Category Archives: Pastoral Leadership

Sunday Reflections (Sept. 2, 2012): Antioch’s Got Talent, Student Conference, etc.

Friday – Well, we kicked the Labor Day Weekend off on Friday with an event we call “Antioch’s Got Talent” (yes, it’s a spin off of America’s Got Talent show). It’s just a fun time for our members to showcase their talents as we celebrate the Lord’s goodness in bringing our church into existence 26 years ago.

Saturday – On yesterday, over 400 students gathered together for our Impact Student Conference to worship God and to be taught His Word. The conference was centered around the theme “Not Ashamed” based on Romans 1:16. It was great to see Jr. High and High School students worshiping Jesus and being challenged, encouraged, and equipped by the Word of God.

Sunday – At the beginning of the year, I implemented an initiative in our Church School (Sunday School). On the 1st Sunday of each month, each of our Church School classes are studying and going through John MacArthur’s “Fundamentals of the Faith” workbook. Today I had to sub for one of our teachers and teach on the subject of prayer. We had a great time in the Word.

Dr. Wesley preached a sermon entitled, “A Message and a Miracle Meant for the Masses” from Luke 5:17-26.

Pre-registration ended today for our Men’s (Halftime) and Women’s (Sisters Summit) conferences. If you haven’t registered, don’t fret. You can show up on the Saturday of either conference and register on-site.

This coming week – Please be in prayer this week as we prepare to host our Halftime Men’s Conference. If you are wondering what to pray for, here is the big objective for Saturday: that men will embrace and live out Christ-like humility in every area of their lives through prayerful dependence on and submission to the Holy Spirit. Also, would you join me in praying for young men, like myself, in their 20’s and 30’s that God will capture our hearts in Christ so that we might spend our lives for Him and not waste our youth on sinful pursuits, and that the church will begin and/or continue to partner with God in doing what He wants us to do to reach, disciple, and deploy them to serve in His church and engage in His mission? Thanks.


Matt Chandler on Christian Hip-Hop/Rap (Video)

I absolutely love what Jesus is doing through His churches to spread the Gospel/Word via the medium of rap and how He is cultivating diversity among His people (we are not all there yet, but we have come a long way).

Matt Chandler, the Lead Pastor of the Village Church in Dallas, TX and one of the speakers at this year’s E.K. Bailey International Expository Preaching Conference, is featured in this Rapzilla video giving his thoughts on Christian Rap, Diversity, and the Village Church’s and Acts 29 Network’s commitment to training and funding young, black pastors to plant churches in an urban context.

Have a great, safe Labor Day Weekend!

HALFTIME Men’s Conference ’12 (The Antioch Church in Dallas, TX)

We are just a little over a week before our HALFTIME Men’s Conference ’12 (Saturday, September 8th). We are praying for all those who will be attending and participating, and expecting God to do something awesome in, through, and among us as men. If you and the men of your church have yet to register, I hope that seeing our lineup of breakout session classes and speakers will encourage you to do so (Coach Carter will be our main closing session speaker this year). Our focus for this year is Humility. As you peruse the descriptions, you will see this thematic thread woven throughout each class.

Fighting Pride (Presenter: Pastor Burley Hudson, Senior Pastor of Greater Emmanuel Baptist Church)

We are in a fight against pride, gentlemen. Many men have been knocked down and some even knocked out by this opponent. But we can come out on top. Learn the ways in which pride attacks and more importantly how we – in Jesus, through the Spirit and according to the Word – can daily defeat it in our lives.

The Husband Combine: Assessing (and Developing) Your Marriage Leadership Game (Presenter: Dr. Maurice Pugh, Senior Pastor of New Life Fellowship Church)

Combines are all about assessing a player’s skill set and how well he plays his position. What about when it comes to your position as the head of your wife? How well do you play your position? How do you stack up in the category of humility with your wife? This class will help you to assess and develop your humility rating as a husband, so that you can live with and lead your wife in a way that benefits her and glorifies God through Jesus.

