Lust is one of Satan’s strongest tools against believers. Joseph Mattera says ministry leaders are not immune and gives suggestions on what weapons to use to fight the enemy.
For pastor Kyle Searcy, planting a new church was like waiting for his first child to be born. Find out how exhilarating the experience was.
Pastors, there certainly will be times when you feel like your ministry is caving in around you. Here are some suggestions to keep Satan off your back.
The warning signs are there. See how failure to stop these thoughts could result in great harm.
Leading a group of church volunteers can present challenges. Here are some tips to overcome them.
Do you know of any church leaders who act as if they are untouchable? Would you call them out for doing so?
The world’s hatred for Jesus was theological, not sociological. Should we care what the world thinks?
A new study might reveal why a majority of Christian teens abandon their faith upon high school graduation. Fifty-five percent of American Christians are concerned with modern youth ministry.
Are you being a great steward of your volunteers’ time? Here is some helpful instruction.
Not everything you do is going to please all the members of your congregation. How do you deal when people leave your church?
For those who have become highly critical of pastors, you might want to cut them a break. They’re not perfect, and here are three reasons to have confidence in them.
Should pastors read secular books? Here are some that Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recommends.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Have you felt appreciation from your congregation?
Launching a multisite church campus can be daunting. Here are some strategies for setting up your kids' ministry.
Rick Warren says that in order to fulfill the Great Commission, we have to mobilize every member for ministry. Here are some lessons for doing that.
Pastor Geoff Surratt offers a guide for healthy ministry that reminds people your role—your only role—is to point followers to Jesus.
It isn’t rare for a pastor to get discouraged when he doesn’t see fruit from his labor. Find out why pastor Joe McKeever says not to get discouraged—your time is coming.
They may be painful to come to grips with, but there are some staunch realities that come with being a pastor. Here are some things to take to heart.
Do you sometimes take the enemy lightly, or are you always leery of his cunning little tricks? Here are some things to watch out for.
Staff meetings do not have to be a necessary evil. Here’s how they can be productive.
Are you thinking of ways to gain more authority, or are you prayerfully discerning what God would have you do with the authority you have already been given?
Most don’t want to know what happened to the goat in Leviticus, they want to know if God is real and if the Bible can be trusted. Find out what sermon topics may of interest to the unchurched.
Policies help build systems and processes that meet the demands of a growing church. But are we replacing an utter dependence on God with them?
It may not be well received by some, but stepping outside the box to reach the lost could work wonders. Here’s one example that did for Pastor Hal Seed.
Sometimes it’s lonely at the top, and the pressures can be intense and overwhelming. Pastor Dan Reiland says you can handle them your way or God’s way—it’s your choice.
Do you have a problem with insecurity? Find out why you might be missing out on some opportunities due to shyness or an introverted personality.
Keeping in mind that we are all on the same team—the team of Jesus Christ—if you were in the position of leaving your ministry, how would you pass the baton to your successor?
Busyness diets are not always easy or pleasant. However, LifeWay’s Thom Rainer says they can make the difference between a simply busy church and a fruitful church.
Is your church environment conducive for nurturing men? Here are some things men are desperately searching for in their church experience.
Encouragement is a biblical imperative. Find out from pastor Geoff Surratt why we are confusing it with the process of networking.
Pastor Rick Warren says that if we echo the actions of the early church, we can expect God’s blessing on our church. Find out what characteristics of the early church we must mimic.
Author and media consultant Phil Cooke explains why the Bible is focused more on reality and why people need pastors to be direct.
Many Christians believe they can't preach Jesus and not care about justice or, conversely, that they can't have true justice without pointing people toward Jesus the Just. Find out why the numbers seem to show that more churches are catching that mission.
In these End Times, we must be prepared to deal with the presence of ungodly people in the mix at church. Pastor Joe McKeever explores what else the church will be forced to deal with.
Small group leaders have a tremendous responsibility. Find out what kind of example they should set for their members.
There are many elements to effective discipleship. Steve Murrell, one of the founding pastors of Victory Manila in the Philippines, explores them.
Pastor or church leader, have you considered continuing your education? Chuck Lawless, professor of evangelism and missions and dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary, gives many good reasons why you should.
Mark Brewer suddenly found himself with a new calling after dealing with numerous church leaders who left the ministry in frustration. Find out what his Ministry Lab is all about.
