Dr. George O. Wood — aka, “Dad” — and I have a wide-ranging conversation on the Influence Podcast about leaving a legacy of influence in ministry. Dad is retiring as general superintendent of the Assemblies of God (USA), and has a lot of wisdom to share about this topic, based on over 50 years of gospel ministry.
Dr. Joy Qualls reminds pastors that when a person comes to church, the entirety of what they experience is sending a message. “Too often, when we think about message delivery, we focus only on the pastor’s sermon,” she writes. “I want to challenge that limited notion and encourage the view that the act of moving people toward a response begins the moment they pull into your parking lot…” Joy outlines four questions to help pastors figure out what message their church is actually communicating to attendees.
Carter McDaniel reviews Clay Scroggins’ new book, How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge (Zondervan), which released today. Carter summarizes the book’ message this way: “Great leaders lead when they are needed, regardless of their position or level of authority. And great leaders know how to lead when they are in charge because they have been leading that way long before they were in a position of authority.” After you read Carter’s review, listen to my Influence Podcast with Clay Scroggins…then buy the book. It’s really good.
In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk with the nation’s foremost historian of Azusa Street about the history and significance of this revival. Prof. Cecil M. Robeck Jr. — “Mel to his friends” —is senior professor of church history and ecumenics at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. A credentialed Assemblies of God minister for 47 years, he is the author of The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, as well as the editor of the new Azusa Street Series of books from Gospel Publishing House.
George O. Wood — aka, Dad — shares the story of how an Assemblies of God church planter changed the trajectory of his father’s and hence his family’s life. Then, he concludes: “We may plant churches differently today than standing on a street corner, but plant churches we must! Thousands of communities in the U.S. do not have the witness of a Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered church. Therefore, we must be more aggressive than ever in our church-planting efforts.”
Chris Railey talks about the AG is growing the kingdom of God through church planting.”The task ahead is overwhelming, but the One who hung the stars is faithful and will show us the way. God wants to continue growing His family by multiplying His church. We must pray, believe, and work like never before as we embark on the next 100 years. More souls saved! More lives changed! More people coming to Jesus! The vision is big, but we’re thankful Jesus can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine!”
Christina Quick relates the story of J. J. Vasquez, an AG church planter in Winter Park, Florida. “Though the young Hispanic ministers initially wondered whether they would connect with the predominantly white, affluent, middle-aged residents of Winter Park, the couple trusted God with their ministry as well. ‘Our skin color didn’t match, and our age demographic didn’t match,’ Vasquez says. ‘We don’t blend in, but we’ve learned that loving people is the universal language and culture.’”
Chris Railey continues his series, “A Team Approach to Teaching,” by focusing on who should be part of your teaching team. “Prioritize teamwork over talent,” he writes, “and you’ll find a group of people who fit well together.”
Jim Bradford encourages ministers to take a vacation in “Unstring the Bow”: “Taking a true vacation is, for some of us, an actual act of humility by which we surrender our sense of indispensability and trust God to take care of things for a while. It also confronts the human tendency to confuse our ‘self’ with our ‘work,’ an identity confusion that seriously depletes us over time.”
George O. Wood — aka, “Dad” — encourages us to “Leave Bad Enough Alone.” He offers this insight: “There’s an important difference between being at peace with all people in God’s sight and pleasing them according to their carnal natures. It’s usually the carnal nature that keeps unhappy people unhappy.” Then he concludes with some practical advice: “So stay on the positive, creative edge. Keep doing what God has called you to do. While He hasn’t called you to be insensitive or rude, God also hasn’t called you to pander to malcontents.”
Finally, we note a new Gallup report about American marijuana usage. The title of our note gives it away: “Nearly Half of Americans Have Tried Marijuana.” Joseph Batluck, president of Teen Challenge USA, offers this advice to Christians: ““The Christian’s perspective should always be to see God and live in a clear, efficient and impacting way. Distorting reality, through the use of chemicals, is not an option for those who belong to Christ.”
George O. Wood–aka, “Dad”–uses dot-to-dot art as a reminder to live one day at a time. “If you choose to draw the line today that connects the morning to the evening — God will show you the next day where the new dot is. Keep the pencil of your life moving according to His daily will, and someday God will let you look back and see a portrait that makes sense … and is beautiful.”
I interview Alan Fadling for the Influence Podcast about his new book, An Unhurried Leader: The Lasting Fruit of Daily Influence (IVP Books, 2017). Here’s what I wrote about Alan’s book in my review: “The key thing, then, is for Christian leaders to let Jesus into their hearts. Does that sound too simple? Perhaps. Then again, I was amazed at how often An Unhurried Leader opened my eyes to things in my heart that are crowding out Jesus and thus misshaping my influence. I hope it will do the same for you.”
We note a Pew Research Center finding about Americans’ continued high regard for the Church. “Nearly 6 in 10 U.S. adults say the church has a positive effect on the country, while 26 percent say it has a negative effect. By comparison, 55 percent have positive views of postsecondary learning institutions, and 36 percent believe higher education is doing more harm than good. Just 26 percent believe the national news media is helping the country, compared to 63 percent who say the media’s effect is negative.”
Chris Railey writes about two key components of strong ministry marriages: “Setting goals together and making decisions together are two powerful components of any strong marriage. And they will help you become a better leader, too. But all of this presupposes that you are praying for and with your spouse. No amount of counseling, reading, self-help or peer advice can match the power of a praying spouse. Praying together makes setting goals and making decisions together that much easier. But it also sets your hearts on what is most important: your relationship with the Father above.”
Phil Steiger reviews The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher: “I believe there is a lot of value for a pastor in The Benedict Option. Dreher forces us to pay attention to some of the significant and seismic changes in culture, but more than that, he produces some tangible suggestions. And I agree with him that we can’t just do business as usual and expect better results.”
George O. Wood–aka, “Dad”–talks about one of his favorite pastoral prayers: “Lord, help them to lay foundations that are strong enough to bear the weight You will later place on them.”