Eight Signs Your Church May Be Closing

April 26, 2019 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

We call it the death spiral.

I know. It’s not a pleasant term. I can understand if it causes you to cringe.

By the time I am contacted about a serious problem in a church, it is often too late. The problems are deeply rooted, but the remaining members have been blind to them, or they chose to ignore them.

There are eight clear signs evident in many churches on the precipice of closing. If a church has four or more of these signs present, it is likely in deep trouble. Indeed, it could be closing sooner than almost anyone in the church would anticipate.

  1. There has been a numerical decline for four or more years. Worship attendance is in a steady decline. Offerings may decline more slowly as the “remnant” gives more to keep the church going. There are few or no conversions. Decline is clear and pervasive.
  2. The church does not look like the community in which it is located. The community has changed its ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic makeup, but the church has not. Many members are driving from other places to come to the church. The community likely knows little or nothing about the church. And the church likely knows little or nothing about the community.
  3. The congregation is mostly comprised of senior adults. It is just a few years of funerals away from having no one left in the church.
  4. The focus is on the past, not the future. Most conversations are about “the good old days.” Those good old days may have been 25 or more years in the past. Often a hero pastor of the past is held as the model to emulate.
  5. The members are intensely preference-driven. They are more concerned about their music style, their programs, their schedules, and their facilities than reaching people with the gospel. Their definition of discipleship is “others taking care of my needs.”
  6. The budget is severely inwardly focused. Most of the funds are expended to keep the lights on and/or to meet the preferences of the members. There are few dollars for ministry and missions. And any dollars for missions rarely include the involvement of the members in actually sharing the gospel themselves.
  7. There are sacred cow facilities. It might be a parlor or a pulpit. It could be pews instead of chairs. It might be the entirety of the worship center or the sanctuary. Members insist on holding tightly to those things God wants us to hold loosely.
  8. Any type of change is met with fierce resistance. The members are confronted with the choice to change or die. And though few would articulate it, their choice by their actions or lack of actions is the choice to die.

Churches with four or more of these signs have three choices. They can embark on a process of change and revitalization. Or they can close the doors for a season and re-open with a new name, a new vision, and some new people.

Of course, the third choice is to do nothing. That is the choice to die.

Thousands of churches will unfortunately do just that the next twelve months.

Spurgeon on The Power of The Resurrection

April 13, 2019 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

So much is the resurrection the proof of our Lord’s mission that it falls to the ground without it. If our Lord Jesus had not risen from the dead, our faith in Him would have lacked the cornerstone of the foundation on which it rests. Paul writes most positively—“If Christ is not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” He declares that the apostles would have been found false witnesses of God, “Because,” he says, “we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, ifso be that the dead rise not.” “If Christ is not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.”

The resurrection of Jesus is the keystone of the arch of our holy faith; if you take the resurrection away, the whole structure lies in ruins. The death of Christ, albeit that it is the ground of our confidence for the pardon of sin, would not have furnished such a foundation had He not risen from the dead. Were He still dead, His death would have been like the death of any other person—and would have given us no assurance of acceptance. His life, with all the beauty of its holiness, would have been simply a perfect example of conduct, but it could not have become our righteousness if His burial in the tomb of Joseph had been the end of all. It was essential for the confirmation of His life-teaching and His death-suffering, that He should be raised from the dead. If he had not risen but were still among the dead, you might as well tell us that we preach to you a cunningly devised fable. See, then, the power of His resurrection—it proves without a doubt the faith once delivered to the saints.

Supported by infallible proofs, it becomes itself the infallible proof of the authority, power, and glory of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. I beg you further to notice that this proof had such power about it in the minds of the Apostles that they preached with singular boldness. These chosen witnesses had seen the Lord after His resurrection—one of them had put his finger into the print of the nails, and others had eaten and drunk with Him. They were sure that they were not deceived. They knew that He was dead, for they had been present at His burial—they knew that He lived again, for they had heard Him speak, and had seen Him eat a piece of a broiled fish and honeycomb! The fact was as clear to themas it was wonderful! Peter and the rest of them, without hesitation, declared, “this Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” They were sure that they saw the man who died on Calvary alive again, and they could not but testify what they had heard and seen. The enemies of the faith wondered at the boldness with which these witnesses spoke. Theirs was the accent of conviction—for they testified what they knew of as fact; they had no suspicion lurking in the background; they were sure that Jesus had risen from the dead, and this unquestionable certainty made them confident that He was, indeed, the Messiah and the Savior of men. The power of this fact upon those who believe it is great.

March 31, 2019 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

What is Biblical Justice? What is Social Justice?

Social justice has become a convoluted term meaning different things to different people. People often use it as a catchphrase for illegitimate forms of government that promote the redistribution of wealth as well as the collectivistic expansion of civil government, which wrongly infringes on the jurisdictions of God’s other covenantal institutions (family and church). Such a view of social justice both contradicts and denies biblical justice since biblical justice seeks to protect individual liberty while promoting personal responsibility. When addressing areas of justice, I prefer to use the term biblical justice rather than social justice, because biblical justice provides society with a divine frame of reference from which to operate. Biblical justice is the equitable and impartial application of the rule of God’s moral law in society. Whether exercised through economic, political, social, or criminal justice, the one constant within all four realms is the understanding and application of God’s moral law within the social realm.
Increasingly, concerted efforts are being made to address the ethical issues of our day by the body of Christ; however, a lack of continual and holistically applied biblical justice is the underpinning for the continuation of societal and familial breakdowns as well as class and racial disparities. Biblical justice, when carried out correctly, naturally leads to the restoration of race, sex, and class divisions.

God’s Heart for Justice

The Book of Isaiah a glance into God’s heart on this issue of justice. We read in chapter 58 that the Israelites sought God’s help and assistance—what we could call His blessings. In fact it says, “Yet they seek me day by day and delight to know My ways” (v. 2). Not only did the Israelites seek God, but they also fasted (v. 3) out of a desire to experience the nearness of God (v. 2). Basically they assembled, read their Bibles, prayed, sang, humbled themselves, and attended their small group studies. Yet despite all of that, God did not respond to their pleas to bless them, nor did He respond to their requests for Him to execute “just decisions”(v. 2)on their behalf. Starting in verse 5, we read His reason why: “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? . . . Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (vv. 5–7). Essentially what God told the Israelites, in my Tony Evans translation, is that seeking Him, meeting together, having regular prayer meetings and the like was not enough. Because in spite of all of that and more, their relational actions revealed a contradictory reality, which showed that they were fasting as a means of argument while pursuing their own desires (v. 4).

A Disconnect Between Theology and Application

The problem occurred in that their theology never affected their sociology. The thing they offered an “amen” to on Sunday never got carried out on Monday. They would “come to church” and sing about love, but return to the world and withhold that love. They would proclaim unity and equality in the house of God, but fail to practice that unity in the “global body of Christ.” Thus, the missing component of their ethical relational outworking within their theology nullified their religious activity.
The interesting thing about this passage was that the thing the Israelites sought from God (“just decisions”) was the very thing that He said they withheld from others. Simply stated, the principle is: Whatever you want God to do for you personally, you must be willing for Him to do through you to others. God is not looking for cul-de-sac Christians. He is looking for Christians who are willing to be a conduit of His blessing and justice to those in need.
We cannot say, “Lord, deliver me,” yet refuse to be the deliverance for another person in need. That is contradictory Christianity. What we have often done in the area of biblical justice is relegate it to others while at the same time complaining to God that He is not responding to our needs. We have neglected to see that the two are inextricably linked.

