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.

texting

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?

Continue reading “Better Think Twice: Be Responsible with the Power of Influence”

Church Life

Open Up Your Hearts: Cultivating the Most Important Relationship for the Health of your Church

Jesus said the World would know which people were HIs followers because of their love for one another. The Apostle Paul called love the greatest of the threesome that would endure beyond time. Scripture declares, “God is love.” Love is truly a vital element of our life in Christ.

We talk so much about how we are to love God. Even in our church I recently preached on God’s desire that we should love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, and also to love Him above all else. Another common thread is the importance of loving one another.

black_man_sad-brickclicks

But I would dare to say that there is a love that is almost completely ignored, and certainly isn’t spoken about. Once a year we get close but never make the full leap. It is one of the reasons churches continue to struggle on for years, watching pastors and people leave in regular rhythm. Adding this love just might save our churches.

Continue reading “Open Up Your Hearts: Cultivating the Most Important Relationship for the Health of your Church”

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.

5420215371_ed5bd6b36b_z

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.

Continue reading “The Spiritual Side of Singing in the Church”

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.

2014-0530

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.

Continue reading “The Practical Side of Singing in the Church”

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.

ballot box

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.”

Continue reading “Tests of Leadership (1): Facing the Pressure”

Ministry

Are You Afraid to be Known as a “Small Church Pastor”?

As pastors we joke about those awkward encounters at annual conventions and conferences where we are asked how our church is doing. If the question comes from someone we know, someone we relate with, it is an easy question. But if it comes from a pastor or leader we are meeting for the first time, it is a way to evaluate the future of your new friendship.

12362734624jf68a5

We could talk with a lot of superlatives about how great our worship times have been, how powerful our prayer services are, and how anointed we have felt in the pulpit. But most of the time the real answer people want to know is better related to the question, “So, how many people are in your church?” If you are like me, you do not want to answer that question. It is a terrible question. The size of a congregation puts thoughts into a person’s head about ability, value and sanity.

Continue reading “Are You Afraid to be Known as a “Small Church Pastor”?”