Eight Signs Your Church May Be Closing

April 26, 2019 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

We call it the death spiral.

I know. It’s not a pleasant term. I can understand if it causes you to cringe.

By the time I am contacted about a serious problem in a church, it is often too late. The problems are deeply rooted, but the remaining members have been blind to them, or they chose to ignore them.

There are eight clear signs evident in many churches on the precipice of closing. If a church has four or more of these signs present, it is likely in deep trouble. Indeed, it could be closing sooner than almost anyone in the church would anticipate.

  1. There has been a numerical decline for four or more years. Worship attendance is in a steady decline. Offerings may decline more slowly as the “remnant” gives more to keep the church going. There are few or no conversions. Decline is clear and pervasive.
  2. The church does not look like the community in which it is located. The community has changed its ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic makeup, but the church has not. Many members are driving from other places to come to the church. The community likely knows little or nothing about the church. And the church likely knows little or nothing about the community.
  3. The congregation is mostly comprised of senior adults. It is just a few years of funerals away from having no one left in the church.
  4. The focus is on the past, not the future. Most conversations are about “the good old days.” Those good old days may have been 25 or more years in the past. Often a hero pastor of the past is held as the model to emulate.
  5. The members are intensely preference-driven. They are more concerned about their music style, their programs, their schedules, and their facilities than reaching people with the gospel. Their definition of discipleship is “others taking care of my needs.”
  6. The budget is severely inwardly focused. Most of the funds are expended to keep the lights on and/or to meet the preferences of the members. There are few dollars for ministry and missions. And any dollars for missions rarely include the involvement of the members in actually sharing the gospel themselves.
  7. There are sacred cow facilities. It might be a parlor or a pulpit. It could be pews instead of chairs. It might be the entirety of the worship center or the sanctuary. Members insist on holding tightly to those things God wants us to hold loosely.
  8. Any type of change is met with fierce resistance. The members are confronted with the choice to change or die. And though few would articulate it, their choice by their actions or lack of actions is the choice to die.

Churches with four or more of these signs have three choices. They can embark on a process of change and revitalization. Or they can close the doors for a season and re-open with a new name, a new vision, and some new people.

Of course, the third choice is to do nothing. That is the choice to die.

Thousands of churches will unfortunately do just that the next twelve months.

Spurgeon on The Power of The Resurrection

April 13, 2019 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

So much is the resurrection the proof of our Lord’s mission that it falls to the ground without it. If our Lord Jesus had not risen from the dead, our faith in Him would have lacked the cornerstone of the foundation on which it rests. Paul writes most positively—“If Christ is not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” He declares that the apostles would have been found false witnesses of God, “Because,” he says, “we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, ifso be that the dead rise not.” “If Christ is not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.”

The resurrection of Jesus is the keystone of the arch of our holy faith; if you take the resurrection away, the whole structure lies in ruins. The death of Christ, albeit that it is the ground of our confidence for the pardon of sin, would not have furnished such a foundation had He not risen from the dead. Were He still dead, His death would have been like the death of any other person—and would have given us no assurance of acceptance. His life, with all the beauty of its holiness, would have been simply a perfect example of conduct, but it could not have become our righteousness if His burial in the tomb of Joseph had been the end of all. It was essential for the confirmation of His life-teaching and His death-suffering, that He should be raised from the dead. If he had not risen but were still among the dead, you might as well tell us that we preach to you a cunningly devised fable. See, then, the power of His resurrection—it proves without a doubt the faith once delivered to the saints.

