Category Archives: Leadership Development

November Jeremiah Journal explains EPC budget allocation

 

In the November 2019 edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah explains how Per Member Asking contributions are put to work in the EPC.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPConnection and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For a transcript of this month’s edition in printable pdf format, click here.

Noted church leadership expert Mike Bonem headlines annual Executive Pastor/Church Administrator gathering

 

XPGatheringAt the first of two EPC Executive Pastor/Church Administrator workshops, noted church leadership coach and consultant Mike Bonem discussed the topic “Managing change for revitalization.” The event was held October 24-25 in Denver, Colo.

In his presentation, Bonem described the challenges of change, models for change, and some of the unique dynamics of being in a second chair through change in a church.

“Change is kind of like being in a sports car on a two-lane road in the mountains,” he told the group. “It can be incredibly fun to drive, but it can be terrifying to be a passenger. Second-chair leaders have the best—and worst—of both. And the members of your congregation most often feel like they are in the passenger seat. So leading change is hard, that’s all there is to it.”

Regarding the challenge of change, Bonem noted that people desire stability and predictability, but change often equals chaos, threatens comfort and power, and can imply that “we’ve done something wrong.” He added that these factors apply to any organization, not just the church, but change in the church is more difficult because churches are dependent on volunteers and rich in tradition.

“Churches are also often resistant (or unaccustomed) to feedback, and may have weak or informal governance structures,” he said. “We also have history—the past is always present—and many times people will put a theological overlay on that history.”

As a model of change, Bonem described the “Congregational Transformation Model” that formed the basis for his book, Leading Congregational Change.

“As church leaders, we often focus on vision and how we get there, but that’s just one piece of a much larger process,” he said. “We are never going to be done with change in the church, so what we want to do is create and reinforce momentum through alignment.”

He noted that the challenges in change management “are less about the changes we want to make, but more about the pieces around it—things like communication and having the right people involved,” he said, emphasizing that change always produces some kind of conflict.

“Not all conflict is bad,” Bonem said. “It can be life-giving, as we see so many times in Acts. But conflict without spiritual and relational vitality can be life-threatening. When decisions in the church—particularly contentious ones—start to become like the decisions in Washington or whatever your state capitol is, it makes me wonder about its spiritual and relational vitality.”

Regarding the dynamics of the second-chair role in change management, Bonem addressed a variety of factors, including being aligned with the senior pastor, helping manage the pace of change, taking the pulse of the staff and congregation, paying attention to process, and several others.

Bonem earned an MBA from Harvard University, is a longtime business executive, and later served 11 years as Executive Pastor for a large, multi-site church in Houston, Texas. He is author of Leading Congregational Change , Leading from the Second Chair, Thriving in the Second Chair, and In Pursuit of Great and Godly Leadership.

The gathering, now in its seventh year, is a two-day event for EPC executive pastors and directors, church administrators, and others in senior ministry (but second-chair) leadership positions.

Sixteen EPC church leaders attended the workshop. In addition to discussing recent challenges and opportunities in their ministry settings—particularly related to change—participants shared best practices on a variety of topics related to church administration and operations, and networked on such issues as technology systems, personnel, outreach efforts, vision and strategy, finance, and more.

The workshop is a resource of the Office of the General Assembly. The second roundtable, which also features Bonem and has the same format as the October 24-25 event, takes place November 7-8 in Orlando. For more information, see www.epc.org/xpadmingathering.

Presbytery Moderators hold annual meeting

 

PresbyteryModerators201908At their annual meeting, Moderators and Moderators-elect from the EPC’s 14 presbyteries developed proposals for Leadership Institute workshop topics, ministry resource distribution strategies, and requirements for churches to adopt child protection policies.

The group met August 22-23 at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando, Fla.

Other items addressed in the meeting included reports from several presbyteries of growth in their church planting initiatives, as well as annual retreats for Teaching Elders that were well-received by the pastors in their presbyteries.

