Jesus talked about the Kingdom all the time – more than any other subject. But, what difference does the theology of the Kingdom make in the practice of ministry and the mission of the church? If we are to be seeking the Kingdom first what does that mean in a practical way in how and what we do in church? How does it change our strategy, mission, and re-shape even our understanding of the gospel? Does the Kingdom require a shift in our paradigm of ministry! As Gordon Fee said “If you miss the Kingdom – you miss everything!
Is there a way to retreat from the noise to intentionally engage in the calmness that can only be found in Christ? Is it possible to have a quiet time for your soul … while at the same time finding a sense of sanity?
By setting it all up on a website, people in the church and community can get involved.
This is where the church can minister to people in and outside of their congregation. When there is a need, the church can set up a meal train for that person and then let others know how they can help. People from the church then sign up to help and they can also share the website with their friends. The original family may start getting help from people they don’t even know.
For more information go to MealTrain.com
All employees are eligible.
CB America has partnered with GuideStone Financial Resources to provide a new retirement option. The retirement plan is offered through the Northwest Conservative Baptist Association. Set up your CB America retirement plan today.
Establishing your retirement plan is simple. There are no costs to the CBAmerica church/ministry for participation and no required minimum contributions.
How does it work?
- Ministers and non-ministerial employees who receive W-2 income from a participating CBAmerica church/ministry are eligible.
- Contributions can be made by the employer, employee or both.
- Salary-reduced contributions can be made as tax-deferred or Roth.
- There are no costs to the church/ministry for participation and no required minimum contributions.
- Employer and employee contributions can be made on behalf of every employee
Financially prepare employees for the future.
Implementing an CBAmerica retirement plan will help your employees prepare for retirement. Once it’s established by the church, your employees will have the retirement plan they need to help them along their savings journey.
Support retirement preparedness by encouraging employees to:
- Sign up for their retirement plan.
- Start contributing what they can financially afford.
- Increase their contributions regularly (aim for a 15% savings goal).
- Focus on reaching their long-term goals.
What are you waiting for?
To get started today, contact Holly Taylor at (214) 720-6453 or Holly.Taylor@GuideStone.org
Statistics and independent research indicate that possibly up to 40 percent of the population immediately around Galilee Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado have immigrated from Africa, Asia, and the southern parts of the Americas. The estimate is that there are roughly ten thousand people living in apartments within one mile of the church. The people of the church, which is presently between pastors, led by a part time staff pastor, Joshua Gomatam (he himself is from India) realized the need to begin reaching out in a significant way.
Galilee Baptist Church, which is largely white with a large number of elderly saints, came together in unity to address the problem. They began by intentionally steering the focus of the church’s outreach, by adding a subtitle to the church’s name. The church’s name became “Galilee Baptist Church…An International Community of Believers”. Next, they taught church based and personal evangelism from the pulpit, followed by meetings for strategizing effective out reach.
The first public step occurred on Sunday night August 14th. They called it a “NEIGHBORHOOD INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL”. A cross section of church attenders of all ages and from several different race groups sought permission to go door to door in the apartment complexes surrounding the church, personally handing out invitations and having conversations with these neighbors. Teams were formed to develop live multi-cultural music and testimonies from within Galilee Baptist Church where possible, as well as outside. Altogether, we had music and testimonies shared in seven languages. Others took on the task of presenting finger food from around the world, as well as games and children’s events (which included face painting…and making balloon animals). On the night of the festival, a team of church people intentionally moved through the crowd…welcoming and getting contact information while giving out information about plans for future events and ministries at Galilee. Other church people just came to shake hands while identifying that they were from the church and welcomed them to America if they had obviously immigrated.
A flexible but strategic plan had been thought through in earlier meetings, and now is being solidified into next steps. Apartment staff members who allowed or helped in distributing our invitations were thanked with a gift basket of candy. A good number of contacts have been attained and are already being followed up on. Teams have already met to debrief and gather suggestions for repeating the event next year. Concerted prayer efforts were put into place for outreach and are continuing on. ESL classes, a recovery group, and an evangelistic kids club are actively being developed. Our first ESL class and simultaneous Kid’s Club began Sunday, Oct. 2nd, and Recovery group will soon follow.
