Review of Steve Parr’s “The Coffee Shop that Changed a Church”

The Coffee Shop That Changed a Church: Discovering the Net EffectThe Coffee Shop That Changed a Church: Discovering the Net Effect by Steve R. Parr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First off, full disclosure: Steve Parr is a friend. I’ve heard him speak on his “Why They Stay” research several times, and brought him to my church so they could hear it too. I’ve led conferences with him, used his material to train my leaders, and so forth. So you could for sure write off this review as biased.

That being said, this is a wonderful book. The trope of using a narrative story to teach practices and principles is either time worn and effective (see Andy Stanley’s “Communicating for a Change” or John Kotter’s “Our Iceberg is Melting”) or time worn and hokey (see Art Rainer’s “The Money Challenge.”) Steve’s narrative, about a struggling pastor who begins to meet with an older pastor and learns how to be a more intentionally evangelistic church, is actually a really good story. The only place it got hokey was when said older pastor recommends a book from “a friend of his” and it turns out to be ONE OF STEVE PARR’S BOOKS. Come on, man!

I would recommend this book to any pastor who is interested in leading his church to be more evangelistic. And knowing the results Steve himself has had, I can tell you that it really works. Which, by the way, is half of the title of the real book, written by Steve, that the fictional pastor recommends: Sunday School That Really Works.

Shameless, I know.

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Ten Lepers Left

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Ten Lepers, by James Christensen

I wrote this poem several years ago, but updated it and used it in a sermon I preached this past weekend. A few folks have asked for it, so here it is. It is based on the story of the ten lepers Jesus healed in Luke 17:11-19.

Ten lepers walked the city streets,

and stopped to hear the preacher preach

So close to death, all pride was stripped,

Nothing to lose; so those with lips

Called, “Jesus, help us out a bit?”

“Go, show yourselves unto the.  priests,”

He said, they scattered, west to east

Their skin, with cleansing fire burned

Ten lepers left, but one returned.

 

Once, the question came to mind, “What happened to the other nine?”

And though I claim no revelation—this is nothing more than speculation

I offer you this testament

To where the other lepers went.

 

First, there’s Leper Number One

Who took off in an all out run.

Her feet, now free from open sores

Ran like they’d never run before.

 

Poor old leper number Two

Had no idea what he should do.

So, scarred from years of being shunned

Went home, locked up, and saw no one.

 

Then there’s leper Number Three

For whom sickness became security

For years, defined by leprosy

Till it became identity

Healed, became a bitter man

And wished he could get sick again.

 

That accounts for three who were healed that day

Nine lepers left, one leper stayed.

 

Leper four, his skin free of spots

Left and immediately forgot

He’d ever been a leper.

 

Five and six found love along the way.

Ran off, got married that same day.

 

So that makes six accounted for

One leper stayed, that leaves three more.

 

And of those three, there were the two

That wrote “Life from a Leper’s Point of View.”

They gained great fame in lecture halls,

Signed copies of their books in malls.

And on the Oprah Winfrey Show,

Oprah said, “We want to know,

To what do you attribute health?”

“From within,” they said. “We healed ourselves.”

 

Number Nine believed his leprosy

Was to be replaced with prosperity

Convinced it’s what he deserves, somehow.

He’s out there living his best life now.

 

So, ten lepers went their separate ways

Nine lepers left, one leper stayed.

He stayed to fall at Jesus’ feet,

Stayed to feel His touch so sweet;

To thank Him for the gift he gave,

Ten lepers cured, one leper saved.

James Jackson

 

Grace Given on the Way to Jerusalem

Common grace and saving grace: how God uses one to lead us to the other.

Part 3 of the “On the Way to Jerusalem” seres. Preached March 11, 2018

Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville, Alabama

James Jackson, Lead Pastor

Click here for PowerPoint: WTJ 3. Grace Given

Click here for manuscript: WTJ 3. Grace Given

 

On the Way to Jerusalem #2: Ultimate Urgency

Jesus said it’s a narrow door to Heaven. Do you know what the two keys are to that door?

Sermon Preached March 4, 2018, Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville, AL

James Jackson, Lead Pastor

Text: Luke 13:1-5, 22-30

Click here for PowerPoint: WTJ 2. Ultimate Urgency

Click here for Manuscript: WTJ 2. Ultimate Urgency

 

Stay on Target… Stay on Target

Right now I’m going through a daily devotional with several friends from church that is based on John Piper’s Life in the Spirit. It’s ten days of meditation on the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. This morning I was struck by this line from Piper:

God sends the Holy Spirit as a preserving seal to lock in our faith.

Pastors and teachers are always looking for fresh metaphors to help us understand the Holy Spirit. This sentence made me think of a new one:

When a fighter jet locks in on a target, the computer helps the pilot stay on target, no matter how many shots the enemy fires at him. If he gets off course, the targeting computer corrects him.

If you know me, you know I am a huge Star Wars fan. And if you’ve seen the original movie, you remember the scene of Luke making his final attack run on the Death Star. His targeting computer is locked in on the tiny exhaust port. He’s about to launch his photon torpedoes. Suddenly he hears the voice of Obi Wan in his head: Trust your feelings. So he switches to manual and lets the Force guide him.

It would be tempting to stop there and say, “See– that’s the Holy Spirit!” But there’s that troublesome line: Trust your feelings. And that’s the problem. Your feelings will get you in trouble. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things.”

I need to not do what Luke Skywalker did when he switched off his computer and trusted his feelings. My feelings can and will lead me astray. If (in this very random analogy) the Holy Spirit is my targeting computer, then I’m never gonna blow up the Death Star by switching to manual.

What Mean These Stones?

If you have more memories than dreams, you are looking in the wrong direction.

Sermon preached by Rev. Glenn Brock, January 21, 2018

Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville Alabama

Text: Joshua 4

Our church, Glynwood Baptist Church, was constituted on January 20, 1991. On January 21, 2018, we celebrated our 27th anniversary. We baptized five people. Diane Causey, one of our charter members, read the history of the church. And Mel Johnson, Director of Missions for the Autauga Baptist Association, led the opening prayer. Following the worship service, we shared lunch together as a church family. It was a great day!