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Showing posts from March, 2013

Decline & Renewal, 14: Aaron Metcalf Guest Column

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Editor's note: Here’s another in our series of guest columns on church decline. Just a couple more to go. Articles in April will focus on renewal.
Our ninth guest column is from Aaron Metcalf, a native Oregonian who preaches for the Westside Church of Christ in Hillsboro, Oregon. The Westside church has experienced significant loss in the past decade, and Aaron’s perceptive thoughts help us look a little differently at church decline.

The View from Aaron Metcalf
The great passage from Acts 2:27, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” has never been part of my ministry experience in West Coast Churches of Christ. I’ve never been a part of a church community that experienced rapid or even significant gradual growth. Most of the churches I’ve been a part of, in fact, would have been happy if the Lord sustained our numbers daily and stopped the decline. Forget growth; let’s just keep who we have!
In my current ministry context decline has taken place for a …

Church Renewal & Gay Marriage

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This article is a brief diversion from our series of guest articles, but it's relevant to our topic. We’ll get right back to our articles on decline in West Coast Churches of Christ. Next up are articles from Aaron Metcalf and Tim Spivey. 

This is an article from me. I just can’t help but speak when I see that current events connect with the issue of church renewal—which is the whole focus of this dialogue—and that practically everyone seems to miss the point.
Church Renewal and Gay Marriage
Admittedly, I’m a bit naïve when it comes to some hot-button issues. I have discovered that people want to put you in one camp or another. There is no room for nuance. I am incredibly bothered, however, that most people seem to fixate on the moral issue du jour and miss the bigger questions.
I just read an article titled, “Christians Side with Mammon. Mammon Sided with Barabbas.” As you might guess, the author is against gay marriage and he blasts Christian leaders who appear to be soft on the iss…

Decline & Renewal, 13: Brian Sandine Guest Column

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Editor's note: Here’s another in our series of guest columns on church decline. Still to come: articles from church leaders like Stan Granberg, Aaron Metcalf, Tim Spivey, Rick Gibson and more. Articles in April will focus on renewal.
Our eighth guest column is from Brian Sandine, a West Coast native who has preached in San Leandro, California since 2000. Brian brings us the heartfelt and honest story of decline through the lens of the San Leandro Church of Christ. I pray that you’ll be blessed and informed by his words.
The View from Brian Sandine
I am an ethnographer at heart. I like to talk with people about what happened, what life was like, and what their experience has taught them. I like to hear them tell their story and reflect on that story’s importance. So to write this piece, I asked several members of our congregation to tell me about it. I preach for the San Leandro Church of Christ, a church in the San Francisco Bay Area, and a church with a story—several stories as a m…

Decline & Renewal, 12: Andy Wall Guest Column

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Editor's note: Here’s another in our series of guest columns on church decline. During the rest of March, you'll read thoughtful words from church leaders like Tim Spivey, Stan Granberg, Aaron Metcalf, Rick Gibson and more. Articles in April will focus on renewal.
Our seventh guest column is from Andy Wall, a native of Southern California. Andy preaches for the Conejo Valley Church of Christ, just 20 minutes from the Pepperdine University campus. Having grown up as a missionary kid in Greece, Andy has the eye, not just of a skilled minister but also of a missionary—a powerful combination in helping understand our role in the unfolding mission of God.

The View from Andy Wall
Decline and Renewal: A Study of What Former Members Are Saying
My journey of wrestling with the decline within Churches of Christ began during the early 90s, when circumstances caused me to reflect on two questions: why were so few of my former youth group members still in the Churches of Christ (or any church…

Decline & Renewal, 11: Mark Manassee Guest Column

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Editor's note: Here’s another in our series of guest columns on church decline. During the rest of March, you'll read thoughtful words from church leaders like Tim Spivey, Andy Wall, Stan Granberg, Aaron Metcalf, Rick Gibson and more. Articles in April will focus on renewal.
Our sixth guest column is from Mark Manassee, a native of Southern California. Mark preaches for the Culver Palms Church of Christ in Culver City, home to some of California’s biggest movie studios. Mark has experienced church life outside the West Coast, and his eyes are wide open to the unique opportunities and challenges that our churches face. Mark is completing a DMin at Fuller Seminary in Missional Leadership, and he’s helping his church re-learn what it means to partner with the mission of God in their community.

