Showing posts with label church growth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label church growth. Show all posts

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How to Share Our Testimony

John 1:35-41
35 Again the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and noticed them following Him, He asked them, “What are you looking for?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are You staying?” 39 Come and you’ll see, He replied. So they went and saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Him that day. It was about 10 in the morning. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed Him.41 He first found his own brother Simon and told him, We have found the Messiah! (which means Anointed One), 42 and he brought Simon to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, He said, You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas, which means Rock.

Context:
          This passage introduces us to John the Baptist, the great prophet and somewhat eccentric preacher. John constantly explained who Jesus was to those around him and many of them became followers of Jesus.
          One of John’s followers who began to follow Jesus was Andrew. Andrew immediately began to share his faith with others. Andrew was not a preacher, he was just a guy who had been changed by his faith in Christ and wanted others to experience that blessing too.
          The first person Andrew shared his faith with was his own brother, Simon. Andrew told Simon he had found the Messiah and then brought Simon to Jesus. When Jesus saw Simon He gave him a new name. In that culture a person’s name meant everything. Changing one’s name was rare and normally only happened when a person’s life was so changed that they were no longer the same person they were before. That happened to Peter and he became a powerful preacher and one of the key leaders of the early church.
          Many of us came to faith because a preacher told us about Jesus. We came to understand who Jesus is and committed our lives to following Him. Like Andrew, we have an obligation to share our faith with others, even if we are not preachers. We should start by sharing with those closest to us, including family and close friends. We should want every one of our family and friends to come to faith in Christ. Imagine if one or two of them become powerful leaders in God’s church like Peter did!
          There are many ways to share our faith with our friends. One way is to share our testimony with them. Our testimony is simply our story of how we came to faith in Christ and what Christ has done in our life.

          Our testimony has four key parts:
1.     What our lives were like before we became Christians.
None of us were born Christians, therefore we all have a time in our lives in which we were pre-Christians. When sharing our pre-Christian story, we do not have to include every dark or dirty detail because we do not want to glorify sin, but we need to set the stage so those we are sharing with so they understand our lives before Christ.

2.     What caused us to first begin to turn to God.
At some point in our lives, God reached out to us and began to draw us to Himself. This was often through some specific event or period in our lives, such as the death of a loved one, the break-up of a marriage or some challenge to our faith that shook us in some way. Though this is not the actual moment when we became Christians, it is what caused us to realize our relationship with God was not what it should be.

3.     The circumstances of how we received Christ into our lives.
This is where we talk about the moment everything clicked in our minds and we personally made a commitment to Christ. This is where God brings together what we have heard about repentance, faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection to atone for our sins, and the grace of God all comes together and we not only express belief in all of these truths, but we make the commitment to follow Christ as the Savior and Lord of our lives. This experience is called many different things by different Christian traditions, such being born again, being saved, getting religion, finding Jesus, getting the Spirit, being converted or finding peace with God.

4.     How our lives have changed as a result of our faith in Christ.
If Christ really came into our lives, then our lives are changed in some way. Perhaps we have overcome anger and resentment. Perhaps we gave up some bad habits or gained some positive habits. Perhaps we learned to appreciate the Bible, worship and the people of God in a greater way. Perhaps we changed our minds on a number of crucial life issues. The changes that come through faith in Christ are different for each person because we all start in different places. But since we all come to God the Father through the same Gospel of Christ, then change is inevitable. These changes will be positive and we must share them with others.

When we share our testimony, it is often helpful to give a sample prayer our friends might use to accept Jesus if they want to. This is especially important if they are not particularly religious and are not sure how to pray. Then we should invite them to pray that prayer, or some other one they might make up on their own so they can receive Christ. It is important to make sure they understand it is the grace of God, expressed by their sincere faith in Christ alone as they repent of their sins that guarantees them eternal salvation, not the specific words of a sample prayer. Otherwise they might trust a prayer instead of God Himself for salvation.

When we share our faith with others, what types of responses might we expect?

