The ultimate Christian trump card

“God told me”.

Carey Nieuwhof talks about this ‘trump card’ today at his blog.  And I couldn’t agree more.

He states the fact that when most people play their trump card, it really has nothing to do with any time of theological thing (like salvation, the cross, etc.) and almost always has to do with their own opinion… things like church programs, vision, direction, etc.

I like what he says:

Most of the time when leaders trot out “God told me”, they’re actually seeking to add divine weight to something that truthfully, is either their opinion or their (maybe sincere) attempt to apply what they’ve learned to the situation they’re facing.

Carey continues:

So why not just call it that?

It’s our opinion.

It’s my conviction.

It’s our belief.

It’s my understanding.

It’s my decision.

I think people would just respect you more. Because that’s what it is, isn’t it?

And if church people wonder whether you actually heard from God when you claim to be speaking for him, I promise you unchurched people – especially the millennial generation – don’t find it credible.

So… have you used the ultimate Christian ‘trump card’ recently, or at any time in your ministry?

Why did you do it?

Did God really speak to you?

And did your proclamation come true?  And did it help your leadership?

I’d love to hear your experience.

Read more from Carey here…

 

Todd

 

One pastor shares his leadership mistakes (so you don’t have to make the same ones)

Carey Nieuwhof is a Canadian pastor that is putting out some GREAT leadership stuff.  You should really check out his blog (link to follow).  Here are five mistakes that Carey said he made in the area of leadership.  He tells you these mistakes so you’re not wasting your time learning the hard way:

Carey writes: Here are five leadership mistakes I’ve made:

1. Pointing out what’s wrong – not what’s right. Many leaders share a trait: they immediately notice what’s right and wrong, and gravitate toward fixing what’s wrong. I’m king of this. And ironically, it motivates me to get better. But it can end up being de-motivating to the people around you. I’ve had to learn to celebrate the wins (there are a ton of them when you look), point out what’s right and high five the team. Only then should you move to what’s wrong. Otherwise you knock the wind out of people. Honestly, this is still a daily discipline with me.

2. Thinking a leader needs to have all the answers. As a young leader, I was afraid people would notice that I was young and didn’t know as much as I should. I took me a few years to become comfortable with saying “I don’t know”. Wish I’d learned that right off the bat. Ironically, people already know that you don’t know. And when you say you don’t know, it actually creates empathy and a better sense of team.  Now more than ever, I fully realize how much I have left to learn.

3. Trying to be too original. This characterized my first 7 or 8 years of leadership. I didn’t know you could take what others have done and simply implement it (I’m not talking about plagiarizing sermons or stealing proprietary ideas here – but about ministry models and strategies that you’re free to use). I’d go to a conference and feel I’d need to change something enough to put ‘my spin’ or ‘our spin’ on it. Well, sometimes your spin makes it worse. If you really have an original idea that’s going to change things – use it. But there are smarter people who are further along than you who you can borrow from. And sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to borrow.

4.  Using people to accomplish tasks. I’m a task guy. Early on, sometimes I saw people as a means to an end, not an end in themselves. It’s a goal of mine to do what great managers do – not use people to get tasks done, but to get ‘people done’ through tasks.

5. Depending too much on my own strength. Being an A-type personality has strengths and weaknesses. Looking back, I wish I had developed a better sense of team earlier and I wished I had sought out mentors earlier. I’m still also trying to figure out the balance between Jesus’ teaching that human effort accomplishes nothing and that we need to serve and lead with all diligence. I’ll get back to you on that one. Maybe in heaven.

Read more of Carey’s thoughts here…

The five biggest temptations that pastors face…

Leadership positions are a mixed blessing. For those wired to lead it is a joy to be in one’s sweet spot. However, leadership brings with it a set of very real temptations that trip up CEO’s, pastors, presidents and ministry leaders. Given these temptations, the first priority of every leader ought to be health: emotional, relational, spiritual, leadership and skill health. In the absence of that kind of care, there is a high likelihood that a leader will suffer one or more of the following temptations.

Adapted from a blog post by TJ Addington…

Matt Steen and I take a look at the top temptations that church leaders face…

MB_five-temptations

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What do YOU think?  Leave a text or video comment here…

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube

 

 

Google bringing ancient Bible scrolls and ten commandments online

Google is partnering with the Israel Antiquities Authority to launch the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, an online collection of 5,000 images of scroll fragments. Among the texts is the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the Ten Commandments, and part of Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis, which is seen in the picture above and measures in at about 10 cm.

Google said the initiative will shed “light on the time when Jesus lived and preached, and on the history of Judaism.”

“Millions of users and scholars can discover and decipher details invisible to the naked eye, at 1215 dpi resolution,” Google said in an official blog post. “The site displays infrared and color images that are equal in quality to the Scrolls themselves. There’s a database containing information for about 900 of the manuscripts, as well as interactive content pages. We’re thrilled to have been able to help this project through hosting on Google Storage and App Engine, and use of Maps, YouTube and Google image technology.”

// Read more here…

Should we allow our staff to use 20% of their time on side projects to help eliminate burnout?

Here’s an interesting commentary… what do you think?  Great idea, or horrible one?

Many church staff in congregations perform several ministry functions even though they are not officially a “pastor”. Special attention to church staff (youth directors, associate ministers, musicians, office assistants, interns, educators, etc…) and their work wellness. Appreciating their work is not enough (a raise wouldn’t hurt). Pastors and church leadership need give more time off in a world where church staff have to do “more with less”. Micromanaging, low pay, unreasonable expectations, many evening commitments, and poorly managed church conflict all lead to staff burnout. Giving the standard “two weeks” vacation is another sure-fire way to burnout staff.

Years ago, Google allowed their employees to spend up to 20% of their work time on side projects. What if churches let church staff blog, create, dream, build, write, or encourage creativity through side projects? Allowing church staff to express themselves through under utilized skills or talents may help a church find a new ministry. In addition, it allows the church staff to explore and create – something that is innate within humanity. Suppressing creativity only leads to frustration. Churches would be well advised to use a Google-like project to guard against burnout.

// Read more here…

What do YOU think?

How do you help reduce burnout on your staff?

Todd

 

How to do “spontaneous baptisms” at your church

Wow… Steven Furtick is getting some bad blog press from some of the watchdog blogs about publishing a resource kit for churches on how to host a ‘spontaneous baptism’.

You see, Elevation Church baptized 2,158 over two weekends recently, giving people the opportunity to get baptized on the spot.

And they’ve published a guide and learning piece showing what they needed to do behind the scenes to make this happen.

Logistics, you might say.

But one blogger finds the document proves that the goal was ‘clearly numbers, and an opportunity to create excitement, get people in the community talking, hence new people keep coming through the doors.’

Hogwash.

It’s called being prepared for what God might do.

Whether you agree with the whole ‘spontaneous’ baptism thing that many churches are doing (which I think is probably more biblical than announcing it a few weeks beforehand and asking people to mill it over as we do in most churches), the document is interesting… and it shows the amount of planning and leadership that it takes to be prepared.

In our churches… there are few things that just happen.  Most everything takes a good measure of planning and leadership… even spontaneous baptisms.

What’s YOUR take?

Todd

Breaktime! Your future worship leader

I’ve started a new series here at the blog called Breaktime!  Check back each day at noon Eastern for something new each day that is a little less serious.  And comeback often when you need a little break.

I’m not sure what I think about today’s “Breaktime!”  It’s awful cute.  She’s awful young.  But what is really going on here?  I’m not sure!

Check out yesterday’s Breaktime! here… I think you’ll enjoy it!

Know something I should include on a future Breaktime!?  Send it to me here…

Todd

What if your church ‘hurried up to be generous’?

Seth Godin is the author of twelve books that have been bestsellers around the world and changed the way people think about marketing, change, and work. He is also the master of saying a great deal using relatively few words on his blog. Recently he shared that while people are in a hurry to do many things, generosity isn’t usually on that list.  Godin then asked a powerful question:

What happens when we adopt the posture of being in a hurry to be generous?

// Read more here:  Hurry Up & Be Generous.

It’s a great concept.  How could your church hurry to be generous as we enter these days right before Christmas?

How ARE you doing that in your own church?

I’d love to hear your comments!

Todd

Our take: When America’s pastor goes “Gangham Style”

Matt Steen and I talk about Rick Warren’s recent tweet about his phone’s ring town being ‘Gangham Style’ and how it has infuriated some bloggers.

This is just one more reason that I’m glad I’m not Rick Warren.  Can you imagine people writing blog posts every time you tweet?  Oh my.

CBS News even posted this:

Well… here’s our take… Sorry for the ‘not great’ video quality.  My internet connection is bad here in rural Ohio.  :)

When America’s Pastor Goes Gangham Style 

Church Growth: It’s all about the pastor

David Murrow writes a piece entitled “Church Growth:  It’s All About the Pastor” over at the Church for Men website.  See if you agree with his thinking:

Can I be brutally honest? When it comes to church attendance, nothing matters as much as the ability of the pastor to deliver good sermons. If a pastor is good at his job the church grows. If he’s bad at his job the church shrinks.

Sounds unspiritual – but it’s true. It shouldn’t be this way – but it is. Each week is a referendum on the pastor’s ability to deliver an inspiring sermon.

Admit it – you’ve gotten into the car with your spouse and begun critiquing the sermon before you’re out of the church parking lot. Or you’ve been asked, “How was church?” What do you talk about? The sermon. Let’s be real: Protestants judge the quality of a worship service largely by the power of the sermon to move them. Nothing else comes close.

This is why the right minister can cause a church to sink or soar. I liken it to a football team: an NFL squad has 53 men, but the team’s fortunes rise and fall on the talents of one man – the quarterback. If he can deliver lots of touchdowns, the team wins. If he can’t, the team loses. Granted, the signal-caller must have good players around him, but as the Denver Broncos are seeing this year, a great QB means everything.

The same is true with church attendance. When it comes to numbers, nothing matters as much as the ability of the pastor to deliver engaging sermons. Preaching is everything.

It pains me to write these words. In an ideal world, what SHOULD matter is prayer, the presence of the Spirit, the love of the people for one another and the church’s ministry in the community. In that ideal world a church should be able to take out one preacher and install another without a hiccup.

And while we’re at it, why does the size of a church even matter? Jesus would choose a church of 12 sold-out disciples over a church of 12,000 passive pew-sitters any day.

We can argue these points until Christ returns, but this blog post is about attendance. Numbers. And when it comes to putting men in pews, nothing matters more than pastoral quality. Every other consideration pales in comparison.

// read more here…

What do you think?  Does it ALL really come down to the ability of the pastor’s preaching skills?

I’d love to hear your input…  leave a comment below…

Todd

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