Coaching Like a Jerk or Like Jesus? (Presenter: Pastor Craig White, Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Christ)

If someone were asked to describe how you are as a coach, that is, as a leader, CEO, manager, Pastor, director, father, boss, etc., would they say you lead like a Jerk, a man full of sinful pride, or like Jesus, a man who exemplifies humility in leadership? This class will explore the two and will encourage you to lead in a way that reflects Jesus.

Obey the Refs (Presenter: Pastor Ed Johnson III, Assoc. Pastor of Christian Education, The Antioch Church)

Refs are on the field or court to protect the integrity of the game, but also for the benefit of the players. They do this by enforcing rules and penalties. But there are times in which players refuse to obey. They become prideful and decide to do their own thing. And it never turns out well. As it is in sports, so it is in life. This class will teach you as a man how God expects for you to relate to those who are in authority over you.

Most Valuable Player: Handling Success and Popularity with Humility (Presenter: Pastor Bryan Carter, Senior Pastor of Concord Church)

There is something about success and popularity that gives rise to the temptation to get the “big head.” This class will help you to not lose your mind while in the spotlight, to remember who is responsible for your success as well as why God allowed you to achieve it.

Respect the HEAD Coach (Presenter: Pastor Stephen Brown, Senior Pastor of Greater Bethlehem BC)

Who is the HEAD Coach of the Christian life? It is our great God and Savior! Do you know Him? Do you know what He is like, that is, His attributes? This class will teach you His perfect characteristics, which will leave you resolved to respect Him through grace-endowed obedience.

Sex Games?(Presenter: Dr. Charles Martin, Senior Pastor of Union Missionary BC)

Sexual sin is far from a game. It is nothing to play with! But men unfortunately continue to treat it as such. The Porn industry, teen pregnancy, rape, prostitution, sex trafficking, molestation, etc. are just some of the negative effects in our world today, much of which is due to men and their sexual sin. It’s time to quit playing and to get serious about this. This class will confront sexual sin head on and will point you to Jesus who is the only solution to man’s sexual defeat and defiance.

Coaches’ Corner: Recruiting Men to Jesus and His Church (Senior Pastors OnlyPresenter: Dr. Karry D. Wesley, Senior Pastor of the Antioch Church)

It is true that there are many men who are playing for the Enemy’s team. But there are also plenty of men who are on Jesus’ team, but are sitting on the bench when it comes to being actively engaged in a growing relationship with Jesus, on mission, and in service to the church.  As Assistant Coaches to the HEAD Coach (Jesus), He has given us the task of coaching these men to get off the bench and on to the field. In this special session for Senior Pastors, Dr. Karry D. Wesley (Sr. Pastor of the Antioch Church) will share with you biblical principles and practical methodologies that God has graced Antioch to employ to fulfill that assignment.

The Injured Reserved List (Special Session for High School Students – Presenters: Coach Ken Carter and Pastor Robert Purvey, Assoc. Pastor of High School Students and Young Adults of the Antioch Church)

A lot of young men are finding themselves sidelined in the game of life due to one major self-inflicted injury: Pride. This injury has caused young guys to lose privileges, jobs, scholarships, relationships, friendships, opportunities and most importantly their connection with God. It is an age-old injury that has plagued humanity since the beginning. Coach Carter will spend time helping our young men to identify the ways pride shows up in their lives and most of all to help them follow the only one who remains undefeated against it; the epitome of humility – Jesus the Christ! Pastor Robert Purvey will host a talk back session afterwards.

To register, log on to The cost of the conference is only $10…and that includes lunch (High School Students, 9th to 12th graders, get in FREE. Call 972-228-2420 to register them)! See you next week!

