My Father, Earle Cole

Posted in Waypoint Events on July 5, 2016 by Waypoint Church Partners
Earle Cole, Tim Cole’s father, with his brother, mother, and little Tim Cole on the far right.

Earle Cole, Tim Cole’s father, with his brother, mother, and little Tim Cole on the far right.

My dad was an elder. He was also a career military man in the Air Force, so we got to experience a different church family every two or three years. Some churches were fairly large, some not so much. Some churches were fairly healthy, many were not.

As the son of an elder, I witnessed firsthand elders driving the mission and evangelistic culture of a church. I also saw groups of elders that were at best hurdles to accomplishing the mission, or, even worse, a roadblock for evangelism and a healthy culture within the Body.

I saw great elders who were the preacher’s biggest advocate and best friend, like my dad. I also saw elders who seemed to almost enjoy being the “thorn” in the preacher’s side through criticism, conflict, or passive-aggressive actions.

Please take special notice of the “E2-Effective Elders” conference we are hosting this fall. It’s about creating healthy elders and elderships. Every elder you know should come!

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Which event will you attend?

Friday, October 28th from 8:30am – 4pm
First Christian Church of Kernersville
130 North Main Street, Kernersville, NC, 28284
     >  Sign up for the NC event now!
Saturday, October 29th from 8:30am – 4pm
Mechanicsville Church of Christ
8067 Atlee Road, Mechanicsville, VA 23111
     > Sign up for the VA event now!

Registration is $29 per person. All of your materials and lunch are included.

We hope you (and your elders and prospective elders) will be able to join us.

Tim Cole headshot - circle sm

Tim Cole
Executive Director

This article was originally published in The Waypoint Endeavor: Spring 2016 edition. If you would like to receive future printed editions of The Waypoint Endeavor, please send your name and mailing address to



Are You Praying For Your Church Elders? 4 Prayers that will Bless Them (and Benefit You)!

Posted in Outside Article Reference, Prayer Request on June 22, 2016 by Waypoint Church Partners

“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Pray for us . . .”
      — Hebrews 13:2, NIV

iStock_000019212646SmallWhen is the last time you stopped to pray earnestly for the elders of your church? According to the Hebrew writer, they will one day have to “give an account” of how they led the Lord’s church under their care. It’s a sobering thought to have to stand before Christ and justify your actions.

Elders are just men, often from different walks of life, different generations, and at different stages of maturity in their faith. They’re human, prone to sin and imperfection. They don’t always make the right decisions.  They make mistakes. But most have the best interest of the flock in their hearts and minds.

When is the last time you intentionally, earnestly prayed for the elders of your church? They need it! Here are four specific areas you can pray for concerning the elders of your church:

Wisdom: Discerning the needs of the people, settling disputes among the church family, and overseeing the proper stewardship of giving all require much wisdom.  Elders often feel, as even Solomon did, under-qualified to lead the people of God.
Pray that God would grant the elders of your church the spiritual insight they need to fulfill their duties.

Vision: A good shepherd knows where to lead his flock and is always on the lookout for danger.  The elders of your church have been commissioned not to maintain the church but to grow it. They are looking for new ways to invest in the spiritual well-being of its people and to impact the community at large.
Pray that your elders will be given a vision for the future of the church that is in line with God’s vision and that they will hear the voice of the Great Shepherd leading them as they lead others.

Stamina: The elders of your church were selected because they manage their own households well. Elders are usually men with time and experience in leadership or management roles.
Leadership takes a toll. An elder gets tired in his body and in his spirit. He desperately needs the strength that God provides to adequately fulfill his ministry. Pray for health, endurance, vigor and grit for your elders. They need it!

Unity: One committee meeting can demonstrate how easily Christians disagree and get sideways with each other.  Satan loves disunity and disharmony in the church. Just look how many different churches there are!
Elders must strive to maintain unity within their own group and in the church to be effective shepherds. It is important for you to pray that the elders have unity among them and an ability to foster unity in the church.

So please… pray for your elders. It will bless you as much as them.

*Adapted from an article by Todd Brown on Bridge Christian Church’s Blog at
Todd is the Senior Minister of Bridge Christian Church in Fishersville, VA.



