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Leadership
Matt Steen writes:  Matthew 23 has always been a challenging chunk of scripture for me.  The passage talks a good bit about hypocrisy, and talks about making our actions and our words line up.  Towards the end of the chapter, Jesus dives into the woes, and there are two that always stand out to me:
25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. 27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Every time I read this, I take a few minutes to soak and ask the Holy Spirit where I am like the Pharisees, repent, and ask for wisdom on my journey towards Christ. Last week I came upon a video that had me thinking about this passage.  Tom Peters, a cantankerous sounding old man who reminds me of my grandfather, has a three minute video that talks about investing in your people.  I debated sharing this video because there are two words in it that I am sure that you have never heard before, and while those words make this video PG13, my hope is that we can move beyond that and hear the truth in what Tom is saying: Let’s think about this for a minute.  We can have the coolest church building in three counties, can have all the coolest graphics, websites, audio-visual toys, and all that… but if we are not investing in our people, we might as well flush that money down the toilet.  Excuse the phrase, but church is a people business.  If we are not investing in leaders, making sure that they are well trained, well supported, and well cared for, there is no way that they will be able to care well for the people whom they serve. If our people are unaware of how to minister to the world around us the best music, drama, and preaching ever heard will do nothing for us.  Invest in your people… ensure they know how to minister well, make sure they are resourced appropriately, and care well for them. How do YOU make sure YOUR leaders are well cared for? Originally posted here at ChurchThought.com /// ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Matt Steen loves seeing the local church thrive! He helps churches implement strategy and pursue vision through his work with churchsimple.net and his blog,churchthought.com.  Follow Matt at @matt_steen on Twitter!
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Leadership
“If You Don’t Have Time to Do It Right, When Will You Have Time to Do It Over?” -coach John Wodden What are you speeding through trying to get done quickly and uneffectively today?  And how in the world will you ever have the time next week to do it all again? It’s an easy trap to get in, and a cycle that we need to break. What do you need to do right the first time today? Link Todd
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Leadership
We’re having a great discussion over yesterday’s post about whether or not a pastor who is discovered to have an addiction should be fired.  In the discussion, Cal Habig brought up a great point (I think) when he says that pastors who find themselves in these types of situations have not lost their ABILITY to shepherd the flock, but have instead lost their CREDIBILITY to lead the flock. I think this is a great point.  Much of the discussion yesterday revolved around whether or not a pastor involved in some type of addiction (alcohol is the specific one we’re discussing) should resign, be fired, or be left in the position while he seeks treatment. I think a case could be made for each one of those scenarios, according to the church involved, the severity of the addiction, and the heart of the addicted. But Cal’s point is this:  more important than whether a pastor who’s dealing with this should have his job or not, when does he lose his credibility to lead?  And once the credibility is gone, it’s probably best for the leader AND the church for him to move on (regardless of how great a Bible teacher he is or his other ability to lead). When credibility is lost, so is the core effectiveness of the leader. So… let’s take this situation we talked about yesterday.  A pastor is found to be hiding an addiction to alcohol for years; and is only found out when he has a very serious liver problem. Has this pastor lost his ability to lead?  Probably not.  He’s been leading with this problem… evidently for years. Has this pastor lost his credibility with the congregation?  I would argue:  absolutely. The first thought many people have is:  what else has he been hiding.  And when he preaches the Word, some people are thinking:  “Yeah… but…” This, more than any other reason, I think, is why a pastor caught in a public addiction or sin must step down, at least for a time. The response of the leader involved in this situation is vitally important.  Hopefully, I’ll dive into that tomorrow here at MMI. Credibility and trust can be restored.  But it will take time.  And in this case, probably lots of it.  And I’m not sure it can be done while the pastor remains in his position. What are your thoughts? Is there a difference in having the ABILITY and having the CREDIBILITY to lead a church? When a leader loses CREDIBILITY, what should he do?  And how should he do it? Todd
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Leadership
So many churches try to have an effective small group ministry and fail.  Groups are tough.  So… how do you measure the effectiveness of your small group ministry?  Alan Danielson has some ideas for you.  In fact, the way you measure your effectiveness is all according to what you’re trying to achieve in the life of your church. Alan shared this bit of advice over at MarkHowellLive.com: First here’s the question:  “What are the markers for a healthy small group ministry.  That is, when a small group pastor does her/his evaluation of the ministry, what are the list of things that that small group pastor should be measuring to determine how effective the ministry really is?” Here’s Alan’s answer: When determining what to measure in regard to the health of an overall group ministry, I think measurements can change from year to year based on what you are trying to achieve.  For example:  if your biggest hope one year is to train up new leaders for future growth, then you’d measure how many leaders you train over the year.  If you are focusing on getting groups to be missional, you keep track of the number of small groups who participated in missions.  If you’re wanting your number of groups to dramatically rise, then you track your number of groups.  If you want more of your congregation to join groups, measure the % of your weekend attendance in groups. I like setting 12 months metric goals based on the ministry’s overall needs each year because measured performance is improved performance.  If I need to improve something, I measure it, make it a habit, then move on to the next thing. You can read different answers to this question this week at MarkHowellLive.com.  And you can check out Alan’s blog for more great small group and leadership resources. How are you currently measuring the effectiveness of your small group ministry?  Are you achieving success? Todd
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Leadership
Greg Stier has a gripe with many churches:  their mission statement is a lie.  In Greg’s words:  when it comes to evangelism, a mission statement can turn from big black letters on a church marquee to a little, white lie that the church is telling the community. Strike that … it’s a big lie. Youch. Is your church lying? What is your church’s mission statement?  Usually it has something to do with both discipleship and evangelism. It can be said of all churches that we are not doing as well at accomplishing our mission as we should or could be.  But Greg brings up a good point:  what if we’re not accomplishing our mission statement AT ALL? Greg continues:  “If we are proclaiming to the members of our congregation and community that evangelism is a primary purpose via our church’s mission statement and we are not making it a central priority of our church’s program and budgets then that mission statement is a lie.” So… how’s your church doing?  Are you living out your mission statement, or trying to make excuses as to why you’re not acheiving it? Here are some questions that Stier thinks are helpful to ask: -Have you been equipped by your church to effectively share your faith and is someone in your church holding you accountable to do it? As a result how often are you evangelizing in your own neighborhood, workplace, school and circle of friends? -How often is your pastor and church leadership personally sharing their faith with others (not counting the times they share the gospel from the pulpit or in a Sunday school class) and sharing the stories with the church congregation to inspire them to faithfully share the gospel as well? -How many resources (time, talent and treasure) are being deployed by your church to mobilize God’s people for personal evangelism? -Have sporadic outreach meetings (Easter, Christmas, etc) replaced the push for relational evangelism in your church? -How much of your church’s numeric growth is due to newly converted people verses just Christian people trying to find a new church? -How much effort is being put into training teenagers and children to share their faith since they are most open to the gospel demographically? -On a scale from 1-10 how much is evangelism a true priority as opposed to a stated priority in your church in your opinion? So… how is YOUR church doing?  Are you on mission? I’d love to hear your thoughts.  You can read all of Greg’s article here… Todd
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Leadership
Here is a blog post over at The Visible Church that talks about the seven sins of dying churches as identified in the book Essential Church.  See if your church is guilty of any of these ‘sins’: Sin 1: Doctrine Dilution “Teaching anything less than the absolute truths in Scripture will make the younger generation feel betrayed when they learn that a large gap exists between what the Bible really says and what they were taught in church” (16). Sin 2: Loss of Evangelistic Passion “Dying churches have little evangelistic passion. It is the responsibility of the pastor and other key leaders to exhibit this evangelistic passion” (17). Sin 3: Failure to be Relevant “Churches that do not find ways to become relevant in their respective communities will eventually falter. Churches that keep their internal culture unchanged for fifty years while the world around them goes through continual periods of metamorphosis typically die with the old culture” (17). Sin 4: Few Outwardly Focused Ministries “As crucial as Bible studies and fellowship are, dying churches gorge themselves on closed study groups and churchwide fellowship events while neglecting outreach in the community. Dying churches heavily skew their ministries internally” (18). Sin 5: Conflict over Personal Preferences “People within the church can squabble over the most insignificant things (pews, seats, sofas, style of newsletters and bulletins, etc.). When the church focuses on trivial matters, the greater gospel message is left on the sidelines” (18). Sin 6: The Priority of Comfort “Dying churches are comfortable with their ministries. They do nothing outside the bounds of their comfort levels” (19). These churches are often plagued with the attitude, “That’s the way we’ve always done it!” Sin 7: Biblical Illiteracy “We are to be diligent to present ourselves to God, workers not needing to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). If a church member does not understand the basics of Scripture, then they are hampered in their witness” (19). QUESTION: Which, if any, of these seven things is your church struggling with?  Are there other things that you would add to this list? Read more here… Todd
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