“Thank You for Serving Me!” Gospel Card: Five Ways to Share with Those Who Serve

ServeTract_v2FRONT
ServeTract_v2BACK

6 minute read.

I’ve been praying about designing a business card-sized tool that communicates the gospel yet isn’t wordy or looks too ‘busy.’ After reviewing my handwritten notes for the past three years, I’ve finally finished what I think may be an excellent tool to help believers naturally share the gospel with those who serve them.

Some situations may include restaurant wait staff, home repair technicians, bank tellers, utility workers, hair salon stylists, etc. I showed this card to a coworker, and he said, “I wish I had this when the fast food attendant brought my food to the car! We had a good conversation. This would have been perfect!”

Like any other material or tool, it helps to know how to use them in differing situations best. I have a drawer full of screwdrivers in my garage. I also have some on the peg board, in a toolbox, and on the window ledge in my shed. The big red flathead in the garage is often used as a pry bar (because it’s mine, I can, and it works!), the little ones on the peg board get used in tight situations, and the blunt, dirty old one in the shed scrapes the grass from under the push mower. They are all screwdrivers, but I use them differently. Gospel tools are much the same.

I rarely walk up to someone and say, “Here’s some literature. Have a good day!” If someone did that to me, I’d politely thank them and think, “Okay. What now?” I’ve passed out tracts at festivals and have shared hundreds, maybe thousands, at Mardi Gras, but this isn’t everyday evangelism for me. I like to use them as a springboard, a supporting help, or a way to get the gospel in their hands if I don’t have the time to share it properly.

Here are a few examples of what I do:

  • In quick situations, I’ll hand out a Good News tract and say, “have you had any good news today? This message changed my life. If you have 5 minutes today, I’d love for you to read it.” I’ve never had anyone get upset with me.
  •  “Thanks for listening to my story. Can I share something that I wrote?” What is Truth?
  •  “My friend and I like to pray and thank the Lord for our meal and ask His blessings upon those who serve us. How can we pray for you today?” 9/10 are generally receptive and talk to me for a moment. After I get a feel for their mood and see how open they are, I try to share the gospel, often by letting them know I’m a Bible teacher, pastor, or church helper. 9/10 are open to sharing their religious experience. Usually, I’ll ask, “Do you have any spiritual beliefs?” “Are you walking with God regularly, or are you still on a journey learning about Him or different religions?” Their answers generally tell me where to go next. People are super open and honest! If they don’t want to talk, you’ll know it! I asked this first question to two people at Cracker Barrel. They both returned to the table and shared more, received prayer, heard the gospel, and were so very kind and gracious.
  •  My favorite for the past couple of years is this question, “I like to ask people how I can pray for them. Is there anything I can pray for you today?” This is a low commitment for them. They can tell you as little or as much as they want. Some people say, “Just that I have a good day!” Others have taken a seat beside me and poured out their hearts. I asked one telemarketer on the phone, and she broke down in tears. Her daughter was missing, and she didn’t know where she was. We prayed, and she said, “I’m not even going to try to sell you anything today! Thank you so much!” After praying for someone, they are often open to hearing the gospel and receiving some follow-up material.

“Thank you for serving me!” is intended to be used with words and preferably after an offer of prayer or a short spiritual conversation in conjunction with a person who is taking care of you in any way. It can be left at a table with a great tip, in a ‘thank you’ card, or at a service desk. Kindness is key! I say this because many Christians will read this post and say, “I hate those things. It’s cowardly evangelism and highlights pushing one’s faith on another.” (Or some other thing. It doesn’t matter. Someone will complain.) They usually have a story about how someone left a million-dollar bill tract instead of a good tip. I agree. That’s wrong and a terrible witness. Once I saw a Chick Tract on the top of a urinal in a public restroom. Nope. I’m not touching that rascal! Just because someone does evangelism in a way you don’t like, it does not mean we should stop sharing our faith. I’m at the stage of life where I’m comfortable listening to someone tell me that they don’t like how I do something. I usually say, “Okay. Thanks for sharing!”

“Thank you for serving me!” has several ways you can share the gospel with others. I can see five ways so far.

The first way is to ask a server if you can pray for them as you pray for your meal. Have a friendly conversation with them, and on the way out, say, “Thanks for taking care of me today and allowing me to pray for you. Please scan this code to the right. Have a great day!”

