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10 Sacred Cows That Need to Be Tipped

In this article, Jared Moore offers his (often controversial) thoughts on the sacred cows that need to be tipped in the church today.

In this article, Jared Moore offers his (often controversial) thoughts on the sacred cows that need to be tipped in the church today.

By Jared Moore

Editor’s Note: In this article, Jared Moore offers his (often controversial) thoughts on the sacred cows that need to be tipped in the church today. We invite you to share your feedback — your disagreements and affirmations — and encourage you to offer your own list of “sacred cows” in the comment section below. 

1. Entertainment-Based Sermons

Pastors/elders/teachers want to be liked. Some want to be liked so much that they’re willing to entertain their hearers while preaching the Bible. They wrongly assume that because people enjoy their sermons, they enjoy Jesus as well. The problem is that if we’re seeking to entertain our hearers, then we don’t believe God or Scripture can hold the attention of God’s people. In other words, you may say, “The Bible is worthy of your attention,” but if you’re using entertainment to communicate this, then you’re undercutting your message with your methods. If the Bible is worthy to be heard because God is its Author, then you shouldn’t have to use entertainment to get Christians to listen to it. You just might be entertaining your hearers to death.

2. Bribes

Easter Sunday was just a few weeks ago. With the heightened cultural interest in the resurrection of Christ, churches pulled out all the stops to persuade attendees. Churches gave away cars, money, iPads, food, etc. Should churches bribe sinners to attend worship services? Here are four realities about bribing sinners: 1) Bribing people to hear the gospel is absent from Scripture. 2) Bribing people to attend a worship service encourages them to attend worship for sinful reasons. 3) Bribing people to attend a worship service communicates the opposite of the gospel. 4) Bribing people to attend worship does not make disciples. Due to these reasons, I think Christians bribe sinners to hear the gospel because they’ve reversed the order of the two greatest commandments: First, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and second, to love your neighbor as yourself. Bribing people exalts loving one’s neighbor above loving God because the purpose of evangelism is to glorify God, not to glorify sinners or Christians.

3. Revivalist Quotas

Numbers, numbers, numbers — that’s what’s emphasized throughout evangelicalism. Is there anywhere in Scripture where Israel’s strength or the church’s strength were in numbers? No. Is there anywhere in Scripture where God evaluated His church or their ministry based on numbers? No. So why is there a huge emphasis on numbers today? The answer is because, in the Western part of the world, bigger is better. Some also argue that numbers are important because souls are important, but if you really care about souls, you’ll labor to make disciples, not to merely baptize unrepentant, salvation-ignorant people who do not understand the lifelong commitment they’re making. The Great Commission has been redefined today as baptizing those who confess Christ as Lord, with the Great Omission being the command to “teach these Christians everything that Christ has commanded” (Matt. 28:18-20). Repentance and faith in Christ is the beginning of Christianity. When a believer is baptized, he or she has just begun his or her public identification with Christ. In order to truly fulfill the Great Commission, the local church must take these baptized believers and teach them everything Christ has commanded.

4. Selfish Motives in Worship

Have you ever heard another believer say about worship, “I didn’t get anything out of that.” Next time you hear this, say, “It’s not about you.” God alone deserves to be glorified in worship. The only time we shouldn’t get anything out of worship is when God isn’t glorified. If the word of God was sung, prayed and preached faithfully, and you didn’t get anything out of worship, then repent and worship because God is worthy of worship. Worship is not about us. God is the center of worship, not us.

5. Atmosphere-Induced Nostalgia

The goal of worship is to glorify God, not to feel good. Have you ever read the Psalms, the hymnal of God’s people for thousands of years? They’re not always happy or joyful. In other words, they’re not nostalgia inducing. Today’s worship in the local church is largely about an atmosphere that encourages worship. The test of “true” worship is often how good one feels when he or she leaves the worship service. Specific lighting, styles of music, sentimentality, singing phrases over and over, etc. serve to create a euphoric feeling that hearers will long for the rest of their lives. The problem is that the feeling, the nostalgia, becomes the god the believer longs for instead of the true God who is worthy of worship when believers feel like it and when they don’t.

