Ministry Leadership

Competition Brings Division in the Body of Christ

Os-Hillman-headshot-smallDid you know there is a very common word that is used in our culture that you cannot find in the Bible? It is the word competition. Jesus never talked about it, but He did talk about the opposite of that word.

What is the greatest catalyst that allows the unsaved to make a decision for Jesus Christ? It isn’t prayer, though this is important. It isn’t good deeds, though deeds indicate a fruitful relationship with God. It isn’t good behavior, though Christ commands us to be obedient as sons.

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How to Guard Your Flock, Even From Other Christians

Ed StetzerThis 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.

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7 Reasons Every Pastor Should Have a Blog

Pastoral-blog-smallThe title of this article may seem both presumptuous and audacious. Do I really believe every pastor should have a blog? Yes, I do.

I speak to pastors in numerous settings, and I am able to share with them the benefits of such a discipline in writing.

Understand that writing a blog can begin simple, with little time pressure. The pastor can commit to writing 400 words a week in one post. I do recommend that the number of posts increases to at least twice a week later, but you need to start somewhere.

I think you will be amazed how much the blog benefits the church and your ministry. Here are seven reasons why it is so important:

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8 Confessions of Church Spies

Spying-Churches-smallHave you ever thought that a guest at your church might, in fact, be a spy? My church consulting company uses church “spies” to help us evaluate how churches respond to guests. Our spies are “good” spies, though, since their goal is to help a church face reality and move toward health.

Numerous spies have written us reports for more than a decade. Below are some of the most common findings they have sent us.

To be fair, the churches that invite us to work with them know they need help, so these findings should not be entirely surprising. What concerns me is the number of churches that have not yet recognized these findings characterize them too:

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Spell It Out

Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them. — Mark 4:33-34

The fine, the deep mid, the silly, the short square, the leg slip, the gully . . . If one is not familiar with these terms, he will find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and will certainly lose the game of cricket for his team. Where would one learn the terminology for the game? It is readily available in the encyclopedia. But learning the terminology and actually playing the game are two different things entirely. Playing the positions well can only come from experience on the cricket field.

Jesus was a master at speaking in riddles for the public while at the same time teaching his disciples valuable lessons. He spoke with words that both taught and challenged. He taught those who could hear with faith and challenged those who were trying to trap him.

There were times, however, when even the disciples were unable to understand Jesus. Then Jesus would patiently explain everything to them in detail. Jesus knew that as the disciples gained experience in the mission field, their understanding of his parables would grow. Meanwhile, Jesus took the time to spell parables out for the disciples by defining terms or by retelling the stories more simply.

Sometimes it may seem that things would go faster if we just used shortcuts to get the task at hand over and done with. However, in the long run, spelling things out and bringing new people along can be more efficient than doing it all on our own. Growing people into their positions takes patience and diligence. It requires commitment to the betterment of that other person. It requires the ability to see beyond the task at hand to the value of the person at hand.

Are we as patient as Jesus was with new Christians at church, or even new people at our workplace? The patience we show to our teammates can make the difference between a weak team and a strong, maturing, effective team.

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How to Recognize Hurting People in Your Congregation

sympathy-hug-smallSome 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.

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