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Be Part of Our Conference Call With Pastor Ron Phillips

Our weekly conference call this week is one I think you'll want to be on. It will be with pastor Ron Phillips, senior pastor of Abba's House (Central Baptist Church) in Chattanooga, Tenn. Under Ron's ministry, the church has experienced tremendous growth and exploded into new realms of renewal and spiritual awakening. In 1989 he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that changed his life forever and produced a deeper passion to reach the world with the powerful message of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. His weekly television and daily radio programs are broadcast worldwide and available on the Internet. He is a sought-after conference and crusade speaker and the author of numerous books, including Our Invisible Allies, which you can order by clicking here.

Here are the instructions for Tuesday's call, Sept. 14, at 4 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. CDT, 2 p.m. MDT, and 1 p.m. PDT: Dial-in #: (712) 432-1000, Access Code: 544258494#. read more

Join Steve Strang and Jack Hayford for M21 Conference Call

Message from Steve Strang, publisher of Ministry Today magazine:

Pastor Jack Hayford has graciously agreed to participate in our weekly conference call Tuesday, Sept. 7, the day after Labor Day at 4 p.m. EST. He will talk about a variety of subjects and answer your questions as time allows. Here are your call-in instructions: Dial-in number: 712-432-1001; access code: 499959743#.

Pastor Hayford is chancellor of The Kings University and founder on Church on the Way in Van Nuys, Calif. Christianity Today called him "The Pentecostal Gold Standard." When it comes to integrity, he's the "real deal." We asked him to write about "Making Integrity A Reality: Living in Christ yields a lifestyle of purity and integrity" in the upcoming issue of Ministry Today (now at press).

You can scroll down to get a sneak preview of the article, but first, let me invite you to be a part of my small accountability group on Tuesday, Sept. 21 in Minneapolis, Minn. Our special speaker, Dr. Doug Weiss, will talk about "The Miracle of Marriage," and address the following issues: read more

Where There Is Life, Things Grow

A lady sitting next to me on a flight from Dallas back to Birmingham, Ala., asked me, "What kind of work do you do?" I answered, "I plant churches." She looked at me with confusion and replied, "Oh, what does that mean?" "I help young couples that have a dream of doing something extraordinary for God fulfill that dream as church planters."

Then I went on to explain that nearly 4,000 churches in the U.S. close each year and there is a huge need for new churches in every city. I explained that the Association of Related Churches (ARC), an organization I helped found, selected, trained and financed the ministries of people who wanted to start new churches, and that I felt like I had the greatest job in the world. She smiled and said, "That's nice."

Church planting is nice. I'm not sure if the lady in the plane felt sorry for me or if she was sincere with her comments. But the bottom line is this: Church planting is the most effective evangelistic tool in the church today. read more

Join Steve Strang Today for M21 Network Writing Webinar

Dear Ministry Report Subscriber:

Many Christian leaders and pastors today want to be published in Ministry Today and Charisma magazines, but they don't know how and where to start. You have a burning message in your heart, but the process of sharing it with the masses can be intimidating without guidance from professionals in the industry.

Join me and Ministry Today managing editor Valerie Lowe and Charisma online editor Felicia Mann, as we share with you the how-tos of magazine writing, blogging and more. The webinar "From the Pulpit to Print: How to Write Articles, Blogs and More" will be held today, Aug. 24, 4 p.m. EST.

The webinar is open to the first 1,000 attendees. To register, click on the following link: read more

Join Steve Strang and Terry Law for M21 Network Conference Call

Dear Ministry Today Report Subscriber:

Be sure to tune in to our conference call today, Aug. 17, 4 p.m. (EST). Author Terry Law will talk about his new book, The Hope Habit, featured in the recent issue of Ministry Today.

Terry is the founder and president of World Compassion Terry Law Ministries. For more than four decades, he has preached around the world, and he is especially drawn to nations that are not so receptive to the gospel. He has ministered in the former Soviet Union and Iraq, sharing the message of Jesus Christ, and supporting local churches and Christian relief efforts.

We hope you can join us for the call, which is open to the first 1,000 callers. These are your call instructions: Dial-in number: (712) 432-1001, access code: 483230405#. read more

M21 Network Coaching Call With Kent Humphreys

Dear Ministry Today Report Subscriber,

Our next coaching conference call is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 10, 4 p.m. (EST). This will actually be a webinar with Kent Humphreys. Kent serves as a worldwide ambassador for Fellowship of Companies for Christ International, a ministry focused on inspiring Christian business leaders throughout the world. As a nationally recognized inspirational speaker and author, he enjoys mentoring and interacting with those attending his conferences where he encourages participants to become empowered ministers in the marketplace. read more

M21 Network Coaching Call With Jim Garlow

Dear Ministry Today Report Subscriber,

Our next coaching conference call is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 4 p.m. (EST). The call will be with Jim Garlow (pictured below), senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego and a member of Ministry21 Network. He founded and led the California Pastors’ Rapid Response Team, a group of several thousand networked pastors that is committed to the sacredness of life, the sanctity of marriage, as well as religious, personal and economic freedoms.

