Trish Fisher

‘Marketing’ Your Message

Trish Fisher

Trish Fisher is an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Department of Business and Management at Vanguard University and is Chair of the Business Degree Program for working adults. Trish shares her practical suggestions for maximizing the use of the Sunday sermon message.


It’s Saturday night and you’re in your office, going over your Sunday sermon one more time. You’ve spent hours praying about the sermon series, researching the text, and thinking through relevant images, stories, and anecdotes to help bring your points to life in a meaningful way. While the message you have so prayerfully developed is powerful and the goal is to reach and share this Good News with as many people as possible, too often your work ends up as a one-Sunday message reaching only those hearers gathered at your church building.

Maybe a simple marketing approach can help accomplish the greater goal: to reach more people.
(After all, you’ve already done the work.)


I know—marketing is that discipline that often seems to create a divide among people. They either value and appreciate its benefits, or they think it’s salesmanship at its worst, just a broad array of strategies designed to manipulate people into buying things they don’t really need or want. But marketing at its core is about reaching people with a message, and meeting consumer needs and wants—and our greatest need is to hear and respond to that Message (and that Savior!) through whom the Holy Spirit will transform us into people whose needs and wants align with God’s eternal desires for us. (And Paul, for that matter, knew something about reaching people with a message: “But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them?” (Romans 10:14, The Message)

What might the apostle Paul have done had he lived in a digital age? Would he not have embraced the opportunity to reach many more with communication and promotion vehicles such as instagram, snapchat, twitter, and blogs? Paul was willing to pay any price to reach people with the gospel; as a marketer I like to think Paul would have been so zealous in his evangelistic goals that he would have been open-minded to innovative ways to broaden the reach of his messages.


Here are a few marketing tools and strategies discussed in current marketing texts and promoted by various bloggers and church websites. Consider these as options that might help you use your Sunday message in additional ways to reach a broader segment of all those who need and want to hear the Good News:

  • Take a few paragraphs from the sermon, add an introductory sentence and closing though, and use it as a future blog
  • Transcribe and reprint the sermon audio version in the church newsletter
  • Upload both the audio and print versions to the church website
  • Take a few key sentences and use them over several weeks on Twitter
  • Use the content of a sermon series as the basis for Bible study lessons and discussions or a teaching class or a weekend retreat
  • Take a few key points from the sermon and send out on a post card or direct mailer to a particular zip code near the church
  • Take a sermon series and turn it into chapters in a book—get published!
  • Make audio copies of the sermon and give it to visitors; get a list of new house sales in the area and deliver a welcome basket that includes a sermon cd/reprint
  • Email the written sermon (and link to the audio version on the church website) to the church database; encourage church members to forward the sermon link to their Facebook friends with an invitation to read/listen and then call to discuss ( keep track of Facebook’s changing policies as to how many people it reaches)
  • Video the sermon, upload to You Tube, put the link on the church website, email the link
  • Use some parts of the sermon as an email devotional
  • Engage in an online discussion on the sermon message


There was a time when the preacher could reach only as many as could immediately hear his/her voice, but today we gladly utilize the airwaves around the world to reach people everywhere. There was a time when Paul’s written instruction could reach only people within earshot of someone reading from the scrolls he had written to the churches; the Church was quick to utilize Gutenberg’s printing press to reach a far broader audience. God knows the other side is marketing like crazy to reach the masses today; may God help us to be wise in the ways we use current marketing tools and strategies.

For those of you who have been called to the mighty task of preaching, and teaching, and evangelizing, and working to “encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing”, (1 Thessalonians 5:11) know that you are appreciated!

For further conversation, contact Trish Fisher, MBA at


Alba Quezada

A Missionary’s Perspective

By Dr. Doug Petersen, Professor of World Missions and Intercultural Studies at Vanguard University


Alba Quezada

In April 2014, the Assemblies of God turned 100 years old!
Over the past 3 issues, we presented a look at our impact
as seen by an anthropologist, a theologian, and a missionary,
all Vanguard University professors with a lifetime in our fellowship.


