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Allen King: 5 reasons there are so few young COG ministers
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Post Allen King: 5 reasons there are so few young COG ministers doyle
In another post Allen King responded about why only 16 percent of COG ministers are under 40. We felt his response was significant enough that it deserved it's own discussion thread.

ALLEN KINGS POST BEGINS:

I feel there are a number of contributing factors to this dilemma. None of which I see being addressed any time soon.

First of all, have you or anyone you know tried to secure credentials through the Church of God lately? There are more hoops to jump through than at a circus. Please understand, I am all for the legitimacy of the process. I appreciate that our movement does not hand out papers to every and any "Johnny Come Lately". However, it is getting ridiculous.

As a pastor and district overseer, I have signed and forwarded nearly 20 applications in the past 5 years. Nearly every applicant has encountered hold-ups and unwarranted scrutiny, including my own wife. One applicant for Ordained Minister applied over 3 years ago, passed his test over a year ago, and is still waiting for his credentials.

The explanation: "There have been several changes to the procedures. We working out the glitches." There are simply easier ways to obtain credentials with other organizations.

Secondly, (and I know I'll be blasted for this) there is simply more offered to younger ministers through other organizations. There is greater financial, moral, and educational support.

Thirdly, I think the average age of the Church of God member plays a role. As Floyd Lawhon said in one of our camp meetings, "We are a gray church." Younger people are moving away from denominationalism. Younger ministers are drawn to younger congregations. And, in all honesty, many of our older members are just plain mean and hostile toward anything new and innovative. So, why would any young pastor want to fight that fight if he doesn't have to do so? Relevant to the young minister is the harvest field, not keeping the aquarium.

Fourthly, it is expensive to be a Church of God pastor. When 15 cents of every tithe dollar is required to be sent to state and general headquarters, with no accountability as to where that money is spent, our young guys are asking questions and getting no answers as to the benefits of such expenditures to the local congregation. Our conferences and educational opportunities are very costly, despite our sending hundreds of dollars a month.

Fifthly, the dynamics of ministry have changed. Long term pastorates have become normative in some movements and among independents. Successful pastors are viewed as those who remain with the same congregation for an extended time. The statistic of the average tenure of a Church of God pastor does not speak well of our movement and how well our churches accommodate the vision of a pastor.

I could go on, but I'm not sure that "sixthly" is a word.
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Post Thanks, and I agree Louis Morgan
Thanks, Allen and Doyle. I agree with these statements-- and I am not doing so with any ill-spirited feeling (just as I "hear" the sincerity and lack of ill-spirit in the original post). These have been some of my own frustrations in deciding what to do with my ministerial credentials. And while I have chosen to remain in the COG because of my heritage and respect for men and women who have nurtured me and poured into me, I realize that my decision is not because I perceive there will be much opportunity or even acceptance of my type of ministry.

I provided my mentors with a link to this discussion board concerning the discussion about my decision to keep my COG credentials and my plans for ministry. Both replied to me, and one even asked, "Are these spirit-filled people?" (because he felt a few of the comments were less than charitable). However, I realize God has given me opportunities for growth and development that are beyond me personally. It is for a reason greater than myself. And, I also know I do not have all the answers and still have things to learn-- but I suspect that everyone does if he or she is honest. While I have a deep love for the COG, I feel there has become too much competition and pride among the ministry. My understanding of ministry is that it is about servanthood and authenticity. It is about being self-less. I also believe my spiritual leaders should model this behavior as well.

Thankfully, both of my mentors are connected to large networks both in the US and overseas. One is already preparing speaking engagements and leadership training opportunities for me once I complete my dissertation. This is my desire, and I am thankful God brought me across the path of this individual who knows me, believes in the gifting God has entrusted to me, and is actively finding ways to allow me to move forward in that gifting. To me, this is what the COG (and any denomination) should be doing. At the very least, there should be some time of information available about locations that need and want this type of ministry. Instead, I feel like I have to spend my time trying to convince others that the ministry call I have is valid. To have so many churches throughout the world, we have become "bogged down" somewhere in our thinking and process.

