GUNNAR JOHNSON THE INTERSECTION OF FAITH & FINANCES
ED STETZER EMPOWERING EMERGING WOMEN LEADERS
ROB KETTERLING KEEPING PK’S IN THE CHURCH JANUARY // FEBRUARY 2015
EQUIPPING CHRISTIAN LEADERS TO GROW
Maximizing your money, space, time and people to multiply ministry impact
TODAY’S 2015 RESOURCE GUIDE
JESUS SAID WE’D FIND HIM AMONG THE LEAST, THE LOST, AND THE LAST.
“That’s why Crossroads loves to partner with our friends at World Vision as we blaze a trail to those in greatest need.” —Phil Print, Senior Pastor, Crossroads Church, MN
We believe Jesus calls the church to take on the greatest needs of our day. Join us in the margins.
Visit worldvision.org/church World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.
c o n t e n t s
When Bigger Isn’t Better
V o l . 3 3 // N o . 1
J a n u a r y // F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 5
Do you have a dream of what God can do in your church? With so many churches saddled with financial difficulties, it may be difficult for weary spiritual leaders to embrace the idea of fulfilling that dream. In this must-read issue of Ministry Today, we explore the concept of doing more with less and how your ministry can bear more fruit without emptying your bank account.
16 | THE MORE-WITH-LESS CHURCH
How to maximize your money, space, time and people to multiply ministry impact By Eddy Hall PLUS: 20 Questions to Answer Before You Build
26 | THE DIGITAL GOSPEL REVOLUTION GOES GLOBAL
A pair of churches has unlocked the secret to getting the message out via technological innovation By Ken Walker
32 | TO BUILD OR NOT TO BUILD
Buildings are tools to accomplish the ministry God has called you to fulfill. Building right makes ministry much easier. By Rodney James Daniels
40 | STARTING FROM SCRATCH
Most church planters know all to well how to live within their means. That’s when it’s time to get creative. By Brandon A. Cox
44 | UPGRADING INTO THE FUTURE
So people aren’t flocking to your services as you had hoped. Could it have anything to do with your sound system? By Jeffrey Miranda
48 | THE INTERSECTION OF FAITH AND FINANCES
How we navigate the journey when we get to that point will go a long way to determining our success in our walk with God and in life By Gunnar Johnson 4
MinistryToday January // February 2015
56 | PASS THE WIFI
Digital giving provides valuable options to passing the plate By Lauren Hunter
58 | SUPPLYING CHURCHES WITH VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL PROGRAMS
Get updated on contents and pricing of curricula available for next summer’s VBS season
DEPARTMENTS MINISTRY LIFE
66 | WORSHIP Real worship: What does it look and sound like? 68 | WOMEN Why you should empower emerging women leaders
70 | PASTORING Some common mistakes young pastors make
72 | VISION 7 traits of pastors who lead breakout churches
6|M INISTRY MATTERS An innovate alternative to the church bulletin; 10 children’s ministries to visit and learn from; Why your instrument is holding you back
12 | KINGDOM CULTURE 5 Ways for leaders to guard their minds By Rick Warren 14 | FROM MY VIEWPOINT Be transformed by God’s mercy By Shawn A. Akers 74 | PASTOR’S HEART 5 ways to keep pastors’ kids in church By Rob Ketterling
Ministry Today (ISSN #0891-5725) is published bi-monthly by Charisma Media, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746. Periodicals postage paid at Lake Mary, FL 32746 and at additional entry offices. Canada Post International Publications Mail Product (Canadian Distributing) Sales Agreement Number 40037127. Subscription rate is $24.97 for six issues and $39.97 for twelve issues. Canadian subscribers add $5 per year for postage, other countries add $10 per year for postage, payable in advance in U.S. currency only. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Ministry Today, P.O. Box 6102, Harlan, IA 51593-1602. Send undeliverable Canadian mail to: 1415 Janette Avenue, Windsor, ON N8X1Z1. © 2014 by Charisma Media. For advertising information call (407) 333-0600. Nothing that appears in Ministry Today be reprinted without permission. PRINTED IN THE USA Cover: © Dollar Photo Club/thewet | © IStockPhoto/malija
What do I believe?
What should I do?
Who am I becoming?
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KNOW THE STORY OF THE BIBLE. Itâ€™s another thing to
Grounded in carefully selected Scripture, Believe is a unique spiritual growth experience that takes you on a journey to think, act, and be more like Jesus. General editor and pastor Randy Frazee walks you through the ten key Beliefs of the Christian faith, the ten key Practices of a Jesus-follower, and the ten key Virtues that characterize someone who is becoming more like Jesus. Develop a personal vision for spiritual growth and a simple plan for getting started with Think, Act, Be Like Jesus. Go to BelieveTheStory.com to download sample reading chapters and learn more about what it means to think, act, and be like Jesus.
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IDEAS, INSIGHTS & INSPIRATION BEYOND THE NORM
An Innovative Alternative to the Church Bulletin By Lauren Hunter About a year ago on ChurchTechToday, we ran an article titled, “4 Technology Options That Might Kill the Church Bulletin,” which brought about many comments, suggestions and examples of what churches have done and are doing. For whatever reason, the church bulletin brings about heated debates fraught with high emotions.
So when we heard about Bulletin Plus, a newer church technology company, we took note and wanted to share with you their innovative approach to the church bulletin. “Everyone on staff at Bulletin Plus has worked on staff at a church before, so we made everything so easy because we knew we needed to. This isn’t just a solution like Constant Contact; it’s way more than that. It stores the same events and has so many features to keep people even more connected than the standard print bulletin,” says Jeret Slack for Bulletin Plus. Bulletin Plus takes everything in the paper bulletin and makes it digital—and they do so much more. Their services offer unlimited email subscribers, free Bulletin Plus App, free stock photos, social media integration, share events’ features, unlimited event storage, free bulletin themes and a customized sign-up page. It also has added events registration and church calendar features to its customized app. On its website, Bulletin Plus notes that “you can send out 3 bulletins, store 20 calendar events and create as many free registration events as you would like. After that it’s only $59 a month.” Churches that have their own app can pull in their bulletin design and content 6
MinistryToday January // February 2015
to their custom app. Ninety percent of churches using their solution send it out on Friday morning and offer notepaper in front of chairs for note-taking. “The reality is, with all the announcements in the paper bulletin, that you can’t communicate all the info on Sunday morning. It’s too short a period of time to accomplish it all,” notes Slack. “Our thing is to break the traditional method of communication delivery.” “Ministries are like small companies within the church. They want effective promotions. They want the pastor to mention the event from the pulpit so that people will sign up for it.” When asked if Bulletin Plus can also provide a print version, Slack said, “We don’t have built into our system the ability to print because it’s a complete change of mindset.” So, for churches dead set on providing
a print version, you might need to get creative to offer a print version to complement the online bulletin if your congregation requires it. “Professional-looking materials make the ministry look professional and draws people in,” Slack said. “I know how to visually communicate a message that makes people want to read it. Our number one goal is to make the small churches look like the big guys, but with a tight budget. We pack it full of free stock photography that churches can use.” To check out how other churches are already using Bulletin Plus, visit the iTunes Store or Google Play.
Lauren Hunter is the founder of churchtechtoday.com, born out of a desire to find a place to discuss how technology can impact the church in positive ways.
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IDEAS, INSIGHTS & INSPIRATION BEYOND THE NORM
10 Children’s Ministries to Visit and Learn From By Dale Hudson One of the best ways to get ideas for your children’s ministry is by studying other children’s ministries that are getting the job done. Conferences are great, but I believe visiting, observing and studying other children’s ministries are just as helpful. Many of the things our children’s ministry does were sparked by something we saw other ministries doing successfully. Below are 10 children’s ministries that are doing a great job reaching kids and families. In other words, they’ve got it going on! They’re not just talking about impacting kids, but they’re actually doing it.
an amazing preschool ministry to their JUMP kids worship services, they are highly effective in reaching kids. At Christmas, they do an incredible Christmas family show that reaches thousands of kids and parents. 3) Kids’ Club is the children’s ministry of Crossroads Church in the Cincinnati area. The ministry is led by my friend, Kim Botto. They are doing an amazing job reach-
5) LifeChurch.tv in Edmond, Oklahoma, is a leader in multisite children’s ministry and is reaching kids across the country. Its children’s ministry is called LifeKids.tv. LifeKids.tv produces amazing curriculum that they share with other churches for free. It is also a leader in using technology to share God’s Word. The Bible app for kids is helping thousands of kids discover God’s Word.
1) North Point Church has been a leader in children and family ministry since it’s inception in 1995. Reggie Joiner is a pioneer in family ministry (I actually call him the godfather of family ministry) and led the team at North Point to reach thousands of kids and families. Reggie then left to begin The ReThink Group and help other churches reach families. Kendra Fleming and the North Point team have continued to bring innovation, leadership and great creativity to children’s and family ministry. If you’re serious about reaching families, study what North Point is doing. 2) Team Kid is the children’s ministry of Second Baptist Church of Houston. They are reaching thousands of kids and families in their city. From 8
MinistryToday January // February 2015
7) Fellowship Church in the Dallas metro area is impacting thousands of kids each week. My friend, Mike Johnson, leads FC Kids. He and his team are highly creative and produce incredible resources for other churches. They are the masterminds behind Elevation Curriculum. And Mike has the coolest children’s ministry office on the planet. 8) Gateway Church is another church in the Dallas metro area that is making a huge impact. Ken Jackson leads their children’s ministry called Amazing Kids. Amazing Kids has exploded with growth. Not only are they impacting kids in their city, but also churches across the country through their worship songs for kids. 9) Saddleback Church
ing kids. They are also producing some amazing resources, including songs and videos.
4) Church on the Move has been a leader in children’s ministry since it’s beginning days. Lead Pastor Willie George has always had a heart to reach kids and has used the Gospel Bill TV show to reach kids around the world. My friend and one of my heroes in children’s ministry, Jim Wideman, led the ministry there for years. Kids on the Move continues to produce incredible worship songs, curriculum, videos and other resources you can access.
6) Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, has always made children’s ministry a top priority. This is evident in their programming, facilities and staffing. The result—they are reaching thousands of kids in the Dallas metro area. One of my heroes in children’s ministry, Sondra Saunders, led Prestonwood Kidz for decades. Now my friend, Diane Pendley, leads the children’s ministry. She has an amazing staff and team of volunteers who are committed to reaching the next generation.
in Lake Forest, California, has been a national leader in children’s ministries for years. My friend, Steve Adams, leads Saddleback Kids. Their commitment to children’s ministry is reflected in everything they do. They produce amazing curriculum and resources that impact kids’ lives. They set the bar for what children’s ministry should be in the local church.
10) Elevation Church’s eKidz is a children’s ministry in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. It has exploded with growth and is on the cutting edge of children’s ministry. Access their amazing, free curriculum and resources at their website, elevationekidz.com. © Istockphoto/pamspix
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Ministry Matters V o l . 3 3 // N o . 1
Why Your Instrument Is Holding You Back
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If you are like most songwriters and performing artists today, you probably have a go-to instrument that you are comfortable with. For most, it is either a guitar or piano. If you are writing in a pop or worship style, you can get away with knowing just a handful of chords and still craft a strong song. You know what I am talking about—the G C D Em stuff and just moving your capo around. I’ve been playing guitar and piano for over 16 years now and I am guilty of this as well. Here’s the thing: The majority of us may play an accompanying instrument, but we are not masters of it by any means. We typically have a comfort zone of a few chords, strum patterns and tempos. Naturally what tends to happen when you sit down to write is that your songs all start to sound the same. Yeah, there might be some variations, but the same elements and structures are always in there. They stay in the same range and our melodies are stifled by our limited ability on our instrument. The way to break that cycle is to ditch your instrument in your writing sessions. I find that my best melodies and rhythms come when I am driving in the car or singing in the shower. The inspiration comes, and I need to let it out without the ability to strum my guitar. I can sing in any range and add some weird minor or diminished notes and off beat phrasing that my guitar playing could never make room for. 10 MinistryToday January // February 2015
The beauty of working this way is that the sky’s the limit when it comes to melodies, rhythms and lyrics. You have no box to keep you encased in those same four chords. There might not even be a chord needed for your song! But we automatically think our melodies have to have a strum or something behind them. Tip: A good way to see your limitations is to listen to some of your favorite songs from other artists, ones you know you have a difficult time playing and singing at the same time. If you can’t sing and play a song together, then how can you create one that is outside of your box by singing and playing together? So, don’t let your ability on your instrument limit your songwriting potential. Break out your iPhone or whatever you use to record on the fly and always be ready to hit the red button, no matter how silly the melody or lyrics are. Then, if you feel the song needs more than what you can play, that’s when collaboration is your best friend. Find someone who is well-versed on a particular instrument in the style you’re going after. Sing the melody to them and see what they say. Another great way is to get with a drummer and have them play a groove. All you have is the beat to work with, and that allows for a lot of room to create. Play to your strengths and allow the song to be the best it possibly could be. © Istockphoto/CEFutcher
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K I N G D O M
C U L T U R E
BY RICK WARREN
5 Ways For Leaders to Guard Their Minds Isn’t your influence too important to let sinful thinking ruin your ministry?
eaders are readers. Leaders are learners. And leaders are definitely thinkers. Your mind is a special gift from God. It’s one of the most important tools in a leader’s arsenal. Your mind can potentially store 100 trillion thoughts, yet the average person only uses 3.5 million thoughts a year. We only use about 10 percent of our mental (or brain) capacity. While our minds can be the epicenter of creative and influential leadership, our minds are also battlegrounds that must be guarded. All moral failure begins in the mind. 1 Peter 1:13 says, “Therefore guard your minds, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Notice that self-control and mental preparation go together. God says that the selfcontrolled person is the mentally fit person. We can love God with our minds. We’ve often talked about loving God with our hearts, but God says we can love Him with our mind. I believe that God wants you to make the most of your mind. We battle an old sinful nature that often clouds our thinking. We live in a world that bombards us with false and counterfeit philosophies. And we have an enemy who is constantly on the prowl, seeking to devour us. So how do we guard our minds well? Control what you allow in. Second Corinthians 10:5 says we should be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” The Bible is very specific in giving us five threats we are to guard our minds against: 1) We are to guard our minds against false teaching. Doctrinal errors, being diverted from the gospel, will ruin our minds. Scripture talks about “the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). That means it’s been around. The message of the gospel has never changed. I often say at Saddleback, “If it’s new, it’s not true.” So we’re to guard our minds against false teachings and false religions. How do we do that? By knowing the truth. If you know the truth, you can instantly spot a lie. 2) We are to guard our minds against temptation. The Bible says in Matthew 26:41 that we are to “watch and pray that you
enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” That’s a good verse to put on your television, your computer screen and even your mobile devices. A.W. Tozer said, “America has lost its ability to blush.” The Bible says very clearly that sin starts with a thought. You sow a thought, you reap an action. You sow an action, you reap a habit. You sow a habit, you reap a character. And bad character destroys you. 3) We are to guard our minds against counterfeit spiritual experiences. The people who don’t do this end up in cults. Galatians 1:6-8 says even if an angel comes and tells you something different than what the Word of God says, you’re not to believe him. I believe the Holy Spirit works calmly and deliberately. There are a number of Scriptures you can look up that will help you guard against counterfeit spiritual experiences. 4) We are to guard our minds against pride. Pride is the sin that God judges more quickly than any other, and it’s the real root of many other kinds of sin in our lives. Pride is the sin that resulted in Satan being kicked out of heaven. The right attitude is to have an attitude of humility. 5) We are to guard against an overworked mind. This is one of the greatest areas of failure, I believe, for pastors. We strain our minds too much. This can cause failure in your life. The constant study, the constant reading and the constant dealing with people overwork your mind, and they lower your ability to make sound judgments. Jesus told His disciples in Mark 6:31, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest a while,” or you’re going to come apart. We need to guard our minds from an overworked mind. Epic failure begins in small ways in the mind. Your influence and your impact as a leader are too important to allow poor mental habits or sinful thinking to ruin your ministry.
“There are a number of Scriptures you can look up that will help you guard against counterfeit spiritual experiences.”
12 MinistryToday January // February 2015
R i c k W a rr e n is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, one of America’s largest and most influential churches. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century.
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F R O M
V I E W P O I N T
BY SHAWN A. AKERS
Be Transformed by God’s Mercy Mike Bickle made me see Romans 12 in a different light
n my 48 years on this earth, I have heard sermons surrounding Romans 12:1-2 many times. I am certain that it is one that most of you have preached sometime during your career as a pastor or a ministerial leader. As a refresher, Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Indeed, it is a familiar Scripture and sermon, but I have never heard it preached as I did by Mike Bickle, the senior pastor at Forerunner Christian Fellowship (IHOPKC), on a recent trip to Kansas City. In town for a Christian writers conference and having the privilege of attending services at Forerunner with my brother and his wife, my brother Kevin—who is also a preacher—and I were amazed at how differently Pastor Bickle delivered the message. Most other sermons I’ve heard from this passage talked about the obvious—renewing your mind by not being conformed to the world but by being conformed to the ways of Jesus. Pastor Bickle, however, chose to focus on a different part of the Scripture—God’s mercy. “By understanding God’s mercy, it motivates us with gratitude to give ourselves fully to Him, and gives us confidence in our weakness that our offering is pleasing to Him,” Bickle says. “Paul presented the truths of grace and mercy throughout Romans 1-11—especially in Romans 5-6—and by His mercy, we are accepted by God and have a significant destiny in His eyes.” It’s inevitable at times that many of us, including myself, tend to believe that our worship and our efforts for the kingdom simply aren’t good enough to please the Lord. Somehow, we tend to believe that we fall short of the expectations God has for us because that’s what the world is telling us. And yes, that group includes pastors. According to pastoralcareinc.com, more than 1,700 pastors left the ministry each month in 2013. Think about that—more than 1,700 a month. That’s an amazing and disheartening statistic.
14 MinistryToday January // February 2015
Pastors are leaving the ministry these days for many reasons. Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, tells us in his article “7 Reasons Pastors Burn Out” that pastors leave due to, among other reasons: 1) not being able to turn off work in their mind; 2) ongoing conflict that wears the pastor down; 3) the inability to meet expectations of church members; and 4) no life outside the church. Those are some pretty legitimate reasons for anyone to leave their occupation or their “calling.” But while the world tells us that we’re failing, God simply doesn’t see it that way. Granted, I am not a pastor, and I certainly don’t know all of the trials and tribulations that a pastor is faced with in his or her everyday life and ministry. I often hear it said that is one of the most difficult vocations that anyone could ever have. Given what I read about pastors every day, there is little reason to doubt that. I do know, however, that God has a specific purpose for your life, what Bickle refers to as a “divine destiny” or a “master plan.” Otherwise, he would never have planted the desire to serve in the ministry in the first place. When discouragement, disappointment or despair arises in your ministry, and you are tempted to simply chuck it all and give up because the breakthrough that you’ve been looking for continues to elude you; and when the devil continues to accuse you and lie to you that you’re simply not doing enough, take these words from Mike Bickle to heart and be transformed by the renewing of your mind through God’s infinite mercy: “He knew what He was getting into when He called your name. Delight in the breakthrough that you have now instead of the breakthrough that hasn’t come yet. While you’re pressing for a greater breakthrough, enjoy the Lord enjoying you.” And here’s yet another solid piece of advice from Bickle: “If you want to be more passionate for Jesus, study His passion for you.” He’s not given up on you; neither should you. S h a w n A . A k e r s is the managing editor for Ministry Today magazine. Sean Roberts
YOUR TOOLBOX FOR
VISION. LEADERSHIP. SUCCESSION. Ask any church with a thriving ministry and they will tell you their keys to significance are a transforming vision, leaders who maximize available resources, and long-range planning for pastoral succession. Unfortunately, most churches lack the tools to develop these vital strategies and donâ€™t know where to turn to find them. BUT NO LONGER. Written by leading experts and drawn from time- and field-tested strategies, these practical resources will help pastors and church leaders avoid costly mistakes and build a long-lasting, vibrant, and growing ministry.
16 MinistryToday January // February 2015
How to maximize your money, space, time and people to multiply ministry impact BY EDDY HALL
t was an exciting time for Riverside Church in Big Lake, Minnesota. Hundreds of people were coming to faith in Christ and the church was growing. It was growing so fast, in fact, that there was no room for more people. Senior Pastor Tom Lundeen and the elders knew they needed to build. They just didn’t know what to build and had no idea how they could pay for it. They still owed a $750,000 debt from their last building project and a tenth of their budget was going to mortgage payments. Plus, their staff was stretched to the max. More than one staff member was flirting with burnout. Yet, there was no money to hire desperately needed staff. Riverside was at a crossroad. Either the church would find ways to meet their needs for space and staffing, or it would quit growing and probably shrink. Of course, this wasn’t mainly about the numbers. These new attendees were people who were becoming followers of Jesus and entering into the life of a vibrant church family. Unless Riverside could discover creative ways to do more with less, spiritually hungry people would remain hungry. Fast-forward nine years. Riverside’s average attendance has more than doubled from 690 to more than 1,500 today. Most of that growth, about three-quarters of it, has not come through evangelism. The church is debt-free and has been for years. The 10 percent of the budget that had been used for debt payments has been repurposed for staffing. The church is healthier than ever. And amazingly, even though the leaders were convinced nine years ago that they were out of space, all this has been accomplished without adding a single square foot to their building. Today, Riverside truly is using all its available space and is getting ready to launch a second campus so that the church has room to keep welcoming more people.
How has all of this been possible? When Riverside found itself at this bewildering crossroad, the senior pastor and elders called on Living Stones Associates, a church consulting team, to help them come up with solutions.
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Riverside had already gone to two worship services, and both services were full, so Riverside’s leaders all knew—or thought they knew—that they had no option but to build a larger worship center. But that wasn’t the end result. At the consulting team’s suggestion, they converted their fellowship hall to a video café, creating a second worship venue where people could join the worship service via video. A challenge was that there was just a six-inch wall between the worship center and the video café, making it impractical for the video café to have live music. Leaders of other churches warned Riverside that a second worship venue without live music wouldn’t work, but Riverside had no other option, so they tried it anyway. The video café has three large screens on the wall so that worshippers can experience the music and teaching from the room next door. At first, the leaders were concerned that people might see this room as “overflow,” second-rate seating. But that concern was soon put to rest when, on the first blizzard Sunday when attendance was so low that everyone could have easily gathered in the main worship center, 75 people chose to worship in the video café. Many people assumed that the video café would appeal mainly to young people, but people of all ages chose the café as their preferred worship venue. Some older adults appreciate having a table where they can lay their open Bibles and take sermon notes. In time, when both the worship center and video café were both at capacity during both services, Riverside added a third service.
Seating capacity was only one of the challenges Riverside’s building posed. There were traffic bottlenecks that would only get worse as attendance increased. Offices were scattered throughout the building, even on different floors, undermining efficiency and teamwork. One nursery was upstairs and the other downstairs with no place for secure check-in. The small classroom model the church was using for Christian education made poor use of both space and volunteers. The facility plan recommended by Living Stones and improved upon by the building contractor widened the main
January // February 2015 MinistryToday 17
20 Questions to Answer Before You Build Which of the following statements are true for your church? Answer yes, no, or NA (“not applicable”).
Do You Need to Build? ___ 1. Big groups are in big rooms. Little groups are in little rooms. ___ 2. Our teaching methods maximize the use of space. ___ 3. A ll unused or underused rooms have been identified and put to full use. No rooms suitable for meeting are being used for storage. ___ 4. M ost furniture is moveable and arranged for maximum use of space. ___ 5. C lassroom tables are lightweight, folding and adjustable in height, and easy to move and store. ___ 6. W orship chairs are comfortable, stackable, and easy to move and store. ___ 7. Every space possible has been made multi-use. ___ 8. We have at least three worship services. ___ 9. We have multiple sessions of Christian education. ___ 10. S ome ministries are effectively conducted off-campus for less cost. ___ 11. Homes are used for small groups and other ministries.
We have researched the feasibility of the following: ___ 12. Buying adjacent houses or buildings for church use. ___ 13. H olding a simultaneous service in one or more video venues. ___ 14. Adding another worship site.
Are You Financially Ready to Build? ___ 15. Our church is debt-free. ___ 16. We consistently meet our budget, fully funding our ministry and staffing needs. ___ 17. Our staffing budget reflects our commitment to staff for growth by hiring staff ahead of growth. ___ 18. Our budget includes 1 percent to 2 percent for equipping unpaid ministry leaders and team members. ___ 19. Our people have made pledges to increase giving to cover the cost of construction and future building operating costs so that none of the church’s present ministry spending is diverted to building. __ 20. The church now has enough in its provision fund to be able to pay cash or mostly cash for the proposed building program. E ach yes answer identifies a more-with-less solution you are already implementing. Each no answer points to another opportunity to do more with less. If you answered yes to statements 15 through 18, your church is financially healthy. By taking the steps described in statements 19 and 20, you should be financially ready to build within a few years. Adapted from The More-with-Less Church by Eddy Hall, Ray Bowman, and J. Skipp Machmer (Baker, 2014). Used by permission. 18 MinistryToday January // February 2015
passageway upstairs; created a wide, straight stairway to the basement; created a state-of-the art nursery area; brought all the offices together; opened up rooms for large-group team teaching; and, of course, created the video café. A building that had originally been designed for single use—each space used for a single function with a single worship service—had been transformed into a multi-use facility, with the capacity to handle the increased traffic flow of multiple services in multiple venues. While all this cost was a fraction of the cost of a new building, it still required real money. Committed to paying cash for the remodel and also becoming debt-free, the church conducted a capital campaign, raising $1.4 million over three years. During the first year of the campaign, the church accelerated its mortgage payments, slashing interest expense. During the second year, because the mortgage was already paid ahead, Riverside used the pledges received to pay cash for the construction project. During the third year, the balance of the mortgage was paid off. During the past three years, Executive Pastor Skipp Machmer has led the congregation in developing a culture of generosity. The past two years, giving has exceeded the budget, this past year by
“Quote Berrum ipid enturi in reius magnissuntur autet il explabor modit laborisitae. Nam faccum con porit labo. Nem quatqui deritin non pratate rest am aut explace seratem verum quas aliquat aturibus delit volore.”
Riverside Church’s converted its fellowship hall into a video café where members join the worship service via video.
$250,000. Now truly out of space, the church is preparing to launch a second campus. This will likely require some short-term debt, but the church is financially healthy enough today that it can do that without using funds needed for staffing and ministries.
Riverside’s most urgent staffing need was for an executive pastor. Pastor Tom is a gifted communicator, and his clear, practical sermons are powerful. But strategic planning and staff management are not his sweet spots. Tom needed an executive pastor to free him to focus on what he was called to do and to make it possible for the staff and congregation to continue to grow. An executive pastor was hired and a couple of years later, so was a community life pastor who gave leadership to the small-group ministry. Support staff roles were tweaked and other staff assignments reorganized, all with the eye to getting each staff member working in the areas where they were most gifted. Today, Riverside spends about 60 percent of its budget on staff—more than the average church spends—but this investment in staffing has been key to sustaining rapid growth through Ken Vande Steeg
evangelism over the past decade. This investment in staffing would not have been possible if the church had still been using 10 percent of its budget to pay debt.
Around 90 percent of churches in the U.S. and Canada are over-programmed. They operate so many programs that they are constantly struggling to recruit enough volunteers, people end up serving out of a sense of duty or guilt rather than call and many of the ministries are not done with excellence. The result is tired leaders, mediocre ministries and limited ministry impact. The liberating truth is that the fruitfulness of our ministry is greatest when we do fewer things with greater excellence. A few years into Riverside’s “makeover,” their children’s ministry team discovered the power of this principle. When the national AWANA program made some programming changes a few years back, Riverside’s AWANA leaders observed, “With these changes, AWANA is now going to be very similar to what we’re already doing on Sunday mornings with our children.” » January // February 2015 MinistryToday 19
“The New Living Translation communicates the good news of God’s promises and will leave a lasting impact on whoever reads it.”
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A basic principle of programming is that if you have two programs that are serving similar purposes, you will be more effective if you combine the programs and do an excellent job than if you try to maintain two programs and do a mediocre job. So at the suggestion of the AWANA leaders, Riverside combined its AWANA program with its children’s church program, allowing the staff and all the children’s ministry leaders to put their time and energy into creating a top-rate Sunday children’s ministry. Today, the children’s ministry at Riverside is more effective than ever at connecting with families with children. Most churches in the U.S. and Canada have three church-wide programs for children—Sunday school, children’s church, and a weeknight program. In all the churches Living Stones has consulted with over 30-plus years, not one has said they are able to do an excellent job with all three programs. In fact, the churches that are known nationally for their excellent children’s ministries—those that hold training events that people from all over the nation attend—these, like Riverside, have committed to doing one children’s ministry program and doing it superbly. When it comes to ministry programs, less is more.
More-With-Less in the Inner City
Hilltop Urban Church in Wichita, Kansas, was facing challenges vastly different from those facing Riverside, but they were no less daunting. Hilltop’s call was to serve the poor, multiethnic neighborhood that surrounded the church. For the 20 years of the church’s life, white, middle-class, educated people from the suburbs had commuted to Hilltop to lead the church’s ministries. They ministered and the neighborhood people received ministry and sometimes assisted the leaders. From the beginning, Pastor Dennis Hesselbarth’s dream had been to raise up indigenous leaders from the neighborhood, but his dream had gone unfulfilled. 20 MinistryToday January // February 2015
“Less effort, more fruitfulness. Why would you settle for anything less in your church?” Twenty years into the church’s life, the original core group of suburban leaders was aging out. Some were forced to step back from ministry due to health issues. The writing on the wall was clear: Unless a new generation of leaders could be raised up, the church would be dead within 10 years.
Seven years ago, the part-time children’s director at Hilltop left the staff. In the past whenever this happened, the church would search for another paid children’s director and help her raise missionary support to pay her salary. This time, though, Hilltop chose a different approach. One of the women from the neighborhood who had assisted with children’s ministry was asked to pray about forming and leading a children’s ministry team. Her first instinct was to say no, because she had never led anything before. But after praying, she felt she should say yes. She chose three other women, none of whom had led anything before, to join her team. A former children’s director was assigned to coach the team, and they began meeting weekly to pray and
think about the children’s ministry they would launch in the fall. The pastor gave them guidelines within which to work, but within those guidelines, they were given great freedom to decide what to do, when and how. It was no surprise to the pastors (thought it might have been to the team) that the team put together an effective children’s church ministry for the fall. What surprised everyone was to see the transformation that took place within the team members. A team member who would come to church and spend most of her time crying and hardly be able to hold a conversation because she was so distraught, within a couple of years became a lead teacher in children’s church. Over the next few years, the children’s ministry team hit so many home runs that they developed great confidence and took great pride in their team. Over the next four years, all the ministry programs at Hilltop transitioned to this team ministry approach, and ministry teams became the primary incubators for ministry leaders. The leaders discovered that the best way to raise up indigenous leaders is to get them onto Jason Hall
Worship time at Hilltop Urban Church
about three-quarters of the existing ministry programs went away. They were replaced by much more relational ways of doing things, which included making house churches— Hilltop’s version of deep-relationship small groups—the heart of everything they did. Seven years ago, none of the ministries at Hilltop were led by people from the culture of poverty. Today, about 80 percent of Hilltop’s leaders are from the culture of poverty, and more life transformation is happening than ever before. Fewer programs, more fruit.
More-With-Less Finances a ministry team where they are fully engaged in designing and carrying out the ministries to which they are called. A key to making this possible is that every
One of the goals Hilltop has set in their transition from 1.0 to 2.0 is for the church to become financially selfsufficient in all their core ministries while continuing to be a channel for suburban churches and ministry part-
“I’ve been using the New Living Translation at Crossover and I really enjoy it. We’ve used several modern translations, but theNLT resonates with us. It’s understandable, but scholarly and solid too.”
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Game Show Day for Riverside Church’s Kids’ Ministry was held in the Gym Cafe Arena.
FREE D OW NLOA D ministry team leader has a coach who is on call when the leader gets stuck. Because the coach provides on-thejob, just-in-time training, dependable people who have never led before can be successful leaders. The leaders came to call their old way of doing ministry Hilltop 1.0 and the new way Hilltop 2.0. In the fiveyear transition from Hilltop 1.0 to 2.0, Ken Vande Steeg
ners to invest in the needs of the poor through compassion funds, scholarship funds and so on. Making progress toward this goal has required two shifts. First, many people who live in the culture of poverty have the mindset that they have nothing to give. The leaders have had to challenge this mindset, working to develop a culture of generosity even January // February 2015 MinistryToday 21
Help your church see how the entire story of the Bible fits together with a free 8-Week FLYOVER ROUTE e-book and church resources, including 54 daily Scripture readings, eight weekly discussion guides, infographic poster art, and more – at:
TheNLTPreaches.com New Living Translation, NLT, and the New Living Translation logo are registered trademarks of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
T H E FO U N D AT I O N O F U N I Q U E L E G A C I E S MICHELE BACHMANN ’86
(J.D.) Presidential candidate 2012. First Republican woman from Minnesota in Congress 2007. Elected Minnesota State Senator 2000.