      Some will receive Jesus – which always causes our hearts to rejoice
      Some will want to think about it – this is not a bad thing, as it is not a decision to be entered into lightly
      Some will want to ask questions – this is not a bad thing either and it is okay if we do not know all the answers to their questions.
      Some will reject it – which is always a sad experience. But we should remember that the seeds we sow in their hearts might bear fruit many years down the road. Regretfully, if they never respond to the Gospel positively, there is nothing we can do about it. We will never argue or debate someone into becoming a Christian. Ultimately, how they respond is between them and God. But it is our holy obligation to tell them about Jesus so they at least have the chance to make a decision for themselves.


We live in a world that is quickly losing its understanding of who Christ is. Though we cannot control how people will respond to the Gospel, we must share it with as many people as possible. Though there are many ways to do this, sharing our testimony is an important way.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Honoring God With Our Lips, But Not Our Hearts

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of accepting that an all-knowing God is in control of the universe even when His activities make no sense to our finite minds (YOU CAN READ THAT POST HERE). In that post, I distinguished between people of faith and those who do not have faith. Today I want to break that down a little more by talking about those who have a deep personal faith in God and those who only have an surface faith. 

In the region of the nation where I live, 74% of the population claims to be Christians. But the lifestyles of that mass of people do not back up the claim. For example, though 31% of the people in my state claim to attend church "regularly," when compared with actually church attendance, it is closer to 7-15%. Though the area in which I live is one of the most affluent in the nation, charitable giving ranks near the bottom on the national scale. Here is an interesting statistic, 54% of residents of my state claim to be "non-religious" even though 74% of them refer to themselves as Christians. By their own admission they are "non-religious Christians." Something is wrong with that descriptive phrase, especially when it is applied to over half of the population.

The prophet Isaiah talks about this kind of surface level faith: "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden" (Isaiah 29: 13-14). God knows our hearts. He sees when our faith is genuine and sincere and when we are just going through the motions because we think it makes us look better in front of others. When people get to the point where their outward religious rituals no longer reflect their true belief systems, something is wrong. In this passage, God says that He would do something wonderful in their midst. While at first that may sound great, it actually is not. One might assume that if God does a big miracle then everyone would rediscover genuine faith. But God does miracles all the time and people just explain them away, deny they happened or simply ignore them. The context of this passage is that God was going to allow difficulties to come that would be so great that it would separate the true believers from those who only had a surface faith. The calamity would be so huge that all the "wisdom" of the world will fail. If one keeps reading in Isaiah, that happened to the Jewish people, and in a big way.

Just as the people in Isaiah's day had reached a tipping point and required a big intervention from a holy God, our own culture is reaching a similar tipping point. We have gone through the motions long enough, pretending to be a Christian nation, when in reality our hearts were far from God. It is time to get serious about our faith. If we claim to be Christians, we should live lives that reflect it. At the very least we should be treating our neighbors in ways that display Christian love and we should be showing up at church often enough to be considered "regular" attendees. But I think sincere believers will go much further than that in living out our faith. Our faith should permeate every area of our lives and be evident for all to see. That is the kind of faith that we need. That is the kind of faith our world needs. That is the kind of faith that pleases the Lord. Do we have that kind of faith?

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett is a church planter in New England. He is a happy husband, proud father, giggling grandfather, thankful cancer survivor, and the author of numerous books aimed at helping small churches become healthier and individual Christians grow in their faith. You can find his books at:

Monday, June 23, 2014

By People With Foreign Tongues

Does a scripture passage ever grab your attention and make you think about something that never occurred to you before? One passage of scripture that recently did this for me is Isaiah 28:11-12: "For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the LORD will speak to this people, to whom he has said, This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose; yet they would not hear."

The context of this scripture is that God had been calling His people back to Himself, but the Jews had not been listening. Therefore, God said He would send a foreign people to the Jews to tell them of the peace and rest they could find in Him. This scripture is being lived out today as Messianic Jews and their evangelical Christian partners reach out to Jewish people around the world.

But I think the reason this scripture caught my attention so much is because it also happens to be one of those scriptures that can be applied to the church.

When I look at the state of the church in North America, we are far from God. God has been calling us back to Him for decades, but few have listened. Now God is bringing Christians from other nations to our shores. Many of them have a robust faith that is challenging the status quo that grips most of the North American church. While some educated upper middle class white people might be intimidated by these people who speak a foreign tongue, I am thankful for them. I see them as missionaries who have come to our lands to help us remember who God is. Instead of looking down on them, or despising them, I look forward to partnering them to share the Gospel with those around me.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Our Culture is Changing: Time to Withdraw or Advance?

