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

DEFINITION OF THE PURPOSE OR PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY
part two

With these theological considerations in mind, we ask ourselves,

"HOW DO WE ‘DO’ MINISTRY?’

And the term that is common in ministry circles today is ‘philosophy."

1A PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY

The philosophy of ministry is the application of our theology in the context of ministry. It answers questions like Why? How? And What?
  • "A system of principles for guidance in practical affairs."
  • "A system of principles that form the underlying biblical, theological foundation upon which one’s actions and practices are based."

One definition that has been given for POM is "the formulated system or belief regarding the ministry of the local church." It seeks to answer questions such as "What is the purpose of our ministry?" How do we accomplish this? We are thankful that the Lord has answered these questions and has left us a manual for ministry. Ephesians 4:11-16.

2A THE PRESUPPOSITIONS OF OUR PHILOSOPHY

We believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word, and thus it has total authority over what we believe and how we act. The Bible teaches that it is instantly and sovereignly inspired by God and is therefore to be submitted to as His living Word addressed to us. Isaiah 55:11, Romans 15:4, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Timothy 2:13, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:19-21

We believe that the church is God’s fundamental instrument in this age through which he communicates His saving grace. Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:19-22, 4:11-12.

We believe that the church is to have a God-centered focus in all its ministries, striving to bring honor and glory to the God who brought it in to existence. First Corinthians 10:31, 2 Corinthians 5:11,14, Colossians 3:23.

We believe that the local church is the primary source of maturity to believers. Ephesians 4:11-12

We believe that the church’s mission of world proclamation of the gospel is still unfinished. Acts 1:1-8 and Matthew 24:14. There are still children / youth who are still living in this area and need to know about the Lord Jesus Christ.

3A GENERAL PURPOSES AND GOALS

1B Our Purpose
  • 1C Definition: that for which we were made and for which we ultimately strive.
  • 2C Maximum Purpose: To glorify God and bring honor to His name by being conformed to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah 43:7, Romans 8:29, 15:5-6, 1 Corinthians 6:20, 2 Corinthians 5:9, 1 Peter2:21, and 1 John 2:6, 3:2.

2B Our Goal
  • 1C Definition: a series of stepping-stones by which we reach a purpose; accomplishable, attainable and measurable by time and performance.

  • 1C: To teach the whole counsel of Scripture, focusing on a clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Desiring to excite a love for God’s Word and his church.
  • Bigelow Church Elders have clearly stated their position what we mean by salvation. Grace Alone, Christ alone, Faith alone. And we want to be sure in the matter of presenting salvation to children that we are clear to them.


4A A BIBLICAL STRATEGY (APPROACH) FOR MINISTRY

1B FOR THE PARENT"

The central ministry of Bigelow Church is the continuous imparting of the Scriptures.

FOOTNOTE: This next point is one what we really want to develop

  • The youth’s spiritual instruction is the responsibility of the parents. Deuteronomy 6:7 and Ephesians 6:4. Biblically, their responsibility lengthens further than just seeing that children receive instruction. The primary emphasis of our children’s ministry is to support the biblical position of the home. In supporting the ministry of the parents, we undertake to be a readily available resource to the home.
  • Additionally, the parents are to train up their sons and daughters in the nurture and counsel of the Lord, rather than the church being a competing force or separate entity of influence from the home.
  • There are cases where the church has to assist the single mom, or dad, or unsaved parents, or other situations. We will work with those parents as well.

2B FOR THE CHILDREN

  • We realize that many children are only exposed to Christian teaching in the Sunday Morning time. And since AWANA is moving to Sunday Morning, it’s going to be the only time some children will have Christian teaching, except for those who home school or have their children in a Christian school. Maybe later the small care groups will have a ministry to the children as well.
  • Secondly, the Sunday Morning activities are designed to communicate the maximum in spiritual content and application for each developmental age group. AWANA seems to do that well. And AWANA is known for exposing children to Scripture memory and the practical understanding of God’s Word.


