Monday, May 2, 2016

Sharing with bivocational ministers

This past Saturday I was privileged to share with Church of the Nazarene bivocational and small church pastors from the Michigan District. That morning I shared a workshop on "The Healthy Small Church," and after lunch I shared on "Transforming the Small Church From Maintenance-Minded to Missional." We had a great day with a lot of questions and discussion among those attending.

This event was the idea of District Superintendent John Seaman. John and I first met when I was a speaker at PALCON in 2010. He has a deep appreciation for bivocational ministers and wanted to offer them some training opportunities that would address some of their particular challenges. This fall I will return to lead two more workshops.

It is exciting to me that more and more judicatory leaders are seeking ways to offer training to their bivocational and small church pastors. These leaders recognize the growing numbers of such ministers and their importance to their churches. They also realize that these pastors face unique challenges and need training to help them address those challenges.

This recent conference was my third one for this year, and I have seven more currently scheduled for 2016. Seven different denominational groups have invited me to speak to their bivocational and small church leaders this year. There has been a very good turnout at the three previous events, and I look forward to the remaining ones on the schedule. It is exciting to meet these pastors and lay leaders, hear their concerns, and try to answer their questions. These are sharp folks who are doing a great work for the Kingdom of God.

There is still time for your church or denomination to get on my schedule this year, and it's not too early to be thinking about 2017. I was surprised at how quickly these 10 events were booked this year.

Before leaving Michigan I was invited to preach at Elmdale Church of the Nazarene on Sunday morning. We had a great service with some wonderful people. Their pastor, Nate Gray, has been at the church for six years and reminded the congregation when he introduced me of how my book The Healthy Small Church: Diagnosis and Treatment for the Big Issues had been instrumental in turning their church around after he came. It's always nice to know that something you've done has had a positive impact on others. I was blessed by being with this growing congregation and getting to know this young pastor and his family.

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