Supported by infallible proofs, it becomes itself the infallible proof of the authority, power, and glory of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. I beg you further to notice that this proof had such power about it in the minds of the Apostles that they preached with singular boldness. These chosen witnesses had seen the Lord after His resurrection—one of them had put his finger into the print of the nails, and others had eaten and drunk with Him. They were sure that they were not deceived. They knew that He was dead, for they had been present at His burial—they knew that He lived again, for they had heard Him speak, and had seen Him eat a piece of a broiled fish and honeycomb! The fact was as clear to themas it was wonderful! Peter and the rest of them, without hesitation, declared, “this Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” They were sure that they saw the man who died on Calvary alive again, and they could not but testify what they had heard and seen. The enemies of the faith wondered at the boldness with which these witnesses spoke. Theirs was the accent of conviction—for they testified what they knew of as fact; they had no suspicion lurking in the background; they were sure that Jesus had risen from the dead, and this unquestionable certainty made them confident that He was, indeed, the Messiah and the Savior of men. The power of this fact upon those who believe it is great.

March 31, 2019 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

What is Biblical Justice? What is Social Justice?

Social justice has become a convoluted term meaning different things to different people. People often use it as a catchphrase for illegitimate forms of government that promote the redistribution of wealth as well as the collectivistic expansion of civil government, which wrongly infringes on the jurisdictions of God’s other covenantal institutions (family and church). Such a view of social justice both contradicts and denies biblical justice since biblical justice seeks to protect individual liberty while promoting personal responsibility. When addressing areas of justice, I prefer to use the term biblical justice rather than social justice, because biblical justice provides society with a divine frame of reference from which to operate. Biblical justice is the equitable and impartial application of the rule of God’s moral law in society. Whether exercised through economic, political, social, or criminal justice, the one constant within all four realms is the understanding and application of God’s moral law within the social realm.
Increasingly, concerted efforts are being made to address the ethical issues of our day by the body of Christ; however, a lack of continual and holistically applied biblical justice is the underpinning for the continuation of societal and familial breakdowns as well as class and racial disparities. Biblical justice, when carried out correctly, naturally leads to the restoration of race, sex, and class divisions.

God’s Heart for Justice

The Book of Isaiah a glance into God’s heart on this issue of justice. We read in chapter 58 that the Israelites sought God’s help and assistance—what we could call His blessings. In fact it says, “Yet they seek me day by day and delight to know My ways” (v. 2). Not only did the Israelites seek God, but they also fasted (v. 3) out of a desire to experience the nearness of God (v. 2). Basically they assembled, read their Bibles, prayed, sang, humbled themselves, and attended their small group studies. Yet despite all of that, God did not respond to their pleas to bless them, nor did He respond to their requests for Him to execute “just decisions”(v. 2)on their behalf. Starting in verse 5, we read His reason why: “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? . . . Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (vv. 5–7). Essentially what God told the Israelites, in my Tony Evans translation, is that seeking Him, meeting together, having regular prayer meetings and the like was not enough. Because in spite of all of that and more, their relational actions revealed a contradictory reality, which showed that they were fasting as a means of argument while pursuing their own desires (v. 4).

A Disconnect Between Theology and Application

The problem occurred in that their theology never affected their sociology. The thing they offered an “amen” to on Sunday never got carried out on Monday. They would “come to church” and sing about love, but return to the world and withhold that love. They would proclaim unity and equality in the house of God, but fail to practice that unity in the “global body of Christ.” Thus, the missing component of their ethical relational outworking within their theology nullified their religious activity.
The interesting thing about this passage was that the thing the Israelites sought from God (“just decisions”) was the very thing that He said they withheld from others. Simply stated, the principle is: Whatever you want God to do for you personally, you must be willing for Him to do through you to others. God is not looking for cul-de-sac Christians. He is looking for Christians who are willing to be a conduit of His blessing and justice to those in need.
We cannot say, “Lord, deliver me,” yet refuse to be the deliverance for another person in need. That is contradictory Christianity. What we have often done in the area of biblical justice is relegate it to others while at the same time complaining to God that He is not responding to our needs. We have neglected to see that the two are inextricably linked.

