THE MISSING FACTOR IN EVANGELISM
CANOEING THE MOUNTAINS
CHANGE AGENTS FOR CHRIST MAY // JUNE 2016
EQUIPPING CHRISTIAN LEADERS TO GROW
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c o n t e n t s
26 Ministry Today honors 21 businesses and their Christian leaders who bring a strong witness for Christ to the marketplace. Starting on p. 16, we learn about these businesspeople who don’t shy away from the gospel.
V o l . 3 4 // N o . 3
70 | STAFFING When to hire an executive pastor
16 | 21 GOSPEL-CENTERED BUSINESSES Leaders of these 21 businesses use their professional platforms to share the gospel. Compiled by Christine D. Johnson
50 | CANOEING THE MOUNTAINS
Take a lesson from explorer Meriwether Lewis on adapting to today’s changing topography of faith. By Tod Bolsinger
54 | CHANGE AGENTS FOR CHRIST
Churches are taking the love of Christ into difficult situations to transform hard-to-reach communities. By Leilani Haywood
60 | THE MISSING FACTOR
Ministry leader examines one significant reason why many believers have lost their fire for evangelism. By David Shibley
M a y // J u n e 2 0 1 6
DEPARTMENTS MINISTRY MATTERS
6 | TECH Share the gospel digitally By David Leuschner 8 | WORSHIP Build a team in your small church By Joshua Mohline 10 | KIDS Bear fruit in kids’ ministry By Lenny La Guardia
68 | CONTENT Why blogging makes us better
72 | CHURCH PLANTING Why starting a church is special 74 | RETENTION Reach new people but keep the ones you have
12 | IN REAL LIFE Learn from the fall of Marc Antony By Dr. Mark Rutland 14 | TRUE STEWARDSHIP Steward well your church’s vendor relationships By Chris Brown 76 | LEADERSHIP MATTERS Consider how the Christian businessperson leads By Mark Tedford 78 | ON PLATFORM Plant seeds in hallway meetings By Dr. Steve Greene
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 $20 per year for postage, other countries add $25 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. © 2016 by Charisma Media. For advertising information call (407) 333-0600. Nothing that appears in Ministry Today may be reprinted without permission. PRINTED IN THE USA
MinistryToday May // June 2016
TOC: © Cameron Leung Photography | COVER: Gerry Call | © iStockphoto/gargantiopa
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Ministry Matters: T E C H IDEAS, INSIGHTS & INSPIRATION BEYOND THE NORM
Achieving the Digital Great Commission By David Leuschner Technicians are a different breed. Many are introverts who are content to stay in the back room pushing buttons and not talking to anyone. Many church techs have told me that despite trying, they have never personally led anyone to Christ— and it bothers them. God created us to worship Him, and we are doing so through our technical talents. But why didn’t He create us to be platform speakers or missionaries who boldly go and teach the gospel around the world? After all, God gave us the Great Commission: “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Believing they are missing out on fulfilling that commission can cause tech people to crawl into a shell and feel like they are just “doers,” a service department whose technicians simply do what they’re told. I have visited a fair number of churches that not only miss the calling of a tech but also reinforce a tech’s naturally negative suspicion that he is just there to “do things.” Churches that suspect they might be in this category may be helped by some of these practices: 1) Get acquainted with other teams.Make sure the tech team knows what the other teams are doing and appreciates the contributions of their team members. Do this by forcing one-on-one engagement. Having prayer time together and a few minutes of interaction before rehearsal are positive ways to know what members of the worship, facility and other teams are going through. If possible, get the worship and 6
MinistryToday May // June 2016
production teams together for outings that build relational bridges.
2) Provide a path for ideas your team members propose.Don’t kill the ideas pro-
posed by the team, but encourage them and have a process for vetting them. Make sure the box that the team operates in is clearly defined, but leave enough room for
creativity and freedom to make the work of the technician an art, not a job. 3) Refocus the team.Use a system to review what the teams are doing, and provide praise or correction as needed. Also, hold a brief meeting for the teams right before the service where you can provide a breather, pray a quick prayer for the service and refocus the teams on the real reason why they do tech. The real reason is because tech team members are a part of a ministry that, at its heart, fulfills the Great Commission. Most technicians have led many people to Christ by fulfilling their part in the service. Sure, it’s important to have one-on-one contact with people and guide to Christ those who don’t know Him. But when it comes to technical abilities and talents, why would these be any less of a ministry to the lost than the pastor preaching? I
don’t believe it is less of a ministry. The work of a technician is just as much a ministry to others as is a missionary who travels around the world or a pastor who speaks from the platform. I believe many souls have been won to Christ through the ministry of tech. If it were not for technology, how would multisite video church happen? How would ministry tools like CDs be available to hand to our neighbors? Digital witnessing through sermon podcasts or webcasts sent around the world in seconds means a church has an international outreach without the church tech leaving town. None of that would happen without a technician willing to come in early, stay late and work hard to fulfill what I like to call the “digital great commission.” Knowing this should reframe the mindset of the tech team member, no matter his role. This way of thinking should drive the tech team, giving the team a mission, a vision and a goal. It changes how team members act, react and interact. Their job is now more than pushing a button or moving a fader. Through the use of technology, their role is to paint an atmosphere of worship that helps engage or introduce every soul to the Holy Spirit. That’s the digital great commission. Let’s fulfill it.
David Leuschner is associate senior director of technology and technical arts at Gateway Church in Dallas/Fort Worth. He directs more than 500 volunteers and staff to facilitate several hundred events a month for Gateway’s seven venues. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram (both @davidleuschner).
Ministry Matters: W O R S H I P IDEAS, INSIGHTS & INSPIRATION BEYOND THE NORM
Build a Team of Excellence in Your Small Church By Joshua Mohline If you’re a worship leader trying to keep up with today’s modern worship sound, you have probably realized it’s pretty difficult to recreate the epic orchestral, mesmerizing folk or powerful wall-of-sound qualities that dominate the genre. You encounter challenges such as a lack of qualified musicians in your church, an underpowered sound system, budget constraints, limited rehearsal time or team member inconsistency. All of these are valid and difficult obstacles to overcome when trying to build a worship team that sounds great, carries spiritual authority and operates in unity. It may seem like excellence of sound and spirit is reserved for the megachurches with thousands of members and even larger budgets, but that simply is not the case. No matter what size of church you’re in, you can have an excellent worship team. In this issue and the next, we’ll look at a few things to remember as you and your team grow in excellence: 1) Excellence starts from the top.Probably the most difficult thing for any musician is gaining a realistic perspective on his ability. You’re either your own worst critic or your biggest fan, but I encourage you to evaluate yourself objectively. Discover your actual strengths and honest weaknesses because one of the keys to building a team of excellent members is to be sure you lead by example. Excellence is not perfection or being the absolute best at a skill. In fact, excellence should never be based on a comparison to anyone else. Don’t worry about who is better and who is worse. Excellence is about confidence, maximizing what you do have and being willing to learn. Are you truly excellent? Consider these factors: Confidence. If you’re a little unsure about your song list for the week, that’s OK! Don’t apologize to yourself or your team for your choice of songs. Even if you think your set list seems a little flat, your team will trust you and give you their best effort if you feel comfortable and confident when 8
MinistryToday May // June 2016
making decisions. If you are insecure or hesitant, however, your team will sense that and will subsequently reflect your insecurities with confusion, doubt and, ultimately, poor playing. Maximization. If you’re not an amazing singer with the ability to do mind-blowing vocal runs and hit crazy-high notes, that’s OK! Know your limitations. Choose songs that fit your range, and don’t push for notes you can’t hit. Keep your melodies simple. If you maximize the skills you do have and stay within the boundaries of your capabilities, you will be able to perform with excellence. Learning. If you’re not a strong musician just yet, that’s OK! Are you willing to learn? Are you getting into the lessons and practicing your craft? Your team does not expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to grow. A desire for excellence at your craft and an effort to achieve it will attract excellent team members who can help you improve and pursue growth for themselves. 2) Use a quality sound engineer.There’s an old trick in the live music industry when the headliner isn’t much better than the opening acts: Replace the sound man.
A great audio engineer can make a mediocre band sound really good, just as a bad audio engineer can make an awesome band sound awful. It’s all in the mix. Use the same approach to finding a sound engineer that you would use to find a leader, guitarist or drummer. Don’t brush this role off as unimportant. As much as Grandma Jane may want to sit behind the soundboard and serve the ministry, this position requires as much foresight, training and skill as any other position on the worship team—if not more! Again, you can give an individual the opportunity to grow, but don’t settle for someone unknowledgeable who has no desire to become excellent. This role is crucial to creating the kind of sound you are aiming for in your service. 3) Play to a click.A very simple and practical way to get your worship team to a higher level of excellence is to start playing with a metronome. This one simple step will immediately make your band tighter and more uniform. It will help to simplify their parts. All you have to do is download a free iPhone app called Metronome—it’s that easy. If you can’t afford to switch your whole stage to in-ear monitors, you can at least get your drummer on a click using a Rolls Headphone Amplifier. They cost about $75 at Guitar Center and work well with wedge monitor systems. These three points will help you achieve the impact you would like to have with your worship team. We’ll look at three more in the next issue. Stay tuned!
Joshua Mohline is director of WorshipU (worshipu.com), the online school of worship from Bethel Music. With a background as a worship leader in settings from small to large, he has been a part of the Bethel Church worship teams since 2012. He facilitates the worship school as it equips and empowers thousands of worship leaders and teams worldwide.
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Ministry Matters: K I D S V o l . 3 4 // N o . 3
Consistency in Children’s Ministry Bears Fruit By Lenny La Guardia When I was ministering to children in Denver, a group from California came and requested a meeting with me to “pick my brain.” I didn’t really want to meet with them because it had been a really hard season of ministry. Overseeing a children’s ministry for 52 weeks a year can be a challenge, and I felt like we were failing at everything. During our meeting, I told them I was going to give them all I know about ministering to children. The excitement in their eyes was evident. They wanted to know how we were leading 2,000 children and 500 workers. They wanted the formula, the quick fix and the solutions they could take back to their church. “Here goes,” I said. “Point 1, write this down: We showed up.” There was a pause. One guy said, “What?” “Really, write it down,” I said. “We showed up.” “What do you mean you showed up? What was God telling you? Did you have a sign from the Lord?” “I wish we had a sign,” I said. “I am not sure we even heard God other than He said, ‘Go show up!’ Let’s go to point 2. Write this down: We came back.” They were looking at me like I was crazy and was wasting their time. Another person asked if we had any dreams from the Lord. “I wish, but no dreams,” I said. “Now, are you ready for point 3?” I saw a couple of them put their pencils down and look at each other like, “Man, this guy is crazy!” One of them said, “Look, we want to know how you get the Holy Spirit to show up, how you get 2,000 children to come, how you teach, what you do with the children, what your sound system is, important facts like that.” “Those are important, and I’m going to tell you how we got to the answers to all your questions,” I said. “It’s all in point 3: We kept coming back. That’s it. From there, we got the answers for the children He assigned to us to lead. We gave God a chance to speak to us every day for the children and those who lead them.” Your faithfulness in showing up, coming back and coming again and again will 10 MinistryToday May // June 2016
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always have the greatest impact on the children you minister to, teach and lead. But it will be your heart they remember most, not your programs. hh Consistency breeds confidence and will win out in the end when presenting the gospel to children and releasing them in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. They will remember the messenger of God more than anything else. hh Don’t give up. Children are assigned to specific people of God. If your first plan doesn’t work, get another one—and one after that if need be. hh Ministry is not a formula. Get your assignment from God and seek Him for what He desires for the children He has assigned you to lead in this hour. With that, you will have His program, and it will be great. hh For so many ministries, if the first method doesn’t work, the leaders give up and look to imitate others. Though this could be helpful, it may not be what God wants for the children you lead. God is faithful and will reveal His plans for the children you lead. Children need leaders who are faithful even when it doesn’t seem that the plan or program is working. We are in this ministry for the long haul. Look to God. He is faithful to give you His game plan.
Lenny La Guardia is executive director of the Children’s Equipping Center and vice president of ministries at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. © iStockphoto/Courtney Weittenhiller
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R E A L
L I F E
BY DR. MARK RUTLAND
The Fall of Marc Antony
Leaders who lose their focus also lose their energy
hen Suetonius, a Roman historian, explained the downfall and death of Marc Antony, he blamed a flaw in Antony’s character as much as the strategy of his enemy, Octavian. In his pathology of Antony’s astonishing political and military collapse, the historian of the Caesars employed an intriguing Greek word. Literally translated, eklusis simply means to unstring a bow. Figuratively, however, it implies a loss of focus and the resulting loss of energy. When a bow is strung, energy is in the bow. Unstrung, it loses all its energy. An unstrung bow is hardly more than a stick with a string attached. The energy is in the tension, in the taut string and the bent bow. Furthermore, a strung bow is ready to be used for its purpose. Unstrung, the bow is unprepared for much if any immediate use. Between the unstrung bow and the launching of the arrow, there is a missing step of preparation and the restoration of energy. This “unstringing” process is often a matter of distraction. Living in luxury in the eastern half of the Roman Empire, indulging himself with Cleopatra and, according to Suetonius, frequently staying drunk, Marc Antony quite obviously forgot the point. Soft, distracted and unprepared, Antony could not hope to defeat the ferociously energetic and obsessively focused enemy who was to become Caesar Augustus. When leaders allow themselves to lose their focus, they also lose their energy. The “bow” bent to its calling and the taut string of primary gifting are filled with energy. The tensed bow longs to loose the arrow, to unleash its missile, to do what it was created to do and to do it with all of its stored energy. Unstrung, the bow cannot do what it is designed to do. Take away all the stress in the bow and take away all its power. The power of the bow to accomplish its assigned mission is frustrated, not aided, by its lack of stress. We know the hard-drinking and energetically womanizing Antony was distracted by his well-documented affair with Cleopatra. Maybe that’s all there was to it. Their romance as the full and sufficient explanation of their defeat certainly satisfies Hollywood. “They lost everything, but kept their love.” On the other hand, historians—who, as a breed, tend to be less romantic than movie producers—believe their relationship was as coldly political and financial as it was fevered by passion.
Antony needed her money to raise an army and, not content with Egypt, Cleopatra wanted to be the First Lady of the Roman world. The more likely and more nuanced answer lies in Antony’s notoriously low boredom threshold. In other words, it wasn’t so much that Cleopatra distracted Antony. He just got frustrated with the long haul. Antony won all the early battles. He simply couldn’t stay focused. Up against Octavian, whose focus never wavered, Antony was doomed in a long, drawn-out war. Great leaders stay focused. Great leaders never forget the big thing is the big thing. Partying in Greece while your competition in Rome is preparing to attack is ever a bad idea. Immature leaders want overnight success. They want fast growth followed quickly by the fruits of victory. Mature, seasoned leaders know success is seldom fast or easy. Antony was a sprinter who wanted to win a fast race. Unstring the bow and party hearty. Great leaders stay focused for the marathon. Now there is one caveat to all this—stress. Too much stress for too long is highly destructive. An experienced archer told me about what is called “string follow.” This condition can happen to modern bows (except compound bows) that are never unstrung. In string follow, the bow gets bent by constant stress and will not return to its unstrung position, thereby losing its power. Staying focused for the long haul does not mean never resting. Focused is not the same thing as obsessed and driven. There is a balance, of course, as in all of life and leadership. Vacations are good for the soul and the body and are necessary for relationships. There is meaning behind the word “re-creation.” Certainly, none of this is to lift up Octavian (Caesar Augustus) as some paragon of virtue. Hardly. Morally speaking, Octavian was certainly no more admirable than poor Antony. Rather, it is to say that great leaders stay focused. Great leaders know the competition is not the real enemy of their success. It is eklusis.
“Immature leaders want overnight success. They want fast growth followed quickly by the fruits of victory.”
