Category Archives: Leadership Development

2017 Leadership Institute: Mobilizing People and Making Ministry Happen


GA2017LI-MobilizingPeopleIn the 2017 Leadership Institute seminar Mobilizing People and Making Ministry Happen, Bill Rasch of the EPC GO Center explained how to build consensus and pursuit of a vision in the church.

“Unity takes time and effort, and has to be continually nurtured,” he said. “We have to start with ‘how’ and ‘why,’ not ‘what.’ More people will connect on a deeper level with the who and why of what you are doing, and not necessarily the what.”

Rasch also referenced sociological studies that reveal 84 percent of people will not catch a new vision right away. “Start with the innovators and early adopters, who typically represent 16 percent of your community and will drive the vision and implementation of the vision.”


2017 Leadership Institute: Multiplying Leaders: Internships and Residency Programs


GA2017LI-InternshipsAndResidencyProgramsTyler Crowley, Director of Worship for Hope Church in Richmond, Va., described the benefits of ministry interns and praxis participants to attendees of the 2017 Leadership Institute seminar Multiplying Leaders: Internships and Residency Programs.

“‘Embedded’ is a great way to think of how we do it, because the program at Hope is a ten-month internship. I’ve been able to witness life change in our praxis program in a more intensive, focused way than in just about any other type of ministry I’ve been involved in.”


2017 Leadership Institute: Building a Philosophy of Youth and Family Ministry


GA2017LI-YouthAndFamilyMinistryIn the 2017 Leadership Institute session Building a Philosophy of Youth and Family Ministry, Joey Stewart noted that in Jesus, believers are justified “not only because of His death, but because of His life.”

Stewart is Executive Director of Reformed Youth Ministries (RYM), an EPC strategic partner.


2017 Leadership Institute: Strategic Church Planting in the 21st Century


GA2017LI-StrategicChurchPlantingIn the 2017 Leadership Institute session Strategic Church Planting in the 21st Century, Rufus Smith discussed the importance and challenge of every EPC church being a parent, partner, or patron of church planting—especially among minorities:

  • By 2023—in five years—the majority of children in America will be minorities. If we are serious about Generation to Generation, it’s important for our churches to reflect our neighborhoods.
  • If we want the EPC to both reflect and reach America, we need more mono-ethnic churches in minority areas.
  • If you are going to plant in an under-resourced area, the three-year paradigm doesn’t work. It takes at least 7-10 years.

Smith is Pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church in Memphis.


2017 Leadership Institute: Strengthening the Small Church


GA2017LI-SmallChurchIn the 2017 Leadership Institute session Strengthening the Small Church, Ed McCallum offered several reasons some churches are small. Among them are:

  • Some churches are small because the leaders want to hold on to power. The effect is that there is no room to grow.
  • Some churches are small simply because of the community or demographics. They are not doing anything wrong, in fact they are doing small church well.
  • Some churches are small because they are not yet large.


National Leadership Team revises EPC funding proposal



In response to feedback from across the EPC received in the denomination’s 13 spring presbytery meetings, the National Leadership Team (NLT) is revising its recommendation to the 37th General Assembly. The updated recommendation is “The administration and strategic initiatives of the General Assembly ought to be supported by the per-member giving of EPC churches.”

The recommendation followed a nearly two-year study by the NLT on a fundamental question, “What is the best way to fund what God is calling the EPC to be and to do?”

As described in the April 2017 edition of “The Jeremiah Journal,” Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah’s monthly video blog, the earlier recommendation included two components:

  1. Including the four strategic initiatives (church planting, church revitalization, global movement, and effective biblical leadership) into the EPC overall operating budget. The initiatives have been funded from undesignated reserves since their launch in 2015.
  2. Changing the funding model from Per Member Asking (PMA) to 1 percent of a local church’s operating and outreach budget, and that those contributions be “expected.”

Jeremiah noted that the “vast majority” of feedback on the first component was positive.

“We are a connectional denomination,” he said, “and we want to support all EPC congregations (large and small, new and old, resource-rich and resource-challenged) as they seek to carry out the Great Commission.”

However, Jeremiah acknowledged that the response to the second component was mixed.

“While many were enthusiastic about simplifying our contribution model, there was a significant amount of feedback about the word ‘expected,’” he said. “So the NLT met with leadership at the Office of General Assembly on May 23rd to review all the feedback.”

Following that review, the NLT removed the second component of its recommendation to the Assembly.

