chastity, sobriety, piety, modesty, thrift, quietness, and suffering.

You can do all of those internally, and never ever impact another person’s life.
The only reason we’re not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, is to be an example of a body of really really different, radically different people, who found one thing in common and that’s lifting up the name of Jesus. People who reject the local church and somehow think they can justify it by being a part of the universal Church are delusional, selfish, and just plain don’t get it.

Again who said we’ve forsaken assembling together? We do, just not under a steeple. For example in my context, we eat together in Oikos. We spend time together. A lot of the people in our community are literally neighbours of ours, and many of us living in the same building. We do formal and informal things together.

Again, I’m using myself and our context as a point of reference, but if people would take a minute or two to visit other articles on our site or the ‘what we do in Peru’ tab, they’d know Lili and I are far from delusional and selfish. At least I believe so. People who think we’re selfish and delusional for not doing the system’s way of ‘church’ have no idea how much harder it is to do the kind of disciple making we’re doing in extremely close proximity.

The Church Is Not Building One Attends. It’s Something Believers ARE

Real discipleship is very inconvenient to the flesh. Church attendance is much easier. So please, don’t tell me it’s some kind of hang up or that I don’t like other people so I upped and left. Even though what we’re doing is rewarding, it’s also extremely difficult and I don’t imagine a pew warmer can really relate. Correct me if I’m wrong, as I’m sure someone will.

Not attending a once-a-week meeting does not mean one has removed themselves from the Body of Christ. Being a Christian is not church attendance. It’s relationship with Christ and community with other members of His body, which, one does not have just sitting in a pew once per week looking at the back of someone else’s head.

Like I quoted Dan in my original post, people just don’t make an effort to even find out WHY people tire of show. It’s a bait and switch to call “local church” the global Body and say if someone doesn’t attend a local church they are “extricating themselves” from the Body of Christ, which is something that can’t even be done.


If the family is not a house, then neither is the church a building.
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Another one,

“The way God has chosen that the fruits of the spirit be manifest in our lives is by rubbing up against people that (sic) require longsuffering, patience, mercy, temperance, Kindness, etc. These aren’t going to happen outside of the assembling of ourselves together.”

To this I say, again, we do this all the time down here in Peru, without attending a meeting once per week and looking at the back of someone else’s head while a professional worship band plays music and a professional expositor teaches the Bible. If this post is the first time you’ve ever read something on my blog or listened to my podcast, allow me to tell you I long for the ENTIRE Body of believers to be on fire, radical disciple-makers, and this by default goes against a lot of the spectator version of Christianity that takes place only once per week.

Not all who leave have been hurt

Nobody has actually hurt me as is believed of me quite often. I’ve been a missionary here in Peru for the last six years and the disciple-making movement I’m a part of for the last 4 just so happen to NOT meet in a service holding facility with a steeple on top because we’ve not had the resources to date to have our own building. I kinda discovered “house church” a little by accident, and instead of taking a passionate position “against” the local church, or “for” the house church movement, I feel like I have a perspective that can help bring clarity to discussions about this, because as is often the case, people assume if I’m doing what I’m doing the way I’m doing it, then I must be doing it out of reaction to or against something.

Far from it.

Since we don’t have our own building, we meet in our homes. I go into considerable detail in the podcast in the link with Stephen Crosby about HOW exactly we live life on life down here and make disciples who are making disciples.

I’ve actually never been more fruitful in my entire ministry as I am now that we’ve led about a dozen of our neighbours (as in the people who live on our street/block) to Christ in the last year and have been meeting in our homes and having regular Bible study and having times of 1 Corinthians 12-14 fellowship. It’s quite refreshing!

Some of us are just letting the love of Christ dictate the form or structure needed for discipleship, and as a result, a weekly show doesn’t seem to fit in the scheme of things.

In closing, I do agree with Shultz’ concluding statement,

There’s a lot more to learn. The organized church, if it wants to retain some of its prime people, would do well to listen to them.

That last statement is the key for me, because not only do people seem to not realize I myself am not a so-called “done”, I’m not afraid for their spiritual well-being just because they don’t attend a service holding facility’s weekly event.

And if anything, I’ve repeatedly seen people who aren’t willing to listen but are quick to voice their judgments.

Let’s have a conversation about this instead of a one-way monologue at each other. What do you say?

