Archives For Leadership

One of our core values at Grace Hills is, “We stay fast, fluid, and flexible. There are no sacred cows. We embrace the pain of change for the win of seeing more people meeting Jesus.” I wrote that one knowing that of all of our other core values, it would probably be the hardest to honor over the long haul. It addresses the crossroads where theology meets psychology, where truth, mission, and fear intermingle. Change is hard.

The American evangelical church is in a rather desperate condition. You’ve heard that America is a “Christian” nation and that Christianity is dominant. Perhaps it’s the popular religion, but far fewer people are attending church than we realize. And we’re only planting one fourth of the number of new churches needed to keep pace with America’s current population growth and rate of decline in existing churches.

So churches absolutely must change and adapt if they will remain relevant to the culture. I realize many Christian leaders don’t like that terminology, so let me clarify that God’s Word, the gospel, Jesus, and…

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HeartStyles HeartWith apologies to Gary Chapman for playing on his well-known “Five Love Languages” theme, I asked 24 pastors how a church member might speak to each pastor in his own love language. And though 24 persons do not constitute a massive survey, I was amazed at the consistency of the responses.

To fit the theme of five, I determined at the onset that I would only report the top five responses. To my surprise, there was an obvious break between the fifth and sixth most-frequent responses. The five love languages thus were a natural fit.

So how can you speak a love language to your pastor? Here are the pastors’ top five responses in order of frequency. I offer a representative response from one of the pastors for each of the five.

1. Books. “I have a limited family budget, so I can’t just go out and buy a bunch of books. But I sure do love books. One year a deacon gave me a $200 gift card to a Christian bookstore. I was ecstatic! Now the church gives me a $300 book allowance each year. I know it’s not…

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By Russ Rankin

pleaseGodChristians on the path to spiritual maturity have a habit of seeking God through prayer and worship — not just in church but also as a part of their daily life as a way to please and honor God, according to a survey released by LifeWay Research.

The survey of Protestant churchgoers identifies “Seeking God” as one of eight attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the lives of maturing Christians. Seeking God invokes the intentional steps a Christian takes to follow Christ for the purpose of becoming like Him.

LifeWay Research found 73 percent of Protestant churchgoers set aside time for prayer every day to a few times a week. To examine how churchgoers are seeking God at times beyond worship services, the survey asked participants to “not include any times you do these things as part of a church worship service.” Nineteen percent say they set aside time for prayer of any kind between once a week and once a month, and 8 percent of churchgoers say “rarely/never.”

Female churchgoers are more likely than men (77 percent vs. 70 percent) to set aside time for prayer…

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By James A. Smith Sr./Florida Baptist Witness

IMG20132224761HIPornography is the “pink elephant in the pew” — the embarrassing, big subject no one wants to talk about — and that silence is feeding a “bubonic plague” harming churches, pastor Jay Dennis told state Baptist convention executive directors and editors gathered in Oklahoma City.

“Our enemy has found the perfect tool to deliver temptation to men — men who love God, men who love their wives, love their children and love their churches,” Dennis, pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla., said Feb. 14. “Yet their involvement in looking at pornography has virtually duct-taped their mouths closed and taken them out of spiritual leadership in the home and in the church.”

After his presentation, Dennis told the Florida Baptist Witness newsjournal he was burdened to address the issue — even though he didn’t want to — when a growing number of women in his church sought pastoral counsel for husbands and sons who were struggling with pornography.

“I resisted … because I knew that the spiritual warfare component of this would be immense — and it has been,” Dennis said,…

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Saddleback Church’s Pastor Dave Holden offers this 20 minute overview of the Purpose Driven Church paradigm. It’s biblical, transferrable, and doable wherever you’re doing ministry. He starts with the goal of producing disciples and moves into how disciples are made in a purpose driven church.

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By Mark Dance

Small crossI had run through my adrenaline and serotonin. I was simply going through the motions. I was bone tired and worn out. My physical, mental and spiritual gas tanks were empty.

I had been called as pastor of Second Baptist Church of Conway, Ark., in 2001. We began a period of rapid — and unexpected — growth. We bought 50 acres of property to expand our footprint. I was busy!

