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Posts tagged ‘church plant’

Deadly, Crime-Infested Park Becomes Scene of Holy Ghost Revival.


Judy Johnson Park revival
Despite the possible danger, the SkyPointe revival services were well attended. (AG News)

Delaware is considered the sixth most dangerous state in America by the FBI statistics for rape, robbery, murder and aggravated assault. In Delaware, the city of Wilmington is the crime leader and considered one of the most (if not the most) violent cities in the United States for its size (71,000). Judy Johnson Park is considered the most dangerous park in the city.

It would be safe to say that holding a revival serviceat night in Judy Johnson Park would appear not to be the best of decisions. But when God leads, Pastor Daniel and Sara Day and their congregation at SkyPointe Church in Wilmington, follow.

SkyPointe Church is an active two-year-old church planted by First Assembly of God in Wilmington. SkyPointe, which now averages 100 on Sundays, benefited from matching funds through AGTrust and training through Church Multiplication Network.

On Sept. 27-29, Daniel Day says SkyPointe held a three-day revival service—two of the days in a large tent at Judy Johnson Park and the final day at the church’s facilities a half-mile down the road in Wilmington. He says even though the police tried to dissuade him from hosting the revival at the park due to the constant violence, he felt God was orchestrating events.

“You hear on the news about people being shot and raped in that park all the time,” Day says, “but the choice of location was really a matter of prayer. I drive by that park every day, and I couldn’t get away from the feeling that God wanted us to be there.”

Determined to follow God’s leading, the church went ahead with its plans. However, as they were setting the tent up, the raw reality of the area was made readily apparent when a man overdosed on drugs.

“He was just 50 feet from our tent and was dying,” Day recalls. “We called 911 and started praying for him … it just really is a rough area.”

Each night of the tent revival began at 5 p.m. with a free meal followed by the service that concluded by 8 p.m. Day says the event was nothing short of a complete success.

“We didn’t have the first sign of a problem while we were there,” he says. “We had 25 people saved during the revival and we were able to hold a kids crusade on Saturday morning as well.”

Day says evangelist Tim Bennett spoke at the revival, with the first tent service focusing on Josiah and how God still takes people who are set up for failure—as Josiah was—and makes them a great force for His kingdom. The second evening’s focus was healing.

“Some miraculous things took place during the week,” Day says. “People were set free. A man in our church was told his liver was in terrible condition. On Thursday we prayed for him. Later, the doctors took another ultrasound and found his liver to be perfectly healthy. They couldn’t understand it!”

The final revival service, held at SkyPointe Church, saw a number of people from the park services attend. “One young man, who was 16, came,” Day recalls. “He had never been to a church in his life. After the service, he told me how much he enjoyed it.”

Although the revival services made an impact on a deeply hurting part of the Wilmington community, Day says that one of the things he’s most thankful for is how this event activated people in the church.

“A big win for me was watching different families in the church, who had not previously been involved in ministry, sink their teeth into this event,” Day says. “And now they are fully plugged into the church—they’ve taken ownership in the church and they’re doing something each week. It’s cool to watch people who were on the sidelines get into the game.”

Day says the church is already preparing for its next event. The church, having recently expanded its facilities by 2,500 square feet, will open the “seeds” of a dream center in November.

“It’s an outreach center for our city, but not yet a dream center,” Day explains.  “Although it’s in my heart to one day have a full-fledged dream center, this is a great facility to start with.”

Day says that throughout the month of November, the outreach center will be conducting special events, reaching out to the community and families, and concluding during the last week of November with a “Keep the Community Warm” coat giveaway.

Steve Pike, director of Church Multiplication Network, says, “CMN loves to partner with new church plant projects like SkyPointe. Pastor Daniel Day and his dedicated team are faithfully bringing the gospel to people in places that are often overlooked by church planting strategies. Our prayer is that many other church planting leaders will be inspired by their example.”

For more information about SkyPointe Church and its ministries, see its website or go to its Facebook page.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

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3 Vital Plans in Multiplying Leaders.


Artie-Davis-blog

Artie Davis

I love simple, effective strategies. And the strategy Jesus used to multiply leaders before email, texts, iPads and even printed books was incredibly effective! He did it old school.

1. Educate (face to face). Jesus often took the disciples away to solitary places and taught them the mysteries of the kingdom.

We have to give those we lead the right information. They need to know things like job descriptions, goals, expectations, communication routes, vision and direction. As we look to equip leaders, communicating with them face to face lets them know how valuable they are to us.

2. Engage (shoulder to shoulder). Jesus didn’t just teach His followers what they needed to know; He showed them real application of what He taught. Seeing what was taught applied gave greater value to the information they received.

