5 Questions You Should Ask Your Church

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Church

Oct 26, 2017

John J. Pethtel Director Church Development & Pastoral Services Here are 5 questions leaders can ask if their church stops growing: One of the best things any leader can do when he is in a tough spot is to stop making assumptions and start asking questions. Our assumptions got us to where we are, but they won’t necessarily get us where we need to go. 1. What is our mission? Often a church that has stopped growing has lost the urgency behind its mission. This is doubly sad in the case of a church because our mission is actually Christ’s mission…it’s the spread of the Gospel into the world for which Jesus died. Leaders and congregations that are effective in accomplishing their mission are consumed by their mission.   2. Are we focused on unchurched people or on ourselves? The gravitational pull of any church is toward insiders, not outsiders. Left unattended, your church will become a place where the preferences of the members trump passion for the mission. There are two primary ways to address this drift: 1. In every decision, focus on who you want to reach, not who you want to keep. 2. Commit to losing yourself for the sake of finding others.   3. Has our strategy or approach become dated? While the mission of the church is eternal, strategy should shift from generation to generation. The challenge in long term leadership is that the changes that you introduced may have been novel and effective when you introduced them…but it’s not 1995 anymore…or 2005 for that matter. How do you tell if your strategy is dated? When it stops being effective. 4. Are we on top of the constant change in our culture? While you’re studying your strategy, you might also want to study culture. It’s changing, radically and quickly. We now live in a post-Christian, post-modern world. That’s true in Canada. It’s increasingly true in the United States. In my experience, many of us in church leadership don’t really grasp the enormity of the change going on around us.   5. When was the last time I personally invited someone to church? The reality is many Christians, for a...

25 Things I’ve Learned from Church Planting

25 Things I’ve Learned from Church Planting

Oct 26, 2017

      Reprinted from Christine Hoover who is a church planting wife and a mom to three boys. She also writes on her blog, Grace Covers Me (www.gracecoversme.com). In 2008, God called my husband, Kyle, and me to plant a church in Charlottesville, Virginia. Though we had eight years of ministry experience under our belts at an established church, we didn’t yet know all that we didn’t know. We had much to learn and, more importantly, God had much sifting and pruning to do in our hearts. God has shown me that, more than anything, He wants my heart. He wants a tender, moldable heart willing to obey more than He wants any obligatory service I can give Him. As I write in my book, The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart (Moody, 2013), I’ve learned a thing or two in this crazy adventure called church planting — and I trust I’ll learn more as we move forward. Here are 25 things I’ve discovered so far. 1. Hospitality is essential. 2. Church planting teaches two things more than any other: that God is faithful and that we must learn how to depend on that faithful God. 3. Programs matter a lot to some people, especially families with small children. It takes special families who can grasp the vision of church planting to invest in a church plant on the ground level. 4. On the other hand, some people love the early stages of church planting but become uncomfortable when the church grows to a size where they can no longer know everyone. 5. Church planting happens one relationship at a time. 6. Sometimes church planting feels like you’re pretending to be a church. And then one day (after backbreaking work and lots of prayer) you realize God has built an honest-to-goodness church right before your eyes. 7. You cannot church plant apart from the support and encouragement of others. 8. The Word is living and active. When we let God speak through His Word, He changes people. Every church plant must gather earnestly around the Word and the Christ to which it points. 9. The church plant often takes on...

En la teoría, ¿cómo funciona el discipulado?

  El discipulado funciona esencialmente mediante la instrucción y la imitación. El discipulado funciona mejor a través del amor. A medida que instruimos con amor a creyentes más jóvenes en el camino de la piedad y de una vida encomiable, ellos crecerán en su semejanza a Cristo imitando nuestra vida y doctrina (cf. 1 Ti. 4:16). Instrucción: La Biblia llama a los pastores y a los padres a instruir a aquellos que han sido puestos a su cargo (Pr.; Gá. 6:6; Ef. 6:4; 1 Ts. 4:8; 1 Ti. 1:18, 6:3; 2 Ti. 2:25; 4:2). También llama a todos los creyentes a instruirse los unos a los otros (Ro. 15:14). Imitación: Los cristianos son imitadores, primero de Dios, después los unos de los otros. Crecemos en la gracia de Dios escuchando e imitando. Considera los siguientes pasajes: ● “Sed imitadores de mí, así como yo de Cristo” (1 Co. 11:1). ● “Acordaos de vuestros pastores, que os hablaron la palabra de Dios; considerad cuál haya sido el resultado de su conducta, e imitad su fe” (He. 13:7). ● “Lo que aprendisteis y recibisteis y oísteis y visteis en mí, esto haced; y el Dios de paz estará con vosotros” (Fil. 4:9). ● “Pero tú has seguido mi doctrina, conducta, propósito, fe, longanimidad, amor, paciencia, persecuciones, padecimientos” (2 Ti. 3:10). ● “Amado, no imites lo malo, sino lo bueno” (3 Jn. 11). Amor: Las personas imitarán tu vida incluso cuando no las ames. Pero un líder que lidera con amor presenta la mejor imagen de Cristo, y las personas te seguirán mejor cuando las ames. Amistad: En un sentido, discipular es simplemente amistad, pero una amistad dirigida hacia Cristo. ¿Qué hacen los amigos? Se imitan el uno al otro. En el discipulado, nos hacemos amigos de otros para crecer en semejanza a Cristo y para ayudarles a crecer en semejanza a Cristo. ¿Cómo ser un discípulo? (i) Escucha y mira cómo cristianos de más edad trabajan, descansan, forman una familia, tratan los conflictos, evangelizan a sus vecinos, perseveran en las pruebas, sirven en la iglesia o luchan contra el pecado. (ii) ¡Imítalos! (De...

