Posts Tagged ‘Pastor’


Advice to a New Pastor of a small town Church

1. Spend an hour a day doing nothing but considering what the Lord wants to do in your life right now. Anchor your thoughts with a section of Scripture or with a relevant Biblical concept or even a problem you are facing. Take the time to lift Him up and consider what He is doing or wants to do. Make it your time where you are centering your life and duties upon Him. Develop an inward core that centers itself upon God.

„ 2. Realize that your ministry to your family is more important than the ministry itself. Your ministry will grow from your ministry to your family.

„ 3. Learn to be content with the people and building God provides for you. Give thanks for them every day. Express thanks and appreciation publicly and constantly.

4. Realize you will always be an outsider to the community. Just accept it. But counter that with your insider status to the power of God. Manifest a supernatural life and they will desire to be an insider with God like you. When they know the power and reality of your faith in God, they will want that ‘insider’ faith as well.

„ 5. Look for someone to mentor/disciple. Make this a priority. Hopefully it is someone in the church, but be open to men outside the church.

„ 6. If there are leaders, let them know your expectations about discipling them.  Hopefully they will agree. If not, don’t push it the first year, but try to draw them in as you share discipleship successes with those whom you are able to disciple. If they still resist after a year, go through Titus and Timothy with them. If they still refuse, have the courageous conversation of asking them to resign.

7. Don’t be afraid to make a change in something your first year. You will discover that some are wanting you make a change.

Will Willimon reports in his post, “Non-synoptic church leadership in church” that he was given the following advice as a young pastor which he now shares with others,

“I am sure someone has told you that you shouldn’t change anything when you go to a new church for at least a year,” he said to me.  Indeed, someone had told me just that. “Well, forget it!  Don’t change anything in a new church unless you become convinced that it needs changing! Change anything you think that needs changing and anything you think you can change without the laity killing you.  Lots of churches are filled with laity who are languishing there, desperate for a pastor to go ahead and change something for the better.  Lots of times we pastors blame our cowardice, or our lack of vision, on the laity, saying that we want to change something, but we can’t because of the laity.  We ought to just go ahead and change something and then see what the consequences are.”

8. Learn everyone’s name (first and last name) including the kids. Make a personal photo directory or flash cards if you need to. Learn all the names of the leaders or “gate-keepers” in town. Invite the bank president or mayor out to lunch and find out who the community leaders are.

„9. Discover who the “gate keeper’s” of you community are. Get to know them, and look for ways to make the power of Christ known.

10. Schedule as many meals and coffees with people as possible. Go to their workplaces and pick them up and take them to a place that they normally go to lunch. (This is tough on a minimal salary)

11.„ Ask these kind of questions to ask when you meet with people (don’t try to evangelize them the first time you meet):

a. Where did you grow up? Where have you lived?

b. What is your job? Help me understand what you do and what kind of pressures you have. Is it a great job or just so-so? Why? How is your relationship with your boss? If the boss, what kind of struggles do you have with your employees?

c. What is your church background? Why did you come to our church? (of if they don’t come to church-what is your attitude toward church in general)

d. At some point tell them you would like to say a little prayer for them, but you wonder if there is anything else you could pray about? (In other words, you will know enough already to be able to pray for them). Do a quick prayer for them.

People will be surprised at how interesting and good it is to meet the pastor and you will not feel pressured to ‘convert’ them or get into church politics until you get to know people. The people are more important than the church. When you get to know people, you will understand where they are coming from. Try to understand their passion. Then followup your visit with prayer for turning their passions into a relationship with Jesus Christ. He will guide you in how to reach them or grow them.

12. Don’t make fun of their rural lifestyle, don’t use big words, don’t be condescending. Be genuinely interested in their lives, their problems and their needs. Be willing to go the extra mile in helping them out. The sooner they trust your intentions the sooner they will trust your ministry.

13. Normally pastoring is 1/3 preaching (study, prep, reading), 1/3 administration (meetings, email, phone calls, mail, chaos), and 1/3 pastoral care (meeting with people).  But for you it will be ½ pastoral care and the other two ¼ each. You will have to initiate and be intentional to meet with anyone. Very few will reach out to you.

14. Force your wife to meet folks by inviting people to dinner. Your kids may embarrass you, but the other couple or family will get to see you as you really are. They don’t want fake. They want real.

