January 2016
Church Press Newsletter
New You SOULutions

"2016. This year I purpose to..." Here is a 12 point SOULutions list in beautiful color and frameable, 8x10 printable by Ann Voskamp. Use a color printer if you have one (black is okay). Run off extra copies for your friends and members of your church. Just click SOULutions. For ideas for SOULutions, for the new year, and a new you click ideas by Ann.
Building Your Next Adult Class

One of the big challenges of a congregation is building the next adult membership class. 

Whenever your next class begins this year, we'd be happy to supply you with the I Have Good News for You bulletin inserts at no cost to you (cost is normally $3.50 for 50). We'll pay the shipping. Tell us how many bulletins you use, and we'll send the flyers. Email us with your address and ask for #105.
By Faith Alone

"We have a large number of devotional books in our library that we've used over the years for family devotions. We are now using By Faith Alone for the third time. It is best by far. After a devotion we have time for prayer and for family fellowship. Hoping that you also have family devotions in 2016." - Pastor Don

There are 365 devotions. Taken from Luther's best writings and sermons from 1513 through 1546. No fluff; all meat. Hard cover. Order your copy. #352 $14.99. Click devotions or email us. 
5 Practices of a Peaceful Home 
By Brandon Cox

Guitars sound nice because of stress. Great guitarists know how to turn the tuning pegs just enough that all six strings are in harmony with one another and on key. But too much stress, too much tension, can stretch or break a string.

Families are experiencing unprecedented stress today. I'm convinced that home ought to be a little like an island - a safe place in a war zone. And the Bible gives us some simple wisdom about valuable practices for peaceful homes. [read more

Preaching Tip!
By Rick Warren

I love the practicality and simplicity of Jesus' teaching. It was clear, relevant, and applicable. He aimed for application because His goal was to transform people, not merely inform them.

Sermons that exhort people to change without sharing the practical steps of how to change only produce more guilt and frustration. When I go to the doctor, I don't want to just hear what's wrong with me, I want him to give me specific steps to getting better.

What people need today is less "ought-to" sermons and more "how-to" sermons. 

The deepest kind of teaching is that which makes a difference in people's day-to-day lives. As D. L. Moody once said, "The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change lives." The goal is Christ-like character. 

Commitment Truism

The greater commitment you ask for, the greater the response you'll get. The smaller commitment you ask for, the small the response you'll get. Think about the implications of this for your preaching, personal, family, and church life. This deserves some good reflection and then action

Testimonies Count

Periodically have Pastor move among the worshipers with a hand-held mic inviting people to give a brief, several sentence personal testimony on the goodness of God. Remind folks that this should be brief. At the end pastor may lead in a special prayer of thanksgiving. 

For Pastor's Eyes  Only

For the first pastor who emails us and asks for the 2016 Chick-fil-a Calendar (it's titled: "Inspiration from the Cows") and Calendar Card, we'll send it to you free. Present this Card once a month at a Chick-fil-a and you'll receive one free featured item of the month - total of 12.

For Church Secretary's
Eyes Only

For the first secretary (or office administrator) 
emails us and asks for the 2016 Chick-fil-a Calendar (it's titled: "Inspiration from the Cows") and Calendar Card, we'll send it to you free. Present this Card once a month at a Chick-fil-a and you'll receive one free featured item of the month - total of 12.

Church Website

Hephatha Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Anaheim, CA, has an exceptional website. Rev. Arthur Andrews is the Pastor.

Some of the well done subjects: Pastor's Weekly Letter, Visitor Follow Up and First-Time Survey, What We Believe, Ministries, Member Resources, and many more.

Hope you spend some time here. Click 
Hephatha to start your study. You'll get ideas for ministries for your church and your website. Try to actually implement some of the ideas you like. Have a pad handy to make notes.
Want something  

for next December that will excite your members and encourage them to bring friends to your church? Invite the choir or singing group of a neighboring church to join your's to present an evening of Christmas music. 

