Titus Wordled

Here are the words that occur most in the book of Titus. The larger the word in the word cloud, the more frequently it appears in the book in the ESV translation.

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Questions to Evaluate Your Church’s Evangelism

Gene Getz in his book, Sharpening the Focus of the Church, lists some helpful questions to clarify the church’s purpose in evangelism.

1. Is our church concerned about its immediate community? Are we reaching people for Christ? Or, are we substituting a program of foreign missions and neglecting those who live within the context of our local witness?

2. Are we active “as a body” in local church evangelism? Are we providing backdrop against which individual evangelism can take place? Or do we expect individual Christians to witness in a vacuum?

3. Are we substituting the “church gathered” as the primary place to “preach the gospel,” rather than a place to develop Christians and serve as a dynamic example of Christian love and unity to the world? Are we using the “church gathered” as a place where non-Christians can “come” to get saved rather than a bridge to the world?

4. Are we reaching whole households with the gospel, concentrating first on reaching parents? Or are we substituting a program of child and youth evangelism for adult evangelism?

5. Are we discovering and recognizing those in the church who feel especially called to evangelism, and are we encouraging them in their community and worldwide witness through moral and financial support?

6. Are new believers integrated into the life of the local church as soon as possible?

7. Are we utilizing contemporary strategies and approaches to community and worldwide evangelism, that are distinctive and unique to our particular twenty-first century problems in reaching people for Christ?

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Becoming Like the Culture? Really?

With so much discussion about the church’s role in culture, and the questions concerning that being usually regarding how much of culture can we absorb for the purpose of outreach, I have a different perspective. Instead of focusing on what we can take in of the culture to reach people and draw them, consider this. Because much of culture is the outgrowth of fallen man and tainted with its sin and effects, the way to take advantage of the culture is not always looking to see what we can conform to, but realize what a fallen culture corrodes in man’s heart and longings and use the church to provide the Gospel to an unsatisfied humanity’s heart’s yearning. For example, in America, in a culture that is so institutionalized and creating people who feel as if they are only cogs in a big machine, the church provides meaningful and edificious relationships in community as a gathered people. Also, in a culture of constant rapid change and instability, the church can provide what is lacking there by offering stability and security through the character of the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In addition, in a culture that is destructive to the building block of all cultures and societies, the nuclear family unit, the church can proclaim and embody the power of the Gospel as it is lived out in the family in the father, mother, husband, wife, children, and siblings in harmony and sincere love and submission in purity.

So why spend so much thought and energy and conforming to the culture when we have a culture that behind the mask of temporality and the relativity of postmodernity is screaming for a lasting relationship that is saturated with the truth of the Living God.

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The Hideous Monster of Institutionalism in the Church of Christ (Pt. 2)

Why is this so true of the church if the church is an organism and not an institution? Gene Getz lists 5 reasons:

1. Our greatest strength has helped create some of our greatest problems. Our right emphasis of the Bible as the final authority has pushed aside the community and ministry functions of the church. The Word needs to have outlets.

2. Emphasizing the church as a soul-winning station has also contributed its share to the process of institutionalism. The right idea of soul-winning is attempted in the church and believers are anemic with a lack of Bible teaching and repetitious gospel messages intended for the unsaved.

3. We are beginning to support the “institution” rather than its reason for existing. As long as people ‘support the program’ by coming, they are evaluated as spiritually mature. We are more concerned with existence than our cause for existence.

4. We are emphasizing correct doctrine and frequently neglecting the quality of one’s life. The criterion for spiritual maturity is out of balance by focusing on what one believes and forgetting the way he lives.

5. We have allowed non-absolutes to become absolute. What may have even been a means to end at one time become an end in itself.

Break free and renew your study of the church in the New Testament.

The Hideous Monster of Institutionalism in the Church of Christ (Pt. 1)

Gene Getz in his book Sharpening the Focus of the Church lists the symptoms of institutionalism in general and then how some of that unfortunately fleshes out in many churches.
In general:
1. The organization (form and structure) becomes more important than the people that make up the organization.

2. Individuals begin to function in the organization more like cogs in a machine.

3. Individuality and creativity are lost in the structural mass.

4. The atmosphere in the organization becomes threatening, rather than open and free; people are often afraid to ask uncomfortable questions.

5. The structural arrangements in the organization have become rigid and inflexible.

6. People are serving the organization more than the objectives for which the organization was brought into existence.

7. Communication often breaks down, particularly because of repressive atmosphere and lots of red tape.

8. People become prisoners of their procedures. The “policy manual” and the “rule book” get bigger, and fresh ideas are far and few between.

9. In order to survive in a cold structure, people develop their own special interests within the organization, creating competitive departments and divisions. The corporate objective gives way to a multitude of unrelated objectives which, inevitably, results in lack of unity in the organization as a whole.

10. Morale degenerates; people lose their initiative; they become discouraged and often critical of the organization and of others in the organization–particularly its leaders.

11. As the organization gets bigger and as time passes, the process of institutionalism often speeds up. A hierarchy of leadership develops, increasing the problems of communication from the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top. People toward the bottom, or even in the middle of the organizational structure, feel more and more as if they “really don’t count” in the organization.

When you have these symptoms in an organization, institutionalism is already in its advanced stages.

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