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When Leaders Fail, Grace Must Abound

The-Bible-Jesus-Mary-Mary-Magdalene-Disciples-History-ChannelAlong with millions of Americans, I have watched The Bible miniseries on the History Channel. As much as I’m enjoying the TV series, the book is way better.

Highlights from Part 2 included: the crumbling walls of Jericho, Samson doing major damage with a jawbone, Saul and David’s dysfunctional relationship, and Nathan calling out David.

I can’t stop thinking about the sad story of David, Bathsheba, Uriah and Nathan, especially that last scene when Nathan confronts David. Because of a faithful and fearless friend like Nathan, and a forgiving and gracious God, David repented and ended strong.

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How to Keep Success From Crippling Your Ministry

Greg- Atkinson-headshotI’ve consulted with several churches over the years, and one thing I’ve often said to church leaders is this: What if all your dreams come true?

What if your marketing worked? What if everyone did invite someone? What if you arrived one Sunday and you had doubled in size? Could you handle it?”

I ask this because rapid growth can sometimes cripple organizations and businesses. If you don’t have a solid foundation and infrastructure in place, you could crash and burn.

I’m dealing with this currently at my church. We’ve tripled in size in less than two years.

I’m up late at night thinking about things like adding a third service and developing more leaders. I’m urging my staff to invest in leaders and build their teams. I’m praying through who I, as the Campus Pastor, can invest in and what areas in our overall church need my attention and focus. I’m thinking through systems and strategy and processes.

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Steve Murrell: 5 Characteristics of Good Leaders

Steve-Murrell-Headshot smallWhile reading my Bible recently, I scribbled some notes in my journal. Then I thought that both leaders who read this blog might find these thoughts helpful. So I’m transforming them into this blog, if I can read my own handwriting.

In Deuteronomy 17 God is giving his people guidelines for picking good leaders. Here’s my summary of those guidelines.

1. Calling. “Be sure to appoint over you the king the Lord your God chooses.” (Verse 15) We should not appoint a person to a leadership position unless and until God appoints and anoints them. In other words, divine calling is essential for good leadership.

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Heal Your Servant: Pastors Deserve Grace Too

Pastor-Prayer-Man- In-The-MirrorIn any city on this globe, a young man finds his way to an altar, committing his life to Christ. His genuine salvation develops into a deep heart desire to become a servant to both God and humanity.

After a season he feels divinely directed to a wonderful bible college, he later graduates and is on his way to answer the cry of a lost and dying world. Blessed with a beautiful wife, he works his way up the ministry ranks finding himself with his own pastorate.

Courageously, he takes on all of the challenges presented to him and soon, with no one to really talk to, he is encompassed by a nagging sense of isolation and insulation. As a leader, he can’t be totally candid with anyone. He loves serving others, but people begin to see him as super human.

Our adversary is ever so cunning.

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David Lamb: Is God Really ‘Angry, Sexist and Racist’?

david-lambEvangelical theologian David Lamb tackles some of the Bible’s most troubling passages in his book, God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist? His answer: yes and no.

The book has received mixed reviews in the Christian blogosphere, but Lamb was well-received when he recently spoke at a church here. Religion News Service sat down with Lamb, an Old Testament scholar at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pa., to find out how believers’ long-held views of a wrathful Old Testament God might waver with his findings.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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What To Do When a Leader Falls

missing-the-mark-1I was on an airplane between Louisville, Ky., and Dallas, trying to relax between speaking engagements, in the first week of October 2006. As I looked at the Arkansas countryside below, an inward voice suddenly spoke to me: “I am about to shake this nation.”

Within weeks the shaking began. My phone rang on a Thursday morning in November. A serious media firestorm was erupting at a church in Colorado, and one of my dear pastor friends was at the center of the controversy.

The church I have pastored for 25 years (Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, La.) had helped plant that church 21 years earlier, and I had served as an overseer from the beginning. I knew I had to respond immediately. Within hours I found myself in an office in Colorado, surrounded by media and confused church members.

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