I have a cousin who was raised in the COG and became a minister with COG license, but he was never given a church. Eventually an independent group near our hometown asked him to pastor. He is no longer a COG minister, but today he has one of the fastest growing congregations in our home county. Many young couples have become a part of that church. We lost some COG young people to this church as well. It could have happened in the COG, but there was too much competition. His gifting was overlooked, and now someone else is reaping the benefits. Of course, I rejoice because souls are being saved and the Kingdom is being advanced. In the end, that is what is most important. But, it could have been different.

I believe many young ministers are finding this level of connection/mentorship/relationship in other organizations, or else they are just going and doing their ministry without credentials. They are finding a place where ministry is not about "the ministers" but about the needs in the world.

Thanks again for this post.
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4/9/08 3:16 pm


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Post Allen King: Preach on Brother MayB2Day
AK summized:

Quote:
And, in all honesty, many of our older members are just plain mean and hostile toward anything new and innovative.


Truer words have never been spoken.
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4/9/08 3:19 pm


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Post Thoughts... Yo Dude
I wonder if part of the reason is that some of us older ministers, thinking that some young guy's ministry won't fit with ours, fail to give them opportunities. And since us older guys make up the majority of ministers, these young guys just have better chances elsewhere.

I completely agree with the difficulty in obtaining credentials. I know of at least two former Church of God ministers who today pastor thriving independent churches. Had they been able to obtain their credentials without reading 40-11 books and so forth, they might be pastoring brand-new Churches of God today.

I'm all for the education part of it. But we better remember there is a supernatural element, and frankly, it seems that so long as they get the education part down, we'll credential them whether they have any anointing or not.

The Church of God used to seem to be so very, very important to us old-schoolers. We had greater respect for Cleveland, our heritage, and so forth--and we passed it on to the next generation. But today, most children in the Church of God, I dare say, couldn't tell you where headquarters is, or even that we are the oldest Pentecostal denomination in the world. We're just "the place we go to church." There is no longer a feeling of connectedness to a certain people and movement. And when that goes, so goes the ties that cause young ministers to wish to stay a part.

Frankly, the ONLY things that I believe the Church of God offers over good independent churches are: 1) being part of the oldest Pentecostal denomination; 2) the great fellowship that is facilitated by campmeetings, and such. After all, most independent churches have doctrinal beliefs in the ballpark of ours (I've seen some COPIED from ours), so that's not a deal breaker.

Then--and this is the cynical part of me--lots of young ministers understand that starting a church is very much like starting a business. It will support them with a salary and so forth, if they can make it work. If they know that, starting out--in the toughest stages of church planting perhaps--they will have to forego the TOT--money that could be used by the church (or by the pastor for his salary)--well, they aren't dumb.
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Post Unavoidable tension... Postmodern Preacher
between someone being "called" by God and then "set forth" by the church.

The church is to affirm a calling upon the individual.

This will always bring tension, angst between the two.

Concerning licensing, has the time come to give greater credibility to experience and praxis? Should we allow certain ministerial candidates to exempt certain aspects without compromising the integrity of ministerial licensure? What would this look like?

The same unavoidable tension is present with with ministerial training. The church wants everyone called to minister, but everyone called needs training. Pastors today have congregants with undergraduate and graduate degrees, and there will be more in the generation to come. How can we "hurry" the process of licensing and ministerial training without damaging the need for training and scholarship? What would this look like?

Obviously CAMS or MIP are not static perfected methods but should be in a state of constant change in order to be relevant.

But one problem is that while the MIP greatly blesses and challenges some, others will already be beyond the benefits of MIP. This is always going to happen with a structured system. Also, if training was the sole responsibility of the local church, some would receive great training, yet others would definitely not!

Some pastors can obviously do as great a job as any state office board, yet some Interns would be at a great disadvantage with a pastor who either is not equipped to train or has no desire to train ministerial prospects.

Has the time come to allow Interns to "test out," exempt portions based upon their prior study and experience?

We can all curse the darkness and point out weaknesses in any "program."

But what should the licensing process look like?

If CAMS or MIP are inadequate and need to be replaced, what would a better system look like?

For one, I would enjoy hearing thoughts about this!!

