About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

When we encounter what we perceive as a failed expectation of a desired result, what should be our mood, or state of mind.
Desired conclusions

Of course my life verse has always been Philippians 1:21 "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."
"For to me, to live is (to experience and manifest) Christ and to die is gain (to experience and manifest Christ even more)." - Philippians 1:21 (my brother’s point of view)

I have desired much in the flesh, to see accomplished many things, because I have believed I could be a source of help or blessings.

Many times I have been disappointed because of my own expectations. Too often I have viewed them as failed desires, because I did not see the accomplishment of that desire. (The desired conclusions failed to materialize)

Too often in the flesh we often find ourselves in a mood of unhappiness. Which could be described as a mood of emotions, which could lead to depression (refers to a state of unhappiness, or sadness). As a result of what we believe to be an unfortunate incident or event, or choice, or even an expectation we believed would happen.

That seems to happen with regularity, that is, a desired result, of what you prayed for, wished for, hoped would happen or what you might even worked hard for would happen.

One might, as I have, work literally a whole year on a project and have great expectations of a desired result, and it fails to work out as you had desired in your mind. My brother called this "failed expectations."

As humans with fleshly baggage (sinful reactions) we can become sorrowful, downcast, cheerless, even distressed. I could add, not satisfied, displeased, or even discontented.

So how do we correct this mood? (refer to a state of unhappiness or sadness)

Personally, I believe the reaction is human. But to stay in the mood is sinful as well as destructive. There are fleshly ways of dealing with the mood of feeling the failure, the misery, or unhappiness, but often are very destructive as well.

Psa. 2:12b "Blessed are all they that put their trust in the Lord." I Peter 2:3 (after reading verse 2) "if so be you have tasted that the Lord is gracious."

We need to quickly "taste (experience) and see that the Lord is good" Bringing our focus and attention back to the presence of the Lord. It’s called 'Practice the Presence of the Holy Spirit."
"For me to live........?" What is your reason for living? If your reason to live is Christ, then He will provide.

Over the last five years since living in Portsmouth Ohio, there have been some really good experiences that have been so satisfying. And there have been experiences that have been really disappointing to the family.

God is not so trivial that he defines sin in the context of contemporary culture (which would necessitate the standard of right and wrong being in continual flux). Rather, He defines sin as anything that demeans His infinite beauty and glory (which supersedes culture). Worldliness, whether we want to admit it or not, goes much deeper than what is culturally acceptable; worldliness goes to the heart of the issue ... our hearts."Once you begin to define (set rules) what is OK and what is not OK, you lose.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant December 26, 2006 Proof Checked by Charity 29th
THE NIGHT SANTA DISAPPEARED
The Electric Train Derailed
Pauline Whisnant (my mom)


Though I do not have emerging scenes of dancing sugar plums in my head when it comes to Christmas memories, or any such fantasies, I do have memories of multi colored seasons of Christmases past.

There was the Christmas at school when Santa came to visit all of us mountain kids. Imagine that! Of course, that was the one and only time. I thought it was pretty amazing that he chose to include us in his schedule. I guess we made the "good" list that year. And I know it was truly St. Nick, because I took great notice of the characteristics we all know give away the secret. Yelp…it was that fluffy, snow white beard and that belly that was like a bowl full of jelly. They were the real deal!! I guess the fact that he never visited us again tells you where we fell on the list thereafter….the naughty category. So I can tell you first hand, you better watch out!!!

While I don’t remember receiving many gifts over the years from Santa, I do remember the year of his last appearing at my house. My brother Ray and I were all excited about what we might find that Christmas morning. As we made a dash to discover our treasures, nothing greeted us but an empty chest and disappointment. Dad being the logical mountain man that he was had a great explanation….we no longer believed in Santa so Santa no longer landed on our roof top with a bag full of toys. We still don’’t know who told Dad we no longer believed in that jolly old man. I can’t imagine who would spread such horrible rumors especially that time of year. No one to this day has confessed. They definitely were on my naughty list that year and have so remained.

Fast forwarding to memories after I left home at 16: I do recall Santa coming back around for visits. I guess my children and grandchildren never got on that black list. I tend to think Santa just got soft in his old age and lightened up on children during those "developing" personality years. He must have been reading Dr. Spock’s books. Then, too, maybe he enjoyed hearing me quote "Twas The Night Before Christmas".

Then there was the year Santa tampered with my oldest son, Charles, who was very young at the time. Santa had the nerve to come to our church of all things and tell Charles that he would bring him an electric train for Christmas. I tried to explain to Charles that this gift was not possible, but he insisted that it was true because after all THE MAN himself spoke it with his own lips with the list in hand. How does a mother win with Santa? And, yes, Santa showed up but with NO electric train. And I know for a fact Charles was on the nice list that year. It just goes to show you that Santa is human after all. Either he needed to get a new list manager or it was the beginning of Alzheimers. I know some snotty little naughty kid got my son’s electric train that year. It makes you wonder about that list, doesn’t it? While I don’t think Charles ever had to have therapy over the misfortune, I know I have needed it over the years. And if you are in this family and have never heard this story before, you now KNOW the truth about Santa.

With all this in consideration, I decided it was best not to expose my daughter Ellen, the youngest in the family, to Santa. After all he was on "my" naughty list. (And all along you thought it was because she fell off the piano bench, Charles.)

Her dad was great at playing Santa. He almost had her convinced there was a Santa the year he left a Santa doll that played music under the Christmas tree. The doll itself was NOT the mystery but HOW it was playing music. For the longest time…and really even until this very day she was (is) not able to figure out how that Santa was singing when she arrived at the tree in the wee hours of the morning while the rest were all nestled in their beds.

Ellen then carried on this Christmas tradition with my granddaughter April. And besides April’s teacher told her Santa was really Satan with the letters just changed around (so it was not all my fault). Then I started getting a little soft as I seasoned along with age…and I thought it might be nice to bring Santa back into our lives. So I invited him over to our house for April to meet. He came a looonnnggg way at my request. And he was the real deal let me tell you…I know because I saw the white fluffy beard (well, it was turning a little grey by this time). He arrived right on time. And with one look, April’’s heart darted faster than she did to the back of the house, not to return until we promised Santa was no where to be found. I am telling you, he should have never fouled up and delivered that electric train to the wrong house.

Feeling bad ever since, Ellen has left warm milk and cookies with the help of her son Stephen for Santa every Christmas Eve. She thinks once he came and got them as she saw with her own eyes foot prints in snow coming from the chimney. And that has been since she’s lived in snowless Texas so you know something’s up with that!!! Besides someone has been eating those cookies and drinking the milk. FYI it appears Santa likes Oreos best. Then again Stephen does love Oreos. Hummm..

Now that the fourth generation of females arrived with Miss Ella this year, it will be interesting to see what her Christmas tradition will be one day.

I am not sure what April’s posture is with Santa since she last saw him at my house many years ago. And I do not know what her sons, Reid and Cole think of him. You’d have to ask her. I think I heard her say once one of the kids cried when they saw him or would not go near him. It’s evidently in our DNA.

We continue to stay on the nice list, this I know. And someone continues to deliver gifts to us every year. And I continue to quote "Twas The Night Before Christmas". I think after all, I really do believe. Besides I know what happens when rumor gets out that you don’’t. So my lips are sealed.

Really though, I have had many wonderful heart filled Christmas seasons. Those with my husband Everette while he was here on earth, and those with my children and their children and their children!! Who needs Santa when you have family? And besides I don’t think he ever made good on that electric train.

Seriously though, I am greeting you with this letter of some of my Christmas memoirs and trust that your heart will be filled with the warmth of the love of Christ this 2006 season.

Celebrating His Birth,
Mom, Grandma, GG, Pauline
Written by by sister Ellen, as told a million times by my mother Pauline Greene Whisnant
Mom's point of view, my view next
STATEMENTS THAT PREACHERS MAKE ABOUT OTHER SERVANTS OF THE GOSPEL
Part Two
So how do you learn the REAL TRUTH! What is the Biblical teaching on Truth? What is truth about living life. Listen to Dr. Wayne Dyer. Who? Ask Charity. Really he does say a lot of good common sense things. But is it true?

How often when I was the pastor/teacher at FBC that visiting preachers would say, "Charles, you teach correctly, but you need to be more Baptistic." So to be correct you needed to be Baptist!

