Friday, June 30, 2006

“Signs That You May Be A Blog-aholic”

Ephesians 5:15-16,

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

Of all the criticism launched at Baptist blogs in the last couple of months, I believe one issue needs to be addressed. The issue is the danger that blogs will steal time that could be given to better things. In this article, I don’t want to discourage anyone from blogging or reading other blogs, but I do want to encourage everyone to be a balanced Baptist blogger.

Blogging has become an incredible format for sharing information and developing relationships with other people. The problem is that to produce a blog that people are going to be interested in takes time. Most likely a successful blogger will need to post at least two new articles a week. Most articles take time to develop. A successful blogger will spend time doing some research on his topics so that his articles make sense. For me personally, I average about one-two hours in preparing for a post. If I tried to post everyday, blogging would become a part-time job. Then there is following up with the comments which also take up time.

My encouragement is for every blogger to examine their time and make sure that they are keeping the main thing the main thing. My ministry calling is to pastor and I must not let my passion for blogging keep me from my pastoral responsibilities, but to become another tool I use for sharing the gospel and for training up others. Allow your blog to be an extension of your ministry, but not your only ministry.

I believe that as bloggers we must be careful to not become blog-aholics. This happens when blogging becomes my greatest passion, consumes all my time, or all my thinking. Use wisdom and be careful with your time so that your blog not only brings glory to God, but also honor to you personally.

I have tried to create a list of funny helpful clues that you maybe a blog-aholic. Feel free to add to the list.

“Clues That You Maybe A Blog-aholic”

- You have more blogs than children.

- You created a new staff position at your church called Minister of Blogs.

- When your spouse tells you that they want to talk, you tell them to leave a comment.

- You have your name legally changed to the title of your blog.

- Your job gets in the way of your blogging.

- You name your baby "Template".

- When your spouse demands that you take a blogging vacation you see it as another form of Christian persecution.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"Seven Questions with Dr. David Clippard"

1. What were some of the key issues that led you to serve in a denominational position?

Coming to a denominational position was strictly obedience to the call of God to go. I was VERY happy in my pastorate in Florida.

2. What is your greatest passion?

Personal Evangelism.

3. In your opinion what is the main thing that must happen in the SBC to build momentum for Kingdom growth over the next 5 years.

Passion in our pulpits! There must be passion for Christ, passion for soul-winning that shows up in passionate preaching. There is too much wet wood that has watered down our pulpits. We have lost the fire!

4. At the 2006 SBC Convention Southern Baptists made a renewed commitment to the Cooperative Program. Why should a church support the Cooperative Program and how does it impact your area of ministry?

C.P. is MISSIONS! Every believer and every church has been given the Acts 1:8 mandate. So the question is HOW are you going to fulfill that mandate? The best tool that I know of is SBC’s Cooperative Program. Every generation has to discover truth for itself … "When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel." Judges 2:10 (NKJV)

It is the same with C.P. Every generation has to ask the question, “What is the best way for me to fulfill the Acts 1:8 mandate?”

If you ever go overseas and walk with our missionaries, you quickly discover that our SBC missions program is the envy of every other Christian Missionary on a mission field. There is support, there is accountability and there is care.

C.P. is what supports State, North American, International Missions and it pays for missionary training … Seminaries.

5. If you could give one word of encouragement to every Baptist minister what would it be?

Don’t let the fire of God that called you to ministry ever grow dim. Stay in the Word! And go soul-winning at minimum once per week. It keeps you in touch with the world and the Lord. Get REAL! We don’t need plastic preachers that come out of a standard mold.

6. What has been the secret to your success as a denominational leader?

I don’t know that I have ever found “success”. But I am trying to please the Lord Jesus in the area of responsibility He has given me. I want to be faithful with my one-talent. I am not a five or ten talent person.

7. Over the next year what are some things you hope to accomplish and how can my readers and I be praying for you?

My heart’s desire is to see 100+ new churches started in Missouri (on average) every year for the next ten years AND to see our rate of baptisms double in our state.

Dr. David Clippard is the Executive Director for the Missouri Baptist Convention. John 3:30 is his signature verse.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"Seven Questions with Dr. Paige Patterson"

1. What were some of the key issues that led you to serve in a denominational position?

I never intended to work for the denomination. My call from God, as I understood it originally, was to be an evangelist. Later, I served with great happiness as a pastor. My concern was primarily with leading people to know Christ, and teaching them how to walk with the Lord once they were saved. When the call first came to go to the Criswell College as President, only an overwhelming sense that this was what I was supposed to do led me to accept the position. I continue to be amazed until now. When I was called to Southeastern Seminary, however, I could not shake the sense that it was what God wanted me to do, and therefore, I continued in that direction.

2. What is your greatest passion?

My greatest passion until this day is sharing Christ with lost people and seeing them come to the Lord. There is nothing that I will wake up at night about except the sense that there are 6.5 billion lost people in this world who are on their way to hell.

3. In your opinion what is the main thing that must happen in the SBC to build momentum for Kingdom growth over the next 5 years.

In my persuasion, special interest groups are going to have to step aside and allow us to focus all of our energies on a world-wide program of evangelism and missions if we are to see Kingdom growth over the next five years.

4. At the 2006 SBC Convention Southern Baptists made a renewed commitment to the Cooperative Program. Why should a church support the Cooperative Program and how does it impact your area of ministry?

About the only place that the Cooperative Program is not greatly envied is within the convention itself. I never cease to be amazed that the envy of the Protestant world, namely the cooperative effort of Southern Baptists, is so little appreciated among our own people. We must find a way to help our people understand again that we can do more together than we can do separately.

