EP 173 – 2 MARKS (CLIFTON AND HALLOCK)
Hey there Bootcampers! We have the distinct privilege of having not one but two great Marks with us on today’s episode. We asked them questions about the church, leadership and what they see on the horizon in the world of Replanting.
Listen in for some great sage wisdom and encouragement from the Marks.
And, Big news!
Later this spring, an all new Revitalize and Replant Podcast will launch with Clifton and Hallock and you can listen to the pilot episode here.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] All right, here we are back at the bootcamp. Bob, I hope you’re ready for the next episode. In the last episode, we predicted that I would have a great time with the CHE at bowl, Cheezit sponsored Citrus Bowl, and the LSU would dominate and my marriage would be rejuvenated. and, uh, all those things are true.
I mean, it was great. I was, it was, I was a regular in Nostradamus. It was a, it was a great time in.
Bob Bickford: That’s awesome. Jimbo. I just, so were cheezits flowing like milk and honey in the promised land, or what was the story?
JimBo Stewart: Uh, I mean, they really were. So when you got there, there was like a fan area, and as you walked in, they handed you Cheezits, a Cheezit T-shirt, a Cheezit foam hat, I mean, took your picture with Cheezits. They were everywhere. And when you went to the concession stand that you got cheezits with your hotdog or.
Or whatever. I mean, it was, there were ch there, there was literally a massive, biggest cheezit box in the world came out and a cheezit mascot came out of it with fireworks and I mean, it was a whole thing.
Bob Bickford: That sounds like a seeker service for Cheezits[00:01:00]
JimBo Stewart: Something like that. but hey, as we jump into the new year, we, are excited to have two guests with us on us on the bootcamp today, Marky Mark, and the Funky Bunch, mark Clifton and Mark Hallock. And so, I’m sure our listeners already aware of who these guys are. They’ve each been on the podcast before.
But, for those jumping in on just this episode, Clifton go first and if you guys will just introduce your.
Mark Clifton: Yeah, man, it’s great to be with you. I’m Mark Clifton and I live in Kansas, kind of rural Kansas out here. And, uh, just love working with churches that are struggling. And fortunately, there is hope for every church, even though at times it appears there isn’t, but there truly is. And so that’s my joy is to be able to work alongside those guys.
Try to help them. Sometimes the forgotten churches, the ones people don’t talk about or think about, you know, over half of our churches have less than 60, 67, I think is what it is in worship. Many of them have a lot less than that, and for many of them, covid and the post covid has been just devastating.
So that’s kind of where we spend a lot of our times trying to work with [00:02:00] those.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. Clifton is the senior director of the Replant team in North American Mission Board. Uh, he’s our boss, l Hefe. so glad to have him on here and we’ll do our best to behave and not get fired today. and then our good buddy. Happy huggy Halleck Triple H,
Mark Hallock: Probably Yoyo Yoyo.
JimBo Stewart: Colorado. Tell
Mark Hallock: Wish. I could hug all you guys right now.
Mark Clifton: I am. I’m frankly kind of glad you can’t, but that’s okay.
Mark Hallock: I believe that. I believe that, yeah, so good to be with you guys. I’m, out in Denver, Colorado where we’ve gotten a ton of snow, man. It is, it is cold and snowy and, but it’s been great. And, yeah, just, I echo Clifton’s words, man. We just really passionate about. Seeing churches revitalized out here in the west especially, and just see the Lord do his thing and bringing, bringing hope to these declining congregations for his glory.
And man, I love you guys. Just love being here. Thanks for inviting me on.
Bob Bickford: Hey guys, thanks for, for being us, [00:03:00] Jimbo. I think this instead of nine marks, this is two marks and I’m pretty pumped about it, and so I’m looking forward to that. But hey, two marks. Let’s let them comment on this guys. As you look at the rest of the year, we’re just days in right now, but what are you encouraged by?
when you think about the local.
Mark Hallock: Yeah, Clifton, go for it, man.