Injustice as Omission

Also, while many of us do not directly carry out overtly unjust actions against others on a regular basis, the importance of biblical justice has become diminished in our minds. But the critical aspect to note concerning biblical justice is the biblical definition of sin. A sin is not only a wrong action that is done, but a sin is also a right action that remains undone (Jas. 4:17). The question of biblical justice is not simply, “Have I done anything wrong?” The question is, “Have I done anything right?” It is good that you do not hate your brother or sister in need, but what are you doing to show that you love him or her? Isaiah 58 reminds us that the foundation for biblical justice exists in the principle that our horizontal relationships must accurately reflect our vertical beliefs about God, or we will limit God’s response to our needs as well.
James clearly tells us that “pure” religion is to “visit orphans and widows in their distress” (1:27).Orphans and widows represent the helpless and marginalized in society, those who cannot defend or empower themselves. This prescription isn’t about what we do against the needy and the poor, it concerns what we do for them.
 God says that He will do for us in response to what we do for others. Biblical justice is not a passive awareness of human needs, but rather an action taken to execute God’s justice in the midst of an unjust society. The church has been uniquely positioned to defend and protect the helpless in society, and until we function according to our calling, we will continue to seek God’s intervention in our own lives only to hear His reply, “What have you done for others in My name?” Justice – to prescribe the right way

What Is Biblical Loyalty?

February 21, 2019 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

The Character of Loyalty 

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir

 

Loyalty is remaining committed to those whom God has brought into our lives and has called us to serve, even in times of difficulty. It is developing allegiance and respect in one another, and not seeking to manipulate the other person. Being loyal exhibits our commitment to Christ by our commitment–with discernment–to people and righteous causes at all times (Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 8:2-4; John 15:13; Romans 13:1-5; Titus 3:1).

 

Disloyalty, Betrayal, Distrusting, and Unfaithful, are the opposites. It is allowing our corrupt nature to characterize our desires, so we manipulate others rather than build them up. It is to disregard God’s Lordship and authority as well as His love for others. This mindset will quickly turn into contempt, and will cause us to disrespect and undermine our leaders as well as one another, and lead us to impertinence and blasphemy towards God.

Loyalty is like faith; it means assurance of another. In ancient times, the two words had the same meaning, and referred to one’s loyalty to a person, or trustworthiness to a promise they had made. The person receiving the promise was acting on faith and trusting in that person, and that is what loyalty is mainly about. But, loyalty has another facet to it. It is also a call that we involve other characters into, such as, forgiveness, mercy, and respect. We are to realize this with people, even when it is underserved and unearned. It is also the knowledge that people with whom we place our loyalty will disappoint us. However, we cannot base our character and self image in their reaction, only in who Christ is. Our outlook on life and reaction to people needs to be rooted in God, not on how those people respond to us. We are not responsible for how people treat us; we are only responsible for treating them with utmost character, as a reflection of Christ. Hence, the word Christian is being “Christ like,” not “self like.”

 

We are never to forget what Christ did for us. So, our treatment of a person needs to be rooted in Christ, not in what they can do for us, or how they respond to us. Yes, we need to be discerning, and not be overly taken advantage of. But, real friendship is not based on who can do what, but in mutual love and respect that is freely given and freely received. God will bring people into our lives, and we cannot–due to logistics and time–be good friends with everyone. But, we can treat every one with whom we come in contact, with good character– and that means with loyalty, too. We need to realize that in order to keep relationships functional, we have to be dedicated, trustworthy, dependable, and committed. That means we do not gossip, we do not put down, we do not undermine, we do not play games; rather we model Christ and what He did for us! When we stick with our friends, we keep our friends. Long term relationships tend to be rare, but they are vital. Do not let then be rare in your life!

 

We are to realize that God works through people, including our church and national leaders (Proverbs 21:1; Romans 13). God uses others to carry His plan to us and those around us. Therefore, loyalty is also a demonstration of our obedience to our country, civil leaders, church, teachers, authority figures, and family (unless they give a command that goes against God’s Word). It is something we demonstrate both in public and in private. Loyalty is a character that puts a portion of love into action for those others in your life. It may be the one key aspect, seen in you by others, that will point them to God’s love!

 

Is the Character of Loyalty working in you?