15. Get to know the history of the church and who used to go there and what happened.

16. Look at the church constitution and see what the purpose of the church is. Make sure your leadership accepts that purpose and wants to work toward its fulfillment. If not, either the purpose or the leadership needs to change. Design projects to involve the leadership in the fulfillment of the church purpose.

17. „A small church is not leadership driven. Small churches are “interwoven” meaning that the people have strong relationships based on blood or long friendships. They will tend to take the church very personally. They will see it as “their” church. You may want to make some changes or start certain programs, but while they may say “that’s a good idea, Pastor,” they will be looking to see what the church ‘patriarch’s’ are thinking. If you do not when the true leaders over, you will never get the support or participation you need.

The following letter was written by Mrs. Floyd K. Chapman, who lives in a small [pop. 1,064] Midwestern town. Her letter was written in response to an article about the suspicions some folks have of their pastors.

The folks in a small town don’t really care to hear what some author says. They only want to be convinced of your sincerity. Few of the common people read as much as we’d like to think. Many I know read only the following: the headlines, daily funnies, lost and found items; local items. Also they read some farm magazine, after a fashion–then they turn on TV. This is truth, whether we want to admit it or not.

On Sunday they go to church–they like to hear about Jesus, because he loved them enough to put up with their failings. They are not especially interested in economics, except as it affects them directly, or in politics, except in presidential years. But they respect freedom beyond words. They despise anything that makes them lose their self respect and much talk to the contrary they fear the creeping socialism that has made so many dependent upon the monthly government check that puts the bread in their mouths.

They know that they are not learned or smart and they fear people who are, unless they love them. Love is something one feels and if one loves he overlooks so much.

Can you take the big truth, the fact that too many of our ministers do not like people. They love subject matter, but are not sympathetic with the daily problems and weaknesses of the common man. This is not a weakness confined to our denomination.

Too many think they know it all–and do not give the other fellow credit for any knowledge. For instance, a pastor in our community a few years ago attempted to tell one of our more successful farmers of the superiority of horsepower. If it was or was not superior was not the point: the farmer was operating a large farm successfully and happily with his modern machinery. The minister should have been more tactful. If he knew nothing about farming he should have kept still or asked questions.

Sir, I am only a small-town woman, but I am sincere when I say there are a few qualifications a minister must have. Without them, regardless of denomination, he will be accused of everything under the sun–including communism.

1. He must have had a sincere Christian experience and must sincerely love the Lord and His work.

2. He must have had a certain amount of training in Bible, organization and method.

3. He must be willing to work–not too good to use his hands at times–and not too proud to ask help if he needs it.

4. He must really like people–more than books, more than organization, more than position.

5. He must walk ahead leading the people gently as a shepherd, and not try to drive them with a whip. 

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If you hear a tinkling cymbal when your pastor preaches, you can bet God has not heard struggle in prayer.

Pastors are much more than their sermons or programs. Sermons are the outflow of your life, just as God’s Word is the outflow of His being. Programs are the outflow of your heart, just as the practices of God are the outflow of His heart. Prayer connects the Heart of a pastor with the heart of God.

Long after the words of the sermon have been forgotten, the touch from the heart of the pastor lives on.

Fleshly pastors produce fleshly people, and the flesh is death to God (Rom 8:13)

God does not come into the pastor’s work simply because he is a pastor. God comes by prayer and an expression of need.

That God is found of us in the day we seek Him with our whole heart is as true of the pastor as of the repentant.

A prayerful ministry is the only ministry that brings the pastor into communion with both God and the needs of his people.

Prayer unites the pastor’s heart as much with his people as it does with His Abba, Father.

Timid, men-pleasing pastors are transformed into fearless prophets through prayer. Pastors of Prayer are met with fear by fleshly people. (1 Sam 16:4)

Pastors are not made in the seminary. Pastors are made in the prayer closet.

Great learning makes a proud pastor. Great praying makes a pastor a man of God.

The sweetest spirit by the slightest perversion may bear the bitterest fruit. So the sweetest pastor by lack of prayer may bear the most shallow ministry.

The pastor must be God-touched, God-enabled and God-made. (2 Cor 3:5-6)

Prayer gives the preaching of the pastor life, life as the springs give life. Prayer is the conduit for the spring of living water.

