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Welcoming Guests and First Impressions

The sermon starts in the parking lot, and the impression you make for your guests on Sunday morning during the first 10 minutes will be indelible.

Technology and The Church

Leveraging technology for ministry can be an incredible blessing. But it can also be fraught with problems and pitfalls. Learn how to use technology well.

Vision and Leadership

Our God longs for leaders to request of Him to do that which they cannot. Faith filled vision, leadership and risk are key ingredients for ministry.

Preaching and Communication

You know and understand how challenging it is to communicate. It is hard to get and capture people's attention. Learn how to communicate effectively.

Creativity and Innovation

Being creative means asking the right questions and making new associations. Discover new and creative ideas for your ministry.

7 Simple Ways You Can Stop Hiding And Start Building Others Up

Guest contributor Bryan Stoudt:

There it was, in plain sight. Another candy wrapper. Well, not quite in plain sight. It was ‘hidden’ behind one of my kids’ pillows, but let’s just say this was not the work of a master thief.

When I asked her about it, the denials were prolific and amazingly creative.

I found myself getting annoyed and self-righteous. The truth is, though, that I am just like her. And you are, too. In reality we’re all a mess. We just don’t want anyone else to know about it.

The Tremendous Power Of Confession And Vulnerability

The cost of our cover-up is incredibly high. Like Adam and Eve long ago, when we hide our sin, we become isolated from God, each other, and everything that’s good.

But God has given us some powerful - if painful - alternatives. James 5:16 lays out an important principle for us. ‘Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed’.

Of course, God alone can ultimately heal and forgive. James reminds us, though, that God is at work when we confess our sins to other believers.

But we should also let others in on our weaknesses, not just our sins. In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Paul tells the Corinthians about some sort of physical weakness, a ‘thorn in the flesh’, that God gave him to keep him humble. He hadn’t done anything wrong, but he let them the church in on this challenge.

7 Ways You Can Make It Practical Today

So, here are 7 practical ways we can come out of hiding and fear to experience the freedom and confidence the gospel offers. 

  1. Admit it when we make a mistake or sin. Instead of hoping others won’t find out, we can go and admit it up front. 
  2. Share a real-time weakness or struggle. It’s easy to talk about something we’ve conquered, but sharing a current struggle shows others you need grace right now.
  3. Include confession in your prayer times. It’s fine to request prayer for your next exam or your Aunt Matilda’s hangnail. But confessing your failures, then praying about them, lets others in where you really need support. 
  4. Seek out mentors and other resources, then tell others about it. When we find mentors, read books and seek others’ input, we’re quietly admitting we need help. (Bonus: share what you’re learning).
  5. Invite questions and accountability. We can proactively ask others how we’re doing and invite their feedback and accountability. At a retreat this past week, I was impressed when the center’s president sincerely invited my wife and I to let him know how they can improve.
  6. Be gracious toward others - and yourself. When we don’t get worked-up about others’ - and our own - failures , we demonstrate we believe God can overcome them. And people will be more honest with us instead of hiding.
  7. Compliment others. When you sing others’ praises, you show that you’re secure enough to learn from them and build them up. One older friend and mentor I know is incredibly generous in praising others, even those younger and less mature than he is. It always feels great to be on the receiving end and gives me courage to press ahead.
Opening up and being gracious toward others doesn’t come naturally. But as we do, people experience God’s grace through us and we’ll get to a depth of relationship that we’ve never experienced before.

Question: As you reflect on the ideas above, which one would help you the most? What other ways do you cultivate a life of vulnerability and grace?

Bryan Stoudt is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary and pastors healthcare students in Philadelphia, where he serves as the Christian Medical & Dental Association's Area Director. He and his wife Sharon have four wonderful children. Bryan blogs about 'following Jesus in a noisy, broken world' at www.bryanstoudt.com.

Eight Steps For Training Disciples

Robert Coleman’s eloquent and succinct The Master Plan of Evangelism essentially took apart Jesus’ life and put it back together again, identifying eight steps Jesus used to make and to equip disciples.
Let’s look at a summary of those steps.

