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Bayside of South Sacramento Christian Family Church, Tampa Concord Church, Dallas Cornerstone Church of San Diego Covenant Church of Pittsburgh Disciple Central Community Church Fellowship Memphis First Baptist, Orlando Guts Church, Tulsa Hope Community Church, Detroit International Church of Las Vegas King’s Park International Church Lake Mary Church Metro Community Church Mosaic Arkansas Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas People’s Church, Oklahoma City Queens Alliance Church Real Life Church, Sacramento Trinity Church, Miami U-City Family Church, St. Louis

Honoring Congregations That Are Culturally Diverse on Purpose m inis t r y t oda y U.S. $6.99 Canada $9.99

A Charisma Media Publication

c o n t e n t s


Ministry Today honors 21 congregations across America that are committed to cultural diversity. Although diversity shows up differently in each church, this core value often manifests itself in staffing, on the platform, in community relations and on mission. Consider why cultural diversity is a hallmark of ministry in our vignettes about each of these 21 congregations, starting on p. 16.

V o l . 3 3 // N o . 3

M a y // J u n e 2 0 1 5




Ministry Today honors the intentionality of 21 churches who make sure that all kinds of people feel welcome in their congregations. Compiled by Christine D. Johnson


Consider adopting these significant tools—from fundraising to furniture and fixtures—to facilitate the many ministries of your local congregation. Compiled by Christine D. Johnson


Pastors soon find out what’s often missing in their education—the practicalites of church business—which Dr. Mark Rutland addresses in the National Institute of Christian Leadership. By Shawn A. Akers


12 | IN REAL LIFE Learn how to lead your team in the midst of a storm By Dr. Mark Rutland


90 | ON PLATFORM Consider why your personal brand is important By Dr. Steve Greene

86 | TEAMWORK Why church leaders don’t delegate to their staff 88 | WORSHIP How to respond to the short shelf life of worship songs

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. © 2015 by Charisma Media. For advertising information call (407) 333-0600. Nothing that appears in Ministry Today be reprinted without permission. PRINTED IN THE USA


MinistryToday May // June 2015

Ray Rushing

Ministry Matters


Share Your Story Using Email for Church Communications By Ryan Holck Recently we started a series on “Church Communications on the Cheap.” I spelled out “4 Steps for Budget-Friendly Success” in your communications. In that post, I promised practical ways to put the steps into action. I’d like to start today with email. Let’s face it, there is nothing glamorous about email. For many, it is a necessary evil that invades our space with info we’d rather ignore. But, done well, email gives churches a way to tell their story in a user-friendly way that members are already engaged with. The question is: How do we do it well? What steps can we take to keep costs low and deliver a quality email people want to open and read? We need to understand:

The Power of Email Email is the communication medium of choice for several reasons. hh Low cost hh Ease of setup hh It’s personal (goes to the user) hh It’s part of our everyday lives hh It’s transactional (people can interact with you) hh Email has nearly three times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined—2.9 billion (statistic from blog A look at the total emails sent every day versus the number of social media posts is even more staggering: With reach far exceeding social media, email has the potential to be a powerful communication tool. If we know how to use it. Unfortunately, email also has some potential issues.

Challenges Personal email plans, like the kind you get from Yahoo, MSN or Google, are created to send messages to small groups of people. Try to send a large group message and you run into trouble. Email providers track every message that 6

MinistryToday May // June 2015

passes through their systems. They don’t read them, but they measure: hh Number of recipients hh Percentage of emails opened

opening your emails ($10 a month) or Streak for Gmail, which is free. hh Track and purge bad addresses from your contact list regularly. hh Pray you don’t get banned.

Option 2: Email Marketing Service

hh Number of links clicked hh Number of undeliverable emails (bad addresses, typos, etc.) hh Number of emails marked spam Each of these areas has a point value assigned to it. Below a specified point value your email goes through. Hit the next level and your emails go into the junk mail folder. Exceed the final level and they label you a spammer and block your account. If you’ve ever fought to get your account unblocked, you know it’s not fun. My IT buddy has done it several times and it’s a long, ugly process.

Solutions There are two options to get around this:

Option 1: Church Email

hh Create a dedicated email address that is only used for church communications. hh Write your email. hh Format your content. hh Copy and paste names out of your contact list. hh Send the message to a small number of recipients, every five to 10 minutes, until your list is complete. (Every provider has different rules for number of emails and time between matching subject lines.) hh Use a tracking service, like Sidekick, to make sure people are

hh Import your email addresses. hh Pick a template. hh Write your email. hh Send your message. hh Let the service track opens, reads, clicks and bad addresses. hh Watch your email analytics to know what is working and what’s not. hh Contact tech support when you need help. Most likely, Option 1 is a slightly different angle on your current approach. Before you discount Option 2, take a look at the breakdown. If you have fewer than 2,000 email addresses in your list, MailChimp is free. You get access to their basic tools and analytics with options to upgrade if you need extras. They take the headache out of Option 1 and keep your email from getting flagged. And for the price, you can’t beat it. Another option that includes great video email marketing solutions is BombBomb for ministry. ChurchTechToday uses BombBomb for its email marketing solution; this solution mentioned offers integration with several church management software solutions out there such as Fellowship One, Church Community Builder, IconCMO and ACS which make keeping contacts in your email marketing system much easier. Email is the communication medium of choice. While I haven’t addressed the importance of writing engaging content, I hope this post helps you share your story in budget-friendly ways and avoid the most common technical issues.

Ryan Holck is a worship pastor turned graphic designer. He is the owner/designer at This article originally appeared on © Istockphoto/TARIK KIZILKAYA

We believe the church can change the world SYRIA | 3.8 million refugees Nearly 2 million of them children


IN THE MARGINS 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.

Ministry Matters


Don’t Let Spontaneity Kill Your Creativity By Chris Vacher It seems like creativity will always have this push and pull between spontaneous and planned. How many times have I heard an artist (including myself!) say, “We’ll just figure it out in the moment!” For some reason we have allowed the power of creative spontaneity to overshadow the power of creative planning. Whether or not you’re a fan of Katy Perry’s music, if you were one of the 118 million people who watched her halftime show at this year’s Super Bowl, you likely came away impressed. The scale of the sets and props, the use of pyro and lighting, the quick changes in staging all helped to create an incredible performance. Watching that show, it is clear to see that nothing was left to chance. Every shot, every cue, every move of every participant was scripted down to the last detail. And the overall result? An incredible performance that wowed the whole world and set a new standard for global entertainment. Think Katy told her people that she really wasn’t sure what she’d do to transition those two songs but that she’d figure it out in the moment? Think she had a rough idea of how she was going to enter the stadium but needed to feel the crowd to really go with the flow? Not a chance. That performance was planned, scripted, rehearsed, critiqued, edited, rehearsed again, over and over until the best possible outcome was produced. So what do we do with this? Churches are not the Super Bowl. (If you email or comment about this fact, I’m just going to refer you back to this line.) Of course, church services are not a halftime show. Worship leaders, you are not Katy Perry. (Maybe one day Katy Perry will be a worship leader!) We don’t have NFL resources or global audience or thousands of volunteers to help make this happen. And please don’t ever let your pastor convince you that he 8

MinistryToday May // June 2015

should enter Sunday morning riding a giant mechanical puppet lion! But what do we have? We have a brain that God has wired to be creative. We have a God who is the Creator. We have His Spirit living inside of us, and we have the invitation to be creative in the way that He also is creative. We have all the time that we need to do the work God has called us to do. We have every resource available to us to

lead people in worship the way God has invited us. So how has the power of spontaneity been allowed to have its way among so many churches, pushing away the strength of planning, critique and editing? I promise you I don’t have all the answers, but here are three strong factors that I think are keeping you from creating your best work: 1)  Laziness. Do the work. Sometimes it comes down to lack of effort and an unwillingness to do the hard task of putting our creative work through the paces of preparation, drafts, critique, editing, repeat. For some of you, creative success has come easily since you were a kid, and you’ve been riding the coattails of prodigy recognition for so long you would rather let your first effort be your best effort. The reality is that your first effort is pretty darn good and you’re quite happy with that. 2)  Procrastination. Several years ago

I realized that I had become addicted to the adrenaline rush of pulling off good work at the last minute. I had subconsciously (consciously, sometimes) been sabotaging my own best work by chasing the rush rather than results. I craved the adrenaline I felt by cutting as close to deadlines as possible, so I would intentionally procrastinate to force myself into a situation where I had to pull a rabbit out of the hat. I’m now learning to create early and often, getting a rush from producing better work. 3)  Fear. This is not new, but if you are an artist and you haven’t dealt with your own fear or insecurity, you are either the best or the worst artist I have ever met. Nobody makes it out of here alive. We all have to wade through our own water of despair, and sometimes we let fear win. If you are a Christian, you need to dig deep into the Psalms, into community and maybe into counseling to help you navigate these waters. A great book called The War of Art should also be in your bedside table. Read it often. What can you do today or this week to take a step in the direction of creativity and putting your best work forward? How can you overcome laziness, procrastination, fear or The War of Art’s resistance to give the world the gift of your best art? Don’t buy the lie that creativity and spontaneity must go hand-in-hand. You are more than your best moment of creativity! Dig in to the work God has called you to do and be brave enough to share your best with the world. We need it!

Chris Vacher is a worship pastor at C4 Church in Ajax, Ontario. Before coming to C4 in early 2014, he was the director of worship at Compass Community Church in Orangeville, Ontario, from 2005 to 2013. This article originally appeared on his blog at © Istockphoto/tumpikuja

Step Into Your God-Sized Dreams Mark Batterson believes in dreaming big and praying bold prayers: “Keep growing, keep stretching, keep learning.” He says Regent University helped him sharpen his calling to Christian leadership. Our respected faculty and excellent programs will help you sharpen your theological and leadership insight too, with a focus on spiritual formation and biblical truth. Ready to move toward your God-sized dreams? We’ll help you take the next step.

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Ministry Matters V o l . 3 3 // N o . 3

A Tweak That Can Bring Guest Families Back

Founding Editor and Publisher STEVE STRANG

Chief Financial Officer JOY F. STRANG

Exec. VP of Media Group DR. STEVE GREENE

By Dale Hudson

Dir. of Content Development TROY ANDERSON Managing Editor, Print CHRISTINE D. JOHNSON Managing Editor, Online SHAWN A. AKERS Associate Editor JENNY ROSE CURTIS

Editorial Assistant SEAN ROBERTS

Dir. of Production CARA S. SHOWERS

What is your strategy for getting first-time guest families to return? This is one of the most important strategies your children’s ministry can focus on. We recently implemented a new tweak in our strategy for connecting with first-time guest families, and we are seeing great results. I got the idea from my friend, Carolyn Burge (, who is the children’s director at a great church in Canada. So here’s our strategy.

1)  We have a guest services team that helps new families check in.This team is made up

of volunteers. Make sure you pick people for this team who are friendly, outgoing, positive and know how to make new people feel welcome and comfortable.

2)  We have separate check-in areas for first-time families.We don’t want new

families having to wait in line. We also moved these out from behind a desk and put them at tables so we can greet people more personally.

3)  After we get the family registered, we personally walk them to their rooms.This is a biggie. Always walk, never point.

4)  Here’s the new tweak we’ve added:After we’ve helped the new family get to their rooms, the guest service volunteer who helped them writes a personal note to the family. In the note, the volunteer mentions something unique that he or she noticed about the family, maybe a cute haircut one of the kids had, maybe the way the preschooler smiled, maybe the town they just moved from, etc. This lets the family know that we took the time to notice them personally. In the note, the guest services volunteer also tells them

10 MinistryToday May // June 2015

know how much he/she enjoyed meeting them and hopes to see them again soon. This gives the new family a personal connection with someone. This is huge. The guest services volunteer then gives the note to us before he/she leaves and we mail it to the family that week. Our guest services volunteers are fired up about doing this. It is such a blessing to them to be able to write the notes to families they meet. It has taken their ministry experience to a whole new level. They can’t wait to see the families come back because they have made a personal investment. We provide the postcards for the volunteers to write the personal note. The postcard also has a coupon they can bring back for a free T-shirt on their next visit. A personal handwritten note is a huge deal in today’s culture of digital communication. A personal note stands out and means so much more than a letter, email or text. In addition, the kids of the guest family also get a handwritten postcard from our leaders in the kids’ areas. For a kid to get a postcard in the mail is a double big deal. Whatever your strategy is , make it personal. Nothing impacts a family more than a personal touch from someone who welcomed them and cared for them.

Dale Hudson is the director of children’s ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He is the co-author of six books, including Turbocharged! 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry. For the original article, visit Lightstock

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600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746 Phone (407) 333-0600 • Fax (407) 333-7100 Email: Website: ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS: Brandon Cox, Jimmy Evans, Rob Hoskins, David Ireland, Daniel Kolenda, Ron Luce, Robert Morris, Ron Phillips, Jim Raley, Karen Jensen Salisbury , Kyle Searcy, Greg Surratt, Barbara J. Yoder POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Ministry Today, P.O. Box 6102, Harlan, IA 51593-1602. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION: Six issues $24.97; twelve issues $39.97. Canadian subscribers add $5 per year, including GST. Other countries add $10 per year, payable in advance in U.S. currency only. If you have moved, received damaged or duplicate copies/ missed issues, experienced billing problems, want to renew or need additional subscription information, call (800) 829-2547, go online to (to subscribe), e-mail, or write Ministry Today, P.O. Box 6102, Harlan, IA 515931602. Foreign subscribers call (515) 237-3640. ADVERTISING POLICY: We make every effort to be sure advertisers operate with the highest principles and credibility. But advertising in Ministry Today does not imply editorial endorsement. MAILING LIST: We make a portion of our mailing list available to reputable firms. If you would prefer that we not include your name, call (800) 829-2547, write to us at 600 Rinehart Rd., Lake Mary, FL 32746 or e-mail us at magcustsvc






In Face to Face With God Bill Johnson helps you pursue God for greater measures of His presence in your own life, sharing the principles he has learned as well as real-life stories from his church and ministry.

Full of biblical insight, amazing encounters, and faith-building stories, Everyone’s Guide to Angels presents the case for the existence of angels and shows you how to engage their protection over you and your family.

WHEN MISFITS BECOME KINGS You have a destiny that was designed just for you. In When Misfits Become Kings Mark Casto helps you gain a new perspective on your out-of-place life. Learn how to discard the misfit pieces and fill that void with identity and purpose found in God’s presence.






Leadership in a Storm

Do you have a plan for when life hits your ministry hard?


he seas of human life, so lashed as they are by storms of crisis and controversy, are where real leaders do their duty. Happily-ever-after only happens in the movies. Real life, and therefore real leadership, is actually one storm after another punctuated by brief and very welcome periods of calm. Once a leader finds the maturity and experience to face that honestly, the stormy seasons become immensely less stressful. Until then, every storm feels like the “big one,” the once-in-a-lifetime storm of the centur y that just has to be lived through and “normality” will return. Inexperienced leaders spend useless energ y tr ying to figure out why this storm has come. The bottom line is storms happen. Winds blow, and they toss good boats and bad the same. Some storms are self-inflicted, and they are the hardest to endure. I’ve caused some of those storms myself. Others are just part of living in a fallen universe. Things break, fall apart, go South and prove more fragile than we imagined. That is life—real life—and real life is seldom smooth. The night before the annual July 4 city-wide celebration in your auditorium, the air conditioning goes out. Does God hate you? Of course not. Perhaps He just doesn’t like patriotic music and indoor fireworks. Again, of course not. Air conditioners just sometimes break. It’s that simple. It always seems that they break at the worst of times. On the other hand, when would it be convenient? Here are some thoughts on leadership in a storm: 1. Listen to the weatherman. You cannot stop storms from hitting, but you don’t have to set out to sea with one on the horizon. When storm warnings have been posted, stay put. It’s often as simple as that. Controlling hurricanes is not a viable strategy, but listening to wise counsel is. In Acts, if the centurion had only heeded St. Paul’s warning in the first place, their ship would never have been caught out in the middle of the sea when the storm hit. Surround yourself with wise counselors, experienced prognosticators who can read the signs, and pay attention to them. Great leaders know better than to instantly cancel plans the moment some hysterical Chicken Little

starts screaming. They also k now that when t he most le vel - headed, mat u re adv isers in the crew a re adv ising caution, it might just behoove the captain to snuggle down in some nice, safe port and wait it out. 2. Trim your sails. Sometimes avoiding a storm is not possible. When a storm catches your ship at sea, forget speed. The destination can wait. When survival is the goal, pushing ahead with your travel plans can prove self-destructive. Great leaders know that when a storm threatens to rip away the main mast, more sail is hardly the order of the day. Visionary, faith-filled leaders despise whatever delays their exciting building plans, their huge staff transitions, their expansions or their whatever. Many great leaders are born with a need for speed. On the other hand, it is easier to endure the slight pinch of a momentary delay than to plunge ahead and experience the far greater pain of watching dreams wrecked by a storm. There is a time to sail on undeterred, and a time to trim your sails and just ride it out. 3. Lighten your load.When a storm gets bad enough, some things must be jettisoned. The higher the waves, the more must be tossed overboard. Every ship is carrying extra cargo. In calm seas, that is OK. The more you carry, the deeper you ride in the water. The problem is that all that extra stuff uses up the margins of life and leadership. Ask yourself this question: How deeply in the water is my leader-ship and, for that matter, my life-ship riding? What is optional? What obligations, responsibilities and burdens am I able to handle right now in these calm seas, which in a serious storm, I would not want weighing down my vessel? Do I have the maturity and good sense to lighten my load should a storm suddenly hit? Great leaders know their inventory. They know what is necessary and what is optional. They take stock ahead of time, and they know which extras would go overboard in a typhoon.

