Church & Ministry

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Posted 6/17/16 at 1:56 PM | Mark Ellis

In ‘Coal Country Revival,’ 4000 gave their lives to Christ

Revival meeting in West Virginia

By Mark Ellis

In the small towns that dot the mountainous coal region of West Virginia, a revival that began in early April brought 4,000 souls to Christ over eight weeks.

“My life has gone back to normal,” says Bo Copley, the unemployed coal miner who had his 15-minutes of fame after a confrontation with Hillary Clinton when she visited Williamson. Copley, his wife, and their children, have attended almost every event connected with the revival over the last two months.

He says the number of people saved exceeds the population of the two small towns at the epicenter of God’s move of the Spirit. “The population of Delbarton is about 500 and Williamson is about 3000, so in eight weeks time, the two main places saw more people get saved than the population of the two towns,” he says.

This is possible because many were drawn from surrounding counties and even other states. Some residents in the area put their vacations on hold so they could be part of what God was doing. FULL POST

Posted 6/16/16 at 11:12 AM | Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman

The Keys to Grant Writing Success

Recently Nonprofit Pro featured a blog from Leigh Kessler where he relates fundraising to the marketing he does for Charity Engine. He recounts a story about a great promotion he was doing at a conference that ended up having little engagement: "In a pre-screened target audience of more than 4,000 people who literally spend every day asking people to give them money for their organizations, I only could find 1 percent to take mine!" Through this experience he reminds us that as fundraisers, we must be diligent and have well planned and executed strategies. These are the heart of fundraising in general but they are crucial to a successful grant writing strategy. But what does a well planned and executed strategy look like?

With grant writing, there are a few key areas that, if done well, will lead your efforts to success or, if done poorly, will lead to failure.

Before even starting a grant writing strategy, ensure you have a fundable organization. Even the best developed application to the best matching funding source is going to be a flop if your ministry is not well-organized. Do you have clearly written by-laws? Do you have a diverse funding base? Do you have a professional and polished website? What about your marketing material like brochures and newsletters? Do you have a carefully tracked budget? It is crucial that you address your ministry's fundability before approaching foundations for support so that your efforts are more likely to be successful. FULL POST

Posted 6/14/16 at 6:33 PM | Mark Ellis

Pakistani Christian beaten by mob for selling ice cream to Muslims

By Mark Ellis

Khaleel Masih, 42, was beaten and abused by an angry mob for selling ice cream to Muslim women and children.

The incident took place on May 17 in a village in District Kasur. “Christians are untouchables,” the mob chanted while beating him, according to Jamil Thomas, CEO of Aim4Faith Ministries, based in Pakistan.

Because of Masih’s perceived low status, the crowd thought he should not be allowed to sell food to Muslims.

Masih said that two Muslim villagers, Muhammad Farman and Muhammad Rizwan, approached him and started abusing and humiliating him as he attempted to sell ice cream, calling him “Choora,” which means low-caste, a term sometimes used to deride Christians.

“They called me Choora, and then they began accusing me of selling unclean merchandise to Muslim children,” Masih reported. “I wanted to argue and make them understand that this was not true but they did not listen to me. Instead, they began to beat and torture me.” FULL POST

Posted 6/13/16 at 2:50 PM | Mark Ellis

As Muslims pray and fast during Ramadan, ‘Man in White’ appears in dreams and visions

Jesus appeared in a dream to this descendant of Muhammad

By Mark Ellis

As hundreds of millions of Muslims fast and pray during Ramadan this month, with many seeking to grow closer to Allah, others are finding Jesus.

“God is moving very powerfully using dreams and visions Muslims are having of the Man in white, of Jesus Himself,” author Joel Rosenberg told CBN recently.

He quoted a 19-page study describing an extraordinary move of God among Muslims.

“From 1960 to 2010, the number of Muslims that have converted to faith in Jesus Christ has grown from fewer than 200,000 to some 10 million people” Rosenberg told CBN.

Rosenberg said many Muslims have become disillusioned by turmoil in the Middle East.

“In the last 10-15 years, many Muslims are deeply uncomfortable with the idea that ISIS, or Iran’s leadership, or Assad are the type of people that represent Islam.” FULL POST

Posted 6/7/16 at 11:03 AM | Lenita Reeves

Illumination: How Seth Godin Said The Best Thing About Ministry I’ve Heard For At Least The 100th Time

Start with 5

As I read the words, rays of light danced inside my head and then–boom! My heart sank into my gut. Like a trigger pulled back and then released, there was a click. It was as if the two hemispheres of my brain had collided for a mere millisecond and a light switch turned on in my spirit. What’s that called? Illumination.

It wasn’t the first time I had read similar words or heard this particular concept articulated but the arrangement of the words somehow lit up inside me as I read them. Are you ready? Here they are:

“You can’t change the world. But you can change five people. Why don’t you just change five people today? Because if you change five people today, you might be able to change six people tomorrow, and then you’re on your way–because most people change nobody. The way we change the world is with the smallest possible group. Change them. Repeat. You’re probably surrounded by people who say they are holier than you, or they’re more qualified than you or more authorized than you. But you don’t need a permit to change someone. You just need to care.” –Seth Godin, Excerpt from an interview with Relevant Magazine (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/relevant-magazine/issue-81-mayjune-2016) FULL POST

Posted 6/6/16 at 10:32 AM | Kristi Porter

The Orange Tour Travels the US During Fall 2016

Orange Tour 2016 will help church leaders learn to make the most of every Sunday to make more of an impact on Monday. Taking place in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall, the unique format and regional aspect of Orange Tour allows for combined vision and strategy, along with specific best practices.

