A THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL
Eyes of Integrity Four Secrets to Pastoral Longevity
Is Your Church Stuck, Or Just Small
Preaching and Communicating are Not the Same Thing “DEATH BY OBSESSION”
The Faith of Our Fathers How Not to Kill Your Small Group Ministry VIDEO RESOURCES THAT ARE SURE TO BLESS YOU
Your Church Website Is Your New Front Door
04 Eyes of Integrity 05 From the Desk of the Publisher 06 Four Secrets to Pastoral Longevity 08 “DEATH BY OBSESSION” 09 Preaching and Communicating are Not the Same Thing 10 The Faith of Our Fathers 12 How Not to Kill Your Small Group Ministry 14 Is Your Church Stuck, Or Just Small 16 Your Church Website Is Your New Front Door 18 Video Resources That Are Sure to Bless You
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Eyes of Integrity By Craig Gross and Jason Harper
http://wdl29.streamhoster.com/bishopacl/integrity.pdf As a young pastor, Craig Gross became overwhelmed with the sheer number of people he found himself counseling who were mired in the destructive world of online pornography. Their lives were broken, their hearts and minds corrupted. How, he wondered, could he minister to the many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people trapped by sexual addiction? Through accountability software and an online hub called XXXchurch.com, Craig began to give hope. Now, withÂ Eyes of Integrity, he offers a helping hand to pastors, counselors, concerned friends, and those personally struggling with sexual addiction. Through these pages he and coauthor Jason Harper cover how bad the problem is and what can be done about it. From porn-proofing your home and nurturing your marriage to what to do when someone you know is in trouble, the chapters in this book offer hope in what can seem like a hopeless situation.
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From the Desk of the Publisher Bishop Andy C. Lewter, D. Min.
Hello friends, and thank you again for taking a few precious moments out of your busy schedule to read the latest issue of “The Bishop” magazine. I certainly do not take for granted your readership and support. I know that there are so many other things that you could be doing and to know that you have paused in your daily routine to look over what we have prepared for you this week leaves me humbled and grateful. Permit me to take a moment to thank some very important people who makes this project possible. Without good people around you in is virtually impossible to produce anything that matters. I therefore want to thank our office staff, Nadine Johnson, Elder Frances Dent, Elder Kathy Smith, Sister Elsie Reavis, Elder Deidrea Sealy, my two first assistants, Elder Oltis Lawrence and Elder Mary Smith for the way that they support this publication every month. While all of them do not work on the publication directly, the load that they take off of my plate makes it possible for me to have the time, and the energy to make this magazine possible. In this issue we are featuring our fathers and thanking them for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make on our behalf. I also have included a number of articles from well known writers around the country who speak to the issue of how we lead our churches and some of the things that we need to pay attention to if we want our churches to be productive and make a difference in the lives of the people who come to it already. I also this month am sharing with you an article that is intended to help the vast majority of pastors who lead “small congregations” understand that there is a great difference between being stuck and being small. For those who are anxious and suffer from the anxiety of feeling that because you do not numbers in the thousands, you are somehow a spiritual failure. I think article will help you see your ministry from a fresh perspective. I am now in the fourth month of producing this magazine for you our audience. I am prayerful that the time and energy that is devoted to this enterprise is proving to be a blessing to you. In the beginning we toyed with several names and focuses of interest. Everything from “Practicing Theologians” to “Pulpit Digest” has been tried at one time or another. However, for the last few months, “The Bishop Magazine” has taken on a character of its own. I am pleased with the publications’ progress and growth and I do seek and solicit your prayers that God will take this magazine, not so much where I would like to see it go, but rather where if He, God would like to see it go. When you get a moment, drop me a line and let me know what you think of our efforts.