Great leaders know better than to instantly cancel plans the moment some hysterical Chicken Little starts screaming.

12 MinistryToday May // June 2015

D r . M a r k R u t l a n d is president of Global Servants. A renowned communicator and New York Times best-selling author, he has over 30 years of experience in organizational leadership, having served as a senior pastor and a university president.

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environment that both embraces our newcomers and excites them enough to return doesn’t happen by chance. We must be prepared to be effective stewards of those God brings us. That’s why improving your assimilation system is the fastest way to see immediate growth in your church. This book has helped tens of thousands of churches implement Nelson’s proven assimilation system, so they can guide first-time guests to fully engaged membership!

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21 Culturally

Diverse Churches

—Honoring 21 churches that are ‘culturally diverse on purpose’ Ministry Today launched in 2014 a special way to honor churches and ministries for their significant work. In last year’s May-June issue, we highlighted and honored 21 churches and ministries for the ways in which they were influencing the 21st-century church. For 2015, however, we are taking a different approach to “Ministry Today 21,” honoring congregations that are “culturally diverse on purpose.” Bayside of South Sacramento Christian Family Church, Tampa Concord Church, Dallas Cornerstone Church of San Diego Covenant Church of Pittsburgh Disciple Central Community Church Fellowship Memphis First Baptist, Orlando Guts Church, Tulsa Hope Community Church, Detroit International Church of Las Vegas

16 MinistryToday May // June 2015

King’s Park International Church Lake Mary Church Metro Community Church Mosaic Arkansas Park Cities Baptist Church, Dallas People’s Church, Oklahoma City Queens Alliance Church Real Life Church, Sacramento Trinity Church, Miami U-City Family Church, St. Louis

Bayside of South Sacramento BOSS Aims to Be a ‘Meaningful Bridge’ in a Diverse City


ayside of Sout h Sacra mento (BOSS) is one of the fastestgrowing cross-cultural, crossclass churches in America. BOSS’ vision is “to be a healthy, radically inclusive church community that exists to make and multiply Christ followers in the Sacramento region and across the world.” To fulfill that vision, the church aims to bring “hope and compassion to the community by following our mission statement: Bayside of South Sacramento is a diverse church committed to life change by reaching the lost, teaching believers and releasing leaders to serve.” “Our leadership, staff and congregation are involved in cultural diversity by being intentional in anything we


do, making sure cultural diversity is represented,” says Pamela Douglas, community care liaison for BOSS. Via PROJECT 89, a mission focused on reaching those who don’t attend church, the church is showing its members want to reach the whole community, which is also diverse with a significant minorit y population of Asians and African-Americans. “We reach people with the love and grace of God in Jesus,” says Pamela Douglas, Community Care Liaison for BOSS. “Every person and every ministry plays a role in fulfilling our mission to reach the 89 percent of people in the Sacramento region who don’t attend church. We want to embrace a nd de velop rel a t ion s h ip s w it h people, meet their immediate needs, and build a creative and meaningful

Christian Family Church

bridge to engage them in a worshipful environment a nd spiritua l experience at BOSS.” In a concerted effort to maintain the ministry of its beloved late pastor, Bishop Sherwood C. Carthen, BOSS focuses intently on ministry beyond the walls of the church through partnerships to bring hope and compassion to the communit y, including L oaves a nd Fishes, Ma r y House, S a fe H a ven , P r i son M i n i s t r ie s/ Youth Detention, Sacramento Steps For wa rd, St. John’s Shelter, Cops a nd Clerg y, Mack Road Pa r t nership and Season of Service. As BOSS searches for a permanent pastor, transitional pastor Stanley Long works to provide pastoral care, leadership a nd stabilit y to the BOSS fa mily. — Kathleen Samuelson


Practicing the ‘Age-Old Heart of God’


h ristia n Fa m ily Chu rch co-pastors Rob and Jennifer Mallan want to see the city of Tampa t ra nsfor med. T hey fou nded Christian Family Church (CFC) five years ago with fewer than 20 friends. Today, the church has outgrown three locations and sees about 600 attend Sunday services. The congregation is almost equal parts Caucasian, AfricanAmerican and Hispanic, with other races and ethnicities also in the mix. “If t he pa stor is not c u lt u ra l ly d iverse, t he chu rch is not goi ng to be,” says Pa stor Rob M a l la n, whose family includes two AfricanA merica n adopted sons a nd their biological children. CFC stresses the “family” part of its name, keeping members connected to each other continuously through Facebook, email and pastoral recorded

18 MinistryToday May // June 2015

CFC aims to love people no matter their color of “wrapping paper”

phone-call reminders of events and services. The church offers charismatic services that blend contemporary worship music with Spanish and black gospel flavor, with sets combining Hillsong and Israel Houghton music, and songs in English and Spanish. While the lead pastors are Caucasian, the staff and leadership reflect the diverse

makeup of the members. “We honor culture and celebrate cultural diversity too,” Mallan says. “On Dr. Martin Luther King Day, we celebrate. We honor Hispanic celebrations. We want to honor the cultures inside our church and reflect that in our leadership.” The church offers headsets with

Spanish translation and sign language. CFC builds up its members with programs on Christian Growth Seminars in English and Spanish, marriage and parenting classes and a Bible college through its affiliation with Christian Family Church International in Joha nnesbu rg, South A frica. The church has expanded to Ouanaminthe,

Concord Church

Haiti, where services are being held and a building is in the works. “God created diversit y,” Jennifer Mallan says. “Why would we in the 21st centur y think any of that has changed? We’re just practicing the age-old heart of God. When you just love people no matter what color wrapping paper they were wrapped in


Dallas Church Aims to Be Proactive in Building Bridges


oncord Church Senior Pastor Bryan Carter is excited about what’s happening with pastors in Dallas. Through the international Movement Day, he and Dr. Jeff Warren were asked to bring other pastors together to collaborate on ways to help their community. Warren is white; Carter is black. The two realized they were only connecting with pastors of their own race, so they decided to sit their two groups down together. “Then Ferguson happened, and we realized we all needed to have some conversations about how to preach about it, how we viewed it differently and what our responses should be if something like that happened in our city,” Carter says. Carter said his vision for his 5,500 congregants is to be proactive in building bridges and becoming more diverse. His staff includes black, white and Hispanic members, and he is partnered with Warren’s primarily white Park Cities Baptist

Church to “switch” pulpits and choirs at least one Sunday a year. “We are even looking at trying to develop some curriculum or small group curriculum around racial reconciliation that could be used in churches all over Dallas,” Carter said. “I’m pretty active in

Challenging the Church to Build a Kingdom Culture hough Cornerstone Church of San Diego has been shaped by Hispanic leaders, Pastor Sergio De La Mora and other church

the church to respond.” Carter said the church works well together in big crises, but it’s harder to build continuing relationships. “We’re a small group now of 15 to 20 pastors, but our hope is to enlarge it even more,” Carter said. “I don’t think you

Concord Church is proactive in serving the community and building bridges in the City of Dallas

my city, and what I keep discovering is that people who need us could care less what color the church is. They just want

Cornerstone Church of San Diego


or culture they were born into or heritage God chose for them, when you just love them and see their destiny, that’s what God attracts to the body.” Regarding the church, “it’s a battle we all have to contend with for unity in the body,” Rob says. “My wife and I always say prejudice is a sin issue, not a color issue.” — Natalie Gillespie

ever get to the point where you think, ‘We’ve done this. It’s accomplished.’ It’s an ongoing work.” — Natalie Gillespie


leaders are intentional about making sure that it is not viewed as a Hispanic church or even a multicultural church but as a congregation shaped by and grounded in “kingdom culture.” “We adhere to the culture of God’s

kingdom, and we’re determined not to a llow decisions [that cou ld be mired in cultural perspectives] to separate us,” says Leticia Ventura, chief innovation officer. For example, in Hispanic culture, May // June 2015 MinistryToday   19

Ventura observes that many churches follow their culture’s emphasis on the importance of a small, close-knit family and, therefore, prefer that the church remain small too. “Instead, we encourage the people to go out to the highways and byways and bring people in, as Christ taught in Luke 14:23,” she says. Ventura has seen the congregation get behind various initiatives across the church’s five campuses that would otherwise be foreign to their culture. “People understand that something impacts them simply because they are a part of the kingdom, not because they necessarily personally are a part of that program,” she says.

Cornerstone members invites the community to its Easter service

When De La Mora and his wife, Georgina, founded Cornerstone in 1998, they focused on turning the hearts of people back to God and their families, building strong families and helping people see their God-given potential. Guiding people to see that they are part

Covenant Church of Pittsburgh Cultural Discussions Cultivate Greater Understanding


uring a season of exponential growth in the late 1980s, Covenant Church of Pittsburgh realized that the congregation led by Bishop Joseph Garlington needed to do more to create better understanding among the members of its diverse body. “We knew that we had to develop better relationships,” says Pastor Robert Menges. Thus began a tradition that has continued ever since. Leadership of the Western Pennsylvania church gathered a core group of 100-150 people from the congregation representing a variety of cultures to spend a half-day discussing


differences in backgrounds and cultures and sharing perspectives over a meal. “We found there were a lot of things people had an expectation of that were not necessarily realistic or true,” Menges says. “For example, it seemed like people were thought to be unwelcoming or unfriendly if they didn’t say ‘Hi’ every time you saw them or if they didn’t greet you immediately.” In realit y, however, such simple things had more to do with personality than culture. Other differences, Menges notes, were small but were just as enlightening. “We would eat together and realize that we eat different kinds of foods in some ways, but many of the same kinds

Disciple Central Community Church DC3 Grows While Using ‘Tools to Diversify’


a stor Ma rc us K i ng sta r ted “DC3,” Disciple Central Community Church in 2008 and has watched God grow the church to

20 MinistryToday May // June 2015

of a spiritual family in the kingdom of God—which matters just as much as the one they were born into—is a message that shapes the church’s mission. Getting beyond polite conversation happens in family life groups. Here, the focus is on doing life together as God’s family. De La Mora emphasizes that, as it says in Ephesians 3, it is the “manifold wisdom of God that puts us together.” Yet, Ventura admits, “It’s a delicate dance.” The church seeks to honor the cultures represented within its body, but also to raise up leaders relationally who grasp not only the beauty of the culture they were born into, but that which they’ve been born into a second time through Christ. —Deonne Lindsey

of foods,” Menges says. “A lot of the cooking that people tended to associate with African-American culture was really more southern than anything. People started to see that even among people from the same culture, there were differences and that a lot of what we grew up preferring simply had to do with what was common in our families.” These core group meetings have done much to eliminate assumptions and erroneous perspectives and guide the church toward understanding each other’s differences with a new perspective. “For us,” Menges says, “it’s been an amazing way to engage people and take relationships to a whole different level.” —Deonne Lindsey


around 3,200 attendees at three services. Located in the predominantly AfricanAmerican town of DeSoto in southern Dallas County, the church’s ethnic makeup is roughly 90 percent AfricanAmerican with the remaining 10 percent

being Hispanic and Caucasian. “We h ave a g row i ng H i spa n ic a nd Cauca sia n popu lation in t he area and in our church,” says Pastor Marcus King. “One of our missions is to express Christ through culture, Javier Torres

so we have a lot of partnerships with multicultural organizations.” DC3 has created J.A.I.L. Community (Justice Agencies Incarcerated Legal) to offer legal aid and visits to those who are incarcerated. It participates in Great Days of Service, a week in which churches get together to beautify the city of DeSoto. The church offers a job fair, employment-readiness training, a clothes closet and a food pantry. It hosts workout classes, Bible studies and counseling services, and participates in events like the Walk to End Lupus. The church has even partnered with the local police to offer help on domestic dispute calls.

Disciple Central takes seriously the need to pray for its city

“It’s crazy to not try to go out and meet your community,” says King. “When you are intentional about the Great

Fellowship Memphis Memphis Church Aims to Raise the ‘Racial IQ’ of Its Community


r. John Br yson had a dream to see more racial equality in the body of Christ. So he and about 30 family members and friends moved from Texas and other parts of the country to Memphis, Tennessee, to plant a church that would “raise the racial IQ” of its congregation and community. Fellowship Memphis opened its doors in 2003 and now draws about 1,700 to its weekly services in downtown, East Memphis and Germantown. Bryson and about 60 percent of his congregation are white, 30-35 percent are African-American, and 5-10 percent are Asian and other ethnicities. “We wa nted to see t he chu rch make great strides—intergenerational, socio-economic, and with racial and cultural diversity,” Bryson says. “We felt like if God can do that here in Memphis, a few miles from where Dr. King was assassinated, if we can rally around the gospel and be part of a movement to rechurch the South, then we can ultimately help press this issue into the whole country.” Fellowship Memphis ma kes race 22 MinistryToday May // June 2015

Commission, different cultures will certainly gravitate toward the church.” The church plans to hire a bilingual staff member to help reach the area’s Hispanic population. Many Hispanics visit the church during its free immunization program, and DC3 would like to add a Spanish worship service in the future. “We have the tools to diversify and now we’re doing it,” King says. “We really want to be intentional about whom we reach. When I started the church back in 2008, God gave me a vision that it would be a multicultural church.” —Ann Byle


a focal point of its mission, reading books together on race and holding workshops, conferences and small group conversations around blackwhite issues, and ensuring its staff a nd elders represent the diversit y in Memphis. “It’s a factor in every decision we make,” Bryson says. “We believe everything changes when you are talking in proximity and in relationship. We recently had about 250 members, half Caucasian and half African-American, sit down for a discussion. I had an African-American mom share about raising African-American boys and how she has to teach them how to deal with the police. When that mom is part of your family, part of your church, someone you have relationship with, that changes things.” Bryson says Fellowship Memphis encourages members to become a part of each other’s daily lives. “Slowly, there has been some incredible progress,” he says. Since the church is known for being on the “offensive” on racial issues, Bryson said it has been able to hold forums on issues such as the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases. He

says even with racial flare-ups around the country, his church has been able to continue the conversation about race in

A team celebrates its success at a Fellowship Memphis picnic that helps to bond its people together

a way that is growing relationships. “The frustration, at times, is when people hold onto their race and culture tighter than the body of Christ,” Bryson says. “Dr. King said 60 years ago that 11:00 on Sunday morning was the most segregated hour in America. We thought we could help change that. God created ever y combination of people, so I like to say if people don’t like a diverse church, they’re gonna hate heaven.” — Natalie Gillespie


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First Baptist Church Saying Yes to ‘a Church for Everybody’


irst Baptist Church of Orlando never set out to be a culturally diverse church, though roughly 45 percent of attendees at the 19,000-member church is part of an ethnic minority group. “The mission was not to integrate,” says Senior Pastor David Uth. “The mission was not to create a diverse church. The mission was to reach this city. It just happens that [the] city was diverse.” Indeed, in the last 15 years, the Central Florida city has seen a growing number of residents from Haiti, Brazil and Puerto R ico. As a result, First Baptist now translates its English services into Spanish and Portuguese, has small groups for specific languages, including Russian and Mandarin, and hosts worship services in Creole and Portuguese, with tentative plans for Spanish and Arabic services. But church leaders say they didn’t necessa rily pursue those ministr y opportunities. In some cases, an individual offered to translate worship services into a particular language. In other cases, members asked for a language-specific small group. In every case, the church had a ready response. “Our answer to everything is yes,” says Danny de Armas, senior associate pastor. “We didn’t create a model that says ever ything has to fit this way as much as we created a climate that says we want this to be a church for everybody.” De Armas, who is of Cuban descent, notes that sometimes hea ring the gospel in one’s “heart language” can make the message clearer. But church leaders are eager to build unity in the midst of their diversity, which is why language-specific events are never held at the same time as the church’s main worship services. “We want to connect with [people]

24 MinistryToday May // June 2015

FIRSTORLANDO.COM in [their] heart language, but we don’t want to segregate,” de Armas says. For First Baptist, building unit y amid diversity also means being intentional about including the language ministries in every part of the church. The language ministry staff is part of the larger church staff, and they manage budgets, just like the church’s other ministries do. Members of the language ministries serve as deacons and leaders in the church. In the English worship services, choruses are sometimes sung in Spanish or Portuguese. Uth believes there is a beauty in seeing people from diverse cultures come together in worship because the church begins to look more like heaven. But he doesn’t chide churches that are not densely diverse. Not every church exists in a community with as much diversity as Orlando, but he believes every church should reflect its community. Although First Baptist is large, de Armas says a church’s size doesn’t have to determine its commitment to diversity. He says he’s seen smaller churches that are doing even more to reach their diverse communities and larger churches that are doing very little. Uth says pastors must first desire to become culturally diverse. Then they must lead by example and teach their way through change, emphasizing what the Bible says about diversity, such as the fact that God doesn’t have favorites. “Change for change is not good,” Uth says. “Change because it reflects the Scripture, that’s good.” While First Baptist is aggressive in its efforts to meet the needs of its changing community, de Armas says the church still has a lot to learn. He knows there are times when ethnic minorities visit the church and don’t have the experience church leadership would like them to have. “O u r de si re’s t here , a nd ou r

congregation’s desire is there to be the church that we feel God’s called us to be,” de Armas says. “But we still know that we have a lot of room to grow, a lot of ways that we can keep being welcoming to everybody, because all people matter to God, not just English-speaking American Christians.” — Adrienne Gaines

