Thursday, November 19, 2015

Amazing GriefShare Turnout for 2015!


GriefShare seminars and support groups are led by people who understand what you are going through and want to help. You’ll gain access to valuable GriefShare resources to help you recover from your loss and look forward to rebuilding your life.

There are thousands of GriefShare recovery support groups meeting throughout the US, Canada, and in over 10 other countries.

Anyone can receive free daily email encouragement from

Anyone is able to receive an encouraging email message every day for a year. These short messages will inspire you and provide practical information as you grieve the loss of your loved one.

For more information on GriefShare go to

Fall 2015

The Fall 2015 thirteen week cycle began on August 2, 2015. The group met at Sycamore Shoals on Sunday Afternoons from 2 to 4 pm in Classroom B. Here is a quick breakdown of the numbers on the group Fall 2015:

· Total Hours Spent in Group = 28 Hours

· Total Participants Visiting the Group = 14 People

· Average Group Attendance = 12 People
Snapshot of GriefShare Attendance Fall 2015

Most ministries have a diminishing return as time passes. Diminishing returns in a small group/seminar would mean as time goes on the attendance in the group would reduce. For the fall 2015 GriefShare group, the reverse from diminishing returns was found. The group attendance increased as time passed. This is excellent news, and shows the need to continue this ministry in the future. Please see the graph below, which reflects overall attendance higher at the end than at the beginning.

The second chart shows that participation from 2014 to 2015 – The numbers confirm that attendance doubled from 2014 to 2015.

Surviving the Holidays

The highest attended session on November 15nd was a self-contained session called Surviving the Holidays. For more information on this event please go to ( Below is a description of this session:

In past years, the Christmas holiday season may have been a time of great anticipation and excitement … but this year, the prospect of facing the holidays without your loved one may cause anxiety and dread.

You are not alone.

Here you can connect with support, encouragement, and advice to survive the holidays. This site helps you:

· Discover practical, stress-reducing ideas that will help you face the holiday season

· Find a Surviving the Holidays seminar near you

· Find out how to begin receiving daily, encouraging emails written for people who are grieving

· Discover why it’s still possible to celebrate this holiday season

· Learn more about the GriefShare program

Quotes from Participants in Fall 2015

· "This class helped by reminding me of my wedding vows. (Till death do us part)"

· "All things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are his called."

· "I enjoyed the videos and grief classes immensely. They really helped me in my grief. I hope you continue these classes. I think Preacher Tyler done a fantastic job in managing the classes. I recommend that you continue next year."

· "It helped me learn that everything is God's will and nothing I can do can change that and to accept it. But that does not make it easy by any means. It's very hard but it makes it a little bearable being in a class where other people have been through the same thing. You make new friends and share the same kind of hurt." - VM

· "GriefShare has been a wonderful and eye opening experience. I came as support for a friend but I learned so much. I am so glad that I came. It has allowed me to help others and pass on what I have learned. I would definitely recommend it to anyone."   - CT

· "GriefShare helped me by letting me know I am not alone in my grief and it is not my fault that my loved ones have passed. They passed in God's time and God's way. I must continue serving God to meet them again. Loss of mother, stepfather, grandmother, grandfather, brother, nephew, aunts, uncles, cousins and precious granddaughter."  -LL

· "I have enjoyed these sessions we have had in GriedShare. GriefShare has helped me to know that I am not alone, there are people just like me who has lost loved ones."       - MB

· "I liked the pastor leading these sessions, also the videos and Bible based study telling us of God's love. It has helped me as I heard how other people are having struggles and it is nice to know I'm not alone, and everyday gets better with God."                            - DW

· "In this time of grief/loss I have gained a lot of important facts and information. Everyone is so helpful and caring. Special thank you to Travis and Wanda."                            - GT

· "I don't know how I would have made it without GriefShare. I know God led me to this group because of the way I found it at just the time I needed it. I have made wonderful friends & Travis makes it so easy to participate and share your feelings. Being with people who really understand your feelings lightens your burden. Thank you so much and God bless you. I appreciate all the time & effort you put into this class."  -JAA

· "I AM HEALING. August 2015 I began attending a 13 week GriefShare seminar at Sycamore Shoals Hospital on Sunday from 2-4."

