The Witness – June 14- 27, 2015

Vacation Bible School
June 15-19; 9- noon
Ages 4 years through completed 6th grade

Youth Vacation Bible School
June 15-18; 12:30- 3:30
Grades 7-12

Vacation Bible School Musical
Sunday June 14th
10:15 AM

Vacation Bible School Fun Night
June 19th 6:00 PM

This week please support Vacation Bible School as much as possible.
You can invite and bring children
You can pray
You can volunteer
You can attend the fun night

Needed: a volunteer to coordinate the Friday night fun night meal. Contact the
pastor if you would like to assist.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

Resistance to Change – A Scale


The level of receptivity to change is directly related to the type of leadership needed to lead change best.

Change Resistance Scale

  • R1. Fiercely resistant. These churches typically resist almost any noticeable change. An example might be a slight modification in the order of worship services. These churches need long-term leaders with the patience of Job and the skin of a rhinoceros.
  • R2. Steadily incremental. For the most part, R2 churches are change-resistant. Members of these churches, however, will accept change if it is slow in developing and methodical. For example, they may be willing to add a second worship service if the leader prepares the church for around a year in advance.
  • R3. Significant improvement. An R3 church will likely accept change readily if it is an extension or improvement of an existing ministry, program, or facility. Worship times, new small groups, and building programs do not meet resistance because they simply reflect improvement upon that which already is in place.
  • R4. Substantive change. Members in an R4 church understand that much needs to change in order for the congregation to have an impact in their community and in the world. Though multi-campus models may seem strange to them, for example, they are willing and desirous to move forward if leaders explain to them the benefit of the change.
  • R5. Leading edge. Members in an R5 church typically are moving faster than the leaders. They don’t understand why change is not happening at more vigorous pace. They have a firm grasp of cultural realities. Though they would not compromise biblical truth, anything else is up for change or replacing.

Read the full article by Thom Rainer 

The Witness – June 7-13, 2015

Leadership is Influence

A few weeks ago Imogene Piland stopped by and shared with me a newsletter from Senior Adult Services. The director had written a short history of Older Americans Month that is celebrated in May.

In 1963 only 17 million Americans had reached their 65th birthday. Today U.S. citizens over the age of 65 outnumber the entire population of Canada (35.16 million).

Sunday the topic of my message is leadership as we focus on the situation of Esther. It will parallel the small group study from Joshua on leadership and remind us that as Jesus followers we have been gifted to lead and we should accept our leadership role in God’s Kingdom.

The most basic definition of leadership is influence. As we all prepare for worship on Sunday let us ponder the role of the older adults of our congregation and their continued influence in our midst. While some may no longer hold places of authority they continue to offer loads of Godly influence.

Even as our congregation has grown younger over the last years and as we attempt to reach and lead a whole new generation of non-believers into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, we are reminded of, and grateful and thankful for, the continued leadership of our older adults.

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Witness – May 31- June 6, 2015

The Bestest of Times

I really don’t do well using superlatives. I find myself using words like the “most best” or the “bestest” when making a comparison. While you may find this hard to believe I have even been known to use the term, “Most bestest” when I am really excited about something and want to describe how everything else pales in comparison. Before you inundate me with internet sites on how to properly use the English language, (BTW, I do thank you for your past corrections in these matters), I do know that these words are improper when comparing 3 or more objects, people, or places.

When I got in the office on Tuesday morning, after I settled in, I went back to the classroom area to take a look. I knew that there was some work being done on the walls on Monday (Memorial Day). I must say I was overwhelmed! There has been a LOT of work done in getting the classrooms ready for VBS. In fact, much of it was not really observable. But Tuesday morning it was all very evident.

I can’t emphasize enough how much of our own physical labor is being spent on this project. These men and women are sacrificing personal and family time to get everything done and looking good.

There is still so much to do. I want to thank you for providing the financial resources to keep this work going and to remind you of our 5th Sunday building offering. Please give generously and sacrificially so the work may continue! These are truly “the bestest” of times for Walnut Street Baptist Church!

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Witness – May 24-30, 2015

Negative Norman Meets Positive Patty

Are you a Negative Norman or Positive Patty?

That’s kind of a funny question but it is a serious one as
well. Joel Osteen says, “if you can’t be positive, then at
least be quiet.’

“The Southern Illinoisan” columnist, Jim Muir writes, “It seems the older I get
the less I want to be around negative, pessimistic people who can turn a sunny
day into a thunderstorm just by showing up. Some people bring joy ‘wherever’
they go while others bring joy ‘whenever’ they go. Don’t be the latter.”

Allow me to shine some joy on you. I heard it Sunday morning. We have been on
our new campus since Easter Sunday (April 5). In just 7 Sundays 15 guests
have been in Sunday School. 7 have enrolled. There have been 6 people who
have become Jesus followers by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior and
are awaiting Baptism; 1 person has united with our congregation by Statement,
another has rededicated their life to serving Jesus.

In addition, weekly progress is being made on our educational rooms and they
will be ready for VBS. This work is being accomplished by volunteers who have
invested their time and even some of their finances to get this completed as
quickly and as efficiently as possible.

On the cloudiest of days may we all strive to see the sunshine of God’s
blessings and life’s positives, for there are many, of both!

We Labor Together With God, Wes

The Witness – May 10-16, 2015

 The Seven Losses of Church Growth

By Thom Rainer,

Most church members do desire to see their churches grow . . . until the growth affects them. It is at that point, some can become disillusioned and critical. What is it about growth that impacts some members negatively?

1. Loss of familiarity. When a church is growing, it becomes a different church. Some church members grieve and miss “the good old days.”

2. Loss of memories.

3. Loss of comfort. Growth can mean that the closest parking spots are no longer available, or that the traffic flow in the parking lot is more difficult. Sometimes creature comforts are compromised by growth.

4. Loss of power. New people in a church can mean that power bases are diluted. Some of the longer tenured influencers may not like that.

5. Loss of perceived intimacy. “I used to know everyone in this church. I just don’t feel as close to members as I once did.” Indeed, growth can mean that.

6. Loss of worship style. New members and attendees might have different worship style preferences.

7. Loss of worship time. Growth in the church may necessitate adding or changing worship services and times.

Obedience to the Great Commission often results in church growth. But church growth is not always received well. Some have an attitude that the church is there to serve them and to cater to their needs. Healthy church members understand they are to be giving and sacrificial members of the body of Christ. They will rejoice when more members join the fellowship, and when more people become believers in Christ.

We Labor Together With God, Wes