IMN’s second Acts 2 Journey (A2J) Discovery Weekend is scheduled for June 28 – 29, 2013. I would strongly encourage you and your leadership team to attend this free weekend. Why?
- Discovery Weekend provides a free opportunity to “test drive” A2J. You will come away with an assessment of your church’s health and you’ll have plenty to discuss with your leadership team.
- It’s an opportunity to meet with your team, providing a shared experience and a common vocabulary to help you steward the leadership of your local church.
- Registration is free. And that includes the lunch on Saturday. (Transportation and lodging are the church’s responsibility.)
- The lead pastors and spouses meet with Ron McManus on Friday from 1 to 6 pm to hear some great insights about healthy churches.
- The vision team (6-15 leaders you’ve chosen from your church) meets with Ron on Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm.
- You and your team can decide whether to participate in the A2J following Discovery Weekend.
- Scholarships are available through AG Trust for church’s under 100 in Sunday morning attendance at the start of A2J.
- Your vision team will develop your mission, vision, values and action steps to become all that God intends you to be.
- Some of your friends have already experienced A2J, and they can give you more information (1st Generation A2J churches include Adel Fusion, Algona Faith, Creston River of Life, Iowa City First, Muscatine First, Mason City First, New Sharon, Newton First, Oskaloosa First, Sioux City Central, Sioux City First). Feel free to contact the pastors of these churches to get a first-hand account of the experience and the results.
- You can discover more at http://www.healthychurchnetwork.com.
Please contact the IMN office (515-276-5493) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
The following information was released from AG News this week:
Few would call pastoring a small rural church “glamorous.” In fact, for most people, it takes nothing short of an undeniable calling from God to have the faith to step out into the face of what many see as insurmountable odds. Laced with financial, vocational and locational challenges, the small rural church pastor and his family know firsthand the meaning of sacrifice and the times when faith is quite literally all that remains.
Recognizing the caliber of person it takes to embrace the rural church challenge, the Assemblies of God is working to provide increased communication, support and resources to the men and women and their families who minister to rural America.
According to AG Statistician Sherry Doty, many AG churches are small and often rural churches with less than 100 people attending. Doty says that more than 60 percent of all AG churches in the United States have 99 or fewer people attending ‹ well over 7,700 churches!
Key AG-affiliated ministries currently working to specifically meet the needs of the rural church pastor include Rural Compassion, the Healthy Church Network and the online AG Small Church Forum.
Rural Compassion, founded by Steve Donaldson, is now a department of Convoy of Hope. The ministry partners with the Assemblies of God to offer rural churches several levels of help, beginning with the pastor, then the church and finally the community.
“Rural Compassion comes alongside and empowers pastors to dream big dreams for their communities,” states Kim Harvey, U.S. missionary and Rural Compassion team member. “We encourage and counsel the pastor and their church in vital community projects as well as offer ideas and tips we have learned.”
In addition to offering coaching, mentoring and training opportunities to pastors, Rural Compassion supplies materials to help churches reach out to their communities, including school supplies, hygiene kits, food, shoes and even Bibles to give to community leaders such as law enforcement, firefighters and teachers.
“We help the church become the center of their community by becoming a spiritually-based serving center for the benefit of the community,” Donaldson explains. Rural Compassion also comes alongside rural churches in both poverty relief and disaster response situations.
Mike Clarensau, senior director of the Healthy Church Network, says that one of the most impacting resources offered by the Health Church Network is the Acts 2 Journey, with smaller churches being eligible for an AG Trust scholarship.
“Although the Acts 2 Journey is designed for use by churches of all sizes, more than 80 percent of the churches that participate have under 200 in attendance,” Clarensau says. “In the Acts 2 Journey, we work with pastors and leadership teams in achieving the goals of the journey and consult with them by phone and, sometimes, in person.”
Clarensau says that the Healthy Church Network representatives also spend significant time fielding questions.
“There are a multitude of questions that a small rural church pastor may not have a readily available and experienced friend to turn to for an answer,” Clarensau says. “We handle questions concerning conflict situations, church growth, how to assimilate people, how to lead a church in vision and so on.”
In addition, Clarensau writes a weekly blog
(http://www.healthychurchnetwork.net) that focuses mainly on the small church and the department is regularly engaged in research projects designed to better understand how to minister effectively to smaller congregations.
Ministry Coach TV (http://www.ministrycoach.tv), a ministry partner of My Healthy Church, also offers a five-session course on transforming the smaller congregation.
“Through the different avenues of ministry to the smaller church,”
Clarensau says, “we want to bring a renewed hope and discovery of potential to the small church pastor and his congregation. The Ministry Coach TV course, in particular, offers pastors principles that help them to know where to focus their energies and develop a vision for their church.”
Pastors and ministry leaders of small Assemblies of God churches now also have an online haven designed just for them ‹ the AG Small Church Forum Facebook page.
“I see this forum as a place for small church pastors to connect in order to share ideas on ministering in the small church context,”
says Richard Schoonover, “Enrichment” journal associate editor and creator of the Facebook forum page. “I also see it as a place for small church ministers to find encouragement in what others have done and what might work in their communities, to build friendships, prayer support and share resources that could help other ministers.”
Schoonover explains that small churches and the pastors who lead them often have fairly significant financial limitations.
Opportunities for travel, attending conferences, meeting with peers ‹ instances where struggles can be discussed and ideas interchanged ‹ are limited or non-existent. Schoonover sees the creation of AG Small Church Forum as an effort to ease the isolation.
The three ministries agree, however, that simply because a church is small, it doesn’t mean it’s ineffective or not a vital part of its community. In many cases, the opposite is true. But now, this trio of ministries is doing their best to come alongside and help ease some of the challenges the small church pastor experiences.