· The sessions are led by Grace Baptist Pastor Travis Tyler. I told Travis I couldn't attend October 18 meeting because that was my 53rd wedding anniversary. He was very understanding.

· "Friday, (Date omitted for privacy), 2015 was the 4 month anniversary of my husband, RS' death. Much to my surprise I woke up felling great, happy and BLESSED. I was dreading October 18th, the approaching date of our 53rd wedding anniversary.  Five days after the death of my husband RS, and one day after he was buried GOD blessed me with the strength to attend church. I and PRAISING the LORD I haven't missed a Sunday since he died.  I prayed for God's MERCY and STRENGTH to go to GriefShare on October 18th regardless of the circumstances. In OCTOBER,  I attended GriefShare meeting. My GriefShare FAMILY HELPED CELEBRATE MY ANNIVERSARY. I encourage anyone who is grieving to attend a GriefShare support group. GOD NEVER FAILS!!!"

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phi. 4:13

- DS, October 19, 2015

Final Thoughts

The second year of this ministry has shown double the participation, demonstrating the need for this to continue. All who attended did so because they were encouraged to by someone else. This is a ministry that I would desire to continue in partnership with the Spiritual and Pastoral Care Department of Mountain States Health Alliance.

Special thanks to Wanda Iberham, Vi Watson, Gordon and Karen Kyte, Kathy and Richard Taylor, Loretta and Wayne Peeks, and Charlene Davenport!

Recommendations for Fall 2016 Group

It is recommended that the Fall 2016 thirteen week cycle finish before mid-November. I would also recommend that there be Two Surviving the Holidays sessions offered, one before thanksgiving and one after thanksgiving & before Christmas in the Pine Room. The current time slot seems to work well, Sunday Afternoons from 2-4pm, and Classroom B was excellent in size for the group. Here is the Recommended Schedule for Fall 2016:

August 7- Living with Grief

August 14- The Journey of Grief

August 21- The Effects of Grief

August 28- When Your Spouse Dies

September 4 - No Griefshare Holiday Weekend

September 11- Your Family and Grief

September 18- Why?

September 25- The Uniqueness of Grief, Part 1

October 2 - The Uniqueness of Grief, Part 2

October 9- God’s Prescription for Grief

October 16- Stuck in Grief

October 23- Top Twenty Lessons of Grief, Part 1

October 30- No GriefShare- Grace Baptist Homecoming Celebration 75 years

November 6- Top Twenty Lessons of Grief, Part 2

November 13- Heaven

November 20- Surviving the Holidays

December 4- Surviving the Holidays

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What are the Biblical Qualifications to be a Pastor?

I recently received a phone call from a church member whose sister wanted to know where the qualifications for a pastor are found in the Bible. The word pastor literally means Shepard, and means the same in the New Testament as the words elder or overseer. The qualifications have been the same for pastors for almost 2,000 years now. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of these qualifications as the pastor over all pastors.

1. A Pastor Must be above reproach (Titus 1:6, 7; 1 Timothy 3:2).

2. A Pastor Must be devoted to his wife (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim 3:2; Eph. 5:22). I believe the qualification is one wife at a time otherwise; widowed pastors would be disqualified from the office.

3. A Pastor’s children must be in submission, though not perfect. (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim 3:4-5). No child is perfect, but they must show love and respect for their father.

4. A Pastor is a faithful steward (Titus 1:7). This would also include not being greedy for gain. (Titus 1:7; 1 Tim 3:3; 1 Peter 5:3).

