Has the church ever become your mistress? Â Here are some great and pretty heady questions to ask yourself as you start your week…
How’d you do?
Clayton King writes: I’ve been asking myself lately what failure would look like for me. Not mistakes. Not mess-ups. I’m talking about utter, unquestionable failure. Because if I don’t actually know what failure would be for me, then it will be most difficult to avoid it. Here are 10 ways to fail.
1. Build a great ministry while destroying a great marriage
2. Compromise my convictions in a moment of fatigue or weakness, and lose my family, my reputation, and my anointing
3. See thousands of strangers believe the gospel when I preach yet watch my own children reject the gospel when they grow up
4. Preach on being spiritually healthy and vibrant while neglecting my own health for the sake of the ministry
5. Be super-productive in my daily work while never working on my own personal relationship with Jesus
What other ways would you add to the list? Have you been guilty of any of the ten during your career?
What’s the difference between an ‘embattled’ leader and a ‘challenged’ leader in the church?
Margaret Marcusun tries to answer this question in a post over at ChurchCentral.com.
Here’s part of Margaret’s assessment:
What is the difference between a church leader who is embattled, and one who is challenged? From one perspective, nothing is different. Circumstances may look exactly the same: A big budget deficit. Members up in arms. A media frenzy. A staff crisis. And yet. And yet….you can see the difference in the leader’s eyes. Embattled leaders are frantic. They turn from one possible solution to the next one, unable to make a choice. Or they withdraw, hiding away like the captain of the Titanic or Ken Lay of Enron.
Leaders who are challenged look different. They stand on two feet. They are ready for anything that comes their way. They take responsibility. Harry Truman is the archetypal example of a challenged leader, with his well-known desk sign, The Buck Stops Here.
Leaders who are embattled can’t think clearly, seeing only negative options. By contrast, those who are challenged think:
What information is important, and what should I ignore?
Whom should I pay attention to and whom should I ignore?
What decisions need to be made now, and how can I think clearly about hem?
So… a challenged leader can think straight; and an embattled leader loses the ability to cope and think rationally.
I can buy that.
But that’s a fine line.
Many pastors don’t have a sounding board, friend, or service that will allow them to get out from under all the stress, bounce off ideas and scenarios, and help them to think straight. Â That’s a problem.
I think there are a lot of embattled pastors because they have no confidants.
A person you can confide in will help even the faintest of heart work through a situation.
What do you think?
A Colorado pastor is causing a national stir equating homosexuals to cannibals, child molesters, rapists, and murderers. Pastor David Beuhner of Christ the King Church is calling for discrimination against the gay community as state lawmakers revisit marriage equality this month:
I really like the post that Michael Lukaszewski posted yesterday. He talks about how pastors always think that the people in their churches are just like them.
The reality is… they’re not.
Here are some of Michael’s examples:
They don’t know who John Piper or Steven Furtick are. They are confused when you quote them without context.
They aren’t familiar with their Bibles. When you say, “You know…like it says in First Timothy,” they absolutely don’t know.
They don’t work in a Christian environment. They aren’t surrounded by Christians who love worship music and some have bosses who are jerks.
They don’t go to conferences. It’s a way of life for many church leaders, but the most people don’t do it.
They don’t go to church every week. This might be the biggest of all. You’re there every week; they are not.
Here some additional ones that I’d add:
1. They don’t have a clue what you do all week, and they probably think you make too much money.
2. They expect totally different things from you than the way you are spending your day today.
3. For 90% of your attenders, the next time they think about you or your church is the next Sunday morning or Saturday night… and the thought is “Am I going to get up and go to church?”
4. They think you’ve got a pretty easy job. You think you have the hardest job in the world.
What would YOU add to the list?
A respected Southern Baptist pastor and author says “wimpy” pastors and laypersons are the reason Christians are losing the culture war.
Why are many Christian leaders silent when religious freedom comes under attack? That question was raised Tuesday evening by Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly and posed to Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas and author of How Can I Know: Answers to Life’s 7 Most Important Questions.
“I think one reason is a lot of Christian leaders have the wrong idea about Jesus,” Jeffress replied when asked the question. “They see Jesus as this little, wimpy guy who walked around plucking daisies and eating birdseed and saying nice things, but never doing anything controversial. The fact is, Jesus did confront his culture with truth — and he ended up being crucified because of it.”
The Dallas pastor chastised pastors who shy away from controversy.
“Wimpy pastors produce wimpy Christians — and that is why we are losing this culture war,” he emphasized.
