Posts

Winning the battle against Pastoral 'Burnout'

Exhausted?  Discouraged?  Feeling like your ministry doesn't matter?  I understand you.  I know what it is to spend yourself in service only to feel 'it is all for naught.'  For some, these feelings pass rather quickly - a card in the mail, an invite to lunch or a golf outing is all it takes to ward off  the impending 'doom' the minister often feels.  For others, despair is like an old friend that shows up every Monday with questions that seem more like accusations- "How'd it go yesterday?  Too bad no one got saved yesterday. Wonder why so many missed?  Maybe your best days are behind you?"
What should we do to stave off ministry doldrums?
Re-Center yourself - Are you spending time in God's Word like you ought (and I'm not referring to sermon prep)? Have you opened your heart to the Lord and quieted yourself in Him? 1 Samuel 30 shows the importance of the man of God 'encouraging himself in the Lord.' God will probe you, like He did in 1…

How to have a successful 'Friend Day'

Friend Days are an excellent way to boost attendance. More than ‘a one-time shot in the arm,’ these days should be a piece of the growth-strategy-puzzle for your church.

Why Friend Day is successful
Statistics don’t lie – the vast majority of people who visit a church are the result of a friend inviting them. Of those with no previous church affiliation, most (82%) say they would visit a church IF invited by a friendA Clear Objective – Friend Days work because both, the church and those invited to attend, understand the purpose of the event. By making it a bi-annual event on the calendar, the church will focus prayer and energy on the effort. Every time the announcement is made, people begin to think about who they can invite. By having a meal and a special invite, friends think they are painlessly doing us a favor by coming, all the while enjoying the fellowship of a loving, positive congregation.It restocks the visitation “pond” with viable prospects – Culture is forcing a chang…

3 Tips for Preachers

Weekly we are inundated with sales brochures, materials, and conferences promoting some new strategy for pastoral success.  While many of these things are helpful, sometimes the message is lost in all their words.  If I could encourage you to make 3 small changes to your preaching, I would challenge you to:

1.  Preach Passionately - You must feel your sermons before you can expect others to be moved by them.  No, I am not encouraging you to turn on the tears like one might flip a light-switch, but I am encouraging you to ask God to ignite a zeal in your heart for the messages you bring.  Feel it.  Let it effect you emotionally.  Lord, deliver us from dry preaching.

2.  Preach Pointedly - Stay on point.  When your people leave they need to have a good grasp of the 'Big Idea' of the sermon.  What is the one thing you want them to remember?  Could they explain in one sentence what the message was about?  What action or step can they take to apply the message? Without a point, the b…

Why I believe Pastoral Visitation is STILL important

Thankfully I was taught the importance of in-home visitation from my Pastor 28 years ago. I'll never forget how he trained me to approach virtual strangers with the timeless appeal of the gospel, or to share time with a shut-in, or pursue a straying member.  While our culture no longer views pastoral visitation kindly, I still believe it should be a priority for most Free Will Baptist preachers.  Why?

1.  Because visitation allows you to build relationships - and relationship building is key to successful ministry. You will have an opportunity to lead people to Jesus through relationship.  You will be able to minister to hurting, lonely people through relationship.  You will be able to offer that timely piece of advice or counsel that might be life-changing because you took the time to build relationship.

2.  Because so few participate in visitation these days.  Many outside the South are not accustomed to preachers dropping by.  Some don't appreciate it and it would be good t…

Self-scouting

Self-scouting is a tool used by football coaches that helps them discover tendencies in their team... weaknesses that can be exploited by their opponent.  Self-scouting is a helpful tool for preachers too. Studying yourself as you preach will be eye-opening... helping you identify those nervous tics, oft-repeated/overused words, distracting gestures, poor grammar.  The more honest you are in your evaluation, the more helpful it can be.

However, there ARE dangers to self-scouting too.  Here are 4 of the most obvious:
1) Perfectionism - You will never be perfect and you are going to frustrate yourself and those who follow you by being too hard on yourself.  Perfectionism will ooze out of your pores when aren't even aware of it - image will become too important - you will call your observations of others "honest," but the people around you will see you as "harsh."
2) Myopia - You might become everything you think a preacher or leader SHOULD be, but your perspectives…

5 gifts every man should give his children

"Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth." Psalm 127:4


I am so thankful for my arrows. They are doing what "arrows" are created to do - inflicting harm to the enemy. Raising children to be used in the work of the Lord is the call of every Christian parent, but oftentimes we father's feel overwhelmed just doing our best to keep our heads above water. The "daily grind" becomes THE excuse for leaving the task of "nurturing" and "admonishing" our children to our wives. In the end, however, God will judge us men for how we have led our families.

God has given us these gifts and expects us to release them (as arrows) into spiritual battle. What are 5 gifts you should give your children that will help them "fight the good fight of faith?"

1) Fair expectations - I owe my children a heartfelt apology for the times I expected perfection - the times I was more concerned with image than integrity…

Developing the Leaders around you

Good leaders aren't just a steady hand in an hour of crisis - they are constantly on the search for potential leaders they can pull into their circle and develop.  Every pastor should have a leadership team through which he runs the business of the church.  What are the benefits to such a team?

1) It will give you an opportunity to share your vision with those who are most likely to help it become reality.  Face it - you can do very little without the help of others.

2) It will foster a spirit of transparency and unity.  Sometimes people are guilty of "leading from behind."  They have a misinformed opinion about where the church is headed or how decisions are made.  Bringing others into the decision making process will quell some of the squawking that breeds division.

3) It will develop in your leaders the importance of teamwork and group-think.  Have you ever thought that some of the "freelancing" people do in church life may be caused by the way they perceive th…