5. If you could give one word of encouragement to every Baptist minister what would it be?

My one word of encouragement to every Southern Baptist is that no matter what kind of mess we all make of things, God is still on His throne and will prevail in the end.

6. What has been the secret to your success as a denominational leader?

I do not allow myself to think of any “success” as a denominational leader. It has always seemed to me that the minute one thinks in those terms, he is a failure in the Lord’s work. Our motive and purpose as followers of Christ should be to be servants, and at most shepherds of the flocks.

7. Over the next year what are some things you hope to accomplish and how can my readers and I be praying for you?

In addition to giving whatever direction I can to the program at Southwestern Seminary, I hope during this coming year to be able to finish up several crucial writing projects that I have promised, and I hope to make a more extensive effort in personal evangelism.

Dr. Paige Patterson is the current President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can get to his latest sermons and information at The Paige Patterson Website

Monday, June 26, 2006

"Seven Questions with Dr. Frank Page"

1. As President of the SBC, you served in one of the most stressful positions in the convention. What was your secret to staying focused?

Obviously, I have just begun this task. However, already, I can assure you that it is one of the most stressful of positions. I must stay focused by keeping my priorities straight. I will not let this position hurt my family or my church. I will not neglect my daily quiet time. I will not allow the demands for my time to hurt my relationship to Jesus.

2. In your opinion what is the main thing that must happen in the SBC to build momentum for Kingdom growth over the next 5 years.

I believe that the primary issue that will build momentum for kingdom growth in the coming years is a new attitude of selflessness. It is time for every group to realize that they do not own the SBC. I hear people whine about how they’ve lost control of their convention over the last 30 years. I hear other people rejoicing that they now have control over their convention. I hear many groups seeking to gain control over their convention. I believe all of us must realize that this convention belongs to the Lord. Until we confess our feeble attempts at ownership and repent of our sinful self centeredness, the Kingdom will be second in our focus.

3. At the 2006 SBC Convention Southern Baptists made a renewed commitment to the Cooperative Program. Why should a church support the Cooperative Program.

We should support the Cooperative program because of the moral obligation to support the entities and most of all over 10,000 missionaries that we have voted to support. There is much great work going on within associations and state conventions where thousands of hurting churches are being assisted. It is an object of worth and we must find a better way to show that worth and value.

4. If you could give one word of encouragement to every Baptist minister what would it be?

My word of encouragement to ministers is that you do count. You matter and I speak a word of encouragement to you today. The evil one wants to destroy you, your family, and your church. You matter for the Kingdom.

5. What has been the secret to your success as an SBC leader?

I have no secret to success. In fact, I do not see myself as a success. I have failed the lord in many ways and even now am very aware of my inadequacy.

6. In your opinion, what is the key to getting the average church member involved in evangelism?

I believe the key to getting the average church member involved in evangelism by example and encouragement. Pastors must set the example and encourage church members to come along beside them.

7. Over the next year what are some things you hope to accomplish and how can my readers and I be praying for you?

Please pray that over the next year that we will see leadership which deals honestly with difficult questions and seeks to draw together the factions that are splintering quickly and profoundly.

Dr. Frank Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, SC.

"Reaching Those Without Christ"

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

I believe one of the reasons Southern Baptist Churches aren’t growing at a greater rate is many churches are focused on “in-reach” verses “out-reach.” Although, it is a fact that the normal Southern Baptist church’s average attendance is 30 percent of what is actually on their roll. I believe too much time is being spent on reaching the converted, instead of reaching the unsaved. Clearly this doesn’t mean that we neglect our membership, but the goal of our church should be reaching those without Christ with the Gospel.

I am talking about a paradigm shift in the way we do church. Many of our churches plan for survival. The biggest question that is ever asked is how do we keep our members coming? I believe that must change. The biggest question we should ask is how can we reach those that are without Christ. I hear preachers brag about how many people come to their church, but we all must stop being satisfied with how many people come to our church and start thinking about how many aren’t coming. For my own personal ministry I have decided to stop looking at how many are coming to our church and start looking at how many we as a church still need to reach.

Who cares if you are the pastor of a church of twenty-five thousand when you are in a city of two million lost people? You may be excited about having that many people in your church, but just think about how many people aren’t in your church. My challenge is for every church to refocus on reaching the lost. Churches that focus on reaching the saved have worship wars, building conflicts, and immature congregations. Pastors, let your people know that they aren’t the “end” of your vision, but the “means” of reaching your vision. The vision is outreach.

I believe the goal of the church isn’t to build a great attendance as much as building God’s Kingdom. Therefore, I believe the best means of reaching those without Christ is through church planting. For the sake of argument, I’m using the words “church plant” and “satellite” interchangeably. No matter what your church size, every church must have a vision to plant another church in the next year. If that isn’t your vision, your vision is too small.

I encourage you to develop your own plan, but here is mine. I am in a community of 2,200 Christ-less people. I believe to reach that many people we must start four new churches. We will organize 12 small groups that will go through a church starting discipleship program. The purpose is for every small group to become a mini-church. Then we take three of the 12 small groups and help them organize into a church. The church culture they create will be focused on a different people group than ours. Their structure will be different than ours, but we will work together to reach our community. Once they have begun, our remaining nine groups will grow back up to twelve small groups and start the process over. The new church start is to grow into 12 small groups and plant a new church work as well. If we will be faithful to the work, we will have four new church plants within five years.

