NewsletteriServe Youth Congress
Resource CenterSubscribe NowArchivesSubscribe Now
Best Practices
February 16, 2011


John Bunyan"We also, before the temptation comes, think we can walk upon the sea, but when the winds blow, we feel ourselves begin to sink. Hence such a time is rightly said to be a time to try us, or to find out what we are, and is there no good in this? Is it not this that rightly rectifies our judgment about ourselves, that makes us to know ourselves, that tends to cut off those superfluous sprigs of pride and self-conceitedness, wherewith we are subject to be overcome? Is not such a day, the day that bends us, humbleth us, and that makes us bow before God, for our faults committed in our prosperity? and yet doth it yield no good unto us? We could not live without such turnings of the hand of God upon us. We should be overgrown with flesh, if we had not our seasonable winters. It is said that in some countries trees will grow, but will bear no fruit, because there is no winter there."

- John Bunyan, Seasonable Counsel: or, Advice to Sufferers



Ministry: Is Small Better?
Communications: What's Your Reputation?
Media: Troy McQueen, "Reaching the Next Billion"
Reading for Pastors: Are small groups overhyped?
Quotes: "The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank."
News & ideas: Really, really awkward questions about Jesus
Events: IGNITION youth ministry leader training

Roger HernandezIs Small Better?

by Roger Hernandez, Oregon Conference 

When I started as a pastor, I was under the illusion that the churches under my care really wanted to grow. Then I woke up and started pastoring. I soon wanted to go back to bed! Here are some important principles I picked up along the way. 

  • Talk is cheap: Just because they say they want to grow doesn't been they'll pay the price to. After preaching thousands of sermons, doing dozens of visioning retreats, and participating in many "mission developing" sessions, I have seen that you will get total support when you talk about growing, preach about expanding, and draft documents about increasing membership. The challenge starts when you actually grow, expand and increase. 
  • People hold on to power: One of the most dangerous things you can do as a pastor (I include physical danger) is to take power away from a church member. My father, who was a pastor, came to a small church in a mid-size town. One family had most of the board positions. After nominating committee, they didn't. As my dad was leaving that night, the now ex-youth leader came to his car window, said hello, and with a single blow took take of my dad's front teeth. Father came home with teeth in his hand, but the church was revitalized. I'm just saying, next time you redistribute power, cover your mouth. (Also important, while we are on this point, here are 3 phrases that should raise some red flags if you hear them: "I've got your back." "I'm so glad you're our pastor." "Hello, can you roll down your window please?" 
  • Maybe they like it this way: This one is very simple, but often overlooked. Have you stopped to think that maybe  some of your members actually prefer their church small? They may have been there when you said how much you wanted the church to grow, but they didn't really hear it. That is why it is so important to understand that the clearer the vision, the smaller the chance of friction later. 
But church growth is non-negotiable. The only question is how to get people to really want to add to their number, not just say they want to.

 Discuss this article on our Facebook page Find us on Facebook 

Communications & Media
What's Your Reputation? Part 1:

Dealing with on-the-spot social media

By Rajkumar Dixit

Do you wonder what people are saying about your organization? What kind of reputation do you have? 

The current trend in social media is to "check-in" from wherever you are, offering tips or critiques. For example, if you were at the Olive Garden you would check-in using Facebook's Places application, or the FourSquare application that aggregates your information to Twitter. You can write about the quality of service, give menu suggestions to try, or a particular waiter to avoid. 

That means that the power to shape your reputation is with the user/consumer, which is why more companies are devoting their time on social media sites to see what others are saying about them.

This is very serious business, because social media users hold incredible power to give credit or to discredit a company. Last year, because of Arizona's controversial immigration law, activists organized a boycott  asking companies and individuals to halt all plans to visit the state, potentially causing economic damage. The State Tourism office of Arizona failed miserably to engage with them.

Caught up in the upheaval was Arizona Ice Tea, who became a  target because of their brand name. Unlike Arizona (the state), Arizona Iced Tea company quickly struck back to potential boycotters by explaining they were headquartered in Long Island, NY. 

Churches and church organizations can check their reputation by carefully trolling the Internet to see how they are perceived.

Next Best Practices: What's Your Reputation, part 2: How to Protect Your Brand

Rajkumar Dixit is a pastor, and the author of Branded Faith: Contextualizing the Gospel in a Post-Secular World.  You can read more at


Com and Tech in Ministry

Communication and Technology--Troy McQueen, communications specialist for British Columbia recently presented this seminar in his conference. Part one entitled Reaching the Next Billion includes:

  • All Roads Lead to Rome
  • Interesting internet statistics
  • Why people use the internet
  • 4 popular social networking websites
  • Google & Facebook Ads
  • 6 free online tools for ministry
  • 8 Adventist Smartphone AppsJose Rojas 

 Salty Christians--Jose Rojas leads off on the first NAD Viewpoints devotional. George Johnson, Communication Director for the NAD hopes to feature a member of the NAD every other week in these five minute devotional videos. You can find the links in the weekly NADNewsPoints newsletter. NADNewsPoints replaces Friday Fax.   



Reading for Pastors  
Do small groups work, or is their effectiveness overhyped? Brian Jones thinks its time we euthanize the concept. Quote: "Small groups are things that trick us into believing we're serious about making disciples. The problem is 90 percent of small groups never produce one single disciple. Ever. They help Christians make shallow friendships, for sure. They're great at helping Christians feel a tenuous connection to their local church, and they do a bang-up job of teaching Christians how to act like other Christians in the Evangelical Christian subculture. But when it comes to creating the kind of holistic disciples Jesus envisioned, the jury's decision came back a long time ago-small groups just aren't working."

Fishers of men or keepers of the aquarium? Quote: "The people you're trying to reach aren't interested in the church that has been created by the people you're trying to keep. If they were, they'd be coming. But they're not....If the mark of Christian maturity is a bunch of people who want to create a museum glorifying and preserving their personal preferences and then sanctify it by calling it a church, count me out."

Some taxpayers think you're freeloading on the community. Though it faces an uphill battle, demonstrators are asking the Texas state legislature to tax the wealthiest churches. Quote: "Texas mega-churches... have the ease of marketing that some corporations have, so we feel that they and other successful mega-churches could help with public education too. We've proposed just a 1% tax on profits taken in by just the top 1% of the most profitable mega-churches and televangelists in Texas. They can easily afford it.

One good argument would be that our churches have economic value to the community even if we are tax exempt. If someone did this kind of audit on your church, how much value would they find?

Of the top 25 denominations in the United States, only five report growth last year.

More on the changing face of marriage: there's less stigma to "living in sin." (I'm totally puzzled by the concept of having a wedding several years after you're married and have children.)

Should you be warned before you buy a Christian book that it may challenge your faith? For several years, Lifeway thought you should. But not anymore.

From the "we should have done this, and now they're doing it" department: Rick Warren initiates health reform at Saddleback, and loses 8 pounds.

To my way of thinking, an encouraging sign from the pro-life forces: rather than demonizing the other side, cooperate with them to make abortion less common.


To the Point
The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.
 - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.
 - Thomas Carlyle

The best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can't ask his patients what is the matter - he's got to just know.
  - Will Rogers

Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.
  - Dame Edna Everage

Acting is merely the art of keeping a large group of people from coughing.
  - Sir Ralph Richardson

Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so.
- John Stuart Mill

It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.
 - William Blake

You don't get anything clean without getting something else dirty.
 - Cecil Baxter

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand
 - Kurt Vonnegut

Let's have some new cliches.
 - Samuel Goldwyn

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.
 - Bill Vaughan

I have only one superstition. I touch all the bases when I hit a home run.
 - Babe Ruth


News, Ideas & Reminders  

  • Parents, Educators, Supervisors, & Ministry Leaders Invited to Attend IGNITION
    Discover key principles for working and ministering with today's young adults at IGNITION Summit, April 4-6, 2011, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX.  Dr. Tim Elmore, president of Growing Leaders, will be among the featured presenters.  To register and for more information, follow
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

Ohio Ministry University. March 19-20, 2011. Dr. Leslie Bumgardner "Helping People Get Serious About God." Ray Tetz, "Marketing Your Ministry." Sabbath afternoon workshops on Vacation Bible School, Helping Your Church to Respond to Local Disasters, Reaching High-school Students, and Friendship Evangelism. Call 740-397-4665 x165 for more information.

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:

 Nonprofit Leadership Certification Program - Basic Curriculum: May 15 - 19, 2011 Northeastern Conference in Jamaica, NY. Here is a link for more information:



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.