Some days, I want to write a book. Others, I just want to be lazy, watch TV, surf the net and do nothing. This war between what I do and what I want to do has been waging in the hearts of men since the beginning of time. Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament in the Bible said in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” This is the state that many find themselves in today! Recently, I had the chance to hear Clayton King speak, during his talk, he mentioned that most mornings he is up and studying by 5:30 in the morning. Clayton has written at least 6 books, and we are the same age! This can be either inspiring or depressing. What does it say to you?
Archive for the 'accountability' Category
One of my friends told me recently that I am the most inconsistent blogger he has ever known. Everyone knows that in order to build up a following/platform in the blogging world, you must be consistent. Here is the thing. I do this for free and have no really need of a platform or following. Writing is fun when I feel like it, and when I don’t have any inspiration I don’t write. This semester is quite busy, so I won’t be writing much. Just letting you know so you don’t worry about me. I am alive and well doing other things I love. When the break comes, I am likely to be blogging every day. Have a great fall!
This morning, I had a great breakfast with a friend who used to be a youth pastor. As we chatted about both having formerly been youth pastors and other church staff positions we had held, we talked about what we missed and didn’t miss about being on the paid side of church ministry. One other thing that came up was the importance of re-establishing accountability! When we were “in ministry” we both had multiple people in our lives who would ask us the tough questions and for a time, he and I were accountability partners. We spent time in prayer together and separately praying for each other. We challenged each other in our spiritual growth. Now that we are in “secular” jobs, we noticed how easy it is to let that slide. (Pastor’s, if you don’t have someone to hold you accountable, get someone NOW! Before your ministry gets killed by your own arrogance in thinking that Satan can’t fool you.) It is just as important for the “average Christian” and anyone in any kind of leadership as for pastors. In addition to ministries, to many marriages and families have been destroyed by moral failures such as pornography addiction, affairs, shady money deals… You aren’t above failing in this department and neither am I. I have blogged about my own failures in the area of pornography in the past and have an ex-wife to show for it. Each of us is wired differently, 30-50% of men don’t have trouble with pornography or sexual addictions, but that isn’t to say that they don’t have sin issues! Find someone that you can be honest with and who will not only ask you the tough questions but give you the tough love you need when you are tempted to fail or indeed do fall into sin.
After writing this original post, I stumbled across Brandon’s blog post also on Accountability: Check it out Here!
I have a facebook friend. One of about two or three people on my friend list that isn’t someone I have a connection with somehow in real life. His name is Brian and he is a devout atheist. He is an incredible guy! We have had many discussions about religion, formation of the world, politics, and he has never resorted to a ad hominem attack! He has strong and sincere beliefs that science and math have, or will come up with the answers for everything. In talking with Brian, it has made me find answers to my own faith. It hasn’t weakened it, but strengthened it. While I do sincerely pray that someday he finds the path to redemption through Jesus Christ, I am thrilled to have someone in my life who expects me to back up my faith with facts and just quoting a Bible verse isn’t enough. Do you have someone in your life who challenges your faith?
I had a fascinating conversation over lunch with a friend that I really admire. As he and I discuss and at times disagree over issues, I find from time to time that I must either re-think my position on something or be willing to change that position. Confronting ideas that are opposed to the way you think in general is a great thing. I believe that we are both better for the friendship. I pray that in your world, there are people who will disagree with you in love. If all our friends agree with us 100% of the time, then we aren’t growing. Seek out those people who will challenge your presuppositions and grow in your faith, knowledge and abilities as a leader.
Over the last few weeks, God has been challenging me to do what I can to help some of the small churches in my area. My own church is not small at all, but I know that there are tons of pastors out there struggling with churches with less than 30 people in them. Do I have an exact plan? No, I must admit, I don’t. If you have any suggestions, or are a pastor of one of those churches and would like to have lunch with me or have me come and speak at your church, feel free to contact me.
We have all had challenges in our lives, but my question is, what is God challenging you with LATELY? We can’t rest on what God took us through last year, or a decade ago, or when we were teenagers. (Unless you are a teen now…in which case, I hope God is challenging you to do great things for HIM!)
The Sunday School lessons about David always included a lesson on David and Goliath, but did you ever spend much time talking about David’s fight with the Lion or the Bear over the sheep? If he had backed down then, I wonder if he would have had the chance to fight Goliath? For more on that idea click here .
In James chapter 5, we are told to confess our sins to each other. This is in the context of God listening to our prayers, especially for healing. Often, when our spiritual life seems to be going nowhere and our prayers seem to be bouncing off the ceiling, it is because we are keeping something a secret. I have mentioned in previous blogs my own history with pornography addiction. When I finally was able to share my sin with a friend who would hold me accountable it was as if Satan’s bondage over me was broken! I had of course prayed many times to God that He would take it away from me. I had made and broken promises to Him over and over and over again that I would quit. When I took Him at his word that confessing my sin to a brother in Christ was important, then God was faithful to not only forgive me but battle along side of me to help me overcome a very addictive sin. Take inventory of your life if you are struggling in your walk with the Lord. Is there sin that you don’t want people to find out about. Satan will lie to you and tell you that if anyone finds out it will kill your ministry! The irony of that is crazy, but we believe the lie when we are in the middle of it. Confession is so very important! Find someone who you can open up to. It is important that this person be of the same gender. Confession brings people into a deeper relationship not only with God, but with each other, thus confessing to someone of the opposite sex can lead to further complications. If you are Roman Catholic, you have a great system built in – talk with your priest! (If you are a priest, feel free to seek out a brother in Christ who is a non-RC pastor to confess to.) For all of us non-Roman Catholics out here it isn’t hard to find someone else who loves the Lord but is another screw up just like us. Spend time with them, confess and listen to them as well. God is faithful to forgive us and rebuild us. Praise the Lord!
When I resigned from being the connections pastor at my previous church, one of the ministries that I worked with was helping men overcome addiction to pornography. After leaving, I found that the built in accountability I had there faded away. Tonight, I am meeting with a man who would like to start a new group at NewSpring on their Greenville campus. We aren’t meeting to plan a new group. We are meeting to be accountability partners for each other. If something bigger comes of this, I will be thrilled. More importantly, it encourages me to remind others that accountability is VERY important in the ministry, and even for those of us who are no longer “in the ministry”.
The church board can be a scary thing, both for those involved and for the pastor of the church. Every non-profit in the United States has to have a board of some kind. They are a good idea in a church. Otherwise, what happens if the pastor does something horrible? I have an idea to present that might seem to fly in the face of the traditional church board idea…but here it is. How about if 1/2 or most of the board are not people who are members of the church? Before you label me crazy, I am not talking about just picking guys off the street. What if the “church board” were made up of pastors of like minded churches in the area or even from around the country. This way, if there is a real problem, there is definite accountability for the pastor, but there will never be a lynch mob mentality that can occur if the pastor steps on the toes of a prominent member of the church in one of his sermons. Each of these pastor board members would go preach in each others churches from time to time so that the church membership would know who they are and also give them time to feel out the church and see where needs are. It seems to me that decisions could be made more objectively by people who are seeking God’s will for the church as a whole as well as the local body. This would prevent the situation of powerbrokering going on inside the church. Also, if the pastor should get into trouble, there is already a group of leaders there to help him get counseling and recovery. If you know of a church or your own church already uses a system like this, I welcome your feedback and comments!
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.