Christian Standard Web-Only Interview: Previewing ‘What’s Next’ with Gary Johnson (Plus News Briefs)
Christian Standard Web-Only Interview: Previewing ‘What’s Next’ with Gary Johnson (Plus News Briefs)

Great leaders constantly ask themselves a two-word question: “What’s next?” That’s the name of a new event presented by e2: effective elders and hosted by the Center for Church Leadership at Cincinnati Christian University on Saturday, September 8. The event will focus on helping leaders look into the future, as far ahead as they can, and lead God’s people ahead on their journey.

Gary Johnson, along with David Roadcup and Jim Estep, will present at the all-day event. We asked Johnson three questions about what elders will learn at the event.



QUESTION: As part of the “Next Step” seminar, you’re leading a workshop on “What’s Next in Building a Generous Church?” . . . but what’s the “first step” leaders should take as they build the foundation of a generous church?

Gary Johnson: To become a generous church, leaders must first think differently. After all, how we think determines how we live. We read in Genesis 2 that we have been “made in the image of God,” and God is outrageously generous. God created an incredible world for us to enjoy. He gave to us the breath of life with which to enjoy this earth. Every day, God gives us bread to eat, clothes to wear, and a home in which to live. On top of all that, God so loved us that he gave us his one and only Son as the sacrifice for our sin. God is outrageously generous, and we have been made in his image.

Are we outrageously generous? If we think—and believe—that we are made in God’s image, we should live outrageously generous lives. Do we resemble God in this activity of giving? If not, why not? And remember, in Malachi 3, God himself differentiated between tithes and offerings. Tithing is not being generous, it is being obedient. When we give offerings over and above the tithe, we move into the realm of generosity.

First things first: Leaders must think differently about giving, and specifically about being generous.


How would you define and what are some characteristics of a “generous church”?  

A generous church actually experiences the principle that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” A generous church looks to meet the needs of others over itself, and it creates ways to give of their time, talent, and treasure to those in need. A generous church is selfless, not selfish; openhanded, not tightfisted. A generous church is a community of people who foster an atmosphere of cheerful giving.    


What is the easiest or least painful step in making your church more attractive in reaching and keeping Next Generation Christians?

Most churches are multigenerational in that there are people of all ages within the congregation. From newborns in the nursery to individuals who are in their senior years, people of all ages are a part of the local multigenerational church.

Yet, the congregation should make an effort to become an intergenerational church—and there is a difference. An intergenerational church works hard to integrate the generations in relationship. When middle and high school students serve alongside those who are older, relationships develop between the generations. Older believers relationally mentor younger believers. Young Timothy was known, valued, and loved by Paul, his adopted father in the faith. When we know, value, and love the next generation, they will more often stay in the church and in the faith.

Find more information and to register for “What’s Next,” CLICK HERE.



StoneBridge Christian Church in Omaha, Neb., will host its 12th-annual “Fireworks Bonanza” on Friday. The free event will feature bounce houses, food trucks, games, live music, and a professional fireworks display.


Bible Gateway, the world’s most visited Christian website, is marking its 25th anniversary. It has been viewed more than 14 billion times by people using more than 1 billion devices.


Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Mo., was ranked ninth on the list of “Top 10 Campus-Based Christian Colleges” by College Atlas. The rankings are based on multiple factors, the main three being academic quality, accessibility, and affordability. Other colleges in the top 100 included Johnson University (No. 57), Summit Christian College (No. 58).


The Church of Christ at Treaty, Wabash, Ind., partnered with Sheer Envy, a local salon, to provide free back-to-school haircuts for students on Aug. 4. The church and workers provided haircuts to more than 50 students as an outreach to the community.


Mountain Christian Church, Joppa, Md., has a Tea Ministry Team that gathers one Friday each month to “share the love of Christ with the aged, the lonely, and the afflicted residing in nursing facilities.” The volunteers serve tea, sing hymns, read Scripture, pray with and encourage residents, show them love, and listen to their stories and wisdom.


Mid-Atlantic Christian University, Elizabeth City, N.C., will host an “@MACU” event from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 26 that will feature a free cookout, games, and inflatables (for youth groups) at 3:30 p.m., followed by a 5 p.m. service featuring Travis Rosen, 43, a five-time top-five finisher featured on American Ninja Warrior.


The 2018 International Conference on Missions in Cincinnati is only three months away. The theme is “Undhindered.” The president this year is Kevin Dooley, chief development officer of Central India Christian Mission. Speakers will include Dooley, Denford Chizanga, Ajai Lall, Nate Bush, Jeff Vines, and Josh Howard. Jonathan Alarcon will lead worship during main sessions. ICOM runs Thursday to Sunday, Nov. 15 to 18. Click here to register.


Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Mo., encouraged its Facebook followers in June to set their alarms for 9:38 each day to join the college in praying that God would send out more ministry workers. In Matthew 9:37, 38, Jesus noted that the “harvest” is plentiful but the laborers few. He instructed his disciples to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”


Students returning to Kentucky Christian University this fall will find a new coffee shop in the lobby of the Student Life Center.


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