6. “Relevant” Sermons

There is such a large emphasis on preaching “relevant” sermons today, which often translates to sermons that “meet people’s needs” regardless of how selfish, narcissistic and godless these needs may be. The preacher’s goal is not to make the Bible relevant, but to help his hearers see how relevant the Bible is! The Bible is the Word of God and is timelessly relevant! The Bible transcends all societies, cultures, fads, etc. If you’re “making the Bible relevant,” then change your name to “the Holy Spirit.”

7. Relativistic Interpretation

There’s an emphasis in our culture on being tolerant of other individuals and their ideas. This mentality has infiltrated the church as well. Various interpretations of Scripture are tolerated, often based on the perceived sincerity of an individual instead of the intrinsic social, historical and grammatical properties of the text itself. The text does not have multiple meanings, but one meaning that has multiple applications. We cannot act like interpreters who have more authority than the author who originally penned the words. It doesn’t matter what we “think” or “feel” about the text. What matters is what the author meant, what his recipients understood, what the Holy Spirit intended, and how all these truths apply to our daily lives. Don’t jump authorial intent to make yourself the “new author” by applying the text beyond the meaning of the text.

8. Parenting and Ministering for Man’s Applause Instead of God’s Glory

Something that’s interesting about much of children’s ministry and youth ministry is that ministers are terribly concerned with being liked by these immature Christians or unbelievers. They’re desperately concerned with their hearers enjoying their songs, prayers and sermons. Furthermore, parents are very concerned with whether or not their children enjoy going to worship at a local church. What happened to truth? What about God? What happened to “he who has ears to hear, let him hear”? Ministers and parents everywhere, for sake of hearing the applause of children and youth, are compromising the truth on the altar of being liked or possessing an easy life. I realize that if a child hates church, then every worship service you attend will be a battle, but that doesn’t free you to give your child another reason other than God to attend worship. Furthermore, if you’re a minister, don’t believe children and youth love Jesus because they love entertainment, and try to communicate the gospel through entertainment. How can you get a selfish person to see the value of Jesus and their need for Him by appealing to their selfishness? If children and teenagers are saying, “I don’t care if God has spoken or not — I won’t listen to Him unless you entertain me,” then they do not love God, Jesus, His Word or the local church.

9. Unchristian Love

Love has been radically redefined in the local church as being “accepting of all, while holding no one accountable to biblical faithfulness.” How many churches consistently practice biblical discipline? Very few. Even though God has always held His people accountable to His Word, and even though biblical discipline is commanded in Scripture, local churches have redefined Christian love to include “tolerance of unrepentant sin,” while excluding “loving accountability to God’s Word.”

10. Demigod Evaluations

If you and I evaluate our ministries, defining them as “successful” or “unsuccessful” based on our own arbitrary observations, then we’re making demigod evaluations. A demigod is a deified mortal. In order to truly evaluate our ministries as successful or unsuccessful, we must have God’s all-knowing evaluating ability. In most conferences and denominations, those who are held up as examples are those who have large churches. They’re often held up as examples because of demigod evaluations carried out by those in various leadership positions. These ministers may be more successful, or they may not be. The truth of the matter is that we cannot accurately evaluate our ministries or other people’s ministries beyond the Word of God, as if we know the hearts of everyone who attends these churches. In other words, faithfulness to Scripture should govern and motivate your ministry, not a demigod evaluation made by you or others. Pursue faithfulness to Scripture in light of Christ’s redeeming work, not arbitrary ego boosting or “calling of God,” destroying submission to demigod evaluations.

What are your thoughts? 

Jared has served in pastoral ministry since 2000. He’s currently the pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. He is the author of “10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to Be Tipped.” Jared is married to Amber and together they have three children. He has a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Trinity College of the Bible, an M.A.R. in Biblical Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, an M.Div. in Christian ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), a Th.M. in Systematic Theology (ABT) from SBTS, and he’s currently a PhD Student in Systematic Theology at SBTS.
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Publicado por em 03/05/2015 em POIMENIA

 

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10 Ways to Spot Your Own Arrogance

Use these potential markers of arrogance to avoid such a fall.

Use these potential markers of arrogance to avoid such a fall.

I’m writing this post for me as much as for anyone. In the past months, I’ve re-read Jim Collins’ How the Mighty Fall and Tim Irwin’s Derailed. Both of these gripping studies review the process of decline in leaders and organizations, especially in leaders who perhaps once thought themselves invincible.

These studies challenge me because I know I’m prideful. I also know that “pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18, HCSB).

With me, use these potential markers of arrogance to avoid such a fall.

Marker #1: You believe few people are as smart as you are.

Not many people actually say these words, but honest leaders must admit they sometimes think this way.

Some reveal this thinking by their ridicule of anybody else “not quite up to my level.” Others assume they should be part of almost every discussion, regardless of the topic.

If you assume few people can teach you anything, that assumption should cause you to evaluate your heart.

Marker #2: Your first reaction to negative is to be defensive or to cast blame on others.

If anything adverse (e.g., a lack of growth in the organization, a divided leadership team, a failed program) is always somebody else’s fault, you might see yourself as above such declines.

In Jim Collins’ words, you may join falling leaders who explain away negative data and “blame external factors for setbacks rather than accept responsibility.”[i] 

Marker #3: Titles matter to you.

Check your signature line on your email. Look at your company’s letterhead and website. Read the bio you send to others who have invited you to speak.

Consider your reaction when someone introduces you without noting your title. Think about how you introduce yourself. If your title has become your first name, you’ve crossed the line.

Marker #4: You assume your organization cannot fail.

The bottom line for you is this: Your organization cannot fail because you don’t fail. You are intelligent enough to figure out the solutions.

Your track record is so filled with successes that failure is unimaginable. And, even if your organization struggles, you can simply replace your co-workers; after all, you are convinced that finding people who want to work for you will not be difficult.

Marker #5: Not knowing “insider information” bothers you.

Arrogance is characterized not only by a belief that we know almost everything, but also by a desire to know the “scoop” before others do. The most important people, we think, deserve to have the details first.

If you get frustrated when you’re not in the information’s inner circle, you may well be dealing with arrogance.

Marker #6: You are disconnected from your team members.

Developing genuine relationships with employees is difficult as an organization grows.

If, however, you see your team members more as cogs in a system than as valuable partners—or worse yet, if they perceive that you view them that way—you may be haughtily operating as “a steam engine attempting to pull the rest of the train without being attached to it.”[ii] 

Marker #7: Spiritual disciplines are secondary, if not nonexistent, in your life.

Disciplines like Bible study, prayer and fasting are more than simple Christian practices; they are obedient actions of persons who recognize their need for a strong relationship with God.

If you are leading externally without spending time with God privately, you are leading in your own strength.

That’s sin.

Marker #8: No one has permission to speak truth into your life.

Leaders who fall are often not accountable to anyone. Few of us are fully self-aware, and all of us deal with a heart that is “more deceitful than anything else” (Jer. 17:9).

Feedback is critical, particularly from those who can test whether we exhibit the fruit of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26). If no one plays this role in your life, your lack of accountability is likely evidence of pride.

Marker #9: Other people see you as arrogant.

Take a risk—ask others what they really think about you. Talk to the people who report to you. Interview those who formerly worked with you but then took other positions.

Be specific in asking, “Do I ever come across as arrogant?” Even the most emotional (and perhaps exaggerated) responses likely reveal some level of truth. Hear it.

Marker #10: This post bothers you … or doesn’t bother you.  