 

Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Loyalty from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:

  1. How do I exhibit Loyalty in my daily life?
  2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be Loyal and maintain a commitment to people?
  3. What blocks Loyalty from working and being exhibited in me?
  4. How can I make Loyalty function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?

· Here are positive examples from Scripture (2 Samuel 3:6-21; Esther 8:1-2; John 11:16; 20:8; Hebrews 11:24-26)

 

· Here are negative examples from Scripture (1 Samuel 15:11; 1 Kings 18:18-19; John 6:66; 2 Peter 2:10;15)

What Are YOU Meant To Do?

January 11, 2019 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

Like everyone else who blogs, I thought January would be a great time to share a post that will help you set your course for the coming year. But while others write of “must-dos” and “should-dos”, I’d like to encourage you to consider something different.

Meant-to-do.

As in, What are you meant to do?

It’s an out-of-the-box question for the first post of the new year, but it’s one that’s vitally important to everything else you have planned for 2019. You see, resolutions aren’t worth much if they don’t move you closer to what you’re meant to be doing.

I believe wholeheartedly that human beings are intended to live for a purpose—that every person who walks this earth is here for a reason.

Because I’m a person of faith, I believe God creates us all with a specific calling. My calling is to add value to leaders who multiply value to others. I’ve known this since I was 29 years old, and it’s shaped the substance and direction of my adult life.

But even if you’re not a person of faith, the idea of a calling shouldn’t feel unfamiliar, especially for leaders. Leaders have a pull towards something bigger than themselves—a sense that there’s more to be discovered.

Author Richard Lieder, who founded Inventure, offers a great definition of a calling:

“There is a raw self within each of us, too, that is our seed of destiny. Like acorns, we are oaks-in-waiting, raw potential waiting to find our calling. At the core of our destiny lies the necessity of choice, the potential to choose to become something that has never existed before. When we fail to express our embedded gifts, we starve our seed of destiny…A calling is the urge to give our gifts away.”

In my new book, Leadershift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace, I devote the final chapter to the shift from career to calling. Everyone has a calling—a gift to give to the world—and the day you discover your calling is among the greatest days in a person’s life.

While the book has a lot more to say on this topic, I want to share with you one of the simplest ideas on how to begin living out your calling.

If you want to make 2019 the year you discover and live out your calling, set a clear path in a worthwhile direction.

There are plenty of worthwhile directions to be found. All you need to do is look at the world around you.

You are surrounded by people who need help, people who need encouragement, people who need someone to show them a better way. You can lend your voice to the voiceless or bring clarity to confusion but do something. The key to discovering your calling is action that benefits others.

That’s because our lives aren’t meant for just ourselves. We are all made to add value to the people around us, to serve through our giftedness. You see, a calling is discovered over time, and leaders flesh it out as they serve and learn and grow.

But that movement—that growth—is essential.

One of the paradoxes of life is that you must follow your calling with clarity and purpose—all while living with uncertainty. Too often, people think they have to have it all figured out before they can live a life of calling and purpose.

The truth is, you don’t have to have all the answers. But you do have to act.

Your cannot choose where your life will end up. But you can determine the direction you take today.

So set a clear path in a worthwhile direction.

Leadership Under Stress

December 26, 2018 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

Are you feeling the stress of leadership?

Are you in the midst of chaotic times?

Are there more times of crisis right now than times of celebration?

Are you facing decisions which appear bigger than you today?

Are you wondering how you should respond?

Perhaps we can gain some insight from the life Jesus.

Imagine the setting. In the midst of one of the busiest periods in Jesus’ ministry, Jesus received word that John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin…the one who had been preparing the way for Jesus’ arrival into public ministry…the one who baptized Jesus…had been executed at the hand of Herod the ruler. This had the potential to derail Jesus’ ministry. How would His disciples respond? Would they run in fear? Would the momentum shift?

Observe how Jesus, feeling the weight of leadership responsibilities and certainly dealing with personal grief, immediately responded to this tragic scenario.

