Ministry Spotlight: Get to Know 6.14 Ministries — How They Rescue Churches
by Joanne Troppello
I recently connected on Twitter with Josh Givens, Communications Director of 6.14 Ministries. I listened to one episode of his Rescuing Churches podcast that he does with his father, Stan Givens. The mission of their ministry is “to bring help and hope to the local church.”
As reported in Christianity Today, “23% of pastors indicated they had battled a mental illness on some kind of personal level, including 12% who said it was formally diagnosed.”
Some Christians don’t have a home church because they haven’t found the right one (23%), they are dealing with health issues (9%), and others don’t find the sermons engaging enough (18%).
For my column today, I wanted to spotlight 6.14 Ministries and let our readers get to know more about their mission in rescuing churches.
Restoring Hope to Local Churches
6.14 Ministries restores hope to local churches by working with their church leaders who may be “struggling or discouraged and help them to renew their vision, revitalize their volunteers, refresh their members, restore hope, and recapture the calling that the Lord has upon the church.”
The 6.14 Ministries mission to restore hope to local churches resonates with me. I have attended multiple churches in the 31 years that I’ve been a Christian. I grew up in a Christian home and got saved at a young age.
Everyone in my family attended church faithfully through the years, but due to several moves in my childhood, we had to start over again attending a new church and getting to know people and becoming involved in service. After getting married, my husband and I moved twice and had to start over again in another church as well.
Through my journey as a Christian, I have gotten to know different Pastors. I’ve seen struggles among church leaders and churches losing members when a Pastor moved on from the church.
Times are changing. As a Gen-Xer, I’ve seen many changes in our culture since I was in my twenties. I see how it can become difficult for Pastors and church leaders to deal with these changes as they try to minister to their congregations and handle changes that ensue through the years.
Get to Know Ministry Leaders Stan Givens and Josh Givens
The mission of 6.14 Ministries is rescuing churches, renewing vision, and restoring hope. Ministry leaders Stan Givens (Founder and Executive Director) and Josh Givens (Communications Director) recently responded to interview questions about their ministry.
1. What is the origin story for 6.14 Ministries?
STAN: A lot of churches are in decline and have been for over 10 years. Our church in Mobile, Alabama where I have been serving as lead pastor since March of 2000 — Northside Bible Church — is certainly not an exception to this rule. As leaders, we work hard, pray hard, preach hard, disciple faithfully, and still often find our churches in decline. It can be discouraging and frustrating.
For the last 20 years, I have had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at Camp Eunice, a small Christian youth camp in rural Roberta, Georgia. I’ve been befriended by a handful of godly pastors who also serve there. Often in our late-night talks, while we laugh together about all the crazy stuff that happens in small church ministry life, we would find ourselves reflecting on the incredible difficulties and trials of pastoral ministry as well. In those reflective times late at night, God planted a seed in me that has grown over the years, and began to come to fruition in December of 2018.
I love the local church and I always have. As an older pastor, it grieves me tremendously to see churches closing their doors. The current metrics say that 3,500 to 4,000 churches will close this year. While I know I cannot save 3,000 churches, with the Lord's strength and help, I can help 10, 20, or 30 and I can create a network within those that will reach out and aid 20 or 30 more, and on and on. 6.14 Ministries was born out of the idea that the everyday small church (which represents over 95 percent of churches in the U.S) needs to be encouraged, supported, and often rescued from defeat.
JOSH: I remember it like it was yesterday. Throughout 2018, Northside had been going through some adversity and trials, including financial challenges and leadership issues in the midst of some attendance decline, like many churches our size often do. It was apparent that something needed to be done and that God was stirring within my dad’s heart to pursue a ministry of church revitalization as he had already been reading several books and listening to podcasts on this topic — not just to help Northside, but other churches as well. He has a huge heart for pastors and for the local church. The timing of what we were going through at Northside and what God was teaching my dad and stirring in him could not have been more providential and sovereign.
I remember listening to a lot of those podcast episodes on church revitalization with him when we would ride around town in his truck. I have Epilepsy and can’t drive, so oftentimes we would be running errands, grabbing lunch, or heading to one of my doctor appointments, and before long I became very intrigued in this idea of church revitalization as well. We found ourselves discussing it and talking about the content of the podcasts all the time.
