Friday, April 28, 2006

I'm packing up and moving out...again! is now live!

Check out my real blog at!

Well friends, after a short BlogSpot stint, I'm preparing to move up once again. I'm going to become an Official Blogger.

This blog will stay alive, but all new posts will be on my brand new, fancy-pants, hosted site:

Take special notice of the .NET as there is a ToddBlog.COM already.

I look forward to seeing all of you at my brand new blog!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A holistic community of worship and ministry…

Thanks everyone for your insight on the last post. I’m still unsure of what I need to do, but I will continue to be in prayer and I ask for the same from you.

Something I do know is that creating an alternative worship gathering is too small. I don’t want to gather a bunch of people (or a small group) together for a big worship hootenanny and then go our separate ways. I think that misses the point of what “church” is about.

It’s no wonder that so many people today can be “religious” without becoming part of a church. What is church today? It’s a building we go once to three times a week to a worship service. A simple Google Image search for the word “church” will reveal that truth!

What if we changed our definition of church? Or rather, what if we went back to the original definition of church – a holistic community of worship and ministry?

What if our churches became more than gatherings? What if they became holistic (influencing peoples’ spiritual, physical and emotional needs) communities of worship and ministry? Wouldn’t that be something people want to be a part of? Wouldn’t that atmosphere restore the importance and influence of the Church?

The Church is precious and essential to living a fulfilling life in Christ. So let's reclaim the church. Let's reclaim it with our language and our attitude. However, greater than that, let's strive to transform our local congregations into churches!

Who's with me?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Church plant or worship gathering?

I’ll get back to the “why” series after this post, but hopefully this post will foster even greater discussion.

For a while now I’ve been struggling with what to do to reach my generation. Should I approach my leadership and ask them to change or adapt the Sunday morning service to make it more emergent friendly? Should Hayley and I leave, looking for a new church home? Should I, with a team of like-minded individuals, attempt to start something new?

I feel like approaching my leadership and asking them to change is the wrong way to go. Who am I to change the way my fellow congregants worship? They’re perfectly happy with the way Sunday morning looks, and have little to no desire to see anything different. And while I recognize the importance of stretching and growing, I also appreciate the importance of peace and harmony. Adding instruments, videos and a radically different service style would not promote peace and harmony.

I also hate the idea of leaving our current congregation. I know Hayley wouldn’t enjoy that and leaving Central would upset people that I’ve grown to love.

Which leaves the final option: starting something new. I feel like this option is the best, but I’m not sure to what level this “new thing” should go. Should it be an alternative gathering on Sunday nights? Should it be a concerted church plant effort? Do we need to get the support and blessing of congregations to do this or do we just go for it?

So many questions, so many barriers and so much that needs to be done. So, I ask all of you for advice and guidance.

What should I do?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Just ask "Why?"

In marketing, it’s essential to ask, “Why are we doing what we’re about to do” before any campaign, project or promotion. That seems obvious and simple, but if you look at some billboards, television and radio ads, promotional giveaways and newspaper ads, it becomes obvious that many organizations fail to ask the question.

I believe that churches should take this same strategic approach to everything that they do. Church attendance is dwindling, emerging generations are not coming into contact with God and the post-Christian environment is hostile towards modern Christianity. Something’s got to change.

We need to step back, look at what we’re doing and ask “why?” Why do we preach 30-minute sermons? Why do we have sermons? Why do we do communion the way we do it? Why do we have small groups? Why do spend $X on X?

This process isn’t fun, easy or safe, but it is essential if we’re going to be relevant in this generation.

So, even though we all attend different churches in different states, (for the most part anyway) let’s get the conversation started.

Today’s topic:
Why sermons?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


One of the staples of the church of Christ faith has been its observance of the Eucharist. Every Sunday, Christians in the church of Christ brotherhood break bread (or Matzo, pie crust or some other unleavened treat) and take a sip from a small cup (each has their own, typically). The elements are also brought to those not sitting in the sanctuary, so they can partake (nursery, bouncers, etc.) If one is unable to attend on Sunday, usually an opportunity is provided to take it on Sunday night.

The emphasis is typically placed on the day that it is taken, not on the reason WHY it is taken. This is, in a word, bad.

While reading a blog post on I had a realization.

Celebrating communion is something that we should do as often as possible, maybe everytime we come together. However, I don't know if it is necessary or best-used as a part of the corporate worship service. Very rarely is the focus of the service on communion. It's usally done as quickly as possible with cursory devotional to "prepare our minds" for what we're about to do. (A quick aside: when I was in high school, my fellow tray passers and I would draw up "plays" for the passing out the trays. We would figure out the most efficient way to pass out trays. It was pretty awesome.)

I think we've missed the point.

The early church came together to break bread. (Acts 20:7) This verse has been used to argue that communion can ONLY be taken on the first day of the week. However, the emphasis of that verse has been distorted. Rather than arguing for a certain day to partake in the bread, the verse "argues" for the purpose of coming together. How many of our churches come together to "break bread?" If an unbiased outsider were to visit our church and we asked them why they thought we were meeting, would they say to take communion? Probably not.

We need to be intentional about taking communion. We need to pay attention to what we're doing and why we're doing it. I have no problem with traditions as long as they serve a purpose. I fear that our every Sunday tradition has lost its purpose.

Churches that take communion every Sunday without being intentional are no more "right" than a church that takes it sporadically. Let's stop missing the point.

Monday, April 10, 2006

On more AD post...

This Maeby my last post on the loveable Bluths...

Check out this MSNBC Commentary about Arrested Development.

Maybe it was time for the show to bow out, after all. Where would we go from here? How could Michael return to his family without turning from long-suffering and loyal to a simple glutton for punishment? And what would be funny about George Michael and Maeby in a normal teenage relationship? No, “Arrested Development” has developed as far as it can, and I can accept that, let go and look forward to new shows from the people responsible. Still, there’s a Pismo Beach motel called the Blue Seal I pass frequently, and it always makes me think “Ah yes, Lucille.” - Wendell Wittler

While I could've enjoyed several more seasons of the show, I have to agree that it's best to not drag it out.

Farewell Bluths.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hope is lost...

Despite months-long rumors of Arrested Development having been picked up by the Showtime Network, and star Jason Bateman's confirmation that two new seasons of the series had been ordered, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on March 28, 2006 that creator Mitch Hurwitz will not be returning.

As Showtime had made it clear that Hurwitz's involvement was a requirement for the continuation of the show, Arrested Development is considered by both its creators and fans as having reached its end on television.

However, one small, tiny, microscopic bit hope remains: Hurwitz has previously alluded to the possibility of a feature film.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Binding and Loosing...

In Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis, he mentions the concept of binding and loosing from Matthew 16:17-19. I’ve never really thought about this idea before, never really knowing what it meant. Bell proposes an interesting explanation for binding and loosing.

He says that the disciples are given the liberty and the responsibility to interpret and explain the teaching of Jesus. I’m still working this out, but the implications of this are pretty incredible.

First of all, the liberty aspect. For a long, long time interpretation of scripture has been anything but liberating. It has been dogmatic, uniform and resistant to questioning and change. Imagine the possibilities for growth and open mindedness when we’re open to new ways of reading God’s words! Our eyes, hearts and minds could be opened to radically new truths about who God is and His will for our lives! His words could be new every morning and the lamp unto our feet could receive a brighter bulb.

However, as the great poet Stan Lee once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” We can’t be careless in our new reading of the scriptures. We can’t add to God’s words. God still speaks, God may have spoken in other mediums than the Bible, but any words, written or spoken, contrary to the words in the Bible lack credibility and authority.

We must be responsible in our binding and loosing. Jesus has given us incredible authority to communicate His truths. We don’t create truth or reality, but we certainly have a hand in shaping it. We can’t be flippant or careless with this responsibility.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Todd's Theses (Thoughts) - Part 3

The third (and final?) chapter in my theses posts.

33. Being mean or offensive isn’t the best way to point people towards truth.

34. Churches should be transformational. When people come in contact with Jesus’ love, they should never be the same.

35. God’s will isn’t unfurled before us so we can know His entire plan for our entire life. It’s revealed in small pieces so we can take next steps.

36. Every member is a minister.

37. Educational institutions, political organizations and Focus on the Family are NOT the Church.

38. We don’t go to church. We are the Church.

39. Mission work (and money) doesn’t have to occur (be spent) in another country.

40. Truth isn’t contingent upon me. Just because I believe something to be true doesn’t make it so. (Caedmon’s Call)

41. Women and men are equal in Christ. We do females a great disservice when we tell them they can be anything they want professionally, but they’re restricted in church.

42. The Bible is NOT an answer book, rulebook, instruction manual or textbook. It is a narrative, and it’s important that we understand it as such. (See #18)

43. Unity doesn’t equal uniformity.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Todd's Theses (Thoughts) - PART 2

Addendum to #2:
The Bible provides an incomplete, human picture of who God is.

17. The Bible is the perfect word of God. (2 Tim. 3:16)

18. The Bible was written to a specific group of people, with a specific purpose and a specific situation. To read the scriptures out of their historical context is a dangerous practice.

19. The mission of churches shouldn’t be to get bigger. The mission should be creating disciples and sending them out to do ministry.

20. Individualism is one of the worst things that have happened to the faith. Churches are communities. We can’t ignore the importance of community in study, prayer and worship.

21. Healing is still possible.

22. Our faith has become incredibly logical; it’s all about what you know. We need to tap into our emotions and experiences and recognize they are as valid to our understanding as cognitive knowledge.

23. We need to stop studying (so much) and start doing. We have too many classes and not enough service.

24. We should never stop learning.

25. Christianity is not a political movement. Moral legislation will not bring anyone closer to Jesus.

26. A cappella worship is not the sole way to worship from the heart.

27. Questioning God, the Bible, traditions or leaders is necessary for some people’s faith. Rather than discourage that, we should facilitate it. Church should be the most comfortable place to seek the truth.

28. If people are truly seeking for truth, they will find it. (Matt 7:7-8)

29. Tracts won’t change people’s lives.

30. Disfellowshipping entire churches isn’t Biblical.

31. Pointing out doctrinal errors of other churches is a waste of time.

32. Having nice things isn’t a sin.