Sunday, December 18, 2011

Seven Temptations Leaders Face

  1. Wasting Time – We live in a world where it is easier to waste time than it ever has been before.  Comment wars on blogs, tweeting arguments, browsing through random FaceBook pages and numerous other things can absolutely distract us from what we were put on this planet to do.
  2. Cruise Control – Leadership is exhausting, and so we must constantly battle the desire to just allow things to be the way they are.  This mentality will put us on course towards an iceberg that will sink even the largest ship!
  3. Excuse Making – When a problem/difficult situation arises we can either deal with it or simply excuse it away.  And people who make excuses rarely make a difference because they are way more obsessed with doing what is easy rather than doing what is right.
  4. Being Passive – This is a cousin of #3, but passivity has no place in leadership.  Ignoring a problem does not make it go away; in fact, it often makes is become larger and, in many cases, overwhelming.  If a problem comes to your attention DEAL WITH IT, don’t deny it.  God brought it to your attention because you are the leader and you are the one called to make the tough decision.
  5. Copying – We should NEVER be ashamed of borrowing ideas from others!  I honestly feel that there really aren’t any original ideas on the planet…and even if the idea is “original” that person was given the idea from the Holy Spirit…so it actually isn't original in the first place.  However, when we build a ministry based on the imitation of others rather than revelation from God we do so out of laziness…and God NEVER honors laziness.
  6. Meaningless Fights – Someone IS going to attack your ministry…and one of the easiest ways to get sidetracked is to begin to fight with people who don’t know you, care about you or care about your church.
  7. Playing It Safe – When a leader stops taking risks because there is too much to lose…he is closer to losing everything than he actually realizes.  We don’t follow a Savior who played it safe, if He said “take up your cross and follow me” then we need to understand that sacrifice and risk WILL be involved if we want to go where He is leading.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Death Notice - Mary Hagood

Mary Kathleen Hagood, 90, of Chattanooga, died Saturday, November 26, 2011 in a local hospital. Mrs. Hagood was a member of Oakwood Church of God of Prophecy and has been a licensed minister since 1955. She worked for the Children’s Home in Cleveland from 1968 to 1974. She was the wife of the late, Freddie Welch Hagood and was also preceded in death by a son, Robert Hagood, seven brothers,and parents, Porter and Emma Reynolds. Survivors include her daughter, Miriam ( Harry) Gossett, Chattanooga; seven grandchildren, Holly (Justin) Kitchens, Rick Gossett, Debra (Randy) Stallings,Kathy Madert and Cindy Gibson, eleven great grandchildren, Riley Kitchens, Madeline Kitchens, Sophie Stallings, Ashley Cooper, Zachery Cooper, Misty (Stephen) Potter, Caleb Gossett, Phillip Gossett, Sarah Gibson, Daniel J. Kitchens and Christopher Kitchens, three great grandchildren, Anna Marie Swafford, Natalie Cooper and Hayden Potter, several nieces & nephews.

Services were held in the funeral home chapel with Rev. Mitchell officiating.  Interment was in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Abbeville, SC.

Church Fined for Removal of Windows

GLOVERSVILLE, NY - The Church of God of Prophesy, which owns the Bleecker Square Church, was given a conditional discharge and one year to pay $60,000 in fines after stained-glass windows and steeple clocks were removed in February from the 142-year-old church without the Historic Preservation Review Board's consent.

City Court Judge Vincent DeSantis ordered the church to replace the windows and maintain the building by removing graffiti and mowing the grounds, as well as prepare it for reuse and market it to a viable buyer.

The $60,000 is broken up into five $12,000 fines - one for each of the four facades of the building and one for the steeple, where the clocks were removed.

The order was close to the $14,000 maximum penalty for each fine.

The church faced fines that could range from $25 to $50 per day per violation since February, when Building Inspector D. Robert Robbins cited five violations

He said if the church fulfills the maintenance requirements, it may petition the court to have the fine reduced or eliminated, though that does not guarantee the court would grant that request.

DeSantis called the church, once the meeting place of the First Methodist Church a "major architectural feature" downtown and "forms a significant part of the architectural heritage of downtown."

He said he was "sympathetic to the church," but that he must act "in the city's best interest, and in the community's best interest."

The conditional discharge requires the church to comply with the directives of the Historic Preservation Review Board, which accepted a plan for replacement of the windows at its Dec. 1 meeting, aggressively maintain the structure and grounds and take positive steps to market the building to a purchaser in a position to maintain it.

If the windows are not replaced within a year, the church could face more violations.

"It's in the community's best interest that this building be maintained and adaptively revised to have that building be an active part of the synergy of downtown," DeSantis said.

The one-year conditional discharge means that the city is not able to enforce fines until Dec. 15, 2012.

Gloversville City Attorney Anthony Casale said he was "very satisfied" with DeSantis's sentencing, although he was disappointed the matter dragged on for nearly a year through multiple court adjournments.

During the sentencing hearing, he outlined the timeline of the matter, which had been going on since January when Robert Castiglione told him of word the church was planning on removing the windows.

At that point, Casale sent a letter to the church bishop in Albany, warning the church not to remove the windows without the Historic Board's approval.

Robert Meringolo, an antiques and art expert and dealer from Westerlo hired by the church to handle the project, said a miscommunication with his project partner, Joe Bailey, the owner of From Europe to You, resulted in the window and clock removal without approval, after an application had been submitted to the board.

Meringolo noted many of the church's historic windows were broken before they were removed, and the building had been the target of vandals.

Justin Gray of the Albany firm of Maynard, O'Connor, Smith & Catalinotto, represented the church in court and said not all of the windows had been sold. Casale said about $20,000 worth of material was sold from the church.

Gray also argued the bishop did not give approval to remove the windows and that the action was done by a third party; however Casale noted the church already pleaded guilty to the charges.

The Church of God of Prophecy Northeast Region, based in Albany, has owned the Bleecker Square Church since 2000, when it was purchased for $60,000, according to tax map data.

The structure's tax-exempt status was removed in 2009 because it no longer is used as a congregational meeting place, and the church has paid its taxes.

[By AMANDA WHISTLE, The Leader Herald]

Merry Christmas

“So [the shepherds] hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” (Luke 2:16)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Synergy Ministries Board of Directors Meeting

CEO Don Brock announced the upcoming Synergy Minustries Board of Directors Meeting, December 1-3, 2011, in Las Vegas, NV. The meeting will include Strategic Planning and Vision Casting

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pastoral Counselors Beware

A jury has awarded $1.4 million to a Minnesota woman who accused her Methodist pastor of sexually abusing her.  The woman accused 67-year-old Donald Dean Budd of pursuing an inappropriate relationship at a time when she was emotionally vulnerable.

The Hennepin County jury concluded this week that Budd must pay $1 million in punitive damages. Of another $410,000 in compensatory damages, Budd must pay $246,000 and the rest is to be paid by the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

A call to Budd’s home Saturday rang unanswered, and a message left with his attorney wasn’t immediately returned. The woman’s attorney, Robert Hajek, said the jury’s verdict was “very responsible and reasonable.”

Budd was a pastor at McKinley United Methodist Church in Winona. Prior to that, he served in Methodist churches in Harmony, Minn., and Eau Claire, Wis. He is no longer a pastor.

The woman filed a civil lawsuit in 2009, alleging that she sought counseling from Budd while he was a pastor at McKinley between 2003 and 2005. A sexual relationship developed, leading to Budd’s eventual conviction on a pair of felony sexual-abuse charges.

The woman said she reported the relationship to the conference in 2006. She accused officials of dropping the investigation and calling the woman uncooperative and not credible, court documents said.

Her civil lawsuit claimed that the conference should have done a better job of investigating Budd’s sexual misconduct, according to a Winona Daily News report.

Victoria Rebeck, a spokeswoman for the conference, disputed the charge. She said the conference and its bishop acted immediately when notified about the allegations by placing Budd on restriction and removing his credentials.

[Superior Telegram | Superior, Wisconsin]

When accusations happen these days, a full investigation must be done immediately and completely.  And there can be no cover up.  Information is too instantaneous and widespread these days.  The truth will get out.  (If not the truth, then at least rumors… which again will doom you if you’ve not done the full investigation).

There should be no cover-up in the body of Christ.  And if there was in this case, it was found out.

[from MMI Weblog 

Compensation for Senior Pastors

What is the average pay for a senior pastor these days?

Well, of course, it depends… on your experience, the size of your church, and what sex you are.

According to the 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff (which surveyed about 4,600 churches and 8,000 church positions), the average senior pastor overall makes…

$82,938

That’s up from last year’s average salary of $80,745.

[from MMI Weblog 

A Warning to Young Pastors

Leadership Development

Bible Illiteracy

White House spokesman, Jay Carney, recently made this statement in a press briefing:
"Well, I believe the phrase from the Bible is, 'The Lord helps those who help themselves.'  And I think the point the President is making is that we should — we have it within our capacity to do the things to help the American people."
The only problem is, this is not a quote from the Bible.  It may be a good concept.  It may even be support by Scripture.  But it is NOT a quote from the Bible.

Has America become Bible illiterate?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Lifecycle of Pastors

Almost twenty years ago, I began to note that the tenure of a pastor often follows a predictable pattern. Now, almost two decades later, I still see many of the same patterns, though I have refined the categories and time spans a bit.

I fully understand that these categories are not definitive, and there will certainly be exceptions to the rule. Nevertheless, I offer this lifecycle as a guide that I hope will prove useful to both pastors and congregations alike.

Honeymoon: Years 0 to 1

The new pastor is perceived to be the answer to all the needs and the problems of the church. He is often viewed as a hero because he is not his predecessor. Though some of his faults begin to show during this period, he is often given a pass. Expectations are high that he will be molded into the image that each congregant would like to have.

Crisis: Years 1 to 3

It is now apparent that the pastor is fully human. He has not lived up to the precise expectations of many of the members. This phase includes a number of conflicts and struggles. Indeed it is the most common time that pastors choose to leave the church or they are force terminated. This single epoch of a pastoral tenure contributes more to short tenures than any other time.

Realignment: Years 3 to 5

The number of crises begins to abate, though they do not disappear altogether. It is at this time that more and more new members come under the tenure of the new pastor. Some of the dissidents have left the church or the community. There is a realignment of loyalty and expectations of the pastor. Thus he is able to lead more effectively, and began to see some more productive years as pastor of the church.

Growth: Years 5 to 10

Not all pastors have productive and joyous ministries in this period, but many do. It is not unusual for the congregation to begin to appreciate the pastor more and to follow his leadership with greater enthusiasm. Many of the battles have already been fought; and many of the conflicts have been resolved. The pastor and the entire congregation are ready to move forward in more productive ministry for the glory of God.

Mystery: Years 10 and Beyond

There are relatively few pastors and congregations that continue their relationships beyond a period of one decade. Thus any perspective I have of long-term pastorates is inconclusive and limited. I am confident, however, that if we see more and more pastors entering their tenth year of ministry and beyond, we will see more productive and fruitful ministries in local churches across the nation.