When Jesus heard about it, He withdrew from there by boat to a remote place to be alone. Matthew 14:13

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, we consistently read of Him slipping away from the crowds…often by Himself…sometimes with a few close disciples…to be alone…to pray. Those times were apparently critical to His ongoing strength and success in the journey.

Now look back to the questions I posed to you at the beginning of this post…

Do you need to slip away? Do you need to get alone? Do you need to pray?

I’ve personally found the more stressful my circumstances the more time I need alone with God.

Whether you are a pastor, a ministry leader, or a stressed-out parent, I realize it seems everyone is looking to you for answers today. Your greatest response could be to slip away from the crowds. You’ll return better able to handle the demands placed upon you.

Have you often found strength in slipping away from the troubles before you respond?

 

5 Traits of Highly Effective Leaders

November 26, 2018 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

The 5 Traits of a Highly Effective Leadership H.A.B.I.T


Leadership that works is not a destination; it’s an ongoing journey, made up of many moments and choices over time. Each decision you make has an effect on your overall character. As you practice making better choices, those choices become habits, and those good habits have the power to transform your leadership. Consider that you ultimately become what you repeatedly do. For example, if you consistently choose to be kind, respectful, and hard-working – not in every single moment, but in more moments than not — then you will eventually become a kind, respectful, and hard-working leader. If this seems daunting, know that you do not have to be perfect. You just have to do a little better today than you did yesterday. By adding even a small amount of effort and discipline to tweaking the habits in your day-to-day routine, you can greatly alter the cumulative impact on your leadership legacy.

Good habits have the power to transform your leadership.

How can you get started on developing more effective leadership habits? Use our handy H.A.B.I.T checklist as a guide. Think of these 5 leadership behaviors as you navigate the daily interactions and challenges of your day. Whenever possible, simply choose, even in the smallest way, to behave in a way that is more aligned with these 5 positive traits that are the building blocks of a highly effective leadership habit: Humility, Authenticity, Bravery, Intention, Tenacity.

HUMILITY. The best leaders are well-anchored in their own expertise and competencies, but they are also acutely aware of what they don’t know. They don’t pretend to be the smartest person in the room; in fact, they purposefully hire people even smarter than they are and rely on their expertise to get tough jobs done. There is research to support the importance of humility to an effective leadership habit. Jim Collins, in his well-known book, “Good to Great”, in which he studied successful CEOs to unearth the secrets of their effectiveness, found that the most high-performing leaders had a combination of both “humility and fierce resolve.”

To develop the habit, in your next interaction, pay attention to your default response. Do you tend to try to take credit instead of giving it away; do you interject when you could have listened a little bit longer; do you shoot down ideas without good reason? Practice engaging with more humility by listening better, reading more, being more open-minded, and giving credit to others generously. Rely on others’ expertise and thank them graciously.

AUTHENTICITY. Leadership is an inside-out craft. You can’t hope to deliver transformative results externally without being firmly rooted in who you are and what you believe internally. Authenticity is important for guiding your leadership decisions and ensuring you behave in a way that is true to yourself. But it’s also crucial for 21st century leadership because people are paying close attention to what you do and say — and you’re probably not a very good faker (most people aren’t). If you speak disingenuously, people can tell, and they won’t be likely to believe in your leadership or to work hard to honor your agenda. What’s more, authenticity is essential for building trust, which is the most important competency for modern leaders (that’s why it’s at the center of our high-impact leadership model, the ConantLeadership Flywheel). For a variety of reasons, without trust, you will not be able to deliver sustainable high-performance.

Leadership is an inside-out craft.

To build the authenticity habit, practice declaring yourself by telling people exactly who you are, what you believe, and how you intend to lead. Follow that up by doing exactly what you say and doing it well. Honor your word. Make room in your calendar for what you say is important. Show up in each moment in a way that is aligned with your code. You can also learn more about the idea of authentic leadership taking Bill George’s helpful authentic leadership self-assessment.

