Monthly Archives: August 2013


Mike Menning Loving Utah

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

FOOTINGS FOR MINISTRY, Part 2                               Understanding Your Target Audience

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

So God has called you to plant a church.  Many years ago God called me into the political world and twenty-six years ago God called me out of the political world and into full-time ministry.  In the political world I found that when I didn’t understand my audience and I didn’t communicate that I knew them, I didn’t get elected to the office I was pursuing . The same is true in ministry. If we don’t understand and can’t communicate that we understand our audience, we will not succeed in the ministry.  

There is much evidence in Paul’s letters to the early churches that he understood the importance of this concept.  A Native American once said that we would not understand him until we walked in his moccasins for a day. Christian Community developers understand that until they move into the community they cannot understand or reach the community.

I have lived here in Utah for nearly eleven years and have been involved with polygamist families to some extend almost all that time.  Now God has called me into full-time work walking with men who are in or who are still connected with the polygamist communities.  I knew I had a lot to learn about understanding their situations. The more I am learning the more I am coming to realize how little I know. My friend, Dick, [not his real name] a polygamist, is teaching me much about the polygamy culture. You see, I dated my wife and chose to marry. Dick on the other hand was told by the religious leader to take his second wife.  He already had a wife and eight children.  Within 24 hours he had a new sixteen-year-old “second” wife and now has six children with her, in addition to his eight other children.  He is now facing cultural challenges since he was kicked out of the community.  The FLDS took all his property, his business and half of his family.  He got out with a broken down van and several garbage bags of old, not appropriate culturally sensitive clothing, heading into the outside world.  Many well-meaning Christians helping them sometimes treated them as aliens and someone to gawk at.

These fine people have accepted Christ, but this culture is almost TOTALLY foreign to them.  I guess Jesus knew what he was saying when he said the whole law hangs on two simple laws, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.”

I cannot begin to understand my neighbor until I love them as I love myself. How do we do that?  That is what we need to understand before we can understand the audience God has asked us to reach. Reaching them for Jesus is the easy part.  Discipling those we lead to Christ, and disciplining our new friends is the hard part.  That is what we are called to do.


BREAKING NEWS! Ministry Leadership Training Offered Free!

In May we posted about a new opportunity for theological and ministry leadership training that equips people to serve the church in Utah’s unique cultural setting, called Church Birthing Matrix.

The good news is that this program is now being offered free of charge for the inaugural year.

This training is geared for laypersons potentially on a track into vocational ministry, whether as church planters or any ministry role.  It is also ideal for those who have already started in ministry but for whom job or family commitments make traditional theological education impractical.  We are also happy to enroll Elder-level lay leaders whose ministry in the church would be enhanced by more training.

Cohorts meet every Tuesday night and one Saturday each month, for two academic years.  Instruction is provided by live webinar from nationally qualified instructors.  Each cohort is led by an experienced local mentor / coach who will help students apply the training in their own ministry setting.  We are forming two cohorts in Utah, meeting in Taylorsville (led by Chuck Lovelady, Timpanogos Baptist Church) and Layton (led by Ross Anderson, Alpine Church).

Classes start on September 3 and 7.  Registration is open through August 23.  Please take time to look over the catalog and course descriptions.  Please spread the word to anyone you know who might benefit from this training experience. If you have any questions, contact Ross Anderson at

Note: The program is not accredited, because we acknowledge that realistic time commitments for church leaders will not include term papers, tests, and thousands of pages of reading.  Also, the emphasis is on actual preparation for ministry rather than meeting institutional requirements.

Utah Issues: Christian Evangelist addresses Utah Schools on Bullying

Born without limbs, Nick Vujicic urges students to stop bullying

Nick Vujicic’s discussion of the challenges he has faced resonates with Utah students.

By Ray Parker

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Mar 07 2013 09:07 am • Last Updated Mar 11 2013 02:25 pm

Speaking to thousands of Utah students in public schools, motivational speaker and evangelist Nick Vujicic on Thursday shared how he overcame bullying and other challenges in his life: “It’s my faith in Jesus Christ.”

Vujicic, who was born without limbs, also pointed out the only other item on his elevated stage at Bryant Middle School: “My favorite book is here, the Bible.”

The hourlong assembly was simulcast and streamed live, so that about 200 schools across Utah could watch. Sponsored by Standing Together, a group of evangelical Utah churches, it will be available on the Utah Education Network ( for other schools to watch later.

Vujicic’s speech focused on the impact of teasing and bullying and on suicide. Gov. Gary Herbert, when introducing Vujicic, said, “It’s one of these days that could be life-changing.”

The Serbian Australian evangelist was born with tetramelia syndrome, a rare condition in which all four limbs are missing. He was bullied as a youth, he told the students, and contemplated suicide at age 10. While sitting in a bathtub, he considered simply rolling over. But the thought of his parents finding him stopped him, Vujicic said.

“I don’t need to look like anybody else,” he said. And true friends, he added, “won’t judge you for how you look.”

Everyone is unique and has their own purpose in life, he said, frequently telling the students he loved them and urging them to love themselves. “You have to love yourself in a humble way, not in a prideful way.”

Vujicic asked the audience of about 400 teens to close their eyes and raise their hands, then make a fist to answer yes to his questions. He asked who had considered giving up, who had considered giving up because of bullying or had considered suicide.

About one in four students closed their fist in response to the suicide question, he told them.

He asked the audience to stand and make a commitment to stop teasing and bullying. “It stops when you stop,” he said.