Archives For Leadership

Providence is God’s guidance and protection in our lives. Pastor, I know we teach about God’s providence to His people regularly. We counsel people with a deep belief and conviction about God’s guidance and protection through life. Yet, when it comes to our own lives and ministries, do we believe it with the same level of conviction and operate our lives accordingly?

God Knows What is Best for Me

I have often struggled with understanding many things in my own life and ministry. I have wondered why certain doors have closed when I thought their opening would be the will of God. Conversely, I have often been overwhelmed with God’s gracious blessing of opening doors for me that I knew I did not deserve. After all these years it is still hard to write them in confession to you: but I understand that God knows what is best for me, even when I do not know what is best for myself. Yes, He protects me from things I may want or believe, when in reality, they are not best for me.

Trusting the Providence of God

The Lord is always working around us. He desires to work…

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Leading WomenI led the worship department at Parkview Christian Church for 20 years, where I started on staff with me, myself, and I. But as the years progressed and the church grew, the worship staff did also and in my final years, I was leading a staff of 11 paid staff plus interns, and over 300 volunteers. I’ll be honest, I had no management training in college. Unfortunately, most people who are educated for Ministry are not taught these things, and they should be.

Some of you lead a department at a ministry or church, some of you lead volunteers whether a serving team or a small group, and some of you lead other moms or even just your own family for now. But you ARE a leader. And how you lead truly influences others and their perspective of Jesus. And, Ephesians 6:7 says “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people” (NIV) so our attitude when leading others should be about doing our very best.

So, as a leader, I wanted to share some tips I have learned along the way to help you (as well as my…

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Money

Some time ago, I received a call from The New York Times. The reporter was curious if I knew of any pastors or ministry leaders who were changing their tune because the economy wasn’t going so well. That call reminded me how much the world looks at our message as adaptable, changeable, and flexible. When it comes to those pesky issues like absolute truth, can’t we just change God’s principles to accommodate a changing culture, financial problems, or difficult circumstances?

So if you’re facing financial challenges with your organization, here are some suggestions:

1) Be Confident in the Validity of Your Message.  If you really feel God has given you a message for this generation, outside circumstances shouldn’t impact the essential truth of that message. In other words, don’t pull back on your core message – in fact, it probably should be stronger than ever. You can re-think the way we package the message, or how you present it, but don’t pull back from the message itself. Be confident in your calling, and bold in your message. You have this platform because your voice matters. Don’t allow fear to hold you back.

2) Keep…

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Through the years, I have been able to observe many things as I’ve watched pastors navigate through their future. I believe pastors and ministers need to consider these five things as they navigate through their future.

1. Know Your True Calling

Many leaders think they know their calling, but may not know what they’ve truly been called to. Their personal aspirations often times do not connect with their genuine calling of God.

Because a person likes to preach does not mean he is called to pastor a church. Preaching every now and then or to a certain segment of the church consistently is not the same as ministering the Word of God to a church weekly as the lead pastor-teacher.

Self-awareness of your true calling will keep you from a multitude of sins and preserve you from misery in ministry. Otherwise, you will operate in ministry by attempting to do what you are not really called to do. Blessing, joy, and anointing follow you when you are loyal to your genuine calling.

2. Fully Experience Where God is Moving

When God rains down His supernatural blessings on a ministry you are leading and experiencing, refuse to get caught up in thinking…

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Church health is the result of balance.

Balance occurs when a church has a strategy and a structure to fulfill the five New Testament purposes for the church: worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry.

If you don’t have a strategy and a structure that intentionally balances the purposes, the church tends to overemphasize the purpose you as a pastor feel most passionate about.

We tend to go to seed on one truth at a time. You attend one seminar and hear that the key to growth is small groups. At another, it’s volunteer recruitment, or dynamic worship, or creative outreach, or strong preaching.

The fact is, they’re all important.

When a church emphasizes any one purpose to the neglect of others, that produces imbalance — it’s unhealthy. And being unhealthy stunts a lot of churches.

To keep things balanced, four things must happen. You’ve got to:

  • move people into membership
  • build them up to maturity
  • train them for ministry
  • send them out on their mission.

And you need a clear discipleship process to be able to gauge whether you’re doing these things effectively or not. Just as our vital signs tell us whether our physical bodies are in good health or not, the health of a church is quantifiable. For example, I…

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I’m a church planter, and most of what I’ve learned about the church has come the hard way.

Thirteen years ago, on the first Sunday in January, I launched Eastpoint Church. In the 25 or so years before that, I had helped start or reboot six other churches.

None of that makes me an expert, just experienced. I’m still learning. My most recent lesson is one I didn’t especially like, but I needed it nonetheless.

Here’s my latest discovery: At some point in your pastoring journey, you may end up in the land between “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” and what you do then matters—a lot.

In this in-between season, things aren’t necessarily all bad. In fact, you might have much to be thankful for in your church. The bills are paid. The staff are gifted, capable, and faithful. People are showing up and still getting saved.