Mark Clifton: Well, the, the. Primary thing. and some days the only thing be frank about it is that God is calling some of his best and most committed to some of the hardest and most difficult
places. And I run into that all the time. This, this past week I’ve had lunch with two guys that I didn’t know, but were recommended to. I mean these are guys that could serve in any church or in any business for that matter. they just have great leadership skills and giftedness, and they’re not, you know, they’re not 18 or 17 years old. These guys are late twenties, early thirties. They’ve lived some life and they know what’s about, and they want to go to a dying church.
They truly do, and they feel called, they don’t want to go there because, you know, it’s a [00:04:00]trendy thing. I’m old enough to remember back in the eighties when everybody wanted to plant a church because that was what cool kids did. But these guys don’t want to go to a dying church cuz that’s what the cool kids are doing, that they want to go there because God’s called them there.
And so there are many days, I mean you, you can’t be in this work and see the struggles that dying churches encounter and not at times become, Stressed over that, or as, as even the Apostle Paul said, you know, the, the weight of caring for these churches is burdensome. but at the same time, man, when you see what God’s doing and calling up this next generation, you know, he has a plan and you know that he’s got a purpose for this and you know that these guys are gonna gonna do what God called him.
I’m just encouraged by that, I think, and I don’t think you see that. I mean, I work with a lot of denomin. Uh, you don’t see that in a lot of other denominations other than Southern Baptist. You don’t see that happening in other groups where young, very young, gifted leaders are saying, Hey, I forego, you know, a, a great opportunity, a great stage, or whatever, and I’ll go to this dying church.
[00:05:00] It’s just a basic, basically a dumpster fire. And I’ll, I’ll see what, what God can use my life. . And so that’s the encouraging part to me. And I, I see it more and more all the time. And, it just, every time I meet one of these guys and I see who they are and what they want to do, and then all three of us, four of us here, we all the other three of you, could give story after story of guys just like I just did, who are just amazing young men.
That God’s using. So that’s really encouraging. And here’s the bottom line. God wouldn’t be calling gifted young men like he is if he wasn’t planning to do something pretty amazing in their lives. So that’s where our hope comes from.
Mark Hallock: It’s awesome. I totally agree with Clifton. I, I would say this too. Not only are we seeing. Uh, these just gifted young men, desiring to go lead these churches. But, but I would add they wanna do it the right way. I, I just find running into so many of these guys that are not looking for how, how to cut corners and how to grow up a big church fast.
But I see guys who are passionate about prayer, believing that [00:06:00] only God can do this. believing in, in the preaching of the word in faithfully loving God’s people, shepherding God’s people well. equipping their people to live on mission in a community. And I just think that’s so honoring to the Lord.
It’s so encouraging to see that it’s not, this is not a movement that is based on, you know, you know, what’s the secret sauce, but rather being faithful to what God has revealed in his word as to how he grows healthy churches for his glory. And so, I don’t know, that’s one of the things that I’m just so encouraged.
Mark Clifton: And this is purely anecdotal, but I’ve been around a, a long time, probably too long. I probably need to get off the stage sometime soon, but I been around a long time and you know, so much in my early ministry it was about, . growing the church, growing the church, growing the church, and becoming and making sure you didn’t, create a situation that you couldn’t, that they would expect things out of you later on that you couldn’t give.
Let me give you an example. So there’s a [00:07:00] megachurch here in Kansas City and, uh, I was at a, a eatery one day meeting with another young man, and the pastor of this megachurch happened to set in the. Right back, right behind me. So we were back to back. I saw him come in, but he didn’t, he didn’t notice me.
you know, like any good pastor of a small church like I was, I, I was Dr. I was ea dropping. And, you know, he was, he was, he was giving instruction and this is a very large church and very successful pastor who’d been in two or three states and was extremely well received. and he was given instruction to a, a young church planter, and I’ll never forget, he said, you know, what’s your attendance?
He said, well, about a hundred. All right. He said, well, that’s the time you’ve gotta start behaving differently. He said, you, you know, you can’t be, you can’t be meeting, you can’t be going to the hospital to see all of them. You can’t be, you know, having ’em all in your home. You can’t be trying to talk to all of ’em on Sunday, because as you grow larger, they’re gonna expect that and you won’t be able to.[00:08:00] and I’m just, I just wanted to get up and turn and go. Give me a scripture for that. Dude. I mean, you’re, you’re basically telling the guy shepherding is not important. Now you could say, well, you know, he’s wanting you to, you know, to create other leaders to do all of that. Well, that’ll happen in time, but the guy’s running a hundred right now.
