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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: Page 7
Oct 22, 2018

Psalm 23 is one of the best recognized and most loved passages of Scripture. For three millennia, its words have comforted believers in good times and bad.

In his new book, Grace in the Valley, Heath Adamson explores a baker’s dozen of lessons the psalm teaches about life and ministry under the Shepherdhood of God.

Heath Adamson serves as chief of staff at Convoy of Hope, “a faith-based, nonprofit organization with a driving passion to feed the world through children’s feeding initiatives, community outreaches and disaster response.” He also serves in leadership roles for Empowered21’s Next Gen Networkand the Next Generation Commissionof the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.

Oct 15, 2018

Publishers harvested a bumper crop of atheist book in 2006 and 2007. Letters to a Christian Nationby Sam Harris, The God Delusionby Richard Dawkins, Breaking the Spellby Daniel C. Dennett, and God Is (Not) Greatby Christopher Hitchens come readily to mind, among many others. Each of these book claimed in one way or another that belief in God was intellectually deficient, a matter of faith rather than reason.

The philosophers who contributed to Two Dozen (or So) Arguments for Godbeg to differ. They think there are good reasons to believe that God exists. In Episode 155 of the Influence Podcast, Influencemagazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to Jerry L. Walls about good  arguments for God.

Walls is Scholar in Residence and Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University, as well as co-editor with Trent Dougherty of Two Dozen (or So) Arguments for God, which is published by Oxford University Press.

Oct 2, 2018

Hospitality is a Christian virtue. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers,” Hebrews 13:2 tells us, “for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” According to the apostle Paul, one of the requirements for holding church office is being “hospitable” (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8). At minimum, hospitality means providing food and shelter for those in need. 

But what if that’s only the start? What if hospitality is a mindset that has multiple expressions affecting every aspect of leadership? That’s the question Influencemagazine executive editor George P. Wood explores with Terry A. Smith in Episode 154 of the Influence Podcast.

Terry A. Smith is lead pastor of The Life Christian Churchin West Orange, New Jersey, as well as author of The Hospitable Leader: Create Environments Where People and Dreams Flourish, published by Bethany House. You can learn more about his book at this webpage, specifically created for Influence Podcast listeners.

Sep 10, 2018

God designed the Church to run on volunteer power. Every member of the congregation is a spiritually gifted individual, after all, called and empowered to do “the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12 ESV). And yet, many churches experience a chronic shortage of volunteers.

What is the cause of this shortage, and what can pastors and other church leaders do about it?

Those are the questions Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood explores with Jill Fox in Episode 153 of the Influence Podcast. Fox is Ministry Initiatives and Next Gen pastor at Westwood Community Church in Excelsior, Minnesota, and co-author, with Leith Anderson, of two books: The Volunteer Churchand Volunteering, both published by Zondervan.

Sep 4, 2018

Cynicism. Compromise. Disconnection. Irrelevance. Pride. Burnout. Emptiness.

No one expects to experience these negative feelings, but everyone does. As Christians and as leaders in the church, the question we need to ask ourselves is what we should do about them.

That’s the question Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood explores with Carey Nieuwhof in Episode 152 of the Influence Podcast. Carey Nieuwhof is pastor of Connexus Church in Barrie, Ontario, and author of Didn’t See It Coming, published by WaterBrook.

Aug 27, 2018

This past summer, thousands of Assemblies of God churchgoers went on short-term missions trips. These trips often do much good. They certainly change the people who go on them for the better. But is it a good idea to shift a church’s missions strategy to short-term missions?

Similarly, churches are increasingly supporting “social justice” causes such as anti-human trafficking initiatives and water well drilling as an important part of missions. Granted, these are great causes, but are they missions?

In today’s episode of the Influence Podcast, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks with Doug Clay and Greg Mundis about what missions is and why missions need long-term missionaries. Doug Clay is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God (USA), and Greg Mundis is executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions.

Aug 20, 2018

America is in the midst of a generational sea change. Baby Boomers are no longer the nation’s largest generational cohort. Instead, Millennials are.

