The Role Of Deacons?

June 15, 2015 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

*  Function of  Deacons - Executive Board ?

*  Bibles For Babwisi – Uganda

*  What Topic Would You Like Us To Address?

*  Where’s Waldo – Calling A Pastor

*  Pastoral Wisdom – No Place To Hide

*  Read My BLOG – Critical Mass – Have You Passed This Point?

Function of Deacons??

In the June 1st News Letter I requested my readers submit topics they would like to see us address. The first response we received regards the Function of Deacons. The request is listed below. In the limited space we have we address this most important topic. THANK YOU to the faithful reader who submitted this question.

How about the “function” of deacons?  There is this very popular thinking that is embedded in Christian culture, especially among SBC churches, that deacons constitute the Executive Board of a congregation.  Yet, no such role is ever mentioned in Scripture.  If that is not the function of deacons, then what is it?

I think I finally got through to our people that deacons are not the Executive Board, but they still expect “monthly meetings.”  But when I ask, “For what purpose,” they seem bewildered.  It amazes me how different “cultural” Christianity is from “biblical” Christianity.

First Principles

The Scripture makes clear that there are two Offices in the NT Church. Those are (1) Pastor/Elder, and (2) Deacon. In every NT church found in the text of Scripture there is a plurality of Elders. In many/most Baptist churches there is a single Elder. Major problem.

Deacons became a necessity as recorded in Acts 6. The Grecian widows were being neglected while the Jewish widows were being cared for (prejudice is not a new thing!)

The stated reason for the establishment of Deacons in the church is that of service. The Apostles/Elders/Pastors declared that they must not give up preaching and prayer (vv.2&4) to diakovein trapeizais, serve tables. In this context the specific reference is to meeting the material needs of those widows.

This establishes the primary roles of the two offices in a NT church. Deacons are to serve. They are not to govern. Their role is not one of dominance or the establishment of ministry policy. It is not to preach and/or teach. It is not to guard and monitor doctrine. That is the responsibility of the Elders. Deacons are to serve and to do so in submission to (Heb. 13:7; 13:17) and in concert and harmony with the Elders.

There is an accurate, specific, and vivid description of the qualifications for those who would serve as Deacons. They are to be ‘men of good report’ – their reputation in both their private lives and in the public marketplace. They are to be ‘men full of the Spirit’ and wisdom. That is, their conduct is to be directed and guided by the Holy Spirit in modeling godly lives. The ‘fear of the LORD’ is the beginning of wisdom. There is often a spirit of arrogance and a lack of humility displayed by those holding this office due to misunderstanding their role as one of service not governing. This must not be permitted

What would be the result if a local church went into the community and inquired as to the reputation of those who serve as Deacons BEFORE men are elevated to this office? Identifying those who will serve in this office is usually done as a popularity contest rather than an examination of their character. Arrogance is not fitting for men who hold  this office. In 46 years of ministry it is my observation that this quality of humility is profoundly absent in men who occupy this office to the great harm and dysfunction of the church. If you disagree with this observation consider the state of the evangelical church in America. I take no pleasure in stating these things but they are true.

A common complaint I hear in working with Pastors is ‘the Deacons won’t come to the Deacon’s meetings’! Then they should not be Deacons! That role is not an honorary title. It is a position of service and it must me engaged with excellence and integrity.

One final observation on this test. Notice the pronouns. It was not ‘the vote’ of the people that put these men into the office of deacons/serving. The text specifically declares that the people identified these men because they lived with them, observed their conduct, knew them well. However, the text states ‘we’, meaning the Apostles, ‘will appoint them’ (katasteisomen, 1p pl future active indicative). Notice they did not formally hold that office until the Apostles appointed them. A great deal of confusion could be avoided if we simply followed what the text declares.

Function

The offices in the NT church are clearly delineated. Most Baptist churches (the question was submitted by a Baptist pastor) have only one Elder. This is a clear violation of the polity God ordained for the church (Acts 14:23 – appointed Elders plural in every church, singular; Titus 1:5 appoint Elders, plural).

A word study of Deacon (deaconous, servant, helper – 1 Tim. 3:8) brings crystal clarity to the function of Deacons in a NT church. Deacons by God’s design are to serve not govern. The problem that has arisen is the church has assimilated ‘democratic rule’, Roberts Rules of Order, etc. as the guiding principle in the church. As the questioner stated – there is a vast difference between Biblical and Cultural Christianity. Majority Rule is not a wise course of action for several reasons. Consider Kadesh Barnea as a classic object lesson. The ‘majority’ (10 of 12) said ‘do not go in’. How did that work out? 40 years of wilderness wandering. We must involve and listen honestly and carefully to the congregation. That does not mean that a 51-49% vote has God’s approval!

Summary

Please understand there is much more exegesis that must be considered on this issue. Traditions are powerful and deeply entrenched. James McDonald wrote an article several years back titled “Congregational Rule Is Of The Devil“. (June 9, 2011 – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2011/06/10/james-macdonald-congregationalism-from-hell/). He later wrote a retraction. Deacons are to serve. Elders are to Preach, Teach, Pray and provide oversight for the congregation. Thom Rainer’s research states that Organizational Dysfunction is one of the two primary reasons for the decline of the evangelical church. When a church has a single Elder there is no way they can fulfill the profile found in the text of Scripture. This contributes to a vacuum and Deacons assume they are to fill that void. This is a dysfunctional organizational structure as measured by the text of Scripture. When the church ignores what the text says on organizational polity or any other item it does not meet with God’s approval.

Deacons governing rather than serving has been established culturally not biblically. Changing this requires patient systematic instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept. The goal must be to honor what the text says.

The initial question included the issue of meetings. Some guiding principles for meetings:

1.  Never conduct a meeting for which there is no clear purpose.

2.  Never conduct a meeting for which there is no Agenda stating specific objectives.

3.  Meetings should contribute to the effective fulfillment of purpose – Make Disciples.

4.  There must be accurate minutes and a clear statement of who does what & why as a result of the meeting. Without this clarity you become a hampster on a wheel meeting month after month with no substantive achievement.

Two titles that will provide excellent direction for church meetings.  Meetings That Work by Alexander Strauch and Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni.

Submit your question on a topic related to ministry. THANKS!

* Bibles for Babwisi – Uganda

$8.50 = 1 Bible Delivered

Wycliffe Bible Translators and The Seed Company have partnered to complete translating the New Testament, Genesis, and other Old Testament books, such as Jonah. All donations for this Bible will go directly to and are administered by Wycliffe.

The plan is to print 5,000 Lubwisi Bibles in the summer of 2015. Next, the Bibles will be taken through customs, transported to the Babwisi, and dedicated in the fall of 2015 through local pastors and missionaries.

This “Heart Language Happening” campaign is raising $42,500 to print and deliver 5,000 Lubwisi Bibles. $8.50 buys and places one Lubwisi Bible into the hands of the Babwisi.

Please contribute because … One Bible matters.

http://biblesforbabwisi.org

*Contribute & be part of bringing Scripture to this People Group in their tongue.

*  What Topic Would You Like Us To Address?

Ministry poses a multitude of challenges. What is the most pressing issue you are facing? Send us an email (info@igniteUS.net) and describe your circumstance. We will consider using this in our News Letter. We will protect your identity and just deal with the issue. Give us your name, email address, church name and cell phone #. THANKS!

* Calling a Pastor – Where’s Waldo?

It is not uncommon for a church to receive 300-400 Resumes when seeking to call a Lead Pastor. They then launch a process that is comparable to ‘Finding Waldo’. Remember that game? There is a picture of a thousand faces. The challenge is in viewing this photograph; find Waldo. The book by this title was released in 1987.

This may be entertaining for some folks, but, it is a very poor and ineffective way to identify and call a pastor. It takes far too long, cost far too much and produces pastoral tenures that average 4.3 years (http://www.gbjournal.org/8-82/); (http://www.tms.edu/preachersandpreaching/the-long-view-on-pastoral-ministry/). Not good and very detrimental to the church.

IgniteUS provides a Process that is less costly, requires less time (on average 12 months or less), is more effective and results in a pastor that FITS the church and the church FITS him. The churches that have used this process give us a 94% Effectiveness Rating. Contact us for more information on this valuable resource that equips local churches in calling a man that leads with excellence and effectiveness. 803 413 3509 or info@igniteus.net.

Pastoral Wisdom – No Place To Hide

Unless you have been hiding in a cave or on a deserted island in the past week you are aware of the most recent capitulation to evil by some ‘so called’ evangelicals. Dr. Al Mohler responded to this in an editorial post on 06/10. The link takes my readers to this post. We will or we will not defend the veracity and integrity of the text of Scripture. Choose you this day whom you will serve!

http://www.albertmohler.com/2015/06/10/which-way-evangelicals-there-is-nowhere-to-hide/

BLOG - “Critical Mass – Have You Passed This Point? “. Read and respond. THANKS!!

Read my BLOG – - www.thetextsays.blogspot.com. Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net – A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently -”Critical Mass – Have You Passed This Point? “) New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome!

