Category Archives: Leadership Development

2019 Leadership Institute features practical ministry helps, Andrew Brunson, noted prayer author Doug Webster

 

GA2019ThemeArt-WebBannerAndrew Brunson and Doug Webster are the keynote speakers for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church’s fifth annual Leadership Institute. The Institute is a strategic component of the EPC’s 39th General Assembly, to be held June 18-21 at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in suburban Denver, Colo.

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Andrew Brunson

The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Unstoppable,” based on Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 7:7 to “keep on asking … keep on seeking … keep on knocking.” The theme connotes not only God’s sovereignty, but also the unstoppable, widespread prayer efforts since 2016 on behalf on Brunson, EPC Teaching Elder imprisoned in Turkey for nearly two years until his release in October 2018. Brunson will deliver the Leadership Institute plenary address on Wednesday morning, June 19.

DougWebster

Doug Webster

Webster is the Wednesday afternoon plenary speaker. He is an EPC Teaching Elder and Professor of Preaching at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala., who has written several books on prayer.

Each plenary session will include a moderated time for questions-and-answers.

On Tuesday, June 18, four full-day tracks (Children/Family Ministry Training, Youth Ministry Training, Chaplain Training, and Transitional Pastors Training), and four afternoon-only tracks (Leadership, Reformed Theology, Congregational Ministry, and Prayer), offer a variety of practical ministry enrichment seminars. Each of these sessions is facilitated by a noted leader in his or her field.

Children/Family Ministry Training:

  • The Challenge Facing Families Today
  • Transformational Family Ministry: Catch the Vision!
  • What the Church Can Do
  • Panel Q&A
  • What the Family Can Do
  • Networking Within Presbyteries/Next Steps
  • Keeping Kids Safe: A Culture of Safety
  • Premises Liability Issues

Unstoppable Youth Ministry:

  • Unstoppable Youth Worker: Self Care
  • Unstoppable Youth Ministry: Ministering in Times of Trial
  • Unstoppable Partnerships for Youth Ministry
  • Creating Intergenerational Relationships Through the Catalyst of Prayer
  • Creating a Culture of Prayer In and Around Your Student Ministry
  • Premises Liability Issues
  • Keeping Kids Safe: A Culture of Safety

Chaplains Workshop (Open to all GA Attendees):

  • Biblical Leadership and Decision Making
  • Perseverance and Pursuing God Through Suffering: Lessons from a Five-Time Brain Cancer Survivor
  • “Indivisible” Movie Showing
  • Misplaced Identity and its Impact on the Family
  • Sharing, Interaction, Discussion, Support (Chaplain Stories from the Field)

Transitional Pastors Training:

  • Transitional Pastor Training
  • Introduction to Transitional Ministry

Leadership (Afternoon-only):

  • Forming Leaders for the Life of the World
  • Leading as a Shepherd
  • Turning Sessions into Spiritual Communities
  • How to Get Sued

Reformed Theology (Afternoon-only):

  • The Church and Its Common Doctrine
  • Christ Our Head: How the Church Finds Its Origin, Identity, and Hope in Jesus Christ
  • The Church in the Old Testament
  • Common Grace: A Tool for Common Ground in the Public Square

Congregational Ministry (Afternoon-only):

  • Serving Jesus in the Ordinary (Small) Church Context
  • Understanding Individuals and Families with Disabilities
  • Every Church can Welcome Individuals and Families with Disabilities
  • Implications of the Trinity for Spiritual Formation

Prayer (Afternoon-only):

  • Prayers for Prodigals
  • Praying the Prayers of the Bible

Click here for more information on the Leadership Institute, including full seminar descriptions, times, and speaker bios.

Click here for more information about the 39th General Assembly, including links to online registration.

Revelation 7:9 Task Force evaluate “listening tour” input

 

Revelation79TaskForce201904At its second in-person meeting of 2019, the EPC’s Revelation 7:9 Task Force evaluated input and feedback received during its “listening tour” over the past seven months. Input came from a variety of sources, including an online survey of EPC pastors and individuals and organizations outside the EPC.

The group is tasked with studying how the EPC can better become a denomination that fulfills the great commandment and the great commission, and faithfully embraces and serves its neighbors from every nation, tribe, people, and language. (Revelation 7:9). The group met at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando, April 23-24.