Unfortunately, Millennials are the least religious generational cohort in our nation’s history. If the Church wants to reach Millennials, it cannot rely on strategies that worked with Boomers. The generations are simply too different.

In today’s episode, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to Geoff Surratt about five tensions churches must manage to successfully engage Millennials.

Together with his wife, Sherry, Geoff is the founder of Ministry Together, which “partners with “ministry leaders for relational health, organizational growth and Kingdom impact.” He is also author of the free e-book, The Church Will Thrive.

Aug 13, 2018

Roughly half the U.S. population is male, but fewer men attend church on average than women do. In the Assemblies of God, for example, the latest statistics indicate that men account for 31.5 percent of Sunday morning attendees, while women account for 40.4 percent. This gap in attendance reveals a ministry opportunity.

Earlier this year, Michael Zigarelli — professor of Leadership and Strategy at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania — conducted a qualitative survey of seven Protestant churches with greater parity in attendance between men and women. His working paper, “Churches that Attract Men,” identified transferable principles of man-friendly churches and is the springboard for today’s Influence Podcast conversation between him and Influence magazine’s executive editor, George P. Wood.

Topics of conversation include why attracting men is a good church-growth strategy and what man-friendly churches have in common. But Zigarelli also addresses “pushback questions”: Why are we talking about man-friendly churches in a culture that’s talking about “toxic masculinity”? Does being man-friendly trade on shopworn gender stereotypes or complementarian views of church leadership? And does attracting men create a void of ministry to women and children?

It’s an interesting, informative conversation, so make sure to listen to the entire thing!

Aug 6, 2018

In today’s episode, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to Chris Sonksen about his new book, Quit Church: Because Your Life Would Be Better If You Did, published by Baker Books.

Sonksen believes too many American Christians take a "noncommittal, casual approach" to both God and the Church. By doing so, they miss out on the tremendous blessings God has for them. Quit Church is about quitting nominal religion and practicing a vibrant faith.

Chris Sonksen is pastor of South Hills Church, a multisite congregation in southern California; founder of Church Boom; author of When Your Church Feels Stuck; and an Assemblies of God minister.

Jul 30, 2018

Religious liberty has emerged as a particularly contentious issue in American public discourse, especially in light of President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. But religious liberty didn’t become controversial overnight. Indeed, if history is any guide, religious liberty has been a controversial issue in the United States since its founding.

In today’s episode, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to  Brandon J. O’Brien about Isaac Backus, a Baptist who led the fight for religious liberty during America’s founding era. Backus’ example is both inspiring and instructive, shedding light on what religious liberty means in a contemporary, pluralist America.

O’Brien is director of content and distribution for Redeemer City to City in Manhattan, author of Demanding Liberty, a new biography of Isaac Backus published by InterVarsity Press, and coauthor with E. Randolph Richards of Misreading Scripture with Western Eyesand Paul Behaving Badly.

Jul 9, 2018

To be a Christian is to bear witness to Jesus Christ in the place and time in which you live. Every age presents unique challenges to, as well as unique opportunities for, Christian witness. In this episode, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to Prof. Alan Noble about how Christians can bear witness to Christ in the midst of a distracted, secular culture.

Alan Noble is assistant professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University, cofounder and editor-in-chief of Christ and Pop Culture, and author of Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age, published by IVP Books and hitting bookstores on Tuesday, July 17.

Jul 2, 2018

Spiritual warfare is a component of every Christian’s life and ministry (Ephesians 6:10–20). Pastors are often on its frontlines, however. In this episode of the Influence Podcast, Wayne and Kristi Northup share what they have learned about this often overlooked aspect of the Christian life.

The Northups are co-lead pastors of Saints Community Churchin New Orleans, Louisiana. They planted the church in 2011 with a vision to win a city, starting congregations throughout the greater New Orleans area. They have three children.

Jun 18, 2018

Jeffrey and Joanne Portmann planted Newhope Church in Puyallup, Washington, on Easter Sunday in 2014. From the outset, their vision was to have five locations within five years. Today, Newhope has five campuses throughout South Puget Sound.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, Influence senior editor John Davidson talks to Jeffrey Portmann about how pastors and churches can implement a multiplication philosophy whatever their current size or location.

Jun 11, 2018

Over the past eight years, LifePoint Church in Clarksville, Tennessee, experienced explosive growth. That was good news, of course, but it created stresses throughout the organization, in terms of both personnel and finances. Indeed, the stresses almost caused Pastor Mike Burnette to leave the ministry entirely.

Few pastors lead churches that experience explosive growth, which is always a sovereign move of God. But all pastors experience heightened levels of stress. In this episode of the Influence Podcast, Burnette shares his experience of burnout and identifies practices that will replenish a leader's soul.

Jun 4, 2018

Husbands and wives ministering alongside one another in the church is common. Indeed, it has biblical precedents in ministry couples like Priscilla and Aquila and Andronicus and Junia (Romans 16:3, 7). But working together, even in ministry, presents unique challenges to healthy marriages.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, Influence magazine senior editor John Davidson talks to Geoff and Sherry Surratt about how ministry couples can have thriving marriages.

The Surratts are founders of Ministry Together, and coauthors of Together: A Guide for Doing Ministry Together. Geoff wrote a feature story on multisite churches for the March/April 2018 issue of Influence magazine.

May 29, 2018

May is Mental Health Month. In today’s episode, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to Dr. Stephen Grcevich about a mental health inclusion strategy for the local church.

Dr. Grcevich is founder and president of Key Ministry. He is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with over thirty years of clinical experience and extensive research experience evaluating medication prescribed to children and teens for mental health disorders. A past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, he is the author of Mental Health and the Church, published this year by Zondervan.

May 21, 2018

Yesterday—May 20, 2018—was Pentecost Sunday. Many churches marked the occasion with a special emphasis on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

In today’s podcast, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to Dr. Jim Bradford about how pastors can create environments for people to be filled — and refilled — with the Holy Spirit on a regular basis.

Dr. Bradford is the outgoing general secretary of the Assemblies of God. After nine years in that position, he is returning to ministry in the local church as senior pastor of Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri.

May 14, 2018

May is National Foster Care Month.

In today’s episode, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks with Jay Mooney and Johan Mostert about how churches can support foster care parents and thus solve the twin problems of America’s foster care system: capacity and stability.

Jay Mooney is executive director of COMPACT Family Services, formerly Assemblies of God Family Services Agency. Johan Mostert is director of COMPACARE, one of COMPACT’S initiatives.

To learn more about COMPACT Family Services, go to CompassionateAction.com, or follow it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Episode 139 Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction to podcast
  • 00:05 TruFire Curriculum sponsor ad
  • 01:17 Introduction of Jay Mooney and Johan Mostert
  • 01:39 The size and nature of America’s foster care problem
  • 05:19 What happens when kids enter foster care
  • 08:36 The twin problems of capacity and stability
  • 13:35 How can churches can help solve the foster care problem
  • 17:15 What church members can do to come alongside foster parents
  • 19:29 How to access the COMPACARE systems manual for your church
  • 22:55 The COMPACARE strategy is low-cost and scalable
  • 28:12 More information about COMPACT Family Services
  • 31:01 Conclusion
May 7, 2018

People--including practicing Christians--are neither as morally good as they should be nor as morally bad as they could be. This is the sanctification gap, the distance between who we are and who we should be.

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, executive editor George P. Wood talks to Christian Miller about how to close that gap. Miller is A. C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University and director of the Character Projected, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton World Charity. He is also author of The Character Gap: How Good Are We? (Oxford University Press).

Episode 137 Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction of podcast topic
  • 00:52 Senior Adult Ministries Conference sponsor ad
  • 01:32 Introduction to Christian Miller
  • 02:07 What is character? Why is it so important for sanctification?
  • 05:45 Three ways of doing ethics, and why character is essential
  • 11:31 Humanity as a moral middle: neither as good as we should be nor as bad as we could be
  • 16:05 How biblical teaching and psychological studies align
  • 19:24 Psychological insights into why we do (or don’t do) what we should do
  • 25:15 Psychologically based, or common-sense strategies for improving character
  • 30:26 Specifically Christian strategies for improving character
  • 37:55 How as a Christian philosopher at a secular university, how do you stay faithful to Jesus but open to new academic insights?
  • 43:37 Conclusion
May 1, 2018

On Monday, April 23, 2018, the Assemblies of God announced that Rev. Donna Barrett would succeed Dr. Jim Bradford in the office of general secretary. Her term beings June 1, 2018. This was an historic announcement, given that Barrett is the first woman in the denomination’s history to serve on the Executive Leadership Team. In today’s podcast, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to Barrett about her life and ministry and how God has led her to this point in time.

Episode 137 Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction of podcast topic
  • 00:47 Trending Up sponsor ad
  • 01:24 Introduction of Donna Barrett
  • 01:53 Life, conversion and call to ministry
  • 03:01 Why we need to create environments where youth can sense God’s calling
  • 06:01 History of ministry and leadership positions
  • 08:28 What the general secretary does, and what Barrett brings to the office
  • 11:54 Experiences as a woman church planter
  • 16:06 Why it’s important for Pentecostals to make a biblical case for women in leadership, as well as for women to be “at the table” of leadership
  • 20:16 Shifts in thinking from local church to national office, and advice for pastors going through transitions
  • 24:36 Conclusion
Apr 16, 2018

In this episode, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to Brian Stiller about five drivers behind Christianity’s explosive growth worldwide.

Stiller is a global ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance, an ordained minister in the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, and author of From Jerusalem to Timbuktu: A World Tour of the Spread of Christianity, recently published by IVP Books.

To learn more about Brian Stiller, visit BrianStiller.com.

Episode Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction of podcast
  • 00:45 TruFire Sunday school curriculum sponsor ad
  • 01:08 Introduction of Brian Stiller
  • 01:18 What From Jerusalem to Timbuktu is about
  • 03:30 Evangelicalism's explosive growth over the last century
  • 05:46 An overview of the five drivers behind this growth
  • 07:28 Driver #1: The Holy Spirit
  • 11:57 Drivers #2 and 3: Bible translation and indigeneity
  • 19:19 Drivers #4 and 5: Engaging the public square and holistic ministry
  • 24:29 Hopeful or fearful about Christianity's future?
  • 27:39 How to follow Brian Stiller or the World Evangelical Alliance online
  • 28:20 Conclusion
Apr 9, 2018

The vast majority of churches in America are small. In the Assemblies of God, for example, 75 percent of all churches report fewer than 200 people in weekly attendance. Nearly 60 percent report fewer than 100. And nearly one-third report fewer than 50.

Unfortunately, there are few books about how to lead a small church. Karl Vaters’ new book, Small Church Essentials is one of the best, and it’s both hopeful and helpful. (See our review here.)

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, Influence magazine executive editor George P. Wood talks to Vaters about the unique challenges and opportunities facing small-church pastors. Vaters is teaching pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California, and an Assemblies of God minister. He blogs regularly about small-church leadership at NewSmallChurch.com.

Episode 135 Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction of podcast topic
  • 00:39 Voyage: Trusting Jesus in Untrusted Waters sponsor ad
  • 01:17 Introduction of Karl Vaters
  • 01:55 Why “church growth” talk is so frustrating to small-church pastors
  • 06:47 Why a “Now what?” attitude is so important
  • 10:08 Why small churches require different leadership structures than big churches
  • 13:28 Why we need a broader definition of “church growth”
  • 18:06 How small churches cast vision
  • 23:37 How small churches disciple people
  • 29:16 How small churches utilize facilities
  • 34:00 How to follow Karl Vaters online
  • 34:47 Conclusion
Apr 2, 2018

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, senior editor John Davidson talks to Mike Santiago about the whys and hows of giving feedback — both positive and negative — to the leadership team at your church.

Santiago is pastor of Focus Church as well as  a member of the Church Multiplication Network’s Field-Based Team, coordinating training for church planters in the Assemblies of God (USA). You can connect with him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. His handle is @CheckTheMike. 

Episode 134 Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction of podcast topic
  • 00:29 Mega Sports Camp sponsor ad
  • 01:07 Introduction of Mike Santiago
  • 01:43 Why is it important to give quality feedback to your team?
  • 02:42 Why are annual and quarterly employee reviews insufficient feedback?
  • 04:10 When is the right time (or wrong time) to offer feedback?
  • 06:45 How often should you deliver feedback to your team?
  • 08:33 What’s the best method for delivering feedback, especially difficult feedback?
  • 10:30 How does critical feedback help the person receiving it?
  • 14:00 How should pastors receive feedback?
  • 16:56 Conclusion
Mar 26, 2018

Easter is a few days away. Around the world, Christians will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This event, so pivotal to Christian faith, is a reminder that Christianity is an inherently supernatural religion. Unfortunately, in the modern era, many disbelieve in miracles, their skepticism fueled by appeals to science. So, the question naturally arises, do miracles really happen?

To answer that question, Influence magazine senior editor George P. Wood interviewed Lee Strobel about his new book, The Case for Miracles. Strobel began his career as the award-winning legal editor for The Chicago Tribune. After his conversion from atheism to Christianity, however, he turned his attention to apologetics and evangelism and has written bestsellers like The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for a Creator, and The Case for Grace. He currently serves as professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University as well as teaching pastor at Woodlands Church.

If you’d like a video of Lee Strobel making the case for Jesus’ resurrection, which you can download and use in your church, go here.

Episode 133 Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 01:17 Power for Life sponsor ad
  • 01:55 Introduction of Lee Strobel
  • 02:28 Why did you start The Case for Miracles by interviewing Michael Shermer, the well-known skeptic? And what’s his case against miracles?
  • 05:50 Further problems with David Hume’s argument against miracles
  • 06:50 You next interviewed Craig Kenner, author of a two-volume study, Miracles. What is Craig Keener’s case for miracles?
  • 10:47 Did Hume ignore evidence for miracles from among his contemporaries?
  • 13:38 Does worldview drive the skeptical argument against miracles?
  • 14:31 Is there a well-documented contemporary miracle story you could share?
  • 21:20 What’s the historical case for Jesus’ resurrection? You can view the video Strobel talks about here.)
  • 30:10 How can pastors best use Easter Sunday to help people make an informed decision to follow Jesus Christ?
  • 32:14 Conclusion
Mar 20, 2018

In 2012, Mike Santiago planted Focus Church with his wife Ashton in metropolitan Raleigh, North Carolina. The church met in rented school facilities for several years until being told their rental agreement would expire in two weeks. Providentially, Focus was able to merge with an older, existing church whose facilities had been built in the 1980s.

People expect different things from church facilities in 2018 than they did in the 1980s, however, so renovations were needed. Plus, there were items of deferred maintenance that needed to be addressed. In this episode of the Influence Podcast, Influence magazine senior editor John Davidson interviews Mike Santiago about how to update an older church building on a limited budget.

Santiago is pastor of Focus Church as well as  a member of the Church Multiplication Network’s Field-Based Team, coordinating training for church planters in the Assemblies of God (USA). You can connect with Santiago on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. His handle is @CheckTheMike.

Episode 132 Notes

  • 00:00 Introduction of podcast topic
  • 00:29 Strong Enough to Last sponsor ad
  • 01:13 Introduction of Mike Santiago
  • 01:53 The facilities journey of a church planter
  • 04:14 How have people’s expectations about church buildings changed over the past three decades?
  • 07:17 What are the top 3 or 4 spaces in a church building that need to be addressed first?
  • 08:49 Where does renovation of a church’s exterior fall on a pastor’s list of priorities?
  • 10:43 What big-impact changes can you make on a limited budget?
  • 11:46 What about signage?
  • 13:18 How can you take an older space or a sterile space (like a school) more appealing?
  • 16:12 How do you lead people through the process of renovation?
  • 20:07 How to connect with Mike Santiago online
  • 21:10 Conclusion
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