Justice Ministry

For immediate release August 1, 2013

Media contact:  Donna Dodson 410.409.5378


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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“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” Frederick Douglass

Using Acts 2 to define the core values of Koinonia, what activities does a church in the 21st Century engage in, to effectively realize true Christian community?  Which comes first discipleship or koinonia?

With so many people experiencing shallow spirituality and wearing multiple masks to cover up the pains, trials and challenges of everyday life, should the church re-evaluate how we are the representatives of God to the world?

42 They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers. 43 Everyone around was in awe – all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! 44 And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. 45 They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met. 46 They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, 47 as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.
Acts 2

Their lives were committed to the disciples teachings.  Everything they did and said was reflective of what they learned.  How many of our church members take what they like and leave the rest in the sanctuary. How often are we preaching rather than teaching?

The concept that they were all living together is amazing when we live in such an individualistic, self centered, let me get all that I can society.  If we were to commit to true community we would purchase (as a community) large tracts of land  and ensure that everyone had what they needed.  The economically challenged in our communities are often left out because no one wants to admit they do not have enough money to hang with their peers. The poor are totally excluded.  Can we discuss Koinonia and not include a serious discussion and strategy to address the poor in our community?  I believe suburban living numbs our spiritual senses to those who are marginalized in our communities.  One radical idea is that an urban church and suburban church can switch buildings for one Sunday. Driving pass the homeless, interacting teenage mothers, watching the soup kitchen lines form and seeing the hopelessness in the eyes of people being served in an urban emergency room will change your perspective on what you can do to minister to those who are hurting.  Most pastors will not push that envelop because it might threaten their comfortable situation.

People are seeking authentic communities where they can experience significance, and sanctuary.  Can we actually engage in this discussion as 21st century churches who are dependent on worship and married to administrative structures that are counter productive to producing Koinonia?

Pondering, exploring and searching………………

“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have recieved, and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.” –

Mother Teresa


Applying Wisdom to Life

Question Series: Wise Leadership Decisions

Question 1 – Leadership Culture


What is your leadership culture that you try to build in your organization? Do you have a hierarchical approach? Do you have a team approach? Is it a mixture of both or something entirely different? Why do you choose to develop this style of leadership?


With God’s help and guidence I am lead to build a servant leadership culture that embraces team ministry. To make this happen every committee in the congregation will be refocused as a small group. The model of small groups that we will be using is Living in Faith Everyday (L.I.F.E.) This is a 3-5 year process but keeps us on track for revitalization.

True servant leadership requires the ability to initiate ministry, build a team, share the ministry and eventually release the ministry. Decentralizing the command and control functions of leadership is essential to have a servant leadership culture that embraces team ministry. The hierarchy should be  linear when we achieve our goal. The goal is one level of ministry team leaders (who will also serve on the Vision Team/Church Council) and every ministry within the church fall under one of the leaders responsibilities.

I appreciate the fractal leadership culture of Wayne Cordero at New Hope Christian Fellowship. The permission giving model of Bill Easum has also informed my model. I also read Robert Greenleaf’s book on Servant Leadership . Along with the other leadership seminars, lectures, books and experience as a coach, I have adopted this approach to developing our leadership culture. My prayer is that it is intentionally tailored for West Baltimore UMC which is going through revitalization and not a template that we are attempting to fit into.

I adopted this style of leadership based on our unique ministry position, the task that is before us, the mandate to make disciples as we re-create and re-align the leadership culture as well as the unique gifts of congregational members already at West Baltimore UMC. Spiritual and administrative leadership can be developed simultaneously through L.I.F.E. groups which will be our primary leadership development venue.

For a highlight and summery of this question offered to great Christian leaders around the world and other valuable wisdom, visit SOPHOS.

I had the opportunity to view Happy Feet last night. This animated movie was pretty good and the soundtrack is worth picking up for those long commutes. Happy Feet also raised all types of theological and ecclesiastical questions for me.200px-happy_feet.jpg I would like to explore three of the huge themes Environmental Theology, Spiritual Gifts that Embrace Uniqueness and Traditional vs. Contemporary Church. While this short article will not be exhaustive analysis I also saw about 5 other theological themes that will not be addressed here today.

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Psalm 24:1-2

Since the earth belongs to the Lord we as God’s people have a responsibility to protect the ecosystem that God created. When humans disrupt God’s ecosystem we also destroy the perfect balance that God created. We are stewards of God’s property not the designers and so we also lack the capacity to realign the system so that all of God’s creation is maintained in perfect balance. This is a huge problem as we look at the food chain but even relates to our addiction to oil and Global Warming.

The Emperor Penguins lack of food caused by human consumption is a theological issue because as God’s steward’s we should be protecting all of God’s creatures. The church is silent because we are co-conspirators with the fishing companies. We do not demand that they invest in more self sustaining fish farms and ensure that they clean up the sea that they have polluted in their pillaging

Genesis 1:26

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”


The second issue is about spiritual gifts and uniqueness. We find three specific texts about gifts in the scriptures. The leadership gifts in Ephesians 4:11-16, motivational gifts in Romans 12: 4-21 and spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12: As leaders do we attempt to conform people to our vision of how a gift is to be lived out. When people have unique gifts do we ostracize or embrace the gift even if we do not understand the gift.