The Pew Report & Ministry Metrics

June 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Evangelical Church – Pew Report – Reality
In the Fable ‘Chicken Little’ he is struck on the head by an object. He cries out – - The Sky is Falling – The Sky is Falling!! (Actually, it was an acorn!) Here is a link to that Fable. (http://www.eleaston.com/chicken.html) I post the final sequence for my readers convenience. The alarm was overstated hyperbole but the result was a disaster. This is similar to what will transpire in the evangelical church if we do not have the courage of genuine discernment, embrace reality, and take wise, persistent, and prudent action – - SOON!
So Foxy Loxy led Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurkey across a field and through the woods.  He led them straight to his den, and they never saw the king to tell him that the sky is falling.
The recent Pew Report on the decline of Christianity in America launched a flurry of Panic, I told you so’s, and a host of other responses. My Grandpa taught me that ‘liars can figure, but figures don’t lie’. There is a modicum of truth in that aphorism. But, (http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/
In this article my objective is to tell the real story. It is utterly and absolutely undeniable that many Denominations are not only declining, they are in free fall. The losses reported in the past decade are astronomical. To continue on this path will result in the closure of many more assemblies known as churches (sic). This precipitous decline is in Denominations that have abandoned in wholesale fashion the Authority of Scripture and the historic concept of Evangelical orthodoxy. J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, published nearly 100 years ago but applicable to our time exposed the foolishness of this approach to ministry.
The Pew Report prompted a host of Evangelical pundits to quickly trumpet their numbers. These figures do not show decline. In some cases there are even modest gains. While true, this is merely part of the story. The fact that there is not decline may even be a negative factor in the future of the American Church. This may lull some to be ‘at ease in Zion’. A very bad place to reside. Israel in their arrogance was once there:
“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, . . . (Amos 6:1).
First, the church is never going to die. Not in America. Not in any part of this world. The church is the Body & Bride of Christ. He stated emphatically that He is building that church (Matt. 16:18), He never fails, and He never lies. Mark it down.
Second, there is a serious and deadly flaw in the way the Evangelical Church measures effectiveness; numbers only. Bigger is better, biggest is best. Denominations are accorded slots for Chaplains in our military services based on numbers. These numbers are based on attendance and primarily on membership statistics.
(One of my Board Members is a retired military officer. He joined a church. He was then transferred numerous times. After 15 years he once again resides in the area where he joined that church. He told the Church Secretary they wanted to join that church. He was told, ‘Oh Dr. XXXX, you are already a member!’ In some cases you cannot get off the church roles even when you die!!) The fallacy of mere numbers and membership stats!
The SBC claims to have about 16 million members. However, on the best Sunday of the year there are not 7 million in attendance. There have been numerous formal attempts to correct this. Those attempts are always met with scorn and defeat. How dare you challenge our standing as the largest Evangelical denomination? Excuse me. (The SBC is not alone in this charade.) I have personally corresponded with numerous Denominational Leaders who state clearly they agree with my thesis that we are applying an erroneous metric. But, nothing changes. How tragic.
Third, numbers are important because they represent people. But, the proper Metric for measuring ministry effectiveness is not numbers alone. Rather, it is transformation. We are commanded and privileged to make disciples (Matt. 28:16-20; Luke 9:23; Rom. 12:2; Col. 2:6-7). Edgar Schein offers a sterling statement regarding organizational metrics:
What you have not defined you cannot measure!
Fourth, every organization that expects to survive has a viable and accurate metric for success. If you do not know with accuracy what your purpose and objective is, you are merely beating the wind. MacDonalds recently saw a small % decline in their sales. They dismissed the CEO. They eliminated numerous menu items. Why? To correct the fact that they were missing the mark. The metric they had established and defined for success was not being met. The church should exhibit such integrity and diligence.
It matters very little how many thousand people ‘attend’ Sunday services if they are not transformed into the image of Christ. For the church to assess effectiveness she must have a well defined and accurate definition of transformation. She must assess  ministry using this metric. To fail in this process is quite simply to fail at the very mandate, the singular mandate in the Great Commission – Make Disciples. Here is ‘a’ definition. The means by which this is accomplished will vary from church to church but the fact of transformation into the image of Christ must not be ignored.
Transformation – is the objective and observable positive change in the life     of a disciple into the character, conduct and likeness of Jesus Christ. The principles and precepts of God’s Word are the directives for this change and they are applied in the routines of life consistently with joy. The change is measured objectively based on behavior that reflects obedience to the Scripture, “all that Jesus has commanded’. This process is accomplished in the context of transparency and vulnerability with accountability and is lived out in a ‘life in community’ context within the body of Christ.
The Greek word for “one another” is “allelon” which denotes a reciprocal and mutual work on the part of believers toward one another. It occurs 58 times in the New Testament, excluding the Gospels. A church body which practices these commands experiences a meaningful dynamic deep caring concern for fellow believers; connectedness, unity, cooperation, commitment, accountability, other-centeredness, involvement. These concepts can be measured objectively.God has given the Church His blueprint for building itself up. This includes relating to one another in and everybody doing their part (Eph. 4:12-16). As we follow His design, we will see a dynamic church that is healthy and effective. Probably much smaller in ‘numbers’ for a time but profoundly more powerful and effective in proclaiming the good news of the Gospel. The end result will be a church that is filled with those who meet the profile Christ gave us (Luke 14:25-33).
Summary
Do not be ‘led through the woods’ by those with nefarious motives – preserve status quo at all costs. Never fear Pastor. Unlike our friends who followed Foxy Loxy, you WILL see the King. You will give an account for your care and feeding of the sheep. He is Holy, Merciful and Worthy. His word is clear and it calls for transformation not mere numbers and activity.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you (Hebrews 13:17).
We simply must engage in what Jim Collins calls in his book Good To Great (p. 86)  ‘Brutal Reality’. We should always speak the truth. The truth regarding the evangelical church is that she is currently and persistently focused on  the wrong issue; numbers rather than transformation. REPENT! Isaiah spoke truth to power in his ministry;
Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations – I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:13-18)
So, what Metric are you applying? Attendance? Membership? Offerings? Baptisms? All these issues matter but they are not the primary issue. Are the people you shepherd being transformed into the image of Christ? Can you measure that transformation with a high degree of accuracy? We ARE going to see the KING!

Pastor As Author

February 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree
Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
* Pastor As Author

* On-line Coaching & Consulting

* Was Adam The First Man? Does it matter?

* Partnership – Founders & IUS

* Leadership Resources – Imputation of Adam’s Sin

* Leadership Insights from the “Fly on The Wall” – I Can’t Write!

* Metrics In Ministry – Read the BLOG www.thetextsays.blogspot.com

* eStore on The Web

* In the Next Issue – Prayer & Effective Ministry

The Pastor As Author

Intro.: I requested an article from Dr. Jack Williamson, pastor of First Baptist in Ridgeway SC on the topic of writing. Jack has authored a number of books during his tenure as Pastor (a list of those titles follows this article). In spite of the ‘pen hits the paper’ reference, Jack does not write with an ink well and a quill! Writing is a wonderful way to expand the impact of the gospel. I encourage my readers to embrace this challenging and fruitful avenue of ministry. Notice the persistent production of Dr. Williamson’s work – persistence is a must for a writer. Caution – in this digital age what you write is out there for others to critique – forever!!

Tips on Writing from Dr. Jack Williamson, Pastor FBC Ridgeway SC

Before the pen hits the paper, ask yourself, “Who’s going to read this?” The answer to that question should have an enormous influence on what you write and how you write it. It will also affect the development of your theme, the vocabulary you use, and the application and conclusions of your piece.

Am I composing this for fellow pastors who will be familiar with the theological terms I use? Or, am I writing for laymen, in which case, I may have to incorporate definitions and references explaining those terms. Is this a piece that will be read by people from my generation, or for a younger or older audience?
Are the readers likely to be in agreement with me or opposed to my views and conclusions? This will govern the work’s construction. If you perceive the audience as friendly, you can mention the theme throughout the entire project, but if the audience is hostile to your argument, you should save the conclusion until the very end. Let the hostile reader follow your thinking before he or she reads your conclusions.
As you consider the potential audience, consider the purpose of your writing. Am I defending a particular viewpoint that has been challenged by another author? Am I attempting to persuade others to my point of view, or am I simply educating people of details and ideas that they might not already know?
The old adage is especially important in writing: “Plan your work and work your plan.”
Titles by Dr. Jack Williamson:
God’s Fluttering Servants—The Biblical Story of Angels
ISBN 978-1-4560-6524-9 (2011)
Heaven’s Area Code—A Theology of Prayer
ISBN 978-1-61582-938-5 (2010)
L of the Tulip—A Case for Particular Redemption
ISBN 1-60813-293-5 (2009)
Sin in the Assembly—A Guide for Local Baptist Church Discipline
ISBN 1-60441-178-3 (2007)
Seven Basic and Brief Pointers for Writers
Lit Crit – Literary Notes
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, 05 April 2010
In no particular order of importance, I would encourage those who want to learn the wordriht life to approximate something like the following:
1. Know something about the world, and by this I mean the world outside of books. This might require joining the Marines, or working on an oil rig, or as a hashslinger at a truck stop in Kentucky. Know what things smell like out there.
2. Read. Read constantly. Read the kind of stuff you wish you could write. Read until your brain creaks. Tolkien said that his ideas sprang up from the leaf mold of his mind. These are the trees where the leaves come from.
3. Read mechanical helps. By this I mean dictionaries, etymological histories, books of anecdotes, dictionaries of foreign phrases, books of quotations, books on how to write dialog, and so on. The plot will usually fail to grip, so just read a page a day. If you think it makes you out to be too much of a word-dork, then don’t tell anybody about it.
4. Stretch before your routines. If you want to write short stories, try to write Italian sonnets. If you want to write a novel, write a few essays. If you want to write opinion pieces for the Washington Post, then limber up with haiku.
5. Be at peace with being lousy for a while. Chesterton once said that anything worth doing was worth doing badly. He was right. Only an insufferable egoist expects to be brilliant first time out.
6. Learn other languages, preferably languages that are upstream from ours. This would include Greek, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon. The brain is not a shoebox that “gets full,” but is rather a muscle that expands its capacity with increased use. The more you know the more you can know. The more you can do with words, the more you can do. As it turns out.
7. Keep a commonplace book. Write down any notable phrases that occur to you, or that you have come across. If it is one that you have found in another writer, and it is striking, then quote it, as the fellow said, or modify it to make it yours. If Chandler said that a guy had a cleft chin you could hide a marble in, that should come in useful sometime. If Wodehouse said somebody had an accent you could turn handsprings on, then he might have been talking about Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. Tinker with stuff. Get your fingerprints on it.
Know when to stop.
Follow this link to John Hodgman’s “Advice to Writers.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVUJIGqL1AA
After Michelangelo died, someone found in his studio a piece of paper on which he had written a note to his apprentice, in the handwriting of his old age: “Draw, Antonio, draw, Antonio, draw and do not waste time.” The eternal value of their work gives Christian writers further reason to heed an adaptation of Michelangelo’s words: “Write — and do not waste time.”
Follow this link to a helpful article on Justin Taylor’s BLOG on writing clearly and coherently. This also points the reader to a “Writer’s Conference in April in Orlando FL.
TCF’s personal basic tools for writing well:
1. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
2. Wordsmithy – Hot Tips for the Writing Life by Douglas Wilson
3. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Write On!

