Ministry

Better Think Twice: Be Responsible with the Power of Influence

Every pastor and teacher wants to be able to get through to their audience. A lot of work goes into preparation and presentation. To present a message and declare it to be the word of God for a specific people at a specific time and in a specific situation takes confidence in hearing from God and putting all of the pieces together in just the right way.

Some pastors have it easy. The congregation hangs on their every word and their people pledge ever to walk the path their leader shines before them. I don’t know if that is normal, but it doesn’t seem to be. Instead pastors agonize over the message, hoping to reach someone with the power of the Word of God for their lives.

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What a great day when the connection finally clicks. Not a cultish type of following, but a simple desire to hear the direction of God through His anointed messenger. You finally have their attention. They truly desire to learn from you and follow your example.

Having earned such a place in their lives there is something we pastors have to keep in mind. We have reached a position of influence. How careful are we to protect that influence as we control what we put in front of those who are looking to us to lead?

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Christian Living, Church Life, Ministry

Calling Off “The Preacher Hunt”

You have probably found yourself in one of those conversations. The internet is all abuzz because someone figured out that a certain preacher is mixing his theologies. He said something questionable. It’s time to burn all of his books and denounce any pastor or church that has them in its library.

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Maybe you know those kind of people. They scour the internet for everything they can find to discredit a well-known preacher of the Gospel with a mega-church and book deals. To have that many people in their church, so many followers on Facebook or Twitter, they must be watering down the Gospel. “Let’s expose them and tear down their empires,” is the war cry of these people.

I’m hesitant to call them Christians. Sure, they sound like they are sold-out, radical, gung-ho for God and the purity of His Church. But if they were to take some time and read their Scriptures instead of countless articles on the internet, they might be surprised how unbiblical and unChristian they are acting. They are hunting preachers instead of sharing Christ.

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Christian Living, Ministry

The Spiritual Side of Singing in the Church

In a previous post I began writing a response to a popular article floating around the internet. In one of the weekly e-newsletters I received today, another article just posted as another chain in the dialogue this topic has created. Though many churches maintain a high caliber of musician and vocalist for the churches, there continues to be a percentage of our congregations that are not participating in this very biblical portion of our services.

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The first post talked about some practical ways to create an environment that invites as many as are willing to join in worship. That is just one side of the coin when it comes to this concern. Quite often, this is the only side that is addressed in these internet articles. Change the key; stop singing “girly” love songs; make church “manly” again. Some of those ideas are great ideas. But addressing the practical issues of singing in our churches is only half the battle.

Worship is a spiritual act, after all. While it involves physical rules like musical scales, keys and chords, it is a spiritual offering from a spiritual individual to the only true God. Therefore we have to examine whether there are any spiritual reasons for the lack of participation in worship.

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Christian Living, Ministry

The Practical Side of Singing in the Church

This week I was asked to comment on an article that has found its way around the internet again. The article itself is a few years old, but like all hot-button topics on the web, it comes and goes in cycles. Having seen it pop up again recently on Facebook, it was already on my radar. It is one of many that question some of the practices and mindsets regarding contemporary worship in our churches, and seeking to explain why many aren’t joining in congregational singing.

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Normally I stay away from discussions like this. I don’t jump in and make a lot of noise where others are already having too much fun doing it. But I don’t see anyone making the same observations I am. As a pastor and worship leader my perspective is different from the pew.

Not that the writer of the article is out to harm anyone. On the contrary, I have seen and listened to him teach in person. He genuinely wants to help Christians, specifically men, find and assume their Scriptural place as part of the Body of Christ. Still, there is always more to any situation than just one of us can see. So I’d like to offer some “real” reasons people are not joining in when the music starts at church.

To help us out I’d like to break these reasons into two categories. We will look at one in this post, and the other in a follow-up.

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Ministry

Tests of Leadership (2): When the People Push

Leadership isn’t easy. Somehow our minds have latched on to the idea that to be the leader is to oversee, kick back, and watch as everything falls into place. When the Word of God is clear, people will follow. If troubles arise, people will trust. And the leader gets to enjoy what is accomplished.

This is nothing like real leadership. Real leadership understands that difficulties will come. Enemies will need to be fought off. Obstacles will have to be crossed. Struggles will affect the lives of individuals and of the whole. The leader has to remain steadfast through the difficulties as he/she points to the unchangeable Word.

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It is important for the leader to keep his/her eye on that Word at all times, because there will be days when that Word will be challenged. When his gaze is focused the leader will be able to stand against those voices. When his gaze wanders, so will his resolve. And doing the right thing will fall to the will of the masses.

One of the most difficult situations a leader will face does not come from a competitor or oversight committee. It isn’t overt until it builds enough steam to try and roll you over. It is the push from the people called to follow the leader. Because of difficulty or unbelief or insubordination, the followers gather together to push the leader in their direction.

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Ministry

Tests of Leadership (1): Facing the Pressure

There are no easy days for leaders. While some are easier than others, a leader that truly seeks to understand and undertake his/her role will always find and face pressures. No matter how easy a leader makes his job appear, he knows that to let down his guard could end in disaster.

It could come at any time, from any source. Your right-hand man may be your most proven and trustworthy companion and colleague. The presence of God may be thick around you and His miracles fresh in your memory. A good leader stays on his toes, prepared mentally for what might happen, even if it doesn’t.

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Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating leadership paranoia or strong-arming control of everyone and everything around you. It is a realistic mindset that honestly reminds oneself, “I am not in control, but I will face what comes, as it comes, ready to do the right thing.”

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