November 19th, 2021
The United States’ recent departure from Afghanistan has resulted in thousands of refugees arriving in the US to be resettled. Their lives have completely upended and they now face the challenge of learning a new language, adopting a new culture, and beginning a new life. It is in times like these that the church has often risen up to care for those who are in vulnerable situations. Tom Shook, along with his wife Gayle, work with the EFCA National Ministries as refugee immigrant mission advocates and have become experts at helping churches reach out to and meet the needs of our new neighbors. In this episode, Tom will offer creative ideas on how any church can show hospitality as well as cultural intelligence insights that are necessary for this type of endeavor. He also specializes in consulting with individual churches either in person or online. Listen to this episode and then reach out to Tom at email@example.com.
November 5th, 2021
Sometimes the best way to hang in there over the long haul is to hear stories of others who have hit hard times and have prevailed. Pastor Scott McKinney has been pastoring CenterPoint Church in Orem, UT, for over thirty years, and his is one of those stories. When he first arrived back in the 1980's from Southern California, everyone thought he was crazy for taking over a dying church that didn't seem to stand a chance in the middle of an LDS-dominant culture. However, Scott committed himself to long-term ministry there, and the result has been a church that is flourishing. His book, Keep Showing Up: A Utah Pastor's Journey, is a fantastic read, as it not only chronicles the ups and downs that come from church revitalization in a difficult community, but it is also instructive on how to understand your cultural context and even learn to love it, especially as a "religious minority." This episode is full of practical wisdom and encouragement for anyone who wants to finish well in ministry!
October 22nd, 2021
Every single day, untold numbers of people will leave this earth. Some of them will, like the thief on the cross, be with Jesus in paradise “today.” Others, however, will step into a place of punishment and pain that is beyond imagination. As much as we’d rather not think about it, Hell is a real place with which we must contend. In this episode, Greg Strand, director of Theology and Credentialing for the Evangelical Free Church of America, takes us deep into the reality and implications of “eternal conscious punishment." He also helps us understand why annihilationism threatens our entire theological orthodoxy. While Greg recommends a variety of resources for further study, one in particular is Hell Under Fire by Christopher Morgan.
October 8th, 2021
Becoming an excellent preacher is a lifelong process, and taking the time to learn from others is one of the best ways to improve. Darin McWatters, Lead Shepherd at Fullerton Free Church, helps us understand how he prepares sermons that create impact each week. We talk about how Darin "found his voice” as a preacher and how you can as well. Also, he shares with us how he approaches the biblical text each week, utilizes notes, handles feedback and criticism, and navigates politics and other hot-button issues from the pulpit. This episode was taken from a First Wednesday Workshop on October 6, 2021, called Transformational Preaching. For even more insights on preaching, check out an earlier episode with Dr. Lucas O'Neill from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
September 24th, 2021
Have you ever wondered about becoming a chaplain in our nation's armed services? Do you know someone who is thinking about it but not sure whether to take the risk? In this episode, our guests talk about the calling they each received to step into this role, and the amazing opportunities they've had to impact the lives of our men and women in uniform ever since. In addition to being pastors, both Ethan Hedberg of Ambassador Church and Michael Callahan of Covina Evangelical Free Church serve our nation in a part-time capacity, gaining access to places and people in the U.S. military that others only dream about. Each branch of our armed services desperately needs more EFCA-credentialed men and women willing to step into the fray and be a visible reminder of the holy. If you're interested the real story of military chaplaincy, and how to get involved, you need to listen to this episode. Finally, visit the EFCA Military Chaplains page to learn more or feel free to reach out to Ethan, Michael, or Yours Truly for any questions.
September 10th, 2021
This episode is from an EFCA West First Wednesday Worskshop with Dr. Amy Stumpf, professor of Society and Religion at Cal Baptist University in Riverside, CA. The result was an extremely practical and informative discussion on how to minister effectively to those facing issues of same-sex attraction, intersexuality, and gender dysphoria. In addition to being the world of academia, Dr. Stumpf is also the wife of Pastor Paul Stumpf, of Colton Community Church (EFCA) in Colton, CA. This episode is vital for anyone seeking a better understanding of these sensitive and highly-charged issues.
August 31st, 2021
It is true that the closer you get to something, the more complicated it becomes. Alex Rivero, EFCA West's Director of All People Ministries, and Tim Jacobs discuss what they learned during a recent trip to the border along with ten other EFCA pastors and leaders. Traveling with Abara Ministries, the team had the opportunity to be briefed by members of the United States Border Patrol, as well as visit a shelter across the border in Juarez for refugees who had been turned away for asylum in the US. In this episode you'll hear aspects of the immigration issue that you'll never hear discussed in the news, as well as specific steps you can take to become part of the solution no matter where you live. If you have more questions about how EFCA West is addressing the immigration crisis, please reach out to Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 15th, 2021
This episode is designed to give you a taste of what you can expect in our upcoming EFCA West cohorts starting in March. Click here to register for the Elder Board Cohort and here for the Mid-Level Leader Cohort. Each cohort will consist of five two-hour sessions and is designed to leverage the benefits of peer-level learning, relationship building, and practical insights so that you can become better in either of these vital roles in the church. As you listen to this episode you'll hear EFCA West Director of Church Health Bob Osborne and District Superintendent Tim Jacobs discuss the what makes these two areas of church leadership succeed and what tends to trip them up. Hopefully you'll want to join in on the conversation and the experience of learning together by taking advantage of either of these cohorts.
January 15th, 2021
Bill Riedel founded Redemption Hill Church back in 2010 with a vision to carry the Gospel to the most powerful city in the world, and he and his family live within walking distance of the Capitol. At the time of this recording he was notified that his church building has fallen within the barricades set up to guard our elected officials from credible threats of attack. In addition to planting Redemption Hill Church, Bill is also an EFCA board member and part of the Acts 29 network, where he recently published an article about the events of January 6th. In this episode we talk about what Bill experienced being in close proximity to the protest-turned-riot, and then have a larger discussion about Christian Nationalism and the place it occupies in many of our churches. This is a real, raw, and honest conversation about the difference between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of men, and how many well-meaning Evangelicals have confused the two. However, we also talk about how we have reason to hope that, even in this dark time, the Gospel can emerge with greater clarity and effectiveness than ever before.
December 20th, 2020
While 2020 has been all about the pandemic and the presidential election (among other things), the controversial issue of immigration in America remains one of our nation's most pressing challenges. Because of this, the EFCA has launched an innovative, church-based solution that provides help at the local level. In this episode, Diane Martinez, Executive Director of Immigrant Hope in Santa Barbara, CA, talks about how the strategy of Hope, Help, and Home is reaching the "least of these" with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This Department of Justice certified ministry based at Shoreline Community Church (EFCA) was recently featured in Christianity Today and the Santa Barbara Independent. If you are interested in how you can help get an Immigrant Hope center set up in your community, or just want to learn more, reach out to Diane at email@example.com. Immigrant Hope is yet another example of the EFCA fulfilling its mission of "Multiplying Transformational Churches Among All People."