* On line Coaching & Consulting

Most, nearly all, Pastors are looking for helpful ministry resources and sound counsel. Thanks to God’s Providence and modern technology, this is now available. IgniteUS uses Video Conferencing. This enables us to speak with you Face2Face. We provide references that connect you with other Pastors who have engaged the process. They serve as our most effective and powerful promotion tool.You may choose the level of service you desire. You may sign up for one hour or a year etc. as you choose. The normal frequency is a 30 minute call twice a month. Prior to the call you send us an email detailing the issues you want us to address. There is no cost to learn more about this beneficial and economical approach to seeing God make the ministry where you serve Healthy & Effective. Give us a call 1 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net. You will be glad you did!

* Was Adam The First Man? Does it matter?

Publisher’s Description:

Denying the historicity of Adam has become increasingly present within evangelical circles.
Was Adam the first historical man?
Does the answer really matter?
And, does it affect any important doctrines in the Bible?
Carefully examining key passages of Scripture, Versteeg proves that all human beings descended from Adam, the first man. He argues that if this is not true, the entire history of redemption documented in Scripture unravels and we have no gospel in any meaningful sense.
This issue has been front and center for several years. It does matter and every pastor must know why. This title provides credible evidence for the historical Adam. (tcf)
Adam in the New Testament: Mere Teaching Model or First Historical Man? by J.P. Versteeg.
A number of theologians have postulated that Adam is a ‘teaching model’ in the
New Testament. Versteeg’s remarkably cogent and concise book tells us why
this view is impossible. (John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology
and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary)
Coming Publication: Four Views of the Historicity of Adam – Zondervan; to be published in time for ETS/IBR/SBL conferences in November. Four essayists: Denis Lamoreux (evolution, no historic Adam), John Walton (archetypal Adam, no need for historic Adam), C. John Collins (old earth creation, definite historic Adam), William Barrick (young earth creation, definite historic Adam).

Partnership – Founders & IUS

IgniteUS is pleased to announce a ministry partnership with Founders Ministries. Go to our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) and click on the “Partners” page for a brief description of this shared endeavor to see God bring Reformation & Renewal to the church in America. Founder’s Home Page is (www.founders.org). You will find helpful resources at both sites!

Study Preaching and Preachers with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This was the first course we offered back in 2003. It is rich and refreshing source of insight for all who desire to faithfully proclaim God’s Word. A 16-week course beginning February 4, 2013. The course material is downloaded to your ipad, computer, etc. when you register. Go to www.founders.org and click on the Study Center. This course will help you become a better ‘Expositional Leader’.

* Leadership Resources – Imputation of Adam’s Sin by John Murray

The historical orthodox evangelical doctrinal position has been and is that mankind inherited both a sin nature and guilt, God’s judgment, as a result of Adam’s disobedience. There are some today who accept the fact of our inheriting a sin nature but loudly deny that we inherit Adam’s guilt. Read Murray and follow the link for a systematic examination of this question.

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/what-is-the-biblical-evidence-for-the-imputation-of-adams-sin

Leadership Insights from the”Fly on the Wall“- “I Can’t Write”

I started my formal education at age 27. One of my first Professors was Dr. James Murray Grier. He died on January 12, 2013. He had and continues to have a profound influence on my life and ministry. Why? He taught me to think Theistically, to think God’s thoughts after Him. He modeled a joyful scholarship. He was highly academic and at the same time intensely practical in what he taught, preached and wrote.

I recall a student complaining to him and saying “I Can’t Write”. Jim said with genuine compassion and honest integrity – - ‘You can’t write because you can’t think!’ So true. When we think properly we can deliver those thoughts in written form. Jim followed me in one of the pastorates I was privileged to hold. He served for two years in that role.

This is a well deserved tribute to my brother, friend and mentor. He taught me to think. If you want to write well, learn to think well. Thank you Jim. The “Olde Pilgrim” has reached the celestial city whose builder and maker is God!.

?* Metrics In Ministry – Read the BLOG (www.thetextsays.blogspot.com)

Do you know what a disciple is? Can you measure the transformation of the people and congregation you serve? This article will get you started down this road to true spiritual health and effectiveness.

January 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Newsletter

 

IgniteUs, Inc.
Under The Elmtree
Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
*  Expository Leadership
*  A Learning Organization
*  A New Year & New Opportunity
*  Decision Making Profile
 Partnership – Founders & IUS
*  Leadership Resources - Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
*  Leadership Insights from the “Fly on The Wall” – No Decision is a Decision
*  eStore on The Web
*  In the Next Issue – What is Competence in Ministry?
Expository Leadership
**Please note – follow the links in this article to appreciate the importance of Expository Leadership. THANKS!
When I was in Bible College our homiletics prof gave us an eisegesis, yes eisegesis, assignment. Using the KJV only we were to preach a sermon for class to “prove” something, anything. My sermon was proof of Santa Claus from Zechariah 2:6. Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. — Wish I still had the manuscript. Got an A! (from Face Book on 12/24/12)
The Bible is a treasure. The message is the Drama of RedemptionThere are at least four primary segments or epochs; Creation, The Fall, Redemption and Consummation. The chronology covers thousands of years. There are 40 authors of 66 books that in reality is ‘one Book’. There is an amazing consistency in the message. There is a God. He did actually send his Son. That Son in his sacrificial death did actually purchase a people for himself (cf. Rev. 5:9). This Son, Jesus, will come a second time in what is referred to as the parousia, the unveiling of the Triumphant Christ, the final act in this Drama of Redemptionas he returns to reign. Consummation.
The message in the opening paragraph above does not measure up as Expository Leadership. It distorts and abuses the intended message of the text of Scripture. That prof made his point and decades later that speaker remembers the assignment. In all fairness he is a proponent of Expository Leadership! That paragraph serves as a fitting comparative image.
What is Expository Leadership? Expository writing or speaking is that which seeks to inform, explain and make clear what the author or speaker intended. Authorial intent is a crucial component. In spite of post-modernism’s disdain for Truth Absolute the Scriptures mean what they say. The Christian Leader has as his unchanging foundation the Word of God. Expository Leadership is action that is rooted in and shaped by the unchanging Word of God. The text of Scripture guides and governs in precept and principle what flows from a leader’s life. He models Truth and by virtue of his godly character compels others to imitate or follow his example (Heb. 13:7; 13:17). To the degree that his conduct and initiatives are not supported by Scripture it is not Expository Leadership.
Experience rather than Exposition now shapes ‘ministry’ in the evangelical church. To the extent that we have abandoned the consistent exposition of the text of Scripture we are less potent. We have a diminished impact on the world in which we live. We attract people but the attraction is not to the Christ. The disciples we make do not image transformation into the character and likeness of Jesus. Exposition that is true to the text and accomplished by sound exegetical principles is our calling and our duty. Nothing less will suffice.
The links that follow are:
1.  An article by Sam Storms titled How to Interpret The Bible. Accurate and helpful.
2. & 3.  Two articles by Bob Hadley. They serve as an example of the lengths to which some will go to avoid letting the text say and mean what it says and means. These articles are focused on John 10:26.
4.  An article from the NY Times published on December 29, 2012 detailing the shift toward building congregations around Art Galleries and Cafes.
5.  A You Tube Video of Pastor John MacArthur being interviewed on the topic of Expository Leadership.
By Sam Storms, Enjoying God Ministries, How to Interpret The Bible
By Bob Hadley, Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Chancellor of Atlantic Coast Bible College and Seminary.
The ministry of IgniteUS, our Staff and Board of Directors are unflinching in our commitment to a High View of Christ and a High View of the Scriptures. We embrace the principles that produce Expository Leadership. If this is the kind of ministry you seek to promote then we will serve you well. Tell others. Pray for us to stand firm in this endeavor to see churches become Healthy & Effective, making disciples fully formed in the image of Christ.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
** I will send an article from the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology titled D. A. Carson’s Theological Method by Andy Naselli, August 2011 to all who make that request.
A Learning Organization 
David A. Garvin of the Harvard Business School has defined a learning organization as:
“an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.”
Peter Senge (Fifth Discipline) speaks of generative learning. The church should be a leader in taking the Truth of God’s Special Revelation and applying that Truth to all of life. God’s Truth should reign and rule in virtually ever realm of God’s world. The church and her leaders should shape culture in the application and defense of that Truth. To do that effectively the church must be a “Learning Organization”. Tragically, ‘status quo’ is the norm in local churches. The following link takes the reader to a brief article describing the essence of a Learning Organization. Read, Pray, Think, Apply!
Is the church in which you serve a Learning Organization?
*  A New Year & New Opportunity
IgniteUS provides a variety of beneficial services and resources to Pastors and Churches. These range from some simple Assessment tools to a comprehensive Reformation & Renewal Process. You may contact us at     1 800 472 3764. We work with those who have a desire for and commitment to Leadership Development, Organizational and Personal Transformation. The decline of the church in America is irrefutable. Doing nothing is not a legitimate course of action. You can become an effective and fruitful leader. Call us!
*  Decision Making Profile

The church has adopted a variety of dysfunctional decision making profiles. The decisions often do not serve the purpose of the church (Make Disciples). The existence of control groups and personal agendas results in perpetual dysfunction and schism in each local assembly.

