Evangelism Through Invitation

Evangelism Through Invitation

By Travis Sinks

Sometimes we think that inviting people to a church service isn’t “true” evangelism. As the pendulum has swung from one end to the other, we’re in a place where many people think they have to personally share the Gospel and see someone saved to do any good in someone’s life, and that’s simply not true.

We don’t want to neglect our call to personally tell others about Jesus and His love for them, but it’s also just as important to be inviting others to Sunday services and community groups. Here’s 3 reasons.

1. Our witness together is greater than ours separately.

One of the things Jesus said about our community together as believers was that non-christians will know that we are followers and disciples of Him by our “love for one another” (John 13:35). This teaches us that not only are we supposed to be together frequently to display that love (which is one of the many reasons being a part of a local church is so important), but it also tells us that we should be inviting people to be a part of our gatherings – how else will they see this love between us?

Sometimes we think that our witness is merely regarding our individual life, but our witness together as a body of believers sacrificially loving each other is a greater than any of us could achieve on our own.

2. It allows a non-believer to experience Jesus’ people

Although you are a part of the church, you are not the whole church. If you were a basketball player but your friends never came to one of your games, they wouldn’t have the full experience of the basketball team, or even what a basketball game is like if they’ve never been to one before.

When you invite someone to church or a community group, you are inviting them to experience Jesus working through all of the members of His local church in a much fuller way. Although you have good words to share and know them well, Jesus may choose to use someone else in the church to reach out to that person in a way they will respond. By bringing them to church and community group, you are asking others to participate in reaching out to your friend or family member rather than trying to do it all yourself.

3. Coming to a service gives them uninterrupted time with Jesus

One of the reasons we try to plan our services with as little interruptions and distractions as possible is to give people uninterrupted time with Jesus.

The reality is that people are busy.
They are tired.
They are bombarded with information.

We try to have our services be a place away from all of those things. By bringing a friend, family member, or even a stranger to church, you are providing uninterrupted time for them to reflect on the most important questions we have to answer: Who is God? Why am I here? What is truth? Who is Jesus?

You will have, and should continue to, utilize opportunities to share the Gospel one-on-one, and we know that Jesus can save a person in the blink of an eye, but by bringing the person you’re praying for to church you are offering them an opportunity to step out in faith to seek God and have Jesus reveal Himself to them. They may not accept Him the first time, second, third, fourth, or even ever. But we are called to persevere, pray, reach out, and seek the lost for Jesus regardless of their response. We should be taking every opportunity God gives us to love people, share Jesus with others, and invite them to come see what He is all about.

We have seen Jesus change so many lives through being invited by a friend to church. We’ve seen people saved on Sundays, in community groups, and even throughout the week because of new relationships they’ve made. This is an opportunity we don’t want anyone to miss.

So, who will you invite to church this Sunday?

This post is shared from the Redemption Church Blog.

Four Reasons to Love God and Your Neighbor

Four Reasons to Love God and Your Neighbor


This post is shared from the VELO Church Leaders Page

People are generally likely to appreciate the connection between loving God and loving their neighbors [Matt. 22:37-40]. Yet, most of us would have to agree that we tend to focus on one element to the neglect of the other. Those who appreciate the importance of social justice are likely to emphasize the “love your neighbor” aspect. Those who recognize the importance of sound doctrine tend to lean towards the “love God” command. In Jesus’ words, everything God had said up to this point (the Prophets) and every command God had ever given (the Law) hung on these two things: love God and love your neighbor.

Here are four reasons why we are to love God and love our neighbor:

  1. The Great Commandment: We are to love God supremely, because this is the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” [Matt. 22:37-38, Deut. 6:4]. The critical work that reflects love for God is faith in Christ, “This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He sent” [Jn. 6:29]. We are frequently reminded in the church that our faith in Christ is manifest by an attitude of dependence upon Him, and actions of obedience to Him. Similarly, we are focused on certain behaviors and spiritual disciplines: Bible reading, prayer, worship, serving, tithing, sharing your faith, and being involved in a small group. In essence, the implied message is, “Do these things and you demonstrate that you love God.” While these are undoubtedly good attitudes and behaviors, they may unintentionally neglect what Jesus pointed to – love your neighbor. Nevertheless, you will not do what He has called you to do unless you love God.
  1. God inspires love: The idea of loving God solely out of duty (commandment) doesn’t seem to inspire. Similarly, God’s divine attributes should inspire worship, reverence, and awe. We marvel that God is eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, immutable, and able to create from nothing. But worship, reverence, and awe are distinct from love. I would suggest that God’s attributes alone do not inspire love. I believe (apparently along with the Apostle John) that our love for Him is inspired by His love for us, We love Him because He first loved us [1Jn. 4:19]. His love is certainly demonstrated in a host of ways, but the most compelling is the cross [Jn. 3:16, Rom. 5:8]. This is the pinnacle of love. Never before, and never since has such love been displayed. God gave His only Son to experience His wrath on our behalf, even while we were in rebellion to Him, so that we could be reconciled to Him. This completely sacrificial, unconditional, and incomprehensible display sets the bar so amazingly high. It not only assures me that God is worthy of my love, but provides the only true litmus test to measure what I might describe as love. If I want to know whether an attitude or behavior is “love” then the standard to measure against is revealed by God. Because God is worthy of my love, and has inspired love, I’m compelled to contemplate, “God how can I love you better today?”
  1. Loving my neighbor proves my love for God: Jesus revealed the second greatest commandment, “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” [Matt. 22:39, Lev.19:18]. The lawyer asked Jesus, which was the greatest commandment (i.e. singular). Yet, Jesus volunteers the second. Jesus reveals that these two commandments are so united that they cannot be separated. Furthermore, we are to demonstrate agape love to God and to our neighbor. It is my love for my neighbor and others that proves that I am His disciple [Jn. 13:35]. The connection between loving Godand my neighbor is so clear and simple that it is humbling to honestly consider the implications. I confess that I am often too busy to befriend and build relationships where I live, work (or go to school), and play. I’m alarmed by the thought that a life filled with activity that is actually seeking to advance God’s kingdom can demonstrate love for God in the absence of love for my neighbors. How humbling it is to consider that we can be so busy doing our religious activity that we have no time to love neighbors. Because my neighbor is worthy of my love, and loving my neighbor proves my love for God, I’m compelled to contemplate, “How can I love my neighbor better today?”
  1. Loving my neighbor reveals God’s love to others: We should consider loving our neighbors where we live, work (or go to school) or play. Many of us who declare our devotion to Christ would humbly confess how poorly we love our neighbors. We may not even know their names. We are unlikely to know much if anything about their life, marriage, or family. We probably haven’t discovered their challenges or rejoicings. A neighbor is not a project. Certainly we want to see all come to faith in Christ, but when we make that the objective then our neighbor feels exploited by our overtures. They are likely to feel like a cog in our program. Loving your neighbor is not a program, but an attempt to reveal God’s unprecedented love. The display of God’s love through human instruments is often a bridge to revealing Jesus and His gospel. But that work, as inspired by His Spirit, will likely hinge more and more in a post-Christian culture upon loving our neighbors.

Here are some simple ideas to help us love our neighbors better:

  1. Simplify church life and life generally to create margin to spend time with neighbors where you live, work (or go to school), and play.
  2. Befriend and build relationships with neighbors by asking, “How are you doing?”
  3. When your neighbor is struggling ask, “Can I pray with (for) you?”
  4. Ask, “How can I help?” If the request is reasonable and you are able then seek to help.

What ways have you discovered to love your neighbors?

What We Believe About Systematic Theology – Part Two

What We Believe About Systematic Theology – Part Two

By Bruce Zachary

This post is shared from the VELO Church Leaders Page

A. What is the difference Calvinism vs. Arminianism? Calvinism and Arminianism are two systems of theology that attempt to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in the matter of salvation.Calvinism is named for John Calvin, a French theologian who lived from 1509-1564. Arminianism is named for Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who lived from 1560-1609. Both systems can be summarized with five points.

  1. Calvinism holds to the total depravity of man while Arminianism holds to partial depravity. Total depravity states that every aspect of humanity is tainted by sin; therefore, human beings are unable to come to God on their own accord. Partial depravity states that every aspect of humanity is tainted by sin, but not to the extent that human beings are unable to place faith in God of their own accord. Note: classical Arminianism rejects “partial depravity” and holds a view very close to Calvinistic “total depravity.
  2. Calvinism includes the belief in unconditional election, while Arminianism believes in conditional election. Unconditional election is the view that God elects individuals to salvation based entirely on His will, not on anything inherently worthy in the individual. Conditional election states that God elects individuals to salvation based on His foreknowledge of who will believe in Christ unto salvation, thereby on the condition that the individual chooses God.
  1. Calvinism sees limited atonement, while Arminianism sees it as unlimited. This is the most controversial of the five points. Limited atonement is the belief that Jesus only died for the elect. Unlimited atonement is the belief that Jesus died for all, but that His death is not effectual until a person receives Him by faith.
  2. Calvinism includes the belief in irresistible grace, while Arminianism says that an individual can resist the grace of God. Irresistible grace argues that when God calls a person to salvation, that person will inevitably come to salvation. Resistible grace states that God calls all to salvation, but that many people resist and reject this call.
  3. Calvinism holds to perseverance of the saints while Arminianism holds to conditional salvation. Perseverance of the saints refers to the concept that a person who is elected by God will persevere in faith and will not permanently deny Christ or turn away from Him. Conditional salvation is the view that a believer in Christ can, of his/her own free will, turn away from Christ and thereby lose salvation. Note: many Arminians deny “conditional salvation” and instead hold to “eternal security.”

