Jerry Butler – “Only The Strong Survive” (1968)

Jerry Butler (born Jerry Butler Jr., December 8, 1939, Sunflower, Mississippi) is an American soul singer and songwriter. He is also noted as being the original lead singer of the R&B vocal group, The Impressions, as well as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Butler is also an American politician. He serves as a Commissioner for Cook County, Illinois, having first been elected in 1985. As a member of this 17-member county board, he chairs the Health and Hospitals Committee, and serves as Vice Chair of the Construction Committee. The mid 1950s had a profound impact on Butler’s life. He grew up poor, having lived in Chicago’s Cabrini–Green housing complex. Music and the church provided solace from a city that was as segregated as those in the Deep South. He performed in a church choir with Curtis Mayfield. As a teenager, Butler sang in a gospel quartet called Northern Jubilee Gospel Singers, along with Mayfield. Mayfield, a guitar player, became the lone instrumentalist for the six-member Roosters group, which later became The Impressions. Inspired by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, and the Pilgrim Travelers, getting into the music industry seemed inevitable. Butler was dubbed the “Iceman” by WDAS Philadelphia disc jockey, Georgie Woods, while performing in a Philadelphia theater. He co-wrote, with Otis Redding, the song “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” in 1965. Butler’s solo career had a string of hits, including the Top 10

Dramatic aerial video: Strong earthquake hits Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand’s Prime Minister has confirmed 65 people have died, following a powerful earthquake in the city of Christchurch. That number’s expected to rise significantly. The magnitude 6-point-3 quake struck just after midday, causing busy office buildings to crash down in the bustling city center. Cries for help could be heard from beneath the rubble, during a desperate scramble for survivors. Rescue crews from across New Zealand and Australia are at the disaster site, where a state of emergency has been declared.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

Interview: LifeWay Southern Baptist teacher David Francis about Sunday school, the strong program, by Peter Menkin

Interview: LifeWay Southern Baptist teacher David Francis about Sunday school, the strong program, by Peter Menkin

In a letter via email, LifeWay’s David Francis, Director, Sunday school, Discipleship, Church & Network Partnerships, LifeWay Church Resources, supplies a response to this writer’s inquiry regarding Southern Baptists, the Sunday School Church.   He responds in part to questions asked of Sharon Ely Pearson of the Episcopal Church in her earlier interview. The answers themselves provide a context for his statement. But note his email carries this quotation: “As God works through us . . . We will help people–through churches–know Jesus Christ and seek His Kingdom by providing biblical solutions that spiritually transform individuals and cultures.”   The questions with answers are found below this email letter, an informative and full reply that has the mark of inspiration and spontaneity:   The email letter: Sunday school remains a strong program of ministry in Southern Baptist churches. On a typical Sunday in our denomination, about 6 million people will gather for worship in SBC congregations. About 4 million will attend Sunday school, or two out of three worshipers. My estimate is that these folks will attend one of more than 400,000 Sunday school classes. Well over half of those who attend one of these classes, typically meeting on Sunday mornings before or after a worship service, will be adults.

In an analysis I conducted with Eric Geiger, co-author with LifeWay President Thom Rainer of the popular book Simple Church, we found that in a sample of the SBC’s most vibrant churches, over 87% operated Sunday school–or its functional equivalent by another name–as the critical “second step” in their church’s discipleship process. 50% of these groups simply called the program “Sunday School.” The rest used a different term, although I would agree with one of the comments made in response to the Episcopalian article that most of the folks still just call it “Sunday School” regardless of any new, official, cool name!

The other 12.5%? Those churches’ primary “Step 2” strategy was off-campus small groups–at least for the adults. This is a shift in Southern Baptist church practice, to be sure. Nevertheless, Sunday school remains very strong.

