Baptist Network News - 1/18/2017

“Get a feedback loop and listen to it…. When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it.” –Randy Pausch

Feedback is a free education to excellence. Seek it with sincerity and receive it with grace.” –Ann marie Houghtalling

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” –Ken Blanchard

“Remember to make sure your feedback is kind, helpful, specific. Accepting feedback leads to mastery.” --unknown

Feedback…do we really want it? It’s not always pleasant, but it’s always revealing. As people who want to help our culture understand and receive the message of God’s love for them, feedback can help us be more effective and relevant to a watching world.

In this newsletter, we’ve included several articles and resources that talk about some important feedback for the church as well as how to set up good feedback channels for your own congregation.

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. (Proverbs 19:20, ESV)

If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. (Proverbs 15:31, NLT)

This is a great article from Church Job Finder writer, Al Lopus
One of the biggest threats to a healthy, flourishing culture is not knowing how to give and receive constructive feedback. So many of us dread feedback, but it has the power to improve you, your people and your organization for good. Want to know the solution?

Meet Sheila Heen. She has two decades of experience at the Harvard Negotiation Project specializing in difficult conversations. She’s a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School, founder of the Triad Consulting Group, plus she’s a New York Times best-selling author who’s co-authored Thank God for the Feedback: Using Feedback to Fuel your Personal, Professional and Spiritual Growth.

Her presentation about feedback at the recent Global Leadership Summit resonated so well with creating a healthy, flourishing workplace culture, I asked her if she would share her core message. I’m so glad she said “Yes.” Keep reading, and you’ll see why.

The Challenge

“What’s hard about feedback is that it sits at the junction of two human needs. The first human need—our need to learn and grow get better at things—inevitably causes us to bump into the second human need—our need to be accepted and respected and loved for who we are, right now. Within the tension of these two needs, feedback can cause you to conclude that how (and who) I am now is not totally okay with someone else.”

Sheila outlines how constructive feedback actually leverages the tension of these two inherent human needs.

What do we do when the feedback is not good? Or is uncomfortable?
Thom S. Ranier shares The Top 15 responses to the word "Baptist" that he received from Twitter. The article is eye-opening and a little heart-wrenching.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Baptist”?
That is the question I asked in the Twitterverse. And many responded. Many responded quickly and frequently.
Of course, it is only an informal poll. It’s not scientific. It does not have clearly measured margins of error. It is, nevertheless, informative.
In the future, I will try other words like “Presbyterian,” Methodist,” and “church.”
But for now, it’s “Baptist.”
Here are the top fifteen responses in order of frequency.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Baptist”?
Read  more…

Thom S. Ranier also has a new video series (short clips available for free) to help churches appeal to their guests. Here is the link to the first video:  SIX KEY REASONS GUESTS DECIDE TO COME TO YOUR CHURCH . At this site, you can sign up to receive the other three videos.

In addition, here is an article from Christianity Today about making your church truly say, "Welcome."

Recent feedback has shown that people today prefer a smaller church.

The Great Value of Churches under 100
by Dan Reiland
There is a certain beauty in churches with less than 100 people.

They possess an accessibility that is attractive.

They possess an element of simplicity that is appealing.

They possess a sense of potential that is alluring.

When I meet pastors of smaller churches who are on fire to reach people, I imagine the house churches we read about in Acts 2. Full of zeal, focused on the Word, embracing community, tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit, practicing generosity and seeing people saved.

This is a beautiful experience.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47, NIV)

I’m a believer in leadership and church growth. Big time.

My foundational biblical belief about the life of the church is that God intended all churches to grow.

However, God did not extend us the ability to determine how large our churches will become. Small churches fit in God’s plan.

Good leadership certainly has a significant effect on that outcome, but ultimately:

It’s God’s power, not human ability, that determines the size of a church.

Read more…

Why Small Churches Are the Next Big Thing
by Karl Vaters

There’s no shortage of studies bemoaning the next generation’s exodus from the Church. Yet while some have written off Millennials’ spiritually, this is a mistake—for the Church and for the Millennials.

In the face of this reality, a new opportunity is emerging. In fact, there’s growing evidence this new generation will bring the greatest opportunity for small church ministry in 2,000 years.

Why? Because, as the first generation with a majority born and raised outside traditional marriage, genuine relationships and intimate worship—what small churches do best—will matter more to them than it did to their parents.

But this opportunity comes with one, big condition: Millennials won’t give up quality to gain intimacy. And they shouldn’t have to.

Of course, Millennials have the same spiritual needs people have always had, including the desire to worship something or someone bigger than themselves, and to do so with others who have similar inclinations. In other words, Millennials need church.

But not just any church, and not the churches their parents built. Millennials are used to a high-quality experience in everything, and they won’t settle for less. In addition, Millennials don’t want a big Sunday morning stage show as much as they want genuine intimacy and relationships.

So how can churches provide this?

Simply put, churches can start small. Small doesn’t mean cheap, shoddy, lazy or low-quality—at least it shouldn’t. But what Millennials mean by quality will also be different than what their parents meant.

Read more…

One final article we wanted to share this week from Outreach Magazine.

By Brandon Cox
Because of my role as an editor and online community facilitator, I’m exposed to a very wide variety of thinking within the modern church.

I read blogs by the reformed, the missional, the fundamental, the emerging, the evangelical and the conservative points of view. I read books about theology, church growth, business, leadership, culture and life.

So I hear it all. And I’ve noticed that for a couple thousand years now, Christians have had this tendency to be quick to point out what is wrong with the church, but slow to affirm what is right.

We aren’t evangelizing aggressively enough. We aren’t taking people deeply enough into the Word. We don’t use the law enough. We don’t talk enough about grace. We are too institutional, too worldly and virtually anemic in every possible way, according to pretty much everyone.

My own theology pushes me to rest squarely on the promise of Jesus that he would not only found his church (which I believe he was actively doing even in his lifetime), but that he would also preserve it. He would protect it as it stormed the gates of hell, which would never be able to prevail against it.

One of my favorite books, which is out of print today, is W. A. Criswell’s Look Up, Brother. The subtitle is great: The Buoyant Assertion of What’s Right with Us. Criswell sought to combat our critical mindset and affirm some things that were right about the church.

Granted, the church is off-balance. But we’re always off-balance. The church is a lot like a pendulum trying to find its center point while the forces surrounding it continue to move it to one side or the other.

But have we failed? No. We can’t. We are guaranteed victory. We’re on the winning side.

We’re losing ground. We’re struggling to transform our culture. But as I read books and blogs, all claiming to have the biblical diagnosis and cure for what’s wrong with the church today, I’m also determined to stop and realize some things that are right.

There are some trends I see that are good and positive, and deserve celebration and affirmation.

1. I see a church today that is growing in its awareness of the real problems within the culture.

I see a tremendous amount of human concern that ought to bring us delight. In the 1980s, we hoped AIDS would quietly go away, but today, the church is working to minister to people with this terrible disease.

We may never solve the world’s hunger problem, but we’re trying harder than ever. Organizations like Children’s Cup are addressing global poverty in amazing ways.

We’re addressing education, leadership and poor living conditions along with plenty of other global giants. This is good.

2. I see a church today that is coming back to the gospel.

Yes, many mainline churches continue their theological drift toward humanism and away from orthodoxy while others who believe the Bible often fail to proclaim it thoroughly.

At the same time, I see the word “gospel” pinned to everything, and people are beginning to understand that the gospel is the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that it is the only thing in the world with the power to actually change lives and change the world as far as eternity is concerned. The gospel is definitely good.

3. I see a church planting movement.

Granted, thousands of churches are on their deathbeds, some of which should probably be given a proper burial to pour more resources into birthing new movements.

But I also see a rapidly growing church planting movement that is sowing fresh seeds in the soil of communities all over the world. It’s an international movement being carried out less and less by organized denominational structures, and increasingly by small, organic, loosely organized networks of like-minded leaders.

I hear more and more about multiplication than ever in my ministry.

4. I see a church beginning to tear down some old walls.

It seems that the worship wars, though alive and well within pockets, has on the whole subsided a great deal as we’ve come to realize that a perfect message can be communicated through a variety of musical styles.

The Bible-translation debate has been relegated to a few corners of Christendom, and we’re squabbling less over our particular doctrinal distinctives and uniting around a core body of truth.

5. I see a church that is slowly learning to relate to the culture as Jesus would.

Technology has changed so rapidly that 10 years ago, we still weren’t sure which tools to embrace and ignore. But today, there is a growing movement toward communicating the gospel to the culture on its terms, within its framework.

We’re beginning to sit down at the table with people who don’t understand our faith and share more lovingly what and why we believe.

I’m glad for the prophets who understand our times and the wise sages who want to take us back to our historical, orthodox roots. We need to be evaluating, listening and recommitting ourselves to that which is timeless and unchanging all the time.

But we also need to be a people who show the world around us the overwhelming power of hope. We ought to be the most positive people in the world.

It is by the unity that we find with one another on the grounds of truth that the world will understand that we are Jesus’ disciples.

What else needs to be affirmed about the church today?

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— (Proverbs 1:5, NIV)

Church Security Seminar
January 20-21
Calvary Christian Center (off Del Paso Road)
$160 for both days, $99 for one day
Presented by Strategos International
register at  
Course Outline
Schedule Details

(Also offered February 10-11 at Paradise Alliance Church
Email: | Phone: 530.877.7069 x286)

Movie: The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
January 20 in theaters

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday
January 22

Art of Freedom Event
January 22
3 - 6:30 pm
Tickets are $50
Benefits The Grace Network in the fight against human trafficking in Sacramento
Location: Beatnik Studios | 723 S Street, Sacramento
More information:

Church Music Workshop North
January 28
Trinity Baptist Church, Livermore
$45 through January 25, $50 at the door
(lunch is included)
register at or

Children's Missions Day Explosion
February 18, 9 am to 3 pm
Cooper Avenue Baptist Church, Yuba City
$10 per person, lunch included
(one leader free with every six children per church)
register online at

VBS Clinic in Spanish
Clinicas para Escuela Bíblica de Vacaciones en Español

February 18, 9:30-1:30
In San Jose
register online atíblica-de-vacaciones-en-español

Movie: Is Genesis History?
February 23 in theaters

VBS Clinic North
February 25, 9 am to 2:30 pm
El Camino Baptist Church
register online at

Ministry Couples' Retreat
February 24-25
Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley
$235 per couple
register online at

Week of Prayer for North American Missions
March 5-12

Women's Retreat
March 24-26
Camp Alta
Register here

Revive Conference
March 30, 9 am-3 pm
El Camino Bapitst Church, Sacramento
(more details soon)

Movie: Facing Darkness
A true story of faith: saving Dr. Brantly from ebola in Africa
March 30 in theaters

Disaster Relief Spring Training
March 31-April 1
In Auburn
Register online at

Movie: The Case for Christ
Beginning April 7 in theaters

VBS Clinic
April 22
El Camino Baptist Church
(more information soon)

Pastor and MInistry Leader Retreat
April 24-26
Jenness Park Christian Camp
$150 per person
register at


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