27 January 2017

 

In this issue:

Book Note

The Kingdom Turn, by T. M. Moore, reviewed by TE Joe Kim.

Report

Fall Training Webinar
Resources

Assessment Tool: The Time of Your Life
Assessment Tool: Natural Church Development

Opportunities

                Coming this spring: Webinars

Pastors’ Discussion Group
February POTE Equipitry

April Equipitry

POTE Publishing
“The unskillfulness of shepherds is rebuked by the voice of the Truth, when it is said through the prophet, The shepherds themselves have not known understanding (Isai. lvi.11); whom again the Lord denounces, saying, And they that handle the law knew Me not (Jer. ii.8). And therefore the Truth complains of not being known of them, and protests that He knows not the principality of those who know not Him; because in truth these who know not the things of the Lord are unknown of the Lord…”

 

  • Gregory the Great, Pastoral Rule

Book Note
The Kingdom Turn, by T. M. Moore

(Waxed Tablet, $14.95)

Reviewed by TE Joe Kim


The Biblical concept of the Kingdom of God tends to be foreign for many Christians.

 

Perhaps the easiest way to explain it is that whereas personal salvation is usually marked by an INWARD (heart) change, the Kingdom of God is a re-ordering of the OUTWARD world.

 

In other words, if God were truly the Justifying King of your heart (ie, INWARD reality), you would be drawn to repent and bear fruit. But if God were the King who is sovereign over all the Earth, the whole world (ie, OUTWARD reality) would be changed. It most certainly wouldn’t look like the violent, broken world it does today. And in Jesus, both are true for those who have faith.

 

Both George E. Ladd and Herman Ridderbos introduced the concept of the Kingdom of God to Evangelicals in the 1960s. But despite their work, many people dismiss the idea as liberal gibberish.

 

For example, in 2010, 9 Marks author Greg Gilbert wrote a book called “What is The Gospel” where he firmly declared that the Kingdom of God is NOT the Gospel, contrary to verses like Matthew 4:23 and 24:14. A few years later, Kevin DeYoung co-wrote a book with Gilbert correcting that gross overstatement.

As far as I can tell, the better understanding is that the Kingdom of God is a manifestation of salvation out in the world (as opposed to in our hearts), and should not be divorced from the salvation we have in Christ, nor the Gospel that gives us that salvation.

 

This is where T. M. Moore’s book The Kingdom Turn, comes in really handy.

 

Moore seems to understand his audience and the problems with learning a seemingly foreign concept like this. So the book starts with little to no technical definitions of the Kingdom of God, or heavy technical theology to master. Instead, it starts off as something that looks more like a devotional.

 

It isn’t until the end of the chapter 2 (p. 55) that he lets the cat out of the bag with a definition: “…the Kingdom of God (is) that realm of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit by means of which Jesus is advancing His eternal purposes on the earth as they exist in Heaven.”

 

What I liked about the book is its lack of technical language. This allows the average Christian in the pew to understand Kingdom theology in a more devotional form. I also loved how practical Moore makes living out the Kingdom in our lives.

Report
Fall Webinar on Disciple-making
Our fall online webinar was held on October 25, 2016, and featured a lively discussion between TEs Jamie Cupshalk, Jay Lee, and Steve Mclean on the topic of disciple-making. After brief presentations by each, the conversation was opened to all participants, for questions, comments, and sharing from their own ministries.

Jamie Cupshalk has used the Life on Life resource from Perimeter Church (Atlanta) for several years now. This is a prescribed curriculum for discipleship and involves weekly meetings, with homework and life projects to prepare for sharing and discussions. This program involves groups of 4-8 people and requires a 1-year commitment. The program offers three years of training, and uses people who have successfully completed one level to teach and mentor new participants as they join.

Jay Lee emphasized the importance of seeing disciple-making as a process, not a program. He has begun small, working with 3 men, to establish a disciple-making focus that will reach to 3 generations (2 Tim. 2:2). They have been working through the gospels together, focusing on Christ and what it means to follow Him. The goal is that, as these men complete this study together, they will begin to equip others as well. Jay also uses a similar approach to training his elders, which includes a Bible study to use with people who are just beginning their walk with the Lord.

Steve McLean works to connect leaders in three ways – with Scripture, one another, and ministry. He creates opportunities for each of these as he works with leaders through Bible study materials provided by Scripture Union Publications. Leaders-in-training get plugged into Sunday school and Bible study opportunities, where they use materials of their own choice. Steve has also found the Discipleship Essentials resource by Greg Ogden to be helpful.

For more information on these discipleship training resources or opportunities, contact TEs Cupshalk, Lee, or McLean.

Resources
Wherefore let every one measure himself wisely, lest he venture to assume a place of rule, while in himself vice still reigns unto condemnation; lest one whom his own guilt depraves desire to become and intercessor for the faults of others…For that man is blind indeed who is unacquainted with the light of supernal contemplation, who, whelmed in the darkness of the present life, while he beholds not at all by loving it the light to come, knows not whither he is advancing the steps of his own conduct.”