In terms of broader “faith formation,” the term preferred by your Episcopal source, Sharon Ely Pearson, Southern Baptist churches have traditionally operated another program ministry to help members grow more deeply in their faith, defend its doctrines, and equip themselves for ministry and missions.   This program is typically called “Discipleship” or “Discipleship Training.” That name has evolved more than “Sunday School.” It was originally “Baptist Young People’s Union,” then “Training Union,” then “Church Training,” then “Discipleship Training,” and now typically just “Discipleship” or some name that includes the word, such as “University of Discipleship.”   Typically, the occasion for “Discipleship” offers a variety of elective options. That occasion has typically been on Sunday evenings, before an evening service. In some churches, the occasion is Wednesday evenings. In others, these elective courses are offered at various times throughout the week.   The important thing to note is that in terms of “faith formation,” this program ministry represents sort of a “third step” in a discipleship process where worship attendance is step 1 and a Sunday school class or small group is step 2. Hope that makes sense! Or provides you some ammo for a probing question!

Part of our assignment at LifeWay is to provide curriculum materials for both Sunday school and Discipleship groups. Our full name is LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, and we are governed by a Board elected by the convention, and are therefore an SBC entity. We enjoy a broad base of customers from many denominations, however.   LifeWay also operates a chain of LifeWay Christian Stores and produces Bibles and trade books through our B&H Publishing Division, along with the products and services offered through the division where I work, LifeWay Church Resources.       The Interview: Is salvation individual, and if it is how the congregational or Church experience does enter into the experience and faith formation process? In what way does LifeWay introduce a concept of individual salvation and the salvation of the congregation and Church?

Salvation is individual for Baptists over against a “covenant” understanding of salvation held by those in some faith walks (such as the Presbyterian Church in which I was raised!). Here is a link to the article on “Salvation” from the Baptist Faith & Message, a statement generally agreed to (but not a creed that is binding on) by Southern Baptists.Jerry Vogel, Director of Childhood Ministry Publishing at LifeWay, wrote: “Salvation is definitely an individual response/decision. The church experience for children should include some type of small group learning experience. LifeWay resources begin at birth to lay the foundation upon which God’s Spirit can work and draw each child unto Himself in a personal relationship.    These concepts from birth through Preteen are represented in our Levels of Biblical Learning document showing the natural progression of learning precept upon precept by children. Significant adults in the church congregation provide the environment of unconditional love and trust building needed for children to begin their faith journey.   A well-planned scope and sequence provided in LifeWay childhood resources (continued throughout all of LifeSpan, providing foundations for salvation for all focus age groups beyond childhood) helps guide teachers along a balanced journey of creating learning environments for children to “hear, know and do” God’s Word.)”

Note: The Levels of Biblical Learning document Vogel refers to is quite impressive, and is a great visual depiction of how LifeWay approaches 10 basic biblical concepts from a developmental view.  

Together, these documents illustrate our approach to “Faith Development.” We have similar guidelines that guide our approach to students (youth) and adults:

How is Sunday school Christian oriented? That is student and teacher?

Sunday school teachers must be Christians. The students need not be. That includes adults. We promote Sunday school as “open groups practicing open enrollment.”   I have coined a five-word definition of an open group: “Expects new people every week.” An open group is an intentional mixture of believers and unbelievers, Baptists and non-Baptists, veteran and “rookie” church-goers. In fact, any person can enroll in any Sunday school class at any time, without making any obligation–to become a church member or even a Christ follower.   The way I say it is “Enrolling in Sunday School does not make you a church member or obligate you to become one.” I also have a five-word definition of this concept of “open enrollment:” You can belong before you believe.” Even if you never choose to believe. These principles are two of the distinctive of how Sunday school is practiced in many Southern Baptist churches.

What new directions are taken with students, re previous decades? Please speak to the new wave experience of Cell Groups.

I actually “debated” LifeWay’s small groups specialist, Rick Howerton, in a live on-line format recently on the topic “Sunday School vs. Small Groups.”
The number one challenge for the small group movement is the question, “What do you do with the kids?” Or, more seriously, at least from the standpoint of faith development, “What do you do meaningfully with the kids?” LifeWay has a brand new resource, Small Group Life that attempts to address that question.   In addition to inexpensive Bible study guides for each participant, who are flexible enough to be used either every week or every other week, free online helps are available for Bible-centered activities with the kids–written in such a way that a teenager can execute the plans–that connect conceptually to the material being studied by the parents. Samples available here. 

Does praise of God enter into the equation of Sunday school? What component does this hold in the formal Curriculum?