One late December night in 2018 at our home, God gave him the vision for our ministry, which is named after his life verse Galatians 6:14 — “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” (NAS) Dad had a divine calling to develop a ministry that would not only help Northside, but would also allow him to use his spiritual gifts and abilities to reach other churches and pastors across the country as well.
2. Do you only work with churches in your local area? Are there plans to expand your reach?
STAN: Currently we are working with churches in South Alabama (where we are located), north Mississippi, all throughout Georgia, and also in Louisiana. We have also connected and counseled with churches in Virginia. With the advancements in technologies like FaceTime, Skype, and other video calling services, there’s no need to limit ourselves. Video calls are increasingly common and make it possible for our ministry team to help people all over the world. Although I have done two out-of-country pastor's conferences in Uganda and the Dominican Republic, our focus at 6.14 Ministries is primarily within the United States because of the years of experience we can bring to the table based on the culture.
However, as the lead pastor of Northside, I never pass up a calling or opportunity to serve on a foreign mission field when God opens the door. During my early pastoral years in Birmingham, Alabama, I spent 14 summers traveling to the mountains of Transylvania, Romania to share Christ with some amazing students. We also taught English and Bible classes there. More recently at Northside, I’ve had the honor and privilege of traveling to places like Angeltok, Uganda, where I met and shared ministry ideas with local pastors. I’ve also taught locally and helped to build churches in the Dominican Republic.
JOSH: As Communications Director, part of my job is to make sure that our ministry is consistently and regularly connecting with churches both locally in Alabama and nationally as well. It is my desire to see God use our organization in mighty ways within His will. When we attend conferences, I make sure to engage with pastors and ministry leaders, generate conversation, and leave them with my 6.14 business card and one of our informational brochures. There’s a lot of networking, marketing, and public relations that takes place behind the scenes via social media, e-mail messages, and other forms of communications. No matter where in the U.S. that pastor is from, I want him to know we’re available to help. Whether that will take the form of a physical trip to his church or whether it will simply be done through video call counseling is determined at a later date after we assess the church’s specific needs and situation. If a pastor or church leader reaches out to me through social media or even in-person, I always relay that information to dad, and we go from there.
3. Please give our readers an idea of how you rescue churches, renew vision, and restore hope?
STAN: First we want to support the pastor and determine how he is doing spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. If he is defeated or discouraged or just exhausted, we want to come alongside him and bring help, hope, fresh energy and new ideas. Oftentimes it just helps a pastor to have an outsider — usually another pastor or fellow ministry leader — with whom he can compare ministry stories and show off scars. In essence, he needs someone who can understand and empathize with his situation.
Secondly, we want to help him, and his leadership team determine the health of the overall church family. Usually when a church is in decline, a pastor can get so focused on stopping the attendance drain that he loses sight of real discipleship needs and training others how to do ministry. We examine the level and type of fellowship, the levels of discipleship training, the opportunities for outreach, and the church’s overall values regarding the local community. We will discuss with ministry teams, elders, deacons, and board members how to better support the pastor and the vision of the church. We have found that often a church leadership team just needs a fresh reminder of how Jesus compels us to love the lost rather than fear and avoid them.
Older congregation members often sequester themselves away from the community rather than reaching into a community to offer godly wisdom and godly values to the younger generation. These sort of generational divides — even if they are unintentional — are unhealthy in a church body. Our efforts can include on-site teaching, training, and development as needed. We have specialized training for churches that include the following: leadership development, social media training, technology training and implementation, Inductive Bible Study Methods, deacon/elder refresher training, Building Healthy Relationships seminar, discipleship model methodology, men's ministry development, and missions training.
JOSH: We offer several different services as a nonprofit church revitalization ministry including, but not limited to, pastoral training, encouragement, guidance, and counsel; leadership development; discipleship model training; media training and implementation; teaching Inductive Bible Study methods to church leaders and families; teaching cultural awareness and the need for community outreach; family and/or couples conferences and seminars. All of these are meant to bring a declining church to a place of new vision and restored hope as they move from unhealthy or nonexistent ministry practices to healthy ministry both within the church itself and within the local community.
4. Can you share an example of a success story from training core church members in your discipleship ministry model?
STAN: Here’s the testimony in their own words of two veteran ministers who were ready to quit but have been patiently discipled back to ministry.
*NOTE: Brian Marchant serves on our official board of directors at 6.14 Ministries and he is the lead pastor of Poplar Arbor Church in Sale City, Georgia. Kendall Rogers serves at Northside Bible Church in Mobile, Alabama with Stan as an elder and teaching shepherd.
