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ur hearts are to support the Kingdom in these end times. The Presence was developed because my wife and I have a heart to help Christians become more alive and mature spiritually, as well as powerful while experiencing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. ;OL ÄYZ[ ,WPZVKL ^L ^LYL NP]LU PZ JHSSLK “Breakthrough”. This show is all about the process VM NVPUN MYVT :H]LK *OYPZ[ *Y\JPÄLK [V ILPUN Baptized in The Spirit and receiving the Power Gifts. Once a person By example, Father Rick and the Helsers show us makes it through lives that have made that transition.


;OL ZLJVUK ,WPZVKL JHSSLK “Take Every and Taking Every Thought Captive” is the story of Three Daniels. Daniel Thought Captive, the prophet, Daniel Ortega Reyes, congressman and counselor to the president of Nicaragua and that is the time Daniel Ortega - President, the third Daniel. The Lord to Lock & Load! led us to tell this story about the three Daniels and Ambassadors to the Nations. These people are showing us how to take our thoughts captive and be obedient to Christ. ;OL[OPYKLWPZVKL[OH[^LQ\Z[ÄSTLK^HZKVULPU0ZYHLS0[PZJHSSLK“Put On the Whole Armor”. In this show the Lord showed us that once a person THRLZP[[OYV\NO)YLHR[OYV\NOHUK;HRPUN,]LY`;OV\NO[*HW[P]L[OH[P[PZ[OL time to Lock and Load! This show is currently being edited and will air sometime PU:LW[LTILY^P[OHJVTWSL[LK[YPSVN`VM[OLÄYZ[[OYLLZOV^ZH]HPSHISLPUSVUN form in December. All of this material is free to those that ask, no obligation. To conclude:,]LY`[OPUN^LHYLKVPUNPZ[VOLSWZ[YLUN[OLU[OL2PUNKVT including providing a unique fundraising program that does not cost ministries any money or risk. Java Partners provides a source of support that can last MVY`LHYZ[VV\YWHY[ULYZILJH\ZLL]LY`VULKYPURZJVɈLLHUK[OLZPUNSLZLY]L method is growing at alarming rates in the US.

being discipled in that church and did not understand anything about how to HJ[ SPRL H *OYPZ[PHU ,]LU ^OPSL Z[PSS PU the honeymoon period of salvation, I walked away from the church and did not go back for 10 years until I met my wife Heidi. Together we experienced a spirit led life in a little charismatic church in Ohio; this is where I was baptized in the Spirit. I attribute this change to the way Pastor Dick led and KPZJPWSLKOPZÅVJR6]LY`LHYZ/LPKP HUK0OH]L^VYRLK[VNL[OLYPUHULɈVY[ to serve the Lord and help others along the way. However, something was still not right with me while I was doing that ministry. I carried an ongoing anger that manifested in the way I treated my wife and others at times. In 2008 right after our daughter’s marriage, Heidi and I were on the verge of a divorce. The Lord had other plans. Through some dear friends, Larry and Carole Arendas, I received deliverance prayer and on August 25, 2009, the Lord actually gave TL H UL^ ZWPYP[\HS OLHY[ [OH[ ÄUHSS` healed me of decades of anger and separation. The anger left; my love for my wife increased, and my discernment in how to hear from the Lord became more and more in my daily life. Right now Heidi and I are completing our journey as we follow the Lord’s leading to help others to be healed and walk, powerfully led by The Presence.

;OL ,_LJ\[P]L 7YVK\JLYZ HUK -V\UKLYZ VM [OLZL TPUPZ[YPLZ HYL 1VOU  Heidi White. Included is a short testimonial that hopefully will help demonstrate how they got to this place in life …

John White: Executive Producer

At age 22, I was saved in a little church in St. Louis Mo. Just before this, I was in the submarine force of the US Navy and basically was a wild Indian. My salvation experience was like a Damascus experience; I was blasted by the Holy Spirit and Jesus. However, it was not long before the enemy got in and separated me from the church. On two occasions, elders in the church used legalistic methods with me concerning minor issues, and at the same time all T`MYPLUKZ^LYLZH`PUN[OH[[OPZ1LZ\ZZ[\Ɉ^HZQ\Z[H^HZ[LVM[PTL0^HZUV[

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Avoid the Rush to ‘Fix’ Your Church Tech Team With Paid Staff By David Leuschner


MinistryToday September // October 2016

congregation, willingness to learn, and an even-tempered and patient personality. In our orientation, we use a few minutes of teaching, paperwork and video to communicate the need for these characteristics. Then we have instituted one critical step— an escape route. If a person feels he cannot handle what we are asking for, we allow him an “escape” so he doesn’t feel forced to serve. We simply say, “If this isn’t for

you, that’s OK.” We factor in a week or two between Step One, Orientation, and Step Two, Training, so the individual has time to walk away or make sure everything we are asking for works with his personality, skills and schedule. If a church doesn’t allow an “escape route,” volunteers who cannot handle the demands of the role will come into the system. Because they were not given the ability to “escape,” they may continue down the path of serving without the ability to meet set standards. The next step is volunteer training and talent assessment. Move the volunteers toward serving, and at the same time, track their progress and look for talent. Using the sports analogy again, it takes far more non-athletes than athletes to put on a sporting event. For instance, there are ball boys/girls, ticket takers, parking lot attendants and ushers. All of

these positions are designed to facilitate the event, but not all operate with the talent of the athlete. Many times the most important person on the church tech team will not be the technically talented superstar but rather the personality who coaches or encourages team members to strive for the next level. A volunteer coordinator may not have technical skills but likely has multitasking abilities, relational motivation or organizational skills. Achieving excellence with volunteers means the church needs a system that sets and trains to a standard while looking for tech superstars. Build the team step by step with coaches, trainers, a farm team, a minor league team and a pro team. Will you get this right the first try? No, but your reaction to a mistake is more important than the mistake itself. In Nehemiah 4, the Israelites grew weary and discouraged as they rebuilt the Jerusalem wall. Their enemies conspired against them, and eventually the Israelites stopped building. Then Nehemiah changed his plan and organized the people into teams. These teams were made up of families who supported others to accomplish the goal. Nehemiah learned from the issue, implemented what he learned, created a system that helped team members encourage each other and moved forward with the mission. Organizing volunteers in this manner will yield a successful and excellent tech team ministry for your church.  

      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).

G Made This

As leaders who provide oversight for the technical needs of the church, we have all asked ourselves one key question: “Can excellence be attained with volunteers?” But with churches turning to paid staff to “fix” a particular issue with the tech team, many have realized that hiring comes with its own set of problems. Tech employees can make the problem at hand even worse, especially when the church hires off a résumé. Rather than hiring, churches need to know it is possible to attain excellence with the right volunteers. Many times the people who can help are already inside the church and are willing to serve. Churches tend to pull the trigger on hiring from outside before looking inside for that gem of a team member. It may be stating the obvious, but tech team members need to have talent, and I understand the need to find that talent who can drive services toward an environment that encourages the congregation to enter into worship. To do this, the church needs a good on-boarding system. Consider how a professional sports team finds a player who has the talent to perform and a heart for the game. Even while young, the aspiring player is invited into a team system that determines both talent and heart. In the church environment, this is an orientation program that will set the table for finding people with a strong foundation. The church’s volunteer orientation program should allow tech leaders the opportunity to provide the vision for the church and clearly communicate the type of team members needed. This program should be designed to weed out people who don’t meet set standards. Start with these basic characteristics: a positive attitude, a commitment to the mission of the team, understanding that showing up on time is key, respect for the church, a heart for your

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Choose to Grow for the Betterment of Your Worship Team By Joshua Mohline


MinistryToday September // October 2016

2) Necessary conflict. Even if the team understands its goals and vision, conflict can arise. Sometimes it is because people think things should be done differently. At other times, conflict comes because a team member was offended or hurt by a decision. But no matter why conflict arises, it is not bad! Yes, conflict is good! Conflict is the only way to bring light into every situation. Without it, team members may internalize minor irritants, taking root and leading to bitterness. As a result, the next time an irritant arises, unresolved issues will exasperate the new situation. Approach conflict with the intent to understand the other person’s perspective. Create space for open and honest feedback, encouraging both parties to compromise for the relationship and for the good of the team. A good leader will actually initiate conflict when necessary instead of waiting on a team member to bring up the concern at hand. The leader who sets an intentional time on his schedule to speak with the individuals in discord will find a new level of respect and appreciation. 3) Healthy humility. A ‌ s the team finds direction and works through conflict, the leader must be humble before the Lord and the team. For instance, when a “follower” has a better idea or higher skill level than the leader, leaders may find it hard to admit. Immature leaders often feel like being in “leadership” means being the biggest, strongest, smartest, most talented person on the team, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. A great leader recognizes strengths in others and finds ways for those strengths even to surpass his own abilities. In the simplest form, this looks like trust and delegation. On a more complex level,

it demands an even greater exercise of humility from the person in charge. The leader must let the experts be the experts, and surround himself with as many of them as possible. When a leader empowers the incredible people on his team to be who God made them to be, the team as a whole will soar higher than the leader could have taken them. If a leader happens to be the best at everything, training and equipping become essential. He must find ways to bring team members up to a higher level. Enroll them in courses, send them to private lessons, give them books to grow their knowledge or bring in guest speakers for inspiration and information. The leader should always aim to create team members who know more and perform better than he does. Building and maintaining a team can be a challenge and a reward. But if the leader can remain humble and strong, the team will feel safe and free. The ultimate goal in all of this is to see team members become the best version of themselves, growing closer to God and into their destiny. 

      Joshua Mohline is director of WorshipU (, 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.

© iStockphoto/Alina Vincent Photography

Being both a team leader and a team member is one of the most exciting but confusing challenges for the worship leader. The exciting aspects include friendship, companionship, synergy, belonging and sharpening—a process that only happens in community. On the other hand, the confusing aspects come into play when questions arise about leadership, decisionmaking and disagreement. As a leader, it can often feel heavy or frustrating when the team navigates through “storms.” From one week to the next, it may feel like team members go from being best friends to mortal enemies. Entering these “storming” seasons, however, doesn’t have to set the team back to the Stone Age. Consider the following means to prevent these seasons, to work through them or to lend strength to the team in the long run: 1) Clear direction. C  asting vision can bring direction and unity to a team. If the leader doesn’t give a clearly defined goal for team members to work toward, the team is on its way toward falling apart. It’s critical to know where the team is headed as a unit. The leader must work with pastoral staff and higher leadership in the church to gain direction for the band. Start with these questions: What are the team’s long-term goals? What does success look like? What is a win? What is the weekly expectation of a team member? Where do you see each individual member in two to five years? As the leader clearly communicates with each member that he has a future, both individually and corporately within the team, confusion as to why each person is on the team will begin to dissipate. One of the biggest tasks of a leader is establishing the “why” of a team: why the church or band is going in the direction it’s going, why there are expectations for team members and why the goals set for the team even exist. Once a leader has established a why that everyone buys into, the “what” and “how” can be much more effectively executed.

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Make the Shift From ‘Volunteer’ to ‘Minister’

1) Volunteers can receive from God for the children in their care. 10 MinistryToday September // October 2016

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.

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ministry in a church is staffed by volunteers and has certain characteristics of a volunteer program in society, they do not both have the same theological understandings and beliefs. We should not confuse the two. Consider these principles key to the foundation of children’s ministry: hh We are a community of believers connected to the Great Commission, not a community program. hh We are commissioned by God to proclaim His Word, His works and His Holy Spirit to all communities. hh Ephesians 2:19 says we are members of His household. That includes children. How could volunteers have a low view of this work if children are members of His household? hh Children’s ministry is more than a volunteer program. In 2 Corinthians 9:12, Paul reminded the church in Corinth: “For the administration of this service not only supplies the need of the saints, but is abundant also through many thanksgivings to God.” The word “service” in this text is also used in Scripture speaking of servanthood. Children’s ministry leaders must help volunteers remember these points:

Publisher & Executive VP DR. STEVE GREENE

2) Volunteers are ministers in God’s eyes when serving in children’s ministry. 3) Serving in children’s ministry is more than filling a duty in the church. 4) God assigns children not to programs but to people. W  hen a church member sees her role as “just a volunteer,” the church is building a program. But when the volunteer views her role as a minister/servant, she is changing a generation through the children’s program. As a leader, make it your goal once a month for a year to pray that individuals who serve in the children’s ministries in your church and around the world view their role as members of God’s household filled with the Holy Spirit to do this special work. Do your part to break the mindset of volunteerism in your church; children’s ministry is more than a weekly program. Help your people understand that equipping the next generation is a calling, not a duty. As an overseer of children’s ministry, establish an opportunity for individuals within your congregation to connect to the mission, values and priorities God has put on your heart. For more than 30 years, I have taught a monthly “on-ramp” class for individuals in our congregation to connect with our vision for children’s ministry. In this class, individuals’ paradigms are shifted from seeing themselves as volunteers to ministers. When communicating your vision, remember these principles: hh Mission governs your life. hh Values govern your heart. hh Priorities govern your time. By understanding the mission and values of your church, you will then set priorities that will turn your vision into a strategy. This strategy will equip a generation to walk in the present and future power of the Lord. 


By Lenny La Guardia Recruiting volunteers for children’s ministry is no easy task. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do in church leadership is change how our members view their role in children’s ministry. Members need to understand that serving in this ministry is more than a volunteer effort or duty. Although the children’s

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In Defense of Ordinary Heroes

Pursuing passion may be admirable but can also lead to self-focus


he inimitable Bill O’Reilly now fines his guests who use any of several shopworn phrases. Notable among these is “at the end of the day.” Whether they actually pay up, I have no way of knowing. It may be a “theoretical” fine. However, watching O’Reilly from a distance, one tends to think they pay in cash before they leave the set. He does not seem the type to let such miscreants off with a scolding. While I have no power or inclination to fine anyone, I do find that there are several words and phrases that have worn out their welcome with me. Not the least wearisome of these is “passion.” Apart from either romance with my wife or in reference to the crucifixion events, I hope never to use it again. It seems that folks everywhere now feel obligated to have a passion for something. Art, food and wine apparently top the acceptable list. I recently met a woman whose passion for Amish furniture would surely be shocking to the Amish. No one is allowed to have an interest or, God forbid, a hobby. That would far be too prosaic. No, it must be a passion. Where all this passion for passion becomes more than mildly irritating, however, is when it collides with real life. Leadership gurus admonish us to “find our passion and pursue it.” While I may understand what they mean, I cannot help but think how such a platitude must grate on the nerves of folks who hold down quite ordinary jobs to support their families. How unreal such talk must sound to parents who work faithfully at tedious jobs in factories and high-rise office buildings who are not passionate about slaving away over a hot keyboard or slapping lids on pickle jars decade after decade. Theirs may not be passion-inducing jobs, but they stay at them, not to finally buy that Jackson Pollock they have always dreamed of owning but to pay for braces and mortgages and milk. Ordinary heroes, real-life heroes, live decently and sacrificially, hoping to give their children better lives than they themselves have had. They will not quit their jobs or desert their families and head off to New York to pursue their passion for street mime. What they will do is get up every morning and go to work. They buy life insurance to provide for others. They save for their old age so they won’t be a drain on their grown kids, and they are grateful to God for what they have.

At a certain university where I once served as president, I met a student whose father worked for the sanitation department. I doubt that dad had a passion for trash removal. He did, however, have a selfless dedication to see his son graduate from college. I may not be all that enthralled with passion, but I honor heroism, and that’s my idea of a hero. Passion is not a bad word, and lacking O’Reilly’s bully pulpit, no fines shall be levied for its nerve-jangling overuse. Even so, there is an issue with its current cultural expectations. Young people in the West, particularly in the USA, are being made to feel that they must have a passion, deserve a passion. Should real life in all its vicissitudes hinder their pursuit of that passion, their only logical conclusion is that God, the universe, life, whatever, is horribly, terribly unfair. No, passion is not a bad word. It is just not as good a word as duty, or sacrificial love. I am blessed to pursue my passion for teaching, preaching and serving. I admire great leaders whose consuming passion sets them alight. Yet those I admire the most are the ordinary heroes who do what they must without a burning passion or murmuring or bitterness. I met a single father with a child in a wheelchair. Abandoned by his wife, perhaps to pursue her passion, he lovingly cares for that little boy. Their mornings start very early. You see, it takes a long time to get the little guy fed and dressed and on the school bus for kids with special needs. The father’s budget is stretched and his hopes for any romantic future are nonexistent. What woman in her right mind, he reckons, would have a passion to buy into his life? The thing is, he does it all with a joy and a victorious attitude. What is his passion? The question has no meaning to him. In real life, he does what he must. He is not to be pitied because he never got to follow his passion. He would be disgusted by such an idea. He is not a pathetic figure—far from it. “At the end of the day,” he is an ordinary hero much to be admired.

12 MinistryToday September // October 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.

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Lessons From Cross-Cultural Ministry Overseas trip reveals Western misconceptions about the Chinese church


oving out of our own culture can be a jarring but educational experience. Recently I had the opportunity to visit China with Voice of China and Asia (VOCA), an organization whose mission is to reach China with the gospel, and I learned a few lessons. First and foremost, I understood that ministry in China can be difficult because of government restrictions, but it can be done and done effectively. Believers in America have many misconceptions of the Chinese church, most notably that it is only “underground.” But Christianity is openly practiced in China through the China Christian Council (CCC), which is the Chinese Protestant church. The underground church is active, but it captures our imagination in the West so much that we sometimes forget there is an open church. The second misconception we have is that the open church is nothing more than a government puppet that teaches heresy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The CCC must abide by certain restrictions, including a prohibition from speaking against the government, but in CCC congregations, I saw and heard only fervent worship and sound doctrine. The third misconception is that open and legal evangelism is not permitted in China. Although it is illegal for foreigners to evangelize, the Chinese are allowed to share the gospel personally. Evangelism is difficult in part because there is a severe shortage of Bibles in rural China. Public bookstores do not carry the Scriptures, and only provincial and city churches offer Bibles for sale. In rural China, they have neither ready cash nor transportation, so VOCA facilitates Bible distribution and provides motorbikes to pastor who preach in rural churches. The cultural and language barriers in China are so extreme that travel is impossible without an interpreter. As Americans, we tend to say whatever is on our minds, but the Chinese rarely respond directly, especially to say no. In China, you must “read between the lines” as your host may pretend he didn’t understand or will ignore your question if he doesn’t want to respond. Americans need to adjust to not having all the information they want. The Chinese government is resistant to Western influences and ideology. Unfortunately, many Christians wrongly mingle faith with Western ideology. We fallaciously think that along with Christianity, we must give other cultures our Western freedoms

and economic paradigms, but this only gets you in trouble in China. The Chinese rightly do not see Christianity, when properly contextualized, as Western. Instead, they see it as a stabilizing influence. Championing Western ideology would only shut down the work of an American believer in China. Choosing to engage in clandestine operations to drop Christian material in public places or illegally witness directly to the Chinese while delivering humanitarian care do more longterm harm than good. These actions upset local officials who may have been previously open to lawful ministry. Local church leaders are questioned and blamed for any rule-breaking because they are the known Christians in the area. When Westerners engage in such actions, the relationships of Chinese believers with government officials are damaged and legal activities are restricted. Western missionaries head back home thinking about how much good they have done and do not realize they may have actually reduced evangelism in the area. I learned two primary lessons in China. The first is how important it is to work within the context of the cultural and political environment. When working in a foreign culture, we must take the time to learn first about the culture’s assumptions, then evaluate our approach so as not to damage relationships. The second is that long-term success may require the outsider to work within the rules and with others. Would I have liked to have operated more freely and had direct interaction with the Chinese? Absolutely, but that option was not open to me. Instead, we worked with the Chinese church. Paul recognized different roles in ministry when he stated that “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6). We have to ask ourselves how important it is for us to do it our way or to get the recognition for our ministry. When we give up these preferences, we may gain the greater success.

“The underground church is active, but it captures our imagination in the West so much that we sometimes forget there is an open church.”

14 MinistryToday September // October 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 received a Master of Christian Apologetics at Biola University. A regular speaker for business organizations, he serves on several boards and is chairman of the Oklahoma Apologetics Alliance.

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Make the Call

Leaders must reject double-mindedness in favor of decision-making


erhaps this sounds familiar: You’re driving along, minding your own business, when a squirrel darts into the road ahead. There, in the middle of the street, he cuts left, then right. Finally, he freezes and gives you a brief “squirrel in the headlights” look. Thump, thump. Poor little guy. Squirrels might be furry and cute, but they don’t seem so bright. After all, they have two perfectly good options. They could run back to safety and cross the street at a more opportune time, or they could finish their dash and leave us pondering the age-old question, “Why did the squirrel cross the road?” Instead, they don’t make any decision at all—and end up as roadkill. Unfortunately, many leaders today suffer from some degree of “squirrel syndrome.” Rather than simply making a call, they get stuck in the paralysis of analysis. But for leaders, even church leaders, passivity should never be an option. “Passive leader” is nothing more than an organizational oxymoron. Successful, effective leaders make decisions. They reject passivity and refuse to let their business, vision and team suffer the consequences of indecision. Passivity and indecision are rooted in one common source: fear. That’s what leaves the squirrel so freaked out on the road, and it’s what derails so many leaders. In some cases, fear causes leaders to pull back because they don’t want to be criticized. If you’ve been a leader for even a minute, you know criticism comes with the territory. You’ll never please everyone all the time, so buckle up. Leaders make decisions despite potential criticism. Leaders also wrestle with a fear of failure. No one wants to be connected to something that flops—especially if it flops big! But the only people who don’t fail are the ones who never attempt anything. The very act of trying opens the possibility for failure. Leaders keep moving forward by making decisions. The Bible says that double-minded people are unstable in everything they do (James 1:8). The truth is, team members won’t follow passivity and indecision, but they’ll go to the mat for courageous, decisive leadership. Admittedly, there’s a big difference between making a decision and making a good decision. While no one hits a home run every time at bat, leaders can rely on some basic steps that increase the odds of making a wise choice. Here are four of them: 1) Draw a line in the sand by circling a date on the calendar. Deadlines serve as not-so-subtle reminders to pull the trigger by that date.

They provide motivation and accountability. 2) Gather as many options as possible. Examining options and walking through worst-case scenarios reduce fears, so train your team to bring you several possible solutions. 3) Run these options through these filters: hh Principles: See what your guiding values tell you about your situation, and determine how each option lines up with biblical principles. hh Prayer: Commit the decision to prayer. Before chastising the double-minded, James shared a great recipe: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5). God wants to help. Invite Him into the conversation. hh People: After you’ve sought God’s view, ask for advice from those who know more about the situation than you do and those who have been through similar situations. hh Perspective: Now that you’ve collected a lot of data, examine your context. That means asking tough questions: Where are we as an organization? Where have we been? Where are we going? How can we minimize risk? What are the financial and relational implications? Taking a hard look at reality often makes the right decision much easier to see. 4) Put it down on paper. After tackling these steps, you should have a much clearer idea of which direction to go. But if you’re still fuzzy, write a report to yourself describing the problem, the solutions and the timeline. Writing things down gives you an extra way to examine the situation and find answers. Regardless of how you get to your decisions, I implore you to actually make them. The most anxious people in the world are those who don’t—or won’t—make decisions. While passivity paralyzes the leader, being decisive sets you free. If you make a bad decision, don’t fret. Pastor Charles Swindoll has been credited with saying that 10 percent of life is what happens to you and 90 percent is how you respond to it—so make the call and then manage it. In the long run, your team will be more attracted to leadership based on focused values than squirrel-like indecision.

