A New Makeover: Remodeling Discipleship From Within

“We can see that the changes had an impact in the way we intended because the Co-lab gave us these tools to put it all together.”

               -Katie-Lee Harrison, Children’s Church Director and Wife of Pastor Jon Harrison

Greensburg Christian Church

What happens when a church intentionally examines the role of discipleship from within? The church begins to rework its ministry to form a solid pathway towards spiritual growth. The end result is a stronger, more effective discipleship model that engages both the adults and the children on a church wide, congregational level never seen before. 

Two years ago, founder Mike Johnson began a discipleship partnership with Greensburg Christian Church in a Church Discipleship Co-lab along with another church in the community. Mike coached our church with the Ascending Leaders framework of discipleship growth.  Since then, this small church in rural Kansas has undergone phenomenal transformation. Katie-Lee Harrison shares the steps they took and the results they are now seeing. 

What was it like when you started working with Mike?

It was very comfortable.  It didn’t feel like an outsider coming in to tell us how to do things.  We were instant friends working towards the same goal.  That gave us more freedom to dig into what discipleship looks like at our church because there was camaraderie, not like a teacher student experience.

How was discipleship previously at GCC?

At the beginning, we didn’t know what we were doing.  Mike really enabled us to figure out for ourselves what we were supposed to be doing.  We didn’t have a discipleship plan at all.  We didn’t know what discipleship looked like.  We knew we should have a Bible study.  We knew people should come to church on Sunday.  We knew that we should love God and love other people, but what exactly were we running towards and what was our goal?

What is something you have learned?

Jon and I have come from other churches in bigger areas where they have these cute little logos and charts, but you don’t really connect them in the life of the church.  From the bigger churches, discipleship is a programming idea rather than a personal idea.  It’s about asking, “How is your discipleship journey going?  How do we come together as a body of believers to figure out how our collective discipleship journeys are going?”

What were some steps that you took?

We consolidated everyone into the same curriculum.  We use the Gospel Project.  Jon preaches on Sunday through the passage.  Our adults do that same passage in Bible study midweek. The next Sunday, we have discussion group prior to the service using lighter questions about the previous week’s passage.

Were there any changes that affected children’s ministry?

In big ways.  Previously, kids left during the service and went to children’s church.  We rearranged our church service so that children’s church is now before the service–the children sit in the service with everyone else.  The kids are learning with the adults the same material.   That was a big difference to integrate our kids into the service.  We felt that discipleship doesn’t start when you’re eighteen or when you make any claim to christianity.  It begins with the seekers.  Our kids are the seekers.  We don’t want to leave them off the spectrum of ministry because they are young.  It makes them part of the body instead of being segregated off to an activity, babysitting function.

Can you describe some changes you saw?

We just started a new quarter of our Wed night Bible study after summer. Typically we would have an ice breaker at the beginning.  That would be the time when they were most chatty.  For Bible study, we almost didn’t even read the questions because the discussion took off.  There was this thought that we should do away with the ice breaker questions so we would have more time to discuss.  It just shows how much has changed in the group members because to get rid of the things that used to be the most fun, that had nothing to do with the Bible, because we want to talk about the Bible more, is a big difference.  It shows a lot of growth in the group.  

Have you seen the coaching trickle down to the individual church member?

You hear more Bibles open and pages turning while the message is going on. That is a direct result of some of the changes we’ve made.  We also have had more involvement from members in the service.  At Bible study there has been more preparation.  The conversation in the morning has been much more robust because of the repetitive nature of our week. It’s all just one passage.  People are  ruminating on it more.  And that is contributing to a more robust discussion, which then contributes to them thinking about it more.  That has been encouraging to see.

Any last thoughts?

People are engaged throughout the entire week – Sunday morning discussion and the sermon and mid week Bible study, so they’re getting hit on all sides.  To see that growth when it’s all working together the way that we planned it is hugely beneficial. We can see that the changes had an impact in the way that we intended because the Co-lab gave us these tools to put it all together.

