Archive for the 'ministry' Category
October 14th, 2010 by Burlw
As a teacher, I make a lot of copies. Sometimes, when in a hurry, I don’t print off a new master sheet to make the copies from, I just grab an old copy, stick it in the machine and presto, out comes the worksheets I needed. The problem is that the copy of the copy is just a little less clear than the original or even the first copy.
It is easy to follow the leader, but it is hard to step out on our own and do something revolutionary. Sometimes, even in ministry it is easy to try to have a ministry just like _______________. He or she has a great ministry that is doing incredible things for the Kingdom of God and since we of course also want to do our part for HIS Kingdom, we figure well, if I just do what _______________ does, then God will bless my ministry the same way. The problem is that sometimes, it almost works. However, when we take our eyes off of God and put it on someone else, no matter how godly that someone else may be, then we aren’t fulfilling God’s mission for our lives, we are just being a copy of a copy and that is never as good as the original!
April 28th, 2010 by Burlw
When Church planters enter a community, they usually do some research first. They figure out where the people are, where they can meet the needs of the people they intend to reach etc… In established churches, sometimes the community changes while we aren’t paying attention. Maybe we need to take a walk around the neighborhood with some new eyes. Plant a new church within the established church! Rose White (Sorry Rose, I don’t have a link to you on the internet) recently did some incredible research into the idea of the “Christo-centric Walkabout” finding where people would and wouldn’t go in a city and why people might find certain areas or even churches “inaccessible”. Has your church become inaccessible to the people of the community where it is located? Do changes need to be made so that you can meet the people where they are in order to create relationships in which the Gospel of Jesus can be shared? Maybe it is time for a Walkabout…or even just a walk around the neighborhood with your eyes open to how God would have you reach the people there.
April 26th, 2010 by Burlw
In the church world, there are so many great programs/events/studies/classes that can help your church. At what point do they become a detriment? One question to ask is, “How many staff and volunteers do we have?” and then secondly, “What is the very best use for these people?” If we try to do everything, we will accomplish nothing well. There are traditional programs like Choir, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, Special Music, Men’s & Women’s ministries…each of these take someone to lead them and people to be involved in them. Each of these serve a purpose and can be good for the church. Sometimes though, it is important to choose between them so that a smaller number of programs can be done with the excellence that is due worship presented to the King of kings and Lord of lords! If you are having trouble getting volunteers for an area of ministry in your church, you could berate the congregation about why they aren’t serving the Lord…OR you might take another look at that area of ministry and ask if it is really vital to the core mission of the church? It might be time to kill it before it dies a long painful death.
April 21st, 2010 by Burlw
Today, my wife left for Seattle. The house hasn’t changed any. Life around me is more or less the same, but there is a little something missing. She is only one person, but in my life, she is a VERY important person! Are you a part of someone’s life enough that you would be missed if you disappeared for a while? Someone other than your spouse/kids? In church leadership we can ask that question both of ourselves and our church. If I disappeared from this ministry, would anyone care? Would it affect anything? The same with our church! If my church disappeared off the face of the earth today, would anyone outside of the staff & maybe the members even notice? Are we making a difference in the community? Do people outside see the life change that is going on in people’s lives because we are here? Or are we just that building on a hill that has a few cars outside it on Sunday mornings for an hour or so? Tough question to ask, but one we should be asking regularly. Just because you would be missed today, doesn’t mean you have that status forever. We must constantly be seeking the Lord and HIS vision and direction for our churches. When we step outside of HIS will, we are just a community club that will soon lose members and die off. Seek God’s grace that your church will be one that would be missed if you weren’t there!
April 9th, 2010 by Burlw
God seems to open a lot of doors at the same time in life. I have been letting you all know about the upcoming In Search of the Great Pastor Conference in February. Please keep praying for that and that the Lord will send the pastors that HE wants to be a part of it. Also, I am going to be speaking in a couple churches this month. I am really excited about getting to talk with the students at Augusta Road United Methodist Church on April 18th. I pray that the Lord will do some incredible things that evening! On the 25th, I will be preaching at Slater Baptist Church in their 11:00 am service. I cant wait to get to share with this congregation what God has laid on my heart for that Sunday! Please keep all of these in prayer.
April 6th, 2010 by Burlw
Some people feel that not planning out their sermons is somehow more spiritual. You confuse that pit in your stomach on Saturday night because you don’t know what you are going to preach in the morning with the work of the Holy Spirit. Try this and see if it works for you. Take a day or two away from the church. Sit down with a calendar and a Bible somewhere that will not distract you. Pray over the dates in the calendar. You might get ambitious and give a rough plan to the entire year. If not, try for at least a quarter. Note that there may be certain holidays like Christmas, Easter/Passover, Ascension Sunday etc. for which you may want to plan a special service. You will also want to plan sermons that remind the congregation of the vision that is particular to your church at least once a quarter. Having a plan allows you to tackle jobs in bite size pieces. It allows you to have more creativity. Like if you want a prop for a sermon, it is much easier to acquire if you have a few months to get it than if you have from midnight Saturday evening until Sunday morning to get it. If you have a staff, it gives them a heads up about what they need to be doing as well. If you are worried about too much planning and not enough Holy Spirit, remember, HE can still change the plans at the last minute just like before…but there is a plan for HIM to change. HE can and should be part of the planning. If you have never tried this before, you might do something basic like dusting off one of those systematic theology books from bible college or seminary and work through the table of contents in a year or two. That way, you don’t preach on your pet doctrines every week while leaving your congregation ignorant of others. Have fun! I hope you will find that this approach relieves stress from your work. If not, after a quarter, go back to agonizing on Saturday night for a Sunday morning sermon.
March 13th, 2010 by Burlw
Before you can go the extra mile, you first must know what the first mile is. Do you know what the vision is that God has given you for your ministry? Can you see it? Taste it? Recognize it when you see it? If someone else offers to help, can you tell whether their “help” fits into the vision plan for the ministry God has placed you in charge of? If you do know the vision, are you willing to go beyond just trying to create adequacy? To be a great leader, are you ready to make sure that the bathrooms are sparkling clean? Are you asking the right questions to find out what would make things run more smoothly? At the core, we must constantly be in prayer before God to know what HIS vision is for the ministry he lets us work with. To quote Dave Ramsey, “We must pray like it all depends on God, and work like it all depends on us.” It does depend completely on God, yet we must be willing to do all that we can to do our part to create an environment in which success can happen. When our church or ministry gives people MORE than what they expect, then they will be much more open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that can really change their life!
February 15th, 2010 by Burlw
This week, I gave exams in four of my Spanish classes. It becomes quickly obvious that some of the students “get it”, while others aren’t there yet. What do we do in the church when people don’t “get it”? Can we give exams to find out if they “get it” or not? For those that don’t, how do we help them accomplish the goal? In the Spanish education world, I have things at my fingertips like sending them to a tutor or to the language immersion lab to get help. In the church world, we also have things at our disposal to help people “get it”. One idea I am proposing today is that the senior leadership of a church coordinate with the various ministries of the church to advance the common mission or goal of the church body. For example, if the core mission statement of the church is that they “are going to reach out to their community with the love of Jesus Christ and teach people to love like Jesus.” Then each ministry of the church should be echoing this idea. The teaching ministry – Sunday school/Small groups…whatever you call it, will be advancing this idea through the things that it does. Maybe they are volunteering at a local boys home to make it a better place and showing the boys and employees the love of Jesus through their actions. Doing a fund raiser to buy shoes for kids in the local school district and then taking the shoes to the kids could be a mission for the Men’s Ministries. These are just two examples. The key here isn’t exactly what is being done, but that whatever is being done is advancing the mission that God has given the local church body. If the men’s ministry is just meeting to share stories and eat donuts, it is time to re-vamp the ministry or get rid of it…unless gossiping and getting fat is the mission that God has given your church…but that is a thought for another day’s blog. Today, just having a common goal throughout the various church ministries will help people “get it”.
February 3rd, 2010 by Burlw
As a Christian leader, are you clearly identifying the goals that the Lord has placed on your heart so that those who God has given you to lead can work along side you to acheive those goals? Are people in your church just trying to guess what the purpose of the congregation is? Having been both a lay person and a church staff person in various congregations in my life, I have noticed two leadership traits that can stifle church health and church growth.
1. No clear plan! If the pastor and church staff don’t know what the goals are for the church, then how can the average person in the pew hope to know and be a part of achieving the goal.
2. Goals that change too often. Many pastors and leaders are visionaries, this is a great quality as long as the vision is sustained. The problem comes in when the leader has one great plan after another with no time in the middle for implementation! We see this issue when the church attempts to start too many ministries…the result is that none of them are carried out well.
God has uniquely qualified each person in the body of Christ to carry out a mission for HIM. Pastors and Leaders help others plug into that mission and unite people of similar mission to carry out the goal of being the Hands and Feet of God here on earth. There are many vital ministries in this world, each of them is important. Remember that no one person or even one congregation can do them all! Beg GOD for THE MESSAGE that your church needs to hear and carry out. It won’t be the same as the church down the street…if it is, there is no need for your church to exsist-Just go join them. It will be something that God impresses on you that is specific for the congregation HE has allowed you to lead. Have an awesome day! I hope you found some encouragement and direction in this post.
January 27th, 2010 by Burlw
Sometimes in ministry, it seems as if all is going great! GOD is working beside you and accomplishing great things through you! Those are the Great Moments! Those moments are when hundreds of people pack the altars asking God to forgive them and take over their lives! Those are the moments when you lay hands on a cripple or even a dead person and they get up and walk! Those moments when you are seated next to someone on the plane and before you touch down there is a new name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! So what about the other times? Those moments when our spiritual walk with GOD seems stagnant? What about when we don’t even feel like reading God’s Word and even praying over meals seems like a forced exercise instead of time spent with our best friend? As is clear from my taking some months off from writing on this blog, I just went through a time where my passion for ministry if not even my passion for the Lord was in a very low place. The great thing I learned is that GOD is the same in both places! HE still walked beside me each day even when I didn’t pick up the Bible to start my morning. HE still wanted to spend time with me. That was incredible! So, enjoy those GREAT MOMENTS, but realize that GOD is the same even in the not so great moments.