The View from Mark Manassee
I love Southern California. I have lived in several states from the Northeast to the South to the Midwest but I am a Southern Californian through and through. I gr…

Decline & Renewal, 10: John York Guest Column

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Editor's note: I am blessed to be able to publish several guest columns. During the rest of March, you'll read thoughtful words from church leaders like Tim Spivey, Andy Wall, Stan Granberg, Aaron Metcalf, Rick Gibson and more. I previously told the story about the College Church of Christ in Fresno. We've already had guest articles from Sean Palmer, Steve Martin, Ben Ries and Lynn Anderson.

Our fifth guest column is from a native Oregonian. John York primarily grew up in Roseburg, Oregon, where his dad was the preacher. After university and graduate training in Texas and Georgia, he returned to the Northwest and taught at Columbia Christian before moving on to Lipscomb in Nashville. John has been active in ministry wherever he has been, preaching at the East County church in Gresham, OR, and later co-preaching with Rubel Shelly at the Woodmont Hills church in Nashville. Among other things, John now heads the Doctor of Ministry program at Lipscomb University.

The View from …

Decline & Renewal, 9: Lynn Anderson Guest Column

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Editor's note: I have the amazing fortune of being able to publish several guest columns. Over the coming weeks, you'll read thoughtful words from church leaders like Tim Spivey, Andy Wall, Stan Granberg, Aaron Metcalf, Rick Gibson and more. I previously told the story about the College Church of Christ in Fresno. We've already had guest articles from Sean Palmer, Steve Martin and Ben Ries.

Our fourth guest column is from an elder statesmen in Churches of Christ. Lynn Anderson loves the church and has worked tirelessly to support church leaders. He acutely understands our unique baggage and how to turn it over to God. He is a native of Canada's West Coast. The first 11 years of his full-time ministry were in British Columbia before taking the reins at the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. Lynn has probably spoken at 45-50 West Coast churches over the years. He now lives with his wife Carolyn in San Antonio.

A Conversation with Lynn Anderson
Why are West Coast C…

Decline & Renewal, 8: Ben Ries Guest Column

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Editor's note: I have the amazing fortune of being able to publish several guest columns. Throughout March & April, you'll read thoughtful words from church leaders like Tim Spivey, Andy Wall, Stan Granberg, Aaron Metcalf, Rick Gibson and more. I previously told the story about the College Church of Christ in Fresno. Previous guest articles have come from Sean Palmer and Steve Martin.
My third guest column is from a preacher in the Pacific Northwest. Ben Ries is a gifted preacher who has an uncanny knack for perceiving and communicating the realities that we face on the West Coast. Ben Ries grew up in Iowa and moved with his family to Vancouver, Washington when he was in high school. After a stint in youth ministry at the East County Church of Christ (2000-2005) followed by graduate studies in Texas, he has preached both in Bellingham, Washington (2007-2010) and Federal Way, Washington (2010-present). Ben’s article helps us understand church decline through the lens of the…

Decline & Renewal, 7: Steve Martin Guest Column

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Editor's note: As promised, I have the amazing fortune of being able to publish several guest columns. Over the coming weeks, you'll read thoughtful words from church leaders like Tim Spivey, Andy Wall, Lynn Anderson, Stan Granberg, Aaron Metcalf, Rick Gibson and more. These are all respected church leaders who love God's church as a whole, and they show a deep respect for what God has done and still can do in Churches of Christ.
Our second guest column is from a native Californian and talented minister who leads the Tri-Valley Church of Christ in Livermore, California. It’s a well-known research area just east of Oakland. The Tri-Valley Church began in 1950 when some local church members decided to start their own congregation in Livermore. After a few years’ growth, they moved to their current location on East Avenue. Steve tells a little of his perspective on West Coast church decline through the lens of the Tri-Valley Church.

The View from Steve Martin
When I received Ja…

Decline & Renewal, 6: Sean Palmer Guest Column

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Editor's note: As promised, I have the amazing fortune of being able to publish several guest columns about the decline of West Coast Churches of Christ. Over the coming weeks, you'll read thoughtful words from church leaders like Tim Spivey, Andy Wall, Lynn Anderson, Stan Granberg, Scott Lambert, Aaron Metcalf, John York, Rick Gibson and more. These are all respected church leaders who love God's church as a whole, and they show a deep respect for what God has done and still can do in Churches of Christ.

Our first guest column in from a gifted, young, hard-working Texas preacher who came to California with high hopes. After preaching in Redwood City for three years, Sean Palmer has returned to Texas to work with a church plant calledThe Vine Church. He is a prolificbloggerwho works as hard as any minister I know. I hope you'll find some valuable insights in his excellent article.

The View from Sean Palmer
I had the honor of preaching on the West Coast for just over thre…