Follow the Path of Love with Verna Brown

Follow the Path of Love with Verna Brown

Pastor Verna Brown, founder and senior leader of Soul Harvest Worship Center-Modesto, CA, opens her heart about the struggles leaders face with polarizing topics in the church and our culture. She talks about the difficult transitions when children of God get stuck in a sinful lifestyle. Hear how love disarms the devil. Follow the path of love Jesus walked before us.

29 Minutes • a month ago

Episode Notes

Greenelines with

Dr. Steve Greene

Guest: Verna Brown

Pastor Verna Brown, founder and senior leader of Soul Harvest Worship Center-Modesto, California, opens her heart about the struggles leaders face with polarizing topics in the church and our culture. She talks about the difficult transitions when children of God get stuck in a sinful lifestyle.

Hear how love disarms the devil. Follow the path of love Jesus walked before us.

Introduction

Dr. Steve Greene: I've got an unusual show for you, at least, let's say a different show. We're going to have a discussion with a pastor from California who is going through some of the difficulties of leadership. We're going to talk about that and we will also deal very specifically with some of the kinds of issues that are going on in every Facebook feed and all the social media and probably every nook and cranny throughout America on issues that are divisive. We are will going to talk specifically about how pastors deal with it, how we speak with love, but also speak truth. I want to welcome to the podcast Pastor Verna Brown. She's the pastor of Soul Harvest Worship Center in Modesto, California; right there in Central California, a place near and dear to my heart. I just love it there. But I also love this pastor and realize that the work that she's doing is so important as she does things like host the presence of God and reach the world for Christ as part of her mission. She's a powerhouse, preacher. I've listened to her preach online. She's a seer, a prophetess, a prophetic worship leader and an intercessor. With that combination, you can imagine the heart of this pastor. So Pastor Verna, welcome to the Greenelines podcast. Tell me about your church. Soul Harvest Church … how old is the church. How long have you been a pastor?

Pastor Verna Brown: We are in our 11th year. I'm a second generation, pastor, a PK and received the baton from my mom and dad, who planted here in the city of Modesto. The church was started in 2007 after my mother went home to be with the Lord.

Dr. Steve Greene: You’re also a PM, a pastor’s mom. How did you do that? Three generations of pastors have been under that roof.

Pastor Verna Brown: Yes, it's a legacy church, that's for sure.

Dr. Steve Greene: And the little ones, I know you have grandchildren. Are they holding the Bible yet and beginning to preach?

Pastor Verna Brown: They are holding the Bible. We're teaching them to pray and just carrying on the legacy of godliness and love for the Lord.

Dr. Steve Greene: I have a seven-year-old grandson that loves to get into the pulpit and preach. And he can tear it up. He says the same thing pretty much every time. But he's got a good message. And so much. Everyone in the church, people don't understand that they're all our children. They're all our grandchildren. And as you see, people, as you've said, being raised under the pulpit, that they under the pew, they get to grow up in the church and you see them grow and mature and be baptized and be filled with the Spirit, and then maybe come to a challenge in their lives that we have to deal with.

Pastor Verna Brown: You know, that that is so true. I wanted to speak to that a little bit because we recently, I would say in the last year, had a young man that we love very much. I met his parents when I was just beginning. In fact, his mom and dad gave me my very first chance to minister. And so we love them very much. But we saw him go out there for many years … I think was about a year after we started the church, he wandered in one night, broken and like the prodigal son. Of course, we were delighted to have him home and he began to thrive. He began to rise up and do great things for the Lord and walk alongside my own children. As you know, Steve, these children become your own. I'm a spiritual mother to him, as well as a dear friend of his family’s. So, we saw him just go go, go, go for God. He began to have a very large platform and then the enemy gets him like he does. He goes after our children, especially those that have a voice or any kind of public influence. We saw the enemy really get in there work on him. Then, of course, he walked away. So, I wanted to talk today about the pain, the hurt that we as spiritual moms and dads and pastors experience when these kinds of things happen and how we lead our leadership and our families. Our church is not just a corporation, it's a family. It’s how we lead a family through these difficult transitions and uphold a biblical standard without bashing. These young people that get caught in these simple lifestyles. I wanted to kind of preface too that I'm a PK … you said I'm a PM but I too walked away in something very similar and grew up in a church culture that was the kind of turn or burn, holiness or hell. I believe in both of those phrases. But the method of the message was so aggressive that it left children like myself who did the same thing, strayed, in a place where we didn't feel safe coming back to the house of God because of the method, I guess, that the message was delivered with. And so we recently saw something like that happen in our midst. It gave us an opportunity as leadership to do it different and, based on my background, I know that there is a whole demographic of prodigal sons and daughters that are out there that have wandered, that have strayed. I just wanted to encourage my brothers and sisters worldwide to get in the prayer closet, pray, seek the face of God. Find out what His heart is. Before we polarize a demographic of young people that are caught in some of these lifestyles.