Injustice as Omission

Also, while many of us do not directly carry out overtly unjust actions against others on a regular basis, the importance of biblical justice has become diminished in our minds. But the critical aspect to note concerning biblical justice is the biblical definition of sin. A sin is not only a wrong action that is done, but a sin is also a right action that remains undone (Jas. 4:17). The question of biblical justice is not simply, “Have I done anything wrong?” The question is, “Have I done anything right?” It is good that you do not hate your brother or sister in need, but what are you doing to show that you love him or her? Isaiah 58 reminds us that the foundation for biblical justice exists in the principle that our horizontal relationships must accurately reflect our vertical beliefs about God, or we will limit God’s response to our needs as well.
James clearly tells us that “pure” religion is to “visit orphans and widows in their distress” (1:27).Orphans and widows represent the helpless and marginalized in society, those who cannot defend or empower themselves. This prescription isn’t about what we do against the needy and the poor, it concerns what we do for them.
 God says that He will do for us in response to what we do for others. Biblical justice is not a passive awareness of human needs, but rather an action taken to execute God’s justice in the midst of an unjust society. The church has been uniquely positioned to defend and protect the helpless in society, and until we function according to our calling, we will continue to seek God’s intervention in our own lives only to hear His reply, “What have you done for others in My name?” Justice – to prescribe the right way

March 1 Newsletter

March 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

*  R U A Level Five (5) Leader – Loyalty

*  Book Review-The Preacher’s Catechism

*  What Needs To Change?

*  An App for IgniteUS

*  Pastoral Placement – FIT

*  Invitation – – Reformation & Renewal

*  Whats Ahead?

*  This Date in History – 1st Witchcraft Trials

 Pastoral unity Paul speaks of in this passage is Organic

labeled

Level Five Leadership

What is a Level Five Leader? In this News Letter we are endeavoring to answer that question. Why does it matter? The short answer is this. There is a direct correlation between ministry effectiveness and the competence level of the primary leadership in a local church. Leadership is crucial in every organization and this is definitely true in the local church.

The definition of level five leadership is accomplished in five characteristics of such leaders. Here is Number #4 –

This is the fourth article in a series of five on the topic of Level Five Leadership – Loyalty. The average pastoral tenure is  3 ½  – 4 years. True loyalty is developed over time and is tested by a variety of circumstances. How loyal are you and how loyal are those you consider trusted friends?

It is often stated that most men have no, none, not one true friend. True, but tragic. The basis for loyalty is a circle of friends and fellow servants in which transparency and vulnerability abound. 

Transparency is my willingness to acknowledge with integrity the observations you make about my person and/or my ministry. Vulnerability is the courage on my part to come to you and openly express a need or deficiency that I am struggling with. Generally I tell you what you already know. Now I have authorized you to address it and help me find solutions. 

Such genuineness and “life in community’ conduct inevitably produces LOYAL co-laborers and friends of the most cherished sort. 

1 Sam. 20:16:17 David & Jonathan So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD require it at the hands of David’s enemies.”Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life. 

2 Sam. 9:9-11 David & Mephibosheth Then the king called Saul’s servant Ziba and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. “You and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring in the produce so you’re your master’s grandson  may have food; nevertheless Mephiboseth, your master’s grandson shall eat at my table regularly.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant so your servant will do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons. 

2 Sam. 19:38-39; I Kings 2:7 The king answered, “Chimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him what is good in your sight, and whatever you require of me, I will do for you.” All the people crossed over the Jordan and the king crossed too. The King then kissed Barziilai and blessed him, and he returned to his place. “But show kindness to the sons of BarziIlai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table; for they assisted me when I fled from Absalom your brother. 

I Chron. 12:18, 33 Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was the chief of the thirty, and he said, “We are yours, O David, And with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to him who helps you; Indeed, your God helps you!” Then David received them and made them captains of the band. 

Of Zebulun, there were 50,000 who went out in the army, who could draw up in battle formation with all kinds of weapons of war and helped David with an undivided heart. 

Do you have an undivided heart? Are you a  leader that radiates loyalty and do you model that for other leaders to imitate (Heb. 13:7)?

Book Review – The Preacher’s Catechism

Book Review – Allen, Lewis. The Preachers Catechism. Wheaton IL: Crossway, 2018, 220 pp. $22.99 ISBN # – 978-1-4335-5935-8.

I let the author provide a compelling and beneficial introduction to this treatise on preaching. Every ‘preacher’ likes to believe he is a ‘good preacher’. Perhaps that designation may be best validated by those who do or do not gather to hear what he has to say each time the flock assembles. The following quote is from the Introduction to this title and captures well the thrust of this book:

The Preachers Catechism is a book for busy preachers, young and experienced, whether bursting with enthusiasm or fighting cynicism, full time or part time. Preaching, the declaring of God’s eternal word to time bound but eternal creatures, is serious work, and it’s triumphs and disasters echo into eternity. We have the most glorious calling on earth, but it’s maybe also the hardest. Preaching really matters.

Every preacher needs to improve his preaching. We should work at our exegesis of the text of Scripture and aim to teach practically and helpfully. We must learn to present Christ in all of the Scriptures in ways that encourage faith and joy in him. We need to work hard with our choice of words and illustrations in order to serve the message we are bringing people. Preachers who don’t commit to keeping on learning will end up saying the same things in the same ways. Predictable sermons bless few, if any.

The author posits three (3) basic convictions that shape this title. He is a resident of England and not as well known in the USA. His labors make a timely and crucial contribution to the church and preaching in his native land as well as in America.  Both lands yearn for Reformation and Renewal and that will come through the church if at all and preaching will be a primary means to accomplish such transformation. Here are his three (3) convictions:

Conviction 1 – The church needs preachers who last and thrive.

Conviction 2 – Preachers must understand how preaching works, and how their own souls work.

Conviction 3 – The Westminster Shorter Catechism is an outstanding resource for the heart needs of every preacher.

The convictions mentioned above are fleshed out under four headings as follows.

Part 1 -The Glory of God and the Greatness of Preaching.

Part 2 – Jesus for Preachers

Part 3 – Loving the Word

Part 4 – Preaching with Conviction

I am a Church Consultant. I live in North Central Alabama in a primarily rural area. I have the distinct privilege of having six (6) radio programs each week. I listen to other ‘preachers’ on the station that hosts my programs. Any credible Homiletics Professor would have a stroke if he listened to what passes as preaching on most of these programs. There is precious little exegesis, a great deal of storytelling, and an abundance of opinion sharing. That my friends is not biblical preaching. I have been a pastor for 50 years and trained pastors and church leaders in a multitude of International settings. I would never claim to be the final word on preaching, but I do know what does and does not qualify for that noble description. The evidence of excellence in preaching is in part on display in those churches where people attend because they feast on the richness of God’s truth. God’s word is proclaimed with authority, excellence, and applicable value to daily living. That is God’s design.

I recently served a local church in calling a Lead pastor. Effective preaching, pulpit ministry, must be measured by objective criteria that determines whether or not the people are being transformed by what they are hearing. No genuine transformation over time is exhibit ‘A’ that the preaching is not truly the declaration of God’s revealed truth that is by design the primary means of transformation accomplished by the Holy Spirit.

All this to say I highly affirm this treatise on Preaching. I urge my fellow pastors to be catechized by purchasing and reading repeatedly and applying the contents of this title in your preaching ministry. I close with comments from the Foreword by Sinclair Ferguson which properly extol the primacy of preaching.

Some years ago, I watched a BBC documentary about a distinguished microbiologist honored by the queen for her services to medical science. She had devoted her research just studying the mutation of one particular virus. As a result of her work, the UK government had given permission for experimental medical injection procedures to be carried out on people who, because of inoperable conditions, had only a few weeks left to live. The results were remarkable-in some instances verging on the miraculous. She was also a long-standing friend and a member of the congregation I served. When I congratulated her on the documentary, I said how satisfying it must be to have devoted her career to something that has accomplished so much good. She responded in a way that spoke volumes about her priorities: What I do isn’t really all that important but what you do, that’s really important.”

