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Best Practices
December 31, 2010
It's been a bleak midwinter here in Ohio - more snow and gray days than I remember in a long time. Still, much to be grateful for, not least tLoren 7he friends I've made this year through Best Practices for Adventist Ministry. I hope this e-newsletter has been a blessing to you, and helped to equip you for excellent ministry.

As we begin a new year of Best Practices, let me renew my request your best ideas, thoughts, and insights about ministry. You've probably noticed that the articles here are short, and generally focus on one topic. I believe there are lots of fantastic ideas for good ministry out there, and I'd love to hear from you!

Blessings for a new year
Loren Seibold, Editor, Best Practices for Adventist Ministry

Ministry: Tim Garrison Learns to Let Others Pastor the Pastor
Protecting your digital i.d.
Reading for Pastors: Jim Coffin speaks from the heart, about strategic plans, church organization, and ministry
Quotes: "The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul."
News & ideas: FACT newsletter
Events: NAD Adventist Ministries Convention cancelled!

tim garrisonLetting Others Pastor the Pastor

By Tim Garrison, Southern California Conference

A warm fragrant drop of oil was placed on my forehead.  It was a strange feeling.  I had anointed many people in 35 years of ministry, but had never been anointed.  The members of Grace Community, a new church plant in Santa Barbara; all gathered around and embraced me and my wife as a lay pastor placed the drop of oil and offered a heartfelt prayer.

Just a few days' earlier tests had confirmed that I had pancreatic cancer.  I pastor two new church startups north of Los Angeles in Moorpark and Santa Barbara.  For years I provided pastoral care for others.  I told others of their need to positive and to find strength in their relationship with God.  Now, with a life-threatening disease, I had to learn to let go and let others minister to the minister.

The first Sabbath at Moorpark, after the diagnoses, there was a dramatic change in the way people related to me.   Moorpark is a hugging church.  The hugs took on a new and more profound meaning as a loving church family found in an embrace what words could not express.  It was as if there was a reciprocal need to give.  At first I found it hard.  It was counter intuitive.  I was the one that was supposed to be strong for them.  Now I must learn to find strength from them.

The turning point came when a wonderful sweet lady took me in her arms and began to sob uncontrollably.  Her unrestrained feelings opened up my own pent-up emotions and together we had an amazing God inspired cathartic cry.

Weeks before the cancer was discovered I had started a message series titled:  "You O Lord Are My Rock and My Fortress."  When I stepped to the front and began to speak the real life connection made the words resonate in a way that was startling as much to me as to those listening.  It was intimidating to feel my own words imploding in on me.

Was God really my "Rock and My Fortress?"  Could I step down from my need to appear strong and in control and let God use others to serve me?

My friend Bill helped me learn the lesson of receiving.  He was one of the first to call.  Eighteen months ago he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.  Bill was a deacon when I was pastor of the Camarillo, California church from 1992-2001.   Early on Sabbath mornings before anyone else had arrived for church we would sit in the foyer and talk.  We developed a great friendship and that early connection would be used by God to bring just the right person into my life when I needed it.  Bill and I have formed a two person support group!  The deacon is providing pastoral care for the pastor.

I have a long and hard road ahead.  But I have learned that while God is not the author or creator of cancer He does bring the right people at the right time to provide encouragement and strength as long as we are willing to let others serve us.

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Church Communications
Raj Dixit

Protecting your Digital i.d.

by Rajkumar Dixit

Do you guard your social security number? You have probably heard of a person's nightmare experience of identity theft. It can be a terrifying experiencing. 


Do you use the same diligence in protecting your digital identity? Have you ever googled your name? You should. What comes up? What are people writing about you, and who is being associated with your identity? 


Seekers are not only googling your church, they also want to learn everything about you, the pastor. What comes up when you google your name? According to some communication experts, you don't exist if you don't appear on the World Wide Web. In other words, you lack relevance.


Here are some steps you should consider when cultivating and protecting your digital identity. 


Own your personal name domain.  For example, I own I also own my nick name, "kumardixit" so people can find me easier.  Even if you don't want plan on creating a website or blog, it is worth spending the ten dollars to own your online identity. The last thing you want is for someone else to create an account in your name. 

Create social media accounts with your name.  While you cannot keep track of all of the social media companies out there, be sure you are connected with the big three, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Create an account with these social sites, and begin using them.You will find a new audience of seekers through this median. 


Remember the value in tagging. Every time you add a post to your blog or YouTube page, make sure you use the tag option. Think of a minimum of fifteen words or phrases that describe that post or video and type them into the tag. Also, always, tag your name to help Google and other search engines find you easier. 


Rajkumar Dixit is a church communication consultant.  He is the author of Branded Faith: Contextualizing the Gospel in a Post-Christian Era.  You can read more at

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Reading for Pastors

A thoughtful piece, in my opinion, by one of our best pastors, James Coffin. It is, as he says, straight from his heart, though it won't please everyone - as evident from the comments.

A church that isn't comfortable fitting Jesus into the American Dream: Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. Quote: "First we gave away our entire surplus fund - $500,000 - through partnerships with churches in India, where 41 percent of the world's poor live. Then we trimmed another $1.5 million from our budget and used the savings to build wells, improve education, provide medical care and share the gospel in impoverished places around the world."

The so-called "new atheism" is nothing if not arrogant, says this piece in the NY Daily News. Quote: "The new atheists do not speak to the millions of people whose form of religion is far from the embodied certainties of contemporary literalism. Indeed, it is a settled assumption of this kind of atheism that there are no intelligent religious believers."

This, it seems to me, has analogies for how we present our message. Kumi Naidoo argues that there are good reasons to address climate change, even for skeptics of the global warming model. Note: How often do we stick to one reason, when there may be others that are more compelling? Could we, perhaps, nuance our evangelistic message to give even skeptics good reasons to take faith seriously?

Interesting piece by David Roozen about congregational conflict. Roozen uses a political framework to understand modern attitudes toward faith, and why congregational conflict seems to have increased. Note the table in Figure 1.

Francis Chan got "Christian famous", and then walked away. Why? Quote: "'I think there has been too much emphasis on me. I want to be used by God, but I think we have this desire to make heroes out of people rather than following God and the Holy Spirit.' He quotes the apostle Paul, who told his followers 'I didn't die for you.'"

Four types of feedback that matter, according to Mac Lake: encouragement, redirection, stretch & reprimand.

What's the most essential leadership quality valued by chief executives? You might be surprised. Should it also be valued in the church? Is it?

To the Point
The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.
- G.K. Chesterton

New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.

 - James Agate

For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.
 - T.S. Eliot, from "Little Gidding II"

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.

 -  Bill Vaughn

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
 -  Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Procrastination isn't the problem, it's the solution. So procrastinate now, don't put it off.
  - Ellen DeGeneres

Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.
  - Aldous Huxley

Each new day is a blank page in the diary of your life. The secret of success is in turning that diary into the best story you possibly can.
  - Douglas Pagels

Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average. Which means you've met your New Year's resolution.
  - Jay Leno

There's a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons - That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes. - Emily Dickenson
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

 - Albert Camus

Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.

- Victor Hugo

Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones is Dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.
  - G. K. Chesterton
News, Ideas & Reminders
  • I'm not absolutely sure, but what used to be called FridayFax now appears to be NAD NewsPoints. You can sign up here. (Still not sure where this is on line, should you prefer to look at it there rather than get it in your in-box.)
Got a tool, resource, site, article, idea or seminar that you like a lot? Share it with us at
Upcoming NAD Events

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

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:

Andrews University Music & Worship Conference. Mar 24, 2011 - Mar 26, 2011, Andrews University, 100 US 31 Highway, Berrien Springs, MI 49104. The eighth annual Andrews University Music and Worship Conference. If you're interested in exploring worship and worship music in ways that are theologically profound, practical, and inspiring, you will definitely want to join us. Sponsored by the NAD Church Resource Center and Andrews University's Department of Music, Department of Christian Ministry and Center for Youth Evangelism. Phone: 800-968-8428 x4 or 269-471-8352. For more information, email:

United Youth Congress 2011 - iServe. Apr 6, 2011 - Apr 9, 2011, Orange County Convention Center, 9860 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819. Youth, young adults, youth leaders and parents/chaperones are invited to attend. We will have inspiring worship, training seminars, service projects in the community, an evening at Universal Studios, Saturday night concert, recreation, and much more! This package includes hotel and meals. For those who do not want hotel and meals, click here. For Sabbath Only, click here. Phone: 800-732-7587. For more information, email:

From Walt Williams, Andrews University InMinistry Center Director, the list of Spring 2011 InMinistry intensive classes for each union - April 3-14

STANDOUT. Apr 15, 2011 - Apr 17, 2011, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI. STANDOUT is a spiritual retreat for high school students, hosted on the campus of Andrews University. Throughout two days of spiritual exercises and group activities, we'll challenge you to tap into the amazing power of God so that you will STANDOUT and set your faith in motion! Phone: 269-471-6372. 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.