What Are You Asking Jesus For?

This year, Barbara and I have completed twelve years of service as your NextGen Ministry Directors. What a privilege it’s been to serve alongside this amazing Network to accomplish our Mission to Develop Effective Leaders and Build Healthy Churches & Ministries.

Here are the four ways we work to achieve this mission.

  1. ENCOURAGING leaders through network connections.
  2. EQUIPPING leaders through ongoing coaching, mentoring and training.
  3. EMPOWERING leaders by providing relevant ministry events and resources for our local churches.
  4. ENLARGING our Network influence by supplying our missionary needs through STL and BGMC.

As we come to the end of this decade and begin the next, I’m reminded of a story we read in Luke’s gospel where Jesus encountered a blind man and ask him a very important question: "What do you want me to do for you?" (Luke 10:51) This got me thinking, how would I respond to this question? What do I want Jesus to do for me?

The Apostle Paul made a powerful proclamation in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” What are you asking Jesus for this year? What are you imagining and dreaming for His church in the coming decade?

As we began this new year and decade, here are a few things Barbara and I are dreaming and asking Jesus for regarding Next Generation Ministries.

  • All OMN churches having a healthy Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.
  • Every one of our NextGen Pastors committed to become an effective leader.
  • 100% church participation in both Speed the Light and Boys & Girls Missionary Challenge.
  • 50% of our churches becoming Grand Club churches by giving at least $1,000 to STL and BGMC.
  • All our OMN Churches engaged in loving and serving their local schools.
  • An abundance of trained and equipped NextGen workers to lead in all our churches.

Ministers, would you please pray and ask God to fulfill these dreams with me?

Barbara and I appreciate the opportunity and trust you have given us and we look forward to this new year.  Please continue to keep our NextGen Workers, Leadership Teams, my assistant Katlin McLean, and our family in your prayers.

We love you all and appreciate the support you have given us over the years as we strive to faithfully fulfill God’s call in our lives here in the Oregon Ministry Network.

What do I want Jesus to do for you?

After twelve years, this month Barbara and I will complete our time of service as your NextGen Ministry Directors. What a privilege it’s been to serve alongside this amazing Network to accomplish our Mission to Develop Effective Leaders and Build Healthy Churches & Ministries. Here are the four main ways we work hard every day to achieve this mission.

  1. ENCOURAGING leaders through network connections.
  2. EQUIPPING leaders through ongoing coaching, mentoring and training.
  3. EMPOWERING leaders by providing relevant ministry events and resources for our local churches.
  4. ENLARGING our Network influence by supplying our missionary needs through STL and BGMC.

As we come to the end of our time. I’m reminded of a story we can read in Luke’s gospel where Jesus encountered a blind man, and ask him a very important question: "What do you want me to do for you?" (Luke 10:51) This got me thinking…

How would I respond to this question? What do I want Jesus to do for me?

The Apostle Paul made a powerful proclamation in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” What are you asking Jesus for this year? What are you imagining and dreaming for His church in the coming decade?

As we began this new decade, here are a few things Barbara and I are dreaming and asking Jesus for regarding the OMN’s Next Generation Ministries.

• All OMN churches having a healthy Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.
• Every one of our NextGen Pastors committed to becoming an effective leader.
• 100% church participation in both Speed the Light and Boys & Girls Missionary Challenge.
• 50% of our churches becoming Grand Club churches by giving at least $1,000 to STL and BGMC.
• All our OMN Churches engaged in loving and serving their local schools.
• An abundance of trained and equipped NextGen workers to lead in all our churches.

Would you please pray and ask God to fulfill these dreams with us for the NextGen Ministries?

Barbara and I have appreciated the opportunity and trust you have given us over the years, and we look forward to what God has in store in the next decade.

Be Blessed!

The Essence of Leadership

I recently heard a presidential candidate declare the office of President of the United States as a management job. My response was, NO, we don’t need a manager in the White House, we need a leader.

Here is how I define a leader: Someone whose godly influence inspires, empowers, and enlists others to willing follow them.

The Apostle Paul stated, “Whoever aspires to be an overseer (leader) desires a noble task.” (1 Timothy 3:1) What’s noble about being a leader? It’s noble because leadership is hard work. It requires character, discipline and faithfulness something many people don’t possess.

In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul proclaims the essence of biblical leadership, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” To me, this is one of the scariest verses in all the Bible. I cannot say what Paul said unless I’m living an example worth following. The church and the world are in desperate need of leaders worth following.

Here are four areas where godly leaders must be a good example.

As a Servant Leader.

A servant leader finds joy in putting others' needs before their own.

This doesn’t come naturally. You don’t believe me? Consider this, when you look at a picture for the first time, with you in it, who do you look at first? It takes extreme effort to battle our selfish human nature and become a servant leader.

As a Front-line Leader

Front-line leaders set high expectations, hold people accountable and lead by example.