1. Selection — people were his method. Jesus believed that people should reach other people. He could have used an exclusive barrage of miracles, or he could have brought everything to conclusion while on earth. Instead he chose common men and women like us to reach the world. This demonstrates not only his love for us, but also his confidence in us.

2. Association — he stayed with them. With the first disciples, the essence of Jesus’ training meant just letting his disciples follow him. He drew them close to himself, becoming his own school and curriculum.

3. Consecration — he required obedience. Jesus expected his disciples to obey him. He didn’t require them to be smart, but he wanted them to be loyal — to the extent that obeying him became the distinguishing mark they were known by. “Disciples” meant they were the Master’s “learners” or “pupils.” Later Jesus’ disciples became known as “Christians” (Acts 11:26), a fitting description of obedient followers who took on the character of their leader.

4. Impartation — he gave himself away. Jesus gave his disciples everything: what the Father had given him (John 15:5); his peace (John 16:33); his joy (John 15:11); the keys to his kingdom (Matthew 16:19); and his own glory (John 17:22,24). He withheld nothing, not even his life.

5. Demonstration — he showed them how to live. Jesus showed the disciples how to pray, study, and relate to others. More than twenty times the Gospels recount Jesus’ practice of prayer. He taught the disciples about the use of Scripture by extensively using words from the Old Testament. As the disciples saw Jesus interact with Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the rich young ruler, and many others, Jesus showed them how to talk to and how to treat others.

6. Delegation — he assigned them work. From day one, Jesus prepared his disciples to take over the mission. He gradually turned over responsibility, sending out the seventy (Matthew 10:1-42) and giving extensive instructions to the Twelve (Luke 10:1-20). He told the disciples to follow his methods, to expect hardships, and to go out in pairs. Following his resurrection, he clearly gave the disciples the responsibility to take the gospel to the entire world (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).

7. Supervision — he kept checking on them. When Jesus gave the disciples work to do, he followed up. He listened to their reports and blessed them. When he was with the disciples, he spent time helping them understand the reason for a previous action or preparing them for a new experience. He used questions, illustrations, warnings, and admonitions to teach the disciples what they needed to know to reach the world.

8. Reproduction — he expected them to reproduce. Jesus told the disciples to pray for workers (Matthew 9:36-38), and he called them to teach everyone to obey his teaching (Matthew 28:20). He required the costly elements of leadership development and reproduction, and expected the disciples to reproduce by finding other disciples who would also follow Jesus.

Best Twitter Posts From The Past Week

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Link Love Thursday

These are some good reads from the interwebs, we want to share them with you, please check these out:

6 Core Skills Of A Leader Who Develops Talent by Dan Rockwell



Rise & Shine: The Morning Rituals Of Our Great Creative Minds by Taylor Pipes

3 Reasons Why Reading The Bible Feels Like A Chore by Aaron Armstrong

No Grey Area by Kevin DeYoung

Brian Williams And The Tragedy Of The Male Ego by Rick Phillips


Has Parenting Become America's Religion?

from Tim Elmore:

I just finished speaking at a school, where I did an event for students, faculty, parents and community leaders. It was refreshing to talk to such engaging audiences, both adults and kids. After my parent workshop, one mom approached me with a comment that stopped me in my tracks. She said, “Don’t you think part of our problem today in America is that parenting has become a religion?”

Wow. Her remark made me pause to think.

I think I agree. Let me tell you why.

We’ve all seen the signs of this emerging “religion” over the last thirty years:
  • Baby On Board Signs on the back of the mini-van.
  • “My Kid is a Super Kid at ABC Elementary School” bumper stickers.
  • Trophies and ribbons are given away just for playing on a team.
  • Blockbuster movies where kids not only the stars… but also the heroes.
  • Entire restaurants and TV networks devoted solely to children.
  • Television programs all about parenthood as the primary theme.
  • Parents acting like “agents” at school plays or little league games.
Yep. Kids are front and center in our minds. Anything less is politically incorrect. Children have actually become the new “scorecard” for our success as adults, and now, parenthood is acting like a religion.

