Apps

A few weeks ago, on a day out with my wife, we ended up at the local home improvement store. Eighty-four aisles ranging from showers to shrubs greeted us with the express purpose of expanding my to-do list. We’re in the midst of tackling some much-needed repairs and updates on our home, and as we walked from home and garden to plumbing. then into electrical and paint and appliances, the list grew. This gave me the perfect opportunity that comes every time a home renovation needs to be done: the excuse to purchase a new tool.

Tools are designed to make the job easier. The right tool is often vital to getting the job done right.  It is the same with small group ministry leadership as it is with home remodel and repair. Tools assist and empower us to do more and do it better.

But what are the right tools? As I stood in the midst of tool world at that home improvement store, I realized a lot of tools might work, might help, but what is really going to improve my odds for success? I find it the same with leading a growing ministry….

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Facts

For those who may not be familiar with my story, I became a Christ-follower in high school. I’m grateful for several men who influenced the early steps in my spiritual journey, including guys like Charlie, Lee, and Chris. Charlie, in particular, met with me just about every Saturday over several months. I would either go to his home or his office, and he helped me begin to understand who Jesus was and what he did for me.

Through that process, I was introduced to the Bible. This was a big deal for me. As I was growing up, the church I attended did not encourage people to engage with God’s Word. I heard messages taught from the Bible growing up, but there was no encouragement to read, study, or attempt to apply the Bible to my life. That’s why when Charlie introduced me to the story of Jesus in the New Testament, I was captivated. God’s Word really came alive for me.

Though we were several years away from getting married, Emily also encouraged me in those first steps of faith. In fact, she gave me my first leather-bound Bible as my high…

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Team Meeting

I have sat in a few bad meetings, and if I’m being completely honest, I may have led one or two of them! Over the years I have learned a lot about meetings and have assisted many in leading better meetings. Here are six simple ways we can lead more effective meetings:

Clarify the primary purpose of the meeting

Why are we here? There only five purposes of meetings:

1. Community

2. Communication

3. Collaboration

4. Coaching

5. Cheering One Another On

What is the primary purpose? State it up front so everyone knows. Patrick Lencioni, in his book Death By Meeting, says that the worst kinds of meetings are the ones where we try to get everything done in one meeting! In general, it’s best to have more frequent but shorter meetings that tackle one primary purpose at a time. Otherwise we cause everyone to die a slow “death” in our meetings.

Plan the meeting

We would never take the big stage without preparation, but we often do this when it comes to meetings. The more we prepare, the better the performance. Plan what you want to say and how you…

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I’ve often said that your network is way more important than your net worth.

God created us for relationship, and I believe that connecting with people is powerful.

I would love for our team here at Pastors.com to get to know more about you so we can better serve you. It will take less than a minute for you to complete the survey below.

Thank you, and God bless you!

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Parenting

One of the greatest legacies of any pastor is for his children to grow up loving God and loving the church passionately.

Yet this is often not the story of the children of a pastor. Why? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question.

A Brief Testimony

Through the years, hundreds of people have asked how they could pray for our family. Jeana and I made one thing very clear through the years that our boys were living at home with us: Pray for Josh and Nick to love God and love the church passionately.

By grace alone, both Josh and Nick, now in their 30s, love God and love the church passionately. Josh lives in metropolitan Birmingham, Alabama, serving as the head football coach of the Hewitt-Trussville Huskies. He and his wife, Kate, love God and love the church passionately.

Nick is the leader of our Cross Church staff team and serves as teaching pastor of not just our Fayetteville campuses, but across the ministry. He and his wife, Meredith, love God and love the church passionately.

Now Josh and Kate and Nick and Meredith have the privilege of raising their children to live as they did…

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Brokenness

When I served as a pastor at Saddleback Church, one of the things that impressed me most about the church was a hiring requirement Pastor Rick Warren laid down:

If you haven’t been through pain, you’re not ready to be on staff at Saddleback Church.

Pastor Rick understood the power of a broken heart.

Andy Stanley understands it, too. When speaking to leaders, he often asks the question, “What breaks your heart?”

Usually, knowing what breaks your heart opens the door to knowing what you should do with your life and how you should be leading others.

Nehemiah, of the Old Testament, is considered one of the greatest models of successful leadership in history. And his story started with a question: “How’s Jerusalem?”

When the answer was “not good,” Nehemiah’s heart was broken. He records:

“When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4 NLT).

Nehemiah’s burden drove him to lead the nation of Israel into a successful rebuilding campaign.

My wife, Angie, and I talk about this often. Her heart breaks for those in our community suffering with emotional and relational brokenness, so…

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Coaching

I’ve never met a senior pastor who didn’t have the ability to do an outstanding job leading their staff, but I have met quite a few who didn’t have a clear plan in place for making that happen.

I would like to share with you a very simple framework for coaching your staff that will make your job, and theirs, much easier. I call it 4x4x4.

A 4x4x4 coaching process is when a senior pastor meets with a staff member to help them identify and make progress on the 4 people they are going to meet with and the 4 tasks they are going to accomplish over the next 4 weeks.

Setting up a 4x4x4 Coaching Process

To lead at the next level, every person on our team needs three things in place: responsibility, authority, and coaching.

Responsibility (I need you to tell me what am I responsible for doing)

This is provided when we give our staff members clear,  written job descriptions that outline for what they are responsible. In my experience, most senior pastors of churches under 600 do not provide written job descriptions for their staff. This is a mistake but one that is easy…

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Writing Songs

God labels us as his “masterpiece.” We have been intentionally created in the image of our Creator, and we are called to create.

For some of us, this creativity reveals itself through songwriting.

It is such a privilege to write with my teammates in Saddleback Worship.

We try to write songs for our congregation that support the vision and direction of our church while having open palms for what Jesus wants to say through lyric and melody. We place an emphasis on the sound of celebration, staying current and relevant, and remaining true to who we are in our writing.

But these songs aren’t always revealed neatly in the first few drafts — it takes time.

It takes wrestling with combinations of lyrics and melodies, writing and rewriting, sorting out differing opinions among team members, and above all spending plenty of time in prayer.

This journey is joy-filled and fun, but it is also taxing. No matter what stage of songwriting we’re in, we must remember why we do it.

Teen

We’ve all read the scary statistics of teenagers who evacuate their Christian faith after they graduate from high school. I’ve read statistics as high as 85 percent and others as low as 50 percent. But regardless of the actual number, all of us can agree that any is too many! We want our teenagers’ faith to thrive, not just survive, long after they leave high school!

So what can we do to help teens keep the faith after they graduate? Here are four practical ideas that may help you:

1. Pray, pray, and pray some more!

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousnessthat comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV).

When Paul planted a church he consistently supported it in prayer. In the same way we must support our teenagers in relentless prayer. We must pray for them and recruit others to pray for them (connect with groups like…

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Map and Phone

In my previous article, I talked about our need to become world-class Christians. I talked about the importance of shifting our thinking from being self-centered to being others-centered. There are at least two other major shifts that need to happen in our thinking.

Shift from local to global thinking

God is a global God. He has always cared about the entire world: “God so loved the world” (John 3:16a NIV).

From the beginning, he has wanted family members from every nation he created. The Bible says, “From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be. God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him” (Acts 17:26-27a CEV).

Much of the world already thinks globally. The largest media and business conglomerates are all multinational. Our lives are increasingly intertwined with those in other nations as we share fashion, entertainment, music, sports, and even fast food. Probably most of the clothes you’re wearing, and much of what you’ve eaten today, was produced in another country. We’re more connected than we realize.

These are exciting days to be…

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Infrastructure: ˈinfrəˌstrək(t)SHər/
noun
the physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a community, society, or organization.

When we think of “infrastructure,” we may think of things like roads, sidewalks, power lines, and pipes for water. These are the structures needed to bring people and power to an area, like your house. Without infrastructure, you would have to walk to a well to get your water, and walk through the field (or a desert) to get back to your house. You’d have no power to heat the water when you got back (unless you started a fire), and no way to watch Netflix with the kids. You might have to actually *gasp* spend non-screen-time with your kids.

It’s possible to operate your home with no infrastructure, but it’s not the most efficient or effective idea.

When it comes to small groups in our churches, infrastructure is incredibly important because it brings people and power to the ministry. It’s possible to operate without infrastructure, but it’s not efficient or effective. It’s possible for you, the small group ministry point person, to do everything it takes to provide relational support to the groups under your care. It’s…

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Permission

Sometimes we just need to hear someone else say it out loud: “You’re not crazy.” “You’re on the right track.” “You can do that.” “You can do this.” I call it giving leaders permission. One of the greatest values of having a mentor or coach in our lives is having a safe place where we can process through the decisions we are wrestling with, and hear someone else tell us we’re not crazy for thinking what we’re thinking! We need permission! Sometimes the key that unlocks our future is having someone give us permission to do what we feel deep down we need to do.

So today, I thought I would send out permission far and wide. If you’re reading this post, I’m praying God will use me to give you permission!

You have permission to be still.

You have permission to take a chill pill. You have permission to rest. Take a day off. Take a week off. You have permission to plan your summer vacation now. You have permission to think long term and think about finishing well. This is not a 40-yard dash. It’s an ultramarathon! I give you permission to be still!

You…

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