I almost missed seeing it as I set the newspaper aside. But something about the picture caught my eye. I picked the paper up and looked at the picture again of the couple that was embracing and realized it was a same sex couple. The article was about love and family and I realized that the editor has chosen a picture of a same sex couple to illustrate the article. It was not an article about same sex marriage, the article did not address that issue at all. It was just a stock picture that was chosen to go with the story.

Twenty years ago, such a picture would have never have been published. Ten years ago, depending on the newspaper, it might have been published in an article about same sex marriage. Even two years ago such a picture would have produced a flurry of letters to the editor, both pro and con. But now, in our rapidly changing culture, it was just a stock picture in a mundane article that did not appear to stir up controversy at all.

Regardless of where a person stands on that particular issue, we can all agree that our culture is changing. Pick about any topic or issue and it seems that the public opinion is becoming more liberal. Things that only twenty years ago would have been unthinkable have now become so common that we almost miss noticing them when they show up in daily life.

These rapid cultural changes are impacting the church significantly. Churches are an important part of the fabric of our culture. Churches provide services to the poor and needy. Churches offer comfort to the distressed and dying. Churches provide education and health care services to not only their own followers but the community at large. Churches care for the elderly and for orphans. Our culture needs strong and healthy churches. But how should churches engage such a rapidly changing culture?

Some churches choose to adopt the culture and change with it. Such churches jump in with both feet and happily accept the culture's view on all the hot topics. The leaders of these churches assumed it would swell their ranks with open minded parishioners who would flock to their enlightening worship services and volunteer to lead their many community programs. Statistics show quite clearly that did not happen. The majority of liberal churches remain in steep decline. Tony Robinson, president of Congregational Leadership Northwest, speaks and writes, nationally and internationally, on religious life and leadership, concluded:  It may be that relatively comfortable liberals … simply feel little need for religion.

Other churches adopt more of a fortress mentality. They withdraw from public life and huddle in their basement hoping the world will just leave them alone. Recently I had a conversation with the leader of a major fundamentalist religious organization that has taken this approach. He lamented, "We once had 50,000 people at our events over the course of a year, now we consider 20,000 to be a good year." The fortress mentality is clearly not working either.

Churches that want to remain vibrant must look for ways to engage the culture, without actually adopting it. Learning how to speak to cultural issues and work through complicated subjects while remaining true to scripture is important. We can neither adopt the culture, nor ignore it. We must engage it. Though there may be many ways to do that, one of the best is to focus on the life changing power of the Gospel. The Gospel changes lives, but we often focus on other things. When we focus on passing legislation for the community as a whole, or internal regulations for the organizations we serve, we miss the point. The human heart is sinful. It will remain sinful regardless of what the law or the rule book says. The only thing that can change the human heart is the Gospel. As we lift up Jesus and expose men and women, boys and girls, to the Gospel of Christ, they are drawn to Him. As His Spirit enters them, they are transformed. That transformation is far more powerful than all the rules and laws we could ever draft. Therefore, let's engage the Culture by lifting up Jesus.

It is time to emerge from our holy huddles in the church basement and start engaging our friends and family with the Gospel. Let's talk about Jesus. Let's sing about Jesus. Let's replace those political bumper stickers with ones about Jesus. Let's pack up our t-shirts promoting sports teams and musical groups and start wearing ones that talk about Jesus. Let's be willing to have the difficult conversations about cultural issues and then steer the conversation to Jesus. Let's reach out to people who hold different view points and talk about Jesus. Such an approach may be considered counter-cultural, but let's do it anyway. Let's make faith once more about Jesus and just see what happens.




To learn more about how churches can engage the culture, read Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

5 Unhealthy Expectations Small Churches Have for their Pastors - Guest Post by Dennis Bickers

In my role as a resource minister with the American Baptist Churches – USA of Indiana and Kentucky, one of my responsibilities is to assist our churches when they seek new pastoral leadership.

A major challenge when assisting smaller churches is to find potential candidates. It's often easier to find persons willing to serve in larger churches than smaller ones.