When we engage with those we lead, we invite them to walk with us, to see the required demonstrated firsthand. That means allowing them to see the good, the bad and the ugly. We allow them to walk shoulder to shoulder with us.

3. Empower (back to back). Jesus sent out the 70 and the 12. He educated them, and He engaged with them, demonstrating what and how things needed to be done. But then He empowered them, He gave them an assignment and the authority to accomplish it and let them go.

There is no greater joy or more effective way to multiply leaders than empowering them to go and use the very things they have been taught and shown. We must allow those with us to become one of us and then, back to back, guard one another as we take new ground for the kingdom.

Which one of these steps do you have the most difficulty in seeing happen?.

Written by Artie Davis

Artie Davis is the pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at ArtieDavis.com or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.

For the original article, visit artiedavis.com.

When Should a Godly Leader Retreat?.


Artie-Davis-blog

Artie Davis

Pastors, nowhere in Ephesians 6 are we given any protection for our backsides! I think there’s a good reason for that—we aren’t given permission to retreat.

 

So the answer to “When should a godly leader retreat?” is “Never!”

Understand, I’m not talking about repentance, a changing of the mind or an encounter of real truth, where we turn from wrong beliefs and actions. I’m talking about turning back from the God path.

We only retreat if we feel we have made a mistake or have acted or moved out of a wrong motivation. Real godly leaders make sure they have room to turn but never retreat. Our movement must always be forward. When we retreat, we turn our unprotected back to our enemy, and that will surely result in injury.

Here are some mindsets I think are vital in keeping a “no retreat, no surrender” leadership lifestyle:

1. Never lose sight of your mission. Our mission is to help people find, follow and be like Jesus. Any activity that doesn’t help in fulfilling our ultimate mission will not be “God powered” and therefore is really powerless.

2. Always listen for God to speak fresh vision. Our mission doesn’t change, but our vision (the next step) will constantly need new adjustments. God only knows what our next step really needs to be, so if we neglect the discipline of hearing God’s voice, we may miss our next move and leave ourselves in losing place.

3. Make sure those running with you are really with you. Those who engage in the battle with you will make the vision or break it. Most of us are so hungry for approval or for someone to just fill a spot or are just plain lonely, we settle for the first person who seems willing and articulates the vision.

Don’t let these fleshly motivations sway you to allow someone to run close to you. Most of them will trip you up!

4. Demonstrate and operate in the supernatural. Faith—real faith—that God breathes into His anointed leaders is a supernatural thing. If you know you are where God told you to be, taking the ground you are taking in the direction He told you to run. Never, ever, ever retreat!

Letting those you lead see you operating in that supernatural faith, will reassure and strengthen them in times of difficulty and doubt.

What, in your role as a leader, most tempts you to retreat?.

Written by Artie Davis

Artie Davis is the pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at ArtieDavis.com, or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.

For the original article, visit artiedavis.com.

 

5 Questions That Will Determine if You’re ‘Spiritually Sexy’.


How 'spiritually sexy' are you?
How ‘spiritually sexy’ are you? (Stock Images)

The church has lost sight of a core command: Be a refection of Jesus. That means when people see us, they should desire what we have because they see an attractive, interesting and appealing Jesus in us.

We are commanded to “go and make followers of all people.” Well, how do you make a follower of Jesus when you don’t look like Jesus? You can’t! Those outside the kingdom should desire and be drawn to the spiritual relationship we have with Jesus.

In other words, how “spiritually sexy” or spiritually appealing are you to those who don’t know Jesus? These questions may help you measure it.

1. Do people genuinely like to be with you? Come on, you know the answer to that! You may not want to admit it, but many Christ followers aren’t really following Jesus, and so no one is following them. When we genuinely reflect Jesus, people will be attracted to us, not our morality.

2. Do those far away from God feel comfortable being around you? We have to love and accept people unconditionally—not approve of their choices or actions, but love and accept them without judgment. We love and show them the real Jesus, and the Spirit will draw them.

3. Do you feel a freedom to hang out with those who don’t believe as you do? If you don’t feel comfortable just hanging out with lost folk, then you’re probably religiously repulsive. You think others should live and believe as you do, even if they don’t know Jesus. That’s ludicrous!

4. Can you ask questions about life and not feel compelled to tell them the “truth”? We need to earn the right in the life of a person to share real biblical truth with them. If we don’t earn that right before we share it, it will be like the seed that fell on the path and was trampled underfoot. Give the Spirit time to till the hard ground before you start sowing.