Conclusion: So, in the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate, who is correct? It is interesting to note that in the diversity of the body of Christ, there are all sorts of mixtures of Calvinism and Arminianism. There are five-point Calvinists and five-point Arminians, and at the same time three-point Calvinists and two-point Arminians. Many believers arrive at some sort of mixture of the two views. Ultimately, it is our view that both systems fail in that they attempt to explain the unexplainable. Human beings are incapable of fully grasping a concept such as this. Yes, God is absolutely sovereign and knows all. Yes, human beings are called to make a genuine decision to place faith in Christ unto salvation. These two facts seem contradictory to us, but in the mind of God they make perfect sense. The Scriptures teach both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. If you take either of these positions to an extreme, to the denying of the other, you’re likely to have problems.

B. End times matters:

The dispensational system results in a pre-millennial interpretation of Christ’s second coming and usually a pre-tribulational interpretation of the rapture.

  1. Pre-Trib rapture: Jesus promised that He would come again for His disciples so that where He is we shall be also [Jn.14:1-3]. The concept of the rapture is described in 1Th.4:17 where the living church is “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air so that we shall ever be with the Jesus. In Jereome’s Latin translation, the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Greekharpazo is raptuse which yields our English rapture. While we recognize there are differing views regarding the timing we believe the best evidence supports a pre-trib rapture. In essence, the church is delivered prior to the seven year Great Tribulation described in Revelation 6-19. Keep in mind the Rapture is not the same as 2nd coming [Mt.24] at the end the Tribulation.

Date-setting: no one knows the day or the hour however Jesus urged us to know the “Season” [Mt. 24:32-35 parable of the fig tree] or prophetic signs leading to His return. Why do we hold the view of a pre-trib rapture:

a. The church is not appointed to wrath (God’s judgment) [1Th.1:10,5:1-9]. God will not judge the righteous with the wicked [2Pet.2:5].

b. Attitude of expectancy: The exhortations to watch and be ready for His imminent return. We are told that Jesus comes as a thief in the night – unexpected, imminent. In the Olivet discourse [Mt.25] Jesus told a series of parables. The moral of each is to watch and be ready for His return at any time. The theme is, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” [Mt.24:42]. Paul, echoes the theme to the church at Thessolonica [1Th.5:1-4]. If the Lord would not return until the middle or end of the Great Tribulation then His return would not be unexpected. It appears to be God’s plan that every generation live in constant expectation of His imminent return.

c. Revelation 4-6: Rev.4:4 the 24 elders as representatives of the church, are present in heaven before the Great Tribulation. In Rev.5 as Jesus receives the title deed to the earth the 24 elders sing a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; or You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” Only the church can sing the song of redemption. The chronology shows the church in heaven before God’s throne prior to the Great tribulation beginning in Rev.6.

d. OT types: Lot was removed before judgment of Sodom [Gen.18:23-19:25; 2Pet.2:7-9]; Enoch [Gen.5:24] and Elijah [2Ki.2:1-11] were “raptured” before judgment, and Daniel was gone as 3 Hebrews were cast into fire [Dan.3].

e. Israel and prophecy: Most end times problems occur when we replace Israel and the Church in passages. God is not through with Israel [Dan. 9-12. Romans 9-11]. In 1948 the nation state of Israel was established and this appears to be a key event in Biblical prophecy. Israel [the Jewish people who have yet to receive Christ] goes through the Tribulation not the Church. Noah and Daniel’s 3 friends are a picture of Israel preserved.

f. Arguments used to support the view that the church is present during the Tribulation:

i. The Last Trumpet: Some assert the last trumpet in 1Cor.15:51-52 is related to the seven trumpet judgments of Revelation, however the trumpet of the Rapture is sounded by God [1Cor 15:51-52, 1Th.4:16], whereas the trumpets of judgment are sounded by angels [Rev.8:13].

ii. Martyrs Rev.20:4-5: The martyrs that John sees and describes in heaven are tribulation saints not the church [Rev.7:13-14].

iii. The gathering of the elect Mt.24:29-31: Immediately after the tribulation Jesus gathers His elect. Although the church is frequently referred to as God’s elect, the Jews/Israel are also described as the elect. Here, the promise relates to Israel, not the church [Is.11:12].

iv. Antichrist makes war against the saints Dan.7:21, Rev.13:7: Since the Antichrist prevails against them they are not the church [Mt.16:18] but are tribulation saints [i.e. those who come to Christ during the tribulation].

g. Practical implications of a pre-Trib perspective: First, the expectation that Jesus could come at any time creates anurgency for the work of ministry to reach the lost as quickly as possible. Second, It helps to create a proper perspective of material blessings. We won’t cling as tightly to the things of the world if we believe we can leave this world at any moment. Third, it helps to establish and maintain purity in out lives [Mt.24:46, 1Jn.3:2-3]. We believe that the Lord is coming soon, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed [Rom. 13:11].

C. General Systematic Theology Notes:

  1. Descriptive vs. prescriptive hermeneutic: There are some passages that describe how the church functioned but they do not necessarily prescribe how the church must function. For example the church at Troas [Ac. 20:7-12] met on Sunday and they broke bread [presumably the Lord’s Supper]. This describes what they did but does not necessarily mandate that the church must meet on Sunday, as opposed to Saturday or any other day. Nor does it require the church to partake of communion every Sunday when it gathers.
  2. The negative vs. positive hermeneutic: Simply because a practice isn’t mentioned in the Bible doesn’t mean the early church didn’t do it or that the church today shouldn’t do it. As long as a practice doesn’t violate a clear biblical principle then God has given you freedom to do it or not.