Sincerely...
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Last edited by Postmodern Preacher on 4/10/08 12:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post Larry Wiley
Protect the 15% and the ownership to the property at any cost.
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Post 2nd & 3rd hit home StephenHoell
I'm going through the MIP right now...have not opened a book nor have I watched a video...and I haven't made less than a 90 yet. The material and education is not really difficult...but because my dark hair hasn't turned gray yet, post-MIP will be difficult.

My wife and I are seriously contemplating changing our credentials to the Pentecostal Holiness denomination. They are wanting young preachers. They give young preachers an opportunity. They work with young preachers.

Alot of CoG pastors that I know of like to preach forgiveness but will never forget the past...so if a young preachers has messed up...you're done...unless you're a "poster child"...
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Post Darrell Garrett
Allen, you said a mouthful, my friend, and you are right on the mark.
My son told us last year that he knew he was called to preach. He will be leaving for college in a couple of months. He will be getting a degree in Physics Engineering and then going on to Medical school, as he plans on being a radiologist. So the kid is looking at 9 or 10 years of very difficult, time consuming college. I share this, because if he does the COG stuff, they want him to do 2 years of CAMS then the MIP; this on top of his college requirements. He is really torn. He wants to stay in the COG, which would make him a 4th generation COG preacher. But he is questioning at how realistic this is under his circumstances. I told him that I will support him in what ever decision he makes, and added that I could not blame him at all if he walked away from the COG. Quite frankly, if I were in his shoes, I would not even consider the COG with all the hoops they want him to jump through.
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Post Old Time Country Preacher
The Dawg wrote:
My son told us last year that he knew he was called to preach. He will be leaving for college in a couple of months.

He will be getting a degree in Physics Engineering and then going on to Medical school, as he plans on being a radiologist. So the kid is looking at 9 or 10 years of very difficult, time consuming college.

I share this, because if he does the COG stuff, they want him to do 2 years of CAMS then the MIP; this on top of his college requirements.


He is willin to invest 9-10 years in college for secular trainin, but CAMS & MIP is a heap too much to help git ready fer ministerin eternity to folk?
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Post Re: 2nd & 3rd hit home Old Time Country Preacher
StephenHoell wrote:
I'm going through the MIP right now...have not opened a book nor have I watched a video...and I haven't made less than a 90 yet. The material and education is not really difficult...but because my dark hair hasn't turned gray yet, post-MIP will be difficult.

My wife and I are seriously contemplating changing our credentials to the Pentecostal Holiness denomination. They are wanting young preachers. They give young preachers an opportunity. They work with young preachers.

Alot of CoG pastors that I know of like to preach forgiveness but will never forget the past...so if a young preachers has messed up...you're done...unless you're a "poster child"...


1) Hey, I wonder if they is any PH pastors what preach forgiveness but will never forget the past?
2) The PH church is a real good church, but not without its own problems.
3) Please document how the PH gives young preachers a opportunity an work with em any more than the CoG does?
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Post Sorry Allen archie
I love you and your family and your awesome in-laws, but, I disagree with your assesment.
I have worked in the ministerial development area for several years at the state,local and national level and it is not hard nor expensive.
I too am thankful that we do not hand out credentials. CAMS is 3-4 months and uses critical assesment tools to help the student discern their credentialing needs.
MIP is sought out by sister denoms as a viable tool for training ministers.
I believe that at least part of the young minister problem is directly related to the closing of all of our Bible Colleges,ECBC,WCCC,NWBC and that wonderfully effective Bible and Music Training School that North Carolina ran successfully for many years.
I am gray. There it is, right out on the table. Openly gray. Third generation COG and I love training our ministers young and old alike. God is still calling young men and women to ministry today and their training begins in the local church. Those of you who are so vocal about being missional and emergent start right there. Raise up your Timothys and Tituses.Pour into The Missions and see those young energetics turn the world upside down for Jesus.
I was young and now I am old, I have never seen the righteous forsaken or begging for bread(recognition, a place to preach, an opportunity).
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Post Darrell Garrett
Old Time Country Preacher wrote:
The Dawg wrote:
My son told us last year that he knew he was called to preach. He will be leaving for college in a couple of months.

He will be getting a degree in Physics Engineering and then going on to Medical school, as he plans on being a radiologist. So the kid is looking at 9 or 10 years of very difficult, time consuming college.