The family is not a house

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Why I Am a Podcaster Instead of a Vlogger http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/why-i-am-a-podcaster-instead-of-vlogger/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/why-i-am-a-podcaster-instead-of-vlogger/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 11:45:00 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=15817 Why I am a Podcaster Instead of a Vlogger

Recently I had a spiritual epiphany one day and I thought “man, I should write a blog about that!” This happens quite often, as my archives can attest to from time to time. But more often than not, stuff slips my mind, or I don’t actually find the time to write it out. That actually happens more than how often I blog, just in case you’re wondering.

Then I realized the particular realization I had just would take quite some time to unpack, so I decided instead of writing it out, why don’t I podcast it? Again, this is something else that also happens quite often if I have a suitable guest to discuss it with (*cough cough*, Dave Edwards or Stephen Crosby, *cough cough*). But again, due to the work involved in preparing a 30 or 60 minute podcast recording, these revelations are fewer and farther between than the blog posts are.

So I started putting my thoughts down in the way I normally prepare some long-form points for a script of sorts to keep me focused when I turn the mic on and record.

Then I realized I need to get this revelation of mine on the internet much faster while it’s still fresh manna. I need to make a YouTube video. Yeah, that’s the perfect form for this!

But I don’t really have the conditions to make a good video anywhere in my apartment. Not at my desk, and certainly not at my dining room table close to the living room window. Sure I’ll have natural light, but what about good sound?

So I decided since I see so many people put absolute rubbish-quality videos on YouTube that go viral, I decided my standards don’t need to be high since a maximum of twenty people will watch this in the end.

I took my Kindle Fire Tablet, went to a nearby park, sat under a tree, and filmed myself for under 8 minutes. The quality didn’t turn out perfect, which was what I expected of course. I then tried posting it online later that day. The upload failed.

So I tried again over night doing so directly to Facebook and then I went to bed. When I checked the next morning, I noticed it failed part way through.

I decided going the YouTube route again. After nearly 2 hours, it froze and then crashed.

So, I decided to upload the video to my podcast feed, and I figured I’d give the link to Dave Edwards, one of my co-admins for the Fire On Your Head podcast page on Facebook, and have him upload it there like he did in the past for me with another video.

Wouldn’t you know it, it crashed again.

So I gave up and haven’t uploaded the video in two weeks.

This experience, by the way, is a great summation of why I do audio podcasts and not video. With my third world internet connection, audio is much easier to deal with than video, at least when it comes to file size.

The bigger the file, more time wasted when it fails.

Audio vs Video Podcasting

Photo credit: Church Tech Today

Coincidentally, last week I read a post by Paul Alan Clifford over at Church Tech Today called Audio vs. Video Podcasting: What Your Church Should Use and Why.

The author and fellow Google Plusser I’ve been been following for a while now, sums it up quite nicely. In this post about what churches should do for syndicating their content, he gives reasons why this missionary with a paltry 3 MPBS of internet bandwidth makes an audio podcast and doesn’t have a YouTube channel.

For me, it’s easier to produce, and it’s much faster for me than even the terribly poor quality videos I’ve made are.

There are two main reasons I stick to only writing blogs, and making audio podcasts:

  1. As a podcast consumer, I mostly listen to audio, anyway &
  2. As a podcast producer, it’s much easier to produce audio than it is to produce video.

As a consumer, ask yourself this as Paul does in his post:

When you’re out for a run, can you watch video?  When you’re driving your car, can you watch video?  When you’re working at your computer, can you watch video and still be productive?

No.  In all those situations, you can listen to audio, though.

Again, just as a consumer, I’m confronted with the reality that normally a video requires more commitment from me than just listening, but also asks me for my attention. I’ve also noticed most of the videos people give me, aside from Eric Gilmour and Dr. Stephen Crosby who are excellent at short bite-sized content (3-5 minutes), I’ve noticed a lot of the YouTube channels I’ve been asked to check out don’t seem to know this trick.

When I see a video show up in my newsfeed on Facebook I click on it for a moment to see it start buffering to give me an idea of how long it is going to be. If I see it’s 10 minutes long (give or take), there’s scant possibility I’ll even watch it. If it’s two hours long, trust me, you’re really asking a huge favor of me if you want me to watch it.

