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AUGUST 31, 2005                                                                                                                                                   

ILC Over 600 have already registered for next week's International Leadership Conference in Seattle. The Seattle Church of Christ extends online registration to Friday. 

PWMJ Kip McKean reports on the recently-concluded Portland World Missions Jubilee.

MIA-KBL Dan and Mary Allison move to Kabul, where Dan will serve as HOPE worldwide Afghanistan Country Director.

MODERN-DAY MACEDONIAN Peter Devin calls (subscription required) on "singles from all over the world to consider the prospect of spending a year or two here in Ireland" to help rebuild our sister church there, once 100 members strong but now "a fluctuating membership of 12-15."

ELSEWHERE Bill Hull writes about getting "tired of discipleship because you don't see it working."

Although I preached and wrote about discipleship, I felt like an ice skater gliding over the ice. Beneath the surface
I could glimpse transformation, I just couldn't get at it. The icy barrier was church infrastructure, traditions, and the
institutional community. But it was also a leadership model that insists pastors be managers of church growth
rather than shepherds helping people go deeper into the life Christ has for us. Yes, too often these models are
mutually exclusive!

AUGUST 29, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

KEEPING UP If you're unaccustomed to the reverse chronological style of weblogs and having trouble keeping up with recent developments, here are the key links:

THOUGHTS ON THE CALL Alan Rouse, an elder in the Atlanta Church of Christ, is worried that "codifying our methods, and building an organization to constrain congregations around the world to use those methods....would inherently create factions."

"WE WERE A BIT SHELTERED IN THE MIDDLE EAST" Jeff Fisher, newly returned to the U.S. from the Middle East, reflects on lessons learned about conflict and distraction:

This is something God showed me a long time ago when I was being prepared for my time in Israel by a
brother who once lived there and knew that the land was full of divisive sides and opinions even unto this day. 
He warned to be wary of laying down lines that would divide souls that could be saved otherwise. 

K.I.T. Today we add Daily Manna and ICOC Match Point to our list of links.

THE ALMIGHTY HAS HIS OWN PURPOSES We take no pleasure in posting unsettling news. But in such moments, we are reminded of words that, though uninspired, reflect a deep humility towards God's sovereignty over conflict--spoken by a man who himself did not shrink from conflict but took a principled, difficult position on the most divisive issue of his day:

Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other....The prayers
of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.

AUGUST 28, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

A SECOND WARNING The Elders of the Boston Church of Christ call Kip McKean's actions "divisive and arrogant."

We sought input from leaders in other churches such as Seattle and Los Angeles this year and look forward to
such continued exchanges. However we will not tolerate authoritarian leadership methods or intimidation to
motivate our progress but rather will listen to the Spirit, the Word of God and godly men or women who
demonstrate a Christ-like spirit and mutual respect as we mature together as disciples of Christ.

AUGUST 27, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

SUPPORTING LIGAMENTS The Elders and Regional Evangelists of the Los Angeles Church of Christ offer an alternative way forward, in a Call to Brotherhood Unity and Revival.

Update (8/28): We've replaced the link above with the more recent version. The initial version is only slightly different. The latest version drops specific recommendations for steering committee members, and makes its size a matter to "be decided by the representatives of the churches who have joined by September 5th in Seattle." 

PORTLAND PLANS, III DisciplesToday removes the link to Kip McKean's The Portland Story from its homepage.

2005 WMJ UpsideDown21 posts audio of speeches and classes from the 2005 World Missions Jubilee in Portland, Oregon.

AUGUST 26, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

PORTLAND PLANS, II DisciplesToday reprints Kip McKean's The Portland Story with an extended editor's note:

If you can read other disciples' viewpoints and strong convictions about opinions without judging the other
person and without looking down on them, then please read, pray and ask God to use you to forge unity among
us. If you cannot, we respectfully request that you not read these articles so that you will not stumble or cause
others to stumble.

Update (8/27): The link to The Portland Story has been removed from the homepage of DisciplesToday. (8/28) The page itself has now been removed as well, so the above referenced link is now inactive.

SAY SOMETHING John Payne, a member of the Omaha Church of Christ, addresses leaders in our family of churches: "I am begging you. Please say something."

Even I, who says all kinds of things in criticism, still hopes in the trustworthiness of certain men and women. I
will fight my own battles and I don’t need you to fight them for me. I’m not asking for that. I’m asking for you to
just lead. Help us with our fears. Give us some hope.

An update alludes to "a discussion that promises to address the issues."

These are uncharted waters for us as a fellowship. After 20 years of centralized, hierarchical leadership, we find ourselves in a new land: hundreds of churches that are both self-governing (autonomy, if you must) and strongly interconnected. In fact, it's only in an autonomous environment that Kip McKean could promise to start a new congregation in a city where one of our fellowship already exists.

Challenges like the one we now face became inevitable when the governing structure that failed our objectives was dismantled in 2003. May we all pray for wisdom, courage and grace--especially for those leaders who face the unenviable task of striking the right balance between the self-governance that may result in churches like the PICOC taking the kind of independent action Kip McKean promises, and parachurch* structure, which carries both the promise of greater unity but its own risks, as well.

*(8/27) Parachurch isn't really the right word here; suprachurch is more precisely what we meant.

SHOU XI Even if you can't read the Chinese text, the video tells the conversion story.

SUMMER MISSION IN JERUSALEM Aziz Sarah reports: "[T]he Mission Trip turned out to be great. Fifty-four people participated from about thirteen countries." See photos here. Dylan and Ann Mathias of our small sister church in Cyrus share their experiences as well.

OAXACA SMC The 36 disciples of the young church planting in Oaxaca, Mexico give a special contribution 31 times the church's normal weekly offering.

JLC The Montreal and Central New York Churches of Christ announce a joint leadership conference to "strengthen our resolve to spread the Gospel of Christ more courageously to all of Canada and the Northeast United States."

AUGUST 24, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

PORTLAND PLANS Kip McKean writes about initiating a "progressive 'calling-out of the remnant of disciples' from dying, former ICOC Churches."

In the fall the Portland leadership will begin to seek out church leaderships in congregations that are struggling
to ask if we can help them build a foundation of sold-out disciples. If they are not inclined to receive help, then
we will offer help to any group that would prefer to be in a new congregation composed of only sold-out disciples.
To the casual observer, this may look like “two churches in one city.” Yet, in time it will be obvious who has
God’s approval.

BT PC Podcasting sermons? You're already behind. A member of our sister church in South Florida is podcasting Bible Talks.

OUR READERS WRITE...But we don't publish the contents of e-mails sent directly to . If you want to comment on something we've written or linked to, and would like a public response, please use the comment form

AUGUST 23, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

NMC05 Our sister church in Stockholm posts audio of lessons and photos from the Nordic Missions Conference. Mirko Russo writes a report (in German) as well.

BT IN BEIJING Our Eastern adventurer reports.

GROUPTHINK? ME? Douglas Jacoby says the biggest danger is in not seeing the danger:

The administrator of our geographical region had arranged to show the Groupthink video, and I was rejoicing,
heartened that several (in my view) controlling and domineering leaders would view it and begin to think about
its crucial lessons. Yet to my great dismay, all the main decision-making leaders decided they would
“fellowship” in the hallway instead—that somehow this would not apply to them.

