300 episodes

Are you looking for practical ministry help to drive your ministry further ... faster?

Have a sinking feeling that your ministry training didn't prepare you for the real world?

Hey ... you're not alone! Join thousands of others in pursuit of stuff they wish they taught in seminary.

Published every Thursday the goal of the unSeminary podcast is to be an encouragement to Pastors and Church Leaders with practical help you can apply to your ministry right away.

unSeminary Podcast Rich Birch

    • Christianity
    • 4.7 • 87 Ratings

Are you looking for practical ministry help to drive your ministry further ... faster?

Have a sinking feeling that your ministry training didn't prepare you for the real world?

Hey ... you're not alone! Join thousands of others in pursuit of stuff they wish they taught in seminary.

Published every Thursday the goal of the unSeminary podcast is to be an encouragement to Pastors and Church Leaders with practical help you can apply to your ministry right away.

    Using Tech to Increase Bible Engagement at Your Church with Scott Lindsey

    Using Tech to Increase Bible Engagement at Your Church with Scott Lindsey

    Welcome back to another episode of the unSeminary podcast. We’re honored to have with us today Scott Lindsey, the executive director at Faithlife.

    Faithlife is the company which created the Logos Bible Software for digital Bible study. Scott is with us today to talk about Faithlife, how they can help you, and how you can use Logos in your ministry to increase Bible literacy.

    * The power of 4. // The Center for Bible Engagement performed a huge study of about 400,000 people and explored Bible engagement in North America. The resulting study, Understanding the Bible Engagement Challenge: Scientific Evidence for the Power of 4, found that spending time in the Bible one, two or three times a week has a negligible affect on key areas of our lives. But as soon people are reading scriptures at least four times a week, there is a spike in the positive affect it has in helping people deal with hard times. Specifically the study found that feeling lonely drops 30%, anger issues drop 32%, alcoholism drops 57%, relational issues (especially in marriage) drop 40%, pornography and other sexual sin drops 62%, and feeling spiritually stagnant drops 60%. The word of the living God is active, but if we’re not in it and it’s not filling and informing us, it isn’t going to have an affect.* Address the pain points. // The number one excuse people use for not reading scripture is time. The other, especially from younger generations, is that they find the Bible intimidating or boring. Logos addresses these pain points by simplifying Bible study with the use of technology. The application will allow you to type in a topic or a passage and in a matter of seconds the software does the work of searching scripture, commentaries and other resources and puts them at your fingertips – research that would take you hours upon hours to find and summarize.* Carry it with you. // Having this wealth of resources available within an app on your device of choice removes the need to have to carry a Bible, notebooks and study resources with you wherever you go. Whether you are traveling, on vacation, at work or just on the go, Logos makes it simple to stay in God’s word.* More than just Logos. // Faithlife is the other side of the tech that runs Logos. They began by providing software for church membership, online giving and so on. Now they’ve grown to also offer things such as a tv channel, websites for churches, and video courses for seminary. What makes Faithlife unique is that the focus for all of their technologies and services is Bible-centered – even for something like kids check-in. Through this system when parents pick up their kids, they are equipped to engage with them about what they’re learning in the Bible.* A customized experience. // Logos has over six million users worldwide and over 160,000 theological titles formatted for its search engine. This vast theological library enables them to provide specific libraries to specific groups and denominations. In addition, the libraries are available in different languages such as Spanish, Korean, Chinese and more.* One platform. // Many churches are faced with the problem of piecing together technologies from different sources and trying to get them to work together. Faithlife is the first ministry integrated platform and can help streamline the different aspects of your church or ministry so that you don’t need to have an expert on staff to deal with each area.

    You can learn more about Faithlife’s Logos Bible Software as well as get a special discount by visiting logos.com/unseminary.

    • 31 min
    Millennials, Gen Z and Your Church with Benjamin Windle

    Millennials, Gen Z and Your Church with Benjamin Windle

    Thanks so much for joining us for another unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Benjamin Windle. A native Australian, Benjamin has worked as a youth and young adult pastor in the US and currently helps churches develop Generational Intelligence in reaching Millennials and Gen Z through an assortment of resources, coaching, and speaking.

    According to Barna research, six out of every ten millennials who grew up in the church have dropped out. Americans 18-29 years of age who have no religious affiliation have nearly quadrupled in the last thirty years. By 2030 millennials will represent 75% of the global workforce—will they represent 75% of your church? Listen in as Benjamin shares how we can close the gap and reach younger generations in our churches.