Among topics of concern was a discussion regarding the pipeline of younger Teaching Elders. Several individuals expressed unease about the number of qualified pastors who would be available to fill pulpits that are expected to be vacated in the coming years as pastors reach retirement age. In response, Assistant Stated Clerk Jerry Iamurri reported that the Office of the General Assembly has processed 33 ordination examination requests for Teaching Elder candidates so far this year, and is on pace to have completed 50 by the end of the year.

Current Moderators who attended were Mike Gillett, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; Palmer Griffin, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Southeast; Randall Leonard, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Great Plains; George Salnave, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; Mike Wright, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of West; and Roy Yanke, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Midwest.

Moderators-elect who attended were Josh Brown, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Alleghenies; Jim Conners, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest; John Dorr, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the East; Bryant Harris, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Southeast; Joyce Harris, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Midwest; George Hertensteiner, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Great Plains; Mac MacGowan, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Central South; Bill Reisenweaver, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; and Rich Swedberg, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the West.

National Leadership Team welcomes new members, looks to future

 

NLT201908In its August meeting, the EPC’s National Leadership Team (NLT) convened its 2019-2020 year by welcoming five new members, reviewing the EPC’s mission and vision, and looking to possible futures for the denomination. The meeting was held August 20-21 at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and is one of four in-person gatherings each year.

The 39th General Assembly approved an update to the composition and functions of the NLT, and much of the agenda for the meeting reflected the newly defined responsibilities:

  • Seek the mind of Christ for the EPC and to express this in a mission statement that states who God has called the EPC to be.
  • Development of vision and strategies that express what God is calling the EPC to do to carry out the mission statement.
  • Assess the execution of the mission, vision, and strategies on behalf of the General Assembly.
  • Encourage EPC presbyteries and local churches to participate in implementing the mission, vision, and strategies.

“With the Assembly’s action in June, the NLT is now formally charged with leadership and strategic ‘looking out to the horizon’ and how we could be prepared for that—both the opportunities and the potential challenges,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “I am thankful for the members of the committee and how seriously they take the collective responsibility to seek the mind of Christ for the EPC.”

The 39th General Assembly also approved increasing the roster of the NLT to twelve elected members. New to the committee are Gerry Arnold, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Gulf South; Brian Evans, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Midwest; Brett Garretson, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the West; Duke Lineberry, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; and Dave Strunk, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Southeast.

Other members are Tom Werner (Chairman), Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of Mid-America; Chris Danusiar, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; Nancy Duff, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest; Phil Fanara, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the East; Michael Gibson, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Great Plains; Rob Liddon, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Central South; Rosemary Lukens, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest; Luder Whitlock, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; Case Thorp (Moderator of the 39th General Assembly), Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; Glenn Meyers (Moderator-elect), Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Alleghenies; and Jeremiah, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest.

The next meeting of the NLT is scheduled for November 5-6.

Podcast features Revelation 7:9 Task Force members discussing diversity in the church

 

Four members of the EPC’s Revelation 7:9 Task Force discussed diversity in the local church on the August 9 episode of The E.A.R. (Evangelical and Reformed) Podcast. Their discussion, “The Beauty of the Local Church through Diversity,” closed the E.A.R. Podcast’s second season, entitled “The Beauty of the Local Church.”

Click the play button to listen:

 

The podcast is hosted by Task Force member Brandon Queen, Ruling Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Thibodaux, La., in the Presbytery of the Gulf South. Appearing with Queen were Teaching Elders Soon Pak, Tim Russell, and Rufus Smith. Pak serves as Pastor of Discipleship for Ward Church in Northville, Mich.; Russell serves as Assistant Pastor to Middle Adults for Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn.; Smith is Senior Pastor of Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn.

The E.A.R. Podcast is available on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Podbean, RadioPublic, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Two Minute Topics video series to answer frequently asked questions

 

The EPC Office of the General Assembly has launched a new video series, “Two Minute Topics.” The short, informative videos will address questions that the Office of the Stated Clerk frequently receives.

“We believe these videos will be useful tools for our leaders and others,” said Jerry Iamurri, EPC Assistant Stated Clerk. “With many people asking us the same questions, we realized that answering those inquiries on video would be a good resource.”