I encourage my readers to request a copy of this one page article. This profile guides you through a Decision Making Process that is effective and honors the text of Scripture. Decisions in the church must honor the Word of God – always! Call me to review the application of this in the ministry in which you serve. 1 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 Partnership – Founders & IUS
IgniteUS is pleased to announce a ministry partnership with Founders Ministries. Go to our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) and click on the ”Partners” page for a brief description of this shared endeavor to see God bring Reformation & Renewal to the church in America. Founder’s Home Page is (www.founders.org). You will find helpful resources at both sites!
Study Preaching and Preachers with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This was the first course we offered back in 2003. It is rich and refreshing source of insight for all who desire to faithfully proclaim God’s Word. A 16-week course beginning February 4, 2013. The course material is downloaded to your ipad, computer, etc. when you register. Go to www.founders.org and click on the Study Center. This course will help you become a better ‘Expositional Leader’.
From the inside cover – - Dangerous Calling reveals the truth that the culture surrounding our pastors is spiritually unhealthy–an environment that actively undermines the well-being and efficacy of our church leaders and thus the entire church body.
Here is a book that diagnoses and offers cures for issues that impact every member and church leader, and gives solid strategies for fighting the all-important war that rages in our churches today.
Leadership Insights from the”Fly on the Wall“- No Decision is A Decision
Frequently I work with Pastors and Churches who apply some valid and accurate Assessments to their ministry. These tools reveal the obvious need for change. The decision they make is “NO DECISION”! They are paralyzed by the brutal reality of their circumstance. Thus, they do nothing.
Doing nothing in the face of significant dysfunction, attempting to execute ministry with a process that fails to honor God’s Word is not only futile, it is ultimately fatal. I have heard the following statement from so called leaders – - “well at least we will continue to exist in my lifetime!” What? the goal is not mere continued existence but robust effectiveness to the glory of Christ.
When is the last time you made a ministry decision that brought effectiveness to ministry and glory to Christ?
*  eStore on The Web - I am working with our Web Master to create an eStore on our IgniteUS Web Site (www.igniteus.net) . Over the years God has enabled IUS to develop some very beneficial resources. We will make these available with instruction and the option to get coaching for applying them in ministry. More to come on this topic.
Read my BLOG - - www.thetextsays.blogspot.comAlso on the Home Pagewww.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently - ) New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome!
 
Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/  Click on the text line under the Feature Video that says “See what others are saying” for some recent testimonials. 
IUS 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. THANKS!

Why Enlist a Consultant

December 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Newsletter

IgniteUs, Inc.
Under The Elmtree
Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
*  Why Enlist A Consultant?
*  A Learning Organization
*  Immanuel
*  Decision Making Profile
 Partnership – Founders & IUS
*  Leadership Resources – Book Review of Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
*  Leadership Insights from the “Fly on The Wall” – The Incarnation of Truth
*  eStore on The Web
*  In the Next Issue – Expository Leadership
Why Enlist A Consultant?
Congregational coaching brings fresh fuel of process and skills designed to  encourage, challenge, focus, and explore options that move churches from maintenance to mission, from apathy to engagement. The key is a deep        willingness to connect with and follow the Spirit’s leadership.                              (Eddie Hammet, TCP, Face Book, 12/11/12).
The church in America is facing a most significant challenge. The question is this – ‘Will the church embrace Truth Absolute and Propositional and in doing so display the majesty, sovereignty and grace of God, or, will she acquiesce to the culture and continue her slide into what Martin Luther termed another “Babylonian Captivity”?
Why enlist a Consultant? Glad you asked. The collected data documenting the decline of the American Church is virtually irrefutable (cf.The American Church in Crisis, David Olson, Zondervan, 2008) yet, when presented to those labeled as leaders in a local church they respond with a plethora of excuses as to why they do not need to change. Follow this link to a portrait of the true story.(http://missionalchurchnetwork.com/the-marginalization-of-the-church-2/).
The foundational premise that answers this question is this – “If the church, knowing they are in serious decline was going to change, they would have already implemented the processes and resources that would bring genuine transformation.” They have not and in most cases they cannot without outside assistance. Covenant Seminary conducted a five (5) year longitudinal study (http://media.covenantseminary.edu/ADM/PastorsSummitSM.pdf). This study revealed what most Pastors know. They received equipping in theological disciplines but virtually not one course in Leadership or Organizational Transformation! I personally noted this in my own leadership pilgrimage.
The church is a sub-culture that exists within a larger culture. That larger culture has become aggressively anti-theistic. Post-Modernism pervades the larger culture. That world view declares there are no absolutes. The church’s message is premised on the world view that there is one and only one valid world view – Christian Theism. Leading Transformation in the local church requires leadership that is capable of confronting this anti-culture with tact and an effective apologetic. The first challenge is to see God change the church before we attempt to change the world. This is the contribution of a qualified and effective consultant.
Coaching is the buzz word of the day. There are now doctoral programs offering a D.Min. in Coaching. Effective consulting is not primarily possessing a battery of information related to change in the church. The key is knowing what to do, when and why. That skill will never be acquired in any classroom. That skill is acquired in years of ministry experience dealing with the issues the consultant is tasked to address. Good intentions are not enough. The following are reasons that enlisting a competent consultant is a wise and prudent decision for a local church, her leaders and her people. A good Consultant helps the pastor overcome the deficiencies in their capacity to lead the Transformation Process effectively.
1.  Leadership Competence - A survey completed by the Francis Schaeffer Leadership Institute in which they contacted over 1,000 pastors revealed that 75% believe they are unqualified and poorly trained to lead and manage the church. This profile is substantiated by the Covenant Seminary study. A good consultant guides the pastor and other leaders in acquiring the necessary competence and skills to see God bring Transformation.
2.  Purpose - The second leading cause of decline in the local church is the absence of biblical operative purpose. This is purpose that the majority (80%+) of the people know, understand and embrace. Most churches are riding off in multiple directions, various groups competing with one another. A competent consultant guides the leadership and the body in bringing one biblical purpose to ministry – Make Disciples.
3.  Biblical Metric - Nearly all churches measure ministry effectiveness with a simple numerical standard = numbers. A good consultant guides the church in measuring ministry by the transformation of the individual believer and the body as a whole. Edgar Schein declares correctly – ‘What you do not define you cannot measure.’ Defining what a disciple is enables the church to measure with a degree of accuracy the transformation that is or is not taking place in a professed believers life. No transformation may well mean there has been no regeneration.
4.  Objective Evaluation - Churches typically conduct an evaluation of ministry effectiveness on an annual basis if then. Far better to develop an objective standard and apply that standard on a monthly rather than an annual basis. Make corrections and ministry modifications promptly rather than permitting dysfunction to continue for an entire year.
5.  Leadership Selection & Development - I recently had a leader in a large church (1,600) tell me that ‘we choose leaders like the dog catcher.’ His meaning is that any stray that they can coerce to say yes to the nominating committee becomes a leader. What? The Scripture has very clear and compelling standards for those that would occupy a leadership role. Applying this profile requires courage, perseverance and the readiness to graciously resist the pressure of the assembly to perpetuate status quo. When a church has godly leaders that model true discipleship the members of that body will begin to imitate what they see modeled. cf. 1 Cor. 4:14-17.
The first issue for a church to address is their dysfunction. When they have done this they then need to identify and enlist a competent consultant that will treat them with dignity, tell them the Truth and hold them accountable to a biblical profile of a Healthy and Effective ministry. I urge all pastors to take this bold and courageous step today.
A Learning Organization 
David A. Garvin of the Harvard Business School has defined a learning organization as:
“an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.”
Peter Senge (Fifth Discipline) speaks of generative learning. The church should be a leader in taking the Truth of God’s Special Revelation and applying that Truth to all of life. God’s Truth should reign and rule in virtually ever realm of God’s world. The church and her leaders should shape culture in the application and defense of that Truth. To do that effectively the church must be a “Learning Organization”. Tragically, ‘status quo’ is the norm in local churches. The following link takes the reader to a brief article describing the essence of a Learning Organization. Read, Pray, Think, Apply!
Is the church in which you serve a Learning Organization?
Immanuel

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.”

Click on the link and reflect on the Incarnation as you listen to “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg8OJf40LJE

*  Decision Making Profile

The church has adopted a variety of dysfunctional decision making profiles. The decisions often do not serve the purpose of the church (Make Disciples). The existence of control groups and personal agendas results in perpetual dysfunction and schism in each local assembly.

I encourage my readers to request a copy of this one page article. This profile guides you through a Decision Making Process that is effective and honors the text of Scripture. Decisions in the church must honor the Word of God – always! Call me to review the application of this in the ministry in which you serve. 1 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 Partnership – Founders & IUS
IgniteUS is pleased to announce a ministry partnership with Founders Ministries. Go to our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) and click on the ”Partners” page for a brief description of this shared endeavor to see God bring Reformation & Renewal to the church in America. Founder’s Home Page is www.founders.org. You will find helpful resources at both sites!
From the inside cover – - Dangerous Calling reveals the truth that the culture surrounding our pastors is spiritually unhealthy–an environment that actively undermines the well-being and efficacy of our church leaders and thus the entire church body.
Here is a book that diagnoses and offers cures for issues that impact every member and church leader, and gives solid strategies for fighting the all-important war that rages in our churches today.
Book Review - Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp  
This may be the best book I’ve read all year. It’s one of the few books I constantly had to put down. That may sound weird. Don’t you not put down a book you love? you may be thinking. But so much of what Tripp said hit me in the gut. I found myself constantly catching my breath and then meditating and digesting his words.

