Archives For Discipleship

Hurt BrideMost pastors have been there, struggling over the news that someone they love and care about has left the church in a tizzy. It doesn’t matter if the church has a hundred people or ten thousand; it always leaves at least a little sting when they go. This is especially true if they go away mad. We cannot control what people do, but we should attempt to pastor them even on their way out the back door.

Some current realities:

1. Unfortunately, we live in a consumer-driven culture. There are a lot of options if they don’t like your church. “Tick me off,” they think, “and I’ll just take my church-business down the road.”
2. Too few truly understand the value of connecting and belonging to a local church at a meaningful level. People have a hard time staying the course in marriage these days. Bailing on a church is even easier for many.
3. Too often people come and go for the wrong reasons. They might have come to our church for the wrong reasons, and if so, they will probably leave someday for the wrong reasons.

Good reasons to leave a…

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Steve Gladen and Brett Eastman talk about Group Talk – A great resource for you and your small group ministry.

Learn great ideas that are out there around the world. Every month has a new topic to take your ministry to a new level.

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May Group Talks

5/10 – Steve Gladen on “The Power of Alignment”
5/17 – Mark Howell on “Engaging Everyone”
5/24 – Allen White on “Recruiting Leaders”
5/31 – Mark Howell on “Connecting Members”

Listen to Group Talks Here

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Brett Eastman interviews Caleb Anderson on Small Group Leadership 101. 10 Simple steps that will make a difference for you and your group.

1. You are not alone.
2. Don’t try to do it alone
3. Just Be You
4. Prepare Ahead of Time
5. Pray for Your Group Members
6. Be Patient when Asking Questions
7. Always Read the Transitions and Questions Out Loud
8. Break Into Smaller Groups if too Large
9. Let Others Lead
10. Enjoy the Journey

Watch the Full Interview

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Breaking Free – Financial Freedom

Erik Van Alstine
(co-founder of Project 28, author of Breaking Free and teaching pastor at Champions Centre)

Steve Gladen interviews Erik Van Alstine about “Breaking Free” – Strategies that transform Debt into Wealth. Breaking Free is a personal finance small group and seminar program that will save you hundreds of dollars a month, immediately, and represents thousands of dollars in new wealth in your pocket in the months ahead. It offers you a new sense of personal power, a clear path to godly purpose, and a flourishing, prosperous life!

Watch the Interview

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Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
(Isaiah 55:6-7 ESV)

With open arms and abundant, forgiving grace, God invites every one of us — any one of us — to return to him. That for which you hit the “delete” key in repentance (which is part of the turning/returning) is worthless compared to lifelong fellowship with the God who made you.

————-

Recently on Steve’s Free blog: Jesus at the Beach | And He Began to Walk

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By Steve Gladen

This month is pretty special for me. I started the journey in fulltime ministry 29 years ago in the month of September. In some ways, that seems as if it was a lifetime ago. In other ways, it seems like just yesterday. Many times I sit back and say, “If I only knew then what I know today”. Although I can’t go back and rewind the tapes and do some things over, I can share with others and pray they don’t make similar mistakes or take careless risks. So, if we were to sit down and chat with another ministry leader, here are my top five pieces of advice for lasting in ministry.

This month is pretty special for me. I started the journey in fulltime ministry 29 years ago in the month of September. In some ways, that seems as if it was a lifetime ago. In other ways, it seems like just yesterday. Many times I sit back and say, “If I only knew then what I know today”. Although I can’t go back and rewind the tapes and do some things over, I can share with others and pray they don’t make similar mistakes…

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Earlier this month, Sandy and I spent a couple of relaxing days at Cape May, N.J., where the houses are Victorian, the breezes are fresh, and the beaches are wide. The only downer was the vicious cold I developed just in time for our little getaway. But even that couldn’t take away from the loveliness of our stay.

Actually, I used to be much more of a “downer” person. My tendency is to be introspective, perfectionist, even negative — and when looking within my own soul, I could catalog 10 thousand reasons why I didn’t measure up. I would stare within and find an awful lot not to like. Ever been there? I lived there.

Fact is, there’s always plenty of defect and stupidity and sin brewing around in our minds and hearts. Our actions, our desires, our thoughts, our words — they never do match up to the perfect standard of God’s . Not even close.

At Cape May, you can walk the wide beaches, and the sand seems almost infinite. Imagine trying to count not merely the smooth little stones that wash up but every grain of sand!…

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Life PlanWe’ve been talking about life plans as part of our Strongology as ministry leaders. If you’ve been following this blog for some time now, you know that Strongology is a lifestyle built for maximum ministry while eliminating burnout at the same time.

Are you considering developing your own life plan? Here are some resources to get you going in the right direction:

Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan eBook

Life Optimizer’s “A Guide To Creating Your Life Plan”

Lifehacker’s “How To Create Your Life Plan”

Personal Coach Package – Developing Your Life Plan

I believe every ministry leader must have a life plan if they are going to serve with full engagement, maximum performance and sustained health. This plan will look different from one person to another. Some will be very detailed. Others will be sketchy and powerful. The key is not to build your plan to look like anyone else’s. The key is to discover the life plan that works for you in a powerful, effective way.

Source: Serving Strong

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Inner PeaceAnd the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

If you lived in a frontier town constantly harassed by raiding parties from an enemy, one option for your military would be to send troops to actually live beside you. These troops would be garrisoned to your town, and their presence would not only provide protection during an attack; they, hopefully, would dissuade the enemy from even launching any more attacks.

This is the implication of Paul’s language in this passage; that the peace of God will be garrisoned within your heart and mind, providing an ever-present protection from within as opposed to the need to stressfully search the horizon for the Calvary to arrive just in the nick of time.

God’s peace and presence is closer than a brother, not a mental state reached by working yourself into it. Jesus became flesh and garrisoned among us (John 1:1–14), and now the Holy Spirit garrisons within us.

It’s a garrison of peace that mingles and indwells your heart and mind, protecting you even as it heals the wounds of worry…

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About 40 years ago, I was at a camp in the mountains. Alone in a room, I prayed, “God, if there is a God, I’m open. If you’re real, I want to know you’re real. And, Jesus Christ, if you can change my life, if there is a purpose for my life, I want to know it.”

You know what happened? Nothing. I didn’t get goose bumps. I didn’t cry. No bright lights shown down. Nothing.

But that was the turning point in my life – because I was no longer biasing myself against God. I wanted to know the truth, even if it was inconvenient.

As we teach our congregations, we need to help them understand that Truth can be discovered once we develop an attitude of openness that says, “I want to learn God’s Truth more than anything else.”

Once they understand this, we can explain that God uses these five ways to show us what is true. You can take these points and adapt them for use in your congregation —

1. Through creation — We learn a lot about God and a lot about truth just by looking at…

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HeartI tweeted earlier this week that:
“True believers are marked by their love. It flows from God through men and women to the world. Want to impact the world? #LoveSomebody”
I whole heartedly believe this is true. Last week I sat down with my friend Joel, a man I have much respect for whose love for God and others cannot help but splash out in the world around him. He shared a very moving story with me that I immediately knew had to be shared with our church. Please take a few minutes and watch this powerful video that tells the beautiful story of a simple act of compassion.
Sometimes we fail to do what we could because we feel it would be insignificant and of little effect. The truth is that while the small actions usually fail to garner publicity, they often have the greatest impact.
Mark 12:41-44 (NLT)
 41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.
 43 Jesus called his disciples to him…

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