CALLED is now available
 April 28, 2013
Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. 
- Robert H. Schuller Like us on Facebook 
Ministry: Done is better than perfect
Ministry: Church buildings and stewardship
What's it like to have a female pastor?
Reading: "I'm just not being fed" - and why that may be OK
Quotes: "Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in one ahead."
Events & news: Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition


Rebecca Davis by Rebecca Davis, South Atlantic Conference 


  We all, in our ministries, at least most of us, want things done perfectly. However, more often than not, in our quest for "excellence" things don't get done at all. For probably wanted to start a new video blog for your church. But because you didn't have the right Hi-Tec equipment or the perfect script, the blog was never realized. I mean... you tried videoing with your iPhone or iPad camera. You just never did anything with it thinking that the production could be better. Now, while I do not believe one should just put out junk, especially in the name of ministry. I do believe we should not let "perfection" hinder us.


Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, in her book Lean In writes, "Aiming for perfection causes frustration at best and paralysis at worst." She also makes mention of how one of her favorite posters at Facebook declares, "in big red letters", "Done is better than perfect." I have modified the quote just a little for my own life and ministry-"Done over perfect."  The concept separates attainable goals from unattainable goals. It's never going to be perfect! Your hair will probably be out of place! You will probably stumble over a few words! You may have to come back and regroup in the near future. You may learn you can't do it all and that you need a solid team. I want to suggest in this article that if you wait for all of your proverbial ducks to be in row things will never get done!


I want to make clear "Done" does not excuse common sense, thoughtfulness, process, strategy, planning, and certainly not praying. "Done" represents fulfillment, carrying out, finishing, and completing. Unfortunately, these are words that do not describe most of our ministries and ministry endeavors.  When was the last time you carried something out? Was it the idea you had for prayer meeting? Was it the New Beginners class you were going to start? Was it the children's devotional you wanted to write?


The chorus of one of my favorite songs states, "I got a couple dents in my finder, got a couple rips in my jeans, trying to fit the pieces together but perfection is my enemy..." I can resonate with that and I am sure you can too. But let's press forward! Let's allow the words, "Done over perfect" to hang above our ministries!



Discuss with Rebecca on the Best Practices Facebook page.
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Monte Sahlin Church Buildings and the Larger Issues of Christian Mission and Ethics
By Monte Sahlin

Loren Seibold's piece in the last issue of this newsletter about a very small congregation that feels compelled to own a church building, even if it is inaccessible to members and visitors, has stirred up a lot of discussion. Let me address this topic from the viewpoint of an Adventist sociologist and ethicist.


John and Sylvia Ronsvalle are a Christian couple who have been doing research on how Christians use money since 1968. They have found that over more than four decades the average per member giving in Christian denominations has declined from a little over three percent of income to less than two-and-a-half percent of income. Of the total giving about 15 percent goes to outreach (including evangelism, community service and overseas missions) and 85 percent is spent on internal activities of the church. They include data from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in their reports and it is not much different (although I am uncertain as to the "translation" of our method of accounts into the Ronsvalle's calculations.)


What kind of witness does it provide to the world when the followers of Jesus spend so much of the billions of dollars given to churches on taking care of themselves? And so little on loving the outsiders that Jesus died for? Is our institutional body language consistent with the gospel values that we preach?


One of the big items that Christian churches spend money on is real estate; owning, constructing, maintaining, insuring or renting a building. Almost always it is a building that (1) is conspicuously a religious space, thereby assuring that nonbelievers will rarely enter and (2) is closed with nothing happening and no one available almost all the time. What is the point of raising large amounts of money for such use? Is it what Jesus would do? Will new generations of donors be willing to support it?


Decades ago in a large city where I was in charge of urban ministry for the Adventist Church, I went to a community meeting and was introduced as an SDA pastor. During the coffee break, a young man came up to me, introduced himself and told me he wanted to be baptized. He lived across the street from one of our churches and told me that he could not figure out how to make contact. He had gone there several times and it was always locked up tight; no one answered the door bell and no one responded to the business card he left in the door several times with a note asking for a phone call.


