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firstFAMILY Podcast 028: Toronto Church Planting - Annette Teague

Annette Teague served with the North American Mission Board for the past two summers as part of GenSend Toronto. While serving in this summer program, it became clear that God had called her to engage more long-term in the Greater Toronto Area with our church planters there. She is being sent from her home church, San Jose Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL to serve with the Hamilton Fellowships and Jason McGibbon. We take time in this podcast to discuss her journey as a GenSend missionary...


firstFAMILY Podcast 027: Comic Books & Theology

Comic books and modern mythology are big business. After an era where the magazines were losing money, the creation of the DC and Marvel Cinematic Universes has propelled super-heroes to the forefront of the entertainment industry. Many of these stories have religious undertones, so why aren't Christians strategically engaging those who love these stories with the ultimate story of the Gospel? Listen as Pastor David Tarkington shares how he is seeking to engage in intelligent conversations...


firstFAMILY Podcast 026: When the Gospel Is Traded for Therapy

It's easy to poke holes in the false "prosperity gospel" that permeates our church culture with "name it and claim it" promises, while taking advantage of the generosity of undiscerning parishioners and television viewers. Yet, there is another false gospel that is often ignored, and even welcomed into many of our evangelical churches. In fact, it may be more dangerous than the easily identified "gospel-lite" offered by many. This is called the therapeutic gospel and it's deadly.


Episode 025: Our Journey of Church Revitalization

We are seeing over 900 churches close down annually in the SBC. The numbers are daunting and cannot be ignored. Yet, the question remains "What should be done?" The truth is that some churches need to close. They forsook their gospel witness years ago and are nothing more than buildings in communities. However, there are many who are positioned for rebirth and with partnerships with healthier churches, a rebirth can occur, thereby keeping a gospel witness alive and well in communities where...


Episode 024: Youth Pastors, Church Planters & Pastoral Leadership

"What happened to all the youth pastors?" I was asked that question a while back and one answer given was "They're all church planters now." I'm being facetious, but in this podcast I address the historical growth of student/youth ministry and the current trend and movement of church planting in light of pastoral leadership and biblical authority. I reference a few things in this podcast you may want to check out. First, the book REINVENTING YOUTH MINISTRY AGAIN by Wayne Rice...


Episode 023 - Death of Childhood

It seems that everyone was posting that 2016 was the year to survive as we neared December 31. The seemingly high number of celebrity deaths played into this sentiment. Why is it so many Gen Xers and older adults were lamenting the loss of these pop culture icons? Grieving the loss of a person known is one thing. Grieving the loss of a celebrity of famous person is viable as well, but was the grief more for the loss of "characters" than the people? Perhaps it is the realization of the loss...


Episode 022 - Prescription for Healthy Christians

The four connections are our church's prescription for healthy Christians. However, this seems to be shocking to many who have never broken out of the traditional expectations and schedules of local church life.


Episode 021 - Bizarro World: Post-Election USA

It's the day after the election. Welcome to Bizarro World! What does this mean for the the church, race relations, the future, and American Christians?


Episode 020 - Cubs Win!

The Cubs won the World Series last night in amazing fashion. Why is it so many of us love the underdog (BTW - it's hard to call a 100+ win team an underdog, but the Cubs have held that title for decades). Maybe it's how we're wired? Maybe it's because we relate? Maybe it has something to do with the nature of man?


Episode 019 - Asking Too Much

As a pastor of a church in a growing and changing suburban culture, there are numerous things we seek to do to engage the community. As we discussed these things, in addition to all the traditional ministry events and minutia of day-t0-day church life, I was growing frustrated. I found that we were asking the members of our church for much. My question was "Are we asking for too much?" This episode of the podcasts addresses this issue and while specific to our church I believe many other...


Episode 018 - The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken

The film "The Insanity of God" recently had it's one-night-only showing at our local theater, as well as others around the nation. The documentary is based on the book of the same title by missionary Nik Ripken. While this podcast is somewhat of a review of the film, I am focusing more on the message of the book and film and the implications for the western church. There's more than could ever be covered in one podcast and we hope to have Nik and Ruth here in the future to share.


Episode 017 - The Sending Church

Jesus clearly said "Come and see..." when questioned by potential disciples. However, the end of the gospel account says "Go and make..." Far too many churches park on the "come and see" model and never get to the "go and make" portion of the command. In this episode, Pastor David Tarkington speaks about the command to go and how it is truly not up for debate for the follower of Christ. Referenced in this episode is Zach Bradley's writing "The Sending Church: Defined" by The Upstream...


Episode 016 - Resurrecting the Dead Church

I share details related to church renewal and revitalization needed in our churches. Churches are dying. Some need to, but many just need refocusing. What would God have us do? Working harder is not the answer. Doing nothing is not an option.


Episode 015 - Killing the One-Eared Mickey Mouse

Back in 1989, Stuart Cummings-Bond wrote in Youthworker Journal of the "One-Eared Mickey Mouse" that often develops within a church regarding student ministry. What is the One-Eared Mickey Mouse? The premise is that left unchecked, the program model of youth ministry leads to an isolated entity with the thinnest of connections to church as a whole. This become a ministry silo. A healthier approach would find more overlap of the circles with intentional interaction and sharing of spiritual...


Episode 014 - Adam Wiggins - From Jail to Church Planting - Part 2

Adam Wiggins and his wife Sabrina joined our church recently with their family. Adam is serving as our church planting intern and will be spearheading the launch of our new campus meeting at Swimming Pen Creek Elementary School in August of this year.


Episode 013 - Adam Wiggins - From Jail to Church Planting - Part 1

Adam Wiggins and his wife Sabrina joined our church recently with their family. Their home church is First Baptist Church of Baldwin where Pastor Chris Drum serves. Adam is serving as our campus minister for The Creek, which is a new campus meeting at Swimming Pen Creek Elementary School in Middleburg, Florida. Adam and Sabrina's story is incredible in how God has redeemed the past and prepared them for Kingdom work through many ups and downs. This is Part One of Two.


Episode 012 - Changing the Church Scorecard

Every church has a scorecard. It's inevitable. The problem is when things are deemed as valuable and healthy, but actually aren't. In this episode I talk about the fact that keeping score in ways that doesn't matter is like answering questions wrongly, but answering the wrong questions. The redemption of the Four "B"s is vital for a healthy church or church plant.


Episode 011 - South Florida, Cuba, & Church Planting

his week I interview my friend Al Fernandez. Al serves as Regional Catalyst for the Southeastern part of Florida with the Florida Baptist Convention. His insight into the cultural diversity of Miami and surrounding areas is vital. In this episode we talk about church planting in Miami and the cultural challenges that exist. We discuss the focus on second and third generations in the church, where Spanish and English collide. I also talk with Al, a second generation Cuban-American, about the...


Episode 010 - Missional Theology - More Than a Christian Buzzword

Last weekend I had the privilege of leading a group of pastors, church planters, and spouses in a course titled "Missional Theology." Since this term "missional" has been around for a few years now, the tendency has been for it to be relegated as just another "church growth strategy" or buzzword for doing missions. In this podcast, I seek to begin a discussion that I will touch on in future weeks as well, regarding this concept of living and leading missionally.


Episode 009 - Big Church vs. Little Church

It seems as long as I can remember, there has been a competition between big churches and little churches. Well, to be honest, most larger churches never acknowledge any competition, but I have been in some smaller ones that just seem to be unable to get beyond the reality that there are larger churches in their community reaching people they never did. Earlier this week, Andy Stanley, Pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, raised some eyebrows and broke the Christian room on...