Archive for February, 2014

Seeing the Noah Movie & Why It Matters

Posted in General Advice, Outside Article Reference on February 28, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

Last October at the Catalyst Conference, our staff and 13,000 other leaders had the privilege of seeing the director of the upcoming Noah movie being interviewed. He shared his heart, some of the things he’s learned about the Bible, and his hopes for believers and the conversations people will have because of the film.

As I’ve waited for its arrival, social media has erupted in recent weeks over this post, warning people of faith about the film. Some of the quotes via Twitter & Facebook from Christians:

I cannot believe this trash. BOYCOTT!!!!!
Who in their right mind would watch this garbage? ugh
This is antibible, antigod, antifaith. I will not be watching.
This movie is not accurate. Dear Christians please don’t watch this.
They won’t be getting my money #disgraceful

Now, I haven’t seen the movie. It isn’t out yet. But it pains me to see believers get up in arms like this without first considering how it can open up doors. It happened with History Channel’s The Bible Mini Series. People were outraged at little nuances concerning the narrative that weren’t as they believed it, or they took poetic license in certain areas where the Bible doesn’t say one way or the other. I loved one person’s tweet, “Why British? They should be speaking ENGLISH!” Ha. Well, probably not either of them if we’re on the topic. But I digress…

Believer or not, I encourage you to see this film. Why? Well, I’ve got a few different reasons…

1. People Are Going To See It And Will Want To Talk About It
You could ignore it, but that won’t change anything. You could boycott it, and I guess that will make you feel good. But, people are going see it (many of which don’t claim faith in God). For crying out loud it has Anthony Hopkins, Russell Crowe, and that Harry Potter girl (Emma Watson). When they see it, and they most likely will – you will have probably closed the door on a conversation. Why would they come to the boycotting, social network posting, angry because it does or doesn’t have an agenda in the film – believer? Most won’t. And your hope to share with them the Biblical account will more than likely be squashed because in their eyes you’ve turned into “that Christian.”

2. When God Gets Highlighted In The Public Square, It’s A Win
Even if the film has an environmentalist agenda, and it may (I haven’t seen it yet), God is still being discussed. It’s a chance for people to contemplate faith, God, our existence, and eternity. You have the opportunity to have open discussion about faith. That isn’t going to stem from Fast & Furious 28 or Transformers with Mark Wahlberg (which looks great by the way).

3. If You Boycott This, You Need To Boycott Everything (And That’s Not Going To Happen)
Everything you buy, see, eat, consume, etc – someone behind it has a belief. Your coffee shop, department store, personal computer, cellular phone, food in your pantry, and more. All of these come from someone with a belief in something. I’m willing to bet that 90% of the things you interact with come from people with very different beliefs than you. No more sports. No more media. No more internet. No more coffee stops. No more girl scout cookies (Mmmm, cookies). If this line of thinking is carried out the same as the Noah movie, you need to sell everything, move, and live in a van down by the river. And even then, the van is probably built by someone you differ with and the land owner will kick you out when he finds you there. I’m not saying don’t take a stand on anything. I do, our church does, my family does. I’m saying pick your battles. In my opinion, his doesn’t seem like a battle worth fighting.

4. It Pushes You To Know The Bible
You could take the author of the Christian’s be cautious post’s word for it. Or, you could take your friends who don’t know God to see it, spend some time studying the Biblical account on your own, and be able to have a healthy dialogue about some of the things that were great and not so great in comparison to the Bible’s account.

5. Seeing This Movie Doesn’t Mean You Believe This Interpretation Is 100% Accurate
You can watch something and disagree. Your spending a few bucks on a ticket doesn’t mean you have negated the Bible and now follow some man’s new faith/belief system. It’s a movie. You can watch, enjoy, and be a respectful adult who knows what the Bible says and still enjoy the cinematic interpretation of an amazing story.

6. This Film Won’t End Christianity – Relax
This movie will come and it will eventually go. People will stop talking about it. Christianity has faced harsh critics, attacks, and more. God’s movement isn’t going anywhere. Take a breath and relax. Trust that He’s going to do what He continues to do in the lives of people and this world. Trust that He can take a movie talking about the very things He set in place and can use whatever context people have made it in – and redeem it for His purpose.

Who knows, you might actually like the movie.
You might get to have some great conversations about faith.
Boycotting it won’t completely kill your chances at conversations.
But, it certainly doesn’t help it.

