Being a pastor is a fulfilling privilege--but it can be demanding, too. Here's what every pastor wishes his sheep knew about their shepherd.
I just want to go to a place where nobody knows us!" my wife, Kelly, lamented. As I looked into her tender eyes, I identified with her frustration. A myriad of interruptions had sidetracked us from the date we had planned.
First we had to extinguish a rumor that our marriage was in trouble. Then we discovered that the new Igloo cooler we had loaned to a friend from church the week before would not be coming back. Next we had to explain to our two boys why they had gotten in trouble for playing on the church platform when other children hadn't.
And just when we were about to leave on our night out, the phone rang. Expecting a family member, I picked it up--only to find a talkative saint instead. Not just any saint, but a needy one who could not be put off.
God is increasingly bringing His government upon the earth to quicken mankind toward His image and intentions. It is time to assess and discuss the complex aspect of human behavior from a Kingdom perspective.
I pray we ask the Lord often to reveal to us what needs to be known—that which may be hidden—and help us to receive it and implement it in our lives for His glory. He desires us to be free and empowers us to act against the very nature of self.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is the redemptive manner in which God intends for His will to be accomplished in the earth. This, in itself, should alert us to the misappropriation of prevailing messages of the “preparing us for Heaven” Gospel. Yes, thankfully, Heaven is in the mix, but the place called Heaven is for later, while the work of spreading Heaven on earth is present and ongoing.
At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. — Luke 6:13
A popular business book states that effective organizations get the right people on the bus, meaning the right people in places of leadership. When the right people are in the strategic roles, the company can ascend to any height. But, if the wrong people are on the bus, the organization is doomed to flounder regardless of the vision, values, strategies, marketing, and management of the leadership.
Putting the right people in the right place at the right time is a critical need for an effective leader. Select the right people, and churches, business, and organizations thrive. Select the wrong people, and the door swings open for problems that stifle growth and productivity and hurt credibility.
The concern of Jesus was not about programs or structure or organization but about people. Jesus selected his disciples before he ever organized an evangelistic campaign or even preached a sermon in public. People were to be his method of reaching the world. It was just that simple.
No evidence of haste is apparent in Jesus' selection process, only determination. Initially one might wonder if Jesus selected the right people for the right job. They lacked the professional training, academic training, and sophistication of their day. One might wonder how Jesus could ever use them. They were not the kind of people one would expect to turn the world upside down. But as it turned out, these men became the leaders of the early church. Their influence can be felt throughout the pages of history. Jesus got the right people on the bus.
As a leader you would do well to select people that display these qualities:
Calling–They are motivated by something deep within themselves, not by the accomplishments of outward adornments.
Character–They possess a high standard of living based on a personal code of morality that doesn't succumb to the whim of the moment or the dictates of the majority.
Commitment–They display spiritual authenticity over time.
Compatibility–They show a job fit, a relational fit, a skill fit, and a passion fit.
Contribution–They function as a part of a team.
Coachability–They are trainable and teachable.
Get the right people on the bus, and it makes all the difference in the world.
The following are eight of the most important leadership principles I have learned as a senior leader over the past three decades. I have found that each of these leadership principles is vital to the success of any organization, whether it be faith-based or not.
1. They Continually Cast a Compelling Vision
The Bible teaches us that without a vision the people perish (Prov. 29). This means that people are like sheep and will scatter and/or lose focus if they are not continually motivated and guided as to the mission and purpose of the organization or church they belong to.
Every executive leader must be personally empowered and full of passion so he can continually remind the people of the vision and purpose of their existence. An organization without a compelling vision is going to lose momentum and membership. Leader without a compelling vision don’t know why they are leading, which will result in their organization experiencing a lack of cohesion and power.
But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, "You are my God!" My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly. — Psalm 31:14-15
A friend said, "My problem is that I have surrendered my time to work, to other people, and to bad habits."
That truly is the problem, not only for my friend but also for many of us. We should first surrender our time to God. God owns it anyway. Unfortunately, we often ask God to wait in line for leftover time. No wonder life seems out of sync! We need help with our task to manage properly what has been entrusted to us until Christ returns or wants it back, and that includes our time.
Think about a compass and a clock. Two very important tools with two very different purposes. One would be wise not to confuse the two. To surrender our time to God is to be governed by a compass rather than to be controlled by a clock. A compass provides a sense of direction, purpose, vision, perspective, and balance. A clock measures duration, the expenditure of time. A compass determines effectiveness--doing the right tasks. A clock determines efficiency--how long it takes to accomplish a task. Each has its place. But, the compass must come before the clock; therefore, effectiveness before efficiency. The "mega priorities" of the compass subordinate the "mini priorities" of the clock.
A compass, therefore, becomes a symbol of an internal guidance system that provides us with our values and convictions based on God's Word. This non-negotiable governs our lives. In the same manner that the magnetic force pulls the compass needle, it is God who governs the drive of our lives. We surrender to his force.
Our time should be surrendered to God daily. I asked a friend who is engaged in many pursuits successfully how he managed it all. He said, "I give my first minutes to God, then I commit the remainder of the day to his Lordship. And amazingly I work more effectively and efficiently."
Have you surrendered your time to God? Is your future in his hands?
Recently Verna Linzey, a “daughter” of the Azusa Street Revival, was ministering in the Los Angeles Mission in Torrance when revival unexpectedly broke out with ecstatic utterances, prophecy, shaking and salvations, and this has continued at that mission.
This weekend Linzey, author of The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, was invited to the Azusa Street Revival Commemoration called "Honoring the Holy Spirit for the Past and Seeking God for the Future," an event coordinated by the Rev. Fred Berry. This event took place on Friday in the sanctuary at Union Church, which is on the back side of the square block shared by Azusa Street.
Linzey was invited to greet the audience since the Holy Spirit had recently ignited the revival at the Los Angeles Mission in Torrance through Verna Linzey. When she greeted the audience she gave this word from the Lord: "The Holy Spirit is working mightily in Los Angeles and we have begun to see greater manifestations of revival in the Los Angeles basin. We are honoring the Holy Spirit for the past and seeking God for the future. What we are seeking is now happening. So let us pray that the flames of revival that have been ignited in the Los Angeles basin recently sweep across Los Angeles and the world once again."