Archives For Leadership

CameraEveryone talks about “passion” these days, and truthfully, it’s a wonderful thing. It’s always better to be emotionally plugged into projects and excited about the possibilities. But these days, it seems that people talk about passion a lot, but they don’t see the importance of preparation. For instance, you’d be amazed at the number of people who call our office hoping I can introduce them to a literary agent – except for the small fact that they haven’t actually written a book yet. The other day someone asked me to introduce him to a movie studio executive so he could pitch his idea, but the caller has never actually worked in the movie industry, written a screenplay, or know anything about the business.

I literally get hundreds of calls from people who want to speak at conferences. But they’ve never volunteered at a conference, met the people in the background, or taken the time to learn by speaking at smaller, less important events. Others want to teach at a university but haven’t taken the time to get a graduate degree. The list goes on and on…

Surgeons don’t get into an operating room…

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Rick Praying

Years ago, an old saint shared with me twelve prayer principles from the life of Jesus Christ. It made such a difference in my personal prayer life. There are only 17 references to Jesus praying and most of them are in the book of Luke.

1.  The principle of ILLUMINATION.

Luke 3:21-22 says, “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too.  And as He was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My Son whom I love.  With You I am well pleased.”  The setting here was Jesus’ baptism and this is the first recorded example of Jesus’ praying and we see in the book of Luke three results of His praying.

  • Heaven opened up.
  • The Holy Spirit came down.
  • The Father spoke.

These are three results when we make contact with God in our prayers. Symbolically, heaven opens up and we receive God’s blessing. The Holy Spirit fills our lives afresh. And the Father speaks to us. If you’d like to know the Spirit’s power in your life, if you’d like God to speak to you,…

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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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Pastors Family ChristmasThe pastor is pulled in a thousand directions all the time, but especially during the Christmas season. Through the seasons of leadership I have experienced over twenty-eight years of ministry here, there have been some very challenging years. However, I have always really tried to insure that my family received my love, support, and focus. Looking back through the years, I believe I have been able to do this in a satisfactory and fulfilling way.

What Threatens Time With the Family

Any pastor can state the intention not to sacrifice his family during the Christmas season. Yet, in order to make this a reality, he needs to know what can threaten his time with his family.

What are some of these possible threats?

1. Busyness at church

True busyness exists in most churches during the Christmas season. This is not always bad. Churches need to seize the moment to do all they can for the gospel during the Christmas season.

It is important that the pastor is not placed in the situation of having to be “the life” in all the ministry and social opportunities of the season. We must lead and be diligent workers,…

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MirrorGoing on a journey of self-discovery sounds selfish, if we’re honest with ourselves. In the church we talk about love and service and how we treat others, but we rarely talk about ourselves. We don’t talk about figuring out who you are, or identity, or self-confidence as much as we could, and I think that hole in our teaching is causing Christians to be rather unlikeable.

It’s a strange thing to admit the reputation we’ve earned as Christians, but I think we’d do well to look around and see how we’re known.

Recognizing our reputation is the first step to changing it. 

We’re seen as judgmental sometimes, quarrelsome, pugnacious. We’re easily offended and impose our convictions on other people. We are the captains of unsolicited advice. It’s unfortunate that this has become our reputation, and certainly not all of us are like this, but if we look around I think we’ll realize, this is often how we come across.

For those of us who don’t think we’re that way, we’re guilty of getting angry at Christians we feel are perpetuating this reputation. We think to ourselves, “will you just be quiet?” or “let it go!”…

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Pulpit BibleWhen pride walks on the platform, God walks off. Under major conviction from the Holy Spirit in 1995, in the early morning on a night when I could not sleep, God revealed this truth to me. It was not a truth about someone else, but a truth about me. During those early hours, God began a work within me that He is still doing in and through me daily.

Every pastor I know, but mostly this pastor, needs to continually learn the powerful truth from 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die every day!”  May the Lord teach us this truth.

Where We Are

The spiritual vital signs in this nation, in our churches, and in our individual lives display our desperate need for a word from God that hits us between the eyes, takes the wind out of our self-importance, reminds us that we are not God, and brings us to our knees. Unless we humble ourselves with fasting and prayer, we will not know real joy, we will not know God’s best for our lives, and we will never experience the great awakening we need personally and nationally.

We need to stop long enough…

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5

Not all Millennials are averse to serving in leadership roles in established churches. But many of them are. And our churches are approaching a tipping point where many are unable to attract Millennial members or leaders. It will likely soon be a crisis.

What is it about established churches that push away Millennials? Let’s examine that question first, and then let’s look at some possible solutions.

  1. Millennials perceive established churches to have values that are entrenched in non-missional traditions. Millennials have values that focus on community, cooperation, and service to others. They see established churches as barriers to those values, institutions that are more concerned about maintaining the status quo rather than making a missional difference.
  2. They perceive that much time in established churches is wasted catering to members’ personal preferences. For a number of Millennials, the established church feels more like a religious country club rather than an outwardly-focused organization. Budgets, ministries, and activities seem to be focused on preferences of members rather than reaching out to others.
  3. Many established churches are denominationally loyal; but many Millennials see denominations as antiquated organizations. If a church is affiliated with a denomination, this younger generation views…

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photo: Ty Carlson, Creative Commons
Going on a journey of self-discovery sounds selfish, if we’re honest with ourselves. In the church we talk about love and service and how we treat others, but we rarely talk about ourselves. We don’t talk about figuring out who you are, or identity, or self-confidence as much as we could, and I think that hole in our teaching is causing Christians to be rather unlikeable.

It’s a strange thing to admit the reputation we’ve earned as Christians, but I think we’d do well to look around and see how we’re known.

Recognizing our reputation is the first step to changing it. 

We’re seen as judgmental sometimes, quarrelsome, pugnacious. We’re easily offended and impose our convictions on other people. We are the captains of unsolicited advice. It’s unfortunate that this has become our reputation, and certainly not all of us are like this, but if we look around I think we’ll realize, this is often how we come across.

For those of us who don’t think we’re that way, we’re guilty of getting angry at Christians we feel are perpetuating this reputation. We think to ourselves, “will you just be quiet?” or “let…

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Long Haul

He was once regarded as one of the best business leaders in the world. At the end of his career, he was disgraced and, by some measures, considered one of the worst business leaders of all time.

Al Dunlap believed that the primary goal of a company was to make money for its shareholders. To that end, he would lead an organization to massive layoffs and plant closings. The short-term profits would soar, and so would the value of the company.

He led Scott Paper with that ruthless behavior. Thousands of employees lost their jobs. Plants were closed. But it seemed like he had the formula for success when he sold Scott Paper to Kimberly-Clark for $2.8 billion and walked away with his own $100 million golden parachute.

Over time, Dunlap’s true colors began to become clear. He would become CEO of Sunbeam in 1996. He took measures to make the company profitable at all costs, even if they were unethical or illegal. He eventually led the company to bankruptcy.

Short-term leaders and Long-haul Leadership

Sometimes the metaphor “flash in the pan” is used to describe leaders like Dunlap. They appear to…

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KillerLife can throw us a lot of curves. Our childhood, our parents, physical challenges, early experiences on the job, all indelibly imprint us with bad behaviors that are hard to shake. A woman abused as a child, a man whose father told him he’d never amount to much, a person who lives with insecurity. Big or small, they damage our relationships, the quality of our work, and our chances for success. But there are three specific personality “quirks” that really set people back from achieving all they could become in life. I’m not a psychologist, and don’t have all the answers for fixing these problems, but I’ve discovered that if we can take a frank look at ourselves, and at least recognize the limiting behaviors, it helps us get started on the road to freedom.

Take a hard look at this list, and if you suffer from any of these types of behavior, stop blaming others, and put some effort into making real adjustments. Trust me — everyone else knows you’ve got it, so you might as well fix it.

1. Insecurity. Maybe you felt belittled or unworthy as a child, or fear…

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Growth

Does God desire for your church to grow?

The short and simple answer is “yes.” We can make this deduction from the fact that God has called us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20) and that ultimately; disciples from all nations will be gathered together in heaven (Revelation 7:9). In the mean time, God is working through His body, the Church, to gather His children (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, as the Church grows, God’s global kingdom grows. –and that’s not just God’s goal, its promise.

But there is another answer and its slightly more complicated.

Imagine you have a friend with two wild, unruly children. When his kids spend the night with your kids, you hide every breakable item in the house and never let them out of your sight! Although you love your friend immensely, you are really concerned about his lack of parenting skills.

One day, over lunch, your friend tells you that he and his wife are praying for another child. He explains how they are confident that God wants their family to grow and he even quotes Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children are a heritage…

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Rick Warren's Library

If you’ve ever been to Israel, you know there’s a real contrast between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is full of water and full of life. There are trees and vegetation. They still do commercial fishing there. But the Dead Sea is just that – dead. There are no fish in it and no life around it. The Sea of Galilee is at the top of Israel and receives waters from the mountains of Lebanon. They all come into the top of it and then it gives out at the bottom. That water flows down through the Jordan River and enters into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea takes in but it never gives out. That’s why it’s stagnant. The point is, there must be a balance in our lives to stay fresh with both input and output. There’s got to be an inflow and an outflow.

Somebody has said, “When your output exceeds your income your upkeep will be your downfall.” There must be a balance. Most Christians get too much input and not enough output. They attend Bible study after Bible study. They’re…

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