After COVID, What? | Influence Podcast


“With the massive disruptions we’re facing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis of 2020 and beyond, the problems could not be more disruptive or obvious,” writes Karl Vaters. “From the lockdowns, to the unspeakable pain of the illness and death of loved ones, to the colossal financial upheavals, it is likely that we’ve never faced such a long-term disruption in our lifetimes, possibly even surpassing those that resulted from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Karl Vaters about what churches—especially smaller churches—can do to recover from the massive disruptions of the COVID pandemic. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Karl Vaters is teaching pastor at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California; a small-church leadership guru; and author of The Church Recovery Guide, published by Moody. (He’s also a longtime friend and fellow Assemblies of God minister.) He blogs regularly at KarlVaters.com.

P.S. This podcast is cross-posted from InfluenceMagazine.com with permission.

Taking Your Small Group to the Next Level | Influence Podcast


Small groups are a vital component of a church’s ministry. They extend the span of pastoral care, deepen group members’ spiritual formation, and provide a motivated cadre of volunteers for a church’s various ministries. At least that’s what they’re supposed to do. Too often, however, small groups get stuck in a rut, frustrating leaders and group members alike.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Jason Sniff about how to take your small group to the next level. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Jason Sniff is small groups pastor at Eastview Christian Church in Normal, Illinois, and a licensed professional counselor with more than 15 years of experience developing healthy groups in private and public sectors. He is coauthor with Ryan Hartwig and Courtney Davis of Leading Small Groups That Thrive, recently published by Zondervan.

P.S. This podcast is cross-posted from InfluenceMagazine.com with permission.

Outrage Culture vs. Gentle Jesus | Influence Podcast


In late 2014, Slate magazine published a series of articles under the title, “The Year of Outrage.” If anything, the outrage in America has only worsened since then. Even Christians have jumped onto the outrage train. The results haven’t been pretty, for either society generally or churches specifically.

What would Jesus do? And how should Christians follow His example? Scott Sauls thinks gentleness is the answer to both questions: “Jesus has been gentle toward us,” he writes, “so we have good reason to become gentle toward others, including those who treat us like enemies.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Pastor Sauls about how Jesus’ gentleness is the antithesis of outrage culture. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. Scott Sauls is senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and author of A Gentle Answer: Our “Secret Weapon” in an Age of Us Against Them, published in June by Thomas Nelson.

The Multiethnic Church as a Solution to Racism | Influence Podcast


The death of George Floyd has sparked a nationwide conversation about racism. As our fellow citizens talk about how to reform public policy, it’s also important for the Church to look inward and see how we can better embody the truth of Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Mark DeYmaz about how the multiethnic church offers a solution to the problem of racism. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

One of the architects of the contemporary multiethnic church movement, Mark DeYmaz is the cofounder, CEO, and president of Mosaix, “a relational network of pastors and planters, denominational and network leaders, educators, authors, and researchers alike, that exists to establish healthy multiethnic and economically diverse churches for the sake of the gospel throughout North America and beyond.” This October, Fortress Press will release a new version of his classic book, Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church.

This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Radiant Life Sunday School curriculum.

As a leader, it can be frustrating when you don’t have the tools your teachers need to engage students in the Bible. Radiant Life Sunday School curriculum is designed to be engaging and easy to use for any teacher, so that leaders can create a thriving ministry that changes lives. Radiant Life is also available in Spanish.

Visit RadiantLifeCurriculum.com to learn more.

How to Make Your Church Spiritually Safe for Kids | Influence Podcast


In a 2019 article for InfluenceMagazine.com, Mark Entzminger wrote: “[A] poorly designed or implemented safety plan can not only damage the church’s reputation in the community but, more importantly, it can also damage the heart and spirit of a child for a lifetime.”

He was talking about emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, but what he said also applies to the spiritual life of a child. There is such a thing as spiritual abuse, and it’s the job of church leaders to keep their kids spiritually safe.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Mark Entzminger about why churches must put the spiritual safety of their kids first and how they can do so. Entzminger is national director of Children’s Ministries for the Assemblies of God (USA).

What Racial Reconciliation Requires | Influence Podcast


The events of the past week have set America on fire.

It began on Monday, March 25th, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with the death of George Floyd, a black man. Video of the event showed the white arresting officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, despite cries from both Floyd and onlookers to relent. “I can’t breathe,” Floyd said. Floyd died soon after, and Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

As the video of Floyd’s death went viral, protestors in Minneapolis and other cities across the nation gathered to protest racism and police brutality. Some of those protests were marred by violence, looting, and arson. But the obvious injustice of George Floyd’s death is forcing Americans to ask, Where do we go from here? And the question the Church needs to ask is this: What does racial reconciliation require?

Those are the questions I ask Alex Bryant in this episode of the Influence Podcast. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. Alex Bryant is an ordained Assemblies of God minister, campus pastor at AG Theological Seminary, and an evangelist. Bryant, who is black, and his wife Angela, who is white, are authors of Let’s Start Again: A Biracial Couple’s on Race, Racial Ignorance, and Racial Insensitivity.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit | Influence Podcast


One of the hallmarks of classical Pentecostalism is its emphasis on baptism in the Holy Spirit, both theologically and experientially. This is certainly true in the Assemblies of God, which includes two articles on the doctrine—Articles 7 and 8—in our Statement of Fundamental Truths. Why we emphasize this doctrine, and how to make sure it moves from mere doctrine to vibrant experience, is the topic of my Influence Podcast with Tim Enloe.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. Tim Enloe is an evangelist ordained by the Assemblies of God. He and his wife Rochelle lead Holy Spirit Conferences throughout the nation and internationally, helping people to experience healing and Spirit baptism. He’s also author of several books, including—and I love this title—Goodbye, Chicken! Hello, Dove!

How to Relaunch Your Church | Influence Podcast


After weeks of being closed by state and local public health orders, many churches are beginning to reopen their doors for ministry to their communities. Rather than merely reopen, however, the present moment offers churches an opportunity to relaunch. We’ll explore what relaunching your church might look like in this episode of the Influence Podcast.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. My guest today is Dr. John Davidson. He is director of Leadership and Development for the Church Multiplication Network of the Assemblies of God. In that capacity, he oversees CMNLead.com , a website providing free resources for pastors.

Over the past few weeks, CMNLead.com has published—and will continue to publish—resources to help local churches respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Spanish-language resources are available at CMNLead.com/Spanish. One resource you’ll want to look at particularly is the Church Relaunch Kit, which we’ll talk about in this conversation.

The Narcissistic Leader | Influence Podcast


“While it seems as if the church should be the last place narcissism shows up,” writes Chuck DeGroat, “it does indeed—in ordinary laypeople, in clergy across all theological spectrums, and in systems that protect narcissistic people and foster abuse.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with DeGroat about what narcissism is, how it deforms both individuals and systems, and how churches can heal from the emotional and spiritual abuse that come in narcissism’s wake. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Chuck DeGroat is professor of pastoral care and Christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He’s also author of When Narcissism Comes to Church, published earlier this year by InterVarsity Press.

After Digital Church, What? | Influence Podcast


Over the past few weeks, churches have creatively responded to public health orders that closed their doors by going digital, offering worship experiences and small group meetings online. Is this use of digital technology a “new normal”? Or is it merely a temporary expedient to for extraordinary circumstances?

Those are some of the questions I talk with Jay Kim about in this episode of the Influence Podcast. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Jay Kim is pastor of teaching and leadership at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California, and author of Analog Church: Why We Need Real People, Places, and Things in the Digital Age, published by InterVarsity Press.

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