THE CE INTERVIEW: Mark Mellen

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Mark Mellen was 26 years old and a homeless drug addict when God called him out of misery into a life of purpose. After finishing college with a degree in finance, he went to Bethel Seminary and graduated with a master’s of arts in theological studies.

The best learnings, however, came from ministry experiences and mentorship from church leaders who, Mellen says, “took a shot on me.”

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How a healthy church can spiral — quickly — into dysfunction

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Churches are more like organisms than they are organizations. Like an organism, when church health declines, it typically does so slowly. But there are cases when an otherwise healthy person experiences a sudden deterioration. Healthy churches can also experience a sharp decline in health. There are cases of healthy churches quickly becoming dysfunctional. Below are five ways I’ve seen churches spiral downward quickly, almost overnight.

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The Israel Experience: Closer Than You Think

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For people of faith, the appeal of a trip to Israel is timeless. To walk where Jesus walked, and to experience the Land of the Bible, is an experience like no other.
It is also an unparalleled fellowship opportunity — a journey that can begin, for a church-based travel group, well in advance of the trip.
Yet, even with all Israel has to offer for faith-based travelers, it might surprise you to know that 2014 was the best year for North American travel to Israel, especially among Catholics and Evangelicals.
There are other “surprises” you should know, as well.

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Top 5 necessary leadership skills

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Every leader has different skills that make that leader unique. However, at the core of every leader — a coach, a parent, a boss and a project manager — are at least 10 necessary foundational skills needed to thrive.

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The CE Interview: MATT CHANDLER — The Intentional Builder

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There’s a sense of newness one can quickly surmise about Matt Chandler: a new urgency to preach the gospel in the aftermath of a victorious but very difficult bout with cancer; a back-to-the-roots commitment to planting healthy churches following his recent appointment as president of Acts 29 Network; and a rising influence as a young church leader.

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The difference between a “can do” church and a “can’t do” church

Every church also faces obstacles. What is the difference between churches that approach obstacles with a “can do” attitude over others that have a “can’t do” attitude? What makes a church have a lively optimism over a dead pessimism?

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Fundraising Excellence: Powhatan Community Church — Powhattan, VA

On May 18, 2014, Powhatan Community Church (Powhattan, VA) enjoyed its largest single giving day in the church’s 13-year history. And, founder and Senior Pastor Brian C. Hughes reported that the church was on budget to make the most aggressive budget increase in 10 years. All this exceeded the giving increase for which Hughes and his staff’s planned and prayed.

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Pastor, you’re a statesman, too

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I use the term “statesman” not in a truly political sense, though I do believe pastors should be the most active “ambassadors” for Christ in their churches. Pastors are statesmen in that they must realize they always represent their churches. That hat never comes off.

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The CE Interview: MARI BETH POOR — finding solutions by serving

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As iServe pastor, Mari Beth Poor oversees the “on the mountain” ministries that enhance the overall experience of people attending Sunday worship services at Mountaintop Community Church. These include guest services, student ministries, children’s ministry, and worship and media. She also leads the church’s “off the mountain” community efforts and global outreach.

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Chronologically incorrect: a new approach to engaging first-time givers

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I recently conducted a small Facebook test. Survey participants were asked to answer three questions about giving. Here’s what I found:
• 96% of people consider themselves to be generous
• 80% of those same people want to be more generous than they currently are
• 92% feel held back by a lack of money
These findings represent a strange tension between who we are, who we want to be, and our perceived lack that stands in the way.

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