leadership

Sharing Our Faith

As a seminary student, I was required to take a class on personal evangelism (in simple terms, a class on how to share Jesus with others). Before the end of the semester, we were required to make a certain number of personal visits with people in the community.

Some people will say that a seminary student shouldn’t have to take a class to be taught how to share Jesus with others; it should come naturally for someone called to serve God.

But for busy students who are trying to complete their academic work, maintain a family life, and work full- or part-time in a secular or church position, it is often difficult to focus on personal evangelism. Yes, I know seminary students should be about “God’s work,” but it’s still difficult to find time to focus on sharing Jesus with others.

That last statement probably isn’t limited to busy seminary students. More than likely, most of us need a little push to reach outside our comfort zones, to share our faith with others, and to lead others to a personal relationship with Jesus.

ABCs of Salvation

Do we have good news for you!

God loves you and every person in the world. He loves us very much!

There’s also bad news. Each person has sinned. We have done things God does not like.

Here are three ways to turn the bad news into good news. We call these the ABCs of Salvation.

A-dmit that you are a sinner. Repent, turning away from your sin. (Read Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 John 1:9–10; Acts 3:19.)

This means that you understand you have broken God’s rules. You want to stop breaking His rules and only do things that honor Him.

B-elieve that Jesus is God’s Son and accept God’s gift of forgiveness from sin. (Read Acts 4:12; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:8–9; and John 1:11–13; 3:16.)

This means you understand that Jesus took the punishment for our sins when He died on the cross. Then He rose from the dead. By believing this and accepting His gift, we can have forgiveness for our sins.

C-onfess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. (Read Romans 10:9–10; 10:13.)

Following Well: 3 Secrets Great Leaders Know

While leadership sounds appealing, many consider following to be subservient. “I’ll never be a follower” is a statement we often hear. In the course Follower Skills, Danette High states, “We will spend far more of our lives following than leading. Following is not a place to let your guard down, or to take a break from leadership.”

Great leaders understand the vital and dynamic relationship that must exist between leaders and followers. They also know when to lead and when to follow. These leaders remain excellent followers. Danette compares following and leading to a couple dancing. “Both have their own moves, but if the leader and follower truly partner, that’s where the beauty occurs.”

Since developing follower skills is practically non-existent in leadership training, many leaders have no idea how to do so. There are at least three secrets that great leaders know about following well.

Why Is It Important?

Before I came to national WMU, I served as a pastor in Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia. The churches I served had varying levels of missions participation and missions education. At each church, I encouraged the missions organizations in their work and tried to assist them where I was most needed.

I will admit that, at times, it was difficult for me to know how best to support the work of WMU in the churches I served. You see, as most pastors will tell you, there are literally thousands of things that pull at you, day in and day out. It’s easy for a pastor to get distracted or simply misunderstand something that’s really important in his church’s WMU organization.

However, that all changed the day my WMU director presented me with my own copy of the WMU Year Book! My WMU director set up a meeting with me in my office. When she arrived, she presented me with the WMU Year Book. She told me what was found in the Year Book. We talked about things coming up in WMU, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, and countless other missional things I needed to know for the coming year.

Five Ways to Keep "Love Your Neighbor" Going All Year Long

teach children to help neighbors by working in the yard

Reports are coming in from all across the country. Children and their leaders have taken part in an amazing effort to “Love Your Neighbor.” For our tenth annual Children’s Ministry Day, we encouraged you to get out there and seek out inventive ways to serve those closest to you. But now that CMD 2017 is over, where do you go from here?

Here are 5 ways you can keep “Love Your Neighbor” going all year long:

Children’s Ministry Day: Growing, Maturing, and Making Mistakes

Last week, my son, Evan, turned 9 years old.

During his lifetime, I’ve watched him grow, change, and mature.

I’ve also watched him make more than a few mistakes along the way.

That’s the nature of growth and getting older.

Evan’s mother and I regularly pray that he will learn from his mistakes and continue to mature into the man God intends for him to be.

Children’s Ministry Day is 1 year older than Evan. This February, we celebrate the 10th annual Children’s Ministry Day (CMD)!

Over the years, we’ve had thousands of children across North America participate in hands-on ministry opportunities in their communities. Children have fed the hungry, visited shut-ins, collected clothes, and helped with yard work, all in the name of following Christ and putting their love into action.

Children’s “Faith into Action” Day 2017

By now, we’re sure you’ve heard all about Children’s Ministry Day 2017. It’s been the subject of a multitude of blogs, popped up on social media, and may have even found its way into your inbox. But now that you know, what are you planning to do?

The belief that our faith should inform our actions is one that runs deep in our hearts here at national WMU. Just about everything we do here is done in an effort to inspire and empower Christians to take an active role in God’s mission. Our purpose is to challenge “Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God.” We want every Christian to be aware of God’s work in the world and to feel equipped to be a part of that work.

There is a passage of Scripture from the book of James that speaks to this marriage of faith and action in a profound way:

Pray About Everything

I’m using Mark Bethea’s book, 30 Days of Hope for Peaceful Living, as part of my devotional material for January. The topic of Day Five is Prescriptive Prayer. Mark writes, “Paul declares that if we are not to be anxious about anything, then we pray about everything. If we mix prayer with rejoicing and add thanksgiving, we have a recipe for living free from our anxious tendencies.” Later he outlines the exact prescription for dealing with anxiety and living with the peace of God.

 

We pray.

We pray about everything.

 

What a great reminder as we begin 2017. As we try to discern God’s future for us, let’s pray. Let’s pray about everything. When friends, family members, and colleagues have hurts both large and small, let’s pray. Let’s pray about everything. When we are overwhelmed by our list of tasks to accomplish, let’s pray. Let’s pray about everything.

The Unsuspecting Father

The Christmas season is full of amazing stories. Each year, we roll out the old favorites to tell and retell in growing anticipation of the Big Day. But of these Christmas favorites there is one story which always seems to leave me scratching my head in wonder year after year.

Through the Gospel of Matthew, we receive a unique recollection of the Christmas story through the eyes of an unsuspecting father. Joseph was a regular guy. Part of a family tree with roots firmly planted in his native soil, he had his own feet firmly planted on the ground. Joseph must have brought in a dependable income from his talents as a craftsman given his status as an expectant groom. Sturdy, stable, dependable, grounded. These are a few words I would use to describe the man about to take Mary as his bride.

Spirtual Formation as a Leader

We all have opportunities to lead and to follow, and in both cases, our spiritual formation makes a difference in how we treat one another in those roles.

The Bible says that God knew us while we were in our mother’s womb and that He knows our days—including every experience we’ve had. So, often with gaping wounds, we limp into positions of leadership. We want to present ourselves to everyone as a whole person, and we hope that they won’t notice our bandages and scars. Yet the more we try to hide our wounds, the more we expose them.

How does this relate to spiritual formation? In the words of Dr. Noel Forlini, “Spiritual formation is a process of presenting our whole selves to God in order to experience the love of God, so that we can love God, others, and ourselves.”

The whole self includes everything—even the parts that we’ve worked so hard to forget about. Our hidden wounds are actually an important part of our spiritual formation. If we present them to God, we will find ourselves more able to love God, others, and ourselves.

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