If these words bother you, you may be coming face-to-face with reality in your life.

If they don’t bother you, you may be failing to see the arrogance that characterizes all of us.

My own arrogance haunts me as I write these words. Please pray for me.

Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on Twitter @Clawlessjr and on at facebook.com/CLawless.
 
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Publicado por em 30/04/2015 em POIMENIA

 

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The Hardest Part of Ministry: Saying No – David Hansen

Saying “no” can help focus your ministry, your leadership and your preaching.

I am an ordained pastor, serving a rural congregation. I lead worship and preach most Sundays. I sit at hospital beds. I conduct weddings and funerals and baptisms. I talk with people who are struggling with their faith. I lead meetings and help the community discover its vision. I celebrate with people, I rejoice with people.

When people talk to me about what I do, they often focus on those aspects that deal with death. Most Americans don’t spend a lot of time around death—our culture has largely sanitized the experience of death. Because of this unfamiliarity, most people assume that dealing with death is the hardest thing about being a pastor. It’s not.

The hardest part of being a pastor is saying no.

Not just saying no when asked by someone to do some task, but saying no to yourself and limiting the amount of work that you do. The work of ministry is not a finite task. At the end of the day when I go home, I can’t point to some finished product and say, “That’s what I did today.” There is always more to be done in ministry.

There is always more to be done. No matter how much you have done in a given day or week or month:

1. You can always spend more time visiting with people who are sick and homebound.

2. You can always spend more time talking with people who are grieving or hurting.

3. You can always spend more time at community events.

4. You can always spend more time reading, studying and praying.

5. You can always put yourself in charge of one more project or program.

6. You can always spend more time crafting and sharpening your preaching and worship leadership skills.

Short of the return of our Lord Jesus, there will always be more for those in ministry to do—some task will always be left unfinished when you stop working for the day.

There is a great satisfaction that comes with knowing that tasks have been finished, knowing that everything is complete. And for most people, it is uncomfortable to know that things are unfinished. But that is precisely the nature of ministry—unfinished.

But while the tasks of ministry aren’t finite, those of us in ministry most certainly are!

There comes a point when we have to stop. At some point, even if we could spend more time visiting, or reading, or teaching, or planning, we have to go home and be done for the day. We come to the point where we have to say, to ourselves or to others, “No, I can’t do that.”

As pastors, we do this work because we think it is important. We are passionate about the Gospel, and we care about the people whom we serve. And this makes it hard to say “No.” This passion for our work is precisely what makes it hard to say that there is not time for another program or project or meeting.

Unfortunately for many in ministry, the first thing to go is self-care: being rested, spending time with family, caring for our own souls. Next to go is often the work behind the scenes: the hard work of keeping oneself prepared for ministry—reading, attending learning events, all the things pastors and others in ministry do to make us better preachers, counselors, leaders and pastors.

And this is how burnout happens.

In ministry it often feels like the solution is to work more. The voice in our head says that if only I could work for a couple more hours, then the ministry of the congregation I serve would be more effective. But the opposite is true. An overworked pastor — one who does not set limits — becomes more and more ineffective at the work to which we are called.

This is the reality of living in this in-between time; when the work of the kingdom has begun but the kingdom has not yet come. No matter how much we do, the work of the kingdom will remain unfinished – and there is only one who can finish it.

If you are a ministry professional, learn this lesson well: Say no. Set limits. Learn to live in that place where there is more that could be done, and some tasks are unfinished.

And if you have a pastor or other minister whom you care about, encourage them to say no—encourage them to care for themselves, to set limits and to continue to make time to study and learn.

David Hansen

David Hansen

David Hansen is a Lutheran pastor serving in Texas. He helps pastors and churches to use new technology to bring the Good News to the world, and can be found on twitter @rev_david.

