church planting

Renovation Church – Launch Sunday Recap!

10-15-17 PART 1

I’m still in awe of what God did this past Sunday at Renovation Church. I had the incredible honor of preaching from John 3 and explaining why our church would be rooted & sustained by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that we would not lift up Renovation Church but rather Jesus Christ and unite with other churches in the area to help people know Jesus and make Him known.

Here are a few highlights of this past Sunday!

Attendance: We had over 80 people in attendance for the service. We actually had to add 5 extra rows of chairs than what we normally have for Sunday mornings!

First Time Guests: We had 6 first time guests who had never attended one of our services as The Rescue Church.

Meal: After the service we had an incredible team of volunteers provide a great lunch for everyone who came. The vast majority of people were able to stay after the service and enjoy the food. We even got the Vikings v. Packers game on for the football fans!

Generosity: I am still amazed at God’s generosity through His people this past Sunday. Our offering was FOUR TIMES our weekly expenses. In other words, through one Sunday we covered all of our expenses for the month of October. To give some context, we become “Renovation Church” on Monday, October 9th with exactly $0.00 in our bank account. I was extremely stressed and plagued with doubt leading up to our first Sunday – could we even afford to be our own church? I can testify that God is truly a provider for His people.

More than anything, we were faithful to what God called us to do. My goal is not to grow a large church or gain a personal platform. I pray that our church can have the same attitude as John the Baptist – that Jesus must increase while we decrease (John 3:30). As He continues to provide for our church we are planning on releasing many of our people to plant churches throughout the area – especially in rural communities. Our goal is plant our first autonomous church by 2022.

We are just a bunch of nobodies trying to tell everybody about Somebody. Let’s make Jesus famous!

P.S. – If you live in the Garretson/Sioux Falls/Pipestone/Luverne area we would love to have you as our guest. We meet on Sundays at 10am at the Garretson school. For more information, head to our website – www.renovationchurchsd.com 

The Terrible Weight of Pastoral Ministry

PastoralMinistry

This is the ninth post in a series of reflections based on Jared Wilson’s book “The Pastor’s Justification.”


P.S. – This will be a longer blog post. One of the best ways that I process concepts is through writing. Truthfully, this post is probably more for me than anyone else!

We are a few short months from completely transitioning the Garretson Campus into an autonomous church plant. In the past few weeks, I have been spending hours researching church leadership – all while fueled by copious amounts of caffeine! It seems to me that the healthiest form of church government is to have a church led by a team of Elders who are committed to making disciples who make disciples.

The office of Elder is interchangeable with the office of pastor. In other words you can correctly call a pastor either an “elder” or a “pastor.” This means that those who function in the role of Elder should be functioning as pastors – not just business leaders who vote on the church budget!

Jared Wilson explains the terrible weight of this ministry in this way:
With the double honor of 1 Timothy 5:17 is the double responsibility of James 3:1.

As I wrestle with the development of elders/pastors in our church, I want to meditate on these two texts and see what we can learn from them.


1 Timothy 5:17
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

1. It is the elders – not the congregation – who direct the affairs of the church. There are numerous forms of church government and the majority of rural churches practice a congregational form of leadership. In other words, the church holds business meetings and all the members vote on major decisions (hiring/firing staff, nomination of new elders, expansion of a building, etc). Contrary to this, it seems that the Scriptures teach that the healthiest form of church government is for each congregation to have a plurality of elders/pastors who lead the church & shepherd the people.

2. These elders are worthy of double honor. Literally, they are worthy of a double “honorarium.” Paul is speaking about honoring them by holding them in high regard and also honoring them by providing a healthy salary. Unfortunately, we will not be able to pay salaries for our elders since we are a small church but that is the goal we will work towards.

3. Some elders are focused on preaching & teaching. All the Elders in a church have to be able to teach the Bible (2 Timothy 2:24). Nevertheless, there is usually a “Teaching Elder” or “Teaching Pastor” who preaches the majority of the messages and leads from the pulpit. In our new church, I will be the one filling this role.


James 3:1
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

1. The majority of people should not teach the Bible on Sunday mornings. All Christians have a responsibility to instruct one another with the Scriptures but very few should stand before a congregation and proclaim the Word of God. Only those that hold to and are able to defend sound doctrine & sound living should teach the people of God corporately. This means that those who are not able to lead their household as their first ministry by shepherding their spouse and kids should never attempt to lead God’s church (1 Timothy 3:5).

2. Everyone who teaches the Bible should be extremely fearful. The Elders/Pastors who regularly teach the Scriptures must consider the terrible burden of representing the limitless God through human speech. We are prone to pride and fits of anger – even in the pulpit. We must plead with God to crush our pride and bring supernatural humility each time we open the Scriptures. Practically, I pray each morning (out loud for the congregation to hear) that if I say anything contrary to the Scriptures I pray my words fall on deaf ears.

3. Elders/Pastors who teach the Bible will be judged with greater strictness than those who do not. Practically, we are judged by those that listen to our messages. Often the first person to be attacked in a church is the pastor because he is the person who represents the congregation. Even more terrifying than being judged by people, we will give an account to God for how we exercised leadership in His church. We will be held accountable for every careless word that we speak.


