Leadership

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7 Ways Satan Tries to Destroy a Church

I’m not a pastor who is constantly looking for Satan behind everything that goes wrong. I concentrate my attention on Jesus and encouraging others to follow Jesus and not to focus on the defeated one.

Yet, I’m fully aware that Satan loves to destroy—or attempt to destroy—a church. Obviously, Satan is a limited being, and God’s church is secure. The gates of hell shall never overcome what God started, but Satan certainly loves to disrupt what God’s church is doing: “Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).

Here are 7 way Satan tries to destroy a church: read more

Artie-Davis-blog

3-Step Assimilation Process: Fill In the Blanks

A simple assimilation process is absolutely vital for any church to see sustained growth. Here’s the one I’ve seen work so well, and you can customize it for your church quite easily. It covers the three things we’re called to do as the church, but it lets you fill in the blanks according to your culture, community and context.

It has three steps ...

  read more

Juggler-ministry

3 Tricks to Juggling in Your Ministry

Juggling is an art.  And it’s fascinating to watch.

My role in ministry is a constant juggle.  There are always projects, special events, team building, volunteer recruiting, personnel conversations, refining conversations, encouraging conversations and “I’m frustrated!” conversations. The plate is always full.

Should it always be this way?  Great question. This is all I’ve ever known, so I’m going to say yes. The trick to navigating all of it is in the juggling.

Here are 3 things I do to juggle well: read more

Candle-flame

Is Your Church Burning Bright or Burning Out?

Consider this quote by Thomas Edison:

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment, and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

That is so true. It seems that we latch on to every get-rich-quick scheme and promise of a quick buck yet don’t want to put in the time, the thought or the perspiration to make our busyness really count.

The same can be said of the church.

For all of our programs … read more

preacher

How Many Hours Does a Pastor Work Each Week?

It is one of the most unpredictable jobs one could have. There will be weeks when there won’t be much taking place out of the ordinary, and the pastor will work a “mere” 40 to 45 hours. There will be other weeks filled with meetings, emergency hospital calls, a wedding, two funerals, and line of members waiting to see the pastor. That workweek could total 80 hours.

So we surveyed pastors on Twitter and asked them a simple question: How many average hours do you work a week, including sermon preparation? Though we asked for an average, most responded with a range. We thus took the midpoint of the range they submitted. We also asked this question only of fulltime vocational pastors. read more

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Is Church Draining You?

Years ago, I realized that I was different than the rest of my staff. When they took vacation, they looked for a big church to celebrate at (and learn from).

I love learning from other churches. Every conference is a great opportunity for me to learn how other people communicate with their members, follow up with visitors, structure their services, etc.

But when I’m on vacation, I want to get alone with God and not hear another human being. read more

Rick-Warren-new

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

Elated-pastor

What Does Restoration Look Like?

For some time now, the ministry of Heal Your Servant has worked with ministers, their wives, elders, congregants and participants in a myriad of infidelity situations.

We have seen and heard multiple stories. Finding your way through spiritual landmines is seldom easy. We all desire to see God glorified in the midst of life’s most challenging situations.

I am continually asked, “What is the ideal way to navigate these situations in order to minimize casualties and bring about true healing and restoration?" read more

How to Make Your Marriage Ministry-Proof

My wife Tammy and I first met while she and her family were missionaries in Germany. I later proposed to her in a little café just outside of Hamburg. Now 27 years later, we’ve been in full-time ministry together the entire time and have five kids. We’ve lived life—and ministry—together. 

Just like any other married couple, we’ve had our ups and downs. But I can honestly say that other than my relationship with Jesus, my relationship with my wife continues to be the best part of my life. When others ask for our “secret sauce,” I give the credit to God, to Tammy and to the principles our parents taught and modeled in front of us. Amidst the many demands of ministry and family life, over the years five principles have become especially important in sustaining our relationship. On the next few pages, I share them, prayerfully hoping that these insights can help you make your marriage ministry-proof. read more

Praying-man-standing

Hal Seed: A Dangerous Prayer

Many years ago I prayed a prayer that has changed me more than any other. It changed my vocation, location, orientation and just about every other “ation” in my life. What was the prayer?

“God, I don’t ask you for much today. I just ask that You give me Your heart for lost people.”

Twenty words. Twenty-one syllables. Seventy letters. One request. read more

Tony-Morgan

35 Low-Risk Changes Churches Can Make

One of the reasons churches get stuck is that they’re unwilling to change. They don’t want to rock the boat. Leaders are afraid. People may leave. People may stop giving.

Over time, the culture becomes reticent to change. The status quo becomes the driving value.

When churches stop changing, people get comfortable. It’s impossible for Christ-followers to get comfortable and be sold-out to Jesus at the same time. Comfort is not the goal.

This is probably obvious, but let me offer this advice: If you want to be in a church that embraces change, you have to begin to make some changes. read more

Karen Evans: An Open Letter to Pastors' Wives

Being the wife of a pastor for 40 years has had its share of challenges that thankfully we learned to navigate, especially early in our marriage.

