Pastors are like information sponges. If they aren't studying, they are receiving a regular deluge of information from church members. I asked twenty-two pastors to share with me the most common items they hear from their church members.
I recently interviewed more than twenty pastors who had been in ministry for at least 25 years. Below are the top seven regrets noted in order of frequency. The first, lack of practical training for local church ministry. The second, overly concerned about critics.
An established church develops certain patterns or traditions while simultaneously forgetting its original purpose and passion. By almost any metric, the majority of North American congregations are established churches. They often include discouraged leaders and frustrated members. So how does a church move from an inward drift to an outward focus?
What is the impact on a leader and his or her leadership when he or she is involved in an affair? I have been disgusted as I heard different pundits attempt to answer this question. The typical perspective regurgitated about the Petraeus and Broadwell affair is that, outside of the security concerns, it's really no big deal.
What makes organizations weak? Is it a failure of good strategic planning? Are there cultural issues that preclude good performance? Researchers found that accountability was the weakest link in organizational behavior.
At least in 2008 the Millennials proved to be a generation motivated by a strong centralized federal government. Most every study of the Millennials indicates that the same desire is still alive and well today. It is not unusual to see people look to the government for solutions when few alternatives seem available.
When I led a church consultation company, one of the more common facets of my consultation was an on-site visit to a worship service. The person I hired to conduct the visit could know nothing about the church. What makes for a bad first-time experience? Being asked to introduce yourself and everyone talking in code.
We wanted to know what pastors like about their ministry. Here are their top ten responses listed in reverse order, followed by a comment from a representative pastor. Preaching. "My sense of God's call to ministry was a call to preach. It's still what I love to do more than anything."
The expectations of a pastor are endless. Many members expect them to be omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. But different pastors are wired differently. One pastor may get great fulfillment out of counseling, while another dreads every minute of it.
I don't particularly like the "quick-fix" formula some pundits offer to leaders of churches that are plateaued or experiencing a decline. Nevertheless, I have had the wonderful opportunity to research churches across America. Many leaders are frustrated and seeking God's solution.
The fascination with megachurches is, at least to some extent, related to the sociological impact on the community in which it resides. There continues to be a shift of members and attendees from smaller churches to larger churches, particularly megachurches.
Christians are against more things than they are for. "It just seems to me that Christians are mad at the world and mad at each other." I don't see much difference in the way Christians live compared to others.
Not all the news about pastors is discouraging. Pastors feel privileged to be called to their places of ministry. They have a deep love for those they shepherd. Most of them could not conceive of doing anything else. But please hear me: Many pastors are hurting.
We all know those "energy drainers." They are the people that seem to have a perpetual cloud hanging over their heads. Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity – including viewing such material on TV – actually peels away neurons in the brain's hippocampus. That's the part of your brain you need for problem solving.
In my work with churches across America, I often ask a series of questions that help me assist the church to become more evangelistically focused. Are members more concerned about the lost than their own preferences and comfort?
Let's be fair. Many politicians are good and strong leaders. They have a high ethical standard, care for their constituencies first, and seek to serve. But some politicians are bad. They put self first. They lie. They seek power first.
Distractions take our eyes off those things that really matter. For a pastor, the health of the church is greatly at risk when he loses his focus. Most pastors say critics distract them from their ministries.
There is good anecdotal evidence and older research evidence to indicate new member classes are good for the health of congregations. One of the common objections to new member classes, however, is a lack of time or resources.
I must force myself to learn something if I am ever to be the kind of leader to make certain this tragedy does not place where I serve. If nothing else, I must learn leadership lessons for the sake of these children and future children. In doing so, I noted seven leadership lessons from Penn State.
Let us look with stark honesty and candor at the ineffectiveness of most American believers when it comes to sharing their faith. One of the main reasons many Christians do not share their faith is simply explained by the word disobedience.
It's easy sometimes not to make a decision, to let the perceived status quo become our daily agenda. Instead of becoming a leader who is a change agent, we become managers who carry out routine tasks. How can we leaders make certain we are not seeking the comfort of sameness and committing sins of omission?
I am not a perfect father. Not close. And I am not a perfect husband. Far from it. But do you know what Art, Sam, and Jess know? Despite my imperfections as a husband, despite my stupid anger, despite my self-centeredness, I love their mother.
It is indeed an understatement, but it's true. Leadership is changing. The overall thrust of the changes is that elitist leadership is dead; at the very least it is dying. The demand for greater transparency, honesty, and just plain decent behavior has never been higher.
In the context of serious theological discussions, it may seem trivial to write about first impressions of guests when they visit your church. But, if we could understand that a returning guest has more opportunities to hear the gospel and experience Christian love and fellowship, we might take the issue a bit more seriously.
Discipleship is a hot topic within the local church right now. Discipleship manifests itself in the local church most often through small groups. But they often struggle to be successful and transformational because of wrong expectations, beliefs, or myths about how they work best.