Your Ready-Made New Christmas Gift List!

  by Clinton R. Brown Executive Director         Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6 Please consider discussing with your family if you can add some of these to your Christmas gift list this year. We have Seventh Day Baptist families around the world who are hoping for a brother’s help to better share the Gospel or minister in Christ’s name to those of their community in greatest need. It is a high priority for us that we partner with the local congregations and that they invest in the ministries that we undertake. We seek accountability of funds used in each related project and each is to be specifically for a Seventh Day Baptist ministry. If you send the gift in the name of someone else, upon your request we can contact that person with a thank you card letting him know how his gift was put to use. Emergency Relief Funds □ 1 – Life Saving Food (Suggested Gift: $35) □ 2 – Emergency Medicine (Suggested Gift: $25) □ 3 – Clean Water for a Family (Suggested Gift: $15) □ 4 – Disaster Relief Supplies Urgent Need (Suggested Gift: $50) Children’s Ministries □ 5 – Shoes and Clothing (Suggested Gift: $25) □ 6 – Help Orphans transition into Christian homes (Suggested Gift: $30) □ 7 – Buy Seeds for sustainable food gardens in Uganda (Suggested Gift: $25) □ 8 – Life Saving Mosquito Nets (Suggested Gift: $10) Gifts Under $15 □ 9 – Hot Meals (Suggested Gift: $7) □ 10 – Soccer Balls for Young Adult Ministry (Suggested Gift: $8) □ 11 – Shipping Blankets Urgent Need (Suggested Gift: $6) □ 12 – Missionary Society Membership for a friend (Suggested Gift: $10) Evangelism and Discipleship □ 13 – Evangelist/Pastor Training Bibles (Suggested Gift: $20) □ 14 – Motorcycles for the Mission Field (Suggested Gift: $1100/ Share the Cost: $110) □ 15 – Ship SDB Helping Hand Overseas for a year (Suggested Gift: $22) □ 16 – Share of Mission Lodging & Transport (Suggested Gift: $100) Construction Projects □ 17 – Freshwater Wells in...

He Is Able

He Is Able

Oct 26, 2017

by Pastor Michael Spearl           Pastor Michael Spearl had a passion for science and engineering early in his life. But after earning an MS in Electrical Engineering, and working and teaching in that field, God redirected him into a new direction working for the kingdom. Pastor Michael says, “My passions have changed. Now, I teach about Jesus and disciple others.” He also had the opportunity to study seminary classes at Columbia International University. He enjoys pastoring Union Station at Dunedin SDB Church in Florida. Do you feel that God has something for you to accomplish in your life? Do you desire to do your part to help make a better world? If you follow Jesus, the correct answer to these questions is yes because the Holy Spirit has planted a desire, a passion within you to be about God’s business. There are many stories of godly people in the Bible with a passion to be about God’s business. One short story is found in 1 Chronicles 4:9–10. This story is about a man named Jabez who cried out asking God to bless him, to keep him from harm, and to enlarge his territory. The result: God answered his prayers. We are clearly told that God granted his requests. When I was a young Christian, I would have considered it selfish, maybe even arrogant to ask God to “enlarge my territory.” I thought God did not approve of prayers like that. I thought prayers like that were offensive — that God would not be pleased, as if success was a worldly pursuit. But this short story tells us that God listened seriously to Jabez and that God granted his request. So, if God answered the prayer of Jabez, are we to believe that He would also answer a similar prayer from us? The correct answer is again, yes. God promotes our activities — especially those that are beyond what we can do on our own. It is God’s nature, His power, and His provision that are being demonstrated. The world will take notice when it sees God’s kindness and His people blessed, especially when it sees something happen that can only...