Monday, March 31, 2008

Top 10 Tips for Working with Technology Vendors

Sound and multimedia technologies have become fairly common needs in most churches. However, many Pastors do not have a great deal of expertise in these areas and must rely on other sources for consultation, purchase information, installation, and training regarding sound and multimedia projects.

The good news is that you don't have to personally be an expert in order to make good decisions that will result in a nice setup for the church. There are many companies that have great expertise in these areas that would love to have you as a customer. Here are the "Top 10 Tips" that may save you money and headaches in working with A/V and IT sales, installation, and service companies.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Expansion of Pentecostalism

Pentecostalism Dramatically Changing the U.S. Religious Landscape

According to recent research by the Barna Group, the number of American adults in the general population who are Pentecostal or charismatic has increased from 30% to 36% over the past decade. Today, over 80 million Americans claim this designation.

The Barna studies concluded that an individual is Pentecostal or charismatic if all of the following criteria is met: he/she claims to be a charismatic or Pentecostal Christian, he/she claims having been “filled with the Holy Spirit”, and he/she believes that “the charismatic gifts, such as tongues and healing, are still valid and active today.”

Clearly Pentecostals and other charismatic groups are growing and expanding with respect to the general population. However, the role of Pentecostalism has made even more of a dramatic impact with respect to its influence on the practice of American Christianity.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Tabernacle Plan

Most Apostolics know that the Tabernacle which God instructed Moses to build in the wilderness was a beautiful figure of greater things to come. It represented "patterns of things in the heavens" that would reveal "a better covenant, which was established upon better promises" (Heb. 9:23; Heb 8:6).

Please see the link at the end of this post for a Bible study I created on the Tabernacle plan. This post is an abstract of the study.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An Ancient Ark and an Empty Tomb

A funny thing happened to me on the way to church on Easter Sunday...

Just as I was about to leave the house that morning I received a call from our Lead Pastor. He had become extremely ill that morning. He was scarcely able to get out of bed much less come to the church and preach the Easter sermon. He needed me to fill in for him.

Because I had to drive to Indianapolis, help with our daughter work service, drive back to Muncie, and take care of several items that needed my attention before service began... I had just about zero time to prepare for a sermon.

This was Easter Sunday... the day that we have the largest attendance of any service all year!

Fortunately, God had everything under control! I had a thought that I had been mulling over for several days. I knew God was in it and that He would bless it. So, with no sermon notes or outline I walked to the pulpit. And this is what I preached: "An Ancient Ark and an Empty Tomb".

Listen to the sermon now or download the MP3...



Right click (Save Target As...) to download the MP3.

Note: Special thanks to Ron Wofford who, unbeknownst to him, provided me with a thought that was the inspiration for this sermon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Vindication of God in Christ

A friend of mine, James Anderson of Mt. Vernon, TX, has a very nice blog entitled "Evidential Faith: Understanding Pentecostal Theology". Recently he posted an article I wrote on the subject of Oneness theology as it pertains to the resurrection of Christ. The piece is entitled, "The Vindication of God in Christ".

Click here to read the article.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Do People Need a Church?

Attending Church No Longer Important for Many U.S. “Christians”

A recent study conducted by the Barna Group indicates that attending a conventional church is no longer a priority for a majority of self-identified “Christian” adults. According to the study, most adults view several other activities as a “complete and valid” alternative to “experience and express their faith in God” as opposed to attending church. This is a complete departure from traditional views for the past several decades in which U.S. Christians overwhelming held that involvement in a church was the single legitimate method of practicing their Christian faith.

The study includes the following data regarding the percentage of American Christian adults who consider various activities as a valid alternative to church attendance:

The Apostolic Report

A new website called The Apostolic Report (AR) launched on March 6, 2008. The purpose of the site is to provide an online news and information base that is geared to the interests of Apostolic believers. While some of the content published on the site includes original material (i.e. interviews, announcements and news stories) many of the posts are abstracts of general news stories that are of particular interest to Aposotlics. This truly is a unique web site with many compelling articles.



A couple days ago Jeremy Lynch, the founder and administrator of the site, invited me to be a contributor to AR. I accepted the invitation and have already made a few contributions. Because the focus of the site is news reporting, my articles on AR will not contain any commentary and analysis. However, I will likely republish some of my AR articles on this blog with added commentary and analysis that will, hopefully, provide greater insight and clarity to the issues.

At any rate, I am encouraging everyone to check out The Apostolic Report as it promises to be a useful and interesting clearing house for news and information.

Website URL - http://www.theapostolicreport.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Lord's Supper

With Easter coming very soon, many Apostolic churches will be celebrating the Lord's Supper in their communion services. What follows is a brief Bible Study that I teach on the topic. It is my hope that someone will find it useful for teaching their congregation.



The Lord's Supper (A Bible Study)

1 Corinthians 11:23-29 KJV
(23) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
(24) And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
(25) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
(26) For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
(27) Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
(28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
(29) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

Free Resources for Tech Savy Churches

A few weeks ago I discovered a web site that has many very helpful tips regarding free computer/Internet services and resources for churches. The name of the site is "Mister Nifty - Your Church Web Servant" (URL - http://www.misternifty.com). It's an odd name, but a very useful site.

The site features a blog format that contains categories for various resources. Examples include: Audio Ministry, Communication, File Storage, Finance, Graphic Design, Leadership Tools, Ministry Tools, and Video Ministry - to name just a few. Each category has multiple entries containing reviews, annotated links, and other information.

Check it out! You are likely to find a few helpful resources like I did.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Guest Follow-Up Database

I was recently talking to some minister friends about church management software. We were comparing experiences and talking about what we have used. At ROL, we would very much like to use a web-based church management package. This has many benefits including allowing people performing various tasks in the database to work from home. However, we do not currently have broadband Internet access at the church (long story - it was not available until recently and will require expensive utility work). Therefore, we still use an "old-school" locally installed church management software solution. The software we are using has many nice features. But is not accessible to everyone who could benefit from using it and it is not very customizable.

We desperately needed something to help track the status of our guest follow-up procedures. I looked around for software options. We didn't need another entire church management package. Simpler solutions didn't seem to fit our needs well. So, I decided to hammer out a simple database in Microsoft Access that was specific to our needs.

The Game Plan: Strategic Planning for Ministry

One of the most significant things we have done in the ministry of River of Life in recent history is develop a strategic plan. I first heard of this idea while attending a church growth conference in another Apostolic church. While church strategic plans may encompass various types of information, we chose to focus our plan on retaining newcomers and incorporating them into the church. While we had several ministries involved in this work already, we needed a strategic plan to pull everything together and make our objectives explicit.

Having been through the process of developing a strategic plan for ministry and having employed our plan for well over two years, there are several things I would suggest for churches interested in going through this process. (A download of the ROL strategic plan is available at the bottom of this post as a reference).

Hello World!

This is my first blog post ever! A few of my minister friends have encouraged me to start a blog. I have put it off for quite a long time, but here it is! At this point, I am not exactly sure how this blog will develop. I envision that it will contain random notes rising from my ministry experiences as well as some devotional, theological, and other thoughts. Hopefully something that I post here will be beneficial to someone. Thanks for reading! --kv