16 MinistryToday September // October 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, on Twitter (@chrisbrownonair) or on Facebook (chrisbrownonair.)

Ramsey Solutions

“Passivity and indecision are rooted in one common source: fear.”

Lightstock | © iStockphoto/ franckreporter; LuminaStock


Leading the Way for

Church Planters

Relationship-focused Association of Related Churches comes alongside fledgling churches like family BY KEN WALKER


avner Smith left the familiar confines of South Carolina so he and his wife could launch a church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His departure includes a series of miracle stories. First came the stranger who sent a DVD of a pastor in Chattanooga, preaching that whoever was thinking of starting a church in Tennessee’s fourth-largest city should go ahead and do so. Then there was the friend who didn’t know of Smith’s aspirations but called to relate a dream he had about Smith in which he saw a sign flashing “Chattanooga.” After Smith decided to go, he encountered an old acquaintance at a church conference. During praise and worship, the man tapped him on the shoulder and said: “The Lord’s saying the decision you’re making is the right one.” Even with all of those divine indicators, the church Smith planted, The Venue, wouldn’t be celebrating its third anniversary Oct. 13 without the help of the Association of Related Churches (ARC). The church-planting network provided seed money of $50,000 and an additional $7,000 during the congregation’s initial operational stages, along with $40,000 for the Easter 2015 opening of The Venue’s second campus in nearby Ringgold, Georgia. Financial support is a key, says Smith, former youth pastor at World Redemption Outreach Center in Greenville, South Carolina, the largest congregation in the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. Yet even that isn’t the primary reason Smith remains connected with ARC, which is based in Birmingham, Alabama. “I don’t think people come for the money anymore,” says Smith, whose nondenominational church started with 460 worshipers and now averages a total of 1,700 on Sundays. “I know people who come just for the training and relationships and don’t even take the money. “ARC has built a strong reputation around the theme: ‘We are family. We don’t do life alone, and we don’t do ministry alone.’ They offer events where you get to meet other pastors who do what you’re doing and build relationships. They help you when you’re struggling. If you have questions or problems, you can reach out to them.” That’s what Justin Dailey discovered after he launched Action Church in Winter Springs, Florida, in early 2014. Dailey labels planting a new work the hardest thing he’s ever done. “It was a case of absolute nerves,” says Dailey, former director of the school of ministry at Bayside Community Church in Bradenton, Florida. “We lived a half-mile from (Winter Springs) high school, and

September // October 2016 MinistryToday   19

I think (we) prayer-walked around the school 500 times.” That’s where access to ARC coaching helped guide the pastor beyond the launch phase; last January, Action Church started its second site in nearby Oviedo. Dailey calls the guidance on “do’s and don’ts” from church planters who launched congregations recently a “great” benefit. “It’s their accessibility,” says Dailey, who took over in June as ARC’s national coaching director. “Too often in the church, we like cool ideas but keep them to ourselves. We’re a church of 1,700, and I talk with a guy at a church of 2,500 and another one at a church of 4,000.” Such ringing endorsements reflect widespread admiration for ARC, which started more than 15 years ago. Although many of the founders came out of Pentecostal and charismatic backgrounds, the network is nondenominational and opens its tent to a variety of groups and affiliations. Praise for ARC comes from outsiders as well as affiliates. Chris Railey, senior director of the Church Multiplication

“They do such a great job emphasizing the importance of relationships and how important it is to have friends with you on the journey,” the AG leader says. “It starts with their lead team and permeates every aspect of what they do. It’s a value they possess that I see is attractive to church planters and helps them create a winning culture.”

Defining the Vision

Pastor Greg Surratt

Network of the Assemblies of God (AG), calls the network a “growing force” in church planting. Railey says ARC’s key ingredient is the strength of relationships within the association.

The origins of ARC go back to the fall of 2000 when six men—led by multisite pastor Greg Surratt and the late Billy Hornsby—gathered for a brainstorming session at Fellowship Church in Clinton, Louisiana, to further discuss their desire to help start new churches. The others included Scott Hornsby, Chris Hodges, Rick Bezet and Dino Rizzo, who is now ARC’s executive director. While on staff at Bethany World Prayer Center near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Billy Hornsby had created the Bethany Cell Church Network, which proved to be a forerunner of ARC. »

Church Planter Finds His ‘Tribe’ Through ARC When Matt Fry launched C3 Church in Clayton, North Carolina, the Association of Related Churches (ARC) didn’t exist. Yet a visit to Seacoast Church during a weekend getaway led to a personal meeting with Greg Surratt, resulting in Fry’s presence today on ARC’s lead team. Fry felt “blindsided” after C3 moved from an elementary school into its first building—because the church lost 100 members in the process. Even though 600 remained, the departures left the former youth pastor incredibly discouraged. After services that weekend, Surratt accepted Fry’s invitation to a round of golf. Afterward, Fry poured out his heart, complaining about the rigors of life as a senior pastor. At one point, he asked Surratt if Seacoast needed a youth pastor. Surratt deflected the question and continued discussing the realities of church life. “People come and people go,” Surratt told Fry, a Liberty University graduate. “That’s part of being a church plant. You see that storefront across the street? That was started by people who got mad at me and started another church.”

“The main thing I got out of those relationships was staying focused,” Fry says. “I realized I wasn’t alone. I just needed to keep doing what I was doing. It’s not like because of ARC, we changed anything. But we found our tribe, and it gave us a relational foundation. When we went through tough times, I had somebody to talk to.” —Ken Walker 20 MinistryToday September // October 2016

Caroline Howard

Soon after that conversation, Fry met former ARC President Billy Hornsby, who became like a second father to him. Without revealing his plans ahead of time, Hornsby drove to North Carolina to preach at C3 the Sunday after Fry’s father died. Hornsby also extended an all-expense-paid invitation to Fry and his wife to fly to one of ARC’s first national conferences.

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During Billy Hornsby’s frequent travels, he met Surratt. Eventually, the two strategized about how they could help provide training, resources and encouragement for church planters. Many planters find themselves alone and discouraged amid the daunting challenge of starting a new work. Back then, Surratt says the most common form of support came from pastors and friends of church planters who nodded assent and replied, “Ya’ll go ahead. We’ll be praying for you.” “What we saw was a gap between desire and readiness,” says the founding pastor of Seacoast Church, a pioneer in multisite development, in suburban Charleston, South Carolina. “We wanted to step in and help resource as many people as we could.” With no full-time staff or office space, Billy Hornsby agreed to serve as the first chairman of the board and eventually became its first president. Although ARC operated out of a home office for several years, it didn’t take long for the network to bear fruit. Its first two churches started in February 2001: Church of the Highlands— whose 30,000 adherents make it one of the nation’s largest—in Birmingham and New Life Church in Conway, Arkansas. Nearly 600 have followed, or an average of 40 per year. The development has kept pace despite Hornsby’s death in March 2011 after a five-month-long battle with cancer. ARC has continued through a “pay it forward” type of system. That includes churches reinvesting their grants in additional planting. Most forward 2 percent of offerings to the ARC, a system that last year generated $3.3 million to launch new churches. Surratt, who took over as president in 2012, calls it a tribute to Hornsby, that he had the foresight to create an organization that revolves around a system instead of a personality. “We’re a church-planting network and a relational network,” says Surratt, who founded Seacoast but recently relinquished the title of “lead pastor” to his son Josh. “We have a real defined vision of what we do. We help people launch well. We also are a place where you can relate to others and find friendships, encouragement and all that is necessary in ministry.” In addition to ARC’s domestic operations, affiliates have sprung up in four 22 MinistryToday September // October 2016

other nations: Ireland, Canada, Australia and The Netherlands. South Africa is due to start soon, and leaders from two other countries are exploring an affiliation. Michael Smith, the network’s operations director who focuses on the international work, says ARC’s goal is not to plant churches internationally but to act as a catalyst for such activity. “We don’t feel like we’re best at deciding who in Nigeria needs to plant

and how to coach them,” the operations director says. “A number of networks approached us and said, ‘We love your organizational and launch model. Would you help us form ARC in our country?’ They are autonomous but use our name.”

Supplying the Resources

Operating on a decentralized basis, ARC maintains a 27-member staff at its headquarters, although its online

ARC Plants ‘Life-Giving’ Churches The Association of Related Churches’ (ARC) connections in the church-planting world extend into the nation’s-largest Protestant denomination. Mac Lake, who is now senior director of planter development for the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board (NAMB), spent nearly seven years as leadership development pastor at Greg Surratt’s Seacoast Church. Lake departed from Seacoast in 2010 to help Brian Bloye start Launch, an initiative of West Ridge Church in Dallas, Georgia, west of Atlanta. The Launch network started more than 150 churches in five years before merging with NAMB. Launch’s materials and strategies are now part of NAMB’s SEND Cities strategy. Lake expresses admiration for ARC, saying Billy Hornsby and Greg Surratt built effective elements into the ARC network from the beginning. Lake knew Hornsby, the ARC’s first president who died in March 2011, as a relational leader. “He would take guys hunting and fishing,” the SBC church planter says. “He had a very strong relationship with planters. I love what (ARC) is trying to do. The term they use is ‘life-giving’ churches. That’s what they’ve been able to do. Some of the fastest-growing churches nationally are ARC churches.” In general, Lake says the temperature of church planting is on the rise. The theme of this year’s Exponential, the nation’s largest church-planting conference, is “The Coming Five.” The reference is to churches that reach level five and become reproducing congregations. Despite this groundswell, Lake says church planters face tremendous challenges, especially in fundraising and persuading Christians of the need for more congregations. “It takes a longer runway to be self-sustaining,” Lake says. “It used to take three years, and now it can be five to seven years. A lot of people don’t understand the evangelistic value of church plants.” —Ken Walker

24 MinistryToday September // October 2016

Pastor Greg Surratt brings the Word at Seacoast Church.

“Our coaches are successful church planters. They are maybe just a year or two ahead of where a current planter is. It’s the coaching and the quality of coaches that is the secret sauce.”—Greg Surratt to come alongside a couple and help them realize the dream God placed in their hearts. Sometimes rejection only means a dream delayed. During the summer, the pastor of a 2-year-old ARC plant told Surratt of going out to his car and weeping when the assessment team told him they thought he and his wife should wait a year. But then the would-be planter declared they needed to listen since they had trusted the assessment team would help them discern God’s direction. “They set aside the launch for a year but have more than 1,000 people attending now,” Surratt says. “That’s an incredible story. It was one of those ‘not yet’ answers.” Such anecdotes reveal why the association’s mutually supportive environment is so important, something Surratt again credits to Billy Hornsby’s leadership. He recalls learning more from his friend as he watched him prepare to die than while Hornsby was still living. At the time, there were about a dozen

on the lead team; now there are 21. Hornsby called them together and issued their marching orders. “It almost felt like Paul with the Ephesian elders,” Surratt says. “He said, ‘You guys have got to love one another, support one another and never, ever forget the little guy.’ That was so Billy. When he was gone, for a period of months, we felt a little bit lost. How do you replace a Billy Hornsby?”

