Choosing Playing Over Watching

I Refuse to Lead A Dying Church is the title of a book by Paul Nixon, and was the topic of a workshop this past Saturday attended by six of our Deacons and myself. We all agreed that it was an informative and inspirational day.

Nixon has served as a pastor at a mega-church in Florida, as the pastor of a new church start, as a church consultant and is currently organizing a non-traditional church in Washington DC that does programming in different sites throughout the metro area, but doesn’t have its own building ( He is a creative and innovative Christian leader.

The six major themes of Nixon’s workshop were the same as his book:

· Choosing Life over Death
· Choosing Community over Isolation
· Choosing Fun over Drudgery
· Choosing Bold over Mild
· Choosing Frontier over Fortress
· Choosing Now Rather than Later

The primary emphasis is creating vital Christian communities that make a significant difference in the lives of their members and their communities. One central aspect is bringing new people to know Christ and follow Jesus. Nixon writes about growing churches, “Their rational for evangelism varies considerably; but the fact remains that most growing churches believe in evangelism—at least to the degree that they want new people in their ranks. They want others to discover the spiritual blessings that they have discovered. They want to share their church with strangers and newcomers, many of whom have different cultural instincts and values. Leaders in such churches care more about everyone coming to know Christ than they care about keeping their churches small enough so that they can know everyone.”

This presents a challenge—a welcome challenge to us all. You’ll be hearing soon about some ideas from our charged-up Deacons to bring even more energy to our church. In the meantime I recommend Nixon’s book to you and be sure to stop one of our Deacons to ask them what they learned: Bonnie Dawkins, Jenny Haluza, Skipp McGowan, Jeanne Miller, Pete Pedersen, and Mike Sirignano.

Let me close with two important notes for Sunday—first, be sure to turn your clocks back on Saturday night, and secondly, because you have that extra hour you can come to church early for the PF pancake breakfast. This is not only a good way to help our youth group, but another chance to get to know others in the church. Choosing pancakes over sleeping!


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