Monthly Archives: July 2013

FOOTINGS FOR MINISTRY, Part 1 by Mike Menning

Mike Menning Loving UtahFOOTINGS FOR MINISTRY, Part 1

By Mike Menning                                                                     Founder of Pastor to Pastors, which is now Loving Utah

When building a house we all know how important it is to lay the footings first. After the footings, the foundation is laid and then the structure can be put in place. So it is with building a ministry.

So, God has called you into the ministry.  Well, I believe when all of us who accept the Biblical Jesus as our Lord and Savior as a free gift from God. are all called into ministry.  Now, having said that, when God calls us into ministry leadership I believe we need to understand a couple of basics.

Someone who I think has a handle on and describes best the concept of understanding of who I am is Neil Anderson in his latest book, Rough Road To Freedom, his memoir.  I understand some of theologians don’t agree with Dr. Anderson theologically.  I think you will find that almost without exception pastors in Utah who are on the front lines of evangelizing agree with him theologically. I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this book. He does a better job of explaining thisin his book than I can on one page.

FOOTINGS FOR MINISTRY, Part 1: WHO I AM
Many of us think, that what we do determines who we are.  For many years if I were asked this question I would explain my past work and what I am now doing.  I didn’t understand who I really was until I understood that I am truly, a child of God.  When I understood that being adopted into the chosen family of God, the Jewish family of Abraham, I am receiving the inheritance as His child. That is when I began to realize what I am doing is the ministry, not who I am. That is when I began dying to myself, understanding that I have died with Jesus and that I too have been risen to new life.

Romans 8:14-17:  “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

It is at this point that I could begin to understand myself and what I am to do with my life here on earth. As a son of the King I can face the challenges and hardships without feeling sorry for myself. Knowing “who I am” takes away the fear and gives me new confidence in my calling to ministry.  I John 5:18, says, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.”

When we recognize “who we are” we can go forward in the power of the Spirit and the confidence we need to carry out the ministry.

Utah Issues: 11 large churches in Utah

11 large churches in Utah

I’ve been traveling the US this Summer, and was reminded of the state of the church in the rest of America.  It made me reflect on serving in Utah, and gave me a lot of hope and drive to pray for God to do something greater in our day!  Going back to my hometown of Fergus Falls, MN (population 13,000), there are at least 40 different churches, add the rural churches within 20 miles and you are at about 60 churches for a population of 20,000.  That’s one church for every 333 people.  Talk about saturation!  In the rust belt, MI and OH, I saw several church buildings for sale.  A sad sign of declining population, a bad economy and declining attendance in those churches.  In the south there is either a big Church or a little church on every corner. So many they have to get really creative with their names.  I had the pleasure of meeting with an executive pastor in Atlanta of a church of 14,000, and with an executive pastor in Austin of 8,000.  Crazy numbers compared to Utah.

But as many of you know size doesn’t matter.  But calling does.  I also met with two pastors while I was in Southern Utah.  Both of these guys are in towns where there is no Christian Church.  One lives on the UT-AZ border living amongst 99.9% FLDS folks, one lives on the ID-UT border, living amongst 99% LDS folks.  Both of these pastors are experiencing men and women putting their faith in Christ.  My heroes.

Last year I read an interesting article that I wanted to share with you.  It puts the numbers into perspective, in comparison to the rest of America.  Let’s remember there are 2.5 Million Utahans in desperate need of God’s grace and truth.

See you at the Church Planting Summit, October 3, 2013,

— Dave Elshaug, Loving Utah

Original Article Published: Friday, March 23 2012 3:26 p.m. MDT  By , Deseret News

For complete article:  http://www.deseretnews.com/top/522/0/11-large-churches-in-Utah.html

“After reporting on the opening of a new state-of-the-art church facility for South Mountain Community Church last weekend, we started wondering about other large churches and congregations in Utah — and not just the obvious one. After scouring through websites and talking to a few religious leaders, we came up with this list of 11 large Utah congregations. Of course, this list is by no means conclusive. If there are other large churches and congregations that you think should be on this list, let us know. There’s always room for another list!”

Our Ministry Partners: Utah Advance

One of our ministry partners at Loving Utah is Utah Advance Ministries – the ministry umbrella for Ross Anderson, who serves as Loving Utah’s Associate Director.  Incorporated in 2011, Utah Advance is dedicated to advancing healthy churches in the unique cultural setting of Utah, in the following ways.

Resourcing Churches
Utah Advances provides resources to equip evangelical Christian churches to witness and serve more wisely within Utah’s unique religious culture, and especially to enfold and disciple people who have chosen to leave Mormonism.

