Tag: Ministry (home)

Like every girl in a youth group, she wanted to marry a pastor and avoid marrying a missionary.

permalink source: Glen, 1996
tags: Church, Ministry

The tough part of a preacher's job is that the congregation don't really know what they want, but they know for certain what they don't want.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Leadership, Ministry

I have never assumed that the people I talk to are so certain it is true that the question is not still very much alive for them. Is anyone ever that certain? I assume always that they want to know if it is true as much as I do myself. I assume that even the most religiously disillusioned and negative among them want it to be true as much as the religiously devout do--want to be shown it, want it to be made somehow flesh before their eyes, want to be able to rejoice in it for themselves. And it is because, at some level of their being, their wanting is so great that you must be so careful what you give them, and because your wanting to give it is so great, too. If you are any good at all with words--if you are any good at all as an actor, with an actor's power to move people, to fascinate people, to move them sometimes even to tearsÑyou have to be so careful not to make it just a performance, however powerful. You have to remember that it is not what you are saying that is important for them to believe in, but only God. You have to remember how Jesus consigned to the depths of the sea those who cause any who believe in him to sin and how one sin you might easily cause them is to believe in yourself instead. I wrote my sermons at great length and with great care. I learned to write in shorter, simpler sentences that I had in my books because a listener loses track otherwise. Though I never dared step into the pul-[PAGE BREAK]pit without everything, including the Lord's Prayer and the announcements, fully written out in front of me, I learned to be free enough of my manuscript to be able to read it without appearing to do so. I put on the best performance I could, in other words, and preached with all the eloquence I could muster, not only to them, of course, but also to myself because much of what preachers say they say to themselves, to keep their own spirits up, to answer their own souls' questionsÑthe sermon as whistling in the dark. There were times when I felt that something better and truer than my words was speaking through my words. There were times when I felt they were only words. There were times when the words seemed to fall dead from my lips and other times when I could see only too clearly how effective they were being. And maybe I entirely misjuged which time was which. I don't know. I know only that Barth is surely right when he says that no one risks the wrath of God more perilously than the minister in the pulpit, and yet at the same time I know that, as a minister, there are few places I would rather be. The excitement and challenge of it. The chance that something better than what you are can happen, that something more than you know can be spoken and heard.

permalink source: Frederick Buechner, Now & Then p.70-71
tags: Apologetics, Communication, Hope, Ministry, Preaching

Xvxn though my typxwritxr is an old modxl, it works quitx wxll xxcxpt for onx kxy. Xvxn though thxrx arx 46 kxys that work wxll xnough, just onx not working makxs all thx diffxrxncx in lxgibility, corrxctnxss, and xffxctivxnxss. Somxtimxs it sxxms that our group is somxwhat likx my typxwritxr, not all thx kxys function propxrly. You think, "I am only onx pxrson. Thxy don't nxxd mx. I can slack and it won't makx much diffxrxncx." But, you sxx, Christ has madx us diffxrxntly. Xach of us is uniqux, and xach of us is rxquirxd. It is writtxn, "God has arrangxd thx parts in thx Body, xvxry onx of thxm, just as Hx wantxd thxm to bx." And also, "Thx wholx body, joinxd and hxld togxthxr by xvxry supporting ligamxnt, grows and builds itsxlf up in lovx as xach part doxs its work." So thx nxxt timx you think you arx only onx pxrson and that your xffort is not nxxdxd, rxmxmbxr my old typxwritxr and say to yoursxlf, "I am a kxy pxrson madx by God for a purposx and am nxxdxd vxry much."

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Church, Community, Ministry, Motivation, Teams

There is a difference between being called and being driven

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Destiny, Excellence, Perfectionism, Ministry

Reverend Henry Ward Beecher entered Plymouth Church one Sunday and found several letters awaiting him. He opened one and found it contained the single word, "Fool." Quietly and with becoming seriousness he shared the letter with the congregation and announced: "I have known many an instance of a person writing a letter and forgetting to sign his name, but this is the only instance I have ever known of someone signing his name and forgetting to write the letter."

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Insults, Criticism, Ministry

Unamuno, the Spanish philosopher, tells about the Roman aqueduct at Segovia, in his native Spain. It was built in 109 A.D. For eighteen hundred years, it carried cool water from the mountains to the hot and thirsty city. Nearly sixty generations of men drank from its flow. Then came another generation, a recent one, who said, "This aqueduct is so great a marvel that it ought to be preserved for our children, as a museum piece. We shall relieve it of its centuries-long labor." They did; they laid modern iron pipes. They gave the ancient bricks and mortar a reverent rest. And the aqueduct began to fall apart. The sun beating on the dry mortar caused it to crumble. The bricks and stone sagged and threatened to fall. What ages of service could not destroy idleness disintegrated.

permalink source: Resource, Sept/Oct, 1992, p. 4.
tags: Service, Work, Ministry

So, the next time someone asks you what you do, just give them the ABC's of the pastor's task. A pastor is … Ambassador, advocate, administrator, baptizer, building usage consultant, confidante, confronter, community builder, discussion leader, encourager, emotional baggage handler, funeral companion, grace giver, grounds inspector, historian, interpreter, justice seeker, knowledge dispenser, latent gift discoverer, mediator, missionary, nurturer, organizer, opportunity spotter, public speaker, problem solver, questioner, quarterback, reviewer, Robert's Ruler, spokesperson, spiritual director, teacher, trainer, unifier, utility player, volunteer coordinator, vision caster, wedding ceremony presider, X-traordinary ingenuity with limited resources (like figuring out a way to use the letter X), youth advocate, yule celebrator, zeal stoker, zoo keeper (okay, so it just seems that way).

permalink source: Marshall Shelley, Leadership Journal editor
tags: Ministry

Around A.D. 400, famous North African bishop Augustine described a pastor's job: "Disturbers are to be rebuked, the low-spirited to be encouraged, the infirm to be supported, objectors confuted, the treacherous guarded against, the unskilled taught, the lazy aroused, the contentious restrained, the haughty repressed, litigants pacified, the poor relieved, the oppressed liberated, the good approved, the evil borne with, and all are to be loved."

permalink source: Augustine
tags: Ministry

Every pastor has gotten the question. Sometimes it's direct: "So what exactly does a pastor do?" Other times it comes indirectly: "Would you be willing to … (fill in the blank)?" A couple weeks ago, I heard a beautifully succinct summation of pastoring. I was worshiping with a congregation made up mostly of twenty-somethings who had not been raised in church. As the service began, the pastor introduced himself and his calling. "My name is Tom," he said. "I'm a pastor here. It's my job to pray for you, whether you're a Christian or not, and to talk with you about Jesus, whether you're a Christian or not. That's what I do."

permalink source: Marshall Shelley, Leadership Journal editor
tags: Ministry

On my first pastorate, I had requested $20 per month from the board to pay someone to mow the lawn and care for the flowers on the church's property. "The former pastor did that himself," the oldest board member quickly pointed out. "I know," I replied, "But he doesn't want to do it any more."

