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the bride (church & ecclesiology)
What does God want?  According to Jesus: us.  God longs to live with you and me like a groom longs for his bride.  This metaphor runs like a river through scripture.  In the Prophets, God pulled a dirty and dying people from slavery like a man rescuing a hooker from a brothel.  He cleaned her up, built her back into a beautiful woman, and married her to give her the life she always wanted.  But the romance didn't last.  The bride got the itch and chased after other men.  But then Jesus came to call the bride back.  He rescued her again and now is waiting to finally make her his at the end of all things.  This is the church -- a rocky-road romance of the people of God trying to find their way back to him.

Measuring Church "Success?" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jared   
Friday, 04 August 2006
I'm not satisfied! Let me explain. I've read church growth books, taken graduate classes in the same subject, attended seminars, and have reviewed probably hundreds of statistics on growth and decline within the church both in the U.S. and worldwide. One of the common threads that runs throughout the literature and the lectures seems to be asking the question: How do we measure the "success" or "failure" of our efforts as church planters and missional church leaders? In light of the concept of...
Original Content at: http://urbanekklesia.blogspot.com/2006/08/measuring-church-success_04.html.
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Developing Culture vs. Technical Fixes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jared   
Thursday, 20 July 2006
I often contemplate the difference between a purely organic approach and a mechanistic approach to church organization. I'm not really talking about simple/organic church here although I think that structure is helpful, and I'm not truly addressing program-driven churches though I, personally, am happy to work outside of a purely programmatic approach.

It is more a matter of a community's ethos. Sure one structure or another may facilitate more organic expressions more naturally...
Original Content at: http://urbanekklesia.blogspot.com/2006/07/developing-culture-vs-technical-fixes.html.
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a day at the park PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jared   
Sunday, 02 July 2006
What is missional community?

I suppose there are various ways to answer that, but at least today... it seems pretty clear. Gathering in a Bronx park, many from our Bronx/Westchester network met for a cookout. If you just walked by, you might just see a lot of people eating and having fun on a hot July day. This was the case, but it was so much more than that. There wasn't preaching or singing, but there was church and mission happening.

As participants in our house...
Original Content at: http://urbanekklesia.blogspot.com/2006/07/day-at-park.html.
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Unchurched Consciousness PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jared   
Saturday, 17 June 2006
I'm in Nashville for two weeks as part of a Fuller School of Intercultural Studies cohort. We've shared a lot of discussions both in and out of class concerning post-modernism, church, and misson. One of the guys in the group is a leader of one of the megachurch movements based in the South, and he said to me: "Nobody in America involved in church planting is patting themselves on the back right now." It was a humble admission that despite all the efforts at technical fixes and tweeking the...
Original Content at: http://urbanekklesia.blogspot.com/2006/06/unchurched-consciousness.html.
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Kingdom Community PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jared   
Sunday, 28 May 2006
During the years that the New Testmant was being written, it is fun to imagine what Kingdom community looked like? As a result of study, I know it didn't look just one way. It would have depended on which city and under what circumstances this community was being formed -- among other things. However, I can imagine Greeks, Italians, Jews, and North Africans gathered in a courtyard, a 'master' and a 'slave' sitting at the same table with the same portions, and men and women sharing the same...
Original Content at: http://urbanekklesia.blogspot.com/2006/05/kingdom-community.html.
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