I share all of this to say, your church will grow as you focus on reaching the lost by focusing on church planting. Reaching your community isn’t based on the size of your attendance, but on the size of your vision. Let’s reach those without Christ.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"Seven Questions with David Rogers"

1. What were some of the key issues that lead you to serve with the International Mission Board?

At various stages in my youth, I felt God’s “tug at my heart” whenever the subject of missions would come up. I had several opportunities for short-term missions experience, first with my church youth group, then through several summer campaigns with Operation Mobilization (OM), and, then through a life-changing 2-year experience on board OM’s missionary ship, the M.V. Doulos, ministering in various countries throughout Europe and West Africa. I finished this time sensing God’s confirmation in pursuing a career ministry in Spain. Shortly after this, I met my wife, Kelly, and we began to pray together about the best vehicle for serving Him as missionaries in Spain.

At that time, we actually decided to go to Spain through another mission organization other than the IMB. After our first term in Spain, however, various circumstances led us to conclude the Lord was leading us to return to our denominational roots, and pursue appointment with the IMB.

2. What is your greatest passion?

My greatest passion is seeing the Great Commission fulfilled among all the people groups of the world. Serving in Spain, I am particularly interested in seeing a viable Christian witness established in all of the approximately 7,400 cities and towns of Spain which still have none. I am also passionate about the Body of Christ coming to maturity and unity (per Ephesians 4), and working together towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

3. What is one barrier that you are experiencing in your ministry at this time?

The biggest barrier I see in Spain is the stranglehold sin has over the Spanish people, and their reluctance to consider any life change that would imply turning their back on their sinful lifestyle.

4. What is one thing you would want every Southern Baptist to know about your ministry?

God is working in different ways in different parts of the world, and at different times in history. But God is still at work. In Spain, and in our ministry, we believe He is doing something new through the arrival of many evangelical Latin American immigrants, new models of church, and greater cooperation throughout the Body of Christ.

5. What has been the biggest culture change that you have experienced since leaving the States?

In Western Europe in general, and Spain in particular, the cultural changes are perhaps more subtle than in some other parts of the world. On the surface, things seem quite similar. But, underneath, basic cultural core values are often very different. Things like individual vs. community rights, the importance of enjoying life and spending time with others as opposed to getting things accomplished efficiently, etc.

6. What are two or three things that you hope to accomplish in the next year?

A. Begin our first on-going “lay” evangelist and church planter training classes

B. See significant spiritual and numerical growth in the church plant in Toledo

C. See some good spiritual growth in all four members of my immediate family

7. Are there some prayer needs that we could begin lifting up in prayer?

A. Long-lasting fruit from special evangelistic efforts this summer all around Spain.

B. That God would raise up some Spirit-filled Spanish and Latin American men and women who are willing to be mentored and trained in evangelistic and church planting ministry.

C. Protection for our family against the attacks of the Enemy.

David Rogers is a Southern Baptist Missionary serving in Spain. He has his own blog at love each stone.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Rick Warren on Helping Your Members Feel Special

Joining the church does not automatically cause people to feel that they "belong." They need to feel welcomed and wanted once they’ve joined your church. They need to be recognized, affirmed and celebrated by your congregation. They need to feel special. As a small church, you may be able to do this informally but as your church grows, you will need to create some initiation rituals that say publicly: "You are now one of us!"

Of course, baptism for the new believers is an event that obviously fits this category. Our regular baptisms are always big celebrations, with a lot of laughter, applause, and shouts of joy. We have a professional photographer take a picture of each person just before he or she is baptized. Later, we present those baptized with a photograph of their baptism and a baptism certificate together in beautiful leather binding that people are proud to display.

When Saddleback was much smaller, we used to rent the Mission Viejo Country Club every three months and have a new member’s banquet. Each new member would be recognized and would give a two-minute testimony before those attending. I never made it through one of those banquets without crying after hearing the touching stories of changed lives. Older members would pay for the meals of the new members.

For years, on the fourth Sunday night of each month, Kay and I would host an informal coffee meeting in our home called the "Pastor’s Chat." It was simply an opportunity for new members and visitors from the previous month to meet us face-to-face and ask any questions they had. We’d place a sign-up sheet out on the patio before Sunday services and the first 30 to sign up would get to come. The chats would last from 7 to 10 p.m. This simple act of hospitality brought in hundreds of new members and established many relationships that Kay and I cherish today. Hospitality grows a healthy church.

There are many ways you can make members feel special such as sending cards on their birthdays, recognizing their first anniversaries as members, recognizing other special days (births, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and achievements) in your newsletter, featuring a testimony in each service, holding staff receptions, and returning a "We prayed for you" note in response to a prayer request.

The point is this: People need more than a warm handshake at the end of a service to feel like they really belong.

Create opportunities to build relationships
The importance of helping members develop friendships within your church cannot be overemphasized. Relationships are the glue that holds a church together. Friendships are the key to retaining members.

Lyle Schaller has done extensive research that shows that the more friends a person has in a congregation, the less likely he or she is to become inactive or leave. In contrast, I once read about a survey where they asked 400 church dropouts why they left their churches. More than 75 percent of the respondents said, "I didn’t feel anyone cared whether I was there or not."

It is a myth that you must know everyone in the church in order to feel like a part of a church. The average church member knows 67 people in the congregation, whether the church has 200 or 2,000 attending. A member does not have to know everyone in the church in order to feel like it's "my church" but he does have to know some people!

While some relationships will spontaneously develop by chance, the friendship factor in assimilation is too crucial to leave to chance. You can’t just hope members will make friends in the church. You must encourage it, plan for it, structure for it, and facilitate it.

Think relationally! Create as many opportunities as you can for people to meet and get to know each other. Since so many church meetings are simply lectures ("Sit still while I instill!"), members can walk in and out of church for a year and still never really develop any friendships. Try to include some kind of relational activity in every congregational meeting. It may be as simple as saying, "Turn around and introduce yourself to one person and find out something interesting about them."

