Leadership

Stop Complicating Ministry: The Smaller The Church, The Simpler We Need To Keep It

So, you pastor a small, struggling church. You’re trying to help it become less small and less struggling, but all the “can’t miss” answers from the latest church growth conferences never seem to work for you. You don’t have a big worship team singing new songs, a dynamic small group ministry, a trendy youth group, …

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All Churches Make Mistakes, Why Do Ours Feel Fatal?

No church is perfect. Some churches make mistakes but keep growing and moving ahead at lightning speed, while other churches make similar mistakes, but can’t seem to make even the smallest forward progress. Even the world’s fastest-growing churches regularly make mistakes, but those mistakes don’t seem to affect their forward motion at all. It’s frustrating …

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Why “Finishing Well” Can Never Be Our Main Reason To Behave Morally

Finishing well in ministry really matters to me.

Especially since I now have more ministry years behind me than in front of me.

I want every day of my ministry life to matter. And I want to end it having brought honor to Christ, his church and my family.

This has become even more important as I have watched so many pastors leave the ministry under a cloud of suspicion or outright guilt, sometimes in what was already going to be their final years.

Too many times we’re seeing decades of great ministry irreparably tainted by credible accusations of moral indiscretion.

But.

Wanting to finish well is not the main reason I’m determined to behave morally. It should never be for any of us.

My Best Advice For New Pastors And Church Planters? Be A Great Cover Band

If you’re a new pastor or a church planter, perhaps the best word of advice I can give you is not to be a tribute band, but to be a great cover band.

What’s the difference?

While a tribute band plays the hits from one bad, even taking on their look, a cover band picks great songs from several bands and plays them all.

A great tribute band can give you a nostalgic evening, but it will never stretch the abilities of the musicians. It’s just paint-by-numbers for them. But being a cover band – especially when you’re starting out – is a wonderful way to learn how great music is written, performed and received by an audience.

My Best Advice For New Pastors And Church Planters? Be A Great Cover Band

If you’re a new pastor or a church planter, perhaps the best word of advice I can give you is not to be a tribute band, but to be a great cover band.

What’s the difference?

While a tribute band plays the hits from one bad, even taking on their look, a cover band picks great songs from several bands and plays them all.

A great tribute band can give you a nostalgic evening, but it will never stretch the abilities of the musicians. It’s just paint-by-numbers for them. But being a cover band – especially when you’re starting out – is a wonderful way to learn how great music is written, performed and received by an audience.

Pastors, The Church Is Not Our Personal Platform

The church belongs to Jesus.

It is not owned by its denomination, its donors, its members, its staff or its lead pastor.

Jesus said he would build his church – and he’s not about to give it up to us.

As a pastor, this is a lesson I need to remind myself of regularly, so I thought I’d share that reminder with you as well.

Why The Church Exists
The church does not exist to give us an audience for our ideas, projects or egos. It exists to fulfill Christ’s purposes. Our role is to equip the church members to enact those purposes, both inside and outside the church walls.

The church exists to make Jesus known, not to make pastors famous.

6 Principles Healthy Churches Use To Deal With Conflict Well

Conflict is inevitable.

Even in a healthy marriage, family and church.

Like healthy marriages and families, healthy churches don’t avoid conflict, but they deal with it well.

I’ve been in pastoral ministry for more than 35 years. In the early days, I dealt with more conflict than in recent years. Not because the early churches were bad, but because I didn’t know how to deal with conflict as well as I do today.

Unfortunately, I learned how to deal with conflict the hard way – by making mistakes.

Through those mistakes, then through watching and learning from other churches who manage conflict well., I have landed on 6 principles that healthy churches use to deal with conflict well:

Has The Rise Of Megachurches Elevated Our Communities?

For over 25 years I’ve lived and pastored in Orange County, California.

In the last 50 years this county has experienced as much megachurch success as anywhere else on earth. We’ve given birth to the Crystal Cathedral, Calvary Chapel, The Vineyard, TBN, Saddleback Church and many other megachurches and ministries. We haven’t just grown a lot of megachurches, we’ve started mega-movements.

If individual congregational growth is as important as we’re told it is, shouldn’t the moral and spiritual climate be rising in the communities where megachurches are thriving?

But that’s not the case. Not in my county. And not in other regions experiencing megachurch growth.

This probably sounds like an indictment on megachurches, but it truly isn’t meant to be. It’s simply a reality we need to be aware of and take seriously.

Want More Church Leaders? Look For A Servant’s Heart

“It’s hard to find people who will step up and lead in the church today. Especially young people.”

That’s what I keep hearing.

But I also see many churches that are the exceptions to that supposed rule. Including the amazing congregation I get to serve.

What are healthy churches doing to encourage, create and train a new generation of leaders?

There are a lot of factors, of course. Far too many for one blog post. But if I had to isolate it to one primary factor, it would be this.

Healthy churches find potential leaders by paying attention to people with a servant’s heart first, leadership skills second.

Please Stop Helping Me Fulfill My Potential

If your ministry is about helping people reach their full potential, I have a favor to ask.

Leave me alone. Please.

I’m not interested.

I’ve chosen to be a follower of Jesus. A disciple. Something I do imperfectly on my best days. But from the moment I chose do that, even poorly, I gave up ownership of my life.
My life is no longer mine. It’s his. So my goals don’t matter anymore. Fulfilling my potential is not enough. Not for me, my church, my family or my ministry.

I don’t want my best. I want God’s best. Because his ideas are different than mine. And his best is be