3B FOR THE CHURCH:

  • To teach children from the earliest age the full character of God.
  • To present the gospel to all children, praying that God will save them
  • To introduce and develop the concept of worship through example and practice, to encourage a respectful response to God.
  • To teach the Lordship of Jesus Christ which is an outflow of true salvation.
  • To teach and model practical application of the Word through the process of discipleship to adults and youth and be are a resource to them. It’s more than just teaching a lesson in the class room, but modeling the lesson in life.
  • To intercede on behalf of children and adults through prayer.
  • To assist parents in the training of their children and be a resource to them. That is, to be available to parents outside the class room.
  • To provide an atmosphere where adults can develop their gifts and abilities in ministry. Christian Education and Spiritual giftedness.
  • To provide a clean, and loving atmosphere for every child committed to our care.
  • To provide an attractive, charming, and challenging place for children to desire to learn about God. They will desire to come back next week.

    Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant Proof Read by Charity Whisnant

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ABOUT THE POSITION OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION AND SPIRITUAL GIFTEDNESS
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Charles E. Whisnant
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I was appointed to the church staff of Bigelow Church - June 2007
  • "If people's lives are going to be transformed, biblical information must be conveyed in a structure designed to facilitate the implementation of that knowledge in their daily lives and to hold them accountable to a process of change after they've heard it." Brad Bigney of Grace Fellowship (Florence, KY) (2007)
THIS IS CHRISTIAN EDUCATION & THE DEVELOPMENT OF ONE'S SPIRITUAL GIFTEDNESS
This statement by Brad sounds like Ephesians 4:11-12 "And He gave some... pastors/ teachers for the perfection of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."Something that I have had the privilege of doing for more than 38 years.

ROANOKE BAPTIST TEMPLE (Roanoke, Virginia)
  • I remember (its getting harder these days) some 43 years ago in my home church, Roanoke Baptist Temple, in Roanoke Virginia. I was appointed as Youth Pastor when I was 16.3 years old. As a 10th grader at Jefferson Senior High School commenced upon the ministry as a Youth Pastor. For the next twenty-seven months I experienced one of the best times of ministry that I have ever experienced.
  • During those 27 months of ministry (Dec 1963 - Feb 1966) with those teenagers and young adults we developed and trained and taught how to produce a life long meaning of Ephesians 4:11-12. "The perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry." Without really knowing what I was doing, and without any other person helping me (except my dad/mom) we developed an Ephesians 4:12 ministry. I have used this biblical idea from the start of ministry.
  • To see a transformed life produced in young kids, teens or young adult and even adults has been a ministry that Charity and I have had for our entire married life.
  • To produce an Ephesians 4:12 saint has been the ministry objective in every ministry that Charity and I have had.To produce this Ephesians 4:12 transformed lives, does take information, application, implementation and accountability.

DEFINITION OF THE PURPOSE OR PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY

Part One

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DEFINITION:


  • MINISTRY:
    When we speak of ministry, we are referring to how the church conducts itself both within itself and with the world while we wait for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • When we begin asking questions about ministry (What is it? How is it done?) we must agree that our answers our bound to Scripture. Here is the bad news. There is no place in the Bible where the particulars of youth ministry or of a youth pastor’s job are taught. But here is the good news: the existence of ministry for believers by believers for God’s glory is taught in Scripture, and the general calling of a pastor is clear.

  • Youth Ministry is simply a practical, contemporary extension of this ministry mindset. The same would be true of Children’s Ministry, Special Ministry, Young Married Ministry, etc.

  • All these modern terms are simply an attempt by local churches to extend the ministry of the local church beyond that of corporate worship to the people that make up the church body. Scripture has plenty to say about this.

  • As a general principle, what we do is based on what we believe. What we should believe is based on a faithful study of Scripture and the organization of the teaching contained therein. This is also known as theology. Therefore, theology is the foundation on which our ministries should be built and conducted.


PYRAMID OF MINISTRY


Methodology

Philosophy

Theology


As under-shepherds of the church of Jesus Christ, we have the responsibility to be good caretakers of the spiritual gifts given to us, the people commissioned to our care, and the resources that the Lord has provided to do ministry. This can be accomplished only with an accurate view of the following theological pillars, upon which the church is built:

  • Authentic concept of God
  • Actual account of His Word
  • Exact belief of the Gospel
  • Factual panorama of the Church


A particular theology to consider is that of the church what is known as ecclesiology.