One church will host the combined choirs (and instruments) on a Saturday evening and the other church on a Sunday evening followed by refreshments. Initial planning should begin now. Run it past your church officers and Pastor for their okay.

Before You Say "I Do" 

A 13 lesson marriage preparation manual for couples, and then, in most cases, Pastor may discuss some points with them. Can also be used by Pastor or counselors (lay couple) in a class setting. To view chapter titles or to order click "I Do." 91 pages, 8.5" x 11" #307 $9.99.

Cover to Cover 

Is it time to read your Bible through from cover to cover? Set aside ten minutes each morning before reading the paper or going to work. Make it a promise. Here is a Bible reading schedule for 2016. Print it off. Make additional copies to place in your worship bulletins for next Sunday. 

Welcome! Please come in. STILL is written by Elvis Costello. This song gives you strength to face the world and the problems of today and tomorrow, in bad times and good. One line drives home this point: "I will be still and know You are God." The melody is beautiful. The Scriptures that are used are powerful. Hope you take time to be still today. Turn everything else off as you watch and listen. Go full screen.

Learning to Be More Content 
(our newest - a 6 lesson Bible study)
By Pastor Don Ginkel

Are you a contented person? Are you satisfied with your life? Be honest now. We live in what may be the most prosperous and comfortable country in the world - more possessions, freedoms, and opportunities than perhaps anywhere. Yet, we're among the most discontented people in the world. Where did it all begin? Look carefully at the next two paragraphs.
Lucifer, the brightest star in heaven, was not content. He wanted to sit on the Throne. A third of the angels joined in the rebellion. They were all removed from heaven. They still are not content. Eve, without sin in the Garden, was not content. She wanted to be like God. And ever since the human race has not been content. It robs you of the joy and peace that you want, and it does so on a daily basis.
But there is hope. Philippians 4:11b, "I have learned (as a lesson and with some difficulty) to be content (to be satisfied or full) whatever the circumstances." Despite his high calling in Judaism and his impressive education, Paul confesses that he had to learn contentment and so do we. This study will help you go in that direction.


1. Concerning My Existence
2. Concerning My Spirituality
3. Concerning My Daily Living
4. Concerning My Trials
5. Concerning My Aging
6. Concerning My Life in Heaven

Student Guide #165 $4.50. Leader's Guide #166 $4.50. To order go to our websiteemail us, or call 303-980-8863. Click view to see Lesson 1.

Why I Would Never Force My Kids to Go to Church

By Ruth Meyer

My parents forced me to eat three times a day growing up. No Joke. Three times. Every. Single. Day. And it wasn't always stuff I liked, either. Matter of fact, I complained a lot about what my mom made. "Ewww, gross! Sauteed zucchini?" Seriously? So as I approached adulthood I made an important decision. Since my parents forced me to eat while I was growing up, I decided I was done with meals. Oh, here and there I'll eat out of obligation. I mean, family traditions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, yeah, I'm there. But daily eating? No way. I'm done.


Set in any other context, excuses people make for not going to church sound completely ridiculous. But set in the context of Christianity, people say these things in all seriousness while others nod sagely in somber agreement.


My son told me a few weeks into school that he didn't like the teacher. He wasn't getting excited enough about learning, and he didn't really feel connected to other kids in his class, so I told him he never had to go back to school again. We've never forced our daughter to stay off the street when playing. I don't want to restrict her imagination. We allow her the freedom to make her own choices in life.


Okay, Ruth. Come on. That one was just ridiculous. No loving parent would ever say that. That's a safety issue - a matter of life and death. Exactly. And that's just my point. Church isn't a place you go to get pumped up about life. It isn't entertainment like a movie or concert. It is literally a life and death matter. Eternal life. [read more] (a good article for your church newsletter)


Before Starting Your New Membership Class 

Send an encouraging letter to all your members two weeks before it starts. We've developed a model letter for your church. Use part or all of it. Just click Promotional Letter To Members. We also have a model Promotional Letter To Prospects. Run off a hard copy of each. Mail this a week before the new class. This effort requires a small amount of money and effort, but pays off in larger new membership classes. Plan now to use both letters.  With your people lift these efforts up to the Lord in prayer at worship on the three Sundays before the class begins.