Top: Senior Pastor Dr. David Uth​prays with a group of people after Sunday morning services at First Baptist Center: Roberto Bruno and Lindsey Guillot sing at FBC’s “Easter at Amway” in Orlando’s Amway Center

Tim Smith | Miguel Guinard

Guts Church


Reaching People That No One Else Can


uts Church started its mission in 1992 outside of the box, and continues to take that same approach to reach all kinds of people for Christ. Pioneered by Bill and Sandy Scheer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, they “believed God for diversity because at that time, the church at large was not diverse.” Guts continues to celebrate diversity today in a number of ways. “We don’t see diversity just as ethnicity, but any way people could be seen as divided: rich or poor, young or old,” Bill Scheer says. “Our motto early in the church was to be relatable, authentic and genuine.” “We reach people no one else can,” he adds. “That is how we look at it. So we want to be good at reaching the unchurched. We want to affirm the unloved, those who would usually be uncomfortable in church. When the church started, we initially attracted the biker community and those that would be considered ‘alternative.’ ” Every June, Guts Church hosts a Motorcycle Rally that reaches two communities: the local biker community and a community of orphans on the island of La Gonave, Haiti. The proceeds are used to feed children and drill water wells in Haiti. Pastor Bill has given his life to the local church, a place that has sometimes been difficult for people. “People who didn’t like the idea of church weren’t people who hadn’t experienced it, but people who had a bad experience with it.” So he continually encourages his staff to truly understand the congregation. “We have to find people’s pace, tempo and rhythm. I’m constantly preaching to our staff and leaders that we have to be ahead of the game, we need to be out front—with honor, value, dignity.” Those three words inform the way Bill

26 MinistryToday May // June 2015

pastors. Honor. Value. Dignity. He takes his message to men, challenging them to display those characteristics, asking them difficult, pointed questions. These three words also color the way he views racism. Although racial tension does exist, he has made a choice not to feed the issue. “We make it a non-issue. If we make it an issue, it then becomes an issue,” he says. “Within our range of motion, it boils down to the simplicity of honor. If we honor people, they’re going to line up to the door to get in.” And as they file in, they’ll see a variety of people on the worship team. “We are intentional in having a diverse worship team. People have to be able to connect with who is on stage.” “I want to offer the solution,” he says. “The answer to racism is always Jesus.” But he cautions that Satan often wants to stir up strife and battles. “The enemy is going to pick a fight with us. The war’s already been won. We’re not going back to France to fight the Germans because the war is over. That’s what a lot of this is. The tension we see today is frustration.” He stressed that a right relationship with God helps people deal with their frustration because He provides the kind of hope that won’t disappoint. Pastor Bill believes great growth

comes from helping youth. “You want to get into the heart of a family you help their kids,” he says. They have developed an unconventional way to reach the kids in their community every October. It’s called “Nightmare,” and it reaches thousands in their community with message of Jesus. “Nightmare” is a re-enactment of the top killers of teenagers, and it also portrays the price Christ paid on their behalf. Guts Church also reaches families through a weekly grocery giveaway, a monthly men’s lunch and a weekly Hispanic church service. “I believe that everything should flow from the church—it’s covenant,” he says. “We communicate that God loves you where you are, but He doesn’t want you to stay that way.” With an emphasis on growth (with steady, consistent growth for 23 years), there is also a foundation of grace. “It is hard for me to look at someone who is in sin and judge them because of what God saved me from,” says Scheer. “The grace of God and His mercies have been so powerful in my life.” Guts Church has become a safe place for those who felt marginalized. “Those that felt they were dirty or an outcast have found a place to connect.” — Mary DeMuth

Guts’ annual motorcycle rally reaches the biker community and raises funds for Haitian orphans

Swaggart Photography

Hope Community Church Crossing the ‘Berlin Wall’ of Race With Love


evin Butcher has a rich heritage of connecting across the socalled “racial divide” in America, but the Hope Community Church pastor didn’t know that part of his family history until his seminary days. Taking a course on Pentecostal history, Butcher kept seeing his grandfather’s name, David Wesley Myland, come up in a ll of his tex tbook s. Myland—principal Bible teacher and mentor of J. Roswell Flower, who was prominent in early leadership of the Assemblies of God—married a gifted young woman named Lela who played piano for Aimee Semple McPherson at the historic A ngelus Temple in Los Angeles. “My Caucasian grandfather pastored an almost completely African-American church in Detroit in the 1930s, over 20 years before the end of Jim Crow [racial segregation laws],” says Butcher. “After his death, my grandmother carried on his legacy, so as a child, I was exposed to very diverse, storefront-type Pentecostal churches at least co-led by my grandmother, revival services and healing services where all different kinds of human beings worshipped together.” Butcher, who is writing Love Will Bring You Home, a NavPress book on how the love of God restores us, bel ieves t hat t he pa ssion of h is grandparents for a diverse church was birthed somewhere deep in his spirit. His congregation, Hope Community Church (HCC), is located in “a very tough, largely impoverished, c r i me -r idden, d r ug-i n fested a rea of Detroit’s east side, a neig hborhood that happens to be 95 percent A frica n-A merica n,” says Butcher, who also pointed out that the church building sits about six blocks south of a gateway into an increasingly affluent and increasingly Caucasian group of Ray Rushing


suburban neighborhoods called the Grosse Pointes. “But Alter Road, the dividing road between the city of Detroit and these suburbs, sometimes seems like the old Berlin Wall, separating human beings both racially and economically,” he says. “We feel that our call, in Jesus’ name, is to be ambassadors, a reconciling community, demonstrating to everyone in our communities on both sides of “the wall” that there really is a way for us to heal, come together and live in deep and true shalom with one another. In fact, we feel that if we do not live out the gospel in that way, we

a healing community,” says Butcher. More than church programming and outreach strategies, the love of Christ is the driving force that is foundational to Butcher’s ministry. Without that love, and the healing of wounds that comes with it, a congregation can get “stuck” in repeat mode. “The body gets ‘stuck’ in unpacking et h n ic a nd racia l wou nds —wh ich absolutely need to be unpacked—but which cannot be unpacked without the foundation of the love of Jesus Christ bonding us together for the journey. Without that love, we get f r u s t r a t e d , fe el m i s u nde r s to o d ,

Hope Community Church’s multiethnic church aims to be healing community

are literally spitting on the cross of our Jesus.” Hope Community Church is on mission “to reconcile all people to God a nd one a nother in Jesus Christ.” With a church body consisting of about 55 percent Caucasian, 40 percent African-American and 5 percent Latino/Asian-American/other, HCC’s worship attenda nce averages 220 275, while those who call the church “home” runs at about 400-450. The church’s ministry staff also features significant variet y in race and ethnicity, from African-American to Albanian to Native American and more. “Multiethnic churches aren’t supposed to be a cute option, but the very essence of what the body of Christ is as

unheard and disrespected—and bolt. With that love that bonds us together in a common identity—brothers and sisters in Jesus (‘Christ is all and in all,’ Col. 3:11)—we have the foundation we need to unpack ‘the mess’ and heal—for years and years, if that is what it takes.” Butcher believes the church is truly the church when the body has an “intentional, loving space created for all people,” he says. “Not just, ‘Hey, they can come and be with us if they want,’ but rather, ‘We must work in Jesus’ name at creating space, so all will know they are equally loved and have a home here in our midst. In fact, we will not settle for anything less.’ ” — Christine D. Johnson May // June 2015 MinistryToday   27

International Church of Las Vegas Celebrating a Multicultural Model That Works


he International Church of Las Vegas has developed a w inning formula: Honor God and One Another. Although Las Vegas is famous for a number of reasons, many do not know that it is home to the highest concentration of megachurches in America. Recently, MSNBC took a look at some of this city’s burgeoning congregations ( megachurches-the-shadow-sin-citys -strip), and among the most notable wa s t he Inter nat iona l Chu rch of Las Vegas (ICLV). This unique assembly is certainly newsworthy for its size and location, but it is also known for its intentional approach to diversity. ICLV celebrates the blending of the many cultures and nationalities that make up its congregation, and the evidence of this is everywhere. At Summerlin, their main campus (one of four), the flags of more than 30 nations are suspended from the ceiling, representing the native countries of members of the church. It wasn’t this way when Pastors Paul and Denise Goulet arrived with their family in 2002. Then the congregation was mostly white. “I started preaching about not having prejudice, and saying that the church would be a multicultural, multilingual and multigenerational church,” says Pastor Paul Goulet. “We would purposefully target people of different colors, backgrounds and experiences. We really made this a huge issue, and when it happened, we started celebrating.” Worship ser vices and even small groups are provided in several lang uages, including French, Spanish and Greek. Sunday services are translated, and headphones and special listening equipment a re provided. Those who livestrea m church services on the Internet have the option 28 MinistryToday May // June 2015


of choosing an Eng lish, French or Spanish language broadcast. Each week, Goulet offers a simple g reeting to Spa nish- a nd Frenchspeaking congregants in their own languages. On occasion, the church has welcomed guest speakers who will use someone to translate the message. Creative Director Douglas Haines told Ministry Today that ICLV takes the mandate to “Go into all the world” literally. “A lot of the world is at our doorstep,” he says. “We have a n incredibly diverse community in the Las Vegas area, and we make specific efforts to be all things to all men.” One way this is done is by establishing congregations in different parts of the city. Along with the Summerlin location, Prayer Mountain and South Gate campuses are situated in mostly middle-class and upper middle-class residential communities. The church’s Dream Center location targets the specific needs commonly associated with the inner city. Nea rly 10,0 0 0 member s come together to worship at either one of the ICLV campuses, or by way of its online portal. Like the congregation, the church staff and the pastoral team reflect a wide range of nationalities and cultures—African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Greeks, Hawaiians, French Canadians and Ethiopians. The church’s worship music (traditional gospel songs and modern choruses) reflects the congregation’s different cultural and ethnic styles and influences. As for ICLV’s Web presence, Haines acknowledges that ever y component is “intentionally diverse to ref lect the t ype of congregation we have—old, young and different ethnicities.” Pastor Goulet says it’s the preaching of t he Good News of Jesus t hat draws people. However, cultivating a cohesive spiritual family requires an added element.

“Honor is something that ICLV values above all else,” he explains, “[honor] for God first, and then for each other, no matter who you are or what you look like.” He imagines heaven with people of different colors, languages and backgrounds, and he labors to make this a reality at ICLV. In the same way, he sees a different future emerging for his city than the one many are promoting. “T he whole world comes to Las Vegas,” he says. “I believe that prett y soon, the reason they come here w i l l be for t he presence of God.” —Brenda Davis

Top: The International Church of Las Vegas is purposeful about reaching the world at its doorstep Bottom: Pastor Paul Goulet leads his multicultural, multilingual and multigenerational church

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King’s Park International Church College-Area Church Seeks to Tear Down Walls of Separation


aunched on the University of North Carolina (UNC) campus as a congregation of mostly white college students, today King’s Park International Church reaches into the heart of inner-city Durham. “We choose to embrace the cit y ‘poor’ and do what we can to tear down that wall of separation by underscoring the need to be together, work together and go to church together,” says Senior Pastor Ron Lewis, who started the UNC ministry. “Often the issue is not skin color, but the socio-economic barrier. Many in urban neighborhoods feel the alienation, which we try to tear down with our onsite presence and ministries.” Kings started crossing the cultural gap between the college campus and Durham’s housing projects by establishing an inner-city learning center in the early 1980s. That eventually swelled its numbers, led to countless conversions, and prompted the building of a 2,200-seat sanctuary in the area. Today the 1,250 people who attend each week are an ethnic stew of approximately 80 ethnicities. They largely divide into 40 percent white, 40 percent African-American, and 20 percent Asian or Hispanic. “From the beginning we were called to build on the ‘fault line’ of ethnic tension and division,” says Lewis, whose church has planted 65 others in 17 nations. “All our campus ministries and church plants are similarly diverse. Although it’s not always easy, building diverse congregations is certainly rewarding and we’d have it no other way.” In addition to the learning center, Lewis says the church sought to cross racial barriers by sponsoring listening sessions where Caucasian ministers could hear from people of color and minority groups. 30 MinistryToday May // June 2015


Despite the passage of time, they learned that many in the A fricanAmerican community still carried pain from the Civil Rights era. While many of the younger people lived in a new world, their parents and grandparents did not; Lewis says many hearts and minds changed as a result of these sessions. After listening to residents’ concerns, the church developed a mult iet h n ic leadersh ip tea m to help maintain a unity of vision and purpose. This reality is reflected from the King’s Park’s campus ministries cross cultural and racial barriers

platform during its worship services, with both singers and pastors coming from various backgrounds. This multicultural shift included broadening worship styles. At King’s, music specials can range from classical piano to urban Christian hip hop to Full Gospel. The unusual repertoire has featured African-American gospel singers performing in Italian and Chinese singers rapping. The lat ter come from the Ch inese Mandarin-speaking congregation that meets at the same time on Su nday morn ing, a n hou r before a Spanish-speaking service meets in another location. T h i s com m it ment to d iversit y

extends to neighboring campuses—the church supports full-time pastors at Duke University and historically-black North Carolina Central University. King’s also purchased a facility to serve as a home base for the famed African Children’s Choir during their national tours of the United States. Its Life Center offers after-school activities for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The center also has a teen club to develop leaders and prevent juvenile crime. A parental enrichment program there includes a variety of educational seminars. E ach yea r t he Du rha m chu rch holds a special service connected to Martin Luther King Day or Black History Month. This year’s late-February observance honored recently deceased gospel singer A ndrae Crouch. Its annual Celebrate the Nations Sunday encourages all nationalities to participate by wearing native attire, with prayer offered for the nations in their native tongues. Lewis calls the spirit of reconciliation the centerpiece of the church, stretching back to the 1990s and the book Beyond Roots: In Search of Blacks in the Bible by William Dwight McKissic Sr. The pastor says moving beyond traditional boundaries should characterize the church, reflecting the way Jesus violated Jewish sensibilities by reaching out to the Samaritan woman at the well. Like Him, Lewis believes t he chu rch shou ld stop avoid i ng uncomfortable issues. “We need to deal with our prejudices, our pride, our festering wounds and the homogeneity we’ve made our comfort zones,” Lewis says. “A reconciled people understand that it’s going to take change in us before we can change the world.” In North Ca rolina a nd beyond, King’s Park International Church is striving to do just that. —Ken Walker

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Lake Mary Church Pastor Refocuses From Ethnic Ministry to Evangelizing All


astor Shaddy Soliman made it his mission to reach Central Florida’s Arabic community for Christ, but after eight years, he felt God was redirecting him to all of the lost, not just to one people group. “I was focusing on reaching the Arabs, but then I found out for every one in a thousand who speaks Arabic whom I’m trying to reach, I pass by 999 who all need Jesus just as much,” Soliman says. “So we made it our business that we will welcome everyone and not just to say so, but literally that we welcome everyone and we do life together.” The cultural diversity that comprises Lake Mary Church (LMC) begins in the Soliman home. “The diversity starts with me and Amy,” says Soliman. “I’m from Egypt, my wife is from the [American] South. ... We believe the body of Christ should reflect the community, so whatever the community looks like, that’s how the church service should be.” Although Pastor Soliman was careful to affirm other ministries if they take a different approach, he feels strongly that La ke Mar y Church is to be a church for all peoples. “We have a dying world around us, and this is not the time to spend our energy and effort in ministry to build a culture or to exalt an ethnic group,” says Soliman. “This is a time to really win people for Jesus and truly make disciples. Our mission statement is to honor God and make disciples, and this is what we do.” The congregation wanted to intentionally break the pattern of Hispanics going to a Hispanic church, Arabs attending an Arabic church and so on— everyone worshipping with their own type—believing that that’s not what the body of Christ is supposed to be. Based in Lake Mary in the Orlando

32 MinistryToday May // June 2015

LAKEMARYCHURCH.COM metro area, LMC finds itself in an et h n ica l ly d iverse state, a nd t he church is affiliated with Every Nation Churches, a worldwide movement of churches and campus ministries. “Cultural diversity is our DNA with

small-group driven, so if you separate ethnic groups, then you’re not multiethnic,” says Solima n. “You just brought them all under one umbrella. A true multiethnic is everybody putting their differences behind a nd

Lake Mary Church welcomes everyone to its community outreach events

Every Nation, so we were determined to establish and achieve that in Lake Mary,” Soliman says, observing that the city of Lake Mary is “very segregated in many different ways,” which makes the task all the more difficult. The chu rch lau nched Ea ster Sunday five years ago in Lake Mary High School, and it still has a strong youth focus with the church’s fulltime youth director, Tom Breckwoldt, ser v ing st udents at five a rea hig h school campuses. Ma ny of those who were in on LMC’s launch were second-generation Arabs who had merged into American culture, but as of early 2013, 18 countries were represented in LMC, which now has three ser v ices, one w ith Spanish translation. Diversity is valued among church leadership as well. “Our leadership team is so diverse it’s not even funny,” Soliman says. “We have Hispanic, blacks, Arabs, Asians.” The congregation also does not offer different-language small groups. “D i s c i p l e s h i p i s p r e t t y m u c h

uniting a round something g reater than them. ... We’re all united around something g reater tha n our backg round, that is to ma ke disciples. Because we’re all eager to make disciples, that causes us to seek whoever we can reach.” A s for cong regations that have foreign-language services within their church, Soliman believes they haven’t truly united. “None of these people left their ethnic background just turned away from that and went after one vision, everybody working together,” he says. “That’s what makes a huge difference. That’s what you see in LMC, a bunch of people from all walks of life and literally from every background you could imagine all working together on the same team, worshipping together in the same service. “America’s a melting pot, so if some work together in the workplace and we could live in the same neighborhood, all from different backgrounds, why can’t we worship Jesus together?” — Christine D. Johnson

