Church Chat

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If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know we are all about encouraging pastors.  But you may be thinking, “Sure, but that’s just you.  That’s just your job.”  So today we want to share ACTUAL words from REAL people about their pastors, and you.  Without further ado, here are your people, speaking to you:

Pastor, remember that time the matriarch of our family died and everyone flipped out & turned on each other? We had a family meeting with wailing & gnashing of teeth…sackcloth, ashes & a pretty sweet rendition of Stairway to Heaven in the background. Well, because of the beautiful things said about her and the godly wisdom you gave us, we were all able to get through what was undoubtedly one of the hardest times in our lives. Your presence & words would not have been as effective if you didn’t know us all on a personal level. And that didn’t happen because we went to your church. You knew us because you’re an amazing shepherd.

The most amazing pastor I ever had was ___________. Joy, gentleness, loving are just a few of the words I would use to describe him. And such a wonderful gift for teaching with incredible clarity. I miss him greatly.

I can say without pause that my pastors operate in unconditional love and humility before our Lord and Savior. They are men and so therefore like all human kind miss it now and then …. But oh they are true shepherds and they love and protect their sheep, Love, acceptance and forgiveness is what our church was founded on…..I think they both have strived to do it well!

And a special shot out to Pastor… We have walked life out together… He has genuinely been there for me at every twist and turn in my life since my twenties! He prayed me through, loved me through some hard places, some grievous times! God bless the man who stands in the gap and loves Gods people!

Ron Dunn said ” Don’t just stand there- Pray something”

Your calling is so important. Please protect that by making time to renew yourself. The adage “you cannot give what you do not have…” is very true. You must take care of yourself as fill your vessel to give to each in the measure they need or require. Also, do things outside of church that energize you. That energy will be needed.

I am blessed to call him my pastor and my friend. He is an incredible man of God and it’s a pleasure to do life with him.

Self-care isn’t selfish

Spend time with your family! If you’re not caring for them, you can’t care for anyone else. (From a PK)

Vacations are a good thing. Schedule time away or you’ll burn out. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but inevitably it will come.

What you do matters…eternally!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NLT)

Thank you. Thank you for your service and for the gift of yourself. Please take time to care for yourself and your family. Please take time to nurture your marriage. Please do not feel compelled to say YES to every demand and request. I appreciate you and don’t want to lose you.

For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:10-12

What would you like to say to your pastor or to pastors in general?  Share it with us!

100 Tips for Leaders in the Church

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This week’s Tuesday Tips is part one of a four part series. These 100 tips for leaders in the church come from Joe McKeever. After five years as Director of Missions for the 100 Southern Baptist churches of metro New Orleans, Joe retired on June 1, 2009. These days, he has an office at the First Baptist Church of Kenner where he’s working on three books, and he’s trying to accept every speaking/preaching invitation that comes his way. He loves to do revivals, prayer conferences, deacon training, leadership banquets, and such. Usually, he’s working on some cartooning project for the denomination or some agency. See more from Joe McKeever here or visit Joe at www.joemckeever.com.

1. In all the world, there are only three Christians who love change; none of them are in your church.

2. When you speak before an unfamiliar group, be careful what you say because you never know who is listening to you. You’ll start to tell a story about some guy in your former church and his mama is sitting right in front of you.

3. There will never be a time in your life when you know all the Bible and have your questions all answered; if you cannot serve Him with some gaps in your knowledge and preach without knowing everything, you’re going to have a hard time.

4. Your church members should submit to your leadership, but you’re not the one to tell them that.

5. The best way to get people to submit to your leadership is for you to humble yourself and serve them the way the Lord did the disciples (John 13); they will trust someone who loves them that much.

6. The best way to get run off from a church is to take your eyes off Jesus and begin to think of yourself as hot stuff who is worthy of acclaim; from that moment on, your days are numbered.

7. In worship services, try not to talk so much, pushing events and meetings, that you are worn out by the time you open the Word and begin to preach.

8. Only a pastor with a suicide wish will tell a story about his wife and children in a sermon without their complete and enthusiastic approval. Even if they give it, you should go over it with them ahead of time to make sure they’re OK.

9. Some of your biggest headaches will come from ad-libbing in your sermons, saying things “off the cuff” which you just thought of. Try not to do that until you have fully mastered your tongue.