“We will continue to promote the EPC as a mission- and vision-driven church, and to encourage financial participation by all our churches,” Jeremiah said. “In addition, anyone is welcome to contact me at if they have any questions or comments.”

General Assembly Networking Lunches offer more than mid-day meal


2017GAbannerRegOnlineNetworking Lunches at the EPC 37th General Assembly provide opportunity for connecting with others with similar ministry interests on June 21-23 from 12:00-1:30 p.m. at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Sacramento. For more information, including descriptions and meeting locations, see

Wednesday, June 21

  • Church Planting (hosted by the EPC Church Planting Team)
  • For the Church, For the Generations (hosted by Reformed Youth Ministries)
  • How to Build a Contagious Church Culture (hosted by Vanderbloemen Search Group)
  • How to Make Progress on Leadership Challenges (hosted by PastorServe)
  • Joy Together in Ministry and Mission (hosted by Serge)
  • Jump-Starting Church Revitalization (hosted by the EPC GO Center)
  • Presbyterians Pro-Life (hosted by Presbyterians Pro-Life)
  • What Is the Westminster Confession? (hosted by the Westminster Society)
  • Who Is My Neighbor? (hosted by the EPC Women’s Resource Council)
  • World Outreach Global Worker Meet-and-Greet (hosted by EPC World Outreach)
  • Young Ministers in the EPC (hosted by the EPC Young Ministers Network)

Thursday, June 22

  • Building a Culture of Generosity (hosted by the EPC Foundation)
  • Conflict Management: What Seminary Never Taught You (hosted by Pastor-In-Residence Ministries)
  • EPC Benefits “Lunch and Learn: Retirement Plan Changes” (hosted by EPC Benefit Resources, Inc.)
  • International Theological Education Network (hosted by EPC World Outreach)
  • Reaching Millennials (hosted by the EPC GO Center)
  • Reaching the Next Generation of College Students for Christ (hosted by the Coalition for Christian Outreach)
  • Understanding Gender Dysphoria and the Transgender Experience (hosted by OnebyOne)
  • Who Will Lead After You? A Guide to Effective Succession Planning (hosted by Vanderbloemen Search Group)
  • Women Teaching Elders and Candidates (hosted by the EPC Office of the General Assembly)
  • World Outreach Needs Business Professionals (hosted by EPC World Outreach)

Friday, June 23

  • Clerks of Session (hosted by the EPC Presbytery of the Pacific)
  • Coaching Church Revitalization (hosted by the EPC GO Center)
  • Come to The Well: Women’s Ministries Resources (hosted by the EPC Women’s Resource Council)
  • Engaging Muslim Communities for Christ Through Literacy (hosted by Literacy and Evangelism International)
  • EPC Benefits “Lunch and Learn: Retirement Plan Changes” (hosted by EPC Benefit Resources, Inc.)
  • Growing Your Church Through Small Groups (hosted by Hope Church, Richmond, Va.)
  • How to Lead Your Team to Fulfill Your Church’s Vision (hosted by Vanderbloemen Search Group)
  • Leaders of Small Churches (hosted by the EPC Z–4:10 Network)
  • Sending Our EPC Sons and Daughters (hosted by EPC World Outreach)

Dick Stenbakken’s renowned first-person narratives open to all during GA Chaplains Workshop


Col. Dick Stenbakken, U.S. Army (Retired)

Imagine that you have been assigned as the U.S. Army chaplain to the leaders of the German High Command on trial for war crimes following World War II. How would you minister to men who had intentionally, willfully, and systematically murdered millions of people?

Now imagine that you are on board the troop ship S.S. Dorchester, torpedoed in the North Atlantic by a German U-boat in 1943 and immortalized by the selfless actions of four Army chaplains who gave their life jackets so others might survive. As recipient of one of those life vests, how do you respond?

Retired Army Col. Dick Stenbakken will portray these two individuals in first-person narratives from 9:15-10:30 a.m. and 1:15-2:30 p.m. as part of the annual EPC Chaplain’s Workshop on in conjunction with the 37th General Assembly in Sacramento, Calif. The Workshop will be held on Tuesday, June 20, in the Wells Chapel at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church. Stenbakken’s presentations are open to all on a space-available basis.

In “The Nuremberg Chaplain,” Stenbakken portrays Henry Gerecke, chaplain to men who the world labeled as monsters, parishioners with whom he walked to the gallows.

In “The Dorchester Story,” Stenbakken recounts the S.S. Dorchester and the chaplain who gave him the chance to live.