5. How many friends outside the kingdom do you have? This is really the litmus test. People need time to see the real Jesus come through you, but they can’t with a quick church invitation in the drive thru. Take the time and invest in real relationship.

Well, are you “spiritually sexy”?

P.S. If you are offended by me using the phrase “spiritually sexy,” then you aren’t. Probably the only person that likes to be with you is you. (But I love you anyway; I just don’t want to be around you.)

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

ARTIE DAVIS

Artie Davis is the pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at ArtieDavis.com, or catch him on Twitter@artiedavis.

For the original article, visit artiedavis.com.

10 Lessons Learned in Urban Church Planting.


New-YorkWhen pastors Paul and Andi Andrew made the decision to move with their kids from Sydney to New York City to plant Liberty Church, they only knew two people in the city. 

That was 2010, and just a few short years later, what started as a dream has flourished into a dynamic, growing community that is making a difference in NYC and beyond. Here are 10 lessons they learned in urban church planting while starting Liberty Church in New York City.

 

10 Lessons in Urban Church Planting

1. Churn. Although people tell you to expect turnover as a church plant, we discovered in New York City that it was multiplied, since millions of people move to the city just for a season of their lives. It was our biggest surprise, and as many as 30 percent of our core members left last year not because they didn’t love Liberty Church but because they were moving to another city.

2. Pace and margin. Demands in city life are high. People have less margin in almost every area of life (including time, finances and even emotions). In order to cope, they can be more ritualistic. It is common to have your “place,” like a favorite coffee house or even a specific seat in that cafe. This fast pace makes commitment look different too. I tried to start an internship program that failed because people just didn’t have enough margin to serve two days a week—something many can afford to do in suburbia. On a personal level, I suggest leaders plan to have quality time with parishioners, if not always quantity time.

3. Community. This is the most significant key we discovered. Real community is highly valued in the city. Millions of people live here, away from their natural families. For us, days like Mother’s Day are some of our smallest weekends of the year, as many leave to see their families. In the end, people need to find connection here in order to flourish. We focus on building communities (and even name our campuses “communities”). Our passion is to build a community, not just a crowd.

4. Cost. This one is obvious but a real challenge at times. Cost of living is high in the city. (Just parking our truck costs $400 a month, and basic health insurance for our family is around $20,000 per year.) For a pastor planting, this is a major hurdle. Studies have shown that a six-figure income is in fact middle class in NYC. On the positive side, though, our people have higher salaries and are incredibly generous.

5. Fewer people are churched. Studies we’ve seen say Tokyo and New York have similar evangelical church attendance—so it’s anything but the Bible Belt. That means we need to change the way we approach outreach, marketing, our messaging and many assumptions that might be true in a different context. Interestingly, referrals from the Association of Related Churches website are one of the top five ways people find our church, typically because they move here from other parts of the country.

6. Value authenticity. How do you outdo Broadway? We don’t even try. In a city that is so good at putting on great productions, we decided to be ourselves rather than be another show. Our goal is to be authentic. Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t give your very best every week and make the church experience excellent.

7. Marketing. Messaging that works in other places doesn’t work here. For instance, I have seen this statement work in the other places: “Church how you always thought it should be.” But in NYC, few people are even thinking about church. So our method and messages are different. We rely heavily on digital strategies. Google ads have produced great results, and so have videos that help tell our story. Social media has been one of the most effective ways to amplify personal relationships. Someone who is a key volunteer now came because a friend “liked” Liberty Church on Facebook. He thought, “Wow. She likes a church?”

8. Logistics. Logistics are just different in a big city. For instance, our truck got a ticket while we were unloading on Sunday. It was parked a few inches into a fire lane. Things like this happen all the time. While some churches hit a barrier because the parking lot is full, for us parking is irrelevant. Only two people in our church use cars on Sunday. In an urban context, it is more important to be close to the subway. It’s also likely that we will be a long-term mobile church, using rental facilities because of the cost of property.

9. Spiritual warfare. Urban centers are spiritual front lines. Church planters face many battles because our enemy is not ready to give up his influence in these cities. We say it’s our vision “to influence a city that influences the world.” The reality is that revival in New York City would impact the nation and the nations. Make sure you have an active, unified prayer team.

10. Think local. Neighborhoods are smaller here. If I walk four blocks in any direction from our church office, I’ll be in a new neighborhood—Tribeca, Soho, Chinatown, Little Italy are all distinct areas. A few blocks can change your demographics here and even the language on the signage. We’ve made it our purpose to plant communities across this city that each reflect the neighborhood they serve.

Question: Have you visited a big city lately? What did you learn?

Written by Paul Andrew

3 Ways to Stop the Naysayers.


talk-to-the-hand

Do you have many naysayers in your church?