Festival attendees from different continents have said they want to come to church. Several mothers who attended with their children, which included a couple of Muslim women, want their children to be involved with future children’s ministry. One of the best things that has happened is many of our people in the church have been moved by their involvement in this outreach and are becoming activated towards future outreach ministries.
This is a beginning point. We at Galilee recognize that Joshua and the people of Israel did not sit back after crossing the Jordon, and conquering Jericho. We do not plan on ending our outreach into the neighborhood surrounding Galilee. We are looking around at the fields white for harvest and are making plans with what we have to bring the harvest in.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
By Stan Rieb
We have all experienced it. It is a fairly common occurrence in our ever increasingly technologically connected world. Because it is our connection to the information we seek and a crucial path to the communication of our vision and purpose, a connection to the internet or “network” has become essential for many throughout the world. When that connection goes down, for many of us, our work comes to a grinding halt. But there is a small celebration once the network connection has been restored. Everyone in the office exclaims the same words, “The network is back up!”
As I travel around the Rocky Mountain Church Network, one question I always ask is, “How can we help you (the pastor) and your church?” Often the response goes something like: “Call us! Visit us! Connect with us!”
Since early this year, my focus in the region has been to be an IT Engineer seeking to restore and maintain Network Connection. There is a lot of work that still needs to be done, but please know my heart is to connect with the pastors and leadership of the churches in the RMCN.
When trouble shooting a network there are certain steps the provider must do and there are other steps the client can do. The provider must assure the client that the signal is reaching the router and that the router is functioning correctly. The client is responsible to make sure that their end of things are connected properly, their cable is connected or their Wi-Fi is configured properly for connection.
As the provider we have to admit that we have not always done a good job. You need to know it is our desire to raise the reliability of our network. We know we need to increase our up time.
As a member of the network we would ask that you help us maintain your connection. If we can help in specific areas (see the list below), please call. If we can meet with you or the leadership of your church, please contact us.
- Leadership Development
- Learning Communities
- Virtual Learning Communities
- Pastor Coaching
- Leadership Coaching & Retreats
- Birkman Profile – Individual and Team Assessment and Coaching
- Church Health
- Ministry Mapping Church Assessment
- Church Consulting
- Life Cycle
- Polity/Governance Development
- Values, Mission, Vision training/development
- MissionInsite Demographics
- Conflict Resolution Coaching
- Placement Resource
- Pastoral Search Team Training
- Criminal, Credit and Education background checks for pastoral and pastoral staff candidates
- Church Reproduction
- Church Planting
- Other Resources
- Guidestone Financial Services
- 403(b) Retirement Program
- Health Insurance
- Financial Planning
- Planned Giving Seminars
- Church Insurance – Guide One
Aaron lived 7 years in Peru (ages 5-12) with his parents who served as missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Before moving to Wisconsin to pursue a MA degree in Christian/Theological Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, with an emphasis in Counseling and Pastoral Care, Aaron and his wife Starla were living in Pinedale, Wyoming. The Gesch’s have 6 children.
Pastor Kent Dempsey is moving to an associates position after over 20 years as the Lead Pastor. He, and his wife Jan, are devoting more of their time caring for their aging parents. Kent will be available for pulpit supply in the area.
Associate Pastor, John Henderson, rounds out the pastoral leadership of First Baptist Church.
RMCN Board Member, Gordon Penfold, and co-authors, Bud Brown and Gary Westra have written a new book, Pastor Unique: Becoming a Turnaround Leader. The publisher hasn’t given a firm release date yet, but they are hoping that it will be available around August 15.
You can read the Introduction by clicking on this link.
The authors are also working on additional resources for pastors, church leaders, and denominational leaders to help them get the most from this groundbreaking new work.