God is big enough to stand up to all of your questions, frustrations, and doubts.
I think He can take on a little film with Hannibal, the Gladiator and Hermione Granger.

jason bedell - circle smJason Bedell
Lead Guy at Forefront Christian Church
VEF Board of Directors
BrandedWithLove.com

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Harry’s Book Corner: “Crazy Busy”

Posted in Book Review on February 27, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

crazybusyAre you too busy to read?  Have I got a book for you!  The title of the book is CRAZY BUSY by Kevin DeYoung.

This is a short book that has some really good advice for Pastors and Church Leaders.  The author is the senior pastor of a large congregation who admits that he is too busy and has tried to analyze his situation and find solutions.

He suggests a diagnosis for seven of the most common causes for our busyness and tentative ways to solve them.  One of the strongest points that I think he makes is:  Expect to be busy, you signed on as a church leader.  Busy is standard for the course.  But you need to get a rhythm in your life that follows the pattern set by Jesus; take time to prioritize and analyze your life.  Most of all time time to stay close to the Lord.

This is a great little book that will give busy preachers and church leaders a plan to make life a little more manageable.

Harry Gill headshot - circle sm
Harry Gill
VEF Director of Church Resources

Roy B. Miller: Servant of Christ

Posted in Prayer Request on February 20, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners
Roy Miller passed recently. Roy served as the Director of Evangelism for the VEF in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He helped organize and start several churches and construction of the buildings in which many of them met. Service for Roy and his wife, Viola, will be Saturday morning at Salem Church of Christ where they served for nearly 25 years.
Here is his obituary from the Roanoke Times:
 
MILLER, Roy B.
Roy B. Miller, 93, of Salem, died on Thursday, February 13, 2014, at Richfield Recovery and Care Center. A native of Winder, Ga., Mr. Miller had lived in Salem since 1953. After attending North Georgia College and the University of Georgia, both he and his wife, Viola, graduated from Atlanta Christian College (ACC) in 1943, the second graduating class of that institution.

He was a professor at ACC for four years and also served on its board of trustees for 50 years. He was Alumni Association President in 1960, received an honorary doctorate from ACC in 1964, and twice received Alumnus of The Year award.

Ministerial students will continue to receive scholarships through The Roy and Viola Miller Scholarship Fund.

Mr. Miller served congregations in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. His longest ministry of 24 years was with the Salem of Christ on West Main Street, Salem, Va. Numerous new congregations started with his assistance and guidance. Four of these were in the Roanoke Valley area. Many young men and women were influenced to enter full time ministry by Roy and Viola.

Roy entered Rotary International on March 19, 1958, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow and a Paul Harris Sustaining Fellow. He became a Skelton Fellow in 2005. As a Rotarian of 50+ years he was well known as the club’s song leader. Roy traveled the state of Virginia for nine years as the Director of Evangelism with the Virginia Evangelizing Fellowship.

Roy was preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, Viola. Survivors include his daughter, Beverly K. Ball, of Lake Spivey, Ga.; his son, Byron Miller, of Leesburg, Ga.; a sister, Ruth Groover, of Fayetteville, Ga.; six grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Service for Roy and Viola will be held at the Salem Church of Christ at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 22, 2014. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. There will be no graveside service. Those desiring may make donations, please consider Jesus Place Inter City Mission, P.O. Box 90368, Atlanta, GA 30364. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.lotzfuneralhomes.com

Dave Hileman headshot - circle smDave Hileman
Executive Director

Transformation in Sad Village

Posted in Church Planting, Prayer Request on February 20, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

You may remember our recent article on how the VEF is partnering with Togo Christian Mission to plant a church in 2015 alongside the International Conference on Missions (ICOM), but they aren’t waiting to start working until then! Togo Christian Mission is hard at work, bringing the gospel into new places every day. Here is their latest update about their work in ‘Sad Village.’

We are always praising God for the growth He is bringing daily into this new Church plant in Sad Village.

Along with our pre-evangelism we have started to spend more time discipling our 7 new Christians who have been baptized in the sad village:  Julie, Pascal and his wife Yawavi, Noah, Koffi, Rosa, and Bruce. We believe with time these individuals will pass on the teachings we are giving them currently to others in the Church and throughout the village as well.

Julie is the young woman sitting in the middle of the bench with the white dress.

Julie is one of the first adults from sad village to contribute to the growth of this new Church plant along with our Church Planters Felix, Tadeo, Amouzou, and Elom.  She is a widow who has grown up in Sad Village.  Julie has been volunteering to clean the area, bringing people together for services, and share about God to friends in the village.
Julie said that Satan did not change her life but wasted her time and money.  She sees the good deeds that God started doing through TCM’s staff coming to the village.  She watched them caring for them, showing God’s love to them by cleaning their wounds, helping to treat their sicknesses, and showing love to their children in the village.  Julie said she began to realize that the real life is in Christ.  She said,

“Jesus does not lie, He does not waste your time or your money, but rather there is love, life, and there is power of light in Him.”