The dirty little secret of it all is I’m not even a pastor. This book is geared towards pastors but it’s message is worth hearing for everybody. Those sitting in the pew and working a 9 to 5 will benefit from reading Dangerous Calling because it will help us better understand the unique challenges of our pastors and may also give you a glimpse into your own dark heart. Pastors will benefit from reading it because you need someone to pastor you. You need someone to come alongside of you and encourage you and apply the gospel to your heart. Some of you may be fortunate enough to have that; some may not. Regardless you should read this book.

The third group of people who should absolutely read this (like not an option stop reading my review and purchase it right now. No really right now. I’m waiting) is seminary students. You need this book now to put your training in perspective. You need this book to shine the light of the gospel on the darkest corner of your hearts. Dangerous Calling&n bsp;may save your ministry and family heartbreak–just take the time to read and apply the gospel truths within it.

Tripp starts by sharing his own personal struggle in ministry. For years he battled anger. His wife gently confronted him about his anger and he stubbornly brushed it off. He shares the damage it did to his own life and the possible damage it could have done. He also tells us how God slowly chipped away at his sin. He then says, “God was making the anger that I had denied and protected to be like vomit in my mouth” (p. 20). May God do the same with each of our pet sins.

He shares story after story about pastors who flame out or drop out before the race is even started. He shares stories of moral failures and hidden sins. But within all of this brokenness he’s swift and careful to apply the gospel to the reader and to root the Christian’s identity in Christ–not ministry. Tripp admonishes, if you are not feeding your soul on the realities of the presence, promises, and provisions of Christ, you will ask the people, situations, and things around you to be the messiah that they can never be. If you are not attaching your identity to the unshakable love of your Savior, you will ask the things in your life to be your Savior, and it will never happen. If you are not requiring yourself to get your deepest sense of well-being vertically, you will shop for it horizontally, and you will always come up empty. If you are not resting in the one true gospel, preaching it to yourself over and over again, you will look to another gospel t o meet the needs of your unsettled heart (p. 36)

He also encourages pastors not to see “theology as an end in itself rather” than “a means to an end” (p. 44). He argues preaching is not passing along of information but rather passionately stirring of the heart and call for action. It’s also all these things for the pastor himself. He must be obeying the gospel as he preaches it (pp. 105, 155).

I would encourage elders and pastors to gather together and read Dangerous Calling. I would encourage small groups to read it and think of ways to uniquely minister to our pastors. Use the wisdom Tripp provides to pray more urgently and wisely for our pastors. Again I can’t urge seminarians enough to read this and take his counsel to heart. I wish I would have read this before entering seminary. Don’t say no one ever told you.

Review published in http://Grace For Sinners http://grace4sinners.blogspot.com/2012/09/BR-Dangerous-Calling-Paul-David-Tripp.html

Leadership Insights from the”Fly on the Wall“- The Incarnation of Truth

Truth is Absolute, Revealed, Propositional and Incarnate. John’s Gospel (1:18) John tells us that Jesus led God out into the open, made Him known. The verb is exeigeisato. This is exegesis. Jesus exegeted God before a watching world. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father.

Modeling is the key to disciple-making. Churches are in precipitous decline. One of the major factors in this malaise is the significant absence of the incarnation of Truth. Truth is much more than accurate exegetical precision. It is and must be that. It is much more. Jesus said in the Upper Room – ‘the world will know you are my disciples by the way you love one another’. This is Truth in action. ‘Until conviction is transformed into action, it makes no difference in the world’ (Mohler, The Conviction To Lead, p. 73).

So the question of the hour is this – - “Is Truth Incarnate and visible in the lives of those who profess Christ? Can the watching world see God in you? At this season of the Incarnation we do well to honestly and persistently examine ourselves on this vital issue. HE is with us and He is LORD!

*  eStore on The Web - I am working with our Web Master to create an eStore on our IgniteUS Web Site (www.igniteus.net) . Over the years God has enabled IUS to develop some very beneficial resources. We will make these available with instruction and the option to get coaching for applying them in ministry. More to come on this topic.

Read my BLOG - - www.thetextsays.blogspot.comAlso on the Home Pagewww.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – Pastoral Implications of The Incarnation) New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome!
 
Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/  Click on the text line under the Feature Video that says “See what others are saying” for some recent testimonials. 
IUS 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. THANKS!

 

Organic Transformation in Ministry

December 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree
Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
*  Leading Organic Transformation
*  Insights Into The Cultural Setting of Ministry
*  Think About It!
*  Decision Making Profile
 Partnership – Founders & IUS
*  Leadership Resources – The Conviction to Lead, Al Mohler
*  Leadership Insights from the “Fly on The Wall” – Timing for Transformation
*  eStore on The Web
*  In the Next Issue – Why Enlist a Consultant?
Leading Organic Transformation
If we build it they will come.

We just need some new “Programs”.

Let’s take out the pews and put chairs in the sanctuary.

I think we need some new blood. We need to get some young guys on our leadership team.

We need some ‘contemporary music’.

Sound familiar? These are all comments that I have heard regarding the revitalization of a local church. Each statement exhibits a serious distortion and misunderstanding of the nature of the church and true biblical transformation.

Organizational Transformation. The initiatives listed above facilitate organizational transformation. They are one dimensional. They may change procedures but in and of themselves they do not produce transformation. People are generally willing to embrace such change because it requires little or no personal sacrifice or accountability. There is no threat to their comfort level. They can continue ‘as is’ and point to these ‘changes’ as ‘evidence’ that they are open to transformation. Except, these initiatives do not lead to personal or corporate transformation. They do not bring people face to face with the true and living God Who is interested in holiness much more than happiness among His people.

Organic Transformation. This involves changing the DNA of a local church. It is sometimes likened to “riding the bull”. The picture tells the story. There are risk galore, challenges that stretch leaders to the breaking point. People love their comfort zones. Transformation inherently requires change, leaving the comfort zone and stepping out into unknown territory. The old ‘flat earth’ proponents used to say of this challenge – ‘there be dragons out there’. Yes, and you will meet them when you lead this type of transformation.

There are essentials in this process. My readers will do well to embrace these items as you “ride the bull!”
1.  Scripture. The church is the Bride of Christ. Be wise and honor His directives. They are clear.
2.  Time.  There are no quick fixes. Effective transformation requires 3-5 years in most cases.
3.  Competent Leadership.Apply accurate analysis and research. Slower is faster. Build Trust!
4.  Purpose. Establish Biblical Operative Purpose that the body embraces & practices consistently.
5.  Decision Making. Decisions must be collaborative and Leadership must speak with on voice.
The current trend is church planting. That is essential and I celebrate that with much joy. However, there are thousands of existing ministry settings that urgently need Reformation & Renewal. The average Pastor is capable of leading this process. He needs the Holy Spirit’s enabling grace, humility, courage and abundant perseverance. He must develop a Leadership Team that takes the Journey with him and no turning back. He must know that God is and will provide and use him in this vital process.
The SBC has 55 Billion in property, buildings and parking lots in the USA. The utilization of this space is often less than 10% of the 168 hours in a given week, We must exercise better stewardship of these resources. Reformation and Revitalization includes addressing this issue. The facilities at the church where I just finished 15 years of Pastoral Leadership has a utilization factor of 72-75 hours per week. 112 hours is about the maximum utilization. How does the church you serve measure up on this factor?
Finally, I have featured Dr. Al Mohler’s new book The Conviction To Lead in recent editions of this news letter. The 25 factors he cites are spot on for leading Organic Transformation. Get a copy, pray earnestly and give us a call (800 472 3764). We will walk with you down this Dragon Filled Bull Riding road. God will use YOU to do this Pastor as you are unconditionally surrendered to Him!
Insights Into The Cultural Setting of Ministry 
Evangelicals Collapsing Cultural Influence
David French, writing in National Review, March 14, 2012 offers some grist for our mill. I have provided an excerpt from this article to whet your whistle. The link takes you to the entire article. Comments welcome.

On a day when many evangelicals are perhaps flexing their political muscles in the aftermath of their decisive votes in Alabama and Mississippi, it’s worth pondering whether evangelicals’ actual cultural (rather than political) influence is waxing or waning. While reading Charles Murray’s new book, I came across insightful and disturbing discussions by Yuval Levin and Ross Douthat. Surveying the devastating decline in  marriage and other critical social markers in the working class, Levin notes the failure of social conservatism outside the political sphere:

In our time, American social conservatism has much to be proud of as a movement for justice: Social conservatives devote themselves to the pro-life cause, to human rights, and to the plight of the poor abroad. But American social conservatism has almost entirely lost interest in the cause of order—in standing up for clean living, for self-discipline and restraint, for resisting temptation and meeting basic responsibilities. The institutions of American Christianity—some of which would actually stand a chance of being taken seriously by the emerging lower class—are falling down on the job, as their attention is directed to more exciting causes, in no small part because the welfare state has overtaken some of their key social functions.

Douthat agrees and adds an important point:

As it happens, this is one of the themes of my forthcoming book — the extent to which the story of religion in America over the last two generations is a story, not of outright secularization, but of institutional decline. Contemporary Americans are as religiously-minded as ever, but the rise of church-switching and do-it-yourself faith and the steady weakening of the traditional churches and communions has left the country without religious institutions capable of playing the kind of social role that Levin describes above.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/293457/evangelicals-collapsing-cultural-influence-david-french#
Think About It!

*  Decision Making Profile

The church has adopted a variety of dysfunctional decision making profiles. The decisions often do not serve the purpose of the church (Make Disciples). The existence of control groups and personal agendas results in perpetual dysfunction and schism in each local assembly.

I encourage my readers to request a copy of this one page article. This profile guides you through a Decision Making Process that is effective and honors the text of Scripture. Decisions in the church must honor the Word of God – always! Call me to review the application of this in the ministry in which you serve. 1 800 472 3764 orinfo@igniteus.net.