12 MinistryToday May // June 2016
D r . M a r k R u t l a n d is president of both Global Servants and the National Institute of Christian Leadership. A renowned communicator and New York Times best-selling author, he has more than 30 years of experience in organizational leadership, having served as a senior pastor and a university president. Life Touch
T R U E
S T E W A R D S H I P
BY CHRIS BROWN
Stewarding Your Vendor Relationships
How to manage high-quality partnerships that make a difference for the kingdom
inistering with excellence is no place for cowards, and it’s never a “do-ityourself” operation. After all, we’re the body of Christ. We all need plenty of help. Some of that help comes from within the congregation, but a lot of it comes from outside vendors. Whether you see vendors as a blessing or a burden, you’ve got to see them through the lens of stewardship. The gospel is free, but running the church is not. We still have to be wise with the money God’s people generously give toward God’s ministry, and that means managing our partnerships God’s way for God’s glory. So how do you know whether to nurture a vendor relationship or kick it to the curb? Good vendor stewardship emphasizes four essential characteristics: integrity, capacity, price and quality. Deal effectively with these four elements, and you increase your chances of establishing high-quality, long-lasting partnerships that can make a difference for the kingdom. 1) Integrity. Let’s face it: A relationship without trust really isn’t much of a relationship. And when it comes to dealing with vendors, you really can’t function effectively without trusting the integrity of your partner. The hard thing is that some relationships have been around a long time, so we’re tempted to overlook chinks in the armor to preserve the history. But if trust has broken down, the partnership has to end—no matter how long it’s endured. Since integrity breaches start out small and grow over time, always be alert. Errors are one thing, but character flaws are unacceptable. Look out for subtle lies and ethical breakdowns in the vendor’s leadership. The Bible teaches that anointing drops from the beard, so a vendor’s integrity problems will eventually become your problems. 2) Capacity. There are three main reasons for outsourcing work to a vendor. Either they know something we don’t, can do something we can’t or can do it cheaper than we can. Once you’ve determined your reason for outsourcing, make sure the vendor can actually perform based on your needs and expectations. This might mean doing your homework on industry standards. You need to know whether things like promised prices or delivery dates are more wishful thinking than dependable milestones. Setting and communicating realistic expectations creates accountability and diminishes stress on both ends of the deal. Failing to focus on these steps simply sets you up for frustration and sets the vendor up for failure. If a vendor doesn’t have the capacity to meet
your needs, don’t be afraid to make a change. 3) Price. When you’re weighing all the areas for building healthy vendor relationships, price isn’t your only concern, but it is a determining factor. Some vendors will sell at a loss to keep the partnership, but that’s a short-term benefit. It’s much better to create win-win scenarios. When taking bids, use the Golden Rule: Treat vendors as you would want to be treated. Better yet, follow what Pastor Andy Stanley calls the Platinum Rule: Treat them as Christ treated you! When negotiating, use all the tools in your arsenal. Don’t be afraid to say, “That’s not good enough” or to use the power of cash. In many cases, paying your invoices early can increase the value you get from vendor services. And while you should never share confidential information about the bidding process, it’s OK to remind vendors that they are one of several businesses competing for the job. 4) Quality. If any organization should demand excellence, it should be the church. You don’t want to develop a reputation of being mean and tough just for the fun of it, but it’s fine to set expectations and push until those expectations are met. After all, to be clear is to be kind, and to be unclear is to be unkind. With vendors, the kindest thing you can do is to be clear about quality. Never accept service that falls short of what’s been promised. Of course, that sword cuts two ways. While you’re demanding excellence from a vendor, don’t miss displaying excellence in what you do too. Remember, you’re half of the partnership, so make sure everything you do or say is “as to the Lord” (Col. 3:23). We are called to be good stewards of all God’s blessings, and we will be held accountable for our effectiveness as stewards (1 Cor. 4:2). Since stewardship touches every area of our lives, church leaders have to manage vendor relationships well. Focusing on integrity, capacity, price and quality will make a huge difference in those relationships—and in your ability to minister at home and around the world. So be faithful!
“The gospel is free, but running the church is not. We still have to be wise with the money God’s people generously give.”
14 MinistryToday May // June 2016
C h r i s B r o w n is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, pastor and speaker carrying the message of stewardship and intentional living nationwide. Available on radio stations across the country, “Chris Brown’s True Stewardship” provides biblical solutions and sound advice for questions on life and money. Follow him at stewardship.com, on Twitter (@chrisbrownonair) or on Facebook (chrisbrownonair.) Ramsey Solutions
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Gospel-Driven Ministry Today commends a different group of kingdom-minded people or organizations each year in our MT21 issue. In 2014, when we launched MT21, we honored churches and ministries that were influencing the 21st-century church. In 2015, we highlighted 21 congregations that were “culturally diverse on purpose.” This year, however, we’re taking a different approach and naming 21 businesses whose leaders are a witness for Christ in some way through their professional platforms. From cupcake makers to insurance agency owners to roofers, we have covered a wide range of businesses in this year’s MT21 feature: Astro Pak
Snyder Manufacturing Corp.
Leonard Law Offices
Brown Church Development Group
Nation Law Firm
The Cross Worldwide
Cornerstone Real Estate
New York Life
The Escape Game
Divine Image Cosmetics
Trinity Mortgage Co.
16 MinistryToday May // June 2016
BUSINESSES Honoring Christian leaders who minister Christ in the marketplace
May // June 2016 MinistryToday â€‚ 17
Troy Duhon, center, partners with other dealers to award a new car to a student with perfect attendance.
Premier Automotive PREMIERAUTOMOTIVE.COM
New Orleans car dealer makes dreams come true in post-Katrina world
ith 21 car dealerships in five states, Troy Duhon has experienced significant success, but life has humbled the New Orleans native. At 18, he started selling cars and bought into a dealership in 1989, then launched out on his own with Premier Automotive in 1995. One of the turning points of his life, however, came in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated his region. “Katrina really humbled me because in the blink of an eye, in a 24-hour period, everything I had went under water,” he says. “Not knowing if your insurance is going to pay you, not knowing if your employees who evacuated are going to come back, it’s kind of a humbling experience, and it kind of forces you to get on your knees and pray for help and ask God for wisdom.” As a result, Duhon experienced transformation in his life and business. In the wake of Katrina, he started to run a relief center. “The Honda store went completely under water, and while they were rebuilding it, we decided to convert it to a FEMA relief center,” he says. “What I saw was my employees sitting there with my church members and volunteers, running 1,200 cars a 18 MinistryToday May // June 2016
day (through a drive-thru), where we were supporting them by giving them food, diapers, ice, everything you can imagine. I just remember the joy of seeing what I saw on my employees’ faces. I told my wife, ‘This is really what it’s about. This is really what it’s about!’ ” In that moment, he decided to “make a difference.” “That’s what kind of birthed the ministry component, the whole concept of profit for a purpose where we started to accrue $25 a car that we allow these (dealership) partners to go back into the local community and give back,” he says. “So we support ministries in L.A., San Francisco. We partner with the Dream Center, we support Francis Chan, we support Dr. Rice Broocks in Nashville.” Duhon started a foundation called Giving Hope, which includes a retreat center. Partnering with the New Orleans Mission, Duhon purchased a property where “we actually rehabilitate alcoholics, homeless people and women who are battered, sexually abused,” he says. The foundation also operates a fully staffed kitchen at his Toyota store in New Orleans There they cook 700-800 hot meals a day to serve to seniors. Another turning point in Duhon’s life found him looking far beyond his own region. In 2013, Duhon and his wife, Tracy, adopted Annah, a young Chinese girl he called his “little Cajun Asian.” “I learned that one of the truest forms of Christianity is adoption, so I just decided to start making a difference,” he says. “So our foundation helps build an orphanage every year on a different continent.” To do so, Duhon started Hope House, which coordinates mission trips on an annual basis to fund to build orphanages. In 2014, they built an orphanage in India, taking 35 kids out of a dump and now serving 50. In 2015, they expanded an orphanage in Honduras to better accommodate the boys cared for there. This year, they’ve chosen Gambia, a country known in the U.S. from the TV series Roots. “We’re going to go into a Muslim country and build an orphanage,” he says, citing the difficulties. Duhon also got into the Christian movie business, giving $1 million to finance what became an independent box-office hit: God’s Not Dead. Duhon knows there are tradeoffs with his giving lifestyle. “For me and my wife, it wasn’t so much about creating wealth as it is about creating legacy,” he says. “At the end of the day, how can I make a difference in this world and give back to God? He truly blessed me when I was on my knees crying out for help, scared to death about whether or not I was going to make it. I listened to the wisdom of my father and watching God just open doors when I thought there were no doors to be opened. So when you’ve bottomed out and God has restored you, it kind of opens your eyes to really what the real issues are or the real purpose is.”—Christine D. Johnson Gerry Call
T&T Construction Mother of 4 uses her construction company to minister the gospel
n the early days of Central Floridabased T&T Construction, President Linda Thomas found a practical way to share her faith and show concern for a key contractor with the thenfledgling company. Stricken with cancer, a father of two young girls reached out for prayer and consolation. Thomas and her husband, Bill, often visited the man and his family at home and in the hospital. Worried about the future of his wife and family, he found solace in the idea of a God who could take care of them after he was gone. Before his death, the man prayed and received Jesus as his Savior. Though his small business didn’t survive his passing, his widow’s new husband now works at T&T. “We’ve had a few people who say during job interviews they know this is a Christian company,” says Thomas, who became president two years after the company incorporated in 1995. “Right now we’re building a new web page, but in the past, we had an entire page that featured our mission work.” There are other clues to T&T’s Christian base, such as its mission statement. In addition to embracing client service through hard work and integrity, it wants to “always remember that God alone gives us the strength to work.” Suppliers who pop in from time to time with lunch for some of the 200-plus staff members are so used to Thomas or an employee saying grace they often wait for it to happen. Yet for the mother of four—two of whom work at T&T—the real highlight of expressing her beliefs in daily life comes on the mission field. Her family’s interest in missions originated with Bill, who was invited to accompany some friends on trips to Central America back in the 1980s. Because of political unrest at the time, she resisted the idea of him going, so he stayed home. However, when a member
TTCFL.COM of Bill’s group invited them to Hawaii, they opted to go and build trusses for a church building. Since then, the Thomases and some of their employees have traveled to dozens of countries. Sometimes they are part of groups organized by Faith Assembly in Orlando; at other times, they cooperate with independent
to a Bible school in Costa Rica,” Thomas says. “We’ve done everything there from remodeling to adding on to buildings. At one point, we were thinking about sitting down to look at our passports and count up all our trips.” Her most satisfying moments have come in places where the people aren’t expecting Americans to get their hands
Bill and Linda Thomas, right, from T&T Construction joined with others on a mission trip to build a church in Chile.
networks or Convoy of Hope. In recent years, Bill has worked with a West African theological school, constructing steel buildings for new churches in Togo led by seminary graduates. The Thomases have also helped build a summer camp in El Salvador that hosts teens and families doing street ministry and other forms of outreach, a school for orphans in Tanzania and one of the largest churches in Havana, Cuba. Several years ago, after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, Thomas and several other women traveled there to distribute $5,000 worth of medical supplies and give numerous immunization shots. Overwhelming demand forced them to shut down their clinic the first day. “After Hawaii, my first mission trip was
dirty, but the residents have a chance to see their visitors down digging in the dirt, shoveling rocks and praying with them. Linda finds it highly satisfying to see lives change, saying they show her why it’s important to keep going on the trips. “It almost feels selfish to want to go because you know you’re going to receive more than you give,” Thomas says. “That’s a connection you can’t tell someone about. They have to see it.” Among those she has impacted are her son, Jason, company vice president and strong supporter of mission trips, and her daughter, Rebecca, who also works at the company. Rebecca has launched Sweet Tea and Smores, a worship gathering at a private ranch that will host its first formal » event this October.—Ken Walker May // June 2016 MinistryToday 19
Jane Northrup helps her employees exit criminal life
ane Northrup calls Authority Staffing a “boutique company” that works with a handful of employees at a time. What’s different is that all of her employees have criminal backgrounds. It’s required, in fact. “I believe this company is a calling placed on my heart by God,” said Northrup, based in Fort Collins, Colorado. “We are an overtly Christian organization and don’t hide that we’re out there serving God.” Northrup has been a prison volunteer and has 10 years’ experience placing juvenile and adult offenders in jobs. She started Authority Staffing in December 2015 with seven client-employees. All were placed in jobs at a local manufacturing firm, and so far, six have been moved to full-time employees. Authority works like all big staffing
Nation Law Firm
ttorney Mark Nation, founder of the Orlando, Florida-based Nation Law Firm, sees himself as more of a peacemaker than an ambulance chaser. “Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’” Law says. “That reminds me of the role of lawyers. I am in the business of resolving disputes as peacefully as possible and in a manner that honors everyone involved, including the Lord.” Nation founded the firm in 1997 but says he turned his life over to Christ in a new way in 1999, realizing he was just a steward of the firm, its clients, cases and resources. Since then, his goal has been to glorify God through his work and be a “blessing” to the 30-member Nation Law staff, including its 10 attorneys. 20 MinistryToday May // June 2016
Jane Northrup speaks to prospective employees at Jobs of Hope.
as one administered by the employer. “I’m not looking for low-paying jobs for my employees,” she said. “Working for $8 an hour doesn’t change lives.” She expects her next group of employees to have been recently released from prison. “God has spoken specifically about this company, so I try to be obedient,” she says. “I had the business prophesied over and felt God’s confirmation.”—Ann Byle
Attorney Mark Nation brings Christlike spirit to court
companies do: It brings employees onto its payroll, which is paid by the employer where the temps work, with the hope that the company will hire the worker full time and assume salary obligations. Having a criminal background makes finding work tough, but Authority Staffing vouches for its employees, with Northrup well-aware that her workers require a little extra help. “I pray consistently with our employees and for them,” she said. “I pray for a release of their pain, a release from generational sin. We talk about what’s happening in their lives, point out where we can see God’s hand. It’s a regular part of our conversation to glorify God and what He’s doing.” Authority Staffing hires a group of employees after a tough vetting process and places them at the same employer. Doing so allows them to have support and accountability. Each must pass two drug tests, one Northrup requires as well
“I decided I wanted to put the firm to its highest and best use for Him and for the kingdom,” Nation says. “This firm belongs to Jesus Christ.” To that end, Nation aims to “protect and serve.” He tries his best to represent clients honestly and ethically without distorting the facts or painting unfair pictures of his opponents. “Jesus said to love your enemies and pray for those who spitefully use you, and I do pray for everyone involved in each case,” Nation says. “Even when the opposing counsel and I disagree about facts, I still want to make a positive impact on the lawyer on the other side, the other party, the judge, witnesses and staff.” Nation often prays with clients in his office. He and his wife, Wendy, who works as the firm’s office administrator, work with crisis pregnancy centers;
Bags of Hope, which helps hungry and homeless kids; and other nonprofits. “People talk about the Proverbs 31 woman,” Nation says. “But I say I am a Proverbs 31 lawyer because Proverbs 31:8-9 says to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and see that they get justice.”—Natalie Gillespie
Brown Church Development Group
Former pro athlete Todd Brown built his business with the intent to promote the gospel
odd Brow n, president a nd CEO of Kea rney, Nebraska-based Brown Church Development Group, has made it his mission in life to advance the gospel. Saved in high school through contact with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), he soon started sharing the gospel at FCA events. As he grew in his athletic career—becoming a University of Nebraska wide receiver and playing pro football in Canada— Brown felt he had a natural opening for evangelism. But when he started his career in construction, he wrestled with how to Brown assists congregations at all stages of development, from share the gospel through his occupation. discovery to building. He wanted to know the answer to one key question: “How do I live the gospel every day?” He has figured out how to do just that. “It’s been my conviction from soon after I became a Christian that all that I do, all that I am, is to promote the gospel,” Brown says. “I try to be as strategic as I can with every aspect of my life.” Now leading Brown Church Development Group, a group of companies enjoined to advance the gospel, Brown explains that if a church client uses one of his integrated companies, it’s only natural it would flow to the next step in the process: discover, design, started attending the church.” fund, build. Bringing the message of the gospel through his work simply “We want to see people come to Christ as a result of interacting starts with love. with anyone with any of our companies,” he says. “It’s just one day at a time and caring about people,” Brown That is just what has come to pass. Construction workers have says. “The message of the gospel is reconciliation of relationcome to Christ within the company as well as when Brown was ship, the ultimate relationship and doing that in everything, working in partnership with a church. whether I’m building a church or scooping a ditch with a guy “It permeates what we are about,” he says of the gospel. “We or talking with my friend in his backyard, it’s still the passion of are constantly trying to advance the gospel in every way, either who we are. It’s why the goal of our companies at our group is through a testimony or sitting down and sharing the plan of salva- to advance the gospel.” tion with somebody. That is the sole purpose of what we do and From early in his life in Christ, Brown made it his aim to who we are.” “maximize my life for the glory of God,” he says. Brown may build churches, but not all of his clients are saved. Along with his company, he partnered with pastors he In fact, some pastors aren’t even saved. felt were communicating the gospel correctly to form the “I remember sitting down in the office of a pastor sharing Nebraska Gospel Network for the purpose of “bringing the plan of salvation with him,” he says. “I planted seeds, and world-class speakers to our state to help educate” believers it was a few years after that where he received Christ. ... I built in evangelism. them a church, but their pastor at the time I built it didn’t even Brown didn’t come from a Christian family, but after he was know Christ.” saved, he says the gospel “spread like wildfire” in his family. In another case, it was the subcontractors who came to Christ. Today, it’s clear that his business is not just building churches. “We were building a church in Greeley, Colorado, and we His gospel focus has become a “pattern” that inspires other had subcontractors on the job site who actually got saved and believers to follow his example.—Christine D. Johnson » May // June 2016 MinistryToday 21
The Cross Worldwide
‘Entrepreneurial builder’ reaches listeners in more than 50 countries with radio network
o g e r C h a s t e e n ’s unique approach to business has given him an eye for both marketplace opportunities and leadership potential. Calling himself a “serial entrepreneur,” Chasteen has worked on his own since he was 27. He starts, buys and sells companies across the United States—and he’s got a
start a company there and ride the wave as long as I can.” One such company is The Cross Worldwide, an international network of 10 Christian radio stations. The network is run entirely free of advertisements and is paid for by Chasteen’s other companies. The Cross Worldwide has its own app and is available in 54 countries. Chasteen says
Roger Chasteen broadcasts from The Cross Worldwide studios.
