Archives For OBC

This past weekend Dr Bruce Ware, professor at Southern Seminary, was at Omaha Bible Church teaching on the Majesty of God. In addition to being a terrific writer Ware is also a tremendously gifted preacher/teacher. The sermon titles themselves below are edifying.

Beholding the God of  Merciful Holiness (Isaiah 6)
Bruce Ware on Isaiah 6

Beholding the God of Redemptive-Covenantal Love (Isaiah 43)
Bruce Ware on Isaiah 43

Beholding the God of Sovereign Supremacy (Isaiah 45)
Audio not yet available.

Additional info:
Dr Ware’s bio at Southern
Dr Ware’s books

I am looking forward to attending the Men’s Breakfast tomorrow at Omaha Bible Church. Here is the info:

Omaha Bible Church is excited to have writer and cultural analyst, Ted Kluck join us for a Men’s Breakfast on April 23rd at 9 a.m.  Ted will be speaking on the Art of Manliness in two sessions on Saturday morning from 9:00 to 11:00. Breakfast will be served starting at 8 a.m. (map)

Ted Kluck is the author of several books, on topics ranging from Mike Tyson to the Emergent Church. Both Why We’re Not Emergent and Why We Love the Church (with Kevin DeYoung) won Christianity Today Book of the Year awards. His work has also appeared in ESPN the Magazine and Christianity Today.

I recently finished another one of Ted’s books The Reason for Sports and plan to review it soon. It was a good read.

If you are local, make plans to attend (it’s free). It should be a good time of encouragement in Christ.

In the previous two posts I talked about the benefits and the drawbacks of using the campus model as a bridge toward church planting.

The Benefits of Using the Campus Model as a Bridge to Church Planting…

The Drawbacks of Using the Campus Model as a Bridge for Church Planting

In this post I want to highlight a few convictions or priorities that I have about church planting in the future.

Continue Reading…

Yesterday I wrote briefly about some of the advantages, as far as I my experience, to using the multi-campus model as a bridge for church planting. Many churches are using this method and having success with it.

Today I take the other side. I want to highlight the drawbacks to the multi-campus model in church planting. Please note that this is based on my experience, which is limited. I am not impugning a method across the board (nor am I promoting it). I am making some post-game observations of the process.

It is interesting that some of the strengths from yesterday actually become drawbacks long-term. In other words, some things are extremely valuable up front but as time goes by and the ministry develops they become disadvantages. As Tony Horton of P90X fame has said, “Nobody said this would be easy.” Exactly. There are a lot of moving parts.

Let’s begin.

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In the last ten years we have seen a significant increase in the number of churches adopting a campus model for ministry. In this model the church replicates itself in another area while maintaining a close connection and identity to itself (the main location). There are many different ways that churches go about this. I will not attempt to cover them all here.

Instead, I want to talk about what we did at Omaha Bible Church (OBC) as we moved to plant Emmaus Bible Church (where I currently pastor). We used the campus model as a bridge toward church planting.

In the next two days I want to highlight the pros and the cons of this approach.

Today it is the pro side. Why was the campus model a good bridge toward church planting?

Our Context
OBC is a growing church with young leaders. There is a lot of motivation to press on in gospel ministry. This climate led to a desire for church planting.

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I am really looking forward to the upcoming conference at Omaha Bible Church. This is due in large part to the fact that Stephen Nichols is going to be the featured speaker. I have reveiwed many of his books here in the past. Some of my favorites include his biography of Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards,  his book on the “American Jesus” (Jesus Made in America), the book on the Reformation- How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World, a church history book for kids-The ABC’s of Church History, and his work on the early church entitled For Us and Our Salvation.

(Note: If you are looking for good deals on these and other titles from Nichols, see this page on Amazon for a complete list.)

One of the things I like about Nichols is how he helps make history interesting. He does this by writing (speaking) in a creative way and having a finger on the theological pulse of today as well as yesterday. In this way we are able to not only learn facts about history but also lessons. This is the goal of this conference.

Here are the details:

9:00 a.m. – Jan Hus, Martin Luther, and Sola Scriptura

10:30 a.m. – The Life of Luther and Commitment to the Church

12:00 noon – Lunch at Omaha Bible Church

1:00 p.m. – The Cross and Discipleship: From Martin Luther to Dietrich Bonhoeffer

2:00 p.m. – Conference ends.

The cost of the conference is $5 per person with a maximum family expense of $10. The registration fee will be collected on the day of the conference. Included in the cost is lunch (children included).

Childcare and a simultaneous children’s training session will be provided for children up to the fifth grade.

Omaha Bible Church is in Omaha, Ne. More details, including directions and registration can be found on their church website here.

Emergent, Seeker Sensitive, traditional, liturgical, purpose driven, etc. Pastors and church leaders today seem to have many options for how they approach the ministry of the local church and specifically the Sunday gatherings.

In the past I have often been rather harsh in my criticism over the pastors who seem to be so eager to try out whatever fad or method comes down the evangelical stream. My frustration was based by in large on my convictions, which are strong.

However, I don’t think I’ve ever asked myself why. Why do they do this? Why are they so attracted to pragmatism? Why are they so eager to bite at something that might work?

I have sat face to face with a seasoned and, by many standards, successful church growth pastor from the Willow Creek school. I have asked these questions.

By in large the answers pivoted on a desire to see people come to Christ and the ministry of the church to expand. In other words they have a burden for people and believe in their message.

What drives these guys?
But as I talked to him and processed what else I have read and seen in this movement I was struck by another reality. This reality is the pressure to produce or succeed.

I think this really drives these guys.

They are under pressure from leadership and themselves to produce results; and produce them quickly.

So what do they do? The grab what would logically work and has some record of quick results. Many believe that it will work and it is working.

Another option…
However, I want to propose another option. This option is not quick. It is not easy. It is does not liberate you from burdens. But it does a couple of things, a) it works, b) it makes you dependent upon God’s grace in your midst.

What I am talking about is centering all of church ministry on the ministry of the word. Specifically I am talking about an expository pulpit ministry and a dynamic discipleship ministry. This verse by verse preaching within the context of Scripture with an eye towards the Bible’s overall narrative point helps to feed and equip hungry and thirsty people. And further because the ministry is word (gospel) centered and people focused (contra program focused) then it has immediate integration with and application to life.

But here is the down side: it takes time. Sometimes this takes a lot of time. And the ironic thing is, because so many guys are ‘doing church’ according to these various fads and methods that seem to be rooted in the pragmatic methods of business than the pastoral epistles, there is a lot of pastoral elbow grease that needs to go into cleaning out the biblical grid of church. This takes time. It also takes time with new Christians. It takes time with mature Christians. This is hard work, many times, without immediate results. However, what you do have immediately is the affirmation and consolation of Scripture that it is what is right (Eph. 4.13-17; 1 Tim. 4.13;  2 Tim. 4.1-4).

I’m seeing it ‘work’
I also want to say that I am beginning to see more and more ‘results’ if you will. I am seeing more and more people who are growing in their understanding of, love for, and obedience to the Savior. Their are many, from various backgrounds, some in regeneration and others in revival, with the common experience of growth and delight in Jesus. So I say from both Scriptural convictions and personal experience that it does work. A word centered, preaching heavy, discipleship focused ministry will work. It just takes time. But, it is so worth it.