I had made the comment that there are some preachers who are not Baptist who could possibly be saved and go to heaven. That went over well with the brethren.

I remember when I introduced the teaching of John MacArthur to our church. Of course they didn’t know who he was, but if I liked him they would. Boy, did we have some very wonderful people.

But outside our church, once the pastors found out I liked MacArthur, I was in real trouble. Of course that has never really bothered me a whole lot, to be in trouble with other preachers.
My father-in-law thinks that is my calling–to see just how much I can get other preachers riled up.

SO WHAT IS TRUTH? WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL FORM OF TRUE CHRISTIAN LIVING?

Every body has their own idea of what a true Biblical Christian looks like and acts like, and believes, don’t they? Isn’t God great to allow so many of us to believe a little bit different on this and still be a Believer. Thank the Lord.

Of course, I am almost afraid to tell people what my theological position is. (That really is not true.) But I am afraid to say that my position is totally 100% correct.

For example, over the last month, there have been some good debates. Lordship Salvation vs. Free Grace. The Emergent Movement is a new debate today. Separation debate. The form of Worship debate. Fundamentalism vs. Evangelicalism. Postmodernism. The Cultural debate. Then the debate over John Piper and John MacArthur as well as those in the Emergent Movement

"Postmodernists are generally suspicious of rational and logical forms. They especially do not like to discuss truth in plain propositional terms." MacArthur quote in his book coming out in the spring. That ignited a great debate of terms. And it got me studying this issue.

One of the favorite topics on the evangelical agenda these days is how the church should "engage the culture." Do Christians need to imitate the boorish aspects of a quickly-decaying civilization in order to remain "relevant"? Some evidently think so.:" MacArthur again made this statement.

"We keep hearing from evangelical strategists and savvy church leaders that Christians need to be more tuned into contemporary culture." Well, I have heard that statement many times in different forms. Of course fundamentalists think you need to keep the old landmarks, or you have fallen prey to the culture.
John MacArthur has said a lot about this issue of engaging in the culture. But our Baptist friends think he is wrong because he is not a Baptist, and when Grace Church might use a different form music than the fundy that they think like

"MacArthur is a hypocrite who has an electric guitar shaped beam in his own eye."

"I hope everyone here agrees that such a statement is not only overstated, but it is patently unkind. It is a gross exaggeration and misrepresentation of John MacArthur. But it makes life easy. Just paint your opponents the darkest shade of black you can––that’ll make you look white on any account." Bob Haydon over at Fundy

I have discovered that just about every preacher, Christian leader, every pastor, who holds to the truth as he knows it, will have a different slant on that truth, and a different idea of how that truth is fleshed out. Is not the Lord so good to give us the option to have different points of view on the same truth.

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant, proof ready Charity 12 19/20 2006

STATEMENTS THAT PREACHERS MAKE ABOUT OTHER SERVANTS OF THE GOSPEL
"Nothing is clearer than 2 Timothy 3:16-4:2. If I ever want to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant" I will have to preach the word––just as it is clearly revealed, and without compromise. I must strive prayerfully and by God’s grace to keep it from being tainted by my culture." wrote Jim Harris over at Pulpit Magazine.

You know he is 100% correct. When was the last time you were at a Pastor’s Conference and heard a preacher get up and say, "I have no idea if what I am about to say is true, but I am going to preach tonight about sin. " Few, I would suspect, if any.

Most preachers I know, think what they know is correct, or they will not preach on the subject. They may say there are several opinions on this topic, like the Rapture, or the Great Tribulation, but they have their idea what they believe.

What I have learned over the last few years, that I didn’t know, is that there are a lot of theologians and teachers that totally disagree with my position on just about every thing that I believe. That was a total shock to my belief system. How could that be true?

For the first thirty years of my teaching ministry, I was quite confident that what I was teaching was 100% correct, well at least 80% possibly correct.

I would have never preached a single sermon that I really believed was not biblically correct. The people who heard me preach for years believed what I was preaching to be correct biblically.

What many, I would suppose, didn’t believe was maybe how I applied the principles that I was preaching. For example: I believed all Christians should read out of the KJV. I believed that certain music styles were not necessarily wrong but should not be played in church worship. And the big one, when people came to worship they should look their best. My wife and four children could mention several other ideas that they would disagree with.

I have certainly done my share of pointing out the error of others who didn’t hold my view point. I thought it was my pastor/shepherd’s responsibility to share information about the error of other preachers, organizations, and ministries. Except for ones I really liked I would be silent on.

I didn’t realize just how many theologian do not accept the book of Revelation as Prophecy.

I have always believed, (still do) that the events in Revelation have yet to happen

Premillenial, Pre-Tribulation, and Israel is not the Church. I never knew that others held a different point of view. Can you imagine that. Where was I..... in a theological cave? No, just reading my good KJV Bible.

There are an equal number of theologians who do not hold to dispensationalism. I didn’t know there were several forms of dispensationalism. I believed there were seven. But today I would get laughed at by many if I were to preach that pont of view.

Well, not only doctrinal teachings of the Bible are in question, but how we view the application to those doctrines.

I didn’t know there are some churches that are not Baptist Churches. Think of that! Well, I did of course, but we were told that they were not real churches. And if they were not WBF Baptist churches they were not real churches either. What a shock to learn that was not the truth.

So what is the truth of this whole matter.

"[They] are wrong in their practice of separation. Separation is a Bible doctrine. This means they are off-base doctrinally on separation. Music is a doctrinal issue and their music is wrong"
fundyreformed.wordpress.com is quoting. It’s not Bob’s position, but it’s the position of so many.

My children have believed I have always been wrong on my viewpoint of music. How could it be, when I went to all the Basic Institute of Youth Conflict for over fifteen years?

I should say this, I remember walking out of a service in a church, because I didn’t like the music. Even though the preacher was one of the best teaching preachers in the state.

Well, I could write several of those stories. But I don’t want to embarrass myself any more that I already do quite well anyway.

I didn’t know that some churches (not Baptist Churches) believe in infant baptism! There are theological terms for those who hold that position and terms for those who do not hold that idea. But I discovered that in both sides of this issue, they believe salvation is by grace in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Confession is good for the soul.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant, Proof Read by Charity
IF GOD IS SOVEREIGN, WHY DO ANYTHING?

You might be tempted to say "it's meant for us to have the size church we have, " "We have the size church we do, because it’s the outworking of God's plan which He decreed in eternity." So you might then say, "Why should I do anything that might accomplish something different, God has already decided what will happen."
Of course you would be wrong! That is a little strong statement. We just sit back and do nothing!
Do you mean to say, you know what God has done in eternity? Do you mean to say, "God has meant for us to have our size church ." Therefore, you just rest in what you are doing and let God do the rest, by His sovereign will!! Is it a right view of God's sovereignty? Or is it "fatalism?"
I don't believe in "fatalism?" Which is? Fatalism teaches, I am told, "that no matter what you choose or do, things will turn out the same." The belief that your choices does not really affect what will happen, that is fatalism. (The doctrine that all events are predetermined by fate and are therefore unalterable.)

"So I choose to just let God in His sovereignty do as He will do anyway," you say. That is pure fatalism.
I have the size church I have because that is the size God chooses us to have.
Have you known preachers who say, "It’s the sovereign will of God what has happened in our church." I mean, they have twelve people in Sunday School and twenty five in Worship, and four on Sunday Night, and Wednesday night is shut down. And the pastor said, "It’s in the hand of a sovereign God." Could this be pure fatalism, and a misunderstanding of the sovereignty of God?
Indifference. If God decides everything that will happen, I will stop making choices that might not be God's choice, I will leave that in the hand of God. Haven't you just made a choice? You made a choice not to make a choice.
To use God's sovereignty as an excuse or reason, for the size church you have, (or really anything else) is a wrong view of God's sovereignty. You have the size church you have because of choices you make.
Drafted as a e mail but thought I would put use it as a thread today.
Charity checked this one out. Thank goodness.
The reason we have the size church we have are often for the reasons whe have chosen.
The Dynamics of Small Church Ministry
Part FIVE of Five

I have pastored four small size churches (under 200) I have worked in churches from 500-1200. There is a difference. Knowing the difference dynamics helps to develop your in your ministry. And all four at the beginning wanted to say small in size. And there was a reason for their belief.
In smaller churches you could have a few Sunday School classes, they could all be in one class as far as they are concern. Children and Adults.. Thank goodness at FBC Altoona we had a graded Sunday School. The reason for few classes is few workers want to be committed to teaching. Which was not the case at FBC. We had teachers who taught almost the entire time I was pastor of the church. Once a teacher they wanted to stay a teacher. Once a piano player, always a piano player in our church. (right Beverly) same for teachers: (right Charity, Mabel and Michael)
Some smaller churches are small because they can not afford to pay for a professional or skilled minister. They may have a pastor who has little or no leadership skills. They may have a pastor who has no desire to see growth in the church membership. Sometimes the pastor is in total control of the ministry and the people just leave without saying anything. One preacher I know stayed twenty five years, and over 200 people left the church in that time. That church stayed small, really small.

Some members of a smaller church feel threatened when they see the church grow in size. They see the new members and are suspicious of their motives. When new people come in to the church and join and they are placed in to leadership, they are upset.

Too often when a new pastor comes into the church and mentions growth, the members attempt to maintain the status quo or even decrease the size of their congregation. Often when the new staff worker or new pastor hints that the church is not spiritually healthy, he suggests that the church is in a recession. If the church is not fulfilling its biblical commission, and he suggests that their behavior and thinking is hindering the spread of the gospel, their reaction is one of disbelief. They are shocked and offended at such a thought.

For the pastor to suggest that they need to move away from the past if they are going to grow, is an issue that will create friction. He needs to acknowledge that the work done in the past, for sure, has made the present possible, but they need to move ahead to see growth.

In this paper I was trying to give the dynamics of a smaller church.

A FOOTNOTE:
There is always the exception to all these principles, conscious and unconscious, that determine human behavior and attitudes. The size of the church has a great significance on the minister and the ministries of the church. Size has an enormous impact on how a church functions. I have heard this for years.

Moving a smaller church to the next size church will take change. It will take the leadership’s ability to teach biblical truth in such a way that the membership will desire to see change. It will take the leadership to see some of these dynamics and adjust their effort.

Maybe if the pastor/teacher can teach biblical principles to the membership and be patient, the Lord might see fit to change the attitudes of the congregation about growing into a healthy church. Maybe two in four churches he can.

Our spiritual condition requires nourishment. Though the avenues through which we are fed are many, we can pretty much sum our diet up with the following five activities: PRAYER, BIBLE STUDY, WORSHIP, FELLOWSHIP and SERVICE.

That a church is smaller doesn’t mean it’s more or less holy or worldly. It doesn’t mean they are more biblical in how they do ministry. It doesn’t mean that they are small because they do things right. But you can have a smaller size church and be all the right things. But if you have any of the dynamics I have mentioned in this paper, you do not have a healthy church.

(You know you are a red neck small church if.....)
If your church is controlled by: (or)
powerful people
poor leadership
programs that are outdated
pleasing people
presumption of the probability of correct belief
pastor controlled
personality led
personal opinions
philosophy of worldliness
presuming you are spiritual with less people
petrified of conflict
plagued by fear at the idea of change
proverbial traditions
presumed theological knowledge
polarization groups (breaking up into opposing factions)
policy shoddiness
popular trends
porcupine mentality (sticky situations are avoided)
prehistorical educational materials
prescribed non-biblical legalistic rules
you have two outhouses in back of the church
persist in placing the nursery in the back of the church
pianos in your church hasn’t worked for years
pivoting (relying) on own your own internal leadership
parochialism Limited thinking
past history driven
patriarchal families controlled
pragmatic thinking rather than on theological principles
posters of missionaries letters dated 1989 so what if it is 2006
pulpit still has bulletins from three years ago.
preacher tells red neck jokes from the pulpit (Dr. David Bryant)
professional pastors are viewed as less spiritual


Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant on December 08 2006 Proof check by Charity Whisnant 12-10-06
The Dynamics of Small Church Ministry
Part Four Two of Five

In smaller churches the whole membership is asked to voice their opinion and vote on every issue, have you noticed? In the larger churches, there is no way that can happen on every issue that comes up. One church I pastored they voted to see how far they wanted the Church Van to be driven on any youth activity. The first of each month was a church business meeting and each member could voice his request and it could be voted on. ."I think church should start at 10:45 a.m. And since it was a "member in good standing" it was voted to start at 10:45 a.m. or was it 6:00 p.m..? That would never happen in a larger church. At FBC in Hammond there was a business meeting, but any decision was quickly passed by the deacons.

Why all the complexity in the different size churches:

The larger the church, the less members have in common. The larger the church the greater number of families, different backgrounds, and ideas. In a smaller church you have small groups and they seem to all know each other. They all know each other when they come into Union Mills to buy a wonderful tasting apple pie made by my wife Charity. She also knows those members who come into the bakery. In a larger church you really don’t stop to think if one family or two families will disagree with the mission of the church, in a smaller church you always ask that question.

Thus, in smaller churches policy is decided by many, and ministry is done by a few. In larger churches ministry is done by many, and policy is decided by a few.

In a smaller church, everybody thinks they have a say in what the policy is going to be. In a larger church they know they have little voice in the policy of the church.

In smaller churches communicating could usually be done by word of mouth and it would be okay, not in a larger church. Smaller churches like it that way. The friendly church, you know. In a larger church you could go for a year and never know who is sitting beside you in worship. Of course that could happen in a smaller church too, but not often. It did happen at Bigelow. Charity and I did not realize who this couple was, but they knew us.

If some outsider comes to a small church, and the musicians are mediocre in quality, it will generally distract from the worship. But also in a smaller church, since you know the musician and you love that person, you just overlook the lack of giftedness. We were blessed at FBC in Altoona to have two very gifted pianists.. The problem was not the musicians, it was the preacher in our church!.

Here is a new thought: Smaller churches do not change speedily. They experience less turnover. Same old members in the church since 1939, you know. And they feel powerful and essential and important, so they don’t leave the church. And the leadership will say, what does old member 1939 think about us having an AWANA Club? That would never happen in a larger church.

Also in a smaller church the leadership (one) and maybe several deacons, don’t want to lose members. And they will allow these individual to control the majority. One person can control what the rest of the church would like to do, but he is a good giver, so they will not do what is best for the many. Once at FBC, the deacon said, "Mrs. Dennison will not want to give up her old pew, she has been in that bench since 1959." In view of getting new pews, they didn’t want to hurt her feelings. They would not have voted to get new pews if Mrs. Dennison didn’t want them. That would never have happen at Mansfield or Calvary Baptist. Thank goodness. And it didn’t happen at FBC either, because Mrs. Dennison purchased the first new pew!.

Have you noticed too, that in larger churches, a few make the decisions and there are more in ministry; and in a smaller church, the many are making the decisions and few are working.

The smaller the church the more the members want to control the church. To be a member of a small church is to be a voting member. To be in a larger church, membership doesn’t mean your single vote is all that important.

Everybody wants to have a word about every decision. The leadership is concerned that every member won’t like the decision made, but they don’t want conflict by the powerful few.
I missed this principle altogether. I often offended everybody. In that way, I wouldn’t just try to please the few. But I don’t recommend this in most churches. Because it only worked in one of four churches.

In smaller churches the members think the pastor should open the church door for services and stay until the service is over and lock the door on his way out. Or the pastor thinks he needs to turn the lights on and check the air conditioning. In a larger church that would never happen. Praise the Lord.


Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant December 09 2006 Proofread by Charity Whisnant










The Dynamics of Small Church Ministry
Part Three of Five

I had my theories about why churches like Lusby Mills didn’t really desire to grow, but the principle seemed a little far out at the time.

Now I understand that the operating principles that had enabled Ashland Avenue to grow might not have been possible for the smaller church in Lusby Mills, but the biblical principles were the same. People, Money, Time, Staff, Population, etc.

The Importance of the Ideology

SOME COMMENTS ON WHY SMALL CHURCHES IN GENERAL LIKE TO STAY SMALL,
And why otherwise successful Pastors more often than not cannot break the cycle of the small church mentality.

What happens in these churches that creates the atmosphere of a No Growth Church Mentality. A no growth church mentality

Until you understand that there is a reason why churches are the size they have become you will set yourself up for leadership blunders and missteps. Shall I stop and mention a few that I made in a few churches because I was blinded to the implication of church size.

