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Thanks for visiting our website! Picture of the Month: sharing the word in Pilanqui, Ibarra, Ecuador; a view of part of the crowd, two baptisms. [Click picture to enlarge.]

Preaching in Pilanqui

Ministry is always a team effort--Jan and I have shared the work of ministry and missions for 48+ years! Countless others have encouraged us, supported us, loved us, and prayed for us. In addition to the customary "Brother Bob," I am also known as dad and papaw. My favorite breakfast is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of quality coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and help develop authentic "kingdom people." I seek to serve and share the good news about Jesus everywhere I go, helping people find Jesus and helping people mature in Jesus. One of the greatest blessings of my life is to be loved by countless people around the world!

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Archive for January, 2012

Leadership in Action: Acts 6

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

One of the first examples of leadership in the early church is found in Acts 6.
The church was growing magnificently, but that growth did not shelter the church from problems. Sometimes growth contributes to the problems. Including more and more people with different backgrounds often leads to perceived lack of fairness.

The study of Acts 6 provides many leadership principles.

    Leaders see the problem as it is developing, not after it has exploded into a major, unresolvable difficulty.
    Leaders do not allow problems to distract them from the work God has given them.
    Leaders do not try to solve every problem by themselves–they involve others.
    Leaders know how to involve the people who can best help solve the problem.
    Leaders know how to involve the church in helping resolve the problem.
    Leaders facilitate spiritual growth and training.

What additional lessons can you identify?

Acts 6:1-7 is the basis of an article posted under today’s date: Leadership in Action–Acts 6:1-7.

Visionary Leadership

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Every church has leaders, whether those leaders are officially chosen and officially recognized or not
That the church chooses leaders does not insure that those chosen will be good leaders.
A leader may technically meet biblical criteria and not be a good leader.
Thinking that church leaders are selected for life often eliminates accountability for the leaders.
The contemporary church suffers from a lack of visionary leadership.

Consider:
Visionary leaders receive their vision from God, his Word, and his purpose; not from their own thinking.
Visionary leaders are spiritual men and women who faithfully live out their Christian commitment, providing an example for others.
Visionary leaders are steeped in the Word of God and use it to guide every aspect of life.
Visionary leaders communicate the vision and show how it connects with God’s purpose as revealed in God’s Word.
Visionary leaders are teachers of God’s Word, able to use God’s Word to provide counsel and direction.
Visionary leaders help the church develop the capacities to follow the vision God provides.

For additional reflection and thinking:
The church’s need for forward-looking leadership is the subject of an article posted with today’s date: Visionary Leadership.

It’s Sunday Again: “To Whom Am I a Neighbor?”

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Another Sunday, the opportunity to worship with another part of the wonderful, great, extended family of God. Today Jan and I are representing Baxter Institute at the Missions Fair at the Park Plaza church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after which I will preach in the Spanish-speaking assembly.

My sermon text is the parable of the Good Samaritan. Which questions are valid? Which are the good questions?

  • What must I do to inherit eternal life?
  • What does the Bible say?
  • Who is my neighbor?
  • Who is a neighbor?
  • To whom am I am neighbor? Or, Whose neighbor am I?
  • On a Sunday when the church is thinking about the mission of God, we often make it too complex and difficult. Mission begins with the opportunities and neighbors God has already given us.

    Stars to Steer By: Evangelism Quotes

    Saturday, January 28th, 2012

    Today’s blog includes several comments which first appeared in Pastors Weekly Briefing as commentary on the church’s lost ability to evangelize effectively (from March 27, 2009). I trust you will find them insightful, helpful, compelling, and challenging!

    When we design seeker sensitive services, have we thought out the fact that what they are seeking is not what the church primarily was meant to offer? Are we offering a gospel that conforms to what they are seeking rather than what they actually need? We have been given the ministry of reconciliation, not the ministry of appeasement. … People don’t need Jesus to make them feel better. Although He certainly can do that, it is the by-product, not the end goal. They need to be saved from the consequences of their sin, from the just judgment of God. While love certainly motivated Christ to come and die for our sins, it was God’s holiness that necessitated justice and judgment, thereby necessitating an atonement for our sin in the first place. — D.C.

