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Gina-McClain

4 Steps to Success in Conflict Resolution

In my past few blogs, I’ve talked about conflict—why people avoid it and why it’s better to lean into it.

One thing I’ve learned about working with teams of people: When two or more are gathered, there will be conflict!

Why? Because we all have our opinions about how things should be, and we’re rather attached to our opinions. Conflict is a reality of leadership. I’ve been all over the map on how to lead through conflict, from completely avoiding it to plowing through it and leaving a body count behind. Let me tell you, neither approach works out well. read more

4 Keys to Finding a Difference-Making Mentor

I once took a course from Dallas Willard where he lined out 30-some-odd spiritual disciplines. “These are all tools,” he would say. “Use whichever ones help you personally.”

I’ve discovered one that wasn’t on his list. Call it the practice of mentoring.

It took me a few months, but when I found a pastor who could mentor me, his tutelage was so helpful that I haven’t been without one since. These are the traits I look for in my mentors: read more

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Why All Sermons Are a Work in Progress

Those of us who counsel pastors and teach future preachers sometimes caution them to “study the Bible for itself, just to receive the Word into your heart, not to prepare sermons.”

We might as well tell Sherlock Holmes to enjoy crime scenes for the beauty of the occasion and to stop looking for criminals; or tell Albert Pujols not to worry about actually striking at the baseball crossing the plate but to relax and take in the inspiration of the moment; or tell Joan Rivers to give up on plastic surgery.

Some things you do because this is who you are.

When a pastor reads a great insight in the Scriptural text, does anyone think for one minute that he is going to file that away in a personal-edification file, never to be shared with others in sermons? read more

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Continue to Pray When Your Answer Is Delayed

Your church isn’t growing, and you can’t figure out why. That’s always a tough place to lead and live.

You aren’t alone. In fact, you may be among the majority of churches in the U.S. that are struggling to grow. For some, on the surface, all seems well. Of course, there are a few problems here and there—that’s true in every church—but overall things seem good.

So, what is it? How do you decode the cipher that unlocks the answer? Or perhaps the issues are more obvious and even problematic, but the solutions still evade you. read more

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How to Avoid Compassion Overload

In the last week alone, 57 people have died in four violent events as reported by major news outlets.

Every week, people in your church lose a job or a loved one or have a health incident. Every month, families are torn apart by anger, misunderstandings and rebellion (not just teens; adults rebel too).

The pain from all this is hard to keep in perspective without tuning out. There comes a point when we are tempted to hand out pamphlets instead of dealing with more stress: read more

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Rick Warren: 8 Steps to Grow Your Church

Do you realize that if your weekend attendance totals about 90 people, you’re an above average church (at least in the United States and when measuring by such numbers)?

If you’re wondering what you need to do to grow, here are eight steps that can help you break an attendance barrier:

1) Decide you really, really want to grow. Believe it or not, the primary barrier to church growth is desire. Do you really want to grow? If the answer is yes, then you must commit to this goal and be willing to accept changes. read more

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Ron Phillips: A Word to the Wise

Alan Alda is probably best known for playing Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce on the hit television show, M*A*S*H. But for all of the silliness of his character on the show, Mr. Alda once made this quote:

“Be as smart as you can be, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart.”

A lot of people do not know the difference between being smart and being wise. You might say that being smart is having a lot of knowledge, but that being wise is knowing how to use that knowledge. read more

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Christian Marriages Need to Shine

Note: This is the first of a three-part series about Christian marriages.

An alarming number of Christian marriages end in divorce. What can the church do to reverse this trend?

I had just started my new position as an associate pastor back in 1983. There I was at a barbecue for the adult Christian singles. The majority of those attending were divorced. With each hurting conversation and each prayer of restoration, my burden grew for these singles.

Later that year, I sat in a small support group for divorced men and women, hoping to find how to best minister to them. One of the singles, perhaps sensing my dilemma, blurted out: "The best way you can minister to the divorced is to minister to marriages." It was then that I realized that the greatest ministry I could have to the divorced single was to build strong marriages. read more

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Counseling Do’s and Don’ts

Clear boundaries and expectations are vital for an effective counseling  ministry

With more than 20 years’ experience counseling couples, I have learned some things that could help pastors and ministry leaders in this area.

 Do This

Definitely counsel those who have problems that you feel competent addressing or areas in which you have training. I have a master’s degree in divinity as one of my degrees, which required that I take only one counseling course. I realize some parts of counseling are just common sense, biblical understanding and spiritual discernment. However, if you feel you’re in over your head or the individual or couple isn’t changing under your guidance, it’s time to consider a different strategy.

Have clear hours designated for counseling and stay within those boundaries. Even professional counselors can only do so much. Pastors have so many tasks and time demands that counseling is best when set for a designated time. Clearly define what an emergency is so that others don’t define that for you. read more

Healing Victims of Sexual Abuse

The five biggest mistakes pastors make in counseling victims of sexual abuse—and how to avoid repeating these traumatizing errors read more

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