Reaching the Unchurched

Although ARC has networked with the AG and other charismatic groups or denominations, Michael said a primary reason for maintaining its nondenominational stance has been the larger issue of reaching a lost culture. Through the years, he notes that nonChristians have expressed their distaste for churches’ perceived irrelevance, focus on money and neglect of children’s wellbeing. The operations director says those are issues people have with the church rather than with God. »

Justin Brackett

coaching, resource materials and videos extend its reach well beyond Alabama. The online training includes a series of launch essentials—videos that review the eight steps of starting a church: hh Building a foundation of prayer to reach the city hh Building a launch team hh Selecting a location hh Connecting with givers and forming a financial plan hh Advertising to the community hh Creating a great weekend hh Developing a healthy government hh Establishing a “life-giving” church culture In addition to online offerings that include blogs on multiple topics, ARC sponsors a pair of national conferences, hosts a series of monthly training workshops and offers individual coaching on a grass-roots level. Surratt says asking which is the most effective is like asking which of his children he likes best, but he thinks individual coaching makes the most difference. “Our coaches are successful church planters,” Surratt says. “They are maybe just a year or two ahead of where a current planter is. It’s the coaching and the quality of coaches that is the secret sauce.” One example is Chris Hodges, founding and senior pastor of Church of the Highlands, who formed the Grow Network when he sensed God leading him to help 1,000 churches break the 1,000-attendance barrier. Other pastors have formed informal hangouts that meet in 15 to 20 cities each month. However, one of the most crucial elements of ARC’s success is its rigorous screening. It starts with exploring the launch process, completing a profile and video training, attending a two-day training event and completing an application and interview with staff. Five to 10 planters per weekday start the process, but each year only between 75 and 100 secure one of its grants, which range from $30,000 to $50,000. That approval figure may be one reason ARC reports a higher-than-average fiveyear survival rate of 93 percent. While only a minority make it, Surratt says one of the most rewarding aspects of the network’s mission is when it gets

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“If the church can answer (those concerns) and say, ‘We do want to be relevant. We want to give you something that will help you in life and help you raise your kids and help you find freedom and purpose,’ then you’re answering a question,” Michael says. “You’re helping connect with the unchurched. That’s what I think a church planter has to do. They have to bridge that gap. Established churches are great, but after a time, they’re going to grow more from transfers and within. A new church plant—that’s what they do, connect with the dechurched and unchurched.” When ARC started, it set a goal of starting 2,000 churches by the year 2020. Although it will take major developments to reach that number, Michael says he doesn’t wake up in the morning wondering how ARC can make it. Instead, he remembers that what matters most is relationships. That reflects one of his favorite sayings: You have relationships and the mission, and while the mission may be more important, without relationships, you won’t fulfill the mission. In the end, Michael says what the ARC leaders chose not to do is as crucial as what they did, namely, not to license, ordain or issue ministerial credentials so it could maintain a focus on relationships. 26 MinistryToday September // October 2016

“We believe there’s a place for it, but for us, that was an important piece of what the values and culture were going to look like,” he says. “We don’t send couples to a certain city; there’s no giant map on the wall. We don’t say, ‘How are we going to get more churches in Minneapolis or West Palm Beach?’ We come alongside a couple who has a dream and help them resource that dream.” Surratt hopes to remain a part of that dream as long as he is a pastor. While taking on a more advisory role in both his church and ARC, he says he wants to “die with my boots on.” The grandfather of 14 doesn’t think of retirement as an option. Instead, he sees his role changing to one of cheerleader for the next generation of church leaders. “It’s so much fun to go to one of the trainings and know that many of the men and women you are pouring into will become the church planters of the next generation,” Surratt says. “It’s mindboggling. I tell our guys regularly that the greatest churches America, and now the world, will see have yet to be planted.” K e n W a l k e r is a freelance writer and book editor from Huntington, West Virginia. He is a longtime contributor to Charisma and Ministry Today.

© iStockphoto/FangXiaNuo

ARC celebrated with church planters and pastors from around the world at the dedication of The Billy Hornsby Center for Church Planting in March 2015.

© iStockphoto/ ZargonDesign; JDawnInk; TheerapolP


Developing an organization when you aren’t naturally gifted



ost people who enter the ministry start with a burning passion and a sense of calling to impact lives and make a difference for Christ. Such was the case for my wife, Katie, and I when we began Teen Mania almost 30 years ago. We only had a couple-hundred dollars, but we were armed with a vision: “Build an army that will change the world!” As we began traveling in our little Chevy Citation, we went to speak at youth rallies wherever anyone would have us. We started Acquire the Fire, a traveling youth conference designed for regional impact for thousands of teens each weekend, in 1991. In the next few years, invitations, crowd sizes, budgets and favor increased—and impact exploded! Before long, we were visiting 33 cities each year, first hosted in churches, then megachurches, then auditoriums and arenas and even stadiums!

The Overscheduled Leader

In the midst of all this growth, an increasing burden of leadership began to weigh heavily on me. Within a few short years, we had turned from a startup to a multimillion-dollar organization. After leasing and then outgrowing several locations, we purchased a campus and began to

build a permanent headquarters. We hired more employees and added to our intern program each year, ultimately employing 200 at a time and housing 900 interns. My schedule was consumed with travel every weekend to speak to up to 200,000 youth each year, and do the work of planning, budgeting, inspiring, running board and staff meetings, and handling ministry at large to conferences outside our own. Throughout our 30-year history, being face to face with more than 3 million teens and taking nearly 80,000 young people around the globe was more than I could have imagined when Teen Mania began. The favor from regular appearances on all the Christian media outlets and through features on ABC’s Nightline, CNN, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and even the front page of the New York Times added to the momentum and impact but also to the busyness of my schedule. My weekly schedule was like a roller coaster with a twist. Instead of going around the same track, it went in unpredictable drops and exhilarating G-forces with every passing day! As a ministry grows and impacts more people, how do we prepare to lead that which God blesses? For me, it seemed as though I was so busy and had no one to tell me what I should be focusing on next. How should I lead this organization

September // October 2016 MinistryToday   29

to reach its fullest impact? I finally got a clue: I needed to learn how to lead. But I didn’t know where to start. I discovered people actually write books on this topic, and I dove into all of John Maxwell’s books. As I consumed books by the dozens, I felt worse after reading each one as I learned of all the things I was not doing right. The more I read, the longer the list became.

The Reluctant Leader

I tried not to start my own organization. I looked for any ministry leader or pastor I could find to see if I could work within their context to reach youth and send them to the nations. But I could find none, so I was compelled to start Teen Mania. I felt a genuine burning in my soul for this generation but also felt that no inborn leadership talent or gifting had ever surfaced in me. Just because you can minister and preach without putting everyone to sleep doesn’t mean you can lead an organization with agility. I continued eagerly learning through classes, seminars and mentor relationships. I even attended a Harvard Business School program for company presidents and connected with the world’s greatest gurus of leadership. But I learned the hard way that just because you get information in your head doesn’t mean you can implement it, and just because you learned, that doesn’t mean you won’t forget it. My last 10 years have been a blur, as our organization survived the Great Recession, dealt with changing youth culture and reinvented our business operations. When everything is moving fast, you think about meals for survival, not dessert. Leadership seemed like dessert to me.

The Transformational Leader

It could be said that our initial point of influence or leadership is found in Jesus’ command to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). Loving people one at a time and preparing each day to have some kind of a transformative impact on individuals is the beginning of creating a transformational culture in ministry. In Leadership Theory and Practice, P.G. Northouse observes that transformational leadership is “the process whereby a person engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader 30 MinistryToday September // October 2016

“In our struggle for legacy, we as leaders need to make sure we don’t simply have an organization but a life-giving organism authentically touching lives.” — Ron Luce

and the follower. This type of leader is attentive to the needs and motives of followers and tries to help followers reach their fullest potential.” While transformational leadership creates an atmosphere that evokes positive change in people, it also has demonstrable impact on the productivity of an enterprise. As a meta-analysis of 39 studies showed, “transformational leaders were perceived to be more effective leaders with better work outcomes than those who only exhibited transactional leadership,” Northouse adds. Transformational leadership also moves followers to “accomplish more than what is usually expected of them,” he writes. In The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner prioritize encouraging the heart as one of their five fundamental practices to enable leaders to accomplish extraordinary things. Rewarding others means paying attention to their needs for recognition, and Northouse exhorts leaders to use “authentic celebrations and rituals to show appreciation and encouragement to others.“ Kouzes exhorted me personally when he signed my copy of the book: “Ron, love them and lead them.” That really says it all.

The Servant Leader

When God gives a leader the vision to impact the world, the natural impulse is to

do all he can to get those who buy into the vision to stay focused and productive in seeing it become a reality. Servant leadership theory implores leaders, however, to focus on the “good of the followers over themselves, and focus on the followers’ development,” according to Northouse. In this sense, the leader is truly serving those he leads and striving to pursue the dream God has given. This is a gauge that is rarely looked at when trying to fly the leadership plane. As leaders, we serve those we lead, “by equipping them to serve,” according to C.G. Wilkes, author of Jesus on Leadership: Timeless Wisdom on Servant Leadership. Even when I knew I should pay attention to others’ personal needs, the passion driving me to reach the masses often overcame the passion to help those who were dedicated to the vision. In addition, with such a ragged schedule as well as spiritual and operational pressure, it seemed too often there simply was no emotional energy left to love and genuinely care for those needs. Hence, there is a great need to have inner and outer regulators to help keep the leader’s need for rest, love and spiritual health in proper priority.

The Strategic Leader

Ultimately, in any organization, change must happen or the organization becomes a lifeless institution. Although John Kotter and others have written

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about change management — which I devoured — it seems I was never fully able to get our organization to embrace the change necessary to address the challenges that youth culture and churches now face. As Christian leaders, we can get so committed to our “old wineskins” and keep trying to force new wine into them. Sometimes it’s just necessary to lay aside the old wineskin and find a new structure, one that enables the new strategies needed to bring the gospel to a new generation. Many Christian organizations have continued to exist after their founder’s leadership season, but few have kept the passionate fire and strategic edge for relevant, life-giving ministry. In our struggle for legacy, we as leaders need to make sure we don’t simply have an organization but a life-giving organism authentically touching lives. After much counsel from our pastoral leaders and mentors, we laid aside the Teen Mania wineskin so we could prepare for the next season of impacting the 1.8 billion youth worldwide and helping the church engage accordingly. Whatever our next assignment, we are sure the structure of our organization will not be a hindrance but will help fuel the fruitfulness of our mission. My heart is so full of gratitude to the Lord and the thousands of pastors and youth leaders who rallied around the vision with us for three decades. So many supporters, prayer partners, interns and volunteers made impacting millions of teens possible. What an adventure it has been, and I am truly humbled at all we were able to accomplish together.

