Jonny and Kayla are in Washington this week to receive an honor. You can read about it here, and also here, and watch a short report on it below. I (Jeff) am very proud of both of them, and this just might clinch Jonny's spot on the podcast for at least another year! :)
Today is the second and final segment of Jeff’s conversation with Rob Tarnoviski who is the Lead Pastor at Bethel Fellowship - The Church @ Franklin Mills. We think you will find it transparent and refreshing as they openly discuss the following topics:
As pastors, we have to balance two competing agendas: 1) those on the inside, and 2) those on the outside. The challenge is that the agenda for those on the outside of the Body of Christ will never be brought to the table, unless ministry leaders bring it for them. When they do, they are often opposed by those inside the church, seeking the insiders’ agendas. Rob talks about how he has created a culture in his church that thinks about the outsiders.
This is a balancing act we have to maneuver all the time as pastors. We must feed the sheep, and we must leave the ninety-nine to find the lost sheep. We have to serve the body of Christ, while at the same time reach out to those who are far from Christ.
In the last half of the 20th century, so many churches created climates where Christians were encouraged to separate themselves from unbelievers and segregate themselves into Christian schools, Christian social clubs, and Christian communities. Even mega churches created a one stop shop for all of the needs of a Christian family. They increasingly removed the need for the church to associate with the world.
Next week we are going to hear the conversation that Jeff and Jonny have with Jim Powell, pastor of Richwoods Christian Church in Peoria, IL. He is the author of the book, Dirt Matters - The Foundation For a Healthy, Vibrant, And Effective Congregation and the founder of the 95Network. We will talk about how the culture of the church matters! His book compares the culture of a church, to the soil that plants grow in – and he surmises that dirt matters. The composition of soil is foundational to how well things grow.
In the same way, the culture of a church is foundational to how a church grows. In today’s and last week’s podcast, Pastor Rob essentially talks about the culture of Bethel Fellowship. It is a solidly outsiders oriented culture. They think intentionally about those who aren't there… YET! Bethel has had staff members who have stayed on for many years, and the stability of the church is to their credit!
How about you and your church?
We wonder what kind of culture your church has? What kind of church culture are you trying to create? If you listed the things that bother you most about your ministry, you would see how the culture of your church is causing those very challenges.
As you listen to today’s and next week’s podcasts, consider your church culture, and think about how you might begin to shape it intentionally into a culture and environment that will accomplish the very things which comprise the vision of your church.
Finally, if you know of other 200church pastors who could be encouraged by the 200churches Podcast, pass along the website to them: www.200churches.com. If you want to share a topic you would like us to spend a week on in the near future, use the speakpipe pop-out on the homepage and send us a voice message, or email either of us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOU are so important to the people who are your church. These are the ones God has called you to care for, feed, love, and protect. Do it with diligence and love.
This post is coming out uncharacteristically late for 200churches. We usually have a new post every M/W/F at 4:00AM... sharp! But relationships have gotten in the way this weekend. Jonny and Jeff are both out of town today, which is also unusual. One is in New York, and the other in Washington D.C. Sounds impressive huh? Here's the rest of the story...
Jonny and his wife Kayla adopted their son Joseph from Nigeria two years ago. This week they are being awarded a Congressional Pin for being selected as Angels In Adoption by the Congressional Coalition On Adoption Institute. You can read about this on Kayla's blog here.
They traveled to Nigeria and completed countless requirements to adopt their son because of the relationship they began with him from the moment they met. This relationship was quite one-sided as Joseph was just six months old when they met him, but the relationship was unconditional on their part - he was their son long before the adoption was completed. They adopted him first in their hearts, and then the official process was engaged, and they would not be denied, no matter the twists and turns that process took!
Jeff is in New York for his sister's wedding. Many relationships demanded he go, all of them life long relationships. His parents are aging and he was able to help them get to the wedding and be a part of all of the traditional things fathers and mothers of the bride are involved in. He was the pastor who married his sister and now brother-in-law, which made it even more meaningful for him and them. He also was able to see extended family, some of which he had not seen in many decades. It was all about relationships.
This week on the podcast is Part 2 of Jeff's conversation with Rob Tarnoviski, Lead Pastor at Bethel Fellowship, the Church @ Franklin MIlls, Philadelphia, PA. This also is about relationship and friendship.
In our 200churches we are building relationships with people. Dan Reiland asked in a recent podcast, "are we building churches or people?" Good question and good challenge for us 200church pastors. When we forget the people part of ministry (which is the whole thing, right?) and begin to see our calling as a job - we've missed the point of the Cross, the fellowship of the Body of Christ, and the Trinitarian relationality of our God. Everything we do day after day is really all about relationships.
