Faithful Over a Few Things

Check out this article on Baptist Press. It highlights a smaller membership church that is committed to see Kingdom growth. They show their commitment to Kingdom growth by planting churches. This small church, Vista Church has helped plant 17 churches in the last 9 years!

This story emphasizes the importance of the local church being on mission. It doesn’t matter whether your church is large or small. It doesn’t matter what your church’s budget is. Your church should support church planting and missions regardless the size.

My dissertation examined this very topic. I conducted a statistical analysis of churches which sponsored a church plant. When I compared the five years prior to the church plant with the five years after, I found that God blessed the churches in the areas where the church faithful sacrificed. Those churches which gave money (the largest form of sponsorship assistance) saw an increase in giving in every financial category examined with the exception of cooperative program giving. In fact, the giving increased a minimum of 20.24% (Lottie Moon Christmas Offering), to a maximum of 77.36% (Designated Offerings). Tithes and Undesignated Offerings increased significantly (48.4% and 41.07% respectively). Also, churches that sent people to serve in the church plant increased in baptisms, Sunday School, and AM Worship.

The bottom line is this: God rewards the faithful church. Supporting church plants and other mission efforts creates the DNA in the local church to worship God through all expressions of life. For Vista Church, it all started with obedience to the mission by setting aside 1% of it’s offering.

What are your thoughts? How does your church engage in Kingdom growth?

Ambushed by Joy: A Guest Post by Rhonda Harrington Kelley


Do you have a joy-filled friend, someone who explodes into your life with encouragement just when you need it most? While I am a positive, optimistic person naturally, sometimes I need to be lifted up in a world that tears us down. While ministry is a blessing and privilege, it can at times be a challenge and obligation. I am grateful for encouraging friends who pour joy into my life. Jackie Kendall is that kind of joy-filled friend who wants everyone in ministry to be “ambushed by joy” not suffocated by the joy robbers!

Jackie Kendall is a Christian writer and speaker who lives in West Palm Beach, Florida with her husband Ken. They have two grown children and three grandchildren. Through her ministry, Power to Grow, she seeks to honestly share her personal pursuit of Christ while stimulating others to also pursue Him. Jackie has written more than eight books including her best-seller, Lady in Waiting, and her most recent release, Surrender Your Junior God Badge. Her wit and wisdom are contagious!

As a young woman, her book, Lady in Waiting, helped me better understand who I am in Christ and why God’s plan and timing are always best. Jackie is a speaker for the women’s sessions of the second annual Caskey Center for Church Excellence “No Restraints” Conference on April 22-23, 2016 at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. On Friday night, she will speak on the topic of her new book, Surrender Your Junior God Badge, and participants will receive a gift copy of the book as well as the opportunity to meet and greet Jackie personally. On Saturday morning, her breakout session is titled “Joy Robbers.” She will again encourage women involved in ministry to be filled with supernatural joy rather than overwhelmed by the temporal cares of ministry.

Ladies will also attend a second breakout session on Saturday morning with a panel of other ministry wives including Mrs. Don (Karyn) Wilton and Mrs. Drew (Judy) Landry. On Saturday afternoon, a Ladies Lagniappe will include fellowship in the President’s Home with Mrs. Chuck (Rhonda) Kelley and a creative ministry experience. Each participant will receive a copy of The Devotional for Women co-authored by Dr. Rhonda Kelley and Dr. Dorothy Patterson in addition to other gifts and momentos.

Ladies, come to the Caskey Conference on April 22-23, 2016 and be ambushed by joy! Let’s encourage each other in the Lord and in ministry. See you there!

Rhonda Harrington Kelley is President’s Wife and Adjunct Professor of Women’s Ministry at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She is a speaker and teacher as well as co-editor with Dorothy Patterson of The Study Bible for Women and The Devotional for Women published by Broadman Holman.

Don Wilton Video

I hope you are as excited about the upcoming Caskey Conference as I am. We have been praying for you, and working towards delivering a conference that is informative and refreshing.

In preparation, I would like to share a video of Don Wilton from our NOBTS Conversations series, hosted by Dr. Blake Newsom. He presents some great information about preaching in this video. Once you’ve watched the Don Wilton video, be sure to check out the other conversations.

“No Restraints” Conference Giveaways

Are you registered for the “No Restraints” Caskey Conference? I recommend you hurry up and register for the April 22-23 conference. We are planning a great weekend for smaller membership church ministers and their spouses. Just this morning I was looking over a few of the books we plan on giving to every registered attendee. I’m not going to tell you about everything (we need to have a few surprises), but I would like to tell you about a couple of books we’re going to give you.

The first book we have for our conference attendees is Jimmy Draper’s new book, Don’t Quit Before You Finish. Draper wrote this book to help young pastors become better leaders rather than better managers. As he said in his introduction, “We are called to live and minister in such a way that God is pleased and others see consistency, honesty, kindness, and godly character in us throughout all our lives” (x). He accomplished this in four sections dealing with the pastor’s calling, servant leadership, dealing with change, and the Kingdom nature of the pastor’s ministry.

draper book

Draper’s book is comprised of short, easily read chapters filled with practical wisdom. He wrote this book based on 50 years of ministry experience. One gets the impression while reading this book that Draper is sitting in the room mentoring the reader with the practical wisdom of a retired pastor.

This is a value asset to any pastor, but specifically for the smaller membership church pastor and/or bivocational pastor it is invaluable. When an issue arises, one simply has to reach for this book to receive practical advice on how to handle it.

The second book our conference attendees will receive is Paul Tripp’s, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. The purpose of the book is to “confront the issue of the often unhealthy shape of pastoral culture and to put on the table the temptations that are either unique to or intensified by pastoral ministry” (11-12).

tripp book

Tripp brilliantly issued a warning call to pastors to avoid the pitfalls and dangers temptations in pastoral ministry. He accomplished this with a section diagnosing the problems in pastoral ministry, a section warning against forgetting who God is, and a section warning against forgetting who the pastor is. This book confronts the pastor with biblical truth so that the pastor is encouraged to avoid the snares and temptations that could ruin his ministry. It is such a helpful book in promoting ministry excellence, the Caskey Center wants to put it in the hands of our pastors.

As you can see, we have some great resources lined up to give away. Make sure you are registered for the conference today by going to this website.