*** Are You Creative? ***

Last week, a friend of mine sent me a video of a group that used iPads as musical instruments for Christmas songs! He said: “Eric, look at what was filmed in my church!”

As I like everything related to new technologies, I watched it. I liked it so much that I am sharing this innovation with you (see video below). Above all, do not miss the end …

I am often amazed by God’s creativity – the mountains, the ocean, plants, animals, etc.. Isn’t he called the creator? The Bible emphasizes that “since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen because they are understood through what has been made. (Romans 1:20)”

God’s creation is so varied and wonderful. Besides, if you read the last book of the Bible, you will discover an extraordinary sky that goes beyond all understanding. What creativity!

Yes, God is a creator, and he invites us to be like him because we were created in His image. Even though the Lord is so creative, we often try to fit our worship, our praise, our songs, etc. into a well-organized context that does not leave much room for innovation.

In this video, these Christians have exercised their creativity to play and sing Christmas Carols otherwise. And I think, in this way, they are beginning to reach a new technologically-trendy generation. Good job!

Does your church creatively proclaim the Gospel? And you, are you creative when sharing the Good News? Why not tell us about your experience in this Top Blog?

I look forward to reading your comments. On behalf of the Top Chrétien team, from my heart, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Feliz Navidad ! Merry Christmas !

Your friend,

Eric

*** ICC: A Relevant Church! ***

ICC Church (Impact Centre Chrétien), whose services we appreciate every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. (Paris time) on Top Chretien, is going to launch two very interesting initiatives using new technology.  “Think outside of the box,” say the Anglo-Saxons. That’s just what Pastor Yvan Castanou does, and I welcome his initiatives that I’ll share with you in this blog.

Many churches do not yet understand that using new technology should be an integral part of the life and development of a church. Why should it be? Quite simply because new technology is part of people’s daily life today! “Go all over the world,” Jesus said! We can go with emails, with websites, with Facebook, with text messages, with Knowing God, etc.; so many tools just as effective as a sound system and a video-projector!

Our study of Knowing God Internet users shows us that 100% of them visit a church’s website before visiting the church. Thus, it is extremely important for a church to be present and visible on the Internet. Besides, it is for this reason that we launched MonEglise.net, to fill somewhat the technological gap, and help Internet users understand what a local church is so that they want to go to one!

Today, new technology allows the church to go beyond its “locality”! So why not take advantage of it? ICC, therefore, is going to launch two promising initiatives in this direction:

-A multi-site conference with Myles Munroe as the speaker. Myles Munroe is an excellent preacher and a marvelous conference speaker. Sponsored by the CEAF- http://www.ceaf.fr (Community of Churches of African Expression in France), this conference is offered to all local churches that would like to broadcast it live. It will take place Thursday, June 10 to Sunday, June 13, 2010. I encourage pastors and all Christian groups to register on the website http://parisleadershipconference.com. You will need an Internet connection, a video-projector, and a meeting place. If you, as an individual, would like to follow this conference, you will need to go to one of these broadcast places. However, nothing stops you from creating your own meeting place for the broadcast if you are a group of Christians. You must hurry though! It’s coming very soon! And, I think this conference will be a great blessing for all those who follow it.

-The second initiative is courageous, and I am anxious to see the fruits with lots of enthusiasm! ICC is going to open up, as a beginning, three other meeting places, but keep only one church. How are they going to do this? By gathering people together in meeting places or hotel conference rooms in the north, in the east, and in the west of Paris and broadcasting the Sunday morning services live from ICC auditorium. In fact, the praise and worship can be done locally but the preaching of the Word of God will come from the main service. In summary, it’s one church but many meeting places united through the Internet. As a result, I think that ICC is going to have an extraordinary impact in the years to come throughout the French-speaking world. I also think that many people are going to discover Jesus as Savior.

I have been convinced for several months now that churches should grasp this vision and do the same. I welcomed, at ICC by the way, an entire pastoral team from Lifechurch.tv. They are the pioneers in the domain of multi-site churches. They have a church in Oklahoma City and 15 meeting places all over the United States. They originated the YouVersion, the free Bible for iPhone. They are also the initiators of ChurchOnline, an internet church that encouraged me a lot. (I’ll talk to you about it another time.) Thirty pastors responded to the invitation. The general idea is that we can move the church to where the people live, and therefore, increase the impact of a local church or a particular ministry. In other words, multiply the number of meeting places by broadcasting the services through Internet, and thus, increase the impact of a church.

