About "To The Churches"

"He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." – Jesus Christ, Revelation 2 and 3

The Church

The English word "Church" in the New Testament is based on the Greek word ekklesia, a compound word derived from ek (out of) and kaleo (to call). This indicates that the "Church" is that group of people who have been "called out" of the world to be God's people - this is the Church's mission and purpose and it comes from God.

In the Bible, a Christian is often referred to as a "Saint", which means "holy one" - therefore, the church is a group of unholy people who have been declared to be holy in Christ and who represent their holy God in the world as His "Church" (His body, bride, temple, flock).

If the Church loses sight of its "called out" place in the world, it will be more like the world than like God. This is the Need.

The Need

In the book of Revelation (chapters 2 and 3), God says only 2 out of 7 churches are fully obedient to Him and healthy. God also says 5 out of 7 churches are disobedient, sinful, un-healthy, and off-target in some major way. Historically, from the first century all the way to today, this has been an accurate depiction of churches. This is an evidence of God's eternal truth. He is always right!

As a result of the condition of these 7 churches, in just two chapters, God says 7 times "He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." It is very important when God repeats himself, especially 7 times. The Church really needs to pay attention to this warning and call.

Do you and your church have ears to hear? Are you and your church of the 2 (healthy) churches, or of the 5 (unhealthy) churches?

Today, we see the desperate need of the beloved “Church” and our brother and sister Christians. In today’s complex and challenging world, there are always various levels of hostility to Jesus, the gospel, and the Church - persecution and a battle zone are the reality of where the Church resides. Therefore, churches must live and thrive in this difficult environment.

There are many issues churches need to deal with - including leadership issues, operational, financial, personnel, communication, theological, lifestyle, and the list goes on. Many Ministers and Leaders are overworked, stressed, and end up being the weak link in the Church, instead of the strong link. Ironically, all of this is already described in the Bible - both the problems, and the solutions.

The Christian congregation in the United States is large, and the need is dire.

  • 70% of churches are declining or plateaued.
  • 30% of churches are growing.
  • 0% of churches are multiplying (based on multiple generations of church plants),

Based on this data from recent surveys and studies by reputable entities, both the simple quantitative data shown above and the more complicated qualitative data align with what the book of Revelation says that only 2 (29%) out of 7 churches are healthy and fully obedient. Everyone believes their church is the 2 out 7 that is healthy and fully obedient, but logically that cannot be true. We need to be honest and corrrect about our churches and our individual walk with Christ.

We could easily extrapolate that there are 70 to 100 million Christians in the U.S, which is about one quarter to one third of the entire U.S. population. This illustrates that one of the largest single groups of people in the U.S. are those who attend Christian Churches and similar environments.

Yet, our culture and society do not reflect this in Christ-like lifestyles, values, and morals. Churches are shrinkng, dying, and Christians are becoming more "hidden" and closet-like, instead of being salt and light as they are instructed by Jesus.

Our Call

To The Churches ministry team has a special passion for building up God's Church to be unified, healthy, mature, thriving, and impactful.

We are called to build up the Church to instead be the bride of Christ that loves him deeply, the Body of Christ that is the visible manifestation of Him, the flock that follows Christ knowing his voice, the building of Christ that stands strong, vibrant, and beaming amidst a dark and dreary world.

Before moving forward with each step in this ministry we carefully and humbly seek God’s will to ensure with various biblical checks and balances, that we are hearing Him correctly, and obeying Him fully.

The Coaches

The Coaches fulfill the role of biblical Advisors / Guides / Shepherds, to provide wise counsel, valuable insights, accurate and applicable research and resources, tender yet direct dialogue, crucial accountability, careful listening, and effective leadership. The Coaches also fulfill the biblical role of Pastors and Teachers as needed.

Scope

The team has excellent relationships and resources throughout the U.S. and Europe. We are able to provide Coaching and resources on-site or remotely through video, phone, and soon through virtual reality methods.

To The Churches team has ministered, coached, consulted, assisted, and partnered in various Protestant Christian venues, denominations, cultures, and socio-economic areas – including, but not limited to:

  • Baptist
  • Lutheran
  • Methodist
  • Pentecostal
  • Presbyterian
  • Non-Denominational
  • Wesleyan

We have been involved with churches, para-church organizations, Christian small groups, individuals, secular non-profits, corporations, and medium to small businesses.

See our Services list for how we help. For speaking, teaming, and/or coaching/consulting needs, contact us.

History

To The Churches ministry officially started in 2007 with a prompt from the Lord and continued with a large step forward in 2013 with God's guidance and blessing. In 2017 to 2019, God expanded the ministry through various ministry and support opportunities.
 