Since most people have a hard time remembering names, especially in a larger church, use nametags as often as you can. Nothing is more embarrassing than not knowing the name of someone you’ve seen at church for years.

Although we’ve used all kinds of events to build relationships within our church family (supper clubs, sports, game nights, picnics, etc.), by far the most effective tool for cultivating new friendships has been our use of weekend retreats. Consider this: A person spends more time with other members during a single 48-hour retreat than they will spend in Sunday mornings throughout a year. If you are a church planter and you want to develop relationships quickly in your church, take everybody on a retreat.

Keep communication lines open
It’s vital that clear lines of communication are established within your church. People tend to be down on what they aren’t up on. Informed members are effective members. Uninformed members, regardless of talent, can’t do much. Build redundancy into your communication system. Develop a dozen different channels for disseminating congregational information.

At Saddleback, we use anything we can to get an important message out to the congregation: fax machines, voice mail, video, newsletters, cassette tapes, prayer chains, CARE callers, newspaper articles, postcards, and the Internet.

Just as important as the staff-to-congregation communication is the congregation-to-staff communication.

It must flow both ways. Proverbs 23:27 says, "Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds." The most important flock is God’s flock so we pay special attention to what is happening with it.

There are three tools we use to monitor the heartbeat of our church family:

1. The welcome card. This is an incredible communication tool considering its simplicity. Anybody can write me a note at anytime. Because our members know that we read these cards and take them seriously, we have a continuous flow of information coming in. It requires a team of volunteers to process all the cards we get, but it allows our pastors and staff to stay "close to the customer."

2. CARE callers. CARE stands for "Contact, Assist, Relate, and Encourage." This lay ministry calls through the church directory on a systematic basis to find out what’s happening in the lives of our members. They call in the evenings and ask three questions: 1) How are you doing? 2) Do you have any prayer requests? 3) Is there anything you’d like for us to report to Pastor Rick or a staff member? Each CARE caller takes notes on a form to ensure accurate information is recorded. Then they update the people they’ve called on any coming events or church news. It’s just another way of keeping in touch with our members and saying, "We care."

3. Lay pastor reports. These are the written reports we get back from the lay pastors who lead our small groups. They report on the health of the group and what is happening in the lives of individuals.

In conclusion, I want to stress the importance of continually emphasizing the corporate nature of the Christian life to your members. Preach it, teach it, and talk about it with individuals. We belong together! We need each other. We are a family! We are connected. We are joined together as parts of one Body.

Rick Warren is the Pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. He is the author of the "Purpose Driven Life." This article was written 6-21-06, in his "Ministry Toolbox" newsletter #264. For more go to

Thursday, June 22, 2006

“The SBC Needs An Attitude Shift”

Colossians 3:12-14,
“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. Above all, put on love, the perfect bond of unity.”

Colossians 4:6,
”Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.”

If anyone studies the growth trend of the Southern Baptist Convention over the last twenty years they would see a denomination headed for trouble. There has been a renewed emphasis of evangelism and baptism in the last couple of years. As of now, there has been no major dent made into the declining numbers we see in the Southern Baptist Convention. I believe there are several issues that need to be dealt with to change that trend. In this article I want to focus on the SBC need for an attitude change.

I believe the first change that must happen for the SBC to become Kingdom focused again is to have an attitude shift. Sadly, I have been apart of the problem. The problem is that we haven’t been Christian in our attitudes toward one another and toward the world. Several years ago I was having lunch with Dr. Bill Tanner, former president of the Home Mission Board, and asked him, “Dr. Tanner how did you make it through the conservative resurgence without any battle scars?” He said, “The reason is because I believed that I could be conservative and Christian at the same time.” If we are going to become a force in reaching the world for Christ, I believe we must return to a Christian attitude. This isn’t an attack against any current leader because I know that many of the people that serve our convention are compassionate men, but I do want to sound a challenge for every Baptist to examine their own attitude toward other believers and the world.

My Confession

I have been part of the problem. I have needed an attitude shift for a long time and recently it has become my desire. God has shown me so much grace and I show so little. For example, when I have listened to other people preach. I have destroyed them because they didn’t do it like me. Why couldn’t I just enjoy hearing God’s Word? The reason is because there wasn’t much grace in my heart. I believe that I have needed and our convention needs a grace revival. We need to treat each other with the grace that we have been given by God. Where much grace has been given, much grace is expected.

I’m also convicted of my lack of patience with people. God is still showing His incredible patience and I’m so impatient with others. At times I get frustrated with the cashier at a store because they are taking a long time or when someone is telling a long story about a subject I don’t care about. I believe our convention would be better off if we were patient with one another. We talk about loving one another, but love is first patient.

Lastly, I’m convicted of an unhealthy desire for perfection. Why do I expect perfection from others and crucify them when they don’t live up to my expectation. I’m called to forgive as I have been forgiven. Matter of fact, none of us will get to heaven because of perfection, but because of God’s grace and mercy. Don’t misunderstand, God deserves our best, but we serve Him through His mercy. If we could be perfect then we wouldn’t need Christ. Matter of fact, I’m amazed at how much God does through a person who makes as many mistakes as I do. So I have decided to not worry about people who aren’t perfect in my church and in my convention, but will try to see them through the eyes of mercy so that I can see God do amazing things.

I believe when our attitude becomes as much of an issue as our theology, our convention will be on its way back to being Kingdom focused. All of us need to place our attitudes before Christ until we treat people as He did. Christ gave us grace, showed us patience, continues to forgive us, and may He continue to use us. I pray that God will give us this type of an attitude shift.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Seven Questions with Dr. Ronnie Floyd"

1. In a day where there seems to be little vision and leadership in the local church, what has been the key to your success as a leader?

