Church & Ministry
Posted 10/7/15 at 6:59 PM | Karen Kramer
Focus on the Family initiated Bring Your Bible to School Day last year and an estimated 8000 students brought a Bible to their public school. Not ashamed to declare their faith and express religious freedom, it is hoped that tomorrow, October 8th, 100,000 students across America will participate. This can be a powerful, yet remarkable demonstration for students to share their faith with fellow students. Focus on the Family believes the Bible should be celebrated not shunned. Click here to visit the Bring Your Bible to School website. The Word of God is a powerful weapon, and students should be encouraged to carry it. Indeed, we all should.>
Posted 10/7/15 at 3:03 PM | Ron Edmondson
As a leader, one of your primary roles is developing and maintaining the health of the team. What do you do when team members aren’t getting along with each other? How should you handle conflict on a team?
In my post 10 Tips for Handling Conflict, I primarily address team members individually working together to address conflict. The question I receive is: What happens when conflict escalates to the point where a leader’s input is needed?
First, I would say the leader being involved should be rare. Very rare. Most problems need to be handled individually. If it’s occurring frequently you may have the wrong people on the team or a bigger issue to address.
Conflict never goes away on it’s own. It usually only gets worse with time. In fact, conflict is a necessary aspect of a healthy team, so to avoid it keeps the team from discovering the best answers to issues and allows unhealthy tension to remain. I like to give conflict some time to work itself out among team members, but not long enough to disrupt the team’s progress or jeopardize the health of the team. When the team starts choosing team member’s sides of an issue and the conflict begins to be disruptive I know it’s time for me to address it as the leader. FULL POST
Posted 10/7/15 at 11:56 AM | Liz Kujawa
Griffin Capital Funding closed a loan for a church in Denver, Colorado that wanted to purchase a sanctuary and move out of their leased space. The church had strong leadership through their pastor who had been with the church since its inception in 2008 and an active membership of 251 people.
The church found the perfect property for their congregation with land that included a cell tower with a long-term lease to a major carrier. There is also a multi-use building on the property that can be used for church functions and rented out for events to help generate income.
When all of these factors were analyzed by Griffin Capital Funding’s Senior Vice President, Mike Brewer, he was able to offer the church a mortgage that was fixed for 25 years. Mike Brewer commented that “We were able to offer the church a product that mimics a residential mortgage in that it is a fixed rate for the term of the loan. This is very uncommon in the commercial world. The church was happy, the pastor was happy, and the church can move forward and grow without worrying about an impending balloon in their future.”
The church received a 25 year fixed rate of 6.25% and has settled into their new home. If your church is in need of financing, please contact one of our loan officers to help you find the best loan scenario and lowest interest rate available. Griffin Capital Funding can be reached by visiting www.churchloan.net or calling (800) 710-6762.
Posted 10/2/15 at 11:55 AM | Yvonne Perkins
Once again we watch in horror at yet another story of murder unfold before our eyes. True intercessors will recognize this for what it is; manifestation of demonic activity. During the month of October we must be vigilant about using our authority of binding up evil and losing the power of God in the name of Jesus. We must be deliberate in lifting up the name of Jesus, the glory of God to counter attack satanic power and influence. We must shift the atmosphere and invoke the presence and glory of God to rest upon the earth.
It is not enough to bind up the strongman of murder and all attached demons but we must lose something in its place. We must lose the power of God’s glory to cover the earth. Ask God for a season of peace and love. Ask God to send the warring angels to assist us in this fight and dethrone every unclean ruling spirit over the region. There is a great need for intercessors throughout the land to begin to pray from the positon of heaven according to the word of God that we are seated in heavenly places with Christ (Eph 2:5-6). From this position we are above the problem, not on the same level of the problem. Intercessors across the land must declare the Blood of Jesus over every gate entrance to the city, in the air space, land and water. God stands ready to move on our behalf but is waiting on us to act on his word and ask him to stretch out his hands. FULL POST
Posted 10/1/15 at 5:27 PM | Karen Kramer
Time seemed deliberately slow as I watched last Sunday’s blood moon. As I waited, I thought about all of those prophetic warnings the blood moon signified—global unrest, financial disasters, food shortages, even the beginning of the end of the world. Some of those warnings are warranted—there are food shortages, global unrest; even unrest in our communities, financial disasters, and without question, there's evil.
But Monday came, not the end of the world.
Christians aren’t the only faith groups that talk about the end-times, but it seems for some Christians it takes on an urgency that others view as whacky. Especially when we read about some living in bunkers waiting for God’s pending judgment on the world.
In full disclosure, during Y2K, I purchased food supplies ahead of the computer crash crisis. January 2000 arrived without dire consequences and eventually we ate the extra food. FULL POST
Posted 9/30/15 at 7:12 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis and Hasset Anteneh
In Finland, where heavy metal is mainstream, a movement melding the lyrics of traditional hymns with the snarl of hard rocking ‘Metal Mass’ is drawing sinners through churches’ doors.