Go ahead and shepherd the hundred for goodness sake. I mean, don’t, don’t start already like being bigger than you are because God may never want that church to be more than a hundred. He may want you to raise up pastors. He may want you to raise up mission. The end goal is not to get big. The end goal is to be the shepherd.
I’ve never forgotten that and I’ve felt so bad for that young kid because probably what he needed to do more than, and, and so I see now a shift, all right? At least in the world that I live. Away from how can we get bigger and bigger is what does it mean to be a shepherd of people?
Which is very biblical, to be frank about it. And believe me, if you’re a shepherd of people, God will raise up other shepherds in time to help you with that work. Don’t get ahead of that [00:09:00] by acting. You’re like, you’re some kind of a, you’re all of that and you need, you know, I can’t be bothered with these things cuz eventually our church is gonna be really big and eventually I won’t be able to do. Well, eventually that’s probably not the case because , cause 90% of churches don’t ever get that big. And even the guy that was talking to him is like, dude, there are three churches in a city of 2 million your size. I don’t think that’s probably gonna be this kid’s main problem
Mark Hallock: Hmm.
Mark Clifton: Anyway, I don’t
JimBo Stewart: No, that’s
Mark Clifton: a thought.
JimBo Stewart: that’s
good. Well, that’s, that, that’s good encouragement from the two marks. It made me think, Bob, we could probably round up seven more marks and do a nine marks conference and, uh, it, it could be pretty interesting.
Bob Bickford: What, A seven shirt? Yeah. There you go.
Mark Clifton: That is a, that is a difference between the church growth movement and kind of what we see now, which is what’s it mean to be a pastor. I think there is a difference in that
Mark Hallock: Yeah. Well, I would say one thing for sure, and maybe this is obvious, but. , I’m not sure. I’m, I’m just seeing it more and more as [00:10:00] I. . There are so many pastors that need hope right now and you hear that, but I’m getting ready to go to an event in Missouri and, and the whole thing is on hope cuz what they’re seeing with pastors across Missouri is such discouragement and a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of factors for that, coming out of Covid still, but also just where culture is, where people are.
And so I think we need to be praying for pastors to be, to have hope in the Lord, to remember what we actually believe that God is sovereign, that this is his church. it’s not about our performance. It’s praise God about Christ’s perfect performance on our behalf, on the cross. And so I just think hope is something, cuz here’s the bottom line.
If you don’t have hope, it’s just a matter of time before you check. , before you’re done, before, uh, you slip into sin, be before you try to find something else to satisfy your soul than Jesus. So hope is the thing that as I come into 2023, I’m, I’m really trying to press on guys that I [00:11:00] meet, is trying to give them hope and encouragement.
In the Lord, not in themselves , but in the Lord who holds it all in his hands. And I just think who, who nee, who doesn’t need more hope in their life? And so anyway, I think that’s just one of the things that comes to my mind that leaders need, not just pastors, but I’d say leaders across the board need hope.
Real hope right now.
JimBo Stewart: That’s a
Mark Clifton: Couldn’t, couldn’t agree with you more, mark. There’s no, I can’t really add to that at all. and lately I’ve been thinking about the whole, you know, social media thing. There’s nothing we can do about it. The genie is out of the bottle. You’re not gonna get rid of social media. And there are many times that it’s helpful, obviously.
I mean, I communicate with a lot of people via social
JimBo Stewart: It’s particularly helpful on Monday nights
Mark Clifton: I guess.
Bob Bickford: Yes.
Mark Clifton: I do think pastors who are without hope and pastors who are struggling, you know, you, you get on there and you see all these other great stories and great things are happening someplace else. [00:12:00] And, and it can sometimes even make you feel like more of a, of a failure, uh, by comparison. and um, you know, you even look at like Christmas Eve services and so many people, and I’m grateful, they post pictures of like, you know, I don’t know a million people with candles in their churches.
