Archives For Brian K. Dodd

“The best thing about ministry is the people.  The worst thing about the ministry is the people.” – Unknown

Does your pastor truly love people?  If you are a pastor reading this you are probably thinking, “Of course I do.”  But I talk to dozens of people who would say otherwise.  They would say that while their pastor is an incredibly gifted communicator or administrator, he simply does not love his people.

Last week, I had the privilege of joining two of America’s greatest pastors, Dr. Johnny Hunt of First Baptist Church Woodstock (Ga) and Mike Linch of NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, GA, to serve pastors and church leaders in a two-day event called Capital Campaign University.  Mike delivered the opening devotion while Pastor Johnny was the first evening’s dinner speaker.  Notes from their sessions can be found HERE and HERE.

What I took way from my time with both pastors was how much they genuinely love people.  Loving people…

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Million DollarsI hear it all the time from pastors and church leaders, “If we just had someone who could give us $1 million, wouldn’t that be great?”  You have heard these words as well.  Perhaps you are the one who has said them.

God wants all churches to be financially blessed.  So why does one church get large gifts and another doesn’t?  Why does financial resources and relief seem to flow to certain ministries and not others?  There are many great churches and pastors who seem to do everything right but just do not seem to catch a break.  Why?  I had to find out the answer.

Recently, the wonderful North Metro Church in Marietta, GA received a $3.4 million matching gift to help pay off its $7.6 million debt.  This church is very close to my heart as I was part of the group who initially planted it.

I recently sat down with North Metro’s Lead Pastor Rob McDowell and Operations Pastor John Maggart to learn what they did to receive such a generous gift.  They were kind enough to share their thoughts as we collectively have a desire…

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There are perks to leadership but there is also a price to leadership.  And that price is steep.  There is pain, sacrifice, disappointment, sweat, hard work, time, obstacles and financial responsibilities.  But what all successful leaders know is the price is more than worth it.

I was reminded of this fact after watching the video above.  After defeating the Indianapolis Colts 42-7 to win the NFC East championship, the Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett delivered the following post-game speech.

As I listened to Garrett’s words, I gleaned the following 13 Reasons Everyone Should Want To Be A Leader:

  1. Leaders Get To Celebrate Accomplishment – The Cowboys were experiencing sheer joy as they left the field and entered the locker room.
  2. Leaders Have Stronger Beliefs –  Because of the responsibilities leaders have, they simply own things at a deeper level than others.  Coach Garrett acknowledged, “I just believe this from the bottom of my heart.”
  3. Leaders Get To Build Up The Self-Worth Of Others – Some people have a poor self-image.  Leaders get to help others have greater self-confidence.  Coach Garrett said, “Be who you are.”
  4. Leaders Are Get To Live Lives Fueled By Deep Passion – When hiring people to…

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Is your community glad your church exists?  In the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, GA, local businesses and schools are thrilled Piedmont Church is there.  Led by Ike Reighard, Piedmont is committed to blessing its community and has seamlessly woven itself into the daily fabric of North Atlanta life.  Nowhere was this more apparent than this past Saturday when the church put on an event called Christmas At Piedmont.

As a gift to the community, Piedmont partnered with local businesses and schools to host over 20,000 visitors during this two-day event.  The church’s Senior Associate Pastor Marlon Longacre, and for my money the best community pastor in America, first made me aware of Christmas At Piedmont back in November.  But when I read about it on the front page of the Marietta Daily Journal as “One Of The Top 5 Things To Do In Marietta This Weekend”,  I knew my family needed to stop by.

The following is what I and thousands of others discovered upon arriving at the church (and I want to emphasize – this a church:

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IMG_0046A dark reality exists for many Christians that deep down they don’t talk about at parties.  Many Christians, if they would be totally transparent, are extremely nervous to bring their unchurched friends to their weekend services.  This concern comes from a variety of things.  Lack of excellence, outdated music, rude members and boring sermons are just a few of many hurdles Christians must overcome before inviting their friends who are unchurched.

This past Sunday my wife received a phone call from a friend who joyfully said, “The young couple we just met came to church today.  They had a great time.  I am so proud of our church.”  I immediately followed up to find out what were the key factors in this young couple, who also had a newborn baby, having such a great experience.

The following are 11 Practices Of Churches You Are Excited To Take Your Unchurched Friends To:

  1. Churches You Are Excited To Take Your Unchurched Friends To Act Like They Are Expecting Unchurched People To Show Up - This church had clear signage upon entering the property which directed them directly to easy-access Visitor Parking.
  2. Churches You Are Excited To Take Your Unchurched Friends…

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WritingTo all pastors and church staff,

I want you to know that I know being a pastor or church staff member is the most difficult job in the world.  While it has unbelievable highs and on its best days is the most rewarding occupation/calling in the world, it is also the most difficult.  Unlike us in the marketplace, you lead volunteer armies and face an enemy (Satan and his demons) we may or may not encounter on a regular basis.

You have given your lives to serve people like me, my family and friends.  As a result, the two most important words I and everyone else under your leadership can ever say is “THANK YOU”.

  1. Thank you for going to God on our behalf and praying for us daily.
  2. Thank you for studying God’s Word and communicating its truths to us in a compelling fashion.
  3. Thank you and your family for being willing to live in a fishbowl.
  4. Thank you for demonstrating grace, love and patience when people question your motives and competency.  Sheep may be dumb but they bite.  And they have a taste for pastors and church staff.
  5. Thank you for putting in countless hours.
  6. Thank you for…

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Baptisms on Easter

Troy Page recently noted on TonyMorganLive.com, “Remember that the win is not how many people show up for Easter –  it’s how many people come back.Shoot for 75% of your Easter crowd.”

This morning I was sitting in our church parking lot waiting on my daughter to get out of her high school small group.  Waiting gave me a great opportunity to listen to the conversations of those leaving our church service.

The most impactful conversation took place between a father and his young daughter.  He asked the following questions:

  1. “Did you have fun today?”
  2. “What did you learn about Jesus?”

These two questions were a reminder of Page’s comments above and what constitutes a win for churches on Easter Sunday.

Whether you are a seasoned Christian parent(s) such as the father above or have little or no church background, most parents generally ask the same two questions of their children when they get in their car after church:

  1. Did you have fun?
  2. What did you learn?

Churches do a great job of putting significant effort into their Sunday worship services.  I would like to challenge all churches to put an equal amount of effort into your children’s classes…

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Growth ChartI have been involved in a number of conversations lately about church growth. What should growth look like? How does it look different for various sizes of church?  Should you add services or multi-site?  Are the measurements for success primarily attendance and budget?  Can you be successful without numerical growth?  If not, what is a healthy rate of growth?  What about the growth within your people and the making of disciples?  And on and on and on….

In the March edition of Inc. magazine, Leigh Buchanan interviews Stanford professors Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao about the practices of companies who successfully grow and scale.  I found their insights quite applicable for some of the things needed for churches to grow.

While this is obviously not a fully-inclusive list, the following are 7 Practices Of Growing Churches I gleaned from the article:

  1. Growing Churches Focus On Church Health More Than Church Growth – Intuitive church leaders know attendance and budget only tell a portion of the story.  Rick Warren introduced us to the concept of church health.  Rick reminded us healthy things grow.  Therefore, focus…

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Do you want to be a successful leader in 2014?  It is a rhetorical question isn’t it?  Of course you do.  A better question may be do you have a strategy or system for success?

If not, I want to point you to the December 30th edition of Sports Illustrated.  The incomparable Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was profiled along with additional mentions of some the greatest receivers of all-time.

As I read the article, I gleaned the following 13 Practices Of Successful Leaders In 2014:

  1. Successful Leaders Decide Early To Pay The Price Needed For Success – As a freshman wideout at Georgia Tech, Johnson was outplayed by then-Miami Hurricane All-American Antrel Rolle.  Johnson confessed, “It made me understand that I was going to have to work harder, get stronger, and improve my technique a lot if I wanted to play with the big boys.”
  2. Successful Leaders Are Recognized Publicly For What They Do Privately – Johnson does much of his training alone.
  3. Successful Leaders Are Diligent – Johnson quotes one of his trainers as he strives to ”be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and…

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On Friday, November 29th Pastor Ed Ryerson of Vineyard Church of Naples died as a result of cancer. But as you can see in the video above, 5 days before his passing God honored his life and gave him a glimpse into the life to come.

Ryerson’s life was about to intersect with Senior Pastor Kevin Fisher and the Miami Vineyard Church who were literally on a mission from God.

Miami Vineyard Caravan To Naples Vineyard

In an act of extravagant generosity, the members of Miami Vineyard loaded up in cars and in a scene which looked straight from the movie Hoosiers (see picture), drove the 120 miles from Miami to Naples to financially bless Pastor Ryerson and his family.

From this point, I will let Pastor Kevin tell the story:

“The Naples Vineyard is a church of approximately 75 people and is roughly five years old. It’s actually a restart/relaunch and Pastor Ed was just hitting his stride when he discovered he had cancer earlier this year. Doctors thought it was treatable, but his body did not respond to the treatments — in fact, the cancer spread more aggressively.

As I was jogging recently, and thinking…

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Today Nobel Peace Prize winner and iconic symbol of hope and freedom Nelson Mandela died at his South African home.  South African president Jacob Zuma made the announcement in a nationally televised address and said,” Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss.”

We use the phrase “change the world” very liberally.  The following are 20 Leadership Quotes From Nelson Mandela, a leader who truly did change the world.

  1. “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
  2. “My people, Africans, are turning to deliberate acts of violence and of force against the government, in order to persuade the government, in the only language which this government shows by its own behavior that it understands.” –…

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What are the volunteers serving in your church thinking?  What are their hopes, dreams, and needs?  During the last 26 years, I have had to privilege of serving on two church staffs but the vast majority of my time has been as a volunteer.

To assist pastors and church leaders in better connecting with those who have made the strategic choice to leverage their marginal time and talent to serve others, the following are 10 Things Volunteers Wished Their Pastor Knew About Them.

  1. We desperately want to make a difference with our one and only life.  Everyone wants to live a life of significance.  We have decided the best place for that to take place is our local church.
  2. Our time is valuable so be organized and tell us what to do.  We live very busy lives.  When we show up to serve, please have us something important to do and be well-organized.
  3. We want to serve in context of community.  People begin serving at a church for two reasons.  First, to do something significant.  Second, we are looking for friends.  Pastors and church leaders need to always build a time of community into every volunteer effort.
  4. Our opinion matters.  We make important organizational decisions in…

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