Dr. Doug Petersen, the Margaret S. Smith Distinguished Professor of World Missions and Intercultural Studies, writes this -


From its origins in the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in 1906, the Pentecostal movement has exploded from humble beginnings into a global phenomenon. According to the Pew Research Center’s Study on Global Christianity classical Pentecostals now number 280 million of which one of every four (24%) or 66.5 million are Assemblies of God believers. Of the world’s five major geographical regions, the highest proportion of AG members live in Latin America (30 million), Africa (18 million), and Asia Pacific (6 million). Together these three regions account for more than 80% of all Assemblies of God believers in the world. Almost one out of every 100 people in the world are AG!

It wasn’t always like this. When the Assemblies of God first formed in 1914, there were only about 300 present. Like the expansion of the early church in the book of Acts, this movement has crossed geographic, social, cultural, economic, and linguistic barriers to encompass every nook and cranny of the planet.

As a missionary for several decades, across Latin America, I got to see individual experience become a mass movement. And here is what I have seen:

When people find the Lord, they are transformed.

  • They leave behind destructive dysfunctional behaviors like drinking, gambling, and running around.
  • Holiness and a strict moral code stand out as the major characteristics of their new life.
  • They save money, work hard, and make sure their own children get an education.
  • Women are treated with respect.
  • They care for the poor, because they know about poverty.

At the core of their being is a set of beliefs and practices which springs from the transforming spiritual experience of conversion followed, sometimes immediately, by a distinctive second work of the Spirit, usually evidenced by speaking in tongues, known as Spirit baptism or “being filled with the Spirit,” equipping them with an enduement of spiritual power to be active participants in God’s mighty works. And participants they are! They share with everyone they meet — on the buses, in the subways, at work – that Jesus Christ has changed their lives and that he can do the same for them.

100 years ago they claimed they had found “power to proclaim.”

100 years of history shows they found it.


For further conversation (he loves to talk about these ideas!) -
contact Dr. Doug Petersen at


Photo from 2014 Hands Across the Border (HATB) – Vanguard University student Alba Quezada

A Theologian’s Perspective

By Dr. Frank Macchia, Professor of Systematic Theology at Vanguard University

 Theologian Perspective

This month, the Assemblies of God will be 100 years old!
Over the next 3 issues, we will present a look at our impact as seen by an
a theologian, and a missionary, all Vanguard University professors with a life-time in our fellowship.


Frank Macchia, Ph.D., Professor of Systematic Theology, writes this –


Each family of churches is gifted in unique ways to edify the larger body of Christ. Here is what I think we contributed to the flow of Christian history:


1)   Filled with the Spirit: Historically, the Spirit was neglected in the theology of the West due to the tendency over time to subordinate the Spirit in the developing theology of the Trinity and to dualistically separate creation (the realm of the Spirit’s work) from God. Pentecostalism moved against these trends by accenting the presence and power of the Spirit to raise up the church and to energize it for world mission.


2)   Healing: In response to the neglect of the Spirit in the history of the church, the Pentecostals also highlighted wholeness in body as well as soul. Salvation is not just of the soul, as an escape from the body or from material life. It is the transformation of our lives and communities.


3)   Spiritual gifts: In response to overly hierarchical and juridical notions of the church, the Pentecostals advocated the charismatic structure of the church. This is an emphasis on the church as a “gift-evoking fellowship” where everyone is uniquely gifted to edify the whole and where signs of the age to come grab hold of us in the here and now.


4)   Racial diversity and gender inclusiveness: In response to the cultural hierarchies of the world, the Pentecostals stressed the all-inclusive reach of the Spirit in the world. The Pentecostals at Azusa Street not only allowed racial diversity and female involvement in ministry, they celebrated this as crucial to the revival of Pentecost in the latter days. And they did so at a time when such was rare in the church.


To continue this discussion – contact Dr. Frank Macchia at


Next month we will conclude with a missionary’s comments.

An Anthropologist’s Perspective

By Dr. Vince Gil, Professor of Medical Anthropology at Vanguard University


In April 2014, the Assemblies of God will be 100 years old!
Over the next 3 issues, we will present a look at our impact as seen by an anthropologist,
a theologian, and a missionary, all Vanguard University professors with a life-time in our fellowship.


