Heaven – The Christian’s Hope
The Issue: People are going to get serious about being Christians when they really want to, and if we understand the Bible’s message about heaven, that’s what makes people want to get serious. Unfortunately, most Christians have a view of heaven that is definitely not motivating. It starts with negatives (no sin, no death, no pain, no tears), and some of the negatives people believe about heaven are really bad (no pets, no bond of love with earthly spouses). The positives are not much better (streets of gold, everybody wearing crowns, and spend all eternity telling God what a good God he is for what he did in the good old days back on earth). The average American Christian prefers heaven over hell, but earth over heaven. So heaven is not the motivating factor God intended it to be.
The solution: Learn what the Bible really does tell us about heaven. See what Jesus said that applies specifically to our hope in heaven. Find out what clues God has provided in the Bible that should cause us to look forward to heaven eagerly. Find what motivated early Christians to change the world!
Christian Love – The Heart and Soul of Christianity
The Issue: The second most important factor in people really wanting to be serious about their Christianity is Christian love. More Christians grasp this one than heaven, but most still do not. Unfortunately, most Christians look at Christian love as being good to your friends and loved ones, and most don’t understand the importance of Christian love in God’s plan. Christian love is the nature of our heavenly Father into whose image we are to be growing. Christian love is the defining characteristic of a Christian. Christian love is the ultimate gift of God. Christian love is a key factor in what will make heaven a paradise. Practicing Christian love is how we experience God in our lives. Practicing Christian love gives us a foretaste of heaven. Christian love is God’s tool for winning the world to his kingdom.
The solution: Learn what Jesus said about the definition of Christian love. Learn how important Christian love is and how good it is to experience a life lived in Christian love. Learn how forgiveness works as a part of Christian love. Learn the connection between sin and the failure to practice Christian love. Learn the important role of practicing Christian love in preparing us for heaven. Find the tool that early Christians used to change the world!
Repentance and Saving Faith – The Real Message
The Issue: Most Christians have a view of saving faith as believing that the message in the Bible is true and that God exists—and that belief is often combined with some level of skepticism. Most Christians have a view of repentance as being sorry for having sinned (or for having been caught in our sin). Most Christians have the idea that once they verbally agree that they do believe the message of the Bible and that they are sorry for having sinned they’re saved. (Many would add that they had to be baptized.) However, we’ve misunderstood what repentance really is, what faith really is, and what baptism really is as defined in the Bible. Even those who place great emphasis on one of these doctrines almost universally miss what the Bible teaches about these things.
The solution: Learn how the Bible defines repentance, saving faith, and baptism. (It’s almost certainly not what you think, no matter what your background is.) Learn the vital role of repentance, faith, and baptism in preparing us for an eternity of joy serving God. Find the focus that early Christians had as they changed the world!
Suffering, Pain, and God’s Most Important Lesson
The Issue: Very few Christians understand why God allows his beloved children to suffer in this world, but the message of the Bible reveals that this is a truly vital part of God’s plan for an eternity of joy. When we understand what God is doing in this world, we’ll see that while pain and suffering are still just as difficult, there is hope in whatever we experience because God is using even the worst things for our own good. But this is a message people need to understand before the pain and suffering gets too terrible. Once you’re in the depths of a valley, this message isn’t helpful, but if you learn what the Bible teaches before you get to those depths, the valley won’t be nearly so deep.
The solution: Learn what the Bible really does tell us about suffering and pain and how God wants to use these things in our lives. Learn the Bible’s message about the real cause of pain and suffering—and the real cure. Learn how pain and suffering are an essential part of God’s plan to prepare us for an eternity where there will be no pain and suffering. Find the hope in suffering and pain that inspired the early Christians to go through terrible suffering and still change the world!
Prayer – How It Works and Why Yours Don’t
The Issue: Most Christians have no idea of what’s wrong in their prayer lives, but they know something’s not right. They read what seem to be very specific promises in the Bible, and misunderstanding what those promises actually were meant to communicate, they find prayer to be almost useless. It’s a last resort when nothing else works, and they generally don’t expect much result. More than this, they read about all the miracles recorded in the Bible, and since they see few if any miracles in their lives, they question whether the Bible can be true.
