Archives For Scott Couchenour

LoveWhat would make a Father give his Son to a band of thieves and bandits to have their way with him?


What would make a man give up a good name for ignorant ridicule and scoffing?


What would make a mother bring her child into a world through scandalous appearances?


What would make a Man give up his limitless freedom for limitation and pain?


Why would a God grant freedom to a human race knowing it could result in it killing itself in twin towers and elementary schools?


Why does a man give up a well-paying position to serve in a dangerous and low paying role among a group of misfits?


What makes a successful businessman take a large portion if his profits and devote it to serving a poor country who will never fully understand nor repay him for his efforts?


What makes a woman continue to walk down dusty paths to serve the lame and mentally ill at a no-name hospital?


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Two WaysYou are either CONSUMING or BEING CONSUMED

When you are Consuming, you are taking in needed energy. You are replenishing what you’ve given out to others in the name of Jesus.

When you are Being Consumed you are giving out energy. You are doing the work of leadership; of ministry.

(Note: In my experience, ministry leaders like yourself find themselves more often at the “being consumed” end of the spectrum)

You are either SUCCEEDING or FAILING

When you are Succeeding, you are seeing the fruits of your labor. Or perhaps, fruits or no fruits, you have that sense that you are still within God’s presence and faithfully pursuing His call on your life.

When you are Failing, it’s no fun. You’re dealing with the problems of ministry leadership. Peoples’ quirks, questions, and quits. You work hard just to bring yourself to ground zero. All the struggle – none of the fulfillment. You know God’s present. You just don’t sense Him.

How These Play Out

Consuming and Succeeding – a pretty sight to behold. Watch the over-consuming though. Ministry gluttony is painful in its own way.

Being Consumed and Succeeding – okay, but watch it. Your adrenalin may be intoxicating and you’ll hit the wall.


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Killer“I can do it better myself.”

True, to an extent. But you can’t do everything better. And even if you could, where would you find the time? This phrase leads down the path of “I must do it all”. You can’t do it all. You are finite. You are rhythmic. You cannot sustain a fevered pace, going from one task to the next. You will burn out. You must delegate wisely.

“I am judged on results.”

No you’re not. You may be employedto produce results. But you’re not judged by God to produce results. That’s His arena. Your task is to remain obedient and faithful. This requires a stellar and growing, dynamic relationship with Christ, Himself. Many of your colleagues have burned out thinking they were being judged by the results, which were not forthcoming in their assignment.

“If I work hard, God will provide.”

Nope. Hard work isn’t a trigger for God’s provision. At least, hard work ALONE isn’t. This phrase implies that you can go and go and go, at the expense of other areas of your life (like your physical health, your marriage, your parenting) and somehow God will fill in the gaps….

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HolidaysIt’s almost Thanksgiving. Christmas is already showing up on the streets and in the stores. You’ve been here before. Choir rehearsals. Play practice. Band rehearsals. Gift shopping. Wrapping. Sermon prep. Decorating the sanctuary. Setting up the Christmas tree. These are just a few of the items on your “to-do” list.

But how do you prepare on the inside?

How can you be sure that this season you’ll be closer to Christ than you have ever been? How can you be sure that this season you’ll keep from going crazy and burning out?

Here are a few tips for your consideration:

Maintain the ONE-ON-ONE. Keep that quiet time you have with Christ. Perhaps it’s in your study early in the morning before anyone else has gotten up for the day. Or perhaps it’s during that 5-mile run in town. However you do it, maintain it. Don’t let the hectic nature of the holidays rob that away from you.

Maintain the TO DO List. It may not be easy for you to hear this if you’re not a list person. But it may be just the ticket for you. Keep all the tasks for the season in one place. It…

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CriticsLeadership sucks (you can quote me on that.) When God taps the shoulder of a person for the purpose of leading a ministry, you can be sure they are in for a ride. Leadership is about taking people forward toward a vision of the future. Forward movement always involves change. Leading change makes lightning rods out of leaders – and that sucks.

Check out this quote I came across while reading the book, Leadership On The Line (by Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky):

“To lead is to live dangerously because when leadership counts, when you lead people through difficult change, you challenge what people hold dear – their daily habits, tools, loyalties, and ways of thinking – with nothing more to offer perhaps than possibility…People push back when you disturb the personal and institutional equilibrium they know. And people resist in all kinds of creative and unexpected ways that can get you taken out of the game…”

Need a life coach to help you with this?Click Here to get started

People will tell you what they think of your leadership. This is a good thing. It’s a whole lot worse to…

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Pete jerked into consciousness at the sound of his alarm clock.

6:00am… already.

He laid there in the quiet stillness. Meanwhile, all the little monkeys, who were sitting at his bedside, realized Pete was awake and they proceeded to jump back into his mind.

One monkey whispered, “You’re still alone in this ministry.”

Another monkey, “You will always be lonely.”

And another monkey said, “Are you sure you want to keep going by yourself like this? Why not just quit?

Pete thought for a moment he’d be free of the monkeys, only to be disappointed… again.

He served as senior pastor of a nice little church of 103 people in a rural location. He had been there for about two plus years. He and his wife accepted the call because he wasn’t getting along in the youth pastor position at his previous assignment. He thought this church would be a new start for him.