HEH ChurchLaughs' latest.

FLASHBACK Anyone else remember when they were all called "Soul Talks"?

ELSEWHERE Barna says home to the greatest number of U.S. evangelicals is none other than Los Angeles.

In fact, there are more evangelical adults in the Los Angeles market than there are in the New York, Chicago
and Boston metropolitan areas – combined!

Among the largest U.S. cities, those with the lowest proportion of evangelicals are Salt Lake City, Hartford and Providence 

AUGUST 22, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

IN THE NEWS A "flurry of media events" brings attention to our sister church in Taiwan. 

CRISIS Mike Taliaferro writes about the state of discipling in our fellowship: "From where I am standing, it is painfully obvious that we need a revival in Biblical relationships."

AN AGGIE RETURNS Evangelist Larry Anthis goes to Bryan/College Station, this time not as a student but to lead a church and its campus ministry at Texas A&M University. Gig 'em, Larry!

WAMC Mark Wilkinson makes his first trek to Africa: "Our brotherhood and warmth of fellowship is sweet no matter what continent you are on."

MORE ON HOMESCHOOLERS Marcia Lamb provides more information (subscription required) on the efforts of Trish Welham to connect homeschoolers in our family of churches.

ANOTHER PODCASTER It won't be news much longer, but while it's still novel we'll call attention to churches that have started podcasting sermons.

ELSEWHERE Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota helps Ghassan Thomas grow his formerly "underground Christian church of about 50 members in the heart of Baghdad" to "about 1,000 adults and 500 children."

AUGUST 17, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

BLOGGING FROM BUDAPEST Mike Fix is encouraged:

I’m inspired and convicted when I see their love for God and His Word. Disciples have shared with me what
they’re learning from God’s Word. You can sense their devotion and love for God. You can feel it in their singing,
smiles and willingness to serve one another.

FINANCIAL NEEDS Douglas Jacoby spells them out.

OUR READERS WRITE Thanks to all who have recently written. We left town for a day to celebrate our 20th anniversary yesterday, and are more behind than ever on website updates and responding to readers. On top of that, lately our administrative staff has been spectacularly unproductive. Please be patient; we will respond to every reader who writes, and make all the pending corrections to contact information you've taken the time to send.

AUGUST 16, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

HIGHER GROUND Marcia Lamb reports (subscription required) on the 2005 Rocky Mountain Family Reunion:
"Our hearts and spirits were stirred...." Over 1,000 attended the final service on Sunday, August 7.

ELDERS WHO DISCIPLE CHURCHES DisciplesToday features (subscription required) an article by Ron Clark on
the relationship between discipling, evangelism and church leadership roles:

Too often our struggle has been between evangelists and elders....Typically we borrow from the one-man
pastoral system of the denominational churches. While this may help churches grow I see that it makes
the ministers pastors.

THE NO FRANCHISE PRINCIPLE Starbucks store manager Matt Sullivan draws a parallel between his company's decision to retain ownership of its retail stores and church governance:

Autonomy (franchising) would have meant a swift defeat for the company....In 2003 when our churches went
autonomous in America, each leader led "his" congregation in a different direction. With no overseeing
evangelists in America, no wonder our congregations differ so much! This is even sadder in large congregations
in the same city as "the feel and commitment" differ from region to region! 

LE RENOUVELLEMENT The Brussels Church of Christ hosts a retreat next month (announcement in English and French).

HEH We actually visited a church building with a rock-climbing wall for its facade. It was certainly novel, but no more than a "moderate success."

FMC TYN Leaders of our sister church in Santa Cruz, Bolivia express their thanks, and on returning home share lessons learned at the SEFBC.

ALL FOR PEACE Aziz Sarah hosts a weekly radio program in Arabic and Hebrew, Mondays at 9:00 p.m. (Jerusalem is

GSCOC SMC The Granite State Church of Christ aims for a special contribution of eight times its normal weekly offering.

ELSEWHERE Stefan J. Bos reports from Laos: "Across the country village chiefs and other workers have been pressured by Communist authorities to give up their Christian faith."

AUGUST 15, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

NORDIC DISCIPLES CONFERENCE Andreas Weber reports (in German, Babel Fish here).

OMM This time it's moms and daughters who head south from Florida together.

PSM TO BUD Mike Fix blogs his visit to our sister church in Budapest.

KIT Today we update the church directory with a link to the website of the Tucson City Church of Christ. Also, we add the 2005 Southwest Singles Retreat to our page of events; Andy Flemming is the featured speaker.

MINAS, REVISITED Los Angeles Church of Christ member Robert Schuler has a different take on the parable.

What we can learn from the parable is that the servants didn’t judge each other, asking “is he really a servant?”
The question of pleasing the king was left up to none other than the king himself....Ultimately, the decision and
the judgment are in the king’s hands, God’s hands. Let Him alone answer these questions.

ELSEWHERE Dallas Willard and Dieter Zander discuss "the new language of making disciples."

In my tradition conversion was very important, but because lives were rarely transformed, we also had revivals
where people could rededicate themselves to Christ—and they did frequently. But as a pastor watching this, it
became clear that I really didn't have anything to help these folks. All I could say was "mean it this time" or
something silly like that. Revivals didn't solve the problem, just as conferences don't solve the problem today.

AUGUST 12, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

16 YEARS IN MANILA The Camanava Region of the Metro Manila Christian Church posts several reports on the anniversary service at the Cuneta Astrodome:

"God’s hand has been very evident..."

"I believe that the past 16 years made us more mature and much deeper."

"Our faith was tested many times..."

"...the number was significantly reduced..." 

TLC SMC Our sister church in Lexington, Kentucky gives over 40% more than its $12,000 goal for missions.

KIT Today we add a link in the congregational directory to the website of the small but growing Pondicherry Church.

EBS, NICE Over 40 have already registered, from 15 cities in Europe.

SINGLY AND IN GROUPS Homeschoolers in our family of churches form a new Yahoo group.

ELSEWHERE Uzbek authorities detain a Forum 18 correspondent on arrival at the Tashkent airport. We occasionally link to reports by Forum 18, an Oslo-based organization that "reports on threats and actions against the religious freedom of all people, regardless of their religious affiliation."

ELSEWHERE II For the first time, young members of China's underground Catholic church attend World Youth Day, by
"using false ID cards and claiming they wished to go abroad for tourism." This, amid fresh reports of persecution in China.

AUGUST 10, 2005                                                                                                                                                  

ALL THINGS NEW Today we add the Heartland Jubilee (PDF) to our list of upcoming events.

TRANSITIONS Tom and Sheila Jones move from Boston to Nashville; the elders of the Boston Church of Christ respond:

God has called them to his service of honoring father and mother. Only for this reason can we bear to see you go.

DRIVEN OR CALLED Are you driven?

AUGUST 9, 2005                                                                                                                                                    

EITHER/OR Kip McKean criticizes the idea that "the 'cure' for a congregation to become healthy and on fire for God, is 'a long time to heal,'" declaring:

Disciples must decide to either move to a dynamic, unapologetic discipling ministry...or like Tim Kernan, one
of the leaders of Montreal who visited last year's Jubilee, start 'doing it' where you live."