Many smaller churches are increasingly becoming bivocational, which means that most persons who could fill that position will be found geographically near the church. Few people are going to relocate to serve in a bivocational church.

Another thing making it difficult to assist these smaller churches is that many of them have unrealistic expectations of their next pastor, especially if he or she is bivocational.

Let's look at some of those expectations.

1. This person will be the one who will save their church.
I repeatedly hear from many smaller churches that they are looking for someone who will grow their church or grow their youth group. What they are really saying is they want someone who will save their church from dying.
Often, their church hasn't grown in years, and the only young people in the church are grade-school children brought by their grandparents. Few of these young people will be found there once they enter junior-high school.
These churches hope their next pastor will solve this problem for them.

2. Despite the fact that many of these committees say their church wants a pastor who will grow their church, the truth is many of these smaller churches want a chaplain who will care for their existing members.
One committee assured me the church wanted a pastor to grow the church, but a survey I did of the congregation revealed they really wanted a chaplain. When I pointed that out to the committee, they didn't know how to respond. I explained that if they call a pastor with spiritual gifts conducive to growing a church, he or she will be in trouble within the first year for not meeting the pastoral care needs of the congregation.

3. Their new pastor will come in with a vision for ministry that will unite their church and return it to the exciting place it was 50 years ago.
I ask every pastor search committee to tell me the vision that has unified their church, and virtually none has been able to give me one. A few have read from some vision statement document.
When that happened recently, I responded, "The fact you had to find that statement and read it tells me that statement really doesn't direct the activities and ministries of this church." Most of the committee nodded their heads in agreement.

4. While many churches are paying for a bivocational person, their expectations are that he or she will work as a full-time person in the church.
One committee was recently concerned about their Sunday evening service and was afraid their new pastor would not be able to lead that if he or she lived too far away.
When I learned that service averages about 10 people, I asked if having this service was really a good use of their pastor's time. I cautioned them that if they were going to call a bivocational pastor, they needed to ensure that what was asked of that person was the best use of his or her time.

5. Some are willing to ignore theology to find someone willing.
Recently, a disgruntled group from a church contacted me complaining their pastor didn't do things like a Baptist. I reminded them they knew he wasn't a Baptist when they called him. That pastor has now left, but not before many of the members did.

I recently talked with search committee members from a different church who were excited about someone who had preached there the previous Sunday. Two of them commented he was a "real barn-burner preacher" who got everyone excited. I read his resume and pointed out his experience has all been in a different denomination. I then asked what did they know about his personal theology. They knew nothing.

Can persons cross denominational lines and serve churches effectively? Absolutely. I've known several who have done that and provided excellent ministry, but their theology was solid and their approach to ministry was healthy. Search committees need to make sure that is the case before they present the person as a candidate to the church. 

I could give more examples of unrealistic expectations, but these are the primary ones I encounter. It is critical that churches develop more realistic expectations of their pastors, and that the congregation is united on those expectations. It is also vital that both the committees and candidates spend sufficient time talking with one another and asking questions to ensure they will be a good fit before proceeding to a vote.


This guest post was originally posted at http://www.ethicsdaily.com/5-unhealthy-expectations-small-churches-have-for-pastors-cms-20973 and is re-posted here with the permission of the author.



Dennis Bickers served as the bivocational pastor of Hebron Baptist Church near Madison, Ind., for 20 years before accepting his current position as a resource minister with the American Baptist Churches – USA of Indiana and Kentucky. A longer version of this column first appeared on his blog, Bivocational Ministry, and is used with permission. You can follow him on Twitter @DennisBickers.
- See more at: http://www.ethicsdaily.com/5-unhealthy-expectations-small-churches-have-for-pastors-cms-20973#sthash.i15RcOoE.dpuf

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Stop Longing for the Good Old Days

Last week my personal devotions were from Ecclesiastes. It can be a challenging book to understand. One particular verse caught my attention and I have been turning it over in my mind for several days. Ecclesiastes 7:10 “Do not say, Why were the old days better than these? For it is not wise to ask such questions” (NIV). Throughout my ministry it seems that most people long for the good old days. Church leaders remember a time with the attendance was better and the offerings were larger. At church pot luck dinners everyone remembers those one or two saints of old that cooked a certain dish that no one has ever been able to match since. When trying to find volunteers to serve, pastors remember when people wanted to serve instead of wanting to be served. It seems that most everyone remembers the good old days as being better than our current ones. Perhaps that is true.