The Skilled Leader

How does an average person, at best, with a heart for ministry begin to make sense of leadership theories? I discovered that most theories and practices address either hard or soft skills. Those who focus on such hard skills as accounting, organizing and goal setting easily dismiss the soft skills. While soft skills are less scientific and measurable—although many researchers and writers now would make a valiant argument against that notion— touching people’s hearts and keeping them inspired and emotionally involved in the mission of the organization is imperative if we are to have a life-giving ministry, not just an efficient organization. 32 MinistryToday September // October 2016

First and foremost, leaders must pay attention to the inner life. Scripture is replete with exhortations that point to the importance of keeping wholeness flowing from the inner man. Verses like, “As he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7) and Jesus’ sharing, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34) demonstrate the undeniable importance of the inner life. Authentic leadership streams from the inner core and demonstrates “selfawareness, internalized moral perspective and relational transparency,” Northouse says. This world has taught us that outer living, not inner success,

operational specifics that needed to be solved. In some seasons, I was more proactive on setting strategic times to get away with the team to plan for the future, but when income would get excruciatingly low, I would be pulled more into the day-to-day struggles. When times are good, it’s time to force leadership to work on the overall organization, including culture, strategic direction, new products, board building and macro relationships for strategic alliances. But just because you spend time on these, as I did, does not mean you have done the job. The key is defining breakthrough opportunities that take the

Teen Mania’s East Texas headquarters was the nerve center for the ministry.

is what we need to focus on at all costs. We hear in the secular world and translate to our ministry professions that results bring rewards and esteem from our peers. Pride could also be lumped in with the inner life, but it is so sinister and debilitating it deserves its own special treatment. Pride’s heinous force can begin to motivate our actions at any moment. If we assume we are proud rather than wait for pride to be revealed, it compels us to humble ourselves and rend our hearts in humility as we start each day. Before any leadership skill is learned, Wilkes begins the process of becoming a servant leader with “humbling your heart.” Along with these soft skills, hard skills—including working on our organization versus working in it; studying the work of other organizations; taking risks; and maturing our systems— are also important. Although I had a strong team, I was involved in the leadership meeting every week, which many times devolved into

entire organization to a whole new level. In seeking to develop our organization, we were always hungry to learn from others. I would seek out both spiritual and business leaders who had gone much further than me and ask what seemed like a million questions. We encouraged our leaders to be learners as we sought to do new exploits that had never before been attempted in youth ministry. For example, when we were planning our first stadium event in 1999 for the Silverdome in Michigan, our leaders spent time shadowing the Billy Graham and Promise Keepers teams. When leaders are attempting things that have never been done, or done in the way they are trying, it is imperative to learn as much as possible from others’ experience. Leaders must look at the principles others used and apply them to their own enterprise. Taking leaps is also an important hard skill. As an entrepreneurial leader, taking leaps is normal. As a ministry leader, however, too often it is easy to play it



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safe, but taking leaps is the only way to attempt great exploits. This is scary on many levels, including risking reputation, time and money. But Kouzes and Posner affirm the need for leaders to challenge the status quo. “They always look for opportunities to do what has never been done,” the authors write. Of course, we have to recognize it is also a risk if leaders do nothing out of the ordinary—the risk of marginal impact and minimized life. It’s the risk of not mattering at all. Organizations must also pay attention to their systems and infrastructure. As leaders, it is our responsibility to build operations that meet the needs of the best interests of the organization. This was always a struggle for me as we grew from a mom-and-pop organization into a ministry with a national presence and impact. But the leader must hire competent executives to keep the infrastructure growing in tandem with the organization. When systems do not reflect the intent of excellence the ministry espouses, the people the ministry serves don’t feel valued. As a result, they begin to feel disrespected, and the ministry that once touched their heart is now perceived as driven by people with ignoble motives. As Proverbs 18:19 says, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city.”

Teen Mania challenged young people— including the Luces’ daughter Hannah, right—to share their faith.

Thousands of teens served on short-term mission trips through Teen Mania.

Photo caption here

The Rested Leader

For 24 years, I traveled almost every single weekend, leading and speaking at our Acquire the Fire events. I would always bring one of my three children, or once a month, my wife would come. On one occasion, I brought both my girls, who were about 8 and 9 years old, since we were in Tampa, Florida, and could visit Busch Gardens amusement park before returning home. To the girls’ utter delight, the park was almost vacant that day and lines were virtually nonexistent. We went from one roller coaster to another until they found their favorite and proceeded to ride it over and over again. Since there was no line for this ride, we would run out the exit all the way around to the entrance and proceed through the aisles until we made it back into the same compartment we just 34 MinistryToday September // October 2016

left. As we furiously pursued that same ride as if we discovered secret treasure, I found I was still disoriented from the last ride. Torturing my equilibrium in a 150-mile-per-hour contraption made for fun, I found I didn’t have time to recover between rides. I began to feel nauseated and got a throbbing headache after about the fourth tour and finally had to sit and rest. Maybe that’s why the aisles are so long even if there are no people, insisting riders take a long walk before re-entering the ride. I had to get off the roller coaster for a season in order to enjoy it again. That is exactly what I’m planning to do now with the leadership roller coaster. Even the best of us can get nauseated from the dizzying

effect that leading an organization can have on our soul’s equilibrium. Let’s make sure we continue to enjoy the leadership journey we are on by taking enough time to get our bearings without the pressure and responsibility of leading. We survive the leadership roller coaster by escaping from it now and then. R o n L u c e has written 30 books for youth and their parents and hosts a weekly TV program/You Tube channel. He has spent 22,000 hours face to face with millions of youth as he hosted Acquire the Fire conferences. He led Teen Mania for 30 years before transitioning to focus on helping global church leaders engage the 1.8 billion youth of the world. He can be reached at


Capital Congregation

Pastor Mark leads a baptism service at his church’s Echostage campus.

Pastor Mark Batterson

National Community Church runs Ebenezers coffeehouse serving Capitol Hill.

Adam Mason/Mason Photography | NCC Media | Š iStockphoto/ olegtoka; Arvila

How Mark Batterson reaches the unchurched and dechurched with unconventional style



astor Mark Batterson doesn’t claim to have evangelism and modern-day “church” all figured out, he’s just doing it differently. Twenty years ago, on the day Batterson and his wife, Lora, hosted the first service at National Community Church (NCC) in Washington, D.C., 19 people showed up for worship. Today, NCC has entered megachurch territory and is one of the most buzzed-about congregations in the U.S.. The eight campuses of the multisite congregation meet in movie theaters in the heart of the nation’s capital. Professors and doctors, congressional leaders and future presidential candidates attend, creating a melting pot of influence. Yet NCC’s distinct location in America’s political hot seat is simply icing on the cake. It’s the congregation’s vision for reaching emerging generations—especially those with an aversion to traditional “church”—that’s captured the attention of believers and nonbelievers alike. “We exist for the person who isn’t here yet,” Batterson says of this driving vision. As NCC’s founder and lead pastor, Batterson—who holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Regent University—has also earned respect as an author, boosting the national profile of NCC. Having penned the New York Times best-seller The Circle Maker, and his latest, Chase the Lion, among numerous other titles, Batterson has a voice that resonates with a segment of the population who wouldn’t otherwise engage with Christian culture. “We want to translate the gospel message into a language culture can interpret,” Batterson says of NCC’s philosophy, adding, “We’re orthodox in beliefs, but we’re a little unorthodox in practice.” With the November election on the horizon, it would be easy for Batterson and

his team to water down their message or give in to the political agendas competing for America’s vote right outside their doors. Yet Batterson says they discuss issues, not candidates. “Since day one, we determined that we would be apolitical, and what we mean by that is we’re not going to touch party and candidate,” he says, adding that he thinks that’s often what attracts the leaders of Capitol Hill to his congregation. “People know that, and I think they know it’s a safe place where they can come.” While the church strives to stay politically neutral, leadership also realizes NCC has an opportunity to be a resource and support system for government leaders and policymakers. “From Joseph to Daniel to Nehemiah, God put people in places of political influence, and so we celebrate it, but we don’t believe it’s the end all, be all,” Batterson says. “We really try to preach the kingdom, which is very different than preaching politics. The kingdom of God predates democracy, and it will postdate it into eternity, so we really try to encourage people who are in political office. We celebrate it.” The pastor also affirms NCC won’t compromise its beliefs for the sake of trends or cultural appeal, yet innovation flows freely throughout the lifeblood of the church, manifesting itself in various elements of ministry, including worship style,

September // October 2016 MinistryToday   37


Anyone who visits the church’s website and watches its latest weekly message will quickly find that the sermon series is introduced by an elaborate film trailer. NCC’s media, on-screen graphics, marketing material and social media have become crucial gateways to reaching the unchurched. People in the D.C. area often will listen to NCC’s podcast or watch numerous weekly sermons before finally mustering the courage to walk through the doors of one of the church’s theater campuses, so the church ensures its online presence is just as inviting and hospitable as its door greeters. Art is of utmost importance, and NCC members are encouraged to dream, design, build and create. “Michelangelo said, ‘Criticize by creating,’ so our mantra is, let’s write better books; let’s produce better films; let’s start better businesses; let’s start better schools,” Batterson says. “With the help of the Holy Spirit, let’s do what we do and compete for the truth. You’ve got to do what you do with a degree of excellence.” The pastor sees every creative endeavor as an opportunity to reach someone for Christ.

National Community Church by the Numbers • Eight campuses • 50 percent single • 50 percent 20-something • 34 mission trips in 2016 • 150 organizations supported in D.C. • 12,000+ people in attendance at six Easter Extravaganzas in 2015 • 100,000 pounds of groceries given away during Convoy of Hope outreaches • 150+ small groups • 144 countries where podcast is available • 10 years running a coffeehouse • 1 million customers served at the coffeehouse • $2 million given to missions in 2015 • 126 missionaries supported around the world

38 MinistryToday September // October 2016

“The medieval church used stained glass to communicate the gospel message to an illiterate generation,” Batterson says. “We’re talking to a post-literate generation, and so we try to leverage any and every means that we can, and one way to do that is through creativity. The brain processes (type) on a page at a hundred bits per second, but it processes picture at a billion bits per second. So a picture is really worth 10 million words, and so we want to use the screen as postmodern stained glass.” Yet he admits leveraging social media as an evangelical tool can be a tricky tightrope to walk. “When it comes to social media, I think moderation is good for us all,” he says. “You can’t reduce complex theology to 140 characters. I think you’ve got to know what you’re using it for, why you’re using it and then use it for that purpose. I think, then, it’s a good thing.”


While quality aesthetics and artistic integrity play a vital role in getting people through the doors of the church to hear and experience the gospel, NCC’s eight locations simply serve as home base for a congregation that infiltrates the D.C. area. “A church that stays within its four walls isn’t a church at all,” Batterson says. The congregation isn’t waiting for people to come to them. They’re meeting people where they already are. That’s why in 2006, NCC opened Ebenezers coffeehouse, a communal gathering space that’s been consistently voted the No. 1 coffeehouse in D.C. It’s owned and operated solely by the church with every penny of profit going to missions. To date, the coffeehouse has raised more than $1 million to fund global initiatives around the world. “Jesus didn’t just hang out in the synagogue, He hung out at wells,” Batterson says. “Wells were natural gathering places in ancient culture. Coffeehouses are postmodern wells.” A few months ago, NCC also opened its own movie theater—the only theater on Capitol Hill. It’s a second-run movie house, which means it receives films after they’ve hit the big theater chains. However, NCC controls what the theater shows and how its uses the venue. “It’s amazing how many people in our

© iStockphoto/Arvila

community events and a robust online presence. Still, Batterson sees NCC as just one evangelical flavor in a wide spectrum of solid offerings. “I think we need lots of different kinds of churches because there are lots of different kinds of people, and so I think every church has a unique church print. ... God is big enough and the gospel is big enough to reach absolutely everybody in an absolutely unique way, and that’s a testament to a God who is omnipresent,” he observes. “We don’t pretend to have all the answers. I’m not sure we’re doing it better or worse. We are trying to do it a little different.” The difference lies in three core convictions that form the church’s central DNA: hh The church ought to be the most creative place on the planet. hh The church belongs in the middle of the marketplace. hh God’s going to bless us in proportion to how we care for the poor in our city and how we give to missions. “If we had an operating system, that would be our OS,” Batterson maintains. “That really is the driving engine.”

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NCC celebrated its first event at the Echostage campus in fall 2015.