A Neutralized View of a Church’s Size
In the larger church, as in Ashland Avenue Baptist, they had the people, the time, the leadership, and numerous programs to help them accomplish their objective goals. Whereas Lusby Mills didn’t have the resources.

Most people have their own idea of the size church that they would like to attend on Sunday. It’s a size-culture preference. They have the idea that the size church they prefer will meet their spiritual need better than another size church in the area. So you have people looking for churches that meet their idea of what a spiritual, biblical church looks like. You also have pastors who have the same mind set, they see the church as being spiritual if it’s a certain size.

For example, some people believe that the Senior Pastor needs to visit and care for all the older members of the church. Well, that is great in a small church setting of 150 or less, but not very probable if the church is over 200 or say 800 people. One pastor could not do that.

Another example would be at Mansfield Baptist or Calvary Baptist, we had at least four full time Pastors on staff. Also there were another six or seven support staff to take care of the many facets of ministry. We were able to increase the quality of ministry. As a Youth Pastor I had a full time salary (well in some churches the salary would be viewed as 1/4 times) but I could spend my entire time with the youth. In a small church as pastor, I had myself or volunteers.

THE VERY NATURE OF THE SMALLER CHURCH SETTING

Small churches like to keep their money in the bank and not spend it. Larger churches seem never to have enough money to operate on.
The larger church will use organizational techniques from the business world, and often times might become too results-oriented and focused on quantity outcomes (attendance, membership, stewardship)

The small church by its very personality will give inexperienced, domineering, opinionated, members far more power over the whole body. In Lusby Mills one 80 year old man who had been a deacon since 1939 controlled the church. In a larger church, such as FBC in Hammond, there is no way one or a dozen people could affect the outcome of a church. But a half dozen women at a small church could affect the outcome of any decision.

In a smaller church everyone knows every one, you know. When a family member of this small group expresses strong opposition to the direction set by the leaders or pastor , that small group’s misery can hold the whole congregation hostage. If they threaten to leave, or withhold their money, the majority of the people will urge the leaders to discontinue their project. One church that I pastored, the average offering was over two thousand dollars a week. And in a Sunday’s time, the offering was down to less than seven hundred dollars. And the leaders said, "Charles, I think you should put the attendance board back up."

In a small church setting you can’t get a complete consensus from a group of 50 to 150, about which kind of Sunday School material to use, or what direction the church should go with the music. And it seems in a smaller church, it’s a rule that everyone in the congregation must be kept happy. You know old brother Smith and his wife must be kept happy. You can’t take a new initiative without hurting someone’s feelings so you just give in and do nothing. Unless you are brave enough to lead and to confront childish members in spite of its disagreeableness There has to be another way to accomplish the.objectives!

Every church thinks they know the right size church. They have their idea what size church will be spiritual and biblical in nature. "Well Christ had his church in Jerusalem at 120, that is the right size." Right, of course, the disproportionate concept of what Christ desires from the church. I don’t think Christ is against numbers or growth in any church, no matter how large a church becomes. First Baptist, Hammond, was no less spiritual than Bigelow Church of less than 150 people.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 12 09 06 Checked by Charity Whisnant

A sign that your church is biblical and spiritual is not by the size of your church. Its a sign of your theology.


The Dynamics of Small Church Ministry
Part Two of Five

Why couldn’t I have made FBC of Altoona, Kansas go from 17 average into FBC of Hammond, Indiana to 20,000? Why couldn’t I see Lusby Mills in Kentucky go from 12 into an Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, of Lexington, Kentucky of 1000? I had ideas that I might be able to! There were reasons for sure, and we will address these in this paper.

Every church body has a level that they will reach in attendance and there is a dynamic. There is a determined factor built into the church body that causes the result in attendance and growth.

The larger church setting has an entirely different set of compelling attitudes than a small church congregation.

When I went to Ashland Avenue Baptist, they didn’t want to settle for 500, or 700 or even 1000 people, they never did. When I was Youth Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Connersville, they would not have settled for 400 people nor even 600 people. When I worked at Southern Acres Christian, their whole idea was growth. It was the same way at Mansfield Baptist in Ohio , and Haltom City in Fort Worth The mind set of the leadership and membership was growth.

What is not different? I have discovered that all churches have people. Some are young, some are old, and some are really, really old! Some are men and some are women. Some are bankers, farmers, salesmen, secretaries, landfill managers, doctors, nurses, housekeepers, housewives, postal workers, school teachers and telephone repair men, brick layers, workers at K Mart and waiters. Think of that. Some folks make $100,000 and others $15,000. There are all kinds of people in all churches. Single, married, wishing they were married, divorced, widows, single mothers, retired folks. There are many different backgrounds as to family heritages. You get the idea.

I would say, "You know the people in FBC of Altoona, are as righteousness as any persons I have ever met in any church I have worked. They are as gracious, wonderful, intelligent, as in any church where I have been on staff. " As a matter of fact, they are some of the best people in the world.

So why are we talking about growth or numbers if we have all these great people in our churches?

Aren’t Christian people the purpose of our churches, no matter the number that comes?

I read this statement: ‘CHANGE IS INEVITABLE; MISERY IS OPTIONAL."

I would say "CHANGE" would be the number one reason for growth or lack of growth.

If all congregations kept the same members, stayed the same size, retained the same minister for 50 years, same staff and elders, and always had the same well-known set of issues, the church life would be easy. But it would be also fabulously boring.

Change in a sense is going to happen anyway. It is not an alternative. So many people want to live without any change. We can no more live and not have change than we can jump without feeling the impact of gravity. TO LIVE IS TO GROW AND TO GROW IS TO CHANGE. Therefore to live is to change, and any thought that we can avoid change in life is pure illusion.
I have learned that people actually study church as an academic subject. Students have their college thesis on this subject. One student title was : "Congregational Size Dynamics and How One Congregations’s Transition Was Made Easy" He was a student and not a pastor/teacher or even a deacon, or elder. He will learn, huh!

In Seminary I took a course in "ECCLESIOLOGY" the study of the local church. Dr. Earl K. Oldham was the teacher. We were learning what the church is and then how a church is supposed to look. We studied methods of church and Sunday School growth. Of course we didn’t learn the challenges we would face as we tried to bring health and growth to our churches.

What I should have done, but didn’t, was to establish my own ministry and start with a new group of believers. That would have helped 100%.

There are "consultants" who actually study church growth. They study these churches, large and small, to see what makes up the influential dynamics in the church body. The size of the church will give us a clue as to the attitudes of the membership and its leadership. Understanding the makeup of the leadership and membership gives us a better idea of how to do ministry in that church.

While the purpose is to see growth in our church, meaning a greater awareness in evangelism, we need to learn why some church ministries do not succeed throughout our churches. And why it is that some experienced preacher can be very effective in one congregation and ineffective in another.

Why do one quarter of Protestant congregations have fewer than thirty-five in attendance at their worship services. Our culture today seems to like the small, family, friendly church.

The nice little country church in Lusby Mills had invited me to come and pastor this 100 year old church. This church had over a hundred members, but most of them never came to the church. They had called the office at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church to request someone to come and preach. Ashland Avenue was a church of about 1500 members. Charity was a receptionist/secretary at the church. The Pastor and Leadership had a desire to see the church continued to grow. So it was normal for me to think, this church in Lusby Mills also had a desire grow. But I was totally wrong.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant Proof Read By Charity
CONGREGATIONAL CAPACITY AND LEADERSHIP AND CHURCH SIZE DYNAMICS
The Dynamics of Small Church Ministry

The Driving Forces Behind the Attitude Toward Church GrowthBiblical Pattern for the Church and Its Congregates

‘DOING CHURCH ON PURPOSE"
Part One of Five

Why some churches grow and others stay the sme.
I will focus first on the small church dynamics:]

  • the motivating or driving forces,
  • the pattern or history of growth, change, and development in any field.
    the aggregate of motivational forces, both conscious and unconscious, that determine human behavior and attitudes.

INTRODUCTION REMARKS
I have pastored four churches with attendance less than 200. So this would qualify me as a small church pastor. I have been on church staff of churches with attendance between 500 and 1000. And I was a member of FBC in Hammond Indiana for a short while. Many know they had the largest Sunday School in America. So I know the mega church as well.

Too often I have looked at the small church through the observations of a large church. The dynamics of a small setting in a small town are different than a large church in a large city.

In almost every church the members will say, "Charles, we are a small church, and we don’t do things like a big church does." And I would say, "Why not?" Of course they didn’t really know why, and at the time I didn’t know why either.

