- 2017 MCL Trainer Award Winners!
- Where Can We Find Unity?
- How to Motivate Stewardship
- Leadership Styles
- Are You a Church Attender or Christ Follower?
- We Are Gifted & Called to Minister
- There’s a Fork in the Road Ahead
- Six Lessons Christians Must Learn From Church History
- 8 Fundamentals for Church Management
- God Nailed It!
- Leading and Managing People in the Church
- Is there a Need for Church Management Training in America?
- Being a Biblical Leader
- Peace on Earth?
- The Wisdom of God
FaithLife Ministries announces the move of its ministry offices to Cumming, GA effective February 17th, 2016. Our new mailing address is as follows:
6170 Crescent Landing Dr.
Cumming, GA 30028
All of our other contact information remains the same. Please use this new address for all correspondence and donations by mail.
Barry Voss, President
Today, January 22, 2016, FaithLife Ministries celebrates its 15th anniversary of ministry. We are amazed at what God has done in and through us these past 15 years, where he has led us, and how He has provided for us and used us to minister to church leaders around the world! This was never our plan, but God indeed had a plan for us! It reminds me of Proverbs 19:21 where it says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
When we began this ministry in 2001, we simply had a vision to take Americans to the mission field to experience the joy of serving our brothers and sisters in other nations. God has blessed America, and Americans, and we have so much to offer the Body of Christ in other parts of the globe. God has blessed us with education and financial resources, two resources in short supply in many nations. We just wanted to be obedient to God’s command to share what we have with others less fortunate (Hebrews 13:16 – “And do not forget to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”)
But little did we know what God had in mind! We have seen this ministry grow quite rapidly in the past 5 years, primarily when we followed God’s leading to establish a global trainer network. This has enabled others around the world to join us in this mission and vision, and thus multiply our efforts and our resources. Today, our training has reached 48 nations and we have 49 Trainers in 25 nations involved in our network teaching others what we have taught them! Wow! We are now halfway to our goal & vision of seeing our training reach 100 nations.
Additionally, so many of you have contributed your financial resources to help us train and equip these leaders. And others have gone with us to help us train them. We could never have done this on our own. There is power when God’s people work together for the benefit of others! Thank you so much for your partnership with us in this ministry!
God is so good and we praise, thank and acknowledge Him as the source and reason for whatever has been accomplished in this ministry! As it says in 1 Peter 4:11, “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
To God alone be the glory!!
Last year FaithLife Ministries established our Management for Church Leaders™ Global Trainer Network. Our strategy was simple – to multiply and spread our training through indigenous ministry trainers around the globe rather than sending more Americans abroad to train our material. Not only is this a less costly means of training, it has also proven to be more effective as well since national trainers know their cultures and needs better than we do. When we started this network there were 28 pastors and leaders we had previously trained who agreed to join our network and commit to training others on our behalf. However, we did not anticipate how successful this strategy would become.
In its first year, 2014, our network of 28 global MCL Trainers trained 3,401 leaders in 21 nations through 70 training conferences. The training was also taken to two new nations – Pakistan and Togo. That compares with our training of only 400 leaders in 8 nations through 7 international trips. The effectiveness of this strategy in the first year alone would appear to be obvious, and the results were great!
So as we entered 2015 we set some goals for our network of global trainers to reach. We wanted to see them train 2,000 leaders in 20 nations, and we wanted to add 10 new trainers to the network. Although these goals may seem a bit low, we were unsure after only one year if the results from 2014 would continue. We soon found out that it would! As of today, our network has exceeded all of these goals, having trained 2,496 leaders in 21 nations through 70 conferences, including the 3 new nations of Burkina Faso, Mali and Chile. And our network has plans to train in 20 more conferences still to come, including 4 new nations (Niger, Zambia, Botswana and Bhutan). We have also added 16 new MCL Trainers this year, bringing our network total up to 47 trainers! God is indeed awesome and we are thankful to Him for everything that has been achieved so far! As Paul reminded the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
Realizing the success of this strategy, and what God was doing, we began to direct more of our mission funds towards supporting our network of trainers financially and developing more support tools for them, such as a Trainer’s Manual and more recently some instructional videos on how to teach our material to others. We are now focusing our efforts on establishing our training in new nations, raising up more MCL Trainers in new nations for our network, and training and equipping our network of trainers to train others. Our overall vision is to see our training reach 100 nations. We are currently at 41 but expect to be close to 50 by the end of this year, due in large part to our network which will take our training to 7 new nations this year, compared to our 3. We believe that this strategy will also enable us to achieve this vision in the next 10 years.
All the glory, honor and praise goes to God our Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, whom we seek to serve, obey and trust for the success of this ministry!
In this book Barry discusses how the American culture has changed during his lifetime. Growing up in the 1960s he saw America start to change its values. He witnessed America turn away from God over the past fifty years and become more secular. He breaks down the ways this has become evident by looking at how eight different values in our culture have changed. They include the erosion of Biblical influence, sexual idolatry, devaluation of life, coveting wealth, rampant dishonesty, an entitlement mentality, a lack of personal responsibility, and a rise in socialism. He shows how America has lost its respect for the Church, moved away from Christian and Biblical values, and how it now values personal choice above God’s Word.
But he also offers a solution and shows how followers of Christ and the Church can lead America back to God. Although Christians are strangers and aliens in our nation (1 Peter 2:11), we are still called by God to influence our nation and be “salt & light” (Matthew 5) in it. He provides eight ways Christians can influence our culture by being who we were called to be. He demonstrates that it is only when Christians focus on being the Church, sharing the gospel, and making disciples of Jesus, that the Holy Spirit can use us to turn our nation back to God.
The book was published by Xulon Press, the largest Christian self publisher and was released on April 9th, 2015. It is available in a variety of formats. Please click on any of the links below to purchase a copy. All proceeds go to FaithLife Ministries to support the mission work that we do.
Nook: Barnes & Noble
We would certainly welcome your feedback on the book after you have read it. Please feel free to return to this blog page to post your comments and feedback.
Children’s Ministry Books Now Available!
We are pleased to announce the release of a series of seven Children’s Ministry Books written by Kim Star-Voss for use in “Making Little Disciples!” The books have been developed over the years by Kim from her vast experience teaching children’s ministry in the USA and the foreign mission field. They provide valuable teaching resources for Sunday School, VBS, Children’s Worship or Children’s Ministry events. Each book contains Biblically based information or resources that can be used to teach children about Jesus and God’s Word in a simple, easy to use format. They also require very little in the way of additional materials to use or implement, thereby making them ideal for churches and ministries with limited resources or funding.
These seven books include the following:
1. Children’s Discipleship – Discipleship plans and goals for children by age
2. Prayer Ministry with Children – Explaining, learning & modeling prayer
3. Testimonies & Faith Stories – Teaching children how to share their faith
4. Puppet Ministry – How to make and use puppets for ministry to children
5. Bible Storytelling Skits – 26 simple Bible story skits for teaching children
6. Praise Stretches – Praise activities that worship God and refocus children
7. Games with a Biblical Purpose – A book of common children’s games with a Biblical message
FaithLife Ministries works primarily in underdeveloped or developing nations and these resources are intended to assist pastors and church leaders in these countries in discipling children, often a neglected part of their ministry. Therefore, these books are being made available free of charge for that purpose. The books are available in electronic format and the responsibility for printing or translation rests with the users. However, these books will also be available for anyone who is interested in them with our request of a donation to our ministry for those who are able to do so.
To request a copy of any or all of these books, simply visit our website at www.faithlifeministries.net or click on the Children’s Ministry Books link in the right hand column of this webpage. There you will be able to see the books that are available and request the ones that are desired at the bottom of the page.
Our goal and prayer is that these books will be useful resources in helping raise up the next generation for Christ!
Barry Reaches 100 Mission Trips!
My recent trip to Seoul, Korea with Kim was my 100th mission trip!! It’s hard to believe that God has enabled me to serve him in mission for that many trips over the past 18 years. That averages out to about 5.5 mission trips per year. When my pastor, Dr. Barry Kolb, first invited me on a mission trip to Kazakhstan in April of 1996 I had no idea what God had in store for me. But occasions like this cause us to look back and see what God has done! So in this blog installment I am going to share the highlights from those 100 trips as well as some interesting facts and statistics about them.