FIRSTFRUITS IN KRASNOYARSK Members of a young church planting report (subscription required). 

EASTERN ADVENTURES One participant in a summer mission team blogs from China. Best read for the first time from the bottom up. Prospective future participants may visit the cautiously-named Taiwan Mission Adventure website. 

HEH We admit we've been tempted to pray this prayer.

ELSEWHERE Chad Hall decides to try something new with a needy caller: "After all, he was already prepared to leave the ministry. How much worse could I make it?"

AUGUST 8, 2005                                                                                                                                                    

NIAS RELIEF Hope Worldwide reports (PDF) on progress and ongoing efforts in Nias, an island in the Indonesian archipelago hard hit by the December 26, 2004 tsunami.

NOW ONLINE The Cincinnati Church of Christ starts podcasting.

ELSEWHERE Gordon Macdonald writes about "the hard stuff side of ministry."

AUGUST 5, 2005                                                                                                                                                    

DECIMA CONFERENCIA In Managua, 400 gather (Spanish, Babelfish English here) for the tenth Central American Conference.

BLIND TO THESE NEEDS Nadine Templer writes from India about poverty, materialism and affluence:

We expect to live a more comfortable life as we get older. Shouldn’t we instead want to grow more spiritual
and therefore more sacrificial?

HIS READERS WRITE "I hear that you are teaching against evangelists leading churches." Douglas Jacoby responds. The next question was tougher.

MORE RESOURCES Today we add HMS Books, a ministry of the Dallas/Fort Worth Church of Christ, to our page of links. Also, Appletree Books publishes Would You Marry Me?, stories of creative marriage proposals. Author Gloria Wang is a member of the Taipei Church of Christ.

ELSEWHERE The Christian Chronicle's "Churches That Work" features the Metro Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon, where Ron Clark preaches.

AUGUST 4, 2005                                                                                                                                                    

THE THIRD LEVEL Douglas Jacoby writes about unity and structure:

Another thing to take into account as we search the New Testament for God’s guidance is that there was no
organizational structure above the local level. Yes, there were spheres of influence...but there was no evidence
of single world-wide organization, beyond the relationships between the Apostles themselves. A movement, yes!
A single corporate structure, no.

AUTHENTIC MEN The Taipei Church of Christ organizes a week of events aimed specifically at men (in Chinese).

EL CAMPAMENTO For our sister churches in Mexico, summer camp includes college students, too (in Spanish, Babelfish almost-English here).

OUR READERS WRITE A member of the Atlanta Church of Christ recommends these notes (PDF) from a message by Gordon Ferguson.

In my opinion, these are questions we have often asked and been asked, and this is one of the best I have read
on the topic(s) of our past and future on the current state of our churches!

JORDAN REPORT As long as we're linking to stories we somehow missed, here's a report by Joy McMillon of the Christian Chronicle on "the 15-year-old [Amman] congregation, a planting of the International Church of Christ." (Hat tip to Thomas Rasmussen.)

EPULPIT This collection of on-line sermons joins our list of links today. (Hat tip to the Tacoma Region website).

HEH Busted.

ELSEWHERE It may be off the front pages for now, but the Anglican controversy is still going strong.

AUGUST 2, 2005                                                                                                                                                    

DIRECTORY DEBUT With the help of our readers, we maintain lists of links to almost 200 websites, and additonal contact information for scores of congregations without websites. Early this year, DisciplesToday joined forces with us to survey church membership, and churches continue to send in membership updates. Maintaining this information on three separate webpages, not to mention the corresponding offline datafiles, had become unmanageable for us, and difficult for readers to navigate.

So, today we post a comprehensive directory with links to websites of churches that have them, links to contact information for churches that don't, and all the latest membership data we've collected so far. All on one page.

As always, we welcome your feedback, corrections and questions.

JICOC HW The Jacksonville International Church of Christ invites "Dr. Marty Wooten and others starting at the end of July/ early August to interview for the position as Evangelist" of the church.

PERSISTING IN MAUI Members write (subscription required) of "tough times" and perseverance:

It has been the love of the brothers and sisters who persevered and remained faithful to God during trying times,
as well as those that returned or moved into the fellowship and continue to help re-build our church, along with
the many visiting disciples from across the U.S.A. and from around the world that have helped us to keep our
faith and vision alive.

SALT LAKE AT ONE MONTH Jay Hernandez reports restoration.

AUGUST 1, 2005                                                                                                                                                    

NEW OKC LE James Shults returns from Sao Paolo, Brazil to serve as Lead Evangelist of our sister church in Oklahoma City.

AFRICAN UPDATE Danie Vos summarizes (subscription required) the current state of our mission churches in Africa:

It has been painful adjusting to a third of our previous support amount, but God is teaching us to do more work
with less money. It has became evident that the African churches need to play a larger part in funding God’s
work here and we are moving towards the larger churches becoming less dependent on outside support.

SEFBC 2005 Pat Brush reports.

NOW ONLINE We add links to the websites of the Athens Church of Christ and Sacramento Metro Church of Christ's Single's Ministry.

INTRODUCING "OUR READERS WRITE" We thoroughly enjoy receiving mail from readers--photos, links to interesting content, event announcements, and questions. Some of you write just to encourage.

We're old-fashioned when it comes to e-mail, believing personal correspondence shouldn't be made public without the permission of the author. So, to send a private message, just continue to e-mail . For other messages, though, use this comment form.

Starting today, we'll occasionally post letters from readers, in hopes of improving the usefulness of this website. 

OUR READERS WRITE We receive many requests for information like this one:

I just came across this very informative website!  Thanks!  How fabulous!  

My husband and I have been coordinating Kids Kingdom curriculum for several year's and we're wondering if you
can help us with our dilemma. We have the first year curriculum schedule but don't have the second year and
are on the hunt for it. I'm thinking this was originally online somewhere. Any suggestions you have would be
helpful as the next rotation is coming up the end of August. Hope you can point us in the right direction! 

If any readers have this information, write to and we'll forward your message.

ELSEWHERE Gospel Outreach Christian Fellowship of Pequannock, New Jersey sues its detractors for "libel, defamation, interference with a contract, and infliction of emotional distress." 

JULY 29, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

MILESTONES This Sunday the Metro Manila Christian Church marks its sixteenth anniversary with a congregational worship service at the Cuneta Astrodome.

TAKE TWO TheologyBlog gets a new look and a new URL as; the South Florida Church of Christ website sports a new look, too.

HOME FROM JERUSLEM Juan Rojas of Nashville reports (subscription required) on the just-concluded Jerusalem Mission Trip. His report touches on an idea that deserves more attention:

I want to invite you, wherever you live, to replicate what our brothers and sisters in Israel did. Our churches
across the world can gain inspiration from the faith of the Israeli disciples....This could be an incredible training
effort to raise up leaders in specialized parts of the world.

Those of us in "sending" churches, primarily in Canada and the U.S., feel a natural bond with "mission" churches. We delight in hearing their good news and listen appreciatively to their stories of sacrifice. But we seldom consider that we could learn from them.