I always thought a small church, in a big town or city could always grow. I thought a small church in a small community also could grow. I am talking about an established small church from 10 to 100 years old.

The first church I pastored was over 120 years old and never had more than fifty prior to my becoming pastor. The church in Altoona Kansas, was 25 years old and topped out at 25 people. The church in Lusby Mills, Kentucky, was a SBC and 100 years old, and topped out at 40 people. The church in Princeton was the second oldest church, but every time the church approached 200 the church split. There are four churches in the city that have attendance over 200 that were a split off this church.

So what are the dynamics of these churches and like churches that causes them to enjoy the status of being small?

I didn’t realize there was a good answer. I have learned that there is some sameness in all these churches. They all have some of the same dynamics, conscious and unconscious, that determine human behavior and attitudes in all these small churches. Think of that!

This week I was given information of a church that the pastor left after about six months. A church that I was asked to try out for. This has happened too often in the last four years since I have been in Portsmouth Ohio. Small churches like to stay small. And that is either a conscious or an unconscious dynamic of the small church setting.

A minister who has an idea of a large church mentality generally cannot stay long in a church that has developed the small church attitude. Sometimes a small church is small because of its dynamics, and normally they will not come out of that mind set though sometimes they will. This can happen only after learning why they are of that small church mind set.

You would have thought as much as I read books, and articles, and go to conferences that I would have learned sooner these determined factors.

Let me just mention something before I get into the dynamics of the small church. There are times when you change the dynamics and due to the low population of the town, or community the attendance will vary in size. There are reasons why they don’t grow even when they desire to grow. We will mention some in this article as well as we go along..

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant, Proof Read and Lived Through by Charity Whisnant

METHODS OF INTERPRETATION:
In the Book of Revelation

Your method of interpretation will give you your approach to how you teach the book.

Allegorical: View

  • This method started in Alexandria in the third century with Clement and Origen who had a tendency to spiritualize the entirety of the Scriptures, whether plainly symbolic or not. Thus, in the book of Revelation, a non-literal meaning is also assigned to everything, especially the "thousand year" mentioned six times in Revelation 20. I don’t agree with the position. This allegorical position influenced the church throughout its history, including the preterist and historical views of Revelation due to its amillennial approach.

IDEALISTS or SYMBOLIC VIEW

  1. A branch off this would be the Symbolic View: which believes that Revelation portrays the continuing conflict between the forces of good and evil throughout the entire span of human history. And this view is designed to give encouragement voice since at the end the good will triumph.

PRETERISTS VIEW

  1. Credit the Jesuit Alcasar who died in 1613 for this view. The symbolism is confined to conflicts endured by the early church. This means that everything in the book of Revelation happened by about the end of the First Century and that John was writing about the events of his own day. The book of Revelation, therefore, becomes more descriptive than predictive. This view, meaning they "favor the past." They presuppose that most if not all the prophecies of the Book have been fulfilled and/or pertain to what was happening in the first century. This view says what happened in 70 A.D. in Jerusalem with the fall and destruction of the Temple and Nero was the Anti- Christ.
  2. Thus, the main point of Revelation was to encourage the Christian under persecution. Thus Revelation becomes just historical and didactic, giving us only examples of being faithful.


My thinking is, if Revelation is prophecy, and Revelation was written after the destruction of Jerusalem how could Revelation be prophecy?

Historical View

  1. This view started, it is said, in the 13th century under Joachim of Floris (1202) and portrays Revelation as a template for principles of history. It is a panoramic depiction of the history and future of the Church. All the events in human history could be viewed in the Book of Revelation. Since Revelation is a view of all of history over the last 2000 years, it’s a beautiful way of encouraging Christians of any age.

Futurist

  1. This view asserts that Revelation is about the details and order of future events immediately preceding the Second Coming. This view states that none of the events of Matthew 24 took place in 70 AD. And the seals, trumpets, beasts, and Antichrist are still to come and will appear in the last days of human history Thus, the book of Revelation has yet to be fulfilled. This view also states that Israel and the church are distinct in God’s plan.

Open View

  1. This sounds good, but how much of it is really possible I am not sure. This view says you engage the text with careful exegesis, uninhibited by theological prejudice, with an inductive process and come with open minds to discover God’s lessons for us.

I have said that when I taught Revelation to the Youth at Roanoke Baptist Temple in Roanoke ,Virginia, in 1965. I said it when I taught Revelation at Madison Baptist Church in 1973. I said this when I taught Revelation at First Baptist Church in Altoona, Kansas, twice. 1980's and 1990's And again in 2001.

And truly when I taught this in FBC of Altoona, I really tried to teach the text verse by verse. Rather than trying to get a crowd and play up the seals and the Anti-Christ, I tried to view the book as it was written. I believe the events in the Book of Revelation has not yet happen.

I realize that our preconceived ideas will form our opinions and usually not what the Word actually says.

I desired to reveal the truth of the book inductively, applying the literal interpretation (if the genre allows), historical and grammatical exegesis and not mere human speculations and traditions.

But the truth is, we really are human and all we know and see comes through our fallen filter made from depravity. I can’t see Revelation without seeing Dr. Marr in 1950's and 60's at the Baptist Tabernacle in Danville Virginia. I can’t see Revelation without that big chart he had across the church front. Then I can not view Revelation without viewing Oliver B Greene either. I have read over 100 books on the Revelation. Then in 1990 John MacArthur’s teaching on Revelation sealed my conviction of how to teach Revelation.

And since 2003 I have studied and read many articles and papers on the other views and have not been convinced at all to their points of view.

Notes of Reference:
1A Spiros Zodhates footnotes on Revelation in the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible
2A John MacArthur’s Study Notes on Revelation
3A Articles from Monergism.com
4A School of Interpretation by Frame-poythress
5A My own studies from more than 100 books, and booklets.
6A Eschatology, The Last Things monergism.com

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 12 11 06 Proof Read by Charity Whisnant 12 11 06

How To Interpret the Bible: Useful Hermeneutical Principles

Principles of Bible Interpretation- "Grammatico-Historical Method
"This method of interpretation focuses attention not only on literary forms but upon grammatical constructions and historical contexts out of which the Scriptures were written.

Interpretation of Scripture will never be an exact science. The beliefs we bring to the text - our theological presuppositions - will inevitably color our interpretation to some degree. In fact, "pretended neutrality" - the attribution of bias to one's opponent while implying that one is theologically neutral - is an exegetical fallacy as potent as any other

The Challenge of Understanding the Bible

Applying sound principles of hermeneutics seeks to answer these sorts of questions:

· Who was the writer?
· To whom was the writer writing?
· "Is the use of a particular word, grammatical construction, verb tense, etc., significant in this instance?"
· What is the cultural, historical context?
· What was the author's original intended meaning?
· "How was the text interpreted by the author's contemporaries?"
· Why was he saying it?

Hermeneutics is a technical term derived from the Greek n)rmeneu=ti/koj(hermeneutikos) meaning "the science of interpretation," In biblical terms "especially the branch of theology dealing with the principles of exegesis." The science of understanding a message or complete thought, especially that which is communicated through written text. In other words, hermeneutics seeks to know how to interpret the actual intended conveyence of a message

Hermeneutics involves establishing the principles for our understanding any part of the Bible, and then interpreting it so its message is made clear to the reader or listener. It inevitably involves exegesis, which is the process of examining the actual biblical text as it came from the hand of its writer to discover how he communicated God's truth.

The goal in applying the principles of hermeneutics is to "rightly handle the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15), striving to accurately discern the meaning of the text.

Hermeneutics can be defined as the linguistic and literary principles used to interpret scripture, and includes the discovery and understanding of these principles.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who . . . correctly handles [rightly divides] the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

How to Interpret the Bible No. 2

An overview of the process for interpreting a passage of scripture.

  • Read the passage and the entire context. This context could extend for pages.
  • Consider the culture of day when this passage was written. Put the passage into its proper historical perspective.
  • Consider the theme of the particular book that the passage occurs in. Consider the writer, the time period and the culture of the people.
  • Look for evidence of typology, symbolism, allegory and figures of speech. If none of these exist, then interpret the passage literally.
  • We must remain in prayer and be willing to be instructed by the Holy Spirit because understanding comes from God, not solely from our use of reason.
  • No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. (1 Corinthians 2:11b-13)
  • A word of warning. As even a quick investigation into the many doctrinal variations demonstrates, we simply cannot develop dogma, doctrine, and moral teaching unaided -- we require Divine assistance. But merely calling upon the Holy Spirit to assist us in interpreting sacred scripture is insufficient. Many well-meaning, Spirit-filled theologians have attempted this over the centuries, but their doctrines all contradict one another.

