Pastors’ panel anticipates church 15 years in future
Dec 5, 2012
By JONI B. HANNIGAN

Rice said training leaders to make sure the church’s “DNA is owned by all” is a key challenge as is passing the faith along to the next generation.

“How do we make sure they are rock solid in the faith, [and] they are grounded in sound doctrine?” he said. “I think one of the crises across the evangelical church is how many of our own kids we are losing.”

Fernandez said at Riverside he is challenged to find ways to train older leaders in order to move them to the next level and to train new leaders. He is also interested in moving the church to be involved in missional activities “outside the box” such as ministering to those involved in sex trafficking in the community.

In a predominantly Anglo church in South Florida, Scroggins said his congregation is challenged in much the same way as is the Republican Party.  “Internally, how do we continue to encourage some of the believers who have been on board with us for such a long time while still reaching out to a culture that is much different than it used to be?” he asked. “How are we going to keep the people on board who have brought us this far while still reaching out to new generations with the Gospel in ways that they can understand.”

Understanding can take on a plethora of meaning in a “Baptist church with Baptist doctrine” trying to connect “with younger generations, with people of other races, [and] with people who speak Creole or Spanish,” Scroggins said, “and finding ways to let these people know we really care about them and love them.

“We’ve got to find ways to share Jesus with them,” Scroggins said.

Gates said he is challenged to cast a vision to his church on the Space Coast transitioning “from a lot of hurt and kind of a bad reputation in the community” to one that’s relevant and serves the community through various ministries.

In motivating people for service, Gates said, “Church isn’t a place we come and sit and soak. … ‘If we don’t get wrung out we get sour.’ I want the Lord to wring us out in ministry.”

At City Church, Inserra said the challenges are similar to what other churches experience across the state, but cited funding, “ministry in a very entitled culture,” and “reminding people of the reason we started in the first place” as the church’s greatest challenges. 

Speaking of funding, he said of the 5-year-old church, “that’s just tricky,” however, noted “we are a very young church in our existence, but also in our make-up.” The church reported $704,000 in receipts in 2012 according to its Annual Church Profile.

Doing ministry in a “very entitled culture,” Inserra said his church decided to teach about church ownership—as opposed to using the more common term of membership–“because members have rights and owners have responsibilities.” 

“We saw a bunch of 20-somethings who thought they should be given something,” Inserra said. “So our membership, our ownership meetings, aren’t packed out because we have things we expect out of people; but we finally are moving people from there and seeing the back door close because of doing that.”

Gates said a men’s ministry at Westside talks about being a “fan or being a follower” and understanding the culture of Christ that teaches living with “a hand out, not with a closed fist [asking] what are you gonna do for me?”

BALANCING HOME LIFE & MINISTRY

The greater message is not in the pulpit but in the lives of pastors and their families, Uth said, asking how each balances their home life with their ministry responsibilities.

“I have a simple answer,” Fernandez laughed. “I listen to my wife!”

The Miami pastor said he told his wife when they were married he would count on her to be the barometer in the family to help him prioritize family relationships.

Uth said his wife also has been his “number one voice” in bringing a perspective of balance between family and ministry.

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