Who are you going to connect with this week? Will you build people, and so build the Kingdom? Your leadership matters, no matter the size of your church - and, every person presents an opportunity for relationship!
Friends. We need them. We need friends who understand and accept us. We need friends who will love us even when we give them reason not to. How are you doing for friends? Do you have a close friend in whom you could confide your deepest fears, failures, and sins – as well as your highest hopes, joys, and dreams? I have just a couple close friends that fit that category. I think everybody needs at least one!
Thankfully, I have good friends. New friends, like Jonny Craig, old friends, like Rob Tarnoviski – and lots of friends in between. Friends live life with us. They make the highs higher, and the lows not quite so low. They multiply our successes and minimize our failures.
Ministry friends are important for us to have as pastors. They understand our unique struggles and can empathize with us. They give us insight along the way and guide us away from disasters. Our prayer and wish for you is that you have many life-giving friends who encourage you and lift you up.
We have met some new friends since embarking on the 200churches Podcast journey. Just yesterday we talked with a new one on Skype who we hope to invite onto the podcast in the near future. But for now, Jonny and I would like to share just two of our newest ministry friends with you.
Karl Vaters is at newsmallchurch.com. We want to welcome back Karl Vaters from Europe/Eastern Europe today! We don’t know about you, but we've missed his contributions to leaders and pastors of small churches throughout the month of September! We've missed his posts at www.newsmallchurch.com. We are very thankful that he was able to travel and do ministry internationally, encouraging leaders of small churches across the ocean. Welcome back Karl!
We are excited to have Karl join us on the 200churches Podcast on October 23, 2013 to tell us all about his ministry trip and how he was able to help pastors. Karl shared with pastors the message of his book, The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches, and the Small Thinking that Divides Us. We are devoting that episode to him so that he can share with all of us what God has done both through him, and in him. That will be Episode 41 of the podcast on Wednesday, October 23, 2013.
Watch Jim Powell talk about the 95Network!
Another friend of small church pastors is Jim Powell from the 95Network.com! Jim mentors and coaches leaders of small and medium sized churches through his online coaching video pods. Jonny and I joined him on one recently and it was really helpful and instructive. Jim has encouraged us as we began here at 200churches and we have kept in touch along the way.
Jim is joining us on Episode 40 of the podcast on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. He talks with us about his new book, Dirt Matters The Foundation For a Healthy, Vibrant, And Effective Congregation, which delves into the culture of a church and how that affects its health and growth. The “Dirt” refers to the culture, or soil of a church, and what kind of soil is needed to grow a healthy church.
We are all busy in ministry, and often too busy to cultivate meaningful community. But we benefit so much when we make time for friends. The day before this post comes out on 200churches.com, I will have met for lunch with a friend I have not seen in at least five years. He’s a pastor in my home state of New York, and as I write this, I can’t wait to see him and catch up on the last five or so years!
How about you? Is there a friend you need to call today? Maybe because you need the call, or perhaps because you think he or she may need it? We want to encourage you to invest in friendships, both old and new – and as I’ve always told my kids: “It’s important for you to have the right friends, but it’s equally important for you to be the right friend to others!”
p.s. Your love and care for, and leadership of, your 200church matters huge in God’s Kingdom!
Today's podcast is Part 1 of a conversation between Jeff and Rob Tarnoviski. Rob is the Lead Pastor at Bethel Fellowship - The Church @ Franklin Mills, Philadelphia, PA. As you listen to this episode, you will likely be reminded of your own call to ministry, and the successes and missteps along the way to where you are today. The purpose of this conversation is to encourage you in your ministry, and remind you that you are not alone in your doubts and failings in your ministry journey. The key is to persevere, to not give up. You must keep moving forward in faith.
Rob's ministry at Bethel has only seen 17 years. To some of you that is a short time, to others, you can't imagine spending 17 years in your church. But those 17 years were lived one day, one week, one month, and one year at a time. You can do the same. It's always too soon to quit, and it's never quite time to give up. If you believe that the Lord brought you to where you are today, continue. Move past your fear. Move in faith instead. Faith in who God is, and who he made you to be.
You can find Rob's church online at www.fmchurch.net and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pastorrobfm.
We hope Part 1 of this conversation is helpful to you. Part 2 comes next week in Episode 39. Your leadership matters. Stay the course!
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