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Leadership
John Rinaldo has some great thoughts on successful pastors.  And I heartily agree with him. OK… don’t fly off the handle at me for using the word ‘successful’ and ‘pastor’ in the same sentence. Because I know I have a target on my head for saying that. Don’t read too much into it.  And don’t let it ruin your day. To some pastors… to be successful means to ‘preach the word’. Don’t get me wrong… preaching the word is great.  Awesome, actually.  But while preaching the word is one way (and a very important one) to being faithful (and might I say… successful); it is not the only thing that a pastor needs to be doing to make sure that the church is healthy and moving forward. So… if you’re of the ‘preach the word’ only mindset… please read the following with an open mind.  (Please?) keep reading
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Leadership
Do you have a limp from God?  God must often break us deeply to truly use us greatly. Jacob got his name changed at the climax of the pressures he had been living with.  God forced him to face his character issues.  He carried a limp after that, as a reminder of the Lord’s severe mercies.  But he also carried more of the favor of God. God was not only birthing a nation through the man, He was making the man a demonstration of the process He uses to make His servants fruitful. Fruitfulness usually must take place inwardly before God risks doing much with us outwardly. And fruitfulness, among other things, is a product of brokenness. I don’t really trust a man who doesn’t have a limp somewhere. If you haven’t been through some storms, failures, and persecutions, I wonder if anyone really knows what you’re made of?  If there’s not brokenness, there’s very little room for God’s pure power to be understood and demonstrated. I think this is why Paul said, “For this reason I delight in persecutions, trials, afflictions….For when I am weak then I am strong…” 2 Cor 12.  He understood what I call the law of acknowledged weakness. Paul definitely walked with a limp! Somebody once said, “Before God can use a man greatly, He must first break him deeply…” I think it’s true.  Only I would say that we must let God define what being used “greatly” looks like!  If we’re broken by our Lord, we begin to look at things differently and don’t necessarily concur with the world’s definitions of significance and success anymore. Actually, anything God is in is great! The old hymn says, “little is much if God is in it…”  I don’t say this so that we will put limits on God, but so we can be freed from worldly preconceptions that often hinder us really hearing what God is saying.  Let God be God and everyman a liar.  His opinion alone matters. Some of the greatest servants of God in the Bible were overlooked or rejected in their own settings.  For every Elijah who is a public figure (unpopular, nonetheless), there are 7,000 humble servants of God who have not bowed the knee to Baal (Rom 11:1-6). God is pleased to keep most of us in obscurity.  After all, though God went public in His Son, the Father hath no man seen.  He’s happy to be hidden. But obscurity will one day be reversed. God in his wisdom keeps many of His choicest servants hidden…until the last day.  That’s when the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