But then, you know, there are a whole lot of guys who couldn’t get 30 people with candles in their
churches. And again, it just makes you look at what, what am I doing wrong? Why, why, why isn’t that happening to me? What, what’s, I just think the constant comparison that social media seems to bring to the front is not helpful.
Mark Hallock: Yeah. Yeah.
Mark Clifton: there are ways to use it, godly in a, in godly way, but there’s ways the adversary uses it to discourage us and, and then to have us fuss and fight over it. I’ve been in Southern Baptist life my whole life and I’m, I’ve been to over 50 Southern Baptist convention meetings, which is crazy.
We’ve always fuss and fought, but usually just, you know, for like four or five days during the convention. But now we can drag. and we can do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And I don’t know how you get back from that. You know? I [00:13:00] really don’t. And you only get more attention on social media if you are, saying something obnoxious and rude.
And so I don’t know where that goes, but, and I don’t know what we can do about it, but I don’t think it’s helpful. And some days you wonder, what if we woke up tomorrow and it was all gone and the only way we could communicate to each other was a phone call or a. You can’t tell me that we wouldn’t be better off as a church.
That’s just my opinion.
Mark Hallock: Yeah.
Mark Clifton: anyway,
Bob Bickford: Hmm.
Mark Clifton: that could be, but then again, what do I know? You know, I don’t know. So
Bob Bickford: Well, you
Mark Clifton: that’s why, that’s how, that’s how I end every sermon. You know, I have this wonderful benediction that I use for Martin Lloyd Jones. and then after that I say, but then again, what do I know?
And then we all go,
Bob Bickford: Awesome. Hey man, we’ve, we’ve heard some really sage wisdom from these guys just in the short time we’ve been talking and, um, we could always ask what’s your best piece of advice for our listeners is, but I want to ask this question. What is the most recent advice or encouragement that you’ve shared with [00:14:00] a re planter or a revitalizer think that last conversation.
What, what were some things that, what was one thing that you shared with them in terms of helping them think about where they.
Mark Clifton: Well, just here, I’m just, I don’t know if this is what you’re talking about or not, but. I did share this with the, with the church Monday night that was really struggling and just didn’t think they had any hope. And from the outside it doesn’t look like they have much hope. but I shared with them that, our little church at Linwood.
We had a huge Christmas extravaganza for the city. You know, we closed down Main Street and brought in some live music and lit the city Christmas tree and had Santa Claus and gave away gifts. And it wasn’t cheap. It, it cost us a lot more than we expected it would cost us. And we ended up spending all of our.
Money , including our $3,000 savings account. So we, we were down to literally zero. I mean, that’s not an exaggeration. so yeah, we had no money, but, you know, next week we took an offering, got a little more so, but I don’t want you to think this church has like, you know, 10,000 in the [00:15:00]bankers. And we did zero, not none, but here we are at Christmas and so one of my, one of our pastors, he’s a, he’s the, Wrestling coach at one of the middle, at the middle school and high school assistant wrestling coach, and the school came to him and said, Hey, I know it’s late.
It’s only about a week before Christmas. We got two families. Nobody adopted. They have a lot of kids, and here’s their list, and they really need something. So Howie brought that to us, and here we are. We, we got, we got no money. I mean, literally we got no money. And this is a, you know, our church is two years old.
It, we replanted it. Two years ago there were three remaining members, and so now we’re about 50. but nobody even hesitated. They said, man, go buy what? Go buy everything on that list, Howie, for both of them. And of course, put it on your credit card, Harry, we’ll reimburse you That took a little faith on Howie’s part.
But anyway, Howie went and put it all on his credit card and so we didn’t know exactly how he were gonna do it, but Christmas Eve it was like way below zero here was really cold. We didn’t know how many people would show up, but we have a little thing at the back of our sanctuary, a little box [00:16:00] where you can give your offering. And because we were decorating for Christmas Eve, I just moved that out by the door. Uh, as you left, not thinking much about it, but as I was, uh, Making some announcements on Christmas Eve thanking everybody for being there. It just came, the Lord just came to me. I didn’t think about this, hadn’t thought about, didn’t ask anybody.
