The Power to Control the Power

In my previous post, I mentioned four things every church should remember when they lose their pastor, each in 1 Corinthians 12. You may want to disengage, but the Holy Spirit requires you be involved (v. 7). You may want to dominate, but the Holy Spirit requires that you serve (v. 7). You may feel undesirable, but the Holy Spirit values diversity in the body (vv. 13-20). You may seek independence, but the Holy Spirit has built a body that is interdependent (vv. 21-28). But a church needs more than the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit at work in order […]

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In the Interim: Four Things for Every Congregation to Remember when they Lose a Pastor

Pastor or no pastor, God is always at work in His church. The Holy Spirit is present, and He’s doing something for the good of the church and the glory of His Name. Yet this can be easily forgotten when a senior pastor leaves. Whether one is relieved or discouraged at the pastor’s departure, there are at least four temptations every congregation faces when their senior pastor leaves, and there are four things they must remember about the Holy Spirit when those temptations come. First, you may want to disengage, but the Holy Spirit requires you be involved. A senior […]

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Unity. Purity. Generosity. Three Reasons to Gather this Week

Your small group is comprised of people who have been set apart by God to be holy. He made them holy by means of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. They are saints. They belong to God. And God has given them everything they need to fulfill His mission until Jesus returns. He will keep them strong in their battle against sin and a world that is increasingly hostile to the faith. But your small group is full of people who forget these things. They stop telling themselves these things. They try to take matters into their own hands. They occasionally […]

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Three Philosophies for Resourcing Small Groups

“All of the Bible is always good all of the time.” I first heard that statement in a meeting with other pastors visiting Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. We were discussing how pastors should approach their sermon preparation, and how discipleship pastors should approach what their small groups study. The answer: “All of the Bible is always good all of the time.” This truth is liberating, for it reminds us that no matter how we go about setting up our small group ministry, as long as we keep the Word of God at the center, […]

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Instilling Core Values in the Congregation

Do you know what distinguishes your church from all others? Are you able to articulate those things that define a person’s experience at your church? If your answer to those questions is “yes,” then you know your church’s core values. You can state with honesty and authenticity the things that provide a clear and complete picture of the everyday behaviors essential to your church’s identity. As important as it is to define your core values, if the members of your church are not clear about them, those values are worth little more than the paper they are printed on. To […]

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Every Church is Completely Dependent Upon this One Thing

Roughly a year into my marriage, my wife and I decided the Lord was leading us to move from Dallas, TX to sunny south Florida. Our belongings were relatively meager, as was our income, but the church we were headed to serve in generously provided enough money for us to move without any significant personal expense. With their gift, we packed all of our belongings ourselves, but hired three men at an hourly rate to pack a Penske truck I rented. Once they packed up the truck, I hitched up my car to the back of the truck, and began […]

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Seven "C's" for Every Leader and Organization

I’ve been fortunate enough to sit on both sides of a job interview in both church and para-church related settings, and these seven “C’s” have served me well in looking for teams or churches I might serve, and they’ve served those teams and churches well also. Competence. Within the context of the role I am seeking in this organization and the needs of this organization, do I have the ability/talent/proven history to lead in an intentional and focused way? Coherence. Do I have the ability to explain persuasively the reasoning behind why I do what I do to this particular organization’s […]

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What to Tell Yourself when the Church You Love Fails to Love You Back

Ministers are far from perfect. They will hurt individual church members, lead their congregation astray, and stick their foot in their mouth many times in a pastorate of any length and substance. Church leaders will also hurt one another. If I had a dollar for every staff member who has come to me utterly broken at how their pastor or personnel committee treated them, I could take you to dinner at Cheesecake Factory, dessert included. When the church a minister loves doesn’t love him or her back, there are three things that minister needs to remember. No one attacked Jesus more […]

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Motivation or Guilt Manipulation?

The following is an excerpt from my book, Southern Fried Faith, which you can pick up here. If there’s anything good about a selfishly motivated church member, it’s that they are at least motivated. Frequently, church leaders have the opposite problem: members who cannot or will not serve or participate for any variety of reasons. In response, church leaders frequently resort to bludgeoning members with guilt so that they will eventually choose to be a part of whatever program or ministry planned. Maybe you’ve heard or even used statements like the following at church. You’d better share your faith because if […]

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