September 2006


Health Alert

Information can be referenced at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5514a1.htm

Testing for HIV/AIDS as a part of routine medical care seems like it should be welcomed by everyone. I have just a few observations that challenge I need answers to before I am ready to fully support the new initiative.What is going to happen to all of the testing information? Will insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and potential employers get access to the information? If so what safe guards are in place so that information is not used against us? This information is also linked to stigmas about HIV/AIDS. The legal perspective is a major concern but our faith communities, work place and community at large do not need to have access to the information about our status and no one is discussing how to protect us against this.
Most of the people who have healthcare and can afford regular check ups are not the major groups that are currently at the highest risk. Poor minority women , especially African American women, and single elderly men who frequent prostitutes. If everyone needs to be tested then make the total healthcare package affordable to everyone. This is the time to initiate universal healthcare.
When I read the report Eliminate Disparities in HIV and AIDS and careful read and analyze the policies and programs designed around HIV/AIDS I am concerned that the activities are not producing outcomes that are achieving the stated goals. Rick Warren in a recent article entitled What your church can do to help eradicate HIV/AIDS makes it clear that the church is not doing enough to combat HIV/AIDS. David Munar of AIDS Foundation of Chicago writes an article Latinos and HIV: An Epidemic Waiting to Burst? In this article he is compelling the Latino community not to be complacent about their vigilance to educate and protect against being infected.

My challenge is to each person who reads this blog to take the personal responsibility to become active in the struggle, programming and education about HIV/AIDS. The time is now.

Reflecting on a 21st Century Epidemic
Be Adventurous !
Rev. William T Chaney Jr
Pastor
West Baltimore UMC
5130 Greenwich
Baltimore, MD 21229
(410) 945-8397
http://wtcreflects.blogspot.com
http://nugleadership.blogspot.com/
West Baltimore UMC is an Acts 2 church: Transforming the 40 West Corridor by Being and Making Disciples for Christ

This week I had the unusual pleasure of speaking to three of my clergy friends from around the US. We had opportunity to share about what God is doing in our ministries and in our lives. My buddy, who has been pastoring for about 7 years, shared with me a story that has captured my attention for the entire week.

Kevin shared that his church has been exploding this year and it was initiated by an unplanned and unscripted event that has changed the way they approach church. They have three services each Sunday and a man battling with drug addiction, which he had met earlier but the congregation did not know, burst into the early service on the first Sunday of the year proclaiming his need and desire for his life to change by the power of God. Kevin explained that instead of three services there was one long service with the move of the Spirit taking them from prayer to singing to messages and again to prayer. Kevin went on to explain that other people in the congregation have come forward to yield their lives to the transforming power of God. People who were previously more concerned with the proper way to do church, the order of worship and making sure that they had on the socially accepted church attire. In what appears from the outside to be an affluent neighborhood where no one has any problems now every week somebody comes down the aisles to have prayer seeking to have their life changed.

Three observations:

People are hurting even if they do not talk about it
People are wearing masks about their lives to protect themselves from being transparent and from being hurt
It only takes one person to take off their mask and talk about their pain who is willing to yield themselves to the power of God to change other people’s attitude about their situations.

Looking forward to the transformation revival

Be Adventurous !
Rev. William T Chaney Jr
Pastor
West Baltimore UMC
5130 Greenwich
Baltimore, MD 21229
(410) 945-8397
http://wtcreflects.blogspot.com
http://nugleadership.blogspot.com/

West Baltimore UMC is an Acts 2 church: Transforming the 40 West Corridor by Being and Making Disciples for Christ

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I have been quiet this year about the college football rankings. I am a life long Ohio State University fan. I shared my loyalty with Notre Dame for a while in the 90’s but returned home in 2000 to full focused loyalty in Ohio State. After the unbelievable beat down delivered to Notre Dame by Michigan it became clear that I could not be silent any more.

Ohio State humiliated the previous number 2 team Texas and now the unthinkable is about to happen. Ohio State will have to beat their number one rival (again) to prove The Big 10 is still the conference to beat.

I am back America with the winning predictions week after week

Reflecting on the Obvious

William T Chaney Jr

Building Effective Ministry Teams

Most congregations who are intentionally engaging in revitalization know that the right approach is to develop ministry teams. These ministry teams have to be made of up congregational members who are spiritually growing, personally invested and have a personal stake in the churches vision becoming reality.

It is also true that most pastors have not been a member of a hi-impact ministry team. We have learned to function on committees and handle the challenges of the church board but functioning as a member of a results producing, goal achieving, spiritually guided, spiritual gifts valued and mission driven ministry team is an anomaly for most pastors.

The lack of experience does not deter the highly motivated revitalization pastor. He or she looks at the model of Jesus with the disciples and takes off changing the names of all of the churches committees to ministry team. Meanwhile the new ministry teams continue to function as committees because there is no well defined process for the members to follow to facilitate the transformation.

This article will not give the definitive process it will highlight the first step that pastors can use to begin the process. I am going to draw from secular sources and the scripture to help begin the process.

“Identify your team’s strengths
Get the team together and explore each other’s backgrounds, expertise, likes, and dislikes. Match your discoveries to the work, so tasks go to whoever is most likely to finish them well and quickly.” Says Stever Robbins in a recent Harvard Business review article, Great Leadership for Great Teams

This is often a scary thing for pastors because it also exposes their weak spots. I believe in using a spiritual gifts profile, a personality based profile and a leadership profile to accomplish the mission. There are several good spiritual gifts profiles available. Some are online and a few are free. Choose a profile that is right for your congregation and the setting in which you would like to administer the profile. For one on one coaching an online profile is most preferable to provide the best return on investment with your time. For retreat settings a paper version will work to open the retreat and then for you to teach on all during the retreat. If you are using it in a Bible Study or small group teach on the spiritual gifts first and then administer the spiritual gifts inventory.

The personality profiles are just as available as the spiritual gifts. The difference is many of the personality profiles require a qualified person to interpret them. I am a partial to the DISC personality profile. It is easy to administer and easy to interpret. There are several companies that you can Google and find the right one for your congregation.

Team Based Ministries do work. Jorge Acevedo Pastor, Grace Church, Ft. Myers, FL give a wonderful testimony about how moving his congregation to team based ministry has blessed his church. Bill Easum is the guru of team based ministry and introduced me to Wayne Cordero at New Hope Christian Fellowship who wrote the book that has molded and shaped my views on team based ministry, Doing Church as a Team.

I am firmly committed to the process of team based ministry and would like to challenge other ministry leaders and pastors to begin engaging the process.

Turning Committees into Teams

Be Adventurous !

Rev. William T Chaney Jr
Pastor
West Baltimore UMC
5130 Greenwich
Baltimore, MD 21229
(410) 945-8397
http://wtcreflects.blogspot.com
http://nugleadership.blogspot.com/
West Baltimore UMC: Transforming the 40 West Corridor by Being and Making Disciples for Christ

  • Rick Warren, pastor at Saddleback Church, wrote an article on titled, “What your church can do to help eradicate HIV/AIDS.” It is an excellent article that highlights the HIV/Aids epidemic and ways that congregations can actually do something rather than talking. One of his most powerful sentences says, “The love of Christ compels us to reach out and care for people who are suffer alone. Considerer this: 40 million women, children, and men worldwide have HIV/AIDS with more than 1 million in the United States! That means, statistically, someone in your church has HIV/AIDS.”
    Pastor Warren lays out some practicle stepsCare for and comfort the sick
  • Handle testing and counseling
  • Unleash a volunteer labor force
  • Remove the stigma
  • Champion healthy lifestyles
  • Help with nutrition and medications

The burden of educating people, especially our African American women between 18 and 24 seems to be an overwhelming task. Informing and encouraging people especially men about testing seems to produce little fruit. Loving and supporting those who have HIV/AIDS and their families appears to have little effect on the social stigmas previously associated with HIV/AIDS. One of my challenges is that the church was a catalyst in developing some of the negative social stigmas. They began by calling it a gay white man’s disease. It then was the plague to wipe out the unrighteous. The church, especially the evangelical church, recently has been apathetic to HIV/AIDS because is now viewed as a black disease and not really their problem.

ABC News recently did an excellent job with a Primetime special ‘Out of Control: AIDS in Black America’. One of the points that Terry Moran discusses is the lack of the black church to use their considerable social and political clout bring the disease to the forefront and start their communities of faith to discuss the ways to mobilize rather than criticize and alienate those with HIV/AIDS. I am thankful for Rick Warren’s article and his personal investment to engage the Christian Community I am hoping that there are some African American Pastors with the courage and vision to also speak out and live out the call of Jesus to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” Those with HIV/AIDS are our neighbors. It is time that the church starts to act like it.

Praying for a Cure

Be Adventurous !

Rev. William T Chaney Jr

Pastor West Baltimore UMC

5130 Greenwich Baltimore, MD 21229

(410) 945-8397

http://wtcreflects.blogspot.com

http://nugleadership.blogspot.com/

West Baltimore UMC: Transforming the 40 West Corridor by Being and Making Disciples for Christ

1 Don’t imagine us leaders to be something we aren’t. We are servants of Christ, not his masters. We are guides into God’s most sublime secrets, not security guards posted to protect them.

I Corinthians 4:1

This passage gives us great insight into the proper roll of leaders. We are servants. No matter what position or title we hold we are first servants. Our attitudes are to be a direct reflection of Jesus. Our behaviors are to reflect Jesus. He taught the people with parables and stories that related to their everyday life. He modeled the lifestyle of prayer, studying the scriptures, giving generously, compassion, patience and forgiveness to all of God’s children. He expected the disciples to follow and made sure that his followers were always taken care of.

Pastors, board members, church staff members, worship leaders, ministry team leaders and ministers in training all should be assuming the attitude of a servant. What does this really mean? Should we make sure everyone else is served at a community meal before we eat? Do we give up our privileged parking spaces? As servant leaders do we look out for the best interest everyone else at the expense of our own privilege and well being?

I believe the answer is yes. We have to have our minds transformed from the world’s thinking to God’s design. Many leaders have expressed what their leaders owe them, loyalty, dedication, political coverage etc… God’s servant leadership design demands that we as the question “how may I serve you”. I love Ken Blanchard, Steven Covey and John Maxwell as authors on leadership. Ken Blanchard has made the most profound impact on me.

Servant Leader, and Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard have been huge influences on my perspective of leadership as a Christian. The simple yet profound principles from the life of Jesus, and dozens of stories and leadership examples from his life experiences, veteran author, speaker and leadership expert Ken Blanchard, guided me through the process of discovering how to lead like Jesus. It is amazing how these insights are sitting in the scriptures and as a Christian leader for over 20 years I was better equipped to lead a consulting engagement or business acquisition meeting. Servant Leadership is diametrically opposed to the corporate leadership principals that most of us learn. It is hard work to lead from a servant’s position but I know that it can be done as long as I follow the example of Jesus as the model servant leader.

Learning to Serve
Learning to Lead

Rev. William T Chaney Jr
Senior Servant Leader
West Baltimore UMC
5130 Greenwich
Baltimore, MD 21229
(410) 945-8397
http://wtcreflects.blogspot.com
http://nugleadership.blogspot.com/

West Baltimore UMC: Transforming the 40 West Corridor by Being and Making Disciples for Christ

7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight.
Proverbs 4:7

Wisdom is one of the foundational building blocks of a good church leader. Wisdom becomes the guide to move forward through the mixed agendas of congregational members and the political waves of the church council. Wisdom is not granted to a leader just because he or she has a position and a title. This means that there are some good people in leadership that have no wisdom yet wisdom is essential for good leadership. This text instructs us to get wisdom. There is a sense of urgency that we should pursue wisdom. As leaders we need to make a decision to pursue wisdom for the long term success of our ministry. The silent partner is where the real power is. “Get insight” or better stated GET UNDERSTANDING.

Some people may ask, “If I have wisdom, what is it that I need to understand.”

Understand the power of personality types and why people react differently to the same event. Understand the history of the people as you are new to a church or ministry team. Understand the transitions that the congregation has engaged. Understand the denominational hierarchy and influence. Understand the family and friends connections between people in the congregation. Understand what positions people have held and the influence that they have on different people in the congregation. Understand the self esteem of the congregation. Understand what the team members need from you.

Listening is the best skill to help you achieve the goal of understanding the people within a congregation. This is not a one time event but you must listen to the critics and to those who praise you. You must listen to those in leadership and those who are on the fringes. You must listen with sincerity and patience. Your response must be humble and honest. Listening is not a one time event. It is an ongoing process that gives you the understanding to become a successful leader within the congregation.

Learning to Listen
Learning to Lead

Rev. William T Chaney Jr
Senior Servant Leader
West Baltimore UMC
5130 Greenwich
Baltimore, MD 21229
(410) 945-8397
http://wtcreflects.blogspot.com/
West Baltimore UMC: Transforming the 40 West Corridor by Being and Making Disciples for Christ

Over the last month I have been studying several new books on leadership and several new articles. I am once again persuaded that the most important quality for a leader is vision. The second most important quality is the ability to communicate the vision. The third is to choose a leadership team that can embrace the vision and put the details of execution on the vision.

Leaders fail most often because of the third quality. Leaders pick team members who agree with everything they say rather than challenge and work together for consensus. Leaders choose team members who have hidden agendas and do not embrace the mission vision and values of the leader. Many leaders choose a team to small for the task.

Based on my research I believe leaders have a responsibility to the organization to carefully choose their lead team members to balance their own strengths and weaknesses. They must pick team members who are loyal to the mission, vision and values by action not lip service. Leaders must pick team members who will speak the truth in love.

Proverbs 29:18 says
Where there is no vision, the people perish.

The organization can not live without vision. No church can live, be healthy and thrive without a vision that comes from God. If the pastor does not receive the vision from God the vision will not manifest. When the vision is from God and the people reject it then we are faced with rebellion against God. Many churches are faced with the challenge of accepting the person called to lead and the vision that comes from God without having much input. This leadership principle is challenged from the beginning since most people can not distinguish the difference of hearing from God and hearing from the preacher since the vessel is the same.

Godly vision eliminates self promotion, self centeredness and selfish pride. Sure signs that the vision is off track if when there is more preacher promotion rather than ministry promotion, even when the church members refuse to do the ministry themselves. The pastor can not be the one doing all of the evangelism, all of the outreach, all of the preaching, all of the singing, all of the planning, all of the care for the building etc……

Challenge your pastor to write out the vision so that the discussion of the vision and the communication of the vision is clear.
Hab 2:2 – Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.
NRS

Leading by Example

Rev. William T Chaney Jr
Senior Servant Leader
West Baltimore UMC
5130 Greenwich
Baltimore, MD 21229
(410) 945-8397
http://wtcreflects.blogspot.com/
West Baltimore UMC: Transforming the 40 West Corridor by Being and Making Disciples for Christ

Jesus was sent to earth with a mission to reconstruct the religious world. The Law was over bearing and no one was keeping the law. The religious institutions of the day had created oppressive rules and regulations upon The Law which keep people enslaved to perpetual rituals that were not worshipping or honoring God.

The Jews were on the watch for their Messiah to also deliver them from the oppression of the Romans just as God had delivered them from Pharaoh. After Jesus had been on earth for 30 years he began his public ministry and instead of the religious leaders welcoming him they began to criticize him. The conflict was the first recorded reformation of religion and church fight.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were invested in keeping the rituals Jesus was invested in relationships. The religious leaders were more concerned with form and fashion and Jesus was more consumed with substance. The Ruling Jewish Council knew about the hurting, the sick and the lame but Jesus reached out and touched the hurting, the sick and the lame. The entire Jewish nation was comfortable with the purity of their religion but Jesus challenged them that until the worshipped with a pure heart their religion was unacceptable to God. The Pharisees, Sadducees, religious leaders and Ruling Council thought that Jesus was attempting to break The Law and Jesus was really coming to fulfill the law.

The keepers of the law attempted to trick Jesus in this text

Matthew 22:34-40
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, ” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Jesus not only understood the hidden intent but he produced a brilliant answer that summarized the 10 Commandments in two sentences.

Lesson – The church is in need of reformation today. Churches all over the United States and Canada are dying, in the process of dying or are dead and do not even know it. They are Lutheran churches, Baptist Churches, Methodist Churches, AME Churches, Disciple of Christ Churches and even non denominational churches. Most of these churches are rooted in grounded in solid theology and 1950s, 60’s and 70’s paradigms of being and doing church. The fear of moving into the 21st Century is the same fear that holds them back from being engaged in fruitful ministry.
Church people still rebel against reform because they are comfortable with where they are. Many do not see the big picture of the churches demise. Until the church is released from religion we are going to be in bondage.

People inside the church and outside of the church are hurting because of broken relationships with God and broken relationships with other people. We can not have healthy relationships with other people as long as our relationship with God is anemic, weak and malnourished. God’s design to pass on perfect love (agape love) is through those who confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. These are the people who have been saved from apathy of a broken church and saved to the joy of a reformed church that worships God in Spirit and in Truth.

Prophetically Proclaiming a Reformation

Rev. William T Chaney Jr
Senior Servant Leader
West Baltimore UMC
5130 Greenwich
Baltimore, MD 21229
(410) 945-8397
http://wtcreflects.blogspot.com/
West Baltimore UMC: Transforming the 40 West Corridor by Being and Making Disciples for Christ

Copyright Interpretation Jul 2006
House Church and Mission: The Importance of Household Structures in Early Christianity by Roger W. Gehring Hendrickson, Peabody, 2004. 408 pp. $29.95 (cloth). ISBN 1-56563-812-3.

FROM THE RISE OF Christianity to about 150 C.E., Christians exclusively met in private homes in dwelling rooms that were also used for other domestic purposes. The household model thus strongly influenced the social life, the organizational and leadership structures, and the ecclesiological concepts of early Christians, as well as their missionary outreach. Roger Gehring’s book, which is both exegetical-theologically and sociohistorically oriented, gives an excellent and erudite survey of the past and current scholarship on early Christian house churches.

As most previous studies of the topic have begun with the Pauline mission, Gehring’s new contribution lies primarily in his focus upon the time prior to and immediately after Easter, on household structures as a framework for the ministry and mission of Jesus and his disciples as well as of the primitive church of Jerusalem. He thereby relies heavily on the alleged historical accuracy of the historian Luke, as his Tubingen doctoral mentors do. Gehring then proceeds to the missionary outreach of the “Hellenists” and of the church at Antioch before he discusses the Pauline and post-Pauline churches as well as 2 and 3 John.

The appendix contains five floor plans; three three-dimensional reconstructions; indices of modern authors, subjects, and ancient sources; and an extensive bibliography. This fine book ends in a hermeneutical application, illuminating the importance of home groups and house churches for the church today.

[Author Affiliation]
PETER LAMPE
UNIVERSITY OF HEIDELBERG
HEIDELBERG, GERMANY

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