“The poor will be with you always,” Jesus said, but I’m sure He could have added, “The stupid vision killers will pursue you always.”

Acknowledge But Don’t React

As much as we would love to send to some of these to Gitmo for vision espionage, we simply don’t have that authority … sadly. But if we give their voice weight, they will keep looking for opportunities to complain.

Naysayers and complainers don’t have a desire to help in what they say. They are looking for a platform that will hear them and respond. It makes them feel empowered.

It doesn’t matter if you satisfy their complaint; they will find something else because they aren’t looking for a solution. They are looking power. So don’t give it to them.

Acknowledge what they’ve said, be kind and gentle, but don’t promise or change something in response to their complaint. If you do, it will be like crack—they will run you down for another snort. They get high on that feeling!

Point Them to the Vision

This is the best way to re-train (if possible) some of the complainers. Have a simple but powerful vision. And when they begin to point out how things need to be changed, acknowledge what they said but then immediately turn the conversation to the impact of the vision.

Talk about the transformation of lives yet to come. Remind them of where the church is going and its heart.

“The music is too loud.” Really? I’ll check on that, but isn’t it great how our music makes worship more engaging for so many different people? Those are the ones Jesus wants us to reach. I’m glad you are a part of helping those find Jesus here.

Ask Them to Leave

This is a last resort, but sometimes you just have to make that move. Sure, you can keep trying to keep them “happy” and there, but they’re sucking the life out of you and killing your vision. Sometimes you just have to cut loose the religious to reach the unchurched. Be gentle, but don’t leave to doubt what’s happening.

Written by Artie Davis

Artie Davis is the pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at ArtieDavis.com, or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.

How to Tame Resentment at Church.


Resentment-frustration

There are several ways to rid your church of resentment. (annakkml)

I recall a time as a pastor when my emotional skin got so thin that I took offense at just about anything anyone said. I knew it was not good, but it was like I could not stop myself.

I liken that period to having “emotional rug burn.” Rug burn is a painful condition where friction of some sort has rubbed your skin so thin that it becomes highly sensitive to heat or touch. You can get rug burn innocently enough, like when roughhousing with your children on the floor. But when one has rug burn, the hypersensitivity it creates makes things that normally would pass unnoticed become a painful focus of our attention.

Resentment creates the equivalent of emotional rug burn. Resentment is an emotional response we feel toward some sort of perceived wound or slight when we do not feel we have a way of righting the wrong. Resentments are common in submission-authority relationships, with bosses or supervisors (or boards) who may operate with insensitivity or callousness to our situation.

We feel we cannot respond lest we lose our jobs, so we put the wrong in an “inner warehouse” and start to store any more we receive in the same place. As we mount up more and more resentment, we are hypersensitive to any hint of criticism, any show of favoritism or word of praise toward someone else. At its worst, when our inner warehouse gets full, even civil conversation with those who have wounded us becomes difficult.

One can sense how damaging this can be when it takes place in a local church, where love is to be the rule of the day. I took a church recently through the Healing the Heart of Your Church process, and harboring resentment was the attitude that, early on when they were a church plant, evidenced itself as a problem. It had started with a pastor who felt that the mother church—which had planted them, supported them and still supervised them—had been heavy-handed with him over some issue. He came home and told a group of his leaders, and they all took up the offense and resented the mother church. This was their “hinge moment,” the point when difficulties began in their church.

From that small seed of corporate bitterness grew a sizable fruit-bearing plant that ultimately affected everyone in the congregation. As they told their story, resentment played a part in almost every major decision they made because someone didn’t feel they were listened to or appreciated for their part or understood or cared for.

You don’t hear too many sermons on resentment, and you won’t find it on most lists of “deadly sins,” yet it was probably this along with pride that caused Satan’s fall. Because it is subtle and poses as “just wanting justice or fairness,” it often catches us unaware.

But it is not a healthy attitude. And what I learned from this church’s story is how it definitely grows when God’s people do not recognize it and deal with it. They are now preparing to take responsibility for resentment as a part of their “Solemn Assembly,” a special service of corporate repentance and healing.

If you are holding or harboring resentment toward any of God’s people or the spiritual leaders whom Christ may have appointed or called to your church, clean out this “old leaven” that makes up what Paul calls the “mere man” part of us. We who have Christ in us are to be so much more than mere men. Do a Spirit-led check of your inner life and see if you have any spiritual rug burn, and monitor your church for this insidious sin.

How would you describe resentment’s effect on your church or Christian life?.

Written by Ken Quick

Ken Quick is the pastor at Fusion Fellowship Church in Ellicott, Md.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

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