Archives For Leadership

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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Peyton ManningSunday night I, like many of you, watched Peyton Manning (Quarterback of the Denver Broncos) set an all-time record for most touchdowns in NFL history. As I celebrated his achievement and performance, I reflected on what makes Peyton so special and what we, as pastors, can learn from him.

    1. Passion: Peyton Manning’s passion for the game of football is evident. He loves to play and though he may look serious (with his game face on), he’s having a blast on the field. We, as leaders in the Church, should have passion as well.
      Danger: When being a pastor becomes your identity and you are, as Craig Groeschel once said, “A full-time pastor and a part-time disciple.”
    2. Commitment: Who knows the countless hours Peyton Manning has spent studying film, practicing with his offensive line and receivers, working out and strengthening his arm and body? Peyton is committed to the game of football. He doesn’t do anything halfway. He’s all-in. If you pastor a congregation, you should be committed to that church and to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
      Danger: When you don’t have a life outside the church. You need to be an…

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WalkEvery pastor wants to make a significant impact with his life and through his ministry. This passion and vision is true regardless of the size of the ministry you lead today.

When I was younger, I wanted to make a difference in a major way. I still do today. When I was in a smaller church, I wanted to have an impactful ministry. I still do today.

What is the secret?

Deepen Your Walk

Pastor, if you want to have a broad influence in your life and ministry, it all begins by deepening your walk with God daily. I am firmly convinced that God’s pathway to impact begins with a growing depth in your personal walk with God. There are no shortcuts!

The Bible reminds us in James 4:10,

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Additionally, we read in Psalm 75:6-7,

For promotion does not come from the east, west, nor south; God is the judge. He puts down one and sets up another.

While there is a factor that God alone determines, the value of our unqualified pursuit of the Lord Himself is undeniable. And while we cannot control what God may choose…

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TargetGod is more concerned with your progress than your perfect performance. The very nature of discipleship is progressive. God’s purpose is that you become more and more like His Son, Jesus, and He will use your entire life to work that process out. As ministry leaders, we are not exceptions. We are examples. If we aren’t growing and challenging ourselves to move to the next level, personally and professionally, we can’t lead a congregation or a team to do so.

Excellence, in and of itself, isn’t a core value at our church. We’d rather launch things imperfectly than wait for perfect conditions, which never really arrive. Having said that, excelling or growing and improving is another matter. While we don’t have to have reached perfection to serve God, we must be willing to grow. Some Pastors and leaders excel and grow, while others don’t. What makes the difference? The Bible mentions at least five factors that cause us to excel…

1. People who excel work with enthusiasm.

Emerson once said “Nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm.” Regardless of whether the job is big or small, give it your best. Great performers give their…

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