The Two Bearded Preachers once again take on the controversial topic of facial profiling when Martin shares how his fanboy interaction with JD Hall left him feeling marginalized due to his fabulous face mane (apparently, he looks like he's in the Reformed Pub). Justin, enraged at the lack of common courtesy, threatens to begin a trolling campaign on his behalf. The conversation mellows as the two friends turn toward the upcoming Ligonier National Conference where Justin hopes to find some Abolish Human Abortion protestors to troll if only he can get a ticket. In the end, Martin has a positive view of Facebook because Scott Bradley of Post Modern Jukebox played his "Desperado" request during a Facebook Live interaction. It seems all is made right with the world by the end of this incredible, two-part extravaganza of hilarity.
Have Justin and Martin become crotchety in their old age? You'll probably say yes after listening to this episode where neither can keep their cool in social media interactions. Both feed the trolls in spite of knowing better and end up more upset than any reasonable person should become. They also talk about how the upcoming Royal Rumble will undoubtedly be the best until the next one rolls around and talk a little Christian anthropology. All that and a bonus episode to follow since they kept talking long into the night. Here's the first half, with Two Bearded Preachers episode 66B to follow in just a little bit.
Facial profiling is not a victimless crime. Justin and Martin share about the times they were facially profiled in their second outing in the podcasting world. Listen as strange echoes, mysterious buzzing, and voice fade out plagues the bearded brothers. This episode is obviously one of their first as it sounds even worse than normal. Do you remember when they called the show "Partially Informed"? You will after listening to this throwback show! #endfacialprofiling
What is the best way to annoy your wife and all the people at the Starbucks? Use a Fidget Cube. Justin shares his experience with the world's most useless start-up and his concerns about the fire that recently took place at the Sausage Castle (surprisingly, it's not a breakfast place). Martin tries to figure out how evangelism, discipleship, and knowledge are related and shares how optimistic he is about the new year. Both of the fellers remember the rules at FCC and sort of understand them, but not really. What a fantastic conversation!
Martin W. Bender
Within the first few pages of Ignite, I knew where the book was going to go. Searcy references Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Church by sharing the all too familiar target analogy. The idea is simple: move people from the community into the core of the congregation. This book focuses on how to bring people from the community into the crowd of folks attending so they can later move closer and closer to the center of the target: the core.
The genius of the book is that it has sequels built in. The outline is already set, all one must do is write out a methodology for moving from one group to the next, add some fictitious examples, and blammo! Book deal.
Don’t get me wrong, the book isn’t terrible. In fact, it has some good ideas in it, but it seems like a rehashing of Warren’s uber popular church growth book and I had already read that one. Anywho… let’s get on with the good stuff.
The basic gist of Searcy’s method is to have a big event that is built up for several weeks, supported through marketing channels, executed with a high degree of professionalism, and actively followed up upon. Most ministers know the days where they will have higher than average attendance. Emphasize these days, plan well for them in the preaching plan, encourage the congregation to invite folks, challenge the whole congregation to something greater on those days, and follow up with guests. That’s the whole book.
The best idea to take from Ignite is the idea of consistency in communication. Searcy seems to argue that the best boot to ground measure to take in developing an evangelistic spirit with the congregation is to continuously communicate the need of the people to evangelize. He recommends peppering all the functions of the church evangelism as a value so that people are more likely to engage in the activity. When the people internalize this oft-repeated message they will naturally begin bringing others into the crowd gathering for worship.
The worst part of the book is Searcy’s rather flippant understanding of evangelism. He tends to use the word as if it means inviting people to church. That isn’t evangelism. Evangelism is the communication of the Gospel to the nonbeliever. In the system described, the work of the church member isn’t evangelism, but an invitation to be evangelized by another. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s a mistake to call something evangelism that’s really promotion. Maybe I’m just being a snob here, but it seems like a problem to me.
Ignite reads quick and has some good methods for making the most out of big days in the life of the congregation. It heavily relies upon Rick Warren and the Saddleback methodology for church growth. It has been proven effective in numerous locations around the US and may just work in your area as well. There’s nothing ground breaking in the book making it required reading, but it isn’t a waste of time either. If you hate Rick Warren, and I know some of you do, don’t bother with this one.
Searcy, Nelson with Jennifer Dykes Henson. Ignite: How to spark immediate growth in your church. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2009.
Is Troll Hunter viable entertainment? What about Troll Hunters? Justin and Martin discuss this in the first episode of 2017. Over the course of the conversation, you'll find out why Justin has a new found respect for government, how Martin is going to score a new diploma, and the reason neither plan on moving to Canada any time soon. At the same time, the wonders of Netflix are navigated for you as the bearded brothers share their very favorite recommendations and hear a few pet peeves about television along the way. You'll also find out why Gen X people have trouble getting along with Millennials, the joys of Steaksgiving, and an update on Justin's curse. This episode certain covers a lot of ground, but not very well. Enjoy!
P.S. Why doesn't Justin know what Juggalos are?
Martin W. Bender
Maybe I’m just being nitpicky, but it seems like Thom Rainer only writes one book. As I read through Who Moved My Pulpit I couldn’t help but be reminded of I am a Church Member and The Unexpected Journey. It might be because all these books share similar content (they all deal with church leadership, something Rainer certainly knows a lot about) or maybe there is a higher level of repetition in his writing than I’m used to, but it will probably be a while before I crack open another of his works. With that little caveat in mind, let’s talk about why you should always lift with your legs when moving a pulpit.
Who Moved My Pulpit is a book about how to lead change in a congregation. It may surprise some to hear that good leaders are always interested in change, but it’s the truth. Leadership is moving others toward a preferable future – notice all the change language in that statement. There is movement, that movement is directive, the destination is superior to the current location, and it is forward in time. Those are four change terms used in defining leadership. I bring all this up because the readers of this article are most likely members of the congregation I pastor and might be interested to know how I define successful leadership.
Rainer doesn’t make any incredible observations in this book. It is primarily a reminder that making changes in a congregation should be done slowly. He emphasizes prayer as the starting point and continues to repeat the need for prayer throughout the book. He also leaves the nature of the changes that need to be made up to the reader. This is very positive considering all the advice flying around the internet about church growth methodologies. Rainer assumes the reader understands the nature of the changes that ought to be made and outlines the ideal way to make it happen.
My favorite line is one he lifted from an earlier book: you make changes in a congregation the same way you eat an elephant – one bite at a time (it’s a paraphrase). At Glennville First Christian Church there are so many changes I’d like to make the task seems overwhelming. I make the joke that we are going to change everything twice before I’m done, but the reality is that I’d like to develop a love for change in the congregation so that it is one of our core values.
I may use Who Moved My Pulpit again, but it will likely be for the illustrations or to point congregants to an easily accessible book on leading through change.
Rainer, Thom S. Who Moved My Pulpit: Leading change in the church. (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group, 2016).