The second is if you had a great conversation about the gospel or the Lord. They need some time to think or need some more information. Maybe you only had 3-5 minutes and needed 20 more. Ask them to scan the code to the left. It will take them to the Good News for You gospel page and provide more in-depth information.

The third way is to use the 3-Circles illustration on the back as a way to share the gospel. You can click on the link to learn how to use this tool. Walk the person through 3-Circles and ask them where they think they are on the illustration.

The fourth way is to thank them for serving you and share the code on the back. It’s a video that explains the 3-Circles gospel presentation in about 5 minutes.

The fifth way is to hand someone the card, say thanks, and go about your day. I put this one last because it isn’t the most ideal. Most people (especially the younger ones) are very familiar with QR codes and will know what to do with them.

ServeTract_v1FRONT

How would you use this card? What would you do if you could customize it? Share your comment below, or send me a comment through the ‘About Toby’ page.

I’ve got a couple friends who are “field testing” this new tool with me. Here’s a text from one below.

Starting a Local Leader’s Cohort: Six Principles Toward Starting a ‘Band of Brothers’

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

Eccles. 4:12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Six Principles in Starting a Band of Brothers

  1. Prayer, 2. Discernment, 3. Focus, 4. Defined Time, 5. Size, 6. Purpose

Sometime in 2016, I took a church revitalization elective at MBTS as part of the requirements for a degree program. Dr. Rodney Harrison and another professor tasked the small class with starting a local leader’s cohort to meet once a month and to help me work through some church revitalization issues. We were to pray about who we should invite, design a discussion time, and put together a survey that would serve as a case study for discussion during the in-class portion of the seminar. I promised the group lunch, and a couple books as a ‘thank you’ and ensured they understood that it was for a limited time.

Six years later, that group is still meeting. A friend calls it the ‘Band of Brothers.’ A few guys have come and gone, books have been read, debated, loved, and one or two hated. But several principles have remained, and many lessons have been learned. I’ve learned how and why leaders need a group of like-minded friends who gather together regularly to laugh, cry, build up, encourage, and sometimes lovingly chide a brother. I’ve learned why many groups don’t last very long, the type of person to be invited, and why utilizing the seasons is your best friend in scheduling meetings and breaks.

My first exposure to a leader cohort was with a friend (he’ll remain nameless to protect his innocence), who took me to a Monday morning pastor’s meeting. He used to take me on evangelistic visits, to the hospital, and to widows’ homes to teach me about pastoral ministry. I’m forever grateful for his love for me! The visit to the Monday meeting was different. He wasn’t happy. He was aggravated while heading there, at the meeting, and on the way home.

“You didn’t appear to like that meeting. Why?” “They are a waste of my time. We get together every Monday, and everyone goes around the room talking about ‘how many did you have yesterday’ and ‘we had an altar full’ or ‘the deacons are upset.'” He said, “the bivocational guys can’t come because they are working, the guys who come discouraged leave discouraged, and the ones who are looking to brag gets their moment to shine.”

” Wow! He took me to about two of those and said, “there, you’ve been exposed. I’m not going anymore.” Hahaha! I don’t blame him. He didn’t find value, so he didn’t continue going.

Several years later our family moved to a large city and I was invited to a few cohorts. One was at a local associational building on Monday and was like the experience above. One difference was that I didn’t feel welcome. “Oh good. Another student.” Another group I tried to join was with church planters in the same area. Again, a no go. We were planting a house church and trying to start a network, but I had a difficulty relating to this group. I was also working 50-60 hours a week and trying to complete my master’s degree. Christy and I were using our days off and work schedule to keep the kids out of after-school care. It was a busy time!

I wasn’t off to a good start with my experience and view of cohorts. Dr. Harrison had his work cut out to convince me that this exercise would be worth my time in the long run.

The way he had us start the group was beneficial. He told us to ask the Lord for up to ten pastors who might be interested in learning more about revitalization and who would be able to meet for six to eight weeks. I didn’t realize it then, but this narrowed my focus considerably. In the pastoral leadership world, if I’m meeting guys for lunch, I’m probably going to attract fully funded and the occasional bivocational leader. Knowing this gave me limitations on whom to invite, and the number of guys in the group made it large enough to account for the 3-5 who would come for one or two meetings and drop out, making the group intimate and open for good discussion. These guys finished the assigned group with me and almost all of them said, “do we have to stop? Can we keep going and do another book next month?” While I’ve started several other groups over the years, this Band of Brothers that still meets has been an absolute blessing for me! Each month I look forward to meeting with them, laughing, learning, and loving each other in the Lord. Below are the six principles I’ve learned over the past several years in starting a Band of Brothers.

