Kent R. Hunter

God is more concerned about His mission than our comfort

Help write my new book and provide me feedback on this article. Please comment at the end after reading this article! - Kent

Kent R. HunterYou’ve probably heard the joke about Christians and change: “How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?”  “Who said anything about change?”

When Saul was converted on the Damascus Road, he went from persecutor to Christian and then, from Christian to missionary, in a very short time.  That’s a lot of change!

After Saul was baptized, he immediately started preaching in the local meeting places.  He proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God.  The followers of Jesus were challenged: “Isn’t this the guy who tore up Jerusalem among the believers?”  (Acts 9:10-21).  Yeah, Christians have always struggled with change.  It’s a human trait you don’t lose when you become a Christian.  Mark Twain said, “The only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper.”

That’s interesting, because a baby with a wet diaper is uncomfortable.  Yet I hear a lot of churches say, when appropriate change occurs, “I’m not comfortable with that.”  Some Christians are uncomfortable with new songs in worship.  Some are uncomfortable with the preaching style of the new minister.  Some are uncomfortable with the messages in church about money.  Some are even uncomfortable about the color of the new carpet.  Really?

This is the comfort myth.  People think, because God is love, God wants them to be comfortable.  That is nowhere in Scripture, especially when it comes to being in the mission to make disciples.  Anyone who knows anything about Good Friday should know God is more concerned about His mission than the comfort of His only Son, who went through the horrendous suffering on the cross.

Should we be more uncomfortable?  Perhaps!  Many will say that they grew the most through uncomfortable circumstances.  Missionaries are always uncomfortable.  So, let’s get uncomfortable!

Help write my new book and provide me feedback on this article. Please comment below using the form immediately below for private submission and the comment section further below for comments that others may see! – Kent

ChangeAndYourChurch-FtWayneIN-5-27-15

Change and YOUR Church – May 27, 2015 – Fort Wayne, IN

Register online today!

Invite other pastors and church leaders to attend.

ChangeAndYourChurch-FtWayneIN-5-27-15

MissionaryOutreachClinic-GreenfieldIN-5-16-15

Missionary Outreach Clinic – May 16, 2015 – Greenfield, IN

Invite other pastors and church leaders to attend.

Print and share PDF Flyer

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Easter Fading – Dark Clouds on the Horizon

clouds-194840_640Easter morning in northeastern Indiana was bright and beautiful. We were excited to join our daughter and son-in-law for worship at their church. While shaving, to get ready, I turned on CNN Headline news. Two separate reports confirmed what I feared for decades: “The Muslim religion is now the fastest growing religion in the world, outpacing Christianity.” I’ve known for some time Christians were losing ground and have dedicated all my adult life to increasing the effectiveness of Christian outreach. The news story was like a punch to my spiritual gut.

The lead commentary later announced, “Today is Easter, the day when Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven.” Of course, anyone with two years of children’s Sunday school knows the ascension came several weeks later. The public media worked so hard to get the facts straight! It is another sign of widespread biblical illiteracy.

For God’s sake (and I mean that biblically speaking), when are we, Christians, and our churches going to wake up to our one and only mission the resurrected Jesus gave us? So many congregations are plateaued or declining, and aging. Most of the “growing” congregations are inheriting people from declining churches. The few churches that are reaching truly unchurched people are excited by their additions. Yet, the brilliant Leader (Jesus) designed this movement to make disciples, a strategy resulting in exponential growth by geometric progression. This lifestyle, the imprint of Jesus is unrecognizable to most Christians. Those who think they get it are confused by institutional programs to teach the Bible. Making disciples isn’t a ten-week program, but the lifestyle of everyone who bears the Master’s name.

For Heaven’s sake (literally), sound the alarm – the ship is going down! Spread the news around your church. Tell every Christian you know: It is not okay to “hold your own.” It is not okay to become marginalized in a secular world or get run over by other religions. It’s great to have “the truth,” but it’s disastrous to be sidelined, without influence, in your country or community.

Your church CAN do Christianity right. And, if you do, you will see results. You will experience the movement of this faith. As a person of faith, you do not want your mark on history to be the disappearance of the greatest faith alive. I hope you get restless. I pray you lose sleep. I beg you to share these words with every Christian you know. Weep, pray, and ask yourself, “Strategically, what could my church do better to reach this world for the One who died for it, and rose again in victory that first Easter morning?” That victory is in your blood, from His blood. Ask God to resurrect you to a place of power to change this world forever for Jesus Christ.

Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by emailTwitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.

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Kent R. Hunter

Why are Christians so hung up about change?

Help write my new book and provide me feedback on this article. Please comment at the end after reading this article! - Kent

Kent R. HunterWhen the Apostle Paul was transformed on the Damascus Road, his name wasn’t Paul, but Saul.  Why do you think he underwent a name change?

As soon as he was baptized (Acts 9:17-19) he started preaching in the meeting houses.  He preached that Jesus was the Son of God.  However, the believers didn’t trust him, because of his previous reputation, persecuting believers in Jerusalem.  Saul faced opposition from believers.  The Jews in Damascus conspired to kill him, but he got away over the wall (Acts 9:23-25).  Saul went to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples.  They were terrified.  They didn’t trust him.

Barnabas took Saul under his wing and encouraged him.  If he hadn’t, Christianity would have lost one of our greatest missionaries.  After Barnabas told how Saul was preaching, the disciples accepted him, reluctantly.  Interesting, they wouldn’t accept him just as he was.