BRIAN MARCHANT: I’ve been greatly impacted by the mentoring of Pastor Stan Givens for well over 15 years now. At a critical time in my ministry, when I was ready to throw in the towel, Stan encouraged me that God wasn’t done with me yet and told me that my contribution to His Kingdom was still valuable. Through Stan’s love, vision, and faithfulness in reaching out to me, I was able to get my second wind and be restored, as well as revived. Now, God is continuing to bless my life and my ministry. I’m honored to walk alongside this humble man of mighty faith and overwhelming encouragement.
KENDALL ROGERS: I’m a friend and fellow minister of Stan. When we first met, it was through mutual ministry in the Mobile, Alabama area. I had been serving in the Mobile Bay area since 1984 and had labored for about 10 years in west Mobile when we met. But the truth is that I was in need of a sabbatical and I am so grateful for Stan’s friendship and ministry in my life, particularly in those early years. After two years of laying out, Stan patiently helped me to “get back on the horse,” so to speak, and he walked with me through my issues and my neglect, slowly helping me find my place within the purposes of God. I’ve watched Stan in many different diverse ministry situations and his leading, wisdom, and grace is always demonstrated in the love and lordship of Jesus Christ. I am continually grateful to God for Stan’s oversight and friendship.
STAN: Here is another testimony from a man I discipled for years during our early time at Northside. His name is Mike McCord and he is now a full-time missionary and missionary trainer. He runs Mission Element, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to “make disciples by using short term missions as both a venue and a catalyst to see the discipleship process played out on the mission field and within the local church”.
He is an example of a successful disciple who is in a different form of ministry. Here is what Mike had to say.
MIKE MC CORD: The biggest impact for me personally with Stan [during my time with him at Northside] was his focus on the Word and expository preaching, as well as his focus on missions, particularly global missions. We took four missions trips during my time at Northside Bible Church, three of which were overseas. That is unheard of for a church that size. Also, discipleship was a lifestyle and not a program. Growth happened through life-on-life. There was an entire team of men, including Stan, who each had pivotal roles in my spiritual formation during my time at Northside. And my five and a half years there at Northside were foundational to what I am doing now.
5. How has the experience been working together as a father and son team?
STAN: Excellent. I cannot even fathom or understand the things my son Josh can when it comes to technology, media, and how it’s all connected to and implemented within the ministry world. But he is very energized by doing such things because it’s part of his passion, his gifting, and his calling in the Body of Christ, both for our church here in Mobile, Alabama and for 6.14 Ministries. On the flipside, I'm sure he would not want to handle some of the work I do in counseling pastors and leadership teams, so we definitely do make a great team and our abilities complement one another very well for the greater mission of our ministry as a whole.
JOSH: Ten or 15 years ago, if you had asked me what I would be doing fulltime after college, I would have recited some longwinded, boring answer about how my broadcast journalism degree and English minor would one day help me land a great news media job. I was even writing and reporting part-time for a local lifestyle magazine in my city during my college years and after graduation. Although I’ve grown up a pastor’s kid my entire life, and have served and volunteered in various ministry roles for decades — playing guitar in the worship band and managing my church’s digital media — I still never would’ve imagined I would one day be working in fulltime church revitalization with my father, or that I would want to pursue Church Communications as a career field. It’s been beyond amazing to see how God has brought things full circle. And at the risk of sounding overly sentimental, this ministry work has brought dad and I closer together than we already were.
6. Is there anything else on your hearts that you would like to share with our readers?
STAN: If you’re a pastor and reading this and you’re discouraged, defeated and feel like quitting, remember your calling and remember that the God of all creation chose you and “appointed you” and “entrusted you” (2 Timothy 1:11, 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12) with the precious message of the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ. Hold your head up, look to Jesus who is “writing out your faith story” (Hebrews 12:1-2). Perseverance and endurance and even joy all come through steady and slow obedience. Don’t abandon your calling.
Get Connected with 6.14 Ministries Today
Connect with 6.14 Ministries by visiting their website or following them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can find their podcast Rescuing Churches on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, TuneIn, and all of the major platforms.
Connect with 6.14 Ministries Communications Director, Josh Givens on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Read Josh Givens' Adventures in Church Communications blog and visit this link for writer, blogger, and speaking requests.