Archives For Leadership

BackpackHave you ever considered as a church member, all that your Pastor is packing on his back? Besides carrying the load of the church as Senior Pastor or the load of a ministry as a Staff Pastor, every pastor has a personal life and family that impacts him dramatically.

In Recent Months

In recent months, looking around the room during one of our monthly Ministry Team meetings, I surveyed the audience. There were around 40 people present, men and women who lead our specific ministries, along with some personal assistants. Among that group of not more than 40 people:

*Four of them had lost one of their parents in the past four weeks

*One of them had just lost twins through a miscarriage

*One of them had lost a 30-year-old son six months ago, which also meant another one of our staff members lost their son-in-law

Therefore, imagine this room of around 40 people — seven of them had suffered dramatic, life-altering loss in recent days.

Pastors Pack Personal Pain And Challenge Daily

Church members often forget the personal life of a Pastor. He experiences real pain, suffering, and loss just like them.

Dr. Keith Thomas, one of my dear…

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BestGreat leaders expect the best in people and bad leaders expect the worst.  Rinse and repeat. Over the years I’ve worked with a number of leaders who think leadership meansconstant criticism, ordering people around, snarky comments, and humiliation.  Those leaders (although I don’t think they’re real leaders at all) actually expect the worst in people, and that’s why they treat their teams so badly.   These leaders respond to everything as if you’re trying to cheat them.  They use exclamation marks in all their communication.  They’re always upset about something.  But guess what?   You get back what you put out and your team will start responding in the same way.  You’re actually creating a culture of distrust and deception.

On the other hand, study after study, along with expert advice and lots of experience tells me that people respond far better to “aspirational” leadership.  That simply means leaders who expect the best in people, are the leaders are actually get their people’s best.

Stop the snark.  Cut the criticism.  Being a bully doesn’t work.  If you need to be a jerk to jack up your ego, you need to get out of leadership and find…

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Rev. Thomas Chalmers, 1780 - 1847. Preacher and social reformer (shown preaching)Jesus was definitely an iconoclast, continually challenging the conventional thinking of His day. Twenty different times Jesus said, “You’ve heard it said… but I say to you…” And even today, his thoughts on leadership go against the grain.

Most modern books on leadership, whether Christian or secular, give the same advice – be confident, never admit fear, maintain control and be composed, be convincing and never show weakness. But Jesus had a different style altogether. Instead of leading from a position of strength (lording authority over people), Jesus led from a position of weakness, becoming a servant.

The fact is, everybody has weaknesses. And our weaknesses are multi-faceted. We have physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual weaknesses. The question is, what do you do with your weaknesses? While most people deny, defend, or excuse their weaknesses, Christian leaders can embrace them and ask God to use them! When God works through weak people, His power is shown more clearly!

Let me define what I’m talking about when I use the word weakness. I’m not talking about a character flaw that can and should be changed. A weakness is any limitation…

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Burnside Church, Wairarapa, New Zealand, 10 December 2005I’ve been on the road a bit more than usual. My job as CEO of LifeWay requires that I spend most of my time in Nashville, but I do get out to speak and preach frequently. These past seven months have been unusually heavy travel times for a myriad of reasons, but I have tried to make the most of my trips.

Though I’ve not been a church consultant for several years, I do seem to see churches through consultant’s eyes. That reality has been especially apparent as I visited many churches during the past seven months. So, even if I am the guest preacher, I enter the church grounds as a guest. I drive my own rental car, and I have to find parking and entrances just like everyone else.

So what I have found these past seven months? I could give you a fairly extensive consultation report about the churches, but I prefer to distill my words into just a few helpful hints. Each of these issues clearly needed addressing in most of the churches I visited.

  1. Please have plentiful signage on…

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At the Movies 2012Summer tends to be a time when churches slow down and brace for the “summer slump.” But some churches press forward and capitalize on the “down time” by doing things out of the ordinary and experiencing growth on multiple levels. One of the more popular ideas in recent years is preaching a series of messages based on the themes of current films at the box office.