Preaching, more important than making a life extending contribution to medical science? My friend thought so. So should I. So should you. My hope and prayer for the Preachers Catechism is that it will sustain, refresh, and, if necessary, recover that vision.

What Needs To Change?

Change is constant. The pace of change has accelerated rapidly in the past twenty years. This rate of change made a significant impact on the local church. Churches are notorious for lagging behind. Some of the churches in my area do not even have a phone let alone a web site. (selah) The issue is Community Connection. Do people lnpw you exist and can they reach you?

That being the case, I am developing a White Paper. The focus of this document is Reformation & Renewal. In it I provide  a series of ministry functions that must be addressed and applied if ministry is to be effective. Persistent decline is not the only option. It is possible for a declining church to change direction. That requires intentional effort applied and monitored by godly leaders.

I will post the sections of this paper in this News Letter, one in each addition. When completed I will provide this paper as  a PDF file containing all sections. My proposed completion date is April 1. I may or may not meet that time line. Stay tuned!

An App for IgniteUS

The Radio station that broadcast my radio programs has developed an APP for IgniteUS. The Beta Test began on January 15th. This APP will enable you to get to our web site and other beneficial resources with one click. There are numerous other features to make connecting with us simple and efficient. The features of this APP are basic and beneficial. There are  multiple Bible translations; ESV, NASB, etc.. Our News Letters are posted in chronological order. You may connect those on your friends list and offer them the option of connecting with IgniteUS. In this News Letter we  provide the details for you to get this App. Many THANKS to Ron Mosley, Jr. and WKUL 92.1 FM here in Cullman for developing this ministry resource..

The App is in Beta Test Mode. When the Beta Test phase is complete this will be avaialable in both Google and Apple platforms. Follow these steps to download the App.

Step 1

Step 2
  • Tap ‘Install’, and the app will then install onto your iOS device
Step 4
Open your app. You will get ‘Untrusted Enterprise Developer’ alert message, tap Cancel, and follow the instructions to proceed…..
(a) Go to Settings > General > Profiles or Profiles & Device Management
(b) You will see a profile – ONS Interactive Solutions, under ‘Enterprise App’. Tap the profile
(c) A dialog box Trust ‘iPhone Distribution – ONS Interactive Solutions’ Apps on this iPhone will appear. Tap ‘Trust’ to establish trust for this developer, and test your app
 
Step 5
You’re done! The final app will be ready in the coming weeks for the Apple Store and we will announce to you when this is complete.

Pastoral Placement

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. It takes about five (5) years for a pastor to earn trust and the willingness of people to embrace the changes ministry requires. Research reveals that churches that ‘go it alone’ in the call process experience a 90-95% failure rate – the man they call is not a FIT! Yet, many persist in repeating the same failed process. A positive and wise trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. We help churches face reality. We provide testimonials from those who have utilized our services. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

This link takes the reader to an article on FIT in the Placement Process. http://www.igniteus.net/archives/category/leadership  FIT-edness was a key theological principle in the ministry of Jonathan Edwards.

Invitation – – Reformation & Renewal

Strategic and effective modification in ministry is like losing weight. It requires more than just desire. It requires ACTION! For weight loss – cut out the snacks, eat more fruits and vegetables, eat healthy, eat less.That bathroom scale tells the Truth about your weight!

Objective Assessment tells the Truth about the true condition of ministry. The problem – very few pastors and churches are willing to submit to an Assessment process. IgniteUS provides tested and proven resources that reveal the true condition of a local church ministry. Not knowing that condition is similar to having stage four (4) cancer but refusing to seek treatment.

Thanks to the technology we enjoy we can guide you through this process via video conferencing, free conference calls, and email. The cost is minimal. The benefits are dramatic.  It is only possible to correct ministry dysfunctions when you know what they are.  Every church has some dysfunction. Objective Assessments are like that bathroom scale. They tell the TRUTH! Assessment is the first step to Reformation & Renewal. We provide information, encouragement, and equipping for effective ministry.

I recently had a conference call with one of the Pastors engaged in the Leadership Development Process we provide. He polled those attending seeking to discover the primary reason for their continued attendance. 12% stated Family. 88% said the Preaching. They have grown numerically from 70  – 270! They have over 200 people in intentional disciplemaking ministries. They are reaching people in their community. Simply wonderful and Christ honoring! Call Pastor Louis Venable to confirm – FBC Loris SC – 843 817 7842, or, labvenable@comcast.net.

I prayerfully urge you to contact me. Call me at 800 472 3764 or send me an email at info@igniteus.net. I will be happy to explain the process, the cost, (view this as an investment not merely an expenditure) the benefits, etc. when you call. Like not seeking treatment for stage four (4) cancer, not identifying and correcting dysfunction hinders effective ministry. I look forward to your call and the joy and privilege of serving you and the church you lead.

Pod Cast – THRIVE

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – – www.igniteus.net – – just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

The Pod Cast are posted every Tuesday. The ministry of IgniteUS is focused on Leadership Development in the local church. Leadership Network recently completed a survey of hundreds of pastors. They were asked to identify the area in which they most needed assistance. Leadership Development was #1 in all but one category. These posts will inform, encourage, and equip leaders in the local church. Click on the banner on our home page labeled -Thrive.

The current series of posts are focused on Level Five (5) Leadership. Are you a Level Five Leader? Do you know why this matters?

Whats Ahead?

In the next News Letter I will finish the posts on Level Five (5) Leaders.

I will be speaking at Oakwood Baptist Church in Camp Hill PA on March 02-04.

I will be speaking at Lake Catoma Baptist Church in Cullman Alabama on March 10th, AM.

In the April 1st News Letter I will share an article I am producing – a White Paper on ‘What Needs to Change’ for the Evangelical Church to be effective in reaching lost people, seeing those that are redeemed transformed, and taking the Gospel to the Nations.

Book Review of Christ Has Set US Free – Preaching & Teaching Galatiansedited by D.A. Carson and Jeff Robinson Sr.

Recommended Reading – I will list titles that provide beneficial content for ministry. Leaders are readers so apply the discipline to read/study good books.

December
This Date in History

   

1692 Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are arrested for the supposed practice of witchcraft in Salem, Mass.

 

   
   

Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG — www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net – A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “What Is Biblical Loyalty?“) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page – Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/ 

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

What Is Biblical Loyalty?

February 21, 2019 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

The Character of Loyalty 

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir

 

Loyalty is remaining committed to those whom God has brought into our lives and has called us to serve, even in times of difficulty. It is developing allegiance and respect in one another, and not seeking to manipulate the other person. Being loyal exhibits our commitment to Christ by our commitment–with discernment–to people and righteous causes at all times (Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 8:2-4; John 15:13; Romans 13:1-5; Titus 3:1).

 

Disloyalty, Betrayal, Distrusting, and Unfaithful, are the opposites. It is allowing our corrupt nature to characterize our desires, so we manipulate others rather than build them up. It is to disregard God’s Lordship and authority as well as His love for others. This mindset will quickly turn into contempt, and will cause us to disrespect and undermine our leaders as well as one another, and lead us to impertinence and blasphemy towards God.

Loyalty is like faith; it means assurance of another. In ancient times, the two words had the same meaning, and referred to one’s loyalty to a person, or trustworthiness to a promise they had made. The person receiving the promise was acting on faith and trusting in that person, and that is what loyalty is mainly about. But, loyalty has another facet to it. It is also a call that we involve other characters into, such as, forgiveness, mercy, and respect. We are to realize this with people, even when it is underserved and unearned. It is also the knowledge that people with whom we place our loyalty will disappoint us. However, we cannot base our character and self image in their reaction, only in who Christ is. Our outlook on life and reaction to people needs to be rooted in God, not on how those people respond to us. We are not responsible for how people treat us; we are only responsible for treating them with utmost character, as a reflection of Christ. Hence, the word Christian is being “Christ like,” not “self like.”