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Ministry, Delegation, Boundaries

The Principle of Revolution A revolution is a complete & forcible overthrow and replacement of that which is oppressing you; a sudden, complete, or radical change in something. A revolution is also a 360 degree turn back to a starting point. You have to turn 180 degrees before you can complete a 360 degree turn. Repentance is a 180 degree turn from that which oppresses you. The 360 degree turn takes place when you go back to oppression and bring others out of what Jesus deilvered you from.

permalink source: Brad Riley @ RU 2001 "Perpetuating Ministry"
tags: Ministry, Repentance

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Equipping and Developing, Part 2 By Dr. Dan Reiland ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Peter Drucker said in his excellent book, "Managing the Non-Profit Organization", "Any organization develops people; it has no choice. It either helps them grow or stunts them. It either forms them or it deforms them." Whew! ...that is a lot to think about and it's a huge responsibility. In the last edition of "The Pastor's Coach" I introduced the idea of two top leadership skills, equipping and developing, and the difference between the two. In part one, we focused on equipping. If you have not read it, it will be most helpful to read it before you read this article. This edition will cover developing - or at least take a running stab at it - it's quite a comprehensive topic. In review, I said that: + Equipping is preparing someone for a specific ministry task. + Developing is investing in someone for their personal growth. + Equipping is transactional - it's an exchange. + Developing is transformational - it's a gift. + Equipping is based largely on the church's agenda. + Developing is based largely on the person's agenda. Developing is truly an art, but you need not feel like you are the artist because God, the Master Artist, is in on the process. If you'll pick up the paint brushes, and ask Him to guide your hands, you'll be amazed at the masterpieces you'll be a part of creating. Of course, these masterpieces are not to be hung on the walls of your church. They are people who are set free (empowered) to do significant ministry. Developing is investing in someone for their personal growth. It is often best done in a small group setting, but many approaches can work. It's not just another super-charged twist on discipleship. It's a bigger idea than the discipleship we are commonly accustomed to in North American churches. You can complete a discipleship course, but you are never finished developing as a person. In general, Christendom has done a good job in the entry-level stuff - basics in the faith and even some deeper spiritual life material. But the majority of material seems to stop short of life skills - real life skills necessary to successfully negotiate life and integrate our biblical principles into that daily life. We on the INJOY team focus on one large area of development - leadership - which, of course, is a major bias in my work and writing. My passion and focus on leadership as a focal point of development is because it is the largest and most encompassing of the disciplines. Without leadership we don't have the influence needed to draw others into spiritual life and community. Developing is a gift - it's transformational in nature. The artist paints a picture without demanding performance. There is a huge metamorphosis that takes place between the paints on the pallet and the finished painting that communicates its own expression of beauty. The church leader who develops others does not do so with the sole and ultimate goal of a certain response in exchange. It carries with it more of an empowering process that sets the person free to live and lead as God directs. It's about life change. This is not a mystical, weird, "what the heck is he talking about?" process. For those of you who know me, you know I'm not a mystical guy - I'm practical and down to earth. What I want to communicate is that if you will make investments in someone's personal growth in the form of a gift, with no strings attached, then God has an opportunity to use them in a unique and powerful way. There is something about a gift that is powerful - the greater the gift, the greater the unleashing of power. Christ Himself is the ultimate gift and the ultimate power. Bottom line...if you have developed someone - they are a changed person. And they are not indebted to you, but to God. Developing is based largely on the person's agenda. (What's best for them - in relationship to the Kingdom of God.) Expediency, and sometimes panic, causes us to want to show people how to teach Sunday School and work in the parking lot. That is all well and good - gotta have both. That's equipping. It's good stuff! But developing delivers what people need - life skills such as managing healthy relationships, embracing wisdom, cultivating creativity, living out true priorities, and deepening personal integrity (all components of leadership!). We tend to want to jump ahead to classes like "how to survive your teenagers," or "how to get a raise in salary." These are great; but if detached from a larger developmental vantage point, they are just another class. There are a number of "don'ts" when it comes to developing people, such as: * Don't attempt to build on people's weaknesses. Schools do it far too often. They tend (sometimes of necessity) to focus on what kids can't do. Instead of saying "Sally seems to have a gift in writing, she should pursue it more," many educators say, "Sally is not doing well in math, she must do more math." Poor choice. The school doesn't know what Sally will be doing in twenty years, but we have an eternal perspective that serves as a guiding compass in our developmental endeavors. As I work with church leaders, it is interesting to me that they can all quickly recite what they are not good at, but struggle naming their dominant, developed and flourishing gifts. Hmmmm. * Don't crown the princes and princesses. In the past I have been guilty of touting my trophies, and have been convicted by the Lord. Have you ever done that? You know, lifting up the handsome and powerful people as the perfect model? Inferring that their personality type and leadership style is the preferred one. Inferring also that anything short of that is inadequate. This not only robs God of His due glory by implying that He isn't in on the process, but also potentially sets us up for sins such as envy, idolatry and covetousness. Be thankful for your princes; be grateful for your princesses - but don't hold regular coronation services. * Don't judge a book by its cover. This is a mirror idea to the prince/princess concept. When I think about Jesus' choices of people to develop, He surely didn't judge a book by its cover. Take, for example, Peter, Levi, and Thomas. You've got to be kidding; the church boss, the church treasurer and the church wet blanket all in the "core" group!? Think of what you'd hear them saying: "Do it my way," "We can't afford it," and "We've never done it that way before." What was Jesus thinking? He was thinking what the Father willed! He looked at the heart and saw the potential. (I wanted to include Judas as the church organist, but thought that might be pushing my luck.) * Don't try to develop everyone. Ok, time to add some balance to the last two points. You can't invest leadership development into everyone in your church. Some don't want it; some aren't ready; not everyone will connect and respond to you; and others cannot pass on what you invest. Jesus didn't invest in everyone. Jesus chose twelve, and of the twelve, three. (And didn't that cause a stink? Been there?) Choose wisely. So what are a few of the "do's" of developing? The following are several key guidelines to follow within the specific context of spiritual leadership. * The church leaders who desire to develop others must continue to develop as leaders themselves. You can't develop others in ways you haven't developed yourself. And even if you are "older and wiser" than those you are developing, you will lose the cutting edge of relevance and influence if you stop peddling and try to coast. We typically begin to coast at the top of our game, (at the top of a hill) but eventually you come to the bottom of the hill and it's time to go up again. Keep peddling. * It's essential to know what a leader looks like before you attempt to develop one. The great artists of the Renaissance saw the image before they began painting. The great developers do the same. However, when Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel he wasn't concerned about reproducing another. In contrast, when you and I develop someone, even though no two are exactly the same, we must have a reproducible blueprint to follow that includes both character traits and skill sets. In the context of leadership, I Timothy 3 is a good place to start. * Developers must be able to see people as they can become, not just as they are. I'm so glad my first church had eyes of faith. I served as an associate/youth pastor at Lakeside Wesleyan Church, a small and in many ways modest church, but the pastor, Richard Lauby, dared to develop me in my raw stages. Those poor people, they got it all. My first sermon in 1979, my first stupid idea (I'm not even telling ya what it was), my first conflict with a board member, my first attempt at a youth fund raiser selling light bulbs. Yes, light bulbs. The problem was the people we sold them to preferred the light bulbs not be broken upon delivery. Rich, thank you for launching the beginnings of my development as a leader! Thanks for taking a risk on me. * Developing people is a long-term process not a short-term project. Developing people is not an add water and stir process. It takes time. It's not a "I can name that tune in __ seconds" game. We don't sing just the first and third stanzas. We sing the whole song! * Include both formal structures and informal connections in your developmental processes. Without the formal structures, the time and priority pressures of life will soon crowd out the existence of your developmental process. Without the informal connections the process is potentially void of relational warmth and can become too mechanical and ridged. It is necessary to center your meetings around set times, objectives, and curriculum. But it is equally important to "do life" together. (See Jesus' model.) Share yourself, but be sure to enjoy the process and have some fun along the way. It's often in the informal times that the most learning takes place. * Personalize the process of development as much as possible. Structures, processes, curriculum, and measurable outcomes are all needed and important. But as much as possible, personalize each person's experience. Find out what's on their mind and heart. What makes them tick? What are their strengths and passions? What do they dream about? How do they envision their ministry partnership? What's their preferred style of learning and communication? Ask questions, follow-up, challenge and pray. If you don't equip people, your church won't get off the ground. If you equip your people, your church will fly. If you develop them as well, your church will soar!!

