you are the missionary
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 because this was the church I had grown up in, and the thought of it being gone really got to me.
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 embrace the Christmas season as a time when our church outreach efforts can bear much fruit...
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 others around you who will do the same thing. Particularly gather those who are either...
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. Father because you own all things, you are the one who has the
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 statement like this. They are only going to post when they had a "great day," or when the "Spirit...
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 and youth on Wednesday nights, and some of those participants do not come on Sunday mornings. Maybe...
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 which 62 percent spoke Spanish at home. I had a wife and 2 small children to...
The voice of the church
by Ryan Jespersen and Josue Valerio on March 31, 2015 in great commandment
In the 1950s, both pastors and churches had a sort of automatic "voice" in the community. People listened to pastors simply because of who they were. Being a church and a minister gave one a certain level of "prominence" in whatever community they were in. More and more we live in a culture where this is no longer the case.
In many ways, we live in a "post-Christian" culture; gone are the days when one can assume everyone was either a Christian or had a respect for Christians. In Jeremiah 29, the children of Israel find themselves in a similar situation. While in the Promised Land, they settled into a life of comfort; they were...
Short Term Missions Trips
by Ryan Jespersen on March 17, 2015 in feature
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 appropriately, but at that moment he needed something to eat.
I walked with him over...
Why I decided to continue education
by Ryan Jespersen on February 17, 2015 in feature
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, but it is a truism, which I have seen many times. A leader must continue to
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 $10,000 do to bring people to Jesus over the course of 20...
The Long Haul
by Ryan Jespersen on January 7, 2015 in feature
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 work, but not Larry. Larry has stuck it out through the...
What you can't see pastor
by Ryan Jespersen on December 18, 2014 in uncategorized
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 is hard and sometimes you cannot see the results. Take a minute and...
3 ways to guard from a major mess up in a missional lifestyle
by Ryan Jespersen on September 22, 2014 in feature
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 us to walk Marley dog around the store, we are obviously walking around a pet store, which has two things...
THE BIG DOG and 5 ways to effectively knock on doors
by Ryan Jespersen on September 15, 2014 in feature
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 Christ.
Some have said that knocking on doors is not the way you reach people for Christ anymore....
No they're not here
by Ryan Jespersen on September 2, 2014 in feature
"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. They begin to pray and ask God to allow that to happen. The...
A Church on Mission
by Ryan Jespersen on August 27, 2014 in feature
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 Eastern Hills decided that one way they could reach their community...
The Israel battlefield, from the eyes of a missionary
by Guest Author on August 14, 2014 in news
Lana Fashi Zayed is a missionary in Israel with the Arabic Church of Dallas as her sending church. She asks for prayer as she and her husband search for a vehicle and give birth to their firstborn this month. They will be visiting Texas next summer to share about living and ministering in Israel.
The church-based mission sending fund provided by gifts to the worldwide offering of BGCT provides matching funding to the Arabic Baptist Church to support Zayed's ministry. For information on how to support the fund please contact Ryan Jespersen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 828-5278.
Oh July...it started quietly, but was...
Beyond the Trip
by Ryan Jespersen on May 26, 2014 in feature
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 email@example.com. 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 have been a part of a wonderful journey serving,...
A Missional Legacy
by Ryan Jespersen on April 28, 2014 in feature
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 team and had influence that really went throughout the entire...
The invitation to service
by Guest Author on March 4, 2014 in feature
When I was 12-years-old, I felt called to ministry. While the specifics of my calling were unclear, I knew I was supposed to spend my life engaged in some type of vocational ministry or mission work. Despite the lack of clarity in my calling, I was able to easily identify and explain my life's purpose to others because of what the church referred to as: the call to special service.
But somewhere along the way many (or if we're being completely honest, most) of us have stopped heeding the special service call. For some unknown reason, we believe people are simply going to hear and discern their calling for themselves - and nothing...
God is Not Limited
by Guest Author on October 15, 2013 in great commandment
There are three things you might notice when driving into Crawford, Texas. Perhaps you'll notice the billboard featuring George and Laura Bush, our most famous property owners. Perhaps you'll notice the welcome sign from First Baptist Church, or perhaps you'll notice the city limit sign, which reads, "Pop. 717."
The Crawford community sits about 20 miles west of Waco. Yet, Crawford does not share the big city features of its larger neighbor. Crawford has one post office, one blinking light, one restaurant, and one high school. You get the idea.
Yet, First Baptist Church is a unique blend of business owners, stay-at-home moms...
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 read.
The church of Jesus Christ is to be a place where people are...