Resources

Park Farthest Away: 5 Simple Pastoral Habits To Defy Our “Me First” Culture

Some of the strongest statements are made in the simplest ways.

This is true of leadership. Especially Christian leadership. People will learn more from what we do than what we say.

For instance, if we are going to teach and preach against greed and pride, we need to live a life that demonstrates generosity and humility. Sometimes that’s done in big ways, through benevolence projects and sacrificial giving. But it needs to be lived out in smaller ways as well. The people closest to us are watching to see if our everyday lives are matching up to those big, visible efforts.

Here are five simple practices that serve as a starting point as we think about the example we are setting for the people who see us in everyday church leadership.

Why “Get The Right People On The Bus” Doesn’t Always Work For A Small Church Staff

One of the biggest frustrations faced by small church pastors is a lack of resources, including so-called human resources. “If only I had more money, a better building, more people or the right people” they complain, “then we could really get something done at our church.”

There are so many problems with that mindset, starting with the idea that there are “right” and “wrong” people.

In God’s eyes there are no “right” people or “wrong” people, and there shouldn’t be in our eyes, either.

To address this issue, here’s an excerpt from my new book, Small Church Essentials, chapter 5, “Why Is My Church So Weird?”

4 Steps To Start Moving From Teaching A Crowd To Equipping The Saints

Teaching requires two things: a competent instructor and receptive students.

Equipping and discipling require much more.

The difference can be seen in the ways Jesus addressed a crowd, compared to how he addressed his disciples. The New Testament says he taught, scolded and had compassion on crowds (Mark 10:1, Luke 11:29, Matt 9:36). But with the disciples, he did much more.

To start getting a handle on what it means to become a disciple/equipper, here are a few essentials we see Jesus doing with his disciples:

4 Steps To Start Moving From Teaching A Crowd To Equipping The Saints

Teaching requires two things: a competent instructor and receptive students.

Equipping and discipling require much more.

The difference can be seen in the ways Jesus addressed a crowd, compared to how he addressed his disciples. The New Testament says he taught, scolded and had compassion on crowds (Mark 10:1, Luke 11:29, Matt 9:36). But with the disciples, he did much more.

To start getting a handle on what it means to become a disciple/equipper, here are a few essentials we see Jesus doing with his disciples:

The Biggest Mistake Teaching Pastors Tend to Make – And How To Fix It

If you are a teaching pastor, I have a gift for you. I’m going to share one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in 35+ years of pastoral ministry.

It happened when I recognized that I was commiting what is probably the biggest mistake most teaching pastors make.

Teaching the saints is not the same as equipping the saints.

The biggest mistake we tend to make is to think we’re equipping when all we’re doing is teaching.
Certainly teaching is a vital part of equipping. But it’s just one aspect. It’s not the whole thing.

If all we do is teach people more about God and the Bible, we won’t have better equipped church members, just better informed ones.

Information is not enough. It never has been.

The Biggest Mistake Teaching Pastors Tend to Make – And How To Fix It

If you are a teaching pastor, I have a gift for you. I’m going to share one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in 35+ years of pastoral ministry.

It happened when I recognized that I was commiting what is probably the biggest mistake most teaching pastors make.

Teaching the saints is not the same as equipping the saints.

The biggest mistake we tend to make is to think we’re equipping when all we’re doing is teaching.
Certainly teaching is a vital part of equipping. But it’s just one aspect. It’s not the whole thing.

If all we do is teach people more about God and the Bible, we won’t have better equipped church members, just better informed ones.

Information is not enough. It never has been.

The Two Biggest Mistakes Churches Make With Money

There are two equal, but opposite mistakes churches regularly make regarding money. Especially for smaller churches, these may be the main ways that finances (or lack of them) stop us from doing what we should be doing.

(This is part of an ongoing series, Money and the Small Church.)

Mistake #1: Giving veto power to the accountant, treasurer or budget

In many churches, Jesus in not in charge as much as we’d like to think he is. Neither is the pastor or the congregation. The treasurer or accountant is. Sometimes literally, with a dictatorial hand. I’ve heard from far too many pastors who feel completely hamstrung in their church because all the power is in the hands of one person who has been given the power of the purse.

Sometimes it’s not one person, but a committee of people. Sometimes it’s just looking at the amount of money that isn’t there and feeling helpless.

Either way, the results are the same. Money is in charge of too many churches.

How To Give Money Less Power Over Your Church

Money is in charge of too many of our churches.

So many good congregations want to do great ministry, but their limited finances cause them to make too many decisions based on what they can or can’t afford, instead of what God is calling them to do.

It’s a trap that may seem impossible to get put of. But there is hope.

In today’s post I want to tell you about a decision our church made over two decades ago that has been a great starting point in allowing us to follow God more and money less.

Here it is.

Our church will never make a decision about doing a ministry based on what we can or can’t afford. Because if we pencil it out, we’ll never be able to afford it.

(This is part of an ongoing series, Money and the Small Church.)

How To Give Money Less Power Over Your Church

Money is in charge of too many of our churches.

So many good congregations want to do great ministry, but their limited finances cause them to make too many decisions based on what they can or can’t afford, instead of what God is calling them to do.

It’s a trap that may seem impossible to get put of. But there is hope.

In today’s post I want to tell you about a decision our church made over two decades ago that has been a great starting point in allowing us to follow God more and money less.

Here it is.

Our church will never make a decision about doing a ministry based on what we can or can’t afford. Because if we pencil it out, we’ll never be able to afford it.

(This is part of an ongoing series, Money and the Small Church.)

Churches Renovate Their Building, On Average, Every 30 Years? Really?!

Uh… Wow.

Every 30 years?

Yes, those are the stats, according to a church renovation expert I heard at a recent conference.

By the time his company is called in to help a church renovate their sanctuary, lobby, exterior or anything significant, it’s been three full decades since any part of their facility has been updated in any meaningful way.

That’s. Too. Long.

I’m aware of how costly it is to update church facilities – especially in a smaller church that may not even be paying the pastor. But there’s an alternative to waiting thirty years to do anything, then breaking the bank to overhaul everything at once.