The Pulpit and Politics (Video from The Gospel Coalition)

I enjoyed and learned from the dialogue in this 14+ minute video between three seasoned pastors, Bill Kynes, Voddie Baucham, and Mark Dever, regarding the church and politics. With the presidential campaigns in full swing, this video is a timely reminder of what should be our posture as pastors/preachers in particular and as Christians in general towards politics.

I echo Pastor Mark Dever’s prayer at the end, “May God give us all wisdom.”

Sunday Reflections (Aug., 26, 2012): Service, Worship, and a Spoken Word

There is nothing like the church when the church is working right. I believe I heard Bill Hybels say something to that effect at one of Willow Creek’s Leadership Summits. And I have found that to be true at my church, The Antioch Church.

As I walked around Antioch today, it hit me afesh that we would not be where we are as a church if it hadn’t been for the grace of God in Christ working in the hearts of believers through the Holy Spirit to give of their time and gifts in service to others. In short, we wouldn’t be where we are without believing members volunteering and leading.

Parents are able to drop their babies off in a safe nursery. Who cares for them while they are there? Mainly volunteers.

Our kids had fun and were taught about Jesus at our Foundation Team Children’s Retreat. Who headed that up? A volunteer.

People walked into our church building, were greeted with a smile, and ushered to an available seating section for worship service. Members were taught the Bible in our Church School. Conference registrations were taken and questions were answered. And a host of other things were done just on today, not to even speak of what happens throughout the week (and especially the love that is expressed and the discipling that takes place between believers on an informal yet personal level). By who? You guessed it. Volunteers.

We thank God for believers who are not just consumers, but understand that God has gifted them to be contributers.

Now about the sermon. Pastor Wesley preached on Psalm 18:1-6 and entitled the message, “The History Behind My Testimonies.” I am grateful to be under a Senior Pastor who labors to faithfully preach the Bible. THAT does NOT happen everywhere. And to top it off, he is a great storyteller. His closing illustration was awesome! You’ll have to get the DVD to see what I mean. 🙂 My preaching and teaching has been significantly strengthened since being under his ministry.

The state of preaching today, in many cases, is not good. You have men (and women) who are “speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:30) and people who do not “endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

I could go on, but I’ll let spoken word poet, Jackie E Hill, do it for me in this piece she did at an event called Rhetoric 2012.

Christian Rap and the Church, pt. 2 (Video)

The Rebuild Initiative continues the discussion of Christian Hip Hop and the Church. This video delves into the trajectory of Christian rap and some biblically informed insights and corrections that are needed for this movement.

Here is part two of “The Blessedness of [Christian] Hip Hop:

Something For the Teenagers, Women, and Men of Your Church

Our (Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church – Dallas, TX) conference season is nearly upon us with a little over two weeks to go.

First up is our Youth Conference for Jr. High and High School Students. Registration is FREE. For more information, please contact Pastor Robert Purvey at

Next up is our Halftime Men’s Conference. Our focus this year is on Humility. Our main speaker will be Coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson played him in the movie “Coach Carter.”). Registration is only $10 and includes lunch.

And finally, we have our Sisters Summit ’12 for the women. As you can see, the theme is Armed and Dangerous. Our main speaker will be our own Sister Cheryl Wesley (our Senior Pastor’s wife). Registration is also $10 and includes lunch.

If you are in the DFW metroplex and even from out-of-town, we would love to have you at one of our conferences. For breakout class titles and descriptions for our Halftime Men’s conference or Sisters Summit, please contact myself, Pastor Ed Johnson III, at

To register for any of the three conferences, log on to and click on the appropriate conference picture, which will take you to the conference registration page.

See you in September!




Christian Rap and the Church

I was born in the 70’s. Hip Hop music was on the scene and on the rise. By the time I was in High School, it had become a national phenomenon, from Cali to New York, and even in the South, in Texas. Ghetto Boys, Master P, DMX, B.I.G., Tupac, Puff Daddy (aka, Sean Combs, P-Diddy), Mase, Snoop Dog, Ice Cube, and Busta Rhymes were just a few of the well-known artists at that time.