Wayne Gruden, in his Systematic Theology, defines the church as

  • "the community of all true believers for all time."
  • Being more specific and referring to a local church gathering of believers, it is referred to as a local church.
  • The local church’s primary means for public congregating is to participate in corporate worship.
  • It is up to the leadership (elders/pastors) in that church to determine, based on the church’s culture, resources, and particular needs, what to provide for its members beyond corporate worship to help facilitate fellowship, additional teaching and the means to practice the "one another’s."


Another important theological consideration is that of the family, and its relationship to the church.


  • There are people today who would advocate a high view of the family, to the detriment of the church. On the other side of the spectrum, there are parents who abstain from all parental responsibilities and see the church as an after-school program to teach their children and teenagers some manners, discipline, and spirituality. The Bible gives us a balanced perspective.

  • Let me say from the outset that the Bible teaches us that parents have the obligation to raise their children and as a result, should be the primary means of discipleship of their children. But let me also be clear that parents sometimes have limitations in raising their children. These liabilities, or limitations would include a severed relationship due to divorce, challenges in communicating with a child or teenage son or daughter, or if nothing else, the simple fact that parents do not have all the spiritual gifts and therefore need others to help.


With these theological considerations in mind, we ask ourselves,


"HOW DO WE ‘DO’ MINISTRY?’
Part Two

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant, Proof Read By Charity Whisnant

Smart Text
text this on your phone
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Th Lord wil kp u frm al hrm -- he wil wtch ovr ur lif; th Lord wil wtch ovr ur cming nd going bth nw nd 4evrmr. Ps 121:7-8
parable of the seed and the sower
part five
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I don't think we can improve on Jesus' plan for reaching the world.

He preached to the masses.He ministered to individuals.He poured himself into a small group of key followers.He invited an even smaller group to be his disciples.

That small group of 12 men (which eventually became eleven after Judas defected) was the real focus of Jesus' earthly ministry. After he returned to heaven, they became the foundation for the church he was building (Ephesians 2:20).

Every pastor needs to do the same thing. Find a group of key men and women and pour yourself into them. Teach them. Training faithful men, and training faithful women. Pray with them. Listen to them. Laugh with them. Cry with them. Challenge them. Encourage them. Meet them early in the morning. Call them late at night. Send them a weekly email. (Well before email the phone or personal visits) Bring them into your confidence. Let them see your heart.
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The key to the success of our ministry was one on one with key people in our church.
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There is only one thing wrong with this plan. It takes a long time and it takes a lot of energy and you have to be really committed to it. This isn't a quick-rewards program.

I was meeting with a few pastors when the discussion turned to the importance of pastors meeting with a group of key leaders, men and women who seem to be good soil capable of producing much fruit for the kingdom. One pastor who is already very effective in his ministry said, "I'd like to do that but I just don't have the time. I'm overwhelmed with too many things to do already." That wasn't an excuse because he's not an excuse-making sort of man. It was a sober statement of reality. He really didn't have the time. One of the other men in the room commented, "It must not be very important to you or you'd find the time to do it." He didn't argue and he wasn't offended. A few months later when I saw him, he said, "I want you to meet my men." And he introduced me to a group of 8 men, each one handpicked and prayed over. They were meeting weekly to read theology and pray together. And after some period of time, each man will pray about it and handpick his own men to repeat the process.

Again, this isn't fancy or flashy but it's exactly what we ought to be doing. The best ministry is always life on life. A passion for God is better caught than taught.

When you find the good soil, cultivate it! Work with it so that eventually there will be a multiplied harvest for the Lord.

8A Without prayer your ministry cannot be effective.
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We do the sowing, the seed must do the work, but it needs a receptive heart to bring forth fruit. What does a farmer do with unproductive soil? He plows it up, throws out the rocks, pulls up the weeds, waters the ground, and plants it again. God farms the human heart like that. Jeremiah 4:3 says, "Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns." Things don't have to stay the way they are today. Remember what God promised to disobedient Israel in Ezekiel 36:26, "I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."