It might also be true that we only remember the good parts and forget the bad parts. I recall an older deacon who once told me “I remember the good old days, and they were not that great!” He loved to tell stories of his childhood growing up on a farm in northern New England. He remembers the wind whistling through the rafters in the old farmhouse and being cold in the winter no matter how many blankets he piled on his bed. He took me to that farmhouse once, which has now been purchased by someone from out of state. The new owner used government grants to “restore” the farmhouse so it could be preserved for historical purposes. Deacon Bill said the roof was never that straight, nor the walls that square when he lived in the house. And he remembers well that when he lived there it had a “bath down a path, not a bath and a half!” Bill was quite the character, but he was also honest. The good old days had their share of hardship, toils and difficulties. Though he missed certain aspects of them, he had no desire to go back.

When discussing this scripture, and those who long for the past that it addresses, one commentator said, “in his moody discontent he looks on what is around him with a jaundiced eye, and sees the past through a rose-tinted atmosphere, as an age of heroism, faith, and righteousness.” Another commentator reminds us that “Every age has its light and dark side; the past was not wholly light, the present is not wholly dark.” We can become so nostalgic about the past that we miss the good things going on around us. Maybe church attendance is not what it once was, but the people who are there deserve our love and attention, not our pinning for the past. Maybe the offerings are not as large as they once were, but they should be used wisely for Kingdom advance, not hoarded by a small cabal of power people. Perhaps church workers were easier to recruit in yesteryear, but that makes the ones we have now all the more valuable. Instead of constantly looking at the past, let us look forward to bright future that God has in store for all of those who are called by Him and serving Him faithfully.

Dr. Terry W. Dorsett is a church planter in New England. He is a happy husband, proud father, giggling grandfather, thankful cancer survivor, and the author of numerous books aimed at helping small churches become healthier and individual Christians grow in their faith. You can find his books at:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Jesus Versus Video Games

Matthew 6:33 - But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

My primary ministry is to help coordinate church planting in the area where I live. In that role I get to spend time with a lot of fine young couples who have a passion for changing their corner of the world. One of the things I assist those couples in doing is to find some partners who will stand with them in prayer, giving and volunteering. Those partners come from other area churches as well as from churches outside our area. It is a lot of work to find partners willing to sacrifice their time, their treasure and their talents to help a church they are not even part of. But the Lord touches the hearts of partners and they join the cause.

Once one of our church planters sent a Facebook message to me. He had been working the social media angle pretty hard trying to find partners. Though some people had responded, many had not. In a pointed moment of realization it occurred to him that many of the people he was contacting about partnering with him in church planting were ignoring his messages about partnering but sending him countless messages inviting him to play games on Facebook. He found it ironic that they would talk to him a lot about video games but not about sharing Jesus with others. His message pondered what it would be like if he could get people as excited about partnering with him in ministry as they were about playing games on Facebook. I wonder the same thing.

People who tell me they do not have time to volunteer seem to have the time to play on both softball and basketball leagues. People who tell me they do not have money to donate somehow have the money to drive the latest model car with all the upgrades. Pastors who tell me their church is too stretched to help plant another church find money for another round of renovations in a sanctuary that already looks pristine. Church youth groups and senior adult groups go on amazing sight-seeing trips on fully equipped buses, but seem unable to take those same people on a mission trip. Once I got a letter from a mega-church asking me for money. They wanted to build a $120,000 playground for the children in their already well-funded private school. I sent them a letter back suggesting they tithe off their playground fund to a church plant in New England. I never got a response.

The point I am trying to make is that we have somehow gotten our priorities all messed up. Now Christians play games and have fun instead of being about the business of winning others to Jesus. I am not suggesting that we should never have fun or play games, but somewhere along the line we must stop playing games with our faith and start doing whatever it takes to win our nation to Jesus.


Lord, help us be serious about the business of sharing Christ with those around us. Amen.