 

We are never to forget what Christ did for us. So, our treatment of a person needs to be rooted in Christ, not in what they can do for us, or how they respond to us. Yes, we need to be discerning, and not be overly taken advantage of. But, real friendship is not based on who can do what, but in mutual love and respect that is freely given and freely received. God will bring people into our lives, and we cannot–due to logistics and time–be good friends with everyone. But, we can treat every one with whom we come in contact, with good character– and that means with loyalty, too. We need to realize that in order to keep relationships functional, we have to be dedicated, trustworthy, dependable, and committed. That means we do not gossip, we do not put down, we do not undermine, we do not play games; rather we model Christ and what He did for us! When we stick with our friends, we keep our friends. Long term relationships tend to be rare, but they are vital. Do not let then be rare in your life!

 

We are to realize that God works through people, including our church and national leaders (Proverbs 21:1; Romans 13). God uses others to carry His plan to us and those around us. Therefore, loyalty is also a demonstration of our obedience to our country, civil leaders, church, teachers, authority figures, and family (unless they give a command that goes against God’s Word). It is something we demonstrate both in public and in private. Loyalty is a character that puts a portion of love into action for those others in your life. It may be the one key aspect, seen in you by others, that will point them to God’s love!

 

Is the Character of Loyalty working in you?

 

Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Loyalty from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:

  1. How do I exhibit Loyalty in my daily life?
  2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be Loyal and maintain a commitment to people?
  3. What blocks Loyalty from working and being exhibited in me?
  4. How can I make Loyalty function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?

· Here are positive examples from Scripture (2 Samuel 3:6-21; Esther 8:1-2; John 11:16; 20:8; Hebrews 11:24-26)

 

· Here are negative examples from Scripture (1 Samuel 15:11; 1 Kings 18:18-19; John 6:66; 2 Peter 2:10;15)

February 15 News Letter

February 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

*  R U A Level Five (5) Leader

*  Book Review – Faithful Endurance

*  That Hideous Strength – Cultural Marxism

*  An App for IgniteUS

*  Pastoral Placement – FIT

* Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

*  Whats Ahead?

This Date in History-USS Maine Blows UP

 Pastoral unity Paul speaks of in this passage is Organic 

labeled

Level Five Leadership

 

What is a Level Five Leader? In this News Letter we are endeavoring to answer that question. Why does it matter? The short answer is this. There is a direct correlation between ministry effectiveness and the competence level of the primary leadership in a local church. Leadership is crucial in every organization and this is definitely true in the local church.

 

The definition of level five leadership is accomplished in five characteristics of such leaders. Here is Number #3 – Competence.

 

In this article we focus on Competence.

 

There exists formal research data that reveals that Incompetent Leadership is a major cause of decline in the Evangelical Church. In my work as a Church Consultant my observation and research confirm this to be true.

 

I have often been robustly criticized for including competence in the profile we developed for leaders. Well the opposite is incompetence. God does not delight in incompetence or a lack of excellence. He is worthy of the highest level of competence we can achieve. It is not something we manufacture. We depend completely upon Him and actively seek competence in the execution of ministry that will bring honor and glory to him.

 

When Solomon built the Temple, he sought and enlisted the finest craftsmen available. Paul struggled to always invest his efforts at maximum levels of dependence upon God and to maximize achievement. Competence is not self-sufficiency. On the contrary, true competence is a profound awareness of our total dependence upon God and inter-dependence on one another as we make up the Body of Christ We do well to serve with that mentality.

 

Ex. 36:1-2 Now Bezalel and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the LORD has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary, shall  perform in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.” Then Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skillful person in whom the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him, to come to the work to perform it.

 

1 Kings 7:13-14  Now King Solomon sent and brought Hiram from Tyre. He was a widow’s son from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze; and he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill for doing any work in bronze. So he came to King Solomon and performed all his work.

 

I Cor. 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

 

All TRUTH is God’s TRUTH. When there is incompetence in leadership roles in the church that church will not accomplish the Great Commission. That church will not effectively make disciples. I urge my readers to honestly assess those that bear the title ‘Leader’ in the church where you worship. Do they lead with competence? Competence is measured by effectively accomplishing purpose. If not, they need to confess, repent, and seek to acquire those skills that enable them to lead with competence.

 

Book Review – Faithful Endurance

 

Book Review – Hansen, Collin. and Robinson, Jeff Sr. Editors Faithful Endurance – The Joy of Shepherding People for a Lifetime. Wheaton IL: Crossway, 2019, 150 pp. $14.99 ISBN # – 978-1-4335-6265-5. Available April 30, 2019.

 

In 20 days, I will mark the fifty (50) year anniversary since I joined the ranks of Elder/Pastor Shepherds. In that time the Lord has graciously taken me to 27 countries around the globe training pastors and church leaders. As a pastor and church Consultant I have labored with hundreds of pastor/shepherds. I have prayed with them, wept with them, and sought to encourage them. I have listened to them and been immersed in their accounts of the joys and challenges of ministry. I could say not only did I care, but, that I understand, having walked some of the same paths. The names and places are different, the struggles in each circumstance are very similar.

 

God is God, people are people, and sin is sin. Sin produces dysfunction and conflict. Elder/Pastors deal with the consequences of this reality. As John Piper properly declared, ‘Brothers we are not Professionals’. However, we do encounter both the joys and hardships of pastoral ministry. This title will equip you to grapple with them. You will do so with integrity, dignity, and competence that honors the Lord.

 

This week (01/22/2019) I met with a young pastor from TN. His question to me was, ‘What advice would you give a young pastor?’ My response was, ‘Go to a church and remain there for life.’ Doing so will require the competence and wisdom to navigate the challenges that every ministry presents. In my mail that afternoon was this title. Providence.

 

Why is this issue important? It has been reported that 5 years after men enter the pastoral ministry, 50% of them leave. 10 years after they enter, 80% of them leave. Obviously knowing the issues and how to deal with them in a godly Christ-honoring manner is vital for longevity. This title provides equipping and insight into how to navigate these turbulent waters and endure. There is JOY in serving Jesus!

 

The contributors to this treasure chest of wisdom are some well-known and some not so well-known pastors. They are Tim Keller, D. A. Carson, Bryan Chapell, and Tom Ascol. Others are Dave Harvey, Mark McCullough, John Stark, and Scott Patty.

 

A key figure in the pantheon of evangelical pastors is John MacArthur. He recently completed 50 years at Grace Community Church in California. The following is his response to a question about threats to persevering in ministry.

 

Pastoring is really an effort to be the instrument of the Spirit of God in the sanctification of God’s people to see them conform to Christ. I often think about the fact that election is purely Gods divine purpose before time, justification is a divine act in a moment, and glorification is a divine act in a moment. And in the biography of every Christian’s life, sanctification is this long, drawn out process of conformity to Christ. And the instrument of that, of course, is the word of God and the Spirit of God through the means of the shepherding of God’s people. (pp. 135-136)

 

George Barna’s research reveals that the most fruitful years of pastoral ministry are years 5 through year 14.3. The average pastoral tenure is 3.5 years. This being the case, pastors seldom reach that period when ministry is most effective. The things that drive them out are covered in this title. There is also sound counsel as to how to stay for the long haul provided by those who exhibit a pattern of significant longevity.

 

I close with two exhortations. 1 – buy this book. 2. – From Jesus himself on the issue of longevity in pastoral ministry Luke 9:62: Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

 

That Hideous Strength – Cultural Marxism

 

 

This title is timely, powerful, and presents a compelling profile of Cultural Marxism. You will learn how the tenets of that system have made inroads in the Evangelical Church. On pp. 61-72 the author provides a concise portrait of how the warp speed changes in the American Culture have been accomplished. You will be equipped for the struggle in this realm by purchasing and digesting the content of this title. I appeal for civility in exchanges on this issue.