A new heart!A spiritual heart transplant!

That goes beyond the parable Jesus told and it takes us into a realm of enormous spiritual promise. The farmer cannot of himself transform rocky soil into good soil. Generally speaking most places have more rock than soil.
  • You could never get rid of all the rocks. But God can!

And this is why the final word in the ministry belongs to the Lord and not to us. After all, we were all once like the seed sown by the path. But God in his mercy intervened. He removed the heart of stone and gave us a heart of flesh. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves.
He gave us a brand-new heart.

If God can do that for us, he can do it for anyone.

Over the years we have had men and women who became like the prodigal son. Years would pass and all of a sudden they would show up at your door steps. Or you would receive a phone call, or they would drive up in a 18 wheeler.

I suppose that for many years, those who knew this young man despaired that his life could ever change. You may have a prodigal son or daughter in your life at this moment and it seems impossible that they could ever return to the Lord. But with God all things are possible. This is why we keep on sowing, keep on watering, keep on praying, and keep on waiting. We believe God can do things that are far beyond our expectations. He's done it before. He can do it again. And he's doing at this moment all over the world.

This parable ought to teach us both patience and hope. We need patience because some of the seeds we sow will never produce the fruit we hope for. But others will produce one hundred times more than we ask or expect or dream for. And this is why we preach and pray and keep on sowing the Word. There is good soil out there even though it's not always easy to find.

If we keep on sowing the Word, we will reap a harvest in God's time, by his grace, for his glory. Amen.
Drafted By Charles E. Whisnant
parable of the seed and the sower
part four
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4A * Don't surrender because of early difficulty.

Three of the four soils failed to produce good fruit. Is Jesus suggesting that 75% of our efforts will go for naught? No, but sometimes it can seem that way. Some churches are hard to pastor, others are easier. Some missionaries see amazing results. Others struggle for years with little to show for their efforts. Good soil can be hard to find. The flip side is that when you find it, it can produce amazing results. And some people will be thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred-fold in what they produce for the Kingdom. God can do a lot with a little. That's the encouraging news from this parable. A few seeds sown in good soil can ultimately revolutionize a church, a town, a school, a family, a neighborhood, or when God wills it so, an entire region.

5A * Your introductory judgment of people will often be wrong.
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This truth cuts both ways. You can't tell by looking what sort of heart a person has. That is, you can't infallibly know who will respond to the ministry of the Word and produce the good fruit Jesus talked about in this parable. As the seed is sown in many places, it will find its place in many hearts. You simply cannot tell in advance how people will respond over the long haul. Some people you "knew" would make good elders and deacons will fall away or be tripped up by the cares of this world. And sometimes the unlikeliest people will become mature believers.

We have to give the Word time to do its own work. Eventually the Word reveals the true condition of every heart.

6A * Sow widely because you don't know where the good soil is.
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The farmer in this parable "telecast" his seed. He carried it in a pouch slung around his neck and threw handfuls in every direction. He knows he that a certain amount of the seed will fall on the beaten path where it cannot take root. What the farmer doesn't know——and can't know——is where the stones and thorns are just under the surface. And therefore he also doesn't know where the good soil is that produces last fruit. So it is in his own best interests to sow his seed as widely as possible. The same is true in local church ministry. The best way to reach more people is to sow the seed of the Word in as many ways possible, using every avenue open to you, reaching out to every age and every interest group you can find.

7A * When you find good soil, cultivate it.
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It's easy for a pastor to be sidetracked into a thousand things that don't really matter in the ministry. I meet pastors all the time who work hard, stay busy all week long, and have their hands in a thousand things at once. That's generally a recipe for eventual burnout. No one can do it all.

When you find good soil, cultivate it. That's what Jesus did. Though he spoke to the masses, and though he had time for individuals, he gave the majority of his time to training the twelve. He found them, he called them, he trained them, and he allowed them to come alongside and be with him up close and personal. He poured himself into that small band of men knowing that after his departure, they would become the leaders of the movement he had started.
Don't miss the point.