Jim will introduce you to A Call to Pray & Act for Life, Marriage and Religious Freedom, a national call to pray and fast for our nation from Sept. 12-Oct. 30. read more

Ministry21 Network Coaching Call

Join me and Rick Bezet, pastor of the fastest-growing church in America, for the next Ministry21 Network coaching call. The call will be held today, July 20 at 4 p.m. EST.

E-mail Bob Cruz at by noon on July 20 to reserve your spot and receive your call-in instructions.

Thank you,

Steve Strang
Executive editor and publisher of Ministry Today

Where There Is Life, Things Grow

| By Billy Hornsby

The Association of Related Churches (ARC) started in 2001 with two church plants. Each one was named the fastest-growing church in America. In 2008, Church of the Highlands, Birmingham, Ala., pastored by Chris Hodges, was named the No. 1, fastest-growing church by Outreach magazine. Then in 2009, pastor Rick Bezet's New Life Church in Little Rock, Ark., earned that distinction.

There are now 200 new church plants in ARC since its conception. Each one is a life-giving local expression of the person of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Cell Church Movement back in the 1990s was very significant to the church around the world. It accomplished two major things for the church. The movement developed leaders who learned how to gather people, lead a meeting, prepare a message and raise up other leaders. Secondly, it refocused the local church on evangelism. read more

Where Would Jesus Go?

QUOTE: "When Jesus was on Earth he said, 'Guys, I'm leaving, I'm putting you in charge.' He said feed the hungry. It's not a suggestion. … Bless His heart, if Jesus walked into Denver, where would He go? Who would He hang out with? He would come to Sox Place, He would go where the hurting people are." —Doyle Robinson, an Assemblies of God minister who founded a homeless shelter in downtown Denver that has come to be known as “Sox Place.” Robinson ministers to the large homeless youth population in Denver, providing meals, computer access and lots of socks at his humble downtown location. [, 7/8/10] read more

Prayer Banned From N.C. Capitol for Using Jesus’ Name

QUOTE: “My response to her was I am a Christian, and as a Christian I too can be offended, and I am offended if I cannot pray in the name of Jesus.” —Ron Baity, the pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Forsyth County, N.C., who was told that he could not use the name of Jesus in his opening prayer for the North Carolina House of Representatives because it may offend some in attendance. Baity was invited to give the opening prayer at the House session but had to submit it in writing first. Upon review, he was told he needed to drop the phrase “In the name of Jesus.” For many years the house has requested, but not required, pastors to deliver nonsectarian prayers. Because of Baity’s complaint, it is considering banning all prayers before sessions. [, 7/9/10] read more

Christians Make Debt Management, Giving Priority

Christian households are keeping their debt levels under control and placing an emphasis on giving, in spite of the fact that most of them saw stagnant or declining income level, according to a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by Maximum Generosity and Christianity Today International, found that 44 percent of Christian households saw their income stay the same and 33 saw their income go down in the last 12 months. Despite this, most of those households did not see an increase in debt levels.

Some 70 percent of respondents pay off their credit cards in full every month, and only 35 percent said they have car payments. read more

Study: Evangelistic Events Work Well

Churches that regularly use special events for evangelism are more effective at outreach, at least among Southern Baptist congregations, according to a new study from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary and the North American Mission Board.

The study, which looked at results from 3,200 Southern Baptist churches, found that two-thirds of the congregations that were most effective at sharing the gospel do so through a combination of event- and relationship-based evangelism strategy.

The most effective churches do several events annually and put significant effort into preparation before the event and follow up with visitors afterward. The study defined evangelistic events as those that intentionally draw lost people through relationships and attraction, clearly present the gospel and provide an invitation to respond. read more

Laurie: We're Bad at Evangelism

QUOTE: "If there's one thing that Christians and non-Christians have in common, it's this: We're both uptight about evangelism. … Far too often we don't know how to cross over [to our culture]. Far too many Christians today are unnecessarily offensive, hopelessly lame and generally inept at communicating.” —Greg Laurie, before his annual Harvest Crusade in Southern California, where the prominent pastor and evangelist compared not sharing the gospel to having the cure for cancer and keeping it to yourself [, 5/6/10] read more

Church Buildings Becoming More Energy Efficient

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has started awarding “Energy Star” status to churches and other houses of worship that have higher than average standards for energy efficiency, according to the Washington Times.

The “Energy Star” label, which is more commonly associated with household appliances and electronics, has been given out to nine churches across the country so far. To be eligible, a church must be more efficient than 75 percent of similar buildings.

First Parish Church in Needham, Mass., was awarded “Energy Star” status after a $3.3 million renovation to its building, which still has beams from the original construction in 1774. Among the renovations were temperature controls for each room so energy isn't wasted in areas that aren't being used, a ventilation system that adjusts to the number of people inside by measuring the carbon dioxide being exhaled, and new insulation in the meetinghouse walls. read more

Are We Forgetting About Haiti?

QUOTE: “At the beginning, everybody was alert [about the situation in Haiti], but now things seem to be shifting in a different direction. The problem is still there, and I feel it is my responsibility to go back.” —Guy Francois, pastor of First Biblical Baptist Church of Palmetto, Fla., after he struggled to gain support for a missions trip to Haiti . Francois, who is from Haiti originally, has had trouble raising funds and getting interest from medical volunteers for the two-week trip. He fears that other events, such as the BP oil spill, are distracting Americans from the continued plight of the Haitians. According to the AP, 1.6 million people in the country are still living under tarps, and less than 2 percent of the rubble has been cleared in Port-au-Prince. Conditions are getting worse now that the rainy season has begun. [, 7/6/10,, 6/2/10] read more

Women and African-Americans Most Involved Church Attendees

Women and African-Americans are more involved in church group activities than other American Christian demographics, according to a recent Barna report. The survey also found that older, married Christians and those from the South are also more likely to participate in church activities.

The survey looked at different types of expressions of “group faith,” such as church attendance, small groups, adult Sunday school programs, church volunteering and house church involvement. Women were consistently more likely to be involved in all these types of activities. They make up more than half (53 percent) of church attendees. Some 60 percent of those who attend small groups and 57 percent of church volunteers are women.

Home churches are the only place where men (56 percent) are more likely to be involved than women. read more

Sex Offender Asks State to OK Church Attendance

A sex offender in New Hampshire is asking the state’s Supreme Court to grant him permission to attend church with a chaperone, according to the Associated Press.

Jonathan Perfetto, 35, spent seven years in prison after pleading guilty to 61 counts of child pornography. As part of his probation, Perfetto is not allowed to have any contact with children. Now the state Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether his probation is infringing on his constitutional right to religious freedom.

Perfetto maintains that being escorted by a church elder who acts as a chaperone would ensure the safety of children at the church in Manchester, N.H. The state’s lower court initially ruled against him, but the case has been appealed to the Supreme Court.

Currently 36 states have established zones where sex offenders cannot live or visit, and some provide exceptions for churches. [, 6/20/10] read more

Fireworks Sales Pay for Church Building

QUOTE: "We’re really fun-loving and we enjoy life. We’re not a cult. We just love Jesus ... and fireworks.” —Pattie Guidry, a church member who also volunteers as a fireworks salesperson at House of Prayer First United Pentecostal Church in Thibodaux, La. The church sells fireworks before the Fourth of July every year to raise money for missions projects and to pay off the debt on its buildings. Its pastor expects to raise between $15,000 and $20,000 after taxes and pay off the church’s mortgage by the end of the year. [, 6/28/10] read more

Supreme Court: Christian Groups Must Accept Gay Members

Christian campus groups that are officially recognized by public universities must be open to accepting gay students as members or they risk losing recognition and funding, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

In a 5-4 split decision, the court ruled in favor of the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, which barred the Christian Legal Society from recognition and funding because it would not accept members who were engaged in homosexual relationships, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The ruling states that campus groups cannot bar any student that wishes to become a member or move into a leadership position, even if that person does not agree with the group’s beliefs.

A school "may reasonably draw a line in the sand permitting all organizations to express what they wish but no group to discriminate in membership," wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the majority opinion that hailed from the liberal side of the bench. read more

More Pastors Are Working Two Jobs

As the economy continues to stretch budgets, more churches are turning to bivocational pastors—those who hold a second job in addition to ministering—to meet their needs.

According to Ray Gilder, national coordinator for the Southern Baptist Bivocational and Small Church Leadership Network, bivocational pastors play a crucial role in the church by ministering to churches that can’t afford full-time pastors, and their numbers are growing.

Gilder, who was meeting with bivocational pastors at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting last week in Orlando, Fla., told USA Today that about half of Southern Baptist churches currently rely on bivocational ministers. Almost all of these are small churches, often in out-of-the-way places that don’t get the spotlight. read more


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