Episode 013: Developing Ministry with the Hurting

EPISODE 013 – SHOW NOTES – DEVELOPING MINISTRY WITH THE HURTING

For this week’s podcast, we were joined by Matthew Ayers, CEO of Dream Centers of Colorado Springs to talk about how the local church can lead the way in serving the most vulnerable people in their cities.

 

Churches are notoriously bad listeners… the Christian community in America needs to do a better job of asking better questions and listening to the city’s response, and then stepping to the front of the line to meet those needs…

 

It was amazing to me how much good work was happening in our city that we didn’t know about… when we began to explore the areas of pain in our city, we began to unearth some amazing ministries…

 

The early church had a commitment to care for the poor… they took it more seriously than we take it…

 

Most of the people in our church were not aware of the brokenness that was happening in our city… what the Dream Centers brought to New Life was an awareness of the poor… now that they know, I don’t have any trouble motivating them to get involved…

 

The senior pastor of the church has to carry this in a deep way or it will become just a little project on the side…

 

I’ve discovered that this has become a discipleship mechanism for us… people are discovering that they can use what they have to be a blessing to others…

 

The poor are not a problem to be solved but a people to be joined… if you’re not regularly looking into the eyes of the poor, you are probably not seeing Jesus…

 

God’s Spirit is already incredibly active… if we will do the hard work of slowing down, paying attention, talking and listening to others that are already engaged in this way, we have a lot to learn…

 

Any time we get serious about taking care of the poor of our city, you will never lack for resources to do it…

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

1 – On a scale of 1-10, how important is caring for the poor to you and your ministry? Why did you give it the number you did?

2 – What can you begin to do to raise this value in your own heart and in the heart of your congregation?

3 – What would it look like for you to begin genuinely listening to the needs of your city?

4 – How can you begin?

 

RESOURCES

Ray Bakke – Theology as Big as a City

Dream Centers of Colorado Springs

Episode 012: Blending the Contemplative and Charismatic

For this episode of the Essential Church podcast, we’re joined by Pastor Rich Villodas of New Life Fellowship in Queens, NY to discuss the contemplative and charismatic traditions of the Church.

We started noticing that we had lots of gifts, but not a love of love and character… our church went in search of something more to try to balance out…

 

I think we have to root the contemplative and the charismatic streams in the ground of a robust Pneumatology… the intent of the Scriptures is the coming of God’s presence among his people…

 

If the Holy Spirit in John 3 is depicted as wind, then we have to make space for a multi-dimensional Spirit who comes to people in different ways…

 

I see the two married together – these are various, great manifestations of the grace of the Spirit, whether in power or in stillness and silence…

 

What often happens is that you have one sector of the Church that has a narrow view of how God has manifested grace through the ages, and then they get into their enclave or stream [to the neglect of others]…

 

We often don’t pause to see the myriad of ways God has come to us through the centuries…

 

When we swung the pendulum, I think we swung it too far… when you look at Corinthians 13, you don’t see Paul saying that once you get your act together, you can use your gifts again… he just says to use them with love…

 

What this is looking like for us is that I’m teaching on it more… we’re offering more trainings for people… more and more we’re creating space in our worship gatherings for moments of pause to recognize that perhaps God wants to do something right now…

 

For me it feels like I’m getting back to my roots…

 

Pursue the work of the Spirit in your life and don’t put restrictions on what shape or what narrow tradition it needs to take…

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • What did you think about Rich’s discussion of the charismatic and contemplative streams? Which do you most identify with?
  • Does your church have a culture that is open to the multifaceted work of the Spirit, or are your boxes narrow?
  • What can you do to expand your church’s receptivity to the full range of the Spirit’s work and power?

 

 

RESOURCES

Way of the Heart (Nouwen)

Streams of Living Water (Foster)

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Scazerro)

God’s Empowering Presence (Fee)

Sober Intoxication of the Spirit (Cantalamessa)

 

Episode 011: The Church and Race

For this week’s podcast, we’re joined by Pastor Derwin Gray of Transformation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina for a conversation on race, diversity, and leading multiethnic churches.
 