We watched firsthand, for example, as one of our church plantings in Asia became self-supporting eight years ago, grew for fourteen consecutive years and sent out several mission teams. What's more impressive, though, it developed an innovative, effective ministry culture that contributed to an usually-high (for our family of churches) retention rate given its strong growth.

We have plenty to learn from "mission" churches that are proving themselves every bit as capable as their parent churches, and sometimes more so, of building, maturing and innovating. We salute the Jerusalem Church of Christ--not as merely a good-news item, but as an example to learn from. 

ELSEWHERE In the fifth article of an excellent series on church discipline, David Neff cites the work of one of our favorite authors, Rodney Stark, on "the dynamics of high-intensity religious movements." Read the entire series, but especially How Discipline Died, Shaping Holy Disciples, and Our Uniquely Undisciplined Moment.

JULY 27, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

CHICAGO HC Tony Singh speaks (audio file) on the house church concept to Chicago Church of Christ leaders:

It was God's plan. It wasn't because [the first century church] couldn't afford a building. It was because actually
it's just the way they were going to practice hospitality and bring forth the message of Jesus...

LA LATINOS GATHER Over 1,000 Spanish-speaking disciples in the Los Angeles area gather for a Latin Congregational Service.

APPOINTED Andrew Neil Smellie is recognized as an Evangelist in the Central New York Church of Christ.

ELSEWHERE Lauren Winner suggests talking points, and what to avoid, for leaders speaking to singles about sex.

JULY 26, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

APPOINTED The Cincinnati Church of Christ names its first deacons.

SOME KEEP PLANTING The Central New York Church of Christ announces plans for a new congregation to be started in Rochester, New York next year.

HEH Some counseling turns out to be easier than expected.

ELSEWHERE In the second article in a CT series on church discipline, Mark Dever advises making membership meaningful first.

JULY 25, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

ATLANTA IN TRANSITION The Atlanta Church of Christ "is separating this month into five interdependent congregations."

ELSEWHERE H. Dale Burke says while some "interruptions are divinely appointed," most aren't.

JULY 22, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

TREASURE IN HEAVEN The 2005 Upstate Evangelism Seminar and Singles Conference begins today in Syracuse, New York.

ELSEWHERE Marlin Jeschke asks, "Who killed church discipline?"

JULY 20, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

NWCC WRAP The Spokane Christian Church posts a report on the Northwest Congregational Conference.

DCOC HW The Dayton Church of Christ seeks a minister or ministry couple.

RECALLED Ministry staff of the young Bamenda (Cameroon) Church of Christ return to Abidjan "for there is no funding to keep them any longer in Bamena."

SINGLY AND IN GROUPS Kip McKean names churches in Montreal, Santiago and Syracuse as having "asked to receive discipling from Portland [International Church of Christ] leadership."

6,912 AND COUNTING Michael Erard describes (registration required) the latest edition of the Ethnologue, "which began as a 40-language guide for Christian missionaries in 1951."

JULY 19, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

CHARTING A NEW COURSE John Brush declares September and October "our time to experience a great victory" in the South Florida Church of Christ.

FATHERHOOD Ward Herbet relates one brother's appeal to explain (subscription required) that merely funding mission churches isn't enough:

As tears streamed down his face he spoke of how the fathers work hard, sacrifice, and send back as much
money as possible to their wives and children. Many of the staff from Los Angeles and the Southeast did not
understand his analogy. He summarized by saying that although the money is deeply appreciated by the
family, it cannot replace the relationship and leadership of the father.

THAT'S QUOTABLE From John Ellas' Clear Choices for Churches: Trends Among Growing and Declining Churches of Christ:

There is a significant difference in staffing habits of growing and declining churches. In fact, staff-to-membership
ratio (r = .54) surfaced as one of the four major predictors of growth....Growing congregations had an average
of one full-time ministry staff person per 125 members; declining churches had one staff person per 200 members.

JULY 18, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

MILESTONES The Vancouver Church of Christ announces a venue and theme for its 15th anniversary service.

TPE TO ULN Steve Chin reports from one of the farthest frontiers of our mission:

Although they are small in number, but they are already praying about either sending a mission team to the
second largest city in Mongolia, or a joint-mission team to China’s Inner Mongolia’s Hohhot.

WHERE TO FROM HERE? Roger Lamb introduces (subscription required) a promising "series of articles pointing to the new frontier for our churches: The Growing, Maturing Church."

We stand at a crucial moment in the history of our movement. We must now choose again. Will we allow Satan
to continue to separate us by fear, mistrust, personality, lack of forgiveness, personal ambition?  Or will we
choose to unify as a mature fellowship....?

THE CHURCH COMES HOME The Chicago Church of Christ seeks (PDF) to "restore our focus on small groups and the establishment or re-establishment of house churches."

MORE OF THE BEST BAPTISM PICTURES Two relatives of new members of our young sister church in Aguascalientes are baptized (article in Spanish). 

IS IT IN YOU? A singles retreat organized by the New York City Church of Christ joins our list of upcoming events.

ELSEWHERE The Presbyterian Church in America and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church report five-year growth of 7.8% and 8.6% respectively, in contrast to the Presbyterian Church (USA) loss of membership over the same period. Also, the New York Times notes (registration required) the rise of The Lakewood Church.

JULY 15, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

2005 ILC The Seattle Church of Christ, host of the International Leadership conference, posts class and registration information.

Registration is in full swing, with over 100 delegates from seven countries signed up. (We received word this
week that nearly 100 more delegates will be coming to Seattle just from Asia alone.)

PEACEMAKING A presentation (in German) by Mirko Russo encourages conflict resolution from a Biblical perspective.

STILL PERSECUTED Magda Hornemann says "government harassment of religious communities has not eased" in Vietnam, despite changes to laws governing religious affairs.

ELSEWHERE Cody Moore leads Denver's West Side Christian Church through a hard transition:

Moore acknowledges that control and power issues cropped up during the painful process of change. "We got
called names," he says. "I personally got called a cult leader."

JULY 12, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

HIGHER GROUND In advance of its upcoming Higher Ground Discipleship Summit, the Denver Church of Christ posts a lesson on "Biblical occasions and reasons for conferences among God's people."

TRANSITIONS I Bob and Ruth Barski, Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader in the Granite State Church of Christ, resign.

TRANSITIONS II Henry Kriete is hired as a fulltime minister by the mainline Church of Christ in Maple Ridge, BC.

IT TAKES TWO David Blenko writes (subscription required) about the two conversions "a committed Christian goes through."

CT ON INTERIM LEADERSHIP Angela Yee answers the question, "How do you maintain morale and momentum when you're filling the gap between ministry leaders?"

ELSEWHERE A Catholic missionary in Cambodia describes his relationship with Buddhist monks with straightforwardness: "It must be clearly understood that I am in Cambodia to take their place. I must still search." Also, John Leonard, a Baptist missionary from Iowa, is shot in Brazil.

JULY 11, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

TRANSITIONS Elders of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Church of Christ announce Gregg Marutzky's resignation as Lead Evangelist.

FIRST THINGS FIRST Glenn Giles writes about the greatest commandment.

LONDON AND LAGOS John Oakes reports on recent visits.

