Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finding a Place for Your Church Plant

Planting a church? Looking for a venue? Here are a few “do’s and don’t’s” to finding just the right place for your new church to meet:

- DO clarify your target area. Has God called you to a specific community or neighborhood? Is there one part of town where you just know you’re supposed to be?In searching for a meeting location, you don’t want to venture much further than 5-10 minutes outside of your target area, so you need to have that target area fairly well-defined.

- DO look for locations that are familiar to the people you’re trying to reach. Ask around and observe people’s patterns, then use that to give you some ideas. Since you’re brand new, people won’t be familiar with you so you want to make sure they’re at least familiar with your location. The familiarity factor is why some of the best meeting locations for a church plant are schools, movie theaters and community centers.

- DO ask God for eyes to see beyond the “obvious.” Sometimes an answered prayer for “fresh eyes” is just what you need to find your next meeting location. There is a tendency to lock in on one or two potential meeting spaces to the neglect of dozens of others. Block out some time, take a drive and ask God to open your eyes to the possibilities.

- DON’T make a rush decision on a meeting location. Your new church’s meeting location is very important and not to be decided lightly. If God has called you to this area, then He has also picked out just the right meeting place for His new church!

- DON’T ever stop looking for meeting locations. It’s a good idea to keep a running list of potential places to meet for as long as your church is portable.You never know when a sudden growth in attendance, a school board policy change or an excessive rental rate hike might have you scrambling for a different space, so it helps to stay ahead of the curve.

[from Nelson Searcy - Renegade Pastor - Church Leader Insights - Church Growth and Evangelism by nsearcy]

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Prayer Request - Chile

My friend in Chile tells me that his power is off, utilities are down, and his home is standing but windows and doors are shattered. He has a generator and got an email to me somehow.

Please pray for all earthquake victims in Chile.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pastor Benny Hinn Will Continue His Ministry In Spite of Divorce

In a letter to ministry partners, evangelist Benny Hinn said he is praying God will heal his family.

Hinn's wife, Suzanne, filed for divorce from the high-profile minister Feb. 1. The filing says the couple had been separated since Jan. 26, according to the Associated Press.

Hinn said his wife had been under great stress, but he and his children "never expected this to happen."

"Divorce was the last thing on my mind and theirs," Hinn wrote in the letter posted on his ministry Web site. He said it was a "total shock" when his wife's attorney called Feb. 17 to inform him that she had filed for divorce.

"Suzanne never gave the family even a hint that this was on her mind," Hinn wrote, adding that his wife's parents did not know she had filed for divorce until he told them Feb. 17. "Even to this moment, the children and I don't know why she did it. ... I love my wife, and I am praying that the Lord Himself will take care of this and bring healing to my precious family."

Hinn said his wife does not have biblical grounds for divorce because neither of them engaged in immorality throughout their 30-year marriage.

"We both have kept our covenant with God and stayed pure before Him, and I am praying with all my heart that our precious Lord Jesus will heal my family and protect His work for His glory," Hinn wrote.

Hinn said he does not plan to take a break from preaching and leading healing crusades worldwide. "I am going to continue preaching the Gospel and praying for the sick as I have for 36 years," he wrote. "I will not allow anything to slow me down or stop me. My commitment to my precious Jesus is forever, and nothing will ever change that."

[by Adrienne S. Gaines News, Chrisma News Online]

Thursday, February 25, 2010

NCAA looks to ban Tebow-type eye black

In what some are already calling the "Tim Tebow rule," the NCAA Football Rules Committee is proposing that college football players be prohibited from writing anything on their eye black -- the very types of messages the former Florida Gator quarterback made popular with various Bible verses.

The recommendation was made by the committee in an announcement Feb. 11 and it now must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

The committee actually called the new rule a "clarification" because a rule that apparently would ban such messages already was in place. The clarification, which would take effect this fall, says "if eye shade is worn it must be solid black with no words, numbers, logos or other symbols."

Tebow -- the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner who just completed his senior season -- was not mentioned, although he popularized the trend, and the nation noticed. On the same day that Florida played Alabama in the SEC Championship Game Dec. 5, the No. 1 Google "hot" search in the U.S. was John 16:33, the verse Tebow wore on his eye black.

In fact, Tebow's Scripture choices were among the Top 10 Google searches in the U.S. during nearly every major Florida game in 2009. For the Sept. 19 game against Tennessee, his choice of Romans 8:28 was the No. 5 search; for the Oct. 10 game against LSU, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 was the No. 7 search; and for the game against Florida State -- his final home game -- Hebrews 12:1-2 was the No. 3 search. His choice of Ephesians 2:8-10 was the No. 4 search for the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl. The Google trend dates back to the 2008 BCS Championship Game, when John 3:16 -- Tebow's verse for that game -- landed at the No. 1 spot.