 

Episode 011 – SHOW NOTES – Derwin Gray – The Church and Race

 

We believe that the church is God’s primary vehicle to transform the world, and for us, being multiethnic is intrinsic to the Gospel…

 

Theology is for ecclesiology… God wants a family… and this message isn’t preached… we’ve stripped the Bible of its context and we wonder why we struggle with discipleship…

 

A homogenous church would have been unthinkable to the Apostle Paul… God’s fulfilling his covenant with Abraham must be a front burner issue or we are going to have an underdeveloped view of the gospel…

 

When racism is rarely preached in a church, you can believe that a lot of racism is [present] in that church…

 

I have a pretty good name in Charlotte, and I thought, “If I get treated this way, imagine how people who don’t have my privilege will get treated, constantly…”

 

I think the church is the answer… our Sermon on the Mount ethic needs to shape how we live and move and breathe…

 

We as the church must become a classroom to teach the world what love looks like…

 

Here’s the thing: we haven’t been taught how to do this… we need churches that know how to do this to teach other churches how to do it…

 

You can’t cultivate a multiethnic church if you don’t lead a multiethnic life…

 

You can’t be a consumer and play on a team, but you can be a consumer and be in the church… in the church we’re actually designing our services for you to consume, and so no wonder we struggle with it!

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • Do you believe that the gospel speaks to racial issues? Why or why not?
  • Is your church homogeneous? Why?
  • What can you and your church do to begin to move towards a greater engagement with racial issues and greater ethnic diversity?

 

 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

Derwin Gray – The HD Leader

Episode 010: Lessons from 10 Years Pt. 2

We’re picking up where we left off last week and continuing a conversation about the lessons learned from Pastor Brady’s ten years of ministry at New Life Church. Our hope is that these lessons would resonate with and encourage you.

 

SHOW NOTES – 010 – Lessons from 10 Years Pt 2

 

For your young leaders, serve your way into relationship… a lot of mentoring happens when you’re just present…

 

Millennials tend to have this idea of what a mentoring relationship needs to look like, that it has to be perfect and romantic and ideal… I would say just serve and be present and along the way you’ll find the relationships evolve…

 

The question is: who do you want to be like, and will you chase them?

 

Chase character and not charisma… oftentimes charisma on the stage is misleading… so find someone whose character outweighs their charisma…

 

It doesn’t have to be a famous pastor… it doesn’t even have to be a pastor… there are people all around you [who can help you]… it’s about having the eyes to see and the guts to ask…

 

If I don’t pastor my own home, I don’t have the right to pastor the church…

 

We have to honor the Sabbath every week, and that’s different than a day off… a day off is when I mow my yard and get the oil changed… but a Sabbath is when I return to my sonship… Sabbath is when I wake up as a child and let God be Father to me all day long…

 

Your year needs to include Sundays where you know you shouldn’t preach, and it needs to include an extended vacation… I don’t care what size the church is, you need more than one week off at a time…

 

 

Questions for you and your team

  • How can you be more proactive about pursuing mentoring relationships?
  • Do you have people in your life who you want to be like? What can you do to chase them?
  • How are you doing at honoring the Sabbath?
  • What would it look like for you to plan your year in a healthier way?

 

 

Recommended Resource

Abraham Joshua Heschel – The Sabbath

Episode 009: Lessons from 10 Years Pt. 1

Pastor Brady recently celebrated ten years of leading New Life Church as the Senior Pastor. In this episode, we looked back on the past decade and talk about the lessons learned. We hope that these lessons will apply to your ministry and will help strengthen your churches.

 

 

Along with listening to this podcast, check out this recent article from Outreach Magazine that tells the miracle stories of the last ten years at New Life Church.