I share this, because if he does the COG stuff, they want him to do 2 years of CAMS then the MIP; this on top of his college requirements.


He is willin to invest 9-10 years in college for secular trainin, but CAMS & MIP is a heap too much to help git ready fer ministerin eternity to folk?


I don't know if you are trying to be funny or if you are serious, but let me just say, if you cannot see the point in this, then there is not much sense in talking with you about it. The point is that they have made the process far harder than it ought to be. You never went through it. I didn't. Those passing all these STUPID rules never went through this. But they want the next generation to jump the hoops for them. Why? Because they have the power to make them do so.

As for my son... first, he knows the Word far better than many men that I have seen come through the MIP. Still, he has been looking at doing a double major and getting his degree in Bible. They would still want him to do the hoop jumping for them.

OTCP, the topic of the thread is why we are losing our youth from the COG ministry. I used my son's story as an example of why. YOUR response is an example of why they are leaving us in droves.
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Post Jim Morrison
Good points:
I agree with many of AJ's points. I also agree with a couple of points from Archie:
I am a tweener, not young or old.
1. The closing of Colleges has really hurt our young ministers crop. Having served in a Missions Region I saw first hand how the closing of schools has hurt us. You may think it is no big deal, they can go to Lee and it is better than a school in the Dakotas, CA or NC, however many kids like to stay close to where they are from. Not all want to go to TN. Many of the kids in IA/NE went to Northwest, an AG school in Minneapolis, MN. Once they got there they seldom returned to ministry in the COG. The opp's that came their way were AG opp's.
Very few of the men who were serving in IA/NE had any experience with that area until they came to Pastor there from various parts of the country, it makes a difference.

2. I think the hoops are too many. I think some of our training is needed and I would be more in favor of it IF we would get more focused on the relationship aspect of ministry than the book learning part.
Test, test, test, wait, wait, wait And oh BTW you have built a church that was in the hole financially and had less than 20 people, now you have over 200, but you were late on your reports you will have to wait a five more months and show yourself faithful!!!! That was a real example btw.
We just simply don't focus on relationship and helping a person show them self approved enough. The Paul Timothy was a Father-Son relationship, not just a teacher-student relationship.

3. Better opps and more real relationship - no doubt about it.
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Post Old Time Country Preacher
The Dawg wrote:
I don't know if you are trying to be funny or if you are serious, but let me just say, if you cannot see the point in this, then there is not much sense in talking with you about it. The point is that they have made the process far harder than it ought to be. You never went through it. I didn't. Those passing all these STUPID rules never went through this. But they want the next generation to jump the hoops for them. Why? Because they have the power to make them do so.


Dead Serious, Dawg!

1. You mighta not gone through it, but the ole timer did, MIP an all.

2. An as one who went through it, I voted to make the process a bit more stringent than gittin a copy of a test, passin it with a slap on the good ole boy back, an, hey doc, you one a us now. For years the CoG was way too lean in its ministerial credentialin process. Its still a work in progress, but it shore aint beyond doin for the seriously called folk.

3. When many denominations require a Bible college degree (some the MDiv) for ordination, to say the CoG requirement of a 3-4 month CAM & a 9-month MIP is too much is worth a good horse laugh................

4. An if folk is willin to beat the pavement an put in the time in everthing else in life, but wanna git by with ordination as easy as possible, ummmmmmmmmmmm, maybe priorities is outta whack.
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Post Darrell Garrett
The MIP you did and the MIP of today have nothing in common other than the name. I believe in preparing for ministry, but let's be honest, most of this PLEASE SELECT ANOTHER WORD they have folks going through now days is nothing more than busy work. The idea is to "weed out" those who "are not called" because they are not willing to jump the hoops. Well, we are getting what these so called experts wanted, thinned out numbers... and it is fixing to drive the death nail into this denomination. Hon. Dr. in Acts-celeratology
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Post Some thoughts BuckeyeYP
As a young minister who graduated from Lee less than five years ago I can tell you my thoughts on why mist of my class mates never got involved with the COG.

1. Politics- Our generation doesn't need face time they want God time and if you go to the GA or Winterfest it becomes a who's who's in the COG on stage and then we give God his time.

