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Words of Wisdom – Often Learned the Hard Way

Recently I had the delight of attending Mat Brown’s celebration of twenty years in ministry.  Many of you will remember Mat as the former Director of Small Groups at Atlee Community who later became Branch’s senior pastor for approximately ten years.  He and Rebekah have been serving Blackstone Baptist Church for a little more than a year -- and loving it!  Rebekah has fond childhood ties to the area and Mat is thoroughly enjoying his ministry in the church and community as well. For this special occasion, Mat printed words of appreciation to the people who had traveled there and represented the four Virginia churches where he has served: Bethel Baptist, Floyd Baptist, Atlee Community and Branch’s.   As I cursorily glanced over the list of “A few things I’ve learned over the years,” I was not deeply impressed – all the statements are truisms that we all hear and believe.  Nothing on the list was new, provocative, or crafted in a memorable fashion.  Then, a day or two later, as I was … [Read More...]

Middle District and African American Churches

Twelve and a half years ago Middle District’s Search Committee was talking with me regarding the Executive Director position and I asked them, “Why does Middle District have no African American churches?  The area the Association serves, especially in South Richmond, has a notable percentage of African Americans in the demographic profile.  So, what does the absence of any ethnic or churches of color indicate.?”  Frankly, this concerned me because I knew other associations had African American … [Read More...]

Youth Ministries that Rock

Fuller Theological Seminary is on the cutting edge of research on churches that are effectively engaging young people.   I have looked into having one of the authors / researchers speak at THE GATHERING next year, but until  I am able to work that out, let me share some of their findings that are reported in their book, Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church (Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin).  Here are a few interesting … [Read More...]