But the land between often means . . .

  • The buzz has faded, and you aren’t the hot new thang in town anymore.
  • The faithful are still with you but are much harder to inspire to sacrificial greatness.
  • When you announce a new series, the old regulars suspect it’s not…

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The question often comes up: How can a service be both worship and seeker-friendly? At Saddleback, we believe you can have both without compromising either.

When we speak of worship, we’re talking about something only believers can do. Worship is from believers to God. We magnify God’s name in worship by expressing our love and commitment to him. Unbelievers simply cannot do this.

Here is the simple definition of worship that we operate with at Saddleback: “Worship is expressing our love to God for who he is, what he’s said, and what he’s doing.”

We believe there are many appropriate ways to express our love to God: by praying, singing, obeying, trusting, giving, testifying, listening and responding to his Word, thanking, and many other expressions. God – not man – is the focus and center of our worship.

God is the consumer of worship

Although unbelievers cannot truly worship, they can watch believers worship. They can observe the joy that we feel. They can see how we value God’s Word and how we respond to it. They can hear how the Bible answers the problems and questions of life. They can notice how worship encourages, strengthens and changes us. They…

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Is God calling you to serve Him in ministry?

First of all, it’s a big YES.

God draws lost people to himself to save them, and his desire is that all saved people serve people. So, if you’re a believer, you are called! Obviously, however, there is a kind of “calling” that sets certain individuals apart for positions of ministry leadership. The New Testament refers to some people as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. And they are given to the church to teach, preach, shepherd, equip, and instruct.

It should be noted before moving any further that everyone within the body of Christ is of equal worth and importance. We may serve different functions, but the gap between “clergy” and “laity” is an imagined one. All believers are “ministers” even though a few may receive a special calling to lead and to take responsibility for the health and welfare of the flock as undershepherds who follow Jesus.

Some of these leaders are paid and some are not. Some work for churches full-time, some part-time, and others on a volunteer basis. Regardless of their formal relationship with a particular church body, they are called to a…

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We put in long hours, we experience a unique form of loneliness, and we face difficult decisions everyday. It’s easy to get discouraged.

And I think discouragement is one of the most deadly of diseases. Everybody can catch it, and you can catch it more than once. It’s highly contagious and spreads easily and quickly.

But here’s the good news: Discouragement is curable. Whenever I get discouraged, I head straight to Nehemiah. This great leader of ancient Israel understood there were four reasons for discouragement in ministry.

First, you get fatigued. You simply get tired as the laborers did in Nehemiah 4:10. We’re human beings, and we wear out. You cannot burn the candle at both ends. So if you’re discouraged, it may be that you don’t have to change anything. You just need a vacation! Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is go to bed.

Second, you get frustrated. Nehemiah says there was rubble all around. So much that it was getting in the way of rebuilding the wall. Do you have rubble in your ministry? Have you noticed that anytime you start doing something new, the trash starts piling up? If you don’t…

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By Lisa Cannon Green

No sabbatical. No help with counseling. No clear picture of what’s expected.

Hundreds of former senior pastors say these were the crucial elements missing from the final churches they led before quitting the pastorate.

A recent study by LifeWay Research points to ways churches can encourage pastors to stay in the ministry, said Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Nashville-based research organization.

“Almost half of those who left the pastorate said their church wasn’t doing any of the kinds of things that would help,” Stetzer said. “Having clear documents, offering a sabbatical rest, and having people help with weighty counseling cases are key things experts tell us ought to be in place.”

LifeWay Research surveyed 734 former senior pastors who left the pastorate before retirement age in four Protestant denominations.

Trouble begins early, the survey indicates, with 48 percent of the former pastors saying the search team didn’t accurately describe the church before their arrival.

Their churches were unlikely to have a list of counselors for referrals (27 percent), clear documentation of the church’s expectations of its pastor (22 percent), a sabbatical plan for the pastor (12 percent), a lay counseling ministry (9…

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Here’s To the Pastors

By Brian Jones

Here’s to the Pastors.

The ones you’ve never heard of.

The custodians of 30 million secrets for 30 million heavy souls.

Those worn down by time and place.

Walking, no, limping besides those they are pushing towards glory.

Here’s to the Pastors who with futures uncertain, mark their days by tasks largely unseen.

To the ones who serve churches with stories rarely told.

No invitations to speak.

Or write.

And without worry.

For while they are happy some comrades are lifted towards public gaze, their eye is on the long play.

Here’s to the Pastors, targets of endless critiques by small souls.

From people they are called to love.

From people they call their friends.

From those called to pray for them.

From one hundred thousand Judas’ who’ve walked under the fountains of healing, grace, and time.

Taking the darkness in stride, they know if seats were switched, the tempter’s hand would surely touch them too.

Here’s to the Pastors who with muffled doubts and gnawing sin still find the courage to stand up among us.

To ascend the steps.

And to remind us of hope.

To believe for us, long past when we stopped believing in ourselves.

Who, while being neither trite nor resigned, find the strength every week to tell us the…

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