• Towards a Healthy Church – Communication

    Last week, I shared a particular challenge within many churches is the lack of participation by the congregation and the lack of allowing for participation by the leadership. These two issues represent two sides of the same coin and often boil to a lack of expectations – either that someone wants help or that someone can get the job done. But one reason that jobs do not get done is a lack of communication. This issue can impact many areas of a church – large or small. Insufficient, or ineffective, communication can prevent people from knowing what opportunities are available for service, what the responsibilities are in service, why the…

  • Towards A Healthy Church, A Major Reason Involvement Is a Challenge

    Over the past four weeks, I have shared my testimony of moving from being apart from the church to being a part of a church to now being a leader in multiple aspects of The Church. These testimonial posts allowed me to personally review how God has worked over time in my life, and to share with others the need to both be invested in by others and to invest in others. However, before we leave this part of the series, I want to move from the personal to the practical. That is, I want to provide a few specific helps to help you, or help you help others, to…

  • Towards a Healthy Church, A Personal Testimony, Part 4

    This post is the fourth and final post of my testimony related to becoming increasingly involved in the life of a church and in ministry overall. I allude to the three previous posts in this post. If you wish to read them for context, you can find them in the following links. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Although every person who follows Jesus is called to serve Him in some way, I realize not everyone is called to pastor a church, teach in a seminary, or lead a mission organization. In fact, a true understanding of the body of Christ ensures that such a calling is not possible. Otherwise,…

  • Towards a Healthy Church, A Personal Testimony, Part 3

    The blog this year has focused on the idea of what makes a church healthy. As I said early in this series, I am not attempting to re-write what has been offered by experts such as Dever, Rainer, and others, I am simply adding my perspective which can then be infused into the overall conservation. As part of adding my perspective, I am sharing my personal testimony as it relates to becoming involved in a/the church. Overall, the idea is more than becoming involved; the idea is about discipling others. However, getting people involved in ministry does allow for discipleship opportunities as I have shared over each of the past…

  • Image from the O Captain, My Captain scene from Dead Poets Society

    Towards a Healthy Church – A Personal Testimony, Part 2

    As we move to the second “level” of involvement, I want to continue to share my testimony. My purpose is to share that these levels are not just theoretical, but personal. Additionally, while some will think that my path must have been straightforward, it was anything but so, as this week’s post will reveal. If you have followed my blog on this site (6 months) or in general (at fotonni.blogspot.com for the last several years), you will know that I am a pastor, an educator at a Christian college and seminary, and I lead an organization with a primary purpose of equipping pastors in underprivileged areas of the world to…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – A Personal Testimony, Part 1

    It is interesting to me that I would be creating a blog series on the idea of a healthy church. As a pastor, I certainly desire to pastor a church that is healthy (or, at least, more healthy than not). As a Christian educator, I teach others various concepts and methods towards a goal of having a healthy ministry and church. But as a person, those ideals seemed very distant thirty years ago. And thus, over the month of April, I will share a bit of my journey through the levels of which I have written in the three previous posts of this series. First, it is important to note…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Increasing the Level of Involvement, Part 2

    In last week’s post, I provided a few specific thoughts on helping people to move from beyond the church to being involved in some way (attending counts!) and from marginally involved to somewhat involved. This week, I will touch on the levels of those who are already involved and/or may be leaders within the church. Although discipleship has many levels, the difference between the groups discussed last week and the groups discussed this week is somewhat the difference between the idea of assimilation and what most* would consider discipleship. *I use the word most because the model that Jesus used was to bring people along at whatever level and have…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – Increasing the Level of Involvement, Part 1

    Last week’s post covered the five levels of people within a church. The levels move from those who are completely unaffiliated with a church to those who are actively leading the church. Some might further delineate the levels (and I think we should in many ways), but for the purposes here these five will work. The idea then is to consider how to get people to move from one level to another. Ultimately, this involvement is for the benefit of the Kingdom, but the church is the tool God has chosen, so, in effect, the idea is to get people more involved within the church. This idea is known as…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – The Five Levels of a Church

    Over the past few weeks, I have spent time discussing the importance of the church having a vision statement, a mission statement, a calendar, systems, etc. If you are reading this article as your first on this blog site, you may think that I am advocating business principles over the Bible. Well, I am not, but as I have mentioned in several articles in this series, I do believe that all truth is God’s truth and the principles that businesses use work if they are true, not because a business developed it. As I wrote here, Moses, Paul, and, yes, Jesus had their own mission statements long before these types…

  • Towards a Healthy Church – From Strategy to Systems

    By now, you might be tired of reading about vision and mission. Good news, we are moving down one more level, but only because it is the next level that allow us to begin to fulfill the mission, which, in turn, allows us to achieve our vision. The next level: strategy. If mission is the objective of a church (or organization), then a strategy is the plan that is needed to make the mission successful. In other words, the strategy is how a mission is fulfilled. Mission statements are important, and people have developed all types of mission statements which might solve or satisfy most every need or ambition known…