Metro Community Church


Metro Taps Into Creativity of New Jersey Congregation’s Diverse Demographic


etro Communit y Church in Englewood, New Jersey embraces the cultural diversit y that is its ha llmark. About 70 percent of attendees are Asian (primarily Korean Americans and Chinese), 15 percent are African-American, 10 percent Latino and five percent Caucasian. Metro’s staff reflects that makeup as well. Tending to this diverse church population and the surrounding community is best played out at Metro via its deep and varied arts programs. Staff and volunteers, led by Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots TV star Angela Robinson who has attended Metro for years, are dedicated to bringing the arts into the worship service, digital aspects of the church (graphics, print media) and into the community. “Art is important because the church has surrendered the arts to the world,” says Lead Pastor Peter Ahn. “God created the arts, and God has called us to call the arts back to Him. The arts are a powerful language in portraying the gospel.” Metro offers events li ke Open Studio, at which people can create their own art—painting, mosaic, fabric arts and more, which can then be sold to raise money for charitable organizations the church supports. A summer arts program reaches at-risk kids in the neighborhood. “The kids love it because it’s an opportunity for them to engage in the arts,” Ahn says. “We have singing, d a nc i ng , pa i nt i ng a mong m a ny other things.” Church services and special programs highlight Black, Asian, Spanish and Caribbean History Months. Classes provide opportunities to learn jewelry making, quilting, pottery and painting. “A lot of people in our church had 34 MinistryToday May // June 2015

The worship team reflects the diversity of Metro Community’s congregation

People can create their own art in the Metro’s Open Studio events

Events like this barbecue bring people of diverse backgrounds together

a creative side growing up, but their parents wanted them to learn skills that would get them a job,” says Ahn. “We li ke to encourage people to embrace their creative side.” Met ro C om mu n it y C hu rc h i s

intentional about tapping into the creativity of its diverse population both inside and outside the church. “The arts are a major vehicle in how we reach the community,” Ahn says. —Ann Byle

Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas MOSAICCHURCH.NET Being a ‘Credible Witness of God’s Love for All’


ou nd i n g Pa s tor of Mo s a ic Church (Little Rock, Arkansas) Mark DeYmaz has built a multiethnic, economically diverse church with men and women from more than 30 nations. Together, they seek to fulfill the Great Commission “through the intentional support and mobilization of believers involved in cross-cultural evangelism and multiethnic church planting.” “It’s not so much that cultural diversity is a core value of the church,” says DeYmaz. “Rather, we value reconciling diverse men and women to God through faith in Jesus Christ and, likewise, reconciling our local church to the principles and practices of New Testament churches, such as existed at Antioch, Ephesus and Rome, in which diverse men and women walked, worked and worshipped God together as one, in order that we might present a credible witness of God’s love for all people in an increasingly diverse and cynical society.” DeYmaz has written two Leadership

Network books Mosaic’s elders offer a prayer of blessing for on t he mu lt i - their worship pastor, James Wafford III ethnic church: That sense of purpose, combined with Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church (Jossey-Bass) and Leading a Healthy the curriculum, helps church members, Multi-ethnic Church: Mixing Diversity staff and leadership put their vision into Into Your Local Church (Zondervan). practice: “To be a healthy multi-ethnic His newest title on the subject is an and economically diverse church in iBook-format curriculum he created for order to present a credible witness of God’s love for all people throughout church members. “New members are immediately Central Arkansas and beyond.” The vision statement comes to life placed in an eight-week small group centered on our curriculum, The Multi- through a variety of services for the ethnic Christian Life Primer,” DeYmaz local community. Using the Real Comcontinues. “We not only cast the munity Transformation (RCT) Model vision consistently, we take intentional for their community outreach, Mosaic steps and make purposeful decisions helps more than 18,500 people receive regarding leadership placement, devel- three to four days’ worth of food opment, staffing and congregational life, each month that costs the church less to do more than dream, but turn vision than $1,000 a month and also provides free immigration legal services to reality.” The multi-ethnic primer helps mem- to 300 people. Among other projects, bers understand “the biblical mandate the church has renovated trailers for for the multi-ethnic church” and gain Habitat for Humanity to house women “practical insight for doing life together rescued from a life of drugs and prostiwith diverse others beyond the distinc- tution—and has helped lower crime by tions of this world that so often and 10 percent in a 1-square-mile radius of the church. — Kathleen Samuelson otherwise divide.”

Park Cities Baptist Church Movement Day Joins White and Black Churches


h e n D r. J e f f Wa r r e n beca me senior pastor of Park Cities Bapt i st Chu rch i n Da l la s a few yea rs ago, the fact that his 11,000 -member cong regation was almost all wealthy and white didn’t really faze him. “In some ways, Dallas is like a tale of two cities, with the affluent white northern side and the southern side of the city that is very much black,” Warren said. “The reality is that our

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paths never really cross.” Then Warren became involved in the Dallas chapter of Movement Day, an international effort to form leadership teams in the world’s largest cities to foster collaborative partnerships and change those cities. Pastor Bryan Carter of Concord Church also joined the Dallas Movement Day team and soon became Warren’s close friend. “Bryan is black and pastors a prima r i ly black meg achu rch on t he opposite end of Dallas,” Warren said. “A mutual friend told me I needed to meet Bryan. He said Bryan was a

mirror image of me in black form.” Racial reconciliation wasn’t a hot button at Park Cities before Warren met Carter. In fact, it wasn’t even on the radar. But the pastors’ friendship began to change that. “Bryan and I always say the gospel moves at the speed of relationship,” Warren said. “We decided to team up to introduce our congregations to each other by guest speaking in each other’s pulpits, bringing our worship teams to each other’s churches and speaking together about racial reconciliation on Movement Day panels.”

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T he res u lt? T he chu rch h a s a growing awareness, understanding and love for all the skin colors God created and the challenges and life experiences that come with different

races, ethnicities and cultures. “All people look at life through the lens of their race,” Warren says. “But our identity is not found in our race. Our identity is found in Christ. The

People’s Church of Oklahoma City Church Entry Points Help Make All Visitors Feel Included


it in a worship service at any one of the three campuses of People’s Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and you’ll notice that like a photo taken at the water’s edge, the people on the stage are a mirror image of those in the seats. “Each campus is diverse,” says Josh Brown, executive pastor. “But whatever the community looks like [in that location], that’s what we reflect.” That approach is one People’s Church also plans to use when it opens a location in Indianapolis, Indiana, this fall. It’s a top-down approach, from leadership to teaching pastors to greeters. While managing rotations and ratios within the volunteer schedules can be


challenging to ensure that the faces that greet people on Sunday are diverse, Brown says it’s something that the church is intentional about, as it is with considerations like song selection. Each of those choices is part of a big picture that provides an entry point for any visitor to feel included in the family of faith. “Our philosophy is to focus on what we have in common, rather than on what race or background we each may come from,” Brown says. “We focus on foundational truths—the majors—concepts such as there being one way to heaven and the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord. For that reason, he says, events like baptisms are a major focus because they point toward a common culture. These events also provide natural opportunities to encourage people to

Queens Christian Alliance Church


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Senior Pastor Herbert Cooper and his wife, Tiffany, were led to plant a multicultural church in a major city

bring their families and focus on the next generation. As a family of believers, People’s Church believes that looking forward to the next generation is perhaps the best way to reflect the forward momentum and unity within God’s people. —Deonne Lindsey


Getting on the Same Multicultural Church Bus ennis fans know Flushing as the home of the famed U.S. Open. David Smith knows this part of the New York City borough of Queens as home to Queens Christian Alliance Church (QCAC). “The identity and calling of QCAC is being multiethnic, multicongregational, multilanguage and multicultural,” Smith says. “We have three congregations–English, Spanish, Mandarin.” Smith, who describes himself as a “white American pastor” is in the minority at his Christian & Missionary Alliance church. Typically, the church

gospel is greater than our color. Until the watching world sees the church come together so the entire body of Christ is unified, they will not believe us.” — Natalie Gillespie

QCAC members celebrate at the church’s annual multicultural festival

sees predominantly American-born Chinese and Filipinos in its Englishlanguage service; representation from various South American countries in its Spanish service; and young adults and college students from China and Taiwan

in its Mandarin service. QCAC is “one church with one budget under one senior pastor and one governing board,” Smith says, noting he has one overriding goal: “to build unity in community with everybody on the bus moving forward in the same direction together.” QCAC a lso sta r ted what Sm ith calls a “church-wide, worship-based, God-encountering prayer gathering.” Those who do not understand English can use translation equipment. “Though we speak different lang u a g e s ,” S m it h s a y s , “we s h a re the common la ng uage of prayer!” — Christine D. Johnson Randy Coleman | Sonny Hung

Real Life Church


Leading a Church That ‘Looks Like Heaven’


eal Life Church marks its ninth anniversary this year, but for Lead Pastor Scott Hagan, the multicultural, multisite church is the continuation of a story that stretches back to 1990. That’s when Hagan planted a different church just south of Sacramento, California. Located in an area once noted for Ku Klux Klan activity, Harvest Church today has a congregation of 2,000-plus and is 70 percent African-American. “That’s where the term ‘The church that looks like heaven’ began,” says Hagan, who recently attended Harvest’s 25th-anniversary service. “I travel all over the nation, and you’d be hardpressed to find something as supernatural as what’s happened at Harvest Church and Real Church.” The Assembly of God church planter led Harvest for 11 years before relocating across the country to serve an already-established church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There he transformed a largely white megachurch into a multiethnic congregation. However, after five years the desire to plant a church led him to return to California. Along with his wife, Karen, and a core group of families, Hagan launched a new church plant in Ja nua r y 2006 at a Sacra mento elementary school. Today Real Life has grown to six sites, most in California but with the newest opening in March just north of Columbus, Ohio. Five of the sites are within 100 miles of the church’s main campus in the northwest area of Sacramento. About three-fourths of Real Life’s total of 2,000 members attend its main Arena campus. Of all members, 40 percent come from non-Anglo backgrounds—primarily African-American, Hispanic or Filipino. Half of Real Life’s 20 full- and 40 MinistryToday May // June 2015

part-time staff members at its main c a mpu s a re non - w h ite , a blend reflected on its other campuses as well. Most are located in economically distressed areas, which Hagan attributes to following Psalm 68:6, which talks about God setting the solitary in families. Like the Good Samaritan, he says churches need to be located where society’s most abandoned souls live. “We have located in tougher neighborhoods, not gated communities with high-earning incomes,” Hagan says. “Our Artisan campus (about 6 miles south of Arena) is in ‘the hood.’ ” While some multisite churches use a closed-circuit hookup to broadcast the same Sunday message, Real Life is more of a network. Hagan covers a weekly theme and direction with his staff, but campus pastors preach their own sermons. In addition to a weekly Skype conference, the lead pastor visits each site throughout the year for teaching a nd t ra i n i ng. T he chu rches a lso have six network-wide meetings or conferences annually. Hagan says drawing and teaching a multicultural congregation starts with love, since people can easily detect it when their presence is tolerated rather than celebrated. “Jesus loved without suspicion,” Hagan says. “People can feel when you’re hesitant toward them. I put it this way—it’s about removing the distractions from the relationship.” Real Life teaches that legalism and racism are the two Goliaths that war against God’s kingdom. In almost every story of restoration in the Bible, one or both of those elements caused the damage, he says. Though Hagan has a sermon series called “The Cross of Many Colors” that he delivers periodically, he may go for several years without mentioning race from the pulpit.

From the youngest to the oldest, Real Life is a church that looks like heaven

“I preach a strong biblical theology of unity,” Hagan says. “I try to guide people, not control them. But beyond the fundamentals, there is a genuine love for people where we’re all learning and are appreciative of one another.” Real Life’s diverse makeup can be seen the moment someone walks in the front door, but it extends beyond the worship platform. The week riots erupted last summer in racially divided Ferguson, Missouri, the church held a baptismal party by the Sacramento River that became a practical demonstration of diversity. Since Hagan helps lead a city-wide worship experience the weekend of Martin Luther King’s birthday, Real Life holds its annual “Night to Unite” the last weekend of January. In addition to these elements, Hagan is optimistic about what he sees as an “exponential” growth in the numbers of Christians drawn to the message of diversity. “There’s such a hunger to understand the principles it’s built on,” the pastor says. “There’s a tremendous receptivity in young leaders’ hearts. I’m so energized. This can be the church’s finest hour at demonstrating what politics cannot.” —Ken Walker

Trinity Church Miami From Marginalized to Recognized


hen Pastors Rich and Robyn Wilkerson arrived at Trinity Church in Miami, Florida, with their four boys, they experienced culture shock. Moving from Tacoma, Washington, to serve a primarily black church membership of 500 who daily battled poverty, the Wilkersons quickly went through their savings. “My mindset and mission was to this

Trinity Church draws a diverse group for Easter and any time of year with an emphasis on outreach

group,” says Senior Pastor Rich Wilkerson. “They were my purpose, but it was down and dirty initially.” “My wife saw a proposal to bid for

day-camp government contracts in the newspaper,” Wilkerson says. She landed the $175,000 contract. This enabled their first summer day camp that served 500 kids. “That was 15 years ago,” Wilkerson says. “We’ve received $27 million in government funding since then. We do food distribution and parent training.” In 2006, the church started helping children visit their incarcerated parents, which is now funded by the state. Because of this kind of community outreach, Peacemakers Family Center (part of Trinity Church) was recognized in December 2014 by Florida Governor Rick Scott with the Champion of Service Award. Currently 10,000-12,000 call Trinity Church their home. The congregation is composed of 80 percent black, 15 percent Hispanic and “5 percent anything else,” Wilkerson says. The congregation reaches young adults, too, at its Tuesday Night Rendezvous attended by 1,200. Wilkerson’s son Rich Jr. serves as pastor of that group. “These are all young professionals, studying to be doctors and lawyers.

U-City Family Church Church Practices Listening in Racially Charged St. Louis


ix miles from the epicenter of America’s racial tension (Ferguson, Missouri), U-City Family Church quietly and purposefully loves its community. The church holds services in the historic Tivoli Theatre on Delmar Boulevard in University City in downtown St. Louis. The street represents the “Delmar Divide” that forms a stiff boundary between the white population to the south and predominantly black community to the north. But U-City beautifully represents

42 MinistryToday May // June 2015

TRINITYCHURCH.TV Eighty-five to 90 percent were raised in poverty, but now have stepped out of it. Nearly two-thirds of these young adults once attended our day camps. They turned into brilliant young adults [and] are now rocking their world,” the pastor says. Wilkerson calls Pastor Tommy Barnett his “big brother in the Lord,” citing two key things Barnett said. The first bit of advice Barnett offered was if you’ll take the people that nobody wants, God will give the people that everybody wants. Trinity Church ministered to the marginalized, but ended up connecting with high-profile people too. Wilkerson offers this example: “My son married Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Most Christians reviled that, but we’re after lost people.” Barnett’s second word was if you work the disenfranchised with all your heart, your kids will not be lost to the devil or the world. “The kids cannot deny their parents’ faith because they see you down in the mud and the blood,” Wilkerson says. “There’s no money there. All there is is love.” —Mary DeMuth


its demographic, 48 percent black, 48 percent white and 4 percent other. Pastor Brent Roam describes his approach: “We don’t have any particular program or curriculum that discusses diversity (though it regularly comes up in sermons). Diversity is simply one of our core values.” In Ferguson’s aftermath, Roam felt the weight of his pastoral responsibility. “In a multiracial church like ours, it was a challenge to address those events,” he says. So he had purposeful conversations in small groups, seeking to understand people’s perspectives. “It’s our duty to seek to understand

the other person,” Roam says. “If we don’t agree, at least we can respect and honor the view of others.” With such a diverse congregation, he shifted them back to identity. “Their primary identity has to be in Christ,” he says. A U-City member had an idea postFerguson. Since the school children had been out of school two weeks, why not welcome them when they went back to school? So 25-30 church volunteers went to every school bus stop on the first day back to classes, h a n d i n g o ut m u f f i n s a n d j u ic e boxes. — Mary DeMuth 


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21 Must-Have Pastor’s Tools

Apps and attorneys, builders to Bibles—here’s what you need to operate your church

Apps Attorneys A/V & Production Equipment Bibles Blogs Books Builders/Architects Child Security Systems Discipleship & Evangelism Resources Electronic Tithing Financial Planning Financial Resources Fundraising Furniture & Fixtures Health Care Insurance CRM Software Bible Software Tours Website Development Worship Products


hat does it take to run a church today? The pastor just starting out in ministry may be surprised by the answer. While it’s important to keep kingdom purposes at the forefront, experienced church leaders have found that a pastor’s toolkit consists of many instruments that are helpful in doing the work of the ministry today. We have pooled some of our own talent to answer that question and have asked a number of businesses to give us their take on what 21 tools the pastor needs to know are available for meeting today’s congregational needs.

