What Do You Make of Your Tools?

“I always pray with joy because of
your partnership in the gospel”

A man moved his family into a new home and neighborhood. Not long after, he observed one of his new neighbors wrestling to mount a TV antennae on his roof (obviously pre-cable era). Not one to stand by and watch, he grabbed his tool box and walked across the street to offer his help. The two of them soon had the antennae properly installed and the man set out to return to home.

Another neighbor taking in the scene asked him, “What do you make with all those tools?” “Friends, mostly!”

Mission Northeast has several tools in its toolbox which we can deploy to help our churches wrestling to make friends for the Kingdom of God. Three of those tools were out on last week at our Chart Your Course! Gatherings.

  • Church Health Assessment – We can assist churches in improving their overall health so that they can become more effective in making friends for the Kingdom of God.
  • Community Demographics – Do you really know the people who live in your ministry area? With our MissionInsite toolset, Mission Northeast can help you, not only to know the who, but also the how of strategizing to make friends for the Kingdom of God
  • Guidestone Financial Services – The new CBA Associational Retirement Plan provides its own set of tools. Guidestone provides resources that can equip your church and pastor to put together an appropriate compensation plan and to make adequate preparation for the retirement years. When churches practice good organizational stewardship in this area the pastors are freed up to focus on ministry without undue concern over finances in the present and for the future. Contact Guidestone.org.

Perhaps at the present time you don’t feel the need for any of these tools. That’s fine. When you support Mission Northeast, you are supporting your sister Mission Northeast churches who are in need of these and other tools at our disposal. As member churches, we are in a covenantal relationship, binding us together in mission and mutual support, all for the sake of “making and growing disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Please be sure increase your support in this next year for Mission Northeast. Virtually all financial support is invested in our Area Directors – the most important tools in the Mission Northeast Tool Box. We are working to assist our pastors and churches in their task of making friends for the Kingdom of God.

Your Partner in the Gospel, 

David Forsythe
Lead Executive Area Director

Edwin Colon – New York City             e.colon@missionnortheast.org
Gershwin Grant – Hudson Valley       g.grant@missionnortheast.org
Dave Johnson – Upstate New York   d.johnson@missionnortheast.org

Discount Code for Global Leadership Summit 2017

The Global Leadership Summit

Thursday – Friday, August 10-11, 2017

Priority/Referral Code is:  17TGLSCRFT.  Register at www.willowcreek.com/summit to get your ticket for only $139.00


You have influence. Join 400,000 of your peers to learn how to maximize it with

Two Days of World-Class Leadership Training

  • Gain exclusive access to the LIVE HD telecast of the Summit at one of 600+ locations
  • Get a unique blend of vision, inspiration and practical skills you can immediately apply
  • Learn from Bill Hybels and the diverse 2017 faculty
  • Leverage the Summit as a resource to transform yourself and your community
  • Join with people from 128 countries and 60 languages who attend the Summit around the world

Fully Convinced: Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus

PulpitPastors, you may have heard the numerous statistics about the high percentages of children raised in the church who walk away from it after high school. As a youth pastor for over 13 years, I’m more convinced than ever that a thriving church youth ministry program is not enough to equip our students for today’s world. We must start younger and outside the walls of our churches. We must engage parents to take the lead and own their biblical roles as the primary disciplers of their children.

Many parents in our churches would acknowledge that they are primarily responsible for discipling their children. However, for many parents, their involvement in the discipleship of their children is limited to only bringing them to church programs. Most parents are woefully uninformed and unequipped in the area of home discipleship. They are leaving it all to the church.

On Friday and Saturday, February 26-27, Fishkill Baptist Church will be hosting Chap Bettis from The Apollos Project to lead a seminar for parents with children of all ages. This seminar will inspire, encourage, exhort, and equip parents to fulfill their God given responsibility to disciple their children.

Chap will share what he has learned in his 25 years of pastoral ministry in Rhode Island while raising four children with his wife Sharon. While he has made many mistakes, by the grace of God, Chap has gained much wisdom from his devotion to studying God’s Word and studying his children.

Chap has had articles from his blog featured numerous times by The Gospel Coalition. This past Fall, The Gospel Coalition featured a very insightful article of his entitled 3 Ways You Might Be Teaching Your Children the Prosperity Gospel.

As a youth pastor and father of five young children, I have become convinced that churches must do more to inspire, exhort, and equip parents to engage their children beginning at an early age. While this seminar will benefit parents with children of any age, I am especially praying for many young parents to attend and catch this important vision for Christian parenting.