KELLY WRIGHT ’08
(B.S. Communication Arts) General assignment reporter for Fox News Channel, and co-host on America’s News Headquarters. Inductee to MLK Jr. Board of Sponsors.
PHIL COOKE ’76
(B.A. Communication) Internationally known author and speaker. Owner of Cooke Pictures. Writes a daily blog entitled “The Change Revolution.”
LARRY STOCKSTILL ’75
(B.A. Theological and Historical Studies) Overseer of Bethany Church, which averages 6,000 attendees. President of Heartbeat of Louisiana.
DR. MITCHELL DUININCK
’83 (B.A. Spanish) Founder
’85 (M.D.) President and
of His House Children’s Home, which has bettered the lives of more than 4,500 neglected children in South Florida.
Residency Director of In His Image. Forerunner of local and international medical outreaches. Prestigious family physician.
These alumni are the architects of world-impacting legacies, all originating from the distinguished ORU grounds in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Visit oru.edu/legacies to learn more about how you can embark on your journey and create a legacy of your own.
in the midst of poverty. Second, the church’s old models of staffing and doing ministry, which depended primarily on outside funds paying for professional staff, has been replaced with a new model in which people from the local culture lead most of the ministries. Seven years ago, Hilltop attendees gave only about 30 percent of what was needed to meet the budget. Today, about 90 percent of Hilltop’s core ministries are funded by the congregation. While Hilltop’s attendance is about the same, there are far more frequent stories of changed lives and much
cost of operating their building is a burden—utilities, insurance, maintenance and custodial salary. When the main building was built in 2000, Hilltop was a program-based church and the building was built to meet the needs of those programs. With Hilltop 2.0, most of those programs went away as more and more ministry moved out of the building and into people’s homes. Hilltop’s more-with-less building strategy has been to seek out ministry partners who share their mission to reach out to the Hilltop neighborhood and share space with them. Hilltop
Today, Riverside spends about 60 percent of its budget on staff—more than the average church spends—but this investment in staffing has been key to sustaining rapid growth through evangelism over the past decade. greater excitement among the leaders than there were seven years ago. And this is happening on a budget only about one-third the size of the Hilltop 1.0 budget. Plus, there is the sense among the leaders that the church leadership core is becoming stronger. The church is poised for growth.
Seven years ago, Hilltop had a fulltime senior pastor, a full-time youth pastor and a quarter-time children’s director. Today, the staff team is made up of six people, two of whom are paid part-time and four unpaid. Paid hours for ministry staff (support staff not included) have been reduced from 90 to 30 hours a week, appropriate for a church with attendance in the 50s. Hilltop will probably always rely primarily on unpaid staff made up of indigenous leaders. As the church grows, paid ministry staff may increase, but their primary role will not be to do ministry for people but rather to equip others to do ministry, to grow and coach ministry leaders.
Hilltop is blessed to be debt-free. But while they have no mortgage, the
now rents space to a Spanish-speaking church and to a ministry serving victims of domestic violence. The church is exploring the possibility of sharing the building with another nearby church that already partners with them in multiple community outreaches. A Shared Ministry Team, made up of representatives of the three churches that share the building, works out practical issues related to sharing the building and explores possibilities for shared ministry. Riverside and Hilltop are two very different churches, but both find creative ways to do more ministry with fewer resources. Certainly, your church’s situation is different from both of these, but these same principles can release your church to bear more fruit with less investment of money, space, time and people. Less effort, more fruitfulness. Why would you settle for anything less in your church? E d d y H a l l joined the team of Living Stone Associates in 1996 and assumed the leadership in 2000. He also leads the staff team of Hilltop Urban Church, a multiethnic congregation in a low-income neighborhood in Wichita, Kansas. January // February 2015 MinistryToday 23
“I read the New Living Translation daily and with joy and gratitude for thosewho have provided such a wonderfully straightforward and credible rendering of Scripture.”
community church, bethel, ct former president, world relief
FREE D OW NLOA D Help your church see how the entire story of the Bible fits together with a free 8-Week FLYOVER ROUTE e-book and church resources, including 54 daily Scripture readings, eight weekly discussion guides, infographic poster art, and more – at:
TheNLTPreaches.com New Living Translation, NLT, and the New Living Translation logo are registered trademarks of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
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A pair of churches (Gateway and Lifechurch.tv) have unlocked the secret to getting the message out via technological innovation
o better symbol of the digital revolution’s impact on the church exists than YouVersion, t he ubiqu itous Bible app that now spans more than 1,000 translations, 700 languages and 165 million users worldwide. Yet the story of how it emerged from failure shows how God can transform efforts to bring Him glory into something humans never conceived. There is a lesson in this, particularly for small- and medium-size church pastors—cyberspace tools many consider beyond their reach are, in reality, at their fingertips. Computer-geek-entrepreneur-turnedinnovation-pastor Bobby Gruenewald at LifeChurch.tv in Edmond, Oklahoma, was in a long security line at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport in 2006 when the thought struck: For spreading the Word, cyberspace could rival the printing press in historical significance. The 38-year-old pastor’s concept to meet this opportunity involved a new kind of website. Instead of just consuming content, people could create it; the church hoped to connect their content with Scripture. The trouble is, hardly anyone visited the site.
26 MinistryToday January // February 2015
BY KEN WALKER God, however, used the process to introduce Gruenewald’s team to numerous publishers and other key sources that helped further the new Bible success. This interaction laid the groundwork for successfully answering the question: “What if we tried using a mobile device instead of a computer?” Converting the website idea into a smartphone-based product proved divinely timed, coinciding with Apple announcing open season for app developments in 2008. “We wanted to see if the Bible could be one of the first apps,” Gruenewald says. “It’s hard to distinguish the [app from the web site] because we feel God was preparing us for the mindset of developing resources for free. “That led us to the app, and three days after it launched, 83,000 people had installed it. I’m amazed at how God has taken it and grown it.”
The Power of Digital
Although YouVersion attracts the lion’s share of publicity, the Bible App is only a small portion of LifeChurch.tv’s electronic evangelism. This outreach has sparked the church’s growth to 21 campuses, with another expected to launch by Easter.
Such mushrooming development illustrates how pastors who tap into the power of this transformation instead of cursing its sometimes bewildering aspects may help usher in a new Reformation. “We have that focus of reaching out to unbelievers,” says Brett Huckins, executive pastor of Gateway Church, whose Dallas area multi-site recently unveiled a dedicated social media platform to enhance its outreach. “That’s the idea behind our online video, streaming our services online and [other content]. Everything we do is to reach people.” Former pastor and social media innovator Justin Wise believes embracing such a philosophy is necessary for survival. The author of The Social Church (Moody), Wise points to Christians’ historic usage of radio (Aimee Semple McPherson) and televangelism crusades (Billy Graham) as paving the way for 21st-century adaptations. “Not everyone will seize this opportunity,” Wise wrote in a blog post last year. “In fact, some churches will stick their heads in the sand rather than face the changes head-on. Nor should unfamiliarity with the rapidly changing technosphere hinder a pastor’s willingness to learn. Gruenewald © Istockphoto/kokoroyuki
LifeChurch.tv in Edmond, Oklahoma, developed the popular YouVersion Bible App.
Converting the web site idea into a smart phone-based product proved divinely timed.
Gateway Church in the Dallas area is a leader in technological innovation for churches.
January // February 2015 MinistryToday â€‚ 27
points out that when he started attending LifeChurch.tv in 1999, its only high-tech device was air conditioning. What the one-time website developer tells church leaders is they don’t have to master the entire learning curve of the process, which can present a formidable challenge.
Other megachurches like Seattle’s Mars Hill, Nashville’s Cross Point and San Antonio’s Community Bible earn high marks for their use of social media. Yet LifeChurch.tv and Gateway Church have emerged as noted leaders in the digital age. The Bible App isn’t the only one developed by LifeChurch.tv’s technology staff. The 25 YouVersion personnel and others have also developed the following tools. Its Bible App for Kids made its debut
In addition to connecting with church leaders, the Oklahoma City-based congregation’s cyberspace initiatives reach into places where Christians are persecuted or religious freedom is restricted. At present, Pakistan has the most people-visiting church online. LifeChurch.tv also uses unconventional methods like search engine advertising to appeal to cyberspace users searching such terms as “pornography,” “depression” or “prayer.” Pop-up ads have enabled staff members to reach out to many people in time of need and connect them with a supportive community. Gruenewald says this online community falls into several categories, starting with people who use it to supplement their church connections when they can’t attend in person. Some new believers find Christ and get connected to a local church. Others consider the portal their church home,
spiritual formation tools. The key concept: Offer a community-like atmosphere that would encourage sharing of prayer requests, special needs and the development of special-interest groups. The Table (tableproject.org) is freely available to anyone that wants to use it. After working to spread awareness of the platform, last August the church introduced the interactive version and the new My Gateway, the “branded” app linked to the platform. In November it introduced a paid version, Table Pro. Aimed at smaller churches, the free version is a kind of “church app in a box” that includes social features, service times and locations, and small groups. Table Pro is designed for churches that want a customized expression of their app. Offering teaching material and product support, it includes the ability to customize names and links, includes
“Everything we do, especially in the technology sector, is to reach people.” on Thanksgiving of 2013, with its complete library of stories expected to be finished by this summer. By the end of December, it had been downloaded on 5 million devices. Church Metrics (also a website) helps churches track attendance, giving and other statistics. More than 26,000 churches have signed up. Eight thousand more use the Church Online Platform. This platform enables churches to facilitate chats and interaction within their own community— alongside worship and a sermon. During the month of August, more than 1 million people “visited” church using this method. Through Church Online, audiences can participate in LifeChurch.tv’s worship services, sermon, live chats and one-onone prayer. The main website also offers on-demand downloads of past services. At a separate site (open.lifechurch.tv), the congregation offers an impressive library of 20,000 free resources. By year’s end, approximately 163,000 pastors and church leaders had downloaded 6 million free tools, ranging from sermon notes to video clips to children’s curriculum. 28 MinistryToday January // February 2015
while the mission-minded see it as a new field.
Social Media Tools
Bibles aren’t the only high-tech device gathering attention in this brave new world. Last August, Gateway Church launched The Table Project, a Christian-oriented social media platform that it acquired from a Minneapolis, Minnesota company in the spring of 2013. The acquisition came the year after the debut of the original Gateway Church App, which Huckins describes as a consumer-based device—a place where people came to watch video or retrieve information. The staff wanted more. Tired of seeing others finding random Scripture commentary and spiritual comments on Facebook, several suggested creating a tool they could use to pastor their members digitally. Staffers wanted to do more than offer counsel. They could incorporate such elements as Gateway’s service times and locations, online giving options and
a giving module and gives the church the option to offer apps through Apple and Google Play. Monthly costs vary. In addition to helping churches join the digital age, the new social media tool is fostering interaction among members. Special groups cover everything from motorcycles to theology, while different staff members focus on reaching out to the curious. This all takes personnel. From a staff of about 45, Gateway plans to expand its tech department to 60 by this spring as it expands The Table and other interactive technology.
Part of Gateway’s electronic emphasis stems from its need to tie together its five campuses in the Dallas Metroplex, which host a collective 30,000 worshipers a weekend (an endeavor that requires more than 150 staff members and 7,300 volunteers). However, it moves beyond through such moves as hosting technology in ministry conferences and partnering with some 173 ministries in 47 nations.
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In 2013, the nondenominational charismatic church founded its School of Tech Arts, a two-year program that uses the church’s campuses as classrooms and industry experts as instructors. Huckins calls this multi-faceted program its attempt to answer the question how they can better disciple people in the digital arena as traditional brickand-mortar locations no longer occupy first place in many people’s hearts. He says it’s working, particularly The Table. Among the testimonies returning from the field is the Table user who sat next to an airline passenger whose mother had just been diagnosed with cancer. The member replied, “Is anyone praying for you? Let me post a request on My Gateway.” “The member turned around the phone to show them the app and could see tears in the other person’s eyes,” Huckins says. “It’s also for a person who has needs and is exploring, asking, ‘What’s this church all about?’ People can post a need that others can meet.” However, before getting too excited over the potential of technology, Gruenewald raises a couple yellow flags for church leaders. It starts with avoiding feeling pressured to adopt a certain kind of technology just “because everyone else is.” The other caution is to avoid mistaking technology for innovation. Sometimes from a well-intentioned desire for groundbreaking moves, pastors can reason they need the latest and greatest technology. “In reality, the technology purchases we make say a lot more about our budget than they do about how innovative we are,” Gruenewald says. “It’s really about leveraging your passion and resources to work within your constraints. “People are sharing their lives on social media with an unprecedented degree of transparency. The question is: Are we listening and responding? How every pastor answers that question may well determine the future of the body of Christ. K e n W a l k e r is a freelance writer, coauthor and book editor from Huntington, W. Va., and a regular contributor to Ministry Today and Charisma. 30 MinistryToday January // February 2015
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BUILD NOT BUILD or
Buildings are tools to accomplish the ministry God has called you to fulfill. Building right makes ministry much easier.
erhaps you are in a ministry where God is moving, your attendance is growing, and you find yourself asking, “How do we facilitate this increase?” Or maybe, your ministry has plateaued and your team realizes that, in order to grow, you may need to renovate, replace or relocate. What do you do? Where do you start? Do you do anything right now? Those are tough questions every ministry faces at some time. Unfortunately, due to the nature of ministry, most churches reach a point of needing to do something “now” to survive the growth or the decline, and they have not made preparation. So whether your need is immediate or several years down the road, let’s discuss some options and good practices you can put in place to make progress. Let’s consider first the most important issue when it comes to any type of capital improvement or expansion: How do we pay for it? So often this is the most difficult hurdle to construction
BY RODNEY JAMES DANIELS projects. Too many times, churches employ the services of a design company before really considering what they can afford. They often end up with a design or set of plans they cannot build, because they did not design with a budget as the guide. The first step for any renovation or addition should begin with how much we can spend. To determine your spending capacity, you need to know your options and which path your staff is comfortable navigating. First, do we have any excess cash that is set aside for capital improvement? As I speak to pastors and church leaders across the nation, I always encourage them to build a payment into their budget and set that money aside, even if you do not have debt. This does two things. First, it sets aside cash that can help you initiate a process of due diligence when the time comes for your project. Second, you will have already proven to a lending institution that you can afford a loan. A liquid building fund gives leaders some capital to engage a partner to help them determine the best course of action when it comes time to upgrade or expand.
Once your cash reserves are measured, then we look to some type of capital campaign. Often church leaders are hesitant to lead their members to make a commitment to give toward buildings or renovations; however, it often can be a time of great spiritual growth for a church when it is done well. Buildings are not the end; they are a means to an end. They are tools with which churches do ministry. When sharing a vision to raise funds for construction projects, it is vital to put the focus on the ministry that will be accomplished for the kingdom, rather than the edifice itself. Don’t discount completely the necessity to share the renderings, animations or drawings of your facility, but promote these as investments in future opportunities to reach and serve the people of your community. A good partner to walk the journey of a capital campaign is a necessity if you have not traveled that road before. A good partner will mean the difference between great results and great growth, or average results and a potentially miserable experience. »
January // February 2015 MinistryToday 33
With cash in hand and pledges on the way, what is our next source of funding? We now turn to the lenders. Two basic options are available for churches when it comes to borrowing funds. There is the conventional loan and the sale of bonds. Many factors play into the ability for a church to secure either type of funding, but some of the most important need to be in place before you attempt to borrow. First, you need to be able to show an ability to pay back the loan. How will your budget be affected when you add the monthly payment to the bottom line? What adjustments do you need to make now in order to be prepared for that day? Second, you need to keep accurate accounting records and financial statements. Oftentimes, churches 34 MinistryToday January // February 2015
donâ€™t do a good job of keeping accurate financial records and, when it comes time to borrow, it can take months to get your financial house in order. If you know a loan is in your future, hire an accountant to do a review of your financial records. Most of the time you will be required to have audited financial statements to present to your lender, so why not get those in order sooner rather than later? The type of funding you choose will depend on your specific situation, but consider both before making your decision. Also, choosing your lender is very important. Many churches believe that their local bank is the best choice, and oftentimes, it may be. However, there are many lending institutions that specialize in lending to churches or
ministries, and because they understand ministry, they frequently can offer better terms, better rates and larger loans. Sometimes a conventional loan may not be the best option. Then, we turn to the sale of bonds. For the sake of space I will not detail all the differences, but let me mention a few of the major ones. Conventional loans will have lower fees; however, they may require more detailed appraisals and other requirements that often offset some of the savings. Bonds normally will provide more cash than a conventional loan and, oftentimes, the terms and refinancing benefits are much better than conventional. The interest rate will always be lower for a conventional loan over a bond program, but that should not be the only factor considered. It may be best to talk with both types of lenders to see which option provides your church with the right solution. Once you have completed this exercise, you now know what your budget is and you can answer the questions â€œHow much can we afford? What do we do next?â€? It is time now to engage a partner who can walk with you through the journey of design and construction. It is critical to choose a partner who understands construction and ministry. They can assist Daniels & Daniels Construction
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When the budget drives the design, and the costs are estimated as you progress through design, you end up with a feasible design that can be constructed for the funds that are available. you by asking the right questions to help your team determine the best course of action for your project. Any contractor can build your buildings, but to help you determine what you need to build, or if you need to build, requires the experience of a team who has been on both sides. For example, a church reached out to me to build them a new sanctuary. After attending church with them over the weekend, I helped them realize that if they built a large, new sanctuary, they would only increase the problem of an already overcrowded preschool and children’s area. Through a process of evaluation, they came to the conclusion it was better to invest their available funds in a smaller version of a new sanctuary and renovate their preschool and children’s area. A partner who understands the ministry side and has a heart to help guide you can save you much heartache down the road. A partner who will allow the budget to guide them is very crucial to the success of your design and project. It is imperative to have a partner engaged who, from the very beginning, knows the costs of building churches and ministry facilities. When a builder is not involved from the very beginning, helping with site evaluation, due diligence and cost estimation throughout the design process, statistics tell us that 36 MinistryToday January // February 2015
36 percent of those projects will never get built. The design repeatedly ends up exceeding the financial ability of the church and the money spent on design is wasted. When the budget drives the design and the costs are estimated as you progress through design, you end up with a feasible design that can be constructed for the funds that are available. With an accurate budget and a good partner, there are still many questions that need to be answered. Let’s address four major considerations: 1) Do we renovate, relocate, expand or multiply? Let’s begin with renovation. When your existing structure is sound, your square footage is adequate and your location is still effective, you may consider a renovation project. If your existing facility does not have any major structural issues there is no cheaper place to be than right where you are. As long as you have sufficient square footage, even though it may need to be rearranged, you can rework your existing space for much less than building a new facility. A new façade on the exterior, often tying multiple buildings together, can provide a new face to the community that communicates good things are happening at your location. Renovation, though painful during the process, can be a much less expensive way to continue to facilitate growth.