Explaining Baptism to Children

Explaining Baptism to Children

By David Ramirez

This post is shared from the VELO Church Leaders Page 

There are many times when working with kids I am faced with the ever- present question “Why?” It is truly their favorite question to ask. If they see something unfamiliar to them they do not hesitate to ask. And lets be honest, even after an amazing thought out explanation they still ask, “Why?” It is during these moments that we get to participate in and benefit from their wonder and curiosity.

One of the most recent questions we were asked, within our kids ministry was, “Why do people get baptized?” We had spent a whole lesson talking about Jesus’ baptism, which led into our main service having baptisms the following Sunday. So their interest was peaked and they wanted to know more.

It is not uncommon for children to witness something like a baptism celebration service and wonder what it means. By its very nature, baptism needs to be explained, because of its symbolic qualities. The challenge may come when your child is asking questions, and you have the opportunity to explain its meaning in such a way that they can understand. And yet you may feel inadequate to answer their questions. Here is my brief explanation of baptism biblically and practically. Hope this helps you when responding to your child.


  • It is imperative that your child understands that baptism does not save. It is only faith in Jesus that saves (Eph. 2:8)
  • Baptism is a picture of what has already happened in someone’s heart through believing in Jesus (An outward expression of an inward change) (Acts 2:41; 8:12; 9:18)
  • Baptism tells us of how Jesus rescued us from our sin through His death and resurrection (Romans 6:3,4)

It is important that after explaining it through a biblical lens, that you move to what actually happens on a Sunday morning or the practical part of what they are seeing.


  • Before someone is baptized they get a chance to share a brief testimony (story) of God’s saving work in their lives, so that the rest of the family of God may rejoice in God’s grace.
  • Before someone is baptized and they are standing in the water, that represents their life before trusting in Jesus. Sin being their master.
  • When they are dunked into the water, that represents that they are dead to sin when they became a believer. They now follow Jesus and not sin.
  • When that person comes out of the water that represents the newness of life because of Jesus. They have been washed clean, and forgiven not because of the water, but because of the cross of Jesus and the forgiveness that is found there.

The thing that we must remember when we are explaining something like baptism, is that we are explaining it to children. We must use illustrations that meet them where they are at. To bring the proverbial cookie jar down to where they can reach, grasp and understand. One of my favorite illustrations to use is a batman analogy. We have all seen the batman symbol shinning in the sky at night when Gotham city needs Batman’s help. But we all know when we see that figure in the sky that it is not really Batman. Its a symbol. What it does is it points to the actual person Batman. In the same way baptism is not the actual saving work of Jesus, but it points to what has already happened in the life of the believer. The symbol of baptism points to the person of Jesus, His death and resurrection.

Baptism services are some of my favorites experiences, because we get to come together as a family and rejoice. It is one of those moments where we get to celebrate ones journey of how Jesus got a hold of their lives and did the miraculous work of salvation, redemption and reconciliation. Let us help our children see the amazing grace of what happens when Jesus transforms lives and that they too can participate if they choose to follow Jesus.

The Problem With Fast Growth – Part 2

The Problem With Fast Growth – Part 2

By Pastor Miles DeBenedictis

Growth, of Character, is Needed

The second problem with fast growth, and this is über important, fast church growth tends to hide the need of personal character growth for the one leading the fast growth.

I do believe that slower growth cultivates the pastor’s character as much as the church he’s planting. Quick growth, however, makes it more possible for the planting pastor, and those around him, to overlook or neglect the need for personal growth and development.

I’ve been somewhat disheartened, in meeting a number of high-profile, large church pastors who experienced fast growth in their ministries. Yes, correlation is not causation. But I do think that fast church growth can mask the need for steady pastoral growth. And that pastoral character development is never fast! Specifically, the deficiencies I’ve observed are in the areas of humility, grace and for lack of a better word, warmth.

Perhaps I’ve over-hammered the issue of humility already. Pride is almost never a virtue, hardly ever warranted and pretty much always sinful. Every one of us has the seeds of pride residing within. Fast growth is an amazing incubator for pride. Slow growth is the compost for humility. If lead pastors are to be representatives of Christ’s church, then they absolutely cannot lead from a position of pride; the first on the list of things that God hates.

In the last 10-years we’ve watched more than a few large church pastors publicly chastised for ungracious attitudes and methods of leadership. Honestly, I am ungracious too. We all are, in our base natures (i.e. flesh). When the church grows quickly I believe learning to work graciously with others on your team can be easily overlooked. Don’t misunderstand; small church pastors can certainly lack grace too. But churches that grow on a slow curve, tend to require that the pastor grow in grace.

A Proponent of Grace

Pastor Chuck Smith pastored a massive mega-church for decades, but was a huge proponent and picture of grace. This is likely because he had 17-years of small church experience before the precipitous growth of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Those 17-years were, I believe, essential to his growth as a pastor.

It is somewhat inevitable that as a church grows, the distance between the senior pastor and the larger church body increases. This isn’t entirely a good thing, but it is a thing, and it is a thing that is compounded when a church grows quickly. Which means that introverted pastors remain rather cold and standoffish toward the people they pastor throughout their entire tenure. Slower growth, however, requires that a pastor be forced out of the comfort of introversion. No, that doesn’t mean that he’ll become an extrovert, but he will have to learn to be more of a people-person than he may be naturally. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that some of the most relationally warm pastors I know are former missionaries who served in a context that remained small and a culture that required relational interaction.

I get it. Lead pastors like church growth. But church growth at the expense of growth in Christ likeness is not acceptable. Please, don’t despise the day of small things. 


Miles DeBenedictis is the Senior Pastor of Cross Connection Church in North San Diego County, CA, the church he attended as a child and was discipled for ministry by. He can be followed @PastorMiles

“It’s Not What You Think”

It’s Not What You Think

By Pastor Miles DeBenedictis

Let me begin by saying that this post will be patronizing. I wanted to say “might be patronizing” but that’s too passive. This will be straight up patronizing.

Yes! So you want to be a pastor. Not just a pastor; a senior or lead (or whatever adjective you want to apply) pastor. I mean that’s the track you’re planning to be on as a church planter, right? Here’s the thing. It’s not what you think it is going to be, and until you are one, you cannot even begin to understand the weight of being one.

But wait” you’ll say, “I’ve been a youth pastor” or maybe “an assistant pastor.” “I’ve had a lot of experience as a pastor on a staff at a large church.” Trust me, you don’t have a clue.

I told you it would be patronizing. I don’t want to be condescending, but this is just the reality.

It’s like when you meet with a couple for pre-marital counseling. They think they know what marriage is like and they’re certain that they’re going to hit it out of the park as husband and wife. They’re never going to argue, and if they ever do, he’s always going to love her as Christ loves the church and she’s always going to respect, honor and even submit to him.

Or better yet: it’s the newlywed (childless) couple leaving your house after an evening with you, your spouse and your four kids. As they drive home they roll their eyes (come one, you remember doing it) and say to each other, “Did you see how out of control their kids are” “OMG, I mean really! When we have kids our kids will be so well behaved.

Trust me, I want you to plant a church. I want you to be successful as a church planter and lead pastor. But you need to reckon with this as soon as you possibly can. You don’t have a clue. You’ll understand this more fully five years after launch day. In fact, you’ll be able to write this article more articulately then too.

But as it stands right now, pray for the humility to admit that you don’t know anything and reach out to coaches and mentors who can help you navigate the things you don’t even know that you don’t know.

Ministry at the top is far more difficult than you mentally grasp. Books don’t do it justice. Podcasts cannot adequately portray it. One-on-ones with senior leaders are great. But until you’ve had to be the one to see the nearly negative balance in the church account, with bills to pay, and your pay/salary at the bottom of the list, you don’t understand. Until you’ve had to deal with the worship leader who quits on Sunday morning, it’s all just theory. Until you’ve had to fire a friend, or make payroll…

Forgive my condescension. Until you’ve been one, you cannot grasp the weight of being a senior pastor.

Please, be humble enough to admit it.


Miles DeBenedictis is the Senior Pastor of Cross Connection Church in North San Diego County, CA, the church he attended as a child and was discipled for ministry by. He can be followed @PastorMiles

Ministry For The Long Haul

Ministry For The Long Haul

By Travis Sinks

To minister to someone literally means to “attend to the needs of [a person]”. It’s not an office held by the few, but rather a call for Christian’s everywhere to serve and love as Jesus has loved us.


Sometimes we get a glorified version of what being a “minister of the Gospel” really is. We can imagine it as having great status or power. Or we can imagine getting a great response from people: that they’ll change tomorrow, turn over a new leaf, follow God with all their heart and never turn back.




Instead, it’s a process. There’s a timetable of events in God’s plan and allowance, that doesn’t match up with ours. We desire to see outward change TODAY, while God desires change in people from the INSIDE out – which usually takes time. God’s time table works as those we minister to continue to grow, oftentimes slowly, and with set-backs along the way. But eventually we look back and see a great distance of change.


We are called to “ministry” not to a “change factory”. We are called to love people like Jesus did and to offer them the life giving power of His Gospel and Spirit, but it’s up to them to accept it. That acceptance is usually built up over time.


We can get discouraged when we haven’t seen someone for 6 months and wonder where they are. We can sometimes get even more discouraged when we see them again, because we wonder if they’ll actually stay this time. We can get discouraged as we wonder if God will ever truly change their heart and bring them into a steady relationship with Himself. But this isn’t our position of authority or responsibility. We are called to love, not to save. Only Jesus is Savior, and it’s best for us to remember this.


People will come and go in our lives, for good and bad reasons, but know that your job, as a Christian, is simple: “attend to the needs of… whoever.






We have a holy calling as Christians to love everyone we can with the love God has given us: regardless of how they respond, and regardless of where they end up.


So let us not forget, lest we give up: We are in this for the long haul.

This article was originally posted on the Redemption Church Blog. You can view the original article here. Travis is the assistant pastor of Redemption Church Delray Beach in Delray Beach, Florida. You can read more from Travis on his blog at travissinks.com.

Expect The Mess – Part 2

Expect The Mess – Part 2

Ministering To Broken People

By Daniel Williams

We all want to see God do amazing things, but we can forget about the hard work it takes to see the fruit. Hard work is just that: hard work! And it can be very easy to become uncomfortable and even overwhelmed by the mess of ministry to the lost. Remember this scripture from last time:


Prov 14:4 “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.


Ministry gets messy when there are people involved! And the gospel is always the answer. Only Jesus has the power to save and to truly change a person.


As we continue to do ministry and reach out to the lost in our community, I have seen a few things that have become invaluable as we learn to minister to those far from God.

So, here are just three things that I have found to be helpful and some practical ways to disciple people through the mess of life.



1. They won’t know much — We have to understand that many people have never heard the gospel and have never been to church. This may seem hard to believe in certain cultures, but in our community we are dealing with people who didn’t grow up in Christian homes and haven’t been to church much—if at all. So they don’t understand many terms that are found in the Bible because they have never read it. They don’t know what a church service is supposed to look like because they have never been. They don’t know much about Jesus; and if they do, it is usually is skewed because they learned from culture, media and friends—not from God’s Word.


So, how have we practically dealt with this? We explain what we are preaching. I take the time to explain a lot of what I preach and don’t assume that people have heard any of it before. You would be surprised to know how often we assume that people already know the things we know. But listen, many people have never heard that God loves them and that they can have a relationship with Him. Or that they can personally know Him and have their guilt and shame forgiven.

So, we tell them! We explain the uncommon words like “justification, sanctification, propitiation, atonement” etc. We explain what we are doing in the service and WHY. Things like why we sing, why we study the Bible, why we give, why we take communion, etc. We have also given hundreds of Bibles away because most people we interact with don’t own one. So we explain the story of who Paul is when referencing Him. We also put the page number of the text on the screen so people know where to find it in the Bible we gave them. We try to EXPLAIN what we are preaching and WHY and what we are doing because most people don’t understand the things we do. We want to communicate clearly.



2. Their values won’t match yours — We must understand that non-believers won’t have all the same values as a follower of Jesus because Jesus isn’t their Lord. A few examples of this could be parenting or language. It is quite common for there to be people that use inappropriate language around us. The Bible tells us that what is in our hearts will come out, so if you are ministering to non-believers you should expect that their language with represent their heart.


Proverbs 28:19 says, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” We must preach that there is a better way in Jesus and let them know where we stand on issues. It is ok to call sin “sin” and to have requirements to serve.

For example, we always have people that work with our kids go through background checks, and they must be walking with God. We understand that everyone in our church won’t fit those requirements, but to ensure safety and make sure the kids during service are being discipled, we have placed a standard there. We also take a large portion of our service to preach God’s prophetic vision from the Bible which is our primary authority and standard. We want to teach the heart of God and what He values as right and wrong.

We understand that it is not about morals, but we must also understand that we can please God through obedience by the power of His Spirit. They must see that the law of God is perfect and good. And that our faith has works. We want people to observe the commandments of God; and when people become born again, they are able to be transformed and no longer slaves of sin. So, we preach though the Bible in order to help people understand the person of Jesus and His ways.



3. They won’t be mature in the faith – It has been so amazing to see so many lives transformed by Jesus at Redemption Church. But just because you say a prayer doesn’t make you mature. People are immediately forgiven from their sin, but the consequences are still with some people. So we have seen saved people still fight addictions, still serve time in jail, still go through a divorce, still live with the sin that bought death in their lives. I have seen a heart change immediately, but understanding and maturity come more slowly. Some may not give finances immediately or sign up to serve or even be in fellowship. So, many of the people that call Redemption Church their home don’t come every week because they never grew up with that discipline. Most of them have never read through the Bible. So what are we to do about this?


Preach to them with our lives. Set an example! We have to show them a better way. Many of us learn by example and are more visual. The Bible tells us we aren’t to merely love in word but also in action (1 John 3:16-18). It has also been said that vision is caught not taught…so we must show them what it means to walk with God with our lives. It is our responsibility to walk with others and to disciple them. This is one of the main reasons we are to have patience with others because this process takes time. So, give time to non-believers to ask questions, to pray with them, and to teach them. Include them in your life even if they aren’t “acting like Christians” yet. Include them even if they haven’t accepted Jesus into their lives yet either!


The Bible tells us that the strong are to help the weak, and we have come to find out that many people need us to help them. They need to see what a godly marriage looks like or how a single person is to live in purity. They need to see the vision we so often preach to them so they can understand it better and follow our example. We know we are far from perfect, but this is also a good thing. People need to see imperfect people, leaning on the grace and mercy of Jesus, following after Him with their whole lives. So, we try to have people in our lives as much as possible during the week—not just on Sundays.


