June 12, 2008

Resources to "Tool" Us for Ministry

Need Help to Get Going?
Are you the leader of a department or a ministry in your local church? Are you a pastor who would like to see your church board members do more with the various leadership roles they have assumed?
2008 1517 page16A survey I directed a few years ago revealed that half the individuals in our local churches who have agreed to be personal ministries leader or youth leader or Community Services director, etc., do nothing with that role except receive mail from the conference office. (The exceptions tend to be those ministries that are curriculum-driven, such as the Sabbath school, the Pathfinder club, and Vacation Bible School.)
Here is a basic tool designed to help us break free from this kind of inertia: How to Lead Your Church Department Successfully, by Raymond Edwards. It is concise—just 75 pages—and loaded with practical worksheets for planning, budgeting, and problem-solving. It assumes that your church wants at least a few leaders who take initiative, hand in a budget and plan for the coming year, and build intentional ministries for outreach and 
Edwards is an experienced, ordained Adventist minister who has a doctorate degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University. You can get a copy of this useful book from AdventSource or by calling (800) 328-0525. Pastors should consider getting a copy for each of their ministry leaders and spending some time discussing the book chapter by chapter.
A Quick-Start Guide: Deacon and Deaconess
2008 1517 page16This is another tool to get your church really rolling. This little booklet provides the basics of how to deal with greeting and ushering at church, upkeep of the church facilities, security issues, preparing for special events such as baptisms and the Communion service, and generally caring for the congregation. It is designed to put into the hands of new deacons and deaconesses. Reality check—you can no longer assume this kind of practical “common sense” is passed on by word of mouth. These are also available from AdventSource. Get a quantity and hand them out to your people!
Hooked on Unhappiness
2008 1517 page16Every church has at least a few “Sadventists,” people who are workaholics and worriers, often concerned about one thing or another, always taking care of others, and trying to control the group. They are never satisfied, can’t stand to really celebrate anything, and often are perceived as “legalistic, joyless, and without grace.” Don’t let them spoil the soup at your church. It’s an addiction!
Carol Cannon has provided an excellent tool to help people deal with this addiction. She starts by confessing her own sins in that direction, and then applies her considerable skills as a counselor. She is program director at The Bridge to Recovery in Bowling Green, Kentucky, a counseling ministry (with both residential and outpatient programs), which she started with her husband, who has been a pastor and a professor at Andrews University. She has written several very useful books.
This book could be used in a midweek meeting series or small group. Each of the 15 chapters ends with assignments and discussion questions. There are several instruments and handouts in the appendix. It is among the brand-new books from Pacific Press Publishing Association that will be available at camp meeting, or you can go online to www.adventistbookcenter.com or call your ABC at (800) 765-6955.
Need More Love in Your Church?
2008 1517 page16The 2008 annual Family Ministries Planbook is titled Wanted: Relationships Where Love Is in Place. It is designed to help church members become better agencies of God’s love at church, at home, where they work, and in the community. It addresses fundamental relational topics from both a practical and a biblical basis.
There are three sermons, instructor’s guides for three seminars, and three children’s stories, as well as a wealth of other helps. The primary authors are Karen and Ron Flowers, the General Conference Family Ministries leaders, with help from a dozen other writers. You can order a copy from AdventSource.
Monte Sahlin is director of research and special projects for the Ohio Conference. He also serves as chair of a team that is developing a comprehensive discipleship curriculum for NAD Church Resources. You can suggest resources to him at [email protected] or (800) 272-4664.