The Task Force is co-chaired by TE Dean Weaver, Chair of the National Leadership Team, and TE Rufus Smith, Senior Pastor of Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn. Members are TE Tom Clymer, Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; TE Marc de Jeu, Presbytery of the Alleghenies; TE David Dwight, Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; RE Enid Flores, Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; Phyllis Le Peau, Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; TE Soon Pak, Presbytery of the Midwest; Beth Paz, Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest; Brandon Queen, Presbytery of the Gulf South; TE Tim Russell, Presbytery of the Central South; RE Tom Werner, Presbytery of Mid-America; and Ted Winters, Presbytery of Mid-America.

39th General Assembly registration open

 

GA2019ThemeArt-WebBannerOnline registration for the 39th General Assembly is now open. The Assembly meets June 18–21 at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in suburban Denver, Colo. The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Unstoppable,” based on Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 7:7 to “keep on asking … keep on seeking … keep on knocking.”

AndrewNorineBrunsonGA

Andrew and Norine Brunson

The theme connotes not only God’s sovereignty, but also the unstoppable, widespread prayer efforts since 2016 on behalf on Andrew Brunson, EPC Teaching Elder imprisoned in Turkey for nearly two years following his detention in October 2016. Brunson is this year’s featured speaker for the Wednesday morning Leadership Institute plenary session and Thursday evening worship service. His wife, Norine, is the featured speaker for the Ministry Wives’ Luncheon on Thursday.

In keeping with the theme, a special interactive Prayer Walk will provide opportunity for attendees to take a 30-45 minute, self-guided experience through a variety of stations of prayer, reflection, and worship.

The annual Leadership Institute on Tuesday will have four full-day tracks (Children/Family Ministry Training, Youth Ministry Training, Chaplain Training, and Transitional Pastors Training), and four afternoon-only tracks (Leadership, Reformed Theology, Congregational Ministry, and Prayer).

Highlights of this year’s Leadership Institute tracks are legal experts offering tips on keeping children and church facilities safe in both the Children/Family Ministry and Youth Ministry tracks; sessions on biblical leadership and decision making from a five-time brain cancer survivor in the Chaplain’s Workshop, as well as a showing of the movie “Indivisible” followed by a discussion led by Darren and Heather Turner, whose story was told in the film; “Turning Sessions into Spiritual Communities,” led by EPC Teaching Elder Doug Resler in the afternoon-only Leadership Track; Scott Redd, President of Reformed Theological Seminary’s Washington, D.C. campus teaching “How the Church Finds its Origin, Unity, and Hope in Jesus Christ” in the afternoon-only Reformed Theology track; two sessions on ministering to individuals and families with disabilities in the afternoon-only Congregational Ministry track; and best-selling author James Banks leading two sessions on prayer in the afternoon-only Prayer track.

The Wednesday afternoon plenary speaker is Doug Webster, an EPC Teaching Elder who has written several books on prayer.

The first of five business sessions convenes on Wednesday afternoon, June 18, at 4:00 p.m. Business sessions continue on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; and Friday at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. (if needed).

Worship service speakers include:

  • Brad Strait, Senior Pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church
  • Léonce Crump, Senior Pastor of Renovation Church in Atlanta, Ga.
  • Chris Piehl, Pastor of Students and Families at Cherry Creek
  • Tom Werner, Moderator of the 38th General Assembly

Numerous other gatherings are available that cover a wide variety of ministry interests, including Networking Lunches, World Outreach, Women’s Ministry, and more.

For complete information, see www.epc.org/ga2019.

Ministerial Vocation Committee, presbytery Ministerial/Candidate Committee chairs meet in Orlando

 
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Brad Strait (right), Chair of the Ministerial Vocation Committee, leads discussion during the annual meeting of the MVC and presbytery Ministerial Committee and Candidate Committee Chairs on March 12 in Orlando.

Members of the Ministerial Vocation Committee (MVC) and Presbytery Ministerial and Candidates Committee Chairs met March 12-13 at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando. The MVC addresses ministerial issues at the national level of the EPC, and the Presbytery Chairs lead at the presbytery level.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of the work tackled by the MVC and these presbytery committees,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “I have said for a long time that the most important committee in our presbyteries is the Ministerial Committee, because when it does its work well it frees the presbytery to focus on mission and outreach. The networking, sharing best practices, and addressing common issues that took place between MVC and these chairs this week will have high value for the ongoing health of the EPC given the overlap in their ministries.”

Among the topics discussed by the group were the EPC ordination process, the Candidates Educational Equivalency Program (CEEP), and strategies to address the ongoing physical, mental, and emotional health of EPC pastors and ministerial candidates.

Members of the Ministerial Vocation Committee are Brad Strait (Chair), Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the West; Michael Flake, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; Neal McAtee, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Central South; Frank Rotella, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the East; Phil Stump, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; and Caroline Tromble, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes.

