Monday, September 24, 2012

Going Beyond What is Written

"Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other." 1 Corinthians 4:6

For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.  Rev. 22:18-19

The Bible is clear about how we are to handle the Scriptures. We are not to go beyond what is written nor are we to add or take away from the Scriptures. I read about one preacher who said that Jesus could not perform any miracles until He was baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. The Scripture does not address the ability of Christ to perform miracles before His baptism, thus this statement is pure speculation on the part of the preacher.

We add to the Scriptures when we preach in a way that speculates about what a bible character was thinking or saying when the Scriptures are silent about such a thing. The pulpit is no place for speculation. It is a dangerous thing to proclaim God's Word in a manner that consists of opinion and speculation instead of exposition.

Preachers are not the only people who are susceptible of going beyond the Scriptures. Theologians fall into this trap as well. The Calvinist system of theology teaches that the atonement of Christ was limited to those whom God elected before the world began. The Bible says no such thing. Calvinists also teach that when the Lord decides it is your time to be saved, that His grace will be irresistible . Once again, the Bible does not teach such doctrine. In both of these instances, theologians have gone beyond what is written. They are guilty of adding to the Scriptures. Such teachings should be rejected as being unbiblical.

There is great danger to attempt to systemize God's Word. This is one reason why Traditional Baptists do not adopt a system of theology such as Arminianism or Calvinism or hold to any creed. We believe and teach the Scriptures, not a theological system.

The temptation to speculate upon that which the Scripture is silent can be enticing for those of us who answer God's call to proclaim His word. But we must resist such temptation for we will be held responsible for that which we claim to be "Thus sayeth the Lord."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Social Media For Senior Adults

When one thinks of social media, one thinks of the Internet, Facebook, smartphones, etc. It's important that churches explore the uses of social media to communicate with church members, to reach out to those who don't know Christ as Savior, and to learn from theologians as well as peers.

Many senior adults have not let the Information Age pass them by. According to one study, 53% of American adults age 65 and older use the internet or email. However, many senior adults do not use social media of the Information Age. If we only use email, twitter, and facebook to communicate with our members, we will overlook many senior adults. How should the church communicate with these important members?

Social media did not begin with the Internet. People have been communicating with each other through different methods for centuries. We need to recognize and tap into social media for senior adults. And so, how can we communicate with senior adults on a regular basis?

1. Newsletter
One of the main ways of communicating with senior adults is through a church newsletter. Senior adults still read newspapers and they like to read church newsletters. If you are not publishing a regular newsletter, you may want consider writing one. You can make it fancy by creating the newsletter in Microsoft Publisher or you may want to just type up something in Microsoft Word. A monthly newsletter will be greatly appreciated by the senior adults in your church. Here are some tips on how to create a newsletter.

2. Telephone
Another way that most senior adults communicate is by telephone. Many senior adults call each other daily to check on each other and see if they have any needs. The telephone is their most valuable commnication tool. How can the church use the telephone to keep their members informed? A telephone tree system is a great way to update all members, not just senior adults about special meetings, reminders, prayer requests, announcements. etc. There are several phone tree systems out there for you to check out. The phone tree that we used at my last fulltime church was Calling Post. At that time, we could purchase 1,000 calls for less than $50. Everything can be setup via telephone or computer. We found it to be a very good tool for accurate dissemination of information.

3. Breakfast Meetings
In most every church, there is a group of men who meet for breakfast in a local restaurant nearly everyday. These men talk about anything and everything. I joke with them that they are solving the world's problems. The savvy pastor will become a part of this group of men for fellowship and to communicate church information. We should not neglect face-to-face communication with senior adults.

These are just a few of the ways that a pastor can improve communication with senior adults. I'm sure that you can think of many other ways to communicate with these precious people. Senior adults want to know what is going on in the church. If you're not using the same social media they use, they will miss most of the information you are trying to share with the church.