permalink source: Dan Reiland
tags: Ministry, Mentoring

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Equipping and Developing, Part 1 By Dr. Dan Reiland ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: In my travels to churches I continuously look for specific skills in the leaders that have a direct impact on the church's strength and health - resulting in stable growth. It's a great study, and sometime I'll share with you the top things that I believe hinder or even prevent churches from health and growth. But let's focus on the positive this time! The skills I look for are separate from personality and leadership style. They are skills that any church leader must master. In previous editions of "The Pastor's Coach" I wrote about two such skills, using the topics of gathering and recruiting. If we were to draw an imaginary line in the sand that separates churches with modest potential and churches with significant potential (as subjective as that may sound), two leadership skills jump to the top of the list - they are equipping and developing people. At first glance they may appear to be similar, but they aren't. The two skills are related and can overlap, but they are not the same. You may also be tempted to think that it's semantics...but it's far more than mere word choice when it comes to measurable outcomes. The two particular words I've chosen aren't as important themselves as the difference between the two concepts. After you're confident your staff and key leaders know the difference, and practice both, then feel free to change the words to anything you wish! One more opening thought...equipping and developing often overlap in practice, but it's wise to know the difference between the two before you combine the efforts in order to ensure you accomplish both. These are the core differences between equipping and developing within the context of the local church: + Equipping is preparing someone for a specific ministry task. + Developing is investing in someone for their personal growth. + Equipping is transactional - it's an exchange. + Developing is transformational - it's a gift. + Equipping is based largely on the church's agenda. + Developing is based largely on the person's agenda. This edition will focus on equipping; the next edition of "The Pastor's Coach" will cover developing. Equipping is preparing someone for a specific ministry task. The equipping skill is as clear-cut as preparing a Sunday School teacher, for example, to leading a child to Christ, to training the teacher to tell stories in a captivating way, to teaching how to communicate love to each child. These equipping skills are especially important when you have a room full of wide-eyed, squirmy little kids with short attention spans! Equipping is transactional - it's an exchange. When my kids go to their favorite fast food restaurant, they give the cashier a few dollars and in exchange they get chicken fingers (that resemble and taste like particle board covered with fried brown spackle), fries and a soft drink. It's an exchange. There is nothing wrong with the exchange system; most of life is based upon it. In the next edition of "The Pastor's Coach" we'll see that though transaction is good, development is still needed and is extremely important. For now, we'll focus on the value of exchange. It looks like this. I'll train you to be a great Sunday School teacher, if you'll teach Sunday School. It's a productive win-win. Equipping is based largely on the church's agenda. That's Ok! If it's a Great Commission Church - it's God's agenda too! But we must be careful not to allow equipping to become so inward focused that the church becomes institutionalized and concentrates on protecting its turf, rather than taking new territory for Christ. Equipping is non-negotiable for any church to be healthy, biblical, and realize solid growth. Ephesians 4:11-12 is clear. God never intended the pastor(s) and a few key leaders to do all the work. The following guidelines will assist you in becoming better at equipping your people. They are written with the assumption that you understand the important pre-requisite of getting the right people in the right ministries, according to their gifts and passions. Before we go through the guidelines, I want to acknowledge that the well known Ephesians 4:11-16 passage communicates a larger idea than merely training for ministry. I believe that it deals with the wholeness of the person, their maturity as a believer, and how they connect within a unified body of Christ. This deeper level is part of the developing process. But for the sake of practicality, and to avoid writing an online book, let's just hit the practical aspects. * Determine the specific ministry objectives for each ministry. Effective equipping begins by having the end results in mind. Let's continue to use our illustration of the Sunday School teacher. It's important to know what values you want the children to embrace in order to properly equip the teacher. If you just want the kids to behave, to not destroy the room or wound each other until church is over, that would shape the training one way. But if you want the kids to embrace specific biblical principles that result in life change, that would head the equipping process in a completely different direction. Every ministry works the same way. Let's look at one more - small group leaders, for example. If you want them to host a light Bible study with the emphasis on a "cozy community," that process would look very different from equipping that is designed for a small group to reach their community, develop an apprentice, and multiply in 18 months. Far too many churches use generic equipping processes. Generic equipping is better than no equipping, but beginning with the end in mind is light years ahead of the generic approach. * Identify the required skills and basic competencies. Back to the Sunday School teacher. You've determined, for example, that you want the kids to trust Jesus as their Savior. The next question is: What skills and core competencies are needed so a teacher can lead a child to Christ? Child evangelism then becomes part of the training. Or, for example, you want the kids to fall in love with the Word of God. Engaging and captivating storytelling then becomes part of the equipping process. In contrast, in the earlier example of keeping the kids quiet until church is over, you would equip the teachers for crowd control and guerilla warfare. * Recognize the cultural and philosophical biases. Let's change the example from children's Sunday School to evangelism. The cultural and philosophical biases of your community or church make a significant difference in your equipping approach. There are some churches and communities where a more direct approach is positive, acceptable, and productive - such as Evangelism Explosion (and new variations). In other environments it would be a complete turn off to both the church members and those you witness to. In contrast, the softer, more indirect and relational approach of "Contagious Christianity" would be powerful in some churches and too watered down in others. Don't just jump on the newest training program available. The differences between a Charismatic church in New York and a Baptist church in Alabama are substantial. Know your cultural and philosophical biases and design your training accordingly. * Provide the appropriate training material. The training material should be selected according to what we have covered so far. Your end objectives, the skills and competencies, and the cultural and philosophical biases will determine your training material. Let me be blunt and to the point here. Buy the best material available - don't cheap out! Don't focus on saving money - invest in world class training. * Use only the most qualified personnel to do the training. In taking guitar lessons I've learned that there are gifted musicians and gifted teachers, and rarely are they the same person. The gifted musician loves to show you how good he is. The gifted teacher loves to show you how good you are. Be careful of this syndrome in the church. We often "promote" our best children's teachers to be a department leader. They were incredible teachers but terrible directors. Let the teachers teach! We promote our best small group leaders to be small group coaches and directors, and they struggle and lose motivation. Let the small group leaders lead small groups. We promote the best usher in the church (and I mean can he/she ever ush!) to be the usher captain and they soon burn out from the organizational responsibilities and quit. Let 'em ush! There are people in your church who are gifted teachers and trainers. Find them and let them do what God has designed them to do! As long as they have a passion for that ministry - you're good to go. * Include on the job training. Classroom training is important and necessary, but insufficient on its own. Be sure to include some "O.J.T." under the mentorship of someone experienced and gifted in the ministry area they are preparing for. A small group leader, for example, needs to apprentice under a good small group leader and "practice" leading the group while the mentor leader is present to guide and coach. * Provide the necessary tools and resources for each person to accomplish their particular ministry. Some things are obvious and taken for granted, such as the worship team needing microphones and sound equipment - stuff that actually works and doesn't squeal and squawk with a sound that's a cross between a wounded pig and an angry sea lion. But other ministries are less obvious and suffer because of the lack of needed tools, equipment, and resources. It's one thing to "make due" in a pinch; we've all have to do that. It's quite another to adopt substandard as a way of ministry. One church tried to save money by reusing old crafts and sharing curriculum. Over 70% of the teachers quit every year! Some of your best volunteers will quit too if you don't get them the stuff they need. * Give generous amounts of communication, praise and appreciation. One pastor asked me what appreciation had to do with the equipping process! Everything! From how long they'll stay in that ministry (which affects the depth of your key leaders) to morale and ultimate measurable outcomes. As I travel to churches one of the common complaints I hear is one of lack of communication. And church leader, you may feel like you communicate 'til you're blue in the face, but if your team perceives that you don't - you don't. If they feel out of the loop, that is often translated as you don't really care about them and you only care about getting "your" ministry done. This is lethal and poisons the process. Make things such as expectations, dates, new programs, changes, etc., simple and clear. Let the people know how much you appreciate them. And like our Moms taught us when we were about 3 years old...say "thank you." Say it often and say it with an enthusiastic heart.