Vince Gil, Ph.D., Professor of Medical Anthropology, writes this -

From the Hot Springs, Arkansas 1914 days forward, the Assemblies of God ushered in an era of evangelical, Pentecostal communitarianism reminiscent of the church in Acts 15: Men, women, brethren of all races and ethnic profiles feeling that the most important aspect of their ‘community’ was that they were all the same in God’s eyes, all called to be evangelists and indwellers of the Holy Spirit.

To me as a social scientist, one of the A/G’s greatest accomplishments from early on has been the tearing down of ethnic, and in particular gender barriers – from that which existed at the time. A re- definition of ‘eligibility’, first for God’s service, but as well towards and for each other. This change laid a solid foundation for the future: We now have significant numbers of women and ethnic groups as part of the ministerial and servant fellowship. At last count there were 21 Ethnic Fellowships registered nation-wide. On the gender side, however, we still need to see more elected females as Presbyters…

Finally, since this space is limited to a short commentary, I see the Assemblies of God global outreach – its missional component and its now well established trend to cultivate ‘local leadership’ as an important cultural element: Respecting cultures while addressing spiritual and social needs of communities world-wide. This is the backbone of collaborative, socioculturally appropriate evangelism, us doing God’s work together.


To explore these issues more fully, contact Dr. Vince Gil at

Designing Worship for Men

By Dr. James Melton, Chair of the Department of Music at Vanguard University



“Dad, what is going on?”  I was with my son in a train station in Germany, and the sound of men singing was almost deafening! It was a group of soldiers celebrating their weekend leave from military duty.  The next day, in another train station, we heard literally thousands of competing soccer fans singing their team’s fight songs at the top of their lungs!  Last year, while ministering in an open church in China, we experienced hundreds of men raising their hands and boldly singing the gospel hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers!”  It seems that men not singing together heartily today is more of an American cultural phenomenon than a world-wide one.  (Just watch a world cup soccer game and observe the men singing with abandon, Ole-Ole-Ole!)  There is something moving and even “magical” about men singing together!


A life-changing, “Aha!” worship moment came for me several years ago during a men’s event at the LA coliseum, as thousands of men sang, “Be Thou My Vision,” and “How Great Thou Art.”  That sound still lingers in my ears!


This type of experience is rarely heard or seen in our weekly worship.  More and more, I am hearing from men that they are not singing at all in the contemporary church today.  Potential worshippers stand passively as the band rocks out, stage lights flash, and the lyrics scroll across the screens, but all one can usually hear is the worship leader and amplified instruments (generally backed up vocally by a couple of female vocalists).  What’s up front gets total focus, the congregation is essentially ignored. When the dimmed house lights amid stage lighting dominates the experience, the leaders on “stage” cannot even see the faces of their congregation!  It is sad, though a little amusing, when a leader has to put his hand over his eyes to try and see his own congregation. (It would serve a pastor or worship leader well to get away from the front, and spend a service watching their congregation.  You might be surprised, especially at the low percentage of men singing.)


What is wrong? and what will fix it?

1)   They don’t know the songs.  We can focus so much on teaching the latest new song, that the songs of the past (and the saints who’ve gone before us) are overlooked.  I recommend teaching new songs, but slowly and carefully with attention to theology as well as “sing-ability.”  Men want to sing songs they know, those with which they can resonate. You can’t learn and worship at the same time.

2)   They can’t sing the songs. Often our songs are pitched too high for the men (and often the average women) to sing comfortably.  Many songs are taken straight from the latest worship CD or studio to the worship service, and often don’t work practically.  The melody is often in the upper registers, even for tenors, so men that are baritones or basses just “drop out.”  Often, the rhythms may be too difficult for the average guy to pick up as well.

3)   They can’t hear themselves sing. Men like to be part of a team, and a larger experience.  Often, the sound re-enforcement decibel is so powerful they can’t hear their own voices – so they stop singing.

4)   The songs selected (and lyrics projected for all to see) do not fit a masculine mentality. It seems that many of the “hit” worship songs are often feminine in vocabulary, character and tone.  Tender expressions of passionate love for Jesus will generally be sung with more enjoyment and feeling by the women than the men.  Yes, men desire intimacy (and we can always grow in this area), but current modern worship songs display an abundance of intimate language. Women will generally be more comfortable “running to his arms.” Guys can do a little of this, but a little “adoration” goes a long way. It seems a little cliché, but guys generally don’t roll well with, “Jesus is my boy-friend” vocabulary in our songs.


