Ministry Highlights April – June 2012

I believe God has assigned me three essential purposes in this season of my life and ministry:  (1) preaching and teaching; (2) consulting and coaching; and  (3) building collaborative relationships between and among key leaders.


“Interim” Preaching. This year, remarkably, I have a commitment to speak 36 Sundays, with many weekends yet to fill this fall.  Increasingly, I’m preaching consecutive Sundays in a number of churches—to give their pastor extended time away:  to pray, to spend time with their families, and generally to refresh themselves for more and better ministry. This summer and fall, I’m providing preaching support for Mark Leuning (The Springs, Chandler), Brian Anderson (Vineyard North Phoenix), Terry Tarleton (Carefree Vineyard), and David Friend (North Scottsdale Christian Church).

My June-July teaching series at North Phx Vineyard


Pinnacle Forum.Launched by Bill Bright and Jerry Colangelo, Pinnacle Forum is a national movement “to build a network of leaders committed to personal and cultural transformation centered on the values of Jesus.”  It’s been a delight to become friends with President and CEO, Steve Fedyski. For the last couple months, I’ve also had the privilege of teaching God’s Word to a local Pinnacle Forum of of highly influential community leaders.  Forum leader Terry Hamlin wrote, “The measuring rod of success brings the men of Pinnacle Forum together weekly. Gary opens with prayer, opens the Bible, and shares in the power of the Holy Spirit. God opens the hearts, minds, eyes and ears of these men at the pinnacle of worldly enterprise. Their lives are encouraged, empowered and their spheres of influence impacted locally, for eternity and His Kingdom, all in one hour.”

Sharing @ Pinnacle Forum at the Law Offices of Gallagher and Kennedy


Consulting and Coaching

Pat Stark, Genesis Church, showed me their amazing new facility, Rock at 32nd Street, where they’ve turned an aging strip mall into a beautiful community center. At his request, I’ve spent time with him helping them think through their engagement with their immediate community, which is primarily Hispanic.  They took the plunge and relocated from Desert Ridge to one of the most economically challenged areas of northeast Phoenix referred to as the Greenway Square.

I’ve been meeting every other month with Terry Tarlton, Carefree Vineyard. A few months ago, I advised Terry that his church location was a contributing factor to the slow growth of his church.  Somehow, it was divine guidance for him, and they are now relocating to newer, larger and more strategic location—and taking off!

I spent time with Bob Hake, Orangewood Church of the Nazarene. He shared with me that they have about 500 attending on the weekend—and 800 on campus during the week for adult education, job training, counseling and other support. Amazingly, they have channeled $2.7 million into community development over the last three years!  Bob shared with me that, without his pastors’ covenant group to which we referred him a few years ago, he would have left the ministry.

Bob wrote, “After 20 years of ministry I went through a two year season of struggle that was so intense I was on the edge of resigning my church and leaving the ministry. My Pastors in Covenant Group was my lifeline! God used the other pastors in my group to keep me focused. They helped me hear God and stay in touch with His calling on my life. They provided the support, accountability and grace I needed but couldn’t find anywhere else! Every pastor needs a Covenant Group!

Escuela de Liderazgo Eclesiastico (School of Church Leadership) for Hispanic Pastors. My good friend and colleague Jose Gonzalez and I have organized a School of Church Leadership for Hispanic pastors in the Phoenix area, many of whom are undertrained. Phoenix Seminary is providing a meeting place for our monthly, morning-long meetings, and key pastors across the Valley are teaching on leadership and growing the local church.

Jose Gonzalez says, “Gary is a key person in my new effort to train Hispanic pastors. His role as a mentor and special collaborator has been of very special help. The new effort in training Hispanic pastors is called ‘School of Church Leadership,’ and our purpose is to get help from Anglo pastors of large churches to teach Hispanic pastors.  This effort would not be possible without the Gary’s partnership.”

Christianity Today interviewed me for an upcoming article about our efforts to build bridges between Hispanic and Anglo pastors.

Inventory of Valley Churches. I’ve been able to engage both the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) and KPXQ Christian radio 1360 to partner in developing a data base/inventory of the churches in the Valley, specifically to list their outreach passions and efforts, so we can get more churches to work together in common causes in our community.  We know of nothing like this in the country!

UNDIVIDED: One Church Serving the Valley. While still at Word of Grace, I launched 3K+, a quarterly gathering of pastors with churches of 3000 or more in attendance.  This grew into an annual Pastors of Influence Summit.  All but a couple pastors of the largest churches Arizona have participated.  In January, Don Wilson of Christ Church of the Valley (20,000 in attendance!), agreed to lead our “movement” and hosted a day-long meeting where we talked seriously about working together on specific challenges in our city and state, specifically children and youth. The pastors there agreed to meet quarterly for all day meetings to develop and implement a strategic plan for the transformation of our state.  Our third meeting is in August.

State Denominational/Movement Leaders. This is amazing!  In April we had our second quarterly meeting with the denominational and church movement leaders in Arizona, who represent about 1000 churches! I’ve called them together for relationship and shared kingdom mission.

You Support Us—We Give Too!

We make monthly contributions to The District Church, a church plant in Washington D.C., Hector Torres (Hispanic International Ministries), and the Grace Association, our network of ministers and ministries.  In the last 18 months, we’ve also made four-figure contributions to the following:  Neighborhood Clinic, Neighborhood Ministries, For Our City, Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Hope Christian Church at ASU, and friends Jim and Twyla Taylor serving in Mozambique

Personal Time

Marilyn and I are so grateful for this season in our lives.  I am a busy as ever with so much less stress!  Many of you have told me that I am the “old Gary,” which I think means that they are thinking of the younger Gary!  J  We have the freedom to spend time with one another and our children and grandchildren.  We were nearly two weeks in Japan with our Navy son Matt and his family, we spent Easter with our son David and his family in California, and presently we are in Colorado with our daughter and her family.

Your Continued Support

Thank you for your regular and generous donations. We can receive tax-deductible donations directly to Nothing But Grace.

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