SOUTHERN SWING Matt Brown reports on visits to our sister churches in Caracas, Quito, Guayaquil, and Lima.

JULY 8, 2005                                                                                                                                                          

LONDON BLASTS Malcolm Cox writes (subscription required) of phone calls from concerned friends:

It has been an incredible encouragement to me to be contacted by people calling from other cities and countries. 
It really helps us to realise that we are part of a worldwide fellowship of love.

MCCC SMC The Montgomery County Church of Christ gives just under $100,000 for India missions.

TEEN MINISTRIES IN EUROPE Phil Arsenault reports on the recent teen ministry workshop in Berlin and a related visit to Zurich.

NECC Mike Fix says the "conference had a 'reunion' feel to it."

THAT'S QUOTABLE From Susan Scott's Fierce Conversations:

For a leader, there is no trivial comment. Something you don't remember saying may have had a devastating
impact on someone who looked to you for guidance and approval. The conversation is not about the relationship;
the conversation is the relationship.

ELSEWHERE Cai Zhuohua appeared before a Beijing court yesterday, "accused of illegally printing more than 200,000 Bibles and other Christian books." His lawyer says Mr. Cai's wife, Xiao Yunfei, and two of her relatives were also  detained.

JULY 6, 2005                                                                                                                                                          

SOME KEEP PLANTING A new church planting (article in Russian) in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, holds its inaugural service this past Sunday.

OVER 3,000 STANDING STRONG Thierry Fender, an evangelist from Geneva, Switzerland, faces the recent history of our sister churches in Europe, with hope:

...from the dust and ashes has risen a resolve for the Europeans to raise up, grow deeper in conviction and
stand in the gap for God.  Though many situations in Europe remain small or fragile, much maturity and
stability has been taking place in the past months. 

CROATIA PROFILE Mirko Russo introduces the home of our sister church in Zagreb, newly formed but with a rich past.

JORDAN AND JERUSALEM Jeff Fisher reports (subscription required) on Middle East conferences.

BELIEVE IT AND NOT The latest from ChurchLaughs.

ELSEWHERE Julius Jia Zhiguo, a 70 year-old Catholic bishop, is arrested for the sixth time in less than two years in China.

JULY 5, 2005                                                                                                                                                          

A UNITING FORCE Mirko Russo summarizes what's been done among our sister churches in Europe since 2003, and what lies ahead.

As one Dutch brother has put it: “The Germans, actually the Berliners, of all people, have been the glue of the
European work in the last year.” I do not completely agree with the statement, but there is truth to it, and of
course we are happy to be used as a uniting force, considering the German past in the 20th century.

EALC Leaders of East African churches meet this week in Nairobi.

SWMJ Kip McKean writes about the recently-concluded Savannah World Missions Jubilee, noting "a few of our 'sister' churches discouraged their members from attending." Of the 250 in attendance, "about 10 disciples from dying churches made the decision to move to Savannah."

...we thanked God for our abundant lives, for the growing number of congregations such as Savannah, Macon,
Baltimore, Charlotte, Syracuse and Salt Lake City that are experiencing revival...

APPOINTED The New Orleans Church of Christ announces new deacons and their areas of responsibility.

STILL UNREACHED Operation World says fewer than 5% of Italy’s 33,500 communities "have an established evangelical witness."

ELSEWHERE The Orhangazi Criminal Court in Turkey evaluates Yakup Cindilli’s recovery progress next week. Assailants beat Mr. Cindilli severely in 2003 for "passing out New Testaments and doing 'missionary propaganda' in his hometown," according to local newspaper accounts cited by Open Doors.

JUNE 30, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

NYCCOC SMC Contributions are already $140,000 over pledges, but still $214,000 behind total support given in 2004.

SE TO NW The South East Family Bible Conference opens today in Orlando; Mike Taliaferro gives the opening address. Tomorrow, the Northwest Congregational Conference begins in Spokane, Washington.

MORE NECC Roger Lamb reports it was "like seeing our parents celebrate an anniversary."

DEAF RETREAT Kathy Cornish invites "deaf disciples, interpreters and those wanting to learn more about the Bible and Deaf Ministry" to Big Bear, California for the Third Annual Deaf Retreat, to be held September 9-11.

THAT'S QUOTEABLE From One Nation Under Therapy:

Therapism tends to regard people as essentially weak, dependent, and never altogether responsible for what
they do....Concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, are often regarded as anachronistic and intolerant. "Thou
shalt be nice" is the new categorical imperative.

ELSEWHERE Is seminary old school? Also, Lisa De Maio Brewer reports in the Christian Chronicle on the attack and deportation of eight members of the Churches of Christ visiting India; Pakistani police raid a Catholic bookshop near Karachi.

JUNE 28, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

NECC The Boston Church of Christ posts notes and comments from the just-concluded New England Christian Conference.

APPOINTED Jay Hernandez is recognized by the Portland International Church of Christ as an evangelist.

K.I.T. We add to our list of links websites of sister churches in Colombia, Madrid, Sofia, and Budapest.

SLC SMC The Central Latin Sector of the Los Angeles Church of Christ gives $54,000 in support of mission churches in Eurasia, the Baltics and Scandinavia, part of a larger effort by the LACOC to collect almost $2,000,000 for missions efforts in Eurasia, Mexico and Central America, and the Middle East.

BABY DEDICATIONS Dan Cardoza explains.

CORRECTION Last week we announced that Discipleship Publications International released a new version of the Leader's Resource Handbook as The Disciple's Handbook. Actually, these are two different volumes. The Leader's Resource Handbook is still in print. What DPI released is a new edition of The Disciple's Handbook.

JUNE 27, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

SOME KEEP PLANTING Our sister church in Phnom Penh, Cambodia starts a new congregation in Siem Reap this month. Siem Reap, 315 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh, is the gateway to Angkor Wat.

SDCOC CM HW The San Diego Church of Christ seeks a "campus ministry couple" to lead the San Diego State University and Grossmont Community College ministry.

2005 NWCC At the close of registration for the Northwest Congregational Conference last Friday, organizers report 487 "paid and registered delegates." The conference begins on July 1.

BACK IN KIGALI Samson Mokaya returns to Rwanda.

MICHIGAN TO INDIA Now there are photos, too.

FORESHADOWINGS Riverside Christian Fellowship posts audio and notes of Dr. John Oake's class.

ELSEWHERE Lee Eclov explains why we need more than "bottom line" preaching.

JUNE 24, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

THROUGH A STRANGE ROUTE INFESTED BY SNAKES Members of our sister churches in Bangalore and Hyderabad go preaching.

SC SR We add the Columbia, South Carolina singles retreat to our list of upcoming events. The New England Christian Conference and Savannah World Missions Jubilee both begin today. Participants are invited to send photos to .

NEW FROM DPI Discipleship Publications International releases a new version of the Leader's Resource Handbook as The Disciple's Handbook, as well as a CD of Virginia Lefler's speech to the women of the Boston Church of Christ, A Gentle and Quiet Spirit.

MICHIGAN TO INDIA Members of the Detroit Church of Christ arrive in Chennai, and update their group travel blog.

[S]o far, this trip has not been at all what I had expected what I had prepared myself for. It has been alot better. I
had prepared myself for the worst, but the trip has been amazing.