The Quest Continues

The topic of pastoral tenure fascinates me. I see significant correlation between ministry effectiveness and longer pastoral tenure, though there are certainly exceptions to the rule. I do hope that we will do a more comprehensive and objective study of this important issue in the future.

What is your perspective of pastoral tenure?

[from The Christian Post RSS Feed]

Friday, October 7, 2011

Leadership - According to Steve Jobs

  • Follow your gut.
  • Never fear failure.
  • Competition makes you better.
  • Don't settle.
  • The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
  • Ask yourself every day, "If today were the last day of my life, would I do what I am about to do today?"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

COG Ministerial Care Director Receives Top Award

In a recent meeting of the American Association of Christian Counselors, Bill Leonard Ph.D., counseling director for the Church of God Office of Ministerial Care, received the top “Servant Leadership Award” as a Board Certified Christian Counselor.

The AACC, which currently has in excess of 50,000 members, selected Dr. Leonard to receive the highest award in Christian counseling. Three other recipients were given comparable awards for Professional Counseling, Pastoral Counseling and Biblical Counseling.

AACC Executive Director Ken Nichols stated, “It is my privilege to present to you the 2011 Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counselors “Servant Leadership Award” winners. These credential holders exemplify the high standard of the Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counselors through Godly character, counseling skills and a commitment to serve the Lord by caring for others.”

“Of special note is the fact that Dr. Leonard is the first Pentecostal counselor to receive this top award!” said Dr. Donnie W. Smith, executive administrator for the Division of Care for the Church of God.

Dr. Leonard serves as the Director of Ministerial Care for the Church of God International Offices. He cares for pastors and their families through counseling, training, restoration of fallen ministers and preventive care.

Dr. Leonard teaches pastoral clinics, conducts marriage enrichment seminars and special training workshops for pastors. He has served as a pastoral counselor for more than 25 years and a full-time professional counselor for 11 years.

Dr. Leonard received a B.A. in Christian Education from Lee College in Cleveland, TN and an M.A. and doctorate degree from International Seminary in Plymouth, FL. He is an AACC member and is certified as a Crisis & Trauma Responder. He and his wife, Luann, live in Cleveland, TN, and have three children and three grandchildren.

General Overseer Dr. Raymond Culpepper said, “When an organization like American Association of Christian Counselors with 50,000 members, honors one of its members with a special award and recognition, it is honoring a person’s life, character, and Christian commitment. I am personally proud of Dr. Bill Leonard, and the Church of God is thankful that we have a man of such exceptional qualities leading our Ministerial Care.”

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pastor Rob Bell Resigns

Fans and congregants of Pastor Rob Bell and Mars Hill Bible Church caused the ministry's website to crash Thursday night, as news of the Love Wins author's resignation started to spread.

Mars Hill explained on its official Facebook page: "Hey guys, sorry the website has crashed from all the traffic. We are working to get it back up. In the meantime, here is the info that is on our news page..."  The post went on to show the same statement listed on the Grandville, Mich., church's website.

The statement, released by the Mars Hill Bible Church staff, on Bell's departure reads:
"Feeling the call from God to pursue a growing number of strategic opportunities, our founding pastor Rob Bell, has decided to leave Mars Hill in order to devote his full energy to sharing the message of God's love with a broader audience."
Members of Mars Hill and other curious observers have been logging onto the church's Facebook page to react to the announcement of Bell leaving the church he founded 12 years ago.

Josh Gould declared the news as "brutal" and added: "But rob has such a unique perspective that has helped me grow tremendously."

Monica Clink responded, "Very sad to see Rob go, but excited for him and his new opportunities."

Connie Park stated, "It will be different without him!! Will have too see what happens next!!!"

Craig McDade responded, "In college, I started my walk with God. I have Rob Bell and Mars Hill to thank for that. Good luck Rob!"

Aran Walter commented, "Rob, may you be filled with the grace and peace of God in the next chapter of you and your family's life."

Said Hayden Jessie: "Very sad to hear. He speaks for so many of us that hear his message and are excited to be Christians again. I wish him well and I hope what he has started at Mars Hill continues."

Jeff Sytsma added, "End of an era. The start of a new one."

These are just a few of many comments left on Mars Hill Church’s Facebook page.

It was not clear how long the Mars Hill website was down.

The church stated that Bell would explain his departure and new call in greater detail during Mars Hill Bible Church's upcoming Sunday service on Sept. 25.

[By Herbert Pinnock | Christian Post Contributor]

Unanswered Questions Remain Concerning Pastor Zachery Tims

A representative with the New York Chief Medical Examiner's office revealed Friday that the much-anticipated toxicology results for Florida minister Zachery Tims would not be available until sometime next week.

In a call with The Christian Post, Ellen Borakove, director of Public Affairs at the New York Chief Medical Examiner's office, said results for the toxicology tests were "very close" and that more information would be available by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Tims, senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Church (NDCC) in Apopka, Fla., was found dead in his room at the W. Hotel in Times Square on Aug. 12.

The minister, who was in town for a speaking engagement, was found on the floor of his hotel room. Investigators revealed that a glassine envelope of white powder was found in Tims' right pants pocket.

Investigators were reportedly considering the possibility that Tims might have died from a drug overdose.

The charismatic preacher battled drug addiction before becoming a Christian, a subject which he focuses on his memoir It's Never Too Late.

Tims, a Balitmore, Md., native, shared in a TBN broadcast on July 12: "At the age of 14, I shot a man and tried to kill him. I was locked up till I was 16. I was a drug addict till I was 19."

But Tims professed that God turned his life around.