Fusion Groups: Following Jesus’ Example In Leadership

Posted in Fusion Groups, Waypoint Services on September 15, 2015 by Waypoint Church Partners

A new wind is blowing across the VEF landscape these days – the Fusion Group wind. This fall as many as 200 ministers will begin gathering monthly in 30 Fusion Groups, and we will continue to start new groups monthly. Like Jesus’ early peer learning community, these groups will have three over-riding goals: 1) To offer practical peer learning, 2) To provide authentic pastoral care to each other, 3) To produce prayer-empowered leaders.

Reggie McNeal, in his book Revolution in Leadership, describes a key element in Jesus’ strategy to develop and sustain leaders. He says, “With the whole world to save, Jesus decided to create a learning community.” While Jesus ministered to thousands, he gathered a small group around him in the first Christian peer learning community.

Could it be that Jesus knew something about leaders that we’ve missed today? And could it be that Satan knows something about leaders that he desperately wants us to overlook?

Growing up in a solid church under the leadership of a very capable minister was a blessing. But I must admit I developed a very skewed view of ministers. To me, ministers were people with inexhaustible energy, capable of answering every question, ready to meet any challenge and solve any problem. While I never actually saw any ministers change from their street clothes into Super-Man outfits, in my mind as a little boy I was quite sure they could when needed.

But after almost 40 years in ministry and after spending a life-time rubbing shoulders with ministers, can I tell you a secret, just between you and me? Your minister may not want you to know this secret and I’m certain Satan doesn’t want you to hear it, but here it is: Ministers are only people, just like you! There! The secret’s out. Ministers don’t have all the answers, they are often lonely and hurting, and they regularly struggle under the load of trying to pursue Kingdom growth in their God-given context and calling.

If you are in ministry and would like to become part of a Fusion Group, contact me at Please join me in praying regularly for your church leaders and encourage them to join a Fusion Group soon.

Here is a graphic of all the current VEF Fusion Groups meeting across Virginia, North Carolina, and beyond:

fusion group map graphic-01

neil wheeler - circleNeil Wheeler
Director of Leader Care

Local Youth Conference Welcomes Renowned Worship Leader

Posted in ICOM on September 4, 2015 by Waypoint Church Partners

JohnMarkMcMillanJohn Mark McMillan, writer of “How He Loves” and “Future/Past,” joins SICOM students and college students attending ICOM for one amazing show, Saturday night, October 31st.

Following the Saturday night main sessions for ICOM & SICOM, John Mark will be performing a full show with his band!  You won’t want to miss this amazing show!  Admission is covered with SICOM registration, and a limited number of free passes will be available to college students at the ICOM information desk during conference.

Look for full SICOM registration packets coming to your church in the next few weeks!

Register Your Entire Church for ICOM 2015 in Three Easy Steps!

Posted in ICOM on September 3, 2015 by Waypoint Church Partners

One of the great features of ICOM coming to Richmond this Fall is their family friendly registration. It’s just $50 (individual registration is usually $25/person).

Even better, a church can pre-register their ENTIRE CHURCH for a low fee based on their average Sunday attendance.
Here’s how to do it in 3 easy steps:

  1. Go online to and click on the “Register” icon.
  2. Choose the “Church-Wide Registration” option, enter your church’s information, and pay.
  3. You will receive an e-mail confirmation that contains a link for you to share with your congregation so they can enter their own badge information before the conference. (Individuals from your church will still need to register individually using your church’s special code provided in the link.)

Pricing is pretty simple: just $150 for churches under 100; $250 for churches between 100 and 250, and so on. Amounts are listed on the church-wide registration page.

Note: The SICOM Teen Convention has a separate registration with a fee of $40 per teen to help cover the expense of their hands-on ministry experience led by the Engage Team from CIY.

We hope to see you and a great number of your church members at ICOM in Richmond October 29 – Nov. 1!