No one really knows what the pastor's job is. Even if you have a job description, it's usually so general as to be almost useless. I don't know a single pastor who consults his job description in the morning to figure out what he should be doing during the day. If you have 100 people in your church, you've got 100 bosses, each with their own perception of what you should be doing. If you fall into the trap of trying to please them all, your ministry is bound is fail or you will end up frustrated and ineffective. And it's not as if I can tell you, "This is what you should be doing," because churches and ministry cultures vary so widely. Part of it you'll have to figure out on your own. That takes time and patience and prayer and wisdom from on high. Plus it helps if you listen to your wife and to a circle of trusted advisors.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant, Proof Read by Charity Whisnant

Matthew 13:3-9 (18-23)Mark 4:3-8 (14-20)Luke 8:5-8 (11-15)
Part Three
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Most messages on this passage discuss it from the standpoint of the four soils. I want to look at it in terms of what it teaches us about doing ministry today. I find at least eight principles that both challenge and encourage us.

1A Build Your Ministry on the Word of God.
2A Good ministry produces differing and unpredictable results in the hearers.
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This is the central teaching of the parable. Remember that there is nothing wrong with the seed. The same seed that the birds eat is the same seed that produces a good crop. And it's the same seed that produces a plant that withers away or gets choked by the thorns. Good ministry can't be defined solely in terms of its visible results.

Good ministry is like that. A man may see huge results in one church and then struggle for years in another church. One tribe is open to the gospel; another is resistant. One city welcomes missionaries; another opposes them. And so it goes around the world.

And you can't know in advance how your ministry will be received. Past success may be a good indicator but it is not a guarantee. That's why Jesus told this story. Our job is sow the seed but as we sow, we need to realistic and not starry-eyed dreamers. Some seed will fall on the hard path, some on the stony ground, some on thorny soil, and some will fall on good soil. But you can't know in advance where all the seeds will fall!

Good ministry of the Word produces differing results. That happens in every church and in every ministry. Jesus told this story so we won't be surprised and we won't be discouraged when things don't go the way we expected.

3A Don’’t be misled by early success.
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Often when we enter a new ministry, there is a sudden growth spurt. I remember being told in seminary that when a pastor goes to a new church, there is generally a quick rise in attendance followed by a plateau followed by a period of much slower growth. This makes sense because a new pastor brings new excitement, a fresh perspective, new ideas and an infusion of energy. It's not unusual for people to come to church to check out the new guy. So the first few months of a new ministry normally produce a bump in attendance. It's easy for a pastor to be misled by that bump. He can start to think, "Hey, this is easy." The ministry may be many things, but it is not easy.

I can remember my first pastorate. I went to a small church in Minford, Ohio and the attendance went from 12 to 90 in three months and then the deacons asked me to resign. I did in resign after four years. This happen again in Altoona, Kansas, an in one month they ask me to resign, and so I did sixteen years later.

No one told me about that. Things were very level. Extremely level.The plateau seemed to go on forever.

And I discovered that some people that seemed so excited at the beginning began to drift away. The very people who wanted me to come, left in three months. Some left No problems. No controversy. They just disappeared. Others left for various reasons. other.

But that's precisely what Jesus told us to expect. I find it fascinating that the longest portion of Jesus' explanation (vv. 19-21) deals with the seed that feel on stony ground. Remember, it sprang up quickly. Early success! Nothing better than that. We're going to have a bumper crop this year. But that seed sprang up quickly because it had no deep roots. When the sun beat down, the young plants withered and died.
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So let us take the warning to heart. If you have early success in your ministry, enjoy it but do not put too much stock in it. Wise farmers know that there is always a long period between planting and harvesting. The "early risers" won't always be around when harvest time comes. Don't be misled by early success. It's not always a guarantee of things to come.

Think of it this way. Three of the four soils responded positively at first. But only one produced lasting fruit.
Drafted By Charles E. Whisnant Proof Read by Charity
AN ATTITUDE THAT WE NEED IN THE BUILDING OF THE CHURCH
Part Two
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I have been meditating on the famous parable of the seed and the sower. It is obviously important because is found in three different places in the gospels (with Jesus' explanation in parenthesis):

Matthew 13:3-9 (18-23)Mark 4:3-8 (14-20)Luke 8:5-8 (11-15)

Context is all-important in understanding this parable. It stands first in a list of seven stories Jesus told in Matthew 13. Verse 1 tells us that Jesus gave these parables on "that same day." What same day? Go back and read Matthew 12 and you'll see that it happened on the same day that the Jewish leaders accused Christ of working miracles by the power of the devil (Matthew 12:22-32). Jesus then pronounced judgment on that wicked and adulterous generation (vv. 33-37). The die was now cast; the religious leaders had made their choice. They will now do whatever it takes to get rid of Jesus.

This story is placed first in Matthew 13 because it reveals something crucial about the response to Jesus’’ message. After the public controversy with the Pharisees in Matthew 12 when they accused Jesus of doing his miracles by the power of the devil, one logical question would be, "If you are who you say you are, why doesn’’t everyone believe? And why did the religious leaders reject your message?" That question rings across the centuries in many different ways. Why does a wife believe and her husband reject? Why does one brother become a missionary and the other a pornographer? Why do two children raised in the same family end up some unalike spiritually? How is it that the same Word of God produces such differing results in the human heart?

Most messages on this passage discuss it from the standpoint of the four soils. I want to look at it in terms of what it teaches us about doing ministry today. I find at least eight principles that both challenge and encourage us.


1A *Build Your Ministry on the Word of God. Part One

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I've been around long enough to see the trends come and go. Here's a short list:

  • Bus ministry Bus Ministry: (Calvary Baptist, Gideon Baptist. FBC Hammond)
  • Sunday School campaigns (almost every church)
  • Church growth movement
  • Moral Majority (I liked Jerry Falwell)
  • Evangelism Explosion (Ashland Ave Baptist)
  • Contemporary worship (Southern Acres)
  • Seeker-friendly churches (Southern Acres)
  • Purpose-Driven churches (principes are good)
  • Revival of traditional worship
  • Cell group movement (Ashland Ave Baptist, First Baptist Church, Altoona)
  • Promise Keepers (Ashland Ave Baptist)
  • Soul Winning (Hyles)


And that's just off the top of my head. I should add that I have been deeply involved in some of those things——Bus Ministry in several churches. In Fort Worth, Texas in 1969-70 we had over 350 on the buses of a church of 660. By 1973 the church was closed. Sunday School campaigns were a part of the Fundamental Baptist Movement as late as 2003. "FRIENDS SUNDAY." Contemporary worship was part of a three part worship service, the church still split and 450 people left and started another church across town. Of course some of these programs worked well for a time.

But the bottom line is the preaching and teaching of the WORD OF GOD.

  • Here's what I want to drive home. Be a student of the trends. Study your culture. Learn from what others are doing. Don't reject things out of hand without looking into them. But above all, never substitute a trend or a fad or the hottest new thing for the simple, systematic teaching of God's Word. Without the Word, our churches may grow but they will not produce fruit that will last.

Part three next:

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant


Build Your Ministry on the Word of God.
Part One
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Jesus said the seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). It's the only thing that has power to change the human heart. Preaching alone won't do it because we cannot talk people into a new heart. Our words have no power in and of themselves. Programs won't do it.
  • The contemporary American church is mostly programmed up to its eyeballs. The typical church is stratified with programs for children, youth, adults, singles, newlyweds, newly-divorced, newly-remarried, single parents, older singles, senior adults, and we offer classes for those struggling with bad family backgrounds, abuse issues, addiction issues, plus we have sports teams, choirs, drama teams, Internet teams, and affinity groups for everything under the sun.

  • Years ago I heard Dr. W. A. Criswell say that the church should be social center for the congregation. We've certainly followed his advice--and with a lot of good results, I should add.

  • I don't denigrate the stratification of the modern church. It's necessary in our day to reach people where they are.

And if we don't reach them, we can't win them or train them or send them out to minister to others.