Prayer keeps the pastor thirsting for the life-giving power of God.

Without prayer, the life-giving spring of a pastor’s life becomes a trickle of apathy and insignificance.

Tears produced by Spiritless preaching are but summer’s breath on a snow man, nothing but surface slush.

A pastor’s sermon may appear to be heart-felt and earnest, but without the power of prayer, it is the emotion of an actor and the earnestness of an attorney.

The sermon may glow with the intelligence and verbal skill of a well-trained pastor, but without the Holy Spirit, the glow and glitter will be as barren as a field sown with thistles.

A Prayerless pastor exalts self in the Holy of Holies.

A Prayerless pastor has been disconnected from the divine current.

Prayerlessness violates and defames the power of the Holy of Holies in the church of God.

A life-giving pastor costs much – death to self, crucifixion to the world and travail of soul in prayer.

Without the life of the Spirit, beautiful words of a sermon are but the beautiful flowers surrounding the coffin.

Prayer transforms the pastor into the pastor God needs him to be.

Prayerless pastors are death to a Spirit-filled church.

The pastor feeble in prayer is feeble in the Life-giving Spirit!

Fleshly pastors can draw people to themselves and to his church, but the church will be a graveyard, not an embattled army.

Fleshly pastors advance sin, not holiness, and populate hell, not heaven.

Prayerless preaching is life-sucking.

Apart from prayer, pastors tend to a dead flock.

Feeble sheep follow prayerless pastors.

Unless the pastor is the greatest of prayers, he will become the greatest of backsliders.

It is impossible for a pastor to keep his spirit in harmony with the heart of God without much prayer.

The work of the ministry will harden the pastor’s heart if devoid of prayer.

Pastors weak in prayer are to be pitied by their people.

Prayerless pastors build prayerless churches.

Powerful ministry is not flavored by prayer, but embodied by prayer.

Effectual prayer builds an effectual ministry.

Prayer that is made much of produces sermons that are made much of.

Minor prayers make minor pastors.

Life-giving pastors are graduates of the school of prayer.

Talking to men for God can be done by anyone. Talking to God for men is done by few.

Pastors coat their sermons with prayer, but God wants us to bathe them in prayer.

Powerful sermons flow from prayer; dead sermons are bookended by it.

The pastor’s study must become a closet, and altar, a ladder, that every thought ascend God-ward before it goes man-ward.

Sermons are scented by God through prayer.

Sermons are lifeless and still until prayer provides the energy of life

A Pastor must move God toward his people before he can move his people to God.

Access to God through prayer gives a pastor access to the hearts of his people

True praying is born of oneness with Christ and fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Pastors empowered by true praying carry the true seeds of eternal life to their people.

Popular pastors are often prayerless pastors.

Prayerless pastors see no urgent need for the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pastors who are mightiest in their closets with God are the mightiest in their pulpits with men.

Pastors weak in prayer preach as tinkling cymbals

Today’s pastor feels pressured to focus on man’s methods and plans for advancing his church. Instead, he should feel pressure to seek the heart of God through prayer. It is God who gives the increase.

God gives His increase not through methods and machines, but through men whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

Advancing the church is not a matter of methods, but a matter of the hearts of your people. Prayer changes the hearts of men.

With inspiration from E.M. Bounds and his book “The Preacher and Prayer” http://temcat.com/08A-Prayer-Prom/Preach-Prayer.PDF


honor-church-leadersIt is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations. Ex 12:42

Have you ever had a night so wonderful, so memorable that you could remember every detail of that night one year later? What about 5 years? What about 50 years? The Jewish people have been remembering a night that happened over 3700 years ago. Wow, that must have been some night! Such a night was remembered because of its importance to the God of this universe and to the people of this world He created.

Moses had instructed all the people two weeks earlier to take a yearling lamb, without spot or blemish, and on the 10th day of the month bring it into your home. Then four days later they were to kill that lamb, eat the lamb, and take its blood and put it upon the lintel of their front door. At midnight, the Angel of the Lord went throughout the land of Egypt, and wherever he saw the blood of the lamb, he would pass over the house. Where there was no blood, he would enter the home and slay the first born son.