Principle One: Prayer (Matt. 7:7-8)Is the Lord calling you to encourage a small group of people in your leadership network? Maybe you are fully funded, bivocational, or simply seeking others of like mind. Begin with prayer. Ask the Lord if this is something that would benefit you and others. As a former church planter, I think in the way, ‘what could be?’ “I don’t have it, I need it, nobody is doing it, let’s start it!!” Ask the Lord. Maybe He will say, “come on, you have 47 other things going on right now, along with your third job. Let’s do those first.” OR “Yes! You’ve been seeking this type of fellowship for some time now. I love you. Let me help you find the right ones.” The Lord is good. He will lead you. Ask Him.

Principle Two: Discernment (who to invite and not) (Prov. 16:21) Let’s face it. Some people will kill a group. Why? 132 different reasons. They just will. Ask the Lord, and He will guide you. Ask a trusted friend about a guy’s character. Listen. Trust their judgment. We’ve all come home from a group meeting and said, “I’m never returning to that group! That one guy alienated everyone/talked WAY too much/told too many jokes/promoted himself endlessly/etc.” Invite those who want to learn, have the same concerns, need fellowship, and can meet when the majority are available.

Principle Three: Focus/Affinity (Acts 18:3) I like squirrel hunting with my friend in January. We use a .22lr because the leaves are off the trees, and we don’t care if we miss all day. We don’t set up in his field with shotguns and start blasting at the wood line, hoping something will fall. We are specific with our choice of gun, the round we use, and the animal we hunt. Be clear with whom you focus and what you are doing. The ‘Band of Brothers’ group started with revitalization leaders. We were all fully funded, at about the same stage of ministry, and could relate to one another very well. When you invite “whoever wants to come,” you get no one or the wrong group. What are you trying to do? Maybe you’d like to start an encouraging group for bivo guys who want help with sermon prep once a month? A cohort for new youth leaders in a metro area? A Zoom group for rural church planters? Add some focus before starting.

Principle Four: Defined Times/Seasons (2 Sam 11:1) Use the seasons to your advantage! Leaders will carve out time from January to the front of May and late August/early Sept through early November. I work within these bounds. This just works. When I start a group I like to let the guys know how long we plan to meet, and I do my best to keep within those parameters. If it’s a book group, we define the length, and everyone can agree to hang out for a certain time. Start on time and finish on time. Don’t let the one habitually late guy make you start late and punish everyone. Honor everyone who showed up on time by starting on time. Finish 5 minutes early and set the next meeting date before everyone leaves. This will help you get it on your calendar to remind everyone 3-4 days before the next meeting.

Principle Five: Size (Eccl. 4:12) Keep it smallish. 3-8 leaders are ideal for me. Anything over this gets impersonal and my personality is to remain quiet in larger groups unless zero leadership emerges. I shoot for 8-10 and generally end up with 5. I call it member math. I did the same thing when I was pastoring. If I needed 10 people to help with an event, I told the church I needed 20. I always got the number of people I needed. You are looking for a size that will comfortably gather at a local coffee shop or around a table at church.

Principle Six: Purpose (What are you doing and why?) (Ps 57:2) “Hey Toby, want to get together?” My first inner thought most of the time is, “why?” or “what do you want?” It’s probably yours too, if you are honest. Tell them why upfront. Take away the “why” and “what do you want.” (The same thing goes for those texts you receive from a church member saying, “we need to meet.” About what? Why? 90% of the time it’s not good. Church members, tell your pastor what you want before you meet!! Pastor, ask your member what they want!) Be very clear about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Give them time to check their calendar to accept or to graciously decline. Define the follow-up date and mark it down on your calendar. Follow up with the stragglers once, then move on. They’ve ghosted you. It happens.

When inviting someone, say, “hey brother, I’m praying about starting a cohort for leaders once a month in the afternoon at the local coffee shop. I’m praying for five guys who would like to go through a leadership book and encourage each other for an hour and a half. Here are the two books I’m thinking about. Here’s who I’m planning on inviting… Can you pray about it and let me know next week? Can I follow up with you if I don’t hear from you?

