5 Things that can Ruin a Church

5 things that can ruin a church2I do not believe people come to church to ruin the church intentionally. From what I have observed in churches though, many can ruin a church or a ministry unintentionally. It might not be something that they set out to do, but it is something that they unintentionally may fall into.

Here is a  short post on things that can ruin a church.

  • Division among Members – This is an obvious one. Division can ruin any business or any church. People tend to believe 100% that they are right when they may be looking at their preference from a biased point of view. In order to offset division, members must be committed to putting other people ahead of themselves. When church is about  an individual and what they want, division will occur and it can ruin a church.
  • Lack of Support for the Senior Pastor – This is arguably the one that can ruin a church as much as anything else on this list. Pastors must do well to receive the people’s trust. It takes time. I get that, but people must be responsible as well for their Biblical mandate to support their pastor. Many times when people do not support their pastor, it is for preferential or traditional reasons.
  • Tradition – Pastors hear the phrase “that’s the way we have always done it” all of the time. This is a phrase that can destroy the church from being what God intends for it to be. Tradition can destroy the church. Your message never changes,  but your methods can and should. In my experience, people not wanting methods to change is more common than people getting upset over message changes. If your message begins to change, get out and find a new Gospel centered church, but embrace changing some of your methods to reach people in today’s culture.
  • Lack of Engaging the Youth – If you want your church to die an early death, do not engage youth. If you only cater to the older members, your church is headed for an early death. You must engage your teens and college students. Challenge them, train them, and allow them to lead and volunteer. If you do not allow the younger generation to be engaged in the church, they will leave and find a church that does allow them to engage, or they will leave the church completely!
  • Dictatorial Pastoral Leadership – We have talked much about how members can ruin a church, but pastors can ruin churches as well. Many times, the pride of pastors can enter the church and destroy it. Pastors, never forget who voted you into the position, and remember they can also vote you out. Do not be a dictator. Sometimes you have to put what you want to the side, and allow the members preference and desire to prevail. Do not come to a church to try to completely change the church. This is how pastors can destroy the churches.

Bottom line, to avoid any of these items, put other people before yourself.

 

3 Signs of a Disciple Making Church

3 Signs of a Disciple Making ChurchBy Andrew Hale

Make disciples – Christ’s last and greatest command. Why is such a clear command so difficult for many churches to perform? Several obstacles limit churches from their greatest potential in disciple-making, but one of the greatest is the lack of understanding how to make a true Biblical disciple.

For churches that have made Biblical discipleship a priority, the marks are obvious. This post will focus on three clear signs of a disciple-making church. While there are dozens more, these three are evident in every church that is making healthy disciples of the Kingdom of God.

Proper Definition of Evangelism

I have too often heard a church claim that they are strong in evangelism or strong in discipleship, but weak in the other. I wonder at what point in church history these two disciplines became mutually exclusive… Ed Stezter sees the two ministries as one in the same. In his book Comeback Churches, he says, “Comeback churches see evangelism as a journey, not a destination” (Stetzer, p.118)

The Greek word which evangelist/evangelism derives from is the word εὐαγγέλιον – meaning the Gospel. Contrary to popular evangelistic methods, the Good News of Jesus is not solely about punching your Get Out of Hell Free Card. Rather, the Good News teaches how to receive eternal life and start living it in Christ today – not just after this life is over. Evangelism is not merely about reaching the lost. It is the beginning of the discipleship process.

Intentional Emphasis on Relationships –

Healthy relationships within a church are imperative for effective disciple-making. Becoming a follower of Christ is not about finishing a curriculum or a program. It’s about working toward Spiritual Maturity through life on life interactions. While tools can assist disciple-makers in the process, they should rely on relationships more than materials.

Jesus made this characteristic of His disciples a huge priority. Everyone will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another (John 13:35). Relationships should be of equal importance to His followers.

Effective Communication of the Role of the Holy Spirit –

Disciple-making apart from the power of the Holy Spirit is fraudulent.  In The Biblical Principles of Discipleship, Coppedge states, “The fact that the Jesus took so much time the last evening with His disciples to talk about the Holy Spirit indicates that He is vitally concerned that every disciple both understand the work of the Spirit and experience His fullness just as the Twelve did” (Coppedge, p.120).