In the first video in the series, Iamurri discusses the Candidates Educational Equivalency Program (CEEP). The CEEP is designed to help non-traditional candidates for ministry satisfy the educational requirements for ordination as a Teaching Elder in the EPC.

The videos are available at www.epc.org/news/twominutetopics, as well on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Additional topics will be covered in the coming weeks and months.

2019 Leadership Institute, 39th General Assembly worship service recordings available

 

GA2019VideosVideo recordings of the 39th General Assembly are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/ga2019recordings. Included are the Leadership Institute plenary sessions, worship service speakers, and several permanent committee verbal reports.

The videos feature Andrew and Norine Brunson; Doug Webster; Brad Strait, Lead Pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church (the Assembly host church); Léonce Crump Jr., Senior Pastor of Renovation Church in Atlanta, Ga.; Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk; Mark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser; Tom Ricks, Chairman of the EPC Church Planting Team; and more.

In addition, audio recordings of most of the Leadership Institute breakout sessions and select Networking Lunches are available.

New for 2019 is that these Leadership Institute sessions and Networking Lunch recordings also are available in podcast form on Spotify and iTunes—search for “Evangelical Presbyterian Church.”

“I hear from more than a few people each year that they have a hard time deciding which seminar to attend because there are so many quality, relevant topics,” Jeremiah said. “We tried to address that this year by making the sessions available in podcast form for the first time. So for those who could not get to Denver for the event, they can get this training on their smartphone or other device.”

The videos also are available on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80 in the “39th General Assembly” playlist.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Turning Sessions into Spiritual Communities

 

GA2019LI9-SessionsIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Turning Sessions into Spiritual Communities, Doug Resler discussed a variety of spiritual practices designed to help Ruling Elders grow in Christ so that they can accomplish their task of being the mind of Christ for the local church.

“We’ve got to look beyond the sermon time in our worship service. That’s not the only time we preach.”

Resler’s session was part of the Leadership Institute “Leadership” track. He serves as Senior Pastor for Parker Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Parker, Colo.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Praying the Prayers of the Bible

 

GA2019LI87-PrayerIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Praying the Prayers of the Bible, James Banks emphasized to session attendees that Scripture teaches believers how to pray.

“There are more prayers of praise than anything other kind of prayer in Scripture, which should tell us something about how we pray. The second most are cries for help and deliverance.”

Banks’s session was part of the Leadership Institute “Prayer” track. He serves as Pastor of Peace Church in Durham, N.C., and is the author of Prayers for Prodigals and Praying the Prayers of the Bible.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Serving Jesus in the Ordinary (Small) Church Context

 

GA2019LI7-OrdinaryContextIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Serving Jesus in the Ordinary (Small) Church Context, Roy Yanke had attendees divide into cohorts and discuss challenges they continually face in their ministries.

Yanke’s session was part of the Leadership Institute “Congregational Ministry” track. He serves as Executive Director of Pastor-in-Residence (PIR) Ministries in Farmington Hills, Michigan. PIR is an commended resource of the EPC Ministerial Vocation Committee.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Leading as a Shepherd

 

GA2019LI6-ShepherdDudleyAs a portion of his 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Leading as a Shepherd, Bill Dudley provided guidance on how Teaching Elders can shepherd the members of a church Nominating Committee tasked with recommending a slate of Ruling Elders for the congregation.

“It’s the holy wisdom that Jethro had and Moses had that a Nominating Committee also needs to understand as they recommend church members for leadership roles. It’s not that they have a just list of names, but that they recommend people who are gifted and called. These people will be serving and facilitating for mission and outreach, and not just preservation of the past.”

Dudley’s session was part of the Leadership Institute “Leadership” track. He serves as Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Southeast and was the Moderator of the 33rd General Assembly.

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2019 Leadership Institute: The Church and Its Common Doctrine

 

GA2019LI5-WestminsterHopkinsIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar The Church and Its Common Doctrine, Zach Hopkins discussed some of the distinguishing characteristics of the Reformed tradition.

“We are a confessional people. But what does that mean to be ‘confessional?’ As Presbyterians, we adhere to a “good faith subscription” to the Westminster Confession of Faith; what (EPC Stated Clerk) Jeff Jeremiah describes as an ‘open and honest’ subscription.”

Acknowledging the well-known saying that “Doctrine divides,” Hopkins noted that in the EPC, “our doctrinal unity is the foundation upon which our fraternal unity exists. We are united in our doctrinal convictions.”

Hopkins’ session was part of the Leadership Institute track on Reformed Theology. He serves as pastor of Edgington Presbyterian Church in Edgington, Illinois.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Transitional Pastors Training

 

GA2019LI4-TransitionalPastorsIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Transitional Pastor Training, Ken Priddy described the stages in the life of a local church—incline, recline, and decline—and presented some tell-take signs of a declining church.

“A church on the incline is usually driven by vision, while a church on the decline becomes structure-driven. In the absence of vision and programs, church leaders tend to keep the machinery running—having the meetings and the things that are already in place. But they don’t do it with much impact.”

He also noted that while inclining churches are more likely to be innovative in methodology, a declining church tends to be complacent and lapse into routine.

“Not complacent like ‘we don’t care,’ but complacent in the sense that they don’t have the wherewithal to make it any different.”

Priddy’s session was part of the all-day training workshop for Transitional Pastors. He is Team Leader for the EPC’s Church Revitalization Task Force and Executive Director of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic’s GO Center.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Chaplain’s Workshop

 

GA2019LI3-ChaplainsWorkshopIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Biblical Leadership and Decision Making, Michael Moyles asked some poignant questions of those attending the annual Chaplains Workshop.

“What is important to you? What do you use day-to-day to make important decisions? Are you are making life-changing, irreversible decisions based on mistaken priorities? What would it take to change it?”

A five-time brain cancer survivor who has undergone 10 brain surgeries, 42 rounds of radiation, and 29 rounds of chemotherapy, Moyles noted that his wife has sat in a waiting room for 11 hours, 10 times, praying.

“I have undergone three major surgeries—including brain surgery—in the past two months. My wife was adamant that I not take this engagement today, because her priority is my health. Now, I am with my tribe here—speaking to and being with chaplains and military—so I made it a priority to be here. But I have every expectation that she will be proven right tomorrow.”

A retired Air Force Colonel, Moyles is a popular Christian speaker, teacher, and writer.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Unstoppable Youth Ministry

 

GA2019LI2-YouthMinistry.jpgIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Unstoppable Youth Ministry: Self Care, Andrew Mills offered some practical tips on maintaining healthy life-ministry balance as a youth worker.

“One of the most important thing you can do is to set and maintain boundaries. There is no shortage of good things you can do, so you have to say ‘no’ to some good things. Not all good ideas are great ideas—some produce great results and others would hardly be noticed if you stopped doing them. Know what the truly valuable things are and do those. Don’t feel like you need to try every good idea.”

Mills’ session was part of the all-day Leadership Institute track, “Unstoppable Youth Ministry.” He serves as Associate Pastor/Director of Youth Ministry for Covenant Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Miss..

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2019 Leadership Institute: Children and Family Ministry Training

 

GA2019LI1-ChildrenFamily.jpgIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Transformational Family Ministry: Catch the Vision!, Becky Shultz discussed the importance of prayer to a local church’s ministry to children and families.

“I encourage you to pray for your children’s ministry, the children who are in it, and the volunteers who serve in it, and listen to what God tells you. Take those steps in obedience and join Jesus in the work He’s doing. And know that your children’s and family ministries might look different than the children and family ministries down the street. And that’s okay. There’s no formula; just pray and follow Him and He will lead.”

Shultz’s session was part of the all-day Leadership Institute track, “Children and Family Ministry Training.” She is the Community Engagement Director for FamiliesAlive in Centennial, Colo., and co-author of the Words of Grace family devotion series.

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