Jim Parsons

Author's details

Name: Jim Parsons
Date registered: March 3, 2012
URL: https://profiles.google.com/117284380827210057296

Latest posts

  1. Adventures In Revland: 14 (or 15) Points that make a Church…according to the IRS — April 7, 2014
  2. Adventures In Revland: Is Church Harder than It’s Ever Been? — March 27, 2014
  3. Adventures In Revland: Why Do We All Hate Duke? — March 26, 2014
  4. Adventures In Revland: Successful Minsitry = Grit — March 24, 2014
  5. Adventures In Revland: Christian Discipleship — March 20, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Adventures In Revland: My Struggle with Hate — 1 comment
  2. Adventures In Revland: Sermon – 5 Practices of a Fruitful Congregation: Passionate Worship — 1 comment
  3. Adventures In Revland: 3 Simple Rules: #1 – Do No Harm – Sermon — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Apr 07 2014

Adventures In Revland: 14 (or 15) Points that make a Church…according to the IRS

Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/hYvZi/~3/zgQUbwkTX2Y/14-or-15-points-that-make.html

I was listening to a radio news report on the definition of what a church is according to the IRS.  In a segment by John Burnett he discusses the idea that the TV Network, Daystar, is considered a church by IRS standards.  Here is a link to the show.  I had never had to deal with making sure the congregations I have been a pastor of were considered a church by the IRS.  I was interested to learn what these 14/15 points were that made the IRS consider an entity a church.  Here is what I found..
In applying the analysis to determine whether a religious organization may
properly be characterized as a church, the Service considers whether the
organization has the following characteristics: (a) a distinct legal existence, (b) a
recognized creed and form of worship, (c) a definite and distinct ecclesiastical
government, (d) a formal code of doctrine and discipline, (e) a distinct religious
history, (f) a membership not associated with any other church or denomination,
(g) an organization of ordained ministers, (h) ordained ministers selected after
completing prescribed studies, (i) a literature of its own, (j) established places of
worship, (k) regular congregations, (l) regular religious services, (m) Sunday
schools for religious instruction of the young, (n) schools for the preparation of its
ministers, and (o) any other facts and circumstances that may bear upon the
organization's claim for church status. See IRM 7(10)69, Exempt Organizations
Examination Guidelines Handbook, text 321.3(3).

These terms seem so broad I was wondering if anything could become a tax exempt church?  What about a coffee house?  Could a prison?  Could a fast food restaurant become a church if they changed a few names of people?

I guess what disturbed, but not surprised, me about this piece was the Television Network's claim that since they produce worship services as TV shows that it counts as worship.  There is no formal service outside the ones shown on TV.  Now I confess I have not seen any of these shows.  I did visit the website and it looks like any other TV network website.  You can see clips from their shows but there is no scheduled worship time or location.

I am not worried that my church is not a church.  By this list we fulfill the necessary requirements.  It is a shame though that there are those people out there that are taking advantage of the system and making millions upon millions of dollars off of a loophole that the IRS is too busy to fill.

It is a great piece by John, take time to listen.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/04/14-or-15-points-that-make-a-church-according-to-the-irs/

Mar 27 2014

Adventures In Revland: Is Church Harder than It’s Ever Been?

Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/hYvZi/~3/MMfVXa_4zuA/is-church-harder-than-its-ever-been.html

Is Church Harder than It’s Ever Been?

Is the fact that our society is making church work harder a good thing?  I believe this is actually a time of growth in faith because now I cannot take my faith for granted.  I have to understand, digest and affirm what I believe.  I have to be able to talk intelligently about it and convey that message clearly to people who don't understand.

Is Church harder than it's ever been?  Maybe but my faith hasn't been deeper.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/03/is-church-harder-than-its-ever-been/

Mar 26 2014

Adventures In Revland: Why Do We All Hate Duke?

Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/hYvZi/~3/Kqd8htKzeQk/why-do-we-all-hate-duke.html

Why Do We All Hate Duke? 

This is a great question as we do what Duke will be doing this weekend, watching the NCAA Tournament from our couches.  I bleed Duke Blue and love watching them.  I loved watching them from behind the basket in Cameron when I was in Divinity School there and now I enjoy watching them as an Alumni.

I even enjoy how much people hate them.  People hate Duke.  The type of hate that is instinctual, gut wrenching, deep-down, deep-seated, deep-rooted, inward, emotional and animalistic.  I love that about Duke.

If you want to know why this hatred exists and why people cheer the loudest when they lose, read the article above.  It is brilliant.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/03/why-do-we-all-hate-duke/

Mar 24 2014

Adventures In Revland: Successful Minsitry = Grit

Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/hYvZi/~3/3A8m79r2tmM/successful-minsitry-grit.html

Angela Lee Duckworth gives a great TED talk which you can watch below.  As I listened to it I wondered if this is what makes people successful in ministry?  Clergy need grit which Angela defines as "passion and preserving for very long time goals, having stamina, sticking with your future."  Dictionary.com defines it as courage and resolve.  This is a personality trait that is needed in ministry but one that wasn't really discussed in seminary or even in my pre-ordination conference small groups.  Ministry needs grit.

Why do we hide the realty that to change a social system like a congregation which is embedded into families and community will take a ton of courage and resolve.  To move a group of people who have grown up, know each other, and lived with one another longer than you have been alive takes an immense amount of grit.  It is a long game, a marathon as Angela puts it.  Clergy, especially in my denomination of United Methodist, work within a local system (the local church) and a middle system (districts) within a larger systems (conference/denomination).  Grit is needed to get through the red tape to accomplish anything and even more to make any type of changes.