Pastors, please consider partnering with us in this valuable investment in the next generation by promoting this seminar for parents called “Fully Convinced”. The event registration page is now live at FullyConvinced.eventbrite.com.  Early bird tickets are available until January 26th. For more information and promotional materials please contact MikeBMura@gmail.com or call 845-896-9386 x228.

By Pastor Mike Mura

photo of Chap Bettis

Area Directors Appointed

The Mission Northeast Board of Directors is pleased to announce the engagement of Rev. David Forsythe and Dr. Gershwin Grant as the first Area Directors. The role of an Area Director (AD) is to encourage and support effective pastors and healthy churches in a geographic area of the Mission Northeast region by providing help, support, training and communication within his area. This will include their facilitating the Leadership Learning Community meetings. The position of the AD is proposed to be a 20 hour a month part-time position.

Dr. Grant will be serving the Hudson Valley area of New York and additionally will be connecting with the churches of New York City until such time as there is a NYC Area Director.

Rev. Forsythe will be representing the Central Massachusetts area.  Additionally, David will serve as the Lead Executive Area DirectorThe Lead Executive Area Director (LEAD) will oversee the Area Directors (AD) in fulfilling their responsibilities, is a member of the Mission Northeast Board of Directors and to be the representative to the CBA National Board.

The Board is actively seeking additional Area Directors for other areas of the region.

Board Update

brd mtgThe Mission Northeast Executive Board has met five times since the beginning of the year, working on a strategy for leading the region forward in the months and years ahead. Representatives from CBAmerica, Jim Leary and Stan Rieb, have been assisting the board in these meetings. The meetings have encompassed many discussions, including reviewing and reaffirming the Mission, Vision & Values statements.

Two of those meetings were with Missions Door leaders and pastors from the Boston and NYC Metro areas. There are many exciting things God is doing in building His kingdom through these servants and the board would like to find ways to expand this partnership for even greater ministry opportunities throughout the region.

A primary focus of the meetings has been to develop a leadership structure for the region in view of the current financial constraints, geographic vastness and cultural diversity of the region. The board has determined that having a group of part-time Area Directors (AD’s) would be a better way to address the many concerns in the region. The Area Directors would be able to focus on their individual geographic region and attend to the specific needs of the area. One of the Area Directors would be chosen to serve as the Lead Area Director (LAD). This person would also serve as the liaison to the Mission Northeast Executive Board and represent Mission Northeast to the CBAmerica board.

In the coming months the board has several key challenges before them. The first challenge is finalizing the job descriptions for the Area Directors and the Lead Area Director. Then the board can begin the selection of AD’s and the LAD. Additionally, several current board members’ terms are expiring at the end of this calendar year and the board will be seeking replacements for these individuals as well.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers as the Mission Northeast Region seeks more effective ways to reach the lost for God’s Kingdom.

2015 Leadership Learning Community (LLC) Meetings

Books stackWe have three more Leadership Learning Community meetings for 2015. We have heard repeatedly how beneficial these meetings have been for pastors and church leaders that have attended.

Read Steve Murray’s Experience Here

If you have not yet participated in the Leadership Learning Community, but would like to join these last three meetings for 2015, please contact Stan Rieb at Stan.Rieb@cbamerica.org or 303-746-8844 for more information.

If you have been participating we will assume you are participating unless you notify us otherwise.

All LLC’s begin at 10 am and conclude by 3pm, unless otherwise noted.

Paul Borden will be facilitating the following LLC’s during the weeks of September 14-16, October 12-14, November 16-18

Monday – 9/14, 10/12 and 11/16- Immanuel Baptist, New Hartford, NY

Tuesday – 9/15, 10/13 and 11/17 – Randall Church, Williamsville, NY (Buffalo area)            
Note that the Tuesday Randall Church LLC begins at 9:30 am and concludes by 2:00 pm

Wednesday – 9/16, 10/14 and 11/18 – Levittown Baptist Church, Levittown, NY

Stan Rieb will be facilitating the following LLC’s the weeks of September 14-17, October 12-15, November 16-19

Monday – 9/14, 10/12 and 11/16 – United Baptist, Old Town, ME

Tuesday – 9/15, 10/13 and 11/17 – First Baptist Church, Brewster, NY

Wednesday – 9/16, 10/14 and 11/18 – Faith Baptist Church, Auburn, MA

Thursday – 9/17, 10/15 and 11/19 – Trinity Baptist Church, Nashua, NH

Again, unless otherwise noted, all LLC’s begin at 10 am and conclude by 3pm.