This year’s theme, “Monday is Coming” will help family ministry teams make the most of every life stage as a kid grows from preschool through high school. Every life stage has unique characteristics, distinctive opportunities and relational dynamics to leverage. This event will explain these further to church leaders, and help them use the time they have with kids each week wisely.

Main sessions will give attendees an opportunity to learn alongside their team, while breakouts allow team members to dive deeper into subject matter that relates directly to their role or interest. Speakers will include Jon Acuff, Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Sam Collier, Doug Fields,Carey Nieuwhof, Frank Bealer, Jim Wideman, Virginia Ward, Joseph Sojourner, Kara Powell,Geoff Surratt, Brooklyn Lindsey, Adam Duckworth, Terry Scalzitti, Terry Scalzitti, Elle Campbell, Mike Clear, and more! FULL POST

Posted 6/1/16 at 11:03 PM | Tony Mator

In Defense of Christianese

Christianese! Easier to learn than Klingon...and only half as frightening.

The irony of Christianese – a word coined by Christians to mock the lingo of the evangelical subculture – is that the word itself is an example of Christianese.

You’ll never hear a “how about that Christianese” bit at a New York night club. The blank stares would rival a Walking Dead convention. But in church circles, the subject is comic gold.

Evangelicalism’s semantic quirks offer an easy target for our in-house jesters, from Jon Acuff to Tim Hawkins. Any Christian whose heart is not woven from iceberg shavings cannot help but point and laugh at the inexplicable “hedge of protection” or chuckle at the naughty nuances of “bless your heart.”

I, too, have laughed at the jokes. I’ve made the jokes. And I admit to no shame in having contributed my voice to the raging tempest of self-deprecating snark. But today, I must dismount the wave. Alas, somewhere between the shores of friendly banter and the docks of Christian heritage, the tempest has become a tsunami that threatens to swallow a bit more than just some disposable seaside real estate. The joke has gone wrong. FULL POST

Posted 5/31/16 at 6:57 PM | Mark Ellis

80 Muslim refugees find Jesus in Germany, get baptized

Mass baptism in Hamburg, Germany

By Mark Ellis

A church in Hamburg, Germany recently conducted a mass baptism filled with Muslim converts who had become disillusioned with Islam and were looking for truth.

“The motive for the change of faith is the same for many: they are disappointed with Islam,” Pastor Albert Babajan, of the Alpha Omega Church in Hamburg told Mohabat News.

Shima, one Christian convert who was baptized, said: “I’ve been looking all my life for peace and happiness, but in Islam, I have not found it,” she said. “To be a Christian means happiness to me.”

Another convert, Somaz, said: “In Islam, we always lived in fear. Fear God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. However, Christ is a God of love.”

Pastor Babajan led the baptism ceremony in a city park.

There has been a remarkable move of God among refugees from the Middle East and many have converted to Christianity since their arrival in Germany. FULL POST

Posted 5/25/16 at 7:41 PM | Mark Ellis

After pastor hacked to death, debate continues: Can Christians be employed as butchers?

Pastor Kachila

By Mark Ellis

More than three years have passed since the murder of a Tanzanian pastor, who was inadvertently caught in a riot as Muslims protested against Christians working as butchers.

Muslims are only permitted to eat meat that has been ritually slaughtered, while most Christians have no such restraints. Therefore, it is considered acceptable for only Muslims to work as butchers, even though there is no law to enforce this, according to a report by World Watch Monitor.

In 2013, after Christians in the northwestern city of Buseresere had arranged for a non-Muslim butcher to prepare meat for a Christian funeral reception, Mathayo Kachila, the pastor of the local Assemblies of God church, was hacked to death by rioters.

For several years tension had been building between Muslims and Christians in Buseresere over the issue of animal slaughter. The local government had forbidden non-Muslims from working as butchers, but Christians in the Geita district had begun to do so. FULL POST

Posted 5/23/16 at 12:25 PM | Marvin Thompson

Trump vs Truth: The Evangelical Dilemma

Evangelicalism is at a crossroad. As the upstart Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy has shaken up the political landscape, and more so conservative politics, it has also pushed evangelical conservative politics to the brink of collapse as faith and ideology collide.

From the beginning during the 1980 political campaign for the presidency when the “Moral Majority” waded neck deep into American politics, becoming a political action group to counter the threat of socialism, evangelicalism has taken on an identity that is more associated with politics than with the Gospel of Christ. This is due in no small part to what has become somewhat axiomatic that to be a true evangelical (read: true Christian) a person must politically be a Republican or at least politically conservative. Thus no true evangelical should ever support a candidate with any other political ideology.

So along comes Donald Trump who most recently converted to conservatism from liberalism. Naturally, he deserves a look because of his new found political ideology - just what evangelicals require in a candidate. This year, it seems that is all evangelicals require in a candidate.

Not every evangelical leader is comfortable with the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States of America. In fact, some strong leaders have come out and publicly denounced his candidacy. However, there is growing pressure to “fall in line” because the alternative is anathema. At what price, though, should evangelicals sacrifice evangelical purity at the altar of political expediency? FULL POST

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