 

Let it be clearly understood that our hope in the possibility of renewal is squarely grounded, not in our selves, not in history and the fact that it is happened before, but in the power of God demonstrated by the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. . . . This is therefore no time to hang our heads or hide our lights under any bushel for fear that we may be picked on for our refusals to fit in. We are to have no fear. We are to look up. We are to take strength from the fact that we can, because he can. (Os Guinness)

 

An App for IgniteUS

The Radio station that broadcast my radio programs has developed an APP for IgniteUS. The Beta Test began on January 15th. This APP will enable you to get to our web site and other beneficial resources with one click. There are numerous other features to make connecting with us simple and efficient. The features of this APP are basic and beneficial. There are  multiple Bible translations; ESV, NASB, etc.. Our News Letters are posted in chronological order. You may connect those on your friends list and offer them the option of connecting with IgniteUS. In the March 1st  News Letter we will provide the details for you to get this App. Many THANKS to Ron Mosley, Jr. and WKUL 92.1 FM here in Cullman for developing this ministry resource..

 

Pastoral Placement

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. It takes about five (5) years for a pastor to earn trust and the willingness of people to embrace the changes ministry requires. Research reveals that churches that ‘go it alone’ in the call process experience a 90-95% failure rate – the man they call is not a FIT! Yet, many persist in repeating the same failed process. A positive and wise trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. We help churches face reality. We provide testimonials from those who have utilized our services. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 

**WATCH for a 9Marks article in the 9Marks Journal by Dr. David Schrock, (Calvinist Pastors and Non-Calvinist Churches: Candidating, Pastoring, and Moving On) that connects you with the FIT Process! Click on footnote #3 at the bottom of the article. FIT-edness was a key theological principle in the ministry of Jonathan Edwards.,

 

Ministry Support $$

 

We are asking each recipient of this Newsletter to give – $10 a month. These funds enable us to provide  Scholarships to Pastors & Churches.  Our process produces Leaders with Competence that God uses to bring effectiveness to ministry. Join our Support Team! Christ gets the Glory! 

People do not give to a ministry because you have needs. People give because they believe you meet needs and they want to be a significant part of meeting those needs.Leadership Development is crucial and needed.

Financial Support– There are two (2) places on our web site (www.igniteus.net) that make contributing to our ministry simple. Click on the Home Page button labeled DONATE or on the Banner Online Giving. Follow the prompts. The challenge for every 501 c-3 organization always includes fund raising. When the market crashed in 2008 IUS lost $2,000/month in support – a major factor in sustaining ministry. We are seeking an additional $2,000/month in on-going support for fiscal year 2019. This enables us to provide Scholarships for struggling churches to move from decline to effectively making disciples fully formed in the image of Christ in Character & Conduct. You can become a regular donor. THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

 

Pod Cast – THRIVE

 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – – www.igniteus.net – – just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

 

The Pod Cast are posted every Tuesday. The ministry of IgniteUS is focused on Leadership Development in the local church. Leadership Network recently completed a survey of hundreds of pastors. They were asked to identify the area in which they most needed assistance. Leadership Development was #1 in all but one category. These posts will inform, encourage, and equip leaders in the local church. Click on the banner on our home page labeled -Thrive.

 

The current series of posts are focused on Level Five (5) Leadership. Are you a Level Five Leader? Do you know why this matters?

 

Whats Ahead?

 

In the next two (2) News Letters I will finish the posts on Level Five (5) Leaders.

 

In the April 1st News Letter I will share an article I am producing on ‘What Needs to Change’ for the Evangelical Church to be effective in reaching lost people, seeing those that are redeemed transformed, and taking the Gospel to the Nations.

December
 

 

 

 

This Date in History

1898 -The U.S. battleship Maine blows up in Havana Harbor, killing 268 sailors and bringing hordes of Western cowboys and gunfighters rushing to enlist in the Spanish-American War.

IgniteUS Newsletter February 1 2019

February 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

*  R U A Level Five (5) Leader

*  Book Review – Reformed Systematics

*  The Atmosphere of Ministry

*  An App for IgniteUS

*  IUS Leading Transformation

*  Pastoral Placement – FIT

* Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

Pod Cast  Thrive – Are You Thriving?

This Date in History- Lizzy Wacks Mary

Pastoral unity Paul speaks of in this passage is Organic

 

 

labeled

Level Five Leadership

 

What is a Level Five Leader? In the next five (5) News Letters we will endeavor to answer that question. Why does it matter? The short answer is this. There is a direct correlation between ministry effectiveness and the competence level of the primary leadership in a local church. Leadership is crucial in every organization and this is definitely true in the local church. Here is a quote supporting this thesis from John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Chapter 1, p.1.

I often open my leadership conferences by explaining the Law of The Lid because it helps people understand the value of leadership. If you can get a handle on this law, you will see the incredible impact of leadership on every aspect of life. So here it is: leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential. The higher the leader- ship, the greater the effectiveness. To give you an example, if your  leadership rates an 8, then your effectiveness can never be greater than a 7. If your leadership is only a 4, then you’re effectiveness will be no higher than a 3. Your leadership ability–for better or for worse–always determines your effectiveness and the potential impact of your organization.

 

The definition of level five leadership is accomplished in five characteristics of such leaders. Here is Number #2 – Courage

 

This is the second in a series of five. In this article we focus on Courage. Perhaps a quote from the well known exchange in the Wizard of Oz provides insight into this quality. Listen in as Dorthy challenges the Cowardly Lion.

 

Dorothy: My goodness, what a fuss you’re making! Well, naturally, when you go around picking on things weaker than you are. Why, you’re nothing but a great big coward!
Cowardly Lion: [crying] You’re right, I am a coward! I haven’t any courage at all. I even scare myself. [sobbing] Look at the circles under my eyes. I haven’t slept in weeks!
Tin Man: Why don’t you try counting sheep?
Cowardly Lion: That doesn’t do any good, I’m afraid of ’em.

 

Elder/Shepherds cannot lead effectively if they fear the sheep. Effective leadership is focused on fulfilling the purpose of the organization. For the church this purpose is making disciples. This requires courage. Decisions are shaped by that reality. In the current culture that is radical. When fear rather than courage is the dominant motivation there is dysfunction and trouble ahead.

 

Courage, real godly courage, is a rare commodity. But then, we don’t need a multitude – – just a small band of COURAGEOUS and dedicated servant leaders. They understand the task, the difficulty and the challenges. Seeing all of this they say, “What are we waiting for?”

 

God and a man or a band of men with courage is the most significant majority the world has ever known. Courage is neither reckless nor foolish. It is bold and guided by the Holy Spirit. That guidance almost always puts you in a counter-culture posture. God always delights to identify men who in times of darkness trust the light of special revelation. Trust God and press on.

 

1 Chron. 28:20 Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.

 

2 Chron. 15:2,8 – Asa But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” Now when Asa heard these words and the prophecy which Azariah the son of Oded the prophet spoke, he took courage and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He then restored the altar of the LORD which was in front of the porch of the LORD.

 

Ezra 10:4 “Arise! For this matter is your responsibility, but we will be with you; be courageous and act.”

 

Haggai 2:4 But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the LORD of hosts.

 

Acts 23:11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, ‘Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”

 

Answer this question -‘Do you lead with courage, or, are you  more like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz?’

 

Book Review – Reformed Systematics

 

Book Review – Beeke, Joel. and Smalley, Paul M. Reformed Systematic Theology – Revelation & God. Wheaton IL: Crossway, 2019, 1290 pp. $60.00 ISBN # – 978-1-4335-5983-9. Available March 31, 2019.

