Archive for January, 2011

Is God Challenging You LATELY?

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 .

What does your sermon title/church name say about your church?

I was reading a blog post by Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing, and he was talking about the importance of book titles. To quote him exactly: “Great titles are PINC (pronounced “pink”). They do at least one of the following: make a promise, create intrigue, identify a need, or simply state the content.” As church leaders, shouldn’t the name of your church and your sermon titles also do one of these things or more? Just as people often buy a book based on the title and cover, people will decide a lot about your church based on the name and the sermon titles out on your church’s sign/marquis. Do the things that are out in the community defining your church to the public making a promise? creating intrigue? identifying a need? or telling about the content people will find in your church? …Or are they just vague references that only the “churched insider club” will understand?

Many Groups…ONE CHURCH!

One of the great things about being a Spanish Professor in a Christian University is that I get a chance to talk with students who are involved in a lot of different churches in the area. (Upstate SC, southern NC & North Western GA) What is incredible is how God is working in Awesome ways in SO MANY churches! People are coming to the Lord every week! In some churches, there are one or two, in others 10 or 20, and in a few of the mega churches even more. The crazy awesome thing is that it isn’t a competition! It is teamwork! From the church that has an average Sunday attendance of 10 people that is celebrating the one person who came to the Lord to the church that has over 10,000 people celebrating the hundreds who came to the Lord last week, we are ALL in this together! For each of us, it is our mandate to share the gospel with someone. We may not be the one who prays the “sinner’s prayer” with them, but as we all work together, God is glorified! Keep up the great work! There are still millions in my own area who do not know Jesus as their Savior. Until everyone has been reached with the Gospel of Christ, we aren’t done!

Is it new, or just recycled?

Churches get labeled, traditional, contemporary, evangelical, pentecostal… and now, many churches are trying to do “something new”. Are you really doing something new, or just changing the name of something that churches have done for all of church history?

New Beginnings

Most people start the year out on January 1st. As an academic, my year starts multiple times. Each semester is a new beginning! In the church, we can never forget that we have baby Christians who are starting over! They don’t know “church speak” or the “rules”. They can be messy. Celebrate the new beginnings and like a new semester, be ready for a whole new type of workload!  Watching the baby Christian grow, like watching the student learn, doesn’t just happen! It takes a lot of work both on their part and on the part of those who are teaching them, but it IS WORTH IT!

What makes a great church?

Here in SC, the landscape is dotted with churches. In the closest town to where I live, Pickens, there is one block in the center of town where one side of the block is taken up by the Baptist church and the other side by the Methodist church. One whole city block that is pure church property! There are churches of all kinds, contemporary, traditional, ultra-traditional, conservative, liberal, high church, low church, liturgical, friendly, cold, outreaching and inbreeding. So what makes a great church?

1. It is concerned about the lost people outside the walls of its sanctuary.

2. It helps those who have come to the Lord grow in their faith and in turn share it with others…see #1.

Take a look at your budget. If your church is spending more on the cemetery fund than it is on reaching out to the lost in the community, than your church is probably described as sick and dying and in need of some CPR. There is hope! Seek God for what HE would have the ministry of your church be. Then don’t argue with HIM, do it. If you are saying, well, I have been praying and HE hasn’t told me yet. Then unless HE has specifically told you not to do anything, get up and get to work. If you are in the leadership of your church, get involved in something outside the church with the specific purpose of reaching people who don’t know Jesus. Become a Boy Scout leader, run for school board, join the PTA, join a fishing club…whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might!

For those who are wondering…

I have obviously taken a little break from writing on here. So I wanted to update you on the reason. My wife, Casper, had an unforgettable horse ride which ended in her taking a flying leap into a metal corral fence. While a spectacular and quite memorable stunt, she flunked the final exam for stunt woman school and ended up in the ER with a broken humerus (upper arm) and plenty of bruises and bumps on various other parts of her body. She is healing well and should make a full recovery in the next few months. My mind wasn’t on church leadership or ministry, so I didn’t write about it. Thanks for your prayers. For some really great blogs that are much more consistant than mine…at least for a while, try these.

Seth Godin’s Blog – Great Business and Marketing Blog, but much of it applies to the church.

Michael Hyatt’s Blog – CEO of Thompson Nelson Book publishing, he writes a great blog on Christian leadership.

In Search of the Great Pastor Conference

Great Pastor Logo

Due to my life being much more chaotic this fall and Christmas season than I had anticipated, the In Search of the Great Pastor conference didn’t get promoted as I had planned. Thus not enough people signed up, so I have made the decision to cancel it. Thank you to those of you who did, I will be contacting you personally. Have a wonderful 2011!