The books for the upcoming months are as follows:

September’s Book –   The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated by James Emery White In this hard-hitting examination of our churches’ current evangelism methods, which often result only in transfer growth–Christians moving from one church to another–rather than in reaching the nones, James Emery White calls us to discover the mission field right outside our doors.

October’s Books –    Crucial Conversation & Crucial Confrontations by Patterson, Grenny & McMillan– When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences; or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most.

Crucial Confrontations teaches skills drawn from over 20,000 hours of real-life observations to increase confidence in facing tough issues. Learn to:

  • Permanently resolve failed promises and missed deadlines
  • Transform broken rules and bad behaviors into productive accountability
  • Strengthen relationships while solving problems

When you learn how to handle crucial confrontations, everything gets better.

November’s Book –   The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick M. Lencioni – Simply put, an organization is healthy when it is whole, consistent and complete, when its management, operations and culture are unified.  Healthy organizations outperform their counterparts, are free of politics and confusion and provide an environment where star performers never want to leave.

We need to hear from you as soon as possible if you will be participating in in the LLC’s during September, October or November. As soon as we receive confirmation of your participation, we will order the books for the LLC’s.

You always have the option of participating in the LLC and purchasing the books yourself as a means of supporting the region.

Contact Stan Rieb at Stan.Rieb@cbamerica.org or 303-746-8844 for more information.

Ministry Mapping/Church Health Assessments

Is your church experiencing changes, either internally – like a staff transition, or externally – like socio-economic migration of a community? Has your congregation experienced either a decline in a key metric like average Sunday Worship attendance or the number of baptisms you experienced on the last year? As a leader are you at a loss for what is next for your church? Or perhaps you would just appreciate some experienced eyes looking for ways that you can improve your congregation’s Gospel impact on your community.

The Ministry Mapping/Church Health Assessment is a proven tool to assist churches navigate a course to congregational health and gospel impact in their community. Throughout the country congregations are growing through unbelievers coming to faith in Christ.

A pastor whose church recently completed an assessment that refocused their congregation on the their primary mission field, their community wrote –

On Sunday after the service one of the ministry leaders brought a young lady in her twenties to me saying, “I just met this woman who is visiting us for the first time and discovered that she has enlisted in the Army and is awaiting her job assignment, so I told her that she cannot start a life-threatening career without the assurance that Christ is her Savior.  Pastor, she just prayed with me to receive the Lord, can we make some plans to baptize her?” 

Do you think God is stirring hearts around here?  Is this a token of a harvest which lies around the corner?  Wasn’t the team just here last weekend?  It’s too soon for good things to be happening, isn’t it?   Have I become so accustomed to seeing no fruit growing that I am unable to dance when God shows up??  It sure feels good and I going to glow for a little bit.

We have a limited number of weekends available so make sure you contact us as soon if you would like further information about doing an Ministry Mapping/Church Health Assessment.

Contact Stan Rieb at Stan.Rieb@cbamerica.org or 303-746-8844 for more information.

Hudson Valley Community Prayer Service

prayerOn May 31, an event took place in the lower Hudson Valley.  Churches from Tarrytown, Ossining, Brewster, Peekskill, Fishkill, Middletown and Warwick met together for one purpose:  prayer.  There was music and a message.  There was food and fellowship.  But the focus of the evening was prayer.  This wonderful evening featured men and women from different churches and backgrounds putting aside cultural differences, embracing each other as brothers and sisters in Christ and seeking the heart of God together.  It was an overwhelming privilege to be a part of what we hope will be a growing unity between the churches of the lower Hudson Valley.

Thank you to all of the pastors who participated with their congregations:
Pastor Dick Wiedenheft, Community Bible Fellowship (Ossining)
Pastor Howard Lawler, Fishkill Baptist Church (Fishkill)
Pastor Denny Burns, First Baptist Church (Peekskill)
Rev. Dr. Gershwin Grant, Calvary Baptist Church (Ossining)
Pastor Corby Angle, First Baptist Church (Peekskill)
Pastor Craig Adams, Calvary Baptist Church (Warwick)
Pastor Travis Mitchell, First Baptist Church (Brewster)
Pastor John Hawco, Harmony Baptist Church (Middletown)
Pastor Mike Mura, Fishkill Baptist Church (Fishkill)
Rev. Dr. Torrey Robinson, First Baptist Church  (Tarrytown)

Click “Slideshow” HERE to see some of the highlights of the prayer gathering.  God was truly at work among us!