Episode 32: Engaging Practices for Online Practices

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Our Guest for this Episode

Wendy Mohler-Seib

Wendy is a wife, mother, stepmom, teacher, golfer, Kansan, Southwestern College Builder. She is a lover of good books, beaches, good conversations over good meals, travel, musical theatre, and a good laugh.

She has spent the last 20 years in ministry, and served in full-time youth ministry, bi-vocational youth ministry, and pastoral ministry. She has a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Southwestern College. Her M.Div. and M.A. in Youth Ministry are from Princeton Theological Seminary. She runs a high school vocational discernment program called the Summit Youth Academy and teaches youth ministry courses. She is an elder in the United Methodist Church and currently working on her Ph.D. in Religion from the University of Manchester with a focus on youth ministry.

Information on The Summit Youth Academy:

The Summit exists to prepare high school participants, known as Summit Disciples, for a lifetime of faithful Christian discipleship through connecting, learning, and discerning God’s call. Supported by the Institute for Discipleship, the program launched with funding from the Lilly Endowment with the first Summit in 2017. The Summit Youth Academy is a week for rising high school juniors and seniors to connect with God, Christian leaders and peers, learn Wesleyan theology from seminary and college professors, and discern God’s calling in one’s life.

Facebook – Summit Youth Academy

Instagram – @SummitKansas

Website – www.summityouthacademy.org

Other – wendy.mohlerseib@sckans.edu

Episode 31: A Promising Example of an In-Person/Online Hybrid Small Group

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Our Guests for this Episode

Jon & Katie-Lee Harrison

Get to know Jon & Katie-Lee Harrison:

Jon and Katie-Lee Harrison have been married for almsot 12 year and have three small children. Jon is the pastor at Greensburg Christian Church, Greensburg, KS. Katie-Lee works from home for a law firm in the Chicago suburbs. Jon and Katie-Lee met at Taylor University where they served as volunteers with Youth for Christ. Jon received his MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Prior to moving to Kanas, Jon served in churches in Indiana and Illinois. Jon was introduced to Ascending Leaders about a year ago. Both are part of the new discipleship team and have been very encouraged by the direction and growth their training has developed so far.

Facebook www.facebook.com/greensburgchristian Website www.greensburgchristianchurch.com

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Episode 30: Potential Technology and Platforms for a New Era of Discipleship

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Our Guests for this Episode

Steve Bauserman

Get to know Steve Bauserman:

Steve is an ordained minister and has served on church staffs as a church administrator and a pastoral staff member. He has supported churches with system needs for more than forty years. Steve sees The ACTS Group as a support ministry to churches. He volunteers as a church photographer and a substitute Bible study leader for his church in Sugar Land. His family serves on church staff, in various ministries and as missionaries around the world. Steve is an avid cyclist who restores and collects old bicycles, and also tinkers with old British sports cars.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/steve.bauserman or https://www.facebook.com/actsgroup.net Twitter@BausermanSteve or @ACTSGroupnet Instagram LinkedIn Advanced Church Technology Systems Group Website www.actsgroup.net

Chris Stieb

Get to know Chris:

Chris is the Project Manager and an Engineer for the ACTS Group. Chris is a graduate of Houston Baptist University. He has served on church staff before and has extensive experience in Christian school IT operations. He volunteers actively at his church in Sugar Land on the Media team.

Weekly Blog www.actsgroup.net/blog

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After COVID-19 #StayHome: Part C Important Questions to Ask in this New Era

Michael Scott Johnson 

Spring 2020

In part A of this blog, with the help of a few other articles, I explored the effect this war against COVID-19 may have for:

  • Church ministry this summer (May-July/August, 2020)
  • Church ministry this fall and well into 2021 (though this view is grimmer than any of us hope).
  • Public health and social interaction past 2021 for years.

What will the new era of discipleship and ministry will look like as the world recovers/changes post-Covid-19? In part B of this post, I asked lots of questions to ponder and asked for some responses from you, our readers.

Here may be some important issues to address in ministry in this new coming era.

  • Some may find the rhythms of their life thrown off and it difficult to get into previous rhythms or adapted rhythms. They may find themselves undependable for participating in face-to-face activities that demand they be at a certain place, at a certain time, attentive and dressed presentably. Online worship SHOULD stay a part of what churches offer!
  • Some may give up on living their life for someone else’s schedule, while realizing relationships are still important for discipleship. This may be one more reason why asynchronous (asynchronous means not at the same time) spiritual growth will be important for churches to investigate.
  • Studies show that in the average church 20-25% of the people are dissatisfied with the role the church is playing in their spiritual growth. I have heard from some of these people, that they have discovered in this #StayHome period the ability to pick and choose what to interact with online. They may listen to some of the music from their home church and the preaching from another. The dissatisfied may now check out more quickly. As church leaders, getting past our egos about will be important. While we want our church people to stay “our” church people, the church is God’s and if God’s people grow closer to God by participating in one worship set and then a different sermon, might that be okay?
  • Empty Nesters have now discovered when they are at their lake house or hill country home or out of town visiting the kids for several weekends in a row, they do not have to check out of their home church. If much is provided also online, they can feel a part of it. Some churches did that in the past, but at times it was not uploaded till the next day or two. The moment of normal worship time is the time slot when people need to be able to access the worship event, even if they are physically elsewhere, in order to stay connected. This is an opportunity to further unify your congregation in a world on the go.
  • Parents of small children often report it hard to be in a small group. I have heard some reporting during the last weeks, groups that Zoom together after the kids are in bed, without parents having to drive to a location (and of course one being left home for safety), might allow them to be involved in a meaningful small group, even with the demands of parenting young ones. Possibly 80% of their group meetings are virtual, gathering face-to-face only periodically. Participating in online small groups could be the norm for some!
  • Pastors and church staff and volunteers have had to work much longer hours to learn new  online ways to engage people. A case in point: my wife volunteers singing back-up on a worship team. They have started to produce songs for the congregation online that the musicians record their part in their homes and then gets mixed into a visual collage (a feat that takes hours of work to complete well), in the style of the Brady Bunch opening. The result was received so well that now they are planning on doing more. My wife finds that recording songs that way, just her part, takes more hours than the four she usually volunteers each week practicing and singing in the worship band. Churches may need to consider spreading out the work over more people and more time.
  • Church staff report working very long hours weeks on end during this time of adjusting ministry to online. One of the hazards of career ministry is the blurring of the lines between career ministry time and personal/family time. Now, with working from home, those lines have become even more blurred. I have heard of higher than normal amounts of pastors leaving the ministry or their church after the energy let down after a crisis like a hurricane. What will the church do about exhausted staff, at a time when planned summer vacations have likely been canceled? What will your church do to provide replenishment for your pastor(s) and church staff?
  • Worship and technology people in churches are working harder than ever. When we get back to gathering, churches will need to take extra care that these people don’t have added work. Hiring additional help even now may be needed.

Whether you are gladdened or saddened, it is highly unlikely life and ministry will return to the old normal. Some talk about a new-normal. What if the new normal is not a consistent normal at all. What if it is that so much of what we counted on for ministry no longer works for many people? Will you drop your old tools and pick up new ones as are necessary, or even invent new ones? Adaptation is hard. Having the resources for adaptation and through adaptation is hard. But if it is our new reality, we must deal with it. And we must find new ways to fulfill Christ’s commission to “make disciples” in whatever new era we find ourselves.

If you would like to talk more about these issues as we all move into a very uncertain future, even though we can trust that God is certain, we at Ascending Leaders welcome the conversations. We need each other at these times.

Leave your comments and ideas below. We don’t all have to agree, but God calls us to learn from each other. Let’s help each other with this!

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for more conversation around this and other discipleship and topics around church vitality.