Read Tim's entire post HERE

I have often thought that parenting (and our children) have become America's premiere idol - and that idolatry has definitely crept into our churches and within the body of Christ. Do you agree with Tim's premise? Your thoughts?

How To Discover The Power Of A Grounded Question

Mark Strom unveils for us the power of a grounded question. The power to breathe new life into ideas and conversations! His learning is grounded in his own story: a childhood of chronic illness growing up in Australia, a first career as a truck driver ...and laborer, over two decades advising senior leaders on strategy, innovation and engagement, and first-hand experience of leading the turnaround of a public institution as its CEO. A must see video to watch!

5 Guaranteed Ways To Make Your Kids Hate Church

The Ministry Best Practices Staff will be on vacation and will be entering a "tech-free" zone. Therefore for the week we are sharing some of the best of MBP. Some of the content has been repurposed and updated.

1. Make sure your faith is only something you live out in public
Go to church... at least most of the time. Make sure you agree with what you hear the preacher say, and affirm on the way home what was said especially when it has to do with your kids obeying, but let it stop there. Don’t read your bible at home. The pastor will say everything you need to hear on Sundays. Don’t engage your children in questions they have concerning Jesus and God. Live like you want to live during the week so that your kids can see that duplicity is ok.

2. Pray only in front of people
The only times you need to pray are when your family is over, Holiday meals, when someone is sick, and when you want something. Besides that, don’t bother. Your kids will see you pray when other people are watching, no need to do it with them in private.

3. Focus on your morals
Make sure you insist your kids be honest with you. Let them know it is the right thing for them to do, but then feel free to lie in your own life and disregard the need to tell them and others the truth. Get very angry with your children when they say words that are “naughty” and “bad”, but post, read, watch, and say whatever you want on TV, Facebook, and Twitter. Make sure you focus on being a good person. Be ambiguous about what this means.

4. Give financially as long as it doesn't impede your needs
Make a big deal out of giving at church. Stress the need to your children the value of tithing, while not giving sacrificially yourself. Allow them to see you spend a ton of money on what you want, while negating your command from scripture to give sacrificially.

5. Make church community a priority. As long as there is nothing else you want to do
Hey, you are a church going family, right? I mean, that’s what you tell your friends and family anyways. Make sure you attend on Sundays. As long as you didn’t stay up too late Saturday night. Or your family isn’t having a big bar-b-que. Or the big game isn’t on. Or this week you just don’t feel like it. Or... I mean, you are church going family so what’s the big deal?

from original post HERE

What Is Your Primary Leadership Style?

leadership styles
The Ministry Best Practices Staff will be on vacation and will be entering a "tech-free" zone. Therefore for the week we are sharing some of the best of MBP. Some of the content has been repurposed and updated.

Here is a good and brief summary over at the Wall Street Journal of six different leadership styles, as summarized by Daniel Goleman (author of Emotional Intelligence and Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence).

The six styles are:

1. Visionary
2. Coaching
3. Affiliative
4. Democratic

5. Pacesetting

6. Commanding


According to the article, “The most effective leaders can move among these styles, adopting the one that meets the needs of the moment.” However, some of the styles need to be used very sparingly.

These categories by Goleman reminded me of Tim Elmore's Dorothy's Way presentation from the Catalyst Labs.

Tim used Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz as a metaphor for the many church leadership styles through the different era's and how leadership style differed through that era.

In the 50's it was a Military style - top down and demanded loyalty.
In the 60-70's it was the CEO - leading with vision and valued productivity
In the 80's it was the Entrepreneur - desiring to be "cutting edge" and valuing innovation
In the 90's it was the Coach - deploy the talent of players and valuing teamwork
NOW - is the Dorothy Way...a leadership style called Poet/Gardner

The leadership style of today leads in an age of complexity and doesn't pretend to have all the answers. They are learning, reading and synthesizing information in order to lead (that is the Poet part) and they are most interested in growing people under their care (that is the Gardner part). This style is a leader that asks questions and listens.

Elmore did suggest, just as Goleman, that although a leader will conform to a primary leadership style, there will be times though when the leader will need to move between these many styles depending on the situation and leadership context.

