Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Stress is a natural part of ministry. A certain amount of it is even helpful to accomplishing what God has called you to do. But when you feel like you’re at your breaking point, it’s time to step back and remind yourself of four key stress-busters from the Bible.
- Designate a security lead within your church.
- Develop and maintain a crisis management plan.
- Train church leadership on the content of the crisis management plan.
- Practice the crisis management plan.
- Involve local law enforcement in the church security plan.
"The longer I do ministry the less I want to do things I can take credit for. I want God to do things that I cannot take credit for. And that is where the favor of God comes into play. Here’s my definition of the favor of God: It is God doing something for you that you cannot do for yourself."
—Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. [evotional.com, 3/1/08]
Beginning Tuesday, March 25, Pastor Diane Mann of the International Worship Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., will kick off the week during an 11:00 a.m. chapel service. Later that afternoon from 2:00 - 3:3- p.m. Gerry Gilliam, Dr. Ron Harvard and Dr. Hugh Bair will be hosting preaching workshops for seminary students and special guests.
Activities on Wednesday, March 26 will begin with a "student preaching festival," featuring seminary students Derek Wakefield and John Epley II. The festival begins at 10:00 a.m. and will be followed by "Lunch with the President" at noon. Seminary President Dr. Steven J. Land will speak on Preaching in Uncertain Times.
The preaching festival will resume in the afternoon with sermons from students Lisa St. Marie, Ephraim Shawa and Rick Lambert. Wednesday's activities will conclude that evening with a message by Seminary Professor Emeritus Dr. F.J. May at 7:00 p.m. at the North Cleveland Church of God. In conjunction with his message, delegates will be invited to visit the Pentecostal Resource Center F. J. May display in the foyer.
The final day of Ministers Week will begin with a chapel service in the Cross Chapel at the Seminary with special guest Bishop George D. McKinney of the St. Stephen's Church of God in Christ in San Diego, Calif. Bishop McKinney's message will be followed by a final afternoon of preaching workshops to be conducted by Dr. Bair and Rev. Jonathan Martin.
For more information on minister's week visit the Seminary Web site at http://www.cogts.edu/news.html.
One of the many lessons I have learned in my now fourth decade of ministry is that a pastor doing a great job will always need more money. It makes sense doesn't it? As more and more lives are being changed and people are being reached for Christ, you will continually need more education, children's and worship space along with more money. Something else I've learned is that nowhere is a pastor's credibility more on the line than during a capital campaign, because campaigns are one of the few things in ministry that is not subjective. Statements such as "Good sermon, pastor" or "I enjoyed the music today" are subjective -- but in a campaign, the money either comes in or it does not.
John Hull, President/CEO of INJOY Stewardship Services (ISS), recently sat down with me and we discussed four things every pastor should know about successful capital campaigns. For a limited time, we are proud to offer this interview as a FREE resource for you.
Simply download the audio by clicking the highlighted words.
Please know that the reason I founded ISS back in 1992 was as a result of my own personal experiences as a pastor. Since its inception, we have helped over 4,000 churches raise over $4 billion for Kingdom purposes. The driving principle behind starting the company was knowing that the two greatest issues pastors will face are in the areas of leadership and stewardship. If your church is facing an upcoming project and a need to raise resources, please let us know. We would be honored to serve you.
Click to download the audio: (running time is 52 minutes - 24MB)
Does your church erect invisible barriers toward people getting connected with your church? Is it easier to find the Lost Ark rather than your church on a Sunday morning?
Certainly there may be many legitimate reasons why someone may not come to your church (personal preferences, driving distances etc..). Those are issues that you can't control. But there are plenty of other issues that you can. So, if you are determined, for people to not come to your church or get connected then, Here are 10 ways to Stop Me (or anyone else ) from Discovering Your Church:
- Don’t have a website: This is the information age, even 107 year old women have blogs, but not your church. No website, no blogs, nothing, nada, zero. In order to feel more comfortable before I visit, I want to see something about the the church. I want to be able to kick the tires before I show up on Sunday. And even if you must have a website, make sure it is poorly designed, lacking in information, hard to navigate, lots of rainbow and dove graphics, and definitely out of date.
- Be completely inactive in the community: If you’re not doing anything in the community then no one will talk about your church. That makes it a lot harder for me to accidentally find out anything useful. So don’t serve the community or partner with other churches or non-profits. In fact it’s really just best if you stay completely inward-focused and don’t do anything missional in your town or city.
- Don’t answer your phone: Regardless of what time I call (weekday, weekend, morning, afternoon, evening) don’t answer the phone and don’t have an answering machine or voice mail for me to leave a message or prayer request. If you do have voice mail, don’t include your website address, service times or directions to your church on your message, and don’t ever answer the phone on Sunday mornings. That way when I’m lost en route to service, I’ll have no choice but to drive around aimlessly until I give up and go home.
- Allow misinformation: When contact information changes about your church, make sure you don't update websites, online directories and phone books. It is important to make sure you keep me on my toes and misdirected every chance possible.
- Lack clear signage: Even if I’m determined to visit your church, you have several on site options to discourage me. The first is to play hide and seek. Is your church in a nondescript building or on a street with several other churches? Have absolutely no signage; none, whatsoever. Except maybe on the mailbox, where you abbreviate things beyond comprehension.
- Have insufficient parking/seating: Other discouraging on-site options are lack of adequate parking and seating. Does your church seat 200? Only have 30 parking spaces and make sure that all the church volunteers are using them. Been running at capacity for weeks or months? Don’t start another service, so that there will be standing room only. Have visitors’ parking? Put it in the corner of the lot away from the entrance. Have adequate parking? Don’t stripe the lot or have parking attendants; chaos is best. Have adequate seating? Make it as uncomfortable as possible.
- Ignore Visitors: Despite your best efforts to discourage me, you think that you have won -but I have found and attended your church. In fact, I even filled out a visitor’s card requesting more information. Don’t acknowledge my visit in any way. Don’t call me, don’t send me a thank you card, don’t answer any of my questions or give me any information about how to become involved or learn more about Jesus. Also don’t have any literature available for me to take home and don’t train your volunteers to be courteous or helpful in anyway.
- Respond half-heartedly to inquiries: If responding to information requests at all, do so extremely slowly and only partially. Wait 1 week or more to return emails or phone calls and if I ask several questions, don’t answer them all. Instead just tell me I should come to a service to find out more. That saves you a couple minutes of response time and makes you look very busy and important. Whatever you do, do not start a dialogue with me.
- Be evasive about your beliefs: When I ask a direct question about the church’s beliefs, ignore the question or act like you don’t understand and then start telling me about your denomination or church programs. For “What We Believe”, only include the Nicene Creed on your website or literature. If I’m adamant about wanting positional clarity, instead tell me about the love of Jesus and how Christianity isn’t about division. For those times you do answer my questions, act offended that I would even ask, then try and make me feel stupid or sinful for questioning you.
- Continue to be difficult: You might just get a few months of attendance out of me before I just give up out of frustration. Don't help me get into a small group. Don't help me find ways to volunteer and use my gifts. If you keep making the process of involvement and connectedness difficult and unclear, you will eventually wear me down and I will go elsewhere.
By satisfying the demands of identity groups, leaders don’t necessarily gain willing followers. But if these identities are not respected, leaders will be less willingly followed, possibly resisted.
Identities can be powerful motivators because they provide meaning for our lives … . When an identity gives us a feeling of security and pride, any attack on identity is a blow to self-esteem, even a threat to survival … . Understanding people must include their identities.
If you want to download a free sample copy, click HERE.