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Michael S. Rogers

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About Michael S. Rogers

  • Birthday 09/03/1969

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  1. Michael S. Rogers

    Looking For Some Male Pov

    Thanks, Lynn!
  2. Michael S. Rogers

    Looking For Some Male Pov

    I'd be willing to help as well, and as with the rest of you my wife of 24 years has access to my computer. I'm fairly new to the site, so not sure about how the PM works!
  3. Michael S. Rogers

    Publishing And Book Trailer

    Thank you! This is what I was seeking! Now, to do a little research on effective length and get to it! I'll post my trailer here when it's done.
  4. Michael S. Rogers

    Common To All Middles

    What is true across denominational lines? I was starting a new ministry at Faith Church of Christ in Burlington, Indiana. Given the chance to seek a new path toward congregational health, I plunged back into my thoughts and notes about discipleship. If we could make disciples who make disciples of the Middle Group there, we could make an impact for the Kingdom of God in that region. For the first time in my life, I started out the ministry teaching about prayer. Prayer, after all, is universal in the faith. As I taught and formed a prayer team and considered what God was showing me, I realized I needed to do a series on discipleship for them. Though we agreed on our doctrine, I saw it as an opportunity to teach past our version of church and speak into the hearts of the congregation what they could share with the Methodists and Brethren down the street. I asked the question, “What is true no matter what I think about baptism, spiritual gifts, communion (Eucharist), end times, musical leanings, or any other controversial issue in the church?” All those topics are important and we should teach them. We should discuss them with other believers even if we disagree. However, if we spend all our time on the disagreements we lose the power in the intersections of our faith. My goal was to create a discipleship process that could be used regardless of a person’s denominational experience. What is true no matter what part of the body resonates with me? We are all called to: The Great Commission . . . . . . using the Great Commandments . . . . . . to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. These three ideas are central to every church, regardless of the doctrine surrounding them. What can we teach that leads people to remember these things? More importantly, what can we teach the Middles that will encourage them to participate, enliven them to their part in the spiritual battle unfolding around us? What makes Christians want to fulfill the mission God gave us? “As you go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you . . .” -- Matthew 28:19-20a, Amplified Bible I started thinking about this passage and how the verb choice at the very beginning makes all the difference for the Middles. So often, teachers of discipleship prompt, prod, and provoke people to go out and fulfill the mission of Jesus. I think some people need to hear that because the challenge lights them on fire. But not the Middles. Middles start asking, “Where would I go? What about the life I’ve built? What about my family and friends and job?” I believe teachers often misinterpret these questions. They double down and tell Middles if they really loved Jesus, none of that would matter. Maybe some of them need to hear that, but I think more often the Middle is really asking, “How does that square with my responsibilities? Doesn’t Jesus also want me to be responsible?” Made to feel guilty, the Middle is left with diametrically opposed concepts of what it means to follow Jesus. On one hand, a true follower will uphold the obligations of life. On the other hand, a true follower will drop all obligations for the risk-centered life. This teaching doesn’t always cause Middles to consider if they are effective for the Kingdom. Sometimes, it causes them to question the validity of the faith. How can it be both? But it can! All we need to change is “Go” to “As you go” and the dilemma is cleared up. Jesus isn’t telling everyone to be a missionary to some foreign place (Africa or another city or a group of people the Middle doesn’t know). He’s telling everyone to be a missionary where He plants them. More to teach here, right? That’ll come later. Right now, I want to stick with the Middle who just realized maybe discipleship is for him, after all. Okay, so to be on mission is to take Jesus with them. How do they know they are on mission? By the Great Commandments. “…‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul (life), and with all your mind (thought, understanding), and with all your strength.’ This is the second: ‘You shall [unselfishly] love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” -- Mark 12:29-31, Amplified Bible The mission is to love God and love people as we love ourselves. Sometimes we get confused here. We start thinking to be on mission is to pray, to read, to be in a small group, to join a church, to serve in the body, to finish whatever task list created for us. Even when the teacher is not confused, the Middles are. “Wait. Not only do I have to go somewhere uncomfortable and shirk all my obligations, I also need to fill my time with this list of things? When am I going to fit them in?” Once again, the penchant for on-fire, Type-A, extrovert teachers is to misinterpret the concern. The answer here is the same as before: if they love Jesus, they will do these things. This assumes the Middle is one of the Others, the bottom ten-percenters. This assumes the Middle doesn’t have enough faith, enough drive, enough love for Jesus. Sometimes this is the case because the Middle is drifting down toward the Others and needs to wake up. Often, though, this is a why question, not a how question. Why do we do these things? The Middle wants proof these things are important enough to disrupt the obligations they already have. When the list becomes the mission, the list is burdensome. The list isn’t the mission. Loving God and loving people is the mission. The list is a collection of tools in the toolbox to help the mission succeed. I pray because my communication with God shows, builds, and deepens my love for God. I read because the more I know God, the greater my love for Him. I’m in a small group to learn how to love the household of faith and let them love me and I am driven to do that by my love for God. And so on. I use these things to develop the greatest love I can have for God and for people and for me. What is the greatest expression of that love? For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He was buried, and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold] . . .” --1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Amplified Bible Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. We love people when we teach them how to be good parents or spouses or neighbors or employees. We love them when we teach them how to pray or study the Bible or make the most of church. We love them when we serve them during hurricanes, floods, mass shootings, and other disasters. We love them when we offer aid in everyday events—opening doors, carrying heavy stuff, mowing lawns, raking leaves. We love them when we provide support and supplies for their daily needs—food pantries, back-to-school events, addiction counseling, grief recovery workshops. But the greatest love we can show them is The Way to eternal glory through the grace offered by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Faith in Him clears the way for all the other loving things they get from us and connects them to the One directing our efforts. A bottle of water on a hot day gives relief for a moment. Grace gives relief for an eternity. Middles are immediately uncertain when we explain that evangelism is for every disciple, not just the ones who have a gift for it. “I’m not qualified. I don’t know enough Bible. I’m afraid I can’t answer their questions. What if I say something wrong?” This aggravated me as a teacher until I stopped misinterpreting it. I believed they were insecure or lazy or feigning ignorance, especially if the Middle was a long-time believer who’d been to church for a decade or more. All those Bible studies? All those sermons? All those years as a believer and they still don’t know? Some Middles need to be challenged with those questions. But most are exposing the weakness in our teaching, not the weakness in their character. We are failing them by our unwillingness to make the process of evangelism attainable for them. For many Middles, talking to someone about Jesus is for the pastor and the Type-A’s at the top. This isn’t a copout. It’s what they’ve been taught by either example or exasperation. I struggle with it, too. Why is it so hard to share my faith? After all, I’m a pastor! Because my concept of sharing my faith is the same as my concept for giving a sermon. Honestly, I think my job is to give a talk that convinces someone to believe in Jesus. If I do the talk right, people will say yes. If I do it wrong, people will not say yes. So much pressure. So little reward. I once heard Andy Stanley talk about defining the win. He said if we define a win on Sunday morning as someone committing to Jesus, we will have a lot of unsuccessful Sundays. Instead, he defines a win on Sunday morning as someone wanting to come back next week and bring a friend. Does this mean he doesn’t care about people coming to know Jesus? No. He assumes if someone wants to be where the Gospel is presented, they will eventually believe. And if they bring a friend, chances are good the friend will eventually believe, too. In the same way, we need a way to show Middles that a win in a relationship is not dictated by the success of a single talk. A win is dictated by a better understanding of the grace that saves. If the average disciple lives life in grace, he will bless God by blessing others. When others are blessed, God prompts them to ask the questions that allow us to share the Way. Which set me thinking more deeply than ever before. What does it mean to be a disciple?
  5. Michael S. Rogers