What is your primary leadership style?

from original post HERE

The 5 Most Strategic Ways To Recruit More Volunteers

recruit volunteers
The Ministry Best Practices Staff will be on vacation and will be entering a "tech-free" zone. Therefore for the week we are sharing some of the best of MBP. Some of the content has been repurposed and updated.

It doesn't matter if you are a church of 50, 500 or 50000, - encouraging and mobilizing volunteers seems to be the perennial challenge in ministry. At my church we are constantly wrestling through this issue. I don't presume to have the final word on this, but here have been some of my thoughts and teachings about how to more effectively get more volunteers.

1. Develop leaders first. Volunteers will only work under competent leaders. Therefore it is your job to develop, to coach and to pour into leaders. Emerging leadership is one of your most important assets. Make sure you have good leadership first and then from that volunteers will grow.

2. Stop fishing from the same pond- You can only know so many people. Malcolm Gladwell says that most people connect within only small and intimate circles of relationships. Therefore the key to recruiting is to be able to get into other relational circles. In order to do that, you need to ask your key volunteers to intentionally tap into their circles. Ask your volunteers to recruit their own team themselves because chances are they know people you don't even know.

3. Equip your volunteers - people are not merely tools in order to accomplish your ministry goals and objectives. But unfortunately, too often, we treat them that way. You need to value your volunteers. Train, equip and develop your volunteers. Make sure they know that they are going to walk away with an added value for volunteering, in other words, a free prize inside. In other words, it isn't so much about "getting" from your volunteers, but rather "giving" to them.

4. Simply ask. Most of the time, the people you need to serve in your ministry area are simply sitting in your church doing nothing. The reason for this is because all they hear are asks, pleas and challenges from the platform. And suffice it say, "Everyone's challenge" is too often "No one's challenge". Not everybody will respond to a corporate challenge (also read my post about Communication from the Platform). Sometimes all you need to do is to take the initiative and ask.

5. Communicate Vision, not Need. To often when churches communicate the need for volunteers it sounds like begging. "We need to fill spots!" "We need your help!" Most people don't respond to that kind of plea. People will respond to vision and outcomes. People want to know that their serving will have purpose and gives them a real opportunity to impact the Kingdom of God.

What say you? How do you get more volunteers to serve?

from original post HERE

11 Signs That YOU May Be Following A Bad Leader

bad leader
The Ministry Best Practices Staff will be on vacation and will be entering a "tech-free" zone. Therefore for the week we are sharing some of the best of MBP. Some of the content has been repurposed and updated.

from Scott Williams:

Most of us have worked for leaders that are for all intents and purposes are not very good. I actually learned a lot in my early days of leadership from some really bad leaders. Not only were they bad leaders, they were oblivious to the negative affects of their poor leadership. There are many signs that a leader is not a good leader and I have identified 11 Signs below.

The reason I attribute these signs to not being a ”Good Leader” is because a leader has to at least reach the mantle of being a “Good Leader” before they can be a ”Great Leader” Here are 11 signs that the person you are following is not a good leader. Remember, if you are a leader, it is quite easily to replace the "They" with a "YOU"! 

1. They are not willing to fail.
2. They only talk and never listen.
3. They don’t develop and produce other leaders.
4. They micro-manage; that’s management not leadership.
5. They are insecure or threatened by someone that they lead.
6. They are not willing to follow and learn from those that they lead.
7. They are focused on pleasing people and what people think. Consumed with whether or not they look good to their superiors.
8. They don’t genuinely care about the people they lead and have difficulty getting people to follow.
9. They are willing to make the wrong decision, because of the fear of fall-out from making the right decision.
10. They only dream about being like so and so, instead of being the best they can be.
11. They don’t embrace the reality that the culture they create trumps all of the little vision talks and rah-rah cheers. Culture eats vision for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

from original post HERE

3 Reasons Your Church Should Participate In Social Media


The Ministry Best Practices Staff will be on vacation and will be entering a "tech-free" zone. Therefore for the week we are sharing some of the best of MBP. Some of the content has been repurposed and updated.