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Four Secrets to Pastoral Longevity By Bishop Andy C. Lewter and Dr. Ronnie Floyd
I have been pastoring since 1978 and since that time I have had the privilege of pastoring the Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church of Ossining, NY for 7 years, the Oakley Full Gospel Baptist Church in Columbus, OH for 20 years, the Hollywood Full Gospel Baptist Cathedral of Amityville, NY for 13 years (6 years as Co-Pastor and 7 years as Senior Pastor) and the Queens Ministry of Jamaica, NY, a church that I planted, for 2 years. In all of my pastoral career I have been able to leave on my own terms rather than having been forced to resign. But the focus of this article is not on me, but rather on my father, Dr. Andy C. “Daddy” Lewter who pastored the church that I now lead for nearly 50 years. such longevity begs the question of how one can sucessfully stay in one pulpit for an expand period of time. I therefore have asked Dr. Ronnie Floyd who has 27 years of ministry in his pulpit to share some of the secrets of his pastoral longevity. I pray that his suggestions prove helpful. This article is admittedly aimed
at pastors in the “congregational” tradition. Those in a connectional church are subject to episcopal appointments. But the contents of this article may be helpful in assisting even those in that tradition in making their appointments more pleasant. Dr. Ronnie Floyd: When the Lord called me to Northwest Arkansas in October 1986, I had no idea I would be here 27 years later. I really did not come here with a “plan” about how long I would stay but always assumed I would probably one day be called back to a church in my home state of Texas. Yet, demonstratively and clearly, at least to this point in life, God has called me to spend 27 years of my life in our church, now known as Cross Church. Yet, I want to highlight for you some practical matters that have placed us in this grace moment.
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While both of us have a passionate love for the church of Jesus Christ (and I mean passionate), our love for each other is also great and strong. While some couples live life apart, we live life together. While many pastors and their wives declare independence from one another, we are dependent upon one another. You see, Jeana has a strong walk with Christ also, a very consistent time with God early in the mornings. We also pray together and share life together. I am convinced, because our marriage has been strong and we have served the church together, we have been able to stay here for 27 years successfully. To every pastor and wife, commit to do ministry together. It will lead to longevity and happiness in life and marriage. 3. My church and I have grown together. Longevity in ministry is impossible when the pastor and church are not growing together. The mission of the church is what keeps you together, and as you grow in that mission into complete alignment, longevity in ministry together is more probable. You see, in my opinion, it is a far greater achievement for my church to have had the same pastor for 27 years than for me to have been here for 27 years. Ministry is a missional partnership between a pastor and a local church.
1. My personal walk with Christ. There is no way in the world anyone can pastor a church in todayâ€™s world for any length of time without a strong personal walk with Jesus Christ. In a post titled My Mornings, you will learn about how I have given my mornings to God. I mention this only briefly today because I have already written about it extensively. Please review it, because I can tell you this: Nothing, and I mean nothing, has been more important than this daily time to empower me to be in the same church for 27 years. You can hear a pastor or leader say this or that about how they have stayed, but I can assure you, without my personal walk with Christ, I would have been toast years ago! 2. My marriage has been strong. We have done this together. Jeana and I have been married for 37 years. She was raised in the family of a west-Texas pastor. She had experienced the ups and downs of ministry life way before she married me. Her experience accelerated my perspective in many ways.
Cross Church has a history of being a strong pastor-led fellowship of believers. This was the biblical pattern many years before my arrival. This DNA in our ministry has been one of the secrets of ministry longevity. Through our 27 years together, we have seen the church change continually, and guess whatâ€”I have also changed continually. Both the church and the pastor changing toward Christ-likeness contributes to ministry longevity. 4. My perspective becomes clearer daily. When my perspective is clear, I see things in a much better way. I want to share three perspectives that I believe have helped me greatly in staying here for 27 years. Perspective #1: I do not let people out of my circle of love. Perspective #2: I am a great forgiver and forgetter. Perspective #3: I realize ministry has seasons. Churches are like people. We do not always have our greatest moments and greatest years. We suffer, we change, we hurt and we experience loss. So do churches. Yet, we cling to the hope of the cross, knowing that while weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning. A right perspective can help lead you to ministry longevity.