Episode 009 SHOW NOTES – Ten Years, Ten Lessons

 

There were three things that allowed New Life to survive and thrive… we had a culture of worship, a culture of prayer, and a deep sense of community… if you have spent your time teaching the church to connect deeply with God and deeply with one another, you can weather almost any storm…

 

The hard thing here was winning trust… you can’t spend trust you don’t have and there’s only one way to earn trust: doing the right thing for the right reason for a long time…

 

There are three groups that every pastor speaks to every Sunday: the people that trust you, the people that want to trust you but with time, and the people who will not trust you no matter what you do…

 

Pastors need to be aware that we are facing an increasingly cynical public…

 

The congregation pays attention to how you treat each other… the first test of a pastor’s leadership is how he treats his team…

 

One of the best pieces of advice I got was that our church didn’t need a prophet but a pastor… let them heal and then they’ll follow you to the next place…

 

For pastors, especially of growing churches, it’s easy to get out of the rhythm of actually living with the people you’re working with… over time, pastors that choose that path will wake up one day and discover their values are not being embraced or carried out, and that they’re surrounded not by friends but by strangers…

 

I did not realize how much I was going to need to pray over this thing, and how much I would need spiritual fathers and mothers around me…

 

The most successful pastors I’ve ever been around have been those who have not lost their passion for prayer…

 

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • How can you build the kind of culture now in your church that can withstand the storms?
  • What are you doing to earn the trust of your congregation?
  • Does your team reflect the sense of community and friendship you want to see across your congregation? Why or why not?

Episode 008: Restoring Fallen Leaders

In this episode, we’re joined by two incredible leaders, Pastor Jimmy Evans and Pastor Tom Lane. Not only have they led faithfully in local churches for most of their lives, they’ve also played integral roles in restoring fallen leaders back to health. So we sat down with them and asked them to share their wisdom. We pray that it blesses and encourages you.

 

Episode 008 – Restoring Fallen Leaders

 

Repentance is everything… everything is possible when you’re dealing with a repentant leader

 

Don’t go faster than the heart of the person you are trying to restore… 100% of my response [as a leader seeking to help restore another leader] depends on the person’s heart…

 

The sin did not happen overnight… so to expect an instantaneous restoration is unfair and impossible… the foundations of people’s lives need to be rebuilt…

 

The goal is not just to restore them to ministry but to restore them to being a healthy human…

 

The temptation is to try to deal with this from the perspective of “How quickly can we get everything back the way it was?” This is not the goal if you are focused correctly. We’re trying to restore you to your loving relationship with God…

 

There are four things you have to do when there’s been a failure: 1) stabilize the situation, 2) walk in a process of [adapting to] the new reality, 3) reactivate your giftedness, not for vocational purposes but for volunteer purposes, 4) move into a vocation that God opens up…

 

Under the best scenarios, it’s usually about six months per step, IF the person is humble, broken, yielded to God, and submitted…

 

When the person in authority is the one who created the offense, they cannot stay in the home of the people they’ve hurt… for the body to heal and for him to heal, they need to go to a separate place to get healing…

 

In every restoration, there has to be a public repentance to the extent that the offense was public… and afterward, there is a public act of forgiving that leader…

 

The fallen leader has a responsibility to show repentance, and the church has a responsibility to show grace… with those two things in place, we can see miracles happen…

 

 

RESOURCES

Pure Desire Ministries – puredesire.org

Gateway Network – gatewaynetwork.com

Tom’s Book – Foundations of Healthy Church Government

 

Episode 007: Spiritual Parenting

Episode 007 – SPIRITUAL PARENTING

 

 Show Notes

What you have now is millennials who really want to be involved in their children’s lives, but are ill-equipped because many of them weren’t parented spiritually themselves…

 

Churches need to give millennials practical resources that are not antiquated… We need to give them meaningful ways to find community… and we need to give them paths for mentorship…

