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People can be bored. Groups of people can be bored. Families, businesses, and, yes, church congregations can be bored.

Are you--or your congregation--suffering from the plague--the curse--of boredom?

I know individual people get bored. But can groups of people get bored? Can families, businesses, service clubs, or churches get bored? Yes, they can!

Here is the definition of boredom: the state of being weary and restless through a lack of interest.

Here is what a Washington Post article, on September 22, 2022, written by Richard Sima said:

Boredom is a universally dreaded feeling. Being bored means wanting to be engaged when you can’t. It’s our brain telling us to take action, much like pain is an important signal for danger or harm.

Boredom is also how our brains alert us that things aren’t going well. Scientists who study emotion note that every episode of boredom creates an opportunity for making a positive change instead of reactively looking for the fastest, easiest escape. We just need to pay attention.

“Boredom is sort of an emotional dashboard light that goes off saying, like, ‘Hey, you’re not on track,’ ” said Erin Westgate, a social psychologist at the University of Florida who studies boredom and co-authored the shock experiment. “It is this signal that whatever it is we’re doing either isn’t meaningful to us, or we’re not able to successfully engage with this.”

Boredom is a warning sign, she says, and it’s “really necessary.”

Perhaps we could think of boredom as God's wake-up call. And, personally, I believe families and groups of people can hit boredom mode.

In my 50 years of experience being a Baptist minister, I experienced boring churches as well as being bored myself. I know the symptoms and look of a church that produces boredom instead of souls for the kingdom of God. So many of our Southern Baptist churches are in a slump of boredom. Pastor, are you bored, too? I pray that you are not! Renew the Spirit that is in you!

Let's wake up! Get out of the doldrums! Do something that is different, engaging, and exciting that can lead to growth in Christ and reaching the lost! I can tell you, however, you'll have to clean house and get rid of some reefs in your love feast! (Jude verse 12). ##

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By Larry Clayton

While putting together a book of readings recently, I ran across some old questions that have occupied scholars, theologians, believers, and probably even atheists over the centuries. Do we have a built-in knowledge of good and evil, of right and wrong, of even the existence of God?

Teachings in Christianity are very clear in answering the questions: We do have an inborn knowledge of God. Or, put another way, our spiritual DNA does inform us all that there is a God. In Scripture the Apostle Paul clearly writes that all men have a built-in knowledge of God.

The key passages are in Paul’s letters to the Romans: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. [ italics added] For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1: 18-20, NIV) ”Indeed, when Gentiles [non-Christians], who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, [italics added] and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.” (Romans 2: 14-15) We need not dwell on the various commentaries, exegeses, apologetics, and other forms of explaining it all. For our purposes, the passage from Romans 1 indicates all men have a built-in knowledge of God, while the passage from Romans 2 indicates we all possess a knowledge of basic morality. In other words, you don’t have to be a Christian to believe in God, or believe that there is a right and wrong way to see and do things. It can get somewhat complex, especially as theologians tangle with the subject. The knowledge of good and evil, and of God, is categorized as “general revelation.” That is, given by God to all people. But Christians have received the message given to us by Jesus Christ which is called “special revelation.” General revelation is not sufficient for salvation. In the Bible, Christians have been given special information on sin, salvation, heaven, hell, the nature of God, the Trinity, the incarnation, death, redemption and so forth. As Christians with special revelation, we are enjoined by Jesus to go out and teach the rest of the world the knowledge of salvation. The Bible is the source of this knowledge. Evangelism, or teaching about Jesus Christ, his promises and doctrines, is the Great Commission. Now, leaving the bully pulpit, the argument made by Paul on knowledge of good and evil and right and wrong is -- unlike some Scripture -- clear. All humankind is born with a knowledge of good and evil, and even more explicitly, with a knowledge of God. Let me be as clear as possible in interpreting what Paul wrote. You don’t have to be a Christian to have this knowledge of good and evil. It is written on your heart and your very conscience will convict you when confronted with the choice to do right or not. That’s general revelation. From the beginning of time, God’s existence has been made plain to all since the existence of eternal power and a divine nature at work in the world, or God, is clear. Go out some cold night this winter, and look up into the cosmos, the sky, and see God’s presence. If you think it is all gas and masses colliding and separating, forming and disappearing, everything explained by the Big Bang and smart physicists, then ask yourself: How did it all come into being? And when you have the scientific answer, then ask yourself what preceded the creation of the cosmos, the universe? And if you are still curious and want to spend a few bucks, log on to and buy a little book, "Cleared for Landing: On Living a Christian Life," and check out Chapter One, “Did Jesus Really Live? Did We Invent God, or Did God Invent Us?” The author will be most grateful for all royalties your curiosity may generate for his next trip to Publix. ## Larry Clayton is a retired University of Alabama history professor. Readers can email him at

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A man named Christian Swartz investigated the principles involved in growing churches and discovered 8 essential qualities. He wrote a book called Natural Church Development that was published in 1996. He used a scientifically valid method of investigating the growing churches in different parts of the world and compared them with the stagnating and declining churches. So this was a truly scientific study done on a large scale.

Science is a word that comes from the Greek tongue and means knowledge. Of course, in the English language of today, it means a process of investigating the natural world around us in a logical, systematic way, using what is called "the scientific method." Pretty heavy stuff, huh? Science is just checking out the physical world around us in an orderly fashion.

Perhaps you have taken a science course in school, so you should understand the basics of testing, experimenting, and investigating natural settings and social settings by observation, testing, and in the case of social situations, using questionnaires.

That's what Christian A. Schwarz, the author of the book, Natural Church Development, did in order to investigate church growth. It was a massive endeavor and was done in different churches in many countries.

He discovered eight qualities that are the bottom line to achieving growth in attendance and membership in a "church" known in original Biblical manuscripts that were written in the Greek language as an "assembly of believers." An assembly of Christ followers is a local gathering of believers with a simple organization.

This is a pet peeve of mine--the misunderstanding of the nature of the assembling of believers during the first three centuries AD. The King James translators did not use the true translation of the Greek word for a Christian assembly. That's because they were afraid of being beheaded by King James. They created the word church, which has absolutely no etymology--no existence anywhere else--because King James wanted to keep total control over all Christians and their leaders by being the "head of the Church." But I digress.

Here are the eight essential, bottom-line, qualities of Healthy, Growing Churches discovered in this study:

  • Empowering leadership

  • Gift-oriented ministry

  • Passionate spirituality

  • Functional structures

  • Inspiring worship service

  • Holistic small groups

  • Need-oriented evangelism

  • Loving relationships

You can buy a used copy of Natural Church Development on ##

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