Why I am in a Leaders Learning Community

BooksRev. Steve Murray, Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Nashua, NH

Every pastor is a busy pastor. We are not looking for additional items to pack into our schedule. However, a busy pastor is not necessarily a growing pastor. And if I am not a growing pastor, I will begin to lose what effectiveness I may have in leading my church.

I have been in a Leaders Learning Community (LLC) since the fall of last year. It has been one of the best things I have done. Yes, the weeks that we have the LLC means I “lose” hours that day that could have gone toward my never-ending to-do list. And taking the time to read the book each month means reading an “assigned” book instead of another book that is already in my stack. But in spite of these negatives, being a part of a LLC is well worth it. Here are some reasons that motivate me.

1. It keeps me learning. John Maxwell stated, “Leaders are learners.” I am neither naturally gifted as a leader nor have the spiritual gift of leadership. That means I have to learn to be a leader. The good news is that I can learn to be a leader. Solomon said, “Of the making of books, there is no end.” The positive side of that means there are many books that can teach us. The LLCs help me to keep learning leadership that I can apply to my church.

2. It keeps me on the front edge of church leadership. Although we are not in the business world, our culture and the church world are changing rapidly. We need to keep up with these changes. Most essential leadership principles don’t change, but the application of the principles will. The LLCs help me learn new leadership skills, reinforce ones I already know, and apply both to my changing context.

3. It sharpens my perspectives and views. “Iron sharpens iron” and the LLCs provide a context to share my views and have brothers critique them. Their feedback helps me solidify good perspectives, tweak shaky ones, and throw out the bad.

4. It holds me accountable. How many times have I been content to read a book and assume somehow the ideas are going to automatically filter into my leadership? The LLCs build in time to ask, “What is a take-away from this book, and what are you going to do about it?” The next time a fellow pastor sees me, I know that he is going to ask, “What did you do with what you said you were going to do?”

5. It causes me to read more widely. I read books that I wouldn’t have chosen to read. This stretches me and exposes me to a wider diversity of ideas that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.

We have finished our LLC for a summer break. When we resume in September, I will definitely be a part of it again. I hope you will too.

A Bridge to the Community

pic of lobby and food

How can you make inroads into the community? That question has driven Steve Murray, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Nashua, NH, for the past few years. New Hampshire has “taken over” the top spot as the least attended region of the U.S. and, with its heavily Catholic population, people are not eager to engage in spiritual conversations. Steve’s goal has been to target the area around the church and find needs that the church could meet and have the proximity to the church make it easy for people to attend.

In the fall, Steve had prayed and thought about opening a food pantry. The church has been connected with the Southern New Hampshire Rescue Mission, and office administrator, Cathy Lewis has been involved with them in getting food from the NH Food Bank. She knew the ins and outs of getting food and was a great resource for moving ahead with the idea. There is always the need for food, especially around the church, and it was a tangible way to meet needs in a “non-religious” way. The goal was also to get people into the church to break down hesitations people might have of actually coming into the church itself.

Steve mentioned the idea of starting a food pantry on a Sunday morning in church, and had 30 people express interest and come to an initial meeting to hear more and help make it happen. Steve was shocked at the number (that’s over 10% of the church Sunday attendance). It was evident that God was working in hearts as well with many people interested in one way or another.

More meetings produced a leadership team of three women with Steve. Several months of planning, getting approved by the Food Bank as a user, networking with several local grocery stores, and they launched. Church members passed out 300-400 door knob hangers in the area around the church and assumed that word-of-mouth would spread to others.

In the first three weeks, the food pantry has served 66 families (159 individuals), with the equivalent of serving 2500 meals. Even better has been the fact that two people from the area have come to church as a result of the connection. The goal, says Steve, is not to just feed people physically, but also build relationships with people to see God work to feed people spiritually.

It is not that difficult to do, and the initial response has been gratifying and promising. The food pantry runs out of the church’s main lobby. Steve is praying about ministries that can spring from this beginning, like starting an ESL class or tutoring kids from the families. He recommends a food pantry as one way to build bridges into the community and allow God to open doors into the hearts of hungry people.