5. A Pastor must be humble – not arrogant. (Titus 1:7)

6. A Pastor must be gentle – not quick tempered (Titus 1:7; 1 Tim 3:3).

7. A Pastor Must be hospitable (Titus 1:8; 1 Tim 3:2). A pastor’s home should be open for others to enjoy! It is a place of ministry.

8. A Pastor must be a lover of good (Titus 1:8).

9. A Pastor must be self-controlled (Titus 1;8; 1 Tim 3:2). Again this is not perfection, but there should be a balance in all areas of life: time, exercise, relationships, money, etc…

10. A Pastor must be a man of integrity (Titus 1:8). There should be a consistence to all the relationships in his life.

11. A pastor must be holy (Titus 1:8). This means a wholehearted devotion to Jesus Christ.

12. A Pastor must be able to teach (Titus 1:9; 1 Tim 3:2). This is only ability-based requirement. He must teach sound doctrine, not just be a good communicator. They must be able to defend the faith against false teaching.

13. A pastor must be spiritually mature (1 Tim 3:6). A position with authority that lacks spiritual maturity leads to the trap of pride. When pride grows, sin will multiply.

14. A pastor must be respectable (1 Tim 3:7). This does not mean that everyone must like him or even appreciate him. I don’t really like Coach Steve Spurrier, but I respect his coaching abilities.

15. A Pastor must be an example to the flock (1 Peter 5:3). This means in all areas of the church. A pastor should be someone your sons could pattern their life after and the kind of man your daughter should marry.


To pursue this call is a good call to pursue, but be warned it is a call from God. It is not for the fainthearted. You must learn to have tough skin and a tender heart. It is an amazing blessing to be a pastor!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How was our Halloween/Reformation Day?

Short answer, "Best Ever!" The kids really cleaned up on candy this year. We made four different stops along the way. Our trick or treating started out at Hermitage Health Center. The staff and residents at Hermitage were so gracious to share with the kids of our community. In addition, Adalynn got to see her buddy Mrs. Elliot. Next stop was to see Mrs. Ireland Johnson at Ivy Hall everyone had a great visit! First Baptist Church of Elizabethton’s Treat Street was fun for all ages, with their medieval theme.  

Back to the house to hit some homes on Mayfield Drive, but the grand finally was Kids Harvest at Grace Baptist Church.  The kids then were taken ba I think that two things made the event this year:

1. The Gospel presented clearly via the cross puzzles pieces!

2. The Prayer Wall

Special thanks to Charity Bell and Carol White for their hard work to make Kids Harvest a great success this year! Kids Harvest had at least 430 plus folks come out for the event. I think that it was more like 500 plus due to the fact that some went to the event backwards and missed the registration table.

I worked the prayer wall, and special thanks to Rick Cates and Michael Tierney who put it together. Over 30 prayer requests were collected that night and I prayed with at least three families. I still believe that prayer is a touch point for sharing the gospel! Three things most Americans still believe in are: momma’s love, apple pie, and prayer. Prayer is a means to both show concern and keep the conversation spiritual in nature. I look forward to next year.

Thanks Mamaw Debbie for helping us stay on track and get the most candy in the short amount of walking!!!

I didn't know that Mrs. Jean and Penny Heaton knew batman!

 Adalynn with her buddy Mrs. Elliot!

 Mrs. Irland at 91 years young, we had a great visit wit her!

This wall is now on display in the Fellowship Hall at Grace Baptist Church!  Praise God for the opportunities this wall created on October 31!   It will be something we will use for years to come!  

Monday, November 9, 2015

You Might Be A Pharisee If…

A cancer of the soul that has plagued God's people since the beginning is a pharisaical heart.  Call it what you like Pharisee, Externalist, or Moralist.  Mark 7:1-23 is a final collusion between the gospel of the legalistic Pharisees and the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Jesus brings the hearts of the Pharisees into the light. It is easy for us to dismiss them, but this spiritual sickness easily infects the hearts of God’s most faithful. Here is a look in the mirror to see if this describes you. I know that I have to be putting these sins to death in my own heart constantly.

