March 1 Newsletter

March 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree

In This Edition


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

*  Book Review-The Preacher’s Catechism

*  What Needs To Change?

*  An App for IgniteUS

*  Pastoral Placement – FIT

*  Invitation – – Reformation & Renewal

*  Whats Ahead?

*  This Date in History – 1st Witchcraft Trials

 Pastoral unity Paul speaks of in this passage is Organic


Level Five Leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Review – The Preacher’s Catechism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part 2 – Jesus for Preachers

Part 3 – Loving the Word

Part 4 – Preaching with Conviction

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

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

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

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

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

What Needs To Change?

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

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

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

An App for IgniteUS

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

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

Step 1

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

Pastoral Placement

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

This link takes the reader to an article on FIT in the Placement Process.  FIT-edness was a key theological principle in the ministry of Jonathan Edwards.

Invitation – – Reformation & Renewal

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

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

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

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

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

Pod Cast – THRIVE

The title of the Pod Cast is THRIVE. That is our desire for every pastor and every local church. We want you to thrive in making disciples, and developing leaders, all of which is to Glorify Jesus Christ. There is a banner on our web site – – – – 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.

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

Whats Ahead?

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Date in History


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



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