2) Relocation is a painstaking process that commonly requires churches to take two steps backward before moving forward. The cost of land, infrastructure, parking, utilities, etc. at a new location can use so much of your available funding that you may wind up with much less facility than you are currently occupying. All of those unseen expenses are difficult to swallow when you make a decision to move. However, there are many times valid reasons for relocating. If your current area has changed so dramatically that it is difficult to continue your ministry, it may be time for a move. If current facilities have suffered damage or are structurally unsound, a new home may be a viable option. In any case, it is advisable to have a good partner to assist you in evaluating the new site to ensure you don’t take any missteps in purchasing a piece of land that can be extremely costly to build on. 3) The third consideration is expansion at your existing location. If you are experiencing growth and are needing more space, adding to existing facilities may be a great step. A few considerations for this approach are important. If you expand your buildings, do you have enough parking to compensate? Oftentimes additional parking is required by code when churches expand. This can be a costly piece of your project that, if not considered early on, can be a painful hurdle to overcome. Are current utilities Daniels & Daniels Construction
adequate for the expansion? What is the best configuration for the expansion? Should we renovate a portion of our existing facility and build a smaller new building? These are just a few pieces of the exercise to navigate when considering adding on. 4) Finally, multiplication is a good biblical word that is working with many churches when it comes to facilities and location. Multi-site churches are popping up everywhere. This is a very valid solution to growth. Others can communicate the pros and cons to multi-site expansion better than I can, but let’s toss up a few thoughts on the facility side. As mentioned before, new locations can be costly. So the purchase of “big box buildings” may be an alternative to building a new building. Whether a grocery store, hardware store or furniture store, building can provide much of the infrastructure and parking in one purchase. The interior can be renovated to accommodate a new church for much less than new construction. It
is important to take into consideration things like ceiling height, parking, columns inside the building, etc. before making the purchase. Again, a partner that understands these concerns may be worth your investment. Building, renovating, expanding or relocating are all very critical decision for churches. Planning ahead and engaging a great partner are the two best practices that can save leaders a great deal of heartache. Always remember, buildings are tools to accomplish
the ministry God has called you to fulfill. Build right, and ministry is much easier. For 20 years, R o d n e y J a m e s D a n i e l s served as a pastor. During his ministry God allowed Rodney to complete multiple building projects. In 2012, Rodney joined the Churches By Daniels team as director of business and finance. By utilizing his experience and talents in ministry and business, he is able to bring a unique perspective to building churches.
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38 MinistryToday January // February 2015
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SCRATCH Most church planters know all too well how to live within their means. That’s when it’s time to get creative.
BY BRAND0N A. COX
quarter of a million dollars sounds like a whole lot of money to me. But that’s the amount an expert in the field of church planting said I should have in the bank before attempting to plant Grace Hills Church. With that much money, it’s possible to rent an awesome facility, purchase quality equipment and blitz a community with enough advertising to gather hundreds for a big launch. It’s the American church-planting way ... and it has the potential to shipwreck us. We’ve never had a quarter of a million in the bank. In fact, we’ve never had even one-fifth of that. So spending $10,000 on a media and direct mail blitz has never been an option for us, and chances are, it hasn’t been an option for the typical leader reading this article either. If you’re there and you have those kind of resources, great! Go all out for God’s glory. For the rest of us, hope isn’t lost. It’s just found in different tactics. We made a decision when we started planting that we wanted to be highly relational from the start. While there’s nothing wrong, and very much right, with reaching masses of people at once with the gospel, we knew that what would work better for us was starting with a few families and praying 40 MinistryToday January // February 2015
for the good news to go viral. So we spent a couple hundred bucks on Facebook advertising. At our first public information meeting, we met about 30 new people with whom we had connected on Facebook. When six months had gone by, we had a core of about 75, who took on the work of spreading the word of our launch and 176 showed up for that grand opening service in our local movie theater. Fifty of them were friends and supporters who were back at their home churches the next week, and we’ve grown steadily since that day, a few people and a few families at a time. The reality for most of us is that we don’t have the luxury of doing it the easy, expensive way. Instead, we must pinch our pennies, live by a budget and hack our way forward. Here’s the good news: When we are disciplined enough to try to do great things within a humble budget, our faith grows leaps and bounds as we watch the God of the universe come through time after time, providing for us in the moments when we’ve honestly begun to wonder if we’re going to make it. So, in the seasons when you aren’t as loaded as everyone thinks you must be, how do you plant and pastor a church with modest resources? Here’s my take:
The typical American church leader wrongly defines excellence in ministry as being comparable to the biggest church in the region—the one with the multi-million dollar budget and the building that resembles Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino. But excellence shouldn’t be defined by comparison to other ministries. Rather, the pursuit of excellence is a matter of doing our absolute best with whatever God has chosen to provide us, and that often involves us intentionally getting creative. Even from the dream phase of Grace Hills, we’ve held onto a value that I learned while serving as a pastor at Saddleback Church in southern California, one of the nation’s largest churches. Pastor Rick Warren often reminds the staff that “excellence is not a core value here.” That doesn’t mean we © Istockphoto/retrorocket; Sylverarts
don’t pursue excellence, but we refuse to wait for it. With an entrepreneurial spirit, we launch things before we’re “ready.” As Solomon once observed, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (Eccl. 11:4, NLT).
Learn Something From Everyone
Vance Havner talked once about the man who wanted to be “original or nothing, and wound up being both.” In our small start as a church plant, we’ve learned from everybody we can. If someone is reaching their community with the gospel well, I want to know about it and seek out any transferrable principles. That doesn’t mean we copy everything we see or kill ourselves trying to adopt every latest fad. It simply means that we don’t have time to make all the mistakes ourselves, so we’re open to studying what works in other places. » January // February 2015 MinistryToday 41
Grace Hills Church has methodically grown to 175 members in a couple of years.
In 2011, we started what we call “We Love NWA” (locals refer to our area as NWA or Northwest Arkansas rather than the name of any one city). It started as a big Sunday on which we would cancel our corporate worship service and send teams into the community to serve various nonprofits and residents in a variety of ways. We did it twice and now we use “We Love NWA” to collectively refer to all the things we do outside the walls of our church to serve the community. We didn’t come up with that. You may have seen the idea in action already. We just decided to do it because 1) it reflects our own core values, and 2) it works. I keep a long list of church websites bookmarked so that I can look around at what other leaders are doing. I have a shelf full of books by leaders who changed the game in their churches and communities. And I feel no shame at all in not being the originator of any particularly great ideas. I’m content to borrow from the wisdom of others so that more disciples may be made. 42 MinistryToday January // February 2015
Love and Value Volunteers
I use the word “volunteer” loosely. We really just value disciples who serve others within the context of the church body. One approach to church planting involves calling upon a core group of people to relocate to a particular field, or borrowing leaders from other local churches to help get things going. While there can be advantages to these approaches, we chose to do neither but rather to “parachute drop” into our community and start entirely from scratch. The laborers for the harvest would come from the harvest. When we held our launch service, the paid staff consisted of me and our worship pastor, Neil Greenhaw, and both of us had supplemental income from other sources. That means the effort of going from launch team to thriving new church was successful because of the investment of time, talent and treasure of people who were coming to know Jesus for the first time, or coming back to Jesus again at Grace Hills. Our volunteer-tomember ratio still amazes me. We’ll
always need more help—that’s the plight of every church staff—but we’re incredibly thankful that God keeps raising up those who want to serve out of gratitude for God’s grace and love for what God is doing. Todd West, a friend of mine who planted Oasis Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas, says rather than handing out positions, we need to challenge people to take on a project. When they prove faithful, we offer them another project. After they’ve shown a heart for serving, an official position may be the next step. When you’re doing ministry on a budget, you can’t hire all the work done. You must ask God for help and love and lead people into a discovery of their God-assigned role in the body. Then you must celebrate them, congratulate them and express gratitude for them.
Develop a Hacking Mentality
Hackers amaze me. On limited resources with laptops in basements around the world, they learn to exploit
A small budget is never an excuse for a lack of effectiveness. We have the truth of God’s Word.
Brandon Cox, pastor of Grace Hills Church
With a church plant, Pastor Brandon Cox says you have to ‘figure out ways to do thinks that look expensive in inexpensive ways.’
Grace Hills Church meets at the Rogers Malco movie theater in Rogers, Arkansas.
security measures that took millions of dollars to build. While I certainly don’t condone illegal activity, I do think
there’s a parallel for church planters and pastors with smaller budgets. Figure out ways to do things that look expensive in inexpensive ways. We would love to have videos produced for use in worship and promotional materials that are filmed on premium equipment by trained videographers and edited with expensive software by a genius with a room full of Mac Pros. But we’re OK buying stock footage, effects and graphics and fusing them together with video shot on a smartphone using iMovie. We’d love to pay a creative firm tens of thousands of dollars for the ideal, unique website, but for now we’re sold on the benefits of using Wordpress, which is open source and free, with a slightly modified premium website theme. It’s too easy to say, “We can’t afford it, so why even try?” but leaders whose churches thrive say, “We can’t afford it, so let’s figure out a way to do it for free.”
Spread the Word the OldFashioned Way With Social Media
I know what you’re thinking. Social media? Old-fashioned? Absolutely. Social media isn’t new. Twitter is new. Facebook is new (in dog years at least). But the concept of sharing information socially dates back to the Garden of Eden. God talked with Adam and Eve. He used Moses to motivate the Israelites to pursue freedom from slavery. He sent prophets to speak face-to-face with Israel’s leaders. The New Testament is partially the story of 12 guys training a volunteer army of early missionaries to travel the Roman roads to every city in the empire carrying the gospel along the way. When God wants a movement, He uses people. We want outreach to happen the easy way. We love technologies such as television and radio because they allow us to communicate to masses of people quickly. The problem is, many of the technologies we have rightly
chosen to use for evangelism are also impersonal, and in the age in which we live, personal is everything. Earlier this year we launched a series of messages called Healing. To promote it, we shot a few videos with a smartphone, edited them with inexpensive software and then put them out on our Facebook page. We asked our members to share them and we sponsored some advertising using them. On the first Sunday of that series, we met 70 new people (out of an attendance of 240). We’ve used Facebook and Twitter heavily for three years now. We’ve never done a direct mail campaign or paid for advertising in local newspapers or television stations. We’re not in the Yellow Pages because we don’t have any landline phones. Yet we have had first-time visitors every single Sunday for three years now, and about 80 percent of them indicate that they heard about us through Facebook. Another 10 percent found us on the web and the rest came because of a personal invitation. That 80 percent actually came for relational reasons. They only discover us on Facebook if their friends like us, share our content and post about us publicly. A small budget is never an excuse for a lack of effectiveness. We have the truth of God’s Word. We have the power of God’s Spirit. We have a volunteer army of amazing volunteers. When we add in a passionate conviction about the Great Commission, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish for God’s glory and for the spread of the gospel, even while we’re pinching our pennies. B r a n d o n C o x is the lead pastor of Grace Hills Church in Northwest Arkansas, which he and his wife, Angie, planted in 2011. He also serves as editor and community facilitator for pastors.com and Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox. He’s been a pastor at Saddleback Church as well as small community churches. His book, Rewired, was published by Passio in 2013 and guides church leaders in using social media to spread the gospel. January // February 2015 MinistryToday 43
UPGRADING for the FUTURE So people arenâ€™t flocking to your services as you had hoped. Could it have anything to do with your sound system, which has seen better days?
44 MinistryToday January // February 2015
BY JEFFREY MIRANDA
hile technical systems are a great way to enhance a worship service, they are also a great way to ruin or distract the congregation. Many churches are looking for new ways that they can improve their sound system while trying to keep within an extremely tight budget. While this is not always an easy task, there are a couple of ways that this can be done: 1) Talk with your local sound company (find one if you need to) and come up with a list together. This is an important first step. Itâ€™s always good to put things into a list and figure out the order of importance. Certain things are going to be more crucial to do right now over other things, and this can often be a way to keep the costs down. This is also a good way to figure out the costs of performing all the upgrades and work that are required. 2) Maintenance and system re-tune. Some systems can simply benefit from some basic maintenance being performed. Having a sound company that designs and installs church sound systems can provide you with a re-tuning of your sound system that will cost far less than replacing equipment. While not every system will benefit from this, itâ€™s a good thing to look at as an option. If certain items need to be repaired or replaced, they can help you out with pulling old equipment, replacing it or sending it in for repair. 3) Moving your speaker system. Oftentimes, feedback is caused by poorly placed speakers. While this is not the case 100 percent of the time, many churches who are limited in their budgets can have the speakers moved to a place where they will provide higher gain before feedback. Placement is so crucial in a sound system, and this is one easy step that can sometimes be taken. Lightstock
4) Upgrade speakers. This can sometimes be far less costly than upgrading your entire system. If you deal with poor sound quality, coverage or feedback, then upgrading your speakers and making sure they are in the proper place can make a world of difference. The sound company you work will be able to provide you with a new speaker system. Most of the time, design software is now used to ensure that 1) the correct speakers are being chosen for the room, and 2) they are placed in the spot that will provide the optimum performance. While this is more expensive than the other options, sometimes this can provide the most benefit. 5) Training. Most churches will benefit from a training program. However small or large your church is, training is key. Making sure that your sound team has the right tools to perform their job will help ensure consistency and a higher level of quality. If you cannot find a local company that provides a training program, please check out neologicsound.com. We provide a variety of programs to help your team perform at its best. Please keep in mind that some sound systems require more help than others, and certain measures (as listed above) will not work in every instance. The most important thing to do is work directly with a company that designs and installs church sound systems. This will guarantee you are working alongside a company who has your best interest in mind and the necessary experience to get the job done correctly. Used with permission from churchtechtoday.com. J e f f r e y M i r a n d a is president of NeoLogic Sound, a commercial audio integration firm based in Los Angeles. He has over a decade of experience involved in audio, lighting and video for worship. January // February 2015 MinistryToday â€‚ 45
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48 MinistryToday January // February 2015
The Intersection of
Faith and Finances
How we navigate when we get there will go a long way to determining our success in our walk with God and in life
Imagine what your congregation and services would look like if your church was financially free.