My personal relationship and devotion to Jesus in the early mornings has been my secret to success and leadership. Both are blessings of God and He is the One we must stay connected to in life and ministry.

2. Current statistics show that pastors have a hard time managing their time and therefore their devotional time suffers. Please share your method or habit of daily devotional time.

On Sunday through Thursdays, I begin each day with God beginning either at 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. In this time, I pray, read God's Word, and write in my spiritual journal. I spend at least the first hour of each day doing this. On Fridays and Saturdays, I do not rise as early, but the first hour is always with Jesus devotionally. It is all about love for Christ, dependence upon Him, and priorities. For a Christian and especially for a minister, there should be no higher priority.

3. In your opinion, what is the key to developing relationships with your membership?

You must enter into the lives of people, where they are and where they live. A statement I am writing about in my new book coming out this fall is the answer to this question. I have a chapter committed to the theme: Relationships That Move Ministry.

4. Southern Baptists are involved in the “Everyone Can, I’m It” evangelism campaign. What does your church do to emphasis outreach and baptism?

We believe in giving people an opportunity to respond to Jesus in most of our venues for ministry. Evangelism drives who we are and what we do as a church. Upon salvation, we call upon people to make an appointment for baptism. If we believe it is important theologically, then we need to treat it as such. Our church has averaged baptizing 922 people annually over the past three years. In my almost 20 years here, we have baptized an average of 600 per year. Yes, evangelism is very important to us, as well as the maturing of these new believers and others in the faith. Our commitment is to make disciples of all the people groups of the world.

5. What is your greatest passion?

My greatest passion is to use my gifts, influence, leadership, and resources to take the Good News of Jesus to the entire world. With this passion, I desire to invest in the next generation of leaders in both Christianity and Business.

6. If you could tell a person beginning a new pastorate one key to a successful ministry, what would that be?

Connect to God daily and connect to your people continually. If you are going to rally them to a better future, you had better know where God wants you to go and know the people who you want to take to that divine destination.

7. Many churches struggle because there is unresolved conflict in the church. What has been your method of maintaining peace or dealing with conflict?

As a leader, owe no man anything. You belong to Jesus above all. You must learn to stand alone. Preach the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Do not let issues remain in the hearts of people, but deal with them in a timely and godly manner. Conflict is inevitable in the life of the leader. Always be biblical, honest, and transparent with people. Your integrity is not for sale; therefore, do not minimize the power of staying consistent with the truth you preach, live, and communicate in all relationships.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd is Pastor of First Baptist Church of Springdale, AR. He is the author of "Finding the Favor of God" and "Life On Fire".

Monday, June 19, 2006

“Seven Questions with Dr. Ted Kersh”

1. In a day where there seems to be little vision and leadership in the local church, what has been the key to your success as a leader?

You have to model your vision for the people. They have to see you doing what you want them to do. Your vision will be picked up by the people as they experience you accomplishing ministry.

2. Current statistics show that pastors have a hard time of managing their time and therefore their devotional time suffers. Please share your method or habit of daily devotional time.

You have to start your day early. There will never be enough time in your daily routine to have your quiet time unless you start early. The pastor must decide that his time with the Lord is more important than anything else he does. I recommend placing the time on your calendar each day.

3. In your opinion, what is the key to developing relationships with your membership?

The pastor must spend time with the membership. Plan events where you are with them. I think it is important to plan lunches with the men. Do not wait for the people to contact you. Contact them first. This lets them realize you want to be with them.

4. Southern Baptists are involved in the “Everyone Can, I’m It” evangelism campaign. What does your church do to emphasis outreach and baptism?

We use FAITH evangelism. We have also used a time to train our people in using a tract. I always let our people know that evangelism is our main reason to exist.

5. What is your greatest passion?

My greatest passion is three fold. I am committed to prayer, holiness and evangelism. My heart is to see real revival. Praying for revival must be accompanied with preparing for revival.

6. If you could tell a person beginning a new pastorate one key to a successful ministry, what would that be?

Become a man of prayer. There is no substitute. To be filled with the Holy Spirit one must pray. To have the anointing of the Holy Spirit one must pray. To get a vision from the Lord one must pray. That is the key.

7. Many churches struggle because there is unresolved conflict in the church. What has been your method of maintaining peace or dealing with conflict?

Hit conflict head on. Do not wait and hope it will take care of itself. Deal with it biblically but immediately. The pastor needs to teach the people that one of the keys to being an effective church is unity. No church accomplishes its mission with out unity. Deal with conflict personally not from the pulpit.

Dr. Ted Kersh is the pastor of First Baptist Claremore, Oklahoma.

“Why Baptists become Bloggers”

The New


Everyone attending the convention this year could feel the tension between some Southern Baptist leaders and Southern Baptist bloggers. I believe there is a misunderstanding among many Southern Baptist as to the purpose of blogs and there has been a misuse of blogs by some bloggers. I want to give a defense of Southern Baptist blogs while suggesting some rules for blogging.

My Defense:

1. Blogs are a tool for sharing Southern Baptist information with Southern Baptist members. The secular media people aren’t going to print great stories about the work and mission of Southern Baptists. The Baptist press doesn’t have the ability or time to print everything that is needed. I believe every Southern Baptist has a right to know as much about the Southern Baptist Convention and its work as possible. This is why I blog as a Southern Baptist. I believe every Southern Baptist Convention leader needs to have a blog so that we as Southern Baptists can stay informed of the work going on and the needs for which to pray.

