What’s more important? Passion for God or Integrity?

From the Christian Post:

A new study has found that Christian adults primarily believe integrity, not “passion for God,” is the most important quality in a leader.

The study, conducted by Ventura, Calif.-based Barna Group, found that 64 percent of Christians believe integrity to be one of the most important leadership qualities, while other important traits include authenticity (40 percent), discipline (38 percent) and “passion for God” (31 percent). Among evangelicals, however, the percentage of those who believe passion for God is an important leadership quality is significantly higher (83 percent).

More than half (58 percent) of Christians call themselves leaders, but only 15 percent of those surveyed said integrity is their main leadership quality. Instead, believers are more likely to say their strongest leadership characteristic is competence (20 percent), discipline (16 percent), collaboration (15 percent), integrity (15 percent) or authenticity (14 percent). Evangelicals again differ from the overall group on this point, with 42 percent of them saying their passion for God is their best leadership quality.

When asked what leadership characteristic they would most like to improve in themselves, nearly three out of 10 Christians (27 percent) said they wanted more courage, 17 percent said discipline, 15 percent said vision and 13 percent said passion for God.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/study-what-leadership-quality-is-most-important-to-christians-94325/#eG3bgH6hcCXjShtM.99

Thoughts?

Todd

Three things that should keep you up at night (if you haven’t worked out a solution)

1.  Embezzlement (the stat here says that 1 in 3 churches is embezzled each year).  That sounds high to me, but it is a cause for major concern.

2.  Fundraising shortfalls.  What do you do when there’s not enough money.  Many sleepless nights are caused by this all over the country.

3.  Sexual Allegations/Discriminations/Staff members gone bad.  How do you protect your church from bad situations in hiring?

This post has some solutions for you.

Go there… then get some sleep.

Todd

PS – What keeps YOU up at night?

Advice of the day from Ray Comfort on Appendixes, Choking, and Childbirth

Just in case you were wondering about any of these three things today… Ray has the definitive answer on each from his ‘ask Ray Comfort forum:

“Ray, why did God give me an appendix? Why are my wind and food pipes too close together to avoid choking easily? Why do women have to go through such severe childbirth in order for our pelvis’ to be shaped in such a way we can walk upright?” – Patricia B.

The appendix is said to be vestigial. But it’s not. Duke University released an article, “Appendix Isn’t Useless at All: It’s a Safe House for Bacteria,” by Duke Medicine News and Communications.

Long denigrated as vestigial or useless, the appendix now appears to have a reason to be – as a “safe house” for the beneficial bacteria living in the human gut.

Meanwhile, eat slower and it will fix your choking problem. Plenty of women who have never had children walk just fine.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/would-jesus-be-saddened-by-christians/#epuhUfIxXIfSPXAl.99

Maybe I should start a question/answer forum.

Anybody got a question?

Post it below!

Todd

Are Christians more like Jesus, or the Pharisees?

A recent Barna Survey attempted to assess whether Christians were more like Christ, or the pharisees. Not surprisingly the study suggests that 51% of respondents were more pharisaical than Christ-like.

From MY perspective, the study was intriguing to me as it attempted to discern Christ-likeness in the lives of believers. This is something near and dear to my heart, as much of the work that I do with church leaders is helping them figure out what the definition of a disciple is in their unique context… what are the unique markers that tell the world around them that they are followers of Jesus? Many times, when I ask questions about what leaders are looking to see true in the lives of their congregation, they say something along the lines of “we’d like to see them exhibit the fruits of the spirit.” While this is definitely a biblical answer, when I ask them what that looks like in their day to day life, I often get a blank stare. The Barna article above is worth the read, just for some of the ways that they are defining Christ-likeness… and it makes for a great jumping off point for thinking through how YOUR church defines, and measures, discipleship.

That said, here is our take on the article… we’d love to hear your thoughts below. We’d also love for you to check out this month’s edition of Ministry Briefing… it’s now available for as low as $8 a month. I believe it is a great tool for church leaders.

Are YOU more like Jesus, or a pharisee?

Todd

A New Way to Pray? Introducing ORA…

Interesting press release.  Have you considered using technology to help your church’s prayer ministry?

Introducing “ORA” a disruptive technology to promote the oldest form of
recognized religious expression in the Christian and Jewish faiths–prayer. The
ORA system creates a personal mobile experience for the individual and an
enterprise-quality community management platform for any organization to
invite, connect, share, respond and interact with one another in intercessory
prayer.

“That’s a lot of words to describe it, but ORA’s technology gives us the
ability to do so much more to leverage existing social networks and mobile
devices to connect individuals in the most meaningful relationship they can
have with others and with God,” said Jeff Bone, Chief Marketing Officer for
ORA.

“ORA collects, organizes, tracks, reminds, connects and securely shares prayer
requests and answers with anyone you choose. ORA does this at a personal and
intimate level with your friends and family through the mobile platform or
‘app’ on your smartphone. ” Stated Dusty Gulleson, ORA Chief Executive Officer.
“We’re looking forward to integrating Ora into the life of both our physical
and online church congregations. What an incredible tool to engage communities
of believers around the power of prayer!” stated Nils Smith, Web Pastor at
Community Bible Church of San Antonio.

Social networks are typically inappropriate “high noise” areas that are not
private enough for many sensitive postings like prayer requests. ORA offers an
environment where prayer is the most important thing. ORA not only makes prayer
available on your smartphone, but it makes comments, reminders and prayer
partners always available too. ORA offers immediate feedback to requests,
questions and comments from prayer partners and helps to track and remind the
user of how prayers are answered immediately or over time. ORA helps you get a
glimpse of the eternal that can be missed when we’re caught up in the stress of
everyday life.

ORA is a free download for iPhone (and is coming soon for Android). The ORA
smartphone app integrates into the ORA Community system. The ORA Community
system is a software as a service (SaaS) solution designed with many more
management features that allows an organization to administer community-wide
prayer communication and easily integrate with existing email, church
management or relationship management software from leading providers. For a
limited time, ORA is offering a no-cost trial of the ORA Community system for
an organization. Visit the ORA website for more information: http://ora.net

Download ORA for the iPhone in the App Store! http://appstore.com/ora

Enter ORA’s Apple iPad Mini Giveaway this week! http://bit.ly/orapromo

Would you consider using something like this at your church?

Todd

Ministering to Manipulators

Do you have anyone in your church that is a manipulator?  Maybe it’s a board member.  Maybe it’s a little old lady down the street.  Regardless, it can be tough to ministry to a manipulative personality.  Brooks Faulkner had an article posted at LifeWay.com (that is no longer available) that helps address how you might approach your favorite manipulator.  Brooks writes,

Three As of the manipulator:

  • Attention: He never gets enough, no matter how much you give.
  • Affection: She nevers feel enough, no matter how many share their love.
  • Approval: He never receives enough, no matter how actions are affirmed.

A manipulator may legitimately need attention, affection, and approval, but as a leader you must prioritize your time.

The Solution: Turn an uncomfortable relationship with the manipulative person into a positive relationship. It’s not easy, but it is possible. Here are five ways to help you.

1. Give needed attention.

Our work as caregivers involves the recognition of genuine need. Giving this person attention is not only a responsibility, but a privilege.

2. Confront gently.

Respond to a person who “dropped in” with, “Good to see you Jim, but you’ve caught me at a bad time. There are some things that are pressing me. Let me call you as soon as I get time. Thanks for understanding.”

3. Respond candidly.

When confronted on an issue, respond with, “It sounds to me as if you need a little education on . . . Let me share a couple of my intentions.

4. Say “No” when you need to.

It is hard for you to say “no” without feeling guilty, but it is necessary for your emotional and spiritual health.

5. Leave change up to God.

Encourage, but don’t expect too much. Leave the rest up to God. He can handle it.

Any thoughts?  Ever have to deal with a manipulator in your midst?  Would these tips have helped?  Leave your comments below…

Andy Stanley on the Courageous Pastor

Serving on a church staff is not for the faint-hearted. It takes courage and strength to lead in the church. Andy Stanley spoke about pastors and courage in Preaching Magazine. Here’s what Andy wrote:

“Speaking from my limited view, I feel like so much of the problem with pastors is they are just scared to death. They’re scared of their people, they’re scared of deacons, they’re scared, they’re scared, they’re scared. You know, if you’re scared of someone you can’t lead them; you can hardly even influence them. Here’s the pastor who’s been hired — I tell our business guys all the time, “You’d never go to work for an organization where the customers can hire and fire the president of the company they bought products from.” But that’s the church world. The people hire the leader and say, “We’ll follow you unless we don’t like the way you’re leading us, then we’ll get us another leader.” What other organization can the clients and the customers hire and fire the leader? So the church is set up upside-down. It’s an environment that is not conducive to leadership in some ways. Consequently to lead a church you just have to have a lot of courage because the group to which you’re saying “follow me” can get together after you leave and fire you. Well, that’s just the way it is. That’s not going to change but it requires a lot of courage — otherwise we start bending toward the people that hired us and we’re in trouble.

The irony is we stand up and talk about Daniel in the lion’s den but then we won’t even confront elders. All of these bible heroes — David and Goliath — and we love to preach those sermons and draw these parallels and then we’re scared to confront people. I think that dynamic alone is a big part of why the church is where it is. The leadership — or lack of leadership — is just so much fear of people. I don’t know where that comes from…

When I see pastors who are scared I want to tell them, ‘Just lead.’ If they fire you and you don’t think God will take care of you, then you have no message for your people anyway, because we get up every Sunday and say God’s grace is sufficient. He’s going to take care of you, He’ll meet your every need and you’ll never see the “righteous go hungry.” It’s what we preach, but if our lack of faith in those practical things causes us to not to be able to lead then what’s our message anyway?”

Wow… that gives you something substancial to think about on a Monday morning, doesn’t it? I know many who read this are going through great times of conflict during your present ministry. Some probably had a day yesterday where things just blew up (literally). Don’t let your ‘worry about tommorrow’ determine how you react to today’s situations. There are also many that are reading this that are flying high in ministry right now. Stay strong. Stay courageous. And love your people.

What do you think? Do you agree with Andy? How have you shown courage in your leadership recently? Or, maybe you can give us an example of a time or two when you were scared and weren’t very courageous. I’d love to hear your comments.

Todd

What kind of pastor are you?

I read an interesting article this week by Ruby Curran discussing different types of bosses. I think what Ruby has to say also fits well for different type of pastors. The ideal pastor inspires their people to achieve and produce exceptional results for the Kingdom every day. Sometimes when we look at the don’ts, the do’s become more obvious. Here are some highlights from this article, which I’ve re-written somewhat, specifically for pastors…

Take an open, honest look at these four less-than-ideal types of pastors and you may find ways to begin to become the pastor you’d really like to be…

1. The No Time Pastor

You want things to happen, but don’t believe you have the time to hold every church member’s hand and teach them how to do the job properly.

You may even say, If I have to take the time to show these people how to do this, I might as well do it myself, because doing it will take a fraction of the time teaching it will.

The trouble with this thinking is, by not taking the time to teach the people how to perform the task or ministry to acceptable standards, you’re going to have to do the job forever. Think: short term pain for long term gain.

Yes, it may take repeating the instructions several times, or modifying the procedure the people use to accomplish the ministry before the outcome meets your expectations. But look at the big picture. Once one person gets it they’ll be able to teach it to the next person, freeing you up even further.

2. The My Way is the Only Way Pastor

You micro manage your staff and congregation, making sure they do things exactly the way you want them done every step of the way.

You believe you’ve worked all the bugs out and found the perfect method for accomplishing the desired result. And maybe you have. Maybe you’ve spent years and mega dollars perfecting your methods.

If this is the case, explain the process you went through to develop your system. Explain why you insist on your method being followed to the letter. Most people will respect this once they understand it.

If, on the other hand, you are convinced your way is the best way just because that’s the way you’ve always done it, prepare to be astounded once you loosen the reins a bit.

It can be much more effective and efficient to explain to a person what end result you expect (quality, quantity), what restrictions they must deal with (time or budget), and then leave them to do the job.

It’s always a good idea to set up frequent check-in points to reassure yourself that the job is on target or to deal with any problems that may have come up.

3. The You’re on Your Own Pastor

The opposite of the My Way is the Only Way pastor, your staff and church may feel they have no idea what it is you expect until it’s too late.

You assign tasks or projects, but your people just don’t have enough direction to accomplish them to the standards you expect. They may feel incompetent when they have to ask you for more details or instruction.

If you have any inkling this may describe you, the solution may be to make sure the outcomes are clear. Give them ample opportunity to clarify what procedures they’ll use, what standards must be met and any other requirements such as budget or timelines.

Set up check-in meetings along the way and let your people know either where to get additional information or when it’s convenient for them to get any further clarification they may need from you, once they begin the project or task.

This is especially important when you assign a task to a new person or assign something unusual to an experienced team member.

4. The Seagull Pastor

You guessed it! This pastor flies in squawking, poops all over everybody and then flies off again, often still squawking about something.

Think about it. Do you believe no news is good news? Do you notice only the bad things your staff and church members do? Do you wonder why nobody ever seems to take any initiative?

Staff and church members do need to be corrected. Privately, immediately, and humanely. They also need praise when they’ve done a good job. Publicly, immediately, and with passion. What you focus on, grows!

Fear is a huge demotivator. When people know the pastor cares about them, and will treat them fairly, they’re much more likely to perform well and take innovative risks.

Well… there you have it… What kind of pastor are you? Does this help you at all to clarify where you are at? Do pointing out these ‘don’ts’ help you know better what you need to ‘do’ this week? I’d love to hear your comments. Please click the comments link below.

And you can read all of Ruby’s writing on this subject (without my modifications!) here.

4 Signs Your Religious Beliefs May Become Evil

Yet there are ways to tell that a person’s faith has drifted into fanaticism if you know what to look and listen for, say scholars who have studied some of history’s most horrific cases of religious violence.

Matt Steen and I discuss.  There is something to learn here for all of us:

Thoughts?

Todd

Top ten first world church problems

Most of the problems you face today are probably ‘first world’ church problems.

1.  You got locked out of your Fellowship One account.

2.  Your main video projector’s bulb just blew out.

3.  The pizza delivery guy is five minutes late bringing lunch for your staff meeting.

4.  The air conditioner in the worship center quit working.

5.  The church softball team has lost five games in a row.

6.  Craig Groeschel won’t return your call.

7.  For some reason, Planning Center won’t work on your iPhone.

8.  The flight for your missions trip to Haiti is now 45 minutes late.

9. Having only 8% battery life on your iPad before you go up to preach.

10. You just spent an hour arguing with a staff member on whether Mark Driscoll should have said nagging wives are like water torture.  (That staff member was your wife).

Others you’d like to propose?

Todd

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