BY GUNNAR JOHNSON
icture in your mind what your church would look like if your people were financially free. Dwell on that image. Dwell on the impact your financially free congregation could have on your community, on the world. Stewardship ministry is an integral part of making that happen. The hope of the world isn’t politics or economics. If the government could really fix the economy, every president would have a good economy. Our country is in trouble, and the only solution is transformed lives through Jesus Christ. The church, as the bride of Christ, is the force to bring this hope to the world. The church plays three vital roles in making this happen. First, we are like the Mayo Clinic. People show up hurting and don’t know why. We diagnose, help them get healed and build a solid foundation. Second, we’re like the Pentagon. We’ve been given a worldwide strategy and mission. We hear from our Commander-in-Chief in heaven, and we do what He tells us. Finally, we’re like a military base. We bring in the recruits—the believers, and we train and equip them. Then we send them out to shine the light of their freedom, including their financial freedom.
Healing the Wounded
There have been church members who have been hurt by improper teaching of stewardship and generosity. But this hurt has also been inflicted on pastors and church leaders by other pastors and ministers who abused them, misused their gifts and their giving and left them hurt. There are many walking wounded among us because of what the church has done.
As a stewardship pastor and a representative of the stewardship ministry, I want to apologize. Congregation members have been wounded because well-meaning pastors were not trained properly. And because of the role you play in your churches, the damage can be even greater than among the members of your congregation.
The Pastor’s Perspective
Let’s take a look at how pastors perceive ministry: hh 52 percent of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family’s wellbeing and health. hh 56 percent of pastors’ wives say they have no close friends. hh 57 percent would leave the pastorate if they had somewhere else to go or some other vocation they could do. hh 70 percent don’t have any close friends. hh 90 percent feel unqualified or poorly prepared for ministry. I think we’re always going to feel that way. The Holy Spirit is never going to let us get ahead of Him to the point where we say, “I’ve got it, Lord.” He won’t let us step out in our own pride to do God’s work. hh 1,500 pastors leave their ministries every month due to burnout, conflict or moral failure. I believe that pastors can help and support each other and that you, as pastors, associate pastors and church leaders can work together to change these numbers and guide your church into new areas of spiritual, physical and financial growth. When the culture of stewardship and the spirit of generosity rise up in the church, things change. The church becomes stronger. » January // February 2015 MinistryToday 49
Why a Ministry of Stewardship and Generosity?
First, it’s because it is God’s heart for people. It’s not something God wants from you. It’s something God wants for you, for His people. This is why we teach this material; why we work to give people a solid foundation of who they are in Christ in the area of finances. To do this successfully, our motives must be pure. It is the pursuit of the spirit of mammon to say, “If our church had more money, we would be successful.” Congregations that do this chase unrighteous mammon and serve a counterfeit god. God has never told anyone, “You need more money,” or “Your church needs more money. And when you have it, then you can do all I’ve called you to do.” He has never made money a
questions and attitude are different. The atmosphere in churches is changing. The realization is dawning that stewardship and generosity could really change lives. There are seven things we want to see in the people of Gateway Church at all levels of the stewardship ministry: hh We want them to have Christ-centered financial views. We want them to wear the Biblical principles of stewardship like a contact lens so they see everything through it. hh We want them to be generous in
hh Finally, we want them to be life stewards, operating in their strengths. At Gateway, we believe everyone is a life steward. God has given them talents. My job as the stewardship pastor is to help them identify these gifts and then plant them in the areas they’re good at, to get them in the right place.
Another reason to teach this: Stewardship is not something we do; it is who we are. God created us to be
Gateway Church wants members to be life stewards, operating in their strengths.
Financial freedom is something God wants for you. It’s not about something He wants from you.
condition of success or a sign of holiness. Money is one of the tools He provides to carry out His work, but His work can be achieved without money by those whose hearts are open to serving Him. Why teach stewardship and generosity? It’s biblical. If, as a pastor, I’m charged to teach the full wisdom of God, I want to get it right. There are 2,300 scriptures on money. Seventeen of the 38 parables Jesus taught are on money. A lot of Christians are shocked to learn there is so much about money in the Bible. It’s shocking to many non-Christians as well. When we teach on money, we need to first go through the exercise with our leadership team. They need to be prepared and understand God’s plan in this area. Now that everyone has pretty much adapted to the new normal, even though the economy is still not great, the 50 MinistryToday January // February 2015
their tithes and offerings. We unapologetically teach on giving because we know what it’s going to do in their lives. Money given to Gateway will result in souls in the kingdom. hh We want our people to experience margin, to live in such a way they have money left over at the end of each pay period. hh We want everyone to be debt-free. We teach and counsel them in how to develop a plan to get there. Being out of debt creates margin and gives emotional and psychological, as well as financial, freedom. hh We want them to be savers. The Bible says we’re fools if we don’t save. We don’t want a bunch of fools around our church. We teach the principles of saving for the short-, medium- and long-term. We want them to save because we have fun when we’re seeing margin increase. hh We want them to live on a spending plan, assigning every dollar a task.
stewards. In Genesis 1:1, we see the principle of God owning everything: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” He’s the Creator/Owner. About 25 verses later, we find that He created us to be stewards: Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock, and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground”(Gen. 1:26). Paul gives a nice summary of why we should teach generosity and stewardship. In these verses, he gives insight into what to teach the people about money:
1 Timothy 6:17–19
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God,
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who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” We want people at Gateway Church to use this passage as a model for their lives.
God Will Hold Us Accountable
This is a final reason to teach this. At the end of time, we, as pastors and church leaders, will be held accountable. I don’t say this to scare you, but to remind you. When we have a deadline, we tend to work more diligently towards it: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10).
A major goal of Gateway Church is for its members to have Christ-centered financial views.
Getting It Done
Let me share with you how we get this done at Gateway Church. We’re not simply building a curriculum; we’re building a structure for this ministry that curriculum flows in and out of. I’ve been asked: “Are you a Dave Ramsey church, Compass church or a Crown Ministry church?” We are a Jesus church. Crown Ministry, Compass and Dave Ramsey have great materials that
we use and have greatly benefited from them. I love the leaders in all those organizations, but we are called to teach the whole counsel of God, not just specific curriculum. At Gateway, we divided the congregation into four groups. We use these terms to make sure we’re offering something for everyone. Building a culture of stewardship and generosity in your church requires you to touch all four of these groups within your own congregation. The first group is those who are Struggling. These families are not making ends meet. At times, we’ve received eleven hundred phone calls per month from people who are hurting financially. The second group is made up of those who are Stable. They have regular income but many times are one missed paycheck away from disaster. Group three is those who are Solid. They are doing well financially. They’re not wealthy, but they are managing their finances. The Stable and Solid groups make up 70 percent of most churches. »
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The Surplussed make up the fourth group. These families and individuals have wealth and a high capacity to build more. They need to be ministered to differently—and not to get anything from them.
The key to ministering to this group is relationship. We don’t want our stewardship ministry to be seen only as the ministry people go to when they’re hurting. When we give benevolence, we try to determine if they are looking to have immediate needs met or if they are looking for a life change. If they want life change, we will use our resources to help them walk through it. If they are one of those families who seem to be in perpetual need, we will work with them to get them on the path to life change.
The Stable and the Solid
It’s sometimes hard to differentiate the Stable from the Solid, so much of what we offer is available to both groups.
This includes generational classes that meet the specific life season of the group. We use my Route 7 class, Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and our versions of the Financial Hope Workshops. My friend, Dave Briggs, at Central Christian East Valley Church in Phoenix, originally created the Financial Hope Workshop.
Those who have wealth are frequently the least pastored group in the church. At Gateway, we take these men and women on a Journey of Generosity with Generous Living. Check out the website generousliving.org for more details. This journey provides deep confirmation of what God is doing in their hearts. Or it provides a revelation of what God wants to do in their lives.
Getting Started in Your Church
Just starting a stewardship curriculum alone will not create permanent change in the culture of your church. As church
leaders, you build the culture. There are four important elements to implementing stewardship as a culture in your church. First and most important, you need to get the passion and support of the senior pastor behind you. He has to seriously buy into the concept. Second, teach and train the staff. Get them behind you. Third, identify and build your stewardship leader team. The staff will help you recruit this team. They know the key people. Fourth, figure out your demographics according to whom in your church is Struggling, Stable, Solid and Surplussed. The church staff and leadership teams can help refine this. These ideas should be enough to get you started. G u n n a r J o h n s o n is the executive pastor of financial stewardship at Gateway Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He is the author of Generous Life Journey, from which this article was exerpted.
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Wifi Digital giving provides valuable options to passing the plate
BY LAUREN HUNTER
assing the plate takes on new forms as the years roll by. From coins to bills to personal checks, the giving plate has been no stranger to advancement. While the finance industry continues to evolve alongside that of technology, so does the act of worship through giving. Whether through your church’s website, in person at an iPad kiosk in the church lobby or through your mobile phone right from the palm of your hand, giving has changed quite a bit since Jesus’ time to say the least. How is a church supposed to keep up? This is one tough question that pastors keep asking themselves.
Multi-Site Church, Multi-Format Online Giving
For New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, Illinois, growth has become something they’re accustomed to. 56 MinistryToday January // February 2015
When the church began with just a few hundred people meeting in the high school gym, little did they know that in 10 years, they’d be operating as a multisite campus spanning the Chicago area and offering a variety of ways to give. “It was all a manual process of passing the plate for a long time,” says Alex Navas, digital media coordinator for New Life. In 2013, Navas was preparing to help move the church to its new building to house the incredible growth—currently 17,000 attendees at three campuses—and did a complete church technology overhaul to update the church’s website and find better online giving options. “As I looked around at what we had in place, our giving solution wasn’t mobile responsive and didn’t offer text giving,” Navas says. “Plus, we had many people taking donations and payments for events in lots of different
places. There were also problems with reporting functionality. “We had so many accounts to keep track of—from retreats to Sunday donations. We had also leased two kiosks which gave us separate reports.” New Life brought in Mogiv to help unify their giving options and streamline the reporting on the backend— both of which were critical to New Life, given their incredible season of growth. Now, New Life offers giving on their website through a page that doesn’t navigate visitors away from it site. They also offer text and mobile giving. “We still have a manual process via collection plate, but we also ask people to pull out their phones and give via text. Plus, people are aware we have iPads on stands in the lobby and ushers ready to help them,” says Navas. Since offering a more streamlined approach to giving online, New Life saw a 23 percent increase in giving between February 2013 and February 2014 and the numbers continue to climb. Navas admits trepidation when rolling out text and mobile giving to New Life’s Hispanic congregation that reaches many first-generation Americans. But by educating people through video announcements and walking them through the text-to-give process, they were able to harness the power of the mobile phones easily and give everyone a helping hand.
Statistics show that most people do not carry checks and few people carry much cash in their wallets. Debit cards and the prevalence of digital payments for everything at every store everywhere have virtually eliminated the need to carry cash, checks or even visit your bank in person. This said, many churches still expect people to operate as they did 50 years ago. There is an incredible amount of options available to churches today. Some of the options churches have at their fingertips are text-to-give or short code giving, dedicated church apps, mobile responsive websites that easily scale from computer to tablet © Istockphoto/PSNJua
to smartphone, online recurring giving, and of course the trusty ACH withdrawal or bank bill-pay features which require no work from the church since it is sent through the donor’s bank website. While some service providers offer similar methods of giving, the reporting features, in addition to the merchant and transaction fees, can vary quite a bit. It’s good to do your homework. Churches must also take into account their audience and provide giving options that reach the people in the pews. “The general populous of our community is not very tech-driven, so we had to combat some culture paradigms and dispel the myth that online giving was not safe. We started with one payment gateway, but after attending a conference, our lead pastor challenged us to find a payment platform that offered text-message giving,” says Brian Sisneros, associate pastor of Living Stone Worship Center. The pastors at Living Stone felt that choosing an online giving platform that was congruent with their giving philosophy was of paramount importance. “Another part of our giving philosophy is what I call the ‘integrity of transparency.’ When our supporters click on that [giving] link they are seamlessly directed to the dashboard where they can monitor the progress of each campaign. They can see what is coming and what is not coming in,” Sisneros says. “As of right now, digital giving accounts for about 30 percent of our monthly income and we have seen it steadily increase over the last six months.”
Like many others, churches are seeing the wave of mobile technology continue to grip their congregations. Many feel that giving via text message will become the norm in the years to come. “We foresaw that texting was the future of banking and giving in general, and we wanted to get ahead of the curve. We believe that the majority of our giving will eventually be through text messaging,” Sisneros says. © Istockphoto/ayo888; narloch-liberra
Digital Giving Solutions and Surprising Statistics Here are some digital giving solutions that offer mobile app, kiosk and text-to-giving options: Easy Tithe | easytithe.com E-zekiel | e-zekiel.com Kindrid | kindrid.com Mogiv | mogiv.com Qgiv | qgiv.com SecureGive | securegive.com SimpleGive | simplegive.com hh Two out of five people carry less than $20 on their person (Bankrate). hh Thirty-eight percent of consumers never write checks. Another 20 percent only write a few per year (The Financial Brand). hh Six in 10 Millennials do not have a credit card (Washington Post). hh Branded giving pages [pages embedded on church’s website] account for 54 percent of online giving. Branded giving pages raise six times more in contributions than generic giving pages (Charity Navigator). hh Website traffic for nonprofit websites rose 16 percent from the year prior (M+R 2014 Benchmark Study). hh Charitable giving revenue grew 4.9 percent in 2013, the largest gain since the 2008 recession (Forbes).
While some churches are still wary of the fees involved in offering online giving, if they begin to think about it in terms of losing 30 percent of their donations because they don’t have any way for people to give digitally, it might change their perspective. Technology and online giving aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, more people than ever have
access to technology and desire to use it for good. L a u r e n H u n t e r is a freelance writer, consultant and blogger who desires to encourage churches to better use technology to improve every aspect of ministry. Her blog, ChurchTechToday, was born from a need for a place to discuss how technology can impact the church in positive ways. January // February 2015 MinistryToday 57
VBS 2015 LISTING
3 SUPPLYING CHURCHES WITH 1
Bible School Programs Want your church’s 2014 VBS to be the best ever? Get a jump-start by checking out the following resources for reaching all ages in your community this VBS season. ABINGDON PRESS Shining Star: See the Jesus in Me! Methodist; Preschool/Kindergarten, Younger Elementary, Older Elementary, Teen, Adult; five sessions; abingdonpressvbs.com
MAIN SCRIPTURES: “You are the light of the world!” (Matt. 5:14a, CEB). THEME/CONTENT: Utilizing AfricanAmerican culture and history as a lens through which to teach biblical truths and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, this program will help participants of all ages to hear about the importance of shining as children of God. Participants will discover the Bible as a light for life’s path; realize that each one has Star Power in Jesus Christ; have community fun shining like stars for God; and be encouraged to believe that Jesus is the light that shines in them. S T A R T E R K I T C O N T E N T S : Director Manual; Preschool/Kindergarten Leader Guide; Younger Elementary Leader Guide; Older Elementary Leader Guide; Arts & Crafts Leader Guide; 58 MinistryToday January // February 2015
Heritage & Drama Leader Guide; Music & Movement Leader Guide; Recipe Guide; Outreach/Follow-up Leader Guide; Student Books; Music CD; Worship DVD; Nametags; Nametag Holder; Leader Certificate; Student Certificate; Student Books; and more. STARTER KIT PRICE: $79.99. WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches/consumers. A D D I T I O N A L R E S O U R C E S : Promotional materials; Leader Guides; Student Handbooks. ANSWERS IN GENESIS Camp Kilimanjaro: An Epic Expedition Through Proverbs Nondenominational; Toddler (ages 2-4), PrePrimary (4-6), Primary (6-9), Junior (9-12), Teen/Adult, Special Needs Supplement for ages 2-12; five sessions; answersvbs.com
MAIN SCRIPTURES: Theme verse: Prov. 9:10. Day 1: “Listen UP!” Be wise—have ears that hear, and do God’s Word! 1 Kings 3-4 (King Solomon) and various
Proverbs. Day 2: “Check UP!” Be wise— have a heart that trusts in the Lord! Genesis 1-3; Romans 3, 5, 6, 10; Proverbs (Gospel Day). Day 3: “Build UP!” Be wise—have a tongue that speaks in a God-honoring way! Various proverbs (bullying, boasting, gossiping, complaining—will we choose death words or life words?). Day 4: “Wake UP!” Be wise—have hands that get to work! Prov. 6:6-11 and other proverbs. Day 5: “Wise UP!” Be wise—have feet that walk with the wise! 1 Kings 1:1-11 (King Solomon) and various proverbs. THEME/CONTENT: At Camp Kilimanjaro, kids will have an epic expedition through Proverbs! Every day kids are faced with choices—will they choose wisely or foolishly? As they safari up Mount Kilimanjaro, trekkers learn that true wisdom comes only from the one true, all-wise God, who wants us to be wise. And He’s filled the book of Proverbs with wise sayings for us to follow. As they study Proverbs, the hikers will learn to have ears that hear and do the Word of God, hearts that trust in the Lord, tongues that are tame, hands that get to work and feet that walk with the wise. STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Starter Kit: Director Guide; Assembly Guide; Craft
Guide; Snack Guide; Game Guide; Junior Teacher Guide; Primary Teacher Guide; Pre-Primary Teacher Guide; Toddler Teacher Guide; 1 Student Guide for each age group; Promo & Recruitment DVD; Helper Handbook; Trekking Through Proverbs booklet; How Can I Become a Child of God? booklet; Trail Guide; sample tracts (4); Children’s Hunger Fund bracelet. SUPER STARTER KIT: Starter Kit plus daily overview posters (1 set); Memory Verse posters (1 set for each age group); teaching posters (1 set for each age group); promotional posters (22-by-17 inches); promo flier (8.5by-11 inches); promo postcards (set of 5); bulletin insert; volunteer recruitment flier; door hanger; promo business cards; Leader Music Set (music CD, song motions DVD and resource DVD); sheet music; songbook; VBS Manager unlimited access; Growing Up in God’s Family booklet; Memory Verse Songs Leader Music Set (music CD, song motions DVD and resource DVD); name tag and lanyard; sticker samples; certificate of completion; staff appreciation certificate; visitor appreciation certificate; logo button; name button; iron-on patch; bookmark; sample wristband; photo frame; rotation signs (set of 5); T-shirt; water bottle holder; carabiner; pencil; click pen; design cards; logo stamps; latex balloon; and magnet puzzle. STARTER KIT PRICE: $99 (Starter); $189 (Super Starter). WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches/consumers. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Leader Guides; Student Guides; promotional materials; student T-shirts; leader T-shirts; leader vest; hat; music resources (contemporary or traditional); station signs; student resources; tubular bandannas; decorating posters; gospel booklets; decoration aids; and King James Version resources. NEW FOR 2015: Bible lesson scene setter; assembly scene setter; and theme verse banner.
