Arquivo da tag: pastors

The Most Frequent Burdens Pastors Face

By Chuck Lawless

In my years of church consulting, I have spent hours talking to local church pastors. Much of the conversation revolves around church structure, vision, etc., but seldom does the conversation stay at that level. Pastors, it seems, long for someone to listen to them. They want someone to share their burdens, even if only for a few minutes.

Listen to the topics of pain I often hear, and take a minute to pray for your church leaders.

  1. Declining church growth – No pastor I know wants his congregation to be plateaued or in decline; however, the majority of churches in North America are in that state. A pastor may put a hopeful veneer on that truth publicly, but I’ve wept with pastors who grieve privately over their church’s decline.
  2. Losing the support of friends – Losing the backing of a Christian brother or sister is a unique pain. God-centered relationships are a miraculous gift, the melding of hearts at a level the world cannot understand. When those bonds are severed, particularly over matters that are seldom eternally significant, the anguish is deep.
  3. Grieving a fall – Pastoral love is not a guarantee against failure. In fact, even Jesus had close followers who fell into sin and rebellion. When our pastoral calls for repentance go unheeded, it’s difficult not to take that rejection personally.
  4. Sensing that the sermon went nowhere – For many of us, our ministry is centered around the Sunday sermon. Ideally, hours of preparation end in focused exposition that leads to life transformation—but that result doesn’t always happen. Few pastors have a safe place to express candid concerns about their own preaching.
  5. Losing vision – A pastor who has lost his vision for the church is leading on fumes. To admit that condition, though, is risky. Not to admit that reality is even more dangerous. Little will change until that pastor can honestly share his lack of focus.
  6. Being lonely – Pastors bear others’ burdens, but they do so confidentially. They share both the struggles and the joys of life, from birth to death. Sometimes, previous pain has made it difficult for them to open up to others. Consequently, they carry the weight of many on the shoulders of one.
  7. Dealing with unsupportive staff – Facing contrary members weekly is hard enough, but facing unsupportive staff every day is an ongoing angst. Correction is difficult, and firing can be agonizing. Some pastors simply hope for change while not knowing the best next steps to take.
  8. Remembering failures – Not many of us easily forget that disorganized sermon, that rotten counseling advice, that disruptive team meeting, or that hasty staff hire. Perhaps we can laugh at some of yesterday’s failures, but others still haunt us because we never want to fail God or His people.
  9. Dealing with death recurrently – Few responsibilities are as serious as officiating at a funeral. Even when burying a believer, pastors, too, grieve the loss of friends. Burying someone who was apparently not a believer is even more gut wrenching. Ministry amid such pain without becoming calloused is difficult indeed.
  10. Facing personal jealousies – I wish no pastor dealt with personal or professional jealousies, but I know better – both because of my own sinfulness and my pastoral conversations. Coming to grips with the rawness of our depravity is never easy.
  11. Balancing family and ministry priorities – No pastor sets out to lose his family. Few leap into the inattentiveness that often precedes adultery; instead, they almost imperceptibly slide into sin. One reason for that failure is their lack of mentors and colleagues who help them prioritize family while fulfilling ministry responsibilities.
  12. Responding to criticism – Continual criticism is wearying. Learning how to hear any sliver of truth in criticism while not growing angry is challenging. We can indeed be better ministers through healthy criticism, but few of us learn that truth in the midst of controversy.

I love pastors. I have been a pastor. I would return to the pastorate with excitement if the Lord so called me. Accordingly, I challenge us to pray for pastors today.



Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

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Publicado por em 02/02/2015 em POIMENIA


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On pastors and rabbis

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Publicado por em 28/01/2015 em POIMENIA


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7 Impractical (but Priceless) Leadership Principles

I talk to pastors frequently who find themselves in a difficult situation. Many times, they know the right thing to do, but they can’t bring themselves to do it.

Often, the advice I give is simply received with a reply such as, “I know it’s probably the right thing to do, but it seems like it would be easier just to _____.”

I understand.

Honestly, good leadership isn’t always practical.

Seriously. Think about it. Sometimes, it would be easier just to take the most efficient way. It’s less controversial. It allows the leader more control. It happens quicker.

I’ve learned, however, that the most practical way isn’t always the most prudent way.

Let me explain.

Here are 7 impractical leadership principles I practice:

1. I don’t meet alone with the opposite sex

Unless there is someone else in the office, I don’t meet with females alone. I don’t meet with them for lunch or coffee, except in extreme situations. I know, it’s not practical, but it not only protects the integrity of my marriage and ministry, it protects the perception of my marriage and ministry. Which is almost as important.