I said, Hey, as you leave today, our church has helped a couple of families. And, uh, some of you might wanna be a part of that. So if you would like to, everything you put in that little box on the way out, we’ll help cover the cost of two families that, that we, we provided Christmas for. And so I said, how we spent $615.
on those two families, and we received that night, $627 in cash. In cash. Not like somebody wrote a $400 check. I mean, it was like in twenties and tens and. it is like I told that to that church Monday night and I said, you know, if you’re faithful with what God’s given you, he’ll just blow you away with how faithful he can be.
And so what I find encouraging and dying churches is they don’t trust their [00:17:00] bank accounts. They don’t trust their, they, they learn to trust. Christ day to day, this is his church and he’ll provide. And you always want to, A church always wants to have a time where you can look back and say, only God could do that.
Well, trust me, our little congregation looks at that and says, only God could have done that. And so what are we gonna do next time There’s a need in our community? Do you think we’re gonna be the least bit hesitant to meet that need? Of course. Because we know he’s gonna meet it for us. So that was my encouraging statement to a church Monday night based on something that happened in our church, on Christmas Eve on a pretty small scale.
I mean, you know, 600 bucks that’s, you know, not that big a deal to most churches. But, it, it was a big deal to
Mark Hallock: It’s good.
Bob Bickford: That’s
JimBo Stewart: was.
Mark Hallock: I’ve got, so two things. Two things I would say, recently, and I would say this to everybody listening, and I’m saying it to myself too, you know, one of the things we need to remember, and this goes back to a little bit what Clifton was saying with social media, just the comparison culture that we live in, I think we need to remember that, there’s no little wins or big [00:18:00] wins in the kingdom in other.
Every little win is a big win. I think sometimes we look around and we, we think big wins, huge things. Our church did, huge events, whatever, and when I’m with pastors and I’ll say, Hey, what are just some of the wins? And I, and first I have to define and say, and listen. Every little win is a big win because I think a lot of guys don’t realize they’re going, man, I don’t know.
We haven’t baptized anybody. And so learning to celebrate, and I think as leaders, you’ve gotta help your people learn to celebrate little wins. So you talked with a lost person about Jesus. They didn’t come to faith. But you talk to him about Jesus. Praise God, man, that’s a win. You know what I mean? We had a visitor, one visitor.
We didn’t have a hundred visitors. We had one visitor. Praise God, you had a visitor. That’s incredible. I think this goes back to hope, but I think guys need to remember, cuz it’s so easy to get discouraged. You’re looking at other churches and go look at all the fruit. Listen, there’s more fruit than you realize in your church.
The Lord is working, the spirit is doing things. We just need to have eyes to see [00:19:00] it. So remember every. Is a big win in the kingdom. And then the second thing I would say, that I just find myself encouraging guys with a lot. And I would say those listening, even right now, you are loved by the savior.
You’re loved by the savior, man. It’s not about your performance. And you can never hear this enough, you know? And you’re going, ah, I know, I get it now. Listen, Jesus Christ died for you. He bought you with his blood. You are justified before a holy. He, it doesn’t matter how big your church is or what you do, you are loved just as you are through Christ.
And from that place we find joy, we find hope, and hopefully we find motivation and excitement to do ministry and to shepherd and to reach the loss. But man, we have to remember that at the end of the day when you wake up in the morning and you feel dis depressed again, you are loved, you are loved by the savior who bought you at a price.
And so those would just be two words of encouragement. I would.
JimBo Stewart: Hmm. Thank you so much for sharing that guys. It’s great to have you guys. If we had a nine marks conference with seven other guys, I think you guys would probably [00:20:00] still be my two favorite marks at the
Mark Hallock: you
JimBo Stewart: so each have great books and resources that I wanna point our listeners to. Uh, most recently, mark Hallick has, leading church revitalization.
Great book, his magnum opus on leading church revitalization, that you could use, to hold your door open or jack your car up if you needed to as well. but it’s, it’s a, it’s a big thick book, but it’s so good. and it’s. a resource you should definitely take the time to. Also, Clifton’s Reclaiming Glory.