NASHVILLE LAWSUIT Last week we reported the idea for an SLT article was pitched by a critic of our churches to a reporter who elevates passion above accuracy in journalism. In contrast, we want to mention that the article we linked to yesterday was produced by actual reporting. Mitch Kline regularly visits the Williamson County Chancery Court to check recent filings, found the lawsuit, and tried to contact the named parties.   

Of course, his attempts to contact "[o]fficials at the International Churches of Christ headquarters" were futile, given that our family of churches now has no headquarters. With our return to the self-governing but cooperative paradigm that characterized the first two decades of the revival movement that became the "International Churches of Christ," we can expect to see this misunderstanding in future reporting. 

HEH Laughter works in any language (WMV file).

ELSEWHERE The Stoney Creek Alliance Church finds even some of its leadership unwilling to sign a membership covenant.

That some people aren't comfortable with such commitments is no deterrent to church leadership. Darryl
Knechtel, chairman of the church's board of elders, said they simply want people to be accountable.

JUNE 23, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

CCOC HW The Cincinnati Church of Christ seeks two full time campus ministers.

FILED Two former members sue The Nashville Church.

SLATED Thierry Fender presents a "European Report" at the NECC.

SOME KEEP PLANTING Our sister church in Mexico City officially sendsout (article in Spanish) its newest church planting, to Cancun. In another recent planting, an Aguascalientes man finds a mislaid folder and is baptized (in Spanish, almost English here) two weeks later.

HEH The latest from ChurchLaughs.

ELSEWHERE Alan Nelson reviews Breakout Churches. John McCloskey considers (article in Spanish) evangelicalism and "la presencia católica" at institutions of higher education in North America.

JUNE 21, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

MCC HW The Milwaukee Church of Christ seeks a Lead Minister.

FATHER'S DAY IN CHICAGO Roger Lamb describes (subscription required) the Chicago Church of Christ's outdoor service last Sunday.

IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE Christian Herbst says the 2003 special contribution by New England churches sent a signal to ministry staff in Europe:

When in 2003 a large amount was given by the New England churches to support the mission in Europe, it gave
us faith and hope, and the possibility to continue with our work in a time when a lot of people had to or wanted to
quit staying in the ministry.

KYRGYZSTAN WATCH Amid political uncertainty, some see opportunity:

The current climate of instability has caused "a huge openness in non-Christians who are afraid of the future,
and a lot of opportunity for believers who say, 'We're not afraid of the future,'"....

ELSEWHERE Are short-term missions really as effective as they seem?

JUNE 20, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

TRANSITIONS Jeff and Davene Fisher return from Tel Aviv this August. Jeff shares some of what he's learned:

I used to think, if I made some financial commitment in a missions offering, and dedicated a degree of my time
and life, it would be enough. But now, I have met and seen a host of brothers and sisters that give far beyond what
I ever imagined possible....those in this country as well as in other countries here in the Middle East. They are the
ones who don't merely participate by "giving", they participate by suffering...

EASTERN WEST POINT, TAKE II This link works, and the one we posted last week has also been corrected. This story is too significant—twenty members of one of our most stable, steadily-growing congregations leave secular jobs for short-term ministry training—to be missed because of a down link. 

PVCC, CCOC SMC The Phoenix Valley Church of Christ gives $214,000 for "foreign mission works in the Middle East and the Philippines, and toward several Arizona works: Flagstaff, Yuma and the Youth Ministry in Phoenix." The Chicago Church of Christ raises (PDF, page 3) $430,000 for Eurasian Missions, 91% of its $470,000 goal.

EVIDENCE FOR CHRISTIANITY, TAKE II Dr. John Oakes' website gets a new look. Dr. Oakes speaks Wednesday in London at the midweek service of Riverside Christian Fellowship.

MICHIGAN TO INDIA Members of the Detroit Church of Christ (joined by others from Lansing and Toledo) start blogging en route to Southern India.

FAITH FATHERS Bob Bertalot pays tribute to Les Johnson: "I learned so much from him especially how to spiritually relate with others and how to study the Bible with people to build their faith."

ELSEWHERE Yvette Craig reports on the Southern Baptist five-year evangelism slump.

JUNE 17, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

EASTERN WEST POINT Members of the Taipei Church of Christ leave their secular jobs for eight months to train in fulltime church service, one of several innovative ministry programs.

MLB, AAA, AA, ETC. Gordon Ferguson uses an analogy (subscription required) from baseball to describe the paradigm shift in recruiting and retaining fulltime ministry staff, predicting "prospective staff members are going to conduct some critical examinations of their own." be quite candid, I could not in good conscience strongly encourage anyone to now go into what we call “the
full-time ministry” - for a number of reasons. Will the situation improve? I certainly pray so.

HIRED Mark and Stefani Anderson join the fulltime staff of the Cleveland Church of Christ to lead its youth ministry.

NYCCOC SMC The various regions of the New York City Church of Christ pledge $582,523 in advance of the church's special collection on June 26.

LETTERS FROM EUROPE Members of our sister churches in Zagreb and Budapest write with news and appreciation for supportive New England churches.

ON THE AIR Crazy Howard McGee gets Chicago Church of Christ evangelist Emanuel Barr in front of the WGCI mike.

ELSEWHERE Thom Rainer says "America's largest Protestant denomination" has become less evangelistic:

Dr. Rainer uses a statistic called the "baptismal ratio" to measure evangelistic fervor. In 1978, the dawn of
the "conservative resurgence," the convention counted one baptism for every 36 members. In 2003, the ratio
had worsened to one for every 43 members.

JUNE 15, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

IN THE NEWS IV Leon D'Souza, the Salt Lake Tribune reporter whose article on the Salt Lake Christian Church we commented on in several posts last week, describes his own views on "moral strictures":

I’m sure that God, in his infinite mercy, would not have use for the moral strictures imposed on humanity by
so many world religions. The Father isn’t concerned with control. His is a world where freedom – sexual,
emotional and spiritual – is paramount.

While we disagree on the substance of the above view, Mr. D'Souza's honesty and forthrightness are admirable. That said, the "story behind the story" is even clearer now than it was a week ago. 

Thomas Rasmussen, presented in the article merely as "a former church leader...who moved to Salt Lake," was in fact the one who pitched the story to the SLT. Its reporter, writing from a worldview where "freedom – sexual, emotional and spiritual – is paramount" then follows a storyline punctuated by references to control ("a discipler could dictate life choices," "the dictates involved money").

Mr. D'Souza on accuracy and objectivity in reporting (warning: link contains explicit language):

Today’s journalism is full of obsessively literal-minded folk who take themselves and their stodgy reports all too
seriously. They fret over every mundane fact and hem and haw about winning the public’s trust. And yet, statistics
have screamed unequivocally that the American people couldn’t give a rat’s [deleted] about the complete accuracy
of a news report.

Is there any reason to doubt that the reporting itself, in addition to its inaccuracy on several points of fact, lacked objectivity? 

SOME KEEP PLANTING The St. Petersburg Church of Christ posts news (in Russian) of a newly planted church in Nakhodka, Russia (second item, not-quite English here). Our sister church in Santiago, Chile aims to plant new congregations in Vina this August, and in Concepcion next August.