 

I can’t tell you how many young moms and dads are asking me for mentors… for couples in their 40s and 50s who can help them…

 

Children’s ministry typically means a “program”; it tends to have a “child-centric” approach… in a family ministry we see the child as a byproduct of the family they are raised in… we want to look at the child in context…

 

When we start dealing with the broader issues and bring restoration and health to those, we bring greater ministry to that child than we could have during one hour per week…

 

We have to repackage how we message about the need for involvement in children’s ministry… inviting people into a journey is more compelling…

 

For senior leadership, we need to further the message of that journey and then make the call for people to participate in the raising of the next generation…

 

In Western society, we’ve become so individualistic that we only think about our own families and not our greater participation in the family of God…

 

To the empty-nesters: you are the most prepared you will ever be to serve in local children’s ministry, and lots of you are just sitting on the sidelines… we need to challenge them to re-engage in the life of the local church…

 

Questions for you and your team

1) How well is your church doing at equipping parents to minister to their children?

2) How would your ministry look if you began to shift from a child-centric to a family-centric approach?

3) What can you do to begin to create situations where organic mentorship can take place?

4) How well are you and your team doing at positioning children’s ministry participation as an invitation to be part of a compelling spiritual journey?

 

RESOURCES

Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today’s Families by Michelle Anthony

Pursuing God’s Will Together by Ruth Haley Barton

Also, be sure to join us next year for The Gathering, a unique, 3 day event designed for you and your family ministries team!

Episode 006: To The Table

Episode 006- To The Table

 

SHOW NOTES

The Table for me was the end of a long journey to discover the roots of my faith… I wanted to give my kids more of the faith than I had when I was their age…

Tradition is a troubling word for charismatics…but when I began to talk about historical rootedness and the many reasons for coming back to the Table, the eyes of our church were opened and we found ourselves embracing it…

The beautiful thing about the Lord’s Table is that it is a promise of an encounter with the risen Christ that does not depend on an individual…

Frequency does not mean a loss of intimacy; in fact, intimacy requires frequency…

It should be easier for charismatics to come to the Table with faith and expectation, but people are nervous about superstition… part of the way we got around that was that we said “We’re not going to make statements about HOW God meets us [at the Table]; we just know THAT he does…”

Past, present, and future come together for us at the Table… it is a place of proclamation, that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again!

One pushback I got from the congregation was “Where is the altar call?” What I’ve discovered is that this leads to better altar calls… I tell pastor friends that we have the biggest altar calls we’ve ever had, because we have people confess sins and receive forgiveness… we have thousands of people answering the altar call every Sunday… and so when I call for salvation and healing, their hearts are already tender…

We didn’t have to give up our evangelistic fervor to do Communion…

This has profoundly changed my preaching for the better… no matter what we’re tackling, I have to end with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus…

Our church has grown and increased and has seen disciple-shaping go to a deeper level since we’ve done this… if you’ll do this wisely with a lot of explanation, inviting people in, they will follow you…

Millennials are more fascinated with historical rootedness than we think… the under-30 crowd are living in a world now where nothing makes sense… they’re looking for something that has stood the test of time…


Questions for you and your team

1) Do your worship services demonstrate a sense of historical rootedness? Why or why not?
2) Pastor Glenn mentioned that Communion embodies a sense of “remembrance”, “encounter”, and “hope”. Which do you feel your services emphasize the most? How could communion reshape those services?
3) How do you think taking weekly Communion would change your worship and preaching?
4) What practical steps can you take to begin moving in that direction?

