If you don’t check the 9Marks site for its bimonthly offerings (all free!), you should. It is like taking a course in whatever subject the site is examining. It’s amazing that it is free, because there are multiple contributors each issue who offer choice insights and expert analysis. Though I have a book review in this issue, I am decidedly not including myself in that group. However, I do hope that my review of Dallas Seminary professor Aubrey Malphurs’s book is helpful.
The new issue, Jan/Feb 2008, is on corporate prayer. I would highly encourage you to take a look at it and read a few articles. For example, the sample corporate prayers will give you a good idea of how to pray before a congregation in a “big” way, that is, in such a way that one magnifies God and the work of His people on His earth. That’s just one example, of course. The whole thing is very well done as it is led by a godly man named Jonathan Leeman. Jonathan is a very talented editor and thinker and his work is quite valuable. I would encourage you to pass on the eJournal to someone who doesn’t know about it or link to it on your blog. Even if you don’t agree with all that you read, I think that you’ll still find some good material to mull over.
“Malphurs encourages the church to evaluate itself, which in itself is a healthy idea. His form of measurement, however, is concerning.
Evaluation takes place according to “PIs,” performance indicators that reveal the church’s progress toward its goals. For example, one might evaluate the effectiveness of a “seeker service” by the number of baptisms, or the effectiveness of personal evangelism by the number of professions of faith (307).
While numbers may reflect the blessing of God on our ministry, they may also reflect other realities. Our numbers may be high because our doctrine is shallow and easy to stomach. Our evangelism may appear fruitful because our evangelistic program goes soft on hell and perseverance. Isn’t it better to evaluate one’s church according to its faithfulness to Scripture?”