NVCOC SMC The Northern Virginia Church of Christ gives over $100,000 in support of Indonesian mission churches. Update (6/20): Make that $111K.

EBS II The second session of the European Bible School is slated for October 27-30, in Nice, France. 

SIN TO LAX Bruce Williams reports almost 6,000 attend a congregational service of the Los Angeles Church of Christ and hear a message by John Louis of Singapore. Audio of the message is available here.

ELSEWHERE A survey of Catholics in Korea finds "[t]he number of South Koreans who say they are Catholic is rising but the proportion of practicing faithful is down." Paradoxically, "compared to other religions, the Catholic Church had the highest rate of conversion from other religions and the lowest rate of conversion to other religions."

ELSEWHERE II Sarah Johnson pays tribute to "a forgotten ancestor of the modern evangelical missionary movement."

There was a time—not all that long ago—when "the evangelization of the world in this generation" was not a
goal shared by most Christians. A.T. Pierson changed how evangelicals thought about foreign missions.

JUNE 14, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

UPSTATE TREASURE We add the 2005 Upstate Evangelism Seminar & Singles Conference to our list of upcoming events.

DIAKON ERNENNUNG Our sister church in Berlin appoints a deacon. In an unrelated item, the church posts news of its participation in a survey by the Institute for Natural Church Development.

OVERCOMING MEDIOCRITY An unsigned article posted on the San Francisco Church of Christ website encourages less dependence on people for spiritual breakthroughs:

The idea of a man or woman of God is that you point people to God, not toward yourself. When you've
finished talking to a person of God, you walk away wanting to read your Bible, not thinking about how awesome
he or she is.

STILL PERSECUTED Voice of the Martyrs reports wide-ranging raids on house groups meeting in Changchun. Open Doors reports an attack in Chattisgarh, India by Hindu extremists. Sri Lanka's Parliament gives preliminary approval to a new anti-conversion bill.

HEH The latest from ChurchLaughs.

ELSEWHERE A new survey by the Barna Group finds "three out of every four [U.S.] adults who consider themselves to be Christian say there are aspects of their faith life they would like to improve." Setting aside a keen curiosity about those 25% with nothing to improve, we noticed:

The two aspects of spiritual life that people were most likely to acknowledge struggling with were “sharing your
faith with others”...and “Bible knowledge”...

And this somewhat unexpected finding:

The most pronounced pattern was that adults involved in either a house church or in some type of market-
place ministry consistently rated themselves as more mature in each of the faith dimensions than did people
associated with a typical church.

JUNE 13, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

PVCC LEADERSHIP Elders of the Phoenix Valley Church of Christ decide that it is "in the best interests of the Silipo family and of the church here to have a new beginning."

Most lead evangelists have discovered that continuing to lead the same congregation after a major upheaval
is very difficult. This has proved true in many of our sister churches, even when apologies have been made
and leadership dynamics changed. 

SIX FOR SIX The Central New York Church of Christ hires half a dozen summer interns.

SFCC SC The San Francisco Church of Christ exceeds its special contribution goal; approximately half of the special contribution will fund the church's Campus, Teens, and Singles ministry. The San Francisco Church of Christ anticipates, over the next ten years, approximately 500 children of its own members will join its teen and college groups, in addition to growth from evangelism.

BY FAITH Registration begins for the International Leadership Conference.

XV AÑOS The Monterrey Church of Christ celebrates (in Spanish, almost-English here) 15 years, with 900 in attendance.

MILESTONES The Toronto Church of Christ appoints (subscription required) three elders at its 20th anniversary service yesterday.

CR WEBSITE, TAKE II Harry Mullan promises a new design and new features to encourage collaboration.

FAITHFUL IN SMALL THINGS Salguod writes about the seriousness of "small lapses of integrity."

BY DESIGN Bronson Taylor gets creative with apologetics.

JUNE 10, 2005                                                                                                                                                        

STABILIZED AND GETTING TOGETHER Thierry Fender writes from Geneva about steadfastness in the aftermath of heavy membership and staff losses in 2003:

As you know, 2003 was a very difficult year for the European churches. We had to face quite a turmoil which
ended in serious damage of the churches. In Western Europe (that’s Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, French
speaking Switzerland and Belgium) more than 30 staff people resigned or were laid off and many disciples left
the church....Right now, I’m the only full time staff person for this part of Europe. 

WA SMC The Seattle Church of Christ gives US$80,000 for church planting in Washington State. 

MENSCHEN MIT EIGENINITIATIVE Our sister church in Berlin posts a German translation (PDF) of Gordon Ferguson's Self Starters and the Rest of Mankind.

EXEMPLARY The Saturday Academy program of Hope Worldwide's South Florida affiliate and five other organizations are recognized (registration required) as Exemplary Dade Partnerships; Dan Allison commends volunteers of the South Florida Church of Christ.

ORACIONES PARA LA PAZ Horacio and Irma Del Castillo report (in Spanish, almost-English here) on the condition of our sister church in Panama City in the midst of political turmoil.

ALL OHIO Our sister churches in Ohio meet this Sunday in Columbus.

2005 MSC The Milwaukee Church of Christ organizes a single's conference (PDF) to be held August 5-7. The conference, and other activities, can be found on our events page.

ELSEWHERE Andy Stanley says one way you can tell your church is suffering from "vision leak" is when all the prayer requests are for the sick.

STATS FROM ELSEWHERE The Evangelical Covenant Church analyzes factors of growth, and finds the rate of "conversions per 100 in attendance" for new church plants to be twice that of more established congregations (second-to-last page).

JUNE 8, 2005                                                                                                                                                         

IN THE NEWS III On Monday, we linked to a Salt Lake Tribune article and pointed out several inaccuracies. More importantly, we noted that the article, ostensibly about new ties between the Salt Lake Christian Church and the Portland International Church of Christ, apparently relied almost exclusively on critics of the two congregations for its storyline.

Today we learned that, indeed, it was Thomas Rasmussen, a critic of the ICOC and former member of the Salt Lake Christian Church, who gave the reporter the story lead. While we disagree on many issues, Mr. Rasmussen is one of our more thoughtful and substantive critics. We're not surprised that a former member of the Salt Lake Christian Church, familiar with our history as a revival movement, would contact a reporter with this story, nor do we believe he's responsible for the many inaccuracies in the story.

But shouldn't a reporter contacted by someone who wants to see an article about his former church--of which he is sharply critical--be particularly conscientious with regards to both storyline and accuracy? Or does the Salt Lake Tribune allow advocacy journalism? 

IMS Mercedes Miranda reports on her role as "New England Missionary Messenger." Laura Klein describes her experience as part of the "mission team to plant the church in Ljubljana, Slovenia."  

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON What is it about Aguascalientes that produces the most beautiful baptism (in Spanish, Babel Fish almost-English here) pictures? Is it sunny there all the time?

HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE Salguod writes a fine tribute to a fellow church member moving to another city.

MM The Member Missionary trip to Haiti, scheduled to start today, is postponed "due to the volitile security situation."

STILL PERSECUTED Johnny Li of Open Doors has a firsthand account of continuing persecution in rural China.

