Saturday, March 21, 2009

Connecting Church and Home: Jay Strother

Met this guy a few weeks ago at Southern. His church is amazing by the world's standards - but they are doing ministry by God's standards...
Jay Strother
Emerging Generations Pastor – Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, TN
“The Next Step”
Ruth 2.2-3, 20
In this moment for Ruth, a strange land, all she knew was to take the next step and going to work. When she put her good intentions into action, God was directing those steps. Her steps took her into the land of Boaz.
“Community full of the rich young ruler.” If “things” won’t attract teens, what will? The clip art books and bags of tricks will not work. Seek Me. Seek my direction. One step at a time recovering God’s heart for this next generation. What the next generation is longing for is authentic relationships.
On the church side, we were doing well at discipleship. Hundreds of teenagers a week in small group. There was still something missing.
This is not a formula or a program. These are just some key things:

1. Stop. Look. Listen.
We had to slow down. There is a biblical mandate for a Sabbath. If we never recharge and spend quality time with our families, then we are missing it. Book recommendation: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. I don’t need to go out and work, work, work for God. I need to find out where God is and go there. We need to listen to God through the Scriptures and what He is telling us through other people.
2. Reclaim the family as a biblical priority.
You know this. That’s why you are here. How well do your people know it? Every parent is to apply to timeless truths of Proverbs 22.6 to their children – unique creations of God. They need to apply this truth to the child’s “bent”.
3. We need to present a clear and consistent vision in every area of church life. You need to state it simply and celebrate your vision. There are different venues in the life of your church where you can proclaim your vision.
4. Enlist church leadership. To change the culture of a church, you have to get this vision to your church leadership. Don’t bore them with details – share your vision that you are so passionate about.
5. Build a team – find the champion. Get the right people – and together as a team – drive the bus. It is not all about you. You can’t reach them all yourself! Eph 4 tells us that we are to equip the saint to do ministry. Give it away to your leaders. Give it away to your parents – equip them to lead and disciple their children. We have to release our desire to the star of the show.
6. Develop a clear strategy:
Three major buckets:
a. Catalyst: relationships. The number one catalyst should be the parents. What do we do with parents? Deut 6.7. Godly leaders are another catalyst in this area of relationships
b. Content: Biblical Literacy
c. Context: Environment of ministry (programs, events)
7. You have to be willing to adjust and learn. Be in love with what we are trying to do. Only like your methods. We have to learn and grow and adjust. Stay focused on the vision.
Parenting 6.7 Ministry Plan (Brentwood Baptist Church)
1. Love God as a way of life. (Romans 12.1-2)
2. Love others as a way of life. (Mark 10.45)
3. Love the church and understand their roles in the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4.4-7)
4. Love the Bible and can handle it properly as the authority and foundation for life. (2 Tim 3.15-17)
5. Love to tell others about Christ (the gospel) and share their stories. (Romans 10.14-15)
6. Love to grow closer to God through personal spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible study. (1 Tim 4.7-12)
Seven Ministry Strategies that we will partner with parents to impress these six characteristics: (Brentwood Baptist Church)
1. Synchronize our ministry efforts around this master plan to build faith and character in our sons and daughters.
2. Communicate this expectation and plan clearly to parents.
3. Develop a resource guide that suggests to parents recommended resources for family devotions and specific family issues.
4. Connect our teaching ministries to the home.
5. Provide catalyst venues that introduce parents to Parenting 6.7
6. Partner with the missions ministry in 2009 to provide family-friendly mission opportunities. This is what the students will remember 10-15-20 years down the road.
7. Partner with the music and worship ministry to focus on intergenerational and family worship gatherings.
You have to be willing to adjust and learn. Be in love with what we are trying to do. Only like your methods. We have to learn and grow and adjust. Stay focused on the vision.

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