It turned out that, number one, he was stopping by on Sundays because somehow the "Seventh-day" part of our name didn't alert him as to when we might be there; and, number two, the church didn't use the front doors because they were not convenient to the parking lot behind the building. If you were a regular attender, you knew the secret to getting into the building. If you were an unchurched person living three buildings away, you had no clue.


When our denomination began very few local churches owned a building. Most met in the homes of members, some in rented space and others in city missions. What if we returned to such a plan? What if a church sold its building, put the money in an investment fund and used the interest (maybe $25,000 to $50,000 a year) as a perpetual source of funding for community service and evangelism? What would be the impact on the church and on the world?


What do you think? Discuss this with Monte on the Best Practices Facebook page.
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Women in Ministry  
By Arin Gencer

After more than 40 years attending Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church, Jesse Spencer had seen pastors come and go and thought he'd heard it all. But he never imagined his next pastor would be a woman.

The elder bristled when he heard the news almost five years ago. One of his first questions: "Where is this in the Bible?"

"It was a learning experience for me," Spencer, now 72, said. "I hadn't studied the Word; I was just going on what people say."

For Spencer and many Adventists, female pastors remain the exception more than the rule. Some balk or go so far as to seek another church. Yet for others, the direct experience of a female pastor's ministry can make all the difference, turning the doubtful or downright opposed into staunch advocates for women in clergy.
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Ever heard this one? "I'm just not being fed in church." Quote: "All of these criticisms imply that the church is supposed to revolve around you. ...Newsflash! The church does not exist for its members; it exists to bring the Gospel to others." Like us on Facebook

The church may have to rely increasingly on its wealthier members
if this Pew Research Center finding is accurate. Quote: "Wealthy households boosted their net worth by 21.2 percent in the aftermath of the recession.... The rest of America lost 4.9 percent of household wealth from 2009 to 2011." Upshot: large churches and institutions may survive better than small churches and schools. Like us on Facebook

The end of an iconic religious figure! George Beverly Shea dead at 104.

Paper checks are have been the payment medium for churches - and they're disappearing. This could be a difficult transition for churches. Quote: "For the most part the church has not responded. In a 2011 study done by Lifeway Research only 14% of those churches surveyed offered online giving." But "42% of churches that do offer online giving take in less than 10% of their incomes through online gifts." Like us on Facebook

The false logic of "if just one person responds to this ministry, it will have been worth it." Quote: "Suppose, for example, the outreach line item is for $20,000 and it is being justified on the 'If Just One Person' logic. But could there have been a far more effective outreach initiative which, for that same $20,000, could have seen 10 people come to Christ? Or 20? Or 100?" Like us on Facebook

I'm so impressed by this ministry of taking church to the people.

When religious beliefs become evil. Quote: "So how do you tell the difference between the healthy claims of absolute truth and the deadly? Scholars say to look at the results: When people start hurting others in the name of their religious truth, they've crossed the line." Like us on Facebook

"Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in one ahead."
 - Bill McGlashen Like us on Facebook

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."
  - A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

"A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us."
  -  Henri J.M. Nouwen Like us on Facebook

"Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything."
  -  Rainer Maria Rilke

"I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end."
  -  Margaret Thatcher

"It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you."
  - Charlotte Brontė, Jane Eyre

"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."

 - Leo Tolstoy

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions"
 - Rainer Maria Rilke
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Just a reminder that articles from Best Practices for Adventist Ministry can be shared in your newsletter, website or Facebook page, with proper attribution to Best Practices and the author of the piece.

Love to see this: SDA's on the front lines in helping victims of the Texas fertilizer plant explosion.

"Meet Hiram Edson," a new video from Adventist Heritage Ministries, tells about the early days of Adventism rising out of the days of the Millerites and The Great Disappointment of 1844.

NAD Newspoints recommends this free guide to using Facebook for your church.

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Best Practices for Adventist Ministry is published by NAD Ministerial. Publisher: Ivan Williams;  Managing Editor:  Dave Gemmell. Copyright 2012 North American Division Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists. v(301) 680-6418