track record of success. By his count, he’s started at least 10 companies, bought many more and sold 15. “My view is I see an opportunity in the marketplace and will start a company to go after that opportunity,” Chasteen says. “Some of my companies were in the right place at the right time, and others were seeing opportunities in the community. If I see an industry need, then I’ll go out, 22 MinistryToday May // June 2016
he’s honored to be able to provide the love of Christ to so many through his stations. “When we started this radio station, we wanted to give an opportunity to let people listen to Christian music and preaching with no reason to ever turn the channel,” he says. “A lot of time in our cars, when advertising comes up, we switch the radio station, and sometimes we don’t go back
and stay on that station. We don’t want any advertising ever because we don’t want people to leave. “We have a demographic that covers young and old, male and female,” he adds. “We have a gospel/soul station and a Spanish station.” The company also hasn’t spent any funds on marketing. “It is growing on its own, and no man can take credit for what has happened,” he says. “We’re having pastors all over the country who are coming on to our preaching station every month, and we’re helping those pastors grow their influence by sharing their messages on our stations. We have large, mega (church) pastors, and we have small (church) pastors as well. And the one thing that we’ve done is we’ve broken the denominational barrier. We have pastors of all denominations on this station. Now someone can go to wherever they’re at and get the Word infused in their life for free.” Chasteen says his true passion is building up companies—but he doesn’t usually stick around to profit from their success. “I love building them,” he says. “Once I build them, I hire a leadership team to run them. I consider myself an entrepreneurial builder. I enjoy the challenge of building a company but don’t necessarily enjoy running it once it’s built.” He always leaves his carefully built company in good hands when he moves on, and that’s made Chasteen a strong
judge of leadership talent. He likes to identify and raise up leaders from within the company to succeed him. There are a few key traits he looks for in potential leaders. “First, I look for a successful track record,” he says. “Then I look for someone who has a good standing in the community. One thing that’s very, very important to me—it’s the number-one core value in my company— is I look for someone who has humility. In my companies’ core values, we have honesty, integrity, trust, character, respect, caring/ fairness, diversity, openness, empowerment and personal mastery, but my belief is if I find someone who is humble, all the rest of these come with it.” That humble heart and approach to leadership lines up with Chasteen’s approach to ministry in the workplace. He’s a big believer that actions can speak louder than words. “You don’t have to be preaching from the pulpit to have a mission,” Chasteen says. “Each Christian has a mission and a ministry field, and that ministry field is whatever environment they are in. You don’t have to be a Bible thumper and shove it down people’s throats. You have to let your light shine that people would want to know what’s different. You’ve got to walk the walk as an example. Too many times, we have business leaders who say the right thing but don’t walk the walk.”—Taylor Berglund
MaidPro Heartland Company’s atmosphere leaves ‘open door for the Good News’
fter working as a chemical e n g i n e e r f o r 35 y e a r s , Greg Ford yearned for something different—a career where he would be the one making policies based on biblical principles rather than corporate directives. His search for a franchise led him to MaidPro, a cleaning company he describes as “shocking, quirky and fun.” Because MaidPro allows each franchisee to develop his own company culture, Ford was sold. “I knew in my heart that God had directed my steps to MaidPro,” he says. “I began my franchise in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Valentine’s Day 2005. On that day, I was literally set free to experience the hands and feet of Jesus through the unique design of God called ‘Greg Ford.’” The MaidPro CEO describes his company’s culture as “one of openness, honesty, caring and safety, among other things. Like our Lord, whose name meets every need, we devote ourselves
Leonard Law Office Personal injury lawyer gets to the root of client issues
MAIDPRO.COM/TULSA/ to being aware of our employees’ needs,” Ford says. That same awareness holds true for MaidPro’s clients as well. “If there’s a sickness, loss of job, etc., it becomes an open door for the Good News,” he says. “This atmosphere can only be brought about by His Spirit. We trust Him to use us in any way He chooses.” God has chosen to use Ford’s company in many ways—so many that he has compiled them in a book, Behind the Clean, “intended to encourage other new franchisees.” Ford talks about an elderly client whose arthritis was so bad she was unable to hang her clothes, so he and his team mobilized to help. “We were able to lower all her clothes racks and discovered other things that needed fixing for her safety and enjoyment,” he says. “We cleaned up her back yard, patio and storage barn. Everyone was blessed.” The company also participates in local as well as international Christian work. “One of the main purposes of starting MaidPro was to help underwrite a mission
MaidPro helped a hoarder get through this cluttered situation.
in Cambodia—International Orphan Aid,” he says. “About 900 children have been adopted out of the state-run orphanages through our efforts, and about 100 children have been nurtured and cared for through BYKOTA House, our Cambodian children’s home.” Above all, Ford enjoys the freedom of owning his own company. “I’m not bound by any corporate politics or propriety,” he says. “Being free to express the life of Jesus through a variety of means is true joy and freedom. That is the living gospel.”—Kathleen Samuelson
vette Leonard sat for the bar exam just after turning 50, despite knowing since before first grade that she wanted to be a law yer after sneaking out of bed to watch Perry Mason. Leonard was focused on going to law school, but just before taking the admission test, she gave her life to Jesus— and that changed everything. “I knew the love of God, I knew I was to marry David, and I knew I had to put law school on the altar,” she said. She married David Leonard, had a family, and didn’t think about law school for many years. But God moved in her heart, and she followed her dream, going to law school and opening Leonard Law in Raymore, Missouri, where
she practices civil law with a focus on personal injury. Leonard has prayed with her clients and colleagues, and has come to realize she may be the closest thing to justice that some people ever get. “I don’t think I could do true justice without God,” she says. “I could win a case and get ‘justice,’ but without God, it wouldn’t be tempered with mercy or righteousness. The world’s idea of justice isn’t God’s.” For Leonard, the title “counselor at law” holds true. She finds herself in the role of both mother and lawyer, helping clients get to the real root of the issues in their lives. “They come to me wanting justice, but they really want peace.”—Ann Byle » May // June 2016 MinistryToday 23
Historic Floors Flooring expert says thanks with far-reaching ministry
tephen Gamble has an amazing story to tell, and he does so in a thick New York accent, typical of the self-described “Long Island boy.” It’s the story of a “tough, selfwilled” entrepreneur who, in his climb to success, lost everything along the way— his wife, family, business and pride. Stephen and his wife, Katie, had three children when they headed into their stormy divorce in 1983. “God had to break me,” Gamble says. “I lost absolutely everything. I begged God to give me my family back. He was very faithful. I got saved through the divorce. Katie was not a believer. I came first, and she came three years later. We took the chance of swallowing our pride and reconciling our marriage, because we were in such a terrible way. And He promised to bless us, and my gosh, He has done more than that.” Stephen and Katie were remarried in 1986 and had three more children. Gamble started his business as a cabinetmaker and furniture finisher, then honed his craft and began developing fine wood finishes and remarkable Old World wood flooring. Today, he owns and operates Stephen Gamble Incorporated: Historic Floors and Finishes, a showroom in Greenwich, Connecticut, where designers and architects from New York come to choose finishes and floors for projects in high-end homes for some of the wealthiest people in the world. Gamble’s product is manufactured at a plant in South Norwalk, Connecticut. “We took a dare from the pulpit to believe that God wanted to do great things for us and through us,” Gamble recalls. He and Katie opened a registered 501(c)(3) called Heartbeat International Ministries (HIM) and asked God to bless it. “And He’s done that with friends and funds and connections,” Gamble says. “You know the saying, ‘A window would 24 MinistryToday May // June 2016
HISTORICFLOORSINC.COM be opened in heaven and out would pour the blessing, more than one can contain.’ And that’s our life. The whole point is, how do you say thank you? So you’re listening to how we say thank you.” Stephen and Katie say thank you through the many ministries under the umbrella of HIM. In some of the poorest
there’s no return on it here in this world,” Gamble says. “Some people wouldn’t do it because it doesn’t involve education, a work program or teaching somebody something to help themselves. This is just a mission of mercy. That’s all it is. But the gospel states, ‘When I was hungry, when I was thirsty, when I was naked ... ’ And
Stephen Gamble’s Connecticut showroom reveals his artistry.
countries in the world, HIM sponsors free medical clinics, feeding programs and orphanages, supplies clean drinking water and feeds the homeless on the streets of New York City. All six of their children have gone to the mission field with them. After feeding the homeless out of their home for several years, the couple opened a commercial kitchen in the Bronx where 600 hot meals are prepared and delivered three nights a week to battered women and HIV shelters and to homeless people on the streets of New York. “That’s called Taste & See, and it’s my most challenging ministry because
these are very clear, simple signals the Lord has put forward. I think He means what He’s saying. I don’t think people can misunderstand these needs.” The Gambles recently moved to a 100-acre horse farm in Aiken, South Carolina, where they are converting and expanding a barn into a 20,000-squarefoot flooring factory and handcrafted assembly line. Gamble is commuting each week to the showroom in Greenwich, where two of their six children work in the business. The Gambles’ son David serves as vice president, and their daughter Laura is chief operating » officer.—Creston Mapes Thomas McGovern
Precision cleaning leader seeks to ‘mirror Christ’ in his business
hen Ken Verheyen began his career at Astro Pak, the business his father fou nded, he sta r ted with a Bible verse. In his early 20s, he thought about how he would want to be known down the road at the end of his life. His life verse then and now is Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you.” Since those early days at the business he’s helped run for 35 years, Verheyen has added five other Scripture passages to help guide his life: Matthew 20:26-28, Colossians 3:17, 1 Chronicles 29:11, Malachi 3:10-12 and Luke 6:31. “One of the most powerful things I can do in my business is mirror Christ,” says Verheyen, whose company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California. “When we are gracious and care for
New York Life
ntrepreneur Joshua Garcia has seen his business grow, thanks to insights from life insurance agent Sven Anderson. Garcia’s faith and marriage also are stronger, thanks to mentoring from Anderson and others in a men’s group formed in 2014. “What influenced me about Sven is his heart,” says Garcia, a father of two daughters. “He’s always out there trying to reach people, trying to lead them to Christ and be an influence on them. I don’t know if he intends to be a mentor, but when you get to know him, he becomes that.” Also a small-group leader at his church, Anderson and several others helped form Brothers of Valor (brothersofvalor.org, BOV) two years ago to combat social 26 MinistryToday May // June 2016
people more than our bottom line, the reflection of Christ is so strong that people know exactly what motivates us.” Astro Pak is known around the world for its precision cleaning of highpurity components and systems. The
Insurance agent starts men’s group to change hearts
A U.S. flag hangs at Astro Pak’s Downey, California, plant, but the ultimate loyalty of the company’s owners is to Christ.
company’s workers have cleaned rocket engines and parts of the Hubble telescope and have worked on the hydraulic systems of rides at Disneyland, laser systems, high-tech weapons systems, large dams and gold mines. At 57, Verheyen is no longer involved in day-to-day operations, but he still goes in to work every day. He has dedicated more time to ministry interests and to mentoring, serving on the boards of Young Life, Homeword and Northrise University. He leads a Bible study for Christian business leaders and works with the Fellowship of Companies for Christ International. “My company is my church; it’s where I pastor,” says Verheyen, who attends Mariner’s Church in Irvine, California. “There are 220 employees and their families, suppliers, customers, etc. Our goal is that everybody who comes into contact with us is going to feel and hear and smell the Spirit of God that runs over this place every day.”—Ann Byle
problems like Sven Anderson’s Brothers of Valor group mentors men. divorce and child abuse. Launched with a series of quarterly lunches, the organization has since morphed into a multifaceted initiative that includes prayer sessions, service projects and mentoring. Plans are new agent so Garcia could expand his also in the works for a media arts ministry. insurance business. Garcia’s turnaround started with an Anderson also hopes to guide other invitation to a BOV luncheon. That men in their spiritual growth. led to attending Wednesday morning “Our vision statement is ‘Inspiring men prayer-and-encouragement sessions at to action so women, children and families a coffee shop. Anderson also helped thrive,’” Anderson says. “We’re trying to arrange an interview with a possible get these guys engaged.”—Ken Walker » Astro Pak
Laura Beach Are you CALLED to join God in His mission? Kentucky • Orlando • Memphis • Online
founder and spiritual director of equipping lydia. minister to the modern day spiritual widow. asbury seminary master of divinity graduate. go to asbury.to/voices to hear laura’s story.
Download your FREE ebook Called, from Asbury Seminary. Visit: asbury.to/MT
Gigi’s Cupcakes GIGISCUPCAKES.COM Former country singer spreads God’s love with cupcakes
resh out of high school, Gigi Butler wa nted to be a sta r— a country singer, to be exact. So instead of going to college, she set out for Nashville in 1994 with little money but a lot of big dreams. Butler operated a small cleaning business by day to get by and performed in as many honky-tonks and bars as she could at nig ht. Fast-for ward a decade, and she realized her dreams of becoming a star probably weren’t going to be fulfilled. Butler shifted her focus solely to her cleaning business until a phone call from her brother sparked a new idea. He had visited a New York bakery and stood in line for hours to buy a cupcake, only to discover his sister Gigi’s cupcakes tasted better.
summers with her aunt learning to bake. “I’d help her bake, cater events and read her cake-decorating books,” Butler says. “I loved to bake and had a passion for it at an early age, but my dream was to be a country singer.” Once that dream ended, Butler realized the phone call from her brother could be the start of a whole new life. “He said, ‘You should open up a bakery,’” Butler says. So she did. She started doing her research, lined up enough money to get the business going and opened her first cupcake shop in 2008. She had only $33 left in her bank account. “God took a broken-down country singer and gave me a whole new life,” Butler says. “He has blessed me so much, beyond my wildest dreams. The least I
Gigi’s Cupcakes has sold more than 45 million tasty treats; INSET: Gigi Butler.