Tebow's eye black was by far the most-followed eye shade in college football, but he wasn't the only one doing it. Former Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson wore on his eye black the words "press on," words taken from Philippians 3:14, a verse that was repeated by his father often at family gatherings. His father died in October. Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor also wore Bible verses on his eye black, including Philippians 3:14. Pryor, though, was involved in one of the more controversial instances of eye black when he wrote the word "Vick" under his left eye as a tribute to Michael Vick. Vick is a controversial figure to many because of his former ties to a dog-fighting ring, although at this year's Super Bowl he shared his how his life has changed and how "I feel I'm in the back seat now and God is in the front."

The NCAA's football rules already prohibited "anything on the uniform other than a player's numbers; a player's name; NCAA Football logo; memorial recognition; the American flag; or institution, conference or game identification. No other words, numbers or symbols are permitted on a player's person or tape." The rule was part of the rules section on illegal equipment.

[byMichael Foust - Baptist Press]

Monday, February 22, 2010

Practicing Homosexuals in the Military?

During his State of the Union address last month, President Obama urged Congress to repeal the 1993 law known as Section 654, Title 10, which says homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the military. Shortly thereafter, Admiral Mike Mullen (USN) told a stunned Congress that in his personal view, homosexual men and women should be allowed to serve.

Now, McClatchy News Service has reported that while recently visiting U.S. troops in Amman, Jordan, Mullen conducted a focus group on the question of lifting the ban on homosexuals serving in the military. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, believes the admiral should not have asked the troops their opinion about lifting the ban.

"He was way out of line with that initiative," she states bluntly. "Anyone who disagreed [in the presence of the media] would put his career at risk [by] stating an opinion different than that of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs."

Donnelly believes the admiral was also off-base in another statement he made about the potential lifting of the ban.

"Admiral Mullen said that he never underestimates the ability of the military to adapt. I think that is very condescending of him," says the military watchdog. "He should not expect people to adapt to social agendas [or] political payoffs -- things that make their job more difficult or more dangerous."

Even if some of the troops Mullen talked to actually agree with the admiral, Donnelly argues they are being used as props to make the Joint Chiefs chairman look good -- and that, she argues, is not an appropriate use of military personnel.

[by Chad Groening - OneNewsNow]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Pentecostal Vision of Pastoral Excellence

  • Consistent practice of spiritual disciplines
  • Maintenance of the pastor's physical, emotional, familial, and financial health
  • Ministry and leadership in covenant with other pastors and believers
  • Effective preaching and teaching of the Word
  • Compassionate care, discipleship, and spiritual direction for hurting and searching people
  • Effective leadership and administration of local church ministry
  • Multiplication of ministry by mentoring and coaching others in a shared journey of mutual development
[by Dr James Bowers]

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Birthday - John Maxwell

How To Fund a Church Plant

Here are a few tips that will help you raise the funds that your new church will need to launch and become healthy as soon as possible:

- Pray over, plan and polish your vision and strategy before you start trying to raise funds. Nothing says "I won’t be a good steward of your financial support" like not having a plan. The more serious you are about the process, the more likely others will be to take you seriously.
Put together a list of everyone you think might possibly have a heart for what you’re doing, complete with their contact information. You never know who might be willing to support the new work until you begin asking. Intentionally carve out time on your calendar to call, call, visit and call some more.

- Ask clearly and boldly! Remember that you’re giving people an opportunity to invest in God’s Kingdom work – don’t back into the question about financial support or say no on their behalf. Paint the picture of what God is doing, ask boldly, and await their answer.

- Don’t let "no" defeat you. If God has called you to start a new church, He has also made available just the right resources to fulfill that calling. When you’ve clearly and boldly asked and someone says no, move on to the next person on your list.

- Be creative to expand your list of potential supporters. When someone says ‘yes’ and agrees to support your new church, ask them if they know of two or three others who may be willing to partner with you. When someone believes in you and your work, they may very well know others who will too.

- Don’t burn your bridges. That church that wasn’t willing to partner with you two months ago (before you had anyone else on board), may be willing to help now that they see others doing so. A "no" today doesn’t necessarily mean a "no" forever.

- Over-communicate your gratitude. When someone agrees to partner with your new church send them a handwritten thank you note immediately. That shows that you truly are thankful and serves to reinforce the commitment they just made to the new church. And send another note (with an update on the work) each time you receive a check from them.

A mentor of mine told me many years ago that, "If you’re the lead pastor (or church planter), you ARE the chief fund raiser for your church … Get over it!"

