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Thom Rainer had a great post this week on why people get fired.  Take heed… one of these could be your downfall (and soon): 1.  Failure to keep current in your field // I quite frankly don’t see this that much in the church world.  Most people are at least interested enough in their ministry area to keep connected and current.  But if you don’t, you’ll get passed (and possibly fired) quickly 2.  Poor relational skills // This on the other hand, I’ve seen quite often.  Many church staffs as a whole don’t communicate well together, and sometimes you’ll have one person that is just really bad at communicating.  Fight the temptation to shut your office door all the time.  Work hard at communication. 3.  Moral failure // If you’re a baker or a garbage truck driver and you cheat on your wife, you probably won’t lose your job.  If you’re a pastor, you most certainly will.  I’m constantly amazed at the number of pastors who not only sacrifice their families but their careers for 20 seconds of pleasure 4.  Failure to carry out assignments // If you don’t get your work done, termination will (and should) be close. 5.  Failure to take initiative // This is touchy and different in every situation.  But as a staff member, you need to take initiative.  I’m not sure that all that many people are fired for not stepping out and doing more… but it’s like we’ve always told our kids:  “Initiative is the highest form of obedience”. 6.  Negative talk // So easy to do in a church setting.  Let’s face it… there’s always something to complain about… and plenty of willing ears to listen.  But that negative talk comes a cost… usually the person you report to.  And it can and may get you fired. 7. Laziness // I’ve seen a few of these in my day as well.  If you’re lazy, you simply need to move on. 8.  Attitude of entitlement // I’ve seen this firsthand as well.  It will cost your your job.  Employers (and the church is no exception) love to reward and give freely.  But when they’re asked or expected, it’s another story.  It will get you fired. 9.  Failure to demonstrate productivity // This goes hand in hand with #7. 10.  Self-centered attitude. // You have to work as a team.  This is especially valuable in church work.  Sometimes I see this and #2 combined in an individual, but not always.  If you’re always thinking about yourself, you may find that you soon have much more time on your hands to think about yourself (and how you’re going to make a living now that you’ve been fired). What areas do you struggle with? And for those of you who’ve had to fire staff recently…  was it because of one of these things, or something differently? I’d love to hear your input… You can read more of Thom’s thoughts here… Todd

Current Events
Some members of an Orlando area mega-church spent their Christmas protesting the possible appointment of a new pastor. Churchgoers at New Destiny Christian Center are concerned over the possibility of Paula White replacing the church’s late pastor, Zachary Tims. Last week, the group passed around petitions and asked board members to resign. They claim the church’s board has ulterior motives. The petitioners said Tims’ ex-wife, Riva Tims, should be the pastor. “The majority of the congregation does not want Paula White. We want our mother back, and our mother is pastor Riva Tims,” Mary Walker said. White began serving as the church’s temporary pastor after Tims was found dead inside a New York City hotel room. New Destiny board members have not not confirmed whether they plan to name White the permanent pastor. White currently serves as the senior pastor at Tampa’s Without Walls International Church. The board’s decision on a permanent replacement for Tims is expected to be announced on New Year’s Eve. via WESH Orlando. Uh… wow.  This would be a fascinating story without Paula White in it.  Add Paula and you’ve got something. By the way… I’m hoping I can get my new Lead Pastor to take a publicity shot like Paula’s. She’s not just here to look cute, you know.            

From the New York Times:   In the back room of a theater on Beale Street, John Renken, 37, a pastor, recently led a group of young men in prayer.  “Father, we thank you for tonight,” he said. “We pray that we will be a representation of you.”  An hour later, a member of his flock who had bowed his head was now unleashing a torrent of blows on an opponent, and Mr. Renken was offering guidance that was not exactly prayerful. “Hard punches!” he shouted from the sidelines of a martial arts event called Cage Assault. “Finish the fight! To the head! To the head!” The young man was a member of a fight team at Xtreme Ministries, a small church near Nashville that doubles as a mixed martial arts academy. Mr. Renken, who founded the church and academy, doubles as the team’s coach. The school’s motto is “Where Feet, Fist and Faith Collide.” Mr. Renken’s ministry is one of a small but growing number of evangelical churches that have embraced mixed martial arts — a sport with a reputation for violence and blood that combines kickboxing, wrestling and other fighting styles — to reach and convert young men, whose church attendance has been persistently low. Mixed martial arts events have drawn millions of television viewers, and one was the top pay-per-view event in 2009. Recruitment efforts at the churches, which are predominantly white, involve fight night television viewing parties and lecture series that use ultimate fighting to explain how Christ fought for what he believed in. Other ministers go further, hosting or participating in live events. The goal, these pastors say, is to inject some machismo into their ministries — and into the image of Jesus — in the hope of making Christianity more appealing. “Compassion and love — we agree with all that stuff, too,” said Brandon Beals, 37, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church outside of Seattle. “But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.” More from the NYT here… What do you think? Todd