Sure Social Media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter, have a big "gee-whiz" factor. Everybody is hopping on the bandwagon and getting involved. People are telling you that if you and your church don't get connected to this new media that you're going to get left behind and miss out.

But there has got to be a more compelling reason for a church, ministry or non-profit to sign on to these social media applications than "everybody else is doing it."

The question you have to ask concerning your organization is, "Why get on board and get involved with Social Media?" You must be convinced that there is a compelling reason for your church to dive into social media.

That compelling reason can be found from business -they call it ROI, Return On Investment. What is the ROI of Social Media for ministry and your church? In this post, I don't want to address the quantitative aspect of ROI, but rather the qualitative.

How does social media improve the quality of ministry and help move the church's objectives forward?

I believe there needs to be 3 ROI Quality Goals and Objectives for Social Media

1. Communication
2. Connecting
3. Call to Action

Let me break these down:

1. Communication
- Social Media must help the church effectively and efficiently communicate it's message. Certainly Social Media isn't the only medium. A church can communicate to it's people on the Sunday morning platform, bulletins, mailings, phone calls, emails, face-to-face conversations, television, radio etc... Social Media, though, becomes just another effective tool to add to the church's communication mosaic. But Social Media has some unique benefits all it's own in effectively communicating:

  • - it's easy and effortless, it doesn't take much money or manpower to implement or use it.
  • - it's ubiquitous, since it is so available and pervasive it isn't hard for people to miss the message.
  • - it's variety, social media takes many different forms, words, audio and image.
  • - it's viral, the beauty of social media is that your message can expand well beyond it's intended audience - therefore exposing and introducing new people to your cause and community.
2. Connecting - Social Media must connect your community. Unlike communication which most often pushes information in a "one-way" direction, connecting must create a conversation. You must ask, Will Social Media create conversation within the community? Are people able to talk to you the minister/ministry team leader? Can they talk to one another? Also, part of the conversation involves other key elements:

  • - contribute, can others contribute in helpful and meaningful ways to the conversation? Are they even able to shape the conversation?
  • - collaborate, does your social media allow the benefits from the collective hive of experience, skills and knowledge from your community?
3. Call to Action - Social Media must prompt people to do something. It can't be passive. Some of the calls to ACTION might include:

  • - Go, are you asking someone to go and serve others in some way?
  • - Give, are you asking someone to give either of their time or financially to the cause?
  • - Pray, are you calling people to act in concerted and persevering prayer?
  • -Mobilize, are you asking people to spread the message of the cause to their friends and networks?
So as you think about Social Media for your church, ministry or non-profit, you must ask yourself....How will this new Social Media "thing" help our church, ministry or organization Communicate, Connect our Community, and Call People to Action?

If you have a clear answer to that question, then most definitely your church should invest in Social Media.


from original post HERE

14 Comments That You Should NEVER Say To Your Pastor

shut up
The Ministry Best Practices Staff will be on vacation and will be entering a "tech-free" zone. Therefore for the week we are sharing some of the best of MBP. Some of the content has been repurposed and updated.

Some things should never be said, even if you are thinking them or wanting to say them. Therefore avoid these comments toward your pastor at all cost:
  1. I wish I had a job like yours, where I would work only one day a week.
  2. What do you do with all the free time you have?
  3. Can I have a couple of minutes before you preach?
  4. I love you pastor, but....(fill in the blank).
  5. I like your preaching, pastor, but I really like....(fill in the blank with television or podcast preacher).
  6. Can your wife play piano?
  7. Your kids shouldn’t behave that way. After all, they are pastor’s kids.
  8. Your low salary is good for you. It keeps you humble and dependent on the Lord.
  9. I bet you don’t spend any time preparing your sermons.
  10. Pastor (predecessor pastor) didn’t do it that way.
  11. You don’t have a real degree. You went to seminary.
To read 12-14 go to Thom Rainer

from original post HERE

Being A Pastor Is Not For Wimps - It's A Dangerous Calling

dangerous calling
The Ministry Best Practices Staff will be on vacation and will be entering a "tech-free" zone. Therefore for the week we are sharing some of the best of MBP. Some of the content has been repurposed and updated.