 Partnership – Founders & IUS
IgniteUS is pleased to announce a ministry partnership with Founders Ministries. Go to our Home Page (www.igniteus.net) and click on the ”Partners” page for a brief description of this shared endeavor to see God bring Reformation & Renewal to the church in America. Founder’s Home Page is www.founders.org. You will find helpful resources at both sites!
 Leadership Resources – The Conviction to Lead, Al Mohler
Become an effective leader by learning how to change minds! Using his own experience and examples from history, Dr. Mohler reveals 25 key characteristics that will help you transfer your convictions to others and affect their actions. You’ll learn how to become an example worth following, communicate ideas and beliefs, handle disappointments, prioritize, and more. 260 pages.
Leadership Insights from the”Fly on the Wall“- Timing For Transformation?

“Timing For Transformation” - I frequently (virtually every week) have a Pastor tell me about  the dysfunctional nature of the church in which he serves. My response is “Who did God put there to correct that dysfunction?” This usually produces prolonged silence. The answer is obvious. There is little or no beneficial result in denying reality.

Establish a season of intercessory prayer for yourself and the process. Identify and enlist a Team of men who will not cave in to resistance and the appeal for maintaining status quo. Set some realistic time parameters. Trust God to enable and produce health and effectiveness where you serve. Enjoy the ride!

Send your thoughts to info@igniteus.net. THANKS!

*  eStore on The Web - I am working with our Web Master to create an eStore on our IgniteUS Web Site (www.igniteus.net) . Over the years God has enabled IUS to develop some very beneficial resources. We will make these available with instruction and the option to get coaching for applying them in ministry. More to come on this topic.

Read my BLOG - - www.thetextsays.blogspot.comAlso on the Home Page www.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently - ) New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome!
 
Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/  Click on the text line under the Feature Video that says “See what others are saying” for some recent testimonials. 
IUS 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. THANKS!

Transitions in Ministry – Risk Taking

November 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Newsletter

 

Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
*  Embracing Transitions in Ministry
*  Insights Into The Cultural Setting of Ministry
*  Weep A Lot
*  Sermon Evaluation Criteria
 Partnership – Founders & IUS
*  Leadership Resources – The Conviction to Lead, Al Mohler
*  Leadership Insights from the “fly on the wall” – Who & What is An Evangelical?
*  eStore on The Web
*  In the Next Issue – Leading Organic Transformation
Embracing Transitions in Ministry
On November 17 @ 4AM we will head West to AL. We have lived and served in SC for 19 years. We are relocating as a matter of wise and prudent action. If you live long enough you will need assistance. Our children have honored us through the years. Our second son and family live in Cullman AL and they will embrace the Truth of Lev. 19: 32 . . . ‘show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD’. They will help us as we arrive at that junction that Solomon describes in Eccl. 12; the keepers of the house tremble, strong men stoop, the grinders cease because they are few, etc. Old Age!
On the credenza behind my desk at SEC is a matted and framed advertisement from the Wall Street Journal posted in 1980. It portrays a diminutive little man standing beside a huge open oyster shell. In the middle of that shell is a large pearl. The little man is reaching to retrieve that pearl. The caption reads – “Risk surrounds almost everything worth having.”
This brief but poignant aphorism has shaped my pilgrimage for 43 years. We had two (2) children and I was 27 years old. We launched out on a pilgrimage to honor and follow the LORD’s call to vocational Christian ministry. I was promised employment when we arrived  at Cedarville College (now University). When we arrived – no job. I was laid off five (5) times in my first year of college. Our daughter was born at the end of my first year in college.   We now have three (3) children and 6-7 years of formal educational endeavors ahead of us. Did this require taking some risks? You tell me. When I look back it is more than a little scary. My wonderful faithful wife supported this journey at every turn – - extremely important.
God honored principled risk-taking at every juncture with His incredible faithfulness and provision. He cared for the education of our children. He enabled Peggy & I to purchase our first house as Seminarians. He enabled me to pursue Doctoral Studies. He has taken me to 27 countries where I had the high privilege of meeting and training some of God’s choicest servant-leaders. We have lived in six (6) states in 52 years. He granted me the privilege of serving with some of the finest Christian Leaders in the world.
Without “Risk-Taking” none of these opportunities would have been presented let alone pursued.  Inevitably when we face transitions it involves risk. So, what principles distinguish appropriate risk taking from recklessness and self-centered ego trips?
1.  The Sufficiency of God’s Word. Scripture provides all we need to honor and obey.
2.  The demonstrated faithfulness of the God of the Ages. He cares for His own.
3.  The wisdom of the people that make up the body of Christ. “Listen!”
4.  The capacity and discipline to analyze and learn from past mistakes and bad decisions.
5.  The glorious Truth that we plan our course but God directs our steps to His Glory!
Peter Drucker said of risk taking:
Those leaders who take no risk make about two major mistakes a year.
Those leaders who take risk make about two major mistakes a year.
Leadership that is fruitful demands both transitions and risks. Moses went from shepherding sheep to confronting the ruler of Egypt. Elijah confronted wicked rulers and the prophets of Baal. Daniel defied the kings edict and prayed to His God. Peter said ‘we must obey God rather than man’. Tyndale put the Scriptures in the language of the people. Luther started the Reformation. Carey went to India in spite of fierce opposition from supposed brothers in the faith.
So the lesson is this. Take risks if you expect to know fruitful long term effectiveness in ministry. Embrace transitions as opportunity. Identify that “PEARL” that you need to seize and trust our Great God to make every provision in your pilgrimage. Do so for the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:14).
Insights Into The Cultural Setting of Ministry 
The Changing Face of Evangelicalism - In 1997 Dr. Al Mohler wrote an article that has proven to be virtually prophetic. He addressed the dramatic capitulation of evangelicals to culture and doctrinal  declension. Follow this link to read that article. Then lead in such a manner to reverse this direction. Take some risks!
Weep A Lot

 

*  Sermon Evaluation Criteria

Much has changed in the church in general and in Preaching in particular in the past 40 years. Many who once held to sound practices in homiletics and precise exegesis have abandoned those principles for “story telling” or other various and sundry models that pass as preaching today.

In an attempt to equip the people I shepherd with the tools to listen to a Sermon for maximum benefit I developed  Sermon Evaluation Criteria. I will send this one page document to anyone who makes a request – - www.info@igniteus.net.
**I apologize to any who had trouble requesting this document – my “fat fingered error”.
The following is a response I received from one recipient of the Sermon Evaluation Criteria.
Thank you for the document. I recall the sermons I heard as a new believer 30 years ago and         I still remember some of them. They reflected all the criteria listed. They had 3 points that were stated in the beginning, they were repeated throughout, the were summarized, they came exclusively from the scriptural text. There were no anecdotes, stories, special effects, dramatic presentations. But we learned a lot and those sermons brought me to the faith, taught me about God and encouraged me to change and live for him.
Today, I find it hard to recall what I have heard two hours after the sermon. And it frustrates me. It seems like a waste of time. I have to constantly correct my attitude during the sermon. I don’t come with expectancy to hear from God through the sermon as I did so long ago when that expectancy was rewarded with the “bread of life.”
I will take sermon notes for some time now and begin to evaluate according to the outline and perhaps bring it to the attention of the preachers. Thanks for your monthly encouragement.
 Partnership – Founders & IUS
IgniteUS is pleased to announce a ministry partnership with Founders Ministries. Go to our Home Page(www.igniteus.net) and click on the ”Partners” page for a brief description of this shared endeavor to see God bring Reformation & Renewal to the church in America.
 Leadership Resources – The Conviction to Lead, Al Mohler
Become an effective leader by learning how to change minds! Using his own experience and examples from history, Dr. Mohler reveals 25 key characteristics that will help you transfer your convictions to others and affect their actions. You’ll learn how to become an example worth following, communicate ideas and beliefs, handle disappointments, prioritize, and more. 260 pages (Available November 1st).
Leadership Insights from the”Fly on the Wall“- Who & What is an Evangelical?

 

“Who & What is An Evangelical?” - – Edgar Schein states with brevity and clarity – - ‘What you do not define you can not measure’! There are many today who claim to be evangelical. They would trace their heritage to an evangelical source. They present doctrinal statements have historically been acknowledged as evangelical. They would deny affiliation with most or all ‘liberal’ strains of theological persuasion.

Walk back in history to 800 BC. The Northern Tribes would have all claimed to be followers of Jehovah. They ended up as captives in Assyria because they were engaged in the worship of false gods. The Southern Tribes did not learn from the experience of their fellow Israelites. They ended up in Babylon for 70 years. More spiritual declension.

I am not the sole arbiter called by God to answer this question. However, I am called to declare and defend the orthodox unchanging message of the gospel. This includes pointing out the instances where declension exists. I encourage my readers to find the courage to embrace a comprehensive analysis of your fidelity to Truth with precisions. A worthy task.

Send your thoughts to info@igniteus.net. THANKS!

*  eStore on The Web - I am working with our Web Master to create an eStore on our IgniteUS Web Site (www.igniteus.net) . Over the years God has enabled IUS to develop some very beneficial resources. We will make these available with instruction and the option to get coaching for applying them in ministry. More to come on this topic.

Read my BLOG - - www.thetextsays.blogspot.comAlso on the Home Pagewww.igniteus.net - A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently - ) New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome!
 
Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/  Click on the text line under the Feature Video that says “See what others are saying” for some recent testimonials. 
IUS 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. THANKS!