To begin with, here are some highlights:Trip # Date Location Highlight 1 April, 1996 Kazakhstan 1st mission trip 2 October, 1996 Kazakhstan 1st mission trip as a trainer 6 January, 1999 Peru 1st trip as team leader 12 May, 2001 Philippines 1st FaithLife Ministries trip 15 February, 2002 Philippines 1st MCL training 20 October, 2002 Latvia 1st family mission trip 22 March, 2003 Peru 1st MCL in South America 27 July, 2004 Peru 1st Celebrate Recovery training 40 December, 2005 Kenya 1st MCL training in Africa 54 May, 2008 Latvia 1st MCL training in Europe 57 November, 2008 Philippines Last team trip for FaithLife 78 April, 2011 Myanmar 1st MCL for house churches 88 June, 2012 Guatemala Train National Police Force 94 June, 2013 S. Korea 1st training of Lutheran pastors 100 July, 2014 S. Korea 1st MCL Volume #2 training MCL = Management for Church Leaders
Here are some interesting facts and statistics:1. # of Nations visited: 34 2. Avg. trip cost: $2,700 3. Most visited nations: Philippines (19), Peru (15), Kazakhstan (12) 4. # Trips by Continent: Asia (45), Latin America (31), Africa (17), Europe (7) 5. # Trips by Role: MCL Train (62), Other Train (20), Team Lead (11), Misc (7) 6. Favorite nations to visit: Philippines, Kazakhstan, and Peru 7. Nations with best food: Peru, Albania, and Latvia 8. Most Beautiful nations: Rwanda, Nepal, and Colombia 9. Most Challenging nations: Haiti, Dem. Rep. of Congo, and Nigeria 10. # of trips with flight delays or cancellations: 7 11. # of trips significantly affected by flight delays or cancellations: 2 12. # of trips I was sick or ill: 7
It has been a wonderful journey these past 18 years and 100 trips, serving God as a trainer and mission team leader. He has certainly led me down an unexpected path, but one of many blessings. I would strongly encourage all of you who read this to consider going to the foreign mission field and allowing God to open your heart to the needs of His people in other nations. When you serve others in Jesus’ name it produces a joy like no other! I would also like to thank all of our faithful supporters who have given generously to make all of this possible. Your partnership in this ministry has been a blessing to me as well as so many others. God was indeed using you as well to impact the nations.
To God alone be all the glory, honor and praise!!
Acts 29 – The Balkans
“Gaining a Foothold for Christ!”
Recently Kim and I had the privilege of teaching our Management for Church Leaders™ training in two Balkan countries – Albania & Kosovo. What we discovered was a church hungry for leadership and management training and eager to learn how they can more effectively grow their churches. We also visited Skopje, Macedonia and met with a pastor there who expressed great interest in our training for their country as well. And our hosts in Albania indicated that they have contacts in Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia too for our training. So there is great interest in this type of training for the Balkans, an area that we had not previously considered for our training due to their higher education and economic level when compared with nations in Africa and Asia. But what makes this region strategically important is that it is predominantly Muslim and the church is only 20 years old in these countries at best! It is like having the opportunity of training the early church leaders in the book of Acts! We sometimes say that we are an Acts 29 church, continuing the work that ended in Acts chapter 28 of the Bible.
In Albania, for example, the church there began just 20 years ago when this nation became independent and democratic after 50 years of communist rule. Albania was not part of the Soviet Union, but was the only nation to outlaw religion of any kind during those years. Prior to 1990 a citizen could be arrested and thrown in jail simply for having a Bible. We read where some evangelists put Bibles in the Albanian language into watertight bags and sent them over the Adriatic Sea from the island of Corfu to reach Albania during the prohibition of religion. There were some Albanians who found these Bibles and, at great risk, kept them, and became some of the earliest Christians in that nation! So God was at work preparing the harvest field in Albania even before missionaries were allowed in! Most of Albania is Muslim as well, making it a strategic nation to win for Christ. Today, there are close to 500,000 Christians in Albania, of which about 200,000 are Protestant. And they are raising up the next generation of Christians now. So they need our training to effectively continue the growth that has already begun!
Kosovo is a different story, however. They were part of Serbia and the former Yugoslavia during communist rule and only got their independence in 1999 after the Kosovo War, which many Americans remember because of the violence and atrocities that were committed. Our host, pastor Petrit Lleshi, grew up under communism in a little village in Albania no more than 25 miles from Kosovo and never thought he would ever be allowed into that country! And now, a little over 10 years later, we crossed the border on a new highway and trained 35 pastors and leaders in Pristina, the capital city. Kosovo is predominantly Muslim as well and has a negative attitude towards Christians because of their Serbian occupiers who were Orthodox. The church in Kosovo is still small with only perhaps 50 churches and 3,000 Christians. But that has happened in just over 10 years! Walls are coming down and God is moving in this nation! And we were privileged to meet and train these 35 leaders and help them continue to expand God’s Kingdom in Kosovo.
We also visited the city of Skopje, Macedonia where the church is small but growing as well. We met with pastor Sasha Vuletic, someone who is working to plant more churches and expand the Kingdom there, and he also expressed great interest in our training for his nation and said it was much needed. The same situation is true for Bosnia, Montenegro and Croatia where the opportunity exists to plant and develop a strong foothold for Christ in the Balkans. So we are excited and honored to be part of what God is doing in this part of Europe to establish His church!