Hip Hop music was (and is) the sound of many in my generation. Hip Hop music was all that I listened to growing up. But when the Lord Jesus saved and called me to preach, that changed…at least for a little while. As I grew in Jesus, I began to see how the lyrics of the secular rap songs I was listening to didn’t line up with God’s Word. And so I made a decision to throw away all of my cassette tapes (yes, I said cassette tapes) and CDs. I needed to make a clean break with it. My parents were somewhat shocked when I told them my plans to discard all of my secular rap, but they supported me.

So with that, I began to make my way into traditional and contemporary Christian music. Now I wasn’t a total neophyte. After all I was “raised” in the church. So I knew some of the hymns, and popular quartet and mass choir songs. I was rocking to Kirk Franklin, and I even took a listen to DC Talk. Much of it I liked and was edified by it. In all honesty though, I still liked rap music because it just resonated with me. I loved the rhyming, the creativity, the lyrical metaphors and analogies, the beats and the bass. And yet I didn’t want to go back to what I had left because much of it was sinful. What was I to do?

Enter in Gospel Gangstas, a Christian rap group made up of former gang members from Compton and South Central, LA.

When I got a hold of their 1995/96 album, Do or Die, I was elated to know that there was a viable, God-honoring, Jesus-exalting alternative to the secular rap music that I grew up on, and from that day on I have been a staunch advocate of quality, theologically sound Christian rap music.

I am excited to see the Lord Jesus raise up Christian rap artists to make music that glorifies him and seeks to speak truth to culture, pastors and leaders to plant churches in urban areas all around this nation, and ministries to encourage and support the former and to train the latter.

One such ministry is The Rebuild Initiative. Check out their video below entitled, “The Blessedness of Hip Hop.”

May the Lord Jesus continue to use this medium to get His message out to the masses!

Leading Better Church Ministry Meetings

I’ve been a part of as well as led quite a few meetings. Some were good, some were not so good.  In terms of the ones I was responsible for, I know that I played a major part in their drudgery, mediocrity, or failure. Thankfully, I have learned how to conduct better, more meaningful church ministry meetings since then and want to share a few of those lessons with you.

Be Punctual. We all understand how unexpected things can throw us off schedule, but it should be our goal to arrive at the meeting location early and to start and end on time. This communicates, among many things, that you value people’s time.  It also tends to set a precedent for your leaders.

If you are going to be late and are able, let someone know so that he or she can communicate with those who are waiting on you. And when you arrive, it would be courteous and caring to give an apology (and possibly an explanation) for your lateness.

Be Organized. Let me state the obvious: You need to have a written agenda. You may know where you are going in the meeting, but your people will not because they can’t read your mind. Distributing it prior to or at the meeting will allow your staff or volunteers to see the items that will be covered and to gather their thoughts and responses accordingly.  Here is an example of my ministry leadership development meeting agendas:

1. Praying for our time together

2. Celebrating what Jesus is doing in our lives and church

3. Reviewing our Christian Education Leadership Ministry Values

Productivity: We value achieving results that will honor Jesus and benefit others (Col. 3:23-24; Ephesians 4:11-16).

4. Studying God’s Word – “LDD: Disciple-Making Disciples”

5. Other

6. Praying for each other

Also, you can have an allotment of time for all or specific agenda items to help keep things efficient.

Pray. I know that is a given in church, right? What I am talking about here though is not just simply tagging a brief prayer on to your meetings as you would a blessing for a meal, but spending some quality time in prayer. Ask for prayer requests and then pray for each other. If you are leading a large staff or volunteer meeting, try breaking the group up into smaller prayer circles and then you close it out. No matter how you do it just make sure you saturate your time together in prayer.

