Episode 22: Sermon-Based Small Groups

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Paula Taylor is Associate Pastor of Discipleship at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church in Southern California. She has a passion for helping people find their true identity in Christ. Over the past 22 years on staff at SBPC, Paula has developed church wide strategies for small groups and spiritual formation. In addition to serving in the local church, she speaks and consults nationally on leadership development and discipleship. Paula earned her MA in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and Certifications in Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Direction. As a Spiritual Director, she desires to see the people of God live and lead out of the overflow of a soul intimately connected to God’s love. Paula celebrates 45 years of marriage to her husband, Bill. They take great delight in time spent with in their two daughters and three grandchildren.

Episode 21: Undoing Indifference in Discipleship

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I am in my 24th year of appointment as an United Methodist Pastor and have served a variety of congregations. I have discovered that in all different kinds of churches they say they want to make disciples, and do to some extent, but the intentionality has never been a deep part of their culture. The Texas Annual Conference began a renewal strategy called Vibrant Church Initiative and through that I became introduced in a wonderful way to a process of disciple making through Ascending Leaders. It is so exciting to see a process that take into account the individuality of each congregation AND understands that it is NOT a one and done program.

Episode 20: Surprises in Ministry

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Matt Neely has been Parkway’s Pastor since 2013. He is a husband to Ginger and dad to Jessica, Jenna, Grace and Noah. His favorite things in life are writing songs, snorkeling and dogs that bark a lot. His favorite moments in ministry are when people take a major step forward in their journey with Jesus.

Episode 19: You Are Here

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Rod Tucker is an author and speaker, and he is the Creator of GrowBeyond.org. He was a Discipleship Pastor and now he is the Coordinator for Disciplehship in the Reformed Church in America. He was raised in Alcholics Anonymous with parents in recovery. 

Check out GrowBeyond.org or his books listed below:

Episode 18: Identify Implementation Steps (and Do Them)

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Ryan, his wife Shannon, and their three children live Indianapolis where Ryan serves as the Discipleship Pastor of Northview Church. A pastor for over 20 years, Ryan has been especially passionate about discipleship since attending Fuller Seminary, which is where he met Mike Johnson and was introduced to Ascending Leaders. Ryan has returned to Fuller where he is working on a Doctorate of Intercultural Studies degree and is conducting his research on the role that adult learning and the learning context play in forming disciples. 

Listeners are welcome to reach out to Ryan if they have any questions about the Growth Plan (his church’s discipleship process). Email him at ryan.poe@northviewchurch.us 

Recommended resources:

Episode 17: Revise and Revise Again

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During my fifteen years as a staff member of Chapelwood, my focus has been to help people grow a deeper relationship with God and our faith community. As Director of Connect Ministry, “connecting” new members to Chapelwood and “reconnecting” those stepping into a new stage of life is our mission. These connections come from helping people find meaningful worship, small groups, and learning and serving opportunities to strengthen their partnership with Jesus. For the past two years, I have been an active participant in Ascending Leaders workshops and AscendingOn cohort.

I am a lifelong Christian who has worshiped and been a member of Methodist churches most of my life. I was strongly influenced by my grandmother to love Jesus and love Scripture. My entire family worshiped together regularly. I considered ministry as a career after college, but instead worked in a variety of newspaper reporting, editing, public relations, and advertising positions with my Journalism degree from the University of Texas. All the while, I was attending Bible studies, being discipled by older Christians, serving in church, and intentionally growing in my faith. After 13 years as a stay-at-home mom, I re-entered the workplace in church communications — a perfect fit for my interests and training. I joined Chapelwood’s staff in 2001 as associate director of communications. This is my home church. In 2008, I was asked to take the role director of Learning Ministry (the forerunner of what is now Grow Ministries). Thankfully, Chapelwood supported me in attending professional certification classes in Christian Education at Perkins School of Theology. I was certified in 2014 and now serve as the director of that program, helping others obtain vital training for their leadership positions in churches nationwide. I also serve on the Texas Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry as chair of professional certification. I have attended Ascending Leaders Disciple Forward workshops and participated in two seasons of Disciple On co-horts. I’m thankful for the renewed focus on proven pathways that Ascending Leaders keeps in front of me. It is so easy in a large church to plan wide-ranging programs that satisfy lots of areas of interest, but don’t primarily make mature disciples.