September 1

September 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:

*  Biblical Literacy & Ministry Effectiveness

* Pastor’s Forums USA 2011

*  Biblical Literacy – Dr. George Guthrie

*  On Purpose Person – Web Conference Sign Up

*  Options for Pastors & Churches

*  Call to Intercession for Church in America

*  In the Next Issue – 10 Commandments of Preaching (1&2)

Biblical Literacy and Ministry Effectiveness

Inspired. Inerrant. Infallible. Unread. These four words describe with tragic accuracy the way the Scriptures are regarded by many professed believers. Intellectually affirmed but practically ignored. This is reflected in a growing deficit in biblical literacy. The trend-lines in nearly every aspect of ministry reflect significant decline. The correlation between a deficiency in biblical literacy and organizational decline is inescapable. According to Union University professor George Guthrie, only 16 percent of church-goers read the Bible daily. He cites statistics that indicate 25 percent of the people who go to church regularly DO NOT READ their Bible at all. It is irrational and unwise to deny this reality and the inescapable consequences. Jesus said ‘Thus, you will recognize them by their fruits’ (Matt. 7:20 ESV).

There is always hope. King Asa faced dark and turbulent times. God sent him Azariah the prophet.  Asa took courage. He claimed God’s promise – if you seek him, he will be found by you (2Chron. 15:2). After great spiritual apostasy Ezra led God’s people in prayer and fasting (Ezra 8:21-23). God responded to their pleas. God’s people today may seek him and perhaps, in his sovereign goodness and mercy, he will stem the decline and bring reformation to his church.

It is my desire to raise awareness of this deficit in biblical literacy and expose ‘the elephant in the room’. Until we shine the light of Truth on this pachyderm he will continue to bring devastation to the gospel message and to the glorious name of our Lord.

Answer the following questions. This focus may initiate a much needed correction. What is Biblical Literacy? What is the current literacy profile among professed believers? What are some probable causes or reasons for this profile? What is a beneficial and positive path for the future that offers correction and leads to God’s blessing?

What is Biblical Literacy?
“Biblical literacy is the ability and willingness to use reading, listening, speaking and writing to understand the word of God and be understood by others.”

What is the current profile of Biblical Literacy among professed believers?

Research conducted by George Barna produced the following profile.

* Many professing Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples.

* Five out of ten believe that anyone who is generally good or does enough good things for  others during their life will earn a place in Heaven.

* Four out of ten believe that the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are all different  expressions of the same spiritual truths.

* Seven out of ten born again Christians said they do not believe in moral absolutes.

* Only one out of ten Christians base their moral decision-making on the principles taught in the  Bible.

* 54 percent believe truth can be discovered only through logic, human reasoning and personal  experience.

This collection of data is ‘Exhibit A’ that a significant number of professed believers are largely ignorant of what Scripture declares.

What are some probable causes or reasons for this condition?

Reason #1 Unregenerate People. Job said “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). This is the longing of a regenerate life. Regenerate people possess a hunger for the Word of God. The Evangelical church has a growing compliment of people who may be ‘members’, but, they have never been born again. They have no desire to assimilate Truth and no capacity to order their lives by the postulates of Special Revelation.

Reason #2 Defective Theology. The Word of God is not mere information. “I have watched with growing disbelief as the evangelical church has cheerfully plunged into astounding theological illiteracy,” declares David Wells in his book No Place for Truth. When Stephen was about to be stoned he told his antagonist that the Scriptures were ‘living oracles’ (Acts 7:38). Scripture has been reduced by many to mere information. Such people selectively ‘pick and choose’ what parts they will or will not obey. Paul pointed out the dichotomy between professing Christ and genuine conversion; ‘They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works’ (Titus 1:16).

Reason #3 Corrupt Metrics. What an organization measures defines and shapes that culture. Effectiveness is most often measured by a one dimensional metric; attendance, offerings, baptisms and activity. The Great Commission commands us to make disciples. Drawing a crowd and making disciples are two entirely different realities. Drawing a crowd is an event. Making disciples is a process transacted over time (Acts 11:26). This requires line upon line, precept upon precept instruction. This is Applied Theology. We value what we measure and what we are measuring is not transformation.

Reason #4 Powerless Pulpits. The seduction of contemporary culture rather than the mandates of Scripture shape much that passes for preaching today. Marketing techniques rather than Absolute Truth drive ministry. There is a demand for ‘how to’ homilies rather than the well crafted exegetical proclamation of God’s word. 57 % of evangelical pastors surveyed stated they would quit today if they had some way to care for their family. The Scripture declares that such a man is a hireling not a godly shepherd. Modeling is crucial in disciple-making. Only 38% of Pastors in this same survey indicated that they read the Bible for personal edification. Like Pastor, like people.

What is a positive and beneficial path for the future? I began by saying there is hope. We return to that now because we serve a gracious and merciful God. Believers have ‘Living Hope.’ Dr. George Guthrie, Benjamin Perry Professor of Bible at Union University, will conduct a Forum on Biblical Literacy at SouthEast Community Church in Columbia on Monday September 26, 2011. He is widely acclaimed for his work on this subject. He is a principle in an initiative titled Read-The Bible-For-Life (www.readthebibleforlife.org).

You can register by following this link http://www.igniteus.net/events/forum-registration or call 803 776 5282.

Pastor’s Forums 2011 1.  Piedmont SC – September 13 – Mt. Moriah Bapt. 2.  Columbia SC – September 26 – Biblical Literacy SouthEast Community
3.  Baltimore MD – October 3 – BCMD North
4.  Baltimore MD – October 3 – BCMD South
5.  Shillington PA – October 4 – Berks Bible Church
6.  St. Augustine Beach FL – October 25 – River Oaks Com. Church   Pending 2011 1.  Fayetville NC – IABC
2.  Harrisonburg VA – James Madison Univ.

Biblical Literacy The Doctrine is Bibliology, with a focus on Biblical Literacy. Our speaker is Dr. George Guthrie, Union University. Dr. Guthrie has done extensive work in this area. The date for the next Forum is Monday, September 26, 2011. Knowing what God has revealed and how to properly apply that Revelation to life so that the results are genuine Transformation in God’s people is crucial. Plan to join us for this very important and timely Forum. You will be challenged and equipped to lead and serve with effectiveness. Go to www.readthebibleforlife.org and www.biblemesh.com for some helpful resources in knowing what God’s word says and how to apply Truth to life.   The focus of Dr. Guthrie’s presentation on September 26 is as follows:   What is Biblical Literacy? Biblical Literacy – The Current State of Affairs Full-orbed Biblical Literacy Training in the Church As a Bible scholar at Union University, one of the oldest American universities in the Southern Baptist tradition, Guthrie has tracked the decline in biblical literacy with consternation. With earlier books (The Structure of Hebrews and Biblical Greek Exegesis) best suited for academia, Guthrie has switched gears to produce a reader-friendly, digestible, biblical literacy study program that includes this book as well as a participant’s workbook, study leader’s CD-ROM, and three DVDs for group use. Anyone “touched by the English language or Western culture,” argues Guthrie, should be conversant in biblical literature. Through informal kitchen-table conversations with evangelical scholars, Guthrie guides the reader through a study of historical context, differences in Bible translations, varieties of literary genres, and finally a heartfelt devotional on how to read the Bible in a postmodern world. Copies of this title will be available for purchase at the Forum.   Future speakers and topics in the Orthodoxy Series are Dr. George Zemek, Dean of Expositors Seminary for the Doctrine of Soteriology (March 2012). Dr. Fred Zaspel, author of The Theology of B. B. Warfield, The Doctrine of Christology, which was Warfield’s favorite biblical study, (September 2012).   R U On Purpose?? Web Conference Registration A number of years ago I led men through a Leadership Development module at SEC where I serve as Teaching Pastor. One of the crucial issues in Leadership is Life Management. The On-Purpose Person is one of the books I had the men read and ask them to master the principle of ‘being on purpose’. Kevin McCarthy and I have become ‘virtual friends’. He previously conducted Seminars in Orlando FL teaching the principles of an On Purpose Life. He is now making this training & equipping available via web-conferencing. This equipping is accomplished over six weeks, one session per week. There is live interaction for Q&A and slides that highlight the issues being addressed. Each session is recorded so if you miss the live session, you still have access to the substance that was covered at a time that fits your schedule. One of our men here at SEC applied this material to his life. He is a capable man, on Staff with the AP here in Columbia. Through this material he discovered 30+ hours per week that he could apply with much greater effectiveness as a Christ-follower and be On-Purpose as an Image Bearer, Husband, Father and AP Writer.   Now YOU can acquire this great skill – be On-Purpose. Here is the info to sign up.   What – Complimentary First Session of The On-Purpose Leader Experience Where - Live on the Web   For More Information:  Register Now – simply click on this link: http://TinyWebLink-001.com/?pid=6483163 When - Wednesday September 7, 2011 12:05 PM to 1:00 PM EDT   The first session is complimentary. When you decide to participate in the next five (5) sessions – - keep this Coupon Code handy when you register IUSSAVE$48 . The cost with the Coupon Code is just $99.   This may be the on of the best investments you have made in becoming an Effective Leader! IgniteUS Options for Pastors & Churches Research based on calendar 2010 shows that 95% of the churches in America ARE NOT making disciples. This is the one command in the Great Commission Food for thought! Read Heb. 13:7 & 13:17. IgniteUS provides equipping, resources and a metric to measure this critical dimension of ministry in the local church. Only 1 in 10 pastors is prepared to lead the Transformation Process without an outside voice to guide them – we come alongside and take this Journey with you. An outside voice makes a tremendous difference (Jn. 4:44). Our Effectiveness Rating is 91%. Call us!   1. 36 month Leadership Development Process transacted in 5 Phases. We provide the tools, equipping and coaching so that the Pastor becomes a Leader with biblical courage and excellence and the church becomes Healthy & Effective in making disciples fully formed in the Image of Christ (Col. 1:28-29). Reformation & Renewal!   2. 15 month Individual Leadership Development Process for those Pastors who want to become more effective Leaders. This is essentially the first three phases of the process.   3. 6 month process for churches that are essentially healthy and free of conflict and the usual control issues. The Leadership Team meets for a full day once a month for six months. This process maximizes Leadership and Intentional Disciple-making.   $$ In light of the tough economic conditions everyone is facing I recently extended the time line on paying for these processes from 36 to 60 months on the 5 phase process and from 15 to 24 months on the 15 month process. This makes genuine Reformation and Renewal both possible and affordable. $$ I am continually amazed as I present our Leadership Development Process around the country. Many in positions of Leadership are either unable or unwilling to admit the serious deficiencies that exist in the ‘status quo’ approach most have to ministry. It is no longer possible to deny reality – - the church is in precipitous decline. It takes humility, courage, sacrifice and tenacity to engage genuine Transformation. But, the results are far more rewarding than the risks or sacrifices required. I urge you to begin TODAY Pastor. Contact us for details. info@igniteus.net 803 776 5282 PRAYER – All efforts to see Reformation and Renewal come to the American Church are doomed to failure without earnest intercession (Acts 4:23-31). In the face of seeming hopelessness, God’s people should – can – do pray (Luke 18:1 – 8). Jesus asks a probing questions in v. 8 – - when I return, will I find this kind of faith on the earth?   Read my BLOG – - www.thetextsays.blogspot.com. Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net – A Monday Morning BLOG. New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome! Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/ Click on the text line under the Feature Video that says “See what others are saying” for some recent testimonials. IUS 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. THANKS!

