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Influence Podcast

The Influence Podcast is a collection of inspiring and challenging conversations, aimed at empowering the entire spectrum of church leadership, from lead pastor to lead volunteer. It is a chance for you to hear from the premier voices in church leadership…voices who are redefining what church leadership looks like. It's the audio companion to Influence Magazine, a resource full of practical tools, informative news and powerful biblical principles. Visit us online at InfluenceMagazine.com
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Now displaying: Category: Religion
Feb 23, 2024

“The complex challenges and demands faced by today’s leaders will not be overcome by simply applying administrative techniques or business best practices,” writes Justin A. Irving. “Today’s leaders need something more — they need wisdom to lead their communities through complex times.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Irving about what that wisdom looks like in terms of self-leadership; people and teams; organizational dynamics, especially culture; and external dynamics, including crises and change.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Justin Irving, Ph.D., is Duke K. McCall Professor of Christian Leadership and chair of the department of Leadership and Discipleship at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as author of Healthy Leadership for Thriving Organizations, published in 2023 by Baker Academic.

He and Mark Strauss wrote “Humility and the Celebrity Leader,” the cover story of the November/December 2019 issue of Influence magazine.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of MEGA Sports Camp.

The MEGA Sports Camp theme for 2024 is Blaze a Trail. This VBS invites kids to live an adventure with Jesus. Kids will learn that Jesus blazed the trail for our salvation, and as they follow Jesus, they can live their own adventure that points people to Him.

For more information about MEGA Sports Camp VBS, visit MEGASportsCamp.com.

Jan 26, 2024

On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe v. Wade, effectively overturning numerous state laws against abortion and legalizing the practice throughout the land.

That decision stood until June 24, 2022, when the Supreme Court reversed itself in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and overturned Roe. This didn’t end the abortion debate, however. Rather, it returned the debates about whether and how to restrict abortion to the states. Ever since, Americans have engaged in a renewed, vigorous debate about what the law should say about abortion.

This past Monday was the 51st anniversary of Roe, and therefore a good occasion to talk about abortion from a Christian perspective.

So, in this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Allen Tennison about the Assemblies of God’s stance on the sanctity of life, which begins in the womb.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. (Influence is published by the Assemblies of God.)

Allen Tennison, Ph.D., is theological counsel of The General Council of the Assemblies of God, chair of its Commission on Doctrines and Practices, and an ordained AG minister.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Bible Engagement Project.

Bible Engagement Project equips churches with free curriculum for preschool, kids, youth, and adults, available in both English and Spanish. The curriculum library provides you with discipleship resources that transform lives and anchor your church in the Bible.

Visit BibleEngagementProject.com to create your free account.

Jan 18, 2024

In their new book, Faith Beyond Youth Group, Kara Powell, Jen Bradbury and Brad M. Griffin offer this startling statistic about students’ faith after high school graduation:

“While spiritual and religious activity under age eighteen seems to slightly increase the odds of faith lasting after youth group, a compilation of studies indicates that about 40 to 50 percent of youth group kids drift from God and the faith community after graduation.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Kara Powell about how churches can address this problem by cultivating lifelong faith in youth.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Kara Powell, Ph.D., is executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute, a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, where she also serves as Fuller’s chief of leadership formation. A credentialed Assemblies of God minister, she is author or coauthor of numerous books about ministry to youth.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, a distributor of In Jesus’ Name.

In this book, Rick DuBose shows the path back to five forgotten altars — and ultimately, the path to your place in heaven's throne room. Full of real-world application and encouraging inspiration, this book will prepare you to pray with humble authority that moves heaven — and unleashes victory here on earth.

For more information about In Jesus’ Name, visit MyHealthyChurch.com.

Jan 11, 2024

“An intentional prayer life is the nonnegotiable constant of lasting, fruitful Christian life and ministry,” write Ryan Skoog, Peter Greer and Cameron Doolittle in Lead with Prayer.

Unfortunately, most Christian leaders report having lackluster prayer lives. A 2005 study by Lifeway Resources found that just 16% of pastors are “very satisfied” with their prayer lives. A 2021 Lifeway study found that 72% percent struggle with consistent personal prayer.

Lead with Prayer aims to help Christian leaders narrow the gap between what they aspire to do and what they actually do by showing them how to prioritize prayer, grow in prayerfulness, and build a culture of prayer in their organizations.

Those are also the topics I’m talking to Ryan Skoog about in this episode of the Influence Podcast. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Ryan Skoog is cofounder and president of Venture, a Christian ministry to “the least reached and least resourced” parts of the world that partners with “local leaders in those communities to end some of the world’s greatest injustices.”

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of MEGA Sports Camp.

The MEGA Sports Camp theme for 2024 is Blaze a Trail. This VBS invites kids to live an adventure with Jesus. Kids will learn that Jesus blazed the trail for our salvation, and as they follow Jesus, they can live their own adventure that points people to Him.

For more information about MEGA Sports Camp VBS, visit MEGASportsCamp.com.

Jan 4, 2024

William E. Vaughan once wrote, “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

There’s a lot of truth in Vaughan’s statement. Opportunities abound in 2024. What are we doing to welcome them? No doubt there will also be challenges to face, however. The crucial question is how do we face them both and make progress at the same time?

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Doug Clay about big events, challenges opportunities the Assemblies of God faces in the coming year. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Doug Clay is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of MEGA Sports Camp.

The MEGA Sports Camp theme for 2024 is Blaze a Trail. This vacation Bible school program invites kids to live an adventure with Jesus. Kids will learn that Jesus blazed the trail for our salvation, and as they follow Jesus, they can live their own adventure that points people to Him.

For more information about MEGA Sports Camp VBS, visit MEGASportsCamp.com.

Dec 21, 2023

January 7–13, 2024 is the 82nd Annual Assemblies of God Week of Prayer.

The theme verse of the week is Habakkuk 3:2: “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”

For more information about this event, as well as for daily prayer points, print resources, free downloads, and videos, visit WeekOfPrayer.AG.org.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Joe Oden about how prayer ignites revival and catalyzes spiritual awakening. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Joe Oden, D.Min, is an ordained Assemblies of God minister, national prayer and evangelism director for the AG, director of its World Prayer Center, and evangelism commission chair for the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America. He is author of Prayer That Ignites Revival, forthcoming from Chosen Books in April 2024.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, a distributor of In Jesus’ Name.

In this book, Rick DuBose shows the path back to five forgotten altars — and ultimately, the path to your place in heaven's throne room. Full of real-world application and encouraging inspiration, this book will prepare you to pray with humble authority that moves heaven — and unleashes victory here on earth.

For more information about In Jesus’ Name, visit MyHealthyChurch.com.

Dec 14, 2023

This is part two of my conversation with Craig Keener about the historicity of the details of Jesus’ birth.

According to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Christ’s birth was attended by many miracles: angelic visitations, prophetic dreams, the miraculous birth of John the Baptist, and the virginal conception of Christ himself. The first Christmas, then, was a thoroughly supernatural event.

Those miraculous elements have led many to question whether Jesus was born the way the Gospels say He was.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I conclude my conversation with Craig Keener about whether Christmas really happened. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Craig Keener, Ph.D., is the  F.M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and an ordained AG minister. He is author of numerous books on the historicity of the New Testament, including The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, and Christobiography: Memory, History, and the Reliability of the Gospels,

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Life of Jesus.

With this 12-part series, the life of Jesus will come alive in your heart as you examine His teachings in their cultural, historical, geographical, and spiritual context. The series includes 12 study videos, study guides, and full sermons.

For more information about Life of Jesus, visit TheCHLS.org/LifeofJesus.

Dec 7, 2023

According to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the birth of Jesus Christ was attended by many miracles: angelic visitations, prophetic dreams, the miraculous birth of John the Baptist, and the virginal conception of Christ himself. The first Christmas, then, was a thoroughly supernatural event.

Those miraculous elements have led many to question whether Jesus was born the way the Gospels say He was, however.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Craig Keener about whether Christmas really happened. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Craig Keener, Ph.D., is the  F.M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and an ordained AG minister. He is author of numerous books on the historicity of the New Testament, including The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, and Christobiography: Memory, History, and the Reliability of the Gospels.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Life of Jesus.

With this 12-part series, the life of Jesus will come alive in your heart as you examine His teachings in their cultural, historical, geographical, and spiritual context. The series includes 12 study videos, study guides, and full sermons.

For more information about Life of Jesus, visit TheCHLS.org/LifeofJesus.

Nov 28, 2023

The October 7, 2023, attack on Israel by Hamas, and Israel’s response to it, has raised anew questions about the morality of warfare.

Throughout their long history, Christian thinkers have not had one mind about these questions, but the majority of them have adhered to the just war tradition. This tradition acknowledges that “political authorities are responsible for promoting the good and deterring evil,” as Eric Patterson puts it. That responsibility may involve waging war.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Patterson about how war can be just. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Eric Patterson, Ph.D., is president of the Religious Freedom Institute and scholar-at-large and former dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He previously served in the United States military and at the U.S. State Department. He has authored and edited numerous books on the ethics of war, most recently, A Basic Guide to the Just War Tradition, published in October by Baker Academic.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Momentum Training Series.

Momentum Training Series will help you become more effective in your ministry, whether you are a new volunteer or a seasoned leader. The series covers topics such as including children with disabilities, teaching lessons that last, leaving a spiritual legacy, and cultivating a Spirit-empowered kids ministry.

For more information about Momentum Training Series, visit MomentumTrainingSeries.com.

Nov 2, 2023

On October 1, Dr. John Easter began his duties as executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions (AGWM), succeeding the retiring Greg Mundis. Delegates elected Easter to the position this past August during General Council in Columbus, Ohio.

In a leadership profile published in the fall 2023 issue of Influence, Easter said, “We need to increase the missionary sending capacity of the local church.”

He went on to explain, “Missionaries don’t fall out of the sky. They are nurtured within the community of faith. Congregations participate by praying, giving, and releasing their sons and daughters to establish the Church among all peoples everywhere.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with him about the local church as the seedbed of missions. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

As noted above, Dr. John Easter is the recently elected executive director of AG World Missions.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Cultivating a Spirit-Empowered Kids Ministry.

Cultivating a Spirit-Empowered Kids Ministry will equip you with practical tools to intentionally make room for the Holy Spirit in your kids ministry. It includes practical tips for leading kids to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, respond to the Holy Spirit, and receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

For more information about Cultivating a Spirit-Empowered Kids Ministry, visit MyHealthyChurch.com.

Oct 26, 2023

“To live holistically in the Spirit requires knowing that the Spirit guides us toward beauty, goodness and truth,” write Dr. Steven Félix-Jäger and Dr. Yoon Shin in their new book, Renewing Christian Worldview.

“It also requires living out and desiring beauty, goodness, and truth as week to truly know them. If we don’t embody beauty, goodness, and truth as we seek to truly know them, they’ll persist as ideal abstractions, betraying our renewal spirituality,” they go on to explain.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with them about how the experience of the Holy Spirit changes our worldview. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Dr. Steven Félix-Jäger is associate professor and chair of the Worship Arts and Media program at Life Pacific University in San Dimas, California. Dr. Yoon Shin is coleader of the Philosophy Interest Group in the Society for Pentecostal Studies. They are authors of Renewing Christian Worldview, published by Baker Academic.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Bible Engagement Project.

The Bible Engagement Project library includes free adult small group resources that build Bible-based small groups. With these resources, your small group will learn how to dig into the Bible and apply it to life. Enriching videos and intriguing discussion questions will create the kind of moments that inspire members to continue engaging deeply with the Bible all week long.

Visit BibleEngagementProject.com to create your free account and get started.

Oct 19, 2023

“The church’s growing irrelevance in parts of the United States as well as some other places in the world is not because Christianity has lost its brain but because it seems to have lost its heart,” writes Dr. Dennis Edwards.

The solution to this problem is straightforward, he believes: “The church … needs to recover, respect, and reenact biblical humility.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk with him about humility as a biblical path back to Christian character. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. 

Dr. Dennis Edwards is dean and vice president of Church Relations at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. In his three decades of urban ministry, he has planted and pastored churches in Brooklyn, New York; Washington, DC; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of Humility Illuminated, published by IVP Academic.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, a distributor of In Jesus’ Name.

In this book, Rick DuBose shows the path back to five forgotten altars — and ultimately, the path to your place in heaven’s throne room. Full of real-world application and encouraging inspiration, this book will prepare you to pray with humble authority that moves heaven — and unleashes victory here on earth.

For more information about In Jesus’ Name, visit MyHealthyChurch.com.

Oct 12, 2023

“Imagine a treasure hunter on a new expedition,” writes Dr. Ian Vaillancourt. “Although they are equipped with the best digging and locating equipment available, they don’t need it for this venture: as soon as they arrive at their destination, they find masses of treasure on the surface of the ground” (emphasis in original).

“This is a little bit like encountering the book of Psalms for the first time: even an initial reading turns up glorious, surface-level gospel treasure for the taking,” he explains.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with him about how to mine those treasures as Christians — how to read Psalms Christianly, in other words. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Dr. Ian Vaillancourt is associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Heritage Theological Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario, and author of Treasuring the Psalms, published in August by IVP Academic.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Bible Engagement Project.

The Bible Engagement Project library includes free youth small group resources that equip students to take ownership of their faith. Each session includes discussion-focused group time and coordinating personal devotions that help students explore Scripture on their own.

Visit BibleEngagementProject.com to create your free account and get started.

Oct 5, 2023

Ministry is “packed with difficult choices that require wisdom; and often, we have to face problems we’ve never encountered before,” writes Brian Dollar.

“Mistakes are inevitable — sometimes really big ones! No matter how hard we try to do things right, the question isn’t, ‘Will I make mistakes?’ but ‘How will I respond to my mistakes?’”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with Dollar about how to learn from your ministry mistakes. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. 

Brian Dollar is associate pastor at First Assembly of God in North Little Rock, Arkansas, where he leads over 500 volunteers in nearly a dozen ministries. In 1998, he founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources, which have been used in more than 15,000 churches around the world. He is the author of I Blew It! The Biggest Mistakes I’ve Made in Ministry … and How You Can Avoid Them, recently revised and published by Arrows & Stones.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, a distributor of In Jesus’ Name.

In Jesus’ Name, Rick DuBose shows the path back to five forgotten altars--and ultimately, the path to your place in heaven's throne room. Full of real-world application and encouraging inspiration, this book will prepare you to pray with humble authority that moves heaven--and unleashes victory here on earth.

For more information about In Jesus’ Name, visit MyHealthyChurch.com.

Sep 28, 2023

When John the Baptist began his ministry, he proclaimed, “The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:9).

The crowd responded by asking, “What should we do then?” John’s answer? “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same” (3:10–11).

We see a similar pattern in Acts 2, where Peter’s messages about “the last days” results in a community that “sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need” (2:17,45).

Why does Luke link eschatology and ethics in these two passages? Why does he emphasize sharing? And how should we apply this message today?

Those are the questions I’m asking Dr. Joseph Lear in this episode of the Influence Podcast. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Dr. Joseph Lear is director of Theology and Global Church Ministries at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, and pastor of Preaching and Theology at Resurrection Assembly of God in Iowa City, Iowa. He is author of What Shall We Do? Eschatology and Ethics in Luke-Acts, published by Pickwick.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Bible Engagement Project.

The Bible Engagement Project library includes free kids curriculum that gets kids excited about the Bible. With engaging videos and interactive lessons, Bible learning and excitement are all combined to ensure that your kids are fully engaged in the lesson and in Scripture.

Visit BibleEngagementProject.com to create your free account and get started.

Sep 21, 2023

“Grief is normal,” writes Natasha Smith.

She goes on to describe her personal experience how difficult grief can be, however: “I walked around in a fog, hoping, praying, and wishing for the grief to go away. Pushing it down, pushing it away, and choosing to block uncomfortable memories. But I realized to pretend grief doesn’t exist won’t heal or fix it. So I learned to let it out in safe places, to safe people.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk with Smith about how Christians can grieve in better, healthier ways, whether they’re the people who’ve experienced a loss or they’re ministering to others who have.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. 

Natasha Smith is a wife, mother, and writer from North Carolina, whose work has appeared at outlets such as Her View from Home, Focus on the Family, and TODAY Parents. She is author of Can You Just Sit With Me?, published recently by InterVarsity Press.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Life of Jesus.

The life of Jesus will come alive in your heart through this 12-part video series as you examine Christ’s teachings in their cultural, historical, geographical, and spiritual contexts. The series includes 12 videos and study guides, as well as full sermons for use in corporate worship.

For more information about Life of Jesus, visit TheCHLS.org/LifeofJesus.

Sep 7, 2023

“In the United States, we are currently experiencing the largest and fastest religious shift in the history of our country, as tens of millions of formerly regular Christian worshipers nationwide have decided they no longer desire to attend church at all.”

So write Jim Davis and Michael Graham in their new book, The Great Dechurching. In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with Davis and Graham about what dechurching is, why it’s happening, and how churches can respond effectively. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. 

Jim Davis is teaching pastor at Orlando Grace Church and host of the As In Heaven podcast. Michael Graham is program director for the Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics, executive producer of As In Heaven, and a member at Orlando Grace Church.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of MEGA Sports Camp.

MEGA Sports Camp is a unique VBS that makes it easy to reach new families, engage new volunteers, and reach unchurched kids in your community. This year kids at your MEGA Sports Camp VBS will learn how to live an adventurous life that points people to Jesus.

For more information about MEGA Sports Camp VBS, visit MEGASportsCamp.com.

Aug 31, 2023

In a January 27, 1855, sermon, C. H. Spurgeon proclaimed, “I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.”

Spurgeon clearly believed that theology matters to life, and because he was a preacher, to ministry as well. The question is, do we?

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with Dr. Allen Tennison about the practical importance of theology. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Dr. Allen Tennison is theological counsel to the Assemblies of God and chair of its Commission on Doctrines and Practices. An ordained AG minister, he holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before coming to the national office, he served as a professor and dean of the College of Church Leadership at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by ReStory Ministries, host of Compassion Without Compromise.

Whether you are a Christian leader, concerned parent, or conflicted adult, you will leave this conference equipped with theological, scientific and restorative responses to LGBTQ issues. The main conference speaker is Dr. Linda Seiler, who experienced an 11-year spiritual journey to Jesus Christ and away from transgender desires and same-sex attractions.

The conference takes place October 6­­–7, 2023, at Connection Point Church in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Visit ReStoryMinistries.org/Conferences for more information and to register.

Aug 24, 2023

“Over the past few years, I’ve been diving deeply into the Book of Proverbs — especially the first nine chapters,” writes Dr. Greg Mundis. “Here’s what I’ve concluded from Proverbs: Wise words have no effect if they are not received by willing hearts.”

That’s a valuable life lesson for everyone, but especially for leaders. So, in this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Dr. Mundis about what wisdom the Book of Proverbs shines on the task of leadership.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host. 

For the past 12 years, Dr. Greg Mundis has served as executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions. AGWM is the missions arm of the U.S. Assemblies of God and fields 2,640 missionaries serving 252 countries, territories and provinces. He recently announced his retirement, effective September 30, 2023. He is author of Wisdom to Lead: The Guided and Guarded Heart.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Bible Engagement Project.

A subscription to Bible Engagement Project equips you with kids curriculum for elementary and preschoolers and small group resources for youth and adults. The curriculum library will give your church a deeper understanding of the Bible and help every age grow in their faith. The resources are available in English and Spanish.

Visit BibleEngagementProject.com to download sample lessons.

Aug 17, 2023

The Assemblies of God held its 60th General Council two weeks ago in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Michael Clarensau presented a report to the General Presbytery about statistical trends among AG churches and ministers.

“2022 data demonstrated a strong step forward in many important measures, suggesting that recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is clearly underway,” he wrote.

“Consider the following: Main worship attendance increased 10% over 2021, the largest single-year increase of this millennium. Total Spirit baptisms grew by 11% and total water baptisms grew by 8% when compared to 2021. The rate of growing churches increased for the first time in a decade (since 2012).”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with Dr. Clarensau about these hopeful trends, as well as more challenging ones that need to be monitored. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Dr. Michael Clarensau is Statistician of the Assemblies of God. An ordained AG minister with decades of experience as a minister, leadership coach, and church revitalization consultant. He is the author, most recently, of When Prophets Want to Die: The Hardest Lessons God Will Ever Try to Teach You.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

·      “Measuring Up: How to use church statistics more effectively”

·      “Acts 2 Journey Special Report: Measuring Church Health”

SPONSOR COPY

This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Bible Engagement Project.

A subscription to Bible Engagement Project equips you with kids curriculum for elementary and preschoolers and small group resources for youth and adults. The curriculum library will give your church a deeper understanding of the Bible and help every age grow in their faith. The resources are available in English and Spanish.

Visit BibleEngagementProject.com to download sample lessons.

Aug 10, 2023

This past June, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis. That case involved a website designer named Lorie Smith who believed that a provision of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act violated her rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, Smith believed that CADA compelled her to create speech contrary to her personal convictions.

The Supreme Court found in Smith’s favor, ruling: “The First Amendment prohibits Colorado from forcing a website designer to creative expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with Kristen Waggoner, who successfully argued Lorie Smith’s case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Kristen Waggoner is CEO, president, and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, the world’s largest Christian legal organization. Waggoner and the ADF team serve as legal counsel to The General Council of the Assemblies of God as a part of ADF’s church and ministry alliance program. She is an AG layperson.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Bible Engagement Project.

A subscription to Bible Engagement Project equips you with kids curriculum for elementary and preschoolers and small group resources for youth and adults. The curriculum library will give your church a deeper understanding of the Bible and help every age grow in their faith. The resources are available in English and Spanish.

Visit BibleEngagementProject.com to download sample lessons.

Aug 3, 2023

“By prayer, God invites us to participate in the outcomes of our world,” writes Rick DuBose. “That is a profound and humbling truth. You need to recognize the responsibility of the authority God has given you.”

He goes on to say, “The future of all you are responsible for is determined at the altar. It is determined by your willingness to go there and pray.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with DuBose about five altars Christians must build if they and their churches want to have effective ministries of prayer.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Rick DuBose is assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God and author of In Jesus’ Name: Five Altars of Prayer That Move Heaven and Earth, published by Chosen.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Bible Engagement Project.

A subscription to Bible Engagement Project equips you with kids curriculum for elementary and preschoolers and small group resources for youth and adults. The curriculum library will give your church a deeper understanding of the Bible and help every age grow in their faith. The resources are available in English and Spanish.

Visit BibleEngagementProject.com to download sample lessons.

Jul 21, 2023

“Whether or not women are on an equal plane with men in work and ministry does not seem like it should be a subject of debate,” writes Dr. JoAnn Butrin. “Many Christian organizations … would say they welcome female leadership and make opportunities for them.”

Even so, many women leaders experience a gap between what is theologically affirmed and what is actually practiced. “The best chance of seeing this hurt and needy world won for Jesus is when men and women join forces,” Butrin argues. “We need each other to be the very best we can be as strategic agents of God’s mission.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with Butrin about how best to normalize men and women working together in church and ministry contexts.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Dr. JoAnn Butrin is chief operating officer and team lead for Health Initiatives with CompassionLink, an Assemblies of God World Missions ministry offering sustainable solutions for communities in need. She is author, most recently, of The Men and Me: Tips for Being the Only Female on the Team.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by The General Council of the Assemblies of God.

General Council is the AG’s premier conference. It occurs every two years the first week in August and incorporates spiritual inspiration, practical leadership training, and denominational business. The theme of the 2023 General Council is “Our Church, Our Family.” The conference will take place July 31–August 4 in Columbus, Ohio.

Visit GeneralCouncil.AG.org for more information and to register.

Jul 13, 2023

On Monday, March 16, 2020, EMTs rushed Greg Mundis to the hospital. He had a high fever, was very weak, and worryingly, his oxygen level was 60. (Normal is 90 or higher.) At the hospital, doctors immediately intubated him and put him on a ventilator, beginning a 60-day battle with COVID.

He was the first patient to be ventilated at a local hospital in Springfield, Missouri.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with Greg’s wife Sandra about what it’s like to go through an extreme medical event on the other side of the hospital bed. How do we embrace hope in times of despair? Why does God allow these things to happen? What should we do when God brings us through? Those are the questions we’ll being talking about.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Sandra Mundis is a veteran Assemblies of God missionary, founder of Europe’s Children — a gospel outreach to kids on that continent — and co-author, with her husband Greg, of Patient 1: Embracing Hope in Times of Despair.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by The General Council of the Assemblies of God.

General Council is the AG’s premier conference. It occurs every two years the first week in August and incorporates spiritual inspiration, practical leadership training, and denominational business. The theme of the 2023 General Council is “Our Church, Our Family.” The conference will take place July 31–August 4 in Columbus, Ohio.

Visit GeneralCouncil.AG.org for more information and to register.

Jul 7, 2023

“The Incarnation declares that God loves us, isn’t scared of us, and wants us to be unafraid of him. So how do we declare these truths to the masters of suspicion in our age? The deconstructing, disoriented, disengaged skeptic,” writes Preston Ulmer.

He goes to say, surprisingly, “We become like him, minus the skepticism.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking with Preston Ulmer about the spiritual discipline of deconstruction, based on his new book, Deconstruct Faith, Discover Jesus, published recently by NavPress.

I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Preston Ulmer is the founder and director of The Doubters’ Club, an organization that teaches Christians and atheists to model friendship and pursue truth together. He is also on staff at North Point Church in Springfield, Missouri.

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This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by The General Council of the Assemblies of God.

General Council is the AG’s premier conference. It occurs every two years the first week in August and incorporates spiritual inspiration, practical leadership training, and denominational business. The theme of the 2023 General Council is “Our Church, Our Family.” The conference will take place July 31–August 4 in Columbus, Ohio.

Visit GeneralCouncil.AG.org for more information and to register.

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