"I'm a living witness [that] it is never too late," he stressed on TBN's "Praise the Lord" program, which he frequently hosted.

NDCC is currently in the process of searching for a new leader, as Tims did not leave behind instructions regarding a successor.

Church administrators have not commented on the suspicious substance found on Tims, but Bishop T.D. Jakes, who delivered the minister's eulogy during his Aug. 21 funeral, insinuated that Tims struggled with personal problems.

In the eulogy, The Potter's House minister compared Tims to Jacob from the Bible, whom God renamed Israel.

"I thought I was the only one who knew how unhappy Zach was, how broken he was, how afraid he was if anybody was to see any flaw in him," Jakes said. "He tried hard to heal himself, to fix himself … I don't know what happened in that room in New York, but I can only hope that as Zach was dying, Dr. Tims stood up."

[By Nicola Menzie | Christian Post Reporter]

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Church of God sues Sony Pictures for copyright Infringement


Last week, the Church of God filed a lawsuit against Sony Worldwide Acquisitions claiming the comedy Salvation Boulevard  reproduces, in mirror image, the Church of God’s cross mark.

The film, which opened in limited release on July 15, stars Greg Kinnear as a former Grateful Dead fanatic who catches his evangelical preacher (Pierce Brosnan) in a compromising situation. Based on Larry Beinhart’s book of the same title, the movie co-stars Ed Harris, Marisa Tomei and Jennifer Connelly.

According to a complaint obtained by TorrentFreak, the Church of God – which considers itself to be more than 6 million members strong around the globe – is accusing Sony Pictures, Mandalay Pictures, IFC Films and Comcast of “copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition by using a mirrored version of the church’s logo in the film.”

Flag Placement in Church

I am thankful for the opportunity to visit many churches.  I never cease to be amazed at how many U.S, Flags I see displayed improperly.  This is an important issue.

There can be no finer part of "interior decorating" than the proud display of the United States Flag.  Churches are an appropriate places to "Show your Colors."

When the National Colors are displayed on a staff mounted to the wall of a room, it should be flown to the right at the front of the room, and any other flags displayed from separate staffs should be to the U.S. Flag's left.  If several flags are flown from the same mounting, the National Colors should be centered and hold prominence.  When displayed against a wall with another flag on crossed staffs, the National Colors should be to its own right, and the staff of the U.S. Flag should be IN FRONT OF the staff of any other flag so displayed.

What confuses churches is whether the flag is the stage flag or the congregation flag.  If the flag is displayed on the platform, and certainly behind the pulpit, it is the stage flag and must be displayed on stage right.  Stage right would be on the speaker's right as he/she faces the congregation.

Get it right.  It is respect.  It is the law.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Leadership Development


As a core value, Leadership Development must include identifying and cultivating "Character."  Could I suggest ...

6 Elements of Character

  • Courage
  • Loyalty
  • Diligence
  • Modesty
  • Honesty
  • Gratitude

Courage

True courage—noble courage, the authentic, spontaneous act of self-sacrificial concern for the defenseless—is not fanaticism but character. Courage is not the feeling of fearlessness. It is rather the willingness of mind necessary to act out of conviction rather than feeling. I have coached many leaders who feel quite fearless but act in sometimes a cowardly manner. Conversely, I have worked with many executives who are fearful yet behave with incredible courage. Great leaders are courageous. It is beyond valor—in fact, heroism and courage are not synonymous, since there are acts of heroism every day that are acts of impulse rather than true character. The measure of true character is consistency—as we all know business heroes, public heroes, sports heroes who were bold enough to make a heroic mark but could not sustain it over time—as they misstep, fall prey to controversy, financial ruin and criminal activity. These people were never truly courageous—only brave at a point in time.  Courage is the greatest character element any leader must possess—as it is the catalytic agent that mobilizes every other virtue in the face of crisis. Knowing right from wrong is one thing; taking the right action based on this knowledge is yet another. Courageous leaders inspire their people and teams to achieve incredible new heights—it is the foundation for creating the “will do” and “must do” in people.

Loyalty

Where is the loyalty? Where has all the loyalty gone? Loyalty is the very fabric of community. Relationships cannot be developed, nurtured or prospered when there is no trust to glue mutuality of commitment. When loyalty is lost, the fabric of relationship unravels. Loyalty is the willingness—because of relationship commitments—to deflect praise, admiration and success onto others. Loyalty is a two-way street—it must function both upwardly and downwardly. Upward loyalty is shown to those over us in the Lord. Are you willing to allow your leader to take credit while sometimes taking the blame? If a mid-level leader shows any disloyalty—either upward or downward—the fabric of community in that organization will begin to erode.

Diligence

In my coaching work, I sometimes encounter a leader who is looking for the quickest, shortest way….the easiest way….the way that will produce the greatest returns for them….and on and on. I tell them directly there are none that exist. There are no short-cuts to achieving anything worthwhile and there are countless stories of leaders and entrepreneurs who are quick to reinforce this undeniable notion that there is no substitute for hard work. When I encounter these leaders, I get them connected with leaders who can share their experiences in vivid detail so they begin to vicariously experience both the positive and negatively charged references that give them a dose of reality and perspective. Diligence is a necessary—but not sufficient—condition for achieving leadership excellence but it does provide the leader with a solid foundation that will serve to minimize the depth of their setbacks. The diligent leader is a steady performer, and the steady performer is a finisher. Great leaders want accountability and are serious about their obligations—unfortunately there are many who are spiraling to lower maturity because of their unwillingness to finish—to be held accountable and follow-through on their obligations.