Do you have other Scriptures in mind that help clarify the role of an elder/pastor? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment!

A Word to Young Leaders (Featured on a Podcast!)

podcast

I have the honor of being featured on the latest “Small Town Big Church” podcast with my good friend Chase Riber. This is a podcast hosted by Pastor Jon Sanders, the Lead Pastor of The Rescue Church. For more information on the podcast, you can read my review of it HERE.

Below is a brief description of this episode:

“In this podcast episode I interview Pastor Chase Riber and Pastor Tyler Ramsbey, two young leaders who serve on The RESCUE Church team. In the interview we discuss the topic of being young in ministry. What are some of the challenges? What are some of the advantages? I pray that this interview will encourage other young leaders to pursue their dreams of serving in pastoral leadership. I also pray that this interview will encourage older pastors to be committed to identifying, recruiting, and mentoring young leaders within their church.”

To listen to the Podcast and read the show notes, go here! – A Word to Young Leaders


Be sure to head to www.jonsanders.org to listen to other episodes, watch past messages, and read his blog.

Small Town, Big Church (Rural Ministry!)

ruralministry

Being in ministry can definitely be tough at times.

Pastors NEED encouragement and teaching. Something that I have noticed in the Evangelical world is that the vast majority of teaching geared towards pastors has a focus from a Mega-church perspective – which definitely makes sense. If you are the pastor of a church with 2,000+ people, you are going to have a much larger platform than a pastor of a 100-person church.

Don’t get me wrong, mega-churches are not evil and small churches are not automatically holy.

I pastor a campus of The Rescue Church and our vision is to plant healthy church campuses in small communities. I am a pastor in a town of about 1,200 people and I am always searching for solid resources that apply to rural ministry.

I want to invite you to check out Pastor Jon Sander’s podcast “Small Town Big Church”. Jon is the senior pastor (and founding pastor) of The Rescue Church and I have the honor of working alongside him. He has 10+ years of experience in rural ministry and I believe this podcast would be extremely helpful; ESPECIALLY if you are a pastor or church leader in a rural setting.

Check it out here!

Three Vices of Ministry

Scripture

Ministry is exhausting yet rewarding; brutal yet satisfying; ugly yet beautiful.

Virtually every believer in Jesus Christ would agree with that statement. There is a false belief that one becomes a minister when he/she receives a spiritual title and job description. Contrary to this belief, Scripture teaches that all Christians are called to be ministers and priests – some have the privilege of working in paid ministry; others have the honor of doing ministry without a specific salary.

I believe there are many temptations in ministry; vocational ministry has specific vices that have historically plague the evangelical church. Below are three things that I have learned since I began vocational ministry. I am a Campus Pastor for The Rescue Church and have been responsible for launching The Rescue Church in Garretson, SD.


 

  1. Do NOT neglect your walk with Jesus for ministry.

This is arguably one of the largest temptations of vocational ministry. The vast majority of pastors do not read their Bible or pray outside of a church context. They spend hours studying Scripture in order to form a teaching and yet spend no time getting to know the author of the very Scriptures they are reading. Sadly, it is extremely easy to follow in the footsteps of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day – “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” (John 5:39)

If you are in a paid ministry position or are pursuing a specific calling, do NOT neglect personal time with Jesus. It is one thing to know the history, context, grammar, and language of the Bible. It is a much more satisfying experience to know the God who inspired the biblical text.

 

  1. Do NOT find your identity in ministry.

This was one of the biggest struggles I had when I began to work vocationally for The Rescue Church. Anytime that a person sets off to plant a church in a new community, discouragement and doubt will plague his/her mind. In the community that we are planting the church, there was a church plant before us that failed. Especially in the beginning months of planting the campus, I wrestled with thoughts of failure. Every pastor, whether they admit it or not, battle against these same thoughts.

We need to remember that our identity is not found in what we do, it is found in what Jesus has already done. Pastor, regardless of whether you fail or succeed, Jesus is still Lord and Savior. God has not called you to be a mega-church pastor; he has called you to be faithful. Everything that you need to go to the next level in your life and ministry, God has ALREADY provided. Be a faithful steward with what He has given you.

Do not let success or apparent failure drive you to narcissism or depression. Worship Jesus not your ministry.

 

  1. Do NOT sacrifice your family to ministry.

This is perhaps one of the biggest issues that pastors struggle with. In ancient times, people would sacrifice their children to false gods. Many pastors who are in vocational ministry are sacrificing their children and wives to the false god of ministry. Before you enter into vocational ministry, PLEASE identify your priorities. I am a husband before I am a pastor. The needs of my wife come before the needs of the church.

No pastor would say he is trying to sacrifice his family to ministry and yet it happens all the time. If you are a pastor, on behalf of your family, I urge you to examine your life. If you are gone every day and evening in order to be a “successful” pastor you may succeed in growing your church but you will fail in being a husband and father.

I promise you that your church can have a multitude of different pastors; your wife only gets one husband and your kids only get one father. Be willing to give up your job in vocational ministry if it means saving your marriage and family.

 

 


 

If you were to come up with a list of temptations in ministry, what would you place as the top three? Do you agree with me? Disagree with me? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think!