Angela confesses that work still needs to be done to learn how to teach people the characteristic of grit.  But now that I know what it is, I am on the look out for it.  I am looking for leaders in my congregation who don't mind the long game, the marathon, and who have the stamina to see things through.  I hope I can see grit as one of my personality traits but I think that will come with time.

What do you think?  Is grit a key characteristic of a successful minister?

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/03/successful-minsitry-grit/

Mar 20 2014

Adventures In Revland: Christian Discipleship

Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/hYvZi/~3/EiAEaOCmPcg/christian-discipleship.html

Christian Discipleship is defined in the United Methodist Discipline in paragraph 135.
"The ministry of all Christians consists of privilege and obligation.  The privilege i a relationship with God that is deeply spiritual.  The obligation is to respond to God's call to holy living in the world.  In the United Methodist tradition these two dimensions of Christian discipleship are wholly interdependent."

Do we look at Christian Discipleship as a privilege or do we see it as an obligation or do we understand it as both?  The Discipline goes on to explain that it is a privilege to be able to have a relationship with God.  Out of this relationship with God and the experience of his grace comes the obligation to live into our relationship with Christ in the world.

How many of us only see one side of this relationship?  Are we only concentrated on the privilege or the obligation?  We should hold these two things close to our hearts, remembering both aspects of Christian Discipleship.  A true disciple has the privilege of knowing a deep relationship with the triune God we worship and feel our obligation to live this relationship out in the world.  Neither are a burden but a way that grace is experienced and shared.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/03/christian-discipleship/

Feb 21 2014

Adventures In Revland: Revelation on Elevation

Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/hYvZi/~3/AwDfQddr8Y8/revelation-on-elevation.html

Another news story was launched on Elevation Church and this time it is about Spontaneous Baptisms. The NBC affiliate in Charlotte, WCNC, has been doing some investigating reports on the church. Some say it is a witch hunt while others point to the history of PTL as valid reasons why this reporting is important.  One of the main campuses of the church is only a few miles from my church.  I have friends who attend the church and I am finding that these stories are talked about in almost all of my social circles, personal and professional.  Recently there was a blog post that came out showing a coloring page given to children and it has added additional fuel to the fire. 

Some of my Facebook friends have asked my opinion on the matter and I told them I would respond. Now that I have drawn a line in the sand I feel I need to say something but I have been wrestling with how and what to actually say.  

I wrote one draft of a post but then after reading another clergy's thoughts on what is happening I realized what I need to say.  So here it goes...

I am an Ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church and have grown up in the UMC all my life.  I love our theology, structure and holding down the extreme center socially and theologically.  I went to a Presbyterian college and received reformed theological training and theology but I became more United Methodist the longer I was there.  I am not Southern Baptist and have never been.  I have only attended a few Southern Baptist churches and have limited experience with SB pastors.  Although, my daughter does go to a Southern Baptist Preschool and I have family who are Baptist.

I say this because the Southern Baptist theology and polity are not things I am all too familiar with.  I know a little but not enough to make myself an expert.  I know we don't agree theologically on many things.  I know I have had some recovering baptists in my congregations over the years and I know others who are recovering methodists in baptist congregations.  

I celebrate our differences because we all look at the world differently.  We need different theologies so that we can speak to as many people as possible and work together to bring forth the Kingdom of God.  We can agree to disagree on our views of baptism, church structure and other points of theology.  It is okay!

Elevation Church is a Southern Baptist Church although you will not find that anywhere on their site or campuses.  I know that Pastor Steven is doing some wonderful things over there.  How could he not to be only 34 and have a congregation in two cities and growing it to over 14,000 people?  I hear the music is incredible and the production put into each worship service is amazing, although I have not ever been to a worship service there.  

When some of the other news reports came out I asked some of my Elevation friends their thoughts.  I did this because how Elevation is run and organized is vastly different than my denomination and experience.  I was curious what others thought, not in a judgmental way but in a "I want to learn more about this" way.  

With all this said, here is my $.02 on Elevation Church.  It is different than my church in almost every way.  It is structured differently than my denomination and the church I pastor.  We hold different views when it comes to baptism and visioning.  I have listened to some of Pastor Steven's sermons via podcast and there are some places where we agree theologically and others where we disagree, although I can find that in about every minister, even within my own tradition.  Elevation ≠ Indian Trail United Methodist.  Good?  Bad?  I am not to judge, all I know is we are different.

Would I hold a Spontaneous Baptism service...no because we have a different theology on baptism.  Do I agree with the planting of 15 people to get up when Pastor Steven asks people to come get baptized?   To me that walks right up to that line we shouldn't cross in worship and resembles a little bit of Jonas Nightingale to me.  But once again that is because we see things differently.  I think the news report was a little unfair and reaching when it talks about "mining for good stories."  I think all pastors and churches are looking for good stories to help share people's experience at their church.  I don't see anything unBiblical about that, but since the church published guidelines with those directions in it, it does make them a easy target.

I finally realized where I should look to form my opinion of Elevation Church...scripture.  As it says in Acts 5:38-39, “So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!” I will not judge nor try to fight against God. I will acknowledge our differences but we worship the same God and believe in the work and salvation found in Jesus Christ.  That is my opinion on Elevation…if is of human origin, it will fail and if it is of God, it will thrive.

I will pray for their church, as I hope they would lift mine up as well, and I will continue to do my part to build up the Kingdom of God in the community we share.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/02/revelation-on-elevation/

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