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Friday, October 2, 2009


Over the next several weeks, I'm going to be commenting on a book that I picked up last week, SHIFT: What it takes to finally reach families today, by Brian Haynes, a pastor in Texas.

In the preface, he details part of a deathbed conversation with his mother. She asked him a powerful question, "What was the last scripture you taught your kids?"

With that question as his catalyst, chapter 1 tackles the "Cultural Shift" that many of us are up to our elbows in. He ends it with the thought, "What would it be like if the church of Jesus Christ actually influenced the culture in a biblical way?" Great question; last week for my church newsletter article I was going to simply make a list of questions, that one would have made it.

Chapter 2, or, "God's Original Blueprint" is a walk through the Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

Brian then writes, "God asks people to first have these commands on their hearts before they ever try to pass them down to their children...To equip generations effectively, we must reach and equip parents."

What if:
  • parents are unaware of their own spiritual need?
  • parents are unaware of their need to be equipped?
  • parents are unaware of their own need to be reached?
A little later, in a section entitled, "Where We Walked Off the Path", Brian writes that, "The church growth movement redefined success". He talks about the role of the pastor(s) changing from shepherd to strategist. It became a numbers game. And then, in one sentence, Brian describes both children's and youth ministry at our church to a "t".

"We developed children's ministries and youth ministries and gave hired professionals the responsibility for mentoring too many children.

Question: How do we get away from this?

He then has a lengthy section on the need for me, as a minister, to have an authentic, spiritually mentoring relationship with my own family. It was quite convicting.

Here's the cool thing, I found the church where Brian ministers online, and emailed him some questions. He graciously responded. I would love to hear your and his thoughts on the reading.

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