See part A

See part B

After COVID-19 #StayHome: Part B How this Experience May Change Our Future

Michael Scott Johnson 

Spring 2020

In part A ​of this blog, with the help of a few other articles, I explored the effect this war against COVID-19 may have for:

Church ministry this summer (May-July/August, 2020) https://kenbraddy.com/2020/04/18/20-questions-your-church-should-answer-before-people-return/

Church ministry this fall and well into 2021 (though this view is more grim than any of us hope). https://journal.praxislabs.org/leading-beyond-the-blizzard-why-every-organization-is-now-a-startup-b7f32fb278ff

Public health and social interaction past 2021 for years.

Let us now explore some of the potential long term changes to the face of ministry.

I was born in 1963, in the middle of a significant era change. Think of the differences in just one decade between 1957 when my oldest brother was born and 1968, when I turned 6 years old. 1957 was a relatively innocent era with the inauguration of Eisenhower’s second term as president. Sending the national troops to Little Rock to protect citizens during de-segregation as seen on black and white televisions seemed so far away from ordinary life of most U.S. citizens. Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states.  The U.S. had not yet put any satellite into space. By 1958, people had seen a young John F. Kennedy elected as President and assassinated in 1963. They saw Martin Luther King Jr. lead the Civil-Rights March on Washington in 1963 and be assassinated in 1968. In this decade the Civil Rights Act was signed, John Glen circled the earth, the U.S. was on a quest to get to the moon, US troops began fighting on the ground in Vietnam, anti-war protests filled television sets and Senator Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. 1963 marked the shift from an era of seeming tranquility (though built on harsh realities), to an era of upheaval and rapid societal change.

Likewise 2020 may be a key marker of a new era, marked by what we do not yet know. Just imagine the isolation that would have been the case if this COVID-19 crisis had happened just a decade ago without high-speed internet and the affordably of live streaming worship available to most all churches.

Just like 1968 demanded a new way of engaging compared to 1958, 2021 is surely going to demand a far different way of engaging and doing ministry than 2019! Matt Lake, pastor of a church in Willamsport, PA, recently shared in a podcast an apt illustration from the 1949 Man Gulch Fire in Montana. Several “smokejumper” firefighters of the US Forest Service were fighting the fire, when the fire unexpectedly jumped a gulch and burned toward them. They were ordered to abandon their tools and flee. Most of the firefighters could not bring themselves to lose their tools, but rather tried to run to safety with their weighty tools on their backs. The fire overran them, and 13 of them were killed. This story may provide an analogy for our current circumstances. If we don’t abandon our old tools for ministry if they are no longer effective or needed — primarily programs and ways of doing church — we’ll be overrun, and our ministry will be burned. Most churches have pivoted well during COVID-19 #StayHome finding various ways to do worship while social distancing. Yet many are still using our legacy tools, just in a different format– streaming worship with the “pros” providing the content, for the rest of us to passively watch and receive. Too often, whether it is worship or small groups, we have simply changed the platform (laptops with cameras, speakers and microphones, using video services on the internet in place of a physical room) but tried to stay as much as possible with our previously planned programming. But will this new era demand of us actually to drop and leave behind our old tried and true tools of programs?

What ministry changes will be a necessary part of the next era? This Covid-19 #StayHome experience has given people new experiences, some for the better and some for the worse that may keenly impact the next era of life and ministry.

I have been asking people what the new era of discipleship and ministry will look like. I have been hearing various answers. There are MANY questions that I will pose in this post (Be sure to read the next post for some additional ideas and possible SOLUTIONS).