Dr. Terry W. Dorsett is a church planter in New England. He is a happy husband, proud father, thankful cancer survivor, and the author of numerous books aimed at helping small churches become healthier and individual Christians grow in their faith. You can find his books at:

http://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Terry-W.-Dorsett/e/B00405U4NY/

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Killer Cows and the Gospel

1 Corinthians 9:20-22 - 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win those under the law. 21 To those who are without that law, like one without the law—not being without God’s law but within Christ’s law—to win those without the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some.

I grew up in a city in the Midwest. As a teenager I moved to a small city in Virginia. After college I lived in a city in South Carolina. Since I had lived in a city most of my life, it was quite a culture shock when I moved to rural Vermont in 1993. It was a small village with less than 1,000 residents. We moved there to serve as missionaries with the North American Mission Board. We served a rural church with less than 20 members, which was struggling for survival.

It has been my custom for years to walk in the mornings and pray about what God is doing in my life. That first week of living in a rural area I struck out walking down the main street, which was also the only paved street in town. I did not get very far before I encountered a cow that had escaped from the pasture and was standing in the middle of the road. Having grown up in the city, I did not know quite what to do, so I froze in my tracks. My life flashed before my eyes. My heart raced with fear. Would this cow charge me? Would it trample me? Would it eat me? Surely this vicious creature was a killer cow!

I do not know how long I stood in the middle of the road looking at that cow, but eventually someone drove by in their pickup truck and asked what I was doing. I replied that a killer cow had gotten loose and I did not know what to do. They looked at me, looked at the cow and laughed hysterically as they drove away. Eventually I realized that the poor creature was just a harmless old milk cow. I slowly eased past her and went on my way. I knew I was not in the city anymore!

To live successfully in a rural area, I had to adjust to the presence of cows in the middle of the road. I also had to adjust how I did ministry so that it fit my context. I learned to show up at the post office each morning at 9:30 AM when everyone came to get their mail. I could visit half the town in an hour. I learned that I was the pastor for the whole community, not just my 20 church members. As the community pastor I provided weddings, funerals, counseling and hospital visits for the entire community, even though many of them had little or no affiliation with our church. I learned how important it was to make a contribution to the annual 8th grade fundraiser. I learned not to wear a tie, as it made people think I was either a Mormon or a bill collector, neither of which were very welcome in that small rural village.

During the eight years I served that church, I learned a great many things about how to minister in a rural village. However, I never had to change the Gospel itself. The Gospel is always relevant to all cultures in all time periods and to all people groups. There is no other Gospel but the one found in the New Testament that begins with the sinfulness of mankind and ends with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. But methods and programs used to communicate the Gospel are constantly changing. One generation might use flannel graph and chalkboards, another generation might use video projectors and smart boards, but the message of the Gospel remains the same.

Since my fateful encounter with that killer cow so many years ago, I have learned to communicate the Gospel in a variety of ways as I have started churches and led evangelistic activities across New England. Each town is a little different, but in each one God has called a group of people to Himself. My ministry is to join God in His work and communicate His Gospel in a way that the called can hear and respond. When that happens, the Gospel goes forth and God is glorified, and His people rejoice, even if it looks differently than what we are used to.


Prayer: Lord, help us learn to share the Gospel in ways those around us can understand. Amen.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Using Our Spiritual Gifts Effectively

When I first moved to New England to pastor a Baptist church, I was surprised to learn that the majority of my church members were from non-Baptist backgrounds. They were drawn to the church by the solid Bible teaching and the rich fellowship, not by denominational connection. Twenty years later, though still very loyal to my own denomination, I have become quite comfortable serving in inter-denominational situations that are common in New England. I think this is a skill most pastors are going to have to gain for effective ministry in the years to come.

One of the issues I had to overcome was the vast differences of opinion on how the spiritual gifts should be applied to church life. I had a set idea of what I thought the spiritual gifts were and how they should be used. Some members of my little church had vastly different views. Many of the members had no understanding of the gifts at all. When I tried to push my ideas onto the congregation, the push back I got was that my views were based on my denominational background, not on scripture. Though that challenge stung, on reflection, I found it to be true. I decided to rethink the issue based on scriptures instead of a pre-written statement of faith produced by any man-made denomination. Many of my views remained the same. Some changes a little. Some changed a lot. Over the years I have continued to refine my understanding of the gifts based on scripture. In the process I have created numerous Bible studies to help address this issue in the churches I have served. Now I have put all of what I have learned together into a new book entitled “Teaming Up: Using Our Spiritual Gifts Effectively.”