The movie Patch Adams is an inspiring, feel-good film starring Robin Williams. The real Patch Adams, however, is someone whose Christ-like character most people should aspire to emulate.
When teens know they are loved, they will feel like they belong. When they feel like they belong, they’ll be more open to hearing the Good News.
What is the one thing that holds most leaders (and the organizations they lead) back?
It's simple: the unwillingness to make a really hard decision.
Most leaders know the decisions that need to be made, the hard conversations that need to be had, the programs that need to be done away with or the people who need to be replaced. They simply lack the courage to do it.
God did something amazing in my heart recently (but it’s not about me). God did something amazing in our church (but it’s not about us).
I could share stories and testimonies with you all day (and maybe one day I will), but right now they’re too dear and precious to my heart. They’re too fresh. I know you understand.
The movie A River Runs Through It is narrated by Norman, one of the main characters. He makes this statement about his father, a minister:
“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation – came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy.”
While we rightly view grace as a free gift, grace always costs someone something.
In my blog, I have referred many times to my days of church consultation, particularly those experiences where we sent one of our consultants to be a first-time guest in a church. He or she would return with a report of those experiences, and the report would eventually be consolidated with other information for the church.
I have nearly 300 of these “mystery guest” reports. Both Chuck Lawless and I have posted about them on my blog.
In the past, the mystery guests would grade the visit based on several criteria. Less than 20 percent of these reports were graded “B” (good visit) or higher.
I wonder how long I could be successful in ministry without God? I’ve been in vocational ministry for 31 years, and I seldom encounter a situation I haven’t seen before. I have a stockpile of sermons to pull from and many other places where I can grab a complete sermon with a moment's notice.
I do strategy, staffing and structure in my sleep. My experience, connections and the Internet give me all the tools I need to do ministry and do it at a very high level. God is good but often not all that necessary.
For most youth workers, few things in ministry are as dreaded as navigating conflict—especially when it comes in the form of an angry parent or frustrated volunteer and when it comes suddenly and unexpectedly.
You know the scenario: You’re hanging out in the youth room doing your youth pastor thing, and before you see it coming, he’s in your face. He’s on a mission. He’s got a few concerns, and he’s gonna share them with you right now. He has no desire to think about the timing. His agenda is the only one that matters. He’s a ticking time bomb, and time is running out.
Ever wonder why some small group ministries seem to steadily move to new levels of success and health while others start with a bang and go out with a whimper?
Here are five commitments that make the difference:
1. Connecting everyone to a small group is a top objective every year. By “everyone,” I mean everyone. And it’s not just 50 percent or 80 percent of the weekend adult attendance. I’m talking about 150 percent of the weekend adult attendance number! In addition, the commitment is to a small group (i.e., not a class or a Bible study that meets in rows). And it’s not about off-campus versus on-campus. It’s all about connecting to a group that includes the essential ingredients of life change. (See also "Essential Ingredients of Life Change" and "Design Your Group for Life Change.")
My wife loves to put together jigsaw puzzles. I’m not patient enough to always help, but I do try as much as I can stand it. A couple of Sundays we were on the back porch and I was watching Georgie put a puzzle together.
Here are three lessons the church can learn:
1. You have to look at the big picture first. She always starts with the box in front of her. When she can see the big picture, she can then start to put the pieces together. In the church world, always start with the big picture. The Great Commission and the vision God has given your church should be the backbone of everything.
Every once in a while, someone comes up with a new wrinkle on church headaches.
A young pastor friend wrote to say the church he now serves went through a split a year or so before he arrived, and the smaller congregation struggles to keep up with the financial needs. Presently, they are running a deficit of perhaps $10,000 a year, forcing them to draw on reserves.
The church has a number of fixed expenses, he says, such as utilities and insurance that cannot be cut. Even if they eliminated all literature and supplies, the deficit would still not be covered. His suggestion is that they cut his salary by $10,000 a year. The leadership refuses.
Do you need more preschool workers to serve children? Do you need more greeters to greet? Do you need more ushers to … ush?
If so, you’re in familiar territory.
I’ve never met a church that said, “You know, when it comes to volunteers, we’re good. We’ve got plenty. In fact, there’s a waiting list for the nursery.”
Churches everywhere need to mobilize more volunteers to get ministry done. But before you start signing people up and filling slots, it might be helpful to take a look at why people are not volunteering.
Here are five reasons people might not be volunteering at your church: