An electronic newsletter written for leadership in the Church of God in Virginia. Resources, Recommendations, and Reminders...
November 2013


Just Say "Thank You"

One of the traits of good leaders is that they value those who are partnering with them to fulfill their mission/vision.

One of the simplest ways of acknowledging the value of someone is simply to say, "thank you."  The financial cost is zero, but the relational value is incalculable. Every time you say "thank you" you are making a deposit/investment into the life of that person. It is an investment that always produces a return because it acknowledges the value of someone's contribution.

We typically express thanks for "things" and "stuff," but I want to encourage changing the focus, or at least expanding your focus to include people. Take time to say "thank you" to those who are helping you to accomplish your calling, purpose, and mission.

The greatest asset of any ministry or organization is its people.  God works through people, and good leaders acknowledge the work of people.

To all of you who are partnering with us to build the Kingdom of God in Virginia - Thank you for who you are and what you do. "Thank you!"

Bishop Corder

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Actively pursuing cultural intelligence By Helen Lee

Article Excerpt:

I don’t think it’s important for Christians to become more culturally literate and sensitive. I believe it’s critical. By 2050, the demographics of this country will be such that a white majority will no longer exist. How well prepared are we for this reality, personally and corporately as the church? How much do we evangelicals demonstrate that we are striving to adapt to this coming culture shift, which in many ways is already here today?

 "At its October meeting, the Wheaton College Board of Trustees formally approved a significant addition to the Community Covenant. In the section that begins, 'According to the Scriptures, followers of Jesus Christ will,' the Covenant now includes the following statement":

    "pursue unity and embrace ethnic diversity as part of God's design for humanity and practice racial reconciliation as one of his redemptive purposes in Christ (Isa. 56:6-7; John 17:20-23; Acts 17:26; Eph. 2:11-18; Col. 3:11; Rev. 7:9-10)."

Pursuing, embracing, and practicing are active, not passive verbs. They imply effort and hard work, because increasing our cultural intelligence and sensitivity is not something that happens naturally. Not only does this have to happen at an organizational level, but it also has to happen individually, in each of our hearts, minds, and souls. Valuing the incredible diversity that God has created across humankind requires that we step out of our comfort zones, take steps of risk and faith to build bridges and relationships with those who are different from us, and acknowledge our own prejudices, preferences, and sins in the area of racial reconciliation.

We may never become a fully reconciled body this side of heaven. However, God still calls us to further his kingdom as best we can on earth as it is in heaven.

Source: Ed Stetzer's The Exchange

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8 Reasons Believers Give to Your Church By Rick Warren

Article Excerpt:

If you want your church to grow, you must learn how to motivate believers to invest their resources into the kingdom for ministry and for facilities. It is a key responsibility of leadership. Whoever writes the agenda must be able to underwrite the agenda. If you’re going to form the vision you also have to be able to fund the vision.

I am very much against fundraising, but I am in favor of teaching people to give.  Fundraising is what I call collecting money from other people in return for a product, service, reward or recognition. But in giving, we simply challenge ourselves to give out of our own resources for spiritual reasons.
  1. People give when they trust the leadership.
  2. People give when they catch a vision, not when they see a need.
  3. People give to experience the joy of generosity.
  4. People give when they are inspired by models.
  5. People give when they are involved.
  6. People give when you ask them to give.
  7. People give when you make it possible for them to give.
  8. People give when their gifts are appreciated.

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How to not be “that guy”

“That guy” is the one who wants everyone to need him. In reality, he needs everyone to need him. It is a dangerous mixture of self-doubt and arrogance. The convergence of the need for human approval leads to the self-assurance that warrant it is poison to our relationship with Christ.

Philip Nation gives five ways to avoid being the guy that is constantly in need of attention.


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Pastoral Excellence -- Pentecostal Style By James P. Bowers

Article Excerpt:

When a group of us at the Church of God Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tenn., first began working on a grant proposal for a Sustaining Pastoral Excellence project, we, like others, started by articulating our vision of pastoral excellence.

To craft a “Pentecostal Vision of Pastoral Excellence,” we initiated a series of conversations among ourselves, with pastors through focus groups and surveys, and with church leaders. Drawing from those various perspectives, three streams eventually flowed into the resulting vision.

First, our vision of the practice of pastoral excellence was informed by a holistic “know-be-do” Pentecostal spirituality. Consistent with our integrationist and transformationist spirituality, Pentecostal pastors expect what they know to be integrated into who they are and expressed in what they do. For Pentecostals charismata or empowerment for ministry cannot be separated from character or virtue.

To be filled with the Spirit is to be filled with the Holy Spirit who manifests the nature and character of the Holy God. Thus, Pentecostal pastoral excellence is, first, to excel in the fullness of the Spirit in its spiritual, social, and moral dimensions.

Second, our vision was informed by reflective current pastoral practice and wisdom. To take seriously Pentecostal spirituality and its distinctive theological perspective is not to be irrelevant to contemporary pastoral practice.1

In focus group conversations and survey responses, pastors affirmed the importance of the practice of spiritual disciplines and personal holistic health but also added to our vision new emphases on pastoral care, effective administrative leadership, and preaching and teaching the Word of God.

What we are attempting do in our project is to invite pastors and others to reflect on their vision of pastoral excellence in a way that affirms the spiritual (Spirit) and practical (skills) emphases but also integrates them into a more holistic and missional vision of pastoral ministry that is consistent with Pentecostal identity.

Third, our vision is informed by the contemporary missional needs of the Pentecostal Movement. The Pentecostal mission is a burgeoning movement around the world but in many place--particularly in the United States --it needs redirection and renewal. In the United States, Pentecostal pastors have suffered loss of community, deterioration of support and accountability structures, loss of constitutive Pentecostal practices, waning missionary fervor, and lack of relevance to searching people in our culture.

At the same time, we also feel the effects of a graying Pentecostal church in the U.S., the closings of more churches than are being planted, shifts away from centralized denominational structure and functioning, and the need for a new ecumenism. We see these streams coming together, and we see ourselves at the Church of God Theological Seminary being the catalyst for creative, even revolutionary, renewal at this kairotic moment for the Pentecostal Movement.

A prayerful but ambitious agenda drives our pastoral excellence project. We want to see a change in our denomination that can impact the Pentecostal Movement and the larger Christian community.

1  Against those who argue the lack of a “Pentecostal theology,” see Donald W. Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (Grand Rapids: Francis Asbury Press, 1987), pp. 15-33; and Steven J. Land, Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993), pp. 15-57.


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This month's resource is a free eBook: Likeability by Justin Lathrop. 

It's about:  What social media has taught us about becoming better humans. Being “likable” does not mean being agreeable and flexible about everything, or abandoning our convictions. Instead, I believe we should, like Paul, busy ourselves with the delicate task of proclaiming divine rule while living under the Roman rule (or the “rule” of our current culture and government).

Not everyone will like us, but it won’t be because we weren’t generous with our resources, or we didn’t engage them in conversation, or because we thought more highly of ourselves than we did of others.


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