You will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Tim 3:15)

"If every man has the right, and is bound to read the Scriptures, and to judge for him self what they teach, he must have certain rules to guide him in the exercise of this privilege and duty. These rules are not arbitrary. They are not imposed by human authority. They have no binding force which does not flow from their own intrinsic truth and propriety. They are few and simple." Charles Hodges


Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 12 10 06


How to Interpret the Bible
part one

Having a Bible in every room, and in my office, and even in my car, is normal for me. But you also need to know how to read the bible, and understand the Bible. Today I will give one way of learning to understanding the Bible. Later another method.

How many times have you heard someone say regarding the Bible, "Everyone has their own interpretation" or "That's your interpretation, not mine." Little do they realize that such comments are in direct conflict with what the Bible says about itself:

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:20,21

What most people do not realize is that over the past 2500 years, specialists in the "science of meanings" have developed eight basic rules of grammatical interpretation, which provide a standard set of rules for consistent interpretation of literature. They apply equally to legislative and theological language. They are the basis of all critical analysis and are used by interpretive scholarship. When properly used, they insure that the reader will always derive the precise meaning intended by the original writer.

The 8 Rules for Grammatical Interpretation

1. The Rule of Definition: Words have definite meanings which are to be taken in their literal or idiomatic force, and the grammatical setting. Meaning is not be determined by each individual interpreter. The interpreter should conscientiously abide by the plain meaning of the words.

2. The Rule of Usage: Words and phrases have usages which are affected by cultural, traditional, national, social considerations. Authors write to a specific audience in the usual custom and vernacular of that audience. Interpreters are not to insert their own notions upon the literature, but rather to seek understanding of the usage that existed when the literature was written.

3. The Rule of Context: The meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph must be derived from the context. Many words and phrases derive their meaning and force from the connection in which it stands. Therefore there must be a careful consideration of that which comes before and after.

4. The Rule of Historical Background: The historical background, including the manner and customs of the day enables the interpreter to understand what circumstances and events influenced the thinking of the author. The writing was for real people, in real situations, in the real world. The interpreter must pay close attention to these facts as they cast light on the understanding of the literature.

5. The Rule of Logic: Interpretation is merely logical reasoning. Literature should be interpreted by a rigid application of the laws of language and grammatical analysis.

6. The Rule of Precedent: Precedent is something previously done or said that serves as a guide for future rule or example. Words and phrases which have a known usage should be interpreted in that historical and grammatical context.

7. The Rule of Unity: Documents are written as a whole. Interpretation of any of its parts, must be done with consideration to consistency with the whole.

8. The Rule of Inference: Inference is a fact reasonably implied from another fact. It is a logical consequence, a conclusion drawn from a given fact or premise, a conclusion drawn from evidence. Interpretive conclusions, regarding things not specifically stated, are allowable if they are logically consistent with the other rules of interpretation.

5 things of Which to Beware:

1. Beware of . . . Fanciful, complex, unique, novel interpretations which were not available to the hearers/readers of the day.

2. Beware of . . . Eisegesis: An interpretation that expresses the interpreter's own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.

3. Beware of . . . Basing an entire doctrine or concept on one passage.

4. Beware of . . . Not interpreting a text literally, as much as possible. The only exception is when the meaning is obviously allegorical, metaphorical or figurative.

5. Beware of . . . Any new insight or interpretation that is not consistent with the rest of scripture.


There is a simple poem which has served many well as a simple guide for Bible interpretation:
If the literal sense,
Makes good sense,
Seek no other sense,
Lest you end up with non-sense!

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 12 08 06

A BIBLE IN EVERY ROOM IN MY HOUSE
Part Two

My grandmother Minnie Whisnant offered me $5.00 if I would read the Bible through in one year. I did not know at the time, what that meant. I only saw $5.00 in my mind. This is in 1960. I was too young to understand this.

It was like the time I said to Eric my son and Shawn Barnhart I would give them a dollar for every chapter in the Bible they would write down. That didn’t get past one chapter.

I did take my grandmother’s offer, and I did in 1960 read though the old Bible in a year. And for the next many years that was my daily reading, reading the Bible.

In Seminary my first year we had to read Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy I believe three times in our class with Dr. Earl K. Oldham. Now there was a challenge to be sure. I believe the test at the end of the year was over 200 questions.

In Seminary 99% of all the classes were Bible.. They taught us the Bible. They didn’t teach us how they knew what the Bible said. (which would have helped). It was more like preaching than teaching, but it was good nevertheless.

But the Bible was foremost in my training. Of course Fundamentalists say, preachers and teachers only need the Bible to preach and teach. Well that is good if you know your Bible and you need to know how to interpret your Bible.

My first bible was a Scofield Bible. And I used it to teach for years. I loved marking my Bible, not a page in the Bible was not marked in pencil, pen or colored red or blue.

When I went to Seminary I was introduced to the Dickson Bible, a great study bible for students. That was my source of study for years, and yet even today.

Then in the 1980's I bought a Zodhiates’ original and complete system Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible. I have used two of them.

Then in 2006 my children bought me my first MacArthur’s Study Bible. Chad and Eric drove up from Lexington to bring it for my fifty-ninth birthday. (Also, we got to see Chad’s new car and went out for dinner with them.)
I have my father’s Thompson Chain Bible, and I have my mothers’ Pilgrim Study Bible.
I have to preach or teach with my Bible open, of course I have my notes beside the Bible..

I was glad when I finally learned that the best way to preach was chapter by chapter. I felt that this method was much easier to do. You knew each week what you were going to preach. You didn’t have to think very hard on a topic, because you knew what book you were going to be in.

I remember when peaching in Altoona, Kansas, I started with the Gospel of Matthew. And 255 sermons later I finally finished. Each week, verse by verse, and Eric said, "Yes, word by word, and periods and commas. "

Bible reading has always been a challenge. John MacArthur had a method of reading the New Testament. Reading a section for a month, and in three years you would have read the NT in this manner. I thought that was very good.

From my middle teens, the Word became a part of my daily activity. As a Christian I was taught that a Christian was one who believed God and obeyed Him, and wanted to learn about Jesus Christ. I was taught that the Bible was where we discovered the ways of God for the believer. We would know all that Jesus Christ has done, and will do.

Reading the Scriptures was like knowing the mind of Christ. To know the Word was to know the Lord. Philippians 2: says "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ." We are to have the mind of Christ if we are going to be like Christ.

From early in my life, wanting to know what the Scriptures meant was a major part of my life. I would spend hours reading and studying the Bible the best I knew how.

My first study was in Galatians. I used my dad’s Bible and study notes and books in his library to study verse by verse. I still have the spiral notebook of printed notes. Reading and studying the Word gives you a wonderful foundation for the Christian life. It gives you a Biblical world view. You discern what is around you by what you understand about the Scriptures.

When I was asked to teach the teenagers in our church, dad said "Charles take a book in the Bible and study and teach the Word." Good advice. I still today have notes from Psalms, and Revelation. Dad believed that the Bible was the book we studied from.

The Bible was always to be visible while teaching, but dad would say you need to study the scriptures diligently. Use the resources available to you, and then take notes., Then when you teach, teach from the Word, so that your students will learn that the Bible is the resources of learning about Christ. But he would say "Your students need to know that you study to know the Word."

Too often preachers want you to think they don’t need to study, that they just get the sermon from the Lord. That is a false idea to begin with. You need to study the Word. The Bible is written in a way that requires study. The Bible is given for us to know Him and what He is saying

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 12 06 06 Proof Read by Charity 12 07 06
Becky was able to visit Alan and Angie Harris and the boys on Sunday. They are going good.
I was glad to make contact with Doug V Heck this week.
Charity and the crew at Union Mills are getting ready for the Christmas rush.
I understand from Beverly in Altoona, that they had 16" of Snow last week.