She also relates that when you go to the witch doctor they will lie to you and steal the little money you have and tell you that your sickness will go away but it does not go away.  She tells us a story of when she was a new follower of Christ and her daughter Emefa was ill.  Her daughter had a high fever, and Julie prayed and God listened to her prayer and healed her daughter.  This has taught her that God is more powerful than Satan and given her yet another powerful testimony to share in her home village!

Vo Asso Church Plant


These men are from the Church plant in Vo Asso, which is about 17 Miles away from Vogan, where our ministry is based out of.  They are receiving Leadership training and Discipleship in order to start new Church Plants.  Their names are (from right to left):  Mathias, Isaac, Philip, and  Soletey.  Please keep these men in your prayers!

Vo Asso is also one of the villages full of Voodoo practices sorcery and polygamy.  The first time we began the Vo Asso Church Plant, we encounter a lot of persecutions. When the Church was first started someone set fire to the building.  God acted in a mighty and powerful way by sending us people from the community to help put the fire out by fetching water from their well.  God worked through I.D.E.S (International Disaster Emergency Service) to help reconstruct another building for the Church to meet in.  Currently the Vo Asso Church Plant is growing well, and we pray that these 4 Timothys ( Mathias, Isaac, Philip and Soletey) in Vo asso Church will be faithful throughout the training so that they will be equipped and ready to start new Church Plants.

A new additional school building!  Kristina and Michael partnered with us to help us raise the funds needed to construct another classroom for our school building so that we will be able to expand our primary school through the 6th grade!  They invested a lot of hard work into this building and we were blessed to have them work alongside our local workers on this project!  What a blessing they were!

Prayer Points:

  • Thanksgiving: We thank God for watching over Kristina and Michael during their time in Togo. Praise the Lord they helped with the construction of the additional school building. It looks great!
  • Summer Internships:  Marissa is studying English at ECU and Avery is majoring in Biology. Pray that God brings these two young women from different professional fields to Vogan,Togo safe. Let us pray that we can learn from them and they can also learn from us in all aspects of our mission such as:  Church Planting, Medical Outreach, Christian School and Community Development.
  • Sara, Dovene & Nathan: Pray that God gives them strength and continues to provide for the ministry as they are raising financial partners for the whole ministry. They are also getting prepared to move back to Togo full-time in August to work with the team.
  • Our Partners:  God bless and watch over all of you who are reading this news right now, you all who pray and contribute in any way for the growth of this mission.
  • Next School Project:  We are praying and planning towards building a simple building that will serve as a computer lab.  We hope to install Bilingual Literacy programs on the computers.  This facility will serve both the children in the school to help polish their English and French but will also be open for literacy courses for those in the community to help foster literacy.  This could be a big outreach to our local community in Vogan for Christ!

For real, we have not received any prayer requests yet!  If you have any prayer requests, please send them to us at:  togochristianmission@gmail.com  We would love to be in prayer with you as our partners in ministry!

Just My Type: A Lesson on Typography

Posted in General Advice, Media Communications on February 13, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

Typography-01Typography is the appearance and style of any printed matter. Whether we realize it or not, it is a part of our every day lives. Every newspaper article, blog post, poster, billboard, or anything with any kind of letter forms on them at all are communicating something with the style of fonts that they use. And I guarantee, if it looks good, they thought long and hard about it.

So, What is Your Church Communicating? 
Depending on the fonts you choose to use for bulletins, event posters, and your website, you could inadvertently be telling visitors that you can’t be taken seriously… or that you take yourselves TOO seriously.

Picking an appropriate font may seem complicated, but here are a few tips:

Simple Things to Avoid:

  1. “Comic Sans” or “Papyrus”
    • Just trust me on this one and remove these font choices from your list of possibilities.
  2. Decorative Fonts
    • Use these elaborate fonts very sparingly, if at all. They may look pretty, but they may also get in the way of your message.
  3. Three or more Font Styles on a Single Piece
    • Two is enough. Use bolds,  italics,  and other similar variations for variety.

Simple Things to Try:

  1. Keep it simple!
    • Timeless fonts like Arial,  Futura,  and Garamond have been around forever for a reason: They work!
  2. Choose 2 great fonts and stick to them. (Three, tops!)
    • Choose fonts that have a lot of varieties built in (Bold, Italic, Condensed, Light, etc) so that you don’t have to use 5 completely different styles to get your point across.
  3. Get Feedback
    • Run your ideas by someone else before making a final decision.