[from Nelson Searcy - Renegade Pastor - Church Leader Insights - Church Growth and Evangelism by nsearcy]

Let VISION Be Your Guide

What is your destiny? Where will you be in five years? Or 10, or 30? Of course, no matter how hard we search, no one can answer that question with certainty. But while we can’t know our destiny, we CAN know and change our direction. The journey toward destiny always begins with VISION. Vision is the roadmap.

[John C Maxwell]

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wife of Pastor Benny Hinn Files for Divorce

Suzanne Harthern Hinn, the wife of Pastor Benny Hinn, has filed for divorce from the high-profile minister, citing irreconcilable differences.

Don Price, longtime senior adviser to Benny Hinn Ministries, said the divorce filing took Benny Hinn by surprise. "Pastor Benny Hinn and his immediate family were shocked and saddened to learn of this news without any previous notice," Price said.

MORE ...

[Strang Media Group]

Moral Values are Changing

Recent research reveals that:
  • Fifty-nine percent of teens and preteens now feel that "gay or lesbian relations are OK if that is the person's choice." In 1989, only 31 percent believed that "homosexual relations are OK if that is the person's choice."
  • Only 30 percent of 7th-12th graders now believe that homosexual relationships are never acceptable because it is unnatural, compared to 56 percent who felt this way about homosexual relations twenty years ago.
  • Twenty-five percent of teens and preteens believe that "abortion is all right if having the baby will change your life plans in a way that you will find hard to live with." In 1989, 33 percent felt this way.

The survey was based on a nationwide sample of 3,263 students in grades 3 through 12, of whom 1,833 are in grades 7 through 12. Click here for the complete report, which also deals with attitudes about such topics as smoking, sex before marriage and suicide.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

[Click on image to enlarge.]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Eight of the 10 Americans once detained in Haiti have landed at Miami International Airport

Eight of the 10 American church workers jailed for trying to take 33 children out of Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake were freed from their tiny cell today after a Haitian judge ordered their release.

[The Church Report]

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Abortionists Are Upset About Super Bowl Ad

Focus on the Family has purchased time during this year's Super Bowl broadcast to air a compelling pro-life ad featuring Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and the decision his mother made 23 years ago to give birth to her unborn son when doctors were urging her to abort him.

CBS has come under withering fire from the left for its decision to air this ad. Joy Behar of "The View" even said abortion would have been an appropriate choice since there was no way for Tim's mom to know that he wouldn't grow up to be a "rapist pedophile."

The hypocrisy here is thick. Abortion proponents claim to be all about choice, but they are outraged over an ad that features a woman exercising her right to choose life for her baby son.

Unfortunately, CBS sent a signal this week that it would be willing to accept "responsibly produced" ads that promote abortion or homosexuality. But a message that promotes death or sexual deviancy is not the moral equivalent of a message that celebrates life, and CBS must be urged to reject any such advocacy ads.

If you choose, you may E-mail CBS Chairman Les Moonves and CBS Entertainment President Nancy Tellem in support of their decision to air the Tebow Super Bowl ad.

Haiti's Prime Minister Wants to Prosecute Americans

Haiti's prime minister says it's clear to him that the ten U.S. Baptists who tried to take 33 children out of his quake-ravaged country without permission "knew what they were doing was wrong." But Prime Minister Max Bellerive says his country is open to having the Americans go before courts in the United States because Haiti's judicial system was devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The purported Baptist "rescue mission" has become a distraction for a crippled government trying to provide basic life support to millions of earthquake survivors.

But Bellerive said some legal system must determine whether the Americans were acting in good faith as they claim or are child traffickers in a nation that has struggled to fight exploitation of children.

Meanwhile, Idaho's congressional leaders say they're closely monitoring the safety and health of the ten Americans arrested in Haiti Friday while trying to take dozens of children out of the country. Nine of the people detained by the Haitian government are from Idaho and members of Baptist churches in Twin Falls and Meridian.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Congressmen Mike Simpson and Walt Minnick say they're keeping in touch with the U.S. State Department to ensure that adequate food, water, and medical care are provided.

The detainees were arrested by Haitian police near the border after failing to show proper documentation to take the children from the country. They've said they were on a mission to rescue abandoned Haitian children and get them to an orphanage being set up in the Dominican Republic. But some of the children say they were misled and have parents who survived the earthquake.

Also in Haiti, Haitian police at the Port Au Prince airport, refused to allow a private plane load of medical supplies from doctors in Miami unload without paying a bribe to police. The more the Haitian government is allowed to resume control, the more of these stories come to light.

Please pray for all Americans in Haiti.