Saturday, March 1, 2008

Don't Forget What Sabbath Is For

5 Ways To Get More Volunteers

[From Ministry Best Practices by Bill Reichart]

It doesn't matter if you are a church of 50, 500 or 50000, - encouraging and mobilizing volunteers seems to be the perennial challenge in ministry. At Big Creek Church, we are constantly wrestling through this issue. I don't presume to have the final word on this, but here have been some of my thoughts and teachings about how to more effectively get more volunteers.
  1. Develop leaders first. Volunteers will only work under competent leaders. Therefore it is your job to develop, to coach and to pour into leaders. Emerging leadership is one of your most important assets. Make sure you have good leadership first and then from that volunteers will grow.
  2. Stop fishing from the same pond. You can only know so many people. Malcolm Gladwell says that most people connect within only small and intimate circles of relationships. Therefore the key to recruiting is to be able to get into other relational circles. In order to do that, you need to ask your key volunteers to intentionally tap into their circles. Ask your volunteers to recruit their own team themselves because chances are they know people you don't even know.
  3. Equip your volunteers. People are not merely tools in order to accomplish your ministry goals and objectives. But unfortunately, too often, we treat them that way. You need to value your volunteers. Train, equip and develop your volunteers. Make sure they know that they are going to walk away with an added value for volunteering, in other words, a free prize inside. In other words, it isn't so much about "getting" from your volunteers, but rather "giving" to them.
  4. Simply ask. Most of the time, the people you need to serve in your ministry area are simply sitting in your church doing nothing. The reason for this is because all they hear are asks, pleas and challenges from the platform. And suffice it say, "Everyone's challenge" is too often "No one's challenge". Not everybody will respond to a corporate challenge (also read my post about Communication from the Platform). Sometimes all you need to do is to take the initiative and ask.
  5. Communicate Vision, not Need. To often when churches communicate the need for volunteers it sounds like begging. "We need to fill spots!" "We need your help!" Most people don't respond to that kind of plea. People will respond to vision and outcomes. People want to know that their serving will have purpose and gives them a real opportunity to impact the Kingdom of God.

Baptist Church Planters Convene

[By Jennifer Riley, Christian Post Reporter]

Nearly 340 church planting missionaries and strategists gathered in Atlanta this week for the annual church planting forum hosted by the mission arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The 2008 Church Planting Missionary and National Missionary Forum, Feb. 27-Mar. 1, is hosted by the North American Mission Board’s Church Planting Group. The forum’s theme this year is “Live with Urgency.”

"Live with Urgency’ reflects a challenge to all Southern Baptists to live as missionaries because the time to accomplish God’s vital mission is limited,” explained David Meacham, NAMB’s senior strategists for church planting, according to NAMB.

In a forum presentation, NAMB president Geoff Hammond discussed what it meant to be a missionary. Hammond said a missionary is a born-again Christian who is called by God to transcend significant cultural barriers and work through relevant cultural channels in order to share the Gospel, according to the church planting blog by Mark Weible, who attended the forum.

The NAMB president – in his presentation entitled “What is a Missionary?” – said a missionary is someone who recognizes their own culture and adapts to other cultures, networks for evangelism, partners with sending churches, engages in peacemaking/conflict resolution, builds relationships, works as a team, engages in indigenous work, focuses on principles, and identifies and equips new leaders, among other characteristics.

Fellow NAMB leader Meacham shared on the topic of “The Church Planting Process.” “Each forum session is designed to offer valuable learning opportunities to stimulate growth and sharpen missionary skills,” Meacham explained about the forum’s structure. “We pray the participants will take away new knowledge and skills as well as new relationships with church planting partners from all across North America.”

One attendee, Gary Hawkins, is a Native Indian church planting missionary from Henryetta, Okla., who focuses on multi-ethnic church planting in eastern Oklahoma. Hawkins said he sees the forum as a good place to gather new ideas.

“I like to hear from other ethnic groups about how they’re doing things, training, and locating potential church planters,” said Hawkins, who is an NAMB-appointed church planting missionary. “I like to hear different ways of resourcing church planters.”

This year’s forum break-out sessions will emphasize character development, knowledge and skills for missionaries, while contextual sessions will focus on collegiate, urban core, arts, African-American, Asian, Anglo, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Multi-ethnic and Native American people groups.

“This will go down as one of the most significant Church Planting Missionary Forums ever,” contends Hammond, adding that most of the training material is brand-new. “We’re really excited about the new curriculum.”

Also planned are special break-out sessions for missionary wives who are attending. They are being led by Debbie Hammond, wife of NAMB president Geoff Hammond.

On Friday night, NAMB will hold its annual church planting recognition and celebration dinner.

President's Religious Liaison Resigns

WASHINGTON (AP) - White House religious liaison official, Tim Goeglein, resigned Friday after admitting twenty columns he wrote for an Indiana newspaper were determined to have material copied from other sources without attribution.

Goeglein, who has worked for Bush since 2001, acknowledged that he lifted material from a Dartmouth College publication and presented it as his own work in a column about education for The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The White House said Goeglein has apologized for not upholding the standards expected by the president. A White House statement says the president was disappointed to learn of the matter and was saddened for Goeglein and his family. It said Bush has long appreciated his service and knows him to be a good person who is committed to his country.

COGOP Ministers On-Line Reporting

[From Cliff Haven News by Pastor Brian Sutton]

If you submit your quarterly report online through , you will encounter a problem this quarter. The online feature does not include an option to report for the quarter ending February 2008.

I have sent a couple of emails to Cleveland regarding this. Until it is repaired, you might want to submit your report through "snail mail."

Death Announcement - Bishop J. C. Palmer

[From Pastor MIlton Gordon]

Bishop J. C. Palmer went to be with the Lord early this morning around 1 am. He is survived by his Son Tony. At this point we do not have funeral details but will post them when they come in.

Also, please pray for Tony who has been by his father's side.

The Mississippi Squirrel Revival

Today's Prayer

Dear God, I am so sorry for the times I have just stood by and said nothing when I could have spoken or acted to make a difference to impact the kingdom of darkness for You, the Lord of light and life. Please help me to be bold, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and to speak the words that need to be said, even if they may be an affront to those around me As long as I am in Your will, I should not fear. Please, God, use my words and life to draw others to You. Help me to become the ambassador You want me to be, to offer hope and extend life to those who live in darkness. Protect me and all of Your true children from harm and evil. "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." In Jesus' name, amen.