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Pagan Christianity, Classes, Buffalo, and a Rainbow Coalition

January 12, 2011 in News

Pagans Galore!

The Erie winter wasteland depicts the evangelistic activity of Evangelicals.

For those who kept pace, the retreat covered an amazing breadth of issues ranging from Bible classes to “Pagan Christianity,” the latest iteration of Outlaw Faith (a.k.a. Revolution, a.k.a. Church Without Walls, a.k.a. the Persecuted Church). Keith stunned retreat attendees by demonstrating the New Covenant is nothing less than Pagan Christianity, contradicting the famous 2008 book by Barna and Viola called Pagan Christianity. Barna and Viola bemoaned the long, corrupting influence of pagans (non-Christians) on Christianity, but Keith proved “the mystery of the church” revealed in the New Testament was intended to be populated by a tremendous influx of pagans, as Paul describes it:

When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Ephesians 3:3-6 (NASB)

“The Gentiles” Paul mentions were, of course, pagans in the truest sense of the word, worshiping pagan deities and and idols. The growth and expansion of the church was always dominated by “filthy pagans” and Gentiles, Keith said, even to the present day at NeoXenos. Mark wretched violently again as he left the room, but again it was uncertain exactly why. Despite the unknown potential for similar reactions, the Elders are determined to present this material at the upcoming 2011 Fiscal Support Team Retreat.

Bible Classes

LTC teachers collate grades

Grades were also finalized for the 2010 Leadership Training Class (LTC), another factor which greatly exacerbated Mark’s nausea, or so it was presumed. Although Greg Morscher has the final grades, he seemed somewhat reluctant to notify the students as a result, especially since Greg is notoriously gun-shy in the face of such violent reactions. Still, students can use the messaging system at Basecamp to lobby Greg to receive their grades.

Keith’s urgency and bold call for movement was concerning the batch of classes which begin next week, January 19th. Both LTC and Basic Doctrine will be held every other week on Wednesday evenings at 7:30. The LTC class will be held at the Howell’s, and Basic Doctrine will be taught at the Morscher’s. LTC will meet for 10 sessions and end on May 25th, while Basic Doctrine will be five classes and one week for the final exam.

Buffalo Scouts

Conference call over Skype

The Elders reviewed the recent NeoXenos query for planting home churches in Buffalo, then held a lengthy conference call with Jim and KJ Swearingen in Buffalo using Skype. The complications described earlier in The Portal news (see Shooting Fish in a Barrel) still remain, but the Swearingens identified more doors opening soon at the University of Buffalo (UB) through Columbus Xenos kids enrolling there. The Swearingens are not only enthusiastic, but quickly becoming our advanced scouting party for invading the UB.

Swearingen

The Swearingens are currently trying to find three solid NeoPagan-Christians ((NeoPagan-Christians—a technical term for the radical, lively Christians who were once “pagans”, commonly found at Northeast Ohio (NEO) Xenos.)) we need for launching a fellowship at UB. Please pray for the Swearingen’s protection while they continue scouting the “forward edge of the battle area” (known as FEBA) for NeoPagan-Christians.

Splits and Recombination

The new, middle-age (and near-middle-age) ministry groups called “Stow” and “Double Rainbow” were a topic of considerable debate at the retreat when the Elders tried to learn exactly how and when new Discovery Groups could be launched. These groups were formed by recombination shortly after the fall Deacons Ministry Team (DMT) retreat, but the holidays delayed action until now. The Michaleks and Morschers are temporarily working with the leadership in these groups to launch Discovery Groups, so news will be available soon on the exciting opportunities fomenting beneath the surface in these groups.

The student ministries were of paramount interest, largely because the High School ministry successfully split this fall. Elders were interested to compare that successful split against the unsuccessful split in the Identity Project, wondering how it was that high school kids could out-perform, out-grow, and overpower their college-age spiritual siblings, but someone pointed out such an analysis was unfair and misguided, albeit attractive.

More details on all these ministries and many other discussions covered at the Elders retreat will be published soon and presented at the FST retreat in February.

A lengthy, exhausting agenda - no wonder Mark was distressed!

Advanced Bible Begins 9/29

September 24, 2010 in Headlines

Everyone is excited about it! Read why!

Commonly known as “LTC”, or “Leadership Theology Class” (but really Leadership Bible Class) for graduates of Basic Doctrine, the class is especially vital for those engaged in teaching, leading and discipleship ministries.  In fact, it is a requirement for members of the DMT (Deacon’s Ministry Team) in our ministries—but only for those who never completed all the LTC courses before. For LTC grads, we will be launching some Challenge Groups soon.

The class begins at 7:30 pm, September 29th, and will be held every other Wednesday for six sessions. Keith McCallum will teach the first week, but this year we are adding Joel Hughes, Mark Michalek and Greg Morscher to the LTC teaching rotation.

The LTC teachers have been meeting for about five months, pouring over the history of theology and other advanced topics in preparation for teaching this class, so students should expect some delightful insights from this session of LTC. The rotation of teachers is a new approach, but is helping us to equip advanced teachers for advanced students.

The class obviously adds some burdens to everyone’s already-busy schedule, but without adequate Bible training, the work of Christian ministry can be quite fruitless and impotent. Spiritual authority is the result, in large part, of deeper biblical knowledge. We are so fortunate to see so many new believers coming out of the World System, and so many ministry opportunities opening up, but all this comes with a price—namely, the need for more competent teachers and leaders.

All students must:

  • Have a NASB with the side-margin cross-references and translation notes in the NASB.
  • Take teaching notes from Central Teachings (that is, teachable outlines).

So gear up, clear the schedules, do whatever is necessary to get your biblical wisdom built-up!

Avatar of kbrooks

by kbrooks

Get Ready to Get Rocked

December 13, 2008 in Ministries

Watch this video about Uncertainty

[googlevideo]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7339642080224082879[/googlevideo]

“Go and make disciples of all the nations.” So begins the Great Commission. But are we obeying Christ’s call?

The Perspectives class is a great way to enter the Great Commission. It begins at the Hudson Community Chapel on January 12th and meets Mondays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Or take the class on Tuesday evenings, beginning January 13th at Grace Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Middleburg Heights.

All our new ministries are so exciting: the Discovery Groups, the International Student Ministry, Crossroads, and the Western Ohio Enterprise demonstrate how many in our fellowship are pursuing the Great Commission.

But are we taking the gospels to “all the nations” by participating in God’s work around the globe?

[callout]Meet missionaries serving in the Middle East or in cannibal tribes or the slums of India[/callout]

What Will You Discover?

If you want God to rock your world, take Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. The fifteen-week course offers a challenging look at the theology, history, and methods of missions. It’s appropriately titled, as any alumni will agree: the class transforms your view of God, the gospel, the world, and your part in God’s plan.

Meet missionaries serving in the Middle East or in cannibal tribes or the slums of India. What stories they tell, and the pictures and insights! This is a typical night at Perspectives class.  It means developing deep convictions and new understandings you never held before.

“It was really eye-opening to see how much of the world doesn’t have access to the gospel and what missionaries are doing that we have no idea about,” Diana Michalek said. She also loved learning about the many indigenous movements such as the underground church in China. Her favorite memories of the class include a video about how a tribe in Papua New Guinea came to Christ and hearing Don Richardson (author of The Peace Child­) speak.

It’s so easy to get bogged down in our own culture’s version of Christianity, but it isn’t an Americanized belief,” said Jackie Leon. “Learning about missions broadened my understanding of the way the Lord works around the world.” This was important to Jackie because a secular friend told her Christianity was a Western religion, but the Perspectives class helped her understand that, “God doesn’t want every church to be like the Western church.”

Practical Learning

“We’re learning about things we can do here,” Diana said.

Ryan Leon agreed: “It really helped to learn about the history of missions, what worked and didn’t work in different fields.”

Be forewarned: Perspectives will change you. Diana, Jackie, and Ryan have taken new steps to financially support missions work, write to missionaries, teach others about missions, reach out to international students, and learn more through reading. The Gibsons, missionaries to Taiwan, took the course as freshman in college and asked, “If we’re able to go, why not go?” It’s a scary question, but the Gibsons are so glad they asked it.

“I recommend every Christian take Perspectives,” Jackie said.

Check out perspectives.org for more information and to register soon!

Video Describing the Course

[googlevideo]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7015285992431636337[/googlevideo]

Love Ethics Class Begins

September 21, 2008 in Headlines

The poster says it all…

Old Testament Survey Class Begins

September 16, 2008 in Headlines

Do You Know the Old Testament?

On October 1st we launch an Old Testament survey course for the first time in nearly a decade, and it promises to deepen an understanding of God’s character, your relationship with God, your ability to defend your faith, and most important to understand

“It’s a big chunk of the Bible,” Mark Michalek said. “But what’s it doing there? Your understanding of the Bible is incomplete without the Old Testament.”

The class is a vital part of the Leadership Training Class series, so those enrolled in LTC should plan on attending the class.

Raised in a Post-Christian era, many Christians — especially those under 40 — are so unfamiliar with the Old Testament they become uncomfortable speaking about it and the concepts it teaches, Mark said.

Students will be guided through the entire Old Testament by Darlene McCallum and Mark Michalek. The Scarlet Thread will serve as a background textbook. The course will answer questions such as:

How does the Old Testament apply today? Should we digging through the laws and applying them? What’s the role of the Old Testament in your daily life?

Is God different in the Old and New Testaments? Critics such as Dawkins would say so. How would you defend accusations like this:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character of all fiction; jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, blood-thirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously-malevolent bully. Richard Dawkins, God Delusion, p.31 [Haughton-Mifflin, 2006]

Old Testament Survey will meet every other week for five sessions, with a test. It will cost $35, but $10 for students and $50 for couples.