Stenbakken served 24 years as an Army Chaplain, including one year of combat duty in Vietnam, and four years as the director of Family Life Ministries for the Army Chief of Chaplains Office. Following his retirement from the Army, he directed Chaplaincy Ministries on a world-wide basis for his denominational headquarters. He has presented to the U.S. Senate, the Pentagon, major health care organizations, leadership conferences, college campus settings, and a variety of military and civilian congregations across North America, Africa, India, Asia, Europe, Japan, and Germany. He holds four Master’s Degrees and a Doctorate in Education. For more information about his first-person narratives, see

For more information about the 37th General Assembly, see For details about the Chaplain’s Workshop, click here or contact Mark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser, at


GA World Outreach Dinner features missionary widowed by al Qaeda


WeDiedBeforeWeGotHereEmily Foreman, author of We Died Before We Came Here, is the featured guest speaker at this year’s World Outreach Dinner in conjunction with the 37th General Assembly. The dinner and program will be held on Tuesday, June 20, at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, Calif.

Foreman—which is a pseudonym due to security concerns—is a YWAM missionary in a Muslim country in North Africa where Christianity is illegal. Her husband was assassinated by Al Qaeda there, leaving her widowed with four children. She has since remarried and returned to North Africa with her family to reach Muslims for Christ, in addition to inspiring Christians across North America to see the Muslim world through a lens of faith.

Click here to listen to a 2016 interview with Foreman conducted by American Family Radio.

For more information about the 37th General Assembly, see For details about the World Outreach Dinner, contact Erin Rhoden, World Outreach Assistant, at or 407-930-4313.

Mark Noll, David Kinnaman to keynote EPC Leadership Institute


Mark Noll and David Kinnaman

Mark Noll, one of the leading Christian historians in America, and David Kinnaman, President of the Barna Group, are the keynote speakers for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church’s third annual Leadership Institute. The Institute is a strategic component of the EPC’s 37th General Assembly, to be held June 20-23 at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, Calif.

On Wednesday, June 21, Noll will address “The Reformation, Then and Now.” His talk will cover two primary themes: “The Reformation as a Great Blessing and a Great Problem” and “Putting the Reformation to Use Today.”

On Thursday, June 22, Kinnaman will speak on “Good Faith,” in which he will discuss ways Christians can offer loving, life-giving friendships amid potentially divisive conversations about race relations, sexuality, politics, and more. There also will be a moderated time for question-and-answer.

In addition, eleven Leadership Institute tracks will be available on Tuesday, June 20, from 1:00-5:00 p.m.:

  • Building a Culture of Generosity. Led by Greg Gibbs, Lead Navigator for Auxano.
  • Building a Philosophy of Youth and Family Ministry. Led by Joey Stewart, Executive Director of Reformed Youth Ministries.
  • Leaders Who Matter. Led by Sharon Beekmann, chair of the EPC Women’s Resource Council; Bill Enns, EPC Associate Executive for Collaborative Ministries; and Erik Ohman, Pastor of Warsaw EPC in Warsaw, Ind.
  • Mobilizing People and Making Ministry Happen. Led by Ken Priddy, Executive Director of the EPC GO Center.
  • Multiplying Leaders: Internships and Residency Programs. Led by Nicole Unice, Assistant Pastor and Director of the Hope Praxis Program at Hope Church in Richmond, Va.
  • Practical Tools for Reaching Muslims in America. Led by U.S. Muslim Ministry Coordinators for EPC’s World Outreach.
  • Reaching the Next Generation. Led by Vince Burens, President of the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO).
  • Reclaiming the Joy of Evangelism and Discipleship in the Local Church. Led by Nadar Award and Bill Senyard, coaches with the EPC GO Center Revitalization Team.
  • Strategic Church Planting in 21st Century America. Led by Mike Moses, Pastor of Lake Forest Church in Huntersville, N.C.; Tom Ricks, Pastor of Greentree Community Church in Kirkwood, Mo., and chair of the EPC Church Planting Team; Richard Rieves, Pastor of Downtown Church in Memphis, Tenn.; and Rufus Smith, Pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church in Cordova, Tenn.
  • Strengthening the Small Church. Led by Rob Buchanan, Assistant Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic, and Ed McCallum, Assistant Stated Clerk for the EPC.
  • Transformational Family Ministries. Led by Martha Daniel, Minister to Families for Memorial Park Church in Allison Park, Pa.

Click here for more information on the Leadership Institute, including full speaker bios and descriptions of each of the eleven Tuesday seminars.