ELSEWHERE Andy Stanley has advice for uncertain leaders: "You can't always be sure, but you'd better be clear."

I said, "After tonight we are not going to discuss 'if' anymore. We are moving forward....We have a lot to learn.
Feel free to question our implementation, but not our direction. As of tonight, we go forward." That was seven
years ago. Currently, over five thousand adults are involved in small groups.

JUNE 7, 2005                                                                                                                                                         

IN THE NEWS II Yesterday we pointed out several factual errors in Leon D'Souza's Salt Lake Tribune article on the Salt Lake Christian Church. In the article D'Souza quotes Thomas Rasmussen, a critic of the ICOC and former member of the Salt Lake Christian Church, who himself notes four more inaccuracies within the space of three sentences:

I wasn’t a San Diego church leader, I didn’t move to SLC with my wife, I married her here, and I said “four out of
five leave the faith”. [not "for every convert, four or five people leave the faith"--ed.]

Update (7/8): On second look, that's probably three inaccuracies, not four. We're still waiting for the Salt Lake Tribune to correct the article's inaccuracies.

AFRIKIDS In development for over a year, the AfriKids program has "now been adopted by HOPE worldwide as the pilot program for their international child sponsorship program HOPE for Kids," according to Dr. Kevin Broyles, a member of the Triangle Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.

TOOLKIT We add a new study series posted by the Omaha Church of Christ to our list of links to on-line evangelistic Bible study series.

K.I.T. We add the campus ministry at Eastern Washington University, and the New York City Church of Christ teen camp, to our pages of campus ministry and summer youth camp contacts, respectively.

HEH The latest from ChurchLaughs.

ELSEWHERE Todd Brady says "unregenerate" Baptist church members who join a congregation by meeting minimal requirements ("walk down an aisle, nod affirmatively at the pastor's leading questions") make it difficult for others to be evangelistic: unbelieving church cannot be an evangelistic church -- and some, he says, would question whether a
church half full of unbelievers is even a church in the first place.

JUNE 6, 2005                                                                                                                                                         

IN THE NEWS Leon D'Souza writes about the Portland International Church of Christ's involvement with the Salt Lake Christian Church. The Salt Lake Tribune article is poorly researched and reported, riddled with factual errors:

Those opening words only hint at the turmoil that caused a schism in the Los Angeles-based movement that
once numbered more than 138,000 people.

One could hardly describe what happened in 2002 and 2003 a "schism." Virtually all of the 435 congregations affiliated at the end of 2002 as the International Churches of Christ remain connected, albeit far more informally and with a greater degree of self-governance. If this was a schism, where are the two or more churches that resulted from the split?

Before allegations of cultish manipulation and heavy-handedness forced his resignation in 2002, McKean was
the charismatic leader of nearly 280 churches that had earned a national reputation for their aggressive
recruiting practices.

A bit of research would have turned up better reporting on Kip McKean's resignation, such as this article by Lindy Adams of the unaffiliated Christian Chronicle (which, by the way, correctly describes the late 80's separation of ICOC-affiliated and mainline Churches of Christ as a "schism").

We have no idea where the "nearly 280 churches" number was sourced; there are about twice as many affiliated congregations worldwide, and only about half that many if D'Souza means U.S. churches only. The number could easily have been fact-checked by a Google search on "ICOC"--the second active link is this website, which has maintained a publicly available list of churches and their memberships for over a year.

Since then, the churches that were once members of the international group - which at its peak boasted of a
presence in 110 countries - have wrestled with questions of belonging and leadership.

Affiliated churches have experienced a decline in total membership of about 25% since their "peak," but are still present in almost every city where a congregation existed in 2002--in fact, now in over 110 countries. 

Ostensibly an article about impending changes at the Salt Lake Christian Church, it's not until the article's eleventh paragraph that D'Souza quotes someone with actual, firsthand knowledge of the new ties between the two congregations. The article has a veneer of even-handedness, but D'Souza apparently relied almost exclusively on critics of the two congregations for both the storyline and "factual" information, such as it is. 

SOME KEEP PLANTING The Cancun Church of Christ counts down the weeks to its official inaugural (in Spanish, machine translation in English here) service. Rob Skinner reports on the first service of the Rogue Valley Church of Christ.

MILESTONES The Toronto Church of Christ marks 20 years next Sunday. The Toronto church was the first church we visited, nearly 19 years ago, that was affiliated with the Boston Church of Christ.

TRANSITIONS John and Kay Hoyt move to Gainesville, Florida; the Porters return to the South Florida Church of Christ to "direct...youth ministries throughout all of the South Florida Church."

MAKING HIS APPEAL THROUGH US Mike Fix writes about our role as ambassadors of Christ.

JUNE 3, 2005                                                                                                                                                         

THE CALL OF THE HOUR Toney Mulhollan writes a sobering appeal for more faith in the congregation that was once the flagship of our revival movement:

Baptisms in our congregation are at an all-time low; giving to Christ’s work is inconsistent and continues to decline.
Last year saw the lowest missions contribution in 16 years. Some disciples refuse to be a part of evangelistic
outreach or family groups....Sundays routinely see attendance in the church well below the membership numbers.

NOC HW An open letter from the New Orleans Church search committee solicits "potential applicants to fill...vacancies" after the departure of John and Josefin Kennedy at the end of this month for Virginia.

THE BAPTISM OF UNCLE LIM The Central Christian Church in Singapore posts video of sharing (in English and Hokkien with subtitles) before the baptism of a member's father.

NWCC Andrew Cook reports 373 paid pre-registrations for the Northwest Congregational Conference, hosted by our small but fast-growing sister church in Spokane, Washington. Thirteen congregations in seven U.S. states and two Canadian churches are represented by the pre-registered delegates.

BEACHSTOCK '05 Roger Lamb reports (subscription required) 1,100 attend "a modern-day Feast of Tents." Participants from 63 churches joined the annual event at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

SUNDAY BEST The 34 members of our sister church in Bujumbura, Burundi see a Sunday attendance of 140 at a recent invitation service. 

JUNE 1, 2005                                                                                                                                                         

PRIMEROS 6 MESES Our newly-planted sister church in Aguascalientes, Mexico marks (in Spanish, machine translation to English) a half year milestone.

WHAT IS ZEAL? Jay Kelly explains.

ITM UPDATE Douglas Jacoby posts a roundup of his recent teaching activity. 

PHX TO ORD Wilner and Chantal Cornely accept fulltime ministry positions in the Chicago Church of Christ.

ELSEWHERE Jim Mellado writes about 'roids and ministry.

MAY 31, 2005                                                                                                                                                         

DOD Singles of the DC Regional Church make a different kind of declaration on July 4.

NWCC Andrew Cook reminds that today is the final day for discounted pre-registration for the Northwest Congregational Conference in Spokane, Washington. 

KIT Today we add campus ministry contact information for James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and contact information for the Metro Cebu Christian Church in the Philippines. 

IF YOU LINK TO ICOC INFO Several of our fellow webmasters provide their readers links to this website. For those who use graphical buttons for the link, feel free to download and use the link button sized most appropriately for your website.

See additional posts from April, 2005 through May 30, 2005.