You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. (Exo 12:24-28)

This story is an excellent demonstration of the importance of Honor for church leaders, your pastor, deacons and Sunday school teachers.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Heb 13:17)

applying-the-bloodNow imagine if Joe and his wife Sarah had skipped church to go fishing or shopping or whatever. Moses and Aaron had instructed everyone on what to do. They weren’t at the meeting. They got back into town and didn’t know what all the buzz was about. They heard snippets of lamb and blood, but they thought that sounded absurd. They started talking to their friends and got them questioning what Moses said. Don’t you think that is a bit extreme? To waste a perfectly good lamb like that? Blood on my new door post? Why I’ll never be able to get that off! Why I just spent $500 on a new door! Before long a whole group of people had decided to ignore Moses and Aaron. So they lightly regarded the words of Moses and influenced other people to do the same. Honor leads us to value church leaders, and give weight to what they tell us. Dishonor leads us to scorn and devalue what church leaders tell us. To treat it like some teenagers treat the words of their parents.

Midnight came, the Angel went into their homes, they heard a noise, that woke them, going into their son’s bedroom, they found his throat cut. In fact, every one of their friends who scorned the instruction of Moses discovered the same grizzly scene.

a-cry-goes-out-at-midnightAnd Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead. (Exo 12:30)

What kind of night would be remembered for 3700 years? The night that meant the difference between life and death for you and your family.

do-not-curse-church-leadersHonor for church leaders is critical for your lives? Why? Perhaps we can glimpse the ways of God by reading Acts 23:1-5. Paul demonstrates the importance of Honoring Church Leaders. When he was commanded to be slapped by some old guy, he hurled a stern verbal insult at him. Then someone whispered in his ear that the old guy was Ananias, the High Priest! He quickly apologized, quoting Exodus 22:28 “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.” God equates cursing a church leader with reviling God!

When you honor your church leaders, you are honoring God. They are God’s messengers, God’s representatives. We demonstrate our honor of God by honoring the Leaders He has set before us.

Jesus took this cursing one step further. It is not the words you speak that matters, it is the heart attitude you have. You can say “yes” with your mouth but be going “Yea right like I’m gonna do that” with your heart.

Paul said: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls. Church leaders are keeping watch over your souls. That is their job. And how you honor your church leaders will determine the reward of how goes your soul.

Honor Determines the Destiny of your soul.

Joh 12:26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

honor-determines-the-destiny-of-your-soulPaul wrote to obey your leaders, for they watch over your souls. The Gospel of Christ is inexplicably tied to the preaching of His Word. If you do not honor the messenger, you dishonor the Word. God honors his servants, for they follow Christ, and He honors His Son.

The Cross is the Anchor of the Christian Walk. Our daily walk, our daily life in Christ must begin at the cross. At the cross we lay aside our fleshly wants and desires, our sin and selfishness, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. At the cross we lay claim of the exchanged life. At the cross we identify with the Resurrected Reigning Jesus Christ who lives in us and through us. At the cross we realize that God uses pastors and deacons and elders and teachers to build up the church, to work to conform us to Jesus Christ. We honor the cross in their life and the fact that they are God’s messengers to us.

To dishonor the preacher, the pastor, the Sunday school teacher is to scorn the Savior whom they serve.

Can’t I go direct to Jesus? Yes you can. But understand the God has a divine order of things. He has given gifts to the church to build it up, to teach to chasten to rebuke to instruct. If you fail to honor God’s Way, you are playing with the destiny of your soul.

parable-of-the-talentsJesus told a parable of the ruler who gave talents to his servants, and then went away. One servant said he feared the master, so he went and hid his talent.

He failed to honor his pastor (so to speak) and robbed himself of spiritual rewards.

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Mat 25:14-30)

dishonor-robs-you-of-light-and-rewardsWhen you fail to honor the requests of your church leaders, you rob yourself of these benefits:

  • You rob yourself of spiritual light for salvation,
  • Your rob your children of spiritual light, for they will grow up with an attitude of scorn toward the church, toward the pastor.
  • You rob yourself of rewards for God uses His messengers to speak to you, guide you and to watch over the welfare of your souls.

roast-preacherThe Pastor, the Sunday school teachers, are entrusting you with wealth in the form of spiritual truth. To honor them means to grow in the truth they teach, to honor their teaching. The benefit is eternal. When you fail to honor them, you will walk in darkness.