Gary Avánt, M.Ed. – President, Lead Coach / Consultant

To the churches - Gary AvantGary has been an effective key advisor and leader in multiple churches. He has fellowshipped, worshipped, ministered, and coached / advised in multiple denominational and non-denominational churches and with Christians of various doctrinal perspectives – consequently, he is knowledgeable about and sensitive to the differences and unifying principles with the overall Church.

Experience

Ministry

Gary has been a Church Coach / Advisor / Guide for 13+ years, including being with Navigators Church Coaching organization for 3 years.

He has been a Senior Pastor Advisor, Pastoral Staff Advisor, Christian Business Group Leader, Discipleship Ministry Leader, Evangelism Team Leader, and Youth Group Leader.

Gary has worked in various capacities with many ministries including but not limited to The Navigators, Campus Crusade for Christ / Momentum Europe, Christian Executive Officers (CEO), Business Leaders Action Strategy Team, and city-wide strategic ministry involving several large and small cities.

In ministry, Gary has a strong academic and practitioner background in leadership, church development and dynamics, apologetics, discipleship, church history, theology, and dynamic prayer.

Business

In business he has been President / CEO of Wisdom Matrix (business consulting agency) for 18+ years, specializing in marketing solutions, leadership strategy advising, project management, organizational systems development, best practices for organizations, and training solutions including online training and e-learning.

Gary has been on Christian Executive Officers (CEO) Board for over 10 years, and served as President of the organization for 2 years.

Gary has worked with a wide variety of clients and projects including churches, para-church organizations, non-profits, Fortune 500, corporations, small businesses, startups, academic institutions (colleges, universities), international companies, and U.S. military.

Author and Speaker

Gary has spoken in multiple venues including Churches, professional groups, and small to medium parachurch and business groups. He has several articles and online presentations published.

Education

  • Three years with Navigator’s Church Coaching Ministry (Navigators)
  • Masters degree in Education (San Diego State University)
  • Bachelors degree in Counseling, with a minor in Sociology (Geneva College)
  • Certification in International Business (University of Phoenix)
  • Certifications in several organizational disciplines (Leadership Dynamics, Organizational Solutions, Technology Solutions, Process Solutions)

Personal

He is a dedicated studier of the Bible and Biblical theology, prayer warrior, apologist, and a voracious reader and learner. He is constantly seeking to walk close with Christ, and deepen and widen his understanding of God’s will and kingdom.

His hobbies include writing, history, art design, photography, guitar, 3-dimensional chess, sailing, various sports, travel, and hiking.

Gary and his wife attend Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego, CA - led by Pastor Dr. David Jeremiah.

Dana Avánt – Vice President, Associate Coach / Consultant

To the churches - Dana AvantDana has been an effective key advisor and support laborer in several churches including denominational and non-denominational churches. She has worked in various capacities with many churches and ministries including but not limited to Professional Women’s Fellowship (PWF), Campus Crusade for Christ / Momentum Europe, and Rancho Agua Viva. She worked for INJOY ministry with John Maxwell, the well known Christian teacher, traveling around the United States with him and his team to many churches and Christian events with their focus being leadership dynamics.

Experience

Ministry

Dana has been a key advisor and support laborer in several churches including denominational and non-denominational churches. She has worked in various capacities with many churches and ministries including but not limited to Professional Women’s Fellowship (PWF), Campus Crusade for Christ / Momentum Europe, and Rancho Agua Viva. She worked for INJOY ministry with John Maxwell, the well known Christian teacher, traveling around the United States with him and his team to many churches and Christian events with their focus being leadership dynamics.

Dana has a strong track record in wisdom teaching, discipleship, women’s leadership coaching, women's ministry, music ministry, and prayer.

In churches, Christian organizations, and in business she also has specialized in organizational systems development, best practices for organizations, and administration support guidance.

Business

In business she has been Vice-President / Lead Technology Consultant of Wisdom Matrix (business consulting agency) for 18+ years, specializing in marketing solutions, leadership strategy advising, project management, organizational systems development, best practices for organizations, and training solutions including online training and e-learning.

Dana has been involved with a Christian business women’s organization, Professional Women’s Fellowship (PWF) and served on the Board for 5 years, on the Marketing and Technology committee.

Gary has worked with a wide variety of clients and projects including churches, para-church organizations, non-profits, Global 1000, corporations, small businesses, startups, and international companies.

Education

  • Associate degree in Computer Science (National College)
  • Certifications in several disciplines (Organizational Solutions, Technology Solutions)

Personal

She is a dedicated pray-er, and a voracious reader and learner, constantly seeking to deepen and widen her understanding and wisdom. She is constantly seeking to walk close with Christ, and deepen and widen his understanding of God’s will and kingdom.