So what can be done?


1) Pay attention to style and rhythm. Seek to include songs and hymns in worship time that inspire movement, and that men can “march to” or “clap with.” Waltzing and swaying has its place, but God gave man testosterone, and men sometimes want to roar, clap, and stomp a little!

2) Avoid excessive length and repetition.  Endless repetition turns guys off, and the participation factor wanes. Most men instinctively want to start somewhere and end somewhere.  We need a sense of progress, completeness, and logic for going from A to B. For instance, the verses of “Amazing Grace” start with salvation, end in heaven, and look at life in between. Likewise, in the salvation history so apparent and well-written in the Getty’s, “In Christ Alone.”  In contrast, many modern songs are less connected “shotgun” expressions of praise, leaving men less mentally and spiritually involved.

3) Pay attention to vocabulary—We are what we sing! Believe it or not, your men do want to grow in their faith and expression. The vocabulary they proclaim in worship to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is vitally important. There is a reason the great hymns of our faith have stood the test of time from generation to generation.

4) Spend more time in your deliberate design of worship, and intentionally focus on men. Most worship events have more women than men in attendance, and unless we plan consciously otherwise, we automatically default to what works with the majority. Often, just defaulting to the expected past “norm” will leave many men unengaged. If we plan and lead so as to get guys singing, women will adjust more easily, and will participate as well.

5)   Turn down the volume of your sound system, and seek to sing with a greater variety of accompaniment (Try guitar or keyboard without full band and drums once in a while.)  Let your men (and entire congregation) win the sound battle, being able to hear their own voices, and watch their confidence, and singing become stronger and stronger!


Rise up, O men of God! Have done with lesser things;

Give Heart and mind and soul and strength to serve the King of Kings.

Rise up, O men of God! The church for you does wait,

Her strength unequal to her task; Rise up and make her great!”

Hymn by Aaron Williams, 1731-1776



For further thought and some practical study tools, check out, and David Murrow’s short book, “Why Men Hate Going to Church.


Contact Dr. James Melton at

Introducing Jon Allbaugh, Dean of Spiritual Formation

allbaugh_260(Editor’s note: I asked Jon to tell us about the way he sees his assignment, and the background he brings to this post.)

Spiritual Formation is the heart of our concern for Vanguard!

First, my top priorities:

  1. Define and articulate how our unique Pentecostal spirituality will be nurtured and passed on in a university setting.
  2. Develop new avenues of partnership between Vanguard, as a university, with local churches and pastors.
  3. Collaborate with the SoCal Network in connecting Vanguard students with Network churches and lay leaders in ministry internships.


Why does this matter to me, and what background do I bring to this post?

Born with a heritage of Mid-western circuit riding preachers and church planters, I found my time at Vanguard as being formative in life and ministry. It was at Vanguard where I met my wife. Now our kids attend Vanguard!


  • B.A. Religion: Pastoral Ministries, Vanguard University
  • B.A. Psychology:  Counseling, Vanguard University
  • M.A. Religion:  Leadership Studies, Vanguard University
  • Presently pursuing PhD. in Organizational Leadership, Regent University


  • Ordained, Southern California Network of the Assemblies of God
  • Ministry Coach Certification:  CoachNet
  • Critical Incident Stress Management


  • Associate pastor in Provo, UT, 3 years
  • Lead Pastor in the AG church in San Marcos, 22 years
  • Chaplain of San Diego Sheriff’s Department, 12 years
  • Sectional Presbyter of North San Diego
  • Trustee of Vanguard University


We welcome Jon to this critically important post, with our prayers! Contact Jon at, and schedule a visit with him at your church. For his first time as an adult, he has Sundays open!


“Tis the Season…” for Reconciliation

Derrick Rosenior, a VU Communication prof, gives practical suggestions for bringing “peace and goodwill” to your world.

girl_dorm_talking_smallThis Christmas season, I’m drawn toward the climax of the angel’s song the night the shepherds were told of the Messiah’s birth.  “… Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.’” (Luke 2: 13-14, NKJV).