Modesty 

Modesty means living within limits. It is the opposite of being “bold”—putting oneself forward in the sense of aggressiveness or presumptuous. It is the opposite of arrogance. The greatest leaders are confident but they recognize that they are also not too good, too big, too rich, too powerful to be open to the views and perspective of others all aimed at self-improvement and organizational improvement.  Modest leaders see fiscal and operational constraints as safeguards—not hindrances. Modest leaders are able to invoke their own limits as they begin to realize again through positively charged references that greater individual and team results will be realized. Modesty is also a key counter-balancing mechanism that keeps a leader’s emotions in balance. I have coached countless leaders in how to accept and adopt a more immodest, prudent view of themselves and the absolute key in getting them to transform is helping them see that it is their own need for attention that drives their arrogance and the results they are achieving are less than if they had adopted a more calm self-acceptance approach in handling challenges.

Honesty

This may sound unusual.  After all, isn't everyone in the Kingdom of God honest?  There is a line between shrewd leadership and dishonesty. However, it is not nearly as fine as we think. Great leaders work hard to bend over backward for honesty as they realize truth and honesty are the pillars upon which relationships, teamwork, and positive energy are built. Great leaders are comfortable facing consequences rather than to use deception. Great leaders would rather experience slow growth with honesty than major growth without it. Exaggerations, padded expense accounts, deliberately shaved tax forms submitted without hesitation, being slothful, seeking self advantage, and theft of church property (no matter how small) are all acts of dishonesty. Mature leaders create an environment in which they themselves live and promote a truthful, above-board, honest existence.

Gratitude

Great leaders demonstrate enormous respect and appreciation for the sum of all their references (both positive and negative) as they know in their mind and heart that the very essence of who they are is inextricably tied to the sum of their experiences. They know and respect that they have learned to grow and mature as leaders through the highs and lows and they appreciate their reference reservoirs as nothing more than a ratio of positively charged references divided by all of their experiences. It’s a batting average. Just like a batting average, the better the batter but much can be learned by striking out every now and then. In fact, it keeps us in balance and we appreciate the hits all that much more with a healthy dose of setback. This is one of the great challenges I see with younger leaders who desire way too much, too fast—as many are just unwilling to see the value in experiencing setbacks—it slows them down but the setback teaches contrast, it teaches gratitude for all experiences and special gratitude when the “hit” actually occurs. Gratitude as an element of character is also at the root of providing praise and recognition to others. Saying “thank you,” “I appreciate you hard work,” originates from this element—it requires selflessness but showing honest gratitude to people and your team will propel them to new heights.

[from Great Leadership 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Greatest Statements A Leader Can Make

  1. "I'm sorry."
  2. "Thank you."
  3. "That was my fault."
  4. "I trust you."
  5. "Great job."
Memorize these and practice them often.

[from Ministry Best Practices 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

David Green (Hobby Lobby) Donates Ranch to Saddleback Church


Saddleback Church – headed by Pastor Rick Warren – has been given a 170-acre ranch in San Juan Capistrano from an Oklahoma City arts and crafts billionaire to help further Christian values by training pastors.

Hobby Lobby, with more than 485 arts and crafts stores, has been leasing the Rancho Capistrano retreat property – nestled in the hills adjacent to the I-5 Freeway – to Saddleback Church for a nominal payment since last May when the Lake Forest mega-church had struck a deal to lease the ranch-land from the crafts retailer. Hobby Lobby purchased the property a month before that from the then already-faltering Crystal Cathedral Ministries.

Warren is expected to announce the donation from Hobby Lobby to his church membership on Saturday, Saddleback officials said Wednesday.

The ranch retreat is 12 miles southwest of Saddleback’s Lake Forest main campus and on Sundays conducts two services as well offering a location for spiritual growth. The site is also used to train missionaries and pastors. Later this month Warren will host his Radical is Conference at the ranch.

With the addition of the Rancho Capistrano property, Saddleback has expanded from the original Lake Forest campus to nine satellite campuses. Each week about 22,000 people attend the church across all 10 campuses.

In May 2010, Saddleback announced a deal to lease and take full responsibility for the 170-acre Crystal. Saddleback agreed to lease the property from Hobby Lobby for a nominal fee. The arts and crafts retailer bought the land from Crystal Cathedral during the same month.

Prior to that Saddleback had been in lease negotiations with the financially-strapped Crystal Cathedral for 18 months to lease and take responsibility of the property.

Crystal Cathedral administrators in March 2010 shut down all operations at Rancho Capistrano, including a church, preschool, retreat area, soccer fields, camping grounds and a conference and wedding center. The megachurch’s continuing financial woes had led to the sale of several properties, employee layoffs and suspension of its “Glory of Easter” pageant.

Johnnie Crean, whose parents donated 80 acres of the Rancho Capistrano land, told the Register in 2010 that he believed Saddleback Church would fit in well at the property.

[From the OCRegister.com]

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Does The Quality Of Leadership Matter?

Put 10 people in a room and ask them how they define leadership.  Chances are, you’ll get a lively debate but not a lot of agreement.  The word “leadership” can mean very different things to different people.  Some believe that a leader’s key responsibility is to nourish and cultivate team members, while others believe that it is to drive growth and innovation.  The reality, of course, is that both perspectives are true.  Still, no matter how they define leadership, those 10 people will probably agree on one thing: Leadership makes a difference.

The difference between the impact that a top-performing leader and an average leader has on an organization is at least 50 percent, according to leaders participating in DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2011.  In fact, this research demonstrates that organizations with the highest quality leaders were 13 times more likely to outperform their competition in key bottom-line metrics such as financial performance, quality of products and services, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.  Specifically, when leaders reported their organization’s current leadership quality as poor, only 6 percent of them were in organizations that outperformed their competition.  Compare that with those who rated their organization’s leadership quality as excellent – 78 percent were in organizations that outperformed their competition in bottom-line metrics.