Eccles. 4:12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Some great resources include:

Dr. Bryan Hurlbutt’s Cohorts: Forming a Legion of Disciples in the Local Church (FREE)

An academic dissertation on the benefits of a leadership cohort

Calvin’s Company of Clergy

Principles from John Wesley

MLJ on Training Pastor/Leaders (Audio-67min)

“How Much do You Read your Bible?” Convicting Thoughts Inspired by RT Kendall

How Much do You Read your Bible? – RT Kendall Ministries
— Read on rtkendallministries.com/how-much-do-you-read-your-bible

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

I’ve recently discovered Dr. RT Kendall through listening to a podcast. I’m now reading a few of his books and online blog posts. A week ago I read Word and Spirit and I’m currently reading Holy Fire: A Balanced, Biblical Look at the Holy Spirit’s Work in Our Lives. Kendall pastored Westminster Chapel in London for 25 years and was the pastor who followed and was personally mentored by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Dr. Kendall’s passion for the Word of God is encouraging! I’ve only read a few articles and the above books, and I’m seeing that he uses several of the same stories throughout his work that I’m finding to be encouraging. Some may say, “he’s already used those, I wish he’d find some new ones!” I find this helpful and instructive! The points are being made, driven home, and I’m better able to apply the principles to my own life for application.

One of his repeated points/principles is the application of God’s Word in our lives. In Holy Fire, Kendall says, “the average church leader today spends four minutes a day in prayer.” (p37) Four minutes! When he retired from Westminster, he was asked to give a 10 minute sermon to 100 ministers at the Holy Trinity Church in London on prayer. He said, “I took the whole ten minutes to urge every minister there to spend at least one hour a day in prayer. Two hours is better.” (p120)

Lloyd-Jones and Kendall both followed Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Bible reading plan. They rightly believed that both the Word and Spirit are needed for formation and growth. Regular prayer allowed one the time to spend with the Father to learn from and listen to the Spirit and regular Bible reading formulated one’s Biblical mind toward correct doctrine and theology-a way to keep within the spiritual bounds. MLJ said, “The Bible was not given to replace the miraculous, but to correct abuses.” (p153)

I was listening to Dr. Craig Keener the other day while driving and his words struck me. I couldn’t get them out of my head. He said that when he came to Christ out of atheism, he got serious about God’s Word and started reading 40 chapters of the New Testament A DAY! He was reading the NT through once a week! God has gifted Dr. Keener in an incredible manner. One of the reason’s he can explain, share, and encourage through God’s Word so heartily is his love of reading God’s Word. One of my friends and mentors, Dr. Tom Johnston, posts a picture of his Bible reading each day on Facebook. One of his favorite things to do is to handwrite scripture. Deuteronomy 17:18 says, “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests.” A good friend of mine uses the YouVersion Bible app and allows it to help them through a scripture reading plan. Early this year I started using the BibleTracker app to remind me where I am in my personal reading.

I love the picture of the man reading his Bible above. Do you see how actively he is reading? He looks like he woke up ready to read! I want a heart toward the Lord that says, “here I am. Your servant is listening. Speak to me through your Word. Allow me to listen to your Spirit throughout the day.” May this be our heart and desire as we open God’s Word with expectancy. Who are you reading/watching/listening to that is encouraging you in Bible reading? Do you use any helps/tools to keep you in God’s Word? Do you find it helpful to read with a friend, study group, or whole church?

You can listen to me speak about this topic on my podcast at Anchor.fm.

Prayer Stand Evangelism

21 Sept 2022

Several years ago I purchased a prayer stand for use at events. It’s highly visible, does a great job letting people know what you are doing, and helps you organize gospel material. Here are a couple videos that show an example of what you can do on your own with the prayer stand: Prayer Stand Conversation; Evangelistic Praying.

I’ve attached a training guide that I put together to accompany my prayer stand. I’ve lent it out to many pastors and churches and in the process I’ve learned a few tips that I share in this document.

A Truly Cooperative Spirit Supporting the Mountains

Ken and Merrel

As I drove east from Bowling Green toward Manchester on Saturday, the sky opened and rain steadily began to fall. This was far from ideal as I was on my way to help KBC-assisted church planter John “Boo” Smith in helping replace mailboxes in and around the flood ravaged town of Manchester

The previous week, this area had seen the worst regional flooding in anyone’s memory. After I arrived and got in Boo’s Jeep, we connected with church members from Manchester Baptist Church and their pastor, Ken Bolin. Bro. Ken had put out a Facebook request for people to send new mailboxes, as many people lost theirs in the flooding. Boo said, “not only do they need to get their mail, but emergency workers need to know where addresses are so they can help people. Sometimes mailboxes are the only thing that have a house number on them.”