permalink source: Dan Reiland
tags: Ministry, Mentoring

WHOSE HAND ARE YOU IN? A basketball in my hands is worth about $19 A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million It depends whose hands it's in A baseball in my hands is worth about $6 A baseball in Mark McGuire's hands is worth $19 million It depends whose hands it's in A tennis racket is only a hobby in my hands A tennis racket in Pete Sampras' hands is a Wimbledon Championship It depends whose hands it's in A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea It depends whose hands it's in A sling shot in a kids hands is a toy A sling shot in David's hand is a mighty weapon. It depends whose hands it's in Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God's hands will feed thousands It depends whose hands it's in Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse; Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for the entire world. It depends whose hands it's in As you see now, many things depend on whose hands it's in. So put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God's hands because It depends whose hands it's in.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Humility, Ministry, Skill

Wayne Cordeiro Senior Pastor New Hope Christian Fellowship Honolulu, HI 1. Equipping team leaders is not about creating or making leaders but rather about releasing people's dreams about what they can be and do for God. 2. Leading teams involves a commitment to make "lateral moves" natural. If members of your team are in a place that's not a fit ... PROMOTE them laterally to another role or another team that is a better match with God's design in their life. 3. Team goals and success are not about "getting across the line first" but rather about how many people the team brings with them. 4. The team leader is not called to be a JUDGE of character but rather a COACH of character. Mike Slaughter Senior Pastor Ginghamsburg Church Tipp City, OH 1. The 90's model of team leadership was focused on methodologies driven by business models. The rising models are focused on the character and soul of leadership. 2. Core of team leadership has moved beyond speed and information to spirit and wisdom. 3. The first purpose of team leaders is to demonstrate the presence of the rule of God. 4. Leaders of teams need coaches/ trainers that are selected based on "contagious spirit," integrity, gifts, ability to influence and replicate the church's DNA. 5. Team leaders are inspired, informed, empowered and engaged. George Barna Barna Research Group Barna 2001 Seminar Ventura, CA Team-based leadership is superior to individual-based leadership because it: 1. is biblical. 2. eliminates the leader as super-hero model. 3. models true community. 4. reduces stress among leaders. 5. benefits from synergy. 6. increases innovation. 7. facilitates joy through service. 8. frees people to use their gifts as God intended. 9. allows numerical growth without centralization. 10. reduces the church's dependence upon the Senior Pastor.

permalink source: e.quipper Feb-Mar 2001
tags: Ministry, Teams

DOING CHURCH AS A TEAM Last week, prior to the Large Church Team forums, Leadership Training Network held a briefing for equipping church teams. For two days, church teams shared their experiences and further explored the philosophy, structure and leadership challenges of being an equipping church. One of the resources for the briefing was Wayne Cordeiro, senior pastor of the 6,500-member New Hope Christian Fellowship O'ahu in Honolulu, Hawaii. Cordeiro and New Hope have become known for their approach to leadership and ministry multiplication using the fractal model to create and deploy teams. According to Cordeiro, Ephesians 4 is not just a suggestion of an equipping church but a mandate from God; pastors have a responsibility to equip the people for ministry rather than do the ministry. A key first step is to identify leaders already resident in the church. Then, in order for them to reach their full maturity in Christ, they must be involved; they must have an opportunity to be released in ministry. New Hope uses a process called DESIGN to help people discover their gifts, talents and areas of service. D is for desire or passion; E for experience; S is for spiritual gifts; I is for individual style or temperament; G is for growth in Christ; and, N is for natural abilities. Fractals are simply repeating patterns in organic matters. New Hope uses a six-step process of developing new ministry teams: STEP 1 is to draw a circle that will encompass the responsibilities of the ministry. STEP 2 is to divide the circle into four equal quadrants. In the "crosshairs" of the circle, write the purpose, goal or objective of the ministry. STEP 3 involves identifying the four essential elements of the ministry that describe its purpose. For example, New Hope's church purpose is evangelism, education, equipping and extension. STEP 4 is to determine what gift mix and talents are required for the leader in each of the four areas. STEP 5 is to identify leaders for each of the areas. STEP 6 is to enlist them. "A leader will always be measured by what others do because of what he has done. When we talk about teams, it is not a buzzword or some new thing. It doesn't start with a program but with the heart...the goal is to equip others through which the Gospel will be proclaimed," says Cordeiro.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Ministry, Teams