.
A BIBLE IN EVERY ROOM IN MY HOUSE

Part One

"I believe that by my own reason or strength I cannot
believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. But
the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel,
enlightened me with His gifts, and sanctified and
preserved me in true faith."
----- - - -Martin Luther

God’s grace is given every day for all of us, because sin and temptation come upon all believers each day. We as believers need a fresh supply of God's wonderful grace each moment each day. We can't just rest upon what we received even Sunday at Worship. Christ the Lord brings us daily His strength to help us understand the evil of sin and the strong hold of temptation upon us. Your nearest friend is not the TV, (close) music, or NASCAR (ha! wait, that is getting close).

I want a Bible in view in every room at my house. Why? It’s a reminder that when temptation comes I have the Word close.

If we understood the dynamics of the heart and the deceitfulness of sin, we would make sure that a Bible would be as close as our remote to our Play Station or TV or Radio. There is something about even seeing a Bible that causes me to stop and say, "This is Christ the Lord’s Word. He is holy. I am his child. Obey Him." To this day, I don’t put anything on top of my Bible. I want a quick availability to open its pages to get a word from the Lord.

We need an understanding of what sin can do at anytime in our life. We might go months, or years and say "I am not tempted to sin in this manner." And before we know it, we are in that sin that will destroy or ministry, our family, or job, or life. Few ministers live to fail. Few Christians desire to fall into sin that will destroy their life. But it happens each day.

Consider what Thomas Brooks wrote in 1660. He knew it:

Whom do I have in heaven but You? And I desire
nothing on earth but You. My flesh and my heart
may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my
portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26

The true Christian seeks God as his choicest and chief
good. God is a perfect good, a solid good. That is a
perfect good--to which nothing can be added; that is
a solid good--from which nothing can be spared. Such
a good God is, and therefore He is chiefly to be sought.
God is a pure and simple good; He is a light in whom
there is no darkness, a good in whom there is no evil.
The goodness of the creature is mixed, yes, that little
goodness which is in the creature is mixed with much
evil; but God is an unmixed good. He is good, He is
pure good. He is all over good. He is nothing but good.

God is an all-sufficient good. Augustine said,
"He has all--who has the Haver of all."

God has in Himself . . .
all power to defend you,
all wisdom to direct you,
all mercy to pardon you,
all grace to enrich you,
all righteousness to clothe you,
all goodness to supply you,
all happiness to crown you.
God is a satisfying good, a good that fills the heart and
quiets the soul. In Him, I have all. I have all comforts,
all delights, all contentment. As the worth and value of
many pieces of silver is to be found in one piece of gold,
so all the petty excellencies which are scattered abroad
in the creatures--are to be found in God. Yes, all the
whole volume of perfections, which is spread through
heaven and earth--is epitomized in Him. No good below
Him who is the greatest good, can satisfy the soul. A good
wife, a good child, a good name, a good estate, a good
friend--cannot satisfy the soul. These may please--but
they cannot satisfy.
Ah! that we should seek early, seek earnestly, seek
affectionately, seek diligently, seek primarily, and seek
unweariedly--this God, who is the greatest good, the
best good, the most desirable good, who is--
a suitable good,
a pure good,
a satisfying good,
a total good, and
an eternal good.
"Whom do I have in heaven but You? And I desire
nothing on earth but You. My flesh and my heart
may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my
portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26
Drafted by Charles 12-04 06 Proof Read by Charity Whisnant
WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR A BIBLE FELLOWSHIP (SUNDAY SCHOOL)
Part Two
  1. Genesis 1:26-28 God is a being who exists eternally in community. People are made in God’s image
  2. Genesis 2:18 Lack of community is not good for us. Procreation provides opportunity for community beyond husband and wife.
  3. Genesis 46:8-24 The nation Israel was organized by tribes and by clan, providing community
  4. Psalms 133 Unity is good and pleasant. God bestows his blessings where it exists.
  5. Matthew 22:37-40 We are to be in relationship first with God and then with other people.
  6. Mark 3:13-19 Jesus appointed the Twelve for fellowship (that they might be with Him) and for commission (that He might send them out)
  7. John 13:34-35 People will know that we are Christ’s disciples by the love that we demonstrate to one another.
  8. Acts 2:41-47 The early church met in the Temple courts (large group) and in homes (small groups).
  9. Acts 4:32-35 People in the early church were one in heart and mind, sharing all things in common.
  10. Galatians 6:2 We are to carry each other’s burdens, so fulfilling the law of Christ.
  11. Ephesians 4:1-32 The body of Christ demonstrates unity in diversity.
  12. Philippians 2:1-4 We are to be one in the spirit and purpose, and put the interests of others ahead of our own.
  13. 1 Peter 4:8-10 We are to serve one another using our spiritual gifts.
  14. Hebrews 10:24-25 We are to spur one another on to love and good deeds, meet together, and encourage one another.

    It seems that Christians universally agree that the Bible commands fellowship. As members of the Body of Christ we have been given great responsibility for one another. Some of the biblical commands are:
    · "Love one another" John 13:34
    · "Live in harmony with one another" Romans 12:16
    · "Comfort one another" 2 Corinthians 13:11
    · "Serve one another" Galatians 5:13
    · "Bear one another's burdens" Galatians 6:2
    · "Teaching and admonishing one another" Colossians 3:16
    · "Encourage one another" 1 Thessalonians 4:18
    · "Build one another up" 1 Thessalonians 5:11
    · "Exhort one another" Hebrews 3:13
    · "Stir up one another to love and good works" Hebrews 10:24
    · "Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another" James 5:16

These are not just guidelines to live by when believers gather together. These are commands that we must be proactive in obeying. All of these commands are given with the assumption that we will be spending time together. In fact, we cannot obey these commands unless we are regularly gathering together (Hebrews 10:25).

I believe the benefit of the Bible Fellowship, Bible Discipleship Hour, the Children’s Bible Study, etc is for the purposes as stated above. In a small group, believers have an opportunity for fellowship, shepherding, and ministering to one another in a personal way.

I believe it’s more then just sitting in a class and hearing another sermon. It’s a great time for shepherding one another in the Christian life.

It’s a time that should exist to encourage spiritual growth through a nurturing context which includes a number of things. For example, love, learning, leadership and using of spiritual gifts.

Spiritual growth does not take place in a vacuum, rather, it is fostered and encouraged by the interaction found in a loving relationship.

Spiritual growth is more of a "team sport" than an "individual sport." God made us to flourish in a fellowship setting. For each of us to reach our maximum spiritual potential we need the help of other people.

For the serious believer, being involved in a Bible Discipleship Fellowship time, is not an option. No one in his/her mind would embark on a mountain climb alone, likewise no one should embark on the journey of the Christian walk alone.

So these churches keep doing what they've always done. And for the most part the people in them do not have deep, spiritual, transparent and authentic relationships with anyone.

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 12 01 06 Proof Checked by Charity Whisnant

The numerous classes are designed for the growth and edification of the believer, thereby strengthening the Church through education. Dealing with topics from how to manage a budget to how to defend Christianity to other belief systems. Classes will aid you in your daily walk with Christ.

Does Scripture Teach A Church Should Provided Bible Study Sunday Classes for Children and Adults?

  • They are NOT to PRIMARILY be a stopgap for the loss of members and attenders!Pastors and church leadership are continually looking for ways to keep people from leaving their church - it's called "closing the back door". Assimilation is a key concept in church growth seminars. Church growth experts tell us that there are three primary factors that ensure a newcomer will stay in a church. These factors are friendships, a ministry, and a small group. "Remember, new people need to sense that they are needed and the best place for this to happen is small groups." Unfortunately the Bible doesn't talk about assimilation. It assumes that the regenerate will be baptized and joined to the local church. In fact, a "convert" that didn't join a local church or get actively involved was unheard of in the New Testament. The emphasis on assimilation and "keeping" people is misplaced. The Bible never commands us to do anything to "keep" people! We are so worried about attendance and getting people to return to a service that we forget the responsibility we have to minister to them. And sometimes being ministered to isn't fun or pleasant. So using small groups as member retention or member assimilation is unbiblical. It might be a nice side benefit, but I reject it as a model and I hope you would as well. Don Fields from "The World From My Window."

  • Extra stuff proof read by my lovely wife, Charity Whisnant, 12 02 06


The issue is doing what is biblical, rather than trying to get people into church, or trying to get people to stay in church. We go about doing church as directed by the Word, and allow the working out of those principles in the life of the church body.