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August 15 NEws Letter

August 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Issue:

*  What is Worldliness?

* Pastor’s Forums USA 2011

* Biblical Literacy – Dr. George Guthrie

*  On Purpose Person – R U??

Resistance to Change

*  Options for Pastors & Churches

*  Call to Intercession for Church in America

*  In the Next Issue – Biblical Literacy & Ministry Effectiveness

What is Worldliness??? “I don’t smoke, drink or chew, and I don’t date the girls that do!”   That quote defines worldliness for some in the evangelical community. While that is a bit humorous, it is also profoundly tragic. Worldliness must not be reduced to a few social ills that we avoid. It is much more. The Apostle John wrote much about this topic in his first Epistle (1 Jn. 2:15-17; 3:1, 3:13; 4:1-5). John refers to the world system, a system closed to the intervention of the True & Living God. Closed to anything super-natural. Closed to the Incarnation of Jesus as LORD. Closed to the perspective that Special Revelation is sufficient for faith and godliness.

This persistent and growing resistance to TRUTH shapes much of what passes for correct thinking today, even among professed believers. There are fewer and fewer who begin doing Theology with the “First Principle” being a Sovereign Transcendent God who has revealed Himself in the literature that makes up the Scripture, 66 books, the completed canon. This departure from historic orthodoxy is especially prevalent regarding the natural sciences as those disciplines to TRUTH.

David Wells defines “Worldliness” as follows:   “that system of values, in any given age, which has at its center our fallen human perspective, which displaces God and his truth from the world, and which makes sin look normal and righteousness seem strange. It thus gives great plausibility to what is morally wrong and, for that reason, makes what is wrong seem normal” (Wells, David, Losing Our Virtue, Eerdmans Pub., 1998, p.4)   I suggest this definition be systematically reviewed with God’s people periodically. We need to challenge ourselves and the church as to whether we are “worldly” or godly.  

Pastor’s Forums 2011

1.  Piedmont SC – September 13 – Mt. Moriah Bapt.

2.  Columbia SC – September 26 – Biblical Literacy SouthEast Community

3.  Baltimore MD – October 3 – BCMD North

4.  Baltimore MD – October 3 – BCMD South

5.  Shillington PA – October 4 – Berks Bible Church

6.  St. Augustine Beach FL – October 25 – River Oaks Com. Church

Pending 2011

1.  Fayetville NC – IABC
2.  Harrisonburg VA – James Madison Univ.

Biblical Literacy The Doctrine is Bibliology, with a focus on Biblical Literacy. Our speaker is Dr. George Guthrie, Union University. Dr. Guthrie has done extensive work in this area. The date for the next Forum is Monday, September 26, 2011. Knowing what God has revealed and how to properly apply that Revelation to life so that the results are genuine Transformation in God’s people is crucial. Plan to join us for this very important and timely Forum. You will be challenged and equipped to lead and serve with effectiveness. Go to www.readthebibleforlife.org and www.biblemesh.com for some helpful resources in knowing what God’s word says and how to apply Truth to life.   The focus of Dr. Guthrie’s presentation on September 26 is as follows:  

What is Biblical Literacy?

Biblical Literacy – The Current State of Affairs

Full-orbed Biblical Literacy Training in the Church

As a Bible scholar at Union University, one of the oldest American universities in the Southern Baptist tradition, Guthrie has tracked the decline in biblical literacy with consternation. With earlier books (The Structure of Hebrews and Biblical Greek Exegesis) best suited for academia, Guthrie has switched gears to produce a reader-friendly, digestible, biblical literacy study program that includes this book as well as a participant’s workbook, study leader’s CD-ROM, and three DVDs for group use. Anyone “touched by the English language or Western culture,” argues Guthrie, should be conversant in biblical literature. Through informal kitchen-table conversations with evangelical scholars, Guthrie guides the reader through a study of historical context, differences in Bible translations, varieties of literary genres, and finally a heartfelt devotional on how to read the Bible in a postmodern world. Copies of this title will be available for purchase at the Forum.

Future speakers and topics in the Orthodoxy Series are Dr. George Zemek, Dean of Expositors Seminary for the Doctrine of Soteriology (March 2012). Dr. Fred Zaspel, author of The Theology of B. B. Warfield, The Doctrine of Christology, which was Warfield’s favorite biblical study, (September 2012).  

R U On Purpose?? A number of years ago I led men through a Leadership Development module at SEC where I serve as Teaching Pastor. One of the crucial issues in Leadership is Life Management. The On-Purpose Person is one of the books I had the men read and ask them to master the principle of ‘being on purpose’. Kevin McCarthy and I have become ‘virtual friends’. He previously conducted Seminars in Orlando FL teaching the principles of an On Purpose Life. He is now making this training & equipping available via tele-conferencing. This equipping is accomplished over six weeks, one session per week. There is live interaction for Q&A and slides that highlight the issues being addressed. Each session is recorded so if you miss the live session, you still have access to the substance that was covered at a time that fits your schedule.

One of our men here at SEC applied this material to his life. He is a capable man, on Staff with the AP here in Columbia. Through this material he discovered 30+ hours per week that he could apply with much greater effectiveness as a Christ-follower and be On-Purpose as an Image Bearer, Husband, Father and AP Writer.   In the September 1st issue of Under The Elmtree I will provide all the information necessary for you to take part in these conferences from the comfort of your own home, study or office. The best part is the cost – only $99 for 6 weeks of acquiring incredibly valuable skill in becoming an “ON PURPOSE” person. This equips you to Model Leadership with excellence!  

Resistance to Change - Change is constant. Resistance to change is equally constant. The consequence of that resistance is lethal to organisms and organizations such as the church. Individuals and organizations (the church in particular) cling to status quo to their own demise. I have some powerful resources that show in graphic detail where resistance to change takes those who persist on this path. Call me to request this material. I will explain the parameters necessary to receive this material. In 1985 what were the two most recognizable LOGOS in the world?

Where are the companies they represent today? What does this teach us? (803 776 5282 office, or 800 472 3764 toll free, or 803 413 3509 cell)

IgniteUS Options for Pastors & Churches Research based on calendar 2010 shows that 95% of the churches in America ARE NOT making disciples. This is the one command in the Great Commission Food for thought! Read Heb. 13:7 & 13:17. IgniteUS provides equipping, resources and a metric to measure this critical dimension of ministry in the local church. Only 1 in 10 pastors is prepared to lead the Transformation Process without an outside voice to guide them – we come alongside and take this Journey with you. An outside voice makes a tremendous difference (Jn. 4:44). Our Effectiveness Rating is 91%. Call us!

1. 36 month Leadership Development Process transacted in 5 Phases. We provide the tools, equipping and coaching so that the Pastor becomes a Leader with biblical courage and excellence and the church becomes Healthy & Effective in making disciples fully formed in the Image of Christ (Col. 1:28-29). Reformation & Renewal!

2. 15 month Individual Leadership Development Process for those Pastors who want to become more effective Leaders. This is essentially the first three phases of the process.

3. 6 month process for churches that are essentially healthy and free of conflict and the usual control issues. The Leadership Team meets for a full day once a month for six months. This process maximizes Leadership and Intentional Disciple-making.   I am continually amazed as I present our Leadership Development Process around the country. Many in positions of Leadership are either unable or unwilling to admit the serious deficiencies that exist in the ‘status quo’ approach most have to ministry. It is no longer possible to deny reality – - the church is in precipitous decline. It takes humility, courage, sacrifice and tenacity to engage genuine Transformation. But, the results are far more rewarding than the risks or sacrifices required. I urge you to begin TODAY Pastor. Contact us for details. info@igniteus.net 803 776 5282

PRAYER – All efforts to see Reformation and Renewal come to the American Church are doomed to failure without earnest intercession (Acts 4:23-31). In the face of seeming hopelessness, God’s people should – can – do pray (Luke 18:1 – 8). Jesus asks a probing questions in v. 8 – - when I return, will I find this kind of faith on the earth?  

Read my BLOG – - www.thetextsays.blogspot.com. Also on the Home Page www.igniteus.net – A Monday Morning BLOG. New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome! Home Page - Click on this link to go to our Home Page: http://www.igniteUS.net/ Click on the text line under the Feature Video that says “See what others are saying” for some recent testimonials.

IUS 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. THANKS!

August 15 News Letter

August 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Newsletter

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