    Rachel Woolard headshot - circle smRachel Woolard
    Director of Media

I’m an Introvert, and I Need the Church

Posted in Outside Article Reference on February 11, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

Recently a well-known Christian author admitted that he doesn’t go to church very often.  His reasoning was that he doesn’t learn through listening to “lectures” or “connect” through music (you can read more of his reasoning in a follow-up article here).  As I read through his reasoning and the follow-up comments, both on his blog and in some minister groups I belong to on Facebook, there was something deeply unsettled within me.  It took me several days of thinking on it to finally pinpoint what it was.  While I agreed with some of the comments pertaining to “Church” not being about us, I believe they were just short of the mark.  The Church is not about us, this is true, but it is for us.  In other words, God doesn’t need the Church (if He did, He would be a very small god indeed).  So the Church exists not for His benefit, but for ours, and if the Church exists for our benefit, then it would behoove us to get involved with a local body of believers, even if it’s not always geared to our personal learning style or preference.

Introvert-LeaderBeing An Introvert in An Extroverted Church Culture

I know all about not always “connecting” in church.  As an introvert, there were (and still are) many things that either didn’t connect with me, or flat out made me uncomfortable.  Shaking hands (or heaven forbid, giving a hug) to a total stranger to this day will cause palpitations.  Anything that smacked of manipulation (“can I get an ‘amen’?”).  As an introvert, I prefer speaking when I truly have something to say and have had time to think about it.  Singing out loud used to make me squeamish, and still does if I’m not familiar with the song.  Anything involving audience participation that goes beyond raising my hand is sure to make my sweat glands start working overtime.  Add to this the drive to always “connect” people to other people and/or small groups, the emphasis on “community”, the small-talk that often goes hand in hand with “fellowship”, and the dreaded question directed specifically to you in a Sunday School class and church can be a nightmare for an introvert.  To this day, I come home from church drained and exhausted.

So why do I go?  Because, I need the Church.  I need a community of believers that I meet with on a regular basis.  I need them to hold me accountable, to encourage me, to rebuke me, and yes, to draw me out of my shell.  And the crazy thing is, they need me too!  Extroverts think and process information out loud.  They gain their energy from others.  They force us introverts to step out of our comfort zones and experience life rather than just think about it all day.  Introverts, on the other hand, process information internally.  Our energy is gained from times of solitude.  We force extroverts to step out of their comfort zones so that they can be still and hear what God is trying to say to their heart.  In other words, we need each other, which is exactly how God designed Church to work.

It’s Not About Going to Church.  It’s About Being the Church.

Now to be fair, Church and community can be interpreted in a lot of different ways.  There are house churches where a dozen or so people meet, share a meal, and do a very interactive sharing of God’s Word together.  There are traditional churches where a hundred or so people gather to sing, pray, break bread and listen to a sermon together.  There are mega-churches where thousands gather and sing upbeat praise songs, listen to an interactive sermon and/or testimonials.   And there’s dozens more styles of “church” that are neither right nor wrong, but each style attracts a different type of person.  But the key is, we need the Church, in whatever form it meets.  And the Church needs us, and our funny quirks.  There are gifts only you can offer and only you have.  To deprive the body of your gift is to cripple the Body of Christ.

And we need to be made uncomfortable from time to time.  We need to be stretched in order to reach our full potential.  So even if singing’s not your thing, you can meditate on the words while others sing.  If you don’t learn via “lecture”, then find a ministry to plug in where you can learn, and if there isn’t, maybe the onus is upon you to start one yourself.  If you’re an extrovert, learn from the introvert next to you and meditate for a few minutes.  If you’re an introvert, take a cue from the extrovert and join the conversation.

The bottom line is this: I need the Church, and so do you.  I need you to be Jesus to me once in a while.  There will be times I need you to show me grace.  There will be other times I need you to show me the error of my ways.  There will be times you need me to teach you God’s Word.  There will be times when you need me to show you God’s love.  This is Church: it’s not about going as much as it is about being.  That’s what was missing from both articles and the comments.  When I cease to be the Church, I cease being what God has called and saved me to be.  When I cease being the Church, I am no longer showing Jesus as effectively as I should be to others.  When I cease being the Church, I deprive the world of a more accurate and more robust picture of God’s relationship with man.

So don’t just go to Church this weekend.  Be the Church; not just on Sunday, but every day.

Many thanks to Dave Richmond, who is on the VEF Board of Directors, for letting us re-post this article. We are thankful for the wisdom of many great men and women of God on our board, and the insight they provide. Check out his blog, the Pondering Preacher.