Evangelical Convictions seeks to give clarity to the theological convictions contained in the EFCA Statement of Faith - spelling out what is affirmed and what is denied (and what is not addressed). It expounds these convictions - helping the reader understand and appreciate the wonderful truth contained in this Statement of Faith. It speaks clearly but, as much as possible, without technical theological terms so that it can be profitable for all believers, both inside and outside of the EFCA, who need to be grounded in the essentials of the faith.
In this 2nd edition, there are several updates. along with some additions.
Get the book HERE.
- Building Church Leaders Store - General church ministry resources
- Church Conflicts: The Cross, Apocalyptic, and Political Resistance, by Ernst Käsemann
- Church Goals, their mission is to revitalize the Church so it becomes the center of the community as it once was and how God intended it to be with a one-year process.
- Crucial Conversations, Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, by Joseph Grenny (secular, but recommended)
- "Five Things You Need to Know About Moving to Two Services", by the Malphurs Group
- Patrick Drury, Crossroads Resolution Group, conciliators for conflict resolution
- Skill Mapping Survey. Find out how God has equipped and gifted your congregation in order to design ministries for them to serve God as He designed them to. From Made to Flourish.
- Spiritual Fitness CheckUP by Back to the Bible; a spiritual fitness assessment that can be used individually or for groups and churches
- Thom Rainer's predicted church trends 2022
Elder / Deacon / Leader Training
- The Call to Follow - turn modern leadership on its head by focusing on being a "contagious follower" of Jesus. A book by Richard Langer and Joanne J. Jung. (Disclosure: Joanne Jung is a personal friend of Colby and Lynne Kinser.)
- Church Elders: How to Shepherd God’s People Like Jesus, by Jeramie Rinne of 9Marks
- Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch
- E3: Effective, Empowering, Elders by Rick Thompson (District Superintendent of the Great Lakes District)
- Elders and Leaders: God's Plan for Leading the Church: A Biblical, Historical and Cultural Perspective, by Gene Getz
- The Five Dysfunctions as a Team - by Patrick Lencioni, click HERE.
- The Fivefold Ministry - online assessment to determine whether you are more apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, or teaching as a leader.
- The GO Center Leadership Ladder
- Gospel Eldership by Robert Thune
- High-Impact Church Boards: How to Develop Healthy, Intentional, and Empowered Church Leaders, by Tim Addington
- The New Elder's Handbook
- Lead like a Shepherd by Larry Osborne
- Leading Congregational Change: A Practical Guide for the Transformational Journey, by Herrington, Bonem, and Furr
- Lifeway Leadership
- 9 Marks resources for Elders (web resources, plus a book)
- 9 Marks resources for Deacons (web resources, plus a book)
- The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church by Timothy Witmer
- Developing leaders among the youth, Brick Leaders' Guide
- Elder Handbook complied by the Forest Lakes District
Titles, pastors, elders, etc.
- Different churches have different standards for who gets the title "pastor." Is it someone who is on staff exercising pastoral care? Is it someone who is one of the elders who is on staff? The MWD office doesn't determine how the churches in the MWD define titles, but we encourage them to answer the questions: "What does 'elder' mean?" and "What does 'pastor' mean?", and then to ground their answers on Scripture.
- Here's an article that argues that "pastor" is a title that should be given only to someone who is an elder: "Don't Title People 'Pastor' If They Aren't An Elder", by J.A. Medders.
- Here's an article that argues from a complementarian perspective that women can be given the title "pastor" because he doesn't equate the role to an elder: "A Complementarian Case for Women as Pastors", by Sam Storms.
- We welcome submissions for good articles that argue different views on the question in order to provide a breadth of views.
The Leaders' Responsibility to Promote New Leaders
One of a leader's most important responsibilities is to set up the church with good leaders to succeed him or her
- You will not develop the leadership you need 5-10 years from now if they are not serving in rotation now - you would be starving the future church from experienced leaders, which is leadership malpractice.
- Overlapping leaders is a great way to develop new leaders while still getting the input of more experienced leaders at the same time - the best of both worlds! (This is a great reason for leadership term limits of some kind.)
- A church will often not make the changes it should when it should unless there is a rotation of leaders. Churches become "stuck" when older leaders are not actively giving leadership to and mentoring younger leaders.