Peter Drucker, the late leadership guru, said that the four hardest jobs in America (and not necessarily in order, he added) are:
  • The President of the United States
  • A university president
  • A CEO of a hospital and
  • A pastor
Do you believe that?

Some of you may think that it's a dream job. You can read the Bible all day, pray, play a little golf and preach.

Here is the secret. Being a pastor is hard work. It’s not for the faint of heart.

The reality is - the job of a pastor can be 24/7 and carry unique challenges. Some pastors wear themselves out trying to help people. Some wound their family because they are so involved in ministry. Others flourish in their ministry and personal life.  Here are a couple of statistics about pastors.
  • 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry. 
  • 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
  • 40% report a conflict with a church member at least once a month. (Tweet This)
  • 85% of pastors said their greatest problem is they are tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors. 
  • The #1 reason pastors leave the ministry is that church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastors believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change. 
  • 40% of pastors say they have considered leaving their pastorates in the last three months. (Tweet This)
  • 70% of pastors do not have someone they consider a close friend. (Tweet This)
  • 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. (Tweet This)
  • 70% felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only 50% still felt called. 
  • 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close. (Tweet This)
  • Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year. (Tweet This)
  • Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year. (Tweet This)
  • 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. 
  • 45.5 % of pastors say that they've experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry. 
According to the Barna report - the profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”.

This is a most dangerous and difficult calling - not to be entered into lightly - and it is a calling that is in dire need of the prayers and support of those in the church, family and of close, personal confidants.  That begs the question, are you praying for your pastor?  Pastor, do you have someone in your life who is safe? Someone you would consider a friend?

We can't just set aside one month as Pastor Appreciation Month, all the while relegating the other remaining 11 months as critique, criticize and combat the Pastor Months.  Pastors need our support and prayers.

The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc. provide the statistics I have used in this blog.

Great resource is Paul Tripp's book - Dangerous Calling

from the original post HERE

10 Major Reasons To Avoid Pastoral Ministry All Together

invisible man
The Ministry Best Practices Staff will be on vacation and will be entering a "tech-free" zone. Therefore for the week we are sharing some of the best of MBP. Some of the content has been repurposed and updated.

Certainly the blessings of ministry far outweigh the realities below, yet ministry is definitely not easy. That is why pastoral ministry must be a calling and not simply a "job". If you can't reconcile with these 10 difficult realities and challenges concerning pastoral ministry, then perhaps you should avoid it all together.

from the Aquila Report:

If you enter pastoral ministry…

10. Not everyone will like you.

9. You will make people angry regardless how godly you handle yourself; it comes with the position.

8. You will feel like a failure often, and when you do appear to succeed, the fruit that is produced cannot be accredited to you. God alone gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:7). Thus, there is little “sense of accomplishment in ministry” that you may be accustomed to in other vocations.

7. You will fight legalism and liberalism, along with laziness, ignorance, tradition, and opposition. Yet, your greatest enemy will be your own heart (Jer. 17:9).

6. Not everyone will respond positively to your preaching, teaching, or leadership. You will bring people to tears with the same sermon: one in joy, another in anger (I have done this).

5. You will be criticized, rarely to your face, and frequently behind your back. This criticism will come from those that love you, those that obviously do not like you, and pastors and Christians that barely know you.

4. You will think about quitting yearly or monthly, if not weekly or even daily.

3. You will be persecuted for preaching the truth, mostly from your brothers and sisters in the pews. You shouldn’t be surprised by the sight of your own blood. You’re a Christian, after all (Matt. 16:24).

2. You will feel very lonely on a consistent basis, feeling like no one truly knows you or cares how you feel, because you do not want to burden your family, and trust-worthy peers are few and far in-between. Because of the ”super-Christian” myth accredited to pastors literally, you will find it extremely difficult to disclose your deep thoughts and feelings to others. Thus, you will struggle with loneliness.