The solution: Learn what prayers God will not grant and why. Learn what the Bible really does say about when God will grant our prayers. Learn how to grow in prayer power so that at least some of the prayers that God would not have granted earlier will now be granted. Learn to use the power that early Christians turned loose when they changed the world!
The Issue: More and more Christians seem to be questioning whether there is really any difference between Christianity and other religions and whether Christianity is better in any way than religions such a Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and others. More and more other religions are emphasizing doctrines that are similar to the things most people find good in Christianity.
The solution: Learn why Christianity has a claim to reality that no other religion has. Learn what’s different about Christianity (other than the obvious fact that our leader rose from the dead). Learn what makes Christianity unique and what gave the early Christians the power to change the world!
Getting to Know the God Who Cares
The Issue: More and more Christians seem to be questioning whether God is really all that good. First, the Bible tells how he carried out genocide and how he commanded the Israelites to carry out genocide, too. And he threatens to send people to hell for what seem to be minor issues. In fact, many people become Christians just because they want to avoid hell (like fire insurance), and they’re looking for the cheapest fire insurance they can find. This results in people who want to find the minimum involvement needed to avoid hell.
The solution: Learn why God sometimes had to commit genocide. Learn why it was even important for the Israelites to participate at one point in their history. Learn how God’s love may even be seen in the reality of hell, and how much he has been willing to do to save people from that hell. Learn how biblical passages about God have been misused and misunderstood to give people the impression that God is vindictive rather than gracious, loving, and forgiving. This workshop is about meeting the wonderful heavenly Father who does whatever he can to show us his love while preparing us for an eternity of joy and excitement in his service—the picture that inspired early Christians to change the world!
Discipleship – The Practice of Christianity According to Jesus
The Issue: Too many Christians have no idea what it means to be a disciple or what being a disciple has to do with being a Christian. Too many Christians think that Christianity is about sitting through a sermon once a week, putting money in the offering plate, and behaving politely while in the building for the meeting. The process is boring, and what they have to look forward to is an eternity in heaven that will be just as boring.
The solution: Learn about the link between being a disciple and learning to live daily as a follower of Christ. Learn what it means to follow Christ—the simple message that is obviously right and good. Learn how discipleship links to Jesus’ great commission and to the actual meaning of the word “Christian.” And learn how true discipleship enabled the early Christians to change the world!
Team Meetings – A Cross between a Pep Rally and a Training Session
The Issue: Too many churches have meetings that fall into one of these categories: 1) It feels like a funeral service; 2) It feels like a pep rally but with no important content; 3) It feels like a waste of time except possibly to catch a nap; 4) an opportunity for leaders to show off. The church is supposed to be a team. (That’s what the word “church” in the Bible actually means—team.) The team meetings should have purpose and should always make the team better able to do what the team was meant to do, but far too often that’s not what happens. Team members never get in the game at all. The coaches tell the team members to get in the game, but never tell them how or even provide a reasonable way to get involved.
The solution: Learn what God really wants the team meetings to be. Learn how the professionals can coach the team members and get them involved in the most awesome and rewarding experience in the world. Learn how team meetings can be both a pep rally and a training session so that the team knows how to get involved and really wants to do so. This kind of team meeting was important to the early Christians in their successful efforts to change the world!
There is no direct cost for these workshops and seminars. An offering to help cover transportation and lodging costs would be appreciated. If the materials covered are truly helpful, then we request that you add New Century Ministries to your mission budget. Our mission is to revitalize Christians in America by training teams of Christians in the motivating message of Christianity that we have lost or so disfigured by our traditions that it no longer works as it should. We need support as we develop materials for children and adults.
Each workshop takes three to five sessions at one hour per session. No single session should last more than one hour, but multiple sessions in one day with breaks between sessions would be OK. If you’re interested in scheduling a workshop, start by contacting us at the Contact page.