- 2 Tim 2:2 - If we are not always actively finding ways to entrust leadership, teaching, and doctrinal integrity to the young eagles in the congregation, we are disobeying Scripture. "Entrust these things to faithful men."
- See also Paul's speech at Miletus in Acts 20 - he was soon leaving and therefore would not be in leadership. So he entrusts the younger leaders to God and to the Word. (So that's two kinds of entrusting going on with church leadership.)
- Trust involves risk ... get over it. The younger leaders are not as qualified as you ... neither were you when you started leading.
- The "we don't have anyone qualified or willing" excuse is made worse by not having term limits and making leadership development a mandatory leadership task. Term limits and structure force the issue.
We in the district office can come alongside you and your efforts to be developing leaders, changing your polity to foster leadership development, and connect you with churches that have already made such changes.
Promoting Church Membership
- "5 Biblical Arguments for Church Membership" from Lifeway Research
- The EFCA believes strongly in the autonomy of the local church. Therefore, church membership is particularly important in the EFCA in order to self-govern. Membership flows out of our biblical conviction of church autonomy.
- Furthermore, our doctrinal statement is one of our clearest defining attributes as a movement. Doctrinal integrity is maintained through membership and those who commit to perpetuate our Statement of Faith.
- Welcome to the Family - an EFCA resource for teaching membership
Preventing and Responding to Abuse Within the Church
- Child Protection for Small Churches and Church Plants by ECAP
- Child Safety Training - offered by Protect My Ministry
- Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused and other resources
- Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church, by Michael J. Kruger (and a review of the book from the EFCA HERE)
- Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention
- "How Churches Can Walk With the Sexual Abuse Survivor" article published by Lifeway
- NetGrace: A godly response to abuse in the Christian environment
- On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church, by Deepak Reju.
- Plan to Protect: Abuse prevention and protection
- Protect My Ministry group rate on background checks for MWD churches
- "Sexual Abuse: How the Church Can Do Better" from the Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention
- "What Can the Church Do About Child Protection?" from the Gospel Coalition
- Whistleblower resource
Small Church / Rural Church Resources
- A Big Gospel in Small Places: Why Ministry in Forgotten Communities Matters by Stephen Witmer
- DTS' Rural and Small Town Pastors Cohort
- The Forgotten Church: Why Rural Ministry Matters for Every Church in America by Glenn Daman
- God's Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of Rural Church, by Brad Roth
- KC Underground - a network of microchurches, with downloadable resources
- "Leading Through Change": Shepherding the Town and Country Church in the New Era
- The More-with-Less Church: Maximize Your Money, Space, Time, and People to Multiply Ministry Impact, by one of our own, Eddy Hall
- No Little Places: The Untapped Potential of the Small-Town Church, by Ron Klassen
- Pastoring in Overlooked Places - Kevin Kompelien interviews Ronnie Martin, an EFCA pastor in Ashland, Ohio.
- Pastoring Small Towns, by Ronnie Martin and Donnie Griggs
- The Rural Home Missionary Network (RHMA)
- RHMA Town and Country Training (TACT)
- The Small Church Leadership Network
- Small Church Essentials, by Karl Vaters
- Small Town Churches Network
- 3 Myths About the Small Church Pastor, by Lifeway Research
- 3 Steps for Effective Communication in a Small Church, by Lifeway Research
Oak Hill's list
- Daman, Glenn. Leading the Small Church: How to Develop a Transformational Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2006.
- ——————. Shepherding the Small Church: A Leadership Guide for the Majority of Today’s Churches. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2008.
- ——————. The Forgotten Church: Why Rural Ministry Matters for Every Church in America.
- Hansen, David. The Art of Pastoring: Ministry without All the Answers. Revised ed. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Books, 2012.
- Smith, Lee J. Reflections of a Small Town Pastor: Engaging in God’s Mission in Smaller Places. Minneapolis, MN: NextStep Resources, 2013.
- Wells, Barney, Martin Giese, and Ron Klassen. Leading through Change: Shepherding the Town and Country Church in a New Era. St. Charles, IL: ChurchSmart Resources, 2005.
- Rural Home Missionary Association
- Rural Impact Leadership Conference
- Rural Matters Institute
- Oak Hills Christian College Certificate in Rural Leadership and Ministry