While we drove, the devastation of homes, property, and livelihoods were tremendous! Homes were flooded, moved from their foundations, and still in the process of being mudded out and repaired. I saw complete layers of asphalt removed from the road and moved into ditches and creek beds. A semi-truck was picked up, moved with the water, and destroyed. As we drove, I could see places where the road had been completely rebuilt with loads and loads of gravel and where bulldozers had moved load after load of dirt and mud that had come rushing down the mountain side.

Layer of asphalt moved

The truly amazing thing to witness was the spirit of cooperation and unity of not only the community, but of those from across the United States. In the steady rain, we were in traffic jam after traffic jam of people on their way to help! Groups were busy assessing the damage, mudding out homes, and going door to door making sure people had food and water. Several teams and groups were set up at Oneida Baptist Institute providing food, clothing, and other assistance. I met people from North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and Pennsylvania volunteering to help. People came to help from everywhere!

Mountain traffic jam

As our little team of Manchester Baptist and church plant Cross Mountain Fellowship worked to replace mailboxes, we got to listen to the stories of those who survived the flood, provide love through a donated mailbox, and share the hope that can only come through repentance and faith in Jesus. At one home, I listened to a 4-year-old show me his creek, mud puddle, and new pencil stash as Pastor Ken faithfully shared the gospel with his mother. At another home as we fought the muddy gravel with a post hole digger, the homeowner came out to express her thankfulness and love of her community.

Toby and Ken

I left Manchester that day praising the Lord for Pastors Ken and Boo and their churches for ministering to their community by organizing and replacing mailboxes and hearing their stories of doing mud-outs and ministering to those in need. What a wonderful example of churches partnering together to meet both physical and spiritual needs! If you or your church would like to help with the Eastern Kentucky flood relief, please go to https://www.kybaptist.org/flood/.

This article can also be found here.

Residencies and Internships: Brainstorming Toward Reproducing the Next Generation of Leaders

I see this sign everywhere I go and so do you!

Every now and then I tease my wife and say, “I suppose each of us could go get a couple part-time jobs and help the economy out a little bit more!” To which she replies, “Let’s just keep the one’s we have and not make the problem any worse.”

While I have yet to see a literal “help wanted” sign on a church building door, there might as well be. I speak to leaders each week who say they are looking for a pastor, youth leader, music minister, next generation pastor, or discipleship pastor. Churches need more ministers, leaders, counselors, and staff. The market is not flooded with leaders!

As I dialogue with local pastors and leaders, I often hear the same questions; “Why aren’t our Bible colleges and seminaries sending out more leaders? Why do our young men and women go off to school and never come back?” I have a few theories, but the ones that rise to the top answer the above questions.

  1. Our colleges and seminaries ARE sending out those we send them. The schools serve the church, not the other way around. To answer this question, I ask another one: What is your church doing to encourage, call out, and physically/spiritually/theologically train the next generation? Does your church encourage local, contextual training coupled with the theological education that a Bible college or seminary can offer? You can easily utilize free (or free with convention partnerships as found at CCBBC) training found at CCBBC, MBTS, and SEBTS as a few examples. Have you thought about starting a cohort, internship, or residency?
  2. Often our future ministers go off to our schools and do not come back because they didn’t see the need (or were not told about the opportunities to serve at home) to return to their context to minister. Does our next generation feel wanted, valued, and see the need to serve within their own context? It’s interesting that we can see missions and ministry opportunities across the state, in the large city, or on one of the coasts, but often have a hard time seeing them at home. I’ve done this, and probably you have too!

Below are some examples of churches/networks who are currently discipling the next generation of leaders through internships and/or residencies. I’ve included several examples for different areas of ministry, styles of church, and methods of funding and philosophy of training leaders. Please remember that not all of these examples are of “your tribe” and I have not vetted each of their theological stances. They are simply examples for you to learn from and to gain principles for developing a leadership pipeline using an internship/residency model.

I’ll highlight each of the interesting things I learned from each in the bullet points below. If you’d like to share your experience, please let me know! Also, if you’d like to brainstorm about starting either or both at your church, reach out to me and I’d be glad to talk to you. It’s my conviction that each church can be a training and sending church for gospel ministers. We need more proclaiming the Good News of the gospel and our churches can train and send them!