SOURCE: SERMON CENTRAL

 
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Publicado por em 12/11/2013 em POIMENIA

 

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35 Amazing Tips That Will Change Your Ministry

35 Amazing Tips That Will Change Your Ministry
J.D. Greear lists 35 things he wishes he knew when he started pastoring.
People ask me what I wish I’d known when I started pastoring. Here are 35 different things. At our church we call them plumblines. Our plumblines serve as guides for decision-making.

1. The gospel is not just the diving board, it’s the pool. Christians grow not by going beyond the gospel, but deeper into the gospel.

2. People are the mission.

3. Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not converts.

4. Discipleship happens in community.

5. God’s strategy for completing the Great Commission is planting churches in strategic cities.

6. The church is God’s demonstration community.

7. The church is God’s plan A.

8. Belief unlocks the power for the mission of God.

9. The church is not an audience; it is an army.

10. The week is more important than the weekend.

11. The best ministry ideas are in the congregation.

12. The Great Commission is completed through multiplication, not addition.

13. Churches should be evaluated by sending capacity, not just seating capacity.

14. Stay where you are; serve where you live; let’s be the church in that community (a value we promote in our multi-site strategy).

15. We multiply congregations, not preaching points (another value for multi-site).

16. Each small group should function like a small congregation.

17. People come because of quality and options; they stay because of personalization.

18. Those who serve are just as important as those you serve.

19. Live sufficiently, give extravagantly.

20. Generosity is contagious, and so is stinginess.

21. The sermon starts in the parking lot.

22. In light of global lostness, excellence must be balanced by “good enough”.

23. Word of mouth is the best advertisement.

24. Just because “we can” doesn’t mean “we should”.

25. Humility is shown by openness to the ideas of others.

26. Believe the best about others.

27. Move with the movers.

28. Nod to fashion; don’t embrace (especially as you age).

29. Preach the announcements (announcements are – or ought to be – how our people apply the mission).

30. Love is the most essential element of leadership.

31. Pushing out leaders creates more leaders.

32. You replicate what you celebrate.

33. It is easier to get 1 volunteer out of 3 than 3000: Make people feel like you are talking to them personally.

34. One size rarely fits all.

35. When I’m sick of saying it, the staff has just heard it. When they’re sick of hearing it, the church has just become aware of it.

J.D. Greear, Ph.D., pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.

Source: CHURCH LEADERS

 
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Publicado por em 20/03/2012 em POIMENIA

 

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10 Ways Pastors Fail Their People

Laura Lezza/14.01.2012/Getty Images

The God who called us into His service and sent us into the pastoral ministry has a vested interest in seeing that we do it right and well. The fact that we are all over the map–as opposed to the strait and narrow–and disorganized in our approach–as opposed to a sharp focus–lies at our doorstep and not His.

That God would want to use flawed and faltering creatures like us says volumes about His grace and mercy.

We are burdened for the younger generation of pastors coming along who are still trying to find their proper role, still trying to nail down their identity as pastors, and still trying to fine-tune the focus of their life-work.

This list of “10 ways pastors fail their people” is all about how my generation got it wrong. Not entirely, of course. But way too much.

In no particular order, they are:

1. We have led our people to believe that when they are happy with our ministry, all is well in the church.

The problem is our myopia. We see so little of the grand work of God, often only our tiny little speck of it. And if it is troubled with dissension and division, we know all is not well. So, when people are satisfied and compliments are flowing in, it’s natural to assume we must be doing well.

Consequently, we have churches filled with worshipers who believe that when they issue the pastor a passing grade on his Sunday sermon or feel good about the state of the church, they have done their job. We have raised a generation of pastor critics.

2. We have taught our people that giving to missions is more important than praying for missions.

The problem is our results-orientation. We can measure money, but who can measure prayer? We can announce we have met our goal for this offering, but we have no discernable way of detecting whether sufficient prayer has been offered for the work in Borneo or Malawi. So, we emphasize one and neglect the other.

We have raised a generation that does everything about missions except to pray.

3. We have allowed the congregation to delegate their mission to us the professionals.

The problem is laziness–theirs and ours.