Russ' article this month is on the very hot topic of board development entitled "Church Board Development: The Next Frontier." Russ comes at this topic fresh from his experience with board members of large churches last week as well as his own experience as a member of a church board. Leadership is a big subject. So much so that it's time to start breaking this monolith into smaller pieces. An area ripe for further understanding is the role of the church board in helping manage transition and change. Our time recently at Leadership Network's Team Forums in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, underscores this point. A good deal of attention has been given to the role of the pastor in this new era. We need to remind ourselves, as Jethro did to his son-in-law Moses, that one person is not meant to carry this load alone. Our observation has been that boards have difficulty with strategic issues. They are constituted, in many cases, to handle legal, policy and key personnel matters. In the church context, governing boards bear some responsibility for the spiritual condition of the congregation. Most individuals serving in this capacity seldom think of their role in this way. I have reviewed a number of books and manuals for church boards over the years. Most, but not all, tend to have one thing in common: Maintaining the status quo. In light of the conditions facing churches today, it appears that some new thinking is needed. We are often asked who should deal with vision, mission, direction, etc. How should this come together? Is there a certain number of people that need to decide? Rather than quantify the process, I prefer to remind people: It's not how many are in the room. It's first a matter of "who" is in the room. Boards to some extent need to be involved in strategic as well as policy issues. Allowing for structural change within a growing church is both strategic and good policy. Ministry has to be worked through the "system" of the church. Therein lies the difficulty. We have good ideas and people to lead them. The road-block is often within the board, policy or procedures. For all the talk about the need for visionary leaders churches also need visionary systems in order for objectives to become reality. This past week has reminded us of the need to bring governing boards more into the leadership loop. Ram Charan, a consultant and the author of Boards at Work, says there is a need to learn what goes on inside the board meeting. Including how to discuss issues. (Something church boards have a hard time doing). "People need to learn how it's done...how to capture the energy of the group. When the dialogue is superb, the collective wisdom of a board is breathtaking and the leader really benefits. No other body delivers such power." The National Association of Corporate Directors offers some questions that overlap into the church boardroom: -What should a good board member receive in terms of information? -How much time should be spent preparing for meetings? -What are the key areas to be addressed? -Where can board members make significant contributions? -What is the board's legal responsibility? Board members need to know what is required of them. This leads to another issue--the division of labor. There are different polities represented in Leadership Network's customer base. Yet, these questions transcend varieties of faith. Another thing to keep in mind when talking about board development is the identity and self worth of the pastor. This may be the biggest barrier of all to expanding leadership development to include governing boards. More than a few will feel threatened by this approach. This does not need to be the case. Building boards has everything to do with developing credible relationships with lay leaders. Relationships are built on trust. You seldom trust people you don't know. It's time for us to get to know one another beyond the superficial levels that now characterize much of our society. Too much is at stake to leave things as they are presently. Pastors have the potential for strong allies in their board chair and executive committee if handled properly. Open and continuous communications are key elements in leading and managing change. A base of support is required for nearly everything a pastor and staff wish to do. As a former board member (and chair) I still believe the shortest distance between two individuals is a straight line. Communication is more than e-mail. We're talking about face-to-face dialogue in between meetings and at times when clarity does not exist. It will be necessary for pastors to see the benefits of board development in order for things to move ahead. Some are already far down this trail. Others have yet to begin the journey. It's time to take a complex subject (leadership) and break it into smaller parts. Board development seems like a good place to begin. Thanks Russ, and give him feedback by writing him an email at rbredholt@aol.com. And send me your best books and resources for working with boards to dave.travis@leadnet.org and we will try and survey and share them with the whole group.

permalink source: Russ Bredholt in Church Champions Update
tags: Ministry, Teams

In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According to Leon Jaroff in Time, the satellite's primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter's magnetic field, radiation belts, and atmosphere. Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at that time no earth satellite had ever gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target. But Pioneer 10 accomplished its mission and much, much more. Swinging past the giant planet in November 1973, Jupiter's immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of speed toward the edge of the solar system. At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10 passed Saturn. At some two billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three billion miles; Pluto at almost four billion miles. By 1997, twenty-five years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun. And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to scientists on Earth. "Perhaps most remarkable," writes Jaroff, "those signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a bedroom night light, and takes more than nine hours to reach Earth.'" The Little Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did. Engineers designed Pioneer 10 with a useful life of just three years. But it kept going and going. By simple longevity, its tiny 8-watt transmitter radio accomplished more than anyone thought possible. So it is when we offer ourselves to serve the Lord. God can work even through someone with 8-watt abilities. God cannot work, however, through someone who quits.

permalink source: Craig Brian Larson, Pastoral Grit: The Strength to Stand and to Stay
tags: Persistence, Ministry

“If you’re doing what you see everyone else doing, you’re not right with God. Does that surprise you? Our missionaries are a cross-section of our pastors, and our pastors are a cross-section of our society. That means whatever’s wrong with our society is in our church, too.”

permalink source: Paul Brannan at So Mo Dist Council Missionary Training 8/21/2001
tags: Ministry, Culture

The seven works of bodily mercy be these: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and the needy, harbour the houseless, comfort the sick, visit prisoners, bury the dead. The seven works of spiritual mercy be these: teach men the truth, counsel men to hold with Christ's law, chastise sinners by moderate reproving in charity, comfort sorrowful men by Christ's passion, forgive wrongs, suffer meekly reproofs for the right of God's law, pray heartily for friend and for foe.

permalink source: Middle English Sermons from CQOD
tags: Ministry, Virtue

I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks".

permalink source: C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
tags: Ministry, Preaching

The breadth and depth of [William] Carey's missionary service [in India] is well illustrated in the principles laid down for themselves by the Serampore Brotherhood to be read three times a year in each station in their charge. Here is a summary: 1. To set an infinite value on men's souls. 2. To abstain from whatever deepens India's prejudice against the Gospel. 3. To watch for every chance of doing the people good. 4. To preach Christ crucified as the grand means of conversions. 5. To esteem and treat Indians always as equals. 6. To be instant in the nurture of personal religion. 7. To cultivate the spiritual gifts of the Indian brethren, ever pressing upon them their missionary obligation, since only Indians can win India for Christ.

permalink source: Hugh Martin, Great Christian Books
tags: Ministry, Missions

Because the role of the Christian leader is to preach, teach, act as a shepherd, [and] be an example in personal and family life, the New Testament properly insists that he must not be a new convert nor a young man. He must have proved himself [and] demonstrated his God-given charisma for leadership, before he looks to the Church for recognition of it through ordination. Here once again we stand in marked contrast to the New Testament... The early Christians laid great stress on quality of life. A leader must merit respect, with his sexual, drinking [and] financial habits beyond reproach, a man of experience, a family man, someone who has led others to the faith and built Christians up in it. We go, on the whole, for untried men whose degree matters more than their lives, and who may never have led anyone to belief in Christ, or may even regard the whole idea as distasteful.

permalink source: E. M. B. Green (1930- ), "Mission and Ministry"
tags: Ministry

"It's a conundrum, but still the case, as John Newton put it 200 years ago, that ministry is "the worst of all jobs and the best of all callings."

permalink source: Kevin Miller
tags: Ministry

The Top 15 Superhero Names for the Pope [ The Top 5 List www.topfive.com ] [ Copyright 2000 by Chris White ] 15> The Pompatus of Love 14> The Mighty Pontiffinator 13> Genuflector X 12> Pope Shaft, the baddest Pope around 11> Sexual Restraint Man 10> The Anti-AntiChrist 9> Popemon 8> The Bulletproof Blesser 7> Over-Population Man 6> St. Peter's Ballistica 5> Doveboy 4> Captain Shovel Hat 3> The Lord's Super 2> The Amazing Miterman and Topfive.com's Number 1 Superhero Name for the Pope... 1> Mighty Morphin' Miracle Worker

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Ministry, Catholic Church

5. I will avoid the comparison trap. This commitment has a similar result to the numbers game since it can't lead you anywhere good. When you compare, you lose. Either you’re filled with pride because you’re better than another person, or you’re dejected because you don’t measure up. Both attitudes are wrong and destructive. Comparison places what you know about yourself (or your ministry) against what you don’t know about another youth worker (or her ministry). That's not a fair evaluation.

permalink source: Doug Fields on Pastors.com
tags: Pride, Ministry, Comparison

When we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what that is really like. It is like a small child going to his father and saying, "Daddy, give ME a sixpence to buy YOU a birthday present." Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child's present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction. -C.S. Lewis this is where Sixpence None The Richer got their name

permalink source: C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
tags: Service, Ministry, Spiritual Gifts

The first time the band Sixpence None the Richer appeared on "The Late Show" with David Letterman, lead singer Leigh Nash was interviewed briefly by the king of sarcasm and putdowns. Letterman asked if the band's name was a literary reference. "Thanks for asking," Nash replied, fighting her nervousness. "I will quickly tell you. It's from a book by C.S. Lewis. The book is called 'Mere Christianity.'" Nash later admitted that she was scared, but that being on the show was a dream come true for her. Though her bandmates were laughing and Letterman was wiggling his tongue in his cheek and acting like he didn't understand what she was talking about, Nash continued. "I really want to tell you the story," she said to Letterman. "Do you want to hear it?" Letterman said he did, so Nash began her explanation. "A little boy asks his father for a sixpence, which is a very small amount of English currency, to go and get a gift for his father. The father gladly accepts the gift, but he also realizes that he is not any richer for the transaction because he gave his son the money in the first place." "He bought his own gift," noted Letterman. "That's right, pretty much," said Nash. "I'm sure it meant a lot to him, but he's really no richer. C.S. Lewis was comparing that to his belief that God has given him and us the gifts that we possess and that to serve him the way that we should, we should do it humbly--with a humble heart--realizing how we got the gifts in the first place." "Well, that's beautiful," Letterman said. "Charming."

permalink source: Youth Specialities email devotional
tags: Service, Ministry, Spiritual Gifts

Once upon a time, the animals decided they should do something meaningful to meet the problems of the new world. So they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects. The duck was excellent at swimming; in fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying, and was very poor at running. Since he was slow in running, he had to drop swimming and stay after school to practice running. This caused his web feet to be badly worn, so that he was only average in swimming. But average was quite acceptable so nobody worried about that--except the duck. The rabbit started at the top of his class in running, but developed a nervous twitch in his leg muscles because of so much make-up work in swimming. The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but he encountered constant frustration in flying class because his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He developed "charlie horses" from overexertion, and so only got a C in climbing and a D in running. The eagle was a problem child and was severely disciplined for being a non-conformist. In climbing he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his way to get there . . . . A duck is a duck--and only a duck. It is built to swim, not to run or fly and certainly not to climb. A squirrel is a squirrel--and only that. To move it out of its forte, climbing, and then expect it to swim or fly will drive a squirrel nuts. Eagles are beautiful creatures in the air but not in a foot race. The rabbit will win every time unless, of course, the eagle gets hungry. What is true of creatures in the forest is true of Christians in the family; both the family of believers and the family under your roof. God has not made us all the same. He never intended to. It was He who planned and designed the differences, unique capabilities, and variations . . . . If God made you a duck saint--you're a duck, friend. Swim like mad, but don't get bent out of shape because you wobble when you run or flap instead of fly. Furthermore, if you're an eagle saint, stop expecting squirrel saints to soar, or rabbit saints to build the same kind of nests you do. . . . So relax. Enjoy your spiritual species. Cultivate your own capabilities. Your own style. Appreciate the members of your family or your fellowship for who they are, even though their outlook or style may be miles different from yours. Rabbits don't fly. Eagles don't swim. Ducks look funny trying to climb. Squirrels don't have feathers. Stop comparing. There's plenty of room in the forest.

permalink source: Chuck Swindoll, Standing Out, 51-53
tags: Ministry, Teams, Spiritual Gifts

probably no other factor influences the contentedness of Christians more than whether they are using utilizing their gifts or not. Our data demonstrated a highly significant relationship between “gift orientation” (“My personal ministry involvements match my gifts”) and “joy in living” (“I consider myself to be a happy, contented person”).

permalink source: Christian Schwarz, Natural Church Development, p 24
tags: Ministry, Spiritual Gifts

On my door there's a cartoon of two turtles. One says, "Sometimes I'd like to ask why he allows poverty, famine, and injustice when he could do something about it." The other turtle says, "I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

permalink source: Peter Kreeft quoted in Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith (Zondervan, 2001), p. 50
tags: Apologetics, Ministry, Compassion, Evil, Mercy

Before this activity, write "X" on one slip of paper. Add this slip to a bowl containing enough blank slips of paper for all participants to have one. Gather three clear glasses full of water, a spoon, and spoonful of dirt, and a few dead insects. To begin the activity, say, "One of you has chosen a slip of paper with an X on it. Here is your assignment: You represent a congregant or a potential congregant." Line up the three glasses of water and say, "Here are three glasses of water. In one, I'll put just a little bit of dirt, not much, not enough to hurt you." Stir in a teaspoon of soil into the water, then say, "In this glass, I'll put a couple of small bugs; they are minute compared to the amount of water in the glass." Drop in a dead insect, then say, "Now, the person representing a current or potential churchgoer has to drink from one of these glasses." Unless the person is a joker, he or she will choose the clean water. Use this analogy to show how people choose among competing alternatives. Church leaders often excuse their flaws or missteps by saying, "Our church is just a little flawed. We make so few mistakes compared to everything we do right. People won't see the mistakes, and if they do, they'll overlook them. We can get away with it."

permalink source: LeadingIdeas: To-the-Point Training for Christian Leaders
tags: Excellence, Perfectionism, Choices, Ministry

James Merritt tells the story of Robert Eaglen, who was a deacon in his church in Colchester, England. "He woke up one Sunday morning in January. The ground was blanketed with a foot of snow. He started to turn over and go back to sleep, but he thought to himself, "I'm one of the deacons in my church. If the deacons don't go, who will go?" He put on his boots, hat, and coat and walked six miles to church. He was right. Most of the members did stay home. As a matter of fact, even the pastor didn't show up. Only thirteen people were at church — twelve members and a thirteen-year-old boy he had never seen before. "Somebody said 'Why don't we just sing a little bit and go home. We don't have a preacher.' But Robert Eaglen said 'It's foolish for us to come all this way and not have a worship service.' 'Who's going to preach?' they asked. Impulsively, Robert said, 'I'll preach.' He'd never preached in his life. He got up and did not know what he was going to preach. I'm sure that's happened to some of us on Sunday nights, as well, but he didn't have a clue what he was going to be preaching. In his quiet time the day before he had been reading in Isaiah, so he turned to Isaiah 45:22, "Look to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth.' Later he recalled, 'I preached maybe twelve minutes, and I must have said fifty times 'Look to Jesus.'' It was all he knew to say. 'Look to Jesus.' He got through with saying, 'Look to Jesus' about fifty times. He looked at that little thirteen-year-old boy and said 'Young man, if you'll look to Jesus you'll be saved.' And they had prayer and left. "That boy, years later, wrote these words: 'I did look, and then and there the cloud on my heart lifted, the darkness rolled away. At that moment I saw the sun, I accepted Christ into my heart, and I was born again.' That thirteen-year-old boy was Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Discipline, Ministry, Faithfulness

Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair and all kinds of family problems, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, Naomi was a widow, John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least, Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, the Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul had poor health, and Timothy was timid. That is quite a variety of misfits, but God used each of them in his service. He will use you too if you stop making excuses.

permalink source: The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren
tags: Excuses, Ministry, Initiative

Don't throw away that old computer. You might be able to use it for something big. The New York Times reports the birth of a homemade supercomputer about to be ranked as one of the fastest machines in the world. Supercomputers traditionally cost $100 million to $250 million and take years to put together. But the faculty, technicians, and students at Virginia Polytechnic Institute used 1,100 off-the-shelf Apple Macintosh computers and assembled a supercomputer in just one month for $5 million. The result is a machine that can compute 7.41 trillion operations a second. Student volunteers received free pizzas for their labor. Virginia Tech's president offered free football tickets to those spending long hours on the project. Their efforts produced a system that ranks at least fourth fastest in the world. Officials at the school said the final speed number might be significantly higher. Citation: John Beukema, associate editor PreachingToday.com; source: John Markoff, The New York Times (10-22-03)

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Ministry, Teams, Body Of Christ

As I look at pastors who have finished well, almost all are theological thinkers. Without a strong grounding in theology, pastors tend to have a short life. -- Dennis Baker, Director, Conservative Baptist Association

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Theology, Ministry

Our office is a ministry of grace and salvation. It subjects us to great burdens and labors, dangers and temptations, with little reward or gratitude from the world. But Christ himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully. -- Martin Luther

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Ministry

The pastor should always be pure in thought, inasmuch as no impurity ought to pollute him who has undertaken the office of wiping away the stains of pollution in the hearts of others... for the hand that would cleanse from dirt must be clean, lest, being itself sordid with clinging mire, it soil whatever it touches all the more. -- Gregory the Great

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Discipleship, Ministry

A dead ministry will always make a dead people, whereas if ministers are warmed with the love of God themselves, they cannot but be instruments of diffusing that love among others. This, this is the best preparation for the work whereunto you are to be called. Learning without piety will only make you more capable of promoting the kingdom of Satan. Henceforward, therefore, I hope you will enter into your studies not to get a parish, nor to be polite preachers, but to be great saints. -- George Whitefield

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Ministry, Personal Growth, Spiritual Formation

Some young preacher will study until he has to get thick glasses to take care of his failing eyesight because he has an idea he wants to become a famous preacher. He wants to use Jesus Christ to make him a famous preacher. He's just a huckster buying and selling and getting gain. They will ordain him and he will be known as Reverend and if he writes a book, they will make him a doctor. And he will be known as Doctor; but he's still a huckster buying and selling and getting gain. And when the Lord comes back, He will drive him out of the temple along with the other cattle. We can use the Lord for anything--or try to use Him. But what I'm preaching and what Paul taught and what was brought down through the years and what gave breath to the modern missionary movement that you and I know about and belong to was just the opposite: "O, God, we don't want anything You have, we want You." That's the cry of a soul on its way up.

permalink source: A. W. Tozer in Success and the Christian, 29
tags: Success, Ministry, Preaching

To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.

permalink source: Mother Teresa
tags: Ministry, Spiritual Formation

Regarding tentmaking: Take for example the way in which Sozome speaks of Zeno, who was the bishop of Majuma (that is Gaza) at the end of the fourth century. Sozomen says that Zeno, ‘by pursuing his trade of weaving linen, continued to earn the means of supplying his own want and of providing for others. He never deviated from this conduct till the close of his life, although he exceeded all other priests of that province in age and although he presided over the people and property of the largest church.’ By: Paul Stevens Source: Liberating the Laity, InterVarsity Press, 1985, quoting Roland Allen

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Money, Work, Ministry

More on tentmaking. “The fourth Council of Carthage...5lst canon reads: ‘Let a cleric however learned in the word of God get his livelyhood by a craft’. The 52nd, ‘Let the cleric procure his food and raiment by a craft, or by agriculture without interfering with his official duty.’ And the 53rd, ‘Let all clerics who are strong enough to work learn both crafts and letters’. These canons became the rule for the church over wide areas, and for a long period of time, and the 53rd is quoted as authoritative in England in the eighth century be Ecbert, archbishop of York.” By: Paul Stevens Source: Liberating the Laity, InterVarsity Press, 1985, pg l35

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Work, Ministry

One pastor asked the other, ‘How many members does your church have?’ The reply came back, ‘Do you want to know how many in training on Sunday or how many in battle during the week?’

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Work, Evangelism, Ministry

We count Christians when we ought to be weighing them. Source: Sam Shoemaker, spiritual father of "Faith at Work", "Alcoholics Anonymous"

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Ministry

Most any pastor can help people in times of need. It doesn’t take a skillful pastor to visit someone in the hospital and be comforting. Moments when people are down and desperate are not the greatest tests of our ministry. The greatest tests are those times when people are not down, desperate, or at the end of their rope. It takes a real pastor to go into a family where someone has just been promoted to the presidency of the local bank and say, ‘Mary, I’ve just gotten the news of your promotion. So I rushed over, knowing that this promotion is placing you in an extremely vulnerable position as far as your soul is concerned. I wanted to come stand beside you during this time of potential temptation. Could we pray?’ [editor: It is also a time for celebration, I might add.] By: George Buttrick Source: Salt of The Earth, March/April, 1996

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Success, Ministry

"We are trying to make a big, beautiful impression upon the affluent non-religious American who is riding by on this busy freeway...But suppose we had given this money to feed the poor? What would we have today? We would still have hungry, poor people and God would not have this tremendous base of operations which He is using to inspire people to become more successful, more affluent, more generous, more genuinely unselfish in their giving of themselves."

permalink source: Robert Schuller, Your Church Has Real Possibilities! Regal Books, Glendale, 1974, p. 117
tags: Money, Ministry

Any venture into leadership is hazardous. The long and well-documented Christian tradition confirms this. Leaders are necessary, but woe to those who become leaders. In leadership, possibilities for sin emerge that previously were inaccessible, possibilities exceedingly difficult to detect, for each comes in the form of a virtue. The unwary will embrace immediately a new "opportunity to serve the Lord," innocent of the reality that they are swallowing bait, which turns, soon or late, into a curse. "Let not many become teachers," warned James, who knew the perils firsthand. The temptations we face in the early years of our faith are, if not easily resisted, at least easily recognized. If I kill a man, I know I have done wrong. If I commit adultery, I have the good sense not to advertise it. If I steal, I make diligent effort not to get found out. The so-called lower sins, the sins of the flesh, are obvious. But the higher sins, the sins of the spirit, are not so easily discerned. Is a certain instance of zeal energetic obedience or human presumption? Is one person's confidence a holy boldness inspired by the Holy Spirit or merely arrogance instigated by an anxious ego? Is this suddenly prominent preacher with a large following a spiritual descendant of Peter with five thousand repentant converts or Aaron indulging his tens of thousands with religious song and dance around the golden calf? It is not easy to tell. Deception is nowhere more common than in religion. Wiser generations than ours did not send men and women into this perilous country without a thorough briefing of the hazards and frequent check-ups along the way. Even then shipwreck was frequent enough. The foolishness of our times is no more apparent than in the naivet6 with which we grant leadership and the innocence in which we rely on leaders' sincerity and motives. The religious leader is the most untrustworthy of leaders; in no other station do we have so many opportunities for pride, covetousness, and lust, and with so many excellent disguises to keep such ignobility from being found out and called to account. …. The congregation (chapter) is the pastor's (staff worker’s) place of ministry: we preach the Word and administer the sacraments, we give pastoral care and administer the community life, we teach and we give spiritual direction. But it is also the place in which we develop virtue, learn to love, advance in hope. By providing us contact with both committed and frustratingly inconstant individuals, the congregation provides the rhythms, the associations, the tasks, the limitations, the temptations - the conditions - for our own growth in Christ.

permalink source: Under the Unpredictable Plant by Eugene Peterson
tags: Leadership, Ministry

Pastor's Armor Bearers Take On Controversial Role Personal Assistants Said To Be Intimidating POSTED: 9:19 p.m. EDT August 25, 2004 UPDATED: 9:29 p.m. EDT August 25, 2004 SANFORD, N.C. -- It took two and a half weeks to arrest a local pastor accused of murdering his wife. Deputies said church members did not cooperate in the investigation of Melvin Bynum. Investigators said members of the congregation were afraid of Bynum and his bodyguards, or so-called armor bearers. Kim Lytes is a former member of Cry Out Loud Ministries. She said Bynum, like some other pastors, has a handful of men dedicated to serving -- and protecting -- him. Lytes said she never feared his armor bearers. But she admitted they can be intimidating because they are big -- just like her brother, who once trained to be one. "If I actually say what I want to say about the other guys, I'd probably be in a lot of trouble," Lytes said. When asked why a pastor would need protection, Lytes said: "In this world today, you never know what might happen." Pastor Paul hosts a radio talk show in Sanford. He said he recently was roughed up by another pastor's armor bearers. He said the concept has gotten out of hand. "In the extreme, and we're seeing a lot of it lately, these armor bearers are acting like bodyguards," Paul said, "almost like Mafia hitmen. "Somebody has to stand up and say this garbage doesn't represent Christianity as a whole." Pastor LeRoy Hargett said armor bearers can be traced to the Bible. He said violence and intimidation are not the intent. "In first Samuel, you see that Saul had armor bearers," Hargett said. "It's not meant to intimidate anyone else. It's meant to defend your leader from demonic attacks. "It's more a spiritual thing." It is a spiritual concept that some believe is taking on a life of its own. In addition to providing security, armor bearers act as personal assistants. They often drive a car or carry the Bible for the pastor.

permalink source: http://www.wral.com/news/3682067/detail.html
tags: Conflict, Ministry

In 1985, Grant Osborne took a tour of Iceland. While walking through the lava fields and the hot springs the guide pointed out some stone cairns erected a hundred years ago to direct people away from the soft and dangerous ground onto the firm path. She said, "We call these cairns "priests", because they point the way but never go there themselves."

permalink source: Grant Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, 341
tags: Hypocrisy, Ministry, Preaching

paraphrased: the pastor's study has been replaced by the pastor's office. The study is where you learned and understood and heard from God. The office is where you tell people what to do.

permalink source: John Stott
tags: Ministry

Did you ever notice this one thing about Christian ministers, that they need even more mercy than other people? Possibly someone asks, “How do you know that?” Well, I feel quite safe when I am following the apostle Paul; and if you look through his Epistles to the Romans, to the Corinthians, to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, and to Philemon, you will see what blessings he wishes to the people at the beginning of each letter, or if it is not quite at the beginning, it is a few verses down: “Grace unto you, and peace.” You recollect that Paul also wrote three Epistles to ministers; there are two to Timothy, and one to Titus. What does he say to them? He says, “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord,” as if he thought that, although everybody needs mercy, ministers need it more than anybody else; and so we do, for if we are not faithful, we shall be greater sinners even than our hearers, and it needs much grace for us always to be faithful, and much mercy will be required to cover our shortcomings. So I shall take those three things to myself: “Grace, mercy, and peace.” You may have the two, “Grace and peace,” but I need mercy more than any of you; so I take it from my Lord’s loving hand, and I will trust, and not be afraid, despite all my shortcomings, and feebleness, and blunders, and mistakes, in the course of my whole ministry.

permalink source: Charles Spurgeon, sermon #2541 “Mr. Moody’s Text”
tags: Ministry, Mercy

Well, my pastor friends, ever feel discouraged after another week at church? Another sermon preached and little--if any--fruit seen? Charles Bridges has a word of encouragement for YOU. From his classic book The Christian Ministry (p. 75): "Ministerial success must be viewed as extending beyond present appearances. The seed may lie under the clods till we lie there, and then spring up." Do you know what Bridges means? God faithfully uses our work in ways we never imagine, and we never even see--in this life. One great illustration of that comes from the life of the puritan minister John Flavel. Flavel died in 1691 after a long ministry and many trials. But though Flavel had been called home, his ministry continued to bear fruit. Michael Boland, in his 1963 introduction to a reprinting of Flavel's wonderful book, Mystery of Providence, recounts the example of Luke Short. "Luke Short was a farmer in New England who attained his hundredth year in exceptional vigour though without having sought peace with God. One day as he sat in his fields reflecting upon his long life, he recalled a sermon he had heard in Dartmouth [England] as a boy before he sailed to America. The horror of dying under the curse of God was impressed upon him as he meditated on the words he had heard so long ago and he was converted to Christ--eighty-five years after hearing John Flavel preach." "The seed may lie under the clods till we lie there, and then spring up." Amen.

permalink source: http://blog.togetherforthegospel.org/2006/02/shorts_salvatio.html
tags: Ministry, Providence

<em>On the challenges of leading a church in our culture:</em> Treating the members as customers rather than distributors

permalink source: Fred Smith, www.breakfastwithfred.com
tags: Evangelism, Ministry

A man is castrated in order to make him a singer who can take higher notes than any normal man can take. And so with these preachers: from a Christian point of view they are castrati, are deprived of their real manhood which is 'the existential' - but they can take notes higher and more fascinating than any true Christian.

permalink source: Soren Kierkegaard
tags: Theology, Ministry

A pastor goes back to seminary to see what the tests are like nowadays, and he finds out the questions are exactly the same as when he went through school. He asks the professor, "Why are the questions the same? Hasn't culture changed remarkably in the last few years?" The professor responds, "The questions are the same, but the answers are different."

permalink source: anonymous
tags: Ministry, Culture

Conviction

I go out to preach with two propositions in mind. First, every person ought to give his life to Christ. Second, whether or not anyone else gives him his life, I will give him mine.

permalink source: Jonathan Edwards
tags: Ministry, Preaching

Ignorant Christians Undermine The Faith

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [found via http://helives.blogspot.com/2007/06/augustine-on-christians-spouting-bad.html]

permalink source: Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram: 1.19.39 translated by J.H. Taylor, Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41.
tags: Science, Ministry

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