BRAVERY. Leadership isn’t easy. There are going to be times when you’ll have to make tough decisions that affect people’s lives. There will be moments when you’re not sure how to engage thoughtfully or when you won’t know what to say, or when you will second-guess a call you’ve made. But, no matter the challenge, people are counting on you as the leader. They need you at your best. To show up for them in the right way, in each moment, you’re going to have to be brave. Luckily, bravery, like any other virtue can be practiced. The more you practice leaning in, no matter how daunting it can be, the easier it will get, and the more meaningfully you’ll be able to respond to problems with agility and skill.

To practice bravery, in your next few interactions, notice when you’re shying away from saying what you really think, or avoiding giving some tough feedback. Have the conversation you don’t want to have, ask the question you’re apprehensive about asking. Practicing bravery doesn’t have to refer only to things that seem negative. Push yourself out of your comfort zone with giving praise, too. Maybe it feels awkward to you to express gratitude, or to give somebody a compliment they richly deserve. Force yourself to do it anyway. Fear can show up in different ways for different leaders. The best way to practice bravery is to learn to notice what you’re avoiding and choose to fully embrace and confront that very thing. Try it in your very next conversation.

Bravery can be practiced.

INTENTION. For a long time, leaders could get away with what we call “seat-of-the-pants” leadership. But the information age has ushered in an unprecedented era of complexity and dysfunction. Times have changed. Leaders can’t haphazardly hop from one fire drill to the next anymore; or, they can, but they won’t be able to deliver high performance – at least not for the long run. At ConantLeadership, we champion an intentional approach to leadership. This means adopting a mastery model in which you treat leadership as a craft: honed with intention, practiced mindfully, and improved constantly.

To learn the intention habit, try shifting your mindset from being reactive to proactive. Reactive leaders wait for things to happen to them, and as the challenges build and wash over them, they flail and flounder, desperately trying to keep their heads above water. Proactive leaders approach their leadership work with discipline and intention; they take time to reflect on the kind of leader they want to be and the types of tactics they can use to bring their leadership vision to life. They practice their craft deliberately and treat interruptions as opportunities. Because they consider the daily work of leadership to be one perpetual preparation for adversity, when adversity inevitably does rear its head, they are well-equipped to dive in and leverage their expertise and experience to navigate the situation effectively.

To better practice the intention habit, get better oriented in the proactive mindset by first taking the time to reflect on the five essential questions of leadership. Then test your readiness with our character and competence checklists. Finally, you can discover a framework for approaching all of your interactions with intention in Doug’s book, co-authored with Mette Norgaard, TouchPoints.

TENACITY. This final essential leadership trait holds the key to experiencing success with the other four. Sure, you can practice with intention, engage with humility, be anchored in authenticity, and bravely stare down the scariest of circumstances, but you won’t achieve greatness without the fortitude to keep going no matter what. Tenacity, or “fierce resolve” as Jim Collins calls it, is the jewel in the crown of effective leadership. In fact, as Professor Angela Duckworth finds in her book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, tenacity is even more important than talent and luck in predicting success. Frankly, you can have astounding levels of innate talent, but if you aren’t able to persist when the going gets tough, you’re not going to get very far.

Habits are formed by practice and repetition — by simply making better choices more often.

Fittingly, we’ve found that the best way to develop tenacity – which is the key to success in all areas of our H.A.B.I.T system – is also through a commitment to cultivating the other four traits in H.A.B.I.T. First, you have to humbly acknowledge you have room to grow in this space, then authentically connect with your purpose and passion, which will provide energy and inspiration during rough patches — then practice bravery so you can call upon your courage reserves when you want to give up, and, of course, continually set and re-calibrate your intention so that you always have a worthy goal to keep you going.

Overall, remember that habits are formed by practice and repetition — by simply making better choices more often. Not all of the time, but most of the time. With these five H.A.B.I.Ts in mind, every day holds an opportunity to make a better choice than you did yesterday, to show up a little more completely than you did before. Over time, the power of your habits is likely to surprise you as your leadership effectiveness grows and grows.