  • On Facebook Live people seem to have loved being able to see peoples’ emotional reactions and comments during moving worship or sermons. This is something very good that would be good for churches to keep even when people are once again worshiping together in an auditorium. Might it become a common practice for people to text comments that immediately project on the big screen or in some other ways be able to interact together during a worship time? Might it profit churches to have someone with the skills and experience to interact online with people about the worship they are experiencing?
  • I was part of one Zoom service of one small church. Some spouses who seldom or never come to worship in the building were sitting there with their spouse. Even if people come to physical worship, how could you continue this positive of including spouses virtually?
  • People may have realized that church life does not have to be all sit and listen. How can churches use technology in the future to give people more opportunity to interact with the content being delivered, even at the time it is being delivered?
  • From my experience teaching masters classes virtually, I learned the difference between synchronous and asynchronous virtual learning. Synchronous is when all parties are online at the same time. Asynchronous involves content provided online via a video to watch or an article to read and then students interact by answering questions or interacting with comments (much like Facebook comments, but with more thought and care put into responses). It is called asynchronous because students can do it on their own time, any hour of the day they choose. It does not mean self-learning, for the teacher is interacting with the students in writing often in a week. It is a highly effective means for people to engage content. How can churches provide more asynchronous spiritual growth for people, especially people who may not be able to be online or at a location at a particular time?
  • One pastor shared with us that when he has asked in the past in a smaller worship service for people to provide prayer requests at that moment–very few volunteer to do so. But when he did so on a Zoom call the first week of stay-at-home, he got a flood of interaction. Has it been your experience that some introverts express themselves emotionally better in writing or virtually than they do in person? This provides some who need it, the time to process before they respond. How can you keep open environments that allow people to more freely and fully express their own reflections, even introverts or those who need more time to process?
  • Some churches have provided daily devotionals by staff on Facebook live or some other way. I hear people saying they greatly appreciate that. Early this morning, for my own time with God, I pulled up one a pastor friend had posted on Facebook live for his congregation. What happens when once again the church staff have more face-to-face programming to pull off? Are they going to do that and online daily devotions, adding even more to their workload? What will be lost for people’s spiritual growth if they go back to programming only for in-person ministry?
  • Medium sized churches especially have had to shift the workload of staff, to allow those with some tech skills to work out the changes of ramping up for online ministry. What will your church do as you expect those staff to go back to previous responsibilities, but you still to provide online ministry?
  • As the fight against COVID 19 shifts into the next phase, what is likely to surface is the number of people who fell into old addictions of overeating, or alcohol, or porn or lashing out at others out of their anxiety. Many hit a spiritual wall and rather than finding God present with them, succumbed to self-defeating behavior. Will you be prepared to help these people? Possibly this is the time to start some small groups around recovery, mental health or healthy grieving.
  • While some are feeling intense cabin fever, others are feeling a deep sense of wellness to not have their life dictated by demands and social pressures to be here or there. Some have now seen the rat race for the folly it is. How will people respond when the social pressure returns to get out? Will they have the courage to say “no” in order to keep margin in their lives? Will they not let themselves get guilted into activity or go out of the fear of missing out? How will the church engage their spiritual growth if they are more discerning about what events they attend?
  • I have noticed that when Zooming, people tend not to have the side conversations that can happen in in-person small groups. Zoom is an environment where people need to listen to another speak. How can we use this in the future to encourage people to listen better?
  • Heather Jallad, Pastor of Community Engagement of a church in Jones Creek, GA, recently observed that it may be that some of the things people have had to do without during this pandemic are things they do not really need. Might this experience cause churches to realize some things they were putting time into, were not that important, tools that could be dropped, in order to free up time for tools that are more necessary in this new era?
  • Because of several of the points above, some may respond better to virtual experiences provided at the same time as in-person experiences. It is extremely difficult in terms of tech to provide both an engaging in-person experience and engaging virtual experience at the same time. What will the answer be?

SO many questions! I want to hear your ideas and may share some on my next post. Please post your comments here or email me at mike@ascendingleaders.org.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for more conversation around this and other discipleship and church vitality topics.

After COVID-19 #StayHome: What Comes Next for Church Ministry?

After COVID-19 #StayHome:

What Comes Next for Church Ministry?