Batterson says. “If something’s near and dear to God’s heart, get involved in that, and that’s a good way to be right in the middle of God’s perfect will.”


community who are unchurched and dechurched, their first encounter with us is in that context,” Batterson says. The church also supports more than 150 local ministries and nonprofit organizations in the D.C. area and is funding and building a Dream Center to mentor children. But Washington isn’t the only place NCC is intent on entering the marketplace. The reach of the church extends far beyond America with a new multipurpose space in Berlin, Germany, that functions simultaneously as a cafe, art gallery, coffeehouse and music venue. NCC’s impact isn’t limited to Berlin. In 2015, the church gave $2 million to missions, and this year, it will host 34 mission trips. “Missions is a huge part of our heartbeat,” Batterson says. “We want to grow more so we can give more.” Church members are encouraged and empowered to give their time and resources to opportunities that Batterson says “create a culture of 40 MinistryToday September // October 2016

servanthood and outreach.” On a local level, NCC hosted six Easter egg hunts last year. Dubbed “Easter Extravaganzas,” these events were free and open to the public and attracted more than 12,000 people. In addition, NCC hosts Convoy of Hope outreaches, where it has given 100,000 pounds of groceries to families in need. Capitalizing on the church’s location, its Freshmen of the City group is an ingenious way to engage newcomers. The small group is open to anyone new to the D.C. area, which often includes interns flooding the capital for the summer or people moving into the city following the ebb and flow of an election cycle. Whether engaging with the people outside its front door or helping those in need on the other side of the globe, NCC ultimately desires to be actively involved in kingdom work around the world. “Anything that breaks the heart of God, I hope it breaks our hearts,”

L i n d s a y W i ll i a m s is a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. She contributes to a variety of print and online media outlets, including HomeLife, ParentLife, Nashville Lifestyles and CCM. She blogs about Christian music at

Nick and Erin Donner

“If you’re really preaching the gospel and doing it with authenticity and with some creativity and some hospitality, you can’t keep people away.”

With investment in creativity, engagement in the marketplace and an unwavering commitment to missions, life change has become a natural by-product of NCC’s three-pronged approach. “If you’re really preaching the gospel and doing it with authenticity and with some creativity and some hospitality, you can’t keep people away,” Batterson maintains. “When they know you’re making a difference around the world, people want to be a part of that. I think that’s what turns you into an outreach-oriented church.” He admits being a missional, biblically based congregation that stands firmly on its convictions isn’t always easy or popular, especially living in the nation’s political epicenter. But Batterson also thinks it’s high time he and his fellow kingdom builders explore uncharted territory in terms of reaching those outside normal evangelical circles. “I would really challenge pastors and churches to get outside your comfort zone,” he says. “We’re a very diverse church in terms of racial demographics, and I think too many churches are just reaching a very homogeneous slice of culture. I think we’ve got to do a better job of going into some tough places and really trying to stretch ourselves.” Batterson believes the ideal strategy to achieve that goal is to multiply and make disciples. “The best way to reach new people is to plant new churches, and so I would also challenge churches to be churchplanting churches,” he continues. “For people who sense and feel that call, you’ve got to step up and step in, and I think that’s sometimes the most effective way of reaching people who are unchurched and dechurched.”

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Unleash Your Unfair Advantage in Business How Christians in the marketplace benefit from the leading of the Holy Spirit BY JIM HARRIS


elievers in business have an unfair competitive advantage that few recognize and even fewer leverage. I see it every day. Faithful Christian business leaders work incredibly long, hard hours yet fail to unleash their unfair advantage with its unlimited potential to create, design, build, innovate, sell, engage, redefine and dominate their market space for God’s glory. Sadly, this unfair advantage is readily available. What are we missing? What are we not recognizing?

Our Misguided Thinking

44 MinistryToday September // October 2016

© iStockphoto/g-stockstudio/andresr

To unleash our advantage, we must first recognize two glaring truths. First, Satan leads the world of business. As soon as you leave the anointed, safe confines of your church, you enter enemy territory (John 12:31; Eph. 2:1-5, 6:12). The enemy bombards everyone in business, saved and unsaved, with the same thoughts, ideas, best practices, trends and misguided wisdom. In his vicious, winner-take-all corporate environment, he seeks to steal, kill and destroy anyone or any business he can (John 10:10)—especially those led by Christians (1 Pet. 5:8). Second, within this enemy environment, it is incredibly easy for us to be misled— just like our unsaved competitors. Here are seven primary ways any believer in business can be misled: 1) Head-led leaders crave reports, research, spreadsheets and critical thinking to make decisions. 2) Money-led leaders allow everything financial (cash flow, profit margin, EBITDA) to drive decisions. 3) Opportunity-led leaders jump at every open door as a sign. “This must be from the Lord,” they say. They fix their sights on the next big break, strategic alliance and every unexpected offering as a “divine appointment.” 4) Pressure-led leaders claim to work better in emergency or crisis situations. They delay decisions until the very last second, often with fear and uncertainty. 5) Feeling-led leaders constantly assess their emotions before making a move. Statements like “It just does not feel right” or “This feels really good” reflect their decision-making criteria. 6) Innovation-led leaders are enamored with the latest technology platform, upgrade, software, website design, marketing technique or any other “cool” idea. 7) Expert-led leaders quickly embrace the latest management fad or idea gleaned from a conference speaker, industry magazine or business book. Their teams are often inundated

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Our Unfair Advantage

The frightening reality is that the vast majority of born-again, Spiritfilled business leaders are led just as the unsaved are. It is incredibly easy for us to get drawn into being led by these same methods. And when we do, we have no distinct competitive advantage as we battle within enemy territory only with our feelings and flesh. Here is the good news: All believers have an oft-untapped, unlimited, allpowerful, unfair advantage in business and in life—one we can fully leverage to maximize eternal kingdom impact. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. ... The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:14, 16). Believers in business who are led by the Spirit of God have within them 46 MinistryToday September // October 2016

the One who can: hh Direct your path (Prov. 3:4-5). hh Help you and lives within you forever (John 14:16). hh Guide you in all truth (John 14:17, 16:13a). hh Teach you all things (John 14:26a). hh Bring to your remembrance all things He said to you (John 14:26b). hh Tell you things to come (John 16:13). hh Reveal to you the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10). hh Freely give you all things (1 Cor. 2:12). hh Offer you the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). The greatest business decision you will ever make is to purpose in your heart to always and only be led by the Holy Spirit. So how can you make this big shift—from being a world-led business leader to a Spirit-led business leader? Here are six keys to unleashing the power of Holy Spirit in your business: 1) Practice. “His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it’” (John 2:5). It takes practice to excel in anything, from sports to parenting to business. Start small by asking the Holy Spirit

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“should I” questions such as: hh “Should I meet with this person or that person?” hh “Should I attend this meeting?” hh “Should I call this customer now? If not now, when?” hh “Should I go to lunch here or there? What should I order—this or that? As you do, you begin to fine-tune your inner witness to recognize His voice, His promptings, His desires. 2) Check before you act. “Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). Jesus checked everything He was about to do with the Father. He never let the pressure of the situation dictate His response. The best example is the pressure-packed example of the adulterous woman. In John 8:3-9, in the middle of preaching to the temple crowd, religious leaders interrupt His sermon, march down the aisle with a scantily clad woman caught in the act of adultery — a setup for sure . W ith stones in their hands, they demanded Jesus answer a question with two bad options: kill her, which destroys His message of love and salvation, or let her go, disobeying the law. An angry mob, an anxious crowd, a scared and embarrassed woman—the crowd knew someone was going to die, either the woman, Jesus or both. Now that was pressure! So what did Jesus do? Answer immediately? Ask them clarifying questions? Worry, fret or show anxiety? No, He slowed down, knelt to write in the dirt, blocked out these distractions, ignored their repetitive requests for an answer and checked in His spirit for what to do. His response was nothing short of a revelation from heaven. As you practice, you lay the foundation to check in your spirit for the Holy Spirit’s direction, oftentimes a revelation from the Father on your next step. 3) Seek a witness. “It seems good to me also” (Luke 1:3a). “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28a). Strong’s Concordance defines the word 48 MinistryToday September // October 2016

“witness” as “to jointly testify; corroborate by concurrent evidence; bear joint witness.” There are two levels of witness. First, it can be singular—your spirit bearing with the Holy Spirit inside you. That was Luke’s witness to write his letter. Second, the witness can be with another believer, where the Holy Spirit in you bears witness with Himself living in the other person. This is what occurred at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, where it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and all the preachers together. Seeking a co-witness to corroborate your witness is fine. Ultimately, however, as the leader, the decision is yours and yours alone. 4) Quench not the Spirit. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:16-19). Let’s all agree that there is a way to quench the Spirit. I’ve done it plenty of times and so have you. We do it by ignoring Him (Mark 8:18), smothering Him (Luke 10:40) or grieving Him (Eph. 4:30). So how does this look in your business? Consider these situations, when: hh The facts say one thing, but the Spirit says another. hh The experts say one thing, but the Spirit says another. hh You decide to move forward come hell or high water. hh You stubbornly cling to the belief that failure is not an option. hh You refuse to seek a co-witness. hh You allow a longtime customer’s rudeness and profanity to insult your employees. hh You turn your head as your top salesman cheats on his wife. When you sense the move of the Spirit in your business, allow Him to flow. Don’t quench His move to guide, direct and improve all you do. 5) Don’t be moved. “But none of these things move me” (Acts 20:24a). You have practiced, checked in your spirit, perhaps gotten a strong co-witness and have purposed not to quench the Spirit, whatever He tells you to do. Now is the time the enemy will do everything in his power to fill you with doubt, uncertainty and fear—anything to keep you from fully


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“Because it’s an issue of life, and God is the author of life, then we must be in life-related issues. For us it’s a priority and it should be a priority for any pastor concerned about comprehensive ministry.” —Dr. Tony Evans Senior Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship

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In his speaking career, Dr. Harris has addressed a variety of groups such as the Florida Assisted Living Association.

This third installment of the Life in the Spirit series, Holy Spirit Baptism, provides a simple understanding on what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is and how to receive God’s power and His gifts through it. Ignite the fire within you by reading Holy Spirit Baptism today.


50 MinistryToday September // October 2016

to pray these types of prayers: hh “Sun, stand still” (Judg. 10:12). hh “Give me that mountain” (Josh. 14:12). hh “Oh, that You would bless me indeed” (1 Chr. 4:10). hh “Prosper us in all things” (3 John 2).