2. I don’t make major decisions alone even if I have the authority

I always invite a team of people, many wiser than me, to help me discern major decisions. I realize it slows down the process. Sometimes, it even kills my plans, but it has protected me over and over from making foolish decisions.

3. I try to kill my own ideas

I try to find the holes in my ideas and even try to talk people out of it after they’ve already bought into it. I know, crazy, right?

Time and time again, this process has improved the decisions I make, and it always builds a sense of ownership for everyone on the team.

4. I respond to criticism

What a way to slow down progress! Talk about insane. Why listen to people who have negatives to add to the positives?

But I even listen to anonymous critics sometimes. I’ve learned that criticism often is correct, and it always makes me better. Whether I yield to it or not, it forces me to consider sides I wouldn’t otherwise.

5. I give away tasks to someone less experienced

I do it all the time. I surrender my right to decide to one with many years less experience than I have.

Some would call that dumb, but I call it genius. The best leaders on our team were “discovered” this way.

 6. I push for best

It’s always easier and faster to compromise. Settling for mediocre saves time and energy…and it makes a leader more popular!

I work through conflict to get to the best solution for everyone. I know, time consuming, but in the long run, the organization wins!

7. I watch people fail

You heard me. I’ve let people make a mistake I knew they were going to make. How dumb can one leader be, right? Why not jump in to save the day?

I’ve learned, however, that if I do always stop what I see as a mistake, I may miss something I can’t see. Plus, I’ve learned my best leadership from the mistakes I’ve made. Others will also.

There! So much for being impractical. Way to waste some time. Good job being Mr. Inefficient! But if you want to be a great leader, find ways to avoid practicality.

How good are you at being an impractical leader? What other impractical leadership principles have you seen?

Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he’s been helping church grow vocationally for over 10 years.

More from Ron Edmondson or visit Ron at


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Publicado por em 01/06/2012 em POIMENIA


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Why Envy is a Ministry Killer

If you want a quick way to derail your ministry, envy someone else’s ministry. It’s the top barrier to fulfilling God’s purpose for your life. And it’s one of the quickest ways to have God’s anointing on your life removed. You must eradicate it from your life.

Envy is insidiously destructive. Anger, addictions, and adultery are all overt sins. But you can hide envy. Yet, God can see it. He knows it will impact others, too.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:12, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (NIV)

Envy denies your uniqueness before God. The Lord never, ever makes a clone—only individuals. When you try to be someone else—whether it’s preaching like someone else, leading like someone else, growing your church like someone else—you’re denying the unique manner in which God made you. That’s dangerous and unwise.

It’s also a rejection of how God made you—and an insult to Him.

The problem with envy is that it simply doesn’t end. When someone commits adultery or has an angry outburst, it happens and it’s over. But envy never leaves. It just keeps on going. And it shrinks your heart and makes you miserable in the process.

How do you eradicate envy? Stop comparing yourself with someone else. Comparison is the root of all envy. Whenever you start comparing yourself, you’re in a no-win situation. If you compare yourself with someone who is more effective than you, you’ll be full of envy. If you are more effective than they are, you’re full of arrogance and pride. Either way, comparisons will take you down.

We tend to compare ourselves to our peers. Athletes compare themselves with other athletes. Lawyers compare themselves with other lawyers. Pastors compare themselves with other pastors. And we compare ourselves with the ones closest to us. The successful pastor across the country doesn’t bother us—but the one across the street does.

During Saddleback’s first year, the church grew from just Kay and I to about 150 people. Out of those 150 people, 75 to 80 were baptized. I was like the director of an orphanage with a church full of new believers. At one point I read the denominational annual for Baptists in California and discovered that Saddleback was among the top 10 in the state in Baptisms. I started to get proud.

Then God slammed me up against the wall. God hadn’t called me to compare myself to someone else. He hadn’t called me to be best pastor in the world, or the best pastor in California – or even the best pastor in Orange County.

He has called me to be the best pastor I can possibly be given the gifts, talents, parents, experiences and opportunities God gave me. I didn’t choose any of those qualities. God gives you a set of gifts and judges you on how you use them. He won’t judge you on the gifts you don’t have. He’ll say, “What have you done with what I’ve given you?”

Psalm 139:16 says “Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.” (CEV) God planned every day of your life – but you can miss that plan. If you spend your whole life trying to be someone else, you’ll miss God’s plan for you.

This article is from Rick’s webcast for pastors. Watch the video now.


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Publicado por em 25/04/2012 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.


