What does your church sign say about you?
by Ryan Jespersen on February 3, 2017 in faith
One of the best and worst tools a church has is a sign that can regularly be changed. The reason I say the best and the worst is because of the way that churches choose to use the sign. Ed Stetzer is famous for the various pictures he shares on a blog of church signs and the different sayings that people put on them. When doing a message for the church sign, the question should always be asked, “How does this communicate with someone who does not go to church?”
One of the signs Stetzer shares is “Cross Eyed People have the Best Vision.” As/p>/a>... [continue]
What I saw and heard in my city
by Ryan Jespersen on July 27, 2016 in faith
Outside the city of Brownwood, lies a small Baptist encampment where I was spending a week as camp pastor of an RA/GA camp when the reports out of Louisiana and Minnesota came in. These were quite disturbing to me. I attempted, even from a distance, to minister in the midst of these reports by calling African American pastor friends who I knew were having to work through this in their churches and communities.
Then, Thursday night, the world I knew fell apart. Coming back from worship I began to hear the reports, out of my home city of Dallas, about the/p>... [continue]
Utilice respuestas misionales en las redes sociales durante la temporada política
by Ryan Jespersen on July 7, 2016 in clc espanol
Tan solo un vistazo breve a los medios sociales es capaz de mostrar las divisiones políticas existentes en nuestra nación, nuestras comunidades e incluso nuestras familias. En días recientes, toda declaración de cualquier candidato o comentarista político provoca gloriosos aplausos o un odio vitriólico de alguna facción. Esas emociones no solo se enfocan en los candidatos y sus campañas, a menudo se dirigen también a amigos, vecinos y compañeros de trabajo.
Twitter, Facebook y otros medios sociales se/p>... [continue]
Use missional responses on social media during political season
by Ryan Jespersen on June 30, 2016 in clc
Just a cursory glance at social media will show you the political division that exists in our nation, communities, and even families. In recent days, every statement by a political candidate or pundit brings on either glorious cheers or vitriol hate by one side or the other. Not only do those emotions get turned on the candidates and their campaigns, often times they are aimed at friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites become verbal battlegrounds in the fight to get our point/p>... [continue]
How to pray first, often and strategically
by Ryan Jespersen on May 5, 2016 in great commandment
Recently, I posted about prayer on a social media account, because I was writing up course lessons for urban pastors. A wise friend commented and asked me the question, “How do you define praying strategically?”
I wanted to briefly answer that question in a blog post. (Be on the lookout in September for a more extended course on how a church can pray strategically for its community and world.)
Ministry is done with people, not for people
by Ryan Jespersen on February 24, 2016 in great commission
I have often thought back to a meeting one afternoon with the "consultant" in regard to attendance. The church was at its lowest point in my tenure. I was desperately trying to figure out what our church could do in the midst of decline, and a neighborhood we seemed not to match up with. The "consultant" told me to build a church with the affluent and let the affluent minister to the non-affluent. The key in all of it, though, was that our main worship service was going to primarily only serve the affluent. Part of me still cringes a little... [continue]
Lesson learned: The power of words for church leaders
by Ryan Jespersen on February 10, 2016 in great commandment
I remember his faithfulness in leading out in the ministry of the church. I remember he was one of the most familiar faces from my childhood. What I will never forget about him is the Sunday evening he stood in a business meeting at our church to discuss some changes and he proclaimed "the church is gone."
He was actually quoting from a business meeting in that same church that had happened 12 years earlier when the church had split. For me, it was the first time I had ever imagined that a church could or would die. It shook me/p>... [continue]
Five ways to have a strong Christmas Eve outreach
by Ryan Jespersen on December 8, 2015 in great commandment
Christmas seems to come sooner and sooner each year. Most retailers are displaying and selling Christmas merchandise in the middle of October, some before the end of September. Radio stations begin playing Christmas music in the middle of November. My daughters begin talking about Christmas in March. Facebook memes will typically come out on December 26 touting 364 days until Christmas. While some people get quite annoyed at the early nature of Christmas, others welcome it. Regardless of how you feel about it, as church leaders we can... [continue]
Vision-casting for missions during budget time
by Ryan Jespersen on October 7, 2015 in great commandment
In my work, I hear churches talk about wanting to get back on mission in the community. However, until a church puts actual dollars towards this goal, it is very unlikely it is ever going to happen.
As the groups who put the budget together sit down each year look at what the spending will be for the next year, the budget needs to include funding for any outreach that will take place.
When you budget two things are important, specifics and flexibility.
Spend some time praying, asking the Lord to give you a vision for the next year and gather/p>/p>/p>... [continue]
For the city
by Ryan Jespersen on September 21, 2015 in great commandment
The following prayer guide is a monthly outline of ways to pray for Texas Cities. It is specifically for churches and church leaders in these cities. Our prayer is that the Kingdom of God will be advanced and these churches will be encouraged. Also that they will be healthy as the work to be the church in our urban areas.
