Archive for July, 2007

Change!?!, Decline/Growth, Young Adults

I am not Brethren

I am not Presbyterian, I am not Calvary Chapel, I am not Vineyard, I am not Pentecostal, I am not Catholic, and I am not Brethren. I am myself, a sinner saved by grace, a convert to the way of Jesus, a child of the Living God.

Having come to the church by conversion, not birth, I have like many, meandered through denominational identities. One of the results of that experience is that the only name that I’m willing to keep is Christian. And to be honest (or better said accurate), the last ten years has heaped so much social baggage onto the title Christian, that even it, usually makes me wince. I most prefer just to say that I am a follower of Jesus. If you don’t know this then you should; Christian youth culture burgeons with similar sentiment.

Postmodern theologians regularly postulate, that the world is becoming post-Christian… they are probably right about that. But also true and equally important is the fact that the church is becoming post-denominational. Those of us who’ve come to Christ because of a change of heart or mind, rarely feel connected to the history and evolution of the denominational hierarchy that hosts or owns our property. Postmodern converts identify with God, and one another, based on a set of shared beliefs, not the name of a schism or its founder. This is an uncomfortable truth for folks that have life-long lived with the name of a denomination etched into their family and its history. But to reach the emerging generations, we must allow them to keep their identities, and not expect them to adopt ours.

And in a way, what I said at the beginning of this discourse is wholly and hugely inaccurate.

I am Presbyterian, and Calvary, and Vineyard, Pentecostal and Catholic. And yes, I am Brethren as well. Not the Brethren of the past, but the Brethren of tomorrow; and so are the emerging generations of which I am a part. We are a mosaic of traditions, tapestries of faith and practice, and although we understand the importance of the past, we are far more interested in the needs of the future. And we will only take with us, that which we think rings true.

The world is very different than it was forty years ago, and the global amalgamation of Christian ideas has left us needing a church whose theology is refined beyond denominational differences. We long to embrace our cousins from every corner of the family of Christ, and differentiate ourselves by our praxis, not our assumptions.

And praxis is meat of the matter for the emerging generations. It’s what we do, not what we think that defines us. In this way the Emerging Church and Brethren culture have much in common. Lay led, service oriented, egalitarian, ecologically sensitive, intentionally peaceful and dedicated to simple living; all these things are true of both Brethren and Emerging. Indeed, the Emerging Church and the Brethren persona is a match so natural, that their corollaries seem a machination of Divinity.

The question is what do we do with this opportunity? Can we find the courage to embrace the emerging generations and allow them to inherit our mission and revitalize the church? Or will we insist that they adopt our identities, and force them out on their own, to form their faith families without us.

Leadership, Ministry Formation

Looking for a few good pastors

As our churches are making fewer disciples and seeing further decline congregationally, we’re very interested in the question of how to revitalize the Church in the Emergent Era. While this means incorporating emergent elements into our services, it is much more than that. It’s understanding what God is about during the greatest cultural shift in the past 500 years. It’s about understanding the significant changes in worldview. It’s about cooperating with what God is doing in this place and this time.

We’re looking for a few good pastors who want to study the issue of church revitalization in the Emergent Era through the Brethren Academy Lilly Grant for Sustaining Pastoral Excellence. We’re putting together a distance group (you can live anywhere) for Vital Pastors in the next month or so. The group launches with an emersion trip (probably to the United Kingdom) and meets for two years. Everything is paid for through the grant.

If you are interested, please reply here or email us at

Gary & Lisa Yoder
South Central Indiana District

Annual Conference, Media for Worship

Software and Media for Worship

It was good being at Annual Conference and seeing many of you. I wish there was more time for us to get together to dream about what our church can become, on both the national and local scenes.

I co-led an Insight Session with Russ Matteson on Enhancing Worship through Digital Glass. One of the questions that arose from that Q & A afterwards is what kind of software are people using to develop their media presentations. What do you use? Those at conference named MediaShout, Easy Worship, Powerpoint, Photoshop Elements, Roxio Media Creator, and Adobe Premiere Elements. Another piece of software that was used very effectively in two presentations is Photo Story. Its a freebee at

What kinds of software do you use? How often do you plan media presentations for worship?

Blessings to you!

Jeff Glass

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