Michael Scott Johnson

Spring 2020

PART A

Like many of you, I lived through 9/11 (2001) and the dramatic changes that brought. My family and I also lived through tropical storms and Hurricanes like Allison, Rita, Ike, and Harvey. The first few times, some things changed, but when Harvey hit, every single person in our community was affected. Our daughter and her husband were flooded. The streets in our neighborhood were flooded, blocking us in our house for 7 days. The helicopters flying over to pull people from their homes did not make us feel more secure. There was no church worship services for one Sunday, and then we could worship together again. On that Sunday you could feel the deep sense of energy– people needed to be together and support each other. It took our family six months to help our daughter and her husband finish the rehab of their home. For a few years, every time it rained hard, some felt a bit panicky (a mild case of PTSD?).

During the current COVID-19 calamity the lapse of time we have not worshiped together in person is for a much longer period than any before. Churches have adapted for online ministry and worship. We are past Easter and ready to hug each other’s necks. But coming out of this Covid-19 is most likely going to be much different than anything any of us have experienced before. Church leaders need to be preparing now for what it might be like to come back together. On Saturday, April 18, Ken Brady shared some thoughts that church leaders should pay attention to in preparation for May-June and even possibly into July and August of 2020.

https://kenbraddy.com/2020/04/18/20-questions-your-church-should-answer-before-people-return/

What if the initial green light in your state is not for groups of 100, but rather of 10 or 20 or 50? Will we be prepared then to have worship in small groups. One church I know of has already structured their worship using a Powerpoint (using Google’s Share Point) with embedded videos for announcements and the sermon and Youtube links for worship songs that groups can play together, then pray together and read Scripture together, following a liturgy that is in the Powerpoint. They have been using this already with shelter-at-home with small groups meeting together using the virtual meeting platform of their choice (Zoom, Google Chat, Skype, Go to Meeting, etc.)

But then we will get back to normal again in the fall, correct? A friend and Discipleship Coach of Ascending Leaders, Bob Johnson, not only has decades of experience as a pastor, but before that, training and experience as an engineer. He loves research and has been comparing this virus crisis to the one of 100 years ago—the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Bob pointed out to me that the Mayor of Denver decided to lift restrictions on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918. About two weeks later, new cases of the flu and deaths skyrocketed and Denver’s leaders were forced to enact social distancing a second time. Bob calls this “the 2-humped camel” from the shape of their “cases over time” graph. Many say that we will experience something similar this year as we begin to reopen public life. And no one knows what the fall flu season will bring in terms of COVID-19. Churches may experience unexpected rolling stay-at-home orders as hot spots pop up.

On March 20 Andy Crouch, Kurt Keilhacker, and Dave Blanchard wrote an insightful piece that may point to what the fall and 2021 may look like. They call it a “Little Ice Age” of 18 months or more–Brrrr.

https://journal.praxislabs.org/leading-beyond-the-blizzard-why-every-organization-is-now-a-startup-b7f32fb278ff

This is all just talking about the virus and its effects on our movements and ability to congregate. What about jobs and human economic flourishing? The economy has taken a hard hit. Jobs have been lost. Wages have been lost. Some businesses that cannot effectively move online are in jeopardy of closing or needing months and even years to recover. The almost three months of loans that the CARES Act is providing will not be long enough for many small businesses, if we do have an economic “little ice age.” What will this do to the economics of the ministry of churches?

So it may be as much as 12-18 months and then we can go back to normal for ministry? Not so fast. How will people’s experiences in this large crisis affect their future behavior? Might pandemics every few years of a new virus with different frustrating qualities be our new normal? How will life be different in new era of life?