2. Blogs are a great way of sharing the truth of Christ. There is more interest in Christ and Christian blogs than ever before. There are people who everyday visit my blog that aren’t Christians and they can read about how Christ the Lord loves them. If they will believe in Him and trust Him with their lives they can be transformed. My prayer is that my blog may be a useful tool in leading others to Christ or to a greater walk with Christ. I blog for the gospel.

3. I kept hearing the word accountability at the convention when it came to the subject of blogs. Southern Baptist leaders want bloggers to be more accountable for what they write. In actuality, it is the bloggers that have brought greater accountability to every area of Southern Baptist life. If a group of people are doing something wrong in the convention it will be brought to light on a blog. Blogs are a great tool for accountability and authenticity. I blog because I believe in accountability for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Since I’m a pastor I will stop with my three points that blogs provide greater information, witness, and accountability for the SBC.

My Rules:

1. Be motivated to blog for the building up of Christians and the Southern Baptist Convention. It is nice to have a lot of people visit your blog and usually the more critical you are the more people come to your site. Be careful to abstain from being critical just so you get more readers. Sometimes we must blog about something that is controversial, but only when we are bringing to light to something that needs to be dealt with so that greater glory may be given to Christ. So my first rule is don’t be critical to gain readers.

2. Be Christian in all that you blog. Just because you don’t have your name on your blog, doesn’t mean that your blog doesn’t represent you. If you are a Christian be careful to keep your blog Christian. I have heard that at one Christian college campus they are trying to stop blogging because so many of the students were either using dirty language or posting dirty pictures. So rule number two is as a Christian blogger, I keep my blog Christian.

3. Be accountable for what you write. Since I believe that the SBC Convention needs to be accountable to its members so a blogger needs to be accountable as well. How can a blogger be held accountable? There are two ways. First use the comment section of the blog to list what you don’t like about the blog or where the blogger has over stepped their bounds. You can also email them with the same information. As a blogger, I’m willing to be accountable to anyone who shows me that I have written something that isn’t for the glory of Christ or that isn’t Christian and I will change it immediately. Rule number three is for every blogger to be accountable for what they write.

In closing I want to give a word of thanks to those in SBC leadership positions that blog. Al Mohler, Morris Chapman, Wade Burleson, Ronnie Floyd, Rich Thompson, Dr. Corbaley, and others, thank you for taking the time to blog.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Editorial: Why Frank Page is SBC President.

The 2006 SBC President was supposed to be Ronnie Floyd. Paige Patterson, Al Mohler, and Dan Akin came out in support of Ronnie Floyd before the convention even though they are seminary presidents. Before the convention started two other men would allow their name to be nominated, Frank Page pastor of FBC Taylors, SC and Jerry Sutton pastor of Two Rivers in Nashville, TN. Jerry Sutton even though he was the current Vice President of the SBC allowed his name to be put in a week before the SBC Convention. There wasn’t any hope of Jerry Sutton winning with such short notice. Frank Page allowed his name to be nominated shortly after Ronnie Floyd allowed his. When it was first learned that Frank Page would allow his name be nominated few believed he could win against the favored Ronnie Floyd. So why is Frank Page the current SBC President? Here are my reasons.

1. This convention wasn’t about the conservative resurgence or conservative theology, but about Cooperative Program giving. One of the first orders of business during the convention was the report by the C.P. committee. During this report it was clear that the messengers of the SBC were committed to greater C.P. giving. This killed the chances of Ronnie Floyd to become SBC President. Interestingly, Ronnie’s church gives millions of dollars every year for the purpose of missions, but they only give about 3% through the C.P. The messengers weren’t really concerned with how much a church gave towards doing their own mission projects, but how much they gave through the C.P. The main reason Frank Page is SBC President is he led his church to give more to the Cooperative Program than the other two presidential candidates.

2. Another reason Frank Page is the current SBC President is the blogging community supported him. When the IMB trustees in 2005 made new guidelines on their hiring practices that were beyond the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, this became a rallying cry for bloggers. Actually many of the IMB trustees themselves didn’t like the new guidelines and one such trustee was Wade Burleson. He started blogging about everything that the IMB trustees were doing that could be made public. It was from Wade’s blog that the bloggers united. Once Frank Page allowed his name to be nominated and made a promise to bring better communication and involvement to the convention, the bloggers jumped on his bandwagon. The SBC bloggers would become the source for SBC news by sending questions to the three candidates and posting their responses and bloggers would post about their giving records. The SBC bloggers became a powerful tool for keeping up with the SBC. Even Time, a secular news source, posted an article on how Frank Page won.

3. To save time I will combine the last several reasons into one paragraph because while they played a part, they didn’t play a huge part in Page becoming President. First, Page is pastor in South Carolina and the meeting was in North Carolina. Naturally there were more people that considered Page the home town guy. Second, Forrest Pollock gave the best nomination speech out of the three nominators. Finally, Frank Page is a strong conservative.

Before I close this editorial I want to state for the record that Ronnie Floyd and Jerry Sutton are godly men. I have heard that Ronnie Floyd is an awesome pastor and Jerry Sutton is an incredible theologian. So as we pray for our new SBC President I encourage everyone to also pray for these two men who did step up to the plate and were willing to serve our convention.

Friday, June 16, 2006

"Seven Questions with Wade Burleson"

1. In a day where there seems to be little vision and leadership in the local church, what has been the key to your success as a leader?

A pastor can only cast vision and ultimately implement vision when the people know the heart of the pastor. Jesus said “I know my sheep by name” and every under shepherd must take the time to get to know his sheep in order to lead them. But of course, the pastor himself must have a vision for the church. Our pastoral staff constantly works on vision statements for our church as a whole.