Disciple-making churches purposefully submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit. If we spent as much time surrendering to the Holy Spirit as we do debating His role, our churches would be exponentially increased with disciples for the kingdom. The work of the Spirit is crucial to the disciple-making church.

Andrew Hale currently serves as Associate Pastor of Education and Discipleship at Turning Point at Calvary in St. Augustine, FL. He is also enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in their Doctor of Ministry degree program. You can connect with Andrew on both Twitter and Facebook.

Top Characteristics of the Pastors of Growing Churches

Top  Characteristics of the Pastors of Growing Churches Blog PostIf you want your church to continue growing in today’s culture, this blog post is for you.

There are tons of statistics of churches across the world that prove how difficult it is to grow a church in today’s culture. We see statistics of the large number of college students leaving the church. Put these two ideas together, and the hope of growing a church is ultra slim. From what I have seen and observed, the pastor is a key component to the growth of the church. I want to share a few traits and characteristics of pastors pastoring growing churches.

  • They are Spirit Led – This is the most important characteristic. I have seen to many pastors who are people led. This means that their decision-making is totally up to how it will please or displease the people. Now, this is a huge part of pastoring. I recognize that, but if you allow the people to trump the spirit, do not expect your church to grow.
  • They are Risk Takers – Some pastors are afraid to take risk. Look, if you want to grow your church take risk regularly. This should be a regular part of your position. Most of the time when the spirit leads you to do something, it will be a risk. If you play it safe all of the time, your church will not grow.
  • They are willing to Engage Students - I have been in traditional churches for the most part of my life, and the reality is that if the church and pastor are not willing to engage students (high school and college), the church is headed for an early death. The growing churches are engaging this age. You may have to change the way you do church, the way you do ministry, and your methods. If the church only seeks to engage the adults, the church will not grow. Look at your congregation, and if you are losing the majority of your college students, that will indicate if you are engaging students or not.
  • They are Visionaries – Know where you are going, pastors. If I asked you where are you headed and how are you going to get there, have an answer for that! Most pastors don’t have an answer to this question, and their church is likely not growing. Be a visionary and regularly be a vision caster to the people you are leading.
  • They are Learners – Never stop learning. The best leaders of churches do not stop learning. They are constantly reading, writing, and growing themselves. Pastors, you never reach a point where you have all of the answers. You have to continue growing yourself before you can grow others. Lead yourself before you can lead others.

5 Things Pastors Need to Hear From Church Members

5 things pastors need to  hear from church members blog postIf you really want to encourage and support your pastor, this blog post is for you. As I have observed church life, I have noticed different individuals who really can hurt and even destroy a pastor by the words  that they speak. Some I believe do it unintentionally, and others do it intentionally. Now, in my experience the pastors loved their church members and the church, but sometimes church members forget that these pastors are real people.

Here are five things that your pastor regularly needs to hear from his church members:

  1. Praying for you – This is the easiest and the most important. As a pastor faces the difficult problems that he faces, the most encouraging thing that he can hear is “hey pastor, I am praying for you!” By the way, before you start saying this, make sure that it is true. That you are consistently and actively praying for your pastor!
  2. Whatever you need – I have heard pastors get up in the pulpit and beg for volunteers with no takers. What I have learned is that church members appear to be craving service, but it is usually is only on their terms. The most encouraging people are the ones who are willing to do whatever to get the job done. Pastors need these type of people in their congregations.
  3. Our Family Supports You – This phrase is so important, and it can affect the longevity of the pastor’s tenure. Usually when a pastor leaves a church, they feel a lack of support from the congregation. Sometimes, it may be the pastor’s fault, but in my experience, it is more the church members lack of followership to the person God has placed in the position of pastor. Support  your pastor. I cannot type this phrase enough. He will be faced with the task of making difficult decisions, and he needs your support to be able to make difficult decisions.
  4. Let’s Hang Out – One of the major reasons pastors leave a church is because of lack of support, but also a lack of true friendship. Pastors need friends! Oftentimes, it is difficult to create this within the church congregation so pastors are forced to find this outside of the church. Look, it is okay to befriend your pastor. Do not ever allow a close friendship to affect his leadership in your life, but befriend him. Do not make a habit that every conversation you have with him is about the church and its health. Sometimes, pastors need to hang out with church members and discuss life and hobbies.
  5. We Love You – It is impossible to overuse the phrase “we love you,” when it is speaking directly to your relationship with your pastor. Get in the habit, and mean it. Do not just say it to say it, actually mean it! Live it by the things mentioned above. Pastors need to feel that their congregations love and care about them. By the way, when a church member is down, they expect love from their pastor. Pastors are human and need love demonstrated to them as well.

