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Joe McKeever: The Abrasive Christian Shouldn’t Teach God’s Word

This week, in Lynne Olson’s Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941, I found this interesting depiction of Harold Ickes, a member of FDR’s cabinet during the Second World War:

“According to T. H. Watkins, Ickes’ biographer, ‘a world without something in it to make him angry would have been incomprehensible to him.’ A disgruntled Republican senator who had been the target of one of Ickes’ verbal assaults called him ‘a common scold puffed up by high office.’ To one cabinet colleague, Ickes was ‘Washington’s tough guy.’ To another, he was the ‘president’s attack dog.’” read more

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5 Items for a New Pastor’s ‘To Do’ List

Have you ever noticed how ideas seem to flow when you don’t need them? Throughout the year, you might have a dozen great ideas for a weekend getaway; but when a weekend is finally available for a trip, you can’t think of anything to do. Or maybe you’ve had a million “when I get around to it” moments only to find that on a rare day off, you can’t remember any of them!

Being a pastor is much the same way. For years you may have thought, “If I was a pastor, the first thing I would do is …” And then, when that moment finally comes—a church calls you to pastor—you can’t figure out where to start. Being chosen to pastor a church is a great honor. Much like the first moment holding your newborn, you are overcome with one thought: “I want to do this right!” read more

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Dan Reiland: Big Ministry in Small Churches, Part 2

Lakeside Wesleyan Church, in Lakeside, Calif., was the first church I served as a staff member. It was a small church, and I learned much!

Rich Lauby was the pastor then, and the church accomplished significant life-changing ministry. For more on that story, see the previous article in this series (Part 1), which includes “6 Words for Small Churches.”

The first church I “officially” consulted was a small church in Ruston, La. Ever been there? The pastor’s name was Mark, and we hit it off immediately. read more

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Leadership, Race and Evangelism in the 21st Century

 

Kyle Searcy, pastor of Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery, Ala., has a passion for developing a new generation of leaders in the church. He is a recognized and highly respected pastor, author and leader of a growing media ministry.

Searcy's multiracial, multigenerational and international congregation is launching a new campus in Norcross, Ga., just outside Atlanta. But if that isn’t enough, he also leads a network of 10 churches in the United States and more than 230 in Africa, including countries like Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana. read more

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How to Guard Your Flock, Even From Other Christians

This is the fourth blog post in a series (intro, Part 1, Part 2) regarding pastors developing healthy boundaries in their ministries. I’m sharing four key points in the process, thinking of them as four fence posts around a healthy ministry.

I have already shared the first two “posts”: Recognize your role in the church, and pursue personal emotional health.

The next may be the hardest to implement in our culture. Also, I imagine it will generate the most disagreement. However, I think it demonstrates a biblical approach to the shepherding of a congregation, rather than turning the church into a place where a group of customers demand their area of interest be paramount.

The third post supporting a healthy ministry is guarding your flock, even if it is from other Christians. read more

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How to Recognize Hurting People in Your Congregation

Some of the people who sit before the pastor on Sundays have open, untreated wounds on their souls.

The church can really help them through today’s ministries. Or it can damage them to the point that they will never recover.

Your work is so critical, church leaders.

If you are the pastor, your sermon can make a world of difference. If you are worship leader, the choices of hymns and choruses and Scriptures, and the manner in which they are conducted, can be a balm to those in great pain. If you teach a Sunday school class, ask the Father to go far beyond the lesson you will be commenting on and do something miraculous in the hearts and souls of all who will sit before you. read more

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When Should a Godly Leader Retreat?

Pastors, nowhere in Ephesians 6 are we given any protection for our backsides! I think there’s a good reason for that—we aren’t given permission to retreat.

So the answer to "When should a godly leader retreat?" is "Never!" 

Understand, I’m not talking about repentance, a changing of the mind or an encounter of real truth, where we turn from wrong beliefs and actions. I’m talking about turning back from the God path. read more

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Do You Recognize Your True Role in the Church?

In the first post of this series, I began a discussion on the importance of pastors establishing healthy boundaries in ministry.

As it’s an area in which I have personally struggled—and one in which I continue to grow—I’m passionate about sharing what I have learned in order to help others not make the same mistakes I did.

In the next four posts, I will share keys to establishing these boundaries. Think of them as four fence posts surrounding a healthy ministry. read more

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Stop Selling 'Its a Small World’ to Christians

I’ve always hated the Its a Small World ride at Disneyland. I don’t know if it’s the incessant song, the Chucky-like dolls or just the bland predictability of it all.

I prefer Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, where every turn is a new adventure. Just when you think you have it figured out, you are spun around and sent off in an entirely new direction.

So I wonder why we feel compelled to sell the Christian life as more Small World than Wild Ride? We tell people if they’ll take these six steps to a better life in Jesus, their finances will improve, their spouse will love them more and their acne will clear up. While there might be bumps along the way, the more we follow Jesus, the better our world will be. Sing along: “It’s a Christ world after all, it’s a Christ world after all …” read more

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8 Ways Good Leaders Are Great Followers

As leaders, it’s equally important for us to know how to follow as it is how to lead. In fact, many believe to be a good leader, you must first be a great follower and continue to follow well as you continue to lead well.