Planning on sending me hour long videos when the preacher doesn’t even use powerpoint or a white board or anything that having recorded in video format would be beneficial? Maybe at the most I’ll put it on in the room and listen to it, but otherwise, I already have a lot of “face time” in the course of the day where I’m in front of a screen or a device and want to find ways to diminish and not increase that time.

I’d rather consume content like mp3s, as do many other podcast consumers.

Clifford also goes on to say in his post,

Audio is easier to edit.  It’s easier to distribute.  It’s easier to consume.

This is where many churches are missing out.  Because audio is so much easier to consume, stripping the audio from the video and releasing it as a stand-alone podcast will likely increase the people who consume it.

Doing the opposite will likely cause you to lose subscribers because the people who only listen when their eyes are occupied will quit downloading it if you only distribute videos.

Exactly right.

So, that’s my answer to those of you who ask from time to time why I don’t have a YouTube channel. I hope this helps explain why!

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Four Ways You Can Be Missional Every Day | FaithStreet http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/four-ways-you-can-be-missional-every-day-faithstreet/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/four-ways-you-can-be-missional-every-day-faithstreet/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 11:47:00 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=16153 Ways to be missional

What are we calling people to that requires them to be spiritually fit?

That’s the question Jeff Vanderstelt asks in his blog post Four Ways to Be Missional Every Day at FaithStreet.com. At first when I was reading it, I asked myself “did I write this?” because he basically says some of the exact same things I have talked about repeatedly on my blog. Except for stuff about marathons, so I knew that it wasn’t me who wrote it!

Anyway, check out some of the comments he makes in his EXCELLENT post:

Not only have many in the church never made a disciple who has then gone on to make a disciple, but many Christians would say they don’t feel equipped to do so.

It seems to me that we could address the matter of “spiritually unfit” Christians from one of two approaches. We could address it like we address our problem with physically unfit Americans — build more health clubs (read: buildings and events), sell more fitness products (read: curriculum), host more seminars (read:classes), and work hard to make sure everyone has a personal trainer (read: mentor).

No one would argue that we are lacking any of this in America. We have plenty of access to the resources necessary to be fit. However, all of us would agree — we are not much healthier as a result (read: not making disciples).

In a previous blog post of mine on disciple-making, I quoted from a LifeWay Research survey that indicated many pastors felt they were making disciples merely by their Sunday morning efforts. The survey indicated that 56 percent of pastors surveyed believe that their weekly sermon, or another one of their teaching times such as Sunday evenings/Wednesday evenings, was the most important discipling ministry in the church.

The idea being if butts are sitting in the pews hearing my preaching, then disciples are being made. I have repeated seen for myself that is not the case. As a result, many people who may have woken up to the idea that discipleship is not just the pastor’s job, but every member’s job feel ill equipped to do the work of making disciples themselves.


Discipleship is a lifestyle, not a class or a program.
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Discipleship is not a Sunday morning event. It’s a lifestyle.
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That, by the way, is one of my goals with this blog and podcast.

Vanderstelt continues

Is it possible that the reason the church is not spiritually fit is due to the fact that many church leaders are merely calling people to sit around and observe other spiritually fit missionaries perform in front of them?

And,

What if the church once again called her people, young and old, male and female, to get ready to be sent out as disciples who makes disciples; to potentially start new churches everywhere?

In fact, what if they all believed in two years they were going to be sent out to another city or country to not only make disciples, but to raise up new ones to do the same somewhere else?

Would they take their spiritual fitness and training a little more seriously?

Good questions! To answer this challenge of how Christians can be more missional and intentional about not only sharing their faith, but helping mentor or father others in their faith, Vanderstelt provides four ways to be missional every day which I think you should give a read.

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What is Missional? | Missional Church Network http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/what-is-missional-missional-church-network/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/what-is-missional-missional-church-network/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 11:49:00 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=15844 What is Missional-

The term “missional” has gotten so bogged down with baggage from previous movements that it’s hard to know what it means. What does the word missional really mean?

Despite the fact that missional language has been in use for several decades, it is being applied today in such a wide variety of ways that it many times results in confusion. Some view missional as the latest church growth strategy, or a better way of doing church evangelism. Others see missional as a means to mobilize church members to do missions more effectively. While still others believe missional is simply the latest Christian fad that will soon pass when the next trendy topic comes along.