But lately he’s been struggling with the little monkeys in his head that tell him he’s so lonely. So beside himself. No one to talk to. No one to share the burdens or even the victories. He’s got his wife,…

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Dear Discouraged Pastor,

The God who hung the stars is big enough to hang a shining light of guidance over your staff challenges. Plus, He’s bigger than your church’s naysayers, no shows, and negative bank balance.

The God who raised Lazarus from the grave is more than capable of raising up the leaders He needs from your congregation to do the work He wants to do in your neck of the woods.

Stop and pause long enough to step away from yourself and catalog the emotions you are feeling right now. Make a list. Hurt? Tired? Lonely? Fed up? Empty? Then talk to God and tell Him that’s how you are feeling. He listens with a depth none of us can fully appreciate but a depth from which we can completely benefit.

Are you wrestling with resentment? Take a trip down to the pool. Let God painfully pull the scab off the wound you’ve nursed. Let Him apply the healing sting of His salve of peace as He shares with you what it was like to walk up Golgotha’s winding path with a sense of purpose.


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LeadershipMinistry leaders who serve strong are defined by 4 phrases:


“I put my hope and trust in Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Lord of my life. In Him I move and breathe. He is the sole source of my strength.”


“Because I am called, I am empowered. Apart from Him I can do nothing. But with Him I can do all things because He gives me strength.”


“It’s my choice whether I respond to the call He places on my life. I recognize the gravity of my humble surrender to Him because, for whatever reason, He has chosen to work through me.”


“I do the work assigned to me. I do take time to sharpen the saw so I can continue to do this work. I do actively engage in reconnecting people back to a loving God because I want to be caught doing when He returns.”

Source: Serving Strong

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PASTORS: If you want to be effective today, try being ‘interruptible.’ Relationships matter.

CalendarThis was a tweet I saw recently from a quality person I’ve come to know through Twitter, Ben Reed (follow Ben on Twitter for yourself). Your own personal Strongology demands that you have a life plan and employ certain techniques for time management. This post addresses both of these elements.

Here are 2 thoughts on how to be interruptible:

Margin Time

When you go to plan your week, be sure that you allow for 20% margin time. This is time set aside for the unexpected, including interruptions. Most days have their share of interruptions. When you are packed so full of tasks and obligations, you don’t have the luxury of time and your staff see you as aloof and themselves as unimportant.

Block Time

Get away from everybody. Set an appointment with yourself and close off all contact so you can zero all your energies in on one main objective: finishing that project. It may seem counter intuitive to shut yourself off from the world in order to complete a project. But the time away from everybody for that block of time is…

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Normalize ConflictAsk a victim of burnout what led to their demise. Chances are, they will include some sort of interpersonal conflict with one or more other people. Unresolved conflict saps the energy from the best of us. It’s intimidating. It’s depressing.

For a lot of people, the problem is simply the fact that they don’t know what to say or do. The unknown becomes the tail that wags the proverbial dog. Let’s end this. Here are three phrases you can begin to use that will normalize conflict:

1) “When you do _____…” Be very specific here. Don’t bring up other actions the person does that bugs you.

2) “I feel _____.” Be honest. State in simple facts what the person’s action does to you.

3) “I’d like you to _____.” Ask the person to take a different path.

Example: “When you wear that loud shirt I can’t stop laughing enough to get my work done. I’d like you to consider wearing it at times other than work.”

Another Example: “When you talk down to me like that, I feel demoralized. I’d like you to communicate with me using more dignity.


Now, just walking up to the person and saying…

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FansWe all guard against it. We hope it never happens. But sometime there is going to be a season when something earth-shattering happens in the life of a church body.

The examples are endless: The church treasurer is caught embezzling $40,000 from the mission fund. The worship pastor admits to having an affair with the pianist. Someone stands up in the middle of your sermon and starts shouting out obsenities… ouch!

What do you do when this sort of thing happens? How do you maintain composure in your leadership? The answer may surprise you. It’s not about planning your reaction the moment something like this happens. It’s about cultivating your heart ahead of time, over time.

Think of it this way: Hold a glass of water, arm stretched out straight. Now, shake your arm vigorously. What spills out? Water – exactly. Why? Because water was IN the glass, when shaken, water came OUT of the glass.

Here are couple ideas to fill your life with the right “water”:

~ Stay in the Word for yourself. The key here is “for yourself”. Don’t always be in the Word for “work”. Keep focused on how the scripture…

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CrazySometimes I have to be out of the office for a day or so. When I return, I have a lot of “little monkeys” nipping at my heels for attention. This makes me feel overwhelmed, which leads to a paralyzing procrastination which further complicates the situation.

Thankfully, I’ve been working on a process that seems to work for me. Stress is reduced. A sense of empowerment grows. I am able to feel like I’m engaged in what I should be engaged in. I want to share this system with you. Hopefully, it will have the same impact on you that it does on me.


Yes, say a prayer. God isn’t only interested in your sermon prep, your Bible study, or your intercession. He’s interested in what you face as you sit at your desk on a typical workday. Don’t forget, He’s omnipresent, and He’s omni-caring.


Get all the papers, post-it notes, mail, email and voicemail (print these out if you have to) and get them all in one stack. Don’t worry about how tall it is. Just get it all together. Multiple stacks…

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