Dr. Steve Greene: When you have someone on a platform, there's a different responsibility that you have, as does someone who's in the seats, being ministered to you by you and by your team, and the responsibility you have there versus the responsibility you have on the platform. Sometimes it puts you into a difficult opportunity to make a decision. And it's tough.

Pastor Verna Brown: It really is. As leaders, we're held to a higher standard. The example that we set for others gives them the green light or the red light for the direction for their lives. We love, and we love deeply. But ultimately, our allegiance is to the Word of God. It's difficult when we have to make a call like that. But ultimately, how we handle it is going to determine whether those that are caught in those types of lifestyles feel safe coming into the house of God or not. I think of Jesus when he caught when he came to the woman who was caught in adultery and He obviously stood up for her. He said he who is without sin may cast the first stone. And they could not do that. So, he did stand up for her as a person. But many who are in the grace camp stop there. We have to remember that Jesus is full of grace and truth. He addressed her sin. He said, go and sin no more. So, it's a fine line. We really do need to be people of truth. I grew up in a church which was mostly truth. I didn't hear a lot of grace, but we have to balance the two. So, Jesus addressed the sin. He said, go and sin no more. We as leaders must address them as well. I've told my congregation that Jesus didn't say go and start an agenda and change the law and then I'll come in agreement with you. He said, go and sin no more. So, our Jesus loves people. He defends people he delivers from sin.

Dr. Steve Greene: This type of sin is one that gets featured a lot in social media. There are many of them. We've all dealt with worship leaders who wanted to live with members of the band or they had a lifestyle that was questionable about maybe behaviors that we would frown upon. But the real issue is that there are so many varieties of sin today that are being noticed and being talked about and coming to the front and center of our discussions and our government and our lifestyles and our social media postings that it forces you quicker and with more severity to have to deal with it quickly to make the stand for truth.

Pastor Verna Brown: Yes, and we cannot be bashful. We cannot be put under the cultural pressure nor the peer pressure that is, unfortunately, integrating and permeating much of the church today. So, it is a fine line. We really must have the right tone. We must have the right heart. But we also must stand and declare the truth of God's Word and align with the plumb line of God's Word. We will be persecuted for it. You can say it the nicest way that you possibly can and there will still be someone that twists what you say and misunderstands your heart. So, I've taught my leaders that we want to be responsive and not reactive. We're first responders, we’re not first reactors. So, go into the prayer closet, pray about it, seek God. Anytime we put something out in writing, Steve, we, have to be careful to make sure that we put that ache in there. We do what we can to put the heart of the Father in it. I love what Paul said. He said when I'm absent from you and I write to you, I realized that my words come across very poignant and very sharp. Then he would end his letter with just how much he loved him and how affectionate he was for them and his heart for the church and his heart for those that he was bringing correction to. I see that zeal that I used to have as well. When we grow up in a certain environment, we tend to preach from what we know. There was a lot of correction that had to happen in my life for me to come to this place of truth and grace. But I have learned that if I'm going to deal with these very difficult topics, that I need to have the neverending, overwhelming love of God in what I say. Written form can be so misunderstood. I always say a lot of your tone and heart is lost when you write something rather than having a conversation about it where they can hear your heart and they can hear your tone. I just want to encourage people that are in that place where there may be defending the Word of God from a pure place on a social media platform or a site like yours and they're giving a comment on something where they are truly defending the Word of God. I just want to encourage them that please, season your words with the love and the grace of God. Be salt and light. Address wrongs in such a way that it leaves those that are caught in that lifestyle disarmed, really disarmed because I believe love disarms the devil. I want to address that too because you know, we live in a culture where those that are pushing these agendas that clearly are against the Word of God have this idea that if you disagree with me, you don't love me. I say to my congregation all the time, love is a person and love is not the absence of truth. I'm talking about Jesus. Jesus is the truth, and truth cannot be given without grace because grace is not a theology, grace is a person. And in Jesus, we have all three, we have love, truth, and grace. And to me, that is the Holy Trinity that every person must possess that is going to address an issue like this in a public forum.

Connect with Pastor Verna Brown

·         On Facebook

·         On Twitter

·         At soulharvest.org

·         On Instagram

 

Greenelines Host Information

Dr. Steve Greene is the Publisher and Executive Vice President of Charisma Media. Dr. Greene received his Ph.D. in marketing from Memphis State University. He has worked in television station management and worked directly with over 80 stations throughout the United States. He has worked in marketing capacities with McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Stanley Steemer. He has owned restaurants, a national advertising agency and a syndicated marketing research firm. Dr. Greene has served as the Dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Oral Roberts University. He is also the author of Love Leads, which dispels the myths and misconceptions many have come to accept about leadership.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Greene, connect with him on social media!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/drsgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSteveGreene

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.stevegreene/

Episode Notes

Greenelines with

Dr. Steve Greene

Guest: Verna Brown

Pastor Verna Brown, founder and senior leader of Soul Harvest Worship Center-Modesto, California, opens her heart about the struggles leaders face with polarizing topics in the church and our culture. She talks about the difficult transitions when children of God get stuck in a sinful lifestyle.