For an extended season, I was meeting with planning teams, consultants, potential donors, small groups, staff, etc. I justified my schedule — and my ambition — to myself, my family and the church staff as a temporary seasonal burst. “Like a sprint,” I said. I rationalized that CPAs do it every year during tax season, athletes do it before offseason, politicians do it before an election … blah, blah, blah.

But, just like when my car gets low on gas, my warning light came on.

So I did what most terminally driven people do when they get close to running out of gas. I began to go faster! While I thought I could leap (or build) tall buildings in…

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With apologies to Gary Chapman for playing on his well-known “Five Love Languages” theme, I asked 24 pastors how a church member might speak to each pastor in his own love language. And though 24 persons do not constitute a massive survey, I was amazed at the consistency of the responses.

To fit the theme of five, I determined at the onset that I would only report the top five responses. To my surprise, there was an obvious break between the fifth and sixth most frequent responses. The five love languages thus were a natural fit.

So how can you speak a love language to your pastor? Here are the pastors’ top five responses in order of frequency. I offer a representative response from one of the pastors for each of the five.

  1. Books. “I have a limited family budget, so I can’t just go out and buy a bunch of books. But I sure do love books. One year a deacon gave me a $200 gift card to a Christian bookstore. I was ecstatic! Now the church gives me a $300 book allowance each…

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History of Oak Ridge Baptist Church from Oak Ridge on Vimeo.

Oak Ridge Baptist Church (ORBC) began as a community outreach on South Division Street in 1962. The church experienced some initial success but lost its way. After 25 years of plateau and decline, the church went through a near-death experience in 1998. In late 1999 the leadership made a decision to radically change the operating practices and philosophy of the church. They recaptured the vision and the mission of the church. Since that time ORBC has experienced incredible growth!


Dream ConferenceNow you can learn from Oak Ridge at their upcoming DREAM Church Conference!

Friday, March 1st from 9:00am-4:30pm

Do you have a passion to reach people for Christ? Do you dream about what your church could be?

We did and in the last 13 years we have

  • Increased our average weekend attendance over 3700%
  • Connected over 45% of our members into weekly ministries
  • Mobilized 50% of our adult crowd to serve at a 1 day Extreme School Makeover
  • Transitioned from Sunday School to Small Groups with 75% weekly participation
  • BAPTIZED 1200!

What God did for us He can do for you!

At…

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Green Cross.CrossesSaddleback didn’t have an organized youth ministry until we had 500 in attendance. We didn’t have a singles ministry until we had 1,000 people in attendance.

And I’m glad we didn’t.

It’s not because those ministries aren’t important. They’re vital! But God hadn’t provided anyone to lead them. Never create a ministry position and then fill it. It’s backwards. Your most critical component to a new ministry isn’t the idea to start it—it’s the leadership of the ministry. Every ministry rises and falls on leadership. Without the right leader, a ministry will just stumble along. It may even do more harm than good. I could tell you some horror stories about poorly-led ministries.

Be patient and trust God’s timing. Don’t try to outrun or outthink Him. The staff at Saddleback never starts new ministries. We may suggest an idea but we let the idea percolate until God provides the right person to lead it.

Don’t push people into ministry either. It’s not about you finding the right person to start your dream ministry. It’s about God raising up the right person. If you push people into ministry spots, you’ll be stuck…

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“Happy” is a nebulous term. It is usually understood better than defined. So I know I am taking a risk when I used such a subjective word.

Please allow me to explain. For almost twenty years, I served as a consultant to churches in the United States and Canada. After working with hundreds of churches, I saw several patterns develop. One of those patterns correlated directly with the happiness of the church. I was able to discern happiness by the interviews with members and staff, with diagnostic tools we used, and with a grasp of the histories of the churches, particularly in the area of church conflict.

Recently I reviewed the files of 17 of the happiest churches where I consulted. As is typical in consultations, patterns emerged. In the case of these churches, I found nine common characteristics among the congregations. In each case, the characteristic seemed to contribute to the overall happiness of the churches.

  1. The pastor was a strong leader, but not an autocratic leader. He was able to maintain that healthy balance of providing clarity of vision without imposing his will on…

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