The great commission–Matthew 28:18-20’s word to “go therefore and make disciples”–was given, not to the preachers, but to every disciple of the Lord Jesus. And yet, as far as the congregation is concerned, that’s the job of the ministry team, the evangelists, and the missionaries. They’ll even kick in money to pay salaries for these specially-called soldiers of the cross to do the work. Anything to keep from their having to obey the Lord.

And because we the ministers are lazy, we prefer not to resist the congregation in this and simply take the path of least resistance: we hire another staffer and tell him to reach the lost and unchurched.

We have raised a generation of pew potatoes–groan, sorry!–who do little and would be surprised to learn this is not the original plan.

4. The congregation has adopted the football coach pattern of leadership–if things aren’t going well, fire the old guy and bring in a new one–while we have stood by and cooperated with it.

The problem is our worldly template for greatness.

It happens just often enough to encourage the stereotype. A church gets rid of the old pastor and brings in a new one, and within a year, it’s bursting at the seams and making plans for new facilities. Other churches see this happening and grow antsy at their lack of growth, and so begin to pressure the preacher. Soon, they are firing him and looking for the next “star” on the ministerial horizon.

We have raised a generation of church members to sit as boards of directors in the Kingdom, not as laborers in the vineyard.

5. We have told our people to pray and then not shown them how or kept it before them.

The problem is we cannot say “this one thing I do” (Philippians 3:13). We try to do it all. So, we bring a sermon one Sunday on prayer, the next Sunday on stewardship, then on world missions, Bible study, racial justice, and so forth. No one area gets sufficient treatment. Our coverage is a mile wide and an inch deep.

The problem, I expect, is also prayerless preachers. If I’m not doing it, I’m sure not going to be able to encourage you in it.

We have raised a generation of prayerless, powerless warriors.

6. We have catered to their prejudices and ignored their idolatries.

The problem is our provincialism. In one area, high school football is ‘god,’ and everyone (including the churches) must organize their schedules around it. In another area, it’s community festivals or civic pageants or pro sports or the social calendar. One dares not speak out from the pulpit against the excesses and abuses of these idolatries, not if he wants to remain popular in the community or even keep his job.

Some areas of the country are still diseased with racism. Others have compromised their integrity by a marriage of the church with politics.

I pastored in the Mississippi Delta in the late 1960s–at the very place where the White Citizens Councils were formed and at the very time Martin Luther King was assassinated–and found out all too quickly that church leaders grow most uncomfortable when the pastor takes a stand on racial issues. I did it anyway, you might be interested to know. My only regret is not doing it even more forcefully than I did.

We have raised a generation who expect and even demand that the pastor respect the sensibilities of the locals and tailor the gospel to fit the situation.

7. We have smiled at their ignorance of the Word and done little to remedy it.

The problem is sin. Even though the Holy Spirit within us reaches out for the Word and our spirit feeds upon it, our “old man” resists picking up the Bible during the week and making a serious study of it. So, the typical church member ignores his Bible all week, then searches it out on Sunday morning in time to take it along to church.

We have placed Bibles in the pews since fewer and fewer of our people bring them to church.

Preaching from the Bible is easy enough. But preaching and teaching so as to make faithful Bible students of our people is another matter altogether.

We have raised a generation of flabby believers who “befriend” Jesus but hardly know Him.

8. We have given lip service to the presence of the Lord in our midst and ignored Him.

The problem is our traditions, our ruts. Used to the same order of worship all the time, we find it easier to insert a few hymns here and a solo there, a prayer here and the offering there, and the sermon here, and go forward. Too bad if the Spirit has other plans for the day.

We say all the right things about the Lord being in the midst of even two or three disciples (Matthew 18:20), but for the most part, we act as though that is some kind of spiritual principle but not an actual reality.

We have raised a generation of practicing atheists.

