Internationalization vs. Naturalization of the Church of God

July 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, News

bulgarian-churchIn the beginning of 21st century, when perspective and persona are changed by postmodern thinking, church planting is most important. Providing a strategy for church planting and growth is to serve as a roadmap to success for Bulgarian church leaders and people who have dedicated their lives to making a difference within the community of believers. It is our prayer that such strategy becomes part of the Great Commission given to the Christendom.

The process of transformation of Bulgarian communities in the United States toward a more contemporary and functional model of ministry will inevitably reflect on the process of internalization, which is taking place within the Church of God. The natural birth of the church, however, as described by the Bible does not include a process of internationalization in which one nation creates an environment for other nations in order for better representation. On the contrary, the Bible speaks of ecclesial equality represented by many ethnic groups naturalized in the body of the church. Naturalization in the church brings both equality and unity among its members. Internalization, respectively, resembles a process of mechanical assembling of a large mass of people under one name without giving them a unique nature that characterizes the community.

Further recognition of the ethnic groups of non-American-born believers represented within the Church of God in the United States will provide the ability to naturalize its infrastructure as a body, rather than artificial over force to internationalize a body of an already ethnically diverse community. In the beginning of the 21st century such strategy will give the Church of God the opportunity to successfully target cross-cultural communities across the United States and produce church growth in metropolis and large urban developments, where the strategies for growth based on its historical dominating rural culture have proven long-ineffective. Finally, such detailed focus on cross-cultural ministries will assure the productive attention not only to large ethnic groups, but also to small and growing cross-cultural communities, which will continually assure the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Church of God and will provide it with a realistic international appearance.

Excerpt from Analytical Overview and Church Planting Proposal for Bulgarian American Congregations Considering Cultural, Economical And Leadership


Repost: The Exodus of the Youth from Church: In Search of Answers to a Dark Dilemma

June 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, News

church-pewby Kathryn N. Donev

I recently sat in a lecture “Why Are Youth Leaving the Church?” I listened to the most recent statistics, compared one opinion to the next, looked at the latest church involvement research and even explored some emerging themes of why people in general leave the faith. All the information was very interesting and contained an impressive collaboration of ideas. The research does not lie and opinions are to be valued. However, honestly what good does this enlightenment do us when we sit back and do nothing to correct the problem? We are so used to youth leaving our church that we have become complacent with pews filled with “ancient dinosaurs” in the words of a young lady just last week. We have become so overwhelmed with data that we forget to look at the real picture of why our next generation of leaders are leaving. Or perhaps we do nothing because we simply don’t understand young people’s true motivation for leaving the church. The answers may be uncomfortable for some but they deserve deeper exploration.

Youth are leaving the church but this does not necessarily mean they all are leaving the faith. Many young people of today have much more faith than some of the pew fillers whom have their assigned seats with their pillows and blankets left to save their spots. So if this is the case that they still have a genuine relationship with Christ but simply don’t want to be within the four walls of religion, so to speak, should we not explore the million dollar question differently? We should not excuse away their leaving to agnosticism, postmodernism or neopaganism regardless of how cleverly it takes the focus off of the real concerns and sins of the “church.” It is not a very popular idea to confess the sins of the church which is ironic when we proclaim to be a house of confession. Perhaps confession is only good for the soul as long as the sins are not our own. Behind the irony rests a darker problem, one that is responsible for many young people leaving the church.

For years the church has been a place of hypocrisy and today’s young generation is one that is fed up with the dishonesty and is willing to take a stand. They are so disgusted they can no longer keep silent. They are not willing to “tweak the numbers” of the church financial records or work their way up the hierarchical ladder. They see through the masks and are not willing to compromise. Young people are tired of religious politics, bickering, back stabbing and lying. If we, the church, do not open our eyes to this now, if not yesterday, it will be too late.

This young generation is wandering looking for a place of refuge and they no longer find a safe place in the church house. The church regrettably is no longer safe. You cannot genuinely express your feelings, concerns or doubts without them being the topic of the message on the following Sunday morning. There is no longer trust within the church. The place of worship has turned into a place of gossip. A spiritual encounter has been replaced with a social gathering. The leadership of the Holy Spirit is no longer considered because we are too busy worrying about the opinions of others. So if by now you are still puzzled as to why the today’s youth are leaving the church then my heart is deeply saddened.

Nevertheless, we need to make a self-less effort and remember that the church does not exist for our personal entertainment. Realize it is not a prize to possess but is a treasure to be given away to the next generation. We must do whatever it takes to restore the tabernacle to its original purpose; to call its people back to holiness. We must be willing to give up our seat to the next generation before it is too late and there is no body left willing to fill the void.

Postscript: This article was written based on the following word the Lord gave me June, 2011: “The Church is not a prize to possess, but is a treasure to give away”.