The authors of Pastor Unique understand the critical need for the development of turn-around pastor leadership, given that over 80% of churches in America are plateaued or declining in attendance. They bring their ministry experience and passion for healthy churches and effective leadership to bear on this epidemic. Their research of successful turn-around pastors has led them to identify the key behaviors and practices that non turn-around pastors can develop through assessment, training and mentoring. If you are a pastor facing the daunting task of leading a church that is plateaued and declining, Pastor Unique is a must read.
Rocky Mountain Church Network
Interim Pastor Ministries will be holding a training event in Longmont Colorado on August 22 & 23, 2016.
This training is for Pastors interested in serving as an Interim, or exploring future ministry possibilities and denominational leaders wanting to learn about IPM’s unique, intention 5-stage process.
Attendance is a prerequisite for all interested in membership and serving with IPM. This training event is open to all. There is no constraint to join IPM.
The training will take place at:
2101 Gay St
Longmont CO 80501
The cost for the training is $225 (Wives attend free)
All materials are included
No meals or lodging are included
Brother Stan Rieb and I had the privilege of sharing lunch together recently, and in the course of conversation, the comment was made that a certain municipality in Colorado now denies all church applications for building and expansion. I was struck with the fact that as I work overseas in Egypt, Iraq and Turkey, the very places where the Church originated, we find a very similar resistance in these areas today. In understanding church history, this resistance is not new. In fact as I look over the past 2000 years of extended Church history, the plight of Christians through the centuries, and our modern day partnering to plant and build churches in the Middle East, this is the norm.
For those who have a sense that we are owed some kind of privileged position due to being American Christians, it may be that we need to rethink our position. Rather than being surprised, shocked, or frustrated over such attitudes, let us be encouraged to look at our churches in a different light.
We are as U.S. Christians, really owed nothing, rather, the world asks us to give a reason for our validity. We can no longer grow the Church from the inside out, but we must assist people as they grasp the realities of a personal relationship with the Lord. He told us to be “salt and light,” and we are to continue to be a mainstream influence in our society, all in a culture that is growing more and more hostile to the truths taught in the Word of God.
We are seeing a culture shifting away from long held common beliefs, and have turned from a post-Christian nation to a pre-Christian nation. In fact, churches must adopt a missional outlook and perspective if we are to influence our communities. Before one becomes discouraged and feels confronted yet again with another “program” to be implemented, or how some other church reached “mega” status, let’s look at a few things that might help in assessing current direction, vision and actions.
I love Church history; not the one we were taught in Bible college and seminary that was primarily Western in its focus, but the dynamic growth and later decline of the Church in the Middle East from the first to the seventeenth century. The Church in the Middle East holds lessons for the U.S. Church today. How do we continue to influence in the midst of growing opposition as a Church engaged within the purposes that Scripture mandates?
Imagine for a moment that your church was in a foreign country, somewhat tolerant of Christianity, but not enamored with it either. How would you maximize your buildings, your congregation, your volunteers and your financial resources to effectively impact your “foreign community?”
Take a moment and think through this. When a missionary goes overseas and when all the excitement of support raising has been accomplished, and all the adventure of travel and settling into a new country has begun to sink in, he or she eventually comes to the question which I remember asking of myself in India, “now what?” It is from that question that one derives all future passion, vision and activity. It is one of personal and ministry assessment, and it is also what the Lord asked Moses in Midian when he stood before the burning bush, “What is in your hand?”
Pastor, what is in your hand? How can this be invested in taking your church into your community and being an influence for good? I’ve seen two churches standing side by side, one holding activities such as hiking clubs, MOP’s, day care, senior citizen lunches, community and political meetings, men’s BBQ’s, softball and basketball league participation, little league, and community road and parks clean up. This church I’m describing is seen as an asset to the community, contrasted with the neighboring church that never sees a car enter the drive until Sunday AM. As we look at a less than welcoming community, 1 Peter 2:12 reminds us to, “live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
A Church looking exclusively at herself and her own ministries is in the beginning of a decline that, given enough time, leads to nonexistence. We’ve all been brought to tears when one of our own precious children trusts Christ as Savior; as wonderful as this is, let’s not be satisfied with this alone, but just as a missionary worth his or her tenure overseas diligently ministers in outreach, we too must actively seek ways to influence our community for Christ.
