October 2013


For immediate release August 1, 2013

Media contact:  Donna Dodson 410.409.5378

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HOLLAND JOINS INFINITE GRACE FELLOWSHIP LEADERSHIP TEAM

Minister Ardenia M. Holland has been appointed as Director for Outreach and Missions for Infinite Grace Fellowship by resident Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.  Minister Holland began her duties August 1. The church is located at 5130 Greenwich in Baltimore, on the city’s historic “40 West” corridor.

Minister Holland has served as an associate minister at First Mt. Olive Freewill Baptist Church in Baltimore, where she has been a member from birth, since August 2008. Over the course of her membership she served on various ministries and in most recent years served as assistant ministry leader for the Ministerial Alliance, assistant to the executive director for Ministries of Excellence which provides oversight for church ministries and was co-facilitator for Baby Dedication classes.  In addition, she assisted with teaching in conjunction with prayer vigils and Bible Study.  She lives by the philosophy that it is her responsibility to use her life experiences to empower others to realize their God-given purpose and has a passion for community outreach, organizing and advocacy, especially in the areas of public health.

Min. Holland is a native of Baltimorean, and a graduate of Western High School.  She received a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. She is the Executive Officer of her own consulting ministry, All His Glory Enterprises, and has a wealth of public health, public administration and communications experience.  Her work experience includes eight years with the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and serving as Executive Director for the Heart & Soul Foundation.  In 2011 she coordinated the Heart & Soul Magazine Awards Weekend in Baltimore, MD, honoring 13 extraordinary women and men who advance healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyles. She has worked in a consult capacity with the Baltimore Washington United Methodist Conference of the United Methodist Church and coordinated Metropolitan United Methodist Church’s Full & Fit Community Outreach event in 2012.  One of her most memorable life moments is appearing as a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune in 1988.

Minister Holland is single and the mother of Aaron Holland and his wife Aerica.  She is blessed to still have the presence of her mother, Flora Holland, in her life and has four siblings.  Aware of God’s grace and mercy upon her life, she self-published her first book “Just Like Fire…God Said Testify” and believes God is capable of using our testimony to make us stronger as well as to spread the message of His saving, redeeming, and delivering power.

The Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church is comprised of 694 congregations with nearly 200,000 members. It is the home of Methodism in America, with the founding of the denomination at Lovely Lane Chapel in 1784.

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There are many struggling churches in mainline denominations that aspire to Make disciples for Christ, Serve the Community and Impact the World. Often they struggle with limited finances, limited energy and few people. Efforts to reach more people and share the life changing message of Jesus Christ seem futile and the few ideas that do work seem to never provide the traction necessary to change the direction of the congregations decline.    I believe that there is something to learn from relevant success stories of congregations that have already gone through the process of revitalizing and restoring their mission. The role of the transformative, revitalizing pastor is to help the congregation discover the best practices to achieving the long term mission and vision. . As a pastoral and leadership coach here are some suggestions to accelerate the learning curve:

  1. Find multiple examples of congregations with similar demographics and a similar ministry context that have coped with equivalent challenges successfully. Learn from their mistakes, experiences and successes
  2. Find congregations that model excellence in the ministry areas that you desire to grow in even if the resources are outside of your denomination in a congregation that has no ministry context similarities.  Learn what the best practices are and let them become the standards that your strive for as you revision the ministry.
  3. Develop a step by step logic model of the reasons for the best practices and the success of the turnaround churches. Look for features that they share in common.
  4. Present these shared “success factors” as precepts, guidelines, and principles that can be implemented by all those who wish to achieve similar levels of success.
  5. Document your journey by video, journaling, pictures and recordings.
  6. Celebrate mini successes along the journey and review the ultimate goal and objectives often

B. Kevin Smalls

 

Several years ago, I accompanied my son to his new high school’s orientation and the principal began his speech with what he called non-negotiables.  One was, fighting.  The other was cheating and I don’t remember the rest of them.  I kind of like that concept.  I’ve been comforted lately by listing what my non-negotiables are as a leader and a pastor.  Here they are.

1. From time to time I would hear that “we are not being heard.”  I will listen to anyone but I will not accommodate negative, disruptive and problematic attitudes. There is a difference.

2. I will not make room for prejudice, judgementalism and religious elitism.  

3. I will not apologize for aggressively reaching those seeking shelter from the cold walk without God.  They are the priority for all of US.

4. I will not allow abuse to me or my family.  I will confront…

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In the ABC hit show Scandal Jeff Perry  plays the role of Cyrus Beene.  Cyrus is the White House chief of staff who is famousImage for his rants and raves.  The stress level that he endures as President Grant’s right hand person is already extremely high but in Cyrus’ attempt to make sure that everything  goes just right he often blows a gasket.  (http://abc.go.com/shows/scandal/blogs/scandal-sheet/cyrus-beene-best-rants). The culmination of this stress, intense desire to succeed, work a holic  syndrome, micro managing details and managing President Grant’s relationships was a heart attack.

As we look at Cyrus Beene and realize that he is a fictional character whose rants and raves are over the top, the reality is many of us readily recognize glimpses of our own behavior and related stress in the life of Cyrus.  We have all experienced  times where dealing with co-workers can be annoying, dealing with children can provoke you to lose your temper, and when you have been working toward a big event  you can be exacerbated to the point of giving up when other team mates are not pulling their weight.  Life events including graduating, getting married, getting divorced, moving, and many other life events can cause stress in our lives.

“Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.  (The Mayo Clinic)”

I just do not see this as the life God has designed for us.

Paul teaches us in Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NRSV)

The life events that would stress us need to be taken to God in prayer if we want to experience peace. We are encouraged to give thanks for the nuisances, disappointments and annoyances that could cause debilitating stress.  We need to seek God’s wisdom and voice for guidance when we are not sure what to do next.

Next time you see someone stressing and going overboard in expressing their frustration simply say “Don’t go all Cyrus on me” or “Don’t worry about this, God’s got this