The next time we hear about Saul, he is in Antioch (Acts 13).  He and Barnabas were commissioned by the Christians and they went off to Seleucia and Cyprus.  Somewhere, on that trip, Saul began to be called Paul, as he was in the spiritual debate with a wizard called Bar-Jesus.  Maybe he changed his name so he wouldn’t be persecuted anymore.  Interesting reality for one who used to be a persecutor, don’t you think?

When you receive the name “Christian” how did you change?  Have you changed much since?  Do the people in your social network know your name, Christian?  Do others you meet?

Who is your Barnabas—your encourager?  Who are you encouraging?  It’s all about change, because it’s all about spiritual growth.  It’s all about change because it’s all about being a missionary to our world.  When we are used to touch the lives of others, God works the miracle of change and they get the name Christian, too.  So why are Christians so hung up about change?

Help write my new book and provide me feedback on this article. Please comment below using the form immediately below for private submission and the comment section further below for comments that others may see! – Kent

Kent R. Hunter

Tradition: Living Faith of the Dead Vs. Traditionalism: Dead Faith of the Living

Help write my new book and provide me feedback on this article. Please comment at the end after reading this article! - Kent

Kent R. HunterMany churches experience biblical drift when it comes to traditional practices.  The result of perpetuating worn out practices makes God “old,” “out of date,” and “irrelevant,” in the eyes of those who are not yet believers.

The use of ancient architecture, word forms, dress codes, and music from another era can also make God appear as foreign to unbelievers.  It is just outside their experience and causes another barrier for them to receive the good news of Jesus Christ unhindered.

Using worn out habits that do not communicate is a “feel good” practice for lifelong Christians who would love to return to the “good ole days.”  However, it is a major contribution to the inability of many churches to effectively reach those who do not yet know Christ.

The confusion is between the style and the substance of the Christian faith.  Style can, should, and must change.  Substance must never change.  Churches that struggle to reach new people for Christ are usually out of sync in substance or style.

To continue updating style is to keep the church from being irrelevant.  To change the substance causes the church to be irreverent…and impotent for outreach.

The Pharisees tangled with Jesus—the God who came in the flesh, demonstrating that He did not want any style to get in the way of the message.  Jesus didn’t teach the message.  Jesus was, and is, the message.  You and your church don’t just share the message.  You also are the message.  The question is, “Are you a relevant, impactful message to those who don’t yet know Jesus?”

The Pharisees were really into the rules.  They would wear hoods out in public, so if they saw a pretty woman, they would put the hood over their faces.  That way they wouldn’t be tempted.  Of course, they frequently ran into walls, donkeys, and other people.  They looked like idiots!

Many churches today are covered in the hood of worn out, irrelevant, old school language and styles.  This soothes the believers at the expense of reaching those Jesus gave His life to save.

Tradition and traditionalism are confused by many well-meaning Christians.  Tradition is the faith of the dead.  For example, my dad was an enthusiastic Christian.  When a new translation of the Bible was published, he bought a shopping bag full of copies.  He distributed them at his place of work.  As a little boy, I thought that was odd.  But it stuck in my mind.  My dad was very sick, with asthma.  It was awful to see him suffer—which he did all the time.  Yet, on Sunday morning, he was up and passionate to get us all to church.  He always made sure we were seated in the front row, right under the pulpit.  He wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t doze.  My memory of my dad and his faith is vivid—it always will be.  His faith is a powerful memory, decades after his death.  That faith, to me, is a living faith of the dead.  That is tradition.

Traditionalism is a dead faith of the living.  Rather than faith in the living Jesus, some slip into a faith in the rituals—so strong it rules behavior and wrecks mission potential.  This is a major challenge to lifelong Christians and a major roadblock to effective outreach.

The Pharisees were masters at road blocking God’s new covenant in Jesus—and the mission of the early church.  In Matthew 15:1-20, the Pharisees were all over Jesus because He and His disciples ate without washing their hands.  You’d like to think they were driven by sanitary practices, but their real issue was breaking the rules—the religious habits.  Jesus responded to their challenge: “…why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Verse 3).

Jesus continues to unpack the rules they invented to circumvent God’s command with ungodly behavior.  He reminds them of the command to “honor your father and mother.”  Without nursing homes in that day, people were required to take their elderly parents into their homes and care for them.  Some of the people of God didn’t do a good job of that.  They would let their parents suffer to save money.  The Pharisees knew this was a sin against the commandment to “honor your father and mother.”  But instead of hold people accountable, the Pharisees made up another rule.  They said that if the money people saved from not caring for their parents was given to the temple as an offering (which went to the Pharisees), that made neglect of their parents excusable!

The Pharisees created a “hedge around the law.”  The technical word for this is corban.  Filled with customs, habits, styles, rules and regulations, these hedges started out to be good and helpful, until they became standards by which to judge others and sneak around real faith issues.  This is where Jesus took them to task.  Judging the faith of others or providing roadblocks to the mission of Jesus was clearly rejected by our Lord.  The wrong use of human tradition, traditionalism is clearly an approach of the Pharisees, not Jesus and the disciples.  Nevertheless, today, many Christians, interested in reaching the lost, are unknowingly ineffective because of the hood of traditionalism.  They are burying their heads in the hoods of traditionalism and running into walls when it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission.  Sadly, so many churches do so much well, and wonder why they do not reach people in large numbers and see the Kingdom grow like it did in the New Testament.  Often, it is because the hoods have covered their eyes to the approach of reaching people in a relevant and meaningful way.

Help write my new book and provide me feedback on this article. Please comment below! – Kent