If God's objective for every believer is to transform us into total Christlikeness, then the objective of preaching is to motivate people to develop Christlike convictions (to think like Jesus), Christlike character (to feel like Jesus), and Christlike conduct (to act like Jesus). Every other objective of preaching is secondary. At the end of the sermon, if people aren't being transformed in how they think, feel, and act, I've missed the mark as a preacher.
When it comes to ministry leadership, I don't focus on trying to motivate other people. I worry about motivating me, and if I'm motivated it will be contagious. This is true in any area of ministry. Your duty is not necessarily to motivate others. But if you stay motivated, people will catch your enthusiasm. They will catch your vision.
B. H. Carroll, a famous Bible scholar, in his commentary, estimates that there were probably a hundred thousand members in the Jerusalem church after 25 years. Peter Wagner and many have agreed. G. Campbell Morgan estimates a minimum of 60,000. In any Bible dictionary it will tell you that in New Testament times that the city of Jerusalem was approximately 200,000 people. What we have here is a church with 100,000 members in a city of 200,000 people. Half the city had come to Christ. No wonder they said, "you've filled Jerusalem."
One of the reasons why Saddleback church has grown over the years is because we have maintained a harmonious atmosphere. When there is a church that is loving, it attracts people like a magnet. When a church really loves, really offers love to each other and those who are welcomed into it, you'd have to lock the doors to keep people out. Because Saddleback is a loving church, we continue to reach out and we continue to grow.
You can have a thriving ministry without a thriving relationship with God, but only temporarily. Anyone can fake it in the short run, but to go the distance, you need a passionate devotional life and continual closeness to Jesus. Often, pastors tend to allow the busyness of ministry and the necessity of studying for sermon preparation to replace a real, personal walk with Jesus. But God wants better for you. Three T's for a thriving walk with Jesus…
Jesus was definitely an iconoclast, continually challenging the conventional thinking of His day. Twenty different times Jesus said, "You've heard it said… but I say to you…" And even today, his thoughts on leadership go against the grain.
London has some of the most beautiful, historic churches in the entire world. Yet they are also some of the most empty. I was struck by this recently when I was in the city to do a Bible study. Churches are dying off so fast that they're being sold off to bars and restaurants. London churches are desperate for the blessing of God.
Every church hits a wall in growth, that attendance barrier your church can't seem to get past.
My experience is pastors tend to overwork when they assume extra hours make them more effective in ministry.
Jesus has given the church a job to do. We will either succeed or fail at it. I define our success as fulfilling the Great Commission.
Too often we can explain everything we do by our own abilities and the abilities of people on our team.
Jesus says that distractions can keep our fruit from ripening. What prevents you from being effective in ministry? Think about your schedule.
The Apostle Paul didn't have a cell phone or the Internet, yet he took the Gospel into the long-reaching corners of the Roman Empire.
When we're called to follow Christ; we're also called to belong to the Body of Christ.
"A surrendered life in the hands of a holy God is a fearful thing." That's where we need to be as we lead our congregations toward total surrender to God.
Good leaders affirm the potential of those they lead. They bring out the best in them by showing them what they can be.
What skills and virtues make effective ministers? Strong public speaking skills, leadership, compassion? Most likely patience won't make your list.
One of the most misunderstood Beatitudes of Jesus may be one of the most important for you to master in 2010: "Happy are the meek, for they will inherit the earth"
We must magnify our vision of God. We know the church is on the winning side. We've read the last chapter. That's why I've never understood why so many churches play on the defensive.
Some have estimated that the early church in Jerusalem had 100,000 members – half the size of the city. Our churches can and should learn from the book of Acts.
Like the saying goes, the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence; the grass is greener where you water it. We must make sure our marriage is growing and developing, or we'll be susceptible to moral failure.
For our churches to become what God wants them to be, we must listen to God. He doesn't have laryngitis. He still speaks today.
That's the resume of a people builder. A people builder makes people better.
Pastor, it breaks my heart to see ministries ruined by unfaithfulness.
I bet if there's one question you get more than any others, particularly when you're ministering to people in times of crisis, it's "Why does God allow pain?"