Ministerial Committee and Candidate Committee Chairs who attended the meeting were Bruce Tenenbaum and Eric Toohey (Presbytery of the Alleghenies); Scott Sealy (Presbytery of the Central South); Jamie Cupschalk and Jay Lee (Presbytery of the East); Rick Gernhardt (Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean); Tom Pitman (Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic); Joshua Hansen and Charles Youther (Presbytery of the Midwest); Ed Cummings and Scott Koenigsaecker (Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest); David Abdo and Jay Hull (Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest); David Hoffelmeyer and Zach Hopkins (Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes); and Greg Daniels (Presbytery of the West).

Revelation 7:9 Task Force continues “listening tour”

 

Revelation79JanuaryMeetingMembers of the EPC’s Revelation 7:9 Task Force continue to study how the EPC can better become a denomination that faithfully embraces and serves its neighbors from every nation, tribe, people, and language as described Revelation 7:9. The group met at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando, February 5-6.

Continuing its focus on “input” during its first year, the group spent a significant portion of its meeting in discussions with individuals outside the EPC. These include Léonce Crump, Pastor of the multicultural Renovation Church in Atlanta, Ga.; Michael Chen, National Director of Training and Cross-Cultural Ministry for the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO); and Michael Thornhill, CCO Associate Director of Cross-Cultural Ministry and Recruiting. The CCO is a strategic partner of the EPC.

“The hard and heavy work of listening—and listening well—is helped considerably by the support of friends and partners like Pastor Léonce and the CCO,” said Dean Weaver, Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in suburban Pittsburgh, Pa. “I know I speak on behalf of the entire Revelation 7:9 team when I ask everyone in the EPC to please keep us in your prayers as we continue this important work.”

The Task Force is co-chaired by Weaver and TE Rufus Smith, Presbytery of the West. Members are TE Tom Clymer, Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; TE Marc de Jeu, Presbytery of the Alleghenies; TE David Dwight, Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; RE Enid Flores, Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; Phyllis Le Peau, Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; TE Soon Pak, Presbytery of the Midwest; Beth Paz, Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest; Brandon Queen, Presbytery of the Gulf South; TE Tim Russell, Presbytery of the Central South; RE Tom Werner, Presbytery of Mid-America; and Ted Winters, Presbytery of Mid-America.

 

 

Effective Biblical Leadership the topic of January Jeremiah Journal

 

In the January 2019 edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah discusses why Effective Biblical Leadership is a strategic priority for 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.

National Leadership Team’s January meeting focuses on strategic planning

 
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The EPC National Leadership Team prayed for Tom Ricks (second from left, standing), Chair of the EPC Church Planting Team, as well as for each EPC church planter by name. Standing with Ricks are (left to right) Moderator-elect Case Thorp, Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah, and Moderator Tom Werner.

At its January 2019 meeting, the EPC National Leadership Team (NLT) addressed a variety of topics related to its scope of overseeing the continuing work of the General Assembly between stated meetings. The winter meeting—held January 22-23 at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando—is one of four in-person gatherings each year and largely focuses on strategic planning.

Central to the meeting agenda was a review of the EPC mission and vision statements,  and the four strategic initiatives of global movement, transformation, multiplication, and effective biblical leadership. Robust discussion of the EPC’s commitment to each of the four emphases resulted in a minor change in terminology from “strategic initiatives” to “strategic priorities.”

“The word ‘initiative’ can be thought of as ‘something we do for a season,’ but ‘priority’ better conveys how we approach these four areas,” said Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah. “The NLT wanted to make it clear that the EPC remains committed to transformation, multiplication, and the others—however they may be implemented—and they are not going away any time soon.”

As part of the review and discussion of the multiplication priority, Tom Ricks reported on denominational church planting efforts. Ricks is Chair of the EPC Church Planting Team. He described several new churches that are in the pipeline, as well as efforts to foster community and share best practices among church planters at the annual Church Planters Retreat held in Colorado Springs each October.

For more information on EPC church planting, see www.epc.org/churchplanting.

The next meeting of the National Leadership Team is scheduled for April 9-10.

EPC pastors share victories and challenges, strengthen connectionalism

 

Pastors500-1000Pastors who lead EPC churches with membership of 500-1000 meet each January for networking, fellowship, community, and sharing best practices. At this year’s gathering, held January 16-18 at the Office of the General Assembly, 16 of these pastors discussed a variety of topics relevant to their ministries and settings.

Elder shepherding and discipling, discerning vision, strategic planning, leading through seasons of spiritual attack, self- and staff care, and the blessings and potential pitfalls of a congregation becoming more multi-cultural sparked rich discussion.

Mark Fuller, Pastor of Trinity Church in Plymouth, Mich., said the gathering “is the most encouraging thing I do all year. It is so refreshing to spend this time with peers; I go back home each year excited about how God is going to use what I get from being with this group.”

Others attending were Adam Barr, Peace Church in Middleville, Mich.; Scott Castleman, First Presbyterian Church in Ocean Springs, Miss.; Jeff Chandler, First Presbyterian Church in Bakersfield, Calif.; Scott Farmer, Community Presbyterian Church in Danville, Calif.; Bryan Gregory, Knox Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, Mich.; David Henderson, Covenant Church in West Lafayette, Ind., Scott Koenigsaecker, Sequim Community Church in Sequim, Wash.; Jeff Moore, First Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Ill.; Tony Myers, St. Paul’s EPC in Somerset, Pa.; Robert Perkins, Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church in Moraga, Calif.; Carolyn Poteet, Mt. Lebanon EPC in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Doug Resler, Parker EPC in Parker, Colo.; Tom Ricks, Greentree Community Church in Kirkwood, Mo.; Jeremy Vaccaro, First Presbyterian Church in Fresno, Calif.; and Richard White, Christ Community Church in Montreat, N.C.

Student mission conferences offer unique worldview experiences

 

High school and college-aged students—as well as their leaders—have multiple opportunities in the coming months to be encouraged, equipped, and challenged to dig deeper into the God’s Word and His heart for the nations. For more information about any of these conferences, contact Cassie Shultz, EPC World Outreach Church Liaison, at cassie.s@epcwo.org or 407-930-4314.

EPC Summer Mission Jam
June 24-29, 2019—Fremont, Calif.
July 8-13, 2019—Hamtramck, Mich.

SummerMissionJam2019Summer Mission Jam is a mission and outreach equipping conference for high school groups. Participants will work alongside EPC partner churches to minister to Muslim peoples in these two cities. Registration is $480 and includes lodging and meals (except dinner on Monday).

A minimum of 80 registered students is required by November 15 in order to host this event; students, leaders, or youth groups interested can complete a brief online survey to learn more and indicate interest in either the California or Michigan event.

Urbana
December 27-31, 2018—St. Louis, Mo.

Urbana2018Held every third December, Urbana is a global mission conference that creates a sacred space for college students to learn more about missions and discern God’s call for their life. Among the speakers is the EPC’s own Beth Paz, Director of High School Ministry for First Presbyterian Church in Fresno, Calif.

Registration is $515 until November 15; $615 after that date; lodging is approximately $125 plus taxes. The EPC Next Generation Ministries Council provides a limited number of $150 scholarships to students interested in attending; go to www.epc.org/nextgen/urbanascholarshipapplication for details and to apply. Learn more about this potentially life-changing conference at www.urbana.org.

Cross Conference
January 2-5, 2019—Louisville, Ky.

CrossConference2019Cross Conference is a global missions conference for college students that focuses on reaching the unreached peoples of the world. Registration is $119 until November 30, and $139 until registration closes on December 18, 2018. Lodging is approximately $116 plus taxes. The EPC Next Generation Ministries Council provides a limited number of $40 scholarships to students interested in attending; go to www.epc.org/nextgen/crossconferencescholarshipapplication for details and to apply. Learn more about this exciting conference at www.crossforthenations.org.

In the short video below, David Platt, Pastor-Teacher for McLean Bible Church in McLean, Va., and former President of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, explains why Cross is not just for those who sense a personal call to serve on the mission field.

Executive Pastor/Church Administrator Roundtable features church communications expert Mark MacDonald

 

XPGatheringAt the first of two EPC Executive Pastor/Church Administrator Roundtable workshops held this fall, veteran church communicator Mark MacDonald discussed the importance of strategic, intentional communications to a local church’s efforts in effectively reaching its community as well as its members and attendees.

MacDonald is Executive Director of the Center for Church Communication, and is author of the Amazon best-seller Be Known for Something. He serves as Strategic Communication Catalyst for the Florida Baptist Convention, which serves more than 3,000 Florida Southern Baptist Churches.

The roundtable, now in its sixth year, is a two-day workshop for EPC executive pastors, church administrators, and others in senior ministry operations leadership positions.

Phil VanValkenburg, EPC Chief Operating Officer, hosts the event each year.

“We believe in the biblical principle that ‘iron sharpens iron,’ and this event is an opportunity for our church leaders to hear from their peers who face many of the same issues as they do in their ministries,” VanValkenburg said. “As we continue to focus on effective biblical leadership as one of our strategic initiatives, by being ‘better together’ we glean from each other’s experience—and our churches receive the benefit.”

Twenty-four EPC church leaders participated in the workshop October 18-19 in Denver, Colo. Participants discussed their specific ministry victories and challenges, shared best practices on a variety of topics related to church administration, and networked on such issues as technology systems, personnel, culture, vision and strategy, finance, generosity, and many others.

The workshop is a resource of the Office of the General Assembly. The second roundtable takes place November 1-2 in Orlando. For last-minute registration possibilities, contact marti.brenner@epc.org.

Presbytery Moderators gather in Orlando

 

PresbyteryModerators

Moderators of the EPC’s 14 presbyteries met at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando, August 23-24. Among the topics of discussion were successes and challenges in each presbytery over the past year, initiatives for the coming year, as well as sharing best practices. The group also heard updates from the EPC Church Planting Team, the 2018 Annual Church Report, 2018-2019 EPC Ministry Report, and Benefit Resources, Inc. In addition, Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah provided an update on the “State of the EPC.”

The Moderators meet each year in late summer.

2018 Leadership Institute: Being a Public, Media-Friendly Evangelical in the Trump Era

 

GA2018LI-MediaFriendlyEvangelicalIn the 2018 Leadership Institute seminar Being a Public, Media-Friendly Evangelical in the Trump Era, Carmen LaBerge described how she got involved with national media as a resource they could call on to provide Christian perspective.

“I went to the meetings of the press associations and introduced myself as someone they could contact if they ever needed background information on topics of faith,” she said. “How else was I going to cultivate a relationship with the writers of the NY Times and the Washington Post? The notion that the Bible might say something about government was totally foreign to them.”

She encouraged the attendees to build relationships with members of the media in their locales.

“Many times, they are the Ethiopian eunuch on the road and we need to be the Phillip,” she said.

LaBerge is a writer, speaker, and Christian talk radio host. She has hosted the daily Christian radio talk show The Reconnect with Carmen LaBerge since 2016.

#epc2018ga

2018 Leadership Institute: Discipleship in Student Ministry

 

GA2018LI-StudentMinistryIn the 2018 Leadership Institute seminar Discipleship in Student Ministry, Meg DeHaven discussed ways to invest in student ministry volunteer leaders.

“Be creative in how you invest in your leaders. It’s not always spiritual discipleship, but it can be as simple as giving them a week off from leading youth activities each season, or a Smoothie King gift certificate so they don’t have to eat pizza all the time.”

DeHaven serves as Director of Children and Youth for Bethany EPC in Havertown, Pa.

#epc2018ga

 

 

2018 Leadership Institute: Discerning the Spirits

 

GA2018LI-DiscerningSpiritsIn the 2018 Leadership Institute seminar Discerning the Spirits, Sharon Beekmann described several methods that Satan employs.

“One of the ways Satan works is as a tempter,” she said. “Satan does not always tempt us to do things that are inherently evil, but he does try to get us to do things that are outside the will of God.”

Beekmann is author of Rescued and Redeemed: How to Discern Demons from the Divine and Silencing Satan: Handbook of Biblical Demonology. She serves as Associate Professor at Denver Theological Seminary.

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2018 Leadership Institute: Putting Baptism to Use

 

GA2018LI-BaptismIn the 2018 Leadership Institute seminar Putting Baptism to Use, Mike Glodo reminded the gathering that baptism’s principle symbolism is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

“Baptism symbolizes that we died with him,” he said. “It doesn’t just speak of the start of the Christian life, it speaks to the whole Christian life. So our baptisms are a visible word to illustrate ethical implications. And this word says I’ve died to sin and self, and was raised to new life.”

Glodo is Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Dean of the Chapel at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.

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2018 Leadership Institute: The Reformation of Preaching

 

GA2018LI-ReformationPreachingIn the 2018 Leadership Institute seminar The Reformation of Preaching, David Swanson reminded attendees that they all have been impacted at some point by the public proclamation of God’s Word.

“To understand that at some point we will be the preacher that someone else describes in a setting similar to this is both daunting and a responsibility that I don’t want,” he said. “But God is Word and when we speak His Word in the context of its truth and our diligent study, His Spirit flows through us. Therefore, I should have an expectation that God is going to work in the lives of those who hear His Word.”

Swanson is Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Florida.

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