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“DEATH BY OBSESSION” By Bishop Jerry F. Hutchins
Scripture: Genesis 30:1 and Genesis 35:18 In Genesis 30:1, Rachel tells her husband Jacob to give her a child “or else I die.” Her sister Leah was able to have children and Rachel was so envious until she felt that if she did not have a child she would literally die. In Genesis 35:18, Rachel gives birth to a son and in the process of delivery, she dies. The very thing that she thought that she could not live without, she dies while it is being delivered. Rachel is an example of a person whose death certificate should read “cause of death, ‘ obsession’.” Obsession is merely the idea that “stuff” can make the person happy. Whether “stuff” is money, better job, getting married, getting divorced, having children, being promoted, getting a new car, etc. What starts as a small tumor called “desire” spreads to stage 4 cancer called, “obsession.” We sometimes confuse obsession with passion. Obsession is passion gone wild. Obsession is passion out of control and it
is never satisfied. Rachel had a child (Joseph) prior to having this child (Benjamin). Joseph was the answer to her prayer but when we are obsessed, we want more and more. In fact, the name Joseph means “give me another.” When we think we cannot live without a particular thing, once we get it we start to feel like we cannot live without more of it. Rachel did not die from the pains of delivering the child. She died from the debilitating effect of obsession. By the time she got what she wanted, obsession, like cancer, had spread and made her too weak to go on. The thing that we are obsessed with takes our life. It’s too late for Rachel but it’s not too late for you. You must make the decision today to take your life back by breaking the chains of obsession. The only thing in life that you cannot live without is a relationship with Jesus Christ. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).
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Preaching and Communicating are Not the Same Thing By Rick Whitter
Preaching and communicating are not necessarily the same thing.
They know how to utilize inflection and tone in their voice.
This is not a post about preaching. This is a post about how some people are great preachers, but not great communicators. There may be a difference.
They use effective body language.
I know and have heard some dynamic preachers. They can hold an audience in the palm of their hand. They evoke passions and emotions with their sermons. But too many of them are terrible communicators. What in the world do I mean? Simply because a preacher can engage an audience does not mean that he or she is good at communication. The difference may be understood by categorizing communication into two groups: Group communication and individual communication. Good preachers know the Bible.
They are authoritative. They are convincing. But a person can be great at these things yet suffer from poor communication skills. 5 Communication Skills All Pastors Need besides Preaching: 1. Good communicators look you in the eye and you know they are listening. 2. Good communicators return phone calls. 3. They answer emails. 4. They respond to others. 5. They remember what they told you and what you told them. The key to doing all of these well is love. It is very difficult to be a good communicator unless you actuallycare. I
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am not saying that good communication is more important than preaching. It is not. I am saying that preachers need to be reminded that good communication goes beyond the pulpit. In my opinion, in order for a preacher to be effective, he or she must also be good at communicating with individuals. If he or she is not, they will need to make sure that someone close to them is good at this kind of communication and keeps them connected to the people around them. Otherwise, they lose credibility when their individual communication falls through the cracks. Their preaching will suffer because their smaller-scale communication is weak. If you are a preacher, work on improving your preaching–it is a vitally important calling. But also work on your one-on-one communication. Pay attention to people. Respond accordingly. I think you will find that your preaching also improves.
The Faith of OurÂ Fathers By Bishop Andy C. Lewter, D. Min. and Brett & Kate McKay
This month many of our families are participating in graduations and preparing for a summer of fun and fellowship with those who are close to them. However, the month of June is also the month that we celebrate the lives of those fathers who have had an enormous impact upon our lives. Most of us are familiar with names such as Abraham, Issac and Jacob, drawn from the Bible and celebrated as the patriarchs of our faith. Down through history we have revered
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certain men for the outstanding way they have modelled behaviour that could be drawn upon as inspiration and guidance. Therefore in this article we want to examine, in a brief way, how the celebration of Father’s Day became a staple in our society. There actually are two modern explanations for how a day to remember fathers became an observance here in America. The History of Father ‘s Day in the United States There are two stories of when the first Father ‘s Day was celebrated. According to some accounts, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Washington state on June 19, 1910. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the idea of honoring and celebrating her father while listening to a Mother ‘s Day sermon at church in 1909. She felt as though mothers were getting all the acclaim while fathers were equally deserving of a day of praise (She would probably be displeased that Mother’s Day still gets the lion’s share of attention). Sonora’s dad was quite a man. William Smart, a veteran of the Civil War, was left a widower when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. He went on to raise the six children by
to celebrate fathers after a deadly mine explosion killed 361 men.