If you’re preaching a series in this strain, please take a moment to comment below and tell us…

  • What’s your approach?
  • What movies will you address?
  • How do you make sure the message is biblically-based?

Feel free to include links to your series on your church webpage or your blog. We’ll put together a follow-up article including the best ideas!

Also, here’s a free resource from Open from their At the Movies 2012.

Now… go!

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The Post-It PrankPastors, we tend to share a lot throughout the year. Some of you are preparing two or three messages and presentations every week. When you repeat that process 52 times in a year, life gets exhausting. How do you stay motivated to keep going?

Let me share with you how I’ve managed to motivate myself. Here are seventeen things you can do to keep yourself motivated.

1. Put your plans on paper.

Write out what you want to accomplish. Spell it out. Dawson Trotman said, ”Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” If I can say it and I can write it down, then it’s clear. If I haven’t written it down, then it’s vague.

A lot of us go around with anxiety which is this free-floating, vague fear that I’m not getting it all accomplished. Just the very fact of putting it down, a lot of times, gives credence and relief to your mind and you’re able to focus on it.

2. Break big tasks into small steps.

When I’m preparing a sermon, I think, “What do I have to do? I’ve got to collect the verses, study the…

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HeartFor God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints. – Hebrews 6:10

We all want God to fondly remember our efforts.  That is why I love that passage from Hebrews.  And that is why I love serving pastors and church leaders.  God promises us that He will remember the love we show in serving the saints.

As a member of The Rocket Company, the following are 10 ways that I attempt to show love to and serve pastors and church leaders:

  1. Start A Conversation – People often come to pastors with suggestions and answers to all their problems.  It is far more productive and disarming to start conversations with church leaders prior to making suggestions.
  2. Tell Their Stories – If you are a regular reader of this site, you know how much I love profiling church leaders and telling what God is doing through their lives.  Point to them and promote them.
  3. Be A Great Listener – The most underrated skill great leaders have is listening skills.  Pastors love talking about their churches.  Don’t interrupt them.
  4. Ask Great Questions – Wisdom is found in great questions,…

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Ronnie Floyd BaptizingA passionless pastor cannot lead people towards a better future. A passionless pastor will not move people with his preaching. A passionless pastor is unable to motivate people to reach their community, nation, and world for Jesus Christ.

Quite honestly, the phrase “passionless pastor” is an oxymoron to me. The phrase is incongruent and contradictory. How in the world can a God-called pastor lack passion in his life?

Our Lord had passion. He was driven with an intense desire to redeem people from their sins. Even the last week of His life is referred to as “Passion Week.” Those final days were filled with joyous passion as the people threw their palm branches and blankets before Him as He rode down the Palm Sunday pathway. The people were filled with tears as He prayed over the city of Jerusalem. These days were even comprised of immense and intense emotion as He became so disturbed by the marketing and commerce that occurred in the Temple.

From the humility He showed by washing the feet of His followers, to His last supper with them, to falling on His knees in prayer in Gethsemane, to His…

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PreachingFor ten years of my life I was a preaching pastor at a church I helped plant with my good buddy Rick Long (Grace Church of Arvada.) This weekend I’ve been preaching all three services at my old stomping grounds and it’s got me reminiscing. With this in mind here are 10 things I miss about being a pastor:

1. Working the foyer before and after the services (I worked that foyer like a politician running for office!)

2. The thrill and nervousness of having to come up with fresh sermons every week.

3. Awkward side hugs (actually I don’t miss those!)

4. Delegating the tough counseling situations to the elder who was giving me the hardest time

5. My mom yelling answers to my rhetorical questions right in the middle of my sermons.

6. Seeing people put their faith in Jesus every week during the services.

7. Working on staff with life-long friends.

8. The people: watching them go from new convert to disciple to disciple multiplier over the course of time.

9. Being a pastor that FULLY supports the youth ministry.

10. Sunday afternoon naps (it was my ritual after preaching 3 services!)

Would I ever go back to being…

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