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“The Away Team” Preaching Series

Posted in General Advice, ICOM on September 1, 2015 by Waypoint Church Partners

Created by Rick Raines, Minister at Fairmount Christian Church, Summer 2015

With the International Conference on Missions in Richmond on the horizon, our preaching staff wanted to prepare the hearts of our congregation for this exciting event. Fairmount Christian Church is located in Mechanicsville, Virginia just outside of Richmond, and we knew that with our proximity to the Conference we would have many of our folks in attendance at the Conference and we would have many who would be volunteering.  That’s why we decided to focus our entire summer to the theme of ICOM 2015: “The Away Team.”

Fairmount’s practice is to walk together through one book of the Bible over the course of the summer.  We alternate between an Old Testament and New Testament book each year.  As we began to consider the “Away Team” theme, it became powerfully obvious that the Book of Acts was going to be our summer reading focus and would be a great springboard to talk about the church as “The Away Team” in the world today.

We developed 13 unique, but interrelated, topics to carry us through June, July, and August.  Perhaps another congregation would consider using Acts for their springboard into ICOM or as their follow up to this great event.
Jim Tune, ICOM’s president this year, writes on the ICOM website:

The Away Team is a sports metaphor that illustrates how times have changed.  There was a time when the church had home field advantage in the USA, Canada, and other parts of the world.  Christians were the majority, influenced culture and enjoyed political privilege.  In other words, we had the equivalent of home field advantage.  But times have changed.  To be victorious today we need to adopt strategies that reflect our position as visitors to our own culture.

Those strategies are given to us clearly and boldly throughout the Book of Acts.

Below is our outline of Acts, highlighting the strategies and the reminders that the Away Team needs to always keep in mind:

  • Acts 1 – Commissioned – the Away Team is commissioned by Jesus to be witnesses throughout the world.
  • Acts 2 – Anointed – the Away Team is anointed by God’s Spirit to accomplish everything He has called us to do.
  • Acts 3-5 – Persecuted – the Away Team should expect persecution locally and globally.
  • Acts 6-7 – Serving – the Away Team has the greatest impact by touching the world through service.
  • Acts 8-9 – Obedient – the Away Team is obedient to the will of God and the direction of the Holy Spirit.
  • Acts 10-12 – Accepting – the Away Team accepts others the same way that God accepts others.
  • Acts 13-14 – Sending – the Away Team sends its people wherever there are folks who need the touch of Christ.
  • Acts 15-16 – Uncompromising – the Away Team will be uncompromising in its commitment to Christ and His Word.
  • Acts 17-19 – Persevering – the Away Team will persevere in an often-hostile culture.
  • Acts 20-21 – Devoted – the Away Team is firmly devoted to God and to the body of believers.
  • Acts 22-23 – Bold – the Away Team is bold in word and in deed.
  • Acts 24-26 – Blessed – the Away Team never forgets that they are richly blessed by God.
  • Acts 27-28 – Ready – the Away Team is constantly ready for whatever comes their way.

These are the themes that we developed.  If you would like more information about this series and if you would like to receive our outlines, feel free to contact Rick Raines at

Rick RainesRick Raines
VEF Board of Directors Vice President
Preacher at Fairmount Christian Church

Announcing: “The Art of Youth Ministry” Coming to Richmond in January

Posted in Waypoint Events on August 27, 2015 by Waypoint Church Partners

Art of YM imageFor the first time the VEF is hosting an event specifically to challenge, equip and encourage our youth leaders in the Virginia region! The many challenges of youth ministry are well known: tight budgets, high expectations, and a changing culture often at odds with the values of young disciples. It’s easy to get overwhelmed leading in this kind of environment.

However, we know how crucial these formative years are for establishing and developing your teenagers’ life-long faith. That’s why the VEF  created this one-day annual seminar, “The Art of Youth Ministry,” where your youth staff will be strengthened and encouraged while learning and fellowshipping with other youth leaders.

Nationally-known youth speaker Mark DeVries, President of Ministry Architects and author of  the book Sustainable Youth Ministry, will lead.

The Art of Youth Ministry will take place on Tuesday, January 12th from 9:30am-3:30pm at Fairmount Christian Church in Mechanicsville, VA. The $35 registration covers the cost of the seminar, materials, and lunch. Your youth leaders won’t want to miss this inaugural event just for them! It’s an easy way for your church to invest in your most important leaders.

Visit to register today!