Introducing the AG’s New General Secretary | Influence Podcast


On Monday, April 23, 2018, the Assemblies of God announced that Rev. Donna Barrett would succeed Dr. Jim Bradford in the office of general secretary. Her term beings June 1, 2018. This was an historic announcement, given that Barrett is the first woman in the denomination’s history to serve on the Executive Leadership Team. In today’s podcast, I talk to Barrett about her life and ministry and how God has led her to this point in time.

Episode 137 Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction of podcast topic
  • 00:47 Trending Up sponsor ad
  • 01:24 Introduction of Donna Barrett
  • 01:53 Life, conversion and call to ministry
  • 03:01 Why we need to create environments where youth can sense God’s calling
  • 06:01 History of ministry and leadership positions
  • 08:28 What the general secretary does, and what Barrett brings to the office
  • 11:54 Experiences as a woman church planter
  • 16:06 Why it’s important for Pentecostals to make a biblical case for women in leadership, as well as for women to be “at the table” of leadership
  • 20:16 Shifts in thinking from local church to national office, and advice for pastors going through transitions
  • 24:36 Conclusion

P.S. This is crossposted from InfluenceMagazine.com with permission.

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What’s Driving Christianity’s Global Growth? | Influence Podcast


In this episode, I talk to Brian Stiller about five drivers behind Christianity’s explosive growth worldwide.

Stiller is a global ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance, an ordained minister in the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, and author of From Jerusalem to Timbuktu: A World Tour of the Spread of Christianity, recently published by IVP Books.

To learn more about Brian Stiller, visit BrianStiller.com.


Episode Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction of podcast
  • 00:45 TruFire Sunday school curriculum sponsor ad
  • 01:08 Introduction of Brian Stiller
  • 01:18 What From Jerusalem to Timbuktu is about
  • 03:30 Evangelicalism’s explosive growth over the last century
  • 05:46 An overview of the five drivers behind this growth
  • 07:28 Driver #1: The Holy Spirit
  • 11:57 Drivers #2 and 3: Bible translation and indigeneity
  • 19:19 Drivers #4 and 5: Engaging the public square and holistic ministry
  • 24:29 Hopeful or fearful about Christianity’s future?
  • 27:39 How to follow Brian Stiller or the World Evangelical Alliance online
  • 28:20 Conclusion

How to Lead a Small Church | Influence Podcast


The vast majority of churches in America are small. In the Assemblies of God, for example, 75 percent of all churches report fewer than 200 people in weekly attendance. Nearly 60 percent report fewer than 100. And nearly one-third report fewer than 50.

Unfortunately, there are few books about how to lead a small church. Karl Vaters’ new book, Small Church Essentials is one of the best, and it’s both hopeful and helpful. (See my review here.)

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Vaters about the unique challenges and opportunities facing small-church pastors. Vaters is teaching pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California, and an Assemblies of God minister. He blogs regularly about small-church leadership at NewSmallChurch.com.

P.S. This podcast first appeared at InfluenceMagazine.com and is posted here with permission.

Do Miracles Really Happen? | Influence Podcast


Easter is a few days away. Around the world, Christians will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This event, so pivotal to Christian faith, is a reminder that Christianity is an inherently supernatural religion. Unfortunately, in the modern era, many disbelieve in miracles, their skepticism fueled by appeals to science. So, the question naturally arises, do miracles really happen?

To answer that question, I interviewed Lee Strobel about his new book, The Case for Miracles. Strobel began his career as the award-winning legal editor for The Chicago Tribune. After his conversion from atheism to Christianity, however, he turned his attention to apologetics and evangelism and has written bestsellers like The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for a Creator, and The Case for Grace. He currently serves as professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University as well as teaching pastor at Woodlands Church.

If you’d like a video of Lee Strobel making the case for Jesus’ resurrection, which you can download and use in your church, go here.

P.S. This is reposted (with minor edits) from InfluenceMagazine.com with permission.

P.P.S. Here are my two previous podcasts with Lee: (1) “Why Evangelism Needs Apologetics” and  (2) “Raising Your Church’s Evangelistic Temperature.”

How to Reach and Retain Youth in Your Church | Influence Podcast


In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Josh Wellborn about what churches can do to reach and retain young people. His vision can be summarized in two words: relationship and discipleship. Take a listen!

How to Multiply Leaders in Your Church | Influence Podcast


In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Dave Ferguson about how to multiply leaders in your church. The conversation draws on insights from Dave’s new book, Hero Maker, coauthored with Warren Bird and published by Zondervan. (See my review below.)

Dave is pastor of Community Christian Church, a multisite congregation with 11 locations in Chicago and its suburbs. He’s also the visionary for New Thing, an international church-planting movement, and president of the Exponential Conference. You can follow Dave on Twitter; his handle is @DaveFerguson. And check out his website, DaveFerguson.org.

Here’s my very brief review of the book:

“Am I trying to be the hero, or am I trying to make heroes out of others?” Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird believe church leaders should ask this question daily if they want to develop a culture of multiplication in their congregations. To help leaders do this, the authors outline five essential practices of hero making: multiplication thinking, permission giving, disciple multiplying, gift activating and kingdom building. Hero Maker is a helpful book for any church leader who wants to do the “greater things” Jesus promised His disciples in John 14:14.

Book Reviewed
Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird, Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018).

Leadership Lessons of the Apostle Paul | Influence Podcast


In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Ryan Lokkesmoe about leadership lessons we can learn from the New Testament church. Lokkesmoe is lead pastor of Real Hope Community Church in Houston, Texas. He has a Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Denver, and he is author, most recently, of Paul and His Team, published in 2017 by Moody.

Here’s my review of his book:

Ryan Lokkesmoe is the lead pastor of Real Hope Community Church in Houston, and has a Ph.D. in New Testament studies. In Paul and His Team:What the Early Church Can Teach Us About Leadership and Influence, he brings his pastoral and academic experiences into fruitful dialogue about what the apostle Paul teaches concerning influencing others for the sake of the gospel.

“Many leadership books address the mechanics of leadership and primarily focus on what and how questions,” Lokkesmoe writes. “This book will be more concerned with who and why questions. Who are we as influencers, and why do we lead the way we do?”

Among the leadership traits of Paul and his team that stand out most are these: (1) “Their singular focus was Christ.” (2) “They treated others as equals.” (3) “They were agents of reconciliation.”

Paul and His Team is a good reminder that “our leadership within the church should always have that distinctive tone and posture when compared to any other leadership context.”

P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.