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Ministry Life

Make Challenging Economic Times an Ally of Your Vision

Crumpled-20-billA friend of mine just lost his job. He’s in his 50s with two kids in college, and he’s worried. Another friend just laid off a large number of employees. And a surprising number of recent college graduates that I know are not landing jobs.

That’s a negative headline—but it’s a true headline. There are some job openings, people are getting hired, and there is hope! But we must admit it’s tough out there right now.

I talk with pastors around the country every week and “church finance” is all over the place. Some churches are doing well financially, and many are not. Few are just holding steady, it’s more like holding on.

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5 Keys to Surviving Life in Ministry

Family-priorities-pastorWe have all heard it said that our priorities should be:

1. God

2. Family

3. Work

But what if your work is ministry? You are working for God—does that make a difference? In your list of priorities, does ministry equal God—and therefore trump family? Amazingly, many people think so.

A Sad Beginning

I remember a concerned young lady coming to me after class while I was teaching at a Bible school. Her fiancé, John*, was one of the more “on fire” students. Everyone loved him. He had a big heart and was a fearless evangelist.

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Do You See the Best in Your Congregation?

Gina-McClainAs a leader, have you ever stopped to think about what you believe about those that you lead?

What you believe about their intentions, their dreams, and their desires”

Deep down, what you believe about them influences how you approach them. It impacts how you lead them.

If you’re in a leadership role, it means God has positioned you to take part in the refining work He is doing in those you lead. That means He intends to use you to teach, to guide, to shepherd.

Sometimes that teaching or guidance is easy. It’s not difficult to address and is readily received by the recipient.

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One Conversation Could Change a Student’s Life

Youth-ministryI am in youth ministry because of one conversation.

OK, that isn’t entirely true—I’m in youth ministry because of a myriad of things: being raised well by godly parents; shaping moments throughout my childhood by amazing Christian men and women; seeing the need for leadership and love in the life of a teenager; and my own specific passion and shape.

But I do remember one specific conversation with a guy named Jerry. Jerry was the dean of men at the Bible college I went to, and one of two very influential men at that school for me (the other being the football coach and Bible teacher, Terry).

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Giving to Receive Defeats the Purpose of the Passion

Giving-money-receiveOverhearing other people’s conversations can be dangerous! I stood in our church office and overheard someone talking about our benevolence giving.

“But is it reaping a return? Do any of these people ever come back and be part of the church?”

That short moment of eavesdropping changed how I view life and church. Do you give in order to receive?

We are all guilty of it. We work hard all week, but if all we get are negative reviews, we feel cheated and let down; or we stay with a family because it is our job, and hope that when this crisis is over they will become stalwart members of the congregation. We give to a woman in need and then feel let down when she doesn’t bring her kids on Sunday.

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Strong Stewardship Eliminates Excess, Motivates Generosity

D-MinLife-StewardshipIt was a frank conversation about money with other leaders at our church. We tackled what most of middle-class America considers a taboo subject and faced some hard truths. As a result, I was awakened to my habits and how they influenced the financial situation of our closest friends.

For example, in our community of friends, eating out had become our cultural gathering point—church and then lunch. It had become our Sunday ritual. We love to eat together. Unfortunately, this ritual was causing friends to increase their personal indebtedness to credit card companies.

How did we get to this point in our habits?

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