Mumble’s – is tone deaf and nearly incapable of singing. However, Mumble has an astute talent for tap dancing. This ability is frowned upon by the colony’s elders, who do not tolerate deviance of any kind. As a result, Mumble is ostracized throughout his childhood, with only his parents and his friend Gloria to turn to for help.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

This is the picture that I see and the basis of the stories that I hear from people who claim that they have been hurt by the church. They didn’t fit in, no one understood their perspective , they wanted to express their love for God in worship that was different than the congregational norm. Church leaders are to equip, motivate and empower people to spiritual maturity not behavioral conformity. We must move past our own views of what is right to discerning what God has designed as unique for a purpose. How do we has disciple making congregations guide people to find their God given purpose and live out that purpose. If more people in the church operated out of their spiritual gifts and purpose then I believe there would be fewer churches in need of revitalization, realignment or funeral services.

Finally Happy Feet is a critique on the traditional church vs. the contemporary church. It may also be a critique on blind faith vs. faith and reason.

This ability (tap dancing) is frowned upon by the colony’s elders, who do not tolerate deviance of any kind. the young penguin finds himself far from his home and within the carefree colony of the adélies – penguins small in stature, but fiercely loyal to those they call friends. He quickly befriends a small group of bachelors who call themselves the amigos – Ramón, the smallest of them, is the unofficial “leader” of sorts. The amigos quickly embrace Mumble’s dance moves and assimilate him into their misfit group.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Many of our traditional church leaders have spoken harsh words, devised exclusive policies and have disciplined new thoughts and ideas by excluding the thinker and barring the implementation of the plan. Our young people run to churches (and sometimes cults) that embrace their new thinking. What is really amazing is that we are then mad at the young people because they are not perpetuating our brand of church. I have even heard some call this “contemporary church” heresy. The debate will rage on for years but I am clear about this………If your church is not relevant to the people outside of the church it will die. By choosing not to be adaptable you choose a slow demise and a sure burial for your church.

Mark 2:16-17

16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

If the traditional church does not regain its passion to reach out to the hurting it has chosen to write its own obituary. “We were once a great church but we refused to change so we all now Rest in Peace.”

There is another explanation about the film.

“This movie was fun. The music was good and the dancing was great.”  – Courtney Chaney  It could just be a nice animated movie for the masses to enjoy.

Three R’s of Development
This is a Christianity Today Article on the Ministry and Life of John Perkins

The philosophy of the “Three R’s”—reconciliation, relocation, and redistribution—is CCDA’s backbone. Reconciliation shows itself as multiracial ministry. Perkins has never flirted with black power rhetoric or Afrocentric philosophies. He firmly believes that the kingdom of God is seen when all ethnicities work and worship together. “I want to preach a gospel that is stronger than my race and stronger than my economic interest,” he says. At the CCDA conference, his close friendship with Wayne Gordon, a white inner-city pastor from Chicago’s tough Lawndale neighborhood, sets the example.

The second R, relocation, emphasizes that to work with the poor you have to live with them. “I believe that the people with the problems can solve their own problems,” Perkins says. Only those who share daily life in the ghetto can move past charity to genuine community development.

This challenges up-and-out inner-city residents just as much as suburbanites. CCDA members don’t consider it a success when local young people go off to college and graduate to suburban life. “What they have got is a better education in consumption,” Perkins says. CCDA champions educated young people who come back to serve in their communities.

Living in the community, Wayne Gordon stresses, is the only cure for the prejudice that middle-class whites typically bring to their relations with the poor. He tells of moving into the high-crime area of Lawndale as a young teacher and coming home to find his van broken into. Residents of his building saw the theft and organized an around-the-clock vigil to make sure no one looted the van further. They took care of him even though he was the only white man in the neighborhood. “I found that, unexpectedly, I was living out the words of Martin Luther King Jr., being judged not by the color of my skin but by my character,” Gordon says.

The third R, redistribution, sounds like socialism, but what Perkins describes is far closer to capitalism. He seeks economic vitality, not handouts. He recognizes that external forces—unjust laws, lack of access to bank loans, poor schools—often prevent economic progress among poor people. But so does a lack of self-confidence and initiative. He wants poor African Americans to learn from immigrants who look at their blighted communities and see business opportunities. One way or another, economic resources must change hands so that the poor can gain economic power and dignity.


I liked the entire article.  John Perkins has an amazing tesitmony about his ministry journey.  The Three R’s seem embrace the vision that I have for ministry.  Can we apply the Three R’s to a church with a mission of making disciples? Are suburban churches and pastor’s able to embrace and support urban ministry and have integrity in their ministries?  Can the three R’s be applied to a congregation that is revitalizing?

If I were to use the three R’s I would the fourth R.  Reproduce.  Multiplication is at the foundation of every disciple making ministry.  I encourage you to read the entire article so that you can see how John Perkins approaches the three R’s in context.