We were 28 years young with two small children when Jimmy accepted the call to lead Trinity, which made for several very difficult years for our marriage and family. I know our struggles are not unique to ministry couples—far from it. So when Jimmy asked me to write for the July-August issue of Ministry Today, I knew I wanted to share some of my own experiences and story in an honest letter to pastors’ wives. (If you’re a pastor reading this, you’ll likely gain some real insight into your wife’s journey.) read more

A Child Shall Lead

In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. — Isaiah 11:6

This is a captivating image--a wolf and a lamb, a leopard and goat, a calf and lion. All of them together, sharing one location. But, the most amazing part of all is that a little child will lead them. Not the strong adult. Not the eloquent speaker or elegant host--a little child. Sit and think about that for a while. A little child will lead them.

Why a little child? Wouldn't it be better to have someone with more experience and strength? After all, there are a lot of animals to deal with and guard. How would a little child be able to handle everything? Why a little child?

Children provide something that adults lost long ago: innocence. They aren't tarnished by the criticisms of the world. They delight in the simple things and possess a peace that we can only dream about. They also trust wholeheartedly that they are cared for and loved. There is no doubt. Children are important to God. In Matthew 18:3 we read: "[Jesus] said, 'I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.'" In order to enter the kingdom, a person needs to be like a child--pure, innocent, humble, and trusting. Only a little child has the trust and innocence to lead them all.

Take a look at your life. Are you like a little child? Do you humbly trust God for your every need? Are you in a leadership role? How do you lead? Do you lead trusting that people are able to handle tasks? Are you humble enough to admit when you are wrong? Humility is one of the toughest aspects of good leadership. It's hard to admit when we don't know something--we don't want people to think less of us. God tells us to put those fears behind and trust him. Only a true leader will emerge, if she becomes like a child and allows God to use her. 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

George-O-Wood-AG

Taking the Road of Servanthood

Self-conscious about a chipped front tooth, my unruly red hair and the spray of freckles across my nose and cheeks, I was shy and withdrawn throughout high school. But by the time I had been in college for a semester, I’d developed, of all things, a desire to be a leader.

How do you admit you want to be a leader without being egotistical? Scripture says those who desire the office of overseer want a good thing (1 Tim. 3:1).

To fulfill my inclinations to lead, I ran for college class president and served three years in a row. Then I attempted a step up by running for vice president of the whole student body but had my ego trimmed by failing to get elected. The next year I failed to get elected as student body president. But the desire for leadership opportunities remained with me. read more

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer: Doxology and Theology

To say worship is a subject of great interest in the church would be an understatement. Worship is an integral part of our lives as Christians. That’s why I’m thankful for worship leaders like Matt Boswell.

Matt serves as pastor of ministries and worship at Providence Church in Frisco, Texas. He leads Doxology & Theology, a community of worship leaders commited to promoting “gospel-centered worship by connecting and equipping worship leaders.”

Matt has also written a book by the same name, and I’m glad to have him here to answer some questions about the book and the intersection of worship and theology: read more

Joe-McKeever-small

One Pastor’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure

Everyone knows what a pleasure is. A guilty pleasure is some activity that you enjoy but over which you feel a tiny pang of regret, as though perhaps you should not be enjoying it quite as much as you do.

Okay with that?

Most of my pleasures are completely unrelated to guilt. I love a good meal, a wonderful visit with a friend, an old 1940-ish black/white movie, a ball game, an hour on the patio enjoying watermelon with my grandchildren, and a social at church with two dozen freezers of home-made ice cream in every flavor imaginable. read more

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The 12 Biggest Challenges Pastors and Church Staff Face

In my latest non-scientific Twitter survey, I asked the following question of pastors and church staff: What is your biggest challenge in ministry?

Here are the top 12 responses with representative quotes. I’ve taken the liberty to expand most of the quotes from their abbreviated form in Twitter.

1. Apathy and internal focus. “I have been in ministry for over 20 years, and I’ve never seen church members more apathetic and internally focused.” read more

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How to Preach For a Specific Response

The Bible is clear that Christians must be “doers of the Word and not hearers only,” (James 1:22) so it’s clear that our responsibility as pastors and preachers of the Word is to challenge people to do something in response to what we’ve said. In other words, the goal of preaching is life change.

How can you add more application into our message to make God’s Word more doable? Always aim for a specific response.

The greatest weakness of most preaching is that the sermon has a fuzzy focus. So many sermons are vague & abstract because the pastor isn’t really clear about why he is teaching this particular message, nor does he give the audience a specific direction to go in response. read more

Are You Letting God Be God?

You probably know by now that being a pastor doesn’t shield you from disappointments. Sorry for the buzzkill beginning, but that’s the truth. The offerings will sometimes be less than your church expenses. The sermon you planned to preach was a lot better than the one you actually preached. People will leave your congregation for the silliest of reasons. The list could go on and on, I promise.

But the good news is that God is working at all times on our behalf in the invisible realm—although that invisibility sometimes causes us distress. So we wrestle. We admit disappointment. We engage in earnest dialogue with our God. In the end, we come around to the same vow: “I trust you, Father. I really do. And while I don’t understand what You’re doing, I know You’re guiding me. You’re still God, and You are good.” read more

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