himself on their small farm in Washington. To show her appreciation for all the hard work and love William gave to her and her siblings, Sonora thought there should be a day to pay homage to him and other dads like him. She initially suggested June 5th, the anniversary of her father’s death to be the designated day to celebrate Father’s Day, but due to some bad planning, the celebration in Spokane, Washington was deferred to the third Sunday in June. The other story of the first Father’s Day in America happened all the way on the other side of the country in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. Grace Golden Clayton suggested to the minister of the local Methodist church that they hold services
While Father’s Day was celebrated locally in several communities across the country, unofficial support to make the celebration a national holiday began almost immediately. William Jennings Bryant was one of its staunchest proponents. In 1924, President Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day become a national holiday. But no official action was taken. In 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson, through an executive order, designated the third Sunday in June as the official day to celebrate Father’s Day. However, it wasn’t until 1972, during the Nixon administration, that Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday.
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How Not to Kill Your Small Group Ministry By Mark Howell
I don’t know about you…but when I think back on my over 25 years of small group ministry experience, I can spot a truckload of mistakes, blind spots, and faulty assumptions that neutralized a thriving small group ministry. And I’ve made every one of them. I’m sure there are many, many more, but here are the first 35 that occurred to me. I didn’t realize my senior pastor needed to be the small group champion. I didn’t understand my opportunity or responsibility to help my pastor be the small group champion. I believed I could build a thriving small group ministry without the engagement of key church leadership. I under-appreciated my own role in developing a culture of authentic community.
I spent another 5 years on the hunt for a problem-free small group model. I accepted the idea that meeting twice a month was ideal. I thought the most important ingredient in a small group was good curriculum. I didn’t realize that the usual suspects want to study topics that unconnected people don’t care about. I didn’t realize that unconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at my church again. I thought the best way to multiply groups was for groups to “grow and birth.” I thought the best way to identify potential small group leaders was to ask existing small group leaders for their recommendations.
I didn’t realize that a small group is the optimum environment for life-change.
I didn’t realize that God has already answered the Matthew 9 prayer for workers and that most churches just don’t know who they are.
I didn’t recognize that the primary activity of the early church was one-anothering one another.
I thought the small group connection strategy sounded crazy.
I spent 5 years believing that the Meta Church model alone would build a thriving small group ministry.
I thought the HOST strategy sounded crazy. I didn’t see the exponential outreach potential of a church-
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wide campaign using the HOST strategy for several years. I didn’t appreciate the outreach limitation of a church-wide campaign using the HOST strategy until I attempted to use it in what turned out to be a fortress church. I have tweaked a less-than-effective strategy when I needed to admit that it was perfectly designed to produce the results we were experiencing. I didn’t realize that skilled Bible teachers could actually impede steps into leadership for group members.
I didn’t understand that a six-week commitment to a group was short enough to help unconnected people say “yes” and long enough for them to begin to feel connected. I missed the significance of helping new groups survive the holidays. I underestimated the potential of a summer “book club” to connect men and women. I thought the best way to train small group leaders was to hold a required small group leader training course.
I didn’t recognize the potential of video-driven small group curriculum to help ordinary people start groups. I didn’t realize that the most connected people in a church have the fewest connections outside the church. I didn’t anticipate the time when it would be far easier to say “come over to my house” than “come with me to my church.” I didn’t appreciate the fact that options actually make choosing a next step more difficult. I didn’t know that the leap from the safety of the auditorium to a stranger’s living room was too big of a step.
I thought the best way to disciple people was one-on-one. I thought making disciples depended on a curriculum. I said “yes” to people who wanted to be a coach without testing their motives or their capacity. I over-appreciated the “instructor of technique” role of a coach (i.e., coaching leaders to add or improve their skills). I under-appreciated the modeling role of a coach (doing to and for the leader whatever you want the leader to do to and for their members).