  • But as I have seen over and over, leadership will spend more time, walking on a tight rope, trying not to offend some old deacon, or member. "Charles, you might create havoc if you go about change like you are talking about." What else is that but caving in to the old deacon or member. They are not interested in doing God’s Work in God’s Way, they are concerned about not offending the music people and the big givers in the church.
  • "Well, we are not interested in getting a crowd in church." "We want to do ministry that is biblical." Okay! I don’t disagree with those statements. Okay, do the Lord’s Work in the Lord’s Way. At the same time, it is not wrong biblically to desire to see people come to Christ and see new people come to Worship and Bible Study.
  • I have never seen such poor quality leadership in some churches. They certainly try, but they would rather die a slow death than do it right. I really don’t believe leadership tries to fail, they try different ideas all the time. Maybe I just think they need someone who knows how to accomplish their own objectives.

Does Scripture Teach A Church Should Provide Bible Study Sunday Classes for Children and Adults?

If we are to be faithful stewards of the ministry God has granted us, we must work diligently to cultivate a ideology for ministry that is both essentially critical and thoroughly biblical.Consider the following questions:*
  1. What should propel the ministries at said Church, any of the particular ministry?
  2. * Are there different approaches I can take to have an meaningful ministry?
  3. * How do we evaluate a potential ministry opportunity
  4. * How do we cultivate a ministry that is biblically-driven?

Does Scripture Teach A Church Should Provided Bible Study Sunday Classes for Children and Adults?
Charles E. Whisnant

Are we past the idea of having a Sunday, Bible Study Time in our culture today? Due to the effort of getting people to attend church in general, churches have offered options. There is the Saturday Night Service, the early Sunday Morning Worship Service. And then you have three options on the kind of Worship you want to attend. Some churches have youth worship on Sunday Evening.

Are the Christians, and/or parents, in our churches so busy with their lives that they do not have time to serve the church in the area of teaching children and youth?

Are parents not wanting to attend an extra hour for Bible Study?

Is Sunday School outdated today in our society and church life?

Charity’s dad Bob Temple, Sr, and I went to Grace Baptist Church in Marion Ohio for the Ohio WBF lunch and meeting with ABC president David Bryant. Great meeting by the way.

I asked Bob about the Sunday School. He said, "If you don’t go after people, you often won’t get them." If you don’t encourage people to go and invite people they won’t." Sunday School for Baptists has been the means for many years of reaching new people. Bob and I talked about Sunday School and what is necessary to have a good Sunday School, I will relate this in another post later next week.

In the last three years I have been out of the loop, you might say. That is to say, I have not been employed by a church to work in the area of Education. Therefore, I am not really sure of the condition of Education in our churches in 2006. Most Baptist churches have Sunday School, but I would say they are struggling. (I am thinking of the churches in the Portsmouth area.) Reading the church paper of Grace Baptist Church of Marion, Ohio, they had 200 for worship and130 for Sunday School.

But I have over the last 40 years been involved in the ministry of Education. More currently I have been involved in the development of Bible Fellowships for Adults and Sunday School for children and youth. (2001-2003). Most recently I have reorganized a Sunday School program that was shut down due to so few attending. We were able within six months to reorganize the Children’s Sunday School and Adult Bible Fellowship Classes.
I have several portfolios on Christian Education in the Local Church.

I can only speak of the current church I attend. From my understanding, there is a need for work in this area of Children’s Bible School. They have a very good Discipleship Hour for two adult classes.

  1. Do we really need to provide a time for Bible Study?
    Several churches in our area have AWANA at times other than on Sunday Morning. So could this be a substitute for Sunday Morning Bible Study?
  2. Do those in leadership feel that Bible Study is no longer necessary in the philosophy of their church ministry?


I do not have the answers to those specific questions. Maybe I should research that out.


NEVERTHELESS, the question is: SHOULD THE CHURCH PROVIDE A SPECIFIC TIME TO TRAIN AND DISCIPLE THEIR MEMBERSHIP AND FAMILY?

In my opinion, I believe the church should provide training in discipleship to all ages in the church body. Why? I will review this in the next post, thread, article.


Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 12 01 06 Proof read Chariy 12-01 06 Part One
SO HOW SHOULD THE PASTOR/TEACHER PRESENT THE GOSPEL
Continue Series in the Matter of Presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • How were some of Adam’s family saved? He did live 930 years. How was salvation presented to them, as well as to the others in the Old Testament. Noah was given 120 years to build the Ark. In those 120 years was he preaching the "Gospel of Jesus Christ?" Did he give a Boat Call? Genesis 6:8 "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." All the others "I will destroy." In Genesis 7:1 God said unto Noah, " I see righteous before me in this generation." Noah was 600 years old in the year of the Flood. Noah lived by faith in a corrupt generation. Hebrews 11.
  • Are we to say those on earth at the time of Noah all died? Yes. Were any of those living at the time of the Flood "saved?" Good question.
  • If all natural descendants of Adam are spiritually dead, and if the only way they can become spiritually alive is through regeneration then the Old Testament saints had to be regenerated in order to become spiritually alive. If only those who are spiritually alive can manifest spiritual life, and if the Old Testament believers manifested spiritual life, then Old Testament believers must have been spiritually alive. I think!
  • My point is in the presentation of the Gospel? Did Adam, did Noah, preach/teach as we do today? There were no churches as we know them today. I don’t think the name of Jesus Christ was ever mentioned by name. I do not think that the Cross was mentioned either. Or at least I do not find the text which would say that. So how were they saved? I do not have a detailed plan of salvation to give that strictly applies to Old Testament saints. I do not even feel that it is critical for us today to understand in full detail the way they came to God. Yet they were regenerated, had faith and believed the promises of God.
  • Hebrews 11 tells us "by faith." Then in verse 13, "they were persuaded of the promises made to them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."

"Faith" saving faith:

  • Is an assurance of a testimony: 2 Thess 1:10.
  • Is a certainty of truth from a sense of glory and excellency John 20:29
  • Is an expectation of a truth, that you have a spiritual taste for what is divine. Luke 12:57
  • The object of this faith is Jesus Christ. Mark 1:15. Includes a knowledge of God and Christ. 2 Peter 1:2,3.
  • Is a conviction of the promises . Hebrews 11:1

If Noah was 600 years before the Flood, how old was he when God saved him? And what kind of impact did he have in those years before the Flood? The whole human race was totally corrupted. Why?

My point of these articles has been to try to discern the manner in which the Gospel was presented.

I am humbled as I study, and research this topic of Preaching the Gospel Biblically. If you want to be really humbled, just study and read others’ exposition on this subject.

If you want to be humbled, just have Charity check your article. But that is necessary in my case.. (That was a side bar comment)

The Gospel preaching that my dad preached in the 1930's thru 1966 I trust to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto salvation.

The Gospel preaching that I have preached from 1965 thru 2006 I trust to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto salvation.

While it’s true that I might word differently the presentation of the Gospel, it’s still the Gospel. I believe dad and I had within our preaching of the Gospel the right elements necessary for saving faith. While I never heard Lordship Salvation from my dad, he preached it never the less. He preached that those who God saves will be His disciples. Their life will show by faith the glory of Christ. I don’t think dad believed every one who came forward in an invitation were saved. He believed those who came forward and presented them selves to Christ as their Lord and Savior were saved. The evidences of their being born again was a new spirit within them.

Today in the 21st century, what has changed is the mass media. There has always been a Benny Hinn, a Joel Osteen, a Rick Warren, a Billy Graham, a Jack Hyles presentation of the Gospel. The Fundamentalist preachers have preached a gospel that is easy believism. By that I mean, "Believe and be saved."

The preacher in his quest of bringing people into the Kingdom, will often ignore what he might really believe. Fundamental preachers are good telling people what to do and not to do. Movies, dances, cussing, long hair, short hair, and shorts, etc. They definitely believe a Christian should live like Christ. They believe a Christian should come to Church ob Sunday Morning, Night, Wednesday, Soul Winning, Bus Visitation, and teach a class, and give money to the church.

Yet many of those who they say are saved, don’t do any of the desired actions expected of good Christians. Why is that? They are not saved, born again, regenerated, justified, sanctified. Oh!

I believe in our zeal to see people saved and baptized, we fail to rightly present the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The gospel of Jesus Christ. Now there is another topic.

Drafted November 30th 2006 by Charles E. Whisnant Proof Check by Charity 11-30-06