I would suggest that great leaders are equally in tune with how to follow well as how to lead well. So here are a few thoughts on following:

1. Good followers are finishers. They get the job done, take projects across the finish line and make things happen on their own. read more

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The Dumbest Thing We Pastors Do

We preachers sometimes torture the faithful with our complaints about the unfaithful.

We don’t mean to do that. It’s just something that happens, usually as a result of our frustration.

Listen to the typical pastor or staffer addressing the congregation:

“A little rain never hurt anybody! And where is half our congregation? But oh, no, they couldn’t make it today. They had no trouble sitting through the ball game yesterday in freezing temperatures! Or playing a round of golf in the rain. But let a little sprinkle drop out of the heavens, and they can’t make it to church today!”

Or this one: read more

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3 Ways to Continually Affirm the People You Lead

We affirm people when we treat them with dignity, knowing that they matter to God. If you want to stand out in your leadership, one secret puts you head and shoulders above everybody else—be an encourager.

Encouragement is very difficult to find today. The Bible says, “Encourage each other and build each other up.”

In America, we live in a very negative culture. Most people get far more jeers than cheers, far more pokes than strokes. We live in a society where the No. 1 form of humor is put-downs.  People are put down, criticized, maligned. read more

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5 Tips for Leading Strong-Willed People

Have you ever tried to lead someone who didn’t want to be led? The same children that were labeled “strong-willed” by their parents often grow up to be strong-willed adults. Perhaps you know one … perhaps you are one. (I know one personally… me!)

I believe leadership should be individualized for the needs of the follower. Read a similar post here. With that in mind, here are five tips for leading strong-willed people: read more

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4 Mad Skills Every Pastor Needs

A couple of months ago, I posted a blog on my website titled “3 Essential Skills for Leaders.

While flipping through an old Moleskine this morning, I found some of my scribbled notes that described not three, but four skills all pastors must discover and constantly develop for the rest of their lives.

Here’s a remix of the original three, plus a fourth. read more

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How to Lead Through Change a Little at a Time

Any church that doesn’t change in response to the change in culture, community or context will eventually cease to exist. Any church that wants to stay around and keep its doors open will make constant and subtle changes along the way.

How should that change take place?

1. In response to a new “God vision.” God cares about those perishing in your community far more that you and your church do. So God is all-in for the changes necessary to see as many as possible come to Him. He will give a fresh vision to accomplish that to the heart of a humble and passionate leader. read more

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7 Things That Keep a Pastor From Leading Well

In my talks with pastors and ministry leaders, I hear some repeated themes. One common theme is that they have a story of a failed leadership experience. It might have been their first church or the church experience that went bad. Or, many times, it’s their current ministry, and that’s the reason for our conversation.

They grew (or are growing) from the time, but looking back, they wish they had known then what they know now. You’ve probably got some of those learning experiences too. It may have been an incident or the entire time in that ministry, but there were critical errors that kept you and the church from accomplishing all God had for you, errors in leading. Why don’t we learn from each other? read more

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Why Bi-Vocational Pastors Must Find Time to Pray

When do you pray?

Brother Lawrence taught us to “practice the presence.”

Maybe you are like me, and you realize that standing at a monastery sink all day would give you plenty of time to talk to God. It seems a bit different than working on a computer, working at a construction site or working any of the myriad jobs that we have to pay the bills.

Keeping a running dialogue with God while driving 60 mph, listening to your teen’s latest saga, contemplating your latest deliverable at work and trying to figure out how you should reduce the church’s utility bill takes practice. read more

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5 Benefits of Having a Mentor

A few years ago, I hired a mentor. It was kind of humbling. After all, I had spent the previous three years mentoring nine pastors myself. But I finally admitted it: I don’t know everything I wish I knew!

Hiring a mentor was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, both for my personal development and for the health of our church. I benefitted so much that my staff and board encouraged me to hire a mentor every year. I hired this year’s mentor two weeks ago. We’ll start formally in August, but we’ve already talked by phone, and he’s given me several nuggets that should help right away.

The Benefits of a Mentor read more

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Bi-Vocational Pastors: How to Avoid Living on the Edge

After work, we changed clothes in the restroom and then ran through Taco Bell on our way to the church. Life as a bi-vocational pastor is a bit hectic.

If you aren’t careful, you could find yourself with a burnt out adrenal system, wondering if God stopped talking or if you took a wrong turn somehow.

Elijah knew what that felt like. Sitting on the side of the desert, alone and completely burned out, he asked God to kill him.

There are a lot of things we can do to help avoid burnout. However, when we reach the edge, there are a few things that we must do in order to keep up the crazy pace so we can impact the world God has called us to. read more

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3 Vital Plans in Multiplying Leaders

“We have a leadership deficit.”

Those are words many of us have spoken and all of us have heard from others. We know how vital it is for every church to have and fill a solid leadership pipeline. But for many, some of the steps involved in that process seem overwhelming, and many don’t know where to start.

I’m a small-town, simple-minded pastor that has difficulty with complicated processes. So here is a simple pattern I’ve learned to get new potential leaders on your radar and start a process to move them through. read more

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