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Black Church News in Virginia

Is the Church Behind the Eight Ball?


What would your church do if there was a natural disaster or long-term weather-related shutdown? Would the ministers and deacons know how to get the word out or even teach Bible Study over the Internet?

Is your church tech-savvy enough to make a mass announcement over Facebook, Twitter or Scream?

In a public relations crisis, who would your church put in front of the TV cameras?

Does your aging pastor have health and life insurance?

Which is most essential – the anointing or the structure for the anointing – and what does that even mean?

These are just a few of the issues that will be addressed this week at Bishop T. D. Jakes latest Pastors and Leaders Conference , “What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.”

“I just see so many people who are going out to do 21st century ministry in a 20th century kind of way,” Jakes said in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “Because the world is moving so fast and the church often is not, I think it’s important that we keep up with the changing laws, with the changing trends from the IRS to public relations to dealing with the myriad of things that are changing in every aspect of Christian leadership.”

The March 31-April 2 conference at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center features a prominent list of the who’s who in mega church ministries, including Bishop I.V. Hilliard; Pastor Paula White; Donald Lawrence; Pastor Bill Hybels; Charles Blake; Dr. John Hagee, Dave Ramsey, First Lady Serita Jakes, and Bishop Jakes who has more than 30,000 members in his Potter’s House in Dallas.

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The ministry size and success of the speakers are not for the purpose of teaching attendants how to be like them, Jakes said.

This conference will focus more on the nuts and bolts of ministry. “Rich doesn’t solve problems. You can be reach and be suicidal; you can be rich and dysfunctional.”

He continues, “Rather than seeking to be successful, we need to be working to be effective. And if in the process of being effective, we become successful, then so be it … The problem with this generation I see coming today is that their focus is on the success and not on being effective; so if you become successful at the expense of being effective, the congregations and your generation and the community suffers for the fact that you have more sizzle than steak.”

Jakes’ last Pastors and Leaders Conference about five years ago in Washington, D. C. had more of a spiritual theme. There will still be a balance, this time, he said, but there will be an “extreme amount of workshops” on issues that help personal and church ministries to grow and stabilize.

Jakes quizzes, “Is the church behind the eight ball?” on Facebook and Twittering?

Acknowledging that some may be intimidated by the tech talk, but they are simply new methods by which to spread the Gospel.

“These are extensions of what he does. It will add to him; not take away from him,” Jakes said. “You can have all the anointing you want – symbolized by olive oil in the scriptures. But, if you don’t put the oil in a container, in a structure, it’ll spill. A lot of us are really anointed, but we lack the structure to have the greatest impact in the 21st century.”

By Hazel Trice Edney

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