2. Current statistics show that pastors have a hard time of managing their time and therefore their devotional time suffers. Please share your method or habit of daily devotional time.

My actual devotional time varies. Sometimes it will be in the morning, but most of the time it is late in the evening. I read and memorize Scripture, pray using Scripture (a method taught by the great George Mueller) and personally worship through CD’s I play for that purpose. I am reminded of what Spurgeon said about pastors, "You cannot give of the Water to others until you have gone deep into the well of life many times personally.”

3. In your opinion, what is the key to developing relationships with your membership?

Honesty, transparency and openness. When the congregation hears of your struggles, when you are not afraid to let them know who you really are and that your identity is not found in what you do, but who you are, and when you are just yourself around THEM, the people can truly be friends.

4. Southern Baptists are involved in the “Everyone Can, I’m It” campaign. What does your church do to emphasis outreach and baptism?

Personal witness and lifestyle evangelism are our tools. We have no program. We encourage relationships, and we encourage people to be vocal of their faith.

5. What is your greatest passion?

I love to try to help people think about life in Biblical terms. Sometimes it is challenging when people have biases and opinions based upon culture and not necessarily Biblical.

6. If you could tell a person beginning a new pastorate one key to a successful ministry, what would that be?

Don’t try to climb a ladder. Grow and bear fruit where God has planted you.

7. Many churches struggle because there is unresolved conflict in the church. What has been your method of maintaining peace or dealing with conflict?

Three principles that we as a staff live by and the church understands.

A Loyal Spirit --- “I will never give or receive a negative word about you until that person who wishes to tell me has told you, or myself have talked to you personally.”

A Servant’s Heart --- “I will do everything I can to help you and make you shine.”

A Positive Attitude -- “No matter what happens, whether good or bad, I will not take undue credit or despair because God is in charge and all things happen by His will.”

Wade Burleson is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma and a trustee for the International Mission Board.

"The Seven Question Series"

"The Seven Question Series" is where I email different Evangelical and Baptist leaders asking them to answer seven questions. I will be emailing Pastors, Education Ministers, and Denominational leaders in an attempt to create a learning lab for my readers. Once I have received their responses I will post them for all to read. To those that I will be interviewing I want to give a quick word of thanks for your time and willingness to be apart of this blog. If you know of a leader that you think I should send seven questions to please let me know.

The Best Quotes of the SBC Convention

As I sat listening to the different speakers on stage at the SBC Convention I wrote down what I thought were the best quotes or statements made. I would love for everyone to read these four quotes and vote for their favorite.

1. "We don't give to the Cooperative Program, but we give through the Cooperative Program."

I think it was Anthony Jordan who made the statement during the Cooperative Program Report. When it was said I believe it helped to refocus the issue. As Southern Baptists, we don't give to a program; we give to missionaries, to help with disaster relief, to stand for values in our government, to support the education of future SBC ministers, and many other things. The Cooperative Program is the means to that end and not the end itself. I am glad that the convention made a renewed commitment to Cooperative Program giving.

2. "You can't say SBC President without the C and the P."

Since the election of the SBC President came after the Cooperative Program report many still had CP giving on their mind. Each of the three candidates had a person speak that was nominating them. Forrest Pollock from Florida nominated Frank Page and talked about Frank's support and practice of giving to the Cooperative Program. He ended his speech with this quote and I believe it caused many to vote for Frank Page.

3. "There are no God forsaken areas, but there are church forsaken areas."

This is my favorite quote of the convention. The speaker was a North American Mission Board Missionary to New York named Aaron Coe. Aaron Coe was telling the convention about his heart to see churches in areas where there isn't currently a church.

4. "Our churches and the SBC convention don't have one problem that soul winning won't solve."

Dr. Bobby Welch made the statement during a sermon that he gave while there was some free time before the next order of business. When everyone gets focused on soul winning, there will be a whole lot less time and energy to argue over the things that we do now.

Place a comment and let me know which quote was your favorite.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

After Greensboro

After attending the SBC Convention in Greensboro, NC, I have a renewed excitement about being Southern Baptist. I was impressed and challenged by Dr. Bob Welch. He has done more for the convention than what I realized and he has a greater vision that what I knew. I believe that the new SBC President Frank Page will enlarge that vision. I feel like 90% of everything I was concerned about as a young SBC leader is being answered.

I am surprised at how much concern there is about blogging by SBC leadership. After much consideration I have decided to change the nature of my blog. Since the convention is over I have deleted everything associated with this convention. I want to start afresh and I have exciting things in store over the next several months that I believe with encourage and strength every Baptist and their ministry.

For now I want to repost a blog that gives every blogger good advice to follow.

(I found this @ Keith's archives. I had to put up here for all the read.)

Biblical advice for Bloggers
I've been pondering what guidance the Bible has for bloggers. What does it say about how we should blog? What we should blog about? What we read in blogs? How we relate to other bloggers and comments? Here are a few exhortations with questions to ask ourselves for starters:

1. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your blog, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs. (Eph 4:29)
Is what comes from our blogs wholesome? Is what we are writing helpful for building others up? Or does it tear them down?

2. Blog about others as you would have them blog about you (Lk 6:31)
The golden rule. If we blog about others, do we do it with love, respect, and integrity?

3. But in your blogs set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience... (1Pet 3:15,16)
Are we consciously allowing Jesus Christ to rule over our blogs? When people disagree with us, do we respond with gentleness and respect?

4. Each one should use whatever blog he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms (1Pet 4:10)
Are we using our blogs to serve others? To encourage, stimulate, and help others? To build them up in Christ? Or to blow our own trumpet?