We are all in the business of making disciples, and we need to get messy with people right where they are in order to see the fruit of God working in them. This takes a lot of work and patience, BUT it is totally worth it. May the Lord bless our efforts in reaching people far from Him and may our church always be messy!





This article was originally posted on the Redemption Church Blog. You can view the original article here. Daniel is the lead pastor of Redemption Church Delray Beach in Delray Beach, Florida where he lives with his wife, Laura, and their two children.

Expect The Mess – Part 1

Expect The Mess – Part 1

Ministering To Broken People

By Daniel Williams

When you are a part of a church plant, having the right expectations is one of the most helpful things when it comes to overcoming discouragement and maintaining a right perspective. There is nothing so sad as seeing someone who starts out excited to go and preach the gospel give up because it was more difficult than they expected.

I don’t think anyone thinks starting a church will be easy, but sometimes we can be caught off guard by exactly why it is so hard. Jesus tell us we are to count the costs and follow Him. I believe that as we have a heart to reach nonbelievers and unchurched people in our communities, we need to also consider the mess that will bring.

What do I mean by that? Ministry is messy!


I want to share something with you that I have come to expect when ministering to those that aren’t following Jesus yet…they act that way! I have come to a place where this doesn’t surprise me and I am not offended by it. I have seen first hand in my own life that the only way to overcome this is to be changed from the inside out through a personal revelation of who Jesus is and then accepting His grace by faith.

This is what Jesus means when He talks about being spiritually born again (John 3:3-8). I was spiritually dead before I accepted God’s grace and lost in sin (Eph 2:1-5) and so is everyone who has yet put their faith in Jesus. Paul would even tell people that if they think Jesus Christ didn’t rise from the dead, they should be sinning as much as possible because this is the only life they have! (1 Cor 15:13-19). So I have come to expect people to live what they truly believe. And for those that don’t believe in Jesus as Lord, I expect them to be living in sin. The Bible teaches us that sin brings death. And that death is messy.


I have to remember that the mess of ministry is actually an answer to many of our prayers. We prayed for many people to get saved and find life in Jesus Christ. And God has sent us to preach the gospel to people so they would have hope. I have had to understand that we are called to love people right where they are, and they don’t need to clean up their lives before they come to Jesus. God sends us into the brokenness, hurt, pain, and mess of people’s lives to shine the light of Jesus into their darkness. The Bible warns us that if we are to make disciples, this will take work and things won’t always be neat and tidy like we tend to like.


Prov 14:4 “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”


The more you serve people that are far from God, the more you will start to see that if you want to see life change around you, you are going to have to work in the messiness of people’s lives. Remember we are to love people, and that love makes a real difference in people’s lives. It was the real love of God that changed our lives when we were still in our mess of sin.

The Bible tells us that Jesus died for us while we were still enemies of God, and because of that great love we are now able to know Him. God wants us to be His ambassadors not only with our words but our deeds as well. We have been given a true love that the world doesn’t offer. We have the great chance to love people right in their mess of sin just as Jesus loved us.


This is the answer for true life change. PREACHING THE GOSPEL! Paul believed this was the very power to save, so he needed to be preaching all the time! I have taken this to heart and have seen God work in people’s lives in ways I never could dream of on my own. This is one of the main reasons we have communion every week at our church.  This allows me to explain the Gospel and the implications of it every week. I believe if we can’t point people to Jesus through His Word every time we meet, we have failed.


Jesus said that all scripture points to Him, so it should be very easy for us to use Scripture to bring people to Jesus and His heart. It is the only hope that truly satisfies and we need to be preaching Jesus every week as we gather as His bride. Not only is this good for our hearts as children of God, but for those that are far from God because they see it is only God’s grace that can truly change their lives. This is why we highly prioritize preaching the gospel: because only Jesus has the power to save!


So, over time, I have come expect and the messiness and the difficulty that comes from pouring our lives into the lost and broken. And also to see that the only answer is always going to be Jesus. I hope you can join me in learning to embrace this beautiful of this side of ministry.


In part 2 of this article, I will address 3 very practical ways I have found to love people through the messiness of life and reaching those far from God.




This article was originally posted on the Redemption Church Blog. You can view the original article here. Daniel is the lead pastor of Redemption Church Delray Beach in Delray Beach, Florida where he lives with his wife, Laura, and their two children.

How to be Qualified to Lead

How to be Qualified to Lead

By: Bruce Zachary

This post is shared from the VELO Church Leaders Page 

Another mega-church pastor was removed from his ministry because of notorious sin. This time it wasn’t embezzlement, or inappropriate behavior with a woman. This time, once again, the life dominating sins were pride and abuse of authority. This time, once again, we were reminded that character trumps talent. This time, once again, we learned that dynamic and talented people unbridled by the Holy Spirit are dangerous and unqualified. Unfortunately, their public disqualification tends to transcend their general sphere of influence. Abraham Lincoln observed, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

…“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Leadership is at its essence influence. A spiritual leader influences others towards God’s desired destination. Therefore, spiritual leaders encompass a much broader group than the roles of pastors, elders, and deacons. For example, parents are called to be spiritual leaders. Influence generally begins with a small sphere, but can often expand. The larger the scope of influence the greater the need to be qualified. John Adams, second President of the United States, noted, “Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”

In the local church, existing and emerging Spiritual leaders must be qualified. Every person with the title leader (or assistant leader) in his or her roles [e.g. usher leader, children’s ministry leader, youth leader, community group leader] is a spiritual leader. In the local church, the highest level of qualification relates to the office of elder (also referred to in the New Testament as bishop, pastor, overseer, and shepherd). All leaders should aspire to develop the Christ-like character that is the essence of the qualifications for the highest-level spiritual leaders.