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Is Your Church Stuck, Or Just Small By Karl Vaters
I spent a lot of years trying to unstick a church that wasn’t stuck.
“If I took numerical growth off the table, would I call this church a healthy church?”
I thought it was stuck because it wasn’t getting bigger. And I’d been told in virtually every church leadership conference and book that if my church wasn’t growing numerically, we were stuck.
The answer was surprisingly obvious.
I didn’t want to pastor a stuck church.
Which led to a follow-up question.
I still don’t.
“If a church is healthy in every way but numerical growth, is it really stuck?”
So I went to all the conferences on how to get unstuck. I read all the books. I applied all the principles.
Yes. The church I pastor is one of the healthiest churches I know.
None of them worked.
It turns out my church wasn’t stuck at all. It was just small.
Pastors of fast-growing churches are always writing helpful blog posts with lists of all the things churches must be doing wrong if we’re not experiencing numerical growth. So I read a ton of blog posts listing 10 Ways to Get Your Church Unstuck, then applied those principles to my church.
And if that’s the case—if a Small Church can be a healthy church—then maybe numerical growth isn’t the be-all, end-all sign of health we’ve made it out to be. Maybe a healthy Small Church is an OK thing to be.
They didn’t work either.
And, as I soon discovered, a healthy church that keeps working on health, gets even healthier.
So I prayed longer and harder.
Have You Asked That Question?
What about your church?
Then I starting reading stories of pastors and churches that stopped trying to grow, but just implemented the principles of church health. As soon as they did that, without trying to help God grow the church—boom!—the church started growing like crazy.
Have you been spinning in the same never-ending cycle of frustration I was?
So I relaxed and stopped worrying about church growth. Our church worked on getting healthy instead and…
Is it possible your church isn’t stuck? Just small?
Nah, that didn’t grow the church either. Finally, I left the modern church-growth movement behind and went back to the source. I read, re-read, preached and taught about the growth of the church in the book of Acts.
Have you been trying to unstick a church that might not be stuck?
If you’re not sure, I encourage you to learn from my mistakes and do what I should have done all along. Look at your church and ask the question I finally got around to asking. If you took numerical growth off the table, would your church be considered unhealthy? If it’s unhealthy, get to work on fixing that, regardless of growth.
Still nothing. The Question No One Told Me To Ask Then I looked at my church again.
If it’s healthy, quit beating yourself and your church up for not getting bigger. That may not be what God is calling you to be.
And I asked myself a question none of the conferences, books and blog posts ever suggested.
Yes, you read that right. God may not be calling your church to grow numerically. Despite what we’ve been told, individual
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congregational growth is not a biblical mandate. If a church is healthy, but not getting bigger, then it’s not stuck. It’s just small. Is Your Church Healthy? So, if we take numerical growth off the table, what are the signs of a healthy church? Isn’t it strange that we even have to ask that question? Any church leader should know the signs of a healthy church, no matter what size it is. But we’ve been so inundated with a grow, grow, grow approach to church health, it may take a reboot of our heads, hearts and spirits to start looking at church health through a lens other than numerical growth. I’ve taken a look at some non-numerical aspects of church health in previous posts. Here are a few of them: a. The Essential First Step to Having a Healthy Small Church
b. The Elements of a Healthy Small Church – And the Hidden Agenda that Can Kill It c. Finally, a Definitive List of Every Essential Element for an Effective Church If you want other ideas about how to assess church health, apart from numbers, here’s an idea. Do a Google search for “signs of a healthy church” or something like that. Then read some of the thousands of blog posts that come up. As you go through those lists (it’s always a list) ignore any points that have to do with numerical growth and pay close attention to everything else. Is your church doing all or most of those non-numerical signs of health? Then you have a healthy church. You’re not stuck. You’re just small.
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Your Church Website Is Your New Front Door by Bishop Andy C. Lewter, D. Min.