Hear how love disarms the devil. Follow the path of love Jesus walked before us.

Introduction

Dr. Steve Greene: I've got an unusual show for you, at least, let's say a different show. We're going to have a discussion with a pastor from California who is going through some of the difficulties of leadership. We're going to talk about that and we will also deal very specifically with some of the kinds of issues that are going on in every Facebook feed and all the social media and probably every nook and cranny throughout America on issues that are divisive. We are will going to talk specifically about how pastors deal with it, how we speak with love, but also speak truth. I want to welcome to the podcast Pastor Verna Brown. She's the pastor of Soul Harvest Worship Center in Modesto, California; right there in Central California, a place near and dear to my heart. I just love it there. But I also love this pastor and realize that the work that she's doing is so important as she does things like host the presence of God and reach the world for Christ as part of her mission. She's a powerhouse, preacher. I've listened to her preach online. She's a seer, a prophetess, a prophetic worship leader and an intercessor. With that combination, you can imagine the heart of this pastor. So Pastor Verna, welcome to the Greenelines podcast. Tell me about your church. Soul Harvest Church … how old is the church. How long have you been a pastor?

Pastor Verna Brown: We are in our 11th year. I'm a second generation, pastor, a PK and received the baton from my mom and dad, who planted here in the city of Modesto. The church was started in 2007 after my mother went home to be with the Lord.

Dr. Steve Greene: You’re also a PM, a pastor’s mom. How did you do that? Three generations of pastors have been under that roof.

Pastor Verna Brown: Yes, it's a legacy church, that's for sure.

Dr. Steve Greene: And the little ones, I know you have grandchildren. Are they holding the Bible yet and beginning to preach?

Pastor Verna Brown: They are holding the Bible. We're teaching them to pray and just carrying on the legacy of godliness and love for the Lord.

Dr. Steve Greene: I have a seven-year-old grandson that loves to get into the pulpit and preach. And he can tear it up. He says the same thing pretty much every time. But he's got a good message. And so much. Everyone in the church, people don't understand that they're all our children. They're all our grandchildren. And as you see, people, as you've said, being raised under the pulpit, that they under the pew, they get to grow up in the church and you see them grow and mature and be baptized and be filled with the Spirit, and then maybe come to a challenge in their lives that we have to deal with.

Pastor Verna Brown: You know, that that is so true. I wanted to speak to that a little bit because we recently, I would say in the last year, had a young man that we love very much. I met his parents when I was just beginning. In fact, his mom and dad gave me my very first chance to minister. And so we love them very much. But we saw him go out there for many years … I think was about a year after we started the church, he wandered in one night, broken and like the prodigal son. Of course, we were delighted to have him home and he began to thrive. He began to rise up and do great things for the Lord and walk alongside my own children. As you know, Steve, these children become your own. I'm a spiritual mother to him, as well as a dear friend of his family’s. So, we saw him just go go, go, go for God. He began to have a very large platform and then the enemy gets him like he does. He goes after our children, especially those that have a voice or any kind of public influence. We saw the enemy really get in there work on him. Then, of course, he walked away. So, I wanted to talk today about the pain, the hurt that we as spiritual moms and dads and pastors experience when these kinds of things happen and how we lead our leadership and our families. Our church is not just a corporation, it's a family. It’s how we lead a family through these difficult transitions and uphold a biblical standard without bashing. These young people that get caught in these simple lifestyles. I wanted to kind of preface too that I'm a PK … you said I'm a PM but I too walked away in something very similar and grew up in a church culture that was the kind of turn or burn, holiness or hell. I believe in both of those phrases. But the method of the message was so aggressive that it left children like myself who did the same thing, strayed, in a place where we didn't feel safe coming back to the house of God because of the method, I guess, that the message was delivered with. And so we recently saw something like that happen in our midst. It gave us an opportunity as leadership to do it different and, based on my background, I know that there is a whole demographic of prodigal sons and daughters that are out there that have wandered, that have strayed. I just wanted to encourage my brothers and sisters worldwide to get in the prayer closet, pray, seek the face of God. Find out what His heart is. Before we polarize a demographic of young people that are caught in some of these lifestyles.

Dr. Steve Greene: When you have someone on a platform, there's a different responsibility that you have, as does someone who's in the seats, being ministered to you by you and by your team, and the responsibility you have there versus the responsibility you have on the platform. Sometimes it puts you into a difficult opportunity to make a decision. And it's tough.

Pastor Verna Brown: It really is. As leaders, we're held to a higher standard. The example that we set for others gives them the green light or the red light for the direction for their lives. We love, and we love deeply. But ultimately, our allegiance is to the Word of God. It's difficult when we have to make a call like that. But ultimately, how we handle it is going to determine whether those that are caught in those types of lifestyles feel safe coming into the house of God or not. I think of Jesus when he caught when he came to the woman who was caught in adultery and He obviously stood up for her. He said he who is without sin may cast the first stone. And they could not do that. So, he did stand up for her as a person. But many who are in the grace camp stop there. We have to remember that Jesus is full of grace and truth. He addressed her sin. He said, go and sin no more. So, it's a fine line. We really do need to be people of truth. I grew up in a church which was mostly truth. I didn't hear a lot of grace, but we have to balance the two. So, Jesus addressed the sin. He said, go and sin no more. We as leaders must address them as well. I've told my congregation that Jesus didn't say go and start an agenda and change the law and then I'll come in agreement with you. He said, go and sin no more. So, our Jesus loves people. He defends people he delivers from sin.

Dr. Steve Greene: This type of sin is one that gets featured a lot in social media. There are many of them. We've all dealt with worship leaders who wanted to live with members of the band or they had a lifestyle that was questionable about maybe behaviors that we would frown upon. But the real issue is that there are so many varieties of sin today that are being noticed and being talked about and coming to the front and center of our discussions and our government and our lifestyles and our social media postings that it forces you quicker and with more severity to have to deal with it quickly to make the stand for truth.

Pastor Verna Brown: Yes, and we cannot be bashful. We cannot be put under the cultural pressure nor the peer pressure that is, unfortunately, integrating and permeating much of the church today. So, it is a fine line. We really must have the right tone. We must have the right heart. But we also must stand and declare the truth of God's Word and align with the plumb line of God's Word. We will be persecuted for it. You can say it the nicest way that you possibly can and there will still be someone that twists what you say and misunderstands your heart. So, I've taught my leaders that we want to be responsive and not reactive. We're first responders, we’re not first reactors. So, go into the prayer closet, pray about it, seek God. Anytime we put something out in writing, Steve, we, have to be careful to make sure that we put that ache in there. We do what we can to put the heart of the Father in it. I love what Paul said. He said when I'm absent from you and I write to you, I realized that my words come across very poignant and very sharp. Then he would end his letter with just how much he loved him and how affectionate he was for them and his heart for the church and his heart for those that he was bringing correction to. I see that zeal that I used to have as well. When we grow up in a certain environment, we tend to preach from what we know. There was a lot of correction that had to happen in my life for me to come to this place of truth and grace. But I have learned that if I'm going to deal with these very difficult topics, that I need to have the neverending, overwhelming love of God in what I say. Written form can be so misunderstood. I always say a lot of your tone and heart is lost when you write something rather than having a conversation about it where they can hear your heart and they can hear your tone. I just want to encourage people that are in that place where there may be defending the Word of God from a pure place on a social media platform or a site like yours and they're giving a comment on something where they are truly defending the Word of God. I just want to encourage them that please, season your words with the love and the grace of God. Be salt and light. Address wrongs in such a way that it leaves those that are caught in that lifestyle disarmed, really disarmed because I believe love disarms the devil. I want to address that too because you know, we live in a culture where those that are pushing these agendas that clearly are against the Word of God have this idea that if you disagree with me, you don't love me. I say to my congregation all the time, love is a person and love is not the absence of truth. I'm talking about Jesus. Jesus is the truth, and truth cannot be given without grace because grace is not a theology, grace is a person. And in Jesus, we have all three, we have love, truth, and grace. And to me, that is the Holy Trinity that every person must possess that is going to address an issue like this in a public forum.

Connect with Pastor Verna Brown

·         On Facebook

·         On Twitter

·         At soulharvest.org

·         On Instagram

 

Greenelines Host Information

Dr. Steve Greene is the Publisher and Executive Vice President of Charisma Media. Dr. Greene received his Ph.D. in marketing from Memphis State University. He has worked in television station management and worked directly with over 80 stations throughout the United States. He has worked in marketing capacities with McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Stanley Steemer. He has owned restaurants, a national advertising agency and a syndicated marketing research firm. Dr. Greene has served as the Dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Oral Roberts University. He is also the author of Love Leads, which dispels the myths and misconceptions many have come to accept about leadership.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Greene, connect with him on social media!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/drsgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSteveGreene

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.stevegreene/

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Follow the Path of Love with Verna Brown