In this study of 1,897 HR representatives and more than 12,000 leaders from 74 countries some of the global findings are:

Leader quality is low and hasn’t budged. 

Only 1 out of 4 organizations (as rated by HR representatives) rated leadership quality as very good or excellent.  With leaders themselves, a little more than 1 out of 3 three gave themselves and their peers high marks – consistent with the same study from two years ago, telling us that we’ve made very little progress.  We also broke down the results geographically to see how some of the countries fared. In a comparison between China and India, India dramatically outperformed China, and was well above the global norms when it came to the quality of leadership.

Organizations are not confident in the future of their leaders. 

A mere 18% rated the bench strength for the future as strong.  As baby boomer retirements loom and organizations on the precipice of recovery and growth, confidence in the next generation of leaders should be much stronger.  As one leader said: “We need to develop key talent for the future in a strategic way, not by default.”  It can also be explained by the fact that while ‘identifying and developing future talent’ was rated as one of the top skills needed for leaders in the future, it was not rated as a top skill that was needed in the past, and a staggering 43 percent of leaders said they’re ineffective at doing this.

We’re falling down on innovation.  Innovation rocketed up the list as a skill needed for the future, however, according to research from the Boston Consulting Group, the US is investing the least in innovation when compared to other countries around the world.

However, half of leaders rated themselves as ineffective at fostering creativity and innovation, the highest among all of the future necessary skills.  One answer to this could be the high occurrence of leadership “derailers” or dispositional qualities that HR identified were the most common personality shortcomings of leaders in their organization.  The high occurrence of risk aversion, distrust and approval dependence, which were likely to be reinforced as a means of survival during the economic downturn, are qualities that will squash innovation.

Rigid management practices are holding organizations back. 

When looking at Gary Hamel’s factors for management innovation, 6 out of 10 leaders said that key business decisions were made by those in power with little discussion, and more than half said they’re in organizations that are rigid, siloed or hierarchical.  Why the concern over updating management practices?  Organizations with effective management cultures were more than two and a half times more likely to have highly passionate leaders.

And we know passion is important because leaders in organizations with higher quality leadership were almost eight times more likely to report that the passion of their leaders is high.

So what do you think – how does leadership quality impact an organization?

[by Rich Wellins, Senior Vice President, Development Dimensions International (DDI)]

Leadership Development Must Include Reading

Pastor Ron Martin's Father Passes

Thomas “Sonny” Martin, 78 of Farmington, WV passed away Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at his son’s home in Cottondale, Alabama near Tuscaloosa.

Mr. Martin was born July 7, 1933, a son of the late Harold and Vivian Bainbridge Martin.

Sonny worked at the Times West Virginian as a Printer for 37 years.  He was a member of the Katy Church of God of Prophecy and also attended Ireland Chapel.  Sonny loved church and he worked in the church for years in a variety of ministries, he especially love to sing in the church.  He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and was stationed throughout Europe during the Korean Conflict.  He loved sports of all kinds and was fortunate enough to get to play them often during his enlistment in the armed forces, back in the states Sonny played fast pitch softball and enjoyed playing basketball with his best buddies Darryl Courtney and Scott Tharp.  Sonny always had a smile on his face and never met a stranger.

Mr. Martin is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Pastor Ron and Pamela Martin; three grandchildren Aaron Martin, Courtney and Husband Brandon White, and Michael Ford; a sister Emma “Jean” Jones and husband Russell; brothers-in-law Harold Markley and wife Nancy and Pete Markley and wife Pebbles.  A special cousin Joni Abel and husband Bob and several additional nieces and nephews.

The Rev. Ron Martin serves as Senior Pastor at Cottondale Community Church, a thriving ministry near Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Pastor Martin has served in a number of ministerial leadership positions during his lifetime of ministry.

In addition to his parents Sonny Martin was preceded in death by his wife Maxine Martin and a brother Bob Bainbridge.

Friends may call at the Hutson Funeral Home, Route 250 Farmington today, Saturday, July 30 from 5-9 pm and on Sunday from 11am until 2pm when funeral services will be held at 2pm.  Rev. Richard Fluharty and Rev. Ron Martin will be officiating.  Mr. Martin will be laid to rest beside his wife Maxine in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Farmington.

Online Condolences may be sent to the family at www.HutsonFuneralHomes.com.

Crystal Cathedral Returns Schuller's Voting Rights

The founding pastor of Crystal Cathedral, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, has been reinstated on the board of directors and given back voting rights as two members who called for his ouster last month are dropped from the committee.

The church, currently trying to wade its way out of a debt crisis, decided in a meeting last Friday to “expand and enlarge the board,” according to a statement posted Wednesday on the Crystal Cathedral website.

Schuller, 84, is identified as Chairman Emeritus in the list of current board members.

“This new Board of Directors, created today, is a formula that will guarantee success for both our local Crystal Cathedral ministry and its ministry mission to the people of the world through the televised ‘Hour of Power,’ now in its 43rd year,” Schuller said in the statement.

Two board members, Rick Mysse and Gwyn Myers, were voted off the board, church spokesman John Charles told the Orange County Register.  He told the news agency that both Mysse and Myers had voted in favor of stripping Schuller of his vote during last June’s meeting.

According to Schuller’s daughter, Carol Schuller Milner, neither of her parents attended the meeting in which Schuller was voted off the board, the paper reported.  Milner said the pair were “extremely upset” when they learned that Schuller had been voted off.

The evangelical church, located in Garden Grove, Calif., filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in October of last year and its leaders have since been fielding offers from various groups interested in purchasing the megachurch, including the Roman Catholic Church. The church currently owes over $50 million to unsecured creditors.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has offered $50 million to buy Crystal Cathedral's campus and convert the historical church into a Catholic cathedral.

Chapman University, a private university near the church, has offered to buy the Crystal Cathedral campus for $46 million.

“He would be open to all proposals including the Catholic Church,” Milner told the Orange County Register about the elder Schuller's reaction to the $50 million-offer.  “But the ideal situation would be to have Crystal Cathedral Ministries continue and be there for generations to come.”

[By Nicola Menzie | Christian Post Contributor]

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pray for Christians’ Safety During Ramadan

Ramadan, the 30-day annual Islamic fast which begins next week, may expose Christians to an increased risk of persecution in Muslim-majority countries and believers in the West should pray for them, Open Doors USA said as it launched a Ramadan Prayer Calendar.

“Ramadan is a time when Christians are especially isolated in some Muslim-dominated countries,” said Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller in a statement. “This is why it is so important for us to unite in prayer for persecuted Christians throughout the world.”

To help Christians pray for the persecuted, Open Doors has prepared a Ramadan Prayer Calendar having multiple prayer points and designed to help believers pray for vulnerable Christians around the world during the 30 days.

The group, which has served the persecuted church worldwide since 1955 when its founder Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles into Eastern Europe for the first time, will also send out daily emails with a story from a Muslim-dominated country, prayer requests, and a call to action.  Open Doors has provided a link on its website for believers to register.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar which begins August 1 this year, is the time when most Muslims fast from dawn until dusk, seeking to shed their sins through acts of restraint as they believe this is a time of purification accomplished through good deeds and self-control.

However, “the observance of Ramadan could increase pressure on believers,” Moeller said.

Ramadan brings with it violence at times. Some governments in Islamic countries forcibly enforce observance of Ramadan and extremist groups increase their vigilante activities against both non-abiding Muslims and non-Muslims, and tend to become more intolerant toward them.

During the last Ramadan, an imam in Egypt in Shimi village near Giza called for “jihad” against Christians leading to persecution of Copts, according to the Assyrian International News Agency. In 2009, an American service member in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul was shot at by an Afghan police officer for drinking water publicly during Ramadan, The Associated Press had reported.

Particularly this year, when a wave of uprisings is underway in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, the threat of increased violence is real as protests are expected to intensify. Especially in Egypt, where Copts have come under attack following the fall of the Hosni Mubarak regime in February, more violence against Christians is expected.

Pakistan has beefed up security ahead of Ramadan apprehending tensions around mosques and other places of worship, according to The Nation, a Pakistani newspaper.

Open Doors has found that Christian persecution has been most severe in Muslim-majority countries. Eight of the top 10 countries on its 2011 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians have Islamic governments: Iran (2), Afghanistan (3), Saudi Arabia (4), Somalia (5), Maldives (6), Yemen (7), Iraq (8) and Uzbekistan (9). Additionally, 38 of the top 50 on the list are Muslim-dominated societies.

Moreover, less than two weeks after the end of Ramadan, Sept. 11 will mark the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks against America.

“It is vital that we pray for Christians and Muslims during this anniversary,” said Michele Miller, director of Open Doors USA Ministries, in the statement. “Prayer has changed the hearts of millions, so it is also important to pray past the month of Ramadan.”

According to Open Doors, an estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation.

[from The Christian Post RSS Feed]

Judge Rules Rick Perry Can Attend “Day of Prayer and Fasting” Event

A Houston judge made a ruling Thursday that would allow Texas Gov. Rick Perry to take part in a prayer and fasting rally next month, dismissing a case brought by a group of atheists.

Judge Gray Miller tossed out the lawsuit Thursday afternoon after deciding that the plaintiffs had no legal standing in their attempt to block Perry from joining The Response, slated for August 6 at the Reliant Stadium in Houston.

Mark Miner, a spokesman for the governor, told ABC News he was pleased with the ruling.

"Governor Perry looks forward to participating in a day of prayer for our nation,” Miner told the network.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation argued in the suit that Perry attending the event would have violated the separation of church and state as laid out in the Constitution.

The group's members, who are atheists and agnostics, claimed Perry's attendance would give the appearance that “the government prefers evangelical Christian religious beliefs over other religious beliefs and non-beliefs.”

Perry defended his right to participate in the event during a public event Wednesday.

“My prayer is that the courts will find the First Amendment is still applicable to governors no matter what they might be doing,” he told reporters.

“That what we’ve done in the State of Texas or the Governor’s office is appropriate and no different than what George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or President Truman or President Obama have done with a day of prayer.”

The governor, believed to be considering a run for the White House on the GOP ticket, issued a proclamation last month declaring August 6 to be a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation’s Challenges.”

Perry has partnered with the American Family Association and other faith groups to hold the daylong “Response” event.  Organizers have not yet revealed in what role the governor will play in the event.

[By Nicola Menzie | Christian Post Contributor]

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Perry Gillum Hospitalized

According to his son, Scott Gillum, Perry Gillum will have an echo cardiogram to evaluate an aortic aneurysm.  He remains in CCU and will be there for a couple of days without complications then on to the main floor for three days.

Please be in prayer for the Gillum family.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Christian Counseling Under Attack From Gay Groups

Marcus Bachmann came out in defense of the Christian counseling business he and his wife, Michele, own, maintaining that they do not have an agenda of trying to change someone – namely from gay to straight.