BOGARD PRESS Camp Courageous—Equipping for Life Baptist; Preschool (ages 2-3), Kindergarten (ages 4-5), Beginner (Grades 1-2), Primary (Grades 3-4), Junior (Grades 5-6), Young Teen (Grades 7-9), Teen (Grades 10-12), Adult; five sessions; bogardpress-vbs.org
MAIN SCRIPTURES: Day 1: Meeting the Savior (Luke 19:1-10); Day 2: Praying like Jesus (Matt. 26:36-56); Day 3: Growing as Christians (Acts 2:4147); Day 4: Learning to Praise (John 9:13-38); Day 5: Sharing with Others (John 4:5-42). THEME/CONTENT: Motto: Equipping for Life! Theme Verse: “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). AIM: The student will learn that following Jesus leads to the good life— the genuine Christian life. Join Junior Ranger Randy and friends as they learn from Ranger Wrightway that following Jesus leads to the good life—the genuine Christian life. They will visit five locations surrounding Camp Courageous: Decision Divide—where you receive the Savior; Prayer Pond—where you talk to the Savior; Fellowship Forest—where you meet other followers of the Savior; Glorify Geyser—where you worship the Savior; and Witness Waterfall—where you tell others about the Savior. STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Director’s Plan Book; Activity Pages for Preschool, Kindergarten, Beginner, Primary and Junior; Student Books for Young Teen and Teen; Teacher Manuals and Visuals for Preschool-Teen; Adult Lessons; bulletin cover; doorknob hanger; theme stickers; attendance chart with stickers; publicity poster; bookmark; salvation tract; songbook; VBS music downloadable card; name tag; memory verse posters; postcard; Bible teaching posters; daily icon set; pencil; New
Testament; lanyard; tote bag; appreciation certificate; achievement certificate; lesson and music DVD; vinyl banner; decoration door banners; bandanna with slider; photo frame; plastic nametag holder; publicity flyers; iron-on transfer; fun book; campsite guide with stickers; room decorations transparency book; binoculars; game book; craft book; bracelet; Junior Ranger pin; Park Ranger pin; Live-It! cards; nylon drawstring backpack; carabiner (with flashlight, compass, whistle); buttons; large VBS tote; skits book; Junior Ranger patch; Park Ranger patch; T-shirt (Adult XL). STARTER KIT PRICE: $169.95. WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches and consumers. NEW FOR 2015: Decoration door banners; bandanna with slider; binoculars; bracelet; Junior Ranger pin; Park Ranger pin; carabiner (with flashlight, compass, whistle); buttons; large VBS tote; Junior Ranger patch; and Park Ranger patch. BRENTWOOD VBS KIDZ Jeff Slaughter VBS Fun Run Evangelical/nondenominational; Preschool-Elementary; five sessions; brentwoodbenson.com
MAIN SCRIPTURES: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8, NIV). THEME/CONTENT : Come run the most exciting race ever with Jeff Slaughter on this fun-filled VBS, which starts at 2 Timothy 4:7-8. Follow the race route on a Scripture-packed course through Bible studies, worship and drama, “craftivities,” games and more, all to encourage January // February 2015 MinistryToday 59
kids to finish the most important race of all—the pathway to salvation in Christ. STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Essential Kit: Ultimate Fun Run DVD only—all 6 VBS sing-a-long videos with full lyrics; 6 choreography teaching videos; 5 daily teaching videos. ULTIMATE KIT: VBS Fun Run Media Kit (3-disc set). Disc 1: Ultimate Fun Run DVD—all 6 VBS sing-a-long videos with full lyrics; 6 choreography teaching videos; 5 daily teaching videos. Disc 2: Digital Curriculum Disc (PDF)—Director’s Manual; Pre-School Curriculum; Bible Study Curriculum; Craftivity (fun craft ideas); Music & Drama; Games & Snacks; extras (parent take-homes, registration forms and more); Backyard Kids Club Edition (PDF). Disc 3: Media Files—QuickTime (.mov files) for singa-long videos; 6 choreography teaching videos; 5 daily teaching videos; ProPresenter files; PowerPoint files; text files; and worship slide backgrounds. STARTER KIT PRICE: $69.99 (Essential Kit); $189.99 (Ultimate Kit). WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches and consumers.
Assembly Leader Guide; Recreation Leader Guide; Decorating Leader Guide; Mission Leader Guide; Snack Leader Guide; Reflection Time Leader Guide; three age-level Student Books; complete music CD; Adventure DVD; music video DVD; decorating/publicity DVD; promotional item samples; craft samples; and more. STARTER KIT PRICE: $159.99. WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches/consumers. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Promotional materials; T-shirts; music; puppets; stickers; crafts. NEW FOR 2015: Availability of a Super Starter Kit.
“We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). THEME/CONTENT: At Camp Discovery, kids learn that God has a plan for them right now, right where they are. Explore Bible truths that point to Jesus, our True North, and discover how He blesses us with courage and wisdom for our everyday journeys. God enables us to serve others through vocations. Through the unique gifts He has given us, we speak His words of love and serve our neighbors as His hands and feet. STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Super-Duper Directors’ Guide*; Program Overview DVD; Pastor’s Overview Guide; Early Childhood Guide*; Music Guide, plus song action videos*; Opening/Closing Guide, plus skit scripts*; Bible Challenge Guide*; Storytelling Guide*; Craft Guide; Snack Guide; Games Guide; Youth & Adult Resources Flyer; Mission Project Flyer; Free Online Registration Flyer; decorating posters
G-Force: God’s Love in Action Methodist; Preschool/Kindergarten, Younger Elementary, Older Elementary, Teen, Adult; five sessions; cokesburyvbs.com
MAIN SCRIPTURES: “In God we live, move, and exist” (Acts 17:28a, CEB). THEME/CONTENT: Churches will come alive with movement at the G-Force Adventure Park! VBS will be turned into an exciting skate park or a cool bike shop or the ultimate adventure park. This theme will teach kids ways to show God’s love by moving, acting, caring, following and sharing. S T A R T E R K I T C O N T E N T S : Director Guide; Preschool/Kindergarten Leader Guide; Bible Storyteller Leader Guide; Music Leader Guide; Craft Leader Guide; Science Leader Guide; 60 MinistryToday January // February 2015
CONCORDIA PUBLISHING HOUSE Camp Discovery Lutheran; Preschool-Adult; five sessions; vbs.cph.org
(3 43-by-60-inch posters); Bible story posters (5 22-by-17-inch posters); memory verse posters (5 22-by-17-inch posters); tote bag. Samples include, publicity postcard; publicity poster; Early Childhood leaflet and stickers; Elementary leaflet; pass-along CD/ DVD; collectibles; cross carabiner; team identifier; nametag; offering envelope; and craft sampler pack (*These items include additional CD and/or DVD content). STARTER KIT PRICE: $149.99. WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches and consumers. EDITORIAL CONCORDIA Búsqueda Submarina (Underwater Quest) Lutheran; Ages 3-14 and Adult; five sessions; sites.cph.org/editorial/VBS/2015/
MAIN SCRIPTURES: Gen. 1:1-2:4a; Gen. 2:4b-25; Luke 2:1-20; John 4:1-42; Rev. 21:9-22:5. THEME/CONTENT: It’s time for the annual Vargas family vacation! Explore the Blue Waters Aquarium like never before with Michael, Paula and Mark. With the help of new friends Raymond and Mr. Edwards, the siblings dive into an undersea paradise where they learn firsthand that God is the Creator of all that we are and the Giver of everything that we have. Put on your snorkel and immerse yourself alongside them in five Bible stories that each point to His ultimate gift, salvation made possible through Jesus Christ. STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Fully reproducible Teacher’s Guide (lesson plans for all age levels, lyrics and music for eight original songs in Spanish and English, invitations, flyers, attendance certificates, cut-outs, adult Bible studies, closing program); two sets of five color posters for each day’s Bible story; student
worksheet samples for the three levels; one full-color promotional poster; multimedia CD (songs, accompaniment tracks, story narrations only in Spanish and PowerPoints). STARTER KIT PRICE: $54.99, Spanishonly Leader’s Pack; $59.99 Bilingual (Spanish/English) Leader’s Pack. WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches and consumers. NEW FOR 2015: Student worksheets sold individually instead of in 5-packs. GOSPEL LIGHT SonSpark Labs Interdenominational; Nursery to age 12, with coordinating youth and adult small group leader guides; five sessions; gospellightvbs.com/sonspark/
Games; Edible Experiments Snack Guide; MasterMind Crafts; Lab Décor & More Theme Guide; Bible Teaching Poster Pack; Sparky’s Lab posters and props; decorating poster pack; Director’s Planning Guide with CD; Music & More reproducible CD; preview DVD; ShowTime! Assemblies DVD; complete set of Connection Gears; director’s sample pack. STARTER KIT PRICE: $199.99. WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches and consumers. NEW FOR 2015: MEGA decorating pack; SonSpark puzzle cube; and SonSpark lab glasses.
GROUP PUBLISHING Cross Culture: Thailand Trek VBS Interdenominational; Preschool-Youth; four sessions; group.com/ThailandTrek
GROUP PUBLISHING Everest: Conquering Challenges With God’s Mighty Power Interdenominational; Preschool-Youth; five sessions; group.com/Everest
MAIN SCRIPTURES: John 14:6-7. THEME/CONTENT: At the amazing
SonSpark Labs, children will explore God’s life-changing plan as they find out the answers to life’s most important questions. They will discover that God loves them and that through Jesus they can be members of God’s family and personally experience God’s plan for each of us—GP4U=J (God’s Plan 4U=Jesus)! Session 1: The Creation Formulation (story of creation); Session 2: The Sin Separation (sin enters the world); Session 3: The Personification Revelation (Jesus performs miracles); Session 4: The Salvation Solution (Jesus’ death and resurrection): Session 5: The Infinite Implementation (the early church in Acts). STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Deluxe Kit includes everything a director needs for VBS and now has the ShowTime! Assemblies DVD. The Deluxe Kit includes Truth Lab Bible Stories (Primary); Truth Lab Bible Stories (Middler); Truth Lab Bible Stories (Preteen); Sparky’s Lab Leader’s Guide; Lab Journal Grades 3-4 Sample; Momentum
Director Manual includes information for the preschool director plus guides for Exploration Stations, Bible Adventures, Games, KidVid Cinema, Craft & Play; student materials sample pack; Imagination Station sample pack; and Operation Kid-to-Kid sample pack. STARTER KIT PRICE: $174.99. NEW FOR 2015: KidVid Cinema; new and improved preschool.
MAIN SCRIPTURES: God provides for Elijah (1 Kings 17); God speaks to Elijah (1 Kings 19); God heals Naaman (2 Kings 5); Jesus dies on a cross to take away our sins, then comes back to life (Luke 22:31–24:12); Jesus promises us an eternal home (John 14:1-3). THEME/CONTENT: Embark on an icy expedition that empowers kids to overcome obstacles with God’s awesome power. Anchor kids in rock-solid Bible truths that will guide them through life’s challenges. STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Everest Ultimate Director Go-To Guide; Base Camp Sing & Play and Summit Celebration Leader Manual; KidVid Cinema Leader Manual; Imagination Station Leader Manual; Bible Expeditions Leader Manual; Mountaintop Treats Leader Manual; Glacier Games Leader Manual; Spotlight VBS Leader Manual (No CD; software is now online); Preschool
MAIN SCRIPTURES: Only God could create the world (Genesis 1); Jesus is born to show God’s love (Luke 2:120); Jesus dies to forgive our sins (Luke 23); Jesus promises us an eternal home (John 14:1-3). THEME/CONTENT: The easy-to-do Group VBS experience that churches love—plus a fresh way to ignite kids’ faith. STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Thailand Trek Ultimate Director Go-To Guide; Celebration Leader Manual; Thai Treats Leader Manual; Thai Games Leader Manual; Experience Thailand Leader Manual; Bible Adventures Leader Manual; Preschool Passport to Thailand Director Manual; Experience Thailand sample pack; student materials sample pack. STARTER KIT PRICE: $149.99. WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches and consumers. NEW FOR 2015: CrossTrek Student Magazine—an interactive magazine that works with the free CrossTrek app and puts the sights and sounds of Thailand at kids’ fingertips. The Experience Thailand station helps kids see an exciting world of faith beyond their own backyard. » January // February 2015 MinistryToday 61
GROUP PUBLISHING Hometown Nazareth: Where Jesus Was a Kid Interdenominational; Preschool-Youth; five sessions; group.com/HometownNazareth
MAIN SCRIPTURES: Mary is chosen to be Jesus’ mother (Luke 1:26-38); Jesus is born and gets His name (Luke 2:1-40); Jesus’ family escapes to Egypt (Matt. 2:13-14, and later returns to Nazareth (vv. 19-23); Jesus goes to the temple (Luke 2:41-52); Jesus does a miracle in Cana (John 2:1-12). THEME/CONTENT: Can you imagine the kinds of stories Mary could tell about Jesus? Take your kids back to Hometown Nazareth, where they’ll stand up for their faith among people who doubt that the carpenter’s son is really God’s Son. STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Hometown Nazareth Ultimate Director Go-To Guide; Celebration Leader Manual; Fun & Games Leader Manual; Hometown Huddle Leader Manual; Mary’s House Drama Leader Manual; Shopkeeper Manual; Daily Dramas Booklet; Marketplace sample pack; student materials sample pack. STARTER KIT PRICE: $139.99. WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches and consumers.
LIFEWAY CHURCH RESOURCES Journey Off the Map Southern Baptist Convention; BabiesAdult; five sessions; lifeway.com/vbs
THEME/CONTENT: LifeWay’s VBS takes kids to uncharted territory where they will begin to understand that obedience to God can lead them beyond the expected. So, toss the map, stick close to your guide and prepare to listen for God’s direction in this journey that is unknown to us, but known by Him. This is the way. Walk in it. Day 1: Know Your Guide (Gal. 4:4-5; Matt. 4:23-25; 1 Cor. 15:3-5); Day 2: Follow Your Guide (Dan. 1); Day 3: Trust Your Guide (Dan. 3); Day 4: Stay on Track (Dan. 6); Keep Watching (Dan. 10:7-10, 12-13; John 14: 1-4; Rev. 22:7). STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Kids Starter Kit includes: one each of Grades 1–2 Bible Study Leader Guide; Grades 1–2 Bible Study Leader Pack; Grades 3–4 Bible Study Leader Guide; Grades 3–4 Bible Study Leader Pack; Preteen Bible Study Leader Guide; and Preteen Bible Study Leader Pack; three Kids’ Field Kits; one Missions Rotation Leader Guide; one Music Rotation Leader Guide; one Crafts Rotation Leader Guide; craft pack samples; one set of Snack Rotation recipe cards; one set of Recreation Rotation Leader cards; samples of VBS accessories. Preschool Starter Kit includes: one Babies–2s Leader Pack; one Keepsake Book 3s–Pre-K; one 3s–Pre-K Leader Guide; one 3s–Pre-K Leader Pack; one Kindergarten Leader Guide; one Kindergarten Leader Pack; two Preschool Field Kits; one 3s–Kindergarten Rotation Pack craft pack samples; and samples of VBS accessories. STARTER KIT PRICE: $99.99. WHERE SOLD: Through LifeWay Christian Stores and direct to churches and consumers.
