As you minister in the local church, you likely grapple with issues and are responsible for leading in areas that range from the health of your ministry’s discipleship and evangelism to risk management and campus security. You likely wrestle personally and with others on your church staff about church vitality and day in and day out operations. Are there answers out there? Is anyone having conversations about current needs and trends?
As I have scanned the horizon for resources that are solid, I continue to be grateful for how Thom Rainer shares his insights on church health and leadership. Many would be familiar with books he has authored like I Am a Church Member, Simple Church and Transformational Church. But I want to highlight a couple of resources beyond these solid books.
One is thomrainer.com. There are varied outlets here from the blog to podcasts. The links and resources are strong, but most importantly this resource is free. I appreciate this site and it has a permanent home in my tabs.
A click up from this free site is a new (to me) resource I have been using for the past couple of months. It also has a home in my tabs, churchanswers.com. No matter the church size, and no matter the location, as you connect online with this resource you will be part of a monthly “virtual staff meeting” with Rainer and other leaders. Each month he walks us through a current issue within the church. Let’s say you cannot make that meeting – every meeting and all resources connected to that meeting are archived on the site. Beyond the “virtual staff meetings” are other resources, like a leadership forum where you can easily find conversations and content related to a myriad of issues. Check it out.
Thanks Dr. Rainer for the resources. And minister, thanks for leading! Keep going! Please comment on any of these resources, but especially share about anything you have found that is helping you in ministry.
My family and I returned to the SBC this year in Dallas. My parents attended as well as messengers from their home church. Mom and Dad talked with me today about the US Vice President speaking to the convention Wednesday and the stir that created (security etc). But we hearkened back to a 1976 appearance of our US President when we were present at that convention. Obviously, I have been to a few SBC’s through the years! US Politics aside, this convention did not fail to have its ups and downs, times of encouragement and discouragement; things to praise and things to confess and repent. But, overall I left this year’s Southern Baptist Convention heartened and encouraged about our future. Why?
Clear mission. While a massive entity made up of thousands of churches representing millions of people, the SBC is bulky and perhaps clunky, but healthy. My home church sent voting messengers to the meeting, as all SBC participating churches can and should. For the differences among churches and individuals, we clearly unite around the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. And, we are clearly united around partnering together to send that message globally.
Clarifying meetings. Beyond our unifying mission, churches that comprise the SBC give financially through the Cooperative Program. By the Lord’s hand, the CP funds our efforts to partner together to equip, resource and deploy our energies in the Great Commission. This happens through Mission Boards, Seminaries, our voice in the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and through powerful ministry aid like Disaster Relief. Our annual meetings shine a light on that work; accountability if you will. The older I get the more I realize everyone has a boss. Listen, all we do in the SBC can be clarified or called into question by any messenger at any microphone at our annual meetings. This is good. In the end, we all get the privilege to show up, pray and worship at our gathering, listen, give input or speak up if needed, and most importantly vote. I heard one fellow mention, “this is why we don’t do business meetings at our church anymore.” Really, that is sad. Our polity and local ecclesiology is set up to be quite flat and in the end, purposefully shared. An influential pastor in my life realizes the importance of this shared responsibility in business meetings in the form of forcing communication. If decisions are going to be made – the content about those decisions must be shared.
Humble Champions. Look, no one is or should be an idol and no one should be put on a pedestal. AND it is refreshing and encouraging to find faithful leaders who are compelling us to the future. Number one, there are the 79 we sent to the nations, leaving heart and home to share the Gospel. There were the heartfelt stories of the Pomeroy’s of FBC Sutherland Springs, TX who have ministered faithfully in the midst of unimaginable grief and are pressing on to a new day! There were the bold, transparent and solid words of our Seminary Presidents like interim SWBTS president Dr. Jeffrey Bingham, in the wake of a tide of sobering, bold and clear needed changes. And many more are faithfully following Christ and serving! Listen, I thank the Lord for H.B. Charles, Bart Barber, J.D. Greear, Felix Cabrera, Russell Moore, Tate Cockrell, David Platt, and many many more, faithfully following Christ. And there are those who serve that are not on the platform so to speak – champions that serve on the committees and boards of the SBC bearing as we have seen in recent days, burdens of responsibility that create personal anguish and the need for bold decision making – for no pay, no accolades, and perhaps no recognition.
I’ve been going to the SBC for over 40 years. We have weathered much through the years. There will be more storms ahead. But, as Augie Boto reminded us, this old ship is sturdy, and at the helm are new vibrant leaders humbly following the Lord. I hope and pray when Jennifer and I join in the convention halls with our kids and grandkids in the future we also reminisce about this current group of leaders, commission new servants in the Kingdom, and commit to stay focused on the Word and the Gospel.
Thanks for visiting my site and I hope you find it encouraging. My wife, Jennifer, and I have been married since 1994. We have two fun teenagers! I am incredibly proud of them. I grew up in Eastern Oklahoma, and have had the opportunity to travel worldwide – with more places I hope to visit.
2020 marks my 30th year in ministry in the local church. We have served in churches large and small in Oklahoma and Texas. Jennifer and I are blessed for this ministry journey having served in Student, Counseling, Family, Single-Adult, Education and in Executive Pastor roles.
I completed a step in my journey to serve churches by becoming a Certified Church Consultant in 2019. This path helped me to reinforce the knowledge gained through 30 years of ministry.
I would be so glad to help established churches through a more traditional and comprehensive style of consultation and that can be done by simply reaching out to me at email@example.com.
I am also available to help lead church plants and church revitalization by assessing where they are, and we they believe the Lord is leading! There are some great tools available that will give a clear snapshot of opportunities for insight and growth. For more information, contact me and also check out the Revitalization Bundle HERE.
Personal and Organizational Leadership Development
I am grateful for the leadership and organizational development I have experienced through GiANT Worldwide. Experiences with GiANT have shaped much of my practical style of leadership. It has been a joy to lead others personally and in groups with GiANT for the last few years. Thank you for the opportunities GiANT. If you have interest in more information about GiANT, one simple way is to visit GiANTtv. There is a special introductory offer for this valuable resource by using the code “raygriffinonline” when you register.
Couples and Families
For couples and families, I use a blend of resources gleaned through years of Pastoral Care and Counseling. Some tools I am qualified to use for assessing relational health and a framework for growth are the Prepare-Enrich, SYMBIS and Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis assessments.