9. We have put our continued employment above faithfulness to the living God.

The problem is our selfishness. We have to pay our bills and send our children to school. And we do. And so, we allow ourselves to curb our enthusiasm for the cutting edge of the gospel lest people of affluence and influence be disturbed and take their support elsewhere.

You can understand why the Apostle Paul said it’s better for such a servant of the Lord to remain unmarried (I Corinthians 7:8ff). If they get crossways with worldly leadership in the church and find themselves jobless, it’s a lot simpler to load up the car and move on to the next town.

We have raised a generation to “keep” the preacher, almost as a lap dog. (I say to our shame.)

What is the answer? A rich relative, maybe. (another smiley face goes here) The answer is for pastors and spouses to accept when they enter the ministry that courageous leadership may well mean they will be asked to leave a church, and so to be prepared for all eventualities.

10. We have exchanged pleasing the Savior for compliments from the people.

The problem is our egos. We do like to be popular.

How did the Apostle Paul put it to young Pastor Timothy? For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. (II Tim. 4:3-4)

It’s not clear from the Greek text, however, whether it’s the congregation with the itching ears or the preachers. I suspect one is as bad as the other.

We have raised a generation of self-absorbed members who are preached to and ministered to by self-absorbed preachers.

Sorry to be so negative. It’s no fun, I’ll tell you. Perhaps that’s one more way we fail: we want to be positive because it’s easier, more fun to do, and more pleasant to receive.

Medical doctors would love to deliver nothing but good news. But in a real world, that’s not possible.

When you entered the ministry, young pastor, you did not win a final battle with the world and its ways. You merely armored up for that fight. The struggle goes on all your days. Only at last when the Father calls your name and you step across that final line, only then will the warfare with the world and its standards, its seduction, and its promises, finally end.

Until then, with your eyes on the Savior, your face in the Book, your heart pure from all that would pollute it, and your love for the people of God constant, keep telling yourself, “One more day. I will be faithful this day.”

And on some of those days, God will do amazing things. But He will not tell you in advance which days they are.

 

After five years as Director of Missions for the 100 Southern Baptist churches of metro New Orleans, Joe retired on June 1, 2009. These days, he has an office at the First Baptist Church of Kenner where he’s working on three books, and he’s trying to accept every speaking/preaching invitation that comes his way. He loves to do revivals, prayer conferences, deacon training, leadership banquets, and such. Usually, he’s working on some cartooning project for the denomination or some agency.

Source: CHURCH LEADERS

 
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Publicado por em 11/03/2012 em POIMENIA

 

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Confessions of an Insignificant Pastor

Confessions of an Insignificant Pastor is a loaded title. Dr. Mark Elliott has written about real life pastors in real

life ministries – places where the “mega-church” hasn’t birthed it’s first baby yet … and doesn’t look like it will.

 

Elliott mentions some amazing statistics in the preface … statistics that drove him to write this book.

 

  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month!
  • 80% of ministers feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  •  80% of new pastors will leave the ministry within their first five years!
  • 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession and feel their ministry spouse is overworked.
  • 70% of pastors constantly battle with depression!
  • 50% of ministers would leave the ministry if they had another way of earning an income!
  • 85-90% of pastors said their greatest problem is dealing with problem people and disgruntled people.

 

This book is written to you, the pastor who “feels like a nobody from nowhere.” InConfessions he tells us why pastors feel so insignificant. He sights issues like pastors not knowing exactly what they are doing and the emotional baggage pastors carry. Chapter titles like, “Size Matters Too Much to Me,” “I Work Too Much” and then “I’m Not Bill, Andy, Rick or Ed,” reflect the realities of ministerial life in the trenches.

 

In a rather honest chapter (I mean they all are, but this one seems to me to be evenmore right on) entitled, “I’m Disillusioned by the Ministry,” Elliott ponders the idea that, “Perhaps the bill of goods we are sold from the local church pulpit and our Bible colleges lead us to make some false assumptions about how easy, safe, and positive ministry can be.” He then explores the hope and healing such a revelation can bring to the pastor who feels insignificant.