LIFEWAY CHURCH RESOURCES Zip for Kids Southern Baptist Convention; Preschool and Elementary; 10 sessions (corresponding theme option in Old and New Testament); zipforkids.com MAIN SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 2:10. THEME/CONTENT: Create your
MAIN SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 30:21. 62 MinistryToday January // February 2015
own VBS! With Zip for Kids, you decide the theme. You decide the schedule. You
decide the track options to offer. We make it easy by providing 10 sessions of Christ-centered biblical content woven through every element. The lessons are easy to customize so you can focus on your own creative touches. Session 1: I Am Created for a Reason (God’s Plan for Moses); Session 2: I Am In Need of a Savior (The Israelites Need a Savior); Session 3: I Am Loved By God (God Showed Love); Session 4: I Am Gifted with a Purpose (The Israelites Used Their Gifts); Session 5: I Am on Mission (Moses Spoke to the People); Session 6: I Am Created for a Reason (God’s Plan for John); Session 7: I Am In Need of a Savior (Matthew Needed a Savior); Session 8: I Am Loved By God (Jesus Showed Love); Session 9: I Am Gifted With a Purpose (Lydia Used Her Gifts); Session 10: I Am on Mission (Philip Spoke to the Ethiopian).
STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Zip Essentials: basic administrative helps; tools to help churches customize their Bible study sessions for large and small groups; 10 Bible study sessions with sample schedules to jump-start your Zip; 10 Bible story videos; customizable digital files on CD allow churches to create their own leader guide for a customized event. Zip Tracks: Five track options for each category— soccer, basketball, outdoor games, messy games, indoor games, drama, percussion, musical performance, cheer sign language, kitchen concoctions, duct tape creations, art works, discovery lab, construction zone, live it and a createyour-own track template. Zip Media: CD with Zip music; DVD filled with content, including intro videos, Bible story videos, application videos, countdowns, bumpers and song lyrics synced to music. STARTER KIT PRICE: Zip Essentials: $175; Zip Tracks: $150; Zip Media: $50; Zip for Kids Preschool: $175.
W H E R E S O L D : Through LifeWay Christian Stores and direct to churches and consumers.
MENNOMEDIA Message Received: Hearing God’s Call Mennonite; Ages 4-5, Grades Kindergarten-5; five sessions; faithandliferesources.org/curriculum/vbs/
MAIN SCRIPTURES: Samuel (1 Sam. 3:121): God calls us to listen and respond; Esther (Esther 4:13-17): God calls us to work together for what is right; Mary (Luke 1:26-56): We are called to trust God’s plan; Disciples (Matt. 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11): Jesus calls us to follow Him; Lydia (Acts 16:11-15, 40): God calls us to open our hearts to Jesus. THEME/CONTENT: God has a message for you! Can you hear it? Samuel heard it in the middle of the night. Mary heard it through an angel. The disciples were hard at work when they heard it. They all heard God’s special message just for them! Message Received: Hearing God’s Call lets children know that God continues to call all kinds of people—including them! People are called to love God and follow Jesus every day. Those who hear God’s message and respond are forever changed. Message Received is a Bible- and activity-based learning experience. Children in grades K-5 will see Bible stories come to life in the dramas during worship time and will reflect on them during three response times: Bible Response, Active Response and Creative Response. Children ages 4-5 may participate in worship with the older children or have their own worship time. They too will share in the Bible story and process it through crafts, games and other activities designed for their age and developmental levels.
STARTER KIT CONTENTS: The box kit includes two of each: Director’s Guide, Worship and Drama Guide, Active Response Guide, Bible Response Guide, Creative Response Guide, Early Childhood Leader Guide and an invitation poster. The box kit includes one of each: music CD, Bible memory DVD, Bible memory poster, songbook, invitation postcard, student participation certificate, My Book of Stories (early childhood student piece) and Message Decoder (K-5 student piece). STARTER KIT PRICE: $159.99.
STARTER KIT PRICE: $139.99. NEW FOR 2015: “Get Ready” theme.
PIONEER CLUBS The Wacky World of Water Nondenominational; PreschoolGrade 6; five sessions; pioneerclubs.org, wackyworldofwater.org
MY HEALTHY CHURCH MEGA Sports Camp: Get Ready Nondenominational; Grades 1-6; five sessions; myhealthychurch.com/trade
MAIN SCRIPTURES: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15, NIV). THEME/CONTENT: An easy, effective way to reach kids in your community, MEGA Sports Camp outreach programs find they have more than 50% guests, many who do not regularly attend church. Elementary kids sign up to practice sports skills and then learn how to “Get Ready” to be a better athlete through Biblebased character traits. S T A R T E R K I T C O N T E N T S : Director Guide; poster pack; Director DVD and CD; Art CD; Rally Guide (large group/ worship time); Music & Media DVD and CD; Coach Huddle Guide (small group time); sports playbooks for cheerleading, basketball and soccer (flag football and baseball optional add-ons); Sports Flash (kids’ take-home); Theme Keepers for kids; salvation/discipleship piece; T-shirt; sports bottle; and magnetic photo frame.
MAIN SCRIPTURES: Day 1: Genesis 1:31a; Day 2: 1 John 1:9; Day 3: John 14:23a; Day 4: Romans 5:8; and Day 5: Proverbs 3:5-6. THEME/CONTENT: The Wacky World of Water is a fun, simple and fresh look at VBS. Kids will learn from water stories throughout Scripture, including creation, the flood, Jesus’ walking on water and calming the storm. It includes crafts, games and snack ideas; Bible memory verses; calendars; and training materials—everything necessary to get started. STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Complete curriculum: music CD with performancetrack and instrumental-only options; resource CD with promotional materials, including art that can be printed locally for poster, lawn sign, postcards, door hanger, bulletin insert, logos, parent letter and outdoor banner; and promotional video. Director’s resources include job descriptions; sheet music; small-group lists; registration forms; agecharacteristic charts; kids’ take-home papers; promotional and director calendars; volunteer sign-up; and supply request forms. STARTER KIT PRICE: $149.99. WHERE SOLD: Through retail stores and direct to churches and consumers. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: The following are included on the resource CD, but can be ordered from Pioneer Clubs if churches do not wish to print them January // February 2015 MinistryToday 63
locally: outdoor banner, lawn sign, postcards, poster, bulletin inserts. REGULAR BAPTIST PRESS To the Edge: Encounter the God of the Universe Baptist (Greater Association of Regular Baptist Churches); age 2-Adult; five sessions; rbp.vbs.org
MAIN SCRIPTURE: “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable” (Ps. 145:3, KJV). THEME/CONTENT: With To The Edge, students will encounter the God of the universe, seeing God’s great power as they travel beyond our solar system and explore deep space. They will learn about God’s love, holiness, forgiveness and plan of salvation, which reveal through Jesus’ life and teaching what God, the creator of all, is like. RBP is the only VBS publisher recommended by the world’s largest evangelistic outreach ministry to children—Children’s Evangelism Fellowship. Find out why at rbpvbs.org/ cefrecommends. Day 1: God’s Care (Jesus Cares and Heals, Mark 1:402:13); Day 2: God’s Omniscience (Woman at the Well, John 4:3-42); Day 3: God’s Forgiveness (Woman Anoints Jesus’ Feet, Luke 7:36-50); Day 4: God’s Enabling (Peter Walks on Water, Matt. 14:22-33); Day 5: God’s Love (Jesus Washes Feet, John 13:1-17). STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Director’s Materials: Director’s Guide; Director’s resource CD set (resource CD and decorating CD); thank-you card. Classroom Materials: Teacher Books (2s & 3s-Youth); Student Activity Sheets (2s & 3s-Junior); Youth Student Book; Adult Bible Study—Your Greatest Adventure. Promotions: 64 MinistryToday January // February 2015
theme poster; jumbo theme poster; invitation flyer; doorknob hanger; postcard; bulletin cover. Attendance: attendance chart; nametag; registration card; To the Edge pass. Music: To the Edge music CD. Crafts: craft ideas book; Rocket photo frame; Astro the Monkey craft. Evangelism: salvation poster; gospel bookmark; five salvation tracts; Welcome to the Family! family fun sheet; Operation Kids poster. Gifts & Awards: To the Edge backpack; To the Edge pouch; sticker sheet; logo balloon; theme button; theme sticker; iron-on transfer; sticky notepad; Galaxy windup robot, Pop Rocks Xtreme; Out-of-This-World pencil; Space Light glow stick; inflatable astronaut; space take-home bag; catalog; promotional DVD. STARTER KIT PRICE: $$89.99; net 120 and up to 40% off on package deal if ordered by Dec. 31. NEW FOR 2015: To the Edge verse posters—set of three that celebrate God’s greatness (Gen. 1:1, Ps. 19:1, Ps. 145:3). Puppet scripts and CD (previously had music backgrounds with dialogue, but now, RBP offers two versions of the same puppet script CD—one with music background and one with dialogue only). More snacks, including astronaut ice cream.
Real (Acts 12).
THEME/CONTENT: At Bible Blast to the Past, kids will take a time-travel journey to experience stories of the incredible, faithful, invincible, unconditional and real love of Jesus. Through fun activities, kid-friendly service projects, original and reproducible worship music, trustworthy Bible teaching and special-needs-friendly options, kids’ lives will be changed, and they will be inspired to courageously change lives around them. STARTER KIT CONTENTS: Director’s Guide; Opening & Closing Leader’s Guide; Leader’s Cards and Leader’s Guides (preschool-teen); and reproducible worship music by Yancy. STARTER KIT PRICE: $179.99. NEW FOR 2015: New mission videos and reproducible worship music by Yancy; crafts and science site.
URBAN MINISTRIES Jesus…The True Superhero!— Savior, Protector, Provider All denominations; Preschool-Adult; 10 sessions; urbanministries.com/vbs
STANDARD PUBLISHING Bible Blast to the Past Nondenominational; PreschoolTeen, with Adult component; five sessions; vacationbibleschool.com
MAIN SCRIPTURES: Day 1: God’s Love is Incredible (Ex. 3); Day 2: God’s Love is Faithful (Josh. 2); Day 3: God’s Love is Invincible (1 Sam. 17); Day 4: God’s Love is Unconditional (John 3:16; Luke 7); Day 5: God’s Love is
MAIN SCRIPTURES: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11, KJV). THEME/CONTENT: Charged with the theme EPH611 (Eph. 6:11, KJV), VBS participants get ready to join the team of protection, praise, boldness, work ethic and caretaker in the most memorable adventure yet! S T A R T E R K I T C O N T E N T S : Teacher Guides; Student Folders; posters; bags; accessories; games; crafts; and more. STARTER KIT PRICE: $79.99. NEW FOR 2015: Online resources and new apparel.
MINISTRY LIFE: W O R S H I P BY DAVID SANTISTEVAN
What Does Real Worship Look Like? How do you keep worship fresh for you and your congregation?
crave the real thing. I don’t know about you, but I want the manifest presence of God in my home, life and church—not just manufactured, emotional experiences with great songs. Of course, I am not opposed to production. I love it. I love a creative, well-rehearsed band. I love the pursuit of ever-expanding creativity. In the context of worship, I believe it’s important for creatives to explore how their art can help to inspire, serve and help people see more of God’s glory. But, I’m also all about dialing back. I’ve had a few conversations with some leaders in the worship community who agree. Sometimes we need to simplify to see where our heart is. What Is Your Approach to Leading Worship?
Worship leader, worship team, how you approach your worship leading is everything. There’s a way you can present yourself that lends to spectating. But there’s also a way you can present yourself that leads to engagement, singing and corporate worship. I’ve seen creative, upbeat loud teams engage a room in worship. But I’ve also seen quiet, acoustic, simple teams cause people to watch. What’s the missing ingredient? Remember the old song you sang as a kid? “Have patience ... have patience ... don’t be in such a hurry.” Your worship team doesn’t have to be the best, the most talented, the most creative, the most epic ... as long as you can be present, be patient and find your voice. Let’s unpack. Be Present
When I say “be present,” I mean to be with your congregation. Don’t present with your music, but rather present with the living, breathing humans in the room. Identify with them. Study them. Know them. When you do, you tend to serve them more naturally. You don’t have to guess what they need when you’re in touch with their needs. As a worshipper, I’ve made a commitment to worship no matter who’s leading and how skilled I think the team is or what songs they do. But I love the worship leaders who are more in tune with the room of people rather than just with their 66 MinistryToday January // February 2015
instruments—when what truly excites them is being with people rather than just playing music. When I’m tempted to just run the reel of my worship set, I remember that never before has this group of people gathered in this specific place for this special moment. God always wants to move in unique ways. Be Patient
When I say “simplify,” I’m not saying massive production is wrong. I’m saying let’s dial it back often. Within every worship set, no matter how intense, there should be moments where you dial it back, allow people to sing out and do simple songs. Don’t just go from song to song. Be OK with a little quiet. Some awkwardness is good. You know that urge you feel to avoid all silence and fill in the space with songs? In my experience that is often the moment where something real and powerful can happen. You can play it safe and just sing another song or you can step into the awkwardness and allow people the chance to bear their hearts before God. Our aim as worship leaders is to get the people in the room to a place where they don’t need us. Stop Copying
This isn’t a fully tested assumption, but I’m starting to think that a lot of modern worship music isn’t relevant to my church. It may be great at a massive stadium event, but that’s hardly the world I live in on a weekly basis. We have to remember this: Our people come to meet with Jesus. Oftentimes, the reason your church may not be worshipping is because they don’t connect with your song and style choice. I’m convinced that we need more worship leaders who are willing to be less cool if it serves their churches well. There’s more than copying Hillsong. There’s more than mimicking Jesus Culture. You have a voice. Your team has a voice. Your community has a voice. It’s time to find what that is. D a v i d S a n t i s t e v a n is the worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh.
MINISTRY LIFE: W O M E N BY ED STETZER
Empowering Emerging Women Leaders Are you raising up potential women leaders in your church?
oo often, we can miss the gifts of others. That’s human nature, I guess. The fact is, God has gifted all His people, and the work of Christ is benefited when we acknowledge and engage different people and their different gifts. I thought it was worth a moment to share something I am doing and, perhaps in doing so, encourage you to do something similar. I’ve tweeted a couple of times about the group I gathered at LifeWay. It’s a group of LifeWay employees—all of whom (except me) are women—who are meeting together over the next year to be better connected, more informed and better leaders. We started the gatherings with a look at Tim Keller’s Center Church. We are focusing on three areas: theology, leadership and connecting. We will follow up with books and discussion that address these issues. The obvious questions are “Why? Why does a man seek to encourage a group of women leaders?” I was influenced to do so by Andy Crouch and his article on power, in which he said: “Power is not given to benefit those who hold it. It is given for the flourishing of individuals, peoples and the cosmos itself ... Power is not the opposite of servanthood. Rather, servanthood, ensuring the flourishing of others, is the very purpose of power.” I recognize that there is a certain amount of “power” in my professional role and perhaps in opportunities to influence as well. Power, Crouch asserts, is neither good or bad— power is neutral. However, I was reminded and challenged by Andy’s article that we should use the power we do have to empower others. Whether you work in a large evangelical organization or you work with pastors, you will notice that women leaders have unique challenges—just ask them, and they will tell you. Yet, like you, I have encountered many women with great leadership gifts, and I’d like to raise up more. To be honest, the idea came from a conversation with Lizette Beard and Carol Pipes. Lizette is a project manager at LifeWay Research, now finishing up her Ph.D. in missiology. Carol is the editor of Facts and Trends, our flagship magazine. They both are 68 MinistryToday January // February 2015
on my team, and both have a concern that we should raise up more women leaders. So we are. Here are some principles that we are operating under: 1) Theology matters. When you work in an evangelical context, you need a solid understanding of theology, particularly as new ideas emerge. As such, we are looking at mission, gospel-centered ministry, theological integrity and much more. 2) Leadership matters. It is a pretty common understanding now that, in some ways, women and men lead differently. Obviously, I’m not a woman, so Selma Wilson, the president of B&H Publishing (and the only woman to lead a top-ten Christian publishing house) will be coming in to speak into some of those issues. 3) Networking matters. As Lean In and other books explain, it’s important to find ways to connect. The participants aren’t just there to learn from me or from Selma. They are there to learn from each other and to give professional support. As much as I want to encourage them, I want them to practice regular encouragement of others. I hope that this will give all of us that opportunity. 4) Empowering others matters. It’s easy when you are in a position of leadership to only think about your own goals and to assume others are only there to help you achieve them. That’s a mistake. Leading also involves helping people to develop their own gifts, and if you do your job well, they will grow to flourish on their own. Even the best leaders are sinful and can get easily distracted by their own interests, so this kind of investment has to be deliberate. Long story short: I think that when we have “power” (as Andy helped me to define it more clearly), we should empower others. My suggestion for the readers is simple: Don’t forget the emerging female leaders around you—find them, encourage them, use your privilege and influence to raise them up. Don’t miss out on the gifts that half of the body of Christ offers. E d S t e t z e r is the executive director of LifeWay Research.