  • Gregory the Great, Pastoral Rule

Personal and Church Assessments
One of the tasks of the Training Team is to review church and personal assessments that might be useful in our ministries. At our monthly meetings, one of the Team members presents an assessment for us to review. We will be featuring those assessments in our quarterly newsletter. If there is an assessment you would recommend to us, please get that information to Steve McLean (steve@argylepresbyterian.org). Here are the assessments we have reviewed recently:

 

The Time of Your Life
Since the goal of all Christian instruction is love (1 Tim. 1:5), it stands to reason that whatever we’re doing in our waking moments ought to fall within parameters marked out by love for God and love for our neighbors. We will be making the best use of our time (Eph. 5:15-17) to the extent this is true. But how true is it? And how might we be able to find out how the time God entrusts to us each week is spent? T. M. Moore’s assessment tool, The Time of Your Life, gives you an opportunity, for 5 days, to track and assess your time against a backdrop informed by loving God and loving your neighbors. It is a useful tool to help in focusing on these outcomes, as well as for discovering any areas where we are not making the best use of the time God gives us each day. The Time of Your Life is available as a free download at The Fellowship of Ailbe website (click here).


Natural Church Development

Natural Church Development has been a helpful tool for our leadership in evaluating our ministry. 30 people in the congregation fill out the NCD survey that evaluates your ministry in 8 areas – Empowering Leadership, Loving Relationships, Gift Based Ministry, Passionate Spirituality, Inspiring Worship Services, Functional Structures, Holistic Small Groups and Need Oriented Evangelism. The survey results help you know where to focus your greatest energy. If you have any questions about our experience, you can contact me at steve@argylepresbyterian.org. For more about Natural Church Development go to

http://www.ncd-international.org/public/what-is-ncd.html.

 

  • Steve McLean

 

Opportunities
Coming This Spring

This spring the Training Team is going to host a book discussion on a book about discipleship. Both our September Equipitry and Fall Online Discussion focused on discipleship, and there is clearly a lot of interest in this topic. We are currently in the process of reviewing possible books to use for this discussion which we will do using Zoom. If you have any suggestions of great books on discipleship, please get them to Steve McLean (steve@argylepresbyterian.org). Stay tuned for more details. In addition, on May 16 at 2:00 pm, we will offer our next online webinar on the subject, Complete in Christ: Advancing Pastoral Development, featuring TE T. M. Moore as presenter. The focus of this webinar will be on developing and sustaining pastoral growth and development into the image and calling of Christ. T. M. will provide advance resources for the webinar and will lead a discussion of directions and disciplines for pastoral growth. Each participant in the webinar will receive a complimentary copy of T. M.’s book, Fan into Flame: A Handbook for Pastoral Renewal. More details following the meeting of POTE in February.

 

POTE Discussion Group
Next week our weekly POTE Discussion Group will begin the book, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity, by Soon-Chang Rah. From Amazon’s review: “In this book professor and pastor Soong-Chan Rah calls the North American church to escape its captivity to Western cultural trappings and to embrace a new evangelicalism that is diverse and multiethnic. Rah brings keen analysis to the limitations of American Christianity and shows how captivity to Western individualism and materialism has played itself out in megachurches and emergent churches alike. Many white churches are in crisis and ill-equipped to minister to new cultural realities, but immigrant, ethnic and multiethnic churches are succeeding and flourishing.” Our group meets weekly online (Tuesdays, 1:30 pm) and is open to all members of the Presbytery. Contact TE Andrew Smith.

 

POTE February Equipitry
For the February Equipitry Ministry Candidate Joel Estes (Grace EPC) is scheduled, and will bring a presentation and oversee a discussion on the subject, “Ministering to the Disabled.” Churches need to be aware of and sensitive to disabled people in their communities, and Joel offers helpful suggestions as to how we can do this. Joel’s interest in this subject is personal, and grows out of his experience with his disabled son, Owen. To find out more about Joel and this important work, watch this brief video (the documentary is at the bottom of this site):

http://www.mommyshorts.com/2016/12/extraordinary-family-friday-estes-family.html
April Equipitry
At the April meeting of POTE, Ed McCallum will offer a per-POTE workshop and an Equipitry session on the topic, “Embracing the Strengths of the Small Church.”
The conduct of a prelate ought so far to transcend the conduct of the people as the life of a shepherd is wont to exalt him above the flock. For one who estimation is such that the people are called his flock is bound anxiously to consider what great necessity is laid upon him to maintain rectitude.”

 

  • Gregory the Great, Pastoral Rule

POTE Publishing
The Training Team is discussing the possibility of creating a publishing imprint to publish training materials created within POTE, and to make them available throughout POTE and beyond. We would use an online, on-demand publishing service, which is simple to use and inexpensive, but creates bookstore quality books and other training materials. The materials we produce would be made available through POTE’s Training Team, but also at Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. If you have interest in this project and would like to participate, or have a manuscript or manuscript idea you’d like to discuss, please contact TE T. M. Moore at tmmoore@ailbe.org.

 

The ruler should always be chief in action, that by his living he may point out the way to those that are put under him, and that the flock, which follows the voice and manners of the shepherd, may learn how to walk better through example than through words. For he who is required by the necessity of his position to speak the highest things is required by the same necessity to exhibit the highest things.

 

  • Gregory the Great, Pastoral Rule