Ministry Leadership

Dan Reiland: 7 Characteristics of the Future Church

Dan-Reiland-Pastor-CoachLast year, I attended the Velocity 2012 conference hosted by lead pastor Shawn Lovejoy at Mountain Lake Church in Cumming, Ga. For the last seven years, Shawn and his team have invested in the lives of pastors, and in particular church planters, with passion and excellence.

To be invited to speak on leadership development was a delight and privilege. My role was to pour into the young leaders, but I found myself learning and being inspired by the people I met.

Let’s be honest: The church faces significant challenges these days, from financial pressures to declining loyalties toward any one church body. My take on the church is positive, very positive in fact, but I hear a lot of negativity.

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Flood of Aberrant Doctrines Endangering True Faith

r-loren-sandfordbigI am burdened with concern right now for the body of Christ. The days are urgent, and time is limited. We need to be ready, alive and alert to the Spirit. People around us are hurting, the world rushes toward coming catastrophes, and yet I see too many believers who should know better falling into self-centered emotional turmoil, moral compromise and inconsistency at just the time when we need to be at our finest and most focused. Lives are at stake.
 
I'm not just talking about my own flock. I see this in too much of the wider body of Christ, even as a remnant sharpens its hunger and passion for God. In my book Visions of the Coming Days, I wrote of the preparation we need to be making, but I despair that few have read it and that even fewer understand the urgency of what they're reading. I wrote of a sense of hope for the economy from 2012 into 2013 and said that it could not last. This current period of relative improvement has lulled many of us into complacency, a sense that it’s all going to be all right. It isn’t. We’ve been given a limited season of grace in which to prepare for difficult times, more than just economically, and we must use it.
 

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Navigating the Challenges of Bi-Vocational Ministry

Construction-workerPastor John puts away his tools for the day. His shift at the construction site ends in 10 minutes. Already, he has begun switching gears and thinking through the evening ahead. Tonight is the board meeting, but first he has to get home, shower and check in with his wife and kids.

Like many pastors, John has to divide his time and attention between a “day job” and his calling—to pastor a church.

Bi-vocational ministry has a unique set of challenges. If you asked John what his No. 1 problem is, he would say time—time to give every activity the attention it needs. Like many startups, his church is full of young Christians who need to be discipled.

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Don’t Blame God for Your Cowardice

Hiding-behind-plant-smallThe spirit of cowardice lives and thrives in churches these days. It has a corner in the office of many a pastor and makes whimpering sounds familiar to many of us:

“You don’t want to do that. It might rock the boat.”

“Deacon Crenshaw will be upset if you preach that. I wouldn’t.”

“Back off on that vision God gave you. You’re going to lose some members if you push that.”

“Pastor, you must not oppose the power group in your church. They ran off the last three preachers.”

“The biggest giver in the church is threatening to withhold his tithes if you persist in letting those people come to our church.”

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Jack Hayford Explains What Holiness Really Is

JackhayfordAs often as the word holy is used by Christians, you’d think that we could all agree on a uniform understanding of its meaning. We read our “Holy” Bibles. We receive “Holy” Communion. We sing the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” and acknowledge the “Holy” Spirit, the third person of the Godhead. We understand the word generally to mean “divine” or “of God.”

But when Christians start to discuss holiness, they discover that the implications of the word vary widely. It seems that holiness can mean anything from a name for the pope to teetotalism and not wearing makeup.

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From Moses to Martin: Preachers Part Political Waters

George-Washington

From Moses to Martin, preachers have parted political waters and led the oppressed to the Promised Land. Either by summons to a pharaoh to “Let my people go,” parting the Red Sea with an outstretched shepherd’s rod, or accompanied by a soulful protest ballad, “We Shall Overcome” and a federal court order granting rights to march over the Alabama River on the Edmund Pettus Bridge—throughout millennia, preachers have led the advance of liberty and religious freedom through troubled waters, on dry ground or over them on segregated asphalt. 

The birth of America’s freedom came no differently, as our forefathers crossed the Atlantic to escape Europe’s political and religious oppression. Has the time come for another Reformation? I believe so—an American Reformation! Where are the American clergy who will stem the tide of religious oppressions rising in our land by taking action against the political forces responsible? Maybe it’s time for a new breed of American clergy or just a restoration of the American preacher.

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