10. If the Lord is ever to use you mightily in His service, He will first have to break you. (Usually, this involves some failure on your part which comes to light and embarrasses you.) This will be humiliating to you and so painful you wonder if you can go back into the pulpit. However, you will survive and forevermore be thankful for what this taught you.

11. You need to befriend other pastors, old and young. Ministers need fellowship with colleagues. Do not make assumptions about pastors by the size of their congregation. Some of the Lord’s finest pastors and godliest preachers are bivocational.

12. It’s not all about you. Some people will join the church and it will flourish, some will leave and your church may struggle. Some will love you and some will hate you. Very little of it has to do with you. People have their own reasons for what they do. Get over yourself.

13. Marry someone who shares God’s call into this type of work or your life will be dragged down and she will be chronically angry at the demands placed on the family.

14. A little conflict in the church can be a good thing. Where there’s no friction, there’s no traction.

15. One of the surest ways to tell you are backsliding is when you no longer eagerly pick up the Bible and enjoy finding new insights. The day you find yourself thinking, “I know this Book; I’ve been there and done that,” you are in trouble.

16. If you cannot serve God by faith, you will not make it in the ministry. You will plant a thousand seeds along the way which you will never see grow to fruition. Likewise, you will gather a harvest from seed sown by others and cultivated by your predecessors.

17. If your joy comes from numbers and successes and awards, you are setting yourself for trouble. Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in accomplishments, but “because your names are written in Heaven” (Luke 10:20). This will keep you steady.

18. If you think of the ministry as a career and find yourself ambitious to go on to bigger and better things, you run the risk of imposing the world’s standards on the kingdom. Serve where He sends you, no matter how small or out of the way, and you may be surprised by what He can do at Podunk. Someone once asked, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Let God move you when (and if) He’s ready.

19. Get all the education you can and continue learning and growing the rest of your life. There is no stopping place until you get home.

20. Learn to live on your income. Avoid all debt except on a house. The first few years (when your income is smallest) are the toughest; after that, it should be easier and easier.

21. Off days. Early on, establish with your spouse at least one full day (including evening) each week for yourselves. Have an understanding about this when talking with search committees. Protect it. (Then, help your wife to know that, a) you will work hard to protect this day, but b) there will inevitably be exceptions once in a while.)

22. Search committees. When dealing with search committees, do not become so eager to go to that church that you fail to do your homework (such as, looking carefully at the church’s history, its relationships with previous pastors, what income/benefits they offer, the details about the living arrangements, etc.).

23. Mentors. Find one or two older ministers as your mentors. Call them occasionally to tell what’s going on and seek their counsel. Pray for their ministry.

24. Reading. In addition to theological books and ministry periodicals, read outside your field. Run by the public library and browse the periodicals. Scan through magazines you’ve never heard of. Be alert for ideas, interesting concepts, anything you’ve never heard of. Read a lot of history.

25. Always have reading material in your car so if you are stuck in traffic or in a waiting room, you’re prepared.

Waking up with Leah: Learning to Love a Disappointing Church

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Guest post written by Chad Bird. Click here and check out his blog.

In the tiny Texas town where I grew up, sleeping in on Sunday morning was as inconceivable as rooting for someone besides the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. Going to church made the list with apple pie and Chevrolet. My dad was a deacon; my mom a Sunday School teacher; and I was the typical daydreaming boy fidgeting in the pew. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and I found myself in a job where sleeping in on Sunday was highly frowned upon since the pulpit would’ve been quite empty without me. There I was: seminary trained, armed to the teeth with confessions and creeds, zealous to convert a world—or, at least, our Oklahoma town—to the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

Looking back at myself as that twenty-something pastor, I have to admit that I was almost as steeped in naïveté then as I was as a twelve year old boy. Sure, I knew plenty about the church, but it was heavily freighted with the good stuff. The good stuff of the ladies’ guild cooking casseroles for grieving families, youth groups pounding hammers in Mexico to build homes for the poor, a rancher showing up on the pastor’s doorstep with half a beef from his own herd to stock the freezer. But as good and giving and beautiful as the church can be, there’s a dark side, too, that at times can be dog ugly. The day I stumbled upon a secret meeting of the church leadership and one of the elders stood up and slammed the door in my face—that comes to mind. Over the years, there were the not-so-veiled threats of violence, pastors who broke the seal of confession, bishops issuing warnings about me, and occasional rumors about me so outrageous they could have been ripped from the cover of the National Enquirer. I learned plenty through those years, the most obvious lesson being that the church can be a place that’s just as mean and nasty and royally screwed up as the world.

Like the patriarch, Jacob, who after his wedding night, awoke to the wrong wife in his bed, I too one day opened my eyes to find that the Rachel with whom I had fallen in love, for whom I’d labored long years, was not the one beside me as the sun rose. I rolled over and came face-to-face with the uncomely, undesirable, older sister. And then I had a decision to make: leave the church, or learn to love Leah.

Have you been there? Maybe you too grew up with a congregation as your second home, perhaps even served in the ministry, but later encountered within its walls abuse or neglect or a whole host of other ills. While going through a divorce, or struggling with a sexually charged issue, you found not clasping hands of support but wagging fingers of accusation. As the shards of your broken life fell about you, when simply having a Christian show you they cared, when that alone would have meant the world to you, all you saw was the church’s back, turned away, walking the other direction. Or maybe you just slowly slipped away, skipping a Sunday here, a whole month there, and eventually never darkened the doors again, but not a single believer took the time to call or visit to reveal they missed you. You have your story, and I have mine, but all such accounts shoulder a common burden: the fellowship that is supposed to be a hospital for sinners can seem more like a religious country club, a xenophobic clique, or a horde of hypocrites. Call it what you may, it’s not been a church to you and for you. So what do you do? Do you leave or learn to love Leah, walk away from the church or stay?

I could’ve washed my hands of the whole affair and walked away. In fact, I gave serious thought to just that, and for several years, rarely planted my butt in a pew for, when I did, I could taste the bile rising up my throat. But over time, and through a whole lot of healing, re-wounding, and re-healing, I finally came to the point where I see and love Leah for what she is: a beautifully ugly church in whose arms I encounter the God who loves beautifully ugly sinners like me.

A beautifully ugly sinner like me—that’s where healing has to start, with an honest acknowledgement that there may be a slew of unattractive things about the church, but I’m no supermodel of holiness myself. Part of the way we humans deal with our grief or anger or guilt is to deflect any culpability from ourselves by blaming others for almost everything that goes wrong. And though there are important exceptions—such as the victims of sexual predators—most of us who’ve had a rocky relationship with the church must fess up to our own failings. There’s a good chance Leah finds me just as ugly as I find her. I see hypocrites in the church, but I see in my own soul times galore when I wore a mask of piety in public and a face of shame in private. I deplore how the church’s tongue can destroy a person’s reputation, but my own tongue loves the desserts of lies and rumors and gossip more than it loves the bread of honesty. In our society, where it seems everyone claims to be a victim, it needs to be said that we are all perpetrators ourselves. We struggle with the same faults with which we fault the church.

In addition to personal accountability, we’ve got to kill and bury any utopian daydreams we have about the church hitting the gym to tighten her glutes and getting a boob job so we have a hotter, sexier Leah. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a time when the church was flawless. Barely had Jesus ascended before the church descended into trouble. Squabbles arose, heresies spread, pastors played favorites, sexual immorality mushroomed, and hearts grew cold. In the last book of the Bible, there are letters from God to seven different churches. Although he commends those congregations for many good things, he also complains of them leaving their first love, holding to false teachers and teachings, spiritual death, and lukewarmness. And this while the church was still basking in the afterglow of the earthly ministry of Jesus! As long as there are people in the church, there will be problems, for if humanity is anything, it is problematic.

Therein is the reason I found my way (or rather, like a lost sheep, was carried) back to the church: because it’s a place pregnant with problems. Because of those imperfections, I fit in perfectly. If you’ve got it all together, have no struggles, live a full and happy life, free of sin, then the church is not for you. But if you struggle with selfishness, greed, lust, addiction, problem children, a cheating spouse, fear, loneliness, or anything else that plagues our race, then the church is the ideal place for you. For Leah struggles with all that crap, too. Don’t let the pretty stained glass and padded pews and vested clergy fool you; all around the church are wounded sinners wheeled about on gurneys, doctors sewing up stab victims, nurses checking IVs, and double amputees carried by the blind who are led by the mute while the deaf sing prayers for healing. The church is messy place for messed up people who are in dire need of a God who cares.

In uncomely, undesirable, older Leah, that’s just what you’ll find: a God who cares. You’ll find a God who was born of an unwed teen whose neighbors likely whispered was a slut. You’ll find a God who hung out with outcasts, welcomed whores as followers, touched untouchables, called bullshit on the holier-than-thous of his day, and walked eyes wide open into the clutches of those who would torture him to death so as to save a world that really didn’t think it needed saving. In the church you’ll encounter the God who takes all his beautiful and exchanges it for your ugly.

And so, after a few years of growing up, maturing in a some areas, and realizing a bit more clearly what life is all about, I can now honestly say, “Leah, just as you are—not who I want you to be, not who others say you should be—but just as you are: I love you.”

If Churches Shut Down

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People across the United States are finding out what it means for their life when the government shuts down. From this, a new hashtag on Twitter has started: #IfIShutDown. Dentists are tweeting empty dentist chairs, newspaper editors blank sheets of paper, and moms and dads messy kitchens and unsupervised children.

But what if churches shut down?

It might be the most “felt” shutdown of all. 

Why?

Because if churches shut down,

…food pantries would run empty

…residents in nursing homes would go unvisited, and many would be forced to close

…large numbers of preschools, after-school programs, daycares, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and even colleges and universities would have to close

…untold numbers of AIDS orphans in Africa would lose their monthly support

…marriages facing crisis would have to fend for themselves

…homes being built for the homeless would have to be dramatically scaled back

…countless orphanages would be forced to close

…parents with wayward children would be left without support

…the arts would lose one of its greatest patrons, and one of its biggest venues

…arguably the single largest values training program for young children would end

…recovery groups of all kinds would find themselves without places to meet, staff to serve, or support to continue

…one of the last stands of living, breathing bookstores would end

…vast numbers of funerals would go unofficiated and weddings put on hold

…leaders and constituents in the vanguard of ending human slavery and sex trafficking would be sidelined

…teens dealing with drugs and drinking, cutting and bullying, would be adrift without focused support

…people in hospitals would be unvisited, and hospice support would be devastated

…and hundreds of millions of dollars going into aid and benevolence for the poorest of the poor would end.

Oh, and there’s one more little thing: the one message that can alter the entire trajectory of someone’s eternity would lose its most powerful voice.

So what happens if the government shuts down? Arguably, some good things end. But much still goes on, such as the recent purchase of a mechanical bull for $47,000. So at least the important things are cared for.

But with the church?

That’s one shutdown no one would want to face.

James Emery White

 

Blog post is written by Dr. James Emery White from crosswalk.com. James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; President of Serious Times, a ministry which explores the intersection of faith and culture (www.serioustimes.org); and ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture on the Charlotte campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. White holds the B.S., M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, along with additional work at Vanderbilt University and Oxford University. He is the author of over a dozen books.

Worth the Scars

Guest posting for us is Brianna McGraw, speaking on pastoral stress from an inside perspective – a window on the world of a “P.K.”

 

 

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Worth The Scars

When I reflect on how being a pastor’s kid has affected my life, I see joys as well as sorrows. As a “P.K.”, I have seen and experienced many things in the church that if not for my personal intimate relationship with the Lord and the guidance of my parents, I may very well have walked away from church altogether. Having been a part of three different churches over the course of my life, I have seen the dynamics of the church from the worst to the greatest.

The hardest part for me being a “P.K.” is that unfortunately, I have seen many people, not only in the congregation but also on staff mistreat my parents. It is hard for me to watch all this happen and not have the ability to stop it. The saying in our home is, “Vengeance belongs to the Lord.” I am able to repay those people with kindness because of my parents’ reminder of this verse — but also because they are the ones who act out kindness first, knowing the Lord will do His part.

I know it is not the case for most “P.K.”s to have parents like mine. There seem to be few with parents who serve the Lord wholeheartedly no matter what. I am blessed with the parents the Lord has given me. Even if it’s hard at times, I still say I am blessed even more with parents who are pastors. The life of ministry is not an easy one, but it is a fulfilling one. Knowing you are doing the work of the Father is worth all the hard times. I would not have it any other way.

Brianna is currently studying Ministry & Leadership at Oral Roberts University, with plans to join “the family business” after she graduates.

True Confessions from a Daniel Fast

“So what are you hearing from God?” images

An innocent question from my husband about the modified fast we’re currently doing with our church.  Not a question I really wanted to answer.  But to be completely honest, in my 43 years of being a Christian (yes, I started very young) this is the first fast of any kind I’ve ever done.  A week and a half in, and I had nothing.  Bubkes.  I hadn’t been sure of what to expect, but frankly I hadn’t been expecting much at all.  I’m not proud of either.

My husband was shocked.  You see, he’s only been a Christian for 30 years.  Only.  So he generally expects me to be way ahead of him on most things “church.”  In fact, he was fasting – the whole thing, not a modified Daniel Fast – when we met.  The truth is, I’ve never really gotten the whole fasting thing.

“Then why are you doing it?” he questioned.

This was an easy question to answer.  “Because we’re supposed to.”  To me it was a matter of obedience.  At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself.  In all honesty however, I’ve had a really bad attitude about it from the day I learned we were being called to fast.  I’ve been cranky and hungry and resentful.  Unless, of course, you call that a good attitude.  “I may be sitting down on the outside, but on the inside I’m standing up!”  Is it any wonder I hadn’t gained any new insight?  But by golly, I was being obedient.  and hungry.

In my all-too-short regular prayer time, I took the situation to the Lord.  Perhaps I was expecting some kind of “brownie points” because of the huge sacrifice of obedience I was making.  That’s not what I heard from God.  The uneasy sense of God saying, “Give me a major break,” hung in the air.  I decided to let it remain there and not deal with it.

As I sat down to read the handful of blogs I follow, words jumped off the page of Seth Godin’s blog, “If you come to my brainstorming meeting and say nothing, it would have been better if you hadn’t come at all.”  Hmmm…well, that couldn’t possibly be God speaking through a secular business/marketing blog.  I moved on to my next choice.

“Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.”  Thank. you. very. much.  Jon Acuff.  Surely this was coincidence, not confirmation.  In line with the theme of  “phoning it in,” I shelved this, too.

Since this was Saturday and I had a Monday post to write, I began to consider what I might put together.  Maybe something about pastors going through the motions.  This wasn’t a fully formed idea.  I contemplated it for awhile, even as a small voice whispered to me, “You’ve lost your joy.”  I pushed the voice to the background.

Sunday morning came too early, as only Sunday morning can do.  I prepped for church and worship team; the voice in my ear got a little louder as I sang.  I toyed with the idea and finally submitted my heart to think about it.

Joining my husband in the congregation, I settled in to listen to my pastor bring the Word in his gentle, yet confrontive manner.  He is a strong proponent of doing “the work.”  This should have been a nice confirmation of my obedience.  Instead, he turned to Revelation 2:2-4.  “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.”  The hot flush of shame crept up my neck and stained my face.  I could deny it no longer.  I had been called out – Laodicea.

Somewhere in the pursuit of my calling ( and the day job necessary to fund that), combined with the sheer volume of stressful life events in the last two years, I allowed the survival techniques meant for coping to become my life pattern.  This iniquity of people-pleasing in my life has become a life-sucking identity.  It manifests itself through sarcasm, disdain, and despising of others through criticism.  Harsh words served up with a laugh to soften the blow can be defended as a dry sarcastic wit.  Until someone who knows me well calls my hand.  But even I know how much I want to feel the joy of my first love.  To not build a wall against the hurt.  To risk again.

I may not get any other message than this during our fast.  I do know this one is spot-on.  I need to step back and reassess how that first love has crept away in the night.  I must find that way back into the tenderest of graces.  Yes, I have been and will at times still be “that Christian.”  One who has no business leading if perfection is the measure.  I have played false and taken out my frustrations on others.

I know, however, the Redeemer of all, the Restorer of all, the Joy-Bringer.  He is replete with mercy.  His benevolence to me knows no   end.  I have such a long way to go!  Not only has God been these things to me and more, I am thankful for my family that gives me permission to be who I really am.

What have I gotten from the fast this far?  A call to return, to come up higher, to be real, to recapture the joy of my first love.  I’m not fooling anybody but myself.  I refuse to settle for “this is as good as it gets” living.  I also need to grasp this wake up call to the danger that is lurking at the door, waiting at my door.  God has a work for me to do, but He never intended that I should it in a joyless state.  Therefore, he must have a plan for me to live life more abundantly.  I embrace that plan without seeing it clearly or knowing what I will face.  Obedience is commendable, but it isn’t the same as submission.  I plan to take back what the enemy has stolen so I can be Lisa, only seeking to please the One.

Do you struggle with people-pleasing, have you lost your first love?  Are you going through the motions,

unknowingly placing yourself in the lion’s grasp?  Let me know.

true confessions from a Daniel Fast

12 Words of Encourgement for Pastors (Or Other Leaders)

It’s Friday Forum!

12 Words of Encourgement for Pastors (Or Other Leaders)

I love pastors. Each week, through this blog and my personal ministry, God allows me to partner with dozens of pastors, helping them think through life and ministry issues. I’ve learned that many pastors struggle to find people who will invest in them and help them grow as individuals, leaders and pastors.

Recently I had a pastor ask me for my “best advice” for other pastors. Wow! That’s hard to say. I’ve learned so much through the pastors who have invested in me and by experience. It’s hard to summarize all that I’ve learned. It could probably fill a book or two…but at least more than one blog post!

I put some thought into the question and decided to come up with a list of encouragement, one that I would give to all pastors, to answer his question. I’m sure there’s more (and you can help by adding yours), but this post is at least a start. Of course, wisdom is transferable to other fields, so change a few words around and I’d give this advice to any leader…some of them perhaps to any person.

Here are 12 words of encouragement for pastors:

Choose your friends wisely…but choose friends. Don’t attempt to lead alone. Too many pastors avoid close friendships because they’ve been hurt. They trusted someone with information who used it against them. Finding friends you can trust and be real with means you’ll sometimes get injured, but the reward is worth it.

The church can never love your family as much as you do. Your family needs you more than the church does. They can get another pastor. Your family doesn’t want another you. You’ll have to learn to say “no”, learn how to balance and prioritize your time, and be willing to delegate to others in the church. (You may want to read THIS POSTfrom my friend Michael Hyatt on saying “no” with grace.”

If you protect your Sabbath day, your Sabbath day can better protect you. You’ll wear out quickly without a day a week to rejuvenate. God designed us this way. Take advantage of His provision. Take time to rest. You may not rest like everyone else…for me rest doesn’t mean doing nothing…but you need time away from the demands of ministry regularly. Lead your church to understand you can’t be everywhere every time. You owe it to yourself, your family, your church and your God.

You have influence…use it well. The pastorate comes with tremendous power and responsibility. It’s easy to abuse or take for granted. Don’t. Humility welcomes the hand of God on your ministry.

No amount of accountability or structure will keep you from temptation if you’re heart is impure. Above all else, guard your heart. (Proverbs 4:23) Avoid any hint of temptation. Look for the warning signs your heart is drifting. Keep your heart saturated with God’s Word and in prayer.

Let God lead. You can do some things well. God can do the impossible. Whom do you think should ultimately be leading the church? You’ll be surprised how much more effective your leadership will be when it’s according to His will and not yours.

If you can dream it, God can dream it bigger. Don’t dismiss the seemingly ridiculous things God calls you to do. They won’t always make sense to others or meet their immediate approval, but God’s ways will prove best every time.

Keep Jesus the center of focus in the church. You’ll never have a money problem, a people problem, or a growth problem if people are one with Jesus.

Your personal health affects the health of the church. Take care of yourself relationally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This, too, requires discipline, balance and prioritizing, but if, to the best of your ability, you strive to be healthy in every area of your life, as a good shepherd, your people will be more likely to follow your example.

The people in your church deserve authenticity. Not only will be honest about who you are help keep you from trying to meet unreal expectations, but it will help the people in your church be transparent with you and others. Don’t be someone you’re not. Be someone worthy to follow, but make sure you’re living it…not just teaching it.

You’ll never make everyone happy. If you try, you’ll be very unhappy…and very unproductive.

Now, make this post better. As you can count, there are only 11 here. I’m counting on you to add your best number 12.

What word of encouragement do you have for pastors (or other leaders)?

 

Ron Edmundson is a follower of Christ, husband, father, church-planter, pastor, writer, idea-man, strategic thinker, dreamer and teacher.  You can read more of his work and follow him at:

email – ron.edmondson@gmail.com

Google+ athttp://www.gplus.to/ronedmondson

Twitter at www.twitter.com/ronedmondson

Facebook atwww.facebook.com/ronaedmondson

My devotional site iswww.mustardseedministry.com