We've now finished another year — a year of victory for some and defeat for others. Like every year for the past several years, I watched in 2015 as more church leaders fell into the trap of pornography.
The Christmas season is one of the busiest seasons of the year for church leaders. In fact, it can be exhausting.
For years, I've kept a running list of characteristics of pastors who lead effective evangelistic churches (that is, churches that are reaching non-believers rather than simply reaching other church members). Below are several of those characteristics.
Last Easter, I wrote a post about "11 Reasons Pastors Struggle on Easter." Now, the Christmas season is upon us. Despite all the fun of this holiday, this time of year can also be difficult for pastors.
I've been a professor of evangelism for almost twenty years. Over the years, I've continually considered and asked why most believers never do evangelism. Here are nine of the reasons I've discovered, given in no particular order.
My seminary students occasionally ask me about whether a "pay package" a church offers them is adequate. I can't always answer that question easily because I don't know the church's financial state. What I do know is what I believe a church ought to provide for its pastors. Your church may not be in a position to offer all these benefits, but perhaps you could work toward providing them
More than one person has said, "Our students and children are the future of the church." That statement is true, but it's also insufficient.
I may not speak for all older folks, but here's how you could get me more involved in your church's ministry:
Many of us find ourselves in leadership positions, but we wonder sometimes if we're really leading. And, frankly, sometimes there are folks around us who also wonder if we're leading.
As a pastor, I always struggled with the best way to do announcements. Whatever we did, it never felt right.
I believe in church planting, and I also believe in church revitalization.
When I serve as an interim pastor, I always commit to sending the church at least a weekly email.
My seventh-grade classmate who shared the story of Christ with me was a matter-of-fact kind of guy. Here's generally the way he told me the gospel: "You're going to hell, and you need to get saved."
I've written posts for this site and my own that describe some of the negatives our church consulting teams and "spies" have found in churches. The goal of this post is to show some of the positives we've seen in different churches. The topics vary, but perhaps something will help you in your church.
Even if you have no interest in urban settings and ministries, I plead with you to continue to read this post. We are called to get the gospel to all peoples of the world (Matt. 28:18-20), and we will not do that if we shy away from the world's cities. Please read on, and pray about how your church might tackle a city – then encourage others to read this post as well.
To be a Christian leader is no small calling. Whether you serve as a church pastor, a lay leader, or a Christian who leads in the secular world, you are under obligation to be a strong and faithful witness for Christ. Here are several texts that should challenge you — and provide you a grid through which to evaluate your life today.
Several times in my teaching career, I've asked graduate students to give me descriptions of the worst teachers they've had. During those same years, I've watched leaders, discussed leadership, and read leadership books to learn characteristics of good and bad leaders. Perhaps not surprisingly, I've seen that some of the characteristics of bad teachers and bad leaders are the same.
I suspect this post may offend someone, but that's not my goal. I want churches to strive for excellence simply because our calling is to do what we do for God's glory. I fear, though, that many congregations settle for mediocrity. As a church consultant, I've learned that these signs are often an indicator that the church overall does not strive for excellence:
Thom Rainer and I have talked often about the process of church revitalization. Both of us recognize, though, that knowledge of revitalization is hardly enough to turn around a church; the process cannot be separated from the personal walk of the leader who longs for church renewal. Below are ten reasons why spiritual disciplines matter in church revitalization.
Previously, I posted on "13 Signs of Leadership Fatigue." Several readers asked me to write a follow up post about ways to deal with these signs. Maybe these suggestions will help you move past leadership fatigue.
3. It's easier to do ministry alone. It takes less time to make a visit if I go by myself. I don't have to worry about anybody's schedule. Lunch takes less time if it's not connected to hanging out with another believer. We even spiritualize our thinking: "we can get more done for God's glory this way."
Leadership is sometimes wearisome – so wearisome that we come close to giving up. Over the years, I've watched leaders slide into defeat, and I've seen some of these common signs of trouble.
Some years ago, I conducted a study and wrote a book on membership classes in local churches. Many of those churches included teaching church covenants in their membership class, but they talked very little about church discipline. That is, they established expectations but did not always talk about accountability. Since then, I've conducted an ongoing informal survey to see why churches don't do discipline. Here are the primary findings, in no particular order.
On the spur of the moment, I asked George what ten things he would like in a church if he could design it. Within minutes, he gave me his response—so quickly, in fact, that I suspect he's thought about these topics before. Compare George's responses to the young adults you know.
Recently, I spent time with a church that is upgrading their children's wing. In the midst of those discussions, we talked about some of the common problems our Lawless Group consulting team sees in a children's ministry. Here are 15 of those problems: