Archives For Brian Moss

It seems the church world has gone leadership crazy.

Everywhere you turn, there’s an article on leadership:

  • How to Spot a Leader
  • How to Be a Leader
  • How to Build Leaders
  • How to Lead Leaders
  • the list goes on and on

One would think that the Great Commission was, “Go into all the world and make leaders!”

Now don’t get me wrong. Leadership is absolutely essential. Every pastor knows that everything rises and falls on leadership.

However, with a never-ending tsunami of articles telling us we need to develop leaders, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and underachieving.

Every pastor knows they need to be mentoring new leaders, but the problem is, how?

I don’t know about you, but I need mentorship boiled down to a few simple basics.

So, where can a pastor turn for a simplified approach to mentorship?

We turn to the master mentor – Jesus.

When I read the gospel, I see Jesus focusing on three essential mentoring elements that raised up a powerful procession of leaders: caring, sharing, and pairing.

 

3 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF MENTORING

1. Caring

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11, NIV).

When Jesus wanted to build leaders, he called…

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I’ve been listening to sermons for over 35 years now and preaching them for about 17. There are so many master preachers who have written volumes over the years on this subject and I have learned a great deal from all of them. Although I do not consider myself among their ranks, I do have a few tips I have picked up along the way for budding preachers. None of these are really new. I am just restating them in my own words and adding a few of my own thoughts and opinions.

Great preaching is biblical, questionable, bridgeable, simple, personal, emotional, applicable, and ephemeral.

1. Be thoroughly biblical.

I know, I know. This goes without saying and yet my commitment to the Bible demands that I start here. The job of the preacher is to communicate God’s unchanging truth to an ever-changing world. It doesn’t make any difference if you share God’s Word verse-by-verse or verse-with-verse. It does matter that you share his verse. A young lady once asked me if I ever used borrowed material for my sermons. I answered, “we’re all using borrowed material. It’s called the…

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Before I came to my current church, they had been on a 15-year plateau followed by a near-death experience due to a leadership conflict. What was left was a building with about 100 seats, four Sunday school rooms and an average attendance of about 35. It was a real fixer-upper if you know what I mean.

I started as a bi-vocational pastor, which they really liked since they couldn’t actually afford a full-time pastor. I had a head full of dreams and a heart burning to make a difference. The only things I lacked were skill and knowledge! Ours is not a story of overnight success. We didn’t rocket to thousands by dressing cool and throwing in a band. We were a very traditional congregation that longed to see God come to life in our church. The only problem was, we didn’t know how to do this.

As I reflect back and try to understand how our church was transformed, I never land on any specific programs, strategies or methods that were the secret. I have found that it was a culmination of several factors over time. For what it’s worth, here are…

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Reaching Unchurched People

Recently a pastor asked me, “What are the top three to five things your church does to reach the unchurched?”

I immediately thought about our DREAM strategy. It has guided our church for 17 years and has allowed us to reach thousands of people for Christ. The good news is that any church can become more effective at reaching the lost in their community, and it doesn’t even involve new buildings or expensive technology.

In fact, the secret to reaching the unchurched is not even a secret. The principles are as old as the New Testament and are transferable into any church in any community or culture.

So, what are they?

3 PRACTICES FOR REACHING THE UNCHURCHED

1. Consideration.

You cannot connect with people you are not considering. Reaching the spiritually lost begins with passion. Passion drives practices. If the church leaders are passionate about reaching lost people, then it will bleed out onto every part of the church. Remember, Jesus’ passion literally bled out. Before you can reach the lost, your heart must break for what breaks the heart of God — and God’s heart breaks for people. Do not even attempt to change…

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Churches that desire to use an outreach event aimed at reaching their community for Christ often struggle with strategies that are effective.

Over the years I’ve seen churches (including mine) use big events that require a lot of time, money, and volunteers, only to find that they were relatively unsuccessful at connecting unchurched people into their congregation.

Of course, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to using events to reach people. However, we can uncover some guiding principles of what not to do and what to do.

First, what not to do:

1. Don’t be pushy.

On my honeymoon a guy at the hotel offered us a “free cruise.”  All we had to do was “listen to a brief presentation about their vacation timeshare.” We thought, “Why not? We have no money for a timeshare so this will be easy.” What we didn’t know was that the “cruise” was a boat ride to a private location with no way to get back except their boat. Finally, after several hours of very painful, high-pressure sales pitches, we were allowed to leave. I remember thinking, “I will NEVER do that again!”

I wonder how many “guests” feel that way after…

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Many years ago when our church began revitalization, we prayed and asked God whom he was calling us to reach.

The answer we felt God impressing upon us then was to focus on unchurched families.

So we created strategies and programs designed to reach out to these families.

God showed up and we began making inroads to reach these families, but then something unexpected happened.

They changed.

In fact, while we were busy perfecting the plans and programs we had used to reach the average unchurched family, the entire culture shifted.

Here we are 16 years later and we have found that we needed to reevaluate everything in light of these radical cultural shifts.

As we stepped back and took a fresh look at the average unchurched family that God is bringing to us, we have noted some characteristics that have become the foundation for reinventing our structures, strategies, and programs.

So, what does the “average” unchurched family look like today?

1. They are a blended home.

43 percent of all marriages are remarriages and 65 percent of those involve children from a prior marriage. Blended families are becoming the norm.

Not to mention that nearly 41 percent of children are…

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I just returned from my third trip to our partner church in China.

We are now reaping the tenfold fruit of a seven-year relationship and it is amazing!

However, I can remember a time not so long ago when I was feeling completely frustrated about our church’s missions program.

When I came to this church in 1999, the church was broken, discouraged, and declining.  We had an average attendance of about 50 on a Sunday and we determined to do whatever it would take to become a vibrant, healthy, disciple-making church.

We adopted the Purpose Driven strategy and over the next 5 years we slowly, but systematically changed our church and we saw amazing results.

In 2004 we introduced our missions class and began churning out members ready to be mobilized to take the Gospel to the whole world.

I’m passionate about missions because of two truths:

  1. The Great Commission is for every Christian, not just the “professionals.”
  2. One of the greatest ways to grow your people is to send them!

But there was one small problem – how?

I desperately wanted to send my people out to the nations, but I had no idea how to do it.

As a member…

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Delegation and empowerment are easier to write about than they are to actually implement. For anyone who has ever tried it, you have also learned that there need to be a few rules to help guide the person who’s been empowered. It’s not uncommon for the new leader to quickly use their new power to set off in unintended directions.

We need to not only give them power, but also some guiding principles.

May I suggest the following ABCs of empowerment?

1. Alignment

The greatest example of empowerment in the Bible is found in Matthew 28:16-20.  We commonly refer to this passage as the Great Commission.  In this passage Jesus empowers the leaders he has trained for the previous three years to fulfill his ongoing mission.  He tells them, “Guys, I’m outta here. I’m handing the baton to you now. Complete the work I started by making new disciples everywhere.” (Mossolonian Loose Translation)

Jesus is clear on the mission, vision, and values.  He is conspicuously vague on the methods. Of course, this is on purpose. Jesus wants his followers to focus on the eternal purposes of the church, not the cultural practices of a particular context.  This allows…

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When it comes to leadership, perhaps the most often used passage in the Bible is Exodus, chapter 18This is the story in which Moses allows his father-in-law, Jethro, to work with him. After a long day of exhausting work as judge, teacher, commander, and priest of Yahweh for millions of people, Jethro pulls Moses aside for a little hear- to-heart.

Jethro sees a micromanager driving himself into an early grave, trying to do too much. He gets Moe’s attention pretty fast when he says, “Dude, you’re dumb!” (ok, that’s the Mossolonian translation)

Jethro then lays out some pretty solid wisdom that every leader needs to learn.

Three Basic Principles of Effective Leadership

1. Clarification

You should continue to be the people’s representative before God…teach God’s decrees…give instructions…and show how to live…” (verses 19-20)

Jethro started out by clarifying Moses’ calling.

The most powerful principle of leadership is about self-discovery. Every leader must discover their unique leadership contribution. Leaders need clarity on their God-given gifts, skills, passion, leadership style, and what their story has been preparing them for.

It is not enough to have leadership gifts or skills.

Leaders have to be crystal clear on why they’re here.

Once you are clear on your specific role in the whole,…

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In 1999, when I graduated from seminary and prepared to take my first pastorate, there was far more that I didn’t know than I did know.

All I really knew at the time was that God had called me to lead a church, and that I deeply desired to make a difference. What I was unsure of was how to do that!

I was asked to pastor a small church on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that had gone through fifteen years of plateau, followed by a leadership implosion that put the church through a near-death experience. The church had about 35 people, no pastor, no visitors, and almost no children.

After being there for just a few months, I attended two powerful conferences that totally changed the trajectory of our church.

The first was a pastors’ conference where the speaker challenged us to “dream God’s dream” for our church. He said, “If you could lead the church of your dreams what would it look like?”

I left that conference with my heart pounding and my head spinning. On the airplane ride home, I pulled out a piece of paper and began feverishly writing down “I dream of a…

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It’s happened again. Unbelievable atrocities as terrorists erupt violence on hundreds of innocent bystanders.

The images filling our screens and feeds send a shudder up our spine and fill our minds with questions.  Questions like:

  • Why did this happen?
  • How is this possible?
  • What should be our response?
  • When will the madness end?

The Bible, unlike any other book in history, gives us the:

ANSWERS TO OUR DEEPEST QUESTIONS

1. The answer to WHY is sin, not evil.

Evil is not a presence, principle or person. Evil is an outcome. It is the result of people who have made the conscious choice to act on their sinful nature. Sin is the cause and evil is the effect. The greater a person embraces the sin in their heart, the more heinous are the actions of their hands. (see Genesis 4:7)

And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” (John 3:19, NLT)

2. The answer to HOW is confusion.

We have convinced ourselves that diplomacy, policy and democracy have the power to cure or possibly control sin. No amount of teaching, technology, tolerance, treaties or…

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QuestionsEvery church I know of holds weekend worship services. Most of them hold at least 52 a year. Nearly all of them will have visitors show up, even if by accident.

What we don’t often realize is the incredible anxiety most of them are feeling as they walk through our doors.

Their minds are racing with questions.

The answer to those questions will most likely determine whether or not they ever come back.

For some, it may even determine where they spend eternity!

Here’s my unofficial list of a first time guest’s questions:

1. Is the roof going to cave in on me? Or sometimes stated, “Am I going to get struck by lightning?”

Many of our guests are feeling the incredible contrast between their current lifestyle and what they know God wants from them. Because of this, they think that God and them are on the outs and that He’s probably ticked off at them.

2. Is anyone going to acknowledge me?

This is human nature. Whether we are visiting a church or a restaurant or a store. When we enter walk into an organization we believe to be customer-driven, we expect someone to speak to us. In fact,…

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