It's easy to get frustrated as a leader and assume that your congregation is not following Jesus as they should. Here's what's going on. read more
This is what it looks like when the gospel of Jesus is working in His people's lives. read more
No, it won't ever be completely closed, as I said in the beginning, because life happens. But you can move the door from wide-open to just a small crack. read more
A fire was lit in my soul during those days that has never been extinguished, never diminished and has never been watered down. read more
I've not met anyone who has all the "answers" to solve the great post-Easter exodus, but I've learned some mistakes we can all avoid. read more
Did you know that you could make a leap in the quality of your worship services just by paying attention to one simple thing? read more
It's not easy to bring enthusiastic volunteers into the fold at church. Here are some suggestions on how to attract them. read more
Have you ever been asked to volunteer for something? If you’re breathing and go to a church, you probably have.
A while back, the Center for Church Communications asked if I’d volunteer to serve on their board and to help create their exciting new Certification Lab for church communicators.
The usual “before I answer” questions went through my mind:
- What will I have to do?
- How much time will it take?
- Is this a worthy cause that fulfills what I want to do?
- The first two are logistical; the last is more strategic. Time is a limited resource. I want to use it effectively and strategically, with results. When it’s gone, it can’t be reused.
The church runs on volunteers. Perhaps your job is a volunteer position (or feels like it). Or maybe you rely on volunteers to get the work done. It’s critical to consider the strategic before the tactical. Here are some questions to clarify:
What are the benefits to be enjoyed? Every task has an outcome. And if a job needs doing, you need to know why someone would want to do it. If the outcome isn’t quickly evident (or seems negative), make sure you can find a positive you can emphasize. Living longer is nice, but you probably want something more tangible.
What kind of person is needed? Every person is known for something. Does the volunteer need to be known for something specific in order to fulfill this job effectively? If you require someone who’s meticulous, you don’t want to push a person who’s free-spirited. Allowing volunteers to use a task to fulfill what they want to do with their lives is much easier than pushing the proverbial square peg into the round hole.
What are the actual costs for doing this? This is huge. Marketing, at its core, is getting someone to do something for a “cost.” The higher the cost, the more benefit needs to come from it. So consider the perceived cost. Is it a lot of time, or is it a long drive? Does it force you to do what you don’t want to? You need to weigh the benefits or results.
It’s always important for you and your volunteers to go through this decision process because everyone needs to be reminded of the job’s benefits in order for them to do the tactical work (the perceived price). It’s important to keep people focused on the positive rewards: ultimately, ministry!? —Mark McDonald
Loss is hard. Although everyone handles grief differently, I’m convinced that nobody handles it easily.
One of the ways that Christ comforts His children is through His body—the church. Romans 12:15 reminds us to “weep with those who weep” (ESV). After all, that’s what Jesus did. When His friend Lazarus died, He wept with Mary and Martha over their loss (John 11:35).
So when Jesus gives us, His ambassadors on earth, an opportunity to represent Him through comforting those experiencing loss; we must not take it lightly. That’s why I think it is vital that every church think through their own “care plan” now. read more
While we live in a world that celebrates jumping from one relationship to the next, faithfulness has taken a backseat to self-interest. And sad to say, the church world appears to be not far behind, as Christians hop from one church, one ministry and one message to the next.
All of that is motivated by the bottom line—what’s in it for me and what’s best for me?
Like honor, faithfulness is big in God’s eyes yet certainly not valued highly in the day and age we live in. read more
There is a four-letter word that will sentence you to success as your serve another person’s ministry: O-B-E-Y! Obedience is coming under the authority of your mentor. In other words, submission is the key.
Elisha came under the authority of Elijah and received the blessing of the double portion:
“And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, 'Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?' Elisha said, 'Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.' So he said, 'You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so'” (2 Kings 2:9-10). read more
One of the great privileges and most rewarding opportunities you can experience serving another man’s ministry is found in the secret of being a proactive servant.
A proactive person is defined as one who “creates or controls a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.”
A fruitful, effective disciple is much more than an order taker. After proving yourself faithful over time, a foundation of trust is established that is the key ingredient required to move from a relationship of simple service to becoming a proactive partner.
I will never forget Moscow, 1989. read more
Even with the best of intentions, things have a way of going south.
When we launched our outreach ministry (at Mariners Church in Orange County, Calif.), the first thing we thought to do was meet the basic needs of the people we were serving. Sounds reasonable, right? They need groceries; we’ll give them a bag of food. They need winter coats? Got it. School supplies? Check. Then we’ll teach them about Jesus and they’ll pray the prayer and bam! We’re all good.
If we really believe in an irresistible Savior whose love is the most powerful force on earth, why is it we cling to manipulative tools, gimmicks and cheap material resources to all but bribe someone into the kingdom of heaven? read more
“A spiritual gift is given to each of us as so we can help each other.” (1 Cor. 12:7, NLT)
God has a unique role for you to play in his family.
This is your ministry, and God has gifted you for this assignment: “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” (1 Cor. 12:7, NLT).
Your local fellowship is the place God designed for you to discover, develop and use your gifts. You may also have a wider ministry, but that is in addition to your service in a local body. Jesus has not promised to build your ministry; he has promised to build his church. read more
“It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” (Ephesians 2:10 LB)
God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. You were put on Earth to make a contribution.
You weren’t created just to consume resources—to eat, breathe, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. You were created to add to life on Earth, not just take from it. God wants you to give something back.
The Bible says, “In our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10b TEV). These “good deeds” are your service to the world. Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God and fulfilling one of your purposes (Colossians 3:23-24; Matthew 25:34-45; Ephesians 6:7). read more