During Butler’s growing-up years, her Aunt Benny owned a bakery and catering business, and Butler spent 28 MinistryToday May // June 2016
can do now is live it out loud for him. I am tired of political correctness, of everything having to be so ‘PC.’ If we as
Christians are not going to speak up and be open about what we believe and what God has done, we are going to lose that opportunity. It feels like we are losing more every day in some ways, so I want to be faithful and open about what God has done for me.” Gigi’s cupcakes took off, and soon the savvy businesswoman turned her confections into franchises. Today, there are more than 100 Gigi’s Cupcakes locations, with plans to double that number within the next five years. In the last seven years, the company has sold more than 45 million cupcakes. “If you lined them all up side by side, they would stretch from New York City all the way across the country past San Diego and into the Pacific Ocean,” Butler says. Each Gigi’s flavor has a story behind it, from the Hunka Chunka Banana Love recipe she used to give as Christmas gifts to her cleaning clients to favorite recipes passed down from her grandmothers, aunts and other relatives. Butler says it’s amazing how God can take something as small as a cupcake to open hearts and impact lives. “I feel like there have been so many opportunities through cupcakes of showing God’s love,” Butler says. “And our franchise owners are so generous. They give to churches, hospices, hospitals. We hear stories all the time of how cupcakes are spreading God’s love. “I pray for God’s will to be done every day. And I am not afraid to speak out about what I believe. If we are going to ask God to do bold things for us, we have to be willing to do bold things for Him. So I would say don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid of failure. If God gives you a dream and a passion, you can rely on His power and strength to » do it.”—Natalie Gillespie
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Philadelphia-based auto parts leader sees employees as his ‘congregation’
f ter work i ng for t he fou nder of C a rdone Indust r ies a nd h is son, long t i me employee T herlowe Pau lin ca l ls it a joy to see t h irdgeneration leader Michael Cardone III carrying on his family’s faith tradition. “He recognizes we’re not serving him, but he’s serving us,” says Paulin, a former operations manager at Cardone’s Philadelphia headquarters and now the director of chaplaincy services at the company. “He knows that somebody is going through something,
Michael Cardone III
and by God’s grace, we have the ability to help that person. That’s normal here—for the owner to take an interest in the lives of his people.” An automotive parts remanufacturer, Cardone Industries was founded some 46 years ago by Michael Cardone Sr. He raised his family in the Assemblies of God, a family tradition passed down to his grandson. The company includes servant leadership in its statement of core values. Living that out includes such touches as maintaining an emergency assistance program for employees and tithing from company profits through the Cardone Foundation. The latter enables employees to direct a portion of those gifts to a favorite charitable cause such as Christian schools, prison ministries and United Way. However, the linchpin of its outreach to employees—whom the company calls “factory family members”—is its chaplaincy department. In addition to Paulin, that 30 MinistryToday May // June 2016
includes nine full-time chaplains based in Philadelphia, Dallas and Matamoros, Mexico. Instead of missing work to tend to personal problems ranging from a mortgage foreclosure to a pending divorce, employees bring their concerns to the chaplains. These workplace pastors, who also conduct weekly pre-work worship services, help run interference with various institutions and government agencies. As a result, the Cardone plants have a 1.6 percent rate of unplanned absenteeism, compared to a national average of 9 percent. “I worked under Michael Sr., Junior and now Michael III,” Paulin says. “One thing Michael Sr. recognized years ago is that people are not robots; they’re human. If they’re going through a divorce, they bring that to work.” Indeed, helping those who work for him is the essence of Michael III’s ministry. “My outreach is my factories,” says the executive chairman, whose company also has operations in Harlingen, Texas; Los Angeles; and Canada. “That’s my congregation. “The people who walk in my door? While on the professional side there are probably a lot of believers, in my factories, there are probably not a lot of believers. But they know walking in the door we’re going to be overt about our faith. It’s going to be in our corporate publications and (expressed in) other ways.” Maintaining an outspoken stance about one’s Christianity can stir controversy in modern-day America. Yet through the years, Michael III has discovered that his company’s standing as an industry leader automatically opens doors to talk about his faith. In addition, he has prayed with a number of customers whose tough exteriors and colorful language made them some of the last people he expected would ask for intercession. The bottom line is they know when serious problems strike and they’re in pain, they can call him for support, Michael III says. “It’s a good opportunity to affect lives,” says Michael III, who, like his father, is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. “I knew guys and gals in the industry who have foul mouths like sailors all the time, and as soon as they get around me, they clean up their language.” But that kind of profile demands Michael III keep an awareness of his own actions and consider ways to show the love of Christ. He wonders how believers can go about acting out of anger or moping over their problems and then expect to witness to someone else. This kind of stance also requires an attitude of excellence. Michael III realizes that many Christians work in an atmosphere hostile to faith, which means they will have to go “above and beyond” to do their best and be the most positive person in the room. “Show you’re really good, and opportunities will always present themselves,” he says—like they have with Michael » Cardone III.—Ken Walker
T-Town owner Ricky Hanks teaches kids at a Tulsa school the value of education.
Ricky and Krystal Hanks, Field Adviser Ryan Snell and the rest of the T-Town family pose for a photo shoot.
Tulsa roofer Ricky Hanks encourages businessmen to listen to God’s voice
sing his position as a business leader, Ricky Hanks promotes mentoring relationships within the community. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, roofer is president of T-Town Roofing, and his wife, Krystal, is COO. Hanks and Matt Moore started the Young Businessmen of Tulsa in order to share lessons learned, cautionary tales, and do’s and don’ts with young men in business. The organization hosts a monthly luncheon featuring a keynote business speaker, as well as one-on-one mentoring. Though Young Businessmen of Tulsa started small, it’s seen dramatic growth. “We started out with about eight guys, and we had 107 people at our last luncheon,” Hanks says. “We try to teach guys that it’s OK to ask a man for help; it’s OK to let someone know that you can take your guard down. ... We just want to make sure that guys have an access to the right answers to the questions of running a business. So if we don’t have the right answers, we can typically get them in the right direction with someone who does.” Hanks likes to encourage the mentors to share their stories rather than dispensing 32 MinistryToday May // June 2016
advice. That advice extends to business failings as well as successes. “As a mentor, share your real challenges,” he says. “Don’t try to put up a curtain. Let these guys know really what you’ve been through. Let them know what it took to get to where you are. Being a mentor is first really just sharing your story, and the heartaches, the pains and the victories.” Just as Jesus told parables in order to teach His audience spiritual truths, Hanks believes mentors sharing their life stories can be valuable to young men. “We try to find out where somebody’s at, and we try to share a story with them to help them get past that decision,” he says. “We might show them how to look at different angles, but we don’t ever tell you what to do. We think you need to hear from God on that.” But his advice isn’t limited to mentors only; Hanks also encourages young men in his life to be proactive in their search for a mentor. Sometimes, he says, that means going outside of the Young Businessmen of Tulsa group and recruiting the desired mentor. “First of all, if we don’t have the mentor you’re looking for, then go find one,” Hanks says. “Men who have reached success in their lives are willing to give back if you’re willing to help. One of the things we
always say in our meetings is your mentor will not chase you down. But if you chase your mentor down, they’re willing to help you, and if that one won’t, the next one will. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to say, ‘Can I buy you lunch?’ Then when you’re with them, respect their time. Be on time. Take notes. And the things they’re teaching you? Be accountable to do them. Don’t just waste this guy’s time. ... Find some areas in your life and identify what needs to be changed, and then make the changes necessary to get to where you want to go.” First, though, come the qualities that young businessmen would want to emulate, of which Hanks has many. From the beginning, he says, he has worked hard to set T-Town apart from other roofing companies through its employees’ integrity, work ethic and relationships in the community. “We wanted to start a roofing business that the world is not familiar with,” Hanks says. “We wanted to change the way people view the roofing company. We wanted to enter a community, be part of the community and make an impact on the community. ... We like to see the ways we can give back. We’re really trying to change the way people view roofers.”—Taylor Berglund » Paul Wizikowski
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The Escape Game
Company co-founder aims to ‘speak life’ into employees’ lives
ames Murrell takes a threefold approach to exalting God through the workplace. In his role as co-founder and operations director of The Escape Game, he focuses on honoring God through honoring his employees, his customers and his community. The Escape Game was originally devised by Mark Flint, who played an escape room game while traveling abroad with his family. In these games, players attempt to problemsolve their way out of a locked room within a specific timespan. Flint partnered with brothers Jonathan and James Murrell to launch their own company tied to the concept. The first Escape Game opened in Nashville, Tennessee, in April 2014. Since then, the company has opened additional locations in Nashville; Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Orlando, Florida; and Austin, Texas. James Murrell says his official job responsibilities involve monitoring branding, building a healthy work culture and working with all the different teams to make sure the stores meet the company values. But his Christian faith inspires him to take on a few additional responsibilities. He wouldn’t call the Escape Game a “Christian company”—“People are Christians, not businesses,” he says—but his faith does inspire the work culture he creates. “I think one of the most important things for me is to create impactful, fulfilling jobs for people,” Murrell says. “Besides God and family, I think vocation is one of the most important things to people. I want to create a job that gives them purpose and provides for their families, and to create an atmosphere that is healthy for them. To be able to do that for them is how I see my work impacting the kingdom.” Beyond creating a positive environment, Murrell says he strives to be a positive
Company co-founder James Murrell leads a staff meeting with the employees of The Escape Game Nashville. 34 MinistryToday May // June 2016
force in his company. After all, motivated employees create a successful company. “If you’re in the word and growing as a Christian, you can impact them on a day-to-day basis—more than just a tract could—through the words you’re saying,” Murrell says. “That’s the most apparent way to honor people in this work environment,” he added. “The way I try to do it is just to be very encouraging with people. I noticed that the higher my position, the more my words can influence people’s lives. I try to speak life into their lives. I try to actually impact them with words of encouragement and try to actually help them have a purposeful vocation that I think is Godordained in a lot of ways.” Another value Murrell integrates into The Escape Game is excellence. He believes God values excellence and that believers have an obligation to bring that spirit of excellence into the workplace. “I think some people are excellent because it brings in money,” Murrell says. “But excellence, for us, is one of our values. Even if it didn’t bring in money, we think that’s an important part of our organization. We strive toward being one of the most excellent businesses in the world, from our games to our lobbies to how we treat our customers.” Giving customers nothing less than excellence is one way to show them service and Christian love. That service and love can be similarly witnessed—on a much broader scale—through the company’s donations to social causes and missionaries. The Escape Game donates to the Real Life Foundation and Ten Days Missions, and the company hopes to expand its giving in the years to come. The Real Life Foundation is a Christian nonprofit organization that provides education to underprivileged Filipinos. Ten Days Missions is the short-term international missionary ministry of Every Nation, where James’ father, Steve Murrell, is president. Ultimately, Murrell hopes these values will catapult The Escape Game to becoming the leader in its niche industry.—Taylor Berglund » Mika Matin
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Rustic Cuff RUSTICCUFF.COM
Jewelry made popular through random acts of kindness
ustic Cuff founder Jill Donovan g raduated from law school and began her career as an attorney and law professor. She never dreamed she’d end up as a jewelry designer. “Several years ago, I got invited to be on Oprah Winfrey’s show to talk about regifting,” Donovan says. “My mom was a big regifter, and when I graduated from college I started a regifting club. Oprah says she was going to come out and film my gift closet and interview me on the show. “The interview was supposed to be lighthearted and fun, but Oprah had an etiquette expert on the show who decided regifting was tacky and rude. What was supposed to be fun became a very humiliating experience.” The TV embarrassment prompted Donovan to empty her gift closet. She tried to throw herself into her law and academic career but found her heart wasn’t really in it. So she took a sabbatical from academics and soon found herself staring at her empty closet shelves. “I love to give, so I decided to fill them up again,” Donovan says. Instead of repurposed gifts, Donovan began making cuffs, bracelets of all shapes, colors and materials. “I taught myself in the middle of the night,” Donovan says. “I watched all the how-to videos I could find, read blogs and soon filled my shelves up again. I wanted to do it as a hobby and just give them to my friends.” The hobby turned into a full-time job, a company of her own and recognition from celebrities from Nashville to Hollywood. Today, a steady stream of customers stand for hours on a regular basis outside the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company to purchase cuffs of their own. “Regifting has come full circle for me, as we have created a Regifters Club,” 36 MinistryToday May // June 2016
Jill Donovan, right, lifts the spirits of a breast cancer patient.
Donovan says. “Here, customers can get two cuffs every month—one to keep and one to give. We get hundreds of stories a day telling us how one little cuff impacted a life.” Donovan gives the Lord the credit for Rustic Cuff’s success and says she believes the cuffs have become so popular because random acts of kindness are so much fun and have such a positive benefit for both the giver and the receiver. “People will buy our cuffs and just carry them in their purse, waiting for just the right opportunity to give them away,” Donovan says. “It’s this ripple effect of kindness that goes way beyond the cuff.” Donovan says she gives many cuffs away and never gets tired of hearing people share their stories. “I’ll give a pink one to someone, and she’ll start to cry, telling me she was just diagnosed with breast cancer, or give what we call a ‘hope’ cuff to someone who says it came just when they needed it,” she says. “My little cuffs weren’t purposed to be a business in the beginning. Now they are a ministry.” Today, Rustic Cuff has 175 employees, and Donovan says she hires people with the
same values and love of giving that she has. “God knew it was going to be a ministry, and He chose me to start that, which is funny because I could not stand the thought of ever being an entrepreneur,” Donovan says. “That sounded like work, and I hated work. I had never had anything I was passionate about. Then the cuffs started taking off, and I felt like Noah. God said, ‘I know you don’t want to build, but here’s some nails and a plank. I’m going to give you one piece every day, and you’re going to build one piece without even knowing what you are building, without knowing the master plan because you’d probably run. So don’t look back. Just work on the next plank.’” Now, Donovan says she continues to build without knowing exactly where God is going to take her “little company that could.” “We are going to move into some other cities,” she says. “I’m super excited and super nervous. My daughter calls it ‘nervited.’ With Rustic Cuff, our growth has all been very organic, and I like it that way. I like just knowing that I am doing what God wants me to do, and as long as I am under His favor, I can » relax.”—Natalie Gillespie
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Anne Beiler founded Auntie Anne’s but firmly believes it was “God’s idea.“
Franchise company founder Anne Beiler used salt for more than pretzels in running her highly successful business
nne Beiler grew up on a farm in a traditional Amish-Mennonite family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The entrepreneur never finished high school but got her GED later in life. Sadly, Beiler and her husband, Jonas, were on the verge of divorce after their daughter, Angela, was killed in a farm accident in 1975 when she was only 19 months old. But their marriage was saved through counseling. Later, Beiler’s husband suggested she work part time to supplement their income, so she took a job selling pretzels, which helped pay for a Christian counseling center her husband was starting. She had no idea that her pretzel sales at the farmer’s market would eventually lead to starting a major company. “I had no idea the day we opened our first Auntie Anne’s that God had a grand plan in place,” Beiler says. “I had one goal, and it was to make enough money to support my husband, who was passionate about helping families through counseling.” Although the pretzel dough wasn’t her recipe, Beiler believes that the unexpected popularity of the pretzels was a miracle. “We never came up with the idea of pretzels or dough,” she explains. “We bought a market stand that was already making hand-rolled soft pretzels, and we just continued selling what was already on their menu.” Beiler sees Auntie Anne’s as “God’s idea” and believes that it is “a modern-day business miracle.” With her ninth-grade education and limited business experience, Beiler didn’t consider herself an entrepreneur when she started selling pretzels. But she is now a national media figure, and Auntie Anne’s has grown to more than 38 MinistryToday May // June 2016
1,700 locations worldwide from Turkey to Thailand. “Our background was not one of intellect or savvy business experience, but we are absolutely sure that God had a plan that He wanted us to follow,” says Beiler, who believes the key to the plan was that she needed to “overcome herself.” “I knew I had to overcome myself in order to keep up with the demands of a growing business,” she says. “That was the most difficult of all things I did as a business owner, grow up and become mature and professional. It was painful to grow.” Beiler’s faith background instilled a deep belief serving God and helping others. “As a Christian, I feel it is impossible to keep God out of the workplace,” she says. “I talked openly about God, but I also was very sensitive about my tone and my walk with God.” She prayed and asked God about being an evangelist at her company. “What I heard as an answer to my question was, ‘I want you to be salt and light,’ ” she says. “To be salt and light to me was to talk less and to walk straight. Light shines. It doesn’t speak. I discovered that ‘living the life’ is more difficult than ‘talking about’ how to live.” In 2005, the Beilers sold Auntie Anne’s to focus on building a family counseling center on a 125-acre farm in Gap, Pennsylvania. Then in 2013, they sold the center and moved to Walburg, Texas, a German farming community near Austin. An author of three books, including Twist of Faith, Beiler travels and ministers now. She offers this advice to Christians starting a business: “Allow God to direct you and don’t depend on your education,” she says. “The world has a system to follow, but God has a system to follow that is high and noble. His principles will stand the test of time. When you follow the principles in His Word, you’ll find your way through every obstacle you face. Be willing to work hard, and always give God what belongs to Him financially.”—Leilani Haywood
Divine Image Cosmetics DIVINEIMAGECOSMETICS.COM
‘Beauty evangelist’ helps women discover their worth
manda May, a former model at Planet Hollywood and salon manager at Caesar’s Palace, is well-acquainted with the world of fashion and celebrity, having worked with Dancing With the Stars and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. But May’s penchant for makeup came out of her own pain. May’s dad, an alcoholic, died when she was 16. To hide her pain, she began abusing drugs and alcohol, but she also turned to cosmetics. When she got pregnant, however, she changed her habits to get physically and spiritually healthy. For a fresh start, she and her 2-year-old son, Isaac, moved from Ohio to Las Vegas, where she was discipled by Pastors Benny and Wendy Perez at the Church of South Las Vegas. May’s life was transformed, but she continued working in the beauty industry as God opened doors. After developing her own product line, Divine Image Cosmetics, in Las Vegas, she married Arthur Keith, and they moved to Central Florida. It was there that she opened up two makeup lounges, one in Tampa and one in Heathrow—with, she expects, many more to come.