Leadership In Chaos

October 10, 2018 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

The story of creation in Genesis 1:1-2:4a affirms two realities of faith: the reality of God and the reality of chaos. This account of creation affirms God’s embrace of chaos as God’s identity defines the reality of chaos. Speaking the days of the week into existence, God creates a future that is different from the past by ordering the creative possibility that is present in chaos.

Transformational Christian leaders affirm their faith in the reality of God by embracing the reality of chaos.  They realize the identity of their leadership can shape and define creative possibility that is present in chaos.

Rather than embracing chaos, most churches try to avoid, control, or conquer it. However, transformational Christian leaders understand the power of this creation story when they encounter chaotic situations. Rather than attempting to control, destroy, or avoid chaos, they affirm their faith in the reality of God by embracing the reality of chaos. Understanding that transformation is the story of creation being told in the present tense, they realize the identity of their leadership can shape and define creative possibility that is present in chaos. Leading a movement of hope into a future that is different from the past, they influence and order future responses to present conditions.

In consulting with churches and non-profit organizations, we find that non-ordered chaos often defines current reality. Rather than leadership defining and ordering chaos, chaos is more often defining and ordering leadership. In these situations, the story of that church or non-profit is not the story of a future that is different from the past. It is usually the story of organizational life being defined by a past that is different from the future. Christian transformational leaders help to order a movement of hope by their identity and by telling the story of creation in the present tense. They tell the story of a future that God has already created as they affirm their faith in the reality of God and the reality of chaos.

How does your church or non-profit respond to chaotic situations? How do you respond to chaotic situations? Your answer may very well be the beginning of a story of transformation.


Current Process of Pastoral Placement

September 29, 2018 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

The Current Process of Pastoral Placement

 

Churches call their pastors. The typical process currently in place is to form a ‘Pulpit Search Committee’ when the pastorate becomes vacant. This committee will recruit pastors and begin the selection process, usually by obtaining letters and resumes and requesting recorded sermons. They will interview candidates and make a recommendation to the church. The candidate will be introduced to the church, answer questions from the congregation, and preach one or two sermons. Then the church will vote on candidate.

 

Item #1 – People serving on a ‘Pulpit Committee’ are almost always untrained, ill-equipped, and inexperienced. They may be godly people, but, they are asked to complete a task that is vital to the life and ministry of the church that they are not qualified to exercise.

 

Item #2 – The pool of potential candidates is frequently made up of men seeking to escape a bad situation they currently serve in. This is a formula for disaster.

 

Item #3 – The primary competence examined is preaching. This is important. However, Character, Leadership, Relational Skills, Previous Ministry Effectiveness must also be considered. When this is not thoroughly completed the results are short term tenures when deficiencies surface.

 

There is a better way – one that harmonizes with the NT. Contact IgniteUS to consider this process. 800 472 3764 or info@igniteus.net.

 

Qualities of A Godly Pastor

September 13, 2018 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

Scripture must be our guide when evaluating a young man’s desire for pastoral ministry (1 Tim. 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–9; 1 Pet. 5:1–4). This blueprint needs to then be evaluated by the young man’s desire for the work (internal calling), and then by the pastors and congregation of his local church (external calling). Although those Scripture qualities are helpful, they are not exhaustive.

So, here are 10 other characteristics I look for that I believe are very important for pastoral ministry and fall within the framework of the fruit of the spirit in a Christian’s life:

  • A deep love and burden for people and their transformation
  • A clear, personal love for Jesus
  • A warmth in personality that people respond to well
  • A unique ability to understand and explain God’s Word***
  • An ability to emotionally engage people both public and private
  • A clear communicator***
  • An authentic, honest awareness of his heart and personal brokenness***
  • A humble teachable spirit***
  • A clear possession of wisdom and discernment into life and struggles
  • A strong ability to empathize to a hurting person 

 

Pastors, look for these in the future pastors in your church and consider your own character in light of these qualities.

 

The *** are absolutely essential!

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