I would argue that those who believe missional is merely an add-on to current church activities, or perhaps even a passing craze prevalent only among church leaders, have simply not fully grasped the magnitude of the missional conversation. While it may sound like hyperbole; the move towards missional involves no less than a complete and thorough recalibration of the function of the church of Jesus. However, the missional conversation is not fundamentally about changing the church, instead it is about the church engaging God’s mission to change the world.

Photo Credit: Missional Church Network

Source: What is Missional by Brad Brisco at the Missional Church Network

I really enjoyed reading this article by Brad Brisco and would wholly agree with him that being missional or doing mission, even, isn’t supposed to be some extra added on thing to the corporate local body of believers. It’s meant to be a part of the package of what the Church is. At least that is my understanding of what being missional is.

I like Brad’s short answer to give a definition for what is “missional”,

When someone asks me to define the word missional, I usually say that I have a short answer, and a long answer. The short answer is that the word missional is simply the adjective form of the noun missionary, and like any adjective it is used to modify a noun. So when we use the phrase missional church the word missional to use to describe the church as a missionary entity. In other words, the church doesn’t just send missionaries, but the church is the missionary.

The missional church

You can read the rest of Brisco’s post here, where he expounds more on his longer definition of missional.

I also encourage you to check out this article:

6 Charges from the Guy who Coined the Term “Missional”

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How To Make Your Blogging Life Easier http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/how-to-make-your-blogging-life-easier/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/how-to-make-your-blogging-life-easier/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 11:30:00 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=16011 How To Make Your Blogging Life Easier

I just came across this post the other day on Pro Blogger5 Ways to Make Your Blogging Life EasierIt is one of the blog sites I have subscribed to for years to get new ideas for both content creation and how to hone in on my writing voice. In fact, I’m even implementing some things in this post today that I learned from this particular article.

I thought it would make a good follow-up to my post 9 Ways To Feed the Blogging Beast, which mostly dealt with content creation and ways to get inspired. I know, it only took me three years to ever touch that topic again, but hey.

Like Stacey Roberts says in her article,

But that is just the beginning, right? That doesn’t include planning, goal-setting, editorial calendars, blog design, design tweaks, multimedia, multiple updates on social media, a social media workflow plan, guest blogging, networking, sponsorships, affiliate sales, creating products, launching products, email marketing, creating newsletters, being part of the blogging community, going to events, keeping up with trends…

The first thing I did after reading this post was download an editorial calendar plugin and begin spreading out my upcoming posts. Planning time to write or create content isn’t my challenge, but planning a few weeks in advance the type of posts I am going to write or have already written and plan on posting. Having a calendar helps me to take a step back and see the bigger picture of what I am posting and what I wanted to achieve when it comes to blogging.

I have no problem sitting in front of a few dashboards and word processors every day and writing something. But having a plan where what I’m doing today is part of a larger strategy of what I’m doing the rest of this week and maybe month helps give me focus and get my individual posts written pretty speedily and succinctly. The larger whole helps me focus on the individual parts.

I find myself doing something very similar to Roberts,

When I finish one post, I look at my list and move onto the next. I move the calendar around when I write spontaneous posts, but having an overarching framework with which to reference has been the breakthrough for me.

Planning how I am going to reach writing goals and the specific tasks involved helps keep me on track. Using such a calendar and breaking down my writing goals into smaller chunks reminds me what I have left to write.

At the time of preparing this post, I’m also in a free trial period of CoSchedule which provides an editorial calendar feature which also hooks into your WordPress blog folders (in my case, for drafts I’m working on). But it also helps promote to my social media sites directly from inside my WordPress dashboard, saving me time in posting directly to those sites myself.

Other Personal Tips for Making Your Blogging Life Easier

A few of the following relate mostly to things I’ve been doing, and time management ideas I got from this article on TipsForThat.com.

I write a lot using Scrivener, and usually with the full screen composition mode on, which a lot of sites like WordPress now include. This is a quick list and not meant to be exhaustive:

1) Stay Focused

For help with this I used to use FocusBooster while it was a free app. It uses the Pomodoro Technique, which is a time management system that challenges you to focus on a single task for 25 minutes and then give yourself a 5-minute break. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. When those 25 minutes are up, the app sounds the alarm and counts down the 5 minute break as well. I wrote the lion’s share of 9 Lies People Believe About Speaking in Tongues with FocusBooster turned on.