3 Necessities for Pastors to Experience Longevity

3 necessities for pastors to experience longevity blog postAll pastors want longevity. No Pastor (at least I hope not) goes into a position wanting to leave soon. All pastors want to be in the ministry long term. I am right there with you, but I have learned in my short years of ministry that there are a few things that must happen before longevity happens.

  • Separate your work and family- Leave the work at the office. Do not bring it home. If you go home, and are working while at home, this is a sign you are not going to make it. You need your family and your family needs you.  Learn to separate the two the best you can or you will burn out.
  • Take breaks and vacations- Do not abuse this idea, but it is necessary. It must happen for any leader if they want to experience longevity. Breaks and vacations are a time for you to unwind, to get refreshed, receive vision from God, and to come back energized.
  • See the best in the people you lead- The more you do this, the more you will be happy where you are! Leaders and pastors need to improve in this area. Stop criticizing the  one thing a person does bad, and start celebrating the many things that person does well. This will keep you energized about ministry and your people.

Reasons why you need to clarify expectations

ClarifyThere is nothing more frustrating than working a job not knowing what the expectations are for you. It always ends in frustrations, because it is impossible to feel like you are accomplishing what is expected of you when the expectations have never been clear to you. I want to share with church leaders, pastors and business leaders 3 reasons why expectations are necessary for positional success.

  • Undefined expectations eventually will lead to frustration- This is why every new hire needs to request a written job description that clearly defines the expectations or else it will always lead to frustration. The frustration comes with the tension of being unsure of knowing if you are doing a good job or not.
  • Undefined expectations make it difficult to be upset with the performance- Look, if you are working a job, and the expectations have not been defined, it is unrealistic and wrong for your boss to come down on you when they think that your performance is not meeting their requirements. If you are a boss, define expectations clearly or do not expect for what you desire to happen immediately.
  • Undefined expectations require more time for performance- When expectations are defined clearly, it always increases the chances that the desired performance happens faster than at  a position when the expectations are not defined clearly.

 

The Blogs I am Viewing the Most Right Now

Top-BlogsFrom time to time, I enjoy sharing what I am reading currently. My feedly consists of nearly 75 different blogs so I have a great list to choose from, but there are always those blogs that I m drawn to the most at certain times. Here are the blogs that I am currently viewing the most right now:

 

  • Thom Rainer’s Blog- This could be the most practical pastoral blog out there. I have been reading a few of his post each day for weeks now. He has some great stuff on leadership and pastoring.
  • Ron Edmondson’s Blog- This is another ultra practical blog.  He has more posts with numbered “how to” ideas on leadership than any blog that I have ever seen. He is great, and you should definitely be reading this blog. He has some great posts on marriage and relationships as well.
  • Between the Times- This is a blog by the faculty from Southeastern Theological Seminary. Some of their post are geared directly to toward pastoral leadership, and others are about theology. Great blog  all the way around.
  • Brad Lomenick’s Blog- Now, I had never heard of his blog until recently. Someone told me about it, and I have been hooked since. Ultra practical. Great blog for you to check out.
  • Michael Hyatt’s Blog- Now, this guy is a big time blogger. In fact, he writes and helps others with blogging. He has some excellent stuff when it comes to your leadership and the platform that God has given you. Check his blog out.

Recommend a blog for me to check out.