“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 www.pursueGOD.org/living-in-utah. (PursueGOD.org 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 – utahadvance@gmail.com.
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 pursueGOD.org. 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 pursueGOD.org.)

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

How churches succeed in reaching people far from God

Every church talks about the priority of reaching people for Christ. But many churches aren’t willing to make the changes that will actually change produce results.

The “Think Outside” Ministry Workshop will explore foundational perspectives and helpful practices to transform churches to greater effectiveness at reaching lost people with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Join us Saturday, February 7 from 8:30am-12:20pm followed by lunch with presenters. There is no cost to attend except for lunch afterwards.



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

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

8:30 Registration / Coffee / Fellowship

9:00 Session I: Perspectives on Effective Outreach:  A panel of experienced pastors will explore basic shifts in perspective necessary for churches to succeed at reaching lost people – based on Jesus’ own practice and mandate. This will include Q & A from the floor.

Moderator: Ross Anderson, Utah Advance Ministries

Panelists:   Fred Lopez, Hope Resurrected Church – Steve Bennetson, Alpine Church — Rene Melendez, Alpine Church, Latino Campus – Dave Elshaug, K2 the Church – Hope Taylor, International Leadership Embassy — and others (awaiting confirmation).

10:30 Session II:Practices for Effective Outreach
Our panel will explore helpful practices that churches might employ to succeed at reaching lost people. We are not promoting a particular ministry model, but want attendees to learn how to apply basic concepts to their own target audience.

11:50 Mixer  Panelists will be available throughout the room to answer questions and interact personally with attendees.

12:20 Lunch with Panelists  Each panelist (or pair of panelists) will go to a different nearby restaurant for lunch, to be available for additional conversation, encouragement and prayer. Attendees are welcome to go have lunch with any panelists they choose, if they wish. Participants pay for their own lunch.

RSVP TODAY to Ross Anderson – utahadvance@gmail.com.

Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

“THINK OUTSIDE” Ministry Workshop

On Saturday, February 7, I’m moderating a workshop designed to help church leaders think through the foundational perspectives and best practices that will propel their churches to succeed at reaching people who are far from God.

We’ve got a great panel of leaders from Utah ministries that “get it” when it comes to reaching lost people in our community.

To learn more, check out the details at lovingutah.org.

Be sure to recommend this FREE, half-day workshop to the pastor and/or leadership team at your church.


Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment