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!

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A Shepherd in the Boardroom

A Shepherd in the Boardroom

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Examining the pastor’s role in mentoring business leadersf-Greene-ShepherdBoardroom

When Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers and chased out the dove sellers from the temple (see Matt. 21:12), He also launched a discussion among church and business leaders for centuries to follow.

The relationship between church and business ranges from the simple, “Would it be OK to place a brochure for my business in your lobby?” to the more complex, “Would your business donate materials to build a new gym for our youth?”

A slippery slope exists in the relationship between church and business. The primary issue seems to balance on the fulcrum of doing commerce in the church and receiving support from local business for church budgets. As church budgets continue to cope with declining revenue, the tipping point becomes less obvious.

Ultimately, church leaders need wisdom in building relationships with business leaders for the work of the church and for the prosperity of local business. If the church focuses on developing the leader in the business leader, the harvest is predictable—for the business and the church.

Providing spiritual leadership to business leaders is not unlike teaching leaders of the home. Church leaders provide counsel to help businesses remain on a path to significance. The leader’s role is not so much to provide a list of “don’ts” as it is to encourage a businessperson to seek God first in all things.

Business is a domain, and God calls business leaders to have dominion in their calling. Rulers are set in place by God to effect progress in the kingdom. A godly business has a purpose in the kingdom of God. The following points are offered to help church leaders connect with their kingdom authority:

Counsel

Effective business leaders have learned to listen to very few voices. Most leaders have a trusted circle of influencers and don’t stray too far away from that collective voice. The best counsel for business leaders is the voice of God. How can you help them hear the still, small voice?

Encourage the blessing of important contracts and deal sheets. Ask business leaders to meet with you as their spiritual leader to pray over and seek God’s blessing on the proposed deal. Too often, business leaders will come to God after a deal goes bad and ask why. We need to help businesses progress to the altar to petition God for wisdom prior to the inking of a contract.

Encourage business leaders to quiet the voice of advisers who do not know God. Key decisions require godly input. The advice of man is limited to worldly intellect, but spiritual intellect leads to better outcomes.

For example, a few months ago, a business leader brought me three proposals to build a website for a business. Proposal A was clearly the best, from my business perspective, with a lower cost and quicker turnaround from a more experienced firm.

Proposal B was God’s choice, and proposal C didn’t enter into discussion. When I prayed with the business leader, I could not get clearance to bless what appeared to be the best deal. I prayed over and blessed proposal B, and the business owner accepted the leadership.

In subsequent weeks, company B kept improving their delivery, and the project achieved better than expected results. Company A went out of business later that year. A business that is led by the Holy Spirit is headed in the right direction.

Listening

Business leaders can help the church, and we need to be open to listen to their ideas about church growth, relationship building and finances. There are some who suggest that we should run our churches as a business—but they don’t have business people as close advisers. It seems better to me to run our churches as prescribed in the New Testament while lending an ear to business counsel.

Knowledge in the business arena moves quickly. It would be a difficult battle for a church leader to keep up with all business innovation. Technology evolves almost overnight, and many of the new tools can help advance the work of the church.

Listening posts help church leaders remain connected and caring. Successful business leaders operate on a high level of communication and trust other leaders who initiate conversation. Have regular meetings with business owners, asking questions. Ask for recommended reading lists of everyone you meet in business. Learn to hear the drumbeat of business progress.

Then, in the quiet of your study, ask the all-important question, “So what?” What does it mean for your church? Did you learn something that you can now train? Is God leading you in a specific direction? It is likely that your leader meetings are divine appointments. What is the primary takeaway for you?

Integrity

Obviously, this is a category in which church leaders must engage on a teaching level and in personal application. Business leaders expect church leaders to do what they say they will do. I continue to hear accusations against church leaders about their lack of keeping commitments. The credibility of a church leader is difficult to establish and easy to lose.

By nature, business leaders are skeptical of most promises made. There isn’t much they haven’t been promised and little they have seen fulfilled as promised. Most church leaders address issues of moral decay, but we also have a responsibility to teach business ethics at a penetrating level. It is not that hard for a business leader to lose “true north.” Messages to business leaders need to suggest a high bar, with faith as the core asset of the business.

Prayer and First Fruits

f-Greene-ShepherdBoardroom2It seems overly simple to say this, but church leaders need to pray more often for business leaders. Pray the business by name, and pray for specific outcomes. Ask God to favor the business with increased revenue.

My preference is to go to the business and pray in its facility. I do this especially if the business is having difficulty. I pray over accounts payable and accounts receivable. I pray over the cash register. I pray with the leaders.

We need to demonstrate how to lead spiritually. It won’t surprise you to know of the success stories reported with on-site prayer and spiritual attention.

Business leaders need to be taught the principle of “first fruits” for their business. It is certainly one thing for a leader to tithe. It’s quite another to teach a business owner to share the first fruits of their business with Jesus, the High Priest. Businesses who give first fruits to God have greater harvests.

God is using business leaders today to advance the kingdom. In many churches and countries, the backbone of the church consists of a core group of business leaders. As we counsel leaders and learn to listen on a deeper level with full integrity, surely Jesus will be well-pleased with a righteous relationship between church and business.


Steve Greene is the dean of the College of Business and dean of Distance Learning at Oral Roberts University. With a long career in broadcasting and marketing, Greene has a doctorate of business administration from the University of Memphis.

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