    * Develop generational IQ. // Millennials, Gen Z and the generations coming behind then have only ever known a digital world. This means their worldview starts at a very different place than all other generations and that fundamentally changes the way we relate. Additionally because life expectancy has grown, up to five generations can be living at the same time and they are marked by very different things. Businesses, community groups, charities, families, and churches are needing greater generational IQ because we are relating to such a diverse range of cultures.* Focus on leadership style and church culture. // We can’t close the gap in attracting younger generations just by having a “cool church” with sophisticated branding, cool music, and so on. Instead focusing on church culture and leadership style will direct you to new ways of talking and relating with younger generations, giving you a place to start. Benjamin has a book called “8 Innovations to Leading Millennials: How Millennials Can Grow Your Church and Change the World” which is available on Amazon and as a free PDF on his website. It goes over everything from the use of technology and social media to what to do with your organizational structure and how to have a relational leadership style.* Focus on children’s ministry. // Another area that is key for connecting with millennials is investing in children’s ministry. Right now a lot of millennials are in their 30s and are raising their own children. Being family-focused ministers to the parents because of the importance you are placing on their children’s spiritual health and growth.* Focus on truth. // We may put all our focus on giving younger generations entertainment as a way of attracting them to church, but we really need to focus on things of substance. The message of scripture shouldn’t change, but methodology and church culture need to. Have total clarity on what is the unchanging doctrine in your church and how you can be faster at changing the things that do need to be changed.* Focus on depth. // In a culture that’s shallow, depth is attractive. Content-driven depth influences our preaching, programming, small groups and more. Equip generations coming up to read, study and understand the Bible for themselves because we’re talking largely about biblically-illiterate generations. Focus on depth in community because younger generations are craving these things. * Focus on empowering young leaders. // We need to be putting 20-somethings in genuine leadership positions even before they have all of the qualifications and experiences. Take time to coach and mentor them. Ask how you can move younger people into leadership roles faster. Don’t keep them in the background because they don’t have all the competencies you may think are needed.* Resources for reaching Millennials and Gen Z.

    • 33 min
    3 Myths about FutureFWD. Plus Dr. Henry Cloud

    3 Myths about FutureFWD. Plus Dr. Henry Cloud

    Are you and your team registered for FutureFWD? You should be. Join us.

    Imagine you could get inside the minds of leaders who are thinking through where the local church is going next.

    What would it be like to understand how leading churches are thinking about what the future holds?

    Listen in to today’s special podcast with Rich Birch and Kenny Jahng, as they expose 3 myths about this upcoming online event.

    It’s online November 18th & 19th. It’s Free. It’s two days dedicated to the future of the local church.

    Dr. Henry Cloud

    In today’s episode, we feature a special message from Dr. Henry Cloud. He is an acclaimed leadership expert, clinical psychologist and New York Times bestselling author. His 45 books, including the iconic Boundaries, have sold over 20 million copies worldwide. He has an extensive executive coaching background and experience as a leadership consultant, devoting the majority of his time working with CEOs, leadership teams, and executives to improve performance, leadership skills and culture.

    • 26 min
    Lessons In Getting People Back to In-Person Services with Kyle Mercer

    Lessons In Getting People Back to In-Person Services with Kyle Mercer

    Welcome to the unSeminary podcast! Today we have lead pastor Kyle Mercer with us from Two Cities Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Two Cities was originally planted out of The Summit Church with J.D. Greear in 2016 and grew to about 1300 people before covid, becoming one of the fastest growing churches in the country.

    When churches were forced to move to all online services in the spring of 2020, at first it was a novelty. After a while though Two Cities Church felt that something was really missing. So around mid-May the staff began to intentionally and aggressively pursue how to get people back in person. Listen in as Kyle shares their transition back and their approach to everything from navigating the differing opinions about mask-wearing to starting up kids’ ministry again.

    * Online vs in-person. // Two Cities Church called an emergency meeting with the staff to talk about the governor’s order of shutdown back in the spring. After fifteen weeks of online services, they concluded that online is a great supplement, but it’s not a substitute for in-person gatherings. So at this point the church leaned heavily into the importance of getting people back to meeting in-person.* Returning to in-person. // The decision to focus on in-person gatherings came from several principles they felt were important in the church, and they called a member gathering to explain this. Firstly, according to scripture, there is a theological conviction for the church to gather in person. Depression, anxiety and addictive behavior were also on the rise. It was clear that people weren’t doing well, finding it difficult to be isolated from the community during the pandemic, or being overwhelmed with changes in their everyday life. Additionally, online-only services cause us to miss out on the hundreds or thousands of conversations that happen on any given Sunday.* Weighing the decision. // The leadership of the church weighed the pros and cons seriously. They thought about covid, the science around it, and how dangerous it could be, but they also focused on the truth of scripture. They knew all of this wasn’t going away soon, yet it was clear that their people were ready to come back to meeting in-person.* Beginning the transition. // People at Two Cities Church were willing to come to a service without childcare in the middle of the week even after a day at work during this pandemic. During the summer they launched a Thursday night service at 6:30pm and after six weeks it felt like they were really thriving again. People expressed an interest in moving back to Sunday services with kids ministry at this point, so after eleven weeks of Thursday night gatherings, Two Cities transitioned back to three indoor services on Sundays beginning in the fall.* The mask issue. // People feel differently about masks and the church approached this hot topic humbly and graciously, trying to listen and learn from what people had to say. Some people associate masks with pollution or totalitarianism. Others associate it with being loved and loving others. Some congregants wanted to wear a mask because the governor had a mask mandate, while others thought it hindered their worship and ability to minister to others. Two Cities wanted to be good citizens and they know masks do something, even if they don’t know how much. And they care about both freedom and the safety of others. All of this led to the church having their 9 and 11am services as “mask-expected” (particularly during singing), but the 5pm service was “mask-required” and the church underscored that they would enforce this at the evening service. After three weeks of Sunday services, attendance was between 900-1000 people, almost back to pre-covid numbers.* Relaunching kids’ ministry. // Not having kids ministry operating during the Thursday night service w

    • 35 min
    A Simple & Scalable Way to Reproduce Christians with David Putnam

    A Simple & Scalable Way to Reproduce Christians with David Putnam

    Welcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast. I’m excited to have David Putnam with us today. David spent many years as a church planter and executive pastor and today consults with churches as a lead navigator with Auxano. David has also founded the organization Planting the Gospel which helps transition churches from a weekend-only disciple-making culture.

    David is with us to share simple tools that will help your church make disciple-making organic and accessible to everyone.

    * What kind of disciples are we making? // We are all making disciples, but what kind? Much of the time, without realizing it, churches make organizational disciples rather than gospel-centered disciples who in turn make more disciples. Covid has revealed to us that when our programming changes, our organizational disciples can vanish. How can we equip people so that even when there are unforeseen changes in the church, our disciples are still fully plugged into Christ and able to follow Him, doing the work of the great commission?* What is a disciple? // We’ve allowed religion to take over the gospel and make it more complex than it needs to be. We need to take it back to a place of simplicity as found in scripture. There are three fundamental questions that David suggests we take a look at: What is the gospel? What is a disciple? And what is the church? David defines a disciple as a follower of Jesus who’s learning to live out the realities and implications of the gospel by living like Jesus, loving like Jesus, leaving what Jesus left behind. What did Jesus leave behind? Disciples!* Living on mission. // Churches that are focused on making disciples have practical tools in place for their people. This includes life on life, life in community, life on mission. Many churches might have life on life and life in community built into their rhythms, but they neglect the life on mission aspect. How can we maximize our impact by releasing people instead of simply gathering people? We need to be equipping our people to enter the “mission field” right where they are, teaching them to be missionaries where they live, work and play.* Disciple-making is evangelism. // David identifies five types of disciples: pre-disciples, new disciples, growing disciples, multiplying disciples, and catalytic disciples. An unbeliever is a pre-disciple. We need to equip people in our churches to engage pre-disciples in disciple-making by providing tools so that they can tell their story, and tell God’s story.* The Gospel Disciple Life. // David has created a free resource called The Gospel Disciple Life: A Quick Start Guide for a Micro-Group Strategy for Making Disciples that Makes Disciples that will help you introduce disciple-making to your church. Consisting of simple Bible reading and meeting in micro-groups, this practical tool uses an organic method which is accessible to everyone. Who is the next person you will invite into a disciple relationship?

    You can get help with disciple-making at your church by visiting www.plantingthegospel.com.

    Thank You for Tuning In!

    There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the...

    • 36 min
    3 Ways FutureFWD Was Designed with Your Team in Mind. Plus Jenni Catron on Culture.

    3 Ways FutureFWD Was Designed with Your Team in Mind. Plus Jenni Catron on Culture.

    Designed to help encourage collaboration.

    FutureFWD will have “future positive” tone that embraces the world we find ourselves in and gives helpful next steps to leaders like you.

    You and your team will leave energized and focused to lead into 2021 and beyond.

    FutureFWD is designed to encourage and equip your team to push forward with the plan God has in store for your church.

    About Jenni Catron

    Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. Her passion is to lead well and to inspire, equip and encourage others to do the same. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently in the different spheres of influence God has granted them. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

    Jenni is the author of several books including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership. Jenni blogs at www.jennicatron.com and contributes to a number of other online publications as well. Outreach Magazine has recognized her as one of the thirty emerging influencers reshaping church leadership.

    A leader who loves “putting feet to vision,” Jenni has served on the executive leadership teams of Menlo Church in Menlo Park, California, and Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to ministry leadership, she worked as an Artist Development Director in the Christian music industry.

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
87 Ratings

87 Ratings

JayJayJayhawk ,

Subscribe- you’ll be glad

Add this one to your weekly listening routine. You’ll be encouraged and glad you did. Tremendous guests. Excellent insight in ministry leadership. I love the detailed show notes.

Minister Macias ,

Thank you.

Thank you Mr. Birch for your podcast. I came across your work about a week before Covid-19 impacted the Houston area and signed up to Unseminary. I’ve been the lead pastor at The Life Church-Baytown going on 3 months, I look forward to your emails, podcast, and resources... thank you and your staff for you’re commitment, especially in these times.

RevDeanL ,

Practical and Insightful

The unSeminary podcast is packed with practical and insightful content that keeps me listening. I enjoy both the interviews and the solo content from Rich. Keep up the great work!

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