Church Planters Summit – Spring 2015


On TV, the sole survivor wins. But when it comes to ministry in and around Utah, sole survivors lose. Instead of going it alone, we encourage church planters and pastors to reach out to one another, pray for one another, and create informal networks where it’s safe to share struggles and encourage one another.

For: Planters, Pastors, Staff, Team Members, Spouses

Date: Thursday, May 14, 2015.

Location: Missio Dei Community, 510 W. 200 N., SLC

Cost: $10 per person. Free childcare available upon request.
Please register below.

8:00   Hang out with friends over coffee

9:00-9:45 Survivors on Mission Together

10:00-11:30 Survivor Break Outs:  Three simultaneous conversations to learn from and encourage each other.

  • Surviving Expectations:  Finding contentment when our own expectations and those of our leaders, supporters, and attenders are unmet. 
  • Surviving Big Hits:  Remaining Hopeful when challenges, tragic events, loss of key people, and life’s circumstances try to knock us down. 
  • Surviving Family Stuff:  Finding satisfaction in sacrifice while providing for your family.

11:45  Lunch

12:30  Invitation to an informal conversations & prayer with the survivors
The formal meeting is over with lunch. But long-tenured pastors and planters will stick around for informal conversation with anyone who wants to hang out. The Loving Utah team would love to pray with you, answer any questions, and encourage you wherever you may be struggling to survive


Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

Discover Hidden Treasures Summit

Hidden-treasures-300x175On May 23, I’m sharing in a seminar at a conference on multicultural ministry in Utah. I invite you to consider attending. It promises to be an excellent event.

The panel is called “Understanding your Latter-day Saint Neighbors.” It will be moderated by David Rowe, author of I Love Mormons. Along with me, panelists include:

  • Sandra Tanner operates the Utah Lighthouse Ministry. She is known for extensive research into Mormon history and doctrine.
  • Ken Mulholland is president of the Western Institute for Intercultural Studies and was founding president of Salt Lake Theological Seminary.
  • Greg Johnson is president of Standing Together, a group focusing on biblical unity among evangelical churches and building relational dialogue with members of the LDS faith.

Here’s a description of the theme of this session:

“To the Mormon I became like a Mormon, to win the Mormons.” Would Paul have included that statement if he wrote 1 Corinthians 9 today from Utah? With Scripture-based and culture-wise insights into contemporary Latter-day Saints, this panel will explore the differences between our worldviews but also seek to “get inside their skins” and bring the light of the Gospel of grace there.

To be sure, Mormonism is not the main focus of this outstanding  conference. If you attend, here’s what you will experience:

  • Grow in genuine relationships.
  • Benefit from different exhibitors & share resources.
  • Learn from other participants.
  • Implement a ministry among other ethnic groups.
  • Pursue opportunities for multicultural churches.
  • Learn skills for women in leadership.
  • Choose from many seminars to expand your knowledge of how to minister within ethnic groups.
  • Extend your communication network and learn practical points to reach new people.
  • Help to transition to next generation leaders.
  • Make gospel connections with our LDS neighbors.
  • Do multicultural worship well.

To learn more and to register: go to

Sponsored by The Vine Institute, partnering with Ethnic America Network.


Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

“Living in Utah” series

I have just completed a series designed for small groups or Sunday School classes called “Living in Utah”. You can find it at ( is a resource library for discipleship conversations).

series-titleIt’s not easy living as a minority in a dominant religious culture. “Living in Utah” explains how non-Mormons can develop the right understanding and attitude not only to survive, but to thrive. Like all PursueGOD resources, it is free of charge. It should be especially helpful to Christians moving in to Utah or other predominantly LDS communities.

The tone of the series is positive, not combative. It is honest about differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity, but encourages a respectful encounter.

Lesson One: Living as a Religious Minority
In Utah, Mormonism and its influence are like part of the air we breathe. That may seem daunting to non-Mormons, especially newcomers. But there is hope.

Lesson Two: Introduction to LDS Culture and Beliefs
This lesson provides a brief summary of what Mormons believe and how they live, to help non-Mormons understand how our neighbors think and what matters to them.

Lesson Three: Mormons and Non-Mormons
This lesson explores how Mormons typically relate to non-Mormons, in order to understand the attitudes and experiences one can expect to face in Utah.

Lesson Four: How Would Jesus Relate to Mormons?
To help us understand how to respond to our LDS neighbors, we consider the example of how Jesus might relate to Latter-day Saints – based on his interaction with Samaritans.

These lessons are based on my 30+ years as a pastor in Utah, after growing up in an active LDS family. I have borrowed liberally from the work of others, particularly Scott McKinney’s “Living in Utah” class, which he has offered for years as the Senior Pastor at CenterPoint Church in Orem. I am also indebted to the work Ken Mulholland and others did in the BRIDGES curriculum. Ken is the President of the Western Institute for Intercultural Studies.

Posted in Ministry in LDS Culture, News & Updates | Leave a comment

Panelists for the “THINK OUTSIDE” Ministry Workshop

The “Think Outside” Ministry Workshop will feature several experienced leaders who have been successful at helping churches become more outwardly focused.

Our panelists represent a wealth of ministry experience in church outreach, using a variety of different models and targeting many different audiences.

Ross Anderson

Ross Anderson is our host and moderator. Ross is Director of Utah Advance Ministries, which seeks to help churches wisely engage Utah’s unique religious and cultural climate. He also serves as a Teaching Pastor at Alpine Church.

Steve Bennetsen is a Teaching Pastor and Executive Pastor at Steve BennetsenAlpine Church. Alpine has grown considerably over the last decade by mastering the strategy of using Sunday services as a gateway for people far from God.

Rene MelendezRene Melendez is Pastor at Alpine Church‘s Latino Campus. He is succeeding at applying Alpine’s outreach and discipleship strategy to a Latino cultural setting.


Alfred Murillo is Director of the Synergy in Action Network. Alfred MurilloFormerly at the Utah Dream Center, Alfred specializes in helping churches set up ministries that share Christ and practice justice by meeting practical needs in the community.

Dave ElshaugDave Elshaug is Executive Pastor at K-2 the Church. One of Salt Lake City’s most dynamic churches, K-2 focuses on reaching a non-LDS, secular population. Dave is also Director of Loving Utah, a church planting network.

Hope Taylor is Director of the International Leadership Embassy in Hope TaylorWashington, D.C. ILE helps Christians engage their communities by impacting government, with an ultimate aim of transforming culture.

Fred LopezFred Lopez is co-host. He is Senior Pastor at Hope Resurrected Church. Adopting new perspectives and practices toward outreach, Fred has led the church to a growth surge that has required recently moving to a larger facility.

The Workshop is Saturday, February 7 from 8:30am-12:20pm

Location: Alpine Church offices at 2564 Washington Blvd., Ogden Utah.

RSVP to Ross Anderson –
Don’t come alone! Bring someone from your leadership team to process ideas with.

Sponsored by Loving Utah: A Church Planting Network.

Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

“What Mormons Believe” series

Series-Featured-ImageI’ve just completed a brief video series called “What Mormons Believe.” It’s designed to catalyze conversations in families and small groups, or with mentors or friends. The series covers 5 basic topics:

  • The nature of God
  • Scripture
  • The nature of human beings
  • What is salvation
  • What happens in eternity

The series was prepared for the resource web site You can find it here. Each video is 5-8 minutes long, and there is a workbook to help you discuss what you learn. (Be sure to check out all the resources in the growing library at

This series definitely has its limitations. It’s just an introduction, so a great deal more could be said about each of these rich topics. It doesn’t give all of the biblical data on each subject, but just enough to put the LDS ideas presented into some context. And it’s not really about “what Mormons believe” because there is no single point of view shared by all Latter-day Saints. It’s more about what Mormonism and LDS authorities teach. But I’m hopeful that it can help you be better prepared to have informed, meaningful spiritual conversations with LDS friends and relatives.

Posted in Ministry in LDS Culture | Leave a comment