This influence requires vision and action. What is your vision for your community? Is it so big that God has to show up? Faith begets faith. The greatest affect for change is when people see genuine faith in action because of strong vision. Every man I know wishes for a moment when he can be a hero and make a strategic shift and positive change in someone’s life for good. Christ designed his bride to be his hands and his feet, in other words, you and I, the Church itself, are real life heroes reaching our neighbors with His love and forgiveness.
What is the Church to produce? Chevy makes cars, Cross makes pens, Harley-Davidson makes motorcycles (thank you, Lord). So the question then is, “what is the church to produce?” The Church produces new Christ-followers who become disciples. If we’re not accomplishing this, we’re not doing our job.
The beginning of the decline of the church in the Middle East was around the 13th century. Of course it was partly the result of a growing persecution of Christians by Islamic communities, and their rulers. Up to this time the Islamic communities had blended, accepted and in fact, interlaced Christians into their socio-political and economic societies. During the 13th century we begin to note a decline in influence and connection the Church held within the blended communities, a declination caused not as a result of outside pressure, but, rather, from inside the Church herself.
Pastors and bishops gradually exhibited a lack of academic engagement in Scriptures, passing this on to the Church. In other words, the Church began to “do ministry” because of traditions rather than reflect a vibrant interest in the Word of God, its vital truths and its impact on society and the human heart. Ultimately this attitude produced a lack of interest in reaching out to the unsaved. Believers became satisfied with passing on their faith primarily to their own children and family “dynasties.”
The decline of the Church from the 14th through the 17th century in the Middle East was first, persecution, of course, but a third underlying cause was also lack of vision for reaching out. Because of religious and political pressures, they choose compromise as an alternative and accepted marginalization within their communities rather than retain the role of vibrant changeagent. Families passed their faith on to their own family rather than reaching out.
In contrast, within the first century, despite growing persecution, the message of Jesus Christ exploded along the trade routes of both the Roman and Persian world, especially along the Silk Road to India and China. As an example, the Gospel, brought by merchants from Jerusalem, reached Mosul in Northern Iraq in 38 A.D. mixing the concepts of business and mission. In fact, one of the early hymns the Church in the East was “let us take the attire of merchants and bring the good news to the world.”
The decline of the modern Church is directly linked to the abdication of engagement in her communities through the daily influence in the lives of neighbors and co-workers, to accomplish what Christ commanded her to do, make disciples. When the Church is singularly focused on itself and fellowship, she loses her influence in society and the outcome is marginalization.
My dear friend, an Iraqi pastor, Douglas Bazi, has been shepherding a church of refugees from Mosul. Two years ago as Mosul fell, he was captured by ISIS, tortured and beaten many times. He was taken to be beheaded a number of times, but as he said, “the Lord has always been with me and watched over me.” After four months, miraculously, he was released and immediately resumed his role as pastor shepherding his flock who were now refugees in nearby Irbil, northern Iraq. Refusing to leave his flock, he has worked tirelessly to emigrate his congregation of over 200 families in the Czech Republic. His key leadership and life example have impacted thousands. Without pastoral leadership and a localized focus upon the people of our communities, the church will flounder.
So what are some action points to consider?
1. The Church needs a missional heart. Let’s not focus on what we want our community to do for us, but what we can and will do for our community.
2. The Church needs to be practical as Moses was when God asked him, “What is in your hand?” God knows our flaws and weaknesses and still chooses to work through us for His glory, and He will take the mundane and make it miraculous and pertinent.
3. The Church needs to be actively stepping into the mainstream of her community.
4. The Church needs to take courage and stand firm in her faith and confidence in the teaching of the Word. We’ve seen all that Satan can throw at us; this is nothing new. Yet the Church still stands because she is founded upon the immovable foundation of Christ and the eternal Word.
The Lord said, “I will be with you, to the very end of the age.” We may not all teach and preach well, but we can each make disciples, and as authentic, passionate Christ-followers we are linked to the ongoing pulse and unfolding history of the Church that is being made today.
Photo of John and his wife, Dee