1. You will probably pastor a church that is barely growing (if at all), is opposed to change, doesn’t pay well, has seen pastors come and go, doesn’t respect the position as Biblically as they should, doesn’t understand what the Bible says a pastor’s or a church’s jobs are, and will only follow you when they agree with you (thus, they’ll really only follow themselves).

from original post HERE

5 Pastor Leadership Styles You Will Discover

The Ministry Best Practices Staff will be on vacation and will be entering a "tech-free" zone. Therefore for the week we are sharing some of the best of MBP. Some of the content has been repurposed and updated.

When a church is “looking” to call a pastor, in reality there are only five “types” of pastors out there.

A disclaimer before proceeding. These five types or paradigmatic pastors don’t cover varying theologies, beliefs, doctrines, or even tribal affinity. These categories are talking about five kinds of “Christian” leaders based on “how” they lead. This is a behavioral/personality typology that should be helpful in choosing a pastor for your church.

Each of these types carries positives and negatives, and most likely no one fits into only one category but rather has roots in one and branches that spread into one or two others, we're all mixed bags.

Here is the summation of the article of the 5 Kinds of Pastors:

The five archetypes of pastors are:
  • Catalytic 
  • Cultivator 
  • Conflict-Quelling 
  • Chaplain 
  • Catatonic 
Here’s a brief description of each.

The Catalytic Pastor: The catalytic pastor is wired to stir things up. They’re gifted in the prophetic and tend to be charismatic leaders. These pastors have lots of energy and are focused on the mission of the church … that is, reaching the community for Jesus Christ. In the “right” church, they’ll grow it without a doubt. In the “wrong” church, they’ll create conflict, they’ll be frustrated, and they’ll either burn out or they’ll move on … assuming they’re not fired first. Catalytic pastors are ideal church planters but often lack the finesse and patience for church transformations (except in those VERY rare churches that are truly willing to do anything to reach the community for Jesus).

The Cultivating Pastor: The cultivating pastor is wired to break up hard ground, plant seeds, nurture the fields, and are both willing and able to bring in a harvest. They’re gifted in big-picture understanding, systems analysis, and systems manipulation (in a good way). Because of their systems understanding and their patience, they are able to cultivate change and transformation over time. However, they’re tenacious and are used to getting their way in the long run … because they know how to deal with obstacles that get in their way. Cultivating pastors are well suited for church transformations in churches that can afford to effect gentle change that takes significant time … as many as seven to ten years.

The Conflict-Quelling Pastor: The Conflict-Quelling pastor is exactly the type that the name implies … they’re the guys and gals who are natural or skilled peacemakers, mediators, and/or conflict managers. These pastors are wired differently than any of the other pastoral types. They’re not catalytic and they’re distinctive from chaplains. Instead, these folks can walk into a congregation and in short order assess the situation and instinctively seem to know who the major players are. They are affable and able to build bridges. They tend to be quiet and reflective … when they speak, they do so with conviction, wisdom, and certainty. Conflict-Quelling pastors make excellent interim pastors and/or troubled-church pastors.

The Chaplain Pastor: The Chaplain pastor is wired for peace, harmony, and pastoral care. This is the type of pastor that has been produced by seminaries for several decades, though a few … a very few … seminaries are retooling. Chaplain pastors eschew change and value status quo. They don’t want to stir the waters; rather, they want to bring healing to hurting souls.

They are excellent listeners and tend to be good networkers within the community, primarily so they can extend their ministry, but also so they can refer those in need to oasis’ of help. Chaplain pastors don’t grow churches. In fact, a Chaplain pastor will hasten a congregation’s demise because they tend to focus on those within the congregation rather than in bringing new converts to Jesus Christ. Churches that have very little hope of transformation and church growth do well with Chaplain pastors who serve as hospice care.

The Catatonic Pastor: This type of pastor is, frankly, either lazy or sick. There are far too many of these pastors. They take refuge in their offices ostensibly to do sermon preparation, create brochures, sum up numbers, and so on, but ultimately they’re spinning their wheels and accomplishing very little.

