8-year old Noah Roberts scores a touchdown on the last play of East Carolina’s Spring Football game. Noah has Neurofibromatosis type 2. That is a neurological condition that causes tumors to grow throughout the nervous system and there is no cure. He has been through surgeries to remove tumors from his brain and spinal cord and is currently going through studies for additional tumors.Continue Reading
Archives For Leadership
How are you doing?
If I may, I’d like to share three pastoral leadership insights with you that are making me a better pastor-elder, thus is making Transformation Church more effective in advancing God’s Kingdom on earth. Maybe my experiences will help you too? For goodness sakes, we need each other, don’t we?
DON’T ROB JESUS OF GLORY
Pastor-Elder, perpetually be a student of effective and gifted pastors, but please do not rob Jesus of His glory by trying to copy someone else’s preaching or leadership style. At our disposal, in an instant, we can download a great pastor’s sermons or attend a conference with a lineup of pastoral All-Stars and have access to great leaders and what they’ve done in their ministries. This is a blessing. But it can become a curse if we don’t allow Jesus to take us to a place of utter desperation that causes us to rely on Him so He can innovate through us. Never forget, desperation produces innovation. The most innovative things we’ve done at Transformation Church, were birthed from the womb of desperation.
THE ESSENCE OF GREATNESS
Pastor-Elder, the essence of greatness isn’t found solely in what…Continue Reading
Pastor, you’ve got a sleeping giant in your church. If you awake that sleeping giant, it’ll change your church, your community and the world. This sleeping giant in your church is your unengaged lay people.
If 10 percent of your church does most of the work, you have nine entire churches your size sitting on the sidelines each week. Fully engaged, the ministry potential of your church is mind-boggling!
Each Sunday, church pews are filled with members who are doing nothing with their faith except “keeping” it. The designation active member in most churches simply means those who attend regularly and financially support the church. Not much more is expected.
But God has far greater expectations for every Christian. He expects every Christian to use their gifts and talents in ministry. If we can ever awaken and unleash the massive talent, resources, creativity, and energy found in the typical local church, Christianity will explode with growth at an unprecedented rate.
I believe that the greatest need in evangelical churches is the release of members for ministry. George Gallup once took a survey and discovered that only ten percent of American church…Continue Reading
“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”—George Washington Carver
It’s easy to tell whether a person is giving an excuse. Whether you’re a teacher, a parent, or a leader, we’ve all heard excuses from other people that don’t quite add up.
While determining the validity of someone else’s excuse is fairly black and white, it’s not so easy when it comes to the excuses we give ourselves. Oftentimes, we give ourselves a lot more slack with our own excuses. It’s taken me years to realize that the excuses I often find “acceptable” can possibly destroy the influence, leadership potential, and personal growth I want to accomplish.
Here are three of the most common acceptable excuses I’ve find myself giving over the past few years. But I have recently realized the danger of using them:
1. I’m busy.
How often do we tell ourselves that “we’re too busy to start a new task” or even tell others how crazy life is right now when they ask. About a year ago, I realized that I had been using the excuse of busyness for too long. Here’s what I…Continue Reading
Today marks the release of the movie, Home Run, the touching tale of a baseball player who has seen success on the diamond and failure in his personal life due to his difficult family experiences and his addiction to alcohol. We love the movie because of its message of hope and its open reference to Celebrate Recovery, a ministry born in the hearts of John Baker and Rick Warren at Saddleback Church. Celebrate Recovery becomes the mechanism of change in all-star player Cory Brand’s life.
Sean O’Connell, a reviewer with the secular publication, The Washington Post, gave the movie three out of four stars and challenges readers to give it a look. O’Connell observes, “What might have been a woeful by-the-numbers, come-from-behind story benefits from welcome doses of sentimentality and rustic flavor.” And further…
Before the athlete is forced to face the music for his destructive on-field actions, Brand’s savvy agent, Helene (Vivica A. Fox), comes up with a public relations solution. She enrolls her high-profile client in an off-the-beaten-path 12-step program in his home town near Tulsa, where he agrees to coach the underachieving Little League squad and…Continue Reading
Earlier this week a godly Christian friend of mine remarked, “Is it just me or is the world starting to spin out of control? It seems like all we’re doing is going from one major crisis to the next to the next. How are we supposed to catch our breath anymore?”
How should we respond in the midst of crises? The short answer, no surprise, is: By praying. More than any other writings, the ancient Hebrew and Christian hymn book, the Psalms, show us how.
Beginning with Psalm 3, and over and over again until Psalm 149, we find the psalmist actively and fervently praying to the Lord in various dire circumstances.
How many are my foes!…
Give me relief from my distress….