2. We focus way to much on our pentecostal heritage instead of looking to our Pentecostal future. Young ministers don't need to hear about the moves of God in the past they want to see moves of God now. If all our leadership does is focus on the Good old days and not where God is leading us than why would you want to be part of a movement that has no future because they live in the past.

3. If it's not in the south you might as well start it yourself. An uncle of mine pastor in wisconsin for 14 years and his church was taking care of struggling pastors in that area. Why would you want to be part of an organization where the leadership drive $50,000+ cars and live comfortable while you have guys who are trying to reach there communities working full time jobs and pastoring and still not making ends meat.

However, let me give my reasons why I am a Minister in the COG.

1. In order to see change you have to be willing to pay the price. Most guys I know say well if they don't like I will leave. If we all do that then nothing will ever happen and the same names just different generations will be in leadership doing the same stuff their daddies and grand daddies did, and eventually the COG will be an international success and a dead church in the U.S

2. I want to see the COG succeed this is a great denomination with sound doctrine. All we have to do is find the way to take the same message and the same beliefs and make them relevant for today.
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Post Re: Sorry Allen Allen King
archie wrote:
I have worked in the ministerial development area for several years at the state,local and national level and it is not hard nor expensive.
I too am thankful that we do not hand out credentials. CAMS is 3-4 months and uses critical assesment tools to help the student discern their credentialing needs.
MIP is sought out by sister denoms as a viable tool for training ministers.
I believe that at least part of the young minister problem is directly related to the closing of all of our Bible Colleges,ECBC,WCCC,NWBC and that wonderfully effective Bible and Music Training School that North Carolina ran successfully for many years.
I am gray. There it is, right out on the table. Openly gray. Third generation COG and I love training our ministers young and old alike. God is still calling young men and women to ministry today and their training begins in the local church. Those of you who are so vocal about being missional and emergent start right there. Raise up your Timothys and Tituses.Pour into The Missions and see those young energetics turn the world upside down for Jesus.



Archie, my friend, thanks for the kindness of your response. However, I feel you may have missed my point.
When I spoke of the expense, I was not speaking of MIP or other educational programs (though I do think Lee U. should offer some assistance to its ministers and their families). I was speaking primarily of the demands of so much money going to state and general HQ with no accountability. Then, add to that the constant barrage of mail we receive asking for more money and special offerings.
I am in no way opposed to further education and training. I feel the MIP and CAMS programs could be quite beneficial with a little tweaking. For instance, there could be more emphasis placed on real-life ministry lessons rather than personality assessments. I am not sure I grasp the relevance of the material in many cases. The cutting edge couples that I have spoken with who have gone through the MIP have been frustrated because of the lack of updated "rubber meets the road" training.
My youth pastor recently completed the MIP. He was told on the first day by one of the instructors, "For the next 9 months, MIP will be the most important priority in your life." Sorry, but I don't think Jesus would agree with that statement. My YP has been in full time ministry for over four years. He pastors more people than most of the men on the MIP board. He ministers to over 200 young people every week. He has a wife and a small son. His most important priority, other than his relationship with Christ, is his family, then his ministry, then somewhere down the line came the MIP.
My own daughter and son in law want to seek credentials, but cannot take time out from balancing work and ministry to attend CAMS. I don't want them to go through the MIP, because they would be taught things that are contrary to what I have instilled into them as ministerial values.
Yet, these are not the "hoops" to which I was referring in my original post. Background checks, which cost the applicant $75, are very slow in being returned. Paperwork is absurd. I'm not sure anybody in the state office really knows what the proper procedure is to follow. Then, on at least two occasions, I have made personal trips to the state office to find out the status on applicants only to find out that their applications were still on a desk unopened weeks after being sent to the office.
I wholeheartedly agree that we should have worked harder to save our colleges. East Coast was a tremendous breeding ground for ministry.
I spend a great deal of time among the Native Americans in the west, and we are at a point of crisis there in our movement. Northwest was such a needed asset to train ministers in that region who simply cannot afford to leave their churches to attend Lee. One of our pastors, Brother Snipes in Tolstoy, South Dakota, passed away last week and I wonder how we will find anyone to take his place.
I wish we could have continued our WNC Summer Bible Institute. I remember when it was in its hayday. Of course, that was when it was being taught by men and women who may not have had college degrees, but they had a wealth of real world knowledge that they were willing to pour out into others.
As you know, I am also gray. I am also third generation COG. I would love nothing more than to see my grandson become a fifth generation COG minister. However, for that to happen some things will have to change.
There is a generation arising now that will not let flesh stand in the way. There are grabbing ministry by the horns and declaring, "Where is the trigger on this and how do you fire it?" And, until our movement can find the balance between flesh and Spirit and until we can find a way to allow ministry and training to work hand in hand effectively and simultaneously, we will continue to watch these young firebrands hone their skills in the fields of other movements.
Don't mean to sound harsh, just concerned.
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Post Allen, Daniel Rushing
I completely agree with you. I know a young man right now who can't get credentialed because he is in the military (Army National Guard), and has to be away on duty every weekend they schedule CAMS. There has been little effort to try and work with him. He is completely qualified, an exceptional Christian, and a wonderful father and minister. I don't even know if he is interested any more. Golf Cart Mafia Consigliere
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Post Tensions unavoidable, new methods/means essential... Postmodern Preacher
There are unavoidable tensions between someone being "called" by God and then "set forth" by the church.