    Publishing And Book Trailer

    Thanks, I will! I actually hadn't thought of interviewing readers giving endorsements--what a great idea! Trailers can be as diverse as the books they represent. I've seen good ones that have the static quotes, good ones that have someone reading part of the text, and good ones that have actors and props. I'm guessing I would have to start with the first two to keep the cost down.
  6. Michael S. Rogers

    Publishing And Book Trailer

    See? Just like a rock star. Three minutes while the song is playing, then back on the road to the next gig....
  7. Michael S. Rogers

    Publishing And Book Trailer

    Thanks, Alley! It's going to take me some time to get through all the resources you offered! You rock!
  8. Michael S. Rogers

    Publishing And Book Trailer

    Thanks, Steve! I actually do have a marketing person and my daughter is going to school for digital animation. Their addition to my team is part of the reason for my decision to jump in. More time is needed, though, before we solicit authors. We will let people know here when we are ready!.
  9. Michael S. Rogers

    Publishing And Book Trailer

    I'm usually stingy with my cookies, but you asked so nicely...
  10. Michael S. Rogers

    Hi Everybody!

    Welcome! Excited to have you join us!
  11. Michael S. Rogers

    Publishing And Book Trailer

    Cookies are always a good response!
  12. Michael S. Rogers

    From One Middle To Another

    Discipleship is not for you. I know this is a confusing way to start, but I believe this sentence creates a new path for discipleship, especially for the Middles in the church. Please let me explain. My professor in college once taught something that rattled me. In any church, ten percent of the people sitting in the pews each Sunday will not let themselves be discipled no matter what the pastor does. This breaks my heart, but I have seen its truth. The figure may be off, but the statement is still valid. Each person fending off faith in our churches has personal reasons; but we can name some, can’t we? Church is a social club. Church is a comfort. Church is something to scratch off my spiritual to-do list. Church is expected. Church gets me business. Church is where I have power. Church makes me feel saved. We’ll call them the Others. Then, my professor taught that in any church, twenty percent are Type-A go-getters who reach for discipleship no matter what form the pastor gives it. Drop them in a room with a Bible and leave. In thirty minutes, some form of discipleship is happening. We’ll call them Type-A’s. These people excite me. They want to know what a disciple is, what a disciple does, how a disciple makes more disciples. They are the energy a pastor needs to feel like the work is not in vain. For these people, church is a university, an opportunity to serve, the base of operations; church is where to bring people looking for Jesus. As a pastor, most of my time is spent with one of these two groups. I don’t set out to let them monopolize my ministry, but they often do. While seventy percent of my congregation finds its own way, I either vainly reach out to the first group or in vanity feed off the second group. I want to reach everyone, so sometimes I focus on the Others to the exclusion of everyone else. When that becomes unbearable, I fall back on the Type-A’s who would get it if I just left them alone. I want to feel successful, so sometimes I focus on the self-starters to the exclusion of everyone else. When that becomes unsatisfying (or worse, too satisfying), I bypass the middle and reach for the Others again. As I pondered this truth in myself, the professor said the 70% in the middle were the ones he was teaching us to reach. The ones who won’t join either of the first two groups but are wondering why they are asked to attend church each week. They go because they know it’s good for them, but they don’t think they can really be disciples of Jesus. The notion seems too lofty or too difficult or too saintly for someone like them. But they dream of it a little. The Middles For years, we’ve diagnosed the disease killing the effectiveness of the Western church today. At some point, the church forgot her mission to go and make disciples. Hundreds of books are published on the subject. Movements started. Lives changed and hearts transformed. People are taking this seriously, and because of it, I believe the church is positioning for revival, not defeat. Seeing the work done by so many great leaders, I have a different perspective on all the church closings. What we see is pruning, not diminishing. God is consolidating the church to make her more dynamic. He is removing His blessing from congregations more consumed with comfort and less consumed with mission. This is harsh, I know, and it hurts my heart to say it. In many places today, across all denominational lines, churches are refusing to follow great leaders whose only crime is rearranging the furniture in the House of God to appeal to the culture of today. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:22 that the eye is the lamp of the body and if the eye is healthy the whole body will be full of light. But if the eye is evil, malevolent, pain-ridden, the whole body will be full of darkness. We can choose our perspective and that choice will lead us to light or to darkness. Jesus asks me to choose the light. So what I see is the beautiful life of the church ready to set fire to the world. Others who have made their religion more Churchianity than Christianity are truly out there—I see them—but I choose to focus on the ones who are getting back to the mission. When I do, however, I see movements focusing on the twenty percent who want to get it. I read those books and even I am discouraged about my ability to follow. Sell my house and move to the inner city. Create 90% participation in small groups in my church. Leave my ministry and head to Africa. Be fearless, undaunted, faith-filled, risk-loving, radical, crazy. Lead like Jesus. Live like Luke would mention my name in Acts if he were writing today. I am challenged by them but left speechless, aimless. I don’t know how to follow what they are portraying. I’m part of the middle group. I’m one of the 70%. I have some Type A in me, but I also have some ADD. I want to be fearless, but my greatest fear is to be exposed as a fraud in my faith. I am an introvert in an extrovert’s world. Sometimes I wonder if I’m an introvert in an extrovert’s religion. I’m administratively challenged and my ambitions ebb and flow. And I’m a pastor! Years after my professor sparked this realization in me, I was leading a new church and trying to discover how to crack the code for discipling the Middle Group. Not the stars of the church. Just people. I studied and came up with some ideas over the years, but not until recently did all the pieces fit into place. I think the best way to start explaining is with a fence. WE NEED FENCES One of my favorite analogies is learning to play in the yard. When we were little, our parents turned us loose in the back yard. They let us do mostly what we wanted so long as we didn’t go outside the fence without permission. If a ball went over, we didn’t have the right to chase it. If a friend came over, we didn’t have the right to jump the fence and go somewhere with them. That boundary kept us safe and honest while letting us explore our imaginations. In the same way, discipleship needs fences. Here are mine: 1. The discipleship process must be biblically accurate. I can’t decide what it means to be a disciple. What I teach must be backed up by Scripture or I’ve jumped the fence. 2. The discipleship process must be aimed at the Middle Group. It’s okay to make a process for the go-getters, but that’s not the focus God has given me. I can’t chase the ball over the fence. 3. The discipleship process must avoid doctrinal controversies. Since we are talking about how to live out our faith after salvation, much of this is avoided anyway. The controversies that remain are not central to the faith and we can disciple together while agreeing to disagree. 4. The discipleship process must teach people how to think, not what to think. We don’t need lemmings, we need lifers. I don’t want anyone to follow me. I want them to follow Jesus in the way God shows them. 5. The discipleship process must be progressive as a plan but flexible as a path. We can provide guidance while allowing individual freedom. Let people play inside the fence without dictating what that play must look like. By staying true to these guidelines, I keep myself from creating heresy while avoiding doctrinal controversy. I aim people away from me and toward Jesus. I help people realize discipleship is attainable and expected while leaving room for their personalities. In this way, we help God cast the net wide to serve one more, reach one more, teach one more, help one more grow in Christ.
  13. Excited to work on my next writing project today!  I'd appreciate your prayers!

  14. Michael S. Rogers

    New Member, Take Two.

    I am so blessed by your words! Thank you! I really believe God can use it to prove His Presence in the mundane so that we may have courageous hope in His Presence in what we think is important!
  15. Michael S. Rogers

    Publishing And Book Trailer

    I'm currently exploring how to run my own publishing house, A2G Media, but before I offer opportunities to other writers I want to learn how to make great book trailers. Does anyone know of any free or low-cost ways to make it great? I believe in doing a ministry of excellence with duct tape and paper clips!
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