Her hobbies include art history, personal clothing and jewelry design, various sports, travel, and hiking.

Dana and her husband attend Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego, CA - led by Pastor Dr. David Jeremiah.

Timothy Russell, M.Div. – Coach / Consultant

To the churches - Tim RussellTim has been a pastor, key advisor, and leader in multiple churches, ministries, and Christian education venues. He has experience with Christian churches, organizations, and individuals of various denominations and doctrinal perspectives – consequently, he is knowledgeable about and sensitive to the differences and unifying principles with the overall Church.

Experience

Ministry

Tim has been an effective Christian leader in various venues for 30+ years, including ministry and advising roles as Teacher, Pastor, Chaplain, Board / Cabinet Member, Director of Church Relations, and President / Head of School of several academic institutions (ranging from High School to Post-Secondary education).

Tim has worked in various capacities with many ministries including but not limited to Geneva College, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Trinity Christian School, Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies (MCUTS), Westminster Academy, Revelation 7:9 Task Force, and Lexington Christian Academy.

In ministry, Tim has a strong academic and practitioner background in pastoral care, leadership, discipleship, church development and dynamics, church history, church and societal diversity, theology, dynamic prayer, and financial management.

Business

In business Tim has been on the Management Advisor Team of Wisdom Matrix (business consulting agency) for 10+ years – providing business management and spiritual guidance. The company specializes in marketing solutions, leadership strategy advising, project management, organizational systems development, best practices for organizations, and training solutions including online training and e-learning.

Author and Speaker

Tim has spoken in multiple venues including Churches, academic institutions, Christian conferences, and on the internet (podcasts). He has several sermons and interviews online.
Some notable venues in which Tim has spoken:

  • Point Loma University – San Diego, CA
  • St. Stephens Church – San Diego, CA – Bishop McKinney presiding.
  • E.A.R. Podcast – available on Spotify, Apple Store, Google Play, and others.
  • Various churches throughout the U.S.A.
  • Various colleges and universities throughout the U.S.A.
  • International organizations – throughout Great Britain, Cyprus, Switzerland, and France.

Education

  • PhD track – Completed all 16 required courses and qualifying exams in the PhD Historical Theology track (Westminster Theological Seminary)
  • Masters of Divinity (MDiv) degree (Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary)
  • Bachelors degree in English/Education (Geneva College)

Connections

Tim has had deep ties to various areas on the East Coast, includng Pennsylvania, Memphis (TN), and Boston (MA).

Tim has had deep ties to the west coast. He has ministered in San Diego for 30+ years, through his business advisory and ministry guidance relationship with Wisdom Matrix company and To The Churches ministry, his preaching ministry at Point Loma University, and his relationship by marriage (through his wife Kathe) to Bishop Dr. George Dallas McKinney of St. Stephens (COGIC), where Tim has preached multiple times. He also has many ongoing relationships with Christians and organizations throughout California.

Tim is very well connected throughout the U.S.A. and internationally with individuals and organizations across the strata of society including spiritual, academic, cultural, political, and economic. Some notable individual relationship connections with Tim are:

Spiritual / Educational

  • Point Loma University (San Diego, CA)
  • Rev. Dr. George Dallas McKinney, Bishop, St. Stephen’s COGIC (San Diego, CA)
  • His Grace the Rev. Dr. N. T. Wright, former Bishop of Durham and Canon Theologiae, Westminster Abbey (England)
  • The Rev. Dr. John Gerstner, theologian
  • The Rev Dr. R. C. Sproul, theologian
  • Shirley Hoogstra, President, CCCU (Council of Christian Colleges and Universities)

Political / Cultural

  • Rev. Dr. Barry Black, Chaplain (U.S. Senate)
  • The Hon. Jack Kemp, U.S. Congressman and Secretary of HUD
  • Faith Whittlelsley, former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland
  • Cal Thomas. syndicated columnist
  • George Gallup, pollster and writer
  • Kevin Johnson, former Mayor of Sacramento and NBA player (Phoenix Sun)
  • Kirk Whalum, musician

Personal

Tim is a dedicated studier of the Bible and Biblical theology, prayer warrior, and a voracious reader and learner. He is constantly seeking to walk close with Christ, and deepen and widen his understanding of God’s will and kingdom.

His hobbies include travel, history, literature, music, and theology.

Tim and his wife attend Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, TN, where Tim is also a Pastor.

Coaching / Consulting Team

Information about other To The Churches team members is available. We have several ministry leaders, church leaders, and educational leaders on our team.

Contact Us to move forward.