Significant Changes in EFCA Ministerial Credentials 3

Posted January 9th, 2014 by Dave Linde

2013--8Recently the EFCA national Board of Ministerial Standing approved a number of revisions to the ministerial credentialing policy.  Among the changes are the following.  Take note, because they might have significant implications for you.

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First, there is no longer a full-time (30 hours per week) requirement.  Persons engaged in a qualifying ministry that is part-time or bi-vocational are now eligible.  The rationale for this change is a desire to provide credentials for a growing number of pastors, such as church planters, whose ministries require a part-time or bi-vocational arrangement.

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A Credentialing Annoyance Leading to a Christmas Greeting 2

Posted December 9th, 2013 by Dave Linde

I am a little annoyed by a classic question that is asked of licensing and ordination candidates in the EFCA.  2013--8The question springs from a passage that can easily be seen as a “Christmas text.”  In Philippians 2 Paul refers to

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (ESV).

The classic theological question from this passage is, What did Christ empty himself of?  It’s a question about his incarnation, so it’s fitting to think about it in this Christmas season.

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Lessons from Leith Anderson 3

Posted November 1st, 2013 by Dave Linde

2013--8Last month we were privileged to have Leith Anderson as our speaker at Pastors Teaching Conference.  Leith’s thirty-plus years as lead pastor of Wooddale Church, his fruitful track record, and his present perspective as evangelical statesman and worldwide observer made him a rich source of wisdom. He shared a number of principles of ministry and leadership.  Here are some that especially caught my attention.

Yesterday’s successes can be a major barrier to today’s innovation.  What we have succeeded at in the past is what we will tend to keep doing.  But that may not be meeting today’s need.  Beware of refusing to change something that was successful in the past.

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Facing distress? 0

Posted October 4th, 2013 by Tom Mouw

Many times over the years, in times of challenge and difficulty, whether in ministry or my personal life, I have reached for these quotes from the book WhenTom headshot 6-2012 God Interrupts: Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change.

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From the first to the last, as I reflect upon these nuggets of Biblical insight and wisdom, the Spirit of the Living God has lent helpful perspective to situations that otherwise defy explanation or reason. I share them with you now, in hopes that you too, will be helped through degrees of “impossibility,” or at the very least, “unmanageability.”  For the Glory of God.

Excerpts from When God Interrupts: Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change (M. Craig Barnes, IVP, 1996)

Pastoral Leadership: A Challenging Role in a Changing Church & Culture 0

Posted September 3rd, 2013 by Dave Linde

2013--8Pastors Teaching Conference,              Oct. 7-8, 2013

Here’s an invitation to join us for next month’s Pastors Teaching Conference.  Our speaker this year is Leith Anderson, former lead pastor at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, and currently president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

We are really pleased that Leith will be us.  He brings a wealth of wisdom to the conference.  His many years as local-church pastor, his familiarity with the evangelical sub-culture in the USA, and his grasp of the secular culture have equipped him well to equip us well.  Leith’s faithful tenure at Wooddale—spanning more than thirty years—was characterized by church health, cultural engagement, fruitful evangelism, and productive church-planting.  He led the congregation through numerous changes and has seen most of what there is to see in local-church ministry.  His wisdom, expressed in his weekly ministry, his speaking, and his writing, is respected across the evangelical landscape.

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Am I a Good Christ? 0

Posted July 17th, 2013 by Tom Mouw

Tom headshot 6-2012Twice within a week’s time I was admonished to consider, “to what extent others might experience walking with Christ as they spend time with me?”  The first occasion was in reading Joni Eareckson Tada’s latest book, Joni & Ken, An Untold Love Story.  In it, she relates one of she and her husband’s lowest points in their journey with cancer 2-3 years ago.  In chapter nine, which is entitled UNFATHOMABLE DEPTHS, Joni is on the brink of succumbing to pneumonia, and she becomes impressed by a thought that Ken has actually incarnated Christ to her, as he intervenes over and over for her, to physically ward off the life-threatening effects of that infirmity, as an answer to her unspoken, desperate prayers for the Lord’s intervention.

The second occasion was when a friend and mentor sent me the following article.

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Counting that Helps 1

Posted June 7th, 2013 by Dan Moose

Dan cropped 4.13Everyone has things they count and keep track of.  Why?  We usually count so we can know how we are progressing in our plans and what we need to adjust to meet our goals.  In the church, is what we are counting truly helping the church reach her ministry goals? Or is it hindering the church?

The purpose of most evangelical churches is to glorify God through a growing body of Christ-followers who are reaching their world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As part of its purpose statement, a church often describes how they plan to make disciples, do mission, multiply, and advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  Does what we count help us meet these goals?

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The Role the Body Plays in Our Personal Growth 2

Posted May 8th, 2013 by Tom Mouw

I have been challenged this past year or so to re-think some of my previous patterns of personal growth and my walk with God.  Very simply, I am a bit of a “morning person” and I enjoy reading Scripture, along with a broad spectrum of theology, leadership, the church, etc.  So, my pursuit of intimacy with God and my slow, steady progress toward greater spiritual maturity has included rather little involvement by others.  This has been more out of practice than out of conviction.

Sure, I have several great groups and teams of ministry leaders around me on a regular basis, and I love to “mix it up” with various gatherings of ministry leaders and pastors.  However, I haven’t really “leaned on” fellow members of the Body in ways that might otherwise have been quite profitable.  Candidly, it was only as I began to struggle with some cynicism that I reached out to a handful of men who, to my great benefit, consistently over time, have come alongside of me with their wisdom, insights, and most importantly, their genuine care.

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A Timely Word on Legalism 0

Posted March 13th, 2013 by Dave Linde

I once read a wise word about the human heart from a wise pastor (I think it was the old Anglican preacher, Charles Simeon).  He said that the human heart is incurably legal.  That is, we all have an insistent bent toward relating to God in a legal arrangement:

     If I do this, God will do that.  
     I must do this if God is to do that. 
     If God is doing that, then I must have done this.

From this outlook it’s a short and inevitable step to including others:

     They must do this (just like me) if God is to do that.

This way of relating to God—legalism—has been around from the start and has taken many forms through the centuries.  The Pharisees who opposed Jesus were some of the most notable legalists.  One of the reasons the gospel writers wrote so vividly about the Pharisees was to prompt their readers to examine their own lives to see where Pharisaism was lurking.

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How is your heart? 0

Posted February 18th, 2013 by Dan Moose

How is your heart?  We don’t think about it much do we?  It usually takes a sickness or something not working right with our bodies before we even stop to consider our heart.   I have two friends who found out that their heart has an irregular heartbeat.   They have “a-fib,” atrial fibrillation.  Because their hearts are not properly functioning, they lack energy, which affects their whole lifestyle.  This condition is not fatal, but it does put them at risk for other medical complications and clearly hampers their productivity.  Both are receiving medical treatment, but at the current time their hearts are not in proper rhythm.  So how is your physical heart?  When is the last time you had it checked out?

The harder question is, how is your spiritual heart doing?  We know that our hearts are created to worship.  God wants us to love and worship him with all our hearts.  Though our hearts have been redeemed and transformed by the completed work of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, they are still deceitful (Jer. 17:9) and are idol factories.  Our hearts are always seeking someone or something to worship.  “Worship is like a fire hose that has gotten stuck in the ‘on’ position and is endlessly shooting water out with great force.  We must decide where to aim the hose.  That is choosing the focus of our worship” (Scott Thomas and Tom Wood, Gospel Coach, Zondervan, 2012, p. 83).

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