HOW DOES CHRIST REVEAL HIS PURPOSE FOR OUR LIFE IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
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How can a Christian Make God-honoring Decisions
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When asking the pastor how he thought I would be able to work in the church, the general answer is often answered, "We will have to see how the Lord works this out." You ask yourself, "How does the Lord work out His will for the church?" How are we to comprehend how the Lord is working His will in the life of believers in the church? The number of times I have taught "how to know the Lord’s will for First Baptist Church and in the life of each member in the church." I would often say, "If the Scripture gives us clear instruction for our life, or the purpose of the church, we are not to debate it, but to discover a way to obey it." The question was asked, "Who gives direction for the purpose of the church?"

The purpose of the pastors is to preach and teach the Word of God. He is given to the church by Christ (1)"for the perfecting of the saints, (2) for the work of the ministry (3) for the edifying of the body of Christ." Scripture gives instructions that elders and deacons. "Look you out among you seven men of honest report, and filled with the Holy Spirit." And the Scriptures give direction as to how each individual believer is to work in the church.

Scripture says, "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him." Which is to say, every believer in the local body is placed there by the Lord.. So how does Scripture teach the believer to serve the local church? Scripture teaches that we are all brought into the church for the work of the ministry, and given gifts to perform the will of God for the church. "Forasmuch as ye zealous of ‘spiritual gifts,’ seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church."

Scriptures teaches "that there should be no schism in the body." Which I took to mean that there should be foundational biblical principles that guide the direction the church takes. "That the members should have the same care one for another." Simply we are all members of one body and should care for all member in the body. "We are all in the body of Christ, but we are also members in particular."

Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit guides us in this matter of knowing the purpose for which the Lord has saved us, and has us in the local body. As a pastor/teacher I was to teach the Book God wrote as He had it written so that each member would know how to discern God’s purposes.

Thus Scripture teaches that the Elders are to be led by the Holy Spirit as they read and study the Scripture to lead and feed the members of the Church. God works out His will for the church body by the Holy Spirit, working in the life of every member which He has given to the church for life and power.

Some pastors/elders want to be the Holy Spirit. They believe the Holy Spirit leads them to tell the members what the Spirit wants them to do. Others believe the Holy Spirit will direct the members to a ministry which will use their spiritual gifts.

One of the members came to John MacArthur and said, "Pastor, I believe we should have a tape ministry." John said, "Do you believe the Lord is leading you in this area?" and he said, "yes". John said, "you now have a ministry."
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Christians are to make God-honoring decisions. To make good decisions we need to exercise biblical wisdom. As I have explained in the teaching of Proverbs, wisdom comes from a diligent study of the Word of God. James tells us "those who lack wisdom are to "ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

  • The direction the Holy Spirit will give the Christian member concerning the use of his spiritual gift comes by (1) gathering necessary information (2) considering all the options carefully (3) seeking godly counsel and (4) then choosing the option that is most sensible. As Proverbs 2 tells us, (1) to apply our hearts to understanding (2) incline our ears unto wisdom (3) fear the Lord (4) find the knowledge of God. (5) have discretion.
  • All the above process will presuppose that each member will be submitted to Christ and filled with the Spirit. Otherwise you won’t be able to make biblical decisions. Remember this--sin blinds your ability to understand and apply God’s Word to your life.

  • We should also remember if we have a vital relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are walking in the Spirit, as opposed to walking in the flesh, then we are free to make decisions so long as they don’t violate God’s revealed (moral) will.
  • Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 06 05 07 Proof Checked by Charity.

PRIDE AND THE ALLERGIC REACTION

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  • Pride certainly sets in when I think about all this: I say to myself, why is it that one with my experience and capacity can’t be used in a local church. When I am treated along side "rookies" in ministry, the pride shows its ugly face.
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I read an article talking about our sensitive or allergic reactions. The idea was that the more things you’re reacting against, like allergens, and the stronger your reactions, the more likely that your soul will go sick and your ministry will go sour.


I had never really heard this idea before. A bad reaction can be deadly, and you could lose your ministry? How is this? Here is an example:


A preacher confided to a group of other preachers, "I’m motivated by competition. I want to have the biggest, most creative church. I’m driven to be significant." And another pastor said, "That motivation will destroy you someday. :You should deal with that." And he said "Yeah, you’re probably right." And he didn’t deal with it, because in a way, it’s what kept him going.