  • Southland Church
    • Available Ministry Areas I really like their diversity! This is evidence that they have thought through their process and see a need to train many in varying areas.
      • Worship and production ministry
      • Children’s ministry and student ministries
      • Groups and guest experience ministries
      • Creative video and communications
      • Biblically based justice ministry
      • Multi-site strategy and campus pasturing
      • Church planting
  • Southeast Christian Church
  • Family Church Network
  • Immanuel Baptist Church
    • IBC Residency Program Here is an example in my state. IBCLex is a large church who sees the need to train the next generation to serve within their own church and others.
      • College ministry resident
      • Worship ministry resident
      • Student ministry resident
      • Communications resident
  • Redeemer Church Network
    • Church Planting Residency I love their philosophy of partnering with those who have experience and are currently planting.
      • Residents are placed with planters who are 3+ years ahead
      • They are taught to plant churches who plant churches
      • Two-year process with 3 phases
  • Crossway Network
    • Interesting ways to fund a resident: Awesome funding structure! Inventive and helpful.
      • 1/3 from the local church
      • 1/3 from Crossway Network (max $2k a month)
      • 1/3 from fundraising/bivo-covo work
  • Pinelake-Learn+Live+Lead
    • Using NAMB’s SEND materials, the resident is fully immersed into the pre-launch stages of vision refinement, leadership competencies, core group development, funding strategies, and systems creation.
    • Here is a partial list of responsibilities. Here’s an example of learning and doing. NAMB’s SEND material is great for planters!
      • Live in humble submission to Christ, learning from the Word and from others.
      • Develop a working understanding of ecclesiology, missiology, and theology in regard to the church plant.
      • Development of a prayer support ministry for the new church plant.
      • Research, define, and develop a comprehensive launch plan for the new church plant.
      • Actively recruit, enlist, and equip core launch team.
      • Develop and execute a strategy for donor support.
      • Visit other church plants to assess, learn, and strengthen personal leadership.
      • Involvement in selected activities with the Pinelake Missions Team.
      • Other responsibilities as assigned.
  • Veritas Church
    • Focuses on recently graduated college students. Are you a student who is not sure what to do after graduation? Serve at your church as a resident!
  • Perimeter Church
    • Interesting 10-week summer internship w/ job descriptions. Super helpful to use as a template.
  • Grace Church KS
    • Cool training philosophy idea and graphic
      • 70% of learning is doing the work
      • 20% of learning is being coached by supervisors
      • 10% of learning is formal training
    • Cool pics of students near the Union Station in KCMO. 😊
  • Calvary Church CO
    • They have a residency program for replanting and revitalization as well as church planting
    • They also have two cohort tracks. They are worship ministry and missions.
  • Parkview Christian Church
    • They feature a model for funding residence that includes a stipend of $650 per month in the first year and $750 per month in the second year. They also award scholarships to residents who carry student loan debt up to $3500.
  • Living Hope Baptist Church Bowling Green KY
    • https://livehopeful.com/ministries/mit/
    • LH has two tracks; church ministry and vocational training.
      • LH has a great idea in creating a cohort for those who are in a vocation, but desire more training to be more equipped to reach people in their work context.
  • Christ Fellowship Bowling Green KY
  • Riverwoods Baptist Church Benton KY
    • Riverwoods has a campus model and seeks apprentices and interns to learn at their Benton, Murray, and Morris Valley KY locations.
    • They are currently working to build a church planting residency program that both serves their model and will help provide biblically sound church planters in the Western KY area.
    • https://riverwoodschurch.com/
  • Jennings Creek Community Church Bowling Green KY
    • JCCC is a church plant that begun in 2022.
    • Pastor Derek has a vision to reach the Jennings Creek community with the gospel and to train biblically qualified believers to serve within their spiritual giftings.
    • JCCC is utilizing a summer intern program, primarily among college-aged adults exposing them to evangelism, disciplemaking, and leadership.
    • He hopes to expand to include a pastoral/church planting residency in 2023-24.
    • https://www.kybaptist.org/churches/jennings-creek-community-church/
  • Converge Church Planting Residency
  • Redemption Church Residency
  • The Village Church and Acts29
  • City Church Fort Worth TX

Here are some more resources/ideas you might think about with your team:

  • Begin praying with your leadership about starting an internship or residency. Use some the examples above to show the benefits of raising up our own leaders. Take some time to search scripture and learn about biblical residencies (Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Timothy, Paul and Titus, Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark…). Ask the Lord to reveal your strengths, weaknesses, and to show you where your church can make an impact with this ministry.
  • https://www.vanderbloemen.com/blog/components-church-residency-program
  • https://www.newchurches.com/resource/resources-for-residencies/
  • “How to Start a Residency” https://www.churchplantingpodcast.org/new-city-network/dhati-amp-clint-how-to-start-a-residency
  • Use the internship/residency with undergraduate and graduate students: pay their tuition (partial or full) and set up a customized track or cohort.
  • https://leadershippathway.org/churches sort of a residency clearing house.
  • Begin with a summer internship and work toward developing a strategy for a residency. Your local association/network may have some resources/examples to help you. State and national agencies may be able to offer examples, stipends, and other tools as well.
  • Set up a budget line item focused solely on internships/residencies. Develop a plan, set a yearly budget, and ask members to give to this ministry. Celebrate wins, promote those who are personally benefiting from the program, and make sure there are tracks for men and women.
  • Work with a small group of local churches/pastors to start a cohort of learners in your community. Share the workload!
  • When the internship/residency has been completed for the year, do some evaluations. Sit down with your leadership and reflect upon what you have learned, what you would like to do better, and what you would never do again. Create an exit survey for the interns/residents. Getting their feedback will help future generations have a great experience.
  • Get a short list of churches/leaders in your area or state who are currently using a residency as part of their discipleship ministry. Ask questions that lend to you learning about transferable principles, land mines to avoid, and other tips that will help make your first year or semester a success.

Here is an audio version of this article. 17 minutes.

A Church Plant Success Story: ‘The Lord’s hand is all over Boo’

Submitted to KentuckyToday.com 5-17-22

Tucked into the community of Manchester in Clay Co. is Cross Mountain Fellowship, a KBC assisted church plant led by Pastor John “Boo” Smith. Boo, as he is affectionately called, formerly pastored Gray Fork Baptist Church in Manchester. While he was pastoring, he began Impact Outdoors, a ministry designed to introduce kids and young adults to the outdoors. Boo used his love of outdoor sports such as archery, hunting and fishing, bike riding, and camping to engage local youth with the Good News of the Gospel.

Church Planting and Development Associate Toby DeHay visited Boo in Manchester early in the spring of 2022 and was blown away by how the Lord has blessed Boo, Impact Outdoors, and Cross Mountain Fellowship. “The Lord’s hand is all over Boo, his church, partnering churches/association, and the ministry. The first time Boo took me up the mountain I was amazed! I saw a campground with 25+ sites (RV and tent camping with or without electric and water www.campspot.com/park/cross-mountain-campground ), a children’s play area, bike trail with a repair station, archery range, ax throwing area, open pavilion, Koi pond, and storage cabins for their camping and fishing gear. They also teach drug education and prevention along with the outdoor ministry. I’ve never seen a ministry like it in my life. It was absolutely amazing!”

Impact Outdoors sits on 183 acres on a beautifully wooded mountainside. This outdoor passion turned ministry opportunity began to change the way Boo and his wife began to think about their area. I need a quote on how this changed him toward planting a church. Boo began to see young couples coming to Bible studies as a result of the mountain ministry and immediately saw the need for a new church in Clay County. AMS Frank Peters said, “We are excited for this new church to join our association and working with them through the Cooperative Program and missions.”  Living Water Community Church of Mt Sterling is Cross Mountain Church’s sending church. Pastor Grant Cannoy loves what Boo is doing in Clay County and is happy the Lord is giving them the opportunity to partner with Cross Mountain.

While the Impact Outdoors Ministry is located 1.5 miles outside of Manchester, the church is currently located in the city of Manchester and is sharing space with another church who hosts a recovery ministry in the same building. Boo says, “This location has been such a blessing for us. A partnering church has allowed us to use this space on Sundays and has been very gracious about us creating our own worship area. We partner with Operation UNITE, the Clay County Tourism Commission, as well as private donors and churches to make all this happen. We currently have around 60-75 in attendance weekly and have been blessed with people joining, being saved, and baptized!”