Um, here Real Soon comes out with a new addition that’ll have a study guide and new stories and, uh, free videos that you could use it as a, as a study, resource. But there’s another resource that I wanted you guys to tell us a little bit about. there’s gonna be kind of a relaunch, replanting. If you will, of revitalize and replant.
and so tell us a little bit about the podcast. The pilot episodes should be coming out with about a week after this episode
Mark Clifton: Yeah. When did, when does this episode come out, by the way?
JimBo Stewart: January 11th.
Mark Clifton: so [00:21:00] January 15th, you’ll be able to go to, uh, the website, revitalize and replant.com and listen to the, pilot episode. All right. and when you listen to the pilot episode, you’ll be able to, subscribe to the podcast and, uh, we really want you to do that.
we want you to be part of our family. it’s Markk and myself, friend of mine named Dan Hurst. the three of us just said, and really, I hope, hopefully really talk about some of these issues we’ve talked about now and just bring encouragement and hope. It’s what we try to do. It’s gonna come out twice a week.
We’re gonna do two a week. They’re gonna be about 20, 25 minutes a piece so you can listen to them rather briefly on the way to the store or way to pick up your kids at school or something like that. So please, we want you to, after January 15th, go to revitalize and replant.com. Check out the, pilot episode.
Don’t hold us to account. I mean, you know, the pilot episode of Seinfeld wasn’t all that great, but it got great as things went
on. that’s what a pilot means, you know? But anyway, did, we did our very best and we are all [00:22:00] very sensitive people with very low self-esteem. So if you don’t, if you don’t subscribe it, it will really, uh, could set us back quite a ways.
So just help us out and hit the subscribe button and, uh, become part of our listeners. You know, you could be, you could be a charter subscriber, just like a charter member of a
church. You’ve never had charter members of a church. You know how much weight they think they carry. So you could be a subscriber, that would be a charter subscriber, but, um, get on there.
January 15th is the day. So set your clock, get up at midnight on the 15th, and become a charter subscriber to revitalize and replant. All right.
Mark Hallock: it’s a blast, Clifton and I and Dan had a, have had a great time with this. And listen, man, mark Clifton, I’m gonna just embarrass him, but man, there’s, he’s a godly man with a lot of wisdom to share and, uh, it was a, it’s a joy just to learn from him. And so I think you will find this podcast very helpful, gaining a lot of wisdom.
Mark Clifton: well, I listen. The only thing godly about me is what Christ has done through
me. Believe. .But, uh, [00:23:00] I, I think what you will under like about our podcast is that, um, and this is sort of. It’s been kind of my insistence. we’re all in the same room when we do this podcast, so we’re not, I know, uh, this podcast one we’re on right now with Jimbo and the Replant Bootcamp, you’re not in the same room and, uh, you do a really good job and it’s a great podcast.
But I like . I’m, I’m very happy. That when Mark Halleck and Dan Hurst and I get together, we are not looking at little boxes on somebody’s screen. We are actually in the same room talking to each other and it, and we’re in a conversation live with each other
Mark Hallock: And let’s just say, and let’s just say Clifton gets a little uncomfortable because we share a couch. And if you know me, there’s, there’s some touching and hugging. And this poor, I thought, I thought I saw his fist pop out a few
Mark Clifton: Yeah, there, it’s, they put, they put Hallick and I, yeah, Hallick and I are on this couch from the youth department of his church. Uh, we pulled one in, you know, however you, every church has a youth [00:24:00] department and whoever thought it was a good idea to put a bunch of couches where teenagers can hang out as beyond me.
But anyway, we brought a, a youth couch then and, uh, he and I sit on the couch. Dan sets across from us and, uh, we do have a good time live and. As God allows, we’re gonna get together, do these alive as much as possible, hopefully every single time, and I think you’ll notice that. So you just pull up a chair, pull up a couch, and sit by us, and I think you’ll enjoy it.
JimBo Stewart: Well, good. We’re looking forward to it. And we’re glad that we could, lend the massive platform of the Replant Bootcamp towards promoting, your new venture. And, one day, one day you might be as good as the bootcamp.
Mark Hallock: We’ve got a ways to go.
JimBo Stewart: All right, thanks guys.