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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
Jun 13, 2024

Crisis communication is a crucial aspect of managing any organization’s reputation and maintaining public trust during a time of great challenge,” writes Phil Cooke in Church on Trial.

“For churches and Christian ministries, crisis communication is particularly important because they are often viewed as trusted institutions in their communities, and their responses to calamity can significantly impact their church members, donors, supporters, and the public’s perception.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Cooke about what churches should do in a crisis. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Phil Cooke, Ph.D., is co-founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles, as well as the nonprofit organization, The Influence Lab. He has produced media programming and commercials in nearly 70 countries for clients includingπ Hollywood studios, major nonprofits, and faith-based organizations around the world. He is author of Church on Trial: How to Protect Your Congregation, Mission, and Reputation During a Crisis, published by Avail.

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

There is a difference between knowing the Word of God and knowing the God of the Word. The Captivated Bible study takes women deeper with God so that they may be firmly rooted, unshakable, and flourishing in His Kingdom.

For more information about Captivated, visit MyHealthyChurch.com.

May 16, 2024

“Do you find your inner life compromised by repeated yielding to sexual temptation?” So asked Arnold Fleagle and Don Lichi in their book, Broken Windows of the Soul.

They went on to say: “You are not alone. The moral fabric of our culture is being ripped apart as large numbers of men and women are indulging in infidelity, perverted sexuality and pornography. … It is becoming increasingly difficult to find any individuals who are healthy and whole in their lifestyle.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Lichi about the baleful impact of pornography and what Christians can do when they’re affected by it. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Don Lichi, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in the State of Ohio and vice president emeritus of EMERGE Counseling Ministries, where he served for nearly 30 years. He is coauthor, with Arnold Fleagle, of Broken Windows of the Soul: A Pastor and a Christian Psychologist Discuss Sexual Sins and the Prescription to Heal Them, published by Moody Press.

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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.

May 9, 2024

“Christian Nationalism has garnered significant attention in recent years, owing to the potential dangers it poses for American democracy. Its specter has spurred newfound interest in the role of religion in American public life with fresh considerations of familiar questions: Is religion resurging as a force in politics? Will America’s Christian majority restrict the rights of religious minorities? Is Christian nationalism a real threat, or a small, extreme faction with outsized press coverage?”

So asks Christian Nationalism: A New Approach, a December 2023 report by Neighborly Faith. In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Kevin Singer, Ryan Burge, and Mark David Hall about that report and the questions it raises.

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

Kevin Singer is president of Neighborly Faith, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide “research and events introducing Christians to neighbors of every faith.” Ryan Burge is associate professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University and an ordained Baptist pastor; he posts regularly at Graphs About Religion. Mark David Hall is a professor at Regent University’s Robertson School of Government and a senior fellow at the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy, where he directs its Religious Liberty in the States initiative.

My conversation with them is coming up after a brief word from our sponsor.

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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 preschool curriculum that brings Bible time and play time together. Each lesson is designed to engage young minds during the lesson and make sure the principles they’re learning stay with them when they get home, as well as while they grow.

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

May 2, 2024

On May 2, 1870, a baby was born in Centerville, Louisiana, to formerly enslaved parents. Raised in poverty, segregated by a white supremacist society, he nonetheless went on to lead one of the most significant revival movements of the twentieth century. I’m talking about William J. Seymour, of course, and the Azusa Street Revival he led from 1906–1909. This revival was a critical node in the social network of early Pentecostalism.

Today is the 154th anniversary of Seymour’s birth; in honor of which, I’ve invited Dr. Larry Martin to talk about the significance of his life and ministry.

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

Martin is an ordained Assemblies of God minister, founder of River of Revival Ministries, and Pentecostal historian. His most recent book is William J. Seymour: Pentecostal Trailblazer and Revered Pastor of the Azusa Street Revival, published this year by Whitaker House.

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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.

Apr 25, 2024

“God didn’t call the perfect version of you, the version that has years of experience or the version that has it all figured out.” writes John Zick. “In fact, He has no desire for a version of you that does not desperately need him. Paul understood this when he said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 [NLT], ‘I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.’”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Zick about being called into ministry, recognizing personal imperfections, and learning from others on the leadership journey.

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

John Zick is an ordained Assemblies of God minister, director of the AG’s Called initiative, and editor of From Leaders For Leaders: A Guide for Those Called Into Ministry, published by GPH.

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This episode of the Influence podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Guided Student Devotional.

Guided Student Devotional will help youth develop a habit of spending time with God and reading His Word every day. Each devotion will focus on a dimension of a Spirit-filled disciple: Bible, Holy Spirit, Mission, Prayer, Worship, Service, and Generosity.

For more information about the Guided Student Devotional, visit MyHealthyChurch.com.

Apr 18, 2024

“Church size matters to us far more than it should. From the pride it brings when the numbers are up to the shame and frustration it causes when the numbers are static or down, none of this provides a healthy foundation on which to build a healthy church body,” writes Karl Vaters.

He goes on to suggest a solution: “We need to de-size the church.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Vaters about why bigness is a problem, why de-sizing the church is a solution, and how to do it.

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

Karl Vaters has served in small-church ministry for over 40 years, so he speaks and writes from decades of hands-on pastoral experience. An ordained Assemblies of God minister, he is author most recently of De-Sizing the Church: How Church Growth Became a Science, Then an Obsession, and What’s Next, published this month by Moody Press.

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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.

Apr 10, 2024

“To invest one’s life in the next generation for the sake of the kingdom of God is to do the work that Jesus did,” writes Lee Rogers. “Few will notice the nobility and spiritual richness of the work, yet for those who minister to the next generation, the value is high — and the impact is eternal.”

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Rogers about what NextGen ministry is, why it’s important, and what factors contribute to long-term effectiveness.

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

Lee Rogers is a NextGen ministry veteran with over 25 years of experience working with young people. He serves as director of Student Evangelism for Assemblies of God Youth Ministries and is author of NextGen High Scores: How to Win at Ministry to the Next Generation, published by GPH.

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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.

Apr 4, 2024

“The entire second half of 1 Samuel is the story of an abuser hunting down a victim,” according to Jim Bradford. The abuser is King Saul, and his intended victim is David. “Saul literally threw spears,” Bradford notes; “abusive leaders do so figuratively.

I recently heard Bradford preach a sermon about responding to abusive authority based on 1 Samuel and thought it would make an excellent podcast. After all, it seems that every few weeks news breaks about a pastor who has used their position trust for selfish gain. Christians — whether church leaders or laypeople — need to know how to respond.

So, I’ve invited Bradford onto the podcast today to talk about how to deal with spiritual abusers. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Jim Bradford, Ph.D., is an ordained Assemblies of God minister; lead pastor at Central Assembly in Springfield, Missouri; former AG general secretary; and a longtime mentor and friend.

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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.

Mar 7, 2024

“There has never been a better day to plant churches than now in the Assemblies of God.”

Mike McCrary recently made that statement in a presentation to the employees of the AG national office. I was so impressed by the presentation that I invited him to join me on the Influence Podcast.

So, in this episode, I talk to him about why he thinks that’s the case. Along the way, we also talk about why America needs more churches, church planting myths, and how every church — even already existing churches — can support church multiplication.

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

Mike McCrary, D.Min., is national director of Funding and Strategic Partnerships for the Church Multiplication Network of the Assemblies of God, an ordained AG minister, and a longtime friend.

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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.

Feb 28, 2024

“The first Christians were weird,” writes Nijay Gupta. “I am not talking about their clothing, music preferences, or hobbies. When I say ‘weird’ or ‘strange,’ I am talking about deviation from cultural norms and society’s expectations for how things ought to be done. Especially when it came to religion … the Christians were as backwards and as odd as you could be.”

Well, that’s how the Romans viewed them anyway.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Gupta about how Christianity deviated from Roman cultural norms and expectations, and why Romans viewed them as weird and dangerous — but also compelling.

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

Nijay Gupta, Ph.D., is professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary, a Pauline scholar, and most recently author of Strange Religion: How the First Christians Were Weird, Dangerous, and Compelling, published by Brazos Press.

We talked about his previous book, Tell Her Story: How Women Led, Taught, and Ministered in the Early Church, published by IVP Academic, in Episode 315 of the Influence Podcast.

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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.

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.

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