    The drive to be ‘current, progressive, innovative, fresh or emergent’ is simply a poor substitute for authenticity. Where authentic Christianity is practiced, God will bless and use it regardless of numbers. Salt does not need to be large in quantity to have effect … Pointing out the lack of authenticity and the obvious decay is not the same as saying the true Christian church has failed. God always has some who have not bowed the knee to Baal. — D.M.

    The church can no longer articulate what it believes and that is a major weakness of the church. If we can’t articulate what we believe and why we believe it, and then live it out, what we oppose or support has no foundation and no substance for us or others to hold onto. … We must expect more than moralism, especially from our leadership. There has to be something more that drives us than issues. God and His glory has to be the motivating force or we will lose steam and move onto something else. — (edited from M.S.)

    There is a lot of fluff in the church today…. When was the last time churches had corporate prayer as a regular part of their weekly schedule, to come together to seek God and intercede for others? The one thing the government cannot take away is prayer. The last thing many, if not most, Christians engage in is prayer. — T.R.

    We have let our beliefs go by the wayside. We have stood by and let our voices be silent for so long so that people would not think that we are intolerant. But, there are some things that are worth standing up for and there are beliefs that are worth dying for. We have to get past the fear of death and start being disciples the way the original 11 were without fear of dying for what is Truth!!! — L.V.

    We define ministry largely by what was done in our church buildings … If the church instead defines ministry as what we do when we are not in the building, we will see that ratio of involvement increase until 100% of believers are actively seeking ways to be Christ’s hands extended … wherever we can find people. — H.R.

    Stars to Steer By: The First Question a Leader Asks

    Friday, January 27th, 2012

    Management has a lot to do with answers. Leadership is a function of questions. And the first question for a leader always is: “Who do we intend to be?” Not “What are we going to do?” but “Who do we intend to be?”
    –Max DePree

    Team Building Seminars

    Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

    The work of the local church cannot be done by one person charged with ministry, or even by a small group of persons who provide leadership and are committed to the work. God intended the church to work together with the involvement of every member for self-edification and self-development (Ephesians 4:15-16). Paul describes the church as a body in which every member is important and has a role (1 Corinthians 12:12-24).
    Because of the importance of this dynamic, and because many churches struggle with how to develop an involved membership, I have developed several team building seminar plans. One such plan is available online via recent posts. Review the design and concepts, and let me know if I can be of assistance in the development of your local church.
    English: How to Develop a Team in your Church.
    Spanish: Seminario: Como Desarrollar un Equipo para la Iglesia Local.

    Evangelism 5-4-3-2-1

    Monday, January 23rd, 2012

    I believe most ministers want to be evangelistic, want to see the church grow, want to see people brought to Christ. I believe that evangelism is a goal of most churches. In my experience, most Christians are thrilled when people are saved and pleased when the church grows. I believe most church leaders believe evangelism is a task and responsibility of the church. If churches, church leaders, ministers, and Christians want evangelism to occur, and if it is not occurring, what is lacking? If desire is not lacking, what is lacking?

    In some cases, no method for evangelism has been identified and used. What is lacking is a simple evangelism tool that can be used by the average Christian. (If this is the case, I would point toward Jerry Tallman and “His Eternal Plan,” James Nored and the “Story of Redemption,” Don Calhoun and “Quest for Truth” or the Spanish version “En Busca de la Verdad,” and the Fishers of Men materials.) In other cases, what is lacking is prospects. Sometimes, there are not many good prospects, or such prospects have not been identified. Especially in graying churches, there may be a lack of networks or bridges across which the gospel can travel to touch those who are most likely to be interested. We can add that some people are held back by fear, and there are other barriers that could be identified.

    A major challenge is developing an organizational structure that can help the church understand the evangelism process and can guide the church and its members in making appropriate evangelistic contacts. My recent article, “Evangelism 5-4-3-2-1”, seeks to answer this need. The tool described in the article can be used by an individual Christian or can be used to guide a congregational effort. Nothing fancy, nothing for sale, an idea available for any and all to use. May God bless us as we strive to reach out with the gospel!

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