 

Systematic theology is a method of studying the Bible founded on the principle that the Scriptures reveal a single God-ordained, well-ordered, coherent, and unchanging system of doctrine. This title provides a copious collection of Sound Doctrine from a Reformed perspective. That perspective is the inheritance of the Reformation launched by Luther and other courageous and diligent scholars passed down to us for preservation and proclamation. Stand and proclaim!

 

Should anyone question the necessity or the timely importance of such a title, simply follow this link – (www.thestateoftheology.com). This is research completed by Ligonier Ministries every other year. It is published as a tool to bring correction that leads to sound doctrine. What you will discover there is a bone-chilling expose’ of profound ignorance of what the Bible actually teaches. In short, there is a desperate need for Systematic Theology in the church in the United States of America.

 

Dr. Beeke provides an overview of this and subsequent volumes in this series.

 

Like the Reformers and the Puritans, we believe that the experiential application of doctrine is paramount for doing good systematic theology. Systematic theology should minister to the whole person. Therefore, this book and it’s companion volumes aim to bring together rigorous biblical, historical, and theological scholarship with spiritual disciplines and practicality – characterized by a simple, accessible, comprehensive, Reformed and experiential approach. With this paradigm, we will explore eight themes of theology in four volumes:

 

Volume one: theology/revelation (prolegomena) and God (theology proper)

Volume two: man (anthropology) and Christ (Christology)

Volume three: the Holy Spirit (pneumatology) and salvation (soteriology) and

Volume four: the church (ecclesiology) and the last things (eschatology)

 

I recommend that my readers secure this tome. Establish a schedule in which you will complete a disciplined reading/study schedule for assimilating the content of this material in fifty-two weeks. This requires the reading/study of twenty-five pages per week. In your reading utilize the IgniteUS Learning Covenant. This tool enables you to capture salient content for application in ministry where you serve. The goal of study is acquiring ministry competence not merely another reading conquest. Contact us @ info@igniteus.net or call 800 472 3764 to receive a copy of this useful ministry tool.

 

Dr. Beeke’s relentless focus on precise exegesis and the integration of truth facilitates a strategic approach to disciplined learning. This results in more than the mere collection of knowledge. That puffs up (cf. 1Cor. 4:6). It leads to the systematic application of truth in the lives of the people you are serving. God uses this to produce transformation. IgniteUS Ministries refers to this as Applied Theology. The proper goal of disciplined study is not merely acquiring knowledge. It must result in the in-context application of that knowledge in the transformation of God’s people into the fullness of the image of Christ in character and conduct. This title equips my readers to accomplish this noble goal.

 

I found the material on the Extent, Meaning, and Implications of Inspiration on pp. 327-332 to be timely and beneficial in light of the endless challenges to the Authority of Scripture.

 

This title is not ‘Cliff Notes on the Scripture’. It is serious scholarship. It equips the man of God to function with Christ-honoring effectiveness in the office of Elder/Pastor. The discipline required to study and apply this material is its own reward.

 

The Atmosphere of Ministry

 

The following quote by Trevin Wax is a brief yet very precise and accurate description of the atmosphere of ministry in the American church. If you struggle as a Pastor wondering why there is so little genuine transformation among the people you serve, this quote provides valuable insight. Let me encourage you. Press on. Remember the exhortation of the God we serve – Hebrews 6:10–12 (ESV) 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

 

“Americans have reached a point where ignorance is seen as an actual virtue. To reject the advice of experts is to assert autonomy, a way for Americans to demonstrate their independence from nefarious elites.”

 

An App for IgniteUS 

The Radio station that broadcast my radio programs has developed an App for IgniteUS. I am writing this on January 10. The APP will be live 01/11/2019. The Beta Test begins February 15. I will post some guidelines in this section of our News Letter. This will enable you to get to our web site and other beneficial resources with one click. There are numerous other features to make connecting with us simple and efficient. We look forward to  this tool being available to our Transformation Partners and the faithful readers of our News Letter. More info to follow. As I learn more about this resource I will share that information here. Many THANKS to Ron Mosley, Jr. and WKUL 92.1 FM here in Cullman for developing this ministry resource.

 

.IUS Leading Transformation – IgniteUS is currently serving 

Oakwood Baptist Church – Camp Hill PA (I am serving as Interim Pastor here):

 

Graceway Baptist Church – Milton ONT. (engaged in Leadership Development)

 

Indians Springs Baptist – Kingsport TN (recently called their Lead Pastor)

 

First Baptist Church, Loris SC (strategically making disciples effectively)

 

Peoples Church, New Brunswick Canada (engaged in Renewal)

 

Wyoming Community Church, Grand Rapids MI (Grappling With Renewal)

 

February/March – Will you be next?

 

Pastoral Placement 

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. It takes about five (5) years for a pastor to earn trust and the willingness of people to embrace the changes ministry requires. Research reveals that churches that ‘go it alone’ in the call process experience a 90-95% failure rate – the man they call is not a FIT! Yet, many persist in repeating the same failed process. A positive and wise trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. We help churches face reality. We provide testimonials from those who have utilized our services. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 

**WATCH for a 9Marks article that connects you with the FIT Process! FIT-edness was a key theological principle in the ministry of Jonathan Edwards.

 

Ministry Support $$

 

We are asking each recipient of this Newsletter to give – $10 a month. These funds enable us to provide  Scholarships to Pastors & Churches.  Our process produces Leaders with Competence that God uses to bring effectiveness to ministry. Join our Support Team! Christ gets the Glory! 

People do not give to a ministry because you have needs. People give because they believe you meet needs and they want to be a significant part of meeting those needs.Leadership Development is crucial and needed.

Financial Support– There are two (2) places on our web site (www.igniteus.net) that make contributing to our ministry simple. Click on the Home Page button labeled DONATE or on the Banner Online Giving. Follow the prompts. The challenge for every 501 c-3 organization always includes fund raising. When the market crashed in 2008 IUS lost $2,000/month in support – a major factor in sustaining ministry. We are seeking an additional $2,000/month in on-going support for fiscal year 2019. You can become a regular donor. THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

 

Pod Cast – THRIVE

 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – – www.igniteus.net – – just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

The Pod Cast are posted every Tuesday. The ministry of IgniteUS is focused on Leadership Development in the local church. Leadership Network recently completed a survey of hundreds of pastors. They were asked to identify the area in which they most needed assistance. Leadership Development was #1 in all but one category. These posts will inform, encourage, and equip leaders in the local church. Click on the banner on our home page labeled -Thrive.

The current series of posts are focused on Level Five (5) Leadership. Are you a Level Five Leader? Do you know why this matters?

December
 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History 1587 Queen Elizabeth I of England signs death warrant for her cousin, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots

News Letter January 15, 2019

January 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

*  R U A Level Five (5) Leader?

*  Effectiveness – Not Puffed Up

*  An App for IgniteUS

*  IUS Leading Transformation

*  Pastoral Placement – FIT

* Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

Pod Cast  Thrive – Are You Thriving?

This Date in History- 588 Jerusalem Siege

 

 

 

 


Level Five Leadership

 

What is a Level Five Leader? In the next five (5) News Letters we will endeavor to answer that question. Why does it matter? The short answer is this. There is a direct correlation between ministry effectiveness and the competence level of the primary leadership in a local church. Leadership is crucial in every organization and this is definitely true in the local church. Here is a quote supporting this thesis from John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Chapter 1, p.1.

I often open my leadership conferences by explaining the Law of The Lid because it helps people understand the value of leadership. If you can get a handle on this law, you will see the incredible impact of leadership on every aspect of life. So here it is: leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential. The higher the leader- ship, the greater the effectiveness. To give you an example, if your  leadership rates an 8, then your effectiveness can never be greater than a 7. If your leadership is only a 4, then you’re effectiveness will be no higher than a 3. Your leadership ability–for better or for worse–always determines your effectiveness and the potential impact of your organization.