Recommended Resources
The Meal Jesus Gave Us, by N. T. Wright
Discover the Mystery of Faith, by Glenn Packiam

Episode 005: Cultivating a Team-Teaching Model, Pt. 2

Episode 005 – Cultivating a Team-Teaching Model, Pt. 2

 

Show Notes

The risk [of doing this] is not being needed any more… the reward is seeing someone run ahead and thrive…

Every one of us is an “interim pastor”… the church will outlast all of us… therefore, I have a choice: to preach and lead [by myself] or begin sharing some of the responsibility…

I realized that when I announced this, the church might actually like one of these guys more… but it’s ridiculous to think about it that way… we need to model something more beautiful than what the world models… if you don’t have joy in watching people thrive, you’ll never have people around you who do thrive…

The stage can’t be any of our identities… the stage and the pulpit are our privilege, but not our identity… and too many senior pastors get their identities from the pulpit…

This model starts with the senior pastor realizing that he has to share the responsibility… [and that requires] that we find our identities in the right things…

[When we made this switch] people were disappointed… they like me, I’m their pastor… we had to manage that, we had to walk alongside people… [but the result will be] that I’ll hang around here longer, with more energy and vision than if we stay at this current pace…

[This] is a way of reinforcing to people that we need one another… when you see from the pulpit not only weakness but also the strength that comes from others, it gives people permission to ask for help in their own lives…

A “man of God” syndrome has permeated the American church… I’m not sure that that’s biblical, and I’m certainly sure it’s not healthy…

The people who are most prone to learning, reading, and listening tend to make the best preachers… there’s a natural call, a genuine passion, and they are willing to work at it…

For young preachers and teachers: are you willing to do the hard work? The 10,000 hour rule is in effect… you have to preach a lot of sermons…

Say yes to every chance you get to speak and discern what happens…

The worst person to give the pulpit to is someone who ONLY wants the pulpit…

Questions for you and your team:
1) What are the risks for you and your church in moving towards a team-teaching model?
2) Do you have a culture that allows others to thrive?
3) What concrete steps can you take to starting moving this direction?

Special Episode: Welcoming the Stranger: A Conversation on DACA

“Welcoming the Stranger: A Conversation on DACA”

 

Show Notes

This is important because I’m the pastor of a lot of DACA kids… this is not a political point to me… these are real people that we know… they are human beings with real stories…

Often times when these public issues get discussed, we’re tempted to say we need less emotion and more reason… but emotions are an important key in understanding where people are coming from…

When someone exhibits a lot of emotion over something, it shows that it is something they are very concerned about… which makes it an opportunity for empathy…

[As an immigrant], there is a feeling of fear that is hard to shake… there is a sense of vulnerability here even when you do this the right way…

We believe in safe borders and in the rule of law… I believe in safe, legal immigration because its best for human beings… we need to figure out a way to make immigration safe and legal…

The story of the people of God is a story of immigration… to be the people of God is to be waiting for home… there is a very real theological dimension of this… if we can’t feel that human desire [for home], then I need to check my heart…

“So you love the poor? Then tell me what their names are…” this needs to be able to be named… it needs to be situated in the lives of people…

Christians have a unique ability to be empathetic to those who have been displaced because of the story of our Scriptures…

We need to be a prophetic voice to the political system… I’m calling on Congress and on our President and on our state and local officials to make sure this legislation is done well… we need to let the morality of Jesus to overrule political divisiveness…

There’s a price to pay [as a pastor] for this… anytime I bring up immigration from the pulpit, I get scathing rebukes from people because it has become so politicized…

If a pastor will get up and be compassionate and really welcome diverse viewpoints, you’ll see there are truths in all of the camps…

For me, this cannot be some theoretical discussion… pastors, whatever you do, just get to know these people… we need to be compassionate and help them win…

The kingship of Jesus Christ shapes everything… we don’t want to answer these issues through the prism of our politics… we want to let the surprising and shocking kingdom of God confront us and challenge us and cause us to rethink our positions…

Practically, you can get involved in this… there are immigration attorneys that are willing to do pro bono work… we want to help families go through a legal process… they just need someone to walk alongside them…

If we don’t know their names, we have failed the people in our church…

Resources

Evangelical Immigration Table
Christian Community Development Association