Although this region was not part of the target area for our training, it has become evident to us that God is leading us there and it is important, necessary and strategic for us to provide our training to them. We will not change our vision of reaching 100 nations, but will include Eastern Europe now in some of our planning. We are already talking about going to Macedonia and Bosnia in 2015 to train and will also look to find potential MCL Trainers in the Balkans region to continue our work and train others there in the future.
Please keep the Balkans and our ministry in your prayers as we seek to do God’s will and assist the church in its growth in this region.
Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!
FaithLife Ministries is Building a
Last November we announced that we have adopted a new strategy for disseminating our training around the world. Our vision of seeing our Management for Church Leaders™ training (MCL) reach 100 nations globally remains our goal, but we are now focusing on raising up foreign trainers to help us teach our material rather than just us alone going abroad to do the training directly ourselves. We believe in the principle of multiplication ministry and desire to develop a network of qualified foreign trainers who are trained and equipped to teach this training for us. While we have always encouraged those we train to teach others, building a global network of trainers and working together will enable us to reach more nations with less resources and in less time.
In order to implement this strategy we have been working on developing a better Trainer Manual to assist foreign trainers in teaching our material. That manual is near completion and will be distributed electronically once it is done. This new Trainer Manual will have more detailed instructions, helpful illustrations, and encourage more participant engagement through planned questions and discussion. This will improve the quality and consistency of the training. We have also created the designations of Authorized Trainer and Certified Trainer and have developed a process for each designation. This will lead to better management of the Trainer Network, provide for tracking of training, and encourage a commitment to train. Additionally, we have shifted more funds this year to support Certified Trainers who teach our material in return for their commitment to train others for us.
In 2013, foreign trainers taught our MCL material to 2,200 pastors and church leaders in 13 nations and we praise and thank God for that! One of our goals this year is to increase that and thus far in 2014 we are off to a good start. In January, foreign trainers have taught our MCL training in India, Nepal and Ghana to over 200 leaders!! Furthermore, there are already plans to train several hundred more in 5 nations over the next few months. I also anticipate that there will be additional training in other nations as well as the year progresses. We have already begun to build this Trainer Network with those foreign trainers who are presently teaching our material to others, and pray that others will want to be a part of it as well.
I will still be traveling and training directly, but my focus now will be on training in new nations and training foreign trainers in order to certify them to train others. I am also looking into opportunities to hold regional training conferences where foreign trainers from several nations can come to be trained.
We are excited about the future and seeing how God will guide us in this network development. We desire to not only achieve the vision He has given us, but also to be good stewards of the resources He provides us to carry out this ministry. We believe this strategy will accomplish that and that God has already begun to work in the hearts and minds of our foreign contacts who will become part of this Trainer Network.
If you would like to be part of our Trainer Network, please Contact Us.
For several years many friends have been encouraging me to write a book about my mission field experiences. So I began to assemble a list of the spiritual and unusual experiences I have had over the years and to try to put them together into a readable format. But I struggled with how best to do that in a way that was inspiring or of interest to others.
In June of this year Kim and I were in Seoul, South Korea and our host there, Pastor Eun Seob Kim, made a comment to me that he was encouraged by my faith and teaching as a lay person, and what God was doing through my life and this ministry. Then in July I was in Mexico City and my friend and training partner, Pastor Lane Reuter, also strongly encouraged me to write a book. But he suggested that I write one about my faith story and how God called me into full-time ministry. As we continued to discuss this idea in Mexico I then realized that I could put all of these things together to tell my story.
So I used my time at home in August to write the manuscript for my book entitled “Transformed: Learning To Live by Faith.” It is the story of how God transformed my life from being a believer in Christ to becoming a follower of Christ. It is a story of how I am learning to live by faith rather than by the pursuit of money or a career. It is my story of what happened to me when I began to submit my life entire life to Christ instead of just a part of it, and how God has blessed me immeasurably more than I could ever have imagined!
I am in the process of finalizing the manuscript and submitting it for printing and publication by Xulon Press, the oldest and largest Christian self-publisher. I am anticipating a release date of around November 1st. It will be made available on-line through the Xulon Press Bookstore in both print and electronic reader format. It will also be made available on-line at amazon.com and to Christian bookstores and other retail outlets. I will have further details about pricing and availability once the book is in the production process.
All proceeds from the book will go to FaithLife Ministries to support the work that we do in training pastors and church leaders.
I will continue to keep you updated as to the progress of my book though this website, our monthly newsletter, our Facebook page and Twitter.