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One year ago today, January 2, 2012, I made some ‘mostly fun’ predictions for the church and ministry world for 2012.  Let’s see how I did: Ted Haggard. Ted Haggard will again get headlines for something we wish he wouldn’t.  (And his upcoming appearance on Wife Swap doesn’t even count).  I predict that Ted will say or do something this year that will make us all want to hide under a rock. Ted was pretty quiet in 2013.  Looks like it’s me hiding under a rock. Pat Robertson. Speaking of rocks, and our desire to stone someone, Pat Robertson will sometime this year, say something that will embarrass every Christian in this country.  It could be racial, it could be silly, but it most probably will be something that will again show the world that he should have given his broadcast chair to his son a few years ago. What I lacked in my Ted Haggard prediction, I made up for in Pat Robertson’s.  Just do a search here on Pat and you’ll see what I mean. Perry Noble. I predict that Perry will get ‘really pumped’ about SOMETHING this year. I think even the most liberal judge would say I won this one.  🙂 Steven Furtick. Steven will really freak out if, in fact, the sun really does stand still for a day. Didn’t happen… thank goodness. Megachurch Merger. Look for a megachurch merger sometime this year.  A couple of really big churches making really big impacts will decide that they can make an even more colossal impact if they join forces. Not like I thought it would.  But watch out… it’s coming. Other Church Mergers. While mergers have been happening for years, I think 2012 will see the speed up of the number of mergers happening in churches of all sizes.  Most of these will be healthy churches that will be taking over struggling churches.  Many churches that have considerable financial resources but are quickly dying will be looking for alternatives, and partnering with a local healthy church that will come in and carry on the legacy will look very appealing. New Birth / Eddie Long. More hard times for some large churches though.  I predict that Eddie Long will no longer be the pastor at New Birth by the end of 2012.  The latest divorce and marriage breakup will be the last straw as that ministry fights to survive with or without Long. The Bishop did have a rough year… really rough.  But, he’s still the head at New Birth.  So I blew this one. The Crystal Cathedral/Schuller Family. I predict that the Schuller family will call it quits when they leave the Crystal Cathedral.  I believe they have a year and a half before they have to vacate the premises to their new Catholic owners.  After looking at the spreadsheet and the number of people still left at that time, I think they’ll cut their losses and call it a good run. SUCCESS:  Though I didn’t quite get it totally right, the Schuller family (with the exception of the grandson) are all gone from the Crystal Cathedral.  Of course, I didn’t predict the $5 million lawsuit, or the new (just this week) article from the National Enquirer that said that the senior Schullers may now be mostly destitute and lose their home. Christian Lady Gaga. As the Christian community normally does, we’ll have some great rip-offs this year… probably to include a Christian Lady Gaga, a new Christian social media twitter rip-off or something like that. SUCCESS:  I guess, kinda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4haIvqBzYM The church around the world will flourish. I think 2012 will be a great year for the church around the world.  It will be mixed here in the US… with real pockets of health developing among younger congregations.  But there will be no shortage of conflict and dying churches to contend with as well. Success on the conflict and dying churches prediction, but that was a given.  According to this article, I got it mostly right. A sad day. Unfortunately… with many big-name Christian leaders aging, we’ll say good-bye to a good number of high-profile leaders this year… either through retirement or death. Not really a tough prediction either.  Some notable deaths:  Chuck Colson and evangelist R. W. Schambach.   Social Media. Some changes coming to social media as we know it.  There will be a new face introduced this year that will give Twitter and Facebook a run for their money.  It will be highly customizable and unique, and will help all of us cut through the clutter that we’re all now experiencing in our social media.  And, no… it will not be Google+. OK… missed this one.  But I might keep this on my list for 2013. Mobile Devices. Phones will continue to get much faster, and do newer and cooler things.  Some great advances for the church will be the new app that automatically silences your phone ringer and disables Angry Birds as you enter the sanctuary. There are now GPS enabled apps that do this… so technically, I got it right.  I still think someone needs to package a ‘church cell phone silencer’ app that shuts down the cell phone ringer when you enter the church (via gps).  Sell it for $.99 to individuals (who don’t want to get embarrassed when their phone rings during the service, or license it to churches for $100k (after all, they want the cell phones to stop ringing during the invitation). Gospel Coalitions. There will be a lot of strife in the Gospel Coalition this year, as they find out exactly how many things they actually disagree on.  The strife will, as in most cases, come from criticism from the outside… from people that don’t like anything, that will attack until something gives. Boy.  Pegged this.  James MacDonald resigned from the Gospel Coalition in January after a flurry or criticism about the Elephant Room 2 invitation to T. D. Jakes.  Later Mark Driscoll steps down as the council as well. Tim Tebow. Super Bowl ring.  If not, it blows the whole “God” theory thing. What?  No Super Bowl ring?  What was God thinking? Humility check time. Denominations. It’s only a matter of time before a mainline denomination falls on hard financial times.  Look for new stories telling about a major denomination’s future in question because of finances. Yep.  Here and here. Southern Baptists. Southern Baptists will probably NOT change their name (even though I’ve actively campaigned that they now be called “Stetzers”).  And if they do change their name… expect about 20 – 30% of current SBC churches to defect and start a new denomination called “Southern Baptists”. They wimped out and decided to opt for a new ‘optional’ name.  That saved the coop I predicted.  I’m defiant enough to go with my first inclination and just call them Stetzers or Stetzerites anyway. Doomsday. You do know that the world is going to end in 2012. Man… Blew that one… I was sure it was the end of the world.  Oh well… another year to blog! What are YOUR predictions for 2013?
Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube
   
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Leadership
People often ask me how I became successful in that six-year period of time while many of the people I knew did not. The answer is simple: The things I found to be easy to do, they found to be easy not to do. I found it easy to set the goals that could change my life. They found it easy not to do. I found it easy to read the books that could affect my thinking and my ideas. They found that easy not to do. I found it easy to attend the classes and the seminars, and to get around other successful people. They said it probably really wouldn’t matter. If I had to sum it up, I would say what I found to be easy to do, they found to be easy not to do. via Success Is Easy, But So Is Neglect by Jim Rohn Agree or disagree with Jim on this one? Todd
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Controversy
What if I told you that you could attract visitors… almost effortlessly? Have the financial resources to pay down your debt and build a surplus in your church budget? Reach your community in meaningful ways? Develop new leaders who are ‘delighted’ to take on key responsibilities, thus giving you more time? Take care of church conflicts, almost effortlessly? Renew your energy, your passion, and feel more satisfied as a pastor? Well you can.  For four easy payments of $47.50.  With the Church Leader Success System. I admit.  I’m skeptical. But wait.  There’s more. I can set a vision that reaches people… even people who aren’t already in my church. I can find my own unique strengths and use them to grow the church. I can influence people so that they’ll be on my side. Sound too good to be true? I’ll also get 24/7 email support for… not a month… not six months… a full year! “Similar programs charge over $500.” “But you don’t have to pay $500, or even $200.” Thankfully, there are ‘no free bonus gimmicks to persuade me to buy’. And, if I do it today, I can get special charter-member pricing. But that’s not a gimmick… really. Crap.  There’s no overnight shipping.  I’m out.

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Leadership
Pastor Mark Beeson writes:  Maybe past successes challenge future success, but isn’t it also true that past successes give you a foundation of experience and skills often demanded by future success?  Isn’t it also true that past success often positions you for future success? And isn’t it true past victories often inform future strategies? Read that again. There’s a lot in there. What’s your take.  Have any past successes you’ve had in ministry helped spur you on to more future success, or actually caused you to retreat in a way that future success weren’t possible? You can read more thoughts from Mark here… Share your stories, if you would… Todd
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