After coming under fire from a pro-gay group that claimed Bachmann & Associates was practicing "reparative therapy" aimed at "curing" gays, Bachmann told the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune that such counseling is not their focus.

Rather, treatment for depression and anxiety is more commonplace, he told the local publication.

Bachmann himself specializes in marriage and family, depression/anxiety, anger management, and family of origin issues, according to the clinic's website.

Still, counselors would address the issue of same-sex attraction if those struggling with it requested help, he noted.

"Will I address it? Certainly we'll talk about it," he told the Star Tribune. "Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? ... It is at the client's discretion."

His comments come a week after Truth Wins Out released an undercover report, claiming to prove that Bachmann's clinic in Minnesota "does try to cure gay people."

The group sent John Becker with a hidden camera to the clinic where he told the counselor he wanted to get rid of his homosexuality and that he was Christian.

Becker had five sessions with the counselor during which he was told that it was possible to be free of same-sex attraction and guided on how to develop attraction toward women.

The counselor, according to Truth Wins Out, told the pretend patient that attraction to the same sex “is there, and it’s real, but at the core value, in terms of how God created us, we’re all heterosexual.”

"Our investigation clearly shows that his clinic has great antipathy towards gay and lesbian people and his therapists work to convert clients from gay to straight," Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen reiterated on Friday.

But investigative reporter Mark Benjamin found that Bachmann & Associates indeed isn't a "conversion therapy mill."

He wrote in Time magazine that judging from the recorded sessions between the counselor and Becker, the "therapist didn’t appear to claim any expertise in how to change Becker’s homosexual urges."

The counselor also admitted that he “doesn’t have a ton of experience with this issue” and told Becker that it is “important as we sort this out that you remember not to beat yourself up too much” about homosexual urges.

"Throughout the transcripts, Becker’s therapist came across as somebody who was willing to try to make Becker straight, but didn’t usually do that kind of thing for a living," stated Benjamin, who once posed as a gay man to find out how "reparative therapy" works.

Truth Wins Out – whose mission is to fight anti-gay religious extremism – nevertheless believes Bachmann & Associates is disdainful toward LGBT people and wants the business to end the "harmful and discredited practice of 'ex-gay' therapy."

Bachmann, who has been a clinical therapist in the Twin Cities for more than 20 years, clarified to the Star Tribune that counselors at his clinics do not force any treatment on patients.

"This individual (Becker) came to us under a false pretense,'' he noted. "The truth of the matter is he specifically asked for help.''

[By Nathan Black | Christian Post Reporter]






Reports: Marcus Bachmann’s Clinic Uses 'Ex-Gay'... by NewsyVideos

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

When The Leader Loses His Compass

Most people are familiar with the America’s Cup, the sailboat race which has attracted prominent competitors such as Sir Thomas Lipton and Ted Turner.  What most people don’t know is that there is a fresh water counterpart to that race, the Canada’s Cup, sailed on the Great Lakes.  The genesis of that race, how the Americans lost it the first time and gained it back the second, is one of the most interesting in yachting history.

In 1896 the Lincoln Park Yacht Club in Chicago challenged the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto to a cross-Great Lakes race.  The first race was held that year in Toledo, OH.  The Canadians were victorious, thus they named the race the Canada’s Cup.

In the same year, another member of the Lincoln Park club, Chicago rubber magnate Fred W. Morgan, commissioned the building of his new yacht, the Pathfinder.  Built in Racine, WI, its maiden voyage to Chicago was “the event of the season,” and people gathered on the docks to watch it glide into the harbor.  The Pathfinder was 140' long (a sizeable yacht then or now) and resembled the U.S. Navy’s battleships of the day.   It had telephones and electric lighting in an era when the vast majority of American homes had neither.

Two years later the Chicago Yacht Club, with Fred Morgan as its Commander and the Pathfinder the club’s flagship, issued a challenge to the RCYC for the Canada’s Cup.  The following year the Pathfinder steamed from Chicago to Toronto for the rematch.

The first day of racing was 21 August 1899.  The object was to start near the RCYC, round two buoys, and return to the club.  The Canadians’ yacht, the Beaver, had an accident right at the start and was out of the race.   The American yacht, the Genessee, had a chance for a default for the first race (it was two out of three to win.)

But such was not to be.  The Pathfinder was acting as a kind of “pace yacht” for the race, but in the haze on Lake Ontario itself got lost and missed the first buoy.  Behind it was not only the Genessee but steam yachts Siren and Canada!  The entire entourage mistook another buoy for the first official one, where the judges’ ship waited in vain.

Because of this the Americans missed the chance for a forfeit.

In those days it was easy for everyone to follow the largest, most magnificent yacht on the Great Lakes.  But they still got lost.  Unfortunately things haven’t changed as much as we would like to think.

Many times, we are led by those who are supposedly the best connected to God and the most enlightened among us.  Yet we still experience decline every way it can be measured.

In the end the only one we can trust for the truth is He that is the truth, Jesus Christ.  Through Him all things were created, so He is most knowledgeable as to what we need.  And, of course, He is the real “pathfinder” from the ultimate challenge of life, death itself, as we walked out of the tomb after those who didn’t care for his challenge of their authority had him executed.

It’s time for all of us who have followed what looked to be the biggest and most magnificent thing “on the water” to turn to He who actually walked on it.

[Based on https://www.vulcanhammer.org/2011/06/23/when-the-pathfinder-gets-lost/]

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pastor Robert Schuller Removed From Board of Directors at Crystal Cathedral

Amid reports that Robert H. Schuller, the founder of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, had been voted off the board of directors, a statement from the church Monday said that only his position changed.

“