Our Unfair Advantage in Action

So how do you get started? Remember: hh God does not lead you through your holy mind. hh Money is merely a tool—not the goal—of your Christ-centered business. hh Not every opportunity is a part of your assignment from the Lord. hh The enemy forces your decisions through fear. The Lord prompts your decisions through the witness of the Holy Spirit. hh Your emotions are real and powerful but should not lead you. hh Distractions are a tool of the enemy to override the Spirit’s still, small voice. hh Whatever leads your leader leads you. hh Integrate the six keys to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit into your daily leadership. We have the ultimate unfair advantage living within us. My prayer is for every believer to purpose in his heart to always and only #BeLed. D r . J i m H a r r i s is an international speaker, adviser and coach to executives, entrepreneurs and pastoral teams. He is author of 14 award-winning books, including his latest, Our Unfair Advantage: How to Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business. Sign up for his weekly blog at

Nen Yao

What does it mean to be baptized by the Holy Spirt?

implementing the Spirit’s witness. He will pull out his full artillery and viciously attack you when: hh All the numbers do not seem to add up. hh The majority opinion is against you. hh Competitors flee as you enter. hh Common sense says it’s a dumb move. hh Everyone is saying, “Don’t do it.” hh Success looks bleak at best. Yet remember, your ultimate unfair advantage is guiding you. He has already confirmed to you that this decision is of the Lord. This is the time you must stand firm in His decision. Even with foreknowledge of suffering and imminent death, Paul refused to be moved from his call, his destiny. 6) Pray bold prayers. “Now, Lord, look on their threats and grant that Your servants may speak Your word with great boldness” (Acts 4:29). In the first recorded prayer of the new church, after threats from the establishment, the saints did not step back and fade away. Rather, they prayed for more boldness, not less. When they did, their house was shaken, they were all filled with Holy Spirit, and they spoke with boldness. Their prayers were answered! Most believers in business today continue to pray sincere but puny prayers such as: hh “God, bring us some new business this month.” hh “Help us solve this difficult customer problem.” hh “May we make payroll this month and pay all our bills.” Now is the time for the believer in business to step it up. Today is the day for you

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© iStockphoto/ismagilov; Yuri_Arcurs; Igor Zhuravlov; Vladimir Piskunov; Сергей Хакимуллин


Directed by God Translating His voice to great effect in the marketplace BY SHAWN BOLZ


he prophetic is God’s gift set to believers that touches on real economic issues. God wants us to be able to interpret His heart and plans and then translate them to the marketplace. Recently I met with a group of investors for a time of spiritual consultation. Often I am brought in to help people translate what God is saying in the marketplace. My goal is to help them hear so that when they act on the words they receive, their human efforts will turn into empowered opportunities. I want them to receive wisdom on how to take huge steps forward in business. Jesus provided the model for this type of connection with daily life. He taught His disciples how to pray and listen to God. His goal was for the disciples to be connected both to the heart and the voice of His Father. On this occasion, my clients explained some of their projects, noting what was working and what wasn’t. It was fascinating to listen to them because they were selfaware and project-aware, but the problem was that most of what they wanted to do wasn’t lining up with what was available to them. These investors believed they were supposed to option some silver mines and invest in a mining company in the Northwest and more in the South. As we talked, I had a real-time experience in that I could feel all that these men wanted. I could tell what their values were and how they wanted to change the world with resources. Even though they had been “wounded” at times by great investment risks, they were willing and hungry to try again. In this moment, I felt like I heard God’s voice in a download of information that was similar to a smartphone being updated. My spiritual processor got updated, but attached to the information I received were feelings of God’s love and affection. I heard God say some letters, numbers and the name of a company. The investors were astounded because they said the name was that of the obscure mining company

in which they had decided to invest. The letters were the equipment identification number for a type of drill that was needed to drill deeper. The drill was owned by that company, and the numbers were the financial margin of risk they had just agreed to take on for this project. After they confirmed what I had heard, we were all in awe. God had spoken to them and led them this far, and my prophetic word was a final confirmation of their direction. This experience proves an amazing concept to wrap our minds and hearts around: God speaks specifically, not just generically, today.


We should never minimize the way our relationships with God give substance to the world around us. God had a plan for millions of years before He ever created humanity. It was a plan that involved all the things and people we care about: our families, businesses, political structures, education, science, art, creativity—it encompassed all we dream about and is actually far bigger than our dreams. As we learn who God is and connect to His real, active and living heart, we start to see the thread of the way things were supposed to be in creation. We begin to see the world around us not as it is but as He desires it to be, in the full capacity for which it was created and intended. This is what we need to train ourselves to see. Romans tells us: “For those whom He foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified” (Rom. 8:29-30). As people on a spiritual journey, we wrestle with the fact that we are supposed to see God’s heart and then have faith in what we see—even when the opposite sometimes looks true. The Bible is filled with stories of God speaking September // October 2016 MinistryToday   53


God wants to interrupt business people with a spiritual encounter that will bring transformation to the marketplace. Take Paul the apostle as an example. He was on His way to a destination he had picked, but then he had a vision of a man saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9). He was so moved by this vision that he changed His plans and went on the long journey to Macedonia. Arriving on the Sabbath, he went down to the river to find a place to pray. While there, Paul didn’t meet the man he saw in his vision, but instead, he met a group of women (Acts 16:13). We don’t know why the women were there, but one of them, Lydia, owned a very highend business selling purple silk. When Paul met with them, they had such an amazing encounter with God through Him that everything changed. As a result, church historians believe this region was one of the most transformed by Christianity. In just a few years, the economy and government became some of the most developed of their day, and many attribute this to the fact that the gospel spread through Lydia and her friends in business.


For the Christian business leader, spirituality bridges God’s resources to their companies. Like Lydia in the New Testament, God connects business leaders with many people who then bring about change in an entire industry, region or culture. Believers who have had a life-changing encounter like Lydia did can cause ripples in the marketplace. God speaks today, and it isn’t always a quiet process. Jesus promised that after His resurrection, God would speak more, not less. He promised the believers of His day that the Holy Spirit would tell them everything that was in the Father’s heart (John 16). As we interact with God, our lives will be radically impacted by His loving nature and heart for us. I’ve seen this happen in Fortune 500 companies but also on a local level. 54 MinistryToday September // October 2016

For instance, I was able to prophesy over a couple—with no previous knowledge or connection to them—and shared with them that I saw them as busy as bees and that God was going to bless their honey home. It turned out they had just started a beekeeping business—and the name? Honey Home Honey. I’d even called out the name of their business! After only a year in their startup, they had their first successful financial season. A startup normally takes years to be in the black, and it took them only a season. They just sent us a jar of honey to celebrate what God had done. God wants to interact with believers in the marketplace, accelerating and multiplying what they are doing. Through them, He wants to move on behalf of the world, seeing way different results than they would experience without Him. The beekeeping couple now have a voice because they did not handle their business the normal way. God did it His way when He translated His heart to them.


When we hear from God, we can translate who He is, not just what He wants. We look at the Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at the Son and see God’s purpose in everything created (Col. 1:15). As we hear from God, we receive a blueprint or roadmap for what to do with our influence, skills and talents. As we connect with Jesus, He shows us the how and where, but even more importantly the who. The who are the people He loves whom we are called to reach. We are God’s who as well—He wants us to benefit from everything He does through us, especially in the marketplace—but He also wants our success to impact others. A ministr y born during the

Korean War in the 1950s offers an example of the effect we can have on others. Pastor Everett Swanson left his home in Chicago to minister to the American troops there during the war. Troubled by the sight of hundreds of war orphans abandoned by society, he started a Korean orphanage. The nonprofit born out of Swanson’s trip, Compassion International, paired people from the West with Korean children in a sponsorship program. The goal was to spiritually and physically care for that generation by sending a monthly stipend to cover a child all the way through school. Many of Compassion’s first group of Korean kids went on to graduate from college and took places of influence in their country. They have helped Korea become a reformed nation politically, economically and socially in the past 50-plus years. There may be no other country that has had a turnaround this huge—from an occupied Third World nation to an economic competitor in several world markets. Hearing God’s voice can set a framework to change a whole industry or nation. If we hear His heart about ourselves, our relationships, our companies and our countries, we can begin to get the big (huge!) picture God sees. The world we once saw as vast and overpowering can become connected and pliable. As we travel on this journey of trusted prophetic words and their fulfillment, we will start to multiply our efforts to believe for the impossible. Although we may take astronomic risks, the rewards will be crazy as well! In the marketplace, we can navigate through obstacles with grace—problems others can’t even get through despite having the highest level of education. The world tries to solve most of its problems by throwing money at them, but as Christians with the Creator living inside of us, we solve problems through our relationship with Him. With God, it has truly always been about relationship first. S h a w n B o l z is founding pastor of Expression 58 church ( in Glendale, California, and author of Translating God: Keys to Heaven’s Economy and Growing Up With God. Learn more about his ministry at

© iStockphoto/Yuri_Arcurs

about resources, land, stewardship and occupation. God has always spoken into the world of business.


The Shoe How an orphan’s critical need That Grows gripped a young man’s heart

“Our mission is practical compassion, and by that, we mean we want to do the small things that make a big difference.” —Kenton Lee

© iStockphoto/egal



ollege student Kenton Lee didn’t know a little girl in a white dress would change the trajectory of his life. After finishing his studies at Northwest Nazarene University in 2007, he decided to test his dream of becoming a full-time missionary. “I thought I would be missionary, but I’d never been on more than a one-week trip,” he says, so after graduating, he ventured forth to Ecuador for a half-year, then spent six months in Kenya. While in Kenya at an AIDS orphanage, he says he “noticed this little girl in a white dress standing next to me with shoes that were way too small. It really bugged me, stuck with me. I asked the director: Why do so many kids have shoes that don’t fit?” The director explained that the last time they’d received donations had been a year before, so the children had to make do with what they had. That meant their growing feet either had to fit uncomfortably into their shoes or they had to cut off the toe portion to let their toes grow freely. The director had to spend precious resources on food only,

which prevented him from getting the children new shoes as they grew. More than 2 billion people struggle with soil-borne illness, according to Lee’s website “There are over 300 million children who do not have shoes. And countless more with shoes that do not fit. Sometimes they receive donations of shoes, but these are kids. Their feet grow. And they outgrow donated shoes within a year. Right back where they started.” This problem niggled at Lee. “I remember thinking that it would be nice if a shoe existed that could adjust and grow,” he says. “I also realized a growing shoe would make sense for donors— instead of donating shoes year after year, they could donate one pair and that could last a few years.”

Impact From Idaho

As his plane landed in Idaho, however, he realized how much he loved his state and how he had missed home terribly. “I realized I couldn’t be a missionary,” Lee says. “I loved Idaho so much.” So he asked himself: “What could I do from Nampa, Idaho, for the kingdom that will September // October 2016 MinistryToday   57

have an impact on kids?” Slowly he worked on the idea of an adjustable shoe to see if his invention would go anywhere. At first, he figured other people must be tackling this problem. Surely a manufacturer had designed a shoe that grew as a child grew. “I’m a huge fan of not recreating the wheel,” he says. “I don’t need to start something that was already there.” After careful research, Lee realized his growing-shoe concept was unique. No one had yet designed it, so then he tried to give away the idea. “We contacted Nike, Crocs and TOMS to give the idea away, but nobody wanted it,” he says. He thought maybe he and his team weren’t explaining the growing shoe thoroughly enough, so they made a video to describe their vision. Still, no one bit. “So we tried to do it ourselves,” Lee says. “I went in the garage and tried to piece something together. This was not a very good idea at all.” Around that time, he launched

Because International (BI) with three people on the board of directors who were local friends. They wanted to create a nonprofit organization that could launch products like The Shoe That Grows. “Our mission is practical compassion, and by that, we mean we want to do the small things that make a big difference,” Lee explains. “The shoe story is a great example of that. It’s a small thing that makes a really big difference for these kids. Basically, Because International asks the question, ‘What are innovative products that are small things that really make a big difference with kids around the world?’”

Prototypes From Portland

Lee continued to think about the shoes and his frustrating garage invention attempts. Then, in a roundabout way, BI connected with a small shoe company, Proof of Concept, in Portland, Oregon, whose aim was to help people make prototypes for shoe ideas. The company loved Lee’s growing-shoe idea. “They were so excited,” Lee says.






“We’ve distributed 50,000 pairs of shoes. I trace it all back to that little Sunday school class and pastor John. I would have never expected it to happen, but God orchestrated it.”—Kenton Lee

“They took us through a yearlong process” of design and prototypes, ending with 100 pairs of shoes. They have two sizes, small for ages 5-9 and large for ages 10-15, and both shoes can grow five sizes during their lifetime. The shoes are manufactured with simple materials—snaps, leather, compressed rubber—with no high-tech parts that might break. Because of this, the shoes are easy to figure out and simple to clean. They’re also easy to transport. Because of their design, they compress easily. A short-term missionary can fit 50 pairs in one suitcase. Right after Lee got married, he and his wife took 100 pairs of these growing shoe prototypes back to Kenya, then donated the shoes to four different schools so kids could test them for a year. “We got great feedback,” he says. “There were a few things we needed to change and fix.” They launched a few, small-scale fundraising projects and held concerts to raise money for manufacturing. As a result,

3,000 pairs of shoes were created. “They lived in our guest bedroom,” Lee says. “We slowly started getting them out.” The missing piece, he soon realized, was getting the shoes to the children who needed them most. They asked: Who are the people out there working with kids, traveling, right there in the trenches? They discovered many organizations doing just that and connected with ministries and churches sending teams on mission trips. This worked well because they already had folks on the ground who knew the needs of their communities. Lee’s focus then was creating products, not distributing them. “We thought, let’s not focus on distributing the shoes themselves, but provide them as a resource for people already working with kids who need them,” he says. This kind of model fit the DNA of Because International well. “Hopefully we’ll always be in that type of mode,” Lee says. “We will never really distribute ourselves, but instead we’ll connect with people, churches and organizations

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already working with children.” That way, BI can intelligently distribute items according to specific needs.

Solutions From Struggles

BI operated on a shoestring budget, but then something unexpected and exciting happened. “My life was very simple then,” Lee says. “I was a pastor of a small church in my neighborhood. We had shoes in our guest bedroom. Then we accidentally went viral. We weren’t trying to make that happen. Overnight, we had so much interest and demand that we quickly sold out the rest of our shoes.” It all started when Lee spoke to a Bible study group of senior citizens in Nampa. Lee had made it a goal to talk to anyone who showed interest in the shoe and its ministry possibilities, so he was happy to speak to this small group. That talk led to meeting their pastor, John, from a small Methodist church. “John contacted his daughter in Portland who worked as a reporter

for a news station there,” Lee says. She loved that the shoe was designed by a company in Portland. As a result, she did a four-minute on-air TV news segment on a Tuesday night. “It was a simple news story, but it was the biggest publicity we’d ever had,” Lee says. “We got a few phone calls, then 10-20 emails at first. But then people started sharing on Facebook.” Soon after the broadcast, someone shared the story with a friend who was a reporter at Buzzfeed. That reporter called Lee and said he’d love to do a story on The Shoe That Grows. The Buzzfeed article aired on a Friday in April 2015. Soon other significant news organizations—Reddit, Yahoo and Huffington Post—picked up the story, and business took off fast. “Since then, we’ve distributed 50,000 pairs of shoes,” Lee says. “I trace it all back to that little Sunday school class and pastor John. I would have never expected it to happen, but God orchestrated it. It’s very humbling.”

Since then, BI has started a second practical compassion project called Bednet Buddy. It came about after they spent time listening to people in East Africa share their specific needs. That’s part of BI’s way of doing things. Rather than duplicate what someone else is doing, the group would rather partner with another organization and humbly listen to the people there who already have amazing ideas. BI found out that 80 percent of the people who die from malaria are children aged 0-4. These little ones are just not as strong as their older counterparts, and they don’t always sleep with a mosquito net. “Either they’re not sleeping under it, or it’s not a priority,” Lee says. “But in many cases, they can’t use it because they don’t have a ceiling to hang the net from.” The Bednet Buddy is a pop-up net tent that collapses to become very small and portable. It’s freestanding, so there’s no need to hang it from a ceiling. Three nets are included with a collapsible frame. »

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“These aren’t white or boring nets— ours are going to be fun,” Lee says. One net is colorful, and the other two will feature an animal or the night sky. “It’s our hope that the Bednet Buddy will be a more functional resource for the kids so they’re excited to sleep underneath it at night,” Lee says. “We’re going to ‘trick’ them to sleep underneath it, hoping to increase malaria net usage for the littlest children. We’re excited to see if this will be a good solution in the fight against malaria.” The shoes and the bednet are not solely produced in the United States. Instead, BI wants to partner with manufacturing operations in the countries where the products will be used. “Our big goal with every project that we do is to not only have a product that helps kids but to also use the production to help indigenous people through job creation,” Lee says. “We hope to be a part of stimulating the economy, so we’re actually connected to a small factory in Ethiopia. We’ll produce 5,000

Kenton Lee, right, with his wife, Nikki, and son, Kenny

shoes there. We really would love to produce the shoes in the places they’re being used the most, to bring a few jobs and influence the community. We’re going pretty slowly on it, but that’s the big goal, to have distribution on site.” BI is in the “listening stage” for its next project, Lee says. “I don’t want the idea

to come from a guy in Nampa, Idaho, but from those who live every day in poverty. We want to hear their ideas on how their lives could be easier and better, to see their kids become healthier and happier. I know they have great ideas. They’re very resourceful people.” “I’m just a normal guy from Nampa,” Lee says. Still, he wants to bring change to the parts of the world struggling under the weight of poverty. In light of that, Because International exists to “create daily, simple small products that make a big difference for children around the world.” “I am kind of a simple, straightforward guy, so it works for me,” Lee says. “No red tape. Let’s just help people.” M a r y D e M u t h is the author of more than 30 books, including Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Makes You Worthy (Baker Books). She lives in Texas and speaks around the world about God’s powerful re-storying of our lives. Learn more at




For free downloads, reading plans, Bible study tools, and more visit:


5 Ways to Hear From People Different Than You


ne of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen leaders make is forgetting everyone doesn’t think like the leader. I’ve made this mistake many times. We assume what we are thinking is what everyone else is thinking—wrong. The fact is people are different. They think differently. They

have different desires. Many times, thankfully, they have different ideas. The way they process and share those ideas is different than the way the leader operates. This can be frustrating, but it can also be extremely helpful! If the organization is limited to my abilities, it is going to be very limited. So if you recognize the need and want to lead people who are different than you–and you should–you’ll often have to lead differently than how you wish to be led. Frankly, I’d be comfortable leading by email, but how healthy would such an environment be? When you fail to remember this principle of leadership–people are different–you frustrate those you are trying to lead. You get poor performance from the best leaders on your team, and worst of all, your team fails to live up to its potential. Here are some thoughts to guard against this: 1) Intentionally surround yourself with diverse personalities. One intentional thing I do is try to have good friends who stretch me as a person, even outside my work. I have some extremely extroverted friends, for example. They remind me everyone isn’t introverted like me. On any church staff I lead, I want some different personalities to complement mine. Building my comfort with this in my personal life helps me welcome it even more in my professional life. We will all share a common vision, but we should have 64 MinistryToday September // October 2016

some unique approaches to implementing it. Ask yourself, “Have I surrounded myself with people who think just like me?” 2) Ask questions. I ask lots of questions. I give plenty of opportunity for input into major decisions before a decision is final. We do assessments as a team. I have quarterly meetings with direct reports. We have frequent all-staff meetings. Periodically I set up focus groups for input on various issues. I want to hear from as wide a range of people as possible. I try to consistently surround myself with different voices, so I receive diversity of thought. I place a personal value on hearing from people who I know respect me but are not afraid to be honest with me. 3) Never assume that silence means agreement. This is huge. I want to know, as best as I can, not only what people are saying but also what they are really thinking. To accomplish this, I periodically allow and welcome anonymous feedback. I realize, because of position, and partly because of personalities, some are not going to be totally transparent with me. I try to provide multiple ways for feedback. Even during meetings, I welcome texting or emailing me (depending on the size and structure of the meeting). I’ve found this approach works better for some who may not provide their voice otherwise. 4) Welcome input. This probably should have come first, but this is–honestly–more of a personal attitude. I have to actually want to hear from people on my team, even the kind of information it hurts to hear. I personally want any team I lead to feel comfortable walking into my office, at any time, and challenging my decisions. (I keep soft drinks in my office knowing it attracts them for frequent returns. I used to keep candy, but then health insurance became tricky.) Granted, I want to receive respect, but I expect to equally give respect. Knowing what my team really thinks empowers me to lead them better. 5) Structure your environment for expression of thought. I am referring to the DNA–the culture–for the entire team, and it is very important. There has to be an environment with all leaders that encourages people to think for themselves. This kind of culture doesn’t happen without intentionality. As a leader, I try to surround myself with people sharper than me, but I want all of us to have the same attitude towards this principle of hearing from others. I believe in the power of “we.” If we want to take advantage of the experience and talent in our church, we have to get out of the way, listen and follow others’ lead when appropriate. It’s not easy being a leader, but it is more manageable when you discipline yourself to allow others to help you lead.  R o n E d m o n d s o n is a veteran pastor and church planter whose specialty is organizational leadership. This article originally appeared at

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Listening to diverse voices as a leader encourages a healthy ministry environment

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Another Hamburger Joint?

Plant churches in markets where demand hungers for supply


t’s easy to confuse a church planter with an entrepreneur. But if it waddles and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. The only thing harder than planting a church is starting a hamburger joint. What do the arches and a church have in common? There’s another one of each, just down the road. Any competent entrepreneur has the instinct to know that a burger lover is not seeking a new place to scarf down a burger. The unmetneed niche for fast burgers is extremely thin for differentiation purposes. But the essence of entrepreneurialism is to find a gap that every potential consumer is hungry to satisfy. The need must be deeply intense in order for demand to drive a global search for an answer. It is the demand factor that most impacts the drawing power of a platform. Community residents aren’t picketing city hall to start another church. But a church planter, when inspired by the Holy Spirit, knows that a local community has a set of needs that are unmet. Not all churches are planted with a clearly articulated differentiation. Many churches are formed by division or split. Some start in a home with a simple goal of Bible teaching and fellowship. But one thing seems certain—church doors close when needs are not met. I haven’t started or planted a church. But I did submit to the call of the Lord to pastor a church that developed from a Bible study. There was no intent to start a church. It certainly was not planted. I served for almost 10 years as a lead pastor in a bivocational calling. I’ve since learned what it means to plant a church. I’ve met many church planters recently, and we introduce you to several in this magazine. What I believe today is that a called church planter has the drive of an entrepreneur with a burning message rooted in the gospel. A pastorpreneur sees a need in the marketplace and knows that the answer to the need is the message of the gospel. But the leaders of established churches that dot the landscape of franchise boulevards also believe that their gospel message has the answer people need. What does a new church plant offer a community with an abundance of more mature church plants? What does a new hamburger cafe have to offer? The product may be the same, but the packaging, delivery, presentation, promotions and personality of the brand vary widely.

I remember my grandmother’s homemade hamburgers as the best I’ve ever eaten or ever will eat. The church my “Lois” took me to was literally located on Main Street. I evaluated all other churches by what my grandmother taught me about the church. I don’t know how she would feel about either my current hamburger choices or my preferences for a church. As consumers, we evaluate choices in light of our frame of reference. We compare all new alternatives to our baseline. We stutterstep forward in life by the presentation of a “new normal.” A new message draws us into a fresh solution to an old problem. Marketers for hamburger restaurants or a church must labor over the crafting of a compelling message. We are obliged to answer the question, “Why do we need another hamburger place?” “We have over a hundred churches in town, so why do we need another?” A platform is the pastorpreneur’s best friend. Many leaders make the mistake of placing their focus on the medium rather than the message. “Which social media is best for our ministry?” is not the right question. The relevant platform question is, “What is our core message and who needs to hear it?” It is difficult for any business or church to grow when we have a vague answer for our “Why?” The strongest why wins visitors. What makes you different from all other ministries? How do you help people in your delivery of services? Do people want what you offer? Most of us do not design our marketing for one visit. Restaurants depend upon repeat visits. Returning customers have been satisfied in some way. A ministry must provide a reason to return. The reason to return will almost always be found in the core message. People come to us because they can’t find answers anywhere else. Your gift is unique for the audience God sends to you. Don’t settle for copycat programming or delivery. Scratch the itch in your market.

66 MinistryToday September // October 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 and download his Greenelines leadership podcast at

Sean Roberts

“People come to us because they can’t find answers anywhere else.”



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