Several years ago my doctor recommended in order to get sick less often after I return from travel, I begin always wiping the armrest, seatbelts, light button, tray and anything else I may touch on every flight. That doctor was right, it made a huge difference. I have on occasion received odd looks or been mocked by fellow passengers for that behavior. My wife has always pushed elevator buttons with her elbows (if you pick up a germ you cannot touch your face with your elbow). She has gotten some pretty weird looks. Over the New Year’s weekend 2020, I picked up a bad flu while at a wedding near Seattle. Through a teledoc, I was able to get a script for Tamiflu. I told the pharmacist I was scheduled to fly the next day and asked what I could do to try to keep the rest of my family and others from getting sick. He suggested I wear a medical mask (BTW that is a routine practice in Asian countries when people feel ill). I did through the airport and on the flight. I got some pretty strange looks and early experiences of social distancing. Now, the kind of actions the public once viewed as weird are as appropriate for public health. I’m sure airplane travel will not be the only change we see in public health.

Just as greeting traveling loved ones at the gate after their flight landed is a distant memory from before 9/11/2001, the pressing of hands in a handshake may be a distant memory. Some type of air hand greeting may be the way to greet another.

We have explored here the effect this war against COVID-19 may have for:

  1. Church ministry this summer (May-July/August, 2020)
  2. Church ministry this fall and well into 2021.
  3. Public health and social interaction past 2021 for years.

There will also be ministry changes. Read part B where I address some of the potential ministry changes. How will your church adapt to the new reality, a new reality, the contours of which are a guess to us all?

Episode 29: Leading a Discipleship Revolution in a Church

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Our Guest for this Episode

Mike McClenahan

Get to know Mike McClenahan:

Pastor McClenahan has served since 2003 as Senior Pastor at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church. His passion is for the church to experience authentic transformation in order to make a tangible difference in the world. He has seen tremendous change in the structures and culture of his church: focus on sermon based small groups as primary discipleship strategy together, unified and intergenerational worship, missional strategy for the whole church, rebuilt and remodeled campus, and most recently a renewed commitment to personal spiritual practices. Ascending Leaders helped us respond to the Reveal for Church results to create a more effective culture of discipleship. 30 years ordained ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and current chair of church planting committee of Presbytery of San Diego and board president of The Fellowship Community. Degrees from UCLA (BA Spanish) and Fuller Seminary (MDiv 1988, DMin 2000). He and his wife Amy, were married in 1985. They have twin married sons and five grandchildren. They are fans of pilgrimage, coffee and travel. 

Mike McClenahanSolana Beach Presbyterian ChurchFacebook, instagram: @mikemcclenahanBlog: mikemcclenahan.blogspot.comChurch website: solanabeach.church

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Episode 28: The Youth Advocate Program

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Our Guest for this Episode

Matt McClure

Get to know Matt McClure:

Rev. Matthew McClure, went to Calvin College in Grand Rapids for undergraduate and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary for His MDiv. He have been married to his beautiful wife for 15 years and God has blessed them with 4 children. Lorien is 11, Leighton is 10, Graiden is 8, and Tiernan is 5. He Is The Pastor Of Prairie City Christian Reformed Church In Prairie City, Iowa. A Small Farming Community.

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Episode 27: Why we do what we do

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Our Guest for this Episode

Mike Johnson

Get to know Mike Johnson:

Mike believes he is formed by Christ to form others. He is an ordained Minister of the Word in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. In March of 2004, Mike received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. He specialized in adult lay leadership development.

Prior to that, Mike served as resident pastor at New Life Church in Spring, Texas, planted and pastored Community Life Church in Missouri City, Texas, and also developed and implemented the Texas Leadership Development Network, which was the predecessor to Ascending Leaders. Mike has also helped church leaders refocus and has been involved in the city-reaching efforts in the greater Houston, Texas area.

Mike is the core author of most of Ascending Leaders’ material. He sees his calling and gifting as being a faithful tool for creatively forming others. His passion is to help people grow and serve effectively as discipled leaders in God’s Kingdom.

Mike, his wife, Gina and their two children, Emmelyn and Nicholas, have made Sugar Land, Texas their home since 1990. He recently became a grandparent to two amazing granddaughters, whom he adores. Mike enjoys gardening with his wife and family activities, such as traveling and camping. He also enjoys friends and reading. 

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