I understand that this new model of the church doesn’t suit everyone! But I believe that it is very biblical that a particular ministry of teacher, evangelist or prophet not be confined to only one meeting place. We have always defended the idea that these ministries should be itinerant, and rightly so. Today, there are other means of going, and the Internet gives us the opportunity. So why not seize it! Why shouldn’t the church use this technology to reach cities and even islands everywhere in the world, especially where there is no pastor!

I congratulate Pastor Yvan Castanou and ICC Church for opening up this new way. For goodness sake, let’s avoid petty criticism, and let’s try to encourage creative and innovative initiatives for the Kingdom of God, in any case, at least on Top Chretien. I count on you for that!

Allow me to ask you this question: “Do you think that the actual model of operating our churches is sacred? Or do you think that we should use all means at our disposal to spread the knowledge of Jesus Christ?” I will be very interested in knowing your opinion.

*** Quality is never an accident ***

Someone once said, Quality is never an accident. It’s always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and talented execution.

Besides, isn’t this what God demonstrated by his extraordinary creation? High intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and talented execution?

God expects the best from us for his work. Let’s drop the “just abouts”, the mediocrity, and let’s seek quality. Let’s pursue excellence in every project we endeavor.

One day, a father gave some advice to his son: Whatever work you do, just always do more than what is expected of you, and you will never miss out on a promotion. You will finish at the very top!

Jesus said that to the one who is faithful in the little things, he will entrust greater things.

Gideon was still threshing wheat when God already saw him as a valliant hero, a liberator! God knew that Gideon was going to give his best and count on God, whatever the circumstances.

No matter where you come from, you can accomplish exploits for God. But this will be done in stages. At each stage, pursue excellence, give the best of yourself. Then, move to the next stage. Don’t shoot too high or too far before even beginning, but seek to do a quality job of whatever is entrusted to you. And I am sure that God will take you far!

At Top Chretien, we believe that God wants to take us further. But we are aware that we need each one of you to get there. What can we do together to improve the quality of Top Chretien? I would truly like to have your opinion.

*** French-Speaking Churches Mobilizing ***

In 1986, I had the privilege of participating on Billy Graham’s team in France for eleven months. Billy Graham was coming to Bercy and the weeklong campaign had to be organized. It was an incredible event during which thousands of people came to Jesus. I was the youngest team member and my role was to put stamps on letters, lots of letters. I had a room all to myself since the machine was so noisy. Or maybe, was it my nature that was too noisy? LOL. At any rate, I was part of these changed lives, what a privilege!

One thing that truly marked me during this preparation was the mobilizing of the churches. Numerous churches of all denominations united to proclaim the name of Jesus.

Today I rejoice to see French-speaking churches mobilizing around another “e-vangelist”, the widget Jesus.net!

But what is this widget? It is a mini-version of ConnaitreDieu which can be integrated into any website, in particular into a church website. And, if a person goes through the course, prays, and leaves personal information, these are sent to the local church in question.

Take a look at the map below (You can zoom it.).  It shows you the churches that have installed the Jesus.net widget. Isn’t this encouraging? In one and a half months, 120 churches have already adopted it. And these churches are from 20 different denominations! Congratulations to their pastors and also to their webmasters.

Click to see the map: http://topchretien.widget.jesus.net/map.php?&print_domaine_num=15

Some examples of church websites (click on a name to see): Centre Evangélique PhiladelphiaEglise Protestante Baptiste de Joinville-le-Pont Église de Pentecôte de Drummondville Evangélique Eglise évangélique d’Echallens EvangéliqueSource de Vie Eglises en Cévennes Eglise de Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray Eglise évangélique de Réveil de Martigny Antibes Evangélique Assemblee Chretienne de Chaville Eglise Chrétienne Evangélique

Installing the widget is really very simple. If you have a website, don’t miss this opportunity. Here is the link to register. I would love to see many more churches using this free service. And that together, we throw out the net once again!

I invite you to read this testimony received via the widget that touched me a lot:

“My name is Salomon. I am 16 years old and I have been a believer since I was a child, my father being a pastor. In my church, everyone was blessed except me. It was a friend that proposed that I visit Top Chretien. So, I visited the website, but I was desperate for I believed that God would not speak to me. But today, I fell on my knees and I said the prayer at the end of the widget. I did it with all my heart, and when I finished praying, I felt that God had pardoned my sins and it was as if water was running over me. Today, I am certain that God has pardoned me. From this day on, I put all my trust in the all-powerful God and I give him all of my life. I love him with all my heart! From this moment on, I only live for him. Glory to God! Thank you, Top Chretien!”

Tell me what you think about this tool and what you can do to recommend it?