 

This is a great book; One whose time is long overdue! You will want to read it for three reasons:

 

  • It’s real
  • It’s practical
  • It’s encouraging!

 

 

Mark Elliott is a man with a variety of ministry experience as a youth pastor, worship pastor, outreach pastor, small group pastor, church planter, and senior pastor. He has pastored in Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Maryland, and Wisconsin. He has served in churches as small as three and as large as six thousand. Elliott has ministered abroad in 15 countries. He has two earned Master of Arts degrees and an earned Doctor of Ministry degree.

 

During a thirty-year career in pastoral ministry, Mark Elliott has written and produced religious radio broadcasts, written articles for religious magazines, written in four different chapter compilation books, and also written hundreds of sermons. You can learn more about him and the book at his website.

 

You can listen to my two-part interview with Dr. Mark Elliott here.

Source: CHURCH CENTRAL

 
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5 Reasons You Can’t Be the Leader You Were 5 Years Ago

Adopt, Adapt, Improve and Innovate

by Thom Rainer

There are some facets of leadership that are constant. Character and integrity are vital. You must have willing followers. And you must be courageous. Those are some of the key components of effective leadership five years ago. They still are today and will be fifty years from now.

But so much of leadership is changing. In fact keeping pace as a leader has never been more difficult.

I interviewed several leaders whom I respect and follow. I asked each of them how leadership has changed over the past five years. To the person, each of them said that the changes have been fast and furious, and have demanded much of them. And though my study was not scientific, the responses were fascinating.

In summary, these leaders shared with me five reasons you can’t lead like you did five years ago.

1. The digital revolution affects all aspects of leadership.

We have observed the radical change in the music industry in this digital era. We are in the midst of another revolution in the print and book industry. But no organization is unfazed by the digital revolution. Leadership today demands we understand it and embrace it.

2. Social media is changing the landscape of leadership.

Social media is the great equalizer. No organization has an inherent communication advantage anymore. Leaders must embrace the many facets of social media or get left behind. It’s hard to believe I started tweeting in 2008. It seems like I’ve been doing it for a decade.

3. Leaders must manage information saturation.

There is no shortage of information. Leaders today have magazine subscriptions. RSS feeds to blogs, bookmarked Internet news sources, and many other sources of information.

The challenge for leaders today is to know what to read, to whom to listen, and how often to do both. Leaders must both stay current and relevant, and they must be willing to ignore and discard.

It takes wisdom to discern the helpful from the not-so-helpful.

4. Leaders must have a greater awareness of relational intelligence issues.

Leaders must understand and manage a plethora of organizational and social relationships.

They must deal with the soft issues of culture as well as the hard issues of numbers, products, services, and performance. Peter Drucker was on target and prophetic when he said “culture eats strategy for breakfast” (The quote is widely attributed to Drucker, but it was popularized in 2006 by Mark Fields, president of Ford Motor Company).

Now more than ever, leaders must understand relational and cultural issues, including a frank assessment of the person in the mirror.

5. Strategic thinking is more important than ever.

Culture may eat strategy for breakfast, but strategy is still vital. Leaders of organizations and leaders in organizations must anticipate the future with wisdom and discernment. The world is changing so rapidly that a leader can no longer have the luxury of simply carrying out assignments. He or she must anticipate and take risks. No organization that is standing still will be effective five years from now.

Obviously, these five factors are not mutually exclusive, nor are they comprehensive.

It is clear, however, that we must constantly be growing as a leader, or we will not be effective leaders in the years to come. Though the challenges are great, those challenges can lead to exciting and rewarding times.

How has leadership changed for you in the past five years or so?

What changes have you made to be a better leader to meet these new challenges? I would love to hear from you.

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources(LifeWay.com). He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.More from Thom Rainer or visit Thom at www.LifeWay.com

 
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