5 Prideful Thoughts Pastors and All Christians Need to Take Captive 
By Tom Jones

"Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). Pride, that sneakiest of sins that slowly shades a man's heart like the forming of clouds of a midwest thunderstorm, forming so slightly it goes unnoticed by the pastor and his staff, until one day they look to see they're in a storm of their own making.

Proud waters are dangerous waters to swim in; it's the type of slow boil that cooks the proverbial frog, and commands our fullest attention to fight. As pastors and ministry leaders (and all Christians) we must watch ourselves and one another closely, lest Proverbs 16:18 be about us. I can think of five - though I'm certain there's more - thoughts pastors and ministry leaders need to take captive to obey Christ. [read more]

The Epidemic of Bible Illiteracy in Our Churches 
By Ed Stetzer, Christianity Today

When was the last time you read a book? For almost 1 in 4 of us, it was more than a year ago. That's three times the number who didn't read a book in 1978. In America, we have a literacy problem. But more concerning to me, we have a biblical literacy problem. Americans, including churchgoers, aren't reading much of any book, including the Good Book. Christians claim to believe the Bible is God's Word. We claim it's God's divinely inspired, errant message to us. Yet despite this, we aren't reading it. 

So how do we get people to pull the Bible off their bookshelves and put it into their lives? The research we've done indicates that several factors lead to a higher likelihood of someone engaging the Bible. In this case we mean they will allow God, through His Word, to lead and change their life. Here are eight predictors of biblical engagement: 

1. Confessing sins and wrongdoing to God and asking for forgiveness.
2. Following Jesus Christ for years.
3. Being willing to obey God, no matter the cost.
4. Praying for the spiritual status of unbelievers.
5. Reading a book about increasing spiritual growth.
6. Being discipled or mentored one-on-one by a more spiritually mature 
7. Memorizing Bible verses.
8. Attending a small group focused on Bible study.

Notice the last factor: Small groups are key to combating and changing the epidemic of biblical illiteracy. Our research shows that as Christians increase their participation in small groups, their Bible engagement scores go up. [read more]

Stack of Stuff

Consider sending
this Newsletter to a friend who would be blessed by the opening video STILL. Just lick Forward Email at the bottom.

A practical idea
We have archived our Newsletters for some time. Ask a spiritually minded member of your flock to take the time to scan all the Newsletters with an eye for articles that would be pertinent to you as Pastor and to the congregation as relating to ministry. Ask the person to make a hard copy of each article they think would be important to you. Eureka! You have a ton of ideas, suggestions, and encouragement. Go ahead and pick someone to do this. Just click Archive. Did you "go ahead"? Great!

Pretty important
Teach the people of your church not to INVITE people to church but to BRING them.

Two big quotes by Ann Voskamp
1. "The size of your ministry isn't proof of the success of your ministry."
2. "Purposing to change happens when prayer meets perseverance."

The benediction spoken by all from Jude 24-25
"To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy - to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen!"

Think of the value
Every person, body, soul, and breath, is made by God. Every person is very, very valuable. Think about it. Remember it.

Make this resolution for 2016
Each week I will invest in others and will endeavor to successfully invite and bring them to our worship services.

GO TO WORK! Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do which must be done whether you like it or not. Work faithfully and with faith. This will lead to strength of will, contentment, and a hundred other virtues which the idle will never know.

Idea from Dr. Kent Hunter, the Church Doctor
Another way to grow your church. Add a second staff person. Can't afford one? Add a part-time person. This can be an on-fire volunteer who could work a few hours (at first) and get paid. This is the best way to cultivate home-grown, full-time staff for the future

Six Reasons Why Women May Be Leaving Your Church
By Thom Rainer

I have the opportunity to be in many churches. In that regard, I am an observer of people. When I enter a worship service, I do a quick scan of those attending. And almost every time I look to the congregation, I notice one clear reality: the majority in attendance are women.