Listen to my cry for help…
Away from me, all you who do evil…
Save and deliver me from all who pursue me…
In seven out of every ten psalms, the writer is either crying out to the Lord for physical salvation, thanking God for sparing his life, reminding himself of the differing fates of the righteous and evildoers, or renewing his allegiance to God and His Word in the face of rampant wickedness.
If the psalms…Continue Reading
God has been challenging me to spend more time alone with Him. All too often prayer is overlooked by those who prefer to be busy. If you are a highly driven person you probably find it difficult to pause long enough to hear His voice each morning. Being a “doer,” it is hard for me, by nature, to slow down and spend quality time with God. I am so thankful that He has been patient with me and even when I have been too busy for Him, He has never been too busy for me.
Let me share a great verse with you that stresses the importance of praying for one another. Col. 4:12 “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God”
On top of His word and the Holy Spirit I also ran across a couple of quotes that really spoke to me and convicted me. “If you have a choice to make between praying and doing, choose to pray. You will accomplish more by your…Continue Reading
Do you realize that if your weekend attendance totals about 90 people, you’re an above average church (at least in the United States and when measuring by such numbers)?
If you’re wondering what you need to do to grow, here are eight steps that can help you break an attendance barrier:
1) Decide you really, really want to grow – Believe it or not, the primary barrier to church growth is desire. Do you really want to grow? If the answer is yes, then you must commit to this goal and be willing to accept changes.
And the people in your congregation must also be willing to accept changes.
The Bible says, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24 NKJV). In order for a church to grow, some things have to die. Those who had intimacy with the pastor have to learn to share him with new people. They have to be willing to let go of the control they have in certain decisions and in certain areas.
This eBook is designed for churches that find themselves stuck. Filled with practical insights, it’s designed for the church that has been stuck for decades and is facing decline, or the church that has had success and impact in the recent past but finds itself plateaued.
Like his other books, Tony Morgan provides wisdom and application to help churches take their next steps. Based on four previously released eBooks in the Leisure Suit Series, “Stuck in a Funk?” provides a fresh take on these four key questions:
1. Why do churches get stuck?
2. How does the church move toward a new vision?
3. What does it take to lead change?
4. How do you communicate when change is needed?
The eBook is designed to be read and discussed with a team. There are questions included to guide discussion and establish an action plan.
The church certainly does not need to be stuck in a funk. This eBook will challenge your thinking and help your ministry to have a bigger and healthier impact.Continue Reading
From Reluctant Member To Confident Shepherd
I’ve coached just about every baseball, soccer, football, and hockey team my kids have been part of. When I was tapped on the shoulder to coach my 12-year-old daughter’s soccer team, I knew very little about soccer. Though I felt unqualified, I committed to coach for the season. And as I coached, I learned more about the game because I had to teach others. coaching my daughter and her friends was great fun. Often, I forgot about my uneasiness associated with being a first-time soccer coach.
It’s the same when we coach people in our small groups to become shepherds–something we’re still learning ourselves. We might be hesitant at first, but when we jump in, we become caught up in the excitement of the process. But in order to be this type of coach, we need to recognize that if somebody hadn’t tapped us on the shoulder to lead, we wouldn’t be leading.
It’s our turn now to tap others on the shoulder to become leaders. The acrostic COACH
outlines how we should train others to become shepherds.
1. CAST God’s vision for the harvest. Jesus stood up on a…Continue Reading
Most of you reading this already know of the tragic loss that Rick and Kay and the entire Warren family have suffered this weekend in the loss of their youngest son, Matthew, who took his own life. Pastor Rick wrote these words to the Saddleback family:
To my dear Saddleback Family,
Over the past 33 years we’ve been together through every kind of crisis. Kay and I’ve been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss, stand with you at gravesides, and prayed for you when ill. Today, we need your prayer for us.
No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now. Our youngest son, Matthew, age 27, and a lifelong member of Saddleback, died today.
You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He’d then make a beeline to that person to engage and encourage them.
But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite…Continue Reading
Ministry is a marathon. This is true for church leaders, for volunteers, and for the church body itself. When we drive and push people to sprint all the time, burnout is inevitable. You can grow a large church by constantly creating mountain peak experiences and pushing for the top. But you will create a healthy church only as you discover the appropriate cycle of moving forward at an aggressive pace, and taking moments to breathe.
There is plenty of discussion about whether churches should be all things to all people, or keep it simple and do a few things well. I definitely lean toward simplicity. We try to balance the five purposes of worship, evangelism (mission), fellowship, discipleship, and ministry and we try to do little else. Our structure doesn’t have much of a hierarchy to it and leaders are free to lead without being micromanaged.
We like to focus on the mission. But this doesn’t mean we never push hard for growth. Too many souls hang in the eternal balance for us to get lazy and coast along in mediocrity. And while balance is an elusive target, rhythm is possible. How do you find your rhythm?