 

The definition of level five leadership is accomplished in five characteristics or qualities of such leaders. Here is Number #1 – Surrender.

 

Early in my ministry I was frustrated by what I perceived to be a lack of commitment on the part of men. I discovered a book authored by Ed Dayton, a Christian leader with World Vision. The title was Whatever Happened to Commitment? I purchased a case and distributed them to the men I served with. Nothing changed.

 

I discovered through that sequence of events that SURRENDER not commitment is the key. Those men were as committed as they could be given the level of surrender they possessed. Only when we comprehend and practice, as Jesus said “daily death to self, to our ‘agenda'”, will we know the JOY of following Him and accomplishing His purpose for us, for the organization we serve, and for the Kingdom.

 

Luke 14:25-27 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.’

 

Luke 22:41-44 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down, and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

 

John 12:23-26 And Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

 

The question every individual in a position of Leadership must answer with integrity is – Have I truly yielded unconditional surrender to Jesus as LORD? If you answer YES, Congratulations! You have taken the first step to becoming a Level Five Leader.

 

Pastoral Effectiveness – Not Puffed Up

The Apostle Paul had every reason to be proud, puffed up if you will. Yet, he specifically declares that ‘puffing up’ must not be a characteristic of a godly leader (1Cor. 4:6). thusiousthe Do not be puffed up or conceited.This word is used seven (7) times in the NT: 1Cor. 4:6, 4:18, 4:19, 1Cor. 5:2, 1Cor. 8:1, 1Cor. 13:4, and Col. 2:18.

 

Pastors and church leaders do well to heed this warning. I recently saw a statistic stating that 1 in 3 pastors exhibit narcissistic characteristics. CAUTION!

 

An App for IgniteUS

 

The Radio station that broadcast my radio programs has developed an App for IgniteUS. I am writing this on January 10. The APP will be live tomorrow, 01/11/2019. The Beta Test begins on January 15th. This will enable you to get to our web site and other beneficial resources with one click. There are numerous other features to make connecting with us simple and efficient. We look forward to  this tool being available to our Transformation Partners and the faithful readers of our News Letter. More info to follow. As I learn more about this resource I will share that information here. Many THANKS to Ron Mosley, Jr. and WKUL 92.1 FM here in Cullman for developing this ministry resource.

 

IUS Leading Transformation – IgniteUS is currently serving

Oakwood Baptist Church – Camp Hill PA (I am serving as Interim Pastor here):

 

Graceway Baptist Church – Milton ONT. (engaged in Leadership Development)

 

Indians Springs Baptist – Kingsport TN (recently called their Lead Pastor)

 

First Baptist Church, Loris SC (strategically reaching their community)

 

Peoples Church, New Brunswick Canada (engaged in Renewal)

 

Wyoming Community Church, Grand Rapids MI (Grappling With Renewal)

 

January/February – Will you be next?

 

Pastoral Placement

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. It takes about five (5) years for a pastor to earn trust and the willingness of people to embrace the changes ministry requires. Research reveals that churches that ‘go it alone’ in the call process experience a 90-95% failure rate – the man they call is not a FIT! Yet, many persist in repeating the same failed process. A positive and wise trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. We help churches face reality. We provide testimonials from those who have utilized our services. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

**WATCH for a 9Marks article that connects you with the FIT Process! FIT-edness was a key theological principle in the ministry of Jonathan Edwards.

 

Ministry Support $$

 

We are asking each recipient of this Newsletter to give – $10 a month. These funds enable us to provide  Scholarships to Pastors & Churches.  Our process produces Leaders with Competence that God uses to bring effectiveness to ministry. Join our Support Team! Christ gets the Glory! 

People do not give to a ministry because you have needs. People give because they believe you meet needs and they want to be a significant part of meeting those needs.Leadership Development is crucial and needed.

 

Financial Support– There are two (2) places on our web site (www.igniteus.net) that make contributing to our ministry simple. Click on the Home Page button labeled DONATE or on the Banner Online Giving. Follow the prompts. The challenge for every 501 c-3 organization always includes fund raising. When the market crashed in 2008 IUS lost $2,000/month in support – a major factor in susteaining ministry. We are seeking an additional $1,500/month in on-going support for fiscal year 2019. You can become a regular donor. THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

 

Pod Cast – THRIVE

 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – – www.igniteus.net – – just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

The Pod Cast are posted every Tuesday. The ministry of IgniteUS is focused on Leadership Development in the local church. Leadership Network recently completed a survey of hundreds of pastors. They were asked to identify the area in which they most needed assistance. Leadership Development was #1 in all but one category. These posts will inform, encourage, and equip leaders in the local church. Click on the banner on our home page labeled -Thrive.

The current series of posts are focused on Level Five (5) Leadership. Are you a Level Five Leader? Do you know why this matters?

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History 588 BCNebuchadrezzar II of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem under Zedekiah’s reign. The siege lasts until July 23, 586 BC.

Read and respond. THANKS!!Read my BLOG — www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net – A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “What Are YOU Meant To DO?“) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page – Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

US Update

This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at info@igniteUS.net. Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site – click on Newsletter. THANKS!

 

What Are YOU Meant To Do?

January 11, 2019 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

Like everyone else who blogs, I thought January would be a great time to share a post that will help you set your course for the coming year. But while others write of “must-dos” and “should-dos”, I’d like to encourage you to consider something different.

Meant-to-do.

As in, What are you meant to do?

It’s an out-of-the-box question for the first post of the new year, but it’s one that’s vitally important to everything else you have planned for 2019. You see, resolutions aren’t worth much if they don’t move you closer to what you’re meant to be doing.

I believe wholeheartedly that human beings are intended to live for a purpose—that every person who walks this earth is here for a reason.

Because I’m a person of faith, I believe God creates us all with a specific calling. My calling is to add value to leaders who multiply value to others. I’ve known this since I was 29 years old, and it’s shaped the substance and direction of my adult life.

But even if you’re not a person of faith, the idea of a calling shouldn’t feel unfamiliar, especially for leaders. Leaders have a pull towards something bigger than themselves—a sense that there’s more to be discovered.

Author Richard Lieder, who founded Inventure, offers a great definition of a calling:

“There is a raw self within each of us, too, that is our seed of destiny. Like acorns, we are oaks-in-waiting, raw potential waiting to find our calling. At the core of our destiny lies the necessity of choice, the potential to choose to become something that has never existed before. When we fail to express our embedded gifts, we starve our seed of destiny…A calling is the urge to give our gifts away.”

In my new book, Leadershift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace, I devote the final chapter to the shift from career to calling. Everyone has a calling—a gift to give to the world—and the day you discover your calling is among the greatest days in a person’s life.

While the book has a lot more to say on this topic, I want to share with you one of the simplest ideas on how to begin living out your calling.

If you want to make 2019 the year you discover and live out your calling, set a clear path in a worthwhile direction.

There are plenty of worthwhile directions to be found. All you need to do is look at the world around you.

You are surrounded by people who need help, people who need encouragement, people who need someone to show them a better way. You can lend your voice to the voiceless or bring clarity to confusion but do something. The key to discovering your calling is action that benefits others.

That’s because our lives aren’t meant for just ourselves. We are all made to add value to the people around us, to serve through our giftedness. You see, a calling is discovered over time, and leaders flesh it out as they serve and learn and grow.

But that movement—that growth—is essential.

One of the paradoxes of life is that you must follow your calling with clarity and purpose—all while living with uncertainty. Too often, people think they have to have it all figured out before they can live a life of calling and purpose.

The truth is, you don’t have to have all the answers. But you do have to act.

Your cannot choose where your life will end up. But you can determine the direction you take today.

So set a clear path in a worthwhile direction.