Please use the following prayer as guides, though they can be prayed verbatim it is better for you to put these prayers in your own words.
- Father you are the ruler of the universe (Psalm 115:3). Thus you are the ruler and the God of the cities of Texas./a>
When was the last time you did a reality check?
by Ryan Jespersen on August 24, 2015 in great commandment
One thing social media has done is portray others' lives to be better than they really are. In some cases, people blatantly lie about their lives, but in most cases, people put all the positive things about their lives on social media. They choose to leave out the negative stuff, the real life complaints. This has happened amongst pastors, too, in some ways. When is the last time you saw a pastor post on Facebook, "Attendance was way down yesterday, seems to have been a trend lately?" For many reasons, pastors will probably not post a... [continue]
How to put the Kingdom of God first in your ministry
by Ryan Jespersen on August 12, 2015 in great commandment
If we are to be honest, we have to admit one of the key concerns for us as church leaders is how many people participate in the "main" worship service on Sunday morning. It is a challenge to work hard and not always the see the results of our efforts. The key to understanding this, however, is to realize that the results are for the Kingdom. The men and women who find Christ in one of our church ministries are those we will see in heaven, which is our ultimate goal as ministers of the Gospel.
Many churches have ministries for children/p>... [continue]
Working yourself out of a job
by Ryan Jespersen on June 10, 2015 in great commandment
It may come in a meeting, time alone in your office, casual conversation … it's the thought that if you, as a pastor or church staffer, help lead your church down the road to truly reaching your community you may no longer be the right person to lead, due to demographics, age or some other factor. The church called you because you reflected the church, but now that the church is changing will you need to bow out? What will this mean to your family, your career and the rest of your ministry?
I pastored a church in an area of over 75 percent Hispanic of/p>... [continue]
Even if you're bad at it
by Ryan Jespersen on May 21, 2015 in great commandment
Recently, the Texas Baptists' Missions team went through some missional coach training, which we are ready to do with mission leaders and pastors in Texas. One thing I learned through this training (something I knew as a pastor, but was never able to put words to), our trainer Dr. Bob Logan said if pastors will engage in a missional evangelistic lifestyle, church members will then follow in the kind of lifestyle.
What he said next is what really got me: The level of effectiveness of a pastor, doing this kind of work, really does not matter. What matters is/p>... [continue]
Short Term Missions Trips
by Ryan Jespersen on March 17, 2015 in you are the missionary
While it may be the end of March, your church can still plan a missions trip for Summer, 2015. Watch the video below to learn how.
Benevolence and the local church
by Ryan Jespersen on March 11, 2015 in great commandment
I remember sitting in the pastor's study at Grace Temple. A former member left the church a very large sum of money and I was looking over the documents when the bell rang. Sitting across from me, was a man who claimed to need $20 for a prescription.
I remember thinking, "How in the world could this church, who had just been given money, turn away this man who has this need?"
We gave him the funds he requested for the prescription. Sometime later, he came back to my office, and openly admitted to me that he had not used the funds/p>/p>... [continue]
Why I decided to continue education
by Ryan Jespersen on February 17, 2015 in you are the missionary
This past Thursday evening, I received word that my thesis project was given final approval and I will be receiving a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary on May 9th, 2015. I started thinking about the reasons I decided to move forward with a doctorate degree. I would like to share some of those here in an attempt to give pastors and other ministry leaders some insight into what the Doctor of Ministry is and the reasons I chose to pursue it.
- Further learning: "Leaders are readers." I am not sure who first said this,/b>
by Ryan Jespersen on January 28, 2015 in great commission
Now that is a big word for some of us. When you and I think of the word endowment we think of people who are long gone, who left at least a million dollars and now that money is being used and is growing. But you think there would be absolutely no way you or I could do something like that.
But, think again….
You have the ability to start an endowment with virtually any amount. Let's take an amount you and I might imagine we would have some day to give away. While $10,000 sounds like a lot, with the right savings plan all of us could save this much. What can/p>/p>... [continue]
The Long Haul
by Ryan Jespersen on January 7, 2015 in you are the missionary
I want to tell you a story about my friend Larry Venable. Larry has been pastor of Freeman Heights Baptist Church for 31 years. 31 years in the same church, coming to same office, ministering in the same community. This community, Central and West Garland has changed significantly through the years; it has become much more ethnically and socially diverse.
In fact, when Larry first arrived in 1983 this was already beginning to happen. Most guys in situations like his might just bide their time until they are able to find a new place of ministry – an easier spot to do the/p>... [continue]
What you can't see pastor
by Ryan Jespersen on December 18, 2014 in
It's Monday morning. Yesterday was a long hard day. In some ways it was a good day, a little boy from the neighborhood came to church for the first time and gave his life to Christ. However, a teenager spent the entire service talking behind Mrs. Smith and of course this bothered and she let you know about it.