In WWII, Dwight Eisenhower was the allied supreme commander of all the forces. To train his generals, he would take a chain and stack it up on the table. Then he would ask the generals, “If I push the chain, which way will it go?” He would hear a lot of different answers. But the correct answer is, you really don’t know. Then he would ask, “If I picked it up by the end and I pulled the chain, which way will it go?” The answer was clear and simple, it will follow wherever you go. Now, this is front-line leadership.

As a Secure Leader.

A secure leader has nothing to prove and no one to impress. They humbly admit they don't have all the answers. They realize if they are the smartest person in the room, they’re likely in the wrong room. Their security comes from God.

As a Growing Leader.

Leadership is a journey and not a destination. The difference between a good leader and a great leader is the great ones continue to grow. They invest time and energy in developing their leadership skills. They read, listen, and attend conferences to become better leaders. Growing leaders take leadership seriously.

As church leaders, may we all be a good example worth following.

NextGen Roundup

Here are this week’s top five resources from around the web:

1) This Weeks Lunch Break Call
“Discipleship in NextGen Ministry” Featuring Latisha Burley

2) 4 (Good) Ways your Hard Kid is Changing You
Understanding “hard” children

3) STL Thank You Video
Video featuring STL missionary from Togo, Africa

4) 9 hours of Instrumental Worship Music
Video resource

5) BGMC Thank You Video
Video featuring BGMC missionaries from Guatemala

Make sure to check out our updated resource page, The Hub.

First-Choice or Second-Choice

Last year I attended our Ministry Network Pastors’ Conference, and one of the guest speakers was pastor and author Jeff Lucas. During the conference Jeff made a profound statement I’ve been wrestling ever since. Here is his quote, “The second-choice life, is when life does not turn out the way you thought it would.” I tend to ponder over things by nature, and this got me thinking how sometimes our first-choice ends up being our second-choice, and our second-choice sometimes ends up being our first-choice.

Two years ago, after much prayer, my wife made the choice to give one of her kidneys to her sister. Walking with her through this decision helped me realize how giving away one of your vital organs is truly an act of love and kindness. This is first-choice living! What came next, we did not expect. One year later my wife received the difficult news that her one remaining kidney was not functioning properly. This caused me to say, “I didn’t think it would turn out this way. Why would this happen to a person who just performed such a heroic act of kindness?” This was not only second-choice, but our last choice.

Have you ever been there? Thinking to yourself, I did not expect it to turn out this way?

Yet I’ve also discovered sometimes our second-choice becomes our first-choice. When Barbara and I first got married, we like most young couples, had our whole life mapped out. We would wait three years and then start our family. What we did not expect was to struggle with infertility for the next 10 years. This was a decade of doubt, loneliness and hopelessness. This was the second-choice life. Then God turned our second-choice into our first-choice when he gave us our son through the gift of adoption. We did not expect it to turn out this way, but we won’t trade him for anything. Our second-choice became our first-choice.

Job understood second-choice living. I’m sure there were plenty of times when he thought, I didn’t think it would turn out this way. It was Job who said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. May the name of the LORD be blessed!” (Job. 1:21 NET)

Job’s response is always the proper way to respond to the second-choice life, as well as the first-choice. In all things might we always say: May the name of the LORD be blessed.

No matter first-choice or second-choice, we must always trust it’s God’s Choice.

NextGen Roundup

Here are this week’s top five resources from around the web:

1) School App for Your Ministry
A tool for communicating with parents and teens

2) Structuring Your Ministry for ADHD Learners
Nurturing faith development requires time

3) STL Thank You Video
A message from Togo, Africa

4) Top 10 YouTube Kids’ Videos
A list of video resources

5) 10 Tips to Make Sunday School Autism-Friendly
Tips from an autistic adult about Sunday School

Make sure to check out our updated resource page, The Hub.

Lord, I Hate Buttermilk!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

Ephesians 3:20

As we stand at the start of a new decade, I find myself pausing to reflect at the past 10 years. For me, I could describe the past 10 years as the good, the bad and the ugly. I have faced them all. I’ve traveled around the world. I’ve dealt with broken bones and bad eyes. I’ve faced the death of multiple loved ones. This causes me to wonder, what does the next decade have in store? What adventures await me? What battles will I face? What pain is going to come my way?

These reflections remind me of a story I recently read of a visiting pastor who attended a men’s breakfast in Midwest, rural America. The group leader asked an old farmer dressed in dirty overalls to say grace before the meal. He removed his dusty cap and began, “Lord, I hate buttermilk!”

Now this caused the visiting pastor to open one eye and glance at the farmer, wondering where this was going. The farmer loudly proclaimed, “Lord, I hate lard, and you know I don’t care much for raw flour.” At that point, the pastor once again opened an eye to peak around the room and saw he wasn’t the only one who was beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable. Then the farmer added, “But Lord, when you mix ’em all together and bake ’em, I do love warm, fresh biscuits. So, Lord, when things come up, we don’t like, when life gets hard, when we just don’t understand what you are sayin’ to us, help us to just relax and wait till you’re done mixin’. And probably it will be somethin’ even better than biscuits. Amen”

Maybe this is what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he said, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

As I look forward towards the next decade, I want to experience more of His power. I want to pray and believe for bigger things. I want to dream for the unimaginable.

