Counseling

4 Keys to Finding a Difference-Making Mentor

Mentoring-SignI 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:

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Why All Sermons Are a Work in Progress

dr-joe-mckeeverThose 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?

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Continue to Pray When Your Answer Is Delayed

empty-churchYour 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.

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How to Avoid Compassion Overload

Stress-overload-smallIn 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:

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Rick Warren: 8 Steps to Grow Your Church

Another-Rick-Warren-photoDo 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.

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Ron Phillips: A Word to the Wise

Ron-Phillips-Headshot-BlogAlan 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.

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