This book is useful for both individual study and small groups. The premise of the book is that our understanding of spiritual gifts must flow from a Biblical basis and emphasize how the gifts work together for the greater effectiveness of the church. Though it is impossible to completely remove my denominational position, after so many years of working in inter-denominational situations, I think the book is one of the more balanced on the subject.

All the proceeds from the book will be used to help my youngest son become a missionary. He has already spent 78 days in Haiti working in an orphanage last summer and will spend four months in Thailand in the fall helping with faith-based economic development programs. He will then return to the U.S. to finish another three semesters of college before launching his missionary career. Your purchase will not only be a blessing to your own study of scripture, but it will help him pursue his missionary passion.

You can find both the print and e-book versions at this link:

It would be a great blessing if you would “share” the Amazon link on your Facebook page or on twitter or other social media outlets.

If you are interested in any of my other books, you can find them at this link:



What others are saying about Teaming Up: Using Our Spiritual Gifts Effectively:
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett forthrightly approaches this controversial subject with a conversational style.  He faithfully applies scriptural concepts with sincere convictions.  He understands that spiritual gifts are not for enjoyment or entertainment but for the enrichment of the body of Christ.  Read this book to be inspired and instructed and to increase your effectiveness as a believer.  I commend it to you!
Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice
 and Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival & Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah.


Terry Dorsett has written a practical and insightful study on the purpose and practice of spiritual gifts. Dr. Dorsett applies his rich Biblical knowledge to this issue, with a warm and user-friendly style that allows everyone to gain a greater depth of understanding. Whether used in a small group or as an individual study, everyone who opens this book will be greatly encouraged. Churches and individual Christians alike will benefit from the study of the spiritual gifts, and Teaming Up: Using Our Spiritual Gifts Effectively is just the resource they need.

Rev. Michael Duncan, Pastor and Author
From Vision to Victory

Terry Dorsett does a thorough job of providing both a good overview of this complex subject and great questions for discussion. Using this book in small groups should provide opportunity for greater learning and use of the gifts God gives His people!"

Rev. Joel L. Rissinger
Lead Pastor - Mill Pond Church
Author of "The Crucified Church"

Teaming Up: Using Our Spiritual Gifts Effectively is very thorough and explains in practical terms how our spiritual gifts can be used effectively in our Christian walk. The book uses both scripture and questions, which lead to thought provoking conversations. The section on the gift of service was particularly good. In that chapter Terry Dorsett reminds us that "because the person with the gift of service is often the first person to volunteer for everything, they may become involved in so many different ministries that none of them can be done well." This is important. I would use this book in developing leaders and encouraging young adults to find their place in the church body.

Captain Kimberly DeLong
The Salvation Army

No responsible church leader would dare question the crucial, all important role of the Holy Spirit in the life and operation of the local church. To do so would be to strike at the very heartbeat of the Body of Christ. Whether the individual—the first unit of the church—or the Body as a whole, at every level the church is dependent on the Holy Spirit for energy, knowledge, and leadership. Sadly, many congregations are yet to realize the powerful benefits of the Spirit’s presence and operation, benefits that extend to God-glorifying vision, growth, and vitality. Dr. Terry Dorsett has taken an enlightening step toward correcting such church-based deficiencies.

In his book, Teaming Up: Using Our Spiritual Gifts Effectively, Dorsett explores the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the church from the perspective of the Spirit’s equipping work in believers through spiritual gifts. Asking that readers set aside the numerous viewpoints related to spiritual gifts and approach the subject with an open mind, Dorsett provides a fresh and thoroughly biblical look at how each gift is intended to build the church by strengthening believers through effective, mutual ministry. This he accomplishes with skill and clarity.

Dorsett’s years as an instructor are clearly evident in this book. He has created an interactive workbook that is at the same time engaging and instructive. Always giving weight to a wealth of Scripture references, readers are encouraged to respond to questions and concepts that build an undeniable case for the discovery and use of spiritual gifts as the church’s primary ministry tools. True to the book’s title, Dorsett is careful to not only direct the reader conceptual truth, he demonstrates in very practical terms how to utilize the Spirit’s gifting in very effective ways within the Body of Christ.

