December 15

December 26, 2018 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition


*  The Tipping Point

*  An App for IgniteUS

*  Pastoral Effectiveness

*  Pastoral Placement – FIT

* for Ministry Support

Pod Cast  Thrive – Are You Thriving?

This Date in History – Bill of Rights





The Tipping Point


Has the church you lead reached the Tipping Point? Are you aware of what The Tipping Point is? Ten years ago I wrote an article titled  Critical Mass. That article focuses on the same issue as the article that follows written by Thom Rainer. There is a point in the decline of a local church (all churches have some dysfunctions) beyond which that church will not survive. This is an appeal to every Pastor to honestly assess the true condition of the church you lead. The vast majority of churches have a myopic and inaccurate understanding of their TRUE condition. We provide a tool called Basic Assessment. Complete this instrument and you will have a clear picture as to whether or not your church is at or has already passed The Tipping Point.


American Churches Are at a Tipping Point


Tipping Point (noun)the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.


If current trajectories continue, American churches will pass a tipping point. Our congregations (Rainer is writing as a Southern Baptist – tcf) will begin a likely unstoppable path toward decline that will rival many European churches of the past century. If there is not a significant movement of revitalization, there will be an accelerated rate of decline and death.


The good news is that many leaders are not denying this reality. They are seeking God and responding obediently. Church revitalization has become a real and powerful theme. As I indicated in my book, Scrappy Church, more and more churches are moving in incredible and positive directions.


How will God move in our churches? How will we respond? While I will not address those two paramount questions in this particular article, I do want us to see the three specific areas of the tipping point: theological, attitudinal, and actionable.


The Theological Tipping Point


If a church does not have a solid biblical and theological foundation, all other issues are moot. In some congregations, there is slippage on the doctrine of exclusivity, the biblical truth that Christ is the only way of salvation (John 14:6). In other congregations, leaders and members are questioning the absolute authority of Scripture. That issue is as old as creation when the serpent questioned God’s Word, “Did God really say . . .?” (Genesis 3:1).


We can’t even begin to deal with other tipping points until we have resolved the issues of truth and fidelity to Scripture. The slippery slope of questioning God’s authority leads to the decline and death of churches.


The Attitudinal Tipping Point


At some point in the recent history of the Church, particularly North American churches, becoming a part of a local congregation became a consumer-driven activity. Too many church members want, even demand, their own preferences and desires. In some congregations, we are more likely to hear a member fight over his or her own worship style preference than ask how he or she might truly serve the body of Christ.


Read 1 Corinthians 12. Becoming a member of the body of Christ means we serve others for the greater good of the body. The needs of others come before our preferences and desires. Paul admonished the local congregation in Philippi: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). That doesn’t sound like some of our church business meetings.


The Actionable Tipping Point


There are many presumably Bible-believing churches that like the idea of evangelism more than doing evangelism. Frankly, I deal with evangelical church leaders and members every day who profess unwavering fidelity to Scripture but haven’t intentionally had a gospel conversation in recent memory.


We are so busy with church activities that we neglect active obedience of the Great Commission. We can be passionate about the placement of the offertory in the worship service but never invite people to come to those worship services. We can complain when the pastor doesn’t visit members sufficiently, but never visit the hurting and lost ourselves.


A church leader recently asked me why I thought his church was not growing. I asked him what his church did every single week to reach, invite, and serve the community. His silence was his own answer. Many of us conservative Christians would rather fight each other than fight against the gates of hell.


It Is Time


Still, I am not discouraged. The tipping point is not inevitable. Our obedience may have waned, but God’s power has not. Many church leaders and members are recommitting themselves to a renewed and vibrant mission. Many of their churches are seeking and seeing revitalization.


It is time.


The question is this – – “Will the church you lead be one of those that faces the facts, invests in Intercessory Prayer, and joins the band of courageous Leaders that seeks God’s grace in Transformation, Reformation & Renewal? You can. Call  800 472 3764 or

An App for IgniteUS


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


Pastoral Effectiveness


Do you shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God? The Apostle Paul declared that he did not shrink, Acts 20:27.


Acts 20:27 (ESV) for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.


That word is hupestielamein from hupostellow. It is used four (4) times in the NT. Acts 20:20, Acts 20:27, Gal. 2:12, and Heb. 10:38.


Given the condition of the Evangelical Church in America I fear that there is a great deal of ‘shrinking’ going on. Make sure you are not one of those that is shrinking!


.IUS Leading Transformation – IgniteUS is currently serving:


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


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


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


Peoples Church, New Brunswick Canada (engaged in Renewal)


Wyoming Community Church, Grand Rapids MI (Investigating Renewal)


Oakwood Baptist, Camp Hill PA (investing in Reformation & Renewal)


December/January – Will you be next?


Pastoral Placement

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


Ministry Support $$


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

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

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


Pod Cast – THRIVE


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

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






This Date in History

  • 1791 U.S. Bill of Rights becomes law

    The first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States are known as the Bill of Rights. They became law after Virginia ratified the amendments.

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