Sometimes we have Roast Preacher on the after church menu. This teaches dishonor to our children. Learn to Honor the Pastor at meal time.

Honor Determines the Prosperity of your soul.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Psa 92:12-15)flourish-as-the-cedar-tree

Those who honor church leaders honor the Lord. They will be planted in the house of the Lord. They will flourish in the courts of our God.

“Well I go to church. I give a little money.” But that is not being planted. Planted implies you grow roots. You establish relationships. I’m not saying that you should be here every time the doors are open. But you should seek to Honor God by your faithfulness to the leadership of the church.

I have a friend whom I used to teach in Sunday School. We along with some others helped to start Lenexa Baptist Church in 1990. After a year or so we called a young clothing salesman from Oklahoma. He had pastored a couple small churches in Oklahoma. He was kind of green. He and I spent some time together at youth camp, and he shared that he was Calvinistic in his theology. But he was still very evangelistic. I respected his views and advised him to keep it under his hat. Well, he let it slip one Wednesday night, and it got spread among the deacons. One deacon, my friend was quite adamant about getting Pastor Steve to resign. He got several other deacons stirred up. They called a meeting in which they called on Steve to resign. I, along with another deacon stood up for Pastor Steve and called for respect for Steve, and pleaded for sound minds to prevail. Well, they got all upset and quit, and all of a sudden a church that was pushing 150 became a church of 90. (Steve stuck it out and today Lenexa Baptist runs a couple thousand plus every Sunday)

I believe my friend’s life was impacted by his dishonor. He lost his wife and he lost his children. He is became a Pastor, and has struggled in pastoring. Now he is pastoring even though he has had a divorce. His children are alienated. He has struggled with honor in his pastorate. I believe when you dishonor church leaders, you will reap dishonor in your life.

I was witness to another deacon revolt at a growing young church in Olathe, and I stood on behalf of the pastor once again. This time seven deacons decided to leave. I don’t know how their lives turned out, but I do know it destroyed the heart of the pastor Tom Grove. It also caused the church to fold. He had done nothing worthy of their treatment, and a man’s ministry was destroyed. Other lives were affected. Woe to all those who cause others to stumble.

honor-determines-the-direction-of-your-familyHonor Determines the Direction of Your Family

Eli is a picture of the way dishonor for God can ruin your family and even your descendants.

And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus the LORD has said, ‘Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men. And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. (1Sa 2:27-34)

eli-fell-over-and-diedThose who Honor God, He will honor. Those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Your children will not honor you, God will not honor you. Sure enough, his sons were slain, and when Eli heard the news, He keeled over and broke his neck and died.

How Honor Built a Godly Family

rechabites-honored-their-fatherHave you heard of the Rechabites? Read about them in Jeremiah 35.

Jeremiah called the descendants of Rechab in to the temple and offered them wine to drink. But they answered, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever. You shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’

They had honored their father Jonadab for over two hundred years. And because they had demonstrated honor, Jeremiah offered this word from the Lord: “But to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.””

When we honor the Lord, and we honor the lord’s messengers, we can ask God that of our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and beyond there will never be a time that one of our descendants will not stand before the Lord God. To me that would be the greatest reward, that my children and grandchildren would walk before the Lord. This is a Godly Heritage. This is a Legacy, that my family stands before the Lord!

Do You Doubt the importance of Honoring your church leaders? God repeats the command:

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (1Th 5:12-13)

They are the only ones whom God says are worthy of Double Honor.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” (1Ti 5:17-18)

If you have dishonored your church leaders in the past, confess your sin, there is mercy and forgiveness at the cross. Confess your sin to your children, there is mercy and forgiveness at the cross.

My Dad was an Area Committee Coordinator for the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts. It was late 1979 and early 1980 that the Institute was rocked by a scandalous discovery. It was discovered that Steve, Bill Gothard’s brother, was carrying on affairs with some of the staff secretaries. Rumors flew around the country. Some accused Bill, and at best said he should have known about it. Many said he did know and was even involved. It drove Bill to resign from his own ministry. But the board did a thorough investigation and asked Bill to come back. There were other problems as well.

looking-unto-jesusThrough it all my Dad kept faithfully serving, never got involved in the rumors, never showed any dishonor toward Bill or the organization. I couldn’t believe it. I remember one day going in to my dad’s office and saying, Dad, how can you continue to serve Bill the way you do?