Music has historically been an important element of Southern Baptist Sunday Schools. Back in the pioneer days of the Sunday school movement, when Sunday Schools met many places where there was no organized church or formal worship/preaching experience, Sunday Schools conducted “opening assemblies,” where participants gathered together before going to their individual age-group classes. Singing was an important part of this “general assembly.”   Fewer and fewer churches continue this practice today, but some do. In terms of curriculum, all of LifeWay’s Sunday school materials for preschoolers and students include music as an important element. Preschool music is available as a separate resource, a CD-ROM that includes additional teaching materials as well as music.   My wife and I teach pre-K kids in our church. Yesterday, we began a unit on prayer. I put the CD in the player and set it to repeat a song about thanking God. After hearing it all morning, the kids were ready to sing it when we gathered for “large group time” to hear the Bible story. In LifeWay’s curriculum materials for elementary children, the music CD is included in the Leader Pack. Words to all songs on the CDs are printed in the back of the leader guides. LifeWay’s innovative curriculum for youth, KNOWN, includes an mp3 playlist: 

Music as well as serial dramas are a feature of LifeWay’s DVD-driven youth curriculum, called Fuel.

The Strong Roots Church of Jesus Christ

The Strong Roots Church of Jesus Christ

The Strong Roots Church of Jesus Christ where healing, deliverance, prayer, merricals and the Holy Spirit is taken  place, is located at 2605 Tamiami Trail Port Charlotte FL. Come and join Pastor Minister Willie Wiggins Jr the author of the book “The Last Chapter”, and 1st lady Theresa Wiggins,   for a Holy Spirit experience that will change your life forever!

Minister Willie Wiggins Jr is anointed with spiritual gifts from God that will change your life forever. Pastor Minister Willie Wiggins Jr who is anointed far and beyond anyone that I have ever met will be leading this church as an ambassadors of GOD leading those who is walking in the shadow of darkness into the light of Jesus Christ!

The Strong Roots Church of Jesus Christ is open seven days a week and services are on Sunday from 11am to 12pm and 2pm to 3pm, with Bible study on Wenesday evening from 7pm to 8pm. a womens and mens group fellowship will commence once a month and end the evening with healing prayer and deliverance by the ministry team of Pastor Minister Willie Wiggins Jr, 1st lady Theresa Wiggins.

On Saturday evenings there will be a cafe larte entertainment and fellowship starting in August. Join them with prayer, healing deliverance, spiritual warfare deliverance, praise, worship, by the power of the Holy Spirit of GOD.

I recently purchased the revised edition of the new and exciting book “The Last Chapter” by Minister Willie Wiggins Jr, and read it twice to find that it had relived me of a burden and stress that I have been carrying for a long time now.

I have read many self help books and books on how to reduce stress but this book has all the answers that I was looking for. I encourage all to purchase this book and learn how to live a wonderful, glorious, stress free life!
I feel like I have been refreshed and my spirit of life has been renewed.The man Minister Willie Wiggins Jr has an anointing upon him that is rarely found.

His book The Last Chapter is one of a kind and I felt as if I was having a conversation with him myself at times while reading it and then at one point I felt as if I was in a therapy session with a gifted councilor.

Minister Willie Wiggins Jr is the Pastor of the Strong Roots Church of Jesus Christ in Port Charlotte FL. He wrote the book “THE LAST CHAPTER” which is in stores all around the world.

It is unlike the typical self help book in that it has a storyline to it and is not boring! This book went into stores last week and is quickly becoming a best seller.

How to Build and Grow a Strong Church

How to Build and Grow a Strong Church

Have you ever wondered what a church would look like if you took away the pastors, elders, musicians,programs and Sunday Schools? Its bare,empty and quiet.Everything ceased to function.

If these ingredients did go away, there should not be panic and crisis as a church is centered upon Christ and not personalities nor programs. Church is about how we come to know and grow in Christ, unity and love amongst its members, connect with one another, and serve Him, both inside and outside of the church walls. Below are some of the methods you can use to build and grow a strong church.

1. Build Unity Amongst The Church Members

The relationship of a pastor and his people is a very sacred one brought about by the common love for God. God is not pleased when believers are not satisfied with their pastor. Neither will God be pleased if the pastor has a bitter attitude towards his people. It delights God and pleases Him when the pastor and his people love each other, pray together, work together, serve together, worship together, win souls together and give together as one.