Recommended resources:

Episode 16: Assess Your Current Ministries

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Pastor Darrell Delaney has over 15 years of youth ministry experience, and has been pastoring at Madison Church for over 4 years. During that role, he has been working with Dr. Mike Johnson and our international coach on the importance of defining the church’s own “discipleship pathway” for the congregation to go deeper in their walk with Christ.

Recommended resources:

Episode 15: Church, Know Yourself

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Cally Parkinson is the director for REVEAL, an initiative that utilizes research tools and discoveries to help churches better understand spiritual growth in their congregations.  To date REVEAL has served over 2000 churches and surveyed 500,000 congregants. Cally is the author of Rise: Bold Strategies to Transform Your Church, which covers REVEAL’s latest findings about eight church archetypes. Cally has also co-authored four books with Willow Creek’s former Executive Pastor, Greg Hawkins, describing insights from REVEAL.

Cally previously served as the director of communications at Willow Creek Community Church, a role she took on following a twenty-five-year career at Allstate Insurance Company. At Allstate, she held a number of different director- and officer-level positions in strategic planning, research, finance and communications.  She has a BA in languages from Depauw University and a master’s degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Cally and her husband, Rich, live in the Chicago suburbs and have two grown children and two grandchildren.

Nancy Scammacca Lewis joined the REVEAL team as lead statistician in 2008. Since then, she has mined the depths of the REVEAL dataset for insights that can help churches get their congregants moving and become more vibrant in fulfilling their mission. She was a contributing author for Rise: Bold Strategies to Transform Your Church.

In addition to her work with REVEAL, Nancy conducts research projects in education and the social sciences. Her work has been published in several major education research journals. She holds a PhD in quantitative methods from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree from Wheaton College, and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. Nancy also is an ordained deacon in the Anglican Church in North America and served on the pastoral staff of two churches for more than 10 years. Nancy and her husband, Randy, live in the Chicago suburbs.

Recommended resources:

Episode 14: Personally Own It

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David Hsu is the Senior Pastor at West Houston Chinese Church (WHCC) and has been serving there for 24 years. He immigrated to the US from Taiwan when he was 14, and grew up in Boston, MA.  He studied engineering at Tufts University and was a computer chip designer before going to Dallas Theological Seminary for his ThM in pastoral leadership. David joined WHCC as the English minister, working mostly with youth while WHCC was a new church plant in 1993.  David, fluent in both Mandarin and English, became the Senior Pastor in 2001 and has led the church to plant multiple churches, including three in the Houston area (Katy and the Woodlands) and one in East Asia. David and his church are actively involved in global missions, and he has a heart for Asian-American issues between the generations, and for spiritual formation of those in the ministry. He is a graduate of the Spiritual Direction Institute with the Cenacle sisters, and have went through personal coaching with Dr. Mike Johnson. His church has been part of Ascending Leaders’ DiscipleOn cohort as they seek to develop a discipleship culture. 

David’s wife Cheryl is a teacher and a graduate from DTS with a MA in Christian Education. David met Cheryl on a short-term missions trip to the Philippines with Campus Crusade, and they have two children: Nathan, a senior at UT Austin, and Hannah, a freshman at Trinity University. For leisure David enjoys reading, running, fishing, and following Boston area sports teams.

Recommended resources:

Episode 13: Preach It

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Clay Warren is the Senior Pastor of Tacoma Christian Reformed Community Church. He grew up in Northeastern Colorado and graduated from Denver Seminary in 1989. He has lived in Washington since 1991 and has had the privilege of serving youth in three different churches for over 30 years, the last 16 of those years as the pastor of student ministries at TCRCC. He was called to be the Senior Pastor in June 2013. He and his wife, Naomi, have two adult children, Danielle and Chad, who are both married and actively serving the Lord. He also serves on  the Board of Directors for the El Sauzal Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that supports the El Sauzal Orphanage in San Antonio de las Minas, Mexico.

Recommended resources:

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