He just looked at me and said, Son, I keep my eyes on Jesus.


clouds-over-american-economyDuring a recession, it seems there is a cloud that obscures the future, and that is the case in this recession. Gloom and Doom is the theme in the news each and every day. Everyone seems to have their own idea of what America should do. The problem with this particular recession is that it is so bad, so deep. Economists admit they don’t know what to do, because this particular type of recession has never happened before. Thankfully, we have new leadership. and our new leader has a vision which he believes is right for this particular time in America. Obama’s Vision: Only Government Can End Economic Woes. barrackobama_change_2Obama believes that only the U.S. Government can bring victory against the economic enemies that threaten America’s way of life. He is taking his vision into uncharted waters, and sink or swim, he will try to get passed the largest government economic stimulus package in history. I pray that it will succeed. But I think in the long run, it will result in further economic and political turmoil.

envision_logoI went to a workshop on the “Vision of a Leader” yesterday. It was very good, and centered upon Nehemiah and how he received his vision to rebuild the temple. One point of the session was that visions must be identifiable. You must be able to see the result, or else it is to vague and nebulous. In Nehemiah’s case, the vision was easy to see. Everyone gets excited about building things. New is was the rage in America. Entire cities of homes and shopping districts cropped up because people moved to a “new” area. At one time people were buying and selling homes like clothes. The days of “NEW” may have passed for a while. Recycle, reuse, economize, thrift, bargain, and value are the terms we now embrace in the “Deep Recession America”. They say car sales are down becasue people aren’t buying new. People are opting to keep their cars longer. Besides, the cars of today are built much better than they were. This represents a dramatic shift in the thinking of the American Consumer. “New” is out, “Value and Preservation” are in. Perhaps this will signal a change in American Moral Values. Perhaps people will return to the  Old Reliable Bible. Perhaps they will see the value of older churches, even the faith of their grand parents. Maybe we will learn that we don’t have to have “New” to be better.

At no other time in America has our leader’s vision been so important. The problem will be getting his vision through Congress. He says “no earmarks” but what will they say? The problem I see is that there are people in Congress that view their position as an entitlement. They see themselves as little ‘kings’ of their own domains. Will Obama have the tenacity to push his vision through their little ‘kingdoms’.

I have discovered that small (less than 150) churches DO NOT respond to “vision” style pastors. They are not leadership driven, in the sense of following a pastor. The reason is because the faithful people view the church as “their” church. They take ownership very personally. So a pastor may have a vision, but unless he can get his “key” people to believe it is THEIR vision, he will be frustrated in trying to accomplish it. This was really tough for me coming from the business world and owning businesses. I was use to getting my vision done. If anyone didn’t follow my vision, I fired them. I discovered that doesn’t work in churches. (No, I did not try to fire anyone!)

holy_spirit explosive blastI don’t think pastors that are filled with the Spirit and following closely after God lack for vision. What they do lack is how to get fleshly people with fleshly focus to see that God speaks to them and God expects them to follow Kingdom thinking and living too. Unfortunately there is no blast from the Holy Spirit that immediately ignites the minds of fleshly followers. A Pastor soon realizes that even his deacons and “entrenched” members sometimes follow a fleshly agenda. He will become frustrated unless he learns how to preach and teach to first of all restore to God His proper place in the church and in his people’s hearts. And then he must learn to build a consensus of vision with his “key” people. In a small church, the “key” people are those that secretly control what suceeds or fails.

Visions are great and are often the result of a special movement of God. But Pastors live in the hum drum reality of Christians who have not learned to walk in the Spirit.

mind of ChristObama may learn the hard way that Congress, even a Democratic one, will seek to control his vision. Small churches often do the same thing to Pastors. This is how America works, and someday Christ will have to rule with a rod of iron, because men’s hearts are sinful and wicked. A wise Pastor or leader must realize this when seeking to accomplish his “Vision”. Even Nehemiah had to think like a wily fox to get his people to follow his vision. Let’s pray that Congress and our churches “have a Mind to work”. With churches I pray they put on the mind of Christ. He had to lay aside all His ‘earmarks’ in order to accomplish God’s Vision. May His mind be the mind of America.