Celebrate. Take time to celebrate the evidences of the goodness of God in Jesus among your staff, volunteers, and/or church by asking for personal and ministry praise reports. God is at work and you want to make note of that. This helps to keep your meetings from simply and solely feeling like a “business” meeting.

Cast. This is a great time to cast or re-cast the DNA (i.e., mission, vision, values, and philosophy) of your local church. As I heard someone say once, “Vision leaks.” So take the opportunity and reiterate it to them (e.g., by reading that positive email or letter that you received about your church, recounting that testimony that was shared with you by that member, sharing the number of people who Jesus saved and were baptized last week or month, etc.). People need to know that they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

Study. Spending time studying (i.e., reading, meditating, and discussing) God’s Word in your meetings indirectly reinforces the need for this spiritual habit and the centrality of Jesus’ mission to make disciples in the life your staff and/or volunteers.

Evaluate. One of the ways you can find out how to make your meetings more effective is to periodically ask your staff members/leaders/volunteers for their evaluation. You can ask, “Is there anything that I need to change about our meetings that would make them more meaningful and productive?”


What else would you add? Comments welcome.

The Church Is More Than Just Preaching

I have been pondering over this thought for years now: The church is more than just preaching (i.e., a local church gathering together to hear the Word preached in a worship service).

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a pastor, and faithfully preaching/teaching the Scriptures is one of our primary responsibilities (2 Timothy 4:1-2; cf. also 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:9). So, I love to preach! I believe in preaching. It is absolutely necessary to our spiritual growth and I do not wish to lessen its importance in the life of the church, especially given the rampant unhealthy (i.e., unbiblical, bad hermeneutics, unsound, etc.) preaching that is going on in our day.  We absolutely need to elevate the sound preaching-teaching of God’s Word in our services (and beyond).

But the church is more than just preaching.

Jesus commands us to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), which we are enabled to do by our prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit, and gives us a laundry list of “one another” commands in the New Testament that is supposed to characterize how we live with each other as a church. These commands are to be obeyed both on an individual and collective or corporate level (through a church-wide discipleship mechanism, program, or environment – i.e., Small Groups, Bible Fellowships, Community Groups, Life Groups, Growth Groups, even some Sunday School programs that have been reworked to be more group-focused rather than teacher-led, etc.).

The point I am trying to make is simple. Our job as pastors is not only to preach the Scriptures/Gospel to the congregations we have been called to, but to also encourage them (as well as ourselves) to participate in those discipleship-oriented ministry environments that are designed to help facilitate their spiritual growth.

I would also encourage you, my fellow pastors, to prayerfully plan how you can work this vital, biblical apsect of church into your preaching.

Here is an example from John Piper (Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN):

And from Gaylon Clark (Lead Pastor at Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church in Austin, TX):

If some of you think this is a bit much, consider this. Many of us actually do this type of promoting or highlighting of biblical values or corporate initiatives (e.g., building campaigns) in our preaching or over the pulpit/podium. We preach on stewardship, not forsaking the assembling ourselves together (by that we usually mean people should not habitually skip out on attending the worship services at the church of which they are members), and so on. Shouldn’t a ministry/program/initiative that is primarily designed to aid believers in making disciples be included in your message, be the focus of a stand-alone sermon, or even a series?

By all means, preach. But let us also be sure to promote and participate in the body life of the church.  Remember, the BODY of Christ is not just made up of a mouth. It has many parts that when working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Thoughts or comments?

The Witness

A Black Christian Collective

Trillia Newbell

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

Henry Ballard, Jr.

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

D. A. Horton

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

Stephen G. Brown

Be encouraged by the preaching + teaching + writing of Stephen G. Brown

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus


by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

Desiring God

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

Ligonier Ministries Blog

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

Vertical Church

Just another site

Tim Challies

Informing the Reforming

H.B. Charles Jr.

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

Kraig Lowell Pullam

My thoughts. My reflections. My journey.... On pastoring, preaching, leading & learning.