2. Be Expressive in Your Love for Members

It is always nice to be told that you are being loved and appreciated. Hence, make an effort to email or send a card to your member to express your appreciation for their help and support regularly or especially so after an event. Your members do much for you,they pray for you, overlook your faults, forget your mistakes and extend help when you need them.

3. Use Your People to Build Great People

The job of a preacher is to build great Christians NOT great buildings. The greatest work of a pastor is to see that his sheep grow in the grace of the Lord, and not just to see the membership grow. A true pastor’s heart is one who rejoices more over the Christian who grows in the grace of God than over a building that goes up.

4. Make People Feel That You Are Theirs

Having a pastor is important to most Christians and so is a sense of belonging.The pastor belongs to them and they belong to him. It gives them an identity. Thus, never allow any of your people feel secondary. Many preachers spend so much time with fellow preachers that they do not have time for their people. It is important to spend time with your flock,live with them, love them, pray for them, work with them and seek their good not your own.

5. Choose The Right Person For The Task

A common mistake made by pastors is to assume that a good church member will do a good job. This is very often not the case. It is always best to assign the right person with the right experience in order to have a good fit for the task to ensure success. This would save you much valuable time needed to undo any mistakes made or at the worst case scenario to protect the church reputation.

6. Do Not Set Too Many Goals At One Go

It is important for a church to set realistic and achievable goals for its members. Goals should be limited to one or two in a year at most. Having a goal and not able to achieve it very often discourages the members. On the other hand, a well thought out realistic and achievable goal unites and creates a good spirit among the members.

7. If You Set A Goal,Set It High.

A church will come nearer reaching a high goal than a low one. For example, a church with 150 in Sunday school will come nearer reaching 300 than 200. People must be challenged. They will respond to a big challenge more than they will to something that does not tax their energy.

8. Eat in the Homes of Your Members

It is good for the pastor to be in the homes of his church members. When invited for a meal, try never to reject such an invitation. It is a mutual blessing. Members need fellowship with the pastor; the pastor needs the fellowship of the members. Children know the pastor better when he comes into their homes. If he is kind, thoughtful and understanding to the children, they will be comfortable and become long term members of the church.

9. Preach to Get Results.

Never become the teacher type or the lecturer type, and never get used to a “dry haul.” When you preach a sermon on tithing, expect people to start tithing. When you preach against a certain sin, expect people to give it up. Always expect additions and conversions in the services. Preach to get results!

10. Give Your Members Time at Home

So many churches today are so activity oriented that members are closer to other fellow members than their own children and family. Pastors should encourage their members to spend more time at home with their spouse and children. They should not plan such a heavy church program that it will take away all of their family time. When members realize that their pastor is concerned about their problems they will love and appreciate him more.

11. Do Not Wear Out Your Members

So many churches today are so preoccupied with conducting seminars and talks on how to save the souls that members actually have no time left to actually carry out the actual work. We preach more that we do, we talk more than the walk. Church programs should do the basics first, teach the Bible, pray and visit so that members can walk the talk.

Paul Hata is active in various community and social programs aimed at providing access to education and training to all. Access 1000s of Career,Employment and Job Opportunities here – and

Christ Lutheran Church outreach program is going strong

Christ Lutheran Church outreach program is going strong
Welcome Table Wednesday, a community outreach initiative of Christ Lutheran Church, is several weeks into its second year of operation, and the spirit that has driven the weekly effort remains as strong as ever.
Read more on FOX CT Hartford

‘Project Linus’ being ‘reborn’ at Community Christian Church
Community Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Fayetteville is revitalizing the “Project Linus” program which makes no-sew fleece security blankets, receiving blankets, quilts, crotcheted and knitted afghans and comforters for newborns and children. The organizational meeting is this morning at 10 a.m. Those interested are asked to to meet at the church, 349 Kenwood Road, from 10 a.m. to 2 …
Read more on The Fayette Citizen

Lexington Twp. church members painting Alliance homes
The Rev. Matt Lowe, of the Alliance Church of Christ, said teens of the church were inspired by the good work they learned at a Church of Christ-affiliated camp. 
Read more on The Canton Repository