Posted on November 30, 2008 by servant | Reflections, Scripture| Tags: Antiquity, Archeology, Bible
One of the amazing things about the Bible is the fact that we have so many ancient copies of it. This might be expected, since it was so revered. But the Bible in antiquity survived incredible persecution, as well as the ravages of time. No other ancient text has been so well preserved. The writings of the ancient Greeks have survived, but only just barely. The Bible is available in well preserved copies dating from the 1st century A.D. Indeed, here is a link to a copy of the Psalms dating to 40 A.D.
Electronic copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls are available. The question is when would we need to project these, or interact with them in worship. In some Churches, the scriptures are read in their original languages, but usually we worship in the local tongue. This is one of the consequences of the Protestant Reformation. And the scriptures have now been translated into thousands of languages – i.e. thanks to the Wycliffe Bible Translation effort. But you could show the scripture passage in both the original language and in the local language. All it would take would be a well formatted screen. Would that add to the worship experience? Feel free to comment below.
Posted on November 20, 2008 by servant | Reflections| Tags: job description, ministry description, volunteer
Create Ministry Descriptions
Before people will commit their time to a ministry, they want to know what will be expected of them. Ministry descriptions that are specific and written are important because they give people the information they need to make a commitment.
Why not have a section on the Church’s website where there are ministry descriptions for volunteers. The idea is that this is a job description, but for a volunteer position. By reading through these, a potential volunteer would have a better idea about what is going to be involved. This usually helps people make up their mind to commit to a volunteer task. The Ministry Description could include any or all of the following sections:
- Description of the Volunteer Position
- Amount and Frequency of Time Commitment
- List of the Skills Required
- Ideas on Training (e.g. technical hands-on)
- Benefits to the Community of Faith
In addition, there should be a table showing the number of volunteers that are needed in each area of the Church’s ministry. This could be the overview page showing all of the open positions. Hopefully, this would decrease as people volunteered, until all positions were filled.
God has blessed the community of faith with tremendous gifts and graces. Using Ministry Descriptions will help tap that resource, so that the mission of the Church can be fulfilled with excellence!
Posted on November 10, 2008 by servant | News| Tags: Bible Translation, King James, NIV, Wycliffe
There are many translations of the Bible available to us today. Here is one list of current English translations:
- 21st Century King James Version
- American Standard Version
- Amplified Bible
- Contemporary English Version
- Darby Translation
- English Standard Version
- Holman Christian Standard Bible
- King James Version
- New American Standard Bible
- New Century Version
- New International Version
- New King James Version
- New Living Translation
- The Message
- Today’s New International Version
- Worldwide English
- Wycliffe New Testament
- Young’s Literal Translation
Each of these has advantages and disadvantages, which we could easily debate for a very long time. What is important is that each Christian read the Bible, and they can choose their favorite translation to do so. All translations of the Bible tell the incredible story of Jesus the Christ, and we should accurately handle that story (2 Timothy 2:152 Timothy 2:15
English: Good News Bible (1992) - GNB
15 Do your best to win full approval in God's sight, as a worker who is not ashamed of his work, one who correctly teaches the message of God's truth.
WP-Bible plugin). What does it take to do that?
Whenever the Bible is presented, it should be accurately quoted. The book, chapter, and verse should be indicated clearly. The translation used should also be indicated – i.e. by an abbreviation such as NIV for New International Version. This enables anyone viewing the presentation to go look up the passage for themselves. They can easily find the specific verse. I usually find that there is a lot more to the passage than we have time to present, so I often go read the context. Just reading the whole chapter will usually give you a good sense of the context, but you may also want to dig into passage using a concordance. See the article on Bible Study Tools for more ideas on Bible study.
Posted on November 1, 2008 by servant | Reflections| Tags: dependence, technology, worship
Modern megachurches are dependent on technology. Any time you gather more than a hundred people together, you need some sort of technology to enhance worship. At the very least, you need an audio system, so that everyone can hear the sermon. Ideally, you should be able to hear the Word clearly in every seat – i.e. even in the back of the balcony. In addition to that, most megachurches offer video screens. Typically, this shows the lyrics for the songs, so no one needs a hymnal. But it can also show the preacher in a way that everyone can see clearly – i.e. IMAG. For those at the back of the room, this helps them follow the sermon. However, now we have moved into video technology; cameras, switchers, video projectors, and one or more video screens. And with the video, it becomes possible to show video clips as illustrations, announcements, and points of transition in the service. The technology allows the congregation to literally go anywhere; e.g. you could easily show Jerusalem’s wailing wall during a sermon about the Temple. And other types of technology lie on the horizon, awaiting development. The possibilities are limitless.
However, with the technology comes a dependence. What happens if the electricity goes out because of a storm at 3:00 AM on Sunday? If the service is held, the preacher may be preaching by candlelight. There needs to be a fall back position; e.g. a generator to run at least some lights and the sound system. And if you can’t show IMAG, can a battery powered camera at least record the sermon? You could then put the sermon on the Church’s web site for those who couldn’t come because of the storm’s damage. And a satellite congregation may have to resort to listening to an extemporaneous sermon by the local pastor.
We worship a big God, and we are blessed with technology to enhance that worship. But we need to make sure that we think through the issues of our dependence on that technology. That doesn’t mean we reject the technology and go back to smaller congregations. It does mean that we understand our priorities for using the technology should we encounter issues. Sunday worship will go on, but we may have to fall back to a different technical configuration on various occasions. We need to be prepared to do that, rather than panic at the circumstance.