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Best Practices
November 10, 2010

The Secret to Communicating Your Message

"There's a simple rule: You say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and then again and again and again and again, and about the time that you're absolutely sick of saying it is about the time that your target audience has heard it for the first time."

 - Frank Lunz

Pitfalls of a Church Plant
Media: Dan Jackson outline his vision for the NAD
Reading for Pastors: The CSM on Adventist Education
Quotes: Historical figures on baptism
News & ideas: Day of prayer and reformation for Net 2011, from Ron Clouzet
Events: November 27, Welcome Home Sabbath
Roger HernandezPitfalls of a church plant:
Five People to Watch Out For
by Roger Hernandez, Oregon Conference

Planting a church can be one of the best experiences a pastor can have. I've planted six. Every church plant is different but, there are some similarities. One of the most disturbing is how a new church attracts dysfunctional people. The day you open your doors, they show up. Here are five types of people to watch out for:
  • Predatory: Sexual or spiritual, they have similar objectives: gratify self and inflict major pain. Be less concerned about hurting them by screening them out than hurting others by ignoring them. Discernment is a spiritual gift.  Ask for it daily. 
  • Large and in charge: They say they want to "be a part of the team".  What they are really saying is "I want to be the boss," and think a new church gives them the chance.
  • Against: They come because they are against their old church.  They make comments like "My old church was so _________. I'm so glad this church is not like that!" When they realize you're not perfect, and neither is the church, they will leave.
  • Needy: These people could monopolize all of your time and energy. The people in their old church are probably jumping for joy that they left! The only jumping you will doing is off of an imaginary bridge when you respond for the fifth time in three hours to an "urgent" text message about "why Sister Janet doesn't like me."
  • Transient: They're here just to check it out. They'll go back to the mother church when they realize that here they are actually expected to work. It takes 110% commitment to plant a church and they just don't have it.
Four recommendations:
  • Have a clear vision.  Unclear vision leads to wasted time resolving side issues that should have been settled in the beginning.
  • Have a specific, written, membership covenant and have the people that will join the church read, agree, and sign it. Mosaic SDA Church in Hillsboro, Oregon has one of the best that I have seen. (You can see it here.) It will save you a lot of grief later, when conflict arises.
  • Provide continual reminders of the vision. Vision leaks. Just because you presented it, don't assume people heard it, understood it, or remember it.  
  • Have patience. You don't just want more people, you want the right people.
Next time: 5 to attract.

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Featured Media
Dan Jackson Dan Jackson, newly elected president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists gave the Sabbath sermon at the 2010 NAD year end meetings.  Listen to his vision for the future entitled "the Magnificent God" and find out how the NAD may be able to move that direction in this audio recording of the message. 

Ivan Williams
On November 11 Ivan Williams accepted the invitation to be the Ministerial Secretary for the North American Division. Previously he served as Ministerial Secretary for Northern California Conference and chaplain for the state senate and national guard. He has a passion for embedding churches in the local community; for balance in family, and for chaplaincy. Watch a short video as Ivan shares his views on striking a balance between family and church.

Many pastors in the NAD have already received Pastor's special edition DVD 18 entitled iFollow. There are 118 discipleship lessons on this DVD serving as milestones for just about anyone on their journey following after God. Watch a short tutorial to help you navigate through this data intensive DVD. Monte Sahlin

Millennials are the largest demographic group in the North American Division. However they are extremely underrepresented in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. How can we reach this vitally important generation? Monte Sahlin shares some demographic information on this generation as well as some hints on how we may wish to construct experiments in ways that may show promise in this teaching presentation
Reading for Pastors

The Christian Science Monitor publishes a piece on SDA education and CognitiveGenesis. (One wonders: with this kind of PR, why aren't our own people more excited about our schools?)

Are you a leader, or a manager?
That will make all the difference in how your church runs. Quote: "What's the difference between a competent manager and a truly great leader? It's the ability to inspire employees during difficult times."

Seth Godin: If you're going to succeed, you're going to have to be unreasonable!
Quote: "The market now expects and demands an unreasonable effort and investment on your part. In fact, unreasonable is the new reasonable."

Is modesty an old-fashioned notion? Not according to Bill Alcorn.

An interesting exegesis of Proverbs 22:6 may have implications for church leadership, too.

Video. You need not agree with Oral Roberts' gay grandson's conclusions to be touched by what he says about being gay in a conservative church - especially when seen in the light of Roberts' own son's suicide. (Coincidentally, Mormons have recently softened their language, though not their stance, on homosexuality.)

How important are the new social media to church success? According to a few churches, vital. Quote: "If people are going to consider your church, they're going to consider it first online,"

Jews,like us, face difficult questions of Sabbath keeping - in this case opening a Jewish museum on Sabbath so people can learn about that faith.

John Dominic Crossan's new book on the Lord's Prayer sees justice as the key concept. Quote: This is "a prayer from the heart of Judaism on the lips of Christianity for the conscience of the world."
To the Point

Thanks to Tom Hughes for passing along this collection of quotes on the manner of baptism from important figures in church history:


Cyril of Jerusalem (mid-fourth century)

"You are about to descend into the baptistry in order to be plunged in water. . . . For he who is plunged in water is surrounded on all sides by water." (Catechism, 3, 17)


"After you professed your belief, three times did we submerge . . . your heads in the sacred fountain." ( Homilies, 4. Quoted in Hinton, A History of Baptism)

The Council of Celchyth (Canterbury, England, A.D. 816)

"Let ministers take notice that when they administer the holy baptism, that they do not pour the holy water upon the heads of the infants, but that they be always immersed in the font; as the Son of God has in His own person given an example to every believer, when He was thrice immersed into the waters of the Jordan. In this manner it ought to be observed." ( Canon 6)

Thomas Aquinas

"Baptism may be given not only by immersion, but also by affusion of water, or sprinkling with it. But it is the safer way to baptize by immersion, because that is the most common custom." ( Summa Theologiae, Part 3, Quaest. 66, Art.7)

William Tyndale

"The washing [of baptism] preacheth unto us that we are cleansed with Christ's bloodshedding, which was an offering and a satisfaction for the sin of all that repent and believe, consenting and submitting themselves unto the will of God. The plunging into the water signifieth that we die, and are buried with Christ, as concerning the old life of sin which is Adam. And the pulling out again, signifieth that we rise again with Christ in a new life full of the Holy Ghost, which shall teach us and guide us and work the will of God in us, as thou seest Rom.VI." ( Obedience of a Christian Man, 1571 edition, p. 143.)

Martin Luther

"On this account (as a symbol of death and resurrection), I could wish that such as are to be baptized should be completely immersed into the water, according to the meaning of the word, and to the significance of the ordinance, not because I think it necessary, but because it would be beautiful to have a full and perfect sign of so perfect a thing; as also, without doubt, it was instituted by Christ." (Luther's Works, 1551 edition, Vol. 2, p.76)

"If you consider what baptism signifies, you will see that the same thing [immersion] is required. For this signifies, that the old man, and our sinful nature, which consists of flesh and blood, is all submerged by divine grace, as we shall more fully show. The mode of baptizing ought, therefore, to correspond to the signification of baptism, so as to set forth a sure and full sign of it." (De Sacram. Bapt. Quoted by Conant, The Meaning & Use of Baptizein)

"First, the name baptism is Greek; in Latin it can be rendered immersion, when we immerse any thing into water, that it may be all covered with water. And although that custom has now grown out of use with most persons (nor do they wholly submerge children, but only pour on a little water), yet they ought to be entirely immersed, and immediately drawn out. For this the etymology of the name seems to demand." (On the Sacrament of Baptism)

Then also without doubt, in German tongues, the little word tauf [baptism] comes from the word tief [deep], because what one baptizes he sinks deep into the water." (Luther's Works, Vol. 21, p. 229)

Ulrich Zwingli

"'Into his death.' When ye were immersed into the water of baptism, ye were ingrafted into the death of Christ; that it, the immersion of your body into water was a sign, that ye ought to be ingrafted into Christ and his death, that as Christ died and was buried, ye also may be dead to the flesh and the old man, that is, to yourselves." ( Annotations on Romans 6:3).

John Calvin

". . . it is evident that the term baptize means to immerse, and that this was the form used by the primitive church." ( Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book IV, Chapter XV, Paragraph 19).

John Wesley

"I believe (myself) it is a duty to observe, so far as I can . . . to baptize by immersion." (Moore, Life of Wesley, Vol. 1, p. 425)

"Mary Welsh, aged eleven days, was baptized according to the custom of the first church and the rule of the Church of England, by immersion." ( The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, Vol. 1, pp.24). On May 5 he refused to baptize a child whose parents would not admit immersion. (p.29)

Philip Schaff (famous Presbyterian Church Historian)

"Immersion, and not sprinkling, was unquestionably the original, normal form of baptism. Immersion shows the very meaning of the Greek word baptize." ( Schaff's History of the Apostolic Church, p.568)

John Wall (Episcopalian author)

"Immersion was in all probability the way in which our blessed Savior was baptized, and certainly the most used way of baptism." ( History of Infant Baptism, Vol. 1, p.571)

Dean Stanley (Anglican)

"For the first thirteen centuries the almost universal practice of baptism was that of immersion. They were plunged, or immersed in water." ( Christian Institute, p.17)

George Campbell (President of Marischal College, Aberdeen)

"The word baptizein, both in sacred authors and in classical, signifies 'to dip,' 'to plunge,' 'to immerse,' and was rendered by Tertullian, the oldest of the Latin Fathers, tingere, the term used for dyeing cloth, which was by immersion." ( Translation of the Gospels, Matthew 3:11)

J. A. Turretin (Professor of Theology at Geneva)

"And indeed baptism was performed, in that age and in those countries, by immersion of the whole body into water." ( On Romans 6:3-4. Quoted by Conant, The Meaning and Use of Baptizein)

Fritzche (Lutheran)

"But that, in accordance with the nature of the word baptizesthai, baptism was then performed not by sprinkling upon but by submerging, is proved especially by Romans 6:4." ( Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, p.120)

Wolfred Cote

"In the primitive Church, and down to the fourteenth century, the ordinary mode of baptism was by immersion of the whole body in water. The original term baptize conveys the meaning of immersion, and no other. On this point we have most valuable testimony from the Fathers of the Church, and other ecclesiastical writers. They invariably designate baptism as the act of dipping, bathing, or washing."

( The Archaeology of Baptism, p. 16).

News, Ideas & Reminders

  • A resource request for training elders, from Richard Mills: "The nominating committee in our church is suggesting we start an "Elders In Training" program. Is there any church out there that does this and how do they go about it?"
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Upcoming NAD Events

Do you have an event you'd like to invite NAD pastors to? Send details to

Welcome Home Sabbath. Nov 27, 2010, Division Wide. Let's get serious from the start. Programs don't win people back to church, people do! That's why a contact from someone in your local church is vital to getting inactive members engaged in church life again. Welcome Home is a user-friendly guide for personalizing invitations to Homecoming Sabbaths to reach and reconnect with former and missing church members. Phone: 800-328-0525. For more information, email:

GYC 2010. Dec 29, 2010 - Jan 2, 2011, Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. "No Turning Back" is the theme for the 9th annual GYC conference - four days packed with spirit-filled messages, inspiring Bible study, fervent prayer, solemn worship and awesome fellowship. The theme is taken from Luke 9:61-62, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." Phone: 734-418-2857. For more information, email:

Spiritual Renaissance Retreat. Dec 30, 2010 - Jan 2, 2011, Monterey Hyatt Regency, . Begin the new year refreshed, challenged and inspired. Designed for singles, couples and families. Speakers include: Norman and Heather Knight, Lonnie Melashenko, Robert Melashenko, Roy Ice, Terry Newmyer, David Newman, Helen Pearson and Michael Pearson. Programming for children at the same time as seminars. Phone: 707-965-7106. For more information, email:

NAD Adventist Ministries Convention. Jan 9, 2011 - Jan 12, 2011, This event has been postponed until 2012. For more information, email:
Best Practices is a Vervent publication of NAD CHURCH RESOURCE CENTER. Editor: Loren Seibold, Ohio Conference. E-mail: Best Practices. You are free to republish pieces from Best Practices in your own newsletter or blog, with attribution to the Best Practices newsletter and the author of the piece.