Teaming Up: Using Our Spiritual Gifts Effectively is a must read for individuals believers and groups of believers. It is not an overstatement to say that this workbook should be studied as standard curriculum for entire churches that wish to grow on the most scriptural basis possible. The book is readable, challenging, and highly recommended.
Dr. Gerald Roe, Chair of the Department of Intercultural Studies, North Greenville University
and author of Where Would Jesus Go to Church


Dr. Dorsett’s latest book is a great introduction to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. His years of experience in dealing with new believers and small groups shines through as he tackles subject material that is often neglected on one hand, or over emphasized on the other; all the while staying well within the bounds of Baptist theology. Its interactive style plays well with small groups, or individuals, looking for a basic Biblical understanding of spiritual gifts. If you want to train members of your congregation, and encourage dialog, if you want to edify, and build up the Body, and Bride of Christ through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, this would be a good source to turn to.

Russell C. Lambert, President
Life Passage Ministries
Merrill, Oregon

In his latest book, Teaming Up: Using our Spiritual Gifts Effectively, Dr. Terry Dorsett offers some very helpful analysis on the Biblical subject of spiritual gifts. The scriptural truths concerning spiritual gifts has often been convoluted and even corrupted.  But in each lesson in this book, Dr. Dorsett brings clarity and understanding to this topic.  Rather than declaring war on opposing viewpoints, he carefully examines each spiritual gift mentioned in the New Testament.  And in the process, he convinces all of us as believers to ascertain our area of spiritual giftedness and what our function is in the body of Christ.  My fellow-believer, you should read this book!

David E. Owen
Preacher, Pastor, Evangelist


Spiritual disciplines and spiritual gifts are often the most overlooked and underutilized aspect of the daily Christian walk. If we are striving to be more like Christ then understanding these principles to be more like Him and helping others to be more like Him is essential. Do not let the brevity of this work fool you. Dr. Terry Dorsett does an amazing job at unpacking what spiritual gifts are, how to better understand them and practical ways to apply them to your daily living. This book has the potential to change your relationship with Christ and others in a real and dynamic way.

John Rowe, M.Div., M.S.W.
Hospice Chaplain

In his book, “Teaming Up: Using Our Spiritual Gifts Effectively,“ Dr. Terry W. Dorsett takes on one of the most important subjects in the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and specifically the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is sometimes a confusing topic to understand, even among mature Christians, but Dr. Dorsett writes with clarity and wisdom about this topic.

What I think is most beneficial in the book is that he tackles hard questions concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as,  the difference between natural abilities and spiritual gifts, how do we receive our gifts and why and how to properly use spiritual gifts. Dr. Dorsett reminds us, least we become prideful, that our gifts are from God and to be used for His purpose in building up the church.

What is the difference between most of us and the spiritual giants that we read about in Christian biographies? Why are we lacking in power, purpose, and persistence in making an impact in our churches and this world today? Why do ministers often feel empty, tired and spiritually dried up? The answer to all of these questions are related to the filling of the Holy spirit and the proper use of recognizing and using the spiritual gifts that God has so graciously given us.

Dr. Dorsett helps to engage his readers by explaining the Biblical truths concerning spiritual gifts and then asking the reader questions. Questions that all of us need to ask ourselves if we want to be used of God and effect in His service. Using our spiritual gifts will bring us joy and fulfillment, and will bring glory to God and a lasting impact on our world.
If you want to use your spiritual gift effectively, I encourage all Christians to read this book and apply the truths so you can team up with God to bring Him glory and this world more truth and light. I highly recommend this much needed book.

Dennis J. Hester, editor and compiler of, Holy Desperation, How to Find God When You Need Him Most


Terry Dorsett has written a much needed book on spiritual gifts and how the gifts function in the local church. He deals thoroughly with issues from confusion about spiritual gifts to the various gifts that function in the church. It is like an encyclopedia on spiritual gifts and will be a great resource for everyone desiring to know how to use spiritual gifts effectively and the impact that spiritual gifts can have in the ministry of the local church.

Steve Foster, Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Snellville, Georgia