Showing posts from January, 2015

Sharing your faith... with Christians

Typically we think of those outside the Body of Christ when we talk about sharing our faith - but Christians need to hear "the reason for your hope" too.  Why?

1.  Because Life is Hard - there are believers in every congregation who are on the brink.  Their circumstances are causing them to wrestle with their faith.  Each Christian will have those moments when he wonders, "Where is God in this?"  Parents who helplessly watch their child fight for life... the wife whose husband of 20 years rips their family apart chasing after an invading interest... young people whose professors are ripping apart all things metaphysical... life is hard.  Sometimes our faith is strong and comforting.  Sometimes our faith is like moth-eaten, stale fabric that has spent too many winters in the back of an overcrowded closet.

Broken people need you to share your faith with them.  Many of those "victims of life" are one disaster away from checking out.  Be a lifeline... an encou…

Quiet Time - You need one

Since preachers write studies and sermons each week, we are tempted to forgo a daily devotional life. "It isn't like we aren't in the Word..." but it is important that we find nourishment too - beyond the typical wrestling with a text for others.  We NEED the discipline of a daily quiet time.  What's more, we need the intimacy of it.
Don't fall into the trap of reading the Bible as a textbook.  At the risk of sounding hokey, allow the Word to wash over you.  Invite God to change your thinking.  Ask Him to use His Word to shape you into the image of Christ.  Even ask Him to help you LOVE His Word.
What are the benefits?  A brilliant restfulness in the knowledge of God, His Will, and purposes.  As you confide in God (through prayer) you will find it less important to confide in man.  Your heart will change as God slowly and yet methodically transforms your mind.  You will better minister God's truth to others too - for the insight we need for life is only f…

Second and satisfied

As I enjoyed the fellowship of another Free Will Baptist pastor, the subject of church staff, particularly associate pastors, came up.  We talked about how uncomfortable it is when someone you hired to help you subtly undermines you.  I told my friend, "It would be nice if a prominent associate in our ranks would write a book called 'Second and satisfied... how to flourish in the role of the associate."

Some of us unnecessarily view the role of the associate pastor as a stepping stone to the pastorate. When I graduated Bible College, I chose this path to the pastorate because I wanted to learn, hands-on, from a veteran.  There's nothing wrong with that.  But sometimes the associate gets caught in the cross-hairs of church dysfunction - where lay-leaders begin to promote or prefer the "new guy" (the associate) over the "old guy" (the senior pastor.)  Maybe, as in my case, the associate has definite opinions about the pastorate and doesn't shy a…

Rogue Leaders

Rogue leaders... no matter how "cool" it may sound, being rogue is anything BUT cool.  Chafed by convention, these self-willed men behave as if they are above accountability... that God speaks to them and uses them in ways no one else could understand, and therefore, dare not question. What are some of the common characteristics of rogue leaders?

1.  The Rogue Leader surrounds himself with "Yes men."  Though scripture says there is "safety in a multitude of counselors," the rogue leader has fallen into the trap of Rehoboam - wanting advisers who always agree with him - who never challenge or question. Constructive criticism is always perceived as a personal attack.  Those who differ with them are quickly marginalized and ostracized. 
2.  The Rogue Leader is driven by ego rather than integrity.  He listens to the wrong people. Those who stroke him are those he values.
3.  The Rogue Leader uses the well-crafted apology as if it were a magic-wand.  He would rat…

Basic Organizational tid-bits for a young pastor

When new to the ministry, it is hard to think with "intentionality."  It takes time to think clearly when you are doing your best to survive the daily demands of the pastorate.  Here are a few things you will be glad you got right from an organizational perspective:

1) Catalog your messages - Keep good notes on your sermons, illustrations, and speaking opportunities.  Later in your ministry you will appreciate and benefit from the groundwork you have laid in previous messages.  Date and file every sermon, notate where you have preached it, evaluate each sermon when you are finished (a brief note at the end of your sermon with any observations that will be helpful the next time you use it.)

2) Record statistics - Keep good stats on all your services.  You will be able - at a glance - to analyze the direction of the church, what areas need improvement, what changes need to be made. You will be able to determine patterns in attendance that might encourage you after a low day.  Yo…