The church is to affirm a calling upon the individual.

This will always bring tension, angst between the two.

Concerning licensing, has the time come to give greater credibility to experience and praxis? Should we allow certain ministerial candidates to exempt certain aspects without compromising the integrity of ministerial licensure? What would this look like?

The same unavoidable tension is present with with ministerial training. The church wants everyone called to minister, but everyone called needs training. Pastors today have congregants with undergraduate and graduate degrees, and there will be more in the generation to come. How can we "hurry" the process of licensing and ministerial training without damaging the need for training and scholarship? What would this look like?

Obviously CAMS or MIP are not static perfected methods but should be in a state of constant change in order to be relevant. With the advent of internet college degrees and other such opportunities, the church is going to have to catch up

But one problem is that while the MIP greatly blesses and challenges some, others will already be beyond the benefits of MIP. This is always going to happen with a structured system. Also, if training was the sole responsibility of the local church, some would receive great training, yet others would definitely not!

Some pastors can obviously do as great a job as any state office board, yet some Interns would be at a great disadvantage with a pastor who either is not equipped to train or has no desire to train ministerial prospects.

Has the time come to allow Interns to "test out," exempt portions based upon their prior study and experience?

We can all curse the darkness and point out weaknesses in any "program."

But what should the licensing process look like?

If CAMS or MIP are inadequate and need to be replaced, what would a better system look like?

For one, I would enjoy hearing thoughts about this!!

Sincerely...

p.s. I erased my post from yesterday and replaced it with this. After praying, I considered it too negative.

Blessings!
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Post Re: Sorry Allen Travis Johnson
archie wrote:
Those of you who are so vocal about being missional and emergent start right there. Raise up your Timothys and Tituses.Pour into The Missions and see those young energetics turn the world upside down for Jesus.
I was young and now I am old, I have never seen the righteous forsaken or begging for bread(recognition, a place to preach, an opportunity).


Archie,

Great stuff.

Here's a quick thought re: credentialing of guys from my church. Under our current system, I would have to send our guys out of Life Pointe during MIP to be under some other pastor in some other church operating under a totally different paradigm than us. I'm not going to do that.

#1 I'm not going to give up their giftings in my church without knowing they are going to a place where they'll learn a ton and grow.

#2 Why would anyone ask someone to leave the place where they are growing, maturing, serving, and in relationship to go find training. That doesn't seem congruent with a Father/son mentoring relationship we see in the Scriptures.

#3 I've seeded some of our leaders into a struggling church. I won't do that again. There was a reason the church was struggling. In the end, it was detrimental to the families we sent over. I want to be jealous with our developing leaders because I value them and want to see the best for their development. I won't trust them to just anyone.

#4 When I've talked to the state office about credentialing and this issue, the response I got was a question about whether or not they were wanting to be senior pastors. When I told them that they were staff pastors or had that aspiration, they said the credentials weren't needed. I think that's pretty short sighted.
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4/10/08 7:53 pm


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