5. Let us therefore make every effort to blog what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Ro 14:19)
And be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the blog of peace (Eph 4:2)

Do we make every effort to maintain peace and unity in the body of Christ? Or do we focus on what divides us? When we disagree, are we humble and gentle?

6. Accept him whose blog is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters...Let us stop blogging judgment on one another... whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. (Ro 14 1-22)
Let us be careful not to condemn ourselves by dividing the body of Christ over disputable matters, or by judging the spiritual state of our brothers and sisters with whom we disagree.

7. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - blog about such things. (Phil4:8)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Going To Greensboro

For the next week, I will be at the SBC Convention in Greensboro, NC. Once I return, I will update my blog with plenty of stuff that happened. Until then I thought I would post some good Southern Baptist Mission Information. I got an email thanking our church for our giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. I'm glad to see some positive things are happening. Here is the thank-you from Larry Riley, Director of Church Services.

"Thank you for giving through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to reach a lost world! We are excited to report that Southern Baptists gave a record amount – $137,939,677.59 – through the 2005 offering. Your faithful giving enables us and more than 5,100 colleagues to continue our work and to support new colleagues coming to join our efforts. Lives have been changed because of your giving. Last year we, along with our overseas partners, baptized more than 459,000 new believers and planted 17,000-plus churches. Also, 137 people groups had access to the Gospel for the first time. I am grateful for your faithfulness! Please continue to partner with us to complete the unfinished task."

A word from Jerry Rankin, President of the Internation Mission Board.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Hollywood Doesn't Know What To Do With Jesus

Hollywood doesn't know what to do with Jesus or Christian movies. This is clear by Entertainment Weekly naming "The Passion of the Christ" the most controversial film of all time. Entertainment Weekly created a list of the twenty-five most shocking, disgusting, and divisive movies.

So why did the "Passion of the Christ" get number #1. Entertainment weekly claims that the movie "ignited a culture-war firestorm unrivaled in Hollywood history." I believe the real reason that Christ is view as controversial is a spiritual one. The world didn't accept Christ before the cross and they still don't accept Him after the cross. What does the world deny about Christ? That he lived? No, the world realizes that He lived. Does the world deny that He died? No, the world believes that Jesus died on the cross. Does the world deny Jesus' resurrection? No, most people don't deny His resurrection. What the world denies is His Lordship. The world denies that Jesus is the Christ. The reason is because accepting the Lordship of Christ is an act of faith. Until a person responds by accepting the Lordship of Christ through faith, Jesus will be their most controversial figure.

The MPAA or the Motion Picture Association of America has given the Christian movie, "Facing the Giants" a "PG" rating instead of a "G" because the film was too evangelistic. Since the Christian message is woven through the story of "Facing the Giants" the MPAA believes parents should be careful about taking their children to this movie.

This is just one more sign that Hollywood doesn't have a clue of what to do with Jesus and Christian Films. To say that the movie was given a PG because some may be offended by it because of religious overtones is crazy. Are they going to give movies a PG if I'm offended by people with blue eyes and the movie has people with blue eyes in it?

Who are those who would be offended by a Christian themed movie? I believe the ones that were offended where those in the MPAA. They are the ones that don't give a movie an "R", even though it has killing, sexual overtones, and brief to some full nudity. They give that type of a movie "PG-13". I'm not surprised by the rating and nor should anyone else. Until someone comes to faith in Christ, they just don't understand Jesus or the nature of Christianity. For them it is a threat instead of the life changing hope that Christians know it to be.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I Believe that Southern Baptist are the Best…..

I believe that Southern Baptists are the best at creating and doing Vacation Bible School. This week our church is doing Vacation Bible School and the theme is Arctic Edge. It is about having the courage to follow Jesus and to share your faith. The Arctic Edge theme centers on an Alaskan adventure. We have a big blow up moose on the stage of our worship center and the kids get to make crafts, play games, learn songs, and study the Bible. Everything that is done is to teach the children to have the courage to accept Christ into their lives and to live for Him. We have the best workers who have committed themselves to serving children this week. I believe that our hope for changing America begins with reaching our children. For us and I believe for many churches, VBS is the largest outreach that is done for children during the year. I’m glad that Southern Baptists are committed to putting out the best resources.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Holy Cow, Batman!

MSN - News - Batwoman Is Back As a Lesbian

I grew up a superhero fan. I read comics and watched all of the cartoons of Spiderman, Batman, Superman, The Justice League, and the X-Men. Yes, I'm a superhero nerd.

I believe there is always room for more superhero comics, cartoons, and movies, but when DC Comics decided to make Batwoman a lesbian I was saddened. Batman and Batwoman shouldn't be fighting over who dates Catwoman.

Their bases for the move is to try to represent their readership. DC comics also claims that they have always had heros that represented different ethnic groups. The only problem with the reasoning is that having a superhero that is black is completely different than having one that is a lesbian. A person has no choice over what color they are born, but homosexuality is a choice.

A perfect example of someone who was the poster child for the homosexual movement is Anne Heche. She once was living as a lesbian and now she isn't. She is married to a man and is very happy. Angelica Jolie is another example of a person who has lived a lesbian lifestyle and she is now with Brad Pitt. Why does the homosexual movement claim that they are just like all people of color, without choice? So that you have no choice, but to accept their decision to live a homosexual lifestyle.

Before you think I am bashing homosexuals, I want to share the goodnews. There is help for anyone who is ready to get out of the homosexual lifestyle. Even though the media and now comics want to jam it down our throats, there is real hope for change for anyone who is struggling with homosexuality. Testimony of a former homesexual