January 1 2019

January 3, 2019 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition

 

*  Courage In Conflict

*  Organic Unity

*  Bible Reading Plans

*  Effectiveness – Steadfast & Immovable

*  An App for IgniteUS

*  IUS Leading Transformation

*  Pastoral Placement – FIT

* Tithe.ly for Ministry Support

Pod Cast  Thrive – Are You Thriving?

This Date in History – The Julian Calendar

Pastoral unity Paul speaks of in this passage is Organic

 

 

 

labeled

Courage In Conflict

 

Jesus made it clear, to follow him, to obey his word and be a true disciple, would produce suffering (John 15:20). This is now displayed in living color on the world’s stage. The Chinese Government is cracking down on the House Churches in China. They have closed some churches. They have arrested key Pastors and church leaders.

 

This kind of treatment has been the norm for centuries in may places around the globe. I suggest it may well be a reality soon right here in ‘River City’, the USA. Here is an excerpt from the letter Pastor Wang Yi wrote upon his arrest. I provide the link to his entire letter and I urge my readers to read this and to pray for him and for our brothers and sisters in China.

 

For all hideous realities, unrighteous politics, and arbitrary laws manifest the cross of Jesus Christ, the only means by which every Chinese person must be saved. They also manifest the fact that true hope and a perfect society will never be found in the transformation of any earthly institution or culture but only in our sins being freely forgiven by Christ and in the hope of eternal life.

 

As a pastor, my firm belief in the gospel, my teaching, and my rebuking of all evil proceeds from Christ’s command in the gospel and from the unfathomable love of that glorious King. Every man’s life is extremely short, and God fervently commands the church to lead and call any man to repentance who is willing to repent. Christ is eager and willing to forgive all who turn from their sins. This is the goal of all the efforts of the church in China—to testify to the world about our Christ, to testify to the Middle Kingdom about the Kingdom of Heaven, to testify to earthly, momentary lives about heavenly, eternal life. This is also the pastoral calling that I have received.

 

For this reason, I accept and respect the fact that this Communist regime has been allowed by God to rule temporarily. As the Lord’s servant John Calvin said, wicked rulers are the judgment of God on a wicked people, the goal being to urge God’s people to repent and turn again toward Him. For this reason, I am joyfully willing to submit myself to their enforcement of the law as though submitting to the discipline and training of the Lord.

 

At the same time, I believe that this Communist regime’s persecution against the church is a greatly wicked, unlawful action. As a pastor of a Christian church, I must denounce this wickedness openly and severely. The calling that I have received requires me to use non-violent methods to disobey those human laws that disobey the Bible and God. My Savior Christ also requires me to joyfully bear all costs for disobeying wicked laws

https://www.theaquilareport.com/my-declaration-of-faithful-disobedience-pastor-wang-yi/.

Recommended Resource – A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer. Chapters 7 & 8

 

Organic Unity 

Ephesians 4:3 (ESV) eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

The unity the Apostle Paul speaks of in this passage is Organic, not Organizational. Organic Unity, because it is Doctrinal in content and nature, leads to Organizational unity. Sound or Healthy Doctrine is a bedrock component of the local church. A church that has Sound Doctrine, and Practices what that doctrine requires, will know God’s blessing. This is inherent in the charge Paul gave to Titus (Titus 1:9). I submit that the dysfunction and decline in the Evangelical Church in America is a direct result of Unsound or Unhealthy doctrinal practices. God has never and does not now accept culturally contrived substitutes. That is known as syncretism, accommodation to the culture. It destroyed Israel and it is doing grave damage to the Evangelical Church.

 

Bible Reading Plans

 

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/

 

Pastoral Effectiveness – Steadfast & Immovable

 

The Apostle Paul faced multiple challenges to his ministry (2Cor. 11:23-29). Pastoral ministry continues to present ever increasing obstacles to the faithful exercise of orthodox ministry. The testimony of Pastor Wang Yi posted above serves as ‘Exhibit A’. The longevity of pastoral service requires the diligent exercise of these qualities – – steadfastness and immovability.

 

edraios – to be settled or steadfast (1Cor. 7:37, 1Cor. 15:58, Col. 1:23)

 

ametakineitos – immovable (1Cor. 15:58)

 

There are statistics regarding pastoral longevity that show 50% of men that enter ministry are gone after 5 years. 80% are gone after 10 years. The future of pastoral ministry will require both of the qualities listed above. Are YOU prepared to serve accordingly? cf. Lk. 9:62!

 

An App for IgniteUS

 

The Radio station that broadcast my radio programs is developing an App for IgniteUS. The completion of this project and the Beta Test date is January 15th. This will enable you to get to our web site with one click. Numerous other features to make connecting with us simple and efficient. We look forward to  this tool being available to our Transformation Partners and the faithful readers of our News Letter. More info to follow.

 

.IUS Leading Transformation – IgniteUS is currently serving 

Oakwood Baptist Church – Camp Hill PA (I am serving as Interim Pastor here):

 

Graceway Baptist Church – Milton ONT. (engaged in Leadership Development)

 

Indians Springs Baptist – Kingsport TN (recently called their Lead Pastor)

 

First Baptist Church, Loris SC (strategically reaching their community)

 

Peoples Church, New Brunswick Canada (engaged in Renewal)

 

Wyoming Community Church, Grand Rapids MI (Pursuing Renewal)

 

January/February – Will you be next?

 

Pastoral Placement 

Leadership is crucial. When a church is seeking a Lead Pastor there are multiple critical areas that must be considered. Tragically the traditional approach to this process has produced brief pastoral tenures (3 1/2 years is the current average) and less than robust effectiveness. It takes about five (5) years for a pastor to earn trust and the willingness of people to embrace the changes ministry requires. Research reveals that churches that ‘go it alone’ in the call process experience a 90-95% failure rate – the man they call is not a FIT! Yet, many persist in repeating the same failed process. A positive and wise trend is to seek the services of a proven Consultant and Process. IgniteUS provides such a service. Our goal is to guide the church to a man that fits the church and the church fits the man. We help churches face reality. We provide testimonials from those who have utilized our services. Contact us @ 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

**WATCH for a 9Marks article that connects you with the FIT Process!

 

Ministry Support $$

 

We are asking each recipient of this Newsletter to give – $10 a month. These funds enable us to provide  Scholarships to Pastors & Churches. This past month we received $1,200+ in response to this challenge. Join that Team! Christ gets the Glory!  On our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) click on the banner labeled Online Giving and follow the prompts.

People do not give to a ministry because you have needs. People give because they believe you meet needs and they want to be a significant part of meeting those needs.

Year End Giving – There are two (2) places on our web site (www.igniteus.net) that make contributing to our ministry simple. Click on the Home Page button labeled DONATE or on the Banner Online Giving. Follow the prompts. To date the LORD has raised funds  that assist churches engaged in the Transformation Process. THANKS to each one who gives! Appreciated!

 

Pod Cast – THRIVE

 

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – – www.igniteus.net – – just click on that banner. This Pod Cast has the potential to reach 35,000 listeners. If you listen and find benefit in the content, encourage folks in your sphere of influence to listen as well, then contact us. THANKS. I want to hear from you; info@igniteus.net or 800 472 3764.

The Pod Cast are posted every Tuesday. The ministry of IgniteUS is focused on Leadership Development in the local church. Leadership Network recently completed a survey of hundreds of pastors. They were asked to identify the area in which they most needed assistance. Leadership Development was #1 in all but one category. These posts will inform, encourage, and equip leaders in the local church. Click on the banner on our home page labeled -Thrive.

December
 

 

 

 

 

 

This Date in History

45 BC The Julian calendar takes effect for the first time

Read and respond. THANKS!!Read my BLOG — www.thetextsays.blogspot.com.

Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net – A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – “Leadership Under Stress“) New post on the 1st & 15th of each month. Comments welcome!

Home Page – Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/

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