Results:


  • His deep reaction against small, dysfunctional, boring churches drove him to where his personal life deteriorated, ending his ministry. He was a good man, but reactivity got him.
  • A bad reaction, rebuttal, resistance to what you don’t like or motivates you to avoid the opposite can bring problems to you and/or your family, and/or ministry.
  • A strong reaction against what you believe is wrong, like legalism, could fill you with righteous indignation. One such person saw legalism make the Christian life tense and cramped instead of joyful and free. He saw it make Christian communities mean-spirited instead of grace-filled. SO he went out of his way to exhibit his freedom from legalism.


I read a few blog where sincere people with a lot of wisdom and depth, react against megachurches that they perceive as impersonal and shallow. Their web site is meant to correct the error of megachurches.


Some pastors so overreact to a megachurch’s corporate image, they themselves fail to set good "professional boundaries", which too often more than not, results in personal burnout, or family break up and sloppy church leadership. Too frequently their reactivity against corporate shallowness causes them to drift into a kind of elitism, strangely proud of how few people understand them.. In their reaction against corporate, purpose-driven, church growth movement, they find themselves stymied by mismanaged details and, often, poor leadership.


If the truth were really revealed, I would say most pastors have come form of this allergic reaction. There is something that we do not like, so we react the opposite.


Of course, sometimes reactivity is socially acceptable. Sometimes there is a shared reactivity and can become a badge of honor. For example: "We are a KJV only church." "We only do this in this church." etc. The problem here in this group of churches, they don’t see this as a reaction, but a shared reactivity that is biblical and good.


And as I view this kind of reactivity, I find the hardest to detect, of course, is my own. I think now I react all the time. I am in a state of reactivity. I find myself very susceptible to it.


How do you deal with your own reactivity? Some would be tempted to present self-examination as the answer, but what if the standards by which I examine myself are themselves reactive?


Some of us have the blessing of criticism, which can point out our areas of reactivity, but then we can react against the criticism.


We might present Bible study as the answer, since the Bible has an amazing balance. But as we all know, it is amazingly easy to focus on what reinforces our reactivity and miss everything else.


What we really need is a trusted friend who will be honest with us. "Please, if you see me reacting badly, tell me straight."


I believe all of us will react, I am not sure there is a fool proof protection from foolishness, which reactivity is one form. But it’s true that we can admit that the best of us are susceptible to bad reactions, and we then need to seek to protect ourselves not only from what we react against, but also from bad reactions.



Then I have to read Proverbs 8:13: "I hate pride and arrogance!" Take heed of pride and haughtiness of spirit. Pride is the great master-scar of the soul; it will bud and blossom--it cannot be hidden. Pride is the leprosy of the soul, which breaks forth in the very forehead! Pride is . . .the sum of all vileness, a sea of sin, a mother sin, a breeding sin--a sin which has all sorts of sin in its womb! In pride, all vices are wrapped up together in a bundle! "The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished!" Proverbs 16:5God will have nothing to do with proud people. He won't come near such loathsome lepers!Therefore, as ever you would enjoy God's presence, arm yourself against pride, watch against pride, and pray hard against pride!


Those words are sharp to the soul.
OUR ALLERGIC REACTION:

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant and Proof Check and having an allergic reaction Charity
Some react to churches doing things in a cheap and sloppy manner, others to doing things "with excellence." Either way, a bad reaction can be deadly .

WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF REVELATION?


"Last night at our Awana Awards Night, I was preaching the Gospel from Revelation 20:11-15. As I started setting up the context, I asked the children: “Does anyone here know who wrote the book of Revelation?” Several hands shot up, but five-year-old Seth simply shouted out his answer: “That’s easy: John MacArthur!”


Turns out Seth’s mother has been reading through MacArthur’s commentary on Revelation
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From Expository Thoughts: Matt

I was glad read that Seth's mother was reading John MacArthur's commentary on Revelation.

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant