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From The Plano Star: “Where you start is not nearly as important as where you finish.” Those were the words of one of Plano’s most famous residents, Zig Ziglar, the world-renowned motivational speaker who died Wednesday at the age of 86 after a short bout with pneumonia. Ziglar was living proof that his advice about starting and finishing was true. While he died in Texas, Ziglar had a difficult childhood growing up in Alabama, where he was born in 1926. He suffered the loss of his father when he was only 5 years old and was forced to get his first job selling peanuts at the age of 6. This early work was tough, but taught him about people and life, he said. “I learned a lot about people who had so much less than I had,” Ziglar said in a 2010 interview. “And I resonated with them, and they resonated with me.” Ziglar began his motivational speaking career in the 1970s, with much of his advice based on his Christian faith. It was those beliefs that eventually led him to Prestonwood Baptist Church. “He was a man that influenced so many,” said Jack Graham, Prestonwood pastor. “Zig was a member of this church for over 20 years. I had the privilege of being his pastor and his friend. Zig was the real deal.” Of all the “zigisms” that Ziglar was known for, Graham said there was one that particularly stood out to him. That quote, “you can get everything you want in life as long as you are willing to help others get what they want in life,” perfectly summed up Ziglar’s message, Graham said. While he was known for being a motivational speaker with a great personality, Graham said what you saw from Ziglar on stage was not an act. The man that millions of people around the world saw was the same one that Ziglar’s friends and family saw, Graham said, adding that Ziglar was a dispenser of hope and love. “He was a minister of encouragement and gave a message in a way that connected with people,” Graham said. “He had the knack and ability to give truth in a practical way, as well as in a way so that people understood it. He helped so many people. He was in many ways like a pastor.” When he was not on the road, Ziglar taught the “Encouragement” Sunday school class at Prestonwood for 18 years. At one time the class was the largest class at the church because people wanted to hear what Ziglar had to say, Graham said. “No matter where he was in the world, he always made every effort to get back and teach that class on Sunday,” Graham said. “[After class] he would always say, ‘it is time to go to big church,’ and he would bring everyone in so I could preach to them. Zig and [his wife] Jean, who he affectionately called the ‘redhead,’ were always on the front row. Imagine that, being a preacher and preaching to Zig Ziglar — the ultimate communicator.” // Read more here…
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Christine Hoover is a pastor’s wife.  Recently, she was asked if she liked being a pastor’s wife.  Here’s how she answered: I want you to know that, in some ways, being a pastor’s wife is no different than being a doctor’s wife or a teacher’s wife. There are sacrifices that must be made and challenges that accompany every job. Just like you, I love my kids, I like spending time with my husband, I feel lonely and overwhelmed sometimes, I need encouragement, I doubt myself, I try my best, I want to enjoy God and know His pleasure, I struggle, I desire relationships with other women, and I don’t always know the answers. I want you to know that I need and desire everything that you do. I want you to understand, though, the unique joys and challenges that accompany being a pastor’s wife. There are expectations on me simply because of my husband’s job, many of which I don’t have a choice about, whether it’s attending certain events, hosting parties, or being open and available to women. I want you to understand this, not because I believe I am to be pitied or that this is an obligatory role, but because I value and appreciate your grace when I say no or am not available to you. I want you to know that I am equally as passionate about the church as my husband and equally as called into ministry. My husband’s role looks vastly different than mine, and I am not as “out front” as him, but I am just as involved, concerned, and vital to the ministry God has given us. I want you to know this, not because I’m looking for your validation or appreciation, but just so that you are aware that your critical asides about the church or decisions my husband has made feel personal to me.
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Director/Pastor of Children’s Ministry Peoria, AZ

We are looking for a Pastor/Director of Children’s Ministry that can: Articulate a vision for dynamic, life-changing ministry to children; Evaluate the effectiveness of programs and volunteer staff; Oversee the children’s ministry from birth through 6th grade; Administrate the budget for the children’s ministry; Implement a strategy for recruitment and training of volunteers to minister to children; Consult closely with pastoral staff to coordinate the vision  and programsof the children’s ministry with the mission of Horizons Community Church; Research and provide the resources and materials to be used in the children’s ministry; Develop a strategy to communicate consistently with parents the vision of the children’s ministry and provide resources to support and encourage parents in their God-given mission to disciple their children; Provide supervision and encouragement to part-time paid staff in  the children’s ministry.  You can send your resumes to tonybrittin@yahoo.com. Does YOUR church have a job opening?  I’ll post it here for free to help you spread the word! Todd
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Leadership
Mars Hill has a tremendous problem. They’ve seen phenominal growth in numbers… in fact they’ve grown 50% in the past year (over 5,000 people). That includes a 12% increase in attendance SINCE LAST WEEK. SINCE LAST WEEK. Church-wide… they are at 82% capacity during 36 weekend services at 14 different locations. Jesus has definitely stepped on the gas. Add to that, 551 small groups (with 60 new groups added this month). Whether you’re a fan of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill or not… something big is happening there. And the stress and pressure from a pure administrative side must be extremely difficult. How about today, instead of criticism and uttering things that make us sound like jealous idiots, we actually take time to thank God for what he is doing at Mars Hill and other churches across the country. The big churches, the tiny churches. The churches with imperfect leaders and flawed followers. The churches that are growing gangbusters and those that are fighting for existence. For your church; and mine. For yourself as a leader; and the guy down the street also entrusted with God’s children. Let’s pray for those for whom God has ‘stepped on the gas’.  And if we’re on empty, let’s pray that God would fill us and that we’ll be ready when and IF he decides to gun it a little. Just a few thoughts today… You can read more here…
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Trends
I was reading a press release for a new book this morning.  It was pretty sensationalistic.  I have no idea if the book is good or not, but here are the statistics that they gave, giving George Barna full credit for this research.  Here’s what the press release said: In case you hadn’t noticed, the church is in serious trouble. Consider the following facts: Church attendance is declining at the rate of 13% per year. In 2005 the number of Americans who identified themselves as Protestant dropped below 50% for the first time. At the current rate, a majority of Americans will identify themselves as non-Christian by 2035. By 2050 Islam will overtake Christianity as the world’s largest religion. The fastest growing church in America is Wicca. Although small, their numbers are doubling every 30 months. Nearly four out of ten non-churchgoing Americans avoid church because of negative experiences with church people. Average church giving is only four percent of income. Ninety-five percent of Christians have never led anyone to the Lord. Sixty-three percent of pastors have not led anyone to the Lord in the past two years. Forty-nine percent of pastors spend no time ministering outside the church during the week. Christians have the same divorce rate, the same obsession with pornography, and many of the same values as the rest of society – so much so that they cannot easily be distinguished from non-Christians. OK… let me vent a little. I’m really tired of hearing people share statistics like this thinking it will motivate anyone anymore. James Dobson pulled this in the post I did yesterday. Is everything rosy?  Does the church and the world smell like fresh cut flowers?  No. Not at all. But starting a sermon or selling a book these days based on horrible-sounding statistics is going to have an audience, but not the audience you’re hoping for.  It will reach a generation of older leaders who are frustrated… frustrated because they’ve been in ministry for years, and watched things get worse, not better, in their mind. I was talking with an older gentleman earlier this week, and he was sharing exactly this sentiment.  We need a Jonathan Edwards and revival (which is cool with me) because we’re goin’ down and we’re goin’ down fast.  In James Dobson’s word, we’ll get what we deserve. I so much wanted to ask the gentleman what he experienced in the 60s and 70s.  I wanted to ask him if he’s read any old (or new) testament passages that told how evil man was… years ago.  They did things then that make Darfur look like a picnic. To be honest, I see a lot of great things happening in the church today.  In many places, churches are really starting to be the CHURCH… reaching communities, making disciples, and creating converts. I see a ton of young leaders passionate about Jesus; holding strongly to the Word; and giving their lives to make a difference. Is it perfect?  Is the world getting dramatically better?  Is the church living up to it’s full potential?  Absolutely not.  But we have a lot of younger generation men and women that are giving their life for the cause and are making a difference; just like a generation ago.  I just wish some in that generation would see it. So rather than painting a picture of the church that makes us all want to go back to bed and go sell insurance, let’s look on the positive things that are happening; not sticking our heads in the sand at what all’s happening; but not looking the other way when Jesus is taking stuff back either. I pray as I age that I’m encouraged about the church and don’t start cocooning as I see some older than me doing. Todd (OK… let me have it).  🙂
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