Life isn’t perfect and rosy. It’d be nice, but it’s alright to be honest. Stuff happens. Sometimes there are a lot of pieces to pick up and put back together, or to scrap in favor of something new.
But fixing troubles isn’t easy, either. It gets worse depending upon the number of people involved in the situation, and how long the trouble has gone on. Eventually someone has to step up and tell the hard truth, to tell it like it is so the group can move on to what is possible.
Continue reading “Six Tips to Remember Before You Speak the Hard Truth”
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.
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”
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.
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”
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.
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”?”
Growth. It is one of the seven indicators that something is alive. We grow physically and we grow spiritually. One of my commitments to myself and the people that I lead is that I will continue to grow personally and professionally.
But how do you do that? Do you read everything you can get your hands on, whether new or used? Yes. Do you travel all over the continent to hear every speaker at every conference? Do you sign up for a Master’s or Doctorate program at a seminary where they have residence requirements, not to mention tuition and other costs? Now we’re talking about time, finance and location factors that a great majority of pastors cannot work within. At least, I can’t.
This summer I was invited to take part in an incredible program from the Willow Creek Association: the Leadership Institute for Transformation (LIFT). If your situation is like mine where you want to grow, are looking for something timely and relevant, but you have limited resources (or even if you have lots of time and finances), LIFT may be just what you need.
Continue reading “My L.I.F.T. Experience”