How about you?

NextGen Roundup

Here are this week’s top five resources from around the web:

1) This Week’s Lunch Break Call
Travis Timmons 

2) OYC Leaders Only Session
Listen to the recording

3) KC Leaders Only Session
Listen to the recording

4) Give ‘Em the Mic!
Encourage students to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

5) BGMC Around the World Missions Education Curriculum
A resource for Missions Education

Make sure to check out our updated resource page, The Hub.

Six Ways to Say “Thank You” to Volunteers

The volunteers in our churches are my heroes in so many ways. They sacrifice their time, talent and treasure for the ministry. They are not required to be there, but many times they are more committed than those of us who are paid to be there. This is why I always want to ensure I am saying “thank you” and showing them proper appreciation. Here are some effective ways to show appreciation to your volunteers.

Show it privately.Show appreciation in the lobby, after kid’s church, following youth group, or in a personally hand-written note. Just say, “thank you,” and be specific.

Show it publicly.Show appreciation in meetings, in kid’s church, in youth group, and in front of the church. Take every opportunity to brag on your team.

Show it socially.Post a thank you on their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Send them a short text or email. Post a brief video on YouTube. Just let them know you appreciate all they do.

Show it in a gift.A Starbucks or Dutch Bros gift card is a great way to show your appreciation. A book could also help them in their ministry.

Show it over a meal.Show your thanks over dinner. Nothing says, “I appreciate you” more than a slice of home-baked rhubarb pie, and don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!

Show it through prayer.Start a volunteer prayer list. Find out their specific needs and pray with them for God’s favor and answer.

As a church leader, I have learned that you cannot do effective ministry without a team of volunteers. So, make sure they know how valuable they are by saying, “Thank you!”

NextGen Roundup

Here are this week’s top five resources from around the web:

1) How Do I Prioritize My Marriage During Busy Seasons of Ministry?
A video resource from Focus on the Family

2) How to Lead Team Members Well
The success of your ministry rises and falls on the strength of the team you build.

3) 5 Reasons I’m Staying in Youth Ministry
Because you can become a pastor doesn’t mean you should

4) Free Real Giving Curriculum Package
Download this free curriculum resource

5) What Are You Thankful For?
Women in Ministry update from Joy Wilson

Make sure to check out our updated resource page, The Hub.

Join the Club

… Shaya Lindseth a newly appointed missionary to East Africa.

Shaya is part of a team in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that is strategically planting churches where they believe God has positioned them to reach and serve the emerging urban centers of Ethiopia. They are training and equipping the future leaders, church planters, and missionaries who will bring hope to their spheres of influence. Shaya is serving on this team as the worship leader specialist, because of this she needs a 4-wheel drive SUV which will enable her to safely haul sound and music equipment to various church planting locations. This is an incredible opportunity to see transformation flow from Ethiopia into the surrounding regions and all of Africa! You can learn more about this STL project at http://oregonag.org/missions/stl.

Will your Youth Ministry help by being a Grand Club Church?

This winter for BGMC we are partnering with Daren & Heidi Walker in Guatemala. The Walkers have been missionaries for over 10 years and are currently serving in Guatemala with a program called ChildHope. Through ChildHope they serve 22 schools and partnering churches throughout the country. These schools have a critical need for new desks. So, this winter our BGMC Special Project is going help purchase new desks for the kids. Each desk represents a child being discipled and receiving a Christian education. Our BGMC goal this winter is to raise $20,000 to provide 1,000 school desks for needy kids. You can learn more about this BGMC project at http://oregonag.org/missions/bgmc.

Will your Kids Ministry help by being a Grand Club Church?

Note: Year-end BGMC or STL GivingPlease check your records to make sure you have sent in all your BGMC and STL offerings. DO NOT mail offerings to the OMN office but send them directly to the National Resource Center (payable to STL or BGMC – 1445 Boonville Ave – Springfield, MO 65802). To receive 2019 giving credit, The National Resource Center encourages you to mail contributions by December 13, 2019 or no later than December 31, 2019, this will assist them in crediting end-of-year contributions in a timely manner.

NextGen Roundup

Here are this week’s top five resources from around the web:

1) OYC Breakout Videos
Recordings from 2019 OYC

2) What’s Hot: A Weekly List of Hot Cultural Items
Find out what’s trending for today’s youth

3) Pastors as Guardians of Sound Doctrine
Pastors must be theologians and apologists in this world awash in false doctrine

4) See You On My Phone: Apps Spur a New School Prayer Movement
The annual See You at the Pole event has incorporated mobile tools to involve more participants

5) How to Deal with Kids’ Inappropriate Comments
A 2 minute training video

Make sure to check out our updated resource page, The Hub.