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Leadership, Leadership, Start Here
Let these words of Paul Tripp penetrate your heart and speak to you today:
Ministry had become my identity. I didn’t think of myself as a child of God, in daily need of grace, in the middle of my own sanctification, still in a battle with sin, still in need of the body of Christ, and called to pastoral ministry. No, I thought of myself as a pastor. That’s it, bottom line. The office of pastor was more than a calling and a set of God-given gifts that had been recognized by the body of Christ. “Pastor” defined me. It was me in a way that proved to be more dangerous than I would have thought. No one celebrates the presence and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ more than the person who has embraced his desperate and daily need of it. But in ways I now find embarrassing, ministry told me that I was not like everyone else, that I existed in a unique category. And if I was not like everyone else, then I didn’t need what everyone else needs. At home it was all too easy to mete out judgment without grace. I had let my ministry become something that it should never be (my identity), and I looked to it to give me what it never could (my inner sense of well-being).
More here…
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Staffing, Staffing, Start Here
How do you stay effective in one church for a very long time?  To be honest, not many people know!  So we’ll ask someone who’s ‘been there, done that’!  David Yearick writes of his 39 year journey as a pastor in one church over at Christianity.com.  Here are some of his suggestions for long-term impact for a long-term pastorate… 1.  Preach the Word — A large congregation can be built with little attention given to the Word of God, but the Bible must be primary in order to build a solid fundamental church. While some pastors have more sermon ideas than they can ever develop into messages, that was not the case for me. I believe the Lord performed three miracles for me every week, for He never left me without something to give to my people. I am living proof that a pastor does not need to be a great preacher to be effective. 2.  Keep finances under control — Paul, speaking of the handling of money given by the churches of Macedonia, says in II Corinthians 8:20–21, “Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance [the offering] which is administered by us: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” Many a pastor has had his ministry in a church cut short because of improper handling of funds. The cause could be a lack of accountability, misappropriation, overspending, or outright thievery. Large building campaign debts are among the main reasons that pastors willingly or unwillingly leave churches.  It is imperative to have a budget and to follow it. 3.  Watch your relationships — Most men who leave the ministry do not leave for doctrinal reasons but because of moral failure. Well-meaning pastors often develop inappropriate relationships with women within the context of ministry. Often this downfall comes about through counseling sessions. Counseling without getting emotionally involved is difficult, and runaway emotions often lead to immoral entanglements. Paul tells us about proper relationships that pastors should have with ladies in their congregations: “The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity” (I Timothy 5:2). 4.  Develop a sense of humor — Do not take yourself too seriously. I am not suggesting that you be frivolous, but that you see humor in situations which otherwise could be tense or embarrassing. Learn to laugh at yourself. You are human; let your humanity show through. If you take everything seriously, you will become a person of sour disposition; and no one, including your wife, will want to be around you. There are plenty of things to be serious about — but do not be afraid to let up a little on things that are not. You must laugh a lot in order to survive. 5.  Be grateful for the opportunity — One danger of a long same-church ministry is that the pastor may come to the point where he almost thinks he owns the church rather than seeing his tenure as a gracious opportunity offered him by the Lord and the people of the congregation. Just as love can cover a multitude of sins, so can gratitude — for it is an outpouring of love. Where there is genuine love of a pastor for his Lord and his people, there will be an attitude of gratitude and rejoicing. 6.  Know when you have been there long enough —  When your health or your effectiveness begins to wane, it may be time to leave that ministry. Sadly, some pastors cling to their pulpits too long. Perhaps they are comfortable and well taken care of and too old to become senior pastor at another church.  Perhaps it is difficult to consider leaving. You can kill a church by hanging on. It is better to leave when the congregation wants you to stay than it is to stay when they wish you would leave. Any other ‘long-termers’ out there?  What would you add to his list? todd Read more from David here…
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Leadership
We’d all be kidding each other if we didn’t admit that in the service to our King we sometimes get a little full of ourselves. Every great leader struggles with ego at least once in a while. Here’s a great experiment you can try with your team.  It’s from Ken Blanchard and Scott Blanchard.  It’s written more for a corporate structure, but I think it could work in a church staff setting as well: keep reading
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Leadership
Has the church ever become your mistress?  Here are some great and pretty heady questions to ask yourself as you start your week…
  • Do you need to confess your affair with church/work to God and to your wife?
  • What kind of idolatry has been motivating your church/work affair?
  • How can you embrace the good news of repentance to true change?
  • Is there someone in your life that can regularly exhort you to put the mistress away and remind you that Christ is your identity?
via When Church is a Mistress | The Resurgence. How’d you do? Todd
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Leadership
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 Read the other five ways here at Clayton’s Blog… What other ways would you add to the list? Have you been guilty of any of the ten during your career?
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Leadership
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.  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? You can read more here… Todd [box type=”info”]Has there been a time in your ministry that you felt ’embattled’? How did you win the battle and move on?[/box]
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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 are some more differences… 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?
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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. via Pastor: ‘Wimpy’ won’t cut it in culture war. Thoughts? Todd
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Unsettling.  Ugly. 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. via True BGBC Survivors | Surviving Four Years of Hate, Reviling Accusations, and Criminal Slander. How horrible. 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. Thoughts? Todd
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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:

  1) Your Leadership Circle

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.

2) Those on the Inside

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?

3) Those on the Outside

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? Read more of Artie’s thoughts here… Who are YOU listening to? And who do you NOT listen to? How do YOU deal with feedback and criticism? Todd
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