It is for that reason that volumes have been written the past couple of decades about getting more men to attend church. In this brief article, however, I want to look from a different perspective. I want to understand the motivations for women who leave the church. My process was simple; I quickly reviewed thousands of comments on my blog. Many times I read a comment where a woman told me she had given up on a church. Here are the six most common themes: [read more]
A Pastor Shares A Beautiful Letter

The Pastor wishes to remain anonymous. He shares this letter he received from Craig, the son of William, who was a member of his congregation years ago. We hope it will encourage and inspire you.

Hi Pastor. I don't know if you remember me. My name is Craig, my father was Willliam. We attended your church many years ago. My dad became a Christian back then and spoke often of the time he spent in evangelism with you. He used to talk about you quite a bit and how much you taught him, and how you introduced he and mom to each other, for which I am very grateful. I want you to know that Dad passed away recently.

Dad led a lot of people to Christ over the years, teaching classes in church, at home, and the Salvation Army as of late. There's nothing he loved more than Jesus and spreading the Gospel. It's still very surreal and hard to believe. It's amazing to think that he's in Heaven today. I know it's been a long time since you've seen Dad, but I thought you would want to know. Hoping all is well with you. - Craig
How to Recognize Spiritually Receptive People In Your Community
By Rick Warren

If you want your ministry to maximize its evangelism effectiveness, you need to focus your energy on the right soil. That's the soul that will produce a hundred-fold harvest (Matt. 13:2-23). Take a cue from those who work with actual dirt. No farmer in his right mind would waste seed, a precious commodity, on infertile ground that won't produce a crop. In the same way, I believe careless, unplanned broadcasting of the Gospel is poor stewardship. The message of Christ is too important to waste time, money, and energy on non-productive methods and soil. We need to be strategic in reaching the world. We should focus our efforts where they will make the greatest difference.

So who are the most receptive people? I believe there are two broad categories: people in transition and people under tension. That's because God uses both change and pain to get people's attention. [read more] 

Ignorance Is Not Bliss
By David Kinnaman, The Barna Group

Whether you're willing to admit it or not, the chances are that many people in your church may have considerable holes in their understanding of basic Christianity. This is confirmed not only through our national research but also in those studies done when a church asks us to come in and peel back the layers of what people in their congregation believe. The leaders are often astounded to learn that their assumptions were wrong. Without a firm grasp of the basic contours of the God they serve or the destroyer they oppose, Christ followers will hardly resemble the transformation agents they ought to be.

Note: At the beginning of a new year, many pastors will take their people through the best selling study, I Have Good News for You. 10 lessons. Student Guide $6.95, Spiral $7.95. Leader's Guide $16.95. To order go to our website or email us or call 303-980-8863.

Promote Your Next Adult Membership Class
A model for bulletins and newsletters

Our next _____________ Class begins January 17th at 6:00 p.m. in the ______________ Room. We will study a course which half a million people have taken: I Have Good News for You. It's a ten week Bible study on the important teachings of the New Testament. 

People from many church backgrounds and some with no church background will be in attendance; this promotes good discussion and excellent questions. Students are made to feel comfortable knowing they can ask questions without embarrassment. The sessions are informal. CDs and DVDs are available when a student must miss a lesson.

This course helps people know what our church and pastor believe and teach. Sometimes people join a church without this knowledge. At the close of the class those who wish may become members of our congregation. That's a nice approach. 

Invite a friend to attend just the first lesson with you or to attend all ten of them. Why not give it a try? We are sure that you will discover that this Bible study is unlike any you've ever attended. The impact it will have on your life will be surprising and pleasant.

Love for God and zeal for His Kingdom

Lord, I repent and ask Your forgiveness. Have mercy on me and forgive me for Jesus' sake and baptize me afresh with the Holy Spirit and fire - a hot passion for God and a consuming zeal for what is on His heart - the seeking and saving of the lost."  -  Dr. Ted Jungkuntz (LCMS)

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