In the last few years, your church has made the commitment to get on mission in your community, yet it seems some days this decision is one you would like to reconsider because well, it just gets tough sometimes. You are reaching new people, but the work/p>... [continue]
3 ways to guard from a major mess up in a missional lifestyle
by Ryan Jespersen on September 22, 2014 in you are the missionary
Pet training, or "obedience school for dogs," is held in a very distracting place for your dog to walk. I am referring to the dog training class at PetSmart. In our class, the trainer is a young man who handled bomb dogs in the military. He attempts to help us train our new dog Marley. While, this is an excellent endeavor and he does a good job in teaching us to train Marley, every 7 minutes he also attempts to sell me a new PetSmart product. I guess we should have probably expected this. The problem is when the trainer tells... [continue]
THE BIG DOG and 5 ways to effectively knock on doors
by Ryan Jespersen on September 15, 2014 in you are the missionary
Clap, Clap, Clap, "This will make the dog leave us alone." This was trick the pastor of a church meeting in our building was telling me would help keep a very large, very scary, very loud dog from jumping all over us the minute we walked through the gate. At the moment we pensively walked through the gate I certainly hoped this trick, which he learned on the mission field would actually work. We lived through this one without a scratch, and a couple of thousands other doors as a major attempt to reachour neighbors with the gospel of/em>... [continue]
No they're not here
by Ryan Jespersen on September 2, 2014 in you are the missionary
"No they're not here. No they're not here. No they're not here." This is the response that the folks at Grace Temple Baptist Church of Dallas received as they walked down 10th St. on a hot summer day. They were looking for the apartment managers of the many apartment buildings located on their street. Finally, when they arrived at the very last building, someone was willing to talk with them.
Grace Temple has a dynamic AWANA Program, which reaches dozens of children each week. They desired to expand this program into the apartments on the same street as their church./p>/em>/em>... [continue]
A Church on Mission
by Ryan Jespersen on August 27, 2014 in you are the missionary
A new neighborhood, a new school, and a new place without the foundation of family and a familiar community—all of us know how hard that would be for a young person. Yet one little girl's mother, Tasha, was praying and asking God to bring a church into her daughter's life, a church where she could find Christ and be a disciple in that faith.
Enter the Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Garland, a Texas Baptist church whose youth group and church body had recently been renewed in its commitment to reach the surrounding neighborhood for Christ. The youth group at/p>... [continue]
Beyond the Trip
by Ryan Jespersen on May 26, 2014 in you are the missionary
The following was written and compiled by members of the Missions Mobilization Team of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. This guide is designed to be used on a mission trip to prepare your group for what you can do when you get back to your community. For more information about this material or about how to get involved in mission work, please contact Ryan Jespersen by phone at (214) 828-5278 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to download this post as a PDF document.
What an incredible joy it has been to serve the Lord together this week. You/p>/em>/a>/a>... [continue]
A Missional Legacy
by Ryan Jespersen on April 28, 2014 in you are the missionary
Recently, I attended the funeral of a good friend and former church member who had a great impact on my life and on the life of his church. When I met Gene Willard, he was about 80-years-old and had been at the church I was becoming pastor of for over 50 years. He had a close relationship with several of the pastors and that would also prove to be true with me.
Gene had his opinion on things like music, how we did church and other things. He was never afraid to share that opinion. Gene, along with a few others, also had the ear of the church. He served on the leadership/p>... [continue]
Truck Stop Church (at least for a few minutes)
by Ryan Jespersen on November 27, 2013 in evangelism and missions
Recently, we were on a trip across Texas, something I love to do, especially with my family. Joanna was feeding Mary Kate in a Loves truck stop, sitting in the booths that were for the Subway restaurant. In this particular truck stop, the booths were right next to where all of the truckers came in. Rachel Beth was walking up and down the long bench by the windows and stopped at the other end. When she stopped, she began telling me to hurry because church was about to start.
Mommy asked her who was preaching today and she named a little boy in her/p>/p>... [continue]
Crawling, Walking, Running with Texas Baptists Missions
by Ryan Jespersen on October 28, 2013 in great commandment
Right now our youngest daughter is learning to crawl and our older daughter, who is three, is walking as well as her mom and me. As children, we know that we crawl before we walk, and walk before we run. The same is true in your church when it comes to being on mission. Many times people need to do something small before they are ready to do something larger. Here at the BGCT we have mission opportunities for people at every level. Whether it's you or your church looking to get started, we want to help.
We have Disaster Recovery trips/p>/p>... [continue]
The Main Thing
by Ryan Jespersen on October 1, 2013 in great commandment
Jim Collins is known for a couple of different books, Good to Great, and Built to Last. However, there is another short little read he has called "How the Mighty Fall." This particular volume talks about the rise and fall of really huge companies.
As a pastor, and now a denominational employee, I could not help but see in this book several ways where the church could learn a great lesson. One of the biggest ways Collins points out that the mighty fall is when a company stops tending to the thing that made it great. He gives several examples of this and it is worth the/p>/em>/em>/p>... [continue]