May has been able to use makeup as an opening for sharing about Christ. “When we’re doing the makeup,” May explains, “we will ask specific questions, certainly led by the Spirit, like: ‘What do you want to see changed most in your life?’ Or sometimes it’s very easy like, ‘Where do you go to church? Do you believe in Christ?’ God just has a way, I think, because they feel connected to who we are as people, not just externally but because we take that time to connect with them up front. It just opens up this space for them to be able to really share where they’re at and what they’re dealing with, and so many women come in here and just say, ‘I don’t feel beautiful’ and ‘I don’t feel good about myself.’ That’s our chance to fill them up with Scripture and godly principles so that they can walk away with feeling totally refreshed-—and it has nothing to do with makeup.” Slowing down and connecting with a client in her care at the makeup lounge, she finds “a transparency and an openness that the Spirit of God has created in here,” she says. “It’s amazing to see because she shares, and then we get a chance to lift her up.”—Christine D. Johnson »
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Beauty evangelist Amanda May applies Michelle Crozier’s makeup before a photo shoot.
Tamara Knight Photography
May // June 2016 MinistryToday 39
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True Victory… Our Country is in need of spiritual revival. There are millions of men, women and young people who rarely if ever attend a church service, and if we are going to reach them we will have to reach them where they are. Steve Wingfield is an evangelist who is successfully reaching people right where they are at NASCAR races. Steve has a background of 30 years in Crusade Evangelism, but he noticed a disturbing trend. “Responses were declining, and the crusades were becoming nothing more than a rally for Christians.” Steve started searching for another venue to reach the unreached, and came across NASCAR rallies as a venue that could work. “NASCAR is a unique opportunity to reach tens of thousands of people, because unlike other sporting events which last only for an afternoon or evening, NASCAR fans come for several days or more. Also, NASCAR events attract as many as a quarter of a million people or more to one event. They are bored and we give them something to do. They come for the entertainment, and they have no idea it will change their lives!”
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Victory Weekend kicks off Thursday evening with a concert from a top-notch band, along with great testimonies from Christian NASCAR drivers and other celebrities. The Friday evening service has more great music, and then takes time to honor veterans, active duty service members, and public servants and officials such as police, fire, and other first responders. The weekend culminates with a Saturday evening show where the clear and simple message of the gospel is preached and people are invited to respond and make a commitment to Christ. Guests are also invited to download an app where they can receive daily discipleship emails. Over the years Victory Weekend has become a fixture at NASCAR events and has gained a positive reputation with NASCAR officials, drivers, pit-crews and fans. Victory Weekend is an evangelistic mission event which features great music and great speakers, and which has proven to be effective at reaching NASCAR fans. To date, tens of thousands have heard the gospel, and thousands have committed their lives to Christ.
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Realtor Alisha Chen presents a check to a ministry on behalf of the Asian Real Estate Association of America.
Cornerstone Real Estate International ALISHACHENHOMES.COM
Hindus, Muslims consider this Christian realtor trustworthy
lisha Chen, owner of Southern California-based Cornerstone Real Estate International, credits her faith in God for her phenomenal success in real estate. A petite but bold woman, Chen says her success is evidence that God has a sense of humor. “Most people who know my story are in awe because I hated sales,” Chen says. “Sales was a bottom choice as far as a career, and now I’m loving it.” Chen holds numerous degrees and worked as a project manager for a spacecraft company and as a nurse. While a nurse, she took a part-time job at a real estate office. “I learned that serving is listening to what people need and not telling them what they want to hear,” she says. The owner encouraged Chen to get her real estate license. She did and quickly became a top producer. “I’ve been able to plant seeds of Jesus in people more than in any other career 42 MinistryToday May // June 2016
I’ve held,” Chen says, noting that most of her clients are from China or Taiwan, or they’re Muslim or Hindu. “I realized that 80 percent to 90 percent of my income is generated not from Christians—but from the toughest cultures I’ve had to deal with—(people from) Muslim and Hindu cultures who trust me.” Chen says she’s excited about how she’s transformed money from secular sources to use to advance God’s kingdom. “I have seven different projects that are between $5 million and $10 million where they are asking me what they should do with the money,” she says. “I’ve proposed an idea to create a foreignnational, elementary, Christ-based school where their children can learn character the Christian way.” Chen also has a prayer meeting every Wednesday at her office, and has given away hundreds of copies of The PurposeDriven Life. She also has launched an online show called Faithworks Cafe to teach the biblical principles of business.—Leilani Haywood »
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orking in a high-stress business affords Jack Gritter of Trinity Mortgage Co. the opportunity to minister calm and comfort to his clients. “The mortgage business can be pretty high-stress because a lot of money is involved, and a home purchase is often emotional,” Gritter says. “I am not hesitant to counsel people to trust God, and I offer to pray for them if they are stressed.” Gritter—who at 36 started following Christ after being raised in a Christian home and attending church and a Christian school—seeks to live out his faith through his business. “Over the years, I have been able to erase the lines between church life, home life and business life,” he says. “As a result, my interactions with clients, staff and vendors naturally include discussions of mission trips, church activities and offers for prayer.” Before starting his own business, Gritter had become discontent working for another owner. “One irritation was the owner’s unwillingness to play Christian hold music on the telephone system, despite being a church-going Christian,” he says. “I felt we should be bold about a faith and not succumb Mortgage broker Jack Gritter, right, helps to build a to ‘cultural correctness.’ house in Jamaica during an IsleGo mission trip. The business also had a dog-eat-dog environment with a heavy focus on production. Although my associates were great people and very helpful, it was clear that generating income was the primary focus.” Through the years, Gritter had gained experience as a commercial real estate appraiser and mortgage loan originator, so he and Chip Gregory decided to start Trinity Mortgage in 2004. Operating a “Christ-centered and client-focused” company, Gritter is grateful he can provide such an environment for his employees and has found it beneficial to his wider ministry to have control of his own business. “To begin with, I was able to choose the name ‘Trinity Mortgage Company’ as a public pronouncement that Christ is our CEO and my business partner, and I simply manage His firm,” he says. “I am free to speak openly about my faith and pray with clients and associates during stressful transactions. I unabashedly encourage my clients to pray for God’s grace in their loan process. Within the office, we occasionally turn off the phones and convene for group prayer in the conference room when faced with particularly challenging circumstances.” Gritter finds it beneficial to his ministry not to be bound by a vacation schedule. He puts his time into volunteering in student ministries, serving on his church advisory council and leading church short-term mission trips. He also leads mission trips for IsleGo Missions » and serves on the organization’s board. —Christine D. Johnson 44 MinistryToday May // June 2016
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Snyder Manufacturing Corp. SNYDERMANUFACTURING.COM
Chemical compounding company gives tracts, Bibles
number and an invitation for a free Bible and study guide.” Snyder Manufacturing employees benefit from weekly visits of Marketplace Chaplains (MChap), who act as “sounding boards” for employees who may be having personal problems that impact their home and work life. “Over the years, we’ve had so many opportunities to serve employees and their families through personal crises,” says Snyder, who tells the story of an employee’s son thanking him for hiring his dad. “Because of SMC (Snyder
ot on l y i s L on g B e ac h , C a l i for n i a - b a s e d S n yd e r Manufacturing Corp. a family business, but the company also treats its employees like family. “Being a small company, it’s fairly easy to have personal relationships with employees/team members,” says Eric Snyder, company president. “As those personal relationships deepen, opportunities arise to help children and spouses of employees, addressing personal needs.” For 65 years, the company has specialized in custom chemical research and development, formulation, blending and packaging under the brand names Simco Chemical Products and EuroSpa Aromatics, as Eric Snyder shares a gospel tract with his clients. well as under private labels. Serving customer needs gives Manufacturing Corp.), his mother was Snyder the opportunity to exemplify Chris- able to stay home and be involved in his tian values by providing “quality products and his brother’s and sister’s school activicompetitively priced, with unusually good ties and lives.” service,” he says. “These simple things are The company supports The Master’s somewhat unusual in the marketplace and College and a Christian business owners’ often elicit comments such as, ‘You are organization, Fellowship of Companies the only company since I started busi- for Christ International, but Snyder’s ness that hasn’t lied to me.’ Great oppor- heart lies in the ministry opportunity he tunity to then explain why we haven’t has as a business owner. lied to them!” “I have learned that God is faithful Snyder also includes a tract in the com- to provide,” he says. “I once thought pany’s branded products. you needed attorneys, bankers, “We make a lot of cleaners, and the sales staff, etc., to be successful. tract explains how the product should Now I see that God’s provision is all do the work so you don’t have to,” he you need. True success is hearing, says. “But there is a stain that dirties every immediately after your last hearthuman heart that only Jesus can clean. beat, ‘Well done, good and faithful It closes with my signature and phone servant.’” —Kathleen Samuelson 46 MinistryToday May // June 2016
Snyder Manufacturing Corporation
BY TOD BOLSINGER
ayton Duncan and Ken Burns describe a defining moment in Meriwether Lewis’ life: He was approaching the farthest boundary of the Louisiana Territory, the Continental Divide—the spine of the Rocky Mountains beyond which the rivers flow west. No American citizen had ever been there before. This he believed was the Northwest Passage: the goal of explorers for more than three centuries, the great prize that Thomas Jefferson had sent him to find and claim for the United States. With each stride, Lewis was nearing what he expected to be the crowning moment of his expedition and his life. From the vantage point just ahead, all of science and geography had prepared him to see the watershed of the Columbia and beyond it, perhaps, a great plain that led down to the Pacific. Instead, there were just more mountains—“immence ranges of high mountains still to the West of us,” he wrote, “with their tops partially covered with snow.” At that moment, in the daunting vista spread out at the feet of Meriwether Lewis, the dream of an easy water route across the continent—a dream stretching back to Christopher Columbus—was shattered. According to historical geographer John Logan Allen, that moment atop the Lemhi Pass was when the “geography of hope” gave way to the “geography of reality.” A disappointing reality it must have been. When a mental model dies, a painful paradigm shift takes place within us. It is disorienting and anxiety making. It’s as if the world as we know it ceases to exist. Meriwether Lewis makes no comment about that world-rearranging moment in his journal, but Sgt. Patrick Gass describes his reaction some days later, saying that they “proceeded over the most terrible mountains I ever beheld.” This is exactly the moment that the church faces today with the demise
© iStockphoto/AlexSava; standret; flas100
of Christendom and a changing topography of faith. In this new culture, a new missional mental model is needed, and a new way of leading—and learning—is necessary.
Adaptive leadership is about “letting go, learning as we go and keeping going.” This mode of leading raises up and sheds light on the competing values that keep a group stuck in the status quo. For churches, competing values like caring for longtime members versus reaching out to the unchurched, assuring excellence in ministry programming versus increasing participation with more volunteers, giving pay raises to staff versus bringing on a new hire, assuring control and unity versus collaboration and innovation entail conflict about things of equal or near equal value. Because they are both valued, the competition for resources and the decisions that need to be made can put individuals and congregations into a most vulnerable moment. Like a person with one foot on the platform and one in the train, the moment of adaptation exposes the gaps within a system and forces the leadership to ask painful questions: What will we lose if we have to choose one of these values over the other? What must we be willing to let go? Making hard decisions in the face of competing values is what every explorer confronts when they go off the map and into uncharted territory. Through their technical competence, Lewis and Clark led their men up the Missouri River. Because of their relational congruence, the men became a corps, and when they stepped off the map, they were prepared to be a Corps of Discovery requiring adaptive capacity. When the world is different than we expected, we become disoriented. When the tried-and-true solutions to our problems don’t work, we get stuck. When we are faced with competing values that demand a decision that will inevitably lead to loss, we can May // June 2016 MinistryToday 51
“Lewis exemplified what happens to most of us when we are confronting rapidly changing circumstances.”
get overwhelmed. At exactly the moment when the congregation is looking to the leader to give direction, the leader’s own anxiety and inner uncertainty is the highest. But this is the moment when the transformational leader goes off the map and begins to lead differently. This is when the transformational leader mobilizes a group toward the growth they will need in order to face the disorientation and find the capacity to reframe their shared identity in a new expression of their shared mission. This adaptive capacity is the crucial leadership element for a changing world. As Meriwether Lewis approached the top of the Continental Divide, something within him had to be preparing for what he was about to see. Though he wrote of being sure he was about to crest the hill and find the Columbia River, ample warning signs had already suggested things weren’t going to go exactly as he hoped. Lewis exemplified what happens to most of us when we are confronting rapidly changing circumstances: Even though the evidence is around us, we cling to the previously held assumptions as long as possible. Now, to his credit and as an exemplar for us, Meriwether Lewis wasted no time in casting off that assumption once the brutal facts of his situation were clear. There was no water route, there were miles and miles of snowcapped mountain peaks in front of them, they had no trail to follow, food was scarce in this rugged terrain, and winter was coming. This is the canoeing-the-mountains moment. This was when the Corps of Discovery faced for the first time the breadth of the challenges posed by the Rocky Mountains and came to 52 MinistryToday May // June 2016
the irrefutable reality that there was no Northwest Passage, no navigable water route to the Pacific Ocean. History is defined by this moment and all they could have done. At that moment, without even discussing it, Meriwether Lewis simply “proceeded on.” In so doing, he offers us some ways of considering our own adaptive moments and the capacities we need.
Recommitment to Core Ideology
First, by continuing on, they recommitted to their core ideology. At the core of adaptive work is clarifying what is precious, elemental—even essential—to the identity of an organization. The core ideology of any group functions as both a charter and an identity statement. This is who we are, we say. If we stop being about this, we stop being. This moment forces us to face and clarify our own core beliefs. When we recommit to our core ideology, we are claiming—no matter the circumstances—an identity that is larger than our success or failures.
Lewis and Clark reframed their mission. While it was no longer about finding the Northwest Passage or water route, it was even moreso about exploration. For church leaders facing this missional moment, the reframing of church strategy from a sanctuary-centered, membershipbased, religious- and life-service provider to a local mission outpost for furthering the kingdom of God enables our congregations to discover a faithful expression of our corporate identity in a changing world. No longer will we be the center of or have
a monopoly on cultural conversations regarding moral life and spiritual values. No longer do social structures support church life or give preferences to Christian tradition. But, in a more pluralistic public square, where there were many different voices and perspectives offered, we have an opportunity closer to Paul’s at Mars Hill (Acts 17), engaging the philosophies of the day, or to the early Christians’, whose movement gained credibility (and converts!) at least in part because of the way Christians cared for people during some of the worst epidemics. But a reframe itself is only a new way of seeing and describing the problem. A reframe, while vital, isn’t enough to bring the deep, systemic changes necessary.