April Jeremiah Journal introduces proposed EPC funding change


In the April edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah introduces a proposal from the National Leadership Team to change the funding model for the Office of the General Assembly.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at 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.

March Jeremiah Journal highlights upcoming 37th General Assembly


In the March edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah discusses some highlights of the upcoming 37th General Assembly in June, including the Leadership Institute, worship service speakers, church business items, and more.

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

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

CCO Jubilee Conference available at no cost for EPC leaders


One of the EPC’s strategies for reaching and building Next Generation leaders is through its strategic partnership with Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO). Through that partnership, any EPC leader may attend CCO’s 2017 Jubilee Conference at no cost for registration. Jubilee will be held February 17-19 at the Westin Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. The annual event attracts more than 3,000 attendees each year.

For more than 40 years, the Jubilee Conference has helped college students talk, learn, think, and dream about the public implications of their personal transformation. And it’s not just for those pursuing a career in ministry—Jubilee is designed for all students to help them understand how to be involved faithfully in whatever discipline they choose—both in college and the years to come.

The three-day conference normally costs approximately $300 per person. In addition to the waived registration fee, EPC leaders are offered a discounted rate at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Two meals also will be provided free of charge—Saturday lunch and Saturday dinner.

Free registration is available to any EPC pastor, elder, church or presbytery staff member, or other leader as a ministry of the EPC Student and College Ministries (SCM) Committee. One of the committee’s primary goals is to further develop EPC’s partnership with CCO to help growing numbers of EPC churches develop or improve their ministry to college students and millennials.

To register, go to the Jubilee Partners page at For more information, see the CCO website at or contact Elliott Simko, CCO Partnership Coordinator, at

January Jeremiah Journal discusses 2016 EPC budget allocation


In the January edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah discusses how the 2016 EPC budget was allocated between the four Strategic Initiatives (Global Movement, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, and Effective Biblical Leadership) and a fifth category, “protecting the EPC.”

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

Reformed Theological Seminary offers EPC polity course


rtsReformed Theological Seminary
(RTS) in Orlando is offering a course in EPC polity during its upcoming Winter 2017 term. The class will meet January 9-12 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Subjects to be studied include polity, discipline, EPC history, and current developments within the denomination. The course will focus on the biblical and theological foundations for Presbyterian polity and how they are applied through the confession, constitution, and policies of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church within the historical contexts of the Reformed tradition, American Presbyterianism, and the EPC’s own history and distinctives.

Instructors are Don Fortson, Mike Glodo, and Jeff Jeremiah. Fortson is Professor of Church History at RTS’s Charlotte, N.C., campus and author of Liberty in Non-Essentials: The Story of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Glodo is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at the RTS Orlando campus and served as EPC Stated Clerk from 2001-2006. Jeremiah has served as Stated Clerk of the EPC since 2006.

The course is open to EPC and non-EPC students from other seminaries, as well as RTS students of all campuses and will satisfy the Master of Divinity course requirement, regardless of the student’s denominational affiliation. Students can take the course for credit or as an audit.

For information on how to register, contact Winston Miller, Director of Admissions for the RTS Orlando campus, at

Transitional (Interim) pastors training scheduled


The EPC Office of the General Assembly is hosting a Transitional Pastor training seminar January 30 through February 2, 2017, in Orlando, Fla.

Bill Enns, EPC Associate Executive for Collaborative Ministries, said the event is designed for those who serve in interim roles throughout the EPC.

“We have called these folks ‘interim pastors’ for a long time,” Enns said, “but we have changed the term to ‘transitional pastor’ for reasons that will be made clear at the seminar.”

A variety of pertinent topics will be discussed, including:

  • Six Types of Transitional Ministries
  • A Theological Framework for Transitional Ministries
  • Helping Congregations Assess their Need for a Transitional Pastor
  • Organizations in Transition
  • Questions to Ask When Interacting with Interim Search Teams and Sessions

In addition, Ken Priddy from the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic’s GO Center will present the Great Commission Matrix (GCM). The GCM is designed to help churches catch a vision of God for their local context, and is the primary tool used in the EPC’s church revitalization strategic initiative.

The cost for training event is $65 per person, and includes materials and lunch each day. A reduced rate of $149 per night is available at the Residence Inn Orlando Airport, which will provide breakfast each day and transportation to and from the airport. Evening meals will be the responsibility of the participant.

Click here to register for the training, or go to For hotel reservations, click here or go to The deadline to register at the reduced rate is December 30.

For more information, contact Enns at