They may or may not do the hospital visitation, but they seldom miss an opportunity to have a meal with one of the inside buddies. Catatonic pastors tend to be well liked by the power holders in the church, because the Catatonic pastor is easily manipulated and seldom, if ever, makes waves … except when they need to accomplish something and fail to meet even the lowest of expectations. Indeed, Catatonic pastors may remain as the senior pastor of a church for many years because they know how to schmooze their way into grace.

Churches that hate change often end up with excellent examples of Catatonic pastors. Catatonic pastors may spend a lot of time “at work” but any congregation that sets performance goals for their Catatonic pastor will quickly discover that time in the office does not guarantee results. Of course, Catatonic pastors do not grow churches, are poor chaplains - even poor hospice chaplains, and they pretty much destroy wherever they root … and they’re more like crabgrass or bamboo that, once established, is almost impossible to eradicate.

from original post HERE

Top 5 Books On Spiritual Disciplines

solitude
from Nathan Finn:

1. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney

Though not the most famous book in the genre, I think Whitney’s book is the best because of his commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture and his focus on the centrality of the gospel for spiritual maturity. If you can only read one book on this list, this ought to be the one. Highly recommended.

2. Spiritual Disciplines within the Church: Participating Fully in the Body of Christ by Donald Whitney

This book is Whitney’s “sequel” to the aforementioned title. Whereas Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life looks at personal spiritual practices, Spiritual Disciplines for the Church focuses upon corporate spirituality within the body of Christ. Whitney’s high view of the local church and his commitment to biblical community shine through in this book.

3. Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes or Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes

Kent Hughes was the longtime pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL; Barbara is his wife. Both are accomplished authors who are known for their commitment to sound doctrine and godly living. These two books are ideal for use in a local church’s men’s ministry and women’s ministry. Also, check out the couples’ companion volume, Disciplines of a Godly Family.

4. The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg

One of the unintended dangers of spiritual disciplines language is that it can be approached in a way that is motivated more by guilt than grace. To be clear, evangelical writers on this topic are almost never legalists. But it can still seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve never thought about spiritual disciplines beyond (perhaps) a daily quiet time. If this sounds like you, then Ortberg has written just the book you need. Though not as deep as Whitney, Ortberg excels at writing in a winsome and pastorally sensitive style.

5. Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards by Kyle Strobel

Strobel is a theologian, a scholar of Jonathan Edwards’s thought, and an expert on spiritual formation. This book reflects all three of those emphases. This is the best book I know of for introducing readers to how an influential Christian from bygone days approached the spiritual disciplines. Plus, Edwards is awesome. As a church historian who loves spiritual formation, I recommend this book to my students all the time.

Honorable Mention: Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth; Donald Whitney, Simplify Your Spiritual Life: Spiritual Disciplines for the Overwhelmed; Earl Crepps, Off-Road Disciplines: Spiritual Adventures of Missional Leaders.


The Top Bible-Minded Cities In America



Hollywood has been betting big money that America still loves the Bible. From Noah to Exodus to the forthcoming Last Days in the Desert, a fictional look at Jesus’ temptation in the desert, Scripture has returned to the screen. But what is America’s relationship with the Bible?

In Barna's annual “Bible-Minded” cities report, Barna Group partners with the American Bible Society to explore how Bible engagement plays out regionally in the United States. Which cities top the list? And which cities have the least Bible-minded populations?

Find out where your city ranks >

Connection Between Porn & Sex Trafficking Is Undeniable

Sex Trafficking
This is an issue that we need to be addressing within our churches, especially with our young people.

from Walt Mueller 

Since we began researching and talking about the issue of pornography, we’ve seen the value of telling the truth about the connection between pornography and sexual trafficking. This is a truth that our kids need to hear. We must connect the dots for them. Sexual trafficking is an issue that the emerging generations care deeply about. Still, pornography use is pervasive among this very group, shaping them (more accurately misshaping them) in powerful ways. Not only must we seek justice in response to sexual trafficking, but we must seek justice by seeing how pornography use makes us complicit in sexual trafficking. If we seek to fight sexual trafficking yet engage in it ourselves, we are divided, dis-integrated selves. We are doing wrong.

This great little video is something you can use to spark discussion and a thoughtful response to these issues. . .