Relying on New Learning
The moment Meriwether Lewis went over the Continental Divide was when the Corps of Discovery started discovering. As they entered the uncharted territory, they had to start learning all over again, adjusting their expectations, reconsidering their strategies and forming new alliances and partnerships. In moments of uncertainty and disorientation, leaders own internal adaptations; that is, the work that leaders themselves have to do to clarify their own motives, identity and mission is the necessary precursor to the work that the entire community will have to do. When a leader and a people together resist the anxiety that would lead to throwing in the towel or relying on the quick fix, but instead look more deeply—recommitting to core values, reframing strategy and relying on learning—this enables them to gain the just-in-time experience necessary to keep the expedition going. T o d B o l s i n g e r is the vice president for vocation and formation and assistant professor of practical theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. A former pastor, he is an author, speaker, consultant and blogger, and serves as an executive coach in transformational leadership. Taken from Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger. Copyright © 2015 by Tod Bolsinger. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA. www.ivpress.com © iStockphoto/ooyoo
FOR CHRIST How churches have transformed their communities
BY LEILANI HAYWOOD
hurches are transforming their communities by caring for people in neighborhoods overwhelmed by crime, illiteracy and poverty. Taking the love of Christ into these situations, congregations fulfill their high calling, knowing that the government cannot fully answer these needs. Pastor Chris Martin’s Cathedral of Faith Church of God in Christ (COGIC) was the first to respond to the water emergency in Flint, Michigan, that shocked the nation. On the streets of Chicago, Pastor Luis Reyes launched a ministry to children plagued by poverty and illiteracy. In America’s heartland, Ray Stribling, a former drug addict and alcoholic, opened Hope City in what the Kansas City Star called the “murder factory” zip code of Missouri. Martin, Reyes and Stribling are only a few examples of church leaders who have become change agents in their communities. Their churches help lower crime; break the generational cycle of drug addiction, alcoholism, poverty and illiteracy; and bring the gospel to the unreached.
Mobilize to Help the Community
Pastor Martin was thrust in the middle of the water crisis in Flint. “We’ve been the victims of a political fiasco,” Martin says. “Flint used to 54 MinistryToday May // June 2016
purchase water from the Detroit water system, but our mayor decided to save $2.4 million by changing the source of water to the Flint River. This was done without the EPA or any federal oversight. When a pediatrician noticed that her patients had unusually high levels of poison in their system, she blew the whistle and got the attention of the nation.” Cathedral of Faith COGIC stepped in and bought cases of water for Flint residents during the ongoing health crisis. “There was a mile-long line of people wanting to get into the church for water,” Martin says. “We’ve handed out 25,000 cases of water since January.” COGIC President Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. says there are more than 60 of the denomination’s congregations in Flint. “When we heard about the crisis, we immediately began to mobilize and strategize how we as an organization could help our members and residents,” Blake says. “The leadership of the Church of God in Christ cannot stand silent as innocent children of Flint and their parents suffer the ravages of poisonous water.” Martin has a history of leading his church to serve the community. In 2008, when he became pastor at Cathedral of Faith, he launched a “Pullover for Prayer” campaign that was covered by USA Today. The church Lightstock
“There are more people than we realize who support what we do in the community.”—Tricia Reyes
now also hosts a Head Start after-school program that serves 72 students. New Church of Joy in Waukegan, Illinois, ministers to over 2,000 kids every week, hosting Sidewalk Sunday School in area parks, tutoring students at a success center and equipping them for ministry through a teen leadership program. The ministry, which started in an apartment and moved to offices in Zion, now operates in an $8 million YMCA facility recently given to the ministry. “When we launched Sidewalk Sunday School, we didn’t have a truck or supplies,” says Tricia Reyes, co-founder of Sidewalk Sunday School and Reach a Generation, an outreach to children and teens in Greater Chicago. “My husband was determined that even if he had to use his car, he was going to reach kids with the gospel.” They purchased a flower delivery truck, which a friend refurbished. Now, the ministry has a fleet of Sidewalk Sunday School trucks and buses that pick up kids in 20 cities in Greater Chicago. “A lot of our students were graduating, so we started a Bible college,” she says. Ministering to children is also important for New Life Church Milton in Ontario, Canada. Pastor Dan Rogge started the church with nine people “in the middle of nowhere,” he says. Today it is a growing multicultural congregation of 500 members. When Rogge started the church, he had no idea that a major development was planned around the church property until he submitted plans to build a storage facility, which the City of Milton declined to approve as it would be an “eyesore.” New Life has built a black-box theater and a facility with breakout rooms for youth. The church also created Firm Foundation, an after-school program to teach morality to children, and after learning that the deaf in the community were not being reached, Rogge launched the New Life Deaf Church with captioning. At Peerless Road Church, a ministry of the Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP), in Cleveland, Tennessee, Pastor Brian Sutton led his congregation to help a distressed neighborhood. “We prayed for this neighborhood and the needs of this neighborhood,” Sutton says. “As we prayed, we tried giving away food, and God opened doors for us.” The need for food led to the launch 56 MinistryToday May // June 2016
People have been “healed and delivered” through Peerless Road Church’s weekly ministry of food distribution.
of Serve, a church outreach that ministers to 85 to 110 families every first and third Saturday. “On a typical Saturday, we’ll gather with a food distribution truck,” Sutton says. “We fill up the truck and have volunteers of every age meet us at the church to sort it and serve it. Saturday has grown into a time of worship as we have seen people healed and delivered. They will come back and testify.” The church gives away 250 backpacks filled with school supplies to children. “Right before school starts, we have a local cosmetology school that donates their staff (services) to cut hair,” Sutton says. “Every kid gets a free haircut, backpack filled with supplies, and they hear a gospel message. We have bounce houses and give out hot dogs. We have partners who want to help us give away over 500 backpacks.” Kansas City’s 64130 zip code is home to several families with family members who are convicted murderers. Hope City, a 6-year-old ministry in that area, is an outreach of the International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC) and Forerunner Christian Church. The prayer room is the heart of Hope City’s ministry to drug addicts, alcoholics and families. “When my wife and I got saved, we both had to go back and do some time in jail,” says Stribling, director of Hope City. “When we got out, we always had a heart for ministering to people on
the streets.” Stribling says that lasting change and freedom starts in the prayer room. “I’ve been in the 12-step programs and addiction recovery,” he says. “When you sit in the prayer room, you encounter the Lord.” Encompassing half a city block, Hope City has a food pantry and a community center, which is open for anyone to take a shower, get a hot meal or cup of coffee and use WiFi. The center also has a residential program for interns and 30-35 people in addiction recovery. The pantry provides meals for up to 1,000 families a month through a partnership with Harvesters Network. “When someone comes to the community center, they don’t have to go to the prayer room, but most of the time the music draws them,” Stribling says. “I’ve led so many people to the Lord who walk into these doors.” In Adairsville, Georgia, a town with a population of about 4,600, Tina Spellman wanted Living Way Church of Foursquare to be a “transformational church.” To fulfill that vision, Pastor Spellman launched community gatherings at locations such as businesses, schools, military bases and courthouses. The purpose of the gatherings is to build relationships and invite people into the community of faith. The congregation also houses the
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only coffee shop in town at Living Way Community Center. “We say Jesus shows up at the shop every day,” Spellman says. “This is an experimental enterprise of sorts, a partnership between church and businesses.” The community center is also home to the Living Way Christian Academy and KidZone after-school clubs.
Grow by Meeting Needs
These churches have found that meeting the needs of the community has helped increase church attendance and empowered their members to serve. “We’re the fastest-growing church in Flint,” Martin says. Even local gang members consider Flint’s Cathedral of Faith their church. “One Sunday, 20 gang members walked into the service,” Martin says. “When they come to play basketball, we tell them that they have to leave their guns outside.” The crime rate is much lower around the church in a city known for a high rate of homicides. Cathedral of Faith is also
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one of the few African-American churches that is a member of the Flint Chamber of Commerce. Jaison Randall says practical evangelism has increased church attendance at CityReach Network, an Assemblies of God church plant in Buffalo, New York. The city has a higher-than-average refugee and Arab population, and CityReach aims to meet community needs with a food pantry, street evangelism and home visitation. “Our Toys for Tots drive has been really good for us,” Pastor Randall says of the Christmas toy campaign. “Our acts of kindness break down barriers between people.” At New Church of Joy, reaching children and teens has added to the congregation. “What we do draws people to our ministry,” Tricia says. “There are more people than we realize who support what we do in the community. When we hosted a summer camp, we had a lot of our members take a vacation from their job to serve the kids. I think more people are seeing that we need to reach the younger generation.” But even though a child in the program
may not become a church member, her life can still be changed for the good. “We had a 6-year-old girl who came to our Sidewalk Sunday School services who was picked up by police,” Tricia says. “Her mom was strung out on drugs, and the girl told the police to take her to the church because they would know what to do. We kept her for a few weeks until we knew she was in a stable situation. Today, she is going to college and serving the Lord.” Pastors and leaders who want to change their communities need to start with what they have. Finding a mentor is also critical. Bill Wilson, the founder of Sidewalk Sunday School in New York City, mentored Tricia’s husband, Luis. “There are many people who are desperate,” Sutton says of such ministry work. “You will have no competition to reach the hurting.” L e i l a n i H a y w o o d is the online editor of SpiritLed Woman magazine and the author of Ten Keys to Raising Kids That Love God. Follow her on Twitter (@leilanihaywood).
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The Missing Factor WHY WE AREN’T REACHING MORE PEOPLE FOR CHRIST
© iStockphoto/themacx; pixelheadphoto; lorenzoantonucci
BY DAVID SHIBLEY
ick Eastman took some concerned Southern California teenagers on a prayer retreat in 1969. The weekend became a sacred event as the Lord powerfully assured the interceding young people that their agonizing prayers for their friends’ salvation would be answered. Within months of that retreat, the Jesus Movement was sweeping thousands into the kingdom. These young people experienced a burden for the lost—a seldom-heard term today— that propelled them into urgent, compassionate evangelism.
Based on extensive research, Thom Rainer, a skilled observer of church trends, recently listed 15 reasons why churches today are less evangelistic than in the past. Topping the list: “Christians have no sense of urgency to reach lost people.” A culture of caring evangelism is largely absent today. We’ve been sedated into silence by a toxic serum of complacency, narcissism and flirtations with universalism. The missing ingredient for effective evangelism is urgency. The absence of a holy imperative embarrassingly juxtaposes us from the spirit of the church historically and from the Spirit of Christ. Urgency is defined as a force or impulse that impels. It’s an urge that is compelling, a deep knowing that immediate action or attention is required—and Jesus and the early church had it in abundance. One can almost feel Paul’s throbbing heart
“Think of the massive open door for the gospel there was in Japan at the end of World War II. The door flung open wide, but the church stalled. Today that door is barely ajar.” when he wrote, “The requirement is laid upon me. Yes, woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16). In evangelism, there is always urgency. Masses are constantly slipping into a Christ-less eternity. The Student Volunteer Movement of the early 20th century was drenched in an ethos of urgency. Eschatological hopes were high. New modes of transportation were shrinking the world toward what would later be called a “global village.” Students were motivated for “world evangelization in this generation.” John R. Mott, a visionary missions statesman and prime mover of the movement, often peppered his challenges with phrases like “in our day,” “in this hour” and “in this generation.” Underscoring all this was the biblical prodding that people must be reached with the gospel now—before it is eternally too late. Without question, the glory of God is the highest motive for sharing the gospel, but it is not the only motivation. Reaching people who are lost, in every sense of the word, without Jesus—headed for an eternity devoid of God and thus devoid of hope—this is an equally valid, biblical motive for evangelism. There is both a vertical motive for evangelism and missions (the glory of God) and a horizontal motive (the lost state of humanity). Some noted writers have reminded
us of our “great omission” of not adequately making disciples. “Jesus did not tell us to make converts,” these writers purport. “He told us to make disciples.” That’s not exactly correct. He did tell us to make converts. Though some dispute the verse’s authenticity, Mark 16:15 is just as much a part of the Great Commission as Matthew 28:19. We have been commissioned to proclaim the gospel to every person on Earth. Paul was clear in his defense before Agrippa that his mission assignment from Jesus was “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18). That’s an unmistakable call to “make converts.” Let’s be clear. Of course, those who trust Christ as their Savior should also be discipled and live under His lordship. Obedience to the Great Commission is not a matter of evangelism alone. Every believer should also be an ardent worshipper and committed disciple. But there’s a distinct insinuation today that evangelism is somehow the tolerated stepsister to the nobler ministry of disciplemaking. Why are we making dichotomous what God has joined together? It’s evangelism and discipleship, not May // June 2016 MinistryToday 61
“One of the wisest uses of time—an investment that will yield eternal dividends— is bringing people to personal faith in Christ and challenging others to do the same.” evangelism vs. discipleship. The watchword of the historic Student Volunteer Movement—“the evangelization of the world in this generation”—drips with both grandeur and urgency. Today, we must recover a biblically based sense of urgency, and here’s why. Opportunities have a limited shelf life. Every day of freedom to declare the gospel in our volatile world is a great gift. With the potential of disruptive terrorism escalating rapidly, we should pray with the psalmist, “So teach us to number our days” (Ps. 90:12). Think of the massive open door for the gospel there was in Japan at the end of World War II. The door flung open wide, but the church stalled. Today that door is barely ajar. In more recent times, there was the surprise toppling of communism in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Yet, again, we were largely unprepared. What if suddenly China or Iran did stop their persecution of Christians and put out a welcome mat for missionaries? Are we thinking preemptively and preparing accordingly? Someone has wisely observed that “the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.” There are thrilling windows of opportunity wide open for the gospel right now in many parts of the world, 62 MinistryToday May // June 2016
and they may not be open long. Life is short. James calls it “just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Certainly there is an urgency for those who do not know Christ. But are we conveying this to them? Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “Nothing could be more ruthless than to make men think there is still plenty of time to mend their ways. To tell men that the cause is urgent and that the kingdom of God is at hand is the most charitable and merciful act we can perform, the most joyous news we can bring.” Missionary luminary Robert Moffat reminded us: “We have all eternity to celebrate our victories, but only one short hour before the sunset in which to win them.” Jim Elliot felt, prophetically, the brevity of time. He journaled this passionate prayer while a student at Wheaton College: “God, light these idle sticks of my life and let them burn for Thee. I do not desire a long life, but a full one—like You, Lord Jesus.” Seven years later, his life on this Earth would end at the tip of a poisoned spear as he attempted to get the gospel to the Waodoni. Yet the ramifications of his sacrifice continue to inspire us today. The season of harvest is brief. I was raised in the city and don’t know much about farming, but I do know this much: When it’s harvest time, there’s nothing
else on the agenda. It’s not a time to clean the equipment or strategize for next year’s harvest. Before daylight and well into the night, the one and only priority is to get the harvest in safely. By its very nature, harvest is not openended; it is a season. One of the saddest verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 8:20: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jesus warned us not to look for a more opportune time but to put the sickle in now. “Lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). There is a vast, ripe spiritual harvest worldwide right now—and it is threatened because we aren’t reaping it! On the clock of a beautiful church spire in Dallas, two words are inscribed: “Night Cometh.” Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Eternity is long. Urgency, or the lack of it, is embedded in theology. Our urgency in sharing the gospel will be in direct proportion to how much we genuinely believe people without Christ are truly lost. To use the old term, they are literally unsaved. There’s a clear correlation: The church’s evangelistic passion has waned as its belief in eternal judgment has weakened. Hear again the lyrics of an old missions hymn by Fanny Crosby: Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save! Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save. Do we wince today at such lyrics? If so, it’s an indicator of how far we have moved away from the spirit and passion that has historically challenged the church to evangelism. This song was an oft-requested favorite of earlier generations of believers.