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Publicado por em 20/03/2012 em POIMENIA


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The Pastorate: No Place for Crybabies

It comes as a surprise only to a very few that pastoring a church can be extremely hard work. Rewarding, yes. Fulfilling, challenging, and blessed. But there are times when it taxes the child of God to the core of his being, when it tests his sanity, and drives him to question everything he ever believed about the faith he is proclaiming and the people he is serving.

Only the strong need apply.

They used to say that only the hardiest of stock settled the early American west. “The cowards never started and the weak died along the way.”

There’s something about that which fits the ministry.

What triggered all this for me was the sports guys on ESPN the other day talking about Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback. He’s had an ankle injury this year, and has been making every effort to play on in spite of it. Whether this is smart or foolhardy, we’ll leave to other people. The commentators were of one mind on it, however: Isn’t Big Ben great! He doesn’t give in to a little injury. He knows how to play hurt!

Playing hurt.

I’ve played hurt. You too, pastor? I will go so far as to say that every pastor who stays in the Lord’s work for any period of time will sooner or later “play hurt.” He will have a serious burden or strong opposition or major trial or some kind of massive handicap which would destroy a lesser individual (“a career-ending injury” it’s called in sports), but he still stands in the pulpit preaching, still goes to the office, still leads his church.

Every week I hear from pastors and/or their wives with similar stories of great upheavals in their ministries. The one this week said, “I perceive that you too have had troubles and trials in your life. That’s why I decided to write you.”

She said what the others have say: “Please do not use any details from my story. I wouldn’t want this to get out to certain people.”

If they only knew. Each story is so similar to all the others, one would think it was the same thing happening repeatedly.

Take the letter this week.

Just a few years ago, the preacher-husband and his wife started a church and saw it prosper. Then, a denomination approached asking if they would merge with one of their struggling congregations. Both groups followed all the proper steps, then merged.

In so doing, however, they inherited from the old church an assistant pastor who was trouble from the first. When they presented evidence of his wrongdoing to the denomination, the executives did nothing.

When the pastor developed health problems, the troublesome staff member led a movement to oust him. Suddenly, the faithful preacher found himself jobless, critically ill, and in financial need.

These days, that unemployed pastor is recovering from his illness but the wound to his soul seems incurable. After all, where was God in all this? Why did the Lord allow these mean-spirited people who call themselves Christians to behave this way? Why wasn’t God faithful to His servants who had labored long and hard for Him?

The pastor is not sure he believes in God any more.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have an epidemic in our land of internal church problems.

Your church is not the exception, my friend. It is far more typical than you would think.

In the past few days, church leaders have told me of…

…a volunteer who asked for a key to the church so she can minister. When refused, she became demanding, and is now creating a ruckus within the congregation. The pastor found that she tried the same ploy in previous churches, and is now trying to decide what to do.

…a small church where a lady who sings in the small worship ensemble has a terrible voice but huge ego (bad combination!). The preacher’s problem is how to get her off the platform but still keep her and her family as church members

…senior church members feeling abandoned in a congregation that is finally managing to reach young families. The rift is small presently, but threatens to undo all the blessings God is sending.

People Problems.

An uncle of mine used to take me shopping when I would visit his family as a child. More than once, he said, “Joe, don’t worry about expenses. We’ve got plenty of them.”

If your church has a lot of people, you will have plenty of people problems.

The preacher often becomes the target whether he deserves it or not.

After all, he’s the point man. Exposed out in front as the leader, disaffected members aim their fiery darts in his direction.

I smile sometimes on recalling how a church I was pastoring decided to spend nearly $1 million to renovate its ancient buildings. The building committee, made up of godly and mature leaders, did a lengthy study before recommending the project to the church, which adopted it almost unanimously. However, for reasons unknown then or now, a few unhappy campers spread the word that I was pushing it through as an ego trip.

The simple fact is when you are the head coach, a team’s victories and failures both fall on your shoulders. If the quarterback throws a hail mary and connects for a touchdown, the coach is a genius. If the ball is dropped or intercepted, he is to blame.

A church up the road from here has just survived an attempt by a few lay leaders to oust the pastor, a ploy they have pulled off successfully several times the last two decades. This time however, they had themselves a pastor with grit. He resisted, they did their worst and fell short. Now, the disgruntled are leaving and the remaining members are pulling together.

Two other churches I know well have seen their pastors resign under fire recently. In both cases, the pastors just grew tired of fighting a few lay leaders with their own agenda who were determined not to follow them.

The most surprising thing for many pastors is learning their greatest opposition, their biggest problems, their major obstacles to doing the work the Lord sent them to accomplish is coming from within the membership.

Pastors must learn to expect problems and to “play through” them.

Play through the pain. Go on doing the work the Lord called you to do even though some in the congregation hate your guts and resent your presence.

I did not say all these who oppose you are sweet godly saints who mean well. Some are.

Some are tyrants out of hell intent on wreaking havoc in the congregation.

And–don’t miss this–some are a mixture of the two.

For reasons that baffle me, even the smallest of congregations will frequently have a few people with a thirst for power. They want to control decisions. Why in the world anyone would want to be a big frog in a small pond escapes me. But they do.

As I write, last Monday night, our New Orleans Saints hosted their arch-rivals in the NFC South division, the Atlanta Falcons, in our Superdome. It wasn’t much of a game as these things go, and ended with the Saints on top 45-16. But what caused all the talk this week was the Saints’ last drive of the game.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees was attempting to amass 305 yards through the air, which would eclipse the NFL record set in 1984. Even though the Saints had “won” the game and needed no more points, the final pass–the one which put Brees over the top–scored another touchdown.

We hear that the Falcons resented it. We hear that they considered this piling on, running up the score.

No amount of explaining from the Saints seems to have stopped the bellyaching.

Finally, the response to the Falcons’ criticisms from far and wide all said the same: “Had the Falcons wanted to stop the Saints, all they had to do was do it. That they couldn’t stop them says it all. They’re a bunch of crybabies.” (To be fair, it was not all the Falcons nor all their fans. In fact, the complainers seem to have remained anonymous.)


It brings to mind an old song about a fellow named Charlie Brown, who kept asking, “Why is everybody always picking on me?”

Pastors can be crybabies and wimps. “Oh no. My congregation is having problems. Where is God when it hurts?”

To the pastor who is experiencing problems within the congregation and becoming the focus of opposition, we have this counsel:

1) Grow up. Expect trouble. Read Acts 20:29-30 again and again until you get the point that “it is through many tribulations that we enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

If anyone could pastor a church, God would not have to draft us.

2) Be strong. This is no work for wimps or weaklings. God told Jeremiah, “You will go to all to whom I send you; you shall say whatever I command you. And you must not be afraid of them” (Jer. 1:7-8).

3) Show courage. Be willing to face your giants, to stand before your Goliaths and not show fear. No knees knocking, no teeth chattering, no lump in your throat, but full confidence in the Lord who called you and accompanies you. Again and again, Joshua was told by Moses, by the Lord, and by the congregation, “Be strong and of good courage.” (Deuteronomy 31:6-7,23 and Joshua 1:6,9,18)

Pastor, please note that not only did Moses and the Almighty God want Joshua to show courage, but the people did also. No congregation wants their pastor to wimp out.

4) Expect trouble. See above.

5) Don’t quit. Hang in there. Twice in II Corinthians 4, at the start and at the end, Paul counsels God’s people not to lose heart and quit. In verse 1, they are to stay faithful because they have received mercy and been called to ministry. In verse 16, they are to persevere because God has great things in store for them.

“In due season we shall reap….if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) Various translators say “if we do not lose heart and quit,” “if we do not give up,” and “if we do not grow discouraged and stop.”

6) Expect to get back up again after you are knocked down. Repeat as often as necessary.

Every pastor will want to memorize Paul’s words–learned in the school of really hard knocks–from II Corinthians 4:8-10. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed–always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

Football is a game for men, they say. Play through your pain. And when your opponent scores big on you, remember: there’s no place for crybabies on this team.

I can hear someone say, “You don’t know how bad I had it. You have no idea what I’ve been through or how badly this hurt.”

Answer: Of course I don’t. I’ve had my share of opposition and trials, but not like yours. There is, however, Someone who knows. And He is not asleep at the switch, my friend.

So, trust Him. He knows what He is about.

A phrase the old-timers used to hear preached was “Quit you like men.” It’s found in the Old Testament in places such as I Samuel 4 and in the New Testament in I Corinthians 16:13. That little phrase, oddly worded, seemed to strike a nerve with preachers and laymen a couple of generations back. Many a preacher stood in the pulpit and preached to his people that they should “quit you like men.”

Far as I can tell, it simply means to be courageous, brave, and strong. The old Williams Translation says, “Keep on acting like men.” I cannot improve on that, and won’t try.

Grown-ups only in the pulpit, my friends. No crybabies or wimps need apply.

Source: Joe McKeever

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Publicado por em 12/03/2012 em POIMENIA


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