Planting Churches
Less than 2% of Utahans attend an evangelical church, with only one such church for every 9,000 residents. Utah Advance works with Loving Utah to provide leadership and resources to help plant healthy churches strategically fitted to the culture of this region. This involves teaching, training, recruiting, assessing, and coaching planters, providing them with support and resources, and consulting with parent churches and associations.

Strategic Thinking and Writing
Ross Anderson grew up as a Latter-day Saint, was trained in theology and cross-cultural missions, has served in Utah for over 25 years, and has gifts in writing and analytical thinking. Thus Utah Advance seeks to provide thoughtful analysis to serve the church’s ministry – through Ross’ own writings, as well as recommended works by others.

 

Celebrations & Welcomes (July 2013)

At Loving Utah, we celebrate the fact that God is always doing a new work in our state.  Below are a few celebrations of churches starting, people moving to Utah.  More people to love Utah!  Please join us in praying for these new works, and if you feel compelled, contact the leaders and introduce yourself.

Brent Captain

Brent Captain, Salt Christian Church (Layton):  Starting September 15,  Salt Christian Church will be meeting at the Davis Conference Center in Layton, UT. Our first two preview services will be held on July 14th and July 28th at 10am in the Ed Kenley Amphitheater located at 403 North Wasatch Drive Layton, UT 84041.  Contact: brent@saltchristianchurch.com

Ben and Kristen Helton (Herriman): A team from the Ft. Worth Texas area will be moving to Herriman, UT the first of August, 2013.  They plan to get established and plant the first ever Christan Church in Herriman.  With a current population of 22,000 and growing, this community is prime for work of God.  Be praying for Ben Helton, the lead pastor, and his team as they move, settle in and start the mission God has in store for them.  Contact:ben@lifestonechurch.net

Ben Helton Team

In Ft. Worth Texas — Back Row Left to Right:  Dave Elshaug, Adam Harris, Ben Helton, Front row left to right: Rebecca Harris, Keely Williams holding Jaz, Kristen Helton.  Keely’s husband Cody will also be coming, and one team member has already moved to Herriman, and God provided a really cool job for her.

 

Jason Parrish FamilyJason and Erica Parrish (Salt Lake City): The Well Church opened its doors in February 2012. Get a peek into their world, including their family, their passions and how they became the pastors of The Well. They meet at Olympus Jr. High in Salt Lake City.  http://thewellslc.com/

Matthew Anderson (no family)Matthew Anderson & Plantutah.com.  We are excited that Matthew and his family moved to Utah this spring.  They will begin by planting multiple reproducing missional communities in southern Utah County.  The missional communities will multiply and plant more new churches along the Wasatch front and to the ends of the earth.  Visit their website to find out more.  Contact: plantutah.com/contact/

If you know of a new church that needs to be welcomed or celebrated, please contact us at lovingutahnetwork@gmail.com

Utah Issues: New Ambassador to the Refugee Community

Utah Issues:  New Ambassador to the Refugee Community
Thurl Bailey named ambassador to refugees in Utah
By Dennis Romboy
May 20th, 2013 @ 4:24pm
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=25254982

Dennis Romboy, Reporter
Dennis Romboy is a reporter for Deseret News where for the past 20 years he has covered a variety of beats including state and local government, human services and the 2002 Olympics. Full Bio »

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Jazz player turned singer/songwriter, public speaker and TV basketball analyst Thurl Bailey has a new gig: ambassador.

In his latest role, Bailey will act as a liaison between the state’s refugee community and the governor’s office.

“Thurl has demonstrated exceptional character and passion, both on and off the court,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in announcing the appointment Monday. “His advocacy on behalf of Utah’s refugees will be extremely beneficial as we continue to help them integrate into our communities and enhance the fabric of our great state and unique quality of life.”

Bailey said it’s an honor to be afforded what he called a unique opportunity.

“When you have the title of ambassador, that’s a really broad title in every sense of the word as far as responsibility goes. I want to make sure I live up to it,” he said.

About 50,000 refugees call Utah home, with the largest populations — about 5,000 each — coming from Bhutan, Burma, Iraq and Somalia. Many of them face employment, language and other challenges when they arrive.

Bailey, who first came to Utah in 1983, said he had no idea about the size of the state’s refugee population until he was talking with a friend at the Utah Department of Workforce Services, which oversees state refugee services. That discussion set the governor’s appointment in motion.

“The one thing I did tell the governor is I’m all in. I’m not just going to be a figurehead,” he said.

Baily intends to actively involved in bringing awareness to the state’s refugees and help them integrate and find jobs in the community.

And he figures his high profile in the state will serve to accomplish that.

“The platform I have is one that I want to use to educate people to bring visibility to things like this in our community. People have no idea their neighbor could be a refugee,” he said.

