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7 Reasons to Start a Pastors’ Roundtable Retreat

I spent three days recently at a cabin with five other pastors, holding what we call a roundtable.

I’m from California. We met in Illinois, where there was a blizzard one day and the temperature hit minus 7 degrees one night. I didn’t care. What we were doing was so important, we didn’t need to go outside. We do this every year. We plan to continue doing it until our last days of ministry.

Here’s why I’m involved in a roundtable:

1. These guys inspire me. They’re my friends, all are pastors, and seeing how they live out their commitment to God inspires me. There aren’t too many people who do what we do. One of the guys lost his wife and best friend to cancer in the same year. Another adopted and is raising four high-risk children. A third runs triathlons. All of them are devoted to their wives and to walking in close quarters with Christ. During dark seasons in my ministry, I think of them and it boosts my determination to keep going. read more

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Relationship Health: Celebrate Our Differences

Our church was in the middle of a building project, and the new sanctuary was almost done. On Sunday morning I overheard a board member: “We should never have given her (the pastor’s wife) the authority to pick out the color. That isn’t white. It’s pink!”

This was my first building project, but it wasn’t my last. There is something about aesthetics that brings out the best and the worst in us. Whether it is the color of the carpet, the style of the pew, the genre of the artwork or angle of the lighting; for every decision there is a myriad of opinions. How can you stay positive when people are lined up on all sides, ready to shoot?

Paul exhorted the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord. When trials, troubles and disagreements come, we have to make a choice to focus on the positive. Disagreement isn’t the problem. read more

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Relationship Health: How to Build Team Respect

God has given you a fantastic team at work. Your team might be small—family members, or a few volunteers. Maybe you are blessed to serve at a church large enough to afford a full staff. Regardless, God has given you a team. Even if you have to search to find them, they are there.

People are unique. If they were all the same, we could just give each one a function and expect amazing results. Instead, personalities get in the way. This person brings the fun, that person is very concerned about details … and each thinks the other is … annoying.

Your job is to help these people become who God created them to be and to help them gel as a team. How can you make the most of this fantastic resource and help these dedicated people reach their full potential? read more

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God Designed Life to Share

Last Monday I walked by this secluded beach in Ko Olina in Hawaii. Without the clean soft breeze, the chirping birds, the sound of waves splashing on the rocks, and the scent of the blue ocean … pictures like these are … well … just pictures.

No matter how beautiful this spot was it is of little value because I had no one to share it with. The Bible is indeed correct when it declares, “it is not good for man to be alone.”

It’s funny how we work ourselves to death and take for granted what actually matters, our closest relationships. I could only wish Marie was with me at that particular moment. Life is meant for sharing.

Life is composed of multiple moments that are here for a while and then are gone. Makes you think of how important each moment we have with the people we love have to be maximized and taken advantage of. Life is meant for sharing. read more

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Rick Warren: Church Family a Lab for Love

“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” (1 Cor. 12:27, NLT)

A church family moves you out of self-centered isolation. The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. It is a lab for practicing unselfish love.

As a participating member, you learn to care about others and share the experiences of others: “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part of our body is honored, all the other parts share its honor” (1 Cor. 12:26 NCV).

Only in regular contact with ordinary, imperfect believers can we learn real fellowship and experience the New Testament truth of being connected with and dependent on each other. read more

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Relationship Health: What To Do When You Mess Up

Yep, it happened again. You are in the doghouse, and this time, you really messed up.

The worst part is that you were trying! There are days (and sometimes weeks) when we seem to offend people with surprising regularity. Sometimes, it is because we didn’t have enough information or the skills to handle a situation.

Sometimes we mess up because we genuinely sinned. Sometimes, our “mess-up” is really someone else’s sensitivity. Relationships are important to us, and when we mess up, it is important to deal with it properly.

Remember high school science? Even in the most controlled environment, every scientific experiment result must take into account a plus or minus three percent for human error. This means that, even in the most controlled environment, you are going to mess up at least three percent of the time. Since life isn’t controlled, that number is sure to be much higher.

So, given the fact that you can’t get through life without making a mistake, what do you do when you really mess up? read more

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Learn to Recognize the Enemies of Love

Love is the source of power for our successful Christian life. Galatians 5:6 even tells us that our faith works through love.

Satan is continuously sending situations our way to tempt us to yield to the opposite of love, which is selfishness.

As we study God's Word, we learn what authentic love is and what it is not. First Corinthians 13 reveals its attributes: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (vv. 4-8, NKJV). read more

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Small Groups Deliver Fellowship, Love

Editor’s Note: Daily during January and February, MinistryTodaymag.com will feature an article from pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren and his staff in conjunction with his new book, What on Earth Am I Here For? Warren is the guest editor for Charisma’s Ministry Today magazine for its January/February issue.

Why we believe the group setting creates the best environment for producing healthy followers of Jesus Christ

In early 2000, our leadership team began asking the question: What does a healthy follower of Christ look like? If we are to be successful in fulfilling Christ’s commission to make disciples, we need to define the term disciple. Through a series of meetings, we determined that such a follower of Christ is someone who is balancing the five biblical purposes in his or her heart and life. A healthy follower of Christ, therefore, is: 

  • Surrendering his or her heart and life to Christ on an ongoing basis.
  • Experiencing fellowship with other Christians.
  • Growing in Christ through “being” and “action.”
  • Discovering and using his or her God-given gifts and abilities.
  • Reaching out and sharing the love of Christ with nonbelievers.

We understood that unless you know what the target is you cannot hit it, so we ade our target health through balance. As believers, when we reflect Christ and become more like Him, the focus of our lives shifts away from self-centeredness toward serving Him through every area of life. That is health and balance. read more

Make the Presentation Engaging

Create a system that frees and empowers leaders to do what they do best

I constantly remind our leaders, The sermon begins in the parking lot. By the time I stand up to deliverwhat is traditionally considered the message, everybodyin our audience has already received a dozen or moremessages. Many have already made up their minds as towhether they will come back the following week.

Thesame is true for your church. The quality, consistencyand personal impact of your ministry environments defineyour church. Whether you refer to them as classes, programs, ministries or services, at their core they are environments that involve a physical setting combined with some type of presentation. read more

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