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District Resource Day: Vance Ross

Last week I attended a District Resource Day with Vance Ross, deputy general secretary of GBOD. His topic was Pastoral Leadership for the Evangelical Task.

Honestly, it took me a while to warm up to Ross' presentation. I attribute this, though, to the fact that we didn't have a projector for his presentation right away - it arrived about 20 minutes after he started. So he was forced to 'wing it' a bit more at the start. Once everything was set up and on task, I really enjoyed his presentation. Here are my mostly un-edited notes:


Easier to talk about who Jesus is than what he said and what he did. Jesus isn’t the good news message alone – it is the coming kingdom that is the message.

Evangelism is our code-word for growing numerically, when it should have a bigger meaning than that.

Trying to observe, methodically, the Sabbath.

8 Necessities for Leadership:

Call – Our own, calling others (remembering God’s call on your life)

Confidence (being able to get it done), Character, Chemistry (being able to work with others) (Hybels)

Courage – Quoting – “courage is fear that is said as prayers”


Caring – actually have to love people!

You can’t lead where you don’t go.

Deep spirituality is critical to the evangelical task because “this is about faith which is necessarily beyond the rational.”

When losing, go back to basics

Only organization that exists for non-members. This church is not made for you, but for others.

How do we initiate connections, and how do we expect our people to do it if we don’t?

Mission Statement – biblical, specific, transferable, measurable, and UTILIZED:

  • Teach mission statement in worship regularly. Teach it in new member classes and refresher classes.
  • All meetings.
  • On walls of classrooms, hallways, conference rooms, etc.

Connection to God is center of life corporately and individually. Must know why we do what we do. God is the source of transformation and reconciliation.

Hospitality culture receives ‘other’ with joy

  • “It is inhospitable to be cheap.” Your church is not hurt by being generous. Inhospitable to try to get off cheap and easy.
  • Sustain hospitality 5 minutes, welcome in worship, greeters and ushers, fellowship time before and after worship, fellowship meals

Canon – setting the bar – “because I can’t get over it, doesn’t mean we lower it.” We get in shape, and get over it.

Just as I am doesn’t mean “just as I’ll stay.”

Targeting Culture. God places your church in a particular and peculiar context. Some people church is more likely to reach than others. Ok to start by picking the low-hanging fruit, and then reach a little higher.

Congregational growth is comprehensive

Look at the entire church’s life in evangelism

Concern for Physical Needs and Justice Needs of congregation – Cornell West, “Justice is what love looks like in public.”

“You tell me who Jesus locks out.”

One side needs of community, other side how we respond. And then, how it connects to Kingdom of God, otherwise we’re just a social service agency.

Empower Laity to Verbalize – Three Levels (Michael Green)

  • 1. Invite them to come to church.
  • 2. Share your story.
  • 3. Invite them to have relationship with God in JC.

Our vision: is God’s preferred future for our particular context. (I like this.)Our goal is to set the proper environment for this future to take place.


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