Gerald Brown, state refugee services director, said nine out of 10 people probably can’t define refugee. For refugees to be integrated into the community, he said, Utahns need to know who they are, why they’re here and get to know them.

“I think that’s the biggest way Mr. Bailey can help us. People listen to him,” Brown said.

June is Utah Refugee Month, and the state is planning activities around World Refugee Day on June 22. Bailey sees it as an opportunity to introduce Utahns to their refugee neighbors.

“As I look at my life, I think maybe it was meant for me to able to do this. There are different facets of my life that I can share with people,” he said. “I feel like not only do I have something to offer them, they have something to offer me.”

Bailey said his success as the refugee ambassador won’t come at one particular time, but will be measured by the progress the state makes in accepting refugees.

“I understand that starts with me, in a sense,” he said. “I’m hoping we get to the point where every refugee feels like he or she is a part of the community and the diversity in Utah has gotten to the point where we’re not stunned when we hear that number 50,000 (refugees).”

The Gospel Changes Everything by Jared Buckley

 

Jared Buckley and Family

Mark Your Calendars for the Church Planter’s Summit                     Oct 3, 9-3 @ K2 The Church

THE GOSPEL CHANGES EVERYTHING                                            By Jared Buckley

The Journey Church LogoLead Pastor, The Journey Church, Lehi, UT thejourneyutah.com

 

Over the past 3 years, living in Utah County, we have learned a lot about the culture, the people, and the full totality of the gospel. Before moving to Utah, I felt like I had a good grasp on the gospel. I was very confident in my theology of the gospel. The truth was that I did have a full grasp of the gospel knowledge, but had no idea how to really utilize and apply the gospel to my life, my family, and my community.

 

It is amazing how you could own a sword, place it on the wall for display, tell stories about the sword, and put a custom mold to the handle of the sword, but have no idea how to use the sword in battle. I felt as though that sword was the gospel in my life. I knew all there was to know about the gospel, but actually utilize that gospel as the very power of God (Romans 1:16) that changes lives, that I did not know.

 

When we moved to Utah County, we reached up on the wall to pull down the sword, the gospel, to go to battle. Something that I thought we had done our whole lives, but I gradually understood that my experience with the gospel in battle was limited. At first, I was excited and went running onto the field to battle. Then I realized that I could swing my sword all around, but it wasn’t making any impact. What was wrong, what do I need to do different? I needed training in battle.

 

The gospel is the very power of God. It is God’s story of restoration for all of the world. The gospel must be received daily on a personal level, marriage level, family level, and community level, in that order. As Stephanie, my wife, and I allowed the gospel to transform our identity; we changed our minds, hearts, hands, and feet. We needed to fall in love with Jesus everyday and be changed by Him. We needed Jesus and His power to change.

 

As we saw the gospel change us personally, in marriage, and in family, we began to see it transform our community. After 2 years of living in Utah, one of our changes was our mindset from being church planters to becoming gospel-planting missionaries. The battlefield training taught us that we shouldn’t see the LDS community as a threat or the enemy, but rather souls that were crying out for help and saving. For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the evil forces in this world (Ephesians 6:12). We began to have deep compassion for our neighbors and community who were blinded by Satan’s lies. They were trapped and deceived, so we couldn’t attack them. We had to realize that they needed a Savior. They need a rescue from depression, expectation, inadequacy, and perfection. They needed freedom.  They needed Jesus.

 

For the past year, we have been planting the gospel in the lives of many and waiting on God to grow the gospel (Colossians 1:6). Our mission was no longer to extricate people from the LDS church nor be the best service in town, but rather make disciples of everyone we had relationships with: Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Mormons, and the rest in our community, no difference. For everyone needs the gospel and the gospel is what will make disciples that make disciples. Not a program, not training, not a method, but the gospel. The very essence of the gospel being that out of love, God sent His One and Only Son to die the death we should have died, and gave us the life that we don’t deserve (Tim Keller).

 

We realized that if we truly wanted to see Utah Valley turned upside down for the sake of the gospel, we didn’t need to add church members, but make gospel identified disciples who were sold out on Jesus and His mission. The gospel taught us that when we walk in the Spirit, with God’s power, we will make reproducing disciples by the gospel message and gospel purpose. The gospel is not only what saves us from wrath, but what saved us, what is saving us, and what will save us.

 

We have learned to use the sword in battle. We allowed the gospel to first change our identity, then transform our compassion, next mold our mission, and finally empower the Spirit of God that is alive in each of us to make disciple makers. We needed to apply the gospel daily and see a gospel change.

 

What does the gospel need to change in your life, your marriage, your family, and your community right now? Mission – gospel planting to gospel change to a gospel movement.