· You are more concerned with others behaviors than your own heart.

In Mark 7, the disciples are accused of not observing the traditions of the elders. These traditions had grown out of interpretation and reinterpretation.

· You believe that grumbling and complaining is a spiritual gift.

While grumbling and complaining is an ancient practice that dates back to Moses (See Numbers 1:1). While there are times that sin must be confronted, a constant negative, grumbling spirit is not of the Lord. Encouragement does fall in the category of spiritual gifts though!

· You emphases more eternal behavior, but ignore the heart.

Husbands and wives does your spouses sins disgust you more than your own sin? Can you easily pick out the sins of others and it makes you feel better about your sin because it’s not as “big” as others sins?

· You elevate achievable human applications to the statues of God’s law.

Have you ever judged someone on Sunday Morning for not wearing a suit to church? Have you judged someone for not parenting the way you do? The Bible clearly states we are to judge (1 Corinthians 5:12) by God’s standard, not mans.

· You mislocate your struggle with sin.

Have you ever said the following, “I’m sorry, its just I’m going through or dealing with ____________.” That statement seeks to excuse our behavior based on external circumstances. We need to be saying things like, “Please forgive me for my sinful heart or words.” That would be more beneficial. We need to start owning our sinful hearts and stop giving halfway excuses that sound like repentance. Our struggle with sin remains within us, not outside of us. God uses difficult situations to show us what is inside of us. Difficult situations squeeze us like a toothpaste tube until the sin is openly exposed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What are the Top 5 Books you have read on local church revitalization?

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” -2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Donald McGavran, the father of the Church Growth Movement, once said, “It is easier to birth a baby, than it is to resurrect the dead.” He was talking about church planting vs. church revitalization in the comment above. You are most likely reading this because you are in need of either encouragement, tools, or help with vision casting/direction. These books have a little of it all! One must be called to revitalization, as it presents different challenges and obstacles to pastoring. One of the biggest challenges you will face is to lose hope. Do not lost hope brothers, God can breath new life into dry bones!

Many of you know that I am working on my Doctorate of Ministry with a concentration in church revitalization; therefore, I am often asked, “What books do you recommend for a pastor to read?” Here is my top five list of books on local church revitalization:

5. Rutland, Mark. ReLaunch. Elgin, IL: David C. Cook, 2013. 208 pages.
Relaunch is very encouraging and provides great tools for daily ministry. The “fringe principle” saves pastors from many headaches. Rutland gives a very helpful leadership grid in describing them as “Finders, Binders, Minders, and Grinders.” Despite his Pentecostal theological leanings, we have much that can be learned from his gifting as a leader.

4. Malphurs, Aubrey. Look Before You Lead: How to Discern and Shape Your Church Culture. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2013. 272 pages.

This book is a must read for anyone pastoring a traditional/established church. You must understand the culture you inherited, before you can lead them to change. Dr. Malphurs gives you the tools you need to understand the church’s culture and you own culture.

3. Stetzer, Ed, and Mike Dodson. Comeback Churches. Nashville: B&H, 2010. 240 pages.
Looking for lots of excellent research, encouraging examples, and proven tools? This is the book for you! This is a must read, especially if you need encouragement. Stetzer and Dobson research the story of how 300 local churches turned around and gives hope yours can too.

2. Rainer, Thom, and Chuck Lawless. Eating the Elephant. Louisville: Pinnacle, 2003. 207 pages.

A little dated, but still great principles! The fact that the book states that you begin with outreach is an excellent point. Rainer and Lawless not only give principles, but load the book with several excellent and encouraging examples. A great reminder that we eat an elephant one bite at a time!

1. McIntosh, Gary. There’s Hope for Your Church. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012. 208 pages.

McIntosh hit a home run with this book. This book contains it all: encouragement, tools, and help with vision/direction. It starts with encouragement, seeking to give you hope to carry onward for the kingdom. You will find the description of the churches in this book all too familiar. Get this book and thank me later!