“I believe it’s time for pastors to say, You know, I don’t care about controversy, I don’t care whether I’m going to lose church members, I don’t care about building a big church. I’m going to stand for truth regardless of what happens.”
Jeffress — who also reprimanded school districts and elected officials for caving in — contends secularists are going to take over if pastors and Christians continue to refuse to stand up and wage the necessary battle to secure their constitutional rights.
According to the pastor:
The PURPOSE of this website and the videos on it is to protect Beaverton Grace Bible Church and our families from ongoing slander and criminal accusations of the worst kind. Meaghan Varela has lied to her family, friends, pastors, the police, the Department of Human Services (Child Protection), the court, and the world. Julie Anne Smith has joined her in her lies and heralded them forth to the world on her blog (BGBC Survivors) dedicated to the destruction of our church and families. Exodus 20:16 says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Meaghan Varela and Julie Anne Smith have given “false witness” against our church and families for four years. The statements and videos on this website tell our story of suffering and surviving their assault. We are the TRUE BGBC SURVIVORS.
But… what would you do?
What would you do if you were accused (wrongfully) of child abuse… if your church was accused of horrible things?
I have no idea whether or not any of these abuses actually happened.
What I do know is that, regardless, this is a horrible public glimpse into a church conflict.
Artie Davis reminds us that feedback is critical for those of us in leadership. As church leaders, we can’t just go it on our own. If we’re wise, we will value the leadership of three groups of people:
These are the ones closest to you. You lead and work with them on a daily and weekly basis. They know your habits and what you expect, and how you react in certain situations.
Those inside your church also have a unique perception of you. They are generally positive, but what about those on the fringe? How will you pull them in to the vision if they don’t really care for you as an individual?
How do the people outside your church see you? Are you committed to the community, are you seen as humble and caring, arrogant and prideful?
Who are YOU listening to?
And who do you NOT listen to?
How do YOU deal with feedback and criticism?
Interesting… Here are the top ten posts from the website for the month of November. It’s a good insight into what most pastors and church leaders find interesting:
Dan Reiland writes:
Money follows vision. That’s true, but oh, if it were only that simple. There is so much more to it! There are many churches where there is vision, and yet the financial resources do not show up let alone keep up. So what separates the vision in a leader’s heart, from a vision that gets traction and takes off, and one that never seems to travel far from the lips of the leader?
First, I think the primary leader, (the senior pastor), the key staff and church board members must have a deep and abiding sense of confidence in the vision. It’s not as if they don’t need God, in fact it’s just the opposite. They know God is with them. Further, it’s not as if God is obligated to grant them favor, but there is such an authentic dependence upon God that He blesses that humble confidence. Second, the vision is clear. People get it. The congregation believes it and buys in. They see how they can participate and they want to!
These churches aren’t perfect and they are not all big churches, but they have a sense of where they are going and they dig in and go for it. They risk and strive for progress.
They teach stewardship as an issue of spiritual maturity not just money.
I believe that you need to start with the idea that you have enough. I know that might seem like “pie in the sky” if your actual income is lower than your projected expenses. This always causes stress and pressure. But, I’ll say it again, you need to view what you have as enough, because that is what you have! You may be required to make major adjustments, but we all do in different seasons. When you believe “I don’t have enough,” you begin to shortchange your vision and what God can do. I will admit, things can get tough, but you have enough. Let’s start there.
How you view the above thought and how you lead in organizational finances reflects your personal theology. (And in part your faith.) The resources of your church are entrusted to you in order to maximize kingdom return. You are a steward of God’s money. You have a responsibility to maximize the return…
Giving church resources outside the church is strong.
This is highly encouraging because any church can do it! Simply put — Give yourselves away. This is not about how much money you have, it’s about your heart and values. God honors even the most modest of giving into your community, and I think He is pleased with generous giving. I’m simply talking about setting aside monies for compassion projects, justice issues, mercy endeavors, etc. The idea is to give to those in need, especially those who may never be able to come to your church, or do anything for you in return. Of course we all want to share the gospel whenever possible, and it’s wonderful if they can come to your church, but your motivation, in this case, is to help those in need, not to grow your church. God has a way of honoring that kind of heart and investment.
The Leadership replaces fear with hope.
In the bleakest and most difficult of times, there is hope. As a leader it’s important that you genuinely believe that. If you do not, you will never lift your people to a greater place.
We know this is true when it comes to sin and salvation. Grace is our great hope. There is no sin that grace cannot conquer! By our faith in Jesus, His blood covers our transgression. Grace can deliver you from the darkest place to light (I John 4:5-7) and freedom in Christ.
// Read more here: Challenging Economic Times
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