44 MinistryToday May // June 2015



How Your Own App Encourages Fellowship, Giving By Tom Bradford


hurch apps are no longer a fad, but an essential part of ministry in this new mobile era. Fifteen years ago, the big technology question facing most churches was whether or not to invest in a website. Now, with over 90 percent of churches having websites, the landscape has again changed. According to data from comScore, the tipping point happened in January 2014, when mobile devices accounted for 55 percent of all Internet usage. And people are not browsing websites from their phones—92 percent of mobile usage came from mobile apps! Thousands of churches have already built their own church app, and have found it is the best way to stay relevant and connected to their congregations. Today’s church apps don’t just put a church’s address and events calendar at a congregant’s fingertips–the best of them are interactive, truly connecting a pastor to their flock on a daily basis. Look for the following features when trying to choose an app for your church: Push Notifications. With over 90 percent of all adults now having a cell phone (Pew Internet Project), and almost threequarters of those being smartphones, the easiest and most affordable way for a church to get out an important message is a push notification. A push notification is automatically delivered to a user, without the need to actually open an application. Push notifications can be used to inform members of emergency church closings, special prayer requests or just reminders of special services. Sermon Audio and Video. People who can’t make it to service can catch up on the pastor’s message on the drive into work, making the process easier and faster than ever. Prayer Wall. Congregants can post prayer requests and receive feedback when people are praying. Niel Petersen

Customized church apps are essential to reaching today’s mobile users

Mobile Giving. With Apple and Samsung now entering the mobile payment market, it won’t be long before mobile tithing overtakes traditional check and cash tithing. In addition, many churches report that tithing increases with the ease of use of mobile apps. Are all church apps created equal? Not really. Mobile apps are divided into native apps and non-native apps. Generally, native apps are faster and offer a better user experience. Non-native apps often lack the smooth user interface that most users desire. In just the past few years, there has been a proliferation of companies building apps for churches, but there are a few standouts that make beautiful, native apps: Subsplash has all the features a church could possibly want in an app. They have designed their apps with an emphasis on those churches with large congregations. Their apps tend to be a bit more customized–with pricing reflecting a more

customized experience. ChurchLink also builds great custom apps for churches with all of the features mentioned, but in addition, offers an affordable (under $30/month), universal solution called The ChurchLink App. Available instantly and with no set-up fee, it is a great solution for small to midsize congregations. Unify boasts all of the features above within a well-done native app, with a competitive pricing structure. No matter what church mobile app solution you choose for your congregation, it’s time to get on board and connect your congregation in ways your website can’t. Church apps are here to stay. T om B radford is vice president and cofounder of ChurchLink, whose mission is to help small- to medium-size churches grow and connect through the use of mobile technology. May // June 2015 MinistryToday   45

Just Law International Why Immigration Lawyers Are a Must-Have for Pastors By Christine M. Brimmer


mmigration is a currently a hot-button issue in the United States. Regardless of one’s position in the political and legal debate, it is important for pastors and ministry leaders to know how to utilize immigration law and, therefore, immigration lawyers, to better serve their members. This article will focus on two areas of immigration law relevant to Christian leaders: the religious worker visa and religious asylum. The religious worker visa, or the “R-1” visa, allows a qualified foreignborn minister or member of a religious occupation or vocation to enter and reside in the United States to work for a religious organization. The R-1 visa is a valuable tool that allows churches and ministries in the United States to tap into the wealth of ministry knowledge and experience all over the world. In order to hire a foreign-born religious worker, the ministry must petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) on behalf of the religious worker. USCIS often applies a high level of scrutiny to these petitions, so it behooves a church or religious organization to

Kingdom Inc. By Johnny Berguson

he limitation of trained technical staff no longer holds you back from producing professional videos. Now, any church can get more visitors, reach more people, provide more effective discipleship and deepen levels of training through the effective use of video. For years it has been difficult for smaller churches to capture their church 46 MinistryToday May // June 2015

seek the assistance of a knowledgeable and trustworthy immigration attorney who can help ensure the preparation of a strong petition. Asylum, on the other hand, is a humanitarian benefit available to an individual who fears persecution in her home country, either by the government or by those the government cannot control, because of her religious faith. To obtain asylum, the person who fears persecution must apply to USCIS within one year of entering the United States (although there are some exceptions to this rule), and the process can be grueling and unforgiving. Churches in the United States are often called upon to serve as a place of refuge and hope for persecuted Christians from all over the world, and in order to serve this population well, church leaders should be quick to refer them to an immigration attorney who can guide them through the asylum process. Many individuals who qualify for asylum struggle through and prolong the process because they decide to apply on their own or they receive inadequate and even harmful assistance. The religious worker visa and the availability of religious asylum are just

two of the many reasons that church and ministry leaders would do well to include “immigration lawyer” on their list of “must-have” ministry tools. Immigration is a complicated and expansive area of law, and there are many facets of it that can affect the members of a church or ministry. An immigration lawyer can help a ministry navigate the complexities of immigration in order to help it grow and serve its members well. C h r i s t i n e M . B r i mm e r , E s q . , is an Immigration and Refugee Attorney with Just Law International PC in Richmond, Virginia.


Capture Church Meetings on Video With Today’s Breakthrough Technology



meetings on quality video. Good cameras were expensive and have required a team of professionals to do multiple camera shoots. Sometimes even larger churches didn’t have enough trained video technicians each week. All these limitations are now a thing of the past! A computer-controlled video camera system can be one of your most valuable resources. It will allow you to discreetly place small unobtrusive cameras anywhere. Your video can include the pastor preaching with the congregation in the background. You can

include close-ups for baptisms and baby dedications. These cameras are controlled from a desktop or laptop computer and enable you to capture your church services on video without the aid of highly technical people. Apostle Kenneth Lock from The Open Door Christian Worship Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is very happy with his church’s three-camera computer-operated system. “It is very cost-effective for us,” Lock says. “We would have paid three times as much for the cameras separately © iStockphoto/asbe

One person can operate up to seven computer-controlled video cameras

or for the bigger cameras that are not wall mounted. We like the computeroperated cameras because they enable us to get a number of different angles of the service without a person having to move all around the church during the meeting. The congregation knows that the cameras are there, but they are not distracted by them.” One larger Midwest church with a professional video system and highly trained operators found it difficult at times to fully operate their equipment

Charisma Media By Dr. Steve Greene

ot blogging is like dismissing church prior to the sermon. If you have a ministry, you have a message. If you have a message, you need to be blogging. You have plenty to say. People around you ask about when you are going to write a book. You journal and feel God is speaking to and through you. But something keeps you from writing for publication. So why don’t you blog? Which of these reasons/excuses are keeping you from writing? hh “Blogging is dead.” No it’s not. Check-out Feedly or Facebook and notice the blog promotions. The best 48 MinistryToday May // June 2015

J o h n n y B e r g u s o n is founder of the marketplace ministry Kingdom provides audio/visual technology, websites, streaming and hosting to churches and ministries around the world.


Why Aren’t You Blogging?


for services, special meetings and events, due to the lack of availability of the technical staff. They solved this problem by adding three computer-controlled cameras, which enabled them to do a full three-camera shoot with just one unskilled operator. Most people want to see what happens in your service before they will visit. Let them experience it by putting a video of your service on your website. You can also stream video live and have it available as a download. You can

put your video on DVD so that people can view it again, and use it to connect with shut-ins and absentee members by offering them a DVD. You can multiply the impact of teaching and training by capturing events on videos and distributing them. Reach the lost by giving DVDs to those outside your church. One person can control up to seven computer-controlled cameras for a total of 42 different pre-sets. Each camera has six custom pre-sets. Cameras are controlled with a joystick like those used by video games or by using a keyboard or a mouse. The camera can automatically or manually pan, tilt or zoom to capture specific shots. Some churches have only computer-controlled systems, while others add computer-controlled cameras to their existing video system. As a result, now any church can have a professional video ministry.

time to start blogging is now. hh “I don’t have time.” Yes you do. Write for one hour and you can have a weekly blog. As you write, you may find you have ​more time.​ hh “I really don’t have a reason.” It is within you. Perhaps you are hung up on the word “blog.” Think of it as publishing an article in a local newspaper. Would you write once a week for your local paper for the exposure? Your personal audience can be larger than a newspaper’s circulation. Blogging expands your personal brand. Your ministry is broadened as you post your blog. New people will find your message every day. Obviously, you will need to do some social-engagement work with your blog, but you probably

have someone doing that for your ministry now. Think about blogging as a platform. Your message multiplied by the size of your platform equals the influence of your content. Less is probably more in content creation. Your gift will probably help someone without the necessity of lengthy writing. Keep them coming back with your unique voice and message. Blogging is an important outlet for content creation and dissemination. It is also a powerful attraction magnet for your ministry. Write for yourself as you serve in the ministry. Expand your influence. Follow Dr. Greene’s daily leadership blog on​.

Charisma Media


Dogs and Doctrine By Jason McMullen


e love our dogs, right? I mean there is very little they are left out of. They come to restaurants with us, travel in cute bags on planes and even are often propped up as members of the family in the annual Christmas photo. We are a nation that has elevated the status of the dog (and in some respects all pets) to heights rarely seen. The accoutrements that our furry friends have become accustomed to are almost human. I must confess I never grew up with a dog, and so my love for them, while present, has yet to become full grown. I wonder though, has the dog always enjoyed such high stature? I mean the world of Scripture does not know this kind of love for the dog often referred to as “man’s best friend.” The apostle Paul refers to those that were false teachers in the letter to the Philippian church as none other than “dogs”! Surprising, right? These are not the kind that can be controlled by the Dog Whisperer. It is these types of dogs that we must be vigilant against and cannot take into our homes or our churches as friends. In the wake of new gospels of grace, evolving views on sexuality and other teachings or new doctrines that go beyond the confines of revealed truth, we too must watch out! These are they that lead us away from the teachings of Jesus in exchange for something that is pitched as something greater or a newer revelation/understanding, and while it tickles our ears like the licking of a dog, it leads us away from the

50 MinistryToday May // June 2015

gospel of Christ, and the freedom that only it can bring. In Psalm 22, David with prophetic eyes and a prolific pen takes us to Calvary, and in verse 16, he gives us a glimpse into the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is arrested, after being kissed or licked by another dog, Judas! David is possibly describing his own experience, but with striking detail, records the exact happenings as they are told in the Gospels as it relates to the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus. The Modern English Version (MEV) tells us they “encompassed” him and the go on to pin his hands and feet, what familiar imagery and this was possibly a thousand years before the cross! This is also the intent of the false teachers in Paul’s day, and it is so in ours. They surround us on every side. Isn’t that true? It seems we can’t go a week without some new leader or church group “evolving” or rethinking those teachings that the Bible is clear. They wish to pin us down with their teaching with the intent to remove or add to that which has already been completed. Christ’s work is finished, and thank God! No new teaching or revelation will give us greater freedom than that found in the gospel. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to live out the miracle of new life Christ made possible and to empower us to preach the gospel, working miracles through us and raising the dead to life! So pastor, arm yourself in this hour with the Word, let it “dwell in you richly” as it is your truly your “best friend.” The dogs appear to captivate imaginations and attempt to lead us and our people

away from the doctrines/teachings, which have been treasured and passed down through the years. God’s Word is the tool you need to combat the barrage of falsehood being thrown at you and your congregation. It what Jesus used when the devil approached Him, and it is what you and your congregation need when he, through people, approaches you. We have more access to the Scriptures than ever before. We live in the day of YouVersion, BibleGateway, Olive Tree and others. Additionally, there are lots of great translations to help you and your people understand God’s Word in fresh and new ways. I am presently using the MEV and I consult other texts for greater clarity such as the English Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible and the King James Version. We have no excuse. We must get in the Word, and get the Word into us and those under our care. Our dogs make for great pets, but these “dogs” that are hungry strays are not to be taken in under any circumstances! We must not act as if they are coming; they are here! I plead with you, as I plead with myself—let’s arm ourselves with the Word and defend our precious, blood-stained doctrines. I leave you with the words of Paul to Timothy found in 1 Timothy 4:16: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” Jason McMullen is publishing director of the Modern English Version and director of ministry services for Charisma Media.

Sean Roberts


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Pastors who use a reading plan will benefit greatly.

Baker Publishing Group Reconsider Your Approach to Reading By James Korsmo


f making many books there is no end” (Eccl. 12:12). These words impact my to-read shelf immensely. The realistically wise sayings of Ecclesiastes often provoke dissonance that drives us to God, and the proliferation of books isn’t just noise and vapor—as with all of life, it demands God-shaped wisdom. I hope your to-read pile brings you great delight. But it can be a tyranny as well—all those books that should be read. Thus, one essential tool for ministry is the art of strategic reading. This includes not only carefully choosing what books to read (and why) but also being intentional in how we read. Not all books warrant the same type of reading. Some can be dipped into, taking only half an hour (book reviews can orient us to the argument and point

Medi-Share By Tony Meggs

e have watched the health care landscape change dramatically in recent years. Those seeking coverage on the individual market or working for small organizations have perhaps felt the impact most acutely. Churches also are not immune to these rising costs. While the insurance market remains unpredictable, Christians have the option to directly share medical bills while saving money and complying with the Affordable Care Act. Many churches and pastors have chosen to join MediShare, entrusting their medical needs to Christians across the country. Based on the biblical principles of caring for and sharing in one another’s needs, the 52 MinistryToday May // June 2015

to highlights; print out reviews and stick them right in the book). Some warrant skimming, giving us the gist and the ability to mark key passages, or “bookending,” reading the introduction and conclusion and only selectively throughout. Other books should be deeply pondered, savored in long sittings or read in small snippets daily or weekly (Tanak Tuesdays or Wesley Wednesdays can keep us reading things that may otherwise get pushed aside). There are books that should be learned from—read cover to cover, outlined in the margin, and summarized at the end to preserve the key ideas and flow of the argument. And there are many other types as well that warrant their own approach. Whatever the category, we should be ready to adjust our plan. A book that seemed worth outlining becomes a book worth skimming. Or if we aren’t finding the benefit we hoped, the book

can be set aside. It is so much more important to preserve our reading time for long and deep reading of Scripture. Books should not be allowed to rule us. Consider Lit! by Tony Reinke or How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler as helpful tools to hone your strategy. Above all, read wisely, heeding the conclusion of the writer of Ecclesiastes to fear God and be mindful of his judgments (12:12-14). Wield the wisdom of the ages to renew your mind, deepen your ministry and bring you joy, but don’t let it squeeze out God and His Word. James Korsmo is an editor of reference and nonfiction books at Baker Books.


Why Pastors Choose ‘Biblical Health Care’



Medi-Share member guidelines align with the Bible, and our members are prayed for when they call in. In 2011, instead of purchasing

expensive health insurance, Pastor Steve Peoples and his staff at Topeka First Assembly of God joined Medi-Share. Peoples and his family contribute each month toward the costs of other members’ medical bills, and when he needed treatment for kidney stones, Medi-Share members shared in those bills. In fact, since 1993, members have shared all eligible medical

bills. This is approximately $1.1 billion in discounted and shared medical bills! The average family option is $300 per month, but there are many options. Members also like the ease and convenience of Medi-Share. They present a membership card to the doctor, and the bills are sent to Medi-Share. Then, utilizing our patented system, Medi-Share makes eligible bills available for members to share. Applying online is also easy, and Christians can join any time of the year. While we cannot predict what the health care system will be like in the future, we are blessed to be part of an organization that enables people to pursue what God is calling them to do today. T o n y M e g g s is the president and CEO of Christian Care Ministry (mychristiancare .org), which operates Medi-Share. © iStockphoto/Steve Debenport

Daniels & Daniels Construction


Learn the Value of the Right Building Partner By Rodney James


s ministries grow, expand and change so does the need for new, larger or renovated facilities. At some point, most pastors will face the difficult decision to renovate current buildings, expand their facilities, move to new location or begin a new campus in a different venue. What class in Bible school or seminary prepares pastors to discover, digest and understand all the variables involved in making the right choice? Of the schools I have known, none. Having survived three building projects in the 20 years of serving as a pastor, I learned one very valuable tool every pastor needs—a good building partner. Someone who can come alongside him/her, their staff and/or building team and help them, educate them, lead them and provide them information to make wise, informed decisions. A partner who will be honest with them about the realities of what they can or cannot do, what they can or cannot afford, and walk with them in faith for what may be seemingly impossible. This partner must be more than a building contractor, more than a great architect, more than a ministry consultant. To be a truly useful tool in the hands of a pastor or building team, this partner must understand ministry, church design and construction. Your partner must be willing to walk with you—often on a long journey—to assist you in determining the best course of action for growing your ministries with your facilities, sanctuaries, classrooms, coffee shops, bookstores, even restrooms. When thoughtfully designed and constructed, these become tools to help churches accomplish the ministry God has called them to fulfill. It is imperative, when you have limited resources, to make the right decision the first time. Far too many churches have spent significant money on designing 54 MinistryToday May // June 2015

Churches taking on a building project need a partner who understands every phase of construction

and planning facilities that their financial resources will never allow them to build. The process can be frustrating, humiliating and even cost pastors their entire ministry. A great building partner will help you design and plan a project that will fit within the financial means available to you. They understand the cost of every phase of construction as you are designing and planning. With the right partner, pastors and church building teams can dream, vision and plan with all the needed information that will chart a course that will lead them through the process to success. Your partner should understand the culture of your church and ministry. They should ask you questions about who you are as a church, how you do ministry and what your mission is in the

kingdom before they ask you what you want to build or how much you want to spend. When your vision and mission are molded into the design, plans and phases of a project, you are building with a purpose. Pastor, if your vision is to grow your ministry, facilities are resources you must have. Put a great building partner in your tool box who is willing to walk a journey with you to help you succeed. Rodney J ames served as executive pastor, then senior pastor at Tulsa Sequoyah Hills Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During his ministry, he led and completed multiple building and renovation projects. In 2012, he joined the Churches By Daniels Construction team as director of business and finance and now manages the business.



Drawing from a rich heritage, our heart is to serve pastors, build dreams, impact the world: : : One church : : One community : : One city at a time

Let us rise up and build . . . [Neh. 2:18]


Kid Check


Why Your Church Needs a Children’s Check-In Solution By Alex Smith


children’s check-in system provides enhanced security and is vital to child safety, yet the benefits truly come from a combination of the check-in system and how well the staff uses it. Regardless of whether you are using an electronic solution or other method, certain tracking and safety measures are a necessity. You must have accurate records of children checking in and out, know who is picking up the children, be aware of any allergy or medical concerns and have a process to verify people are who they say they are. Every year between 1.3 and 1.8 million children are reported missing in the United States alone. Most abductions are carried out by people who know the family—babysitters, boyfriends or exboyfriends, classmates and neighbors. Making it even more complex are today’s dynamic and blended family situations. An estimated one-third of children will live in a stepparent home before the age of 18, and 50 percent will have a stepparent at some point in their lifetime. An estimated 200,000 kids are abducted by a family member, and 58,000 by nonfamily members. Implementing a children’s check-in solution is just one way to combat these threats. Electronic systems, such as KidCheck, increase the level of security over a manual process with built-in security measures, such as name badges, random matching security codes between children and guardians, immediate access to location information and detailed records on both children and guardians. Because the solution is only as good as the people using it, no check-in system will keep children safe without the proper implementation, staff training and design around the systems you use. You must have vetted your volunteers, parents, employees; understand who authorized and unauthorized guardians are; and 56 MinistryToday May // June 2015

Electronic check-in systems can help keep children safe at church

know where and with whom kids are at all times. The system and procedures you implement must be ones your personnel and volunteers can quickly understand, consistently use and easily follow. Having up-to-date, correct information also is key to improving security. One unique feature of KidCheck is parentmaintained accounts. Parents easily provide the necessary family information, as well as keep it up to date, without you needing to do the input. In addition to tangible improvements in child security, the perception of child safety you provide is extremely important. Parents and visitors won’t feel comfortable attending your church and entrusting their children to your staff if they don’t feel it’s safe. A check-in system

like KidCheck helps instill confidence, implements a culture and environment of safety, and makes a loud and clear statement that your facility is safe. Utilizing key tools, such as an electronic check-in solution, coupled with the proper execution, training and expectation for your staff is a winning combination. At KidCheck, we are honored to be part of that process, those policies and the resulting benefits for all involved. Alex Smith is CEO of KidCheck (kidcheck .com), secure children’s check-in solutions. He is a data security and child safety expert, church safety team leader, former police officer and consultant to the Air Force and FBI on data security and cyber terrorism. Alex Smith


THE SILENCE CONFERENCE J U LY 1 2 - 1 5 , 2 0 1 5

























My Healthy Church Create a Healthy Church Using Key Go-To Resources By Chris Railey


hat would happen if the church you lead or attend ceased to exist? Would the community even miss it? For too many churches, the answer to these questions would unfortunately be no! The church in America finds itself in a difficult position, with waning influence, aging leadership and in an overall state of decline. Bottom line, many churches have drifted from the purpose God originally called them. So what can we do? Maybe the solution is to keep it simple and go back to the basics. Jesus gave His mission statement in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” He adds texture to this statement and commissions His followers in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ... and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Then in the book of Acts, the church is born, and in Acts 2:42-47, we get a glimpse into this Spirit-empowered community of believers and the functions of a healthy church. A healthy church pursues and obeys God passionately (Worship), engages


DISCIPLESHIP & EVANGELISM RESOURCES and maintains loving relationships (Connect), develops and mobilizes its people (Grow), acts with clear direction and outward focus (Serve), and reproduces and multiplies His mission in other people and other places (Go). When these functions are present, and a discipleship pathway from cradle to grave is created, then any church can experience momentum and growth! Here are few resources that may prove helpful as ministry leaders seek to improve the health of their church: Worship: Immediate Obedience by Rod Loy, Life With God by Richard Foster and The Blessed Life by Robert Morris. Connect: Building a Healthy MultiEthnic Church by Mark DeYmaz, Sticky Church by Larry Osborne and Simple Church by Thom Rainer. Grow: Ready, Set, Grow by Scott Wilson, Growing Disciples Organically by Don Dietrich and Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley. Serve: Servolution by Dino Rizzo, Strategic Church by Frank Damazio and Act Normal by Scott Wilson. Go: Fusion by Nelson Searcy, Churchless by George Barna and David Kinnaman and The God Test by Rice Broocks.

As senior director of leadership and church development for the Assemblies of God, Chris Railey is passionate about changing lives through the development of healthy leaders. He has held various academic and pastoral teaching positions, and is now part of the resourcing team at


Digital Giving Empowers Member Stewardship By Michael Haywood

Giving tends to grow with electronic tithing


assing an offering plate or giving envelopes is a process nearly every church uses for receiving donations by cash or check. However, studies show that close to 50 percent of Americans carry $20 or less. Furthermore, 80 percent are forgoing checkbooks altogether. With a large majority of congregants no longer carrying cash or checks, will people still have a method to fund your ministry? 58 MinistryToday May // June 2015

Vibrant and healthy churches don’t have to be a mirage or something we reminisce about. They are achievable if we follow the blueprint of Scripture. Spiritempowered healthy churches are still the hope of the world. These churches are not only noticeable, but irreplaceable as they bring hope and life to the people and places they touch.

With advances in the ease and security of digital giving, the time has come for the church to embrace this technology. Meeting people in the middle of their busy lifestyles is imperative to creating

a culture of generosity and growth in today’s church. Digital giving is about offering your donors more ways to give that are easier and more convenient. Giving kiosks set up on site can be used to accept donations with the swipe of a card. Online giving allows for your donors to give from anywhere through your church’s website. As of 2014, 90 percent of American adults have a cell phone, thus making the Text-to-Give app the perfect companion to any church giving network. Text the amount you want to give, confirm, and your donation is made in under seven seconds.

These giving platforms are changing the way churches approach stewardship. SecureGive founder, Pastor Marty Baker of Augusta, Georgia, launched the nation’s first donation kiosk in 2004. SecureGive churches are now exponentially increasing their giving potential. The average donation made through SecureGive is $175, and churches have reported 20 percent and higher giving increases since

AG Financial

launching digital giving. SecureGive offers all four integrated platforms: Giving Kiosks, Online Giving, Mobile Giving and Text-to-Give. Your donors have one account to manage all their digital giving methods while church administrators can easily pull reports from their secure, custom administrative portal. SecureGive was built by pastors for pastors to further the ministry of God. Today, SecureGive

M ichael H aywood serves as the director of marketing and technology for SecureGive ( SecureGive has revolutionized church giving by inventing the giving kiosk, creating the first church mobile giving app and developing online giving and text-to-give solutions.


How to Create a Financially Strong Church By AG Financial


hurches that are financially stable are better equipped to accomplish their God-given callings. Here are a few things you can do to build a strong financial foundation for ministry success: Good financial practices are core to ministry sustainability. Get started with the following: 1. Establish a well-planned budget. When making budget projections, rather than taking the previous year’s amounts and modifying them, start at zero. Evaluate each expense line item independently based on need and the overall vision for your church. In addition, project income conservatively to reduce the likelihood of a cash shortfall and coordinate larger purchases with higher giving months. 2. Obtain regular financial statements. Ideally, have these prepared by a certified public accountant (CPA). Financial statements provide pertinent information for making accurate budget projections. They are key in helping you maintain accountability by demonstrating how and when funds were used, and they play an essential role in qualifying for a church loan. Another important factor in building a strong church is risk management. If a fire destroys your building or a 60 MinistryToday May // June 2015

is proud to serve more than 1,500 churches and nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada.

child is hurt by a volunteer, the financial outcomes can be crippling. But more than just helping you avoid an expensive lawsuit, risk management is about anticipating the unexpected so your ministry can continue to impact the people of your community. You can identify possible risks by conducting facility inspections and reviewing current policies and procedures quarterly, looking for ways to improve. Some of the most crucial areas every church should address are: 1) Abuse prevention for minors 2) Emergency response 3) Facilities use 4) Vehicle safety 5) Cell phone use while driving

6) Social media use The two factors above provide the stable footing you need to be able to grow and widen your impact. At a certain growth point, many churches will need to consider expanding their facilities or building new ones, which may require obtaining financing. It’s crucial to know how much you can safely borrow and have a plan for paying it off quickly. One simple way to estimate the maximum amount your church should borrow is to multiply your total annual undesignated income by three. Then partner with a trusted lender early in the planning process to avoid over-borrowing and/or ending up with an incomplete project. Planning strategically for growth now will help you be financially ready for new phases as they arrive. These three steps and other church finance topics are explored in detail in the Interactive Guide to Church Finance, a free resource provided by AG Financial Solutions. You can download it today at agfinancial .org/freeguide. It also features a variety of tools, templates and videos designed to help you establish a strong financial plan for your church. AG Financial Solutions (agfinancial .org) provides churches, ministers and individuals with industry-leading investments, retirement planning and ministry financing that builds financial health.

Frank Chikane

Jack Hayford

Ana Paula Bessa

Christine D'Clario

Klaus Kuehn

Sidney Mohede

Noel Robinson

Paul Wilbur

Geron Davis

Jamie Hilsden

Thomas Miller

Ray Ramirez

Christer Tepper


Evangelical Christian Credit Union Cash Reserves: An Online Calculator for Good Stewardship

By Mike Boblit, Evangelical Christian Credit Union


uring tough economic times, we have seen the fallout from having inadequate cash reserves—not only in business, but also in the ministry world. Determining the amount of reserves required can feel like a guessing game. That’s why the Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU) offers a three-step education on how to factor the cash reserves that ministries need, plus an online calculator to determine liquidity. Many leaders of nonprofit organizations live with constantly fluctuating cash flow. An organization may be “profitable” based on its financial statements, yet unable to pay its bills. This occurs because income doesn’t always come in when expenses occur. Many ministry leaders understand the feeling of running on fumes, but are unsure of the steps to take to maintain a full tank of resources. Fortunately, they don’t have to experience the domino effect that comes from inadequate cash reserves. Instead, we


recommend that ministries begin by determining their cash reserves and liquidity needs based on three areas: Cash flow fluctuation: For most ministries, an average buffer of 15 to 50 percent would be appropriate. However, each ministry is unique, and this range may not apply to all. Unplanned events: Ministries should create a list of ongoing and one-time unplanned events that could lower their income or increase expenses and calculate the fiscal impact of these events. Potential opportunities: This is the place for dreams: new programs, ministries, staff members and more. In addition to establishing an operating reserves fund, every ministry needs a replacement reserves fund for maintaining and replacing things that wear out and break down around its facilities. This may seem daunting, but there is an easy formula for ministries to incorporate into their financial plan. ECCU developed a simple online calculator to help ministries determine how much cash to set aside in a replacement reserves fund. This educational tool assists ministries in planning their cash flow and cash reserve needs. These and other tools are available on

M ike B oblit is vice president of Evangelical Christian Credit Union. He manages a team of Ministry Relationship Managers specializing in ministry banking and lending.

to make disciples—to build the church. It doesn’t transform hearts, but it can build shelter for worship, serve meals in community and produce tools to study the Scriptures. It can buy time and space for effective ministry. With strategic planning, money is one of the first things a church planter should think about. What is the relationship to this church plant and money? And do I really have to consider the ‘F’ word of church planting: Fundraising? At GCM, we get asked a lot about approaches to fundraising and church

plants. And while there are biblical principles and commands that speak into this, the practical models are openhanded and deserve some thinking through, especially since our American evangelicalism has some ruts. We’re used to pass-the-plate tithe (maybe touched up for debit card world). Yet this isn’t the whole story of the church, mission and money. Let’s take the quick tour. Matthew 10 shows us Jesus sending His disciples with a key instruction for mission: Don’t take the money with you. Gold, silver and copper was to

the ECCU website, plus a wealth of articles to aid missionaries and ministry leaders. Leaders who pursue biblically based financial administration can help to ensure the longevity and fiscal health of their organizations.

Fundraising Four Models of Fundraising: Money & Mission in Church Planting By Chris Ridgeway


oney, as a mentor of mine used to say, is “freeze-dried work.” Effort and muscles and profit and potential all flash frozen into digital numbers that may be stored, transferred and thawed when needed. The power of that frozen work is real and tangible in the pursuit of the mission 62 MinistryToday May // June 2015

© iStockphoto/AlexSava






GET INVOLVED HERE: Bring a Friend and Share the Good News!





Evangelism must always lead into the church. This is a central truth I have practiced everywhere. I, the evangelist, bring my nets and borrow the boats of the local churches. Together we will cast our nets into the human ocean and pull them in to be emptied on the beach. My promise to you is not to take a single fish but to leave them all with the local churches. Then I will dry and mend my nets and move to the next place.

stay behind. Instead, they were to live off hospitality. Paul is kind but strong when he pushes the Christians in Corinth to send money for apostolic work elsewhere (1 Cor. 16; 2 Cor. 8, 9), and he thanks the Philippians for supporting him from a distance while he traveled. We see models of recurring giving, the spiritual benefits of generosity and explicit talk of fundraising for mission. Church history provides more examples. John Calvin did his ministry living on government support—the city of Geneva provided his house and furniture even after he returned from Strasbourg in 1541. In the mid 1800s, George Mueller didn’t have government funds, but he famously refused to advertise the needs of his orphanages. By contrast, across the ocean, American D.L. Moody was known for slapping businessmen on the back and suggesting they invest in several thousand souls. So how do we sort it out? To ask or not to ask? To receive outside support or not? If these examples are our guide, there isn’t one option. Instead, choices about fundraising distill to biblical wisdom and cultural context. If something is right and wise and works in our context, why not try it? But I suggest there is one more factor: Does our fundraising model support the mission? It certainly affects it. Some popular models to consider: 1. The Fund Drive Model(We call it: “The Boy Scout Model”) “Church plant seeks money, and we’re selling stuff for you to buy! Brownies, car washes and a pre-copy of the churchplanting pastor’s best sermon on MP3.” You’ll run into this “give to get” approach not just in Christian circles, but also with community groups and radio fund drives. Gifts and events are used to attract donors. Advantage: Heavy group participation can build awareness and interest in the project. Disadvantage: The small incoming 64 MinistryToday May // June 2015

Chris Ridgeway

dollar amounts are only made worse by the balance sheet of what the thankyou gifts cost and the value of the time and effort. How it can affect the mission: Consumers expect a product. By providing gifts, this may unintentionally distract from the key draw of investing in the gospel cause and defuse the relationship into a transaction. 2. The Large Donor Campaign Model(We call it: “The Shark Tank Model”) “Church plants seeks investment from big rollers. Five-digit gifts preferred. We meet our goal of $250,000, we’ll change the world.” This approach seeks an initial lump sum, and it’s often driven by pursuing large donors. It’s modeled on the business investment/venture capital view of the world. Advantage: If successful, you can parlay that “freeze-dried work” into something pretty big pretty fast (say, a crucial sound system for Sunday morning). Disadvantage: Can be tougher to pitch than you think. Investors like to invest in known quantities with proven results and tight accountability. And fixed amounts run out quickly if applied to ongoing costs; $100,000 sounds like a lot, but may not cover even two years of salary and health insurance, and then it’s gone. How it can affect the mission: Investors expect a return. What does this mean for your church plant? What is their stake in your approach or ministry method? Secondly, if the money is going to run out in two years, the rush is on to get 200 “tithing units” in the door. We want reach an unreached world, but 200 Christians might tithe, while non-Christians—they probably don’t. Does that affect our

Sunday morning choices? 3. The Bi-Vocational Model (We call it: “Quad-Vocational”) “No fundraising for our church plant! But because we need money, we’re starting a small business on the side, and each of us is working bi-vocationally to pay for our ministry work.” The bivocational approach successfully avoids fundraising by trying to leverage market forces for individual employment and even business-as-mission. Advantage: Built-in community engagement for gospel relationships. Church leaders are a witness in their secular workplaces, and church-based businesses (for example, bakery, coffee shop, event space) may contribute to the local community and economy Disadvantage: Certain jobs are not well-suited to this, and planters may need the right career training or education to get the right ones. A full-time demanding job, a growing family and a growing church can sometimes feel as if “bi-vocational” has grown into three or four or five vocations! How it can affect the mission: Bosses expect a commitment. When choices are required in time and effort, does family, work or the church-plant sacrifice? 4. The Missionary Support Model(We call it: “The Campus Crusade Model”) The Bill Bright-founded organization is the largest mission agency in the world. In an era of falling church investment in evangelism, he pioneered the individual missionary support model, which seeks commitments from 50 to 100 individuals to give regular monthly amounts. Advantage: This “small-donor” model can raise a surprising amount of money over time, because the request is for an ongoing amount, not a one-time gift. The giving tends to be stable through economic and ministry downturns. Once established, a support-based salary can travel with you (good for apostolic ministry, multiple church plants) and is much easier to maintain than build the first time. An outside team’s ongoing

commitment invests them in the church plant not only financially, but prayerfully. Disadvantage: Missionary-style support take can 6-12 months of focused, full-time work to complete, much like starting up a small business. This makes it better for ongoing ministry.