For more information about Rural Compassion, see its website at http://RuralCompassion.org. To learn more about the Healthy Church Network, go to http://healthychurchnetwork.com. To view the AG Small Churches Forum and request permission to join the group, see its Facebook page at http://s2.ag.org/scforum.
by Lori Jacobs
Of all the interesting stories told about the Titanic disaster, one of my favorite involves a wealthy woman who had a place on one of the lifeboats. After begging to return to her stateroom for something, she was given 3 minutes. Stepping over money, jewels, and precious gems littering her cabin floor, she grabbed 3 oranges and returned to the lifeboat. Circumstances transformed her values and her perspective was changed. She chose what would give her life over material possessions.
Sometimes we are tempted to focus on things we want or think we need, but they are not life-giving. I love Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…”
As we enter the Thanksgiving season, let’s pray for our hearts to be enlightened.
Let’s pursue the things which are life giving. Demonstrate love through service, gratitude and acts of kindness–resisting the desire to reach for material possessions that will never fill the empty places in our lives.
by Cary Van Kampen
We read a Facebook quote from our great niece, Balie Benson, who attends NDSU.
I just thought I would let you know that what ever it is that is bothering you or bringing you down right now…It’s all gonna get better.
As we enter the month of giving thanks, we will attempt to rejoice in the Lord always and in everything, by prayer and petition, “with thanksgiving”, present our requests to God.
As a matter of perspective, we feel our transit to work each day from Pella to Des Moines and back is rather rigorous. In “Beek’s” barber shop this morning, one of the many topics of discussion was the Pella girl who, on the radio, was given the award for the most “rigorous” transit to work—up at 2:30 AM, to Des Moines airport to try to get on a standby flight to Atlanta, to fly as an international stewardess to somewhere overseas. If no standby is available in Des Moines, she then drives to Kansas City or Omaha to try for a standby seat there!
Perspective: Thank you Lord for our tiny little trip to work and back!
by Cary Van Kampen
Even though my dad would rather be working with the livestock on our family farm, he still put great effort into raising and harvesting our grain crops. Most of our grain went into feed for our livestock, so that always helped him to think the field work was a great benefit to his livestock. Even though my dad has farmed for over 50 years he works very hard to stay up to date on the inputs (fertilizer, chemicals, seeds) and processes (different types of equipment, soil conversation practices, technical processes of working a field) required to raise great crops.
Of all the pieces of implement equipment my dad owns, it is his combine he works the hardest to maintain. A few years ago, my dad realized he had to keep gearing down his combine speed to could handle the amount of bushels per acre going through it. There was nothing wrong with his combine. The problem was that it was designed to handle 120 to 150 bushels of corn to an acre. My dad’s corn was producing, at times, over 200 bushels per acre. My dad knew his combine was in good shape, but he needed to either reduce his production or make a change with his combine. Since a farmer never wants to decrease production, it was not a difficult decision to make.
How is the production of souls at your church? Maybe it isn’t what it used to be or it isn’t what it should be. Would some upgrade in your church’s processes produce more for the Kingdom. Though what’ you’re doing may not be wrong, it is always good to ask, “Is what we are doing relevant to our community’s needs?” “What adjustments will produce a greater Kingdom harvest?”
by Cary Van Kampen
Fall is my favorite season. Being raised on my parents’ Iowa farm I loved coming home from school to go out into the fields and help my dad by hauling in the wagon loads of grain. After months of performing the proper tasks at the appropriate stages of raising corn and soybeans, the fall tasks of harvesting were so rewarding to me to see the product of all our efforts and time.
There were a few learning stages for me as I worked through the years of harvest with my dad: learning how to drive in a field with a full wagon of grain so the wagon would stay level and not tip grain over the side; learning not only how to drive two wagons behind a tractor down the road, but also how to turn left on a highway with traffic.
The task I still love doing is unloading on the go. My dad would drive the combine down the rows of grain while I came beside him with a tractor and wagon, adjusting my speed and wagon location so we could auger out the grain from the combine’s hopper to the wagon without having to stop the combine. What a time saver!
Then came the day when my dad taught me how to drive the combine. My dad taught me more than driving a combine. He taught me how to run the combine. There are so many moving parts on the combine that my dad taught me the feel and noises of the different aspects of the combine. I could even hear a bearing going out before it became so hot and started a grain dust fire and feel when the rollers were working too hard, crushing the beans rather than just crushing the bean pods so the beans would fall out.
My dad taught me so much in steps and stages over the years during harvest. During one of the busiest times on a farm my dad would take time to teach me rather than just do it himself. What a great leadership lesson my dad understood! It took extra time in the beginning, but over time it paid great dividends for my dad and his farm. When I made mistakes he encouraged me to, “Keep at it, Son,” and talked about how those practical lessons also had many life and relationship applications.
My dad is a great father but he doesn’t even realize how he is a great leader and has taught me how to develop leadership in those around me. What are you & your leadership team doing in patiently teaching the younger generation how to be leaders? What are we doing by example for the younger generation to multiple themselves into others? Jesus talked about laborers needed for the harvest. I’m sure he knew there needed to leaders didn’t just lead by multiplied themselves so there will be a great harvest. How are you & your leadership team multiplying for the Kingdom’s harvest?
by Aaron Rust
Growing up in North Central Kansas as a wheat farmer’s son, I became keenly aware that the harvest was the single most important event on the farm. Yes, there were other jobs, such as weed control, fertilization, tillage, and the like. But all these activities were for not if the farm failed to have a harvest.
Knowing we will have a harvest, we work hard to accomplish all tasks. Our worship, teaching, fellowship, etc, must be done view that we will obtain a harvest if we do not give up! (Gal 6:9)