2) Block Out Distractions

Nowadays I primarily use a Mac app called Self Control which blocks out websites and apps of your choosing — in my case, social media profiles — for an hour or two at a time. Not having the ability to go to these different sites helps me not to bother trying to, and I stay focused on what I’m working on.

3) Create a sense of urgency

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere on my blog before, that one of the best ways to accomplish anything is when you have deadlines — whether self-imposed or from outside sources, like someone holding me accountable asking me to show my progress. Whenever I’ve had assignments due in highschool or Bible college, I found that the closer I got to the deadline, the more productive I became. Imaging that! I believe a lot of people are this way as well. Give yourself deadlines.

That’s where the editorial calendar I’ve begun using comes into play.

4) Do something else away from the screen

Take a break. Get away from the screen. Stop sitting on your heiny for pro longed amounts of time. If you like me, then the tips in number 1 will help you when you take advantage of those 5 minute breaks to go have a coffee break. Stephen King takes walks every afternoon after having spent all morning writing. Jeff Goins reads for an hour before hitting the keyboard.

Now get up away from your computer screen and take a walk. When you come back, I am willing to bet you have your creative juices flowing.

Have a good day!

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Regarding the “Done With Church” Buzz | Dan Dailey’s Blog http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/regarding-the-done-with-church-buzz-dan-daileys-blog/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/regarding-the-done-with-church-buzz-dan-daileys-blog/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 11:55:20 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=16102 The Done with Church Buzz

Original Source: Regarding the “Done With Church” Buzz | Dan Dailey’s Blog

I saw this one pop up in my Facebook newsfeed fairly recently. Wayne Jacobson, host of The God Journey podcast shared it. Jacobson has long been a major figure in the discussion on organic Christianity.

In this article by Dan Dailey, he categorizes the types of blog posts and online articles that discuss the “dones” phenomenon into two categories:

1) The bait and switch where people mischaracterize the local church with the Body of Christ and insist that if you care about the body of Christ, you’ll stick around in the church institution as though that’s the same thing.

2)The other category being that those who leave the system are clearly wrong, with no possibility of even attempting to understand why. They’re just written off.

I dealt with both of these issues, especially of definitions and motives, in my previous post Are Millennials Leaving The Church or Just Our Definition of itI discussed it at length with NorthWest Prophetic in our podcast we recorded a few months ago about how it’s not just a millennial thing, but many older people who’ve spent decades as faithful service attenders are leaving in droves as well.

I think Dan hits the nail on the head when he says,

The prevailing attitude I’ve personally encountered is a total unwillingness to entertain questions about the value of our traditions. The Bible says little (and often nothing at all) of buildings, programs, offering plates, or hierarchy among believers, yet these things are too often treated as untouchable sacraments given to us by God himself.

Those that have stopped attending a church are seen as people that either need to be prayed for or guarded against. Some authors talk about them as though they are a disease in need of earlier diagnoses before it’s too late to stop them from leaving. “Solutions” to fix them are offered left and right, but it seems impossible to find an author willing to grant enough respect to entertain that perhaps those who leave are actually seeing something they can’t.

Isn’t this true? I mean, do you remember how the internet collectively pooped a dictionary sideways when Don Miller published a blog saying he didn’t attend Sunday morning meetings anymore and he was doing just fine?

And later on Dan goes on to continue,

There is so much fear being expressed about what’s happening, but fear shows only a lack of faith. Isn’t God in control? Hasn’t he said of his bride that the gates of hell would not prevail against her? I would remind those looking for solutions that if they are truly executing the plans of God then there is absolutely no need to fear. The present matter will be a memory before long and things can get back to business as usual.

As I’ve stated before and will repeat here, many people who have left the church aren’t doing so because they’ve lost their faith, but because it’s how they feel they can protect their faith.

I conclude with Wayne Jacobsen’s words on a recent Finding Church article,

Don’t glory in your church attendance, and certainly don’t glory in being a “Done.” Let’s realize that those designations mean nothing. The only thing that matters is the new creation and how we love one another even though we may live in different expressions of that family. For too long we’ve changed the language of God’s kingdom, for a preoccupation with human systems we’ve called churches, whether or not they reflect his glory or incubate his community. We need less preoccupation with “church” and far more on Jesus and his kingdom.

