Monday, July 17, 2006

"Seven Questions with Dr. Randy Stone"

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?

I have found no substitute for investing time in other people. Helping others discover the joy of following and serving Christ with abandon is essential to building an organization or ministry team. I have come to understand that if I can help those in my charge see the greatness of God, the significance of their work in the kingdom, and their value to colaborers many are willing to follow. Providing direction, resources, and encouragement are a leader’s primary tasks. I try to do those things and leave the rest to the work of the Spirit in the life of each individual.

2. As an Education Minister, what is one thing you would want every pastor to know that would make your job easier?

The pastor should have a clear and concise process for reaching the lost, discipling new believers, and equipping the members for ministry. The process that the church will embrace will be consistent with the approach and strategy that flows out of the pastor’s life. If a pastor is uncertain or unclear it is impossible for staff members to “program” appropriately. The pastor should take time to write it down, speak of it often, share it with the staff, and communicate with the Minister of Education (or whatever title) about the progress in these areas.

3. What do you believe is the key to developing an educational system that leads people into Christ-likeness?

Educators can only create an environment for spiritual nurture to occur. Certainly, it is the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer to form “Christ in us.” Obviously, Jesus taught his disciples in the context of relationships. As the disciples walked together, daily Jesus was careful to take advantage of the “teachable moments,” rebuke and correct when necessary, and model always. A quality education system should place the responsibility for spiritual direction in three places. First is the home. Parents are charged with the instruction of their children. Second is a caring group of believers. In a “spiritual” family environment, believers are guided by older father figures and encouraged by brothers and sisters who are on the journey. Finally, the leaders of the congregation are to be equippers for ministry. The pastoral and professional staff should assist believers in developing and doing ministry, which results in unity, knowledge, and spiritual maturity.

4. What is your greatest passion?

To see believers accept the revelation of the finished work of Christ and embrace personal ministry that unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

5. When most churches think of an educational program they think Sunday Morning Sunday School Classes that are divided by age groups. What suggestions do you have for a church that wants to rethink their educational program?

Sunday School and organized Bible study classes are excellent for information and instruction, but life transformation happens in the context of small group life. When we are expected to live out the truths of God’s word and receive feedback (correction, encouragement, exhortation, and rebuke) we change and modify our behavior to emulate that of Christ. We also must have a deep commitment to the family as the primary conveyor of spiritual truth. If we teach men and in turn the men teach their families the whole church is built up. Sunday School was established to teach those who had no families… not a substitute for the family and especially the father as spiritual guide. The model of educational organization has reflected the public education design and has fallen woefully short in the last part of the last century. The transfer of true spirituality built on an intimate knowledge and relationship with Christ does not happen in an institutional structure.

6. Southern Baptists are involved in the “Everyone Can, I’m It” evangelism campaign. How does your ministry seek to emphasis outreach and baptism?

Our focus is in two arenas. First, we seek to build relationships outside the church family and respond to opportunities to share the claims of Christ with neighbors, friends, and coworkers. Second, we intentionally engage in community ministries that present Christ through hands on service and proclamation in the non-church setting. We are also concerned about the number of members and attenders who may not have experienced the new birth so we find ourselves “fishing in the aquarium.” We offer ongoning evangelism training and planned opportunities for personal evangelism.

7. What are some books that you recommend a minister reading when they are considering implementing an educational program?

How People Grow by Cloud and Townsend
Beyond the Box by Easum and Travis
Cultivating a Life for God by Neil Cole
The Church of Irresistible Influence by Robert Lewis
The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman
Pouring New Wine into Old Wineskins by Aubrey Malphurs
7 practices of Effective Ministry by Stanley and Joiner


Dr. Randy Stone is the Education Minister at Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX

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