Jim Elliot’s parents were devout Christians. They urged him to defer going on his missionary assignment in order to spend more time with them. Jim was torn but finally replied that the cry of lost indigenous peoples pressed him toward the perishing. He wrote: “Impelled then by these voices, I dare not stay home © iStockphoto/shironosov
夀伀唀 䌀䄀一 匀吀䄀刀吀 䄀 䌀䠀唀刀䌀䠀Ⰰ
䘀伀刀 䰀䔀匀匀 吀䠀䄀一 ␀㌀㔀 倀䔀刀 䴀伀一吀䠀℀
䌀䠀唀刀䌀䠀 倀䰀䄀一吀䔀刀匀 䰀攀琀 䄀洀攀爀椀挀愀ᤠ猀 ⌀ 䌀栀甀爀挀栀 倀氀愀渀琀椀渀最 倀爀漀最爀愀洀 圀漀爀欀 昀漀爀 夀漀甀℀ 䰀攀琀 䄀洀攀爀椀挀愀ᤠ猀 ⌀ 䌀栀甀爀挀栀 倀氀愀渀琀椀渀最 倀爀漀最爀愀洀 圀漀爀欀 昀漀爀 夀漀甀℀ 䤀琀 栀愀猀 渀攀瘀攀爀 戀攀攀渀 攀愀猀椀攀爀 琀漀 最攀琀 猀琀愀爀琀攀搀℀ 吀栀攀 匀琀愀爀琀刀䤀䜀䠀吀∡ 倀爀漀最爀愀洀 栀愀猀 栀攀氀瀀攀搀 琀栀漀甀猀愀渀搀猀 漀昀 䤀琀 栀愀猀 渀攀瘀攀爀 戀攀攀渀 攀愀猀椀攀爀 琀漀 最攀琀 猀琀愀爀琀攀搀℀ 吀栀攀 匀琀愀爀琀刀䤀䜀䠀吀∡ 倀爀漀最爀愀洀 栀愀猀 栀攀氀瀀攀搀 琀栀漀甀猀愀渀搀猀 漀昀 挀栀甀爀挀栀攀猀 漀戀琀愀椀渀ꀀ㔀 ⠀挀⤀⠀㌀⤀ 琀愀砀ⴀ攀砀攀洀瀀琀 猀琀愀琀甀猀 愀渀搀 攀猀琀愀戀氀椀猀栀 愀 猀琀爀漀渀最 昀漀甀渀搀愀琀椀漀渀 琀栀愀琀 瀀爀漀琀攀挀琀猀 挀栀甀爀挀栀攀猀 漀戀琀愀椀渀ꀀ㔀 ⠀挀⤀⠀㌀⤀ 琀愀砀ⴀ攀砀攀洀瀀琀 猀琀愀琀甀猀 愀渀搀 攀猀琀愀戀氀椀猀栀 愀 猀琀爀漀渀最 昀漀甀渀搀愀琀椀漀渀 琀栀愀琀 瀀爀漀琀攀挀琀猀 眀栀愀琀 䜀漀搀 栀愀猀 最椀瘀攀渀 琀栀攀洀 琀漀 氀攀愀搀⸀ 吀栀椀猀 瀀爀漀瘀攀渀 猀礀猀琀攀洀 爀攀猀甀氀琀猀 椀渀 洀愀砀椀洀椀稀攀搀 瀀爀漀琀攀挀琀椀漀渀 眀栀椀氀攀 眀栀愀琀 䜀漀搀 栀愀猀 最椀瘀攀渀 琀栀攀洀 琀漀 氀攀愀搀⸀ 吀栀椀猀 瀀爀漀瘀攀渀 猀礀猀琀攀洀 爀攀猀甀氀琀猀 椀渀 洀愀砀椀洀椀稀攀搀 瀀爀漀琀攀挀琀椀漀渀 眀栀椀氀攀 戀甀椀氀搀椀渀最 猀琀爀攀渀最琀栀 漀渀 眀栀椀挀栀 琀漀 最爀漀眀⸀ 戀甀椀氀搀椀渀最 猀琀爀攀渀最琀栀 漀渀 眀栀椀挀栀 琀漀 最爀漀眀⸀
圀椀琀栀 琀栀攀 匀琀愀爀琀刀䤀䜀䠀吀∡ 倀爀漀最爀愀洀Ⰰ 夀漀甀 圀椀氀氀 刀攀挀攀椀瘀攀 䔀瘀攀爀礀琀栀椀渀最 夀漀甀 一攀攀搀 琀漀㨀 圀椀琀栀 琀栀攀 匀琀愀爀琀刀䤀䜀䠀吀∡ 倀爀漀最爀愀洀Ⰰ 夀漀甀 圀椀氀氀 刀攀挀攀椀瘀攀 䔀瘀攀爀礀琀栀椀渀最 夀漀甀 一攀攀搀 琀漀㨀 ∠ 䈀攀挀漀洀攀 䤀渀挀漀爀瀀漀爀愀琀攀搀 ∠ 䈀攀挀漀洀攀 䤀渀挀漀爀瀀漀爀愀琀攀搀 ∠ 伀瀀攀渀 愀 䌀栀甀爀挀栀 䈀愀渀欀 䄀挀挀漀甀渀琀 ∠ 伀瀀攀渀 愀 䌀栀甀爀挀栀 䈀愀渀欀 䄀挀挀漀甀渀琀 ∠ 䠀愀瘀攀 䌀甀猀琀漀洀椀稀攀搀 䈀礀氀愀眀猀 ∠ 䠀愀瘀攀 䌀甀猀琀漀洀椀稀攀搀 䈀礀氀愀眀猀 ∠ 䔀猀琀愀戀氀椀猀栀 愀渀搀 倀爀漀瘀椀搀攀 倀爀漀琀攀挀琀椀漀渀 ∠ 䔀猀琀愀戀氀椀猀栀 愀渀搀 倀爀漀瘀椀搀攀 倀爀漀琀攀挀琀椀漀渀 昀漀爀 夀漀甀爀 䈀漀愀爀搀 漀昀 䐀椀爀攀挀琀漀爀猀 昀漀爀 夀漀甀爀 䈀漀愀爀搀 漀昀 䐀椀爀攀挀琀漀爀猀
∠ 伀戀琀愀椀渀 倀爀攀氀椀洀椀渀愀爀礀 㔀 ⠀挀⤀⠀㌀⤀ 匀琀愀琀甀猀 ∠ 伀戀琀愀椀渀 倀爀攀氀椀洀椀渀愀爀礀 㔀 ⠀挀⤀⠀㌀⤀ 匀琀愀琀甀猀 ∠ 䈀攀挀漀洀攀 伀爀搀愀椀渀攀搀 ∠ 䈀攀挀漀洀攀 伀爀搀愀椀渀攀搀 ∠ 䈀攀 䄀戀氀攀 琀漀 刀攀挀攀椀瘀攀 吀椀琀栀攀猀 ∠ 䈀攀 䄀戀氀攀 琀漀 刀攀挀攀椀瘀攀 吀椀琀栀攀猀 愀渀搀 伀昀昀攀爀椀渀最猀 愀渀搀 伀昀昀攀爀椀渀最猀 ∠ 䄀一䐀 䴀唀䌀䠀 䴀伀刀䔀℀ ∠ 䄀一䐀 䴀唀䌀䠀 䴀伀刀䔀℀
匀琀愀爀琀 礀漀甀爀 挀栀甀爀挀栀 琀漀搀愀礀℀
眀眀眀⸀匀琀愀爀琀䌀䠀唀刀䌀䠀⸀挀漀洀 簀 㠀㜀㜀ⴀ㐀㤀㐀ⴀ㐀㘀㔀㔀 眀眀眀⸀匀琀愀爀琀䌀䠀唀刀䌀䠀⸀挀漀洀 簀 㠀㜀㜀ⴀ㐀㤀㐀ⴀ㐀㘀㔀㔀
while Quichuas perish.” God, give us a new generation of leaders who are “impelled by these voices” and can emit urgency to others. In his book On What Leaders Really Do, John P. Kotter claims that infecting others with a sense of urgency is the difference between effective and ineffective leadership. “Sooner or later, no matter how hard they push, if others don’t feel the same sense of urgency, the momentum ... will die far short of the finish line,” Kotter writes. May you be that kind of intentional leader who is consistently “making the most of the time because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). From an eternal perspective, one of the wisest uses of time— an investment that will yield eternal dividends—is bringing people to personal faith in Christ and challenging others to do the same. The writer of Proverbs counsels us that “he who wins souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30). How can we recover urgency for
reaching unbelievers with the gospel? First, ask God for it. Second, make evangelism intentional. Third, see the world through “gospel glasses.” Make the gospel first—in your loyalties and your preaching, in how you view people and how you view life. In medieval times, a king and his royal entourage were passing through a small village. Suddenly a desperate mother broke through the crowds, threw herself in front of the king’s prancing horses and pled for an audience with him. “My son is in your prison,” she said. “He is sentenced to die. I beg you, your Majesty, have mercy and pardon my son.” The king looked down on the distraught woman and showed compassion. “Let the decree be heard, that I have shown mercy on this woman and herewith issue an unconditional pardon to her son,” he said. “I declare him free to leave the prison.” Then the king dispatched a royal messenger to deliver the news to the prisoner in the jail some 30 miles away. But as the messenger raced toward the prison, he
was diverted by a carnival. He stopped for several hours and then, remembering his mission, he resumed his journey toward the prison. Tragically, however, he arrived just a few minutes after the pleading woman’s son had been executed. The king’s pardon was never received. The messenger’s shameful explanation to the king was, “I stopped at the carnival to laugh at the clowns, and the time just got away.” When our own entertainment is more pressing than the evangelistic mandate, our priorities are clearly out of whack. “The gospel is good news only if it arrives in time,” theologian Carl F.H. Henry reminds us. God, make us urgent— and may the gospel arrive in time. D a v i d S h i b l e y is world representative for Global Advance, which he founded in 1990. Each year, Global Advance equips tens of thousands of leaders on site in many nations to be catalysts for fulfilling the Great Commission. His latest book is Entrusted: Anchoring Your Life in the Gospel (Burkhart Books).
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MINISTRY LEADERSHIP: C O N T E N T BY CLARENCE E. STOWERS JR.
Why Blogging Makes Me Better (and You Too) Consider these 10 reasons why pastors—even busy ones—should start blogging
magine a life without hobbies. I can’t. Hobbies are often thought of as activities for people who lead quiet, relaxed lives. However, people with full, busy, even stressful lives may need hobbies more than the average person, and benefit greatly from having hobbies in their lives. Hobbies
“Blogging is one way I write down what God is revealing to me.” bring many benefits that usually make them more than worth the time they require, according to stress management expert Elizabeth Scott. I have a few hobbies, but none of them have changed my life or brought me as much satisfaction as blogging. In almost too many ways to count, it has changed me and the way I live my life. In fact, I love blogging so much that I regularly recommend it to others. I started blogging because writing in a journal wasn’t very appealing. But somewhere along the line, my journaling became less about me writing the story and more about the story changing me. I started blogging, “unofficially,” on MySpace (Remember it?) as a hobby. Now it’s a vital part of my professional portfolio. I write on personal development, leadership, finance, relationships, inspiration and motivation. On occasion, I write about stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into 68 MinistryToday May // June 2016
one of these categories. My goal is to create insightful, relevant content that you can put to work in your personal and professional life. If you are in a position of leadership—or aspire to be—then this blog is for you. I wonder if Jesus would have blogged. Can you imagine the sheer size of His subscriber list? Now let’s hit the pause button, and I’ll share the top 10 reasons why I decided to “professionally” blog: 1) I want to be a good steward of God’s ideas. God has given me so much. He has taught me so much. I would be wrong not to pass along what I’ve learned that might be able to help others. My blog is one way I “take my thoughts captive” (2 Cor. 10:5). 2) Too often we remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember. My blog helps me remember what God doesn’t want me to forget. 3) Blogging is therapeutic. It helps me process thoughts and emotions. I believe blogging will make me a better leader. It will make me accountable. It will keep me humble. Just as preaching keeps the preacher always learning, blogging will keep me on the learning edge of leadership. 4) Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Write down the revelation.” Blogging is one way I write down what God is revealing to me. Blogging makes me write better. If you strip away the layers, all writing is communication. It allows me to take the thoughts in my head and record them on paper. Consequently, my writing improves with practice. 5) Blogging is a form of digital discipleship. I can’t disciple a thousand people one on one or face to face. Blogging is asynchronous discipleship. It’s evangelism. 6) Blogging is marking my trail with breadcrumbs like Hansel and Gretel did. Jeremiah 31:21 says, “Set up road marks, place guideposts. Set your heart toward the highway.” 7) I blog for my children’s children. My grandkids will know what I was doing and thinking on Jan. 14, 2016. They’ll be able to know my heart and read my mind. 8) Blogging is a form of autobiography. It helps me understand God’s storyline for my life. 9) Blogging makes my church an open-source church. For better or for worse, my blog is the way I share what we’re doing in my congregation. 10) Blogging allows me to inspire others. My personal mission is helping people get from here to there. I help people define their “there” and help develop a plan to get there. Since my blog is open to the public, someone may be inspired by a post, which helps them get from here to there. This article originally appeared at cestowers.com. Lightstock
吀 䠀 䔀 刀 䔀 䴀 䄀 刀 䬀 䄀 䈀 䰀 䔀
䈀椀戀氀攀 匀琀甀搀礀 䰀椀戀爀愀爀礀 昀爀漀洀
䨀漀栀渀 䴀愀挀䄀爀琀栀甀爀 叠漀洀愀猀 一攀氀猀漀渀 漀û攀爀猀 礀漀甀 琀栀攀 戀攀猀琀 匀琀甀搀礀 䈀椀戀氀攀猀 愀渀搀 匀琀甀搀礀 刀攀猀漀甀爀挀攀猀 昀爀漀洀 漀渀攀 漀昀 琀漀搀愀礀ᤠ猀 氀攀愀搀椀渀最 攀砀瀀漀猀椀琀漀爀礀 䈀椀戀氀攀 琀攀愀挀栀攀爀猀Ⰰ 䨀漀栀渀 䴀愀挀䄀爀琀栀甀爀⸀ 伀甀爀 䨀漀栀渀 䴀愀挀䄀爀琀栀甀爀 昀愀洀椀氀礀 漀昀 瀀爀漀搀甀挀琀猀 椀渀挀氀甀搀攀 匀琀甀搀礀 䈀椀戀氀攀猀Ⰰ 䈀椀戀氀攀 挀漀洀洀攀渀琀愀爀椀攀猀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀漀瀀椀挀愀氀 爀攀猀漀甀爀挀攀猀 爀攀氀愀琀攀搀 琀漀 挀漀甀渀猀攀氀椀渀最Ⰰ 攀瘀愀渀最攀氀椀猀洀Ⰰ 瀀愀猀琀漀爀愀氀 洀椀渀椀猀琀爀礀Ⰰ 瀀爀攀愀挀栀椀渀最Ⰰ 愀渀搀 洀漀爀攀⸀ 䔀愀挀栀 漀昀 漀甀爀 䴀愀挀䄀爀琀栀甀爀 爀攀猀漀甀爀挀攀猀 栀攀氀瀀 礀漀甀 最愀椀渀 愀 搀攀攀瀀攀爀 甀渀搀攀爀猀琀愀渀搀椀渀最 漀昀 匀挀爀椀瀀琀甀爀攀 琀栀愀琀 眀椀氀氀 攀渀栀愀渀挀攀 礀漀甀爀 琀攀愀挀栀椀渀最 漀爀 瀀爀攀愀挀栀椀渀最 洀椀渀椀猀琀爀礀⸀
䔀渀樀漀礀 愀 䘀刀䔀䔀 搀漀眀渀氀漀愀搀 漀昀 琀栀攀
䈀漀漀欀 漀昀 䴀愀爀欀
昀爀漀洀 仠攀 䴀愀挀䄀爀琀栀甀爀 䈀椀戀氀攀 䠀愀渀搀戀漀漀欀 搀漀眀渀氀漀愀搀猀⸀琀栀漀洀愀猀渀攀氀猀漀渀⸀挀漀洀⼀栀愀渀搀戀漀漀欀
MINISTRY LEADERSHIP: S T A F F I N G BY BRIAN JONES
When Should I Hire an Executive Pastor? The answer to that question depends on the size of your congregation
ne of the questions I get asked a lot is, “At what point should I hire an executive pastor?” This is an easy one to answer. Let me briefly sketch the challenges that must be addressed at every stage of growth up to 1,000 people so you can see the natural place this hire should occur. 200 Barrier
Breaking the 200 attendance barrier is all about changing the relationship between the senior pastor and the congregation at large. Up to that point, the congregation has essentially been one big group with the senior pastor in the center of it. To break that barrier, the senior pastor has to forcibly change the congregational culture by (1) creating multiple gatherings where people don’t see each other on Sunday morning, (2) driving hands-on pastoral care to other leaders in the church (by decreasing their personal accessibility and increasing systems for care) and (3) fanatically finding and raising up new volunteer and paid leaders to lead segments of the congregation.
to forcing decisions to be made by individual departments, led by a gifted leader meeting with a team (one staff, one all-staff meeting, five departments, five departmental staff meetings). A fundamental shift occurs at 600—the senior pastor shifts from hiring wide (individual staff members spread out to cover different tasks) to hiring deep (consolidating staff to focus on five to six departments and getting each department to have three to four staff members each). When this happens, the senior pastor goes from leading the staff through one staff meeting to transforming the existing staff meeting into a vision-casting, non-decisionmaking gathering, and then forcing department leaders to have their own staff meetings. In addition, the senior pastor will begin meeting one on one with department leaders. 800 Barrier
Breaking the 400 barrier is all about changing the nature of the governing board and the way it relates to the senior pastor. Up to that point, the average congregational governing board (elders, council and so forth) has run the church with the cooperation of the senior pastor and staff. I tell senior pastors I coach that, to break the 400 barrier, the governing board must be reorganized to allow the staff, under the senior pastor’s leadership, to run the church under their oversight. They must delegate day-to-day operations and decision-making to the staff and concern themselves with higher-level matters.
Pretty soon (sometime in the 700-800 range), the sheer weight of meetings, HR functions and building expansions becomes too much for the senior pastor. I remember when I was at this stage and about to lose my mind, so I brought in a pastor of a megachurch to teach me. My first question was: “I can’t keep this pace up. What do I do?” His response was simple: “You need to hire an executive pastor to run the staff, finances, HR functions and building expansions so you can focus on leadership, preaching, evangelism and generosity.” For the next two days, we mapped out how that shift would take place and the kind of person I should hire. Simply put, you hire an executive pastor when you are trying to break the 800 barrier. This person is often a rare leader with corporate experience and a heart for God. I’m praying that when you reach the 800 range, you’ll find God’s person to whom you’ll entrust your congregation.
“This person is often a rare leader with corporate experience and a heart for God.”
Breaking the 600 barrier is all about changing the relationship between the senior pastor and staff. The senior pastor has been recruiting and deploying staff who, in turn, oversee various aspects of children, students, adults, arts and finance/operations. To break the 600 barrier, the senior pastor must shift the staff culture from making decisions as an entire staff team (one staff, one meeting), 70 MinistryToday May // June 2016
B r i a n J o n e s is the founding pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley in Philadelphia. He is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, an author and a blogger at brianjones.com. © iStockphoto/Yuri
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MINISTRY OUTREACH: C H U R C H
PLANTING BY RON EDMONDSON
7 Things I Miss About Church Planting
How leading an established church is different than starting from scratch
only have four church experiences in vocational ministry. One was a traditional church where God allowed us to bring renewed energy and growth. I was also a part of two successful church plants. And for the last several years, I’ve been involved in the revitalization of a historic, established church. God has been so good to us in each of these churches—we’ve seen growth in the churches and the people. We have loved every experience. Recently, I was reflecting with one of our staff members who has never served in a church plant. As we shared stories, he was fascinated by how different things were at times in church planting versus the established church. Our conversation reminded me, as much as I love the established church, there are some things I miss about church planting. Here are seven things I miss: There are few “pew sitters.” Everyone has a job in a church plant— especially early in a plant, everyone feels needed. They know if they don’t do their part, Sunday will not happen. There’s an “all hands on deck” attitude each Sunday. Ownership is a shared mentality. People far from God feel welcome. People come to a church plant with fewer reservations or concerns that they won’t be accepted, even though most—or at least many— established churches would welcome them just as easily. I know ours will, thankfully. But perception can be a huge front-door barrier. I’ve stated numerous times in our established church that sometimes the steeple can be the biggest hindrance. Don’t misunderstand, I love and appreciate our building and the opportunities it affords us as a church. I even love our steeple, and I’m thankful for the sacrifices of those who built it long before I arrived. Great tradition and symbolism are involved. But there is something about the rawness of a church with no building, meeting in a high school, theater or rented storefront, which invites people who don’t feel they “fit in” a traditional church setting. You see people raw. I heard a cuss word almost every other Sunday in church planting—and it was a part of normal
conversation. They didn’t know “church” was a place for “nice” language. If they got drunk the night before, they told you. If they were struggling to believe in God, you knew it. There was no pretense. I would rather we all had “clean” language. Drunkenness is a sin. God can be believed without reservation. But it was refreshing to know where people really stood. There was no passive aggression or pretense— something I see often in the established church—afraid, perhaps, they wouldn’t be accepted otherwise. People bring visitors every week. People were so excited about the church they brought their friends. What a novel idea! Sure, it happens in the established church too, but it seemed to happen more frequently in a church plant. People in the established church often feel they’ve exhausted their contacts, all their friends are already in the church, or the newness and excitement of inviting has long since passed. (Obviously, this is one of the major mindsets to challenge in church revitalization.) Small steps are celebrated. In an established church, there are so many “mature” Christians—certainly people who know all the expectations of the church and appear to follow them—a newcomer far from God can often feel they don’t measure up at all. In a church plant, which often reaches people far from God, every baby step seems to be a major step. Change is expected. It’s not rejected. It’s not resisted. There are no politics or the “right people” you have to talk to before you implement. Everyone knows it’s part of the process. It’s in the DNA. Rules are not cumbersome. Granted, there were times we probably needed a few more rules. As our church and staff grew, we needed more structure. But the longer we are together as an organization, the more structured we become. And sadly, the more protective we become of the structure. It’s much harder to adapt. Those are a few things I miss about church planting. It’s an exciting time in ministry, and as hard as it is, it’s very rewarding. My prayers go out to my church-planting friends.
“People were so excited about the church they brought their friends. What a novel idea!”
72 MinistryToday May // June 2016
This article originally appeared at ronedmondson.com. Lightstock
MINISTRY OUTREACH: R E T E N T I O N BY RICK WARREN
Reach New People but Keep the Ones You Have Discover what plugs visitors into a church—and makes them want to stay
very church loses people. It’s a natural part of living in our current culture. Two to 3 percent will likely move away— more if you’re in an urban area. One or 2 percent will die. And some will just fade away and stop attending without connecting to another local body. Obviously these figures will vary depending on your local context. You can’t stop people from moving. You certainly can’t stop them from dying. But there is one group of people you can do something about. Some of the people who leave are people who started attending, became regular attendees or even members and then fell away within a few months because they never really became rooted. They simply didn’t stick. There are only two ways to experience net growth as a church: reach new people and keep the people you reach. You must focus on doing both of these. The biggest single difference between churches that are growing and churches that are struggling is that growing churches invite new people well. Promoting your church through advertising is a great idea, but most of the people who actually walk through the doors and experience what your church family is all about are people who were personally invited by a friend or family member. I believe social media is an extremely powerful medium for outreach because of its relational nature. With social media, the story of your church will spread from friend to friend, by natural referral. An overwhelming percentage of people who visit on a Sunday do so because of the personal invitation of a friend or family member. But most don’t actually join a church as a result of being invited by a friend. People join after they’ve listened to the preaching and the music, gotten involved in a small group or discovered something about your church that connected them more deeply. Getting the word out about your church and equipping attendees to invite is only half the equation. You must also focus on helping people stick long term, and the key is relationships. People will attend your church because of an invitation, or perhaps because of something they’ve seen or heard concerning your teaching or approach to community outreach. But people stay when they develop a deeper and more personal connection
to the body. They will come because they’ve been invited, but they will stay when they feel personally invested in at least two ways: hh They’ve developed closer friendships in a small group. hh They’ve devoted their time, talent and treasure to an area of ministry. Never confuse a crowd with a church. A crowd is not a church. A crowd can be turned into a church, but a crowd is not automatically a church. Purpose-driven churches are very intentional about moving people inward and outward at the same time. hh We move people inward from the community to the crowd by creating an inviting culture. hh We move people from the crowd to the congregation by asking them to commit to membership and by joining a small group. hh We help people in the congregation stay committed by developing the habits and disciplines of a disciple. hh We move committed people into our core by involving them in ministry to others. hh We send the core back into the community to reach others for Jesus. Your church members must be equipped to invite others to attend and to belong. And then to keep those who belong, the leaders of your church must work very hard on two particular tasks–plugging people into groups and connecting people in a ministry. The new attendees who will be part of your church a year or two from now are those who join a group and who join a team. After a big day, when you’ve had an enormous influx of visitors, it is vital to make it as easy as possible for people to know how to take the next steps of finding a small group and volunteering. We never move beyond the task of reaching new people, and we never give up the ministry of connecting people more deeply in relationships within the body of Christ. This is how churches grow.
“Never confuse a crowd with a church. A crowd is not a church.”
74 MinistryToday May // June 2016
Used with permission of the author. For more Ministry and Leadership insights from Pastor R i c k W a rr e n , go to pastors.com. Founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, Warren is author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century.
pture The Rapture The Rap cy Fullfilled Prophecy Fullfi Return Jesus AREReturn YOUJesus R ion Revelation Revelation R READY FOR pture The Rapture The Rap RETURN? cy JESUS’ Fullfilled Prophecy Fullfi CRIPPLED CHRISTIANITY is the one book Return Jesus Return Jesus R that prepares us for the return of Jesus. ion Revelation Revelation R pture The Rapture The Rap cy Fullfilled Prophecy Fullfi Return Jesus Return Jesus R ion Revelation Revelation R pture The Rapture The Rap cy Fullfilled Prophecy Fullfi Return Jesus Return Jesus R FREE ion Revelation Revelation R pture The Rapture The Rap SeeTheMystery.com • Understand the mystery the apostle Paul wrote. • Explore why Christianity is so little understood, even among Christians. • Find out a possible key to a last great revival. • Know the hidden work of The Blood. • Understand the conception of a believer. • Discover how understanding that conception arms you against the great deception. • Find out what the ‘giants’ of Noah’s day have to do with you today.
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L E A D E R S H I P
M A T T E R S
BY MARK TEDFORD
A Different Kind of Leadership
How Christian businesspeople bring their faith to the marketplace
eadership is a topic widely discussed in business today. The Christian businessperson may wonder how his leadership style should differ from a secular leader. In my 24 years in business, I have wrestled with that question. The primary difference between secular and Christian leadership is in ultimate purpose. For the Christian, the purpose of life, according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, is to “glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” This provides an overarching direction and boundary for the Christian businessperson that the secularist does not have. This ultimate purpose does not replace plans and purposes for the here and now, but it does require those plans to align with this transcendent purpose. The conceptual difference between the Christian and the secularists is between owner and steward. The Christian cannot, in any real sense, consider himself the ultimate owner of the business he leads, but merely a steward managing it for the Owner of all things. Therefore, he is not the final authority, but must answer to God for how he uses his authority and employs his resources. This point is made clear in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. It may seem that the Christian is limited compared to his secular counterpart and that this limitation would be a barrier to success. Upon further investigation, however, the Christian view of business is a superior worldview because it provides a purpose that transcends man and is more durable than any end man could provide for himself. Those familiar with secular business writers on the topic of purpose will note that they talk about the importance of purpose for engagement and meaning at work, and have acknowledged the emptiness of merely seeking only the company’s financial well-being. Although leadership author and TED talker Simon Sinek praises Apple for trying to put a computer in every home, he notes that the company struggled to find new purpose after it had effectively achieved that goal. In contrast, finding one’s purpose in God gives both deep meaning and durability. The Christian concept of purpose is also very flexible. In Matthew 25, the stewards who were given the talents were not counseled in any way on how to use them. One was even allowed to fail. Christian purpose is at once broader and more restrictive than it first seems. Christian leaders sometimes view leadership
as explicitly evangelistic, requiring staff Bible studies and prayer meetings and crosses on the office wall. This could be how a leader expresses his faith, but it’s not a requirement. Conversely, even practices considered in perfect alignment with the Christian faith, if they are not done unto God, can turn to chaff. Moving past ends and onto means, there are many areas of alignment with secular paradigms of leadership. Doubtless, this is because the Bible teaches truth, and its principles work, and it is important to note the areas of agreement as well as the differences. Even if the ultimate purpose of the enterprise and that of its owners are different, the success of the organization ought to be very important to the Christian. If we are to glorify God, we must note that He is not glorified by failure. The Bible is clear about the importance of having a good work ethic (Col. 3:23-25), making careful plans (Parable of the Tower) and seeking appropriate counsel (Proverbs). Scripture consistently chastises and calls foolish those who fail to do these things. Just because a leader has dedicated his venture to God does not guarantee that God will see it as successful when there is slack workmanship, weak leadership and poor planning. One mechanism that is clearly different for Christian leaders is in their use of the Scriptures. Obviously, the Bible is not a complete manual on how to run a business, but it does provide all of the divine revelation necessary to do so. Christian leaders should use the Word of God as a grid through which to filter all their decisions. There will be many decisions on which the Bible does not give guidance, allowing the leader to make the choice. The Bible does create a framework for the most difficult decisions the business leader must make. This approach could conflict with growth goals and strategies successfully used by secular thinkers, but to stay in alignment with God’s principles, it could be that the Christian has to subjugate certain goals.
“The Bible is not a complete manual on how to run a business, but it does provide all of the divine revelation necessary to do so.”
76 MinistryToday May // June 2016
M a r k T e d f o r d is a partner at Tedford Insurance, a second-generation insurance brokerage, and has business interests in transportation and real estate. After obtaining a Master of Business Administration at Tulsa University, he went to Biola University to broaden his studies and received a Master of Christian Apologetics degree. A regular speaker for business organizations, he serves on several boards and is chairman of the Oklahoma Apologetics Alliance.
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P L A T F O R M
BY DR. STEVE GREENE
Do you have a platform down the hall?
What seems like a chance meeting in the hallway may be a divine appointment
ometimes our best platform is a simple meeting in the hall. Leaders make use of every opportunity to build kingdomminded relationships. I want to share one such experience. I had a chance, five-minute hallway meeting with a pastor in 1971. I met Pastor Charles Green at Word of Faith, the church he and his wife, Barbara, founded on Read Road in New Orleans East. I met him because I sat next to his son, Michael, in our choir at Marion Abramson High School. Our choir sent 19 singers to the Louisiana All-State Choir that year. I distinctly recall Michael’s big bass voice, and I knew, even at age 17, that he was a special man. Michael and his wife, Linda, are pastors of Life Gate Church Ministries in Metairie and Mandeville, Louisiana. I haven’t seen him since graduation from Abramson. I’ve kept up with his music career and still have his first LP. I distinctly remember the day Michael and I went to see his dad at Word of Faith. I remember that our choir was going to sing at the church, and we were sent to take care of something. I know now it was a divine appointment. I cannot remember what he said to me, but I distinctly remember how he said it. He didn’t present the gospel to me; he simply made me feel he cared about me. I knew I wanted what he had. Pastor Charles had a very effective ministry with young people from the high school. He has helped thousands of students for over 30 years. I was one of them, and he didn’t even know it until recently. The seed he planted in me grew until I was saved at the age of 19. I have never forgotten that one encounter with him. The only reason I cannot forget him is that he made such a significant spiritual deposit into my life. Why else would I remember one moment in time from 1971 with such clarity? I can only conclude that the meeting was a Spirit-led appointment. I saw Pastor Charles for the second time at the memorial service for Oral Roberts. I was serving as the dean of the College of Business at Oral Robers University (ORU) at the time. I saw Pastor Charles in the aisle just before we were seated. I don’t know why I knew it was him, but I remember telling my wife, “There’s Charles Green!” I jumped up to
meet him as if he were a home-run hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals. I’m pretty sure he thought I was a nut! I didn’t know then that Pastor Charles served on Chancellor Roberts’ board of regents and was chairman of the advisory board. Charles was a very close friend and adviser to Oral Roberts throughout most of his ministry. Was it a simple coincidence that I would be sent to ORU 35 years after a meeting with this pastor? It seems to me that God had ORU in mind when he arranged for us to meet. A few weeks ago, I was with Charisma founder Steve Strang and Troy Duhon (See our MT21 story about Troy in this issue.) as we discussed God’s Not Dead 2 and the making of Christian films. I learned that Steve and Troy have been friends with Pastor Charles and Michael for many years. I suppose this was just another coincidence that we would work together. I believe I serve today at Charisma Media because Pastor Charles planted an effectual seed in my life. Leaders do what they do without many opportunities to learn of the impact of their work. I’ve been ministering the gospel for over 30 years without Pastor Charles’ knowledge. His impact on me has hopefully impacted the young people I’ve met along the way. Leaders have an amazing platform. We are always in play to do the work of our calling. Someone in need will be sent to us this day and every day. We can’t miss an opportunity to stop whatever we are doing and introduce someone to Jesus. In the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, as we walk our path, we will find appointments sent specifically to us. We can’t miss an opportunity to stop everything, to start something bigger than we could ever imagine. The impact of one chance meeting can impact generations. Thank you, Pastor Charles Green. God bless Harvest Ministries to the World.
“In the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, as we walk our path, we will find appointments sent specifically to us.”
78 MinistryToday May // June 2016
D r . S t e v e G r e e n e is publisher and executive vice president of the Media Group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. Follow his daily, practical Greenelines blog at ministrytodaymag.com/blogs/greenelines and download his Greenelines leadership podcast at cpnshows.com. Sean Roberts
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