We who were once alienated from God and separated from Him in every way, are now by the “Prince of Peace” reconciled back to God.  Not just to God, but also to one another!

This season can be a difficult time, especially if there has been conflict and discord in a close relationship.  Is there someone in your life with whom you need to reconcile? This is the season for reconciliation!

Here are some basic communication tips for constructive conflict resolution, Apply these, and/or use this list for a teaching time.

Productive Communication

  • Identify your problem and unmet need
  • Engage in active listening
  • Make good use of empathy
  • Make a date: Choose the right time and place (e.g. a private context) to discuss the problem
  • Communicate with respect
  • Describe the problem clearly
  • Use “I” statements. For instance, “I feel ______ when you_______.”
  • Stay in the present
  • Consider the other person’s point of view
  • Focus on relevant issues only

Unproductive Communication

  • Ignoring the problem or not addressing the issue directly
  • Using pseudo-listening or defensive listening
  • Focusing on self
  • Choosing an inappropriate time and place (not over the turkey dinner!)
  • Being disrespectful
  • Being ambiguous
  • Starting statements with “You are_____” or “You always______.”
  • Bringing up the past
  • “Kitchensinking it” – i.e. throwing everything into the argument including the kitchen sink!

During this holiday season, “do your best to live at peace with everyone!” (Romans 12: 18, CEV)

Derrick R. Rosenior, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Communication, and the Director of The Lewis Wilson Institute for Pentecostal Studies at Vanguard.

A Bad Rap for Pilgrims?


My wife, Millicent, has over a dozen of the Mayflower Company, the Pilgrims, in her family tree. (Don’t get all that impressed: they now have over 30 million descendants! Those Pilgrims had lots of kids!)

In reading about them, so I could tell our kids about their heritage, I found some fun facts and some inaccurate myths about them, and you might use these in a Thanksgiving teaching.


1. Landing on Plymouth Rock? Its earliest mention is 100 years after they landed. It is doubtful they paid any special attention to it.

2. “Pilgrims wore black, and were very serious, against anyone having fun.” We have all heard this. The reality:

  • Pilgrim graves show they dressed normally for their day, including bright colors.
  • Roger Williams, leaving in 1636 to start another colony (Rhode Island) did so partly because in Massachusetts they had too much fun, with parties, races, and games.
  • Probably due to bad water back in England, they drank lots of beer.

3.         The Mayflower Compact, hailed now as the first national charter of a genuine democracy, was simply the way they organized their church life: “congregationally,” with the people choosing leaders and agreeing to follow them (the same way we organize our churches!), now applied to their civic life. Government based on the consent of the governed. (Our “country” came from their “church” model!)

4.         Once the Pilgrims showed they could survive here, other religious dissenters came, not by the ship, but by the convoy! King Charles was glad to see these troublesome evangelical Christians go. It was one of the largest religious migrations in history, and filled New England in short order with young, literate Christian families wanting religious liberty, people about as much like us as any of their day. They didn’t do it perfectly, but they did it well enough for it to succeed, and set the core values for this “best of countries!”

Contact Dave at

The Student Body President speaks!

ashlee2The president of the SGA (Student Government Association) embodies what Vanguard University is all about.

Ashlee Kildiszew, SGA president, a VU senior, was the speaker at one of the opening Chapel services early last month.

What young woman doesn’t relate to the story of Esther, who rose up to save her people? Ashlee related that story to today’s world as a challenge to those who “have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this.”

In her conclusion, she summarized where VU is now. On one level, she reported, we have a great guy for a new president (“Yay!” from the crowd), and a new soccer field (“Woot, woot!” this time). On another level, reports have come of students being healed physically in a class on Old Testament, and in a prayer time the week before, several students spoke in tongues for the first time.

“There is the possibility of your entering into the life of God here; step into it!” she challenged. What made her remarks all the more powerful was her personal story. She was not raised in a Pentecostal Christian tradition, and all this was new when she came to VU as a freshman. But she asked questions, responded to truth, and consciously decided to follow Christ. Her life has taken a different and wonderful direction. New students can do that now too!

I was imagining some of the saints from Azusa Street, or Needham’s “School of Ministry” visiting Chapel that day. I could picture them being surprised by what students wore! But they would love the worship, and feel at home with Ashlee’s challenge!