All leaders should aspire to develop the Christ-like character that is the essence of the qualifications for the highest-level spiritual leaders.

What are some of the qualifications, and how qualified do you need to be to start leading?

What are some of the qualifications? Paul describes a snapshot of the qualifications for elders in his first letter to Timothy. The list reveals several of the qualifying character traits that spiritual leaders should seek to develop:

“This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil [1Tim. 3:1-7].”

The twelve [12] traits noted below are presumably not intended as an exhaustive list. All the qualities deal with character rather than ability, with the exception of teaching. Let’s consider the traits that we are to display as leaders, and cultivate among emerging leaders:

  1. Be blameless [2]: The essence is a good reputation, not perfection, so that you don’t bring reproach to Christ, His Church, or self. Have a good reputation within the church community as well as the community outside of the church [7].
  2. Be faithful (the husband of one wife) [2]: Leaders are faithful to Christ and faithful to their spouse. This is not an exclusion of single people leading. Similarly, those who have been divorced may not be excluded depending on the circumstances.
  3. Be temperate [2]: Leaders should be sensible, and self-controlled in their behavior.
  4. Be sober-minded [2]: Be wise regarding spiritual decisions and avoid foolish choices. A person of faith should be led by the Spirit not fleshly impulse.
  5. Be good (good-behavior) [2]: There should be a sense of godliness and modesty to a spiritual leader’s speech and behavior.
  6. Be hospitable [2]: Hospitality can be shown by willingness to open your home, and other tangible acts of love for strangers.
  7. Be able to teach [2]: Spiritual leaders should be able to communicate spiritual truth and explain the Scriptures to others.
  8. Be sober (not given to wine) [3]: A spiritual leader should not drink to excess nor be intoxicated.
  9. Be gentle (not violent) [3]: Christ’s leaders are gentle, able to make peace, humble when criticized, and aren’t looking for a fight.
  10. Be content (not greedy for money) [3]: God’s leaders are to be content and not covetous. People who are drunk on money can be just as dangerous as those who are drunk on wine.
  11. Be respected by family (rule his or her house well) [4-5]: Spiritual leaders should have a godly home. Their children should have a reverence for Christ and therefore be submitted to authority in the home.
  12. Be spiritually mature (not a novice) [6]: A new believer, or one newly planted, should only be conferred with significant authority. The accolades and influence that flow from the authority are likely to produce pride. Pride led to Satan’s fall, and countless leaders have followed the same destructive path. It is wise to ensure a spiritual leader’s stability before conferring too much authority.

How qualified does a person need to be to get started as an emerging leader? I had been a follower of Jesus for less than six months when I was asked to teach a Bible study. That opportunity was critical to my development as a leader, and allowed for expanding influence as a spiritual leader. For more than 25 years I have been blessed to serve Christ, enjoy expanded influence, and the opportunity to develop other existing and emerging leaders. I believe that the most important test is whether the emerging leader is submitted to Christ and accountable to godly authority? As long as the leader is growing in character, and is under Christ’s authority, and remains accountable to godly leaders, than progressive influence and authority can be conferred. Like a horse, don’t hold the reins so tightly as to quench or break the spirit of a thoroughbred. Similarly, don’t completely let go of the reins and let mavericks cause damage.

…the most important test is whether the emerging leader is submitted to Christ and accountable to godly authority…

Lifework: Three tests to see how qualified you likely are:

  1. Pray that God would reveal any particular areas where you need to grow. Then read the list of character traits again. Share the insights with another person who can encourage accountability.
  1. Ask your spouse or a close friend to grade you on a scale of 1-10 on each of the 12 traits, and use the results to help you see areas where you might need to grow.
  1. A great test to determine whether the existing or emerging leader is submitted to Christ and accountable to godly authority is the 360-degree review. Provide the list of twelve [12] traits to a group of ten people that know you from various spheres of life [family, friends, work/school, church, community]. Ask them to anonymously grade you on a scale of 1-10 on each of the 12 traits. Receive the answers anonymously and use the results to help you see some areas where you might need to grow.

Pastor at Calvary Nexus, Camarillo, CA. Bruce has been an ordained pastor for over 20 years. Bruce planted Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, Ca. in 1996 and continues to serve as the lead pastor of a multi-site church. Bruce is the author of 12 books. He has previously been a trial attorney, and helps direct the Calvary Church Planting Network [CCPN].