In 2006, Haka Kekalainen, a pastor with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, decided with four other heavy metal aficionados to do the unthinkable: wedding their passion for rock with their love for the Rock.
“We didn’t change the lyrics of the hymns,” says Kekäläinen, a 50-year-old with a ponytail who drops his leather clothes for priestly garb on Sundays. “We only changed the musical arrangements to fit the rhythms of metal music. The hymns contain some very cruel words. It fits with metal music.”
The first “mass” where metal hymns were played was packed by 1,300 in the Temppeliaukio Church of Helsinki, Kekalainen, according to the website This is Finland. More than 100 similar Metal Masses have been offered throughout Finland since then, and all 8,000 copies of the subsequent album Metallimessu were snapped up. The recording hit #12 on Finnish billboard charts and stayed in the top 40 for three weeks. FULL POST
Posted 9/30/15 at 3:34 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis
Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed in early September for refusing to sign the marriage licenses of homosexual couples, met secretly with Pope Francis at his request in Washington D.C.
The stunning clandestine meeting was first revealed by Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican. “It was, arguably, the most significant meeting, symbolically, of the entire trip,” Moynihan noted. “It should, therefore, be brought to the attention of the public, both in the Church, and in the secular world.”
Vatican officials recognized the meeting might spark controversy or risk politicizing a pastoral trip, and that is why it was kept secret, according to Moynihan.
But Francis also had a desire to meet with a person who has taken a controversial stand due to her conscience — even at the risk of jail – and vilification by a broad swath of the political landscape. FULL POST
Posted 9/29/15 at 4:22 PM | Joseph Duffus
(UPDATING to correct that the PCUSA's Constitution gave the southern churches eight years to withdraw from the merged denomination, not ten as I said earlier. The provision is found in at G-4.0208.)
In his Call to the Church, PCUSA Moderator Heath Rada admitted to a lack of trust he senses across the denomination and calls for immediate discussions about how to move forward.
Can we even move forward? Is the breakdown between Louisville and the pew-dwellers so advanced that a re-think of how the PCUSA works makes sense?
Those discussions, which he promises to lead, are necessary and overdue. There are fundamental questions raised in his Call that don’t have easy or comfortable answers.
When the PCUSA denomination formed through merger in the 1980s, the southern churches were offered an eight-year window during which they could back out, property intact, from PCUSA. (G-4.0208) Why not offer that again?
Distrust is his main theme. Conservative churches are considering leaving because of the theological drift of the past 10 years. They no longer trust the denomination to find them pastoral candidates who will support their interpretation of Scripture. They no longer trust PCUSA to spend their money on causes they can support and be proud of, nor trust or rely on them to produce acceptable Bible study materials and prioritize the dwindling resources of a shrinking arm of the Body of Christ. Worst of all, they no longer trust that PCUSA is committed to any essential tenets of presbyterian understanding of the faith. FULL POST
Posted 9/29/15 at 2:57 PM | Kristi Porter
The Orange Conference, a conference for entire family ministry teams, will be held April 27–29, 2016, in Atlanta. Over 6,000 key influencers—senior, NextGen, student, children’s and preschool leaders—will gather to learn new insights into influencing the faith and character of the next generation.
This year’s theme, “Every Week, Monday Is Coming,” will help family ministry teams discover how to make what they do on Sunday matter more during the rest of the week. Monday is when reality hits. Monday is when Sunday is tested. Monday is when faith has to work. So what if what you do every Sunday could matter more if you remember what really matters to most people on Monday? This topic will lead the discussion at The Orange Conference 2016.
Every year thousands of family ministry teams attend to get realigned, hear new ideas, discover resources and answers that are specific to their needs, network with innovators, bond as a team and have fun. And with over 100 different breakouts offered during the three-day event, attendees can attend with their team but choose topics that relate to their specific role. FULL POST
Posted 9/26/15 at 6:54 PM | Mike Stickler
Everyone involved in a local church knows that Stewardship matters. Dependent on one’s involvement in the church, this may be a “job” that needs to be done or it may seem like a burden for the casual member. After all, a local church must meet its expenses for staff, buildings, music and other programs.
Regrettably, Stewardship is often addressed as a need and is not rooted in a vision. Anyone who knows us at all at the Vision Group will know that from our perspective, stewardship fundraising based on need is not recommended. Vision based stewardship, however, is filled with possibility for reasons well beyond the funding of the church budget.
For churches, scripture is filled with vision from Genesis to Revelation. I have often spoken of Nehemiah with regard to vision and the mission that develops from that. I tend more to look at Revelation 20 (probably because I love its grandiosity!). The point being that what is really needed to make sense of stewardship for everyone in the church is a vision that is clear and compelling around which the church can unite. I’d encourage you to experience our free webinar on The Most Common Reason You’re Not Funded to understand how critical vision is to any fundraising agenda.