Amen. Let’s get on with making disciples and spreading the Kingdom of God, regardless of the exact pattern we do it in.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already listened to it, check out a discussion I had with Dr Stephen Crosby last year on whether church attendance is really necessary.

Done with Church

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http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/regarding-the-done-with-church-buzz-dan-daileys-blog/feed/ 4 Original Source: Regarding the “Done With Church” Buzz | Dan Dailey's Blog I saw this one pop up in my Facebook newsfeed fairly recently. Wayne Jacobson, host of The God Journey podcast shared it. Jacobson has long been a major figure in the discussio... (http://stevebremner.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/The-Done-with-Church-Buzz.png) Original Source: Regarding the “Done With Church” Buzz | Dan Dailey's Blog (https://danieldailey.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/regarding-the-done-with-church-buzz/) I saw t... Steve Bremner clean 1:06:41
A New Milestone in my Writing Journey http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/a-new-milestone-in-my-writing-journey/ http://stevebremner.com/2015/05/a-new-milestone-in-my-writing-journey/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 17:09:36 +0000 http://stevebremner.com/?p=16068 My Writing Journey

Greetings friends,

Today’s post is more for those of you who have been faithfully following my blog over the years. It’s not one that’s destined to go viral or get 300 shares or anything like that. I write this for those of you who like to know and be brought up to date.

This past Friday, April 30th, I emailed my updated manuscript of 9 Lies People Believe About Speaking in Tongues to the team at Destiny Image Publishers who will be working on it and publishing it in 2016.

It may have been “just” a simple click of the send button in my email client, but I have compiled a few endorsements and re-wrote the preface to document the type of impact the book has had on people since initially publishing it a year ago.

Hitting that send button felt monumental.

Stuff begins now.

Well, provided that we have a successful re-launch, things can change, but you get the idea.

Site Revamp & New Branding

Back in March when I signed the contract, scanned it and sent it back, I was given an April 30th deadline by which they would require the manuscript and any changes I wanted to make to it — which I didn’t — as well as any endorsements that would go in the front of the book and other extras that you typically see in published books. The content of the book will stay the same, but they’ll be designing a new cover which will blend in more in the retail spaces the printed version will be sold in.

I also got to talk with Sierra White, who works with Destiny Image’s authors on their social media strategy, which we’ll get back to in a moment.

Around the same time, my friend Chris Wilson was also helping me in ways unrelated to the book itself, but with migrating my site over to his server. You may recall Chris is the British fellow living in Poland who once interviewed me about being a missionary blogger in late 2013, and as one of the other participants in a blogging challenge I once did around the same time. Well, Chris graciously reached out to me about hosting my blog for me to save us some money, and very kindly gave me my new blog template (Jeff Goins’ Tribe theme).

So, I’ve revamped my blog once again. Hey, I figure I’m entitled to every three years.  My usual ‘branding’ guy and hermano en Cristo Jose Aljovin, who has designed most of my book covers (meaning the crappy ones are the ones he didn’t do), helped with the new header for this site and came up with the “S” logo.

stevebremener_  copy 5I have been mulling over in my mind what my brand even is, and how to create a specific visual aspect to my site and social media profiles that is consistent.

To be honest with you, I have been hearing about bloggers and their “brand” for nearly three years and finally went for it. I asked Jose if he could come up with whatever he wanted.

So I gave him the following criteria and asked him if he could come up with a logo:

  1. Something simple
  2. Something that, if possible, communicates that I’m a podcaster as well as a blogger.
  3. Something to bridge my podcast and blog by looking similar to my podcast logo.

I just wanted something simple like Jeff Goins has with that “G” and Dustin Stout has that D in the speech bubble thingy, but yet that people who visited saw the podcast logo or visited my blog visually knew they are both separated by very little other than one is for writing and the other for audio content.

So I left Jose alone for a few weeks and didn’t bother him, and then after a few drafts back and forth, I received the above logo. Did you notice it’s got a little flame thingy? So it’s even better than I was thinking of in my mind’s eye. I like it. I am learning to trust Jose’s instincts since writing is my specialty and design and branding is his. I believe one should focus on their specialty and not try to do everything, but that’s for another post, another day.