Ho w to B e c o m e F l u e n t i n Wo r d s o f A ffi r m a ti o n • 35
• THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES FOR MEN
demand things from my wife, I become a parent and she the child. In
of love; a demand suffocates that possibility.
marriage, however, we are equal, adult partners. We’re not perfect, to
The more you work these essentials of words of affirmation into
be sure, but we are adults and we are partners. If we’re to develop an
your daily interaction with your wife, the more fluent you’ll become—
intimate relationship, we need to know each other’s desires. If we wish
and the more positive changes you’ll see in your relationship.
to love each other, we need to know what the other person wants. The way we express those desires, however, is all-important. If they come across as demands, we have erased the possibility of intimacy and will drive our spouse away. If, however, we make our needs and desires known in the form of a request, we’re giving guidance, not ultimatums. The husband who says, “Could you make that good pasta one of these nights?” is giving his wife guidance on how to love him and thus build intimacy. On the other hand, the husband who says, “Can’t we ever have a decent meal around here?” is showing adolescent behavior by making a demand. His wife is likely to fire back, “If you don’t like what I make, you cook!” When you make a request of your wife, you’re affirming her worth and abilities. You’re indicating that she has or can do something that’s meaningful and worthwhile to you. When you make demands, you become not a lover but a tyrant. Your wife won’t feel affirmed; she’ll feel belittled. A request introduces the element of choice. Your wife may choose to respond to your request or to deny it, because love is always a choice. That’s what makes it meaningful. To know that my wife loves me enough to respond to one of my requests communicates emotionally that she cares about me, respects me, admires me, and wants to do something to please me. We cannot get emotional love by18way • THE
5 LOVE LANGUAGES FOR MEN
H o w M a n y L a n g u a g e s D o Y o u S p e a k ? • 19
of demand. My wife may in fact comply with my demands, but it’s
WHERE THERE IS CHALLENGE, THERE IS not an expression of love. It’s an act of fear or guilt or some other emo-
tion, but not love. A request creates the possibility for an expression
Someone once said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If right, that means
ALL NEW &
the approach many spouses take toward overcoming
their language barrier is downright crazy. They double down on their own love language, trying
won’t get the job done.
over and over again to break through to their spouse in the only way they know. In other words, they work harder instead of smarter. They put the onus on their spouse to translate their actions into a language the spouse
can understand. It doesn’t matter that your heart is in the right place, or that you’re trying as hard as you possibly can, or that other women would feel lucky to have a husband like you. You will not be able to fill your
EQUIPPED FOR SUCCESS SHORT MEMORY
Not everything you try is going to w In fact, your learning curve may be steep. Keep in mind that whatever happened yesterday stays there. To new day.
No idea is too off-the-wall or unco if it makes your wife feel truly loved outside the box is highly encourage
LISTENING TO GOOD ADVICE
Don’t miss opportunities to pick th people whose relationships you ad your role models for their secrets. are any that will work for you and y
The ability to spot new opportunitie love to your wife—and to recognize old strategies are working—is key becoming bilingual.
wife’s love tank without using her primary love language. The way to build a thriving exciting unpredictable awe-inspiring life-changing relationship with your wife is to master her primary love language, to embrace the challenge of becoming bilingual. The good news is that the process isn’t nearly as challenging as learning an actual language. You don’t have to worry about conjugating verbs or using the proper tense. The challenge of becoming fluent in another love language might be better compared to perfecting a golf swing. If you’ve ever
Mastering a new love language is a not a sprint. You’ll get tired, discou frustrated along the way. Press on you think you’ve got the language m keep going. Keep learning. Keep tr things. Keep finding new ways to m wife feel loved.
You may not be a religious man, bu comes to your relationship with yo need all the help you can get. Don’ to ask God for wisdom in how to ef meet your wife’s need for love.
Nothing is more important than yo relationship with your wife. Protec perfecting that relationship is Job tight to that mindset and you’ll set nicely for eventual success.
MINISTRY LEADERSHIP: PA S T O R I N G BY JUSTIN LATHROP
Some Common Mistakes Young Pastors Make Here are a few words of caution for those just starting out
f you could write a letter to yourself 10 years ago, what would you say? What would you tell yourself to focus on or shy away from? What would you tell yourself to pay attention to or to let go a little more often? Whenever you’re starting something new, there are always going to be tricks of the trade you haven’t learned yet. There are things you will know as an experienced pastor with years under your belt, that you didn’t know when you were just beginning. This is OK. The maturation process means that as you go and as you move forward, you will continuously get better at your job. If you aren’t, you’re doing something wrong. The mistakes and learning experiences we have at the beginning of our careers are the lessons that make us into the great pastors we will be in 10 years but aren’t quite yet. Here are five mistakes young pastors commonly make: 1) They lack a work-life balance. Being a pastor is an all-consuming job. It’s relational in nature and, therefore, hard to leave when you come home. It is easy to get so wrapped up in helping your congregation that you forget there are people waiting for you at home, other people who need you. Even you need rest, care and attention. A common mistake young pastors make is to overwork themselves. They overestimate how much they have to give. Overwork leads to burnout and is the cause of many young pastors quitting too early. 2) They don’t receive counsel from older pastors. The fact of the matter is that pastors who have been doing this longer than you have are going to know more than you do. Wise young pastors find someone well ahead of them in years and experience to mentor and teach them. You and your congregation will benefit greatly from wise counsel speaking into your life and your ministry. 3) They preach outside of their experience and understanding. A dangerous mistake young pastors often make is preaching about
something they don’t fully understand. As a pastor, we have to be sensitive to the fact that we’re speaking into other people’s lives, and we have to do so with the sensitivity, tact and empathy that often comes from experience and research. Be careful when preaching about something you may not know enough about. Unfounded opinions and disconnected theology can be harmful to members of your church who are going through the things you’re preaching about. 4) Being driven to succeed more than driven to serve God. Leading a church, just like any other kind of leadership, is a great honor. It’s encouraging to see people come into your church, for your numbers to increase, or for your Twitter following to double. It’s nice having people know your name, pay attention to you and care what you think. But it’s crucially important that we keep our heads on straight. We need to remember why we’re doing this, who gave us the power and authority we hold, and what our purpose is. 5) Having passion without knowledge. Passion is important, and as a new pastor, I hope you have loads of it. But a great way to grow in your first few years as a pastor is to increase your knowledge. Your congregation looks to you for biblical application and translation and nuance that they wouldn’t understand on their own. And it’s up to you to learn those things so you can turn around and impart them. Read as much as you can—study, research and listen to other kinds of teaching. Immerse yourself in the knowledge of God so your congregation can too. It’s one of the best ways you can serve them. You’re going to make mistakes, and that’s to be expected. But being mindful of these five things can help put you on a path to success you might have missed on your own.
“The maturation process means that as you go and as you move forward, you will continuously get better at your job.”
70 MinistryToday January // February 2015
With more than a dozen years of local-church ministry, J u s t i n L a t h r o p has spent the last several years starting businesses and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the kingdom. Meshali Mitchell
MINISTRY LEADERSHIP: V I S I O N BY THOM S. RAINER
7 Traits of Breakout Church Pastors What do some have that others don’t?
f you want to experience an “a-ha” moment about revitalizing churches, this research may be the near the top. Most of you have heard the dire information and statistics about congregations in North America. Indeed, I have been among the purveyors of the negative news. For sure, the overall picture is gloomy. There is no hiding from that reality. Reasons for Hope
But I remain an obnoxious optimist about churches across our nation. One of the primary reasons I do so is some ongoing research and observations about churches that have truly been revitalized. My own research began several years ago and culminated in my book, Breakout Churches. It was a massive project, beginning with more than 50,000 churches. My research, and that of many others, continues to this day. While most of the research has focused on information endemic to structural and congregational issues, I have taken a laser approach to look at the leaders of these churches. The Seven Traits
Most of these pastors determined that they would deal with challenging issues in a positive way.
The churches I have studied are churches that were once declining but now are growing in a healthy fashion. The decline may have been dramatic, or it may have been almost imperceptible. In almost every case, however, the pastor embodied seven key characteristics. In some of the churches, the pastors were new, and the presence of a new leader energized the congregations to move forward. In other churches, the pastors had been the leader during the decline, but now they were leading a church headed in a positive direction, a breakout church. 1) These pastors faced reality. They looked at the current condition of the church. They likely did an informational historical survey of attendance trends. They refused to put their heads in the sand. 2) They became leaders of hope. They looked at biblical truth regarding possibilities. They communicated that hope to their congregations. They truly believed all things are 72 MinistryToday January // February 2015
possible through God, including the revitalization of seemingly dying churches. 3) These pastors adopted a long-term perspective. They likely did not make some type of public declaration of their intent, but they did begin leading as if they were going to be at their current church for around 10 years. Most of them admitted that they did not want to close the door if they sensed God’s leadership elsewhere, but they led as if they were going to be around for a while. 4) They led incrementally. Because they had a long-term perspective, they were willing to lead in a way that the congregation could manage. It was not at the speed the pastors desired, but it was healthy for the churches. 5) They learned how to deal with critics and setbacks. Most of these pastors determined that they would deal with challenging issues in a positive way. Many of them had their own inner processes developed to deal with critics. 6) The pastors developed their own intentional, outward focus. Many of them admitted they had become inwardly focused, so they started intentionally getting out in their communities. A number of them became highly intentional about sharing their faith on a regular basis. 7) They led their churches to an outward focus. These pastors began to lead their churches beyond their own walls. More energy and time were devoted to connecting with their communities and beyond. The congregations became Great Commission churches in action, not just in theory. The Most Encouraging Part
Though any story or report of church revitalization is encouraging, I was particularly encouraged to find pastors who had moved from a sense of hopelessness in their own leadership and churches to an attitude of hopefulness and possibilities. T h o m S . R a i n e r is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources.
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Why are many self-righteous, spiritually blind, and worldly secure while trusting in success and themselves? Pretending to win souls, but really preaching for gain, healing for fame, building towers of Babel, which are nothing more than monuments to their own egos. (2 Cor 11:13-15) Did Jesus Christ start a denomination? Does Jesus hate clergy-laity division (Nicolaitans) in His church? (Rev 2:6, Rev 2:15, 1 Cor 12:25) Preaching or hireling thief performing? (John 10:10-13)
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January //Febrary 2015 MinistryToday 73
P A S T O R ’ S
H E A R T
BY ROB KETTERLING
5 Ways to Keep PK’s in the Church
Children of pastors can face a lot of pressures, including staying in church
eing a pastor, I have such a passion for pastors’ kids. It’s such a unique way to grow up—complete with unique pressures, unique benefits and unique challenges. Just like most things in life, it can either be a wonderful way to grow up or a terrible way to grow up, and I’m pushing for the wonderful. It is my goal to see every single PK (pastor’s kid) in heaven, and it breaks my heart how many end up leaving the church. Being a pastor and having kids, I’ve learned some tricks along the way for how to take care of my own children and the other PK’s in our church. And I’m excited to be able to share them with you today. Here are some practical ways to care for the PK’s in your church (whether they’re your own or another pastor’s): 1) Give them something to look forward to. This is something I try to do once a quarter. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Believe me, my kids don’t expect a cruise to Hawaii four times a year. But it’s a little something to keep them going when life feels tough. I think we all could use a little more of this. Some things that have worked in our family are visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, or a surprise trip to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Every now and then it’s something extravagant, like the trip of a lifetime to Dubai. But whatever it is, we love to give our kids something to look forward to. 2) Never talk about the ugly side of ministry in front of them. Just like any other job, ministry can be hard. There are interpersonal conflicts, just like any other field or relationship, and it is not always fun. As adults, we understand this. Even the children’s pastor isn’t perfect all the time. We’re human, we’re flawed, and so is our church. We understand that. But for kids, that concept is harder to understand. The kids don’t need to know when we have a disagreement with someone they look up to. They don’t need to hear the details of budget cuts or someone getting let go. They don’t have the perspective or understanding to process big changes or disagreements, especially when they involve people they love. We don’t vent with our kids, and we keep our complaining around them to a minimum. Instead, we celebrate wins and share hard times with them strategically and carefully. We try
to remember how much our words about the church—and the things they see when we’re not being careful—affect their understanding of God and the place where His people gather. 3) Never pressure them into ministry. When you love something, it’s tempting to want your kids to love it too. But if you have ever been pressured into something, you know how much joy is zapped from something when you didn’t choose it yourself. Instead of pressuring our kids into ministry, we try to encourage them to find their own callings. We want them to do what they’re passionate about, what God uniquely called them to do—not just follow in our footsteps. 4) Help them dream big. Each quarter, we have a dinner in which all the pastors, their spouses and every PK is invited. I started a tradition where, during that dinner, I give each PK a coin from somewhere I’ve been around the world. I do it because I want to open up conversations about what exists beyond our country. I want them to start dreaming of the countries God could call them to. 5) Show them they’re valued. As a kid, especially the kid of a pastor, it’s easy to feel like you don’t matter. It’s easy to feel like you’re in the way, shoved to the side or just there because your parents were invited. I try to get to know our PK’s individually and to make each one of them feel special. For every one of their birthdays, I write them a handwritten card that includes a gift card to Target. They can take that gift card and pick out their very own toy. I want them to know their birthday matters to me and that I notice them. I want them to feel like an important member of our church body. Growing up as a pastor’s kid isn’t easy. It’s full of unique challenges and struggles those kids didn’t choose for themselves. With so many pastors’ kids leaving the church as they grow older, it’s so important that we take the time to see them and minister to them directly. How can you serve your church’s PK’s this week?
“When you love something, it’s tempting to want your kids to love it too.”
74 MinistryToday January // February 2015
R o b K e t t e r l i n g is the lead pastor of River Valley Church, an ARC church based out of Minnesota’s Twin Cities south metro area.
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THAT WE SHOULD LOVE OUR
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What would happen if every Christian actually took the Great Commandment seriously? Is it possible that the solution to our society’s biggest issues has been right under our noses for the past two thousand years? When Jesus was asked to reduce everything to one command, he gave us a simple strategic plan, that has the potential to change the world.
• • •
Read the book.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT.
RESOURCE GUIDE ALPHABETICAL LISTING OF SUPPLIERS: Baker Publishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bertolini, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brotherhood Mutual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charisma House. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charisma Media. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dake Publishing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dave Willliams Ministries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Decapolis Publishing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Embassy Global Ministry Network . . . . . Hufcor, Inc. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hubert Synn, CPA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inspirational Cruises. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Jamere A. Brown-Spencer. . . . . . . . . . . . . Jason & Kristel Finns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KidCheck. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . One Call Now. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Passion for Purpose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peggy Joyce Ruth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prestige Pulpits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Regal Entertainment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Regular Baptist Press. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . StartCHURCH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TransGlobal Travel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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MinistryToday January // February 2015
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2015 MINISTRY TODAY RESOURCE GUIDE
A Wealth of Information
You’ll want to keep this issue handy when making crucial decisions for your church BY STEVE STRANG
hen problems arise that require decisions surrounding your church facilities and your finances, we know that, with diligent prayer, you will first put your trust in the Lord for the answers. However, in a society that has become increasingly challenging for many churches simply to make ends meet, it is good to have dependable resources that can help make those decisions easier. For that reason, Charisma Media has published this Ministry Today 2015 Resource Guide. Our aim is to help churches discover resources that provide solutions to myriad issues they face on a daily basis. We believe it is an issue that you will want to keep handy and will refer to throughout the year to help solve these issues. With this resource guide, it is also our goal to connect you with advertisers that provide quality products to meet your needs from replacing worn equipment to financial advice to major construction projects. In short, we’re publishing this Ministry Today 2015 Resource Guide as a “one-stop shopping” venue for your church or ministry. At Ministry Today, we are here to serve you and to help you continue to spread the gospel to make a major impact upon your community and the world. S t e v e S t r a n g is the founding editor and publisher of Ministry Today.
MinistryToday January // February 2015
RESOURCE GUIDE DISCOVER RESOURCES THAT PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO CHURCHES EVERYWHERE