How it can affect the mission: May require about 5-10 percent of ongoing time to maintain, including a prayer letter reporting back to the team. Money is going to matter for mission. It can capture and focus the efforts of many into building the church. The

church planter’s challenge is to discern how its use affects the mission. Chris Ridgeway (@ridgewaychris) is a lead fundraising coach for Reliant (formerly Great Commission Ministries) and raised his own ministry support for over a decade.


Ten Things to Look for in Purchasing Church Chairs

There are many factors to consider when purchasing church seating

By Bruce Prock


hen considering a church chair purchase, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. Consider this short list to ensure you get a great ministry facility tool that will serve your congregation for years to come. 1. Value. There are many church chair distributors to be found on the Web, and most can offer what appears to be outstanding pricing, but what you may very well get is a cheaply manufactured chair shipped from overseas. 2. Selection. It’s important to find a chair that not only looks good but can be built to fit your sanctuary. If you can deal directly with the manufacturer as opposed to a distributor, it’s easier to get chairs that are made to different widths so that each row in a curved or awkwardshaped configuration will be the same. 3. Financing. Looking for a chair manufacturer that will offer financing at reasonable rates can be critical. 4. Foam. Like the padding placed under a quality carpet, the foam can determine the lifespan of a chair. You need to find a heavy foam that is comfortable but will stand the test of time. 5. Fabric. It’s important to consider not only how the color of the fabric matches your decor but also how well it will hold up to extended use. If your sanctuary is used only for one service, an inexpensive fabric might do the trick. However, if you have several services or plan on expanding, it would be cost effective to 66 MinistryToday May // June 2015

pay a little more up front for the fabric. Look for chairs that feature fabric of reputable USA fabric mills to ensure quality and consistency in color. 6. Frame. The frames on cheap chairs from overseas are manufactured using a process called crush-bending where the tubular steel is bent without any support from inside, thus crushing the steel as it’s bent. This weakens the frame. The better option is to look for frames that are manufactured using mandrel bending where a steel insert is placed inside the tubular steel as it’s bent. This is not only important for the strength of the chair but also provides a nicely sculpted look instead of the wrinkles caused by crush bending. 7. Options. Different finishes on the chair frame are usually available. Look for options such as communion cup holders, bulletin holders and trays for Bibles incorporated into the seat. While most manufacturers offer these options, it can be advantageous to find one that offers lumbar support and wide backs as well. 8. Customer Service. Should problems arise or you need to order more of the

exact same chair, it’s good to know you have someone you can call and get immediate results. USA chair manufacturers are a better bet for quick service. 9. Warranty. Look for a manufacturer that offers warranties up to 25 years and is able to dispatch factory technicians if a warranty issue arises. 10. Quality. Many of the chairs offered on the Internet at discounted rates are imported. These are often made from substandard materials in locations that don’t have the same health and safety regulations as the U.S. does. This can open up the buyer’s facility to potential health risks or mean that it will not stand the test of time. Bruce Prock joined Bertolini as marketing manager in 2001. Having worked for nearly 10 years as a designer, production artist and commercial art/communications consultant, he brings a creative approach to marketing church-seating solutions. To better serve the church, he also draws on his education (MBA, Azusa Pacific University) and nonprofit leadership experience.

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uilder’s risk insurance and workers’ compensation coverage are essential during a construction project. Before your church or ministry starts a building project, you need to understand and manage the additional risks and responsibilities created by this work. Your ministry should obtain special insurance to cover the construction project, plus make sure your contractors have insurance of their own. Brotherhood Mutual’s underwriting team recommends that you investigate four key areas: 1. Obtain Builder’s Risk Insurance.Standard church insurance policies don’t cover new construction. Before a project begins, either you or the contractor must purchase builder’s risk coverage to insure the new building or addition during the construction phase. Clarify in writing who’s responsible for insuring the building while it’s being constructed. After the project is completed or occupancy begins, you’ll want to cancel the builder’s risk coverage and endorse the building onto your policy. 2. Require a Certificate of Insurance. B efore your contractor begins work, ask his company to provide you with a certificate of insurance. This document verifies that an organization has

INSURANCE Churches must be well-insured while building

appropriate coverage. The certificate should indicate that the contractor has workers’ compensation, general liability and automobile insurance in force. The contractor should carry liability limits of at least $1 million. Ask the contractor to name your organization as an additional insured on the liability certificate of insurance. If the contractor is providing builder’s risk coverage, ask him to indicate it on the property certificate of insurance. Obtain your builder’s risk policy for your records. 3. Look for Indemnification Clause.Check the construction contract for references to indemnification—making compensation for injury, loss or damage covered by insurance. Make sure the contractor will indemnify, defend and hold you

BIXBY COMMUNITY CHURCH The Search for Church Software Is No Popularity Contest By Cady Lewis


sed in business to keep track of traffic data and to learn from customer interactions, customer relationship management (CRM) software also is being employed by churches. The search for CRM software is a new and daunting process for 68 MinistryToday May // June 2015

harmless. If there is no such reference in the contract, ask to have it included. 4. C a r r y W o r k e r s ’ C o m p e n s a t i o n Insurance. Either you or the contractor must provide workers’ compensation coverage to protect the paid laborers performing construction work. If you hire a subcontractor who doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, your state’s laws may hold you responsible for work-related injuries to the contractor’s employees. Never use uninsured subcontractors. If you do, you could be billed a substantial amount of additional premium for the workers’ compensation exposure. When using volunteer or donated labor, determine whether your insurance program provides workers’ compensation insurance. Many plans do not. Some provide only limited medical benefits for volunteers providing donated labor. Volunteers need to know that after primary medical coverage is exhausted, they will be responsible for their own medical expenses if they’re injured. Explore this expense of providing workers’ compensation insurance before deciding to undertake the work yourself. Often, after this premium is factored in, a church finds it is not costeffective to complete the construction itself. —Used by permission


pastors. The development of church administrative software has enabled connectivity with members and volunteers in an easier, more convenient way. However, the most popular software may not be the best fit for the needs of your congregation. Searching for the right software is like hiring a new member of your staff. The program you choose needs to work for you—this isn’t a popularity contest. To discover what kind of software your church needs, ask these questions:

What kind of connectivity do you need? Determine what you need to cultivate community, intentionality and growth for the church. Does your staff need help keeping track of visitors and volunteers? Is the growth of your church in healthy proportion to the number of people on staff? What is my budget for CRM software? We all know that time is money. Think of the time that needs to be invested into learning the features of the software, and pray about the money that Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company

should be allocated to purchase it. The last thing you need is software with a vast array of unexplored features that depletes your budget. What is the main thing I need from church management software? Are you looking for a basic member-information database, a volunteer-tracking program, a visitor follow-up service or a way of recording contributions? List your needs from highest to lowest priority. This will help you sort through the additional features and different packages that all software companies will offer and will help you stay within budget. Who will be using this software? Will it be used only by staff or by volunteers as well? Do you want a program that parents can use to check in their kids for children’s ministry? Designate a person who is committed to learning

all the ins and outs of the software. Most programs offer free tutorials— take advantage of this and have several people attend the sessions. I am a church administrator for a smaller church with an incredible community. Every church member is a volunteer, and every member fully participates in all church events. When I visited my church for the first time, I was warmly greeted by every member and received a personalized welcome gift. The connectivity of my church is excellent. The church software we use is affordable and has basic features because we are able to maintain connectivity efficiently with a more handson approach. Previously I worked with a megachurch as an administrator, and it was absolutely necessary for us to have

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software designed with more extensive features. We needed all extra services to help us stay connected with the church body, and we did it excellently. My large and small church experiences with the different software packages were fruitful because both programs selected were a perfect fit for the differing needs of both churches. We are the hands and feet of Jesus, and church administrative software can be an extension of our hands and feet in serving the body of Christ. Make your “new hire” a win by asking yourself these questions before embarking on the search for software. Your local church doesn’t just need the winner of a software popularity contest. Cady Lewis is church administrator at Bixby Community Church in Bixby, Oklahoma.

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Maximize Your Time in Sermon Preparation By Sherri Huleatt


Bible software can save significant research time for the pastor

through commentaries, lexicons and concordances—take mere seconds. As opposed to an overflowing (and

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well as convenient mobility. Instead of lugging around phonebook-sized commentaries, pastors can squeeze a seminary-sized library onto their tablet, mobile phone and laptop. With a digital library, you can also find the information you need much more quickly than with print books. With advanced library tools, you can search Greek lemmas in your Bible, find every sermon by Charles Spurgeon about grace and instantly access every dictionary and commentary link on prayer. Instead of floundering through mountains of print books, Bible software offers a simple and effective way to find exactly what you’re looking for. The price tag for a lot of these programs, while intimidating at first, offers an impressive deal compared to purchasing print books. For example, a Gold software package from Logos Bible Software costs a little over $1,500, but the product’s actual value, when taking into account all the individual resources included, is over $16,000. Digital libraries also come with advanced tools for Greek and Hebrew study that help you dig into both English and original-language texts while

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astors and church leaders can enrich the lives of fellow Christians by encouraging them to take advantage of Scripturebased tours. As they take the opportunity to travel together, they enjoy fellowship and see the world through the lens of Scripture. As pilgrims experiencing a life-changing tour, they will thank you for the rest of their lives for making it possible for them to take advantage of this opportunity. Taking a Scripture-based tour and seeing the sites in places such 74 MinistryToday May // June 2015

exploring new words and concepts. With one click, you can reveal a word’s original meaning and where it’s used in other texts and verses. While there are myriad Bible-software programs to choose from, Logos Bible Software 6 is the most advanced. Logos 6, which was released in October 2014, offers new sermon-preparation tools that help pastors build presentation slides while they study—rescuing them from spending late Saturday nights trudging through PowerPoint. The new software also comes with cultural tools that help pastors explore the biblical world with atlases and infographics, ancient literature and a database of cultural concepts linked to specific Bible verses. Whichever software a pastor chooses, there’s no doubt that Bible software helps pastors save time and money, making it a priceless tool in a pastor’s life. S herri H uleatt is a freelance writer and marketing specialist at Faithlife Corporation, the worldwide leader of digital Bible study tools and resources, located in Bellingham, Washington.

TOURS as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho and Rome means your staff and members will: Expand their Bible knowledge. Read the Bible in color. If you have been on a pilgrimage, I need say no more. If you have not, you will visualize the Scriptures. Learn about foreign cultures. You will gain a new understanding of problems your missionaries encounter in travel and living in a foreign land. Learn the geography. You will gain new insights into how biblical events relate to one another. See Bible events as more than stories, but real timeplace history. Visit New Testament sites. Visit sites

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Church members benefit greatly from tours of biblical sites

from Ephesus to Thesolonikki, then to Rome and Athens. Bible knowledge will come with each visit. Sense the history. See on-the-ground prophecy being fulfilled. Gain a new perspective of current events. Extend the ministry. Lead the people of your congregation in travel and the discovery of biblical knowledge. Evangelize. Invite the unchurched to travel with your group and begin a continuing ministry in their lives. Teach Bible truths and application where Bible events took place. The people you take on tour will never be the same. Their faith will be strengthened and lives changed. I have witnessed people who were speechless when attempting to thank their tour leaders for letting them come. There are benefits for the tour leader and the tour member. Few Christian leaders have the financial resources to visit Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the rest of the world, and must learn about these locations through books and films. Becoming a tour host enables the leader to enlarge his travel experience and add to his knowledge of the world. By organizing and conducting tours, the tour host attains this knowledge without personal expense and actually can have 76 MinistryToday May // June 2015

cash in hand to underwrite extra expenses or provide resources for later travel. As a tour host, the leader can extend his ministry. Tour hosts can earn free trips for recruiting passengers that they enlist on the tour. For each paying passenger not counted toward a free trip, the host receives a commission of 10 percent of the tour’s selling price in cash. There is no limit to the number of free trips that can be earned with Maranatha Tours. Travel is a great way to fundraise. For instance, if you had a group of 40 join, you could earn cash to use as you wish. While traveling, you also have the opportunity to lay your ministry on their heart. Many ministries have a list of needs that they share on the tour bus, pray for and fundraise for while on the tour. You will also have the opportunity to lock in long-term support. One of our ministries has shared with us that passengers that have been on their trips have given 60 percent more than the norm. This is a great longterm relationship. The most important decision you will make regarding a spiritual tour is choosing the company that will arrange the tour. You are responsible Gregory Reilly




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to and for your people and must be sure they receive the best tour for dollars spent. Look for a company, like Maranatha Tours, that specializes in tours that visit places of the Bible or history that has developed our knowledge of the Bible, and believes that touring is a ministry as well as a business. The company should have established a record of service in this very

competitive market. Join us on a life-changing journey! G reg “T he C hef ” R eilly graduated from Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. After he opened his own restaurant, he believed God called him to join the family tour business. He is the General Director of Maranatha Tours, and also now is producer and host of his own online show, Cooking Thru the Lands of the Bible.


Why Your Church Needs a Professional Website By Chris Williams


s my daughter grows up, she will never understand what life was like before iPads, iPhones and the ability to Google anything and everything. For churches to be effective at reaching people who are far from God, we have to be able to create a viable presence on the web. Professional church websites have become as important in today’s world as the front door to your church. Potential visitors browse the web every day looking for a local church. Visitors will use your website as a gauge for what your church may be like, what your beliefs are and what their experience at your next service would be like—long before ever stepping foot in your auditorium. Gone are the days of a glance at an ad in the newspaper or a flip to “church” in the Yellow Pages. People expect information via your website, and if they can’t easily navigate to you and find it, they’ll look elsewhere—or worse, give up entirely. Your website should also serve your members, and be a resource for them to find valuable information on service times, event dates and even catch last week’s sermon again. You can provide insight and details on upcoming classes or outreach events. Members will have a place to send their friends and co-workers 78 MinistryToday May // June 2015

to when “church” comes up at the water cooler. Your members and community wants to be more involved, but they may not know where to start. Your church website should be the resource. Lastly, make sure that your church’s website includes these four vital items: 1. Your service times. This will be the most commonly viewed information. 2. Your location, including a map. Once a visitor makes the decision to attend your service, they’ll need to easily be able find you. 3. Your beliefs. A visitor will want to know what you are preaching on—and what they should expect upon visiting. 4. Nice, clear and real photos. Visitors want to know whether or not they’ll fit in with your congregation. Pictures from services and events are a great way to show the community what you’re all about. For more tips, visit our blog at An organic marketing specialist, Chris Williams is founder of Aginto Solutions and has worked on tasks ranging from search engine optimization to social media marketing to conversion optimization.

» continued on page 89 © iStockphoto/ronstik

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Dr. Mark Rutland offers his own special brand of practical ministry-leadership training in the growing National Institute of Christian Leadership

Here’s how Mark Rutland’s National Institute of Christian Leadership tackles everyday issues that your formal theological training most likely did not cover



s a senior pastor, it’s one of the more challenging and gutwrenching situations you have ever faced. Attendance at your church is declining and, subsequently, it has affected your c h u r c h ’s i n c o m e t h r o u g h decreased tithes and offerings. For budgetary reasons, someone on your staff must be dismissed. Over the years, you have developed g reat relationships— even friendships—with your subordinate pastors, and each has performed their duties with efficiency, diligence and enthusiasm. The decision is agonizing. As a leader, however, you’re well aware that this type of dilemma comes with the territory, and it must be handled with compassion and professionalism. The knowledge that God has entrusted you to make these choices doesn’t make them any easier. “That is a situation no leader wants to ever be in,” says Dr. Mark Rutland, founder and director of the National Institute for Christian Leadership. “But that’s only one of many difficult practical situations that pastors and business leaders deal with on a daily basis. “I have spent 46 years in leadership in one capacity or another. What I’ve tried to do is ask myself, ‘What have I really learned here? Was it just for experience or for the stripes on my back, or was it to formulate the knowledge into transferable concepts that will help others become the leaders that God wants them to be? It’s one thing to understand those concepts, but it’s another to take the time to

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formulate them into a deliverable package.” Enter NICL, a program Rutland established in 2011 to train not only ministry leaders but also leaders from all walks of life in the practicalities of areas like management, organization, structure, staff, debt management, fundraising and board relations. It is an intense, one-year course that meets four times a year in three venues and offers credits toward a bachelor’s degree at Southeastern University and a master’s degree at five schools of higher learning. If you’re look ing for formal theological training, the National Institute of Christian Leadership is not for you. However, if you need some help in making decisions concerning everyday issues facing your church, organization or company, NICL, presented by Rutland’s Global Servants Ministries and Ministry Today magazine, is a solid investment. Graduates of the NICL course include Larry Stockstill, director of the Surge Project in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jonathan Stockstill, senior pastor at Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge; Jackie White, senior pastor of Church on the Rock in Lubbock, Texas; Oklahoma State Senator Dan Newberry; Rachel Lamb, Rebecca and Jonathan Lamb, children of Daystar Network founders Marcus and Joni Lamb; and Charisma founder and publisher Steve Strang. W hen touting the Nationa l Instit ute of Christian Leadership, Rutland makes it clear that it is not an online or video course. It’s one that he teaches live every quarter on the campus of The King’s University in Dallas, Texas; at Jenetzen Fra nk lin’s Free Chapel church in Gainesville, Georgia; and at the May // June 2015 MinistryToday   81

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Course Curriculum

Each quarter, NICL students assemble for two days of intense training. Session 1 tackles leadership vs. management, in which Rutland shares how leadership is about doing the right thing and management is all about doing things right. Session 2 focuses on staff and volunteers—how to build, direct and lead for quality. Students learn how to recruit, manage and keep volunteers to help their organization grow. Session 3 deals with “turning the ship,” a subject Rutland is most familiar with as a result of his work at Calvary Assembly, Southeastern University and Oral Roberts University. Students learn how to effectively lead those around them, communicate ideas and expectations accurately and manage organizational finances. Debt management is a key in this session, and Rutland’s philosophy of debt—with which he has no issues as long as it is handled properly—has drawn criticism from some. His excellent track record in this area, however, speaks for itself. In the final session, students will learn how preaching and worship can work together to effectively communicate the message of Christ. The session will address your skills as a public speaker or worship leader and help you focus and obtain the objective of your worship experiences each week.

Common Church Issues

Q u e s t ion s conc e r n i n g c hu rc h growth, Rutland says, are the most common among those asked by students. Many church leaders are simply stumped when searching for solutions to the problem and have found solid answers through NICL. “Church growth has flattened for so long, and maybe it’s even subsided,” Rutland says. “Pastors will tell me, ‘I don’t know how to start it up again. How do we get some momentum going?’ Their attendance may not be in decline, but the air is out of the balloon. It’s not growing in numbers, and their church’s finances are not growing. They have k ind of settled into a 82 MinistryToday May // June 2015

routine ministry. We have a lot of great suggestions to help jump-start it again.” Randy Ayres, lead pastor at Cross Mountain Church in San Antonio, Texas, has experienced some dry spells in his more than 20 years of full-time vocational ministry. While he has survived such situations, dealing with them has become much easier since he attended NICL. “There are definitely seasons when personal growth is limited,” Ayres says. “NICL will pull you out of that and will give you the necessary essentials to lead yourself, your staff and your church to new heights.” Cross Mountain met in a tent in 2002 with a membership of around two dozen. Its campus now has four buildings, including a new 20,000-squarefoot worship center. Ayres has seen his congregation grow to 800.

The Right Man for the Job

Rutland’s credentials for teaching the leadership course are impeccable. As a pastor, he helped turn the fortunes of Calvary Assembly Church in Winter Park, Florida, taking the reins in 1990. When he left in 1995, the church had whittled more than $4 million in debt and its congregation had swelled by 200 percent from 1,800 to 3,600. In 1999, he wa s ta sked a s t he president of Southeastern University, a dying Bible college in Lakela nd, Florida. The universit y had experienced financial difficulties and a declining enrollment, but the school is now thriving in both areas. In 2009, he was chosen as the third president of Oral Roberts University. He helped the university to eliminate $55 million in long-term debt and oversaw the completion of $40 million in campus renovations.

Influencing Politics

Sen. Newberry is perhaps the most intriguing student to take the course. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in theology from ORU, Newberry spent seven years as a youth pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before beginning his career as a legislator in 2008. Upon a friend’s recommendation, he took the NICL course and graduated in

2013, gathering information he has been able to practically apply to his position as a state senator. “Legislators attend a lot of conferences where you learn things like how to motivate volunteers; how to form a committee, how to speak in public and how to craft legislation,” Newberry says. “But, there isn’t a lot of solid baseline teaching at those events. With NICL, there’s a level of teaching that digs into the issue of one-on-one communication and how to find out what the best interests of the hearts of your constituents are.

Success Story

Pastor Jackie White started Church on the Rock in Lubbock, Texas, in 1985. In 2013, after White and a staff member attended NICL, the church found itself placed at No. 63 on a list of the 100 fastest-growing churches in America. “The National Institute of Christian Leadership was instrumental in

making that happen,” White says. “I can testify that was the turning point for our church.”

Spreading the Word

Allan Kelsey, an associate senior pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, took the NICL course in 2013 along with nine other staff members from Gateway. With a congregation of nearly 24,000 on four campuses, Gateway sent a few more staffers in 2014. “Gateway sees NICL as a very helpful general leadership tool,” Kelsey says. “Probably 50 percent of the folks we hire don’t come (from) a theological background or from any type of leadership program. We’re a large church and we can afford to specialize, but we don’t have church leadership or management tools. It’s a wonderful introduction to church leadership for them.”

Measuring the Impact

Rut la nd is so cer t a i n t hat t he course will bless and empower leaders

and potential leaders that it comes with a money-back guarantee. “If you finish the year and feel like you did not benefit from the course, we’ll happily refund your money,” Rutland says. “We’ve always stood behind that statement.” No one has asked for a ref u nd since the course began three years ago. A nd, no one has ever fa iled to f i n ish t he cou rse. M a ny have referred to the NICL course as a “lifechanging experience.” “If you are a veteran leader or aspire to be a leader in the church, the principles that Dr. Rutland teaches will impact not only you but also the people that you are leading,” says Jonathan Lamb, the director of corporate relations for the Daystar Network, who took the course with his wife, Suzy. “Your whole church or organization can benefit from it.” S h a w n A . A k e r s is the online managing editor for Charisma Media.

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12 Reasons Why Church Leaders Don’t Delegate

Sharing the load means less control over the outcome but more laborers for the harvest


admit it—I don’t delegate responsibilities as much as I We have had bad experience with delegation. We’ve tried should. In my attempts to do better though, I’ve tried to delegation, but our past stories are perhaps defeating. We learn from others who share the same struggle. Based spent so much time cleaning up unpleasant messes that it’s on my own experiences and these informal interviews, just easier to avoid the mess in the first place. here are 12 reasons for church We have no system in place leaders not delegating. to help bel ie ver s det er m i ne We base our worth on results. their giftedness. Because few If our organization does well, churches have a clear strateg y we look better; if not so well, to help believers recognize how the failure hits at the core of our God might use them, we have no being. When we base our value clearinghouse to help us trust delon the success of the organization egating to others. How can we we lead, seldom do we delegate delegate to people whose lives we responsibility to others. It’s simply don’t know? too risky to do so. Our churches don’t always see We don’t rea lly believe the the need. “After all,” they say, “that’s body- of- Christ imager y in why we hire staff.” The congrega1 Corinthians 12. If God puts tion that thinks that way may see the body together as He wishes, delegation as shirking responsibility He knows which person should or indicating laziness. The church play each role. We deny that truth leader with little patience to change when we choose to play the role this mindset will likely succumb to of every part of the body—either the congregation’s wishes not to by doing it all ourselves or by fol- C h u c k L a w l e s s serves as professor of evange- delegate—or leave. lowing to “clean up” what others lism and missions and dean of graduate studies at We fear others will do better have done. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in (and perhaps get the glory). No We have never seen good del- Wake Forest, North Carolina. Connect with him on one wants to admit this possibility, egation modeled. We strugg le Twitter (@clawlessjr) and Facebook (CLawless). This but some of us wrestle with this because no one ever delegated article first appeared on thinking. If others do better than anything to us as we sought to we do, it seems we diminish our learn ministry. No leader trained us, trusted us and held own role and responsibility. Few people really want to us accountable. Instead, our own role models did the work delegate themselves out of a job. themselves, and we’ve followed faithfully in their steps. We do not see the vast needs of the world. It’s easy to We suffer from “idolatry of the self.” What else can we hold on to everything when the full scope of our ministry call it if we believe (1) no one can do it better than we can is only our church and perhaps our community. Multiply and thus (2) no one else should do it? We may explain it as those needs by the 2 billion people in the world who have our simply “sacrificing all for God’s glory,” but it’s really little exposure to the gospel, however, and the need to nothing more than self-idolatry. delegate becomes obvious. Unless we multiply ourselves We don’t have time or energy to train others. Training is by training and delegation, we will not make a dent in time-consuming. It’s messy. It’s risky. Rather than take that that darkness. chance, it’s just easier to do it all ourselves and cloak our We don’t pray enough for laborers. Jesus—our Lord, who efforts under “the urgency of the gospel.” Himself delegated the work of the kingdom to a bunch of We like control. Let’s face it: With every person we nobodies—taught us to pray for more laborers even as we train and release, we move one step away from control- work in the fields (see Luke 10:1-2). If we truly prayed like ling everything under our watch. Anything out of our Jesus taught us, we would need to be prepared and willing control creates stress and anxiety, so it’s better on us not to share the workload with others. to delegate. What other causes for failing to delegate do you see?

86 MinistryToday May // June 2015

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Responding to Worship Songs’ Short Shelf-Life How to deal with the continual influx of new music in the quest to remain relevant


hings are not as simple for worship leaders and church being retired. So we should be OK with singing songs that won’t music directors as they used to be. This isn’t necessarily necessarily be sung hundreds of years from now. We just have to bad, but it’s certainly more complicated. keep our repertoire in a healthy balance. Caveat over.] There are now more songs to choose from than ever, at Because of the increasingly short shelf-life of modern woran increasingly rapid speed, coming ship music, worship leaders should from big publishers, independent artmake sure to: ists, local churches, Christian radio, Stay mindful of what’s out there. social media feeds, conferences, Don’t bury yourself in a cave of stuffcarrier pigeons and their distant you-like-that-you’ve-used-before. Be relatives, hipsters. Just when we’ve willing to incorporate new music that gotten a handle on introducing a will work in your context. new song to our congregation that Don’t stress about keeping up was written in 2012, a newer new with it all. It’s simply impossible. song comes along that’s even newer, Be OK with being a late adopter. making the new song we thought It’s amazing how waiting a few years was new feel pretty old. will allow the very best of the new Studio albums. Live albums. stuff to rise to the top of the pile. EPs. Singles. Free downloads. Have high standards. Biblical Deluxe versions. Acoustic versions. faithfulness, theological correctness, Recorded-on-a-beach versions. gospel centeredness, musical richRecorded-on-top-of-a-mountain verness and congregational accessibility sions. A lot of it is really good stuff! are the five big boxes you should be A lot of it is not-so-good stuff. And able to check. If a new song is popwhen you add it all together, it’s just J a m i e B r o w n is the director of worship and arts ular but doesn’t check all five, maybe a lot of new stuff to sort through. at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, Virginia. He you shouldn’t use it. In the ancient past, known as the earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from George Distinguish between “useful“1990s,” when a “new” song really Mason University and is pursuing a Master of Arts in nesses.” Of the thousands of new caught on, like “Open the Eyes of My Religion through Reformed Theological Seminary. He songs this year, maybe just five Heart, Lord” or “Shout to the Lord,” blogs at and has released three should find their way onto your conthat new song (for better or worse) worship albums. gregation’s lips. The others may not stuck around for a substantial period. be useful in your church’s repertoire. Now, in the era of worship song abundance, when a new song Choose songs for the congregation you have. Certain songs catches on, it might disappear several months later. will work well in big churches with big bands but flop in smaller What’s the result? First, worship leaders are inundated, pos- churches with smaller bands. Likewise, certain songs will work sibly discouraged that they can’t keep up and either resisting or well in your local context that no one else has ever heard of! succumbing to the pressure and marketing that screams at them Choose what serves your congregation best. to stay relevant. Second, congregations are being asked to learn Build a solid repertoire, not a cool playlist. A congregation more new songs than they can handle, aren’t given the oppor- will sing with confidence when they know the songs but with tunity to sing these new songs for years and are being fed songs timidity when they don’t. A solid repertoire cultivates congregathat might not be particularly nourishing. tional confidence. An ever-changing (but cool!) playlist cultivates [Big caveat: Not every new song should have “lasting power.” insecurity. Focus primarily on helping people exalt Jesus in song, Some new songs will last for centuries to come. Some will (and and let the copyright dates take a back seat. should) be retired after a season. We know that the New TestaWe have more resources to draw from than ever to help our ment church sang “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Col. congregations worship God in song. May we think wisely, pas3:16). We have many of those still today (in other words, the torally and discerningly as we adjust to the shortening shelf life Psalms). But others have fallen away. So, some songs were good of what’s being produced and remain faithful to proclaim the enough for the apostles themselves to sing for a season before never-changing, always-relevant Good News. 88 MinistryToday May // June 2015

» continued from page 78

Integrity Music


11 Must-Have Worship Leader Resources By Wisdom Moon

1. Paul Baloche’s “The Worship Series“ Library: These DVDs are a great practical tool that you can use to train worship leaders, musicians and singers. Topics cover everything from Pastoring People and Developing Skill to Music Theory, from Vocals and Beginning Guitar to Creating Flow. Link: 2. Planning Center:Provides an easy way to streamline the administrative side of worship leading. From scheduling the worship team to planning your services, the features are really incredible. Link: 3. Worship Central Course: A free sevensession course that looks at some of the big theological and practical issues around leading worship. The course is led by Tim Hughes and Al Gordon. Link: 4. PraiseCharts: If you’re looking for chord charts, lead sheets or other print resources for songs, check them out! They do it well. Link: 5. Christian Copyright Licensing International: A very helpful service for churches to utilize, CCLI covers your copying activities that assist with congregational singing, including computer projections, songsheets, bulletin inserts, recording your service and more. Link: 6. Multitracks: The great thing about Multitracks is that you don’t have to learn or buy complicated software. They have an app for your tablet or smartphone that’s super easy to use, as well as a way to customize the tracks right from their website using your computer’s Web browser. Link: 7. WeAreWorship: This site full of practical and insightful blog posts from songwriters, worship leaders and pastors. It also features free worship songs with chord charts every week! Link: 8. Worship Artistry: Do you ever wish you had someone to show you (or your

guitarist or drummer) exactly how to play that song? is one of the leading worship tutorial sites. Link: 9. Christian Copyright Solutions:Whether your church is looking for a license to stream services or to play music at special events, CCS provides a valuable service. Link: 10. Tempo: It’s important for any musician or singer to practice with a metronome. Whether you use one during

your personal practice time, team rehearsal or during the worship service, you now have access to a tempo app. Link: 1. Feedly: Feedly is a free app and website that allows you to subscribe to all your favorite blogs in one place (See my list of worship blogs at Link: 


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May // June 2015 MinistryToday   89




Are You Intentional About Your Brand?

Your platform—from pulpit to personal conversation—contributes to your brand


ur writing, speaking, relationships, dress and personal style are all contributors to how we are seen by others. A brand becomes predictable based upon the consistency of a message. When my actions are repeated over time within a group, brand harmony is created. The primary determinant of brand development and the resulting power to achieve significant results is released from a platform. A platform is the place where your brand message is delivered. Some deliver messages through multiple platforms, but I believe a strong primary platform ignites fires. Consider Oprah’s television platform ... Rush’s radio ... Maxwell’s books ... Trump’s real estate or ... Huffington’s blog. It’s fairly easy to identify the primary platform from which each brand developed. A leader’s platform is a place of consistent demonstration of problem-solving ability. Followers look forward to receiving content from a leader. A platform keeps showing up, and content flows with great consistency. A platform is just a thing, until it has content. A video, mobile text message, newsletter or Tweet requires more than a brand name and an empty screen. Most of us will probably agree that a pulpit is a platform. All who address a congregation from the platform deliver some form of content. Leaders rarely emerge from such a platform without a well-defined message and frequency of delivery. The leader shows up consistently, adds value and remains welcomed to come and do it again next time. Not all who speak from a platform are leaders, but all leaders have a platform. A gifted leader knows that a platform’s physical location is not always a stage with lights and cameras. Significant platform work happens in both large and tiny spaces. Music rarely is heard. Time to prepare for the platform work is often scarce. The platform of note occurs in the daily walk of a leader. It’s the chance encounter, elevator ride or perhaps even a scheduled meeting. Platform is revealed with every conversation, eye-contact or gesture. The leader’s content is displayed in every waking moment. A leader is on platform at home, in the gym, in a hallway or in a meeting. A leader is rarely off stage. Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:29 to “let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth” is a guideline for all leader

encounters. The best leaders have strong control over the tongue. But it’s not all about the negative. Paul’s words are an admonition to also speak to followers’ growth and direction. During daily encounters, leaders have a platform to address pain. Pain is presented to a leader every day in multiple ways. The audience is often unaware of the presence of organizational pain. The platform of every encounter is to leave the audience wanting more. An important metric of leadership is to hear the echo of an audience demanding an encore: “We want more time with you ... hang around here more often ... it’s better when you are here.” When an audience walks out as a leader walks in, the issue is probably in the platform content. The following suggestions for leaders in the development of content for daily platform moments is most effective when delivered as a steady drip: 1. Make a list of pain points. Seek first to understand. Understanding is much deeper than listening. Keep developing empathy to fully understand the presentation of pain. 2. What has your experience taught youabout how to relieve the pain? Do you have Scripture at hand? Stories? Relevant questions? What do you see that your audience probably cannot see? How do you offer vision? Did you deliver a message of hope? 3. Ask more questions/make fewer statements.Often, the tactic a leader should employ is to ask 3-5 questions on any particular issue. Most answers should lead to more follow-up questions. 4. Follow-up. Superficial leaders rarely follow up to check on an employee with pain. Senior leaders are good note-takers and engage to check on the progress of an issue. Both sides of an issue improve with high-level, frequent communication. Leaders are often asked, “What was your greatest moment as a leader?” Platform leaders will have one sure response: “The next person I meet in the hall.” Leaders with an intentional platform develop very large brands.

Not all who speak from a platform are leaders, but all leaders have a platform.

90 MinistryToday May // June 2015

D r . S t e v e G r e e n e is executive vice president of the Media Group at Charisma Media. On Platform will appear in each issue of Ministry Today. Follow his daily, practical Greenlines blog at



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Ministry Today May/June 2015  

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