Platform Building

So to get back to that Skype call I mentioned with Sierra. We talked for two hours a number of weeks ago, and she basically coached me through the types of things I could be doing to grow my online platform in an organic way and gain new followers on social media without being “markety” (my words, not hers). I’ve struggled a lot with self-promotion tactics that I view as, well, self promotion.

But if there’s one thing I’ve come to realize: people don’t just magically know a book, blog or podcast exists. Marketing on some level IS necessary.

After talking to her, I realized that a lot of what Sierra was encouraging me to do was stuff I’ve already learned over the last four or five years but I’ve just not really been doing. When I ghost wrote and did other freelance work for two different marketers I saw how these tactics worked for building their brand recognition.

So if I’ve seen this stuff work, why am I so afraid of implementing it in my blog?

I still don’t have an answer to that question, but I think it’s ego related and pride disguised as a false sense of humility.

That being said, I’m going to take more initiative and make visual content along with my blog posts, like quotes or silly images, put my logo on them and unleash them on social media. For this reason I’ve also started a Tumblr account, which also the source that feeds our images into our Fire On Your Head App’s social media images feature.

That’s the subtle hint that if you like any of them, you’re welcome to share them and spread word since my marketing budget is pretty tight, anything grass-roots that can go viral is a huge help at this point.

Stoppings and Startings

Along with focusing on my personal brand recognition, I’ve also made the conscious decision to not renew the hosting for Fire Press magazine this August when the domain runs out, but I will keep the domain name so nobody else can snag it and build on our coattails, and other things people do with expired domain names. If someone else decides they want to host Fire Press for me for free, then I’ll take them up on it, but last August after renewing the domain name for another year and continuing my hosting plan for the site, I decided to streamline and focus all my energy on my own personal blog here and see how this coming year goes. I think it’s time to stop with Fire Press, and enjoy the great ride that it was for the last 7 years.

I’ve also decided that instead of having different niche sites like I’ve had to date, I would converge things into SteveBremner.com that I’ve written and divide this blog site into categories. Right now we’re only talking Discipleship, Missions, Writing, Podcasting, and Book Reviews.

This site will continue to host content I’ve written that doesn’t fall into those categories, but it’s mostly going to affect Podcast Mojo, which I will also not renew later this year when that time comes. Instead I’ve migrated all the posts from that site onto this one and made a new “how to” category to reflect that.

Shifting Writing Focus

Many people ask me about writing, and others ask me about podcasting, and since both of those things are as important to me as the things I write and podcast about, I figured it would be worthwhile to also blog about those types of things for those of you who would like it. But my main focus will now shift towards my book writing, which will impact the ability I have to write the types of blog posts I’ve been writing over the last 11 years of blogging.

Yes, I’ve been blogging in one format or another since 2004. That’s the last third of my life on earth. People who tell me they’re going to just up and write a book one day but don’t think they need to put in some kind of time to give their writing muscles a workout really impress me. I always ask them if they’re blogging or doing something to write on a regular basis, and if the answer is no, I assume all they’re going to write is a memoir of some kind because I can’t think of how one can write good books if they don’t also write on a regular basis.

Writing books, as easy as it now comes to me, is time-consuming, and only comes easy to me because I’ve got years of practice behind me. I’ve made it a lifestyle habit. Since 2010, I’ve been writing either 1000 words per day, or 1 hour per day, whichever comes first. Sometimes more than that, but never less. I’m going to talk more about this in an upcoming book review I’m working on about Stephen King’s memoir on writing.

Needless to say for now, so we can wind this up and call it a blog post, the type of content I’m going to be focusing on in the blog for now will be experiences and opinions that fall into the categories I’ve decided to focus on.

You can also expect to see a lot more responding and reacting to other online content. For example, when I read something interesting or that I want to explore with you, I’ll link to it, cite from it and share my thoughts, like I’ve been doing in the last few weeks with a few articles from Relevant Magazine. These types of posts are easier and less time-consuming for me to write, freeing me up to focus on the podcasting aspect of my online ministry, writing books, and of course, teaching and discipling here in Peru.

But as you know, I love writing, and plan on getting a lot more serious about it.

It’s for that reason I’m also doing a near-future podcast with Chris Wilson about writing and blogging which I hope will be a good kick in the pants for those of you on the fence about starting your own blogs or writing your own books.

It’s also for that same reason that on Friday, when I sent all my documents to Destiny Image, I felt like “bring it on, world!”

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