Over 25 years ago I was invited to serve as the pastor of the Oakley Baptist Church in Columbus, OH. I was excited about the opportunity and I was anxious to build the congregation into one of the leading churches of the city. In pursuit of that goal I took the first three months after my arrival, spending every Saturday morning personally visiting homes in the five block radius of my church. I literally knocked on hundreds of doors and introduced myself as the new pastor of the area Baptist Church and I wanted to invite them to come out to the services. In retrospect, the exercise was relatively successful and was the standard and accepted protocol of evangelism 25 years ago. Today things have drastically changed. Going throughout a neighborhood and knocking on doors is no longer the best way to grab the attention of people who you are trying to reach
for your church or ministry. Most church growth research of today reveals that 8 of the 10 people who will visit your church have already “checked you out” on the internet, primarily through your website. Consequently, the internet has become the new front door of your church. If you understand that you do not get a second chance to make a first impression, then you understand how important it is to have a “digital identity that is compelling and effective”. In this article I want to share with you just a few of the things that I believe will have a great impact on how you use the internet and your digital identity to attract new people to your church and ministry. I have no doubt that you have a powerful ministry but if you do not get people to come through your front door you can easily become the best kept secret in your neighborhood.
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Know Who You Are Talking To It was Bill Cosby who said that the key to failure is trying to please everybody. We all know that the Gospel is universal, but the truth of the matter is that we all have gifts that appeal to certain people more than it does to other people. Be clear on who you are trying to reach and make sure that your website speaks to that demographic. Concentrate on the Vitals Your website is great place to deposit all kinds of information. But you want to make sure that your key information is available and easy to find. People do not care how many ministries you have or how great the sermon was last week if they can not find your service times, directions to the church and contact information in a easy to find location on your homepage. Engage Your Website Visitors with Interactivity When the internet first started it was static and used primarily to send information from you to the the viewer of your website. Today, people want far more than what we have given them in the past. If you do not find a way to be interactive with your
site visitors online, you will never convince them that you can be interactive and engaging in person. Nobody Likes to Read This may be a slight overstatement, but what I mean is that a website that is dominated by a great deal of text will not retain the attention of site visitor very long. While some people enjoy reading, the vast majority of visitors prefer pictures to words. Concentrate on using visual images to tell your story and you will find that your website visitors will come back again and again. Develop a Social Media Strategy I wish that I could tell you that by establishing a stunning website all of your troubles will be over, but such is not the case. The truth is that a compelling website is but the first step in a series of steps that you will need to take in order to use the internet as an effective tool of evangelism. Beyond your website there is “twitter”, “facebook”, “linked-in” and a number of other social media tools that you will want to take advantage of. Sit down with the key members of your ministry or church and discuss developing a comprehensive social media strategy. You will be glad you did.
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Video Resources That Are Sure to Bless You By Bishop Andy C. Lewter, D. Min.
Each month I scour the internet in an effort to identify some of the most impactful videos that have been produced that can influence you our readers. These video cover a number of topics including leadership, how to videos, inspirational videos, small group and a number of other topics that I am sure that you will find of interest. We invite you to take a moment to review the material and then please let us know if there is specific material that you would like us to include in future issues of our magazine. Most of these videos come from â€œyoutubeâ€? but you will find a few that reside on the vimeo video platform as well. I pray that these videos bless you and impact you in a positive way. I further ask that if the videos prove to be a blessing to you, please share them with your family and friends.
Listed below are my top video finds for this month. As You go through each of them, I hope that you will take the time not just to watch them, but more importantly, digest them as critical food for your spiritual walk and leadership in the church. http://youtu.be/iBl2txzD-_M http://vimeo.com/88833951 https://vimeo.com/94050244 http://vimeo.com/90983615 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9JUEGLPNJA http://youtu.be/bZ16Gax-psM
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THE NEW LIFE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY Presents
The Life of Moses
ENROLL TODAY BY VISITING
E X PA N D YO U R K N OW L E DGE
THE NEW LIFE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY Presents
Understanding the Old Testament
ENROLL TODAY BY VISITING
E X PA N D YO U R K N OW L E DGE
June issue of "The Bishop" magazine published monthly by Bishop Andy C. Lewter, D. Min.