Pastor Boo and a team from the Purchase Area Association in Benton Ky have recently made plans to learn how area churches from the west can partner with Boo and Cross Mountain Fellowship. AMS Dennis Manley said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for our churches to potentially partner with a new church in the east. They are reaching people in a way that relates to our folks. Hunting and fishing is in our blood too! We want to be a blessing to planters like Boo while encouraging our people to be on mission in Kentucky.” Toby DeHay said, “I love that pastors and AMS’s throughout Kentucky are excited to partner with their KBC assisted planters. Boo’s story is an awesome example of how healthy partnerships bless both parties.” If your church or association would like to learn more about your KBC assisted church planters, please visit https://www.planterportal.com/user/viewprofilelist?org=idu9rekuwisp.

https://www.kentuckytoday.com/baptist_life/a-church-plant-success-story-the-lord-s-hand-is-all-over-boo/article_6eb142b6-d613-11ec-a0d7-b39b39d6d2d0.html

Learn about the Good News of the Gospel here.

Gospel Tracts I Have Produced

Sometime around 2014, I was asked by Charles Brock to produce a tract version of his Good News for You! booklet. I began to pray, which led me to begin brainstorming, which led me to the first tract I produced. I added matt419.net to the mix as an evangelistic site and included the text to the Good News tract. A cowboy church pastor friend of mine in AZ shares this site every week with his church as a way to share the gospel!

Good News For You

GNFY! has been through at least four revisions and includes the English version above, Spanish, Mardi Gras English, and Korean. Good News begins with the bad news first. All have sinned. It then moves toward more bad news and shares the punishment we deserve and will receive, and then shares even more bad news in that there is nothing we can do on our own to be made right with God. The Good News is that Jesus took the punishment for us! We repent, confess our sins, and receive Him as our Savior. We are born again as children of His!

GNFY Old Inside
Cover and Back of Tract
Dirty and rejected Mardi Gras Tract
Korean GNFY

I’ve partnered with the Gospel to Every Home effort with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and produced a Good News tract in KJV that is a quad-fold and allows for a little more space for QR codes and a sample gospel prayer. I really like the quad-fold tract. It will be the one I base my future GNFY tracts on as I like the layout and room for QR codes.

GTEH KJV

2020 was an interesting year to say the least! One morning I was reading the Bible, praying, and asking the Lord how I could serve Him evangelistically during that tough season. He gave me the idea to produce the “What is Truth?” tract in English and Spanish. I’m extremely grateful for Pastor Jamie Masso who has translated several tracts into Spanish for me. What is Truth? is based on Pontius Pilate’s question of Jesus in John 18:38. Throughout the tract I used quotes from famous people (actors, musicians, and politicians) and end with Pilate’s quote as I share the gospel. Here is a gospel presentation I like to share.

Truth English
Truth Spanish

In 2022 I would like to produce a couple more GNFY tracts. My goal is to have a black and orange one (like the GTEH example in NKJV or ESV) for the fall season and a red and green one for Christmas. Each fall I get asked by friends if I know of a good tract for Halloween. I get mine at LivingWaters, but thought I mind provide some GNFY this year! The same is true for Christmas. Check out the picture of the tracts with little candy canes Concord Baptist did in 2016 and 2017 below! In 2023 my goals are to produce spring and summer themed tracts to have on hand.

GNFY Candy Canes

If you’d like a sample, please let me know. I’ll be happy to send you a few at no charge. I do not sell these, but occasionally people ask for more than a sample. I simply ask for you to donate money toward producing more (I can let you know what one costs me per tract plus shipping). Our KBC Evangelism Team has a few of these to share with churches as well. Over the past 8 years I believe I’ve ordered about 60k tracts; the majority of which have been shared by believers in Kentucky as they engage their friends, neighbors, and daily connections with the gospel. Blessings my friends!

Fall Good News 2022
Inside Fall GNFY 2022

Above are images of my new fall design for the GNFY tract. I’ve went with the “quad tract” to make more space for the language, QR codes, and an area on the back for church information. I’m hoping that the new prayer QR option will be fruitful. Please let me know if you’d like some of these for your harvest party or Halloween bags. The cost is very minimal, I usually ask for cost replacement.

In 2022 I designed this “Thank you for serving me!” tract.

Front
Back

This business card sized tract can be used in many different ways:

  1. It can be simply given out as a ‘thank you’ when someone does something for you.
  2. Have prayer with a server and let them know they can request more prayer by scanning the QR code on the right.
  3. As you share the gospel with someone who serves you, let them know they can learn more using the QR code to the left.
  4. On the back are more tools. You can use the 3-Circles graph to visually and verbaly share the gospel.
  5. You can also point someone to the QR code that features the 3-Circles YouTube video.