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Being Marked By Love with Tim Stevens

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Welcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast! We have the pleasure of hearing from a familiar voice today. Tim Stevens is no stranger to the podcast, and he’s talked with us before about his work with Vanderbloemen Search Group.

Today, though, the topic is different. While Tim works with VSG to help churches find staff, he’s here to today to talk about something a bit more personal. His new book, Marked by Love: A Dare to Walk Away from Judgement and Hypocrisy, explore topics and feelings that we all struggle with but fail to discuss or address. Tune in while we hear how Tim defines what it means to be marked by love.

  • Why he wrote the book//About six to ten years ago, in the throes of a controversial political season, Tim was heavily engaged in social media, and he grew frustrated with seeing Christians acting judgmental and hypocritical online…and then it dawned on him that he might need to reflect on his own internal struggle with judgement and hypocrisy. Tim felt it was important to examine the core of Jesus’ message, and the results of his personal study are in this new book.
  • Being marked by the love of Jesus in spite of differences// Tim noticed that his previous heavy diet of political commentary and cable news stirred up a side of him that was unloving, judgmental, and very nervous about what was going to happen with the world. While Tim found the positive impact it made on his life when he reduced his consumption of news media, for other people it might be another situation they need to remove themselves from.
  • The reality of casting the first stone// Tim says he is NOT the poster child of someone marked by love – it’s a journey for him, and he shares a deeply personal and honest story of an experience he had not too long ago where he cast judgment. He explores what it was like driving away from that scene and the impact it made on him that has lasted to this day. As church leaders, it’s possible a type of cynicism or pride can develop in us because of the brokenness we see in our daily work and how we are often sought out to be the help or “savior” in these situations.
  • Living faith out in the home//It’s so much easier to live out a life of faith when all eyes are on you, rather than when you are with the people you’re closest to. Tim shares what he’s learned about living out his faith at home, including how to be present with your children and spouse. It can be easy for pastors and church leaders, especially, to take work home – family bleeds into church, church bleeds into family. There’s a part of that which can’t be avoided, but your family needs you to be present. Another practice Tim tries to model as often as possible is to try to ask questions rather than make statements. Inviting your children, for example, into a dialogue takes you off the pedestal and communicates a more loving approach. Our children are either learning to be more marked by love, or they’re learning that it just doesn’t matter very much.
  • Who the book is really for//Tim kept in mind two groups while he was writing his new book: lifelong Christians who have found themselves wrapped up in the duty and rules of the church and who have forgotten the core message, and folks who are still Christians but are disenchanted with church because of the two-sidedness they’ve experienced.
  • Writing advice //Tim discusses changes in publishing formats and best practices for pursuing self-publishing. Traditional publishers are looking for people who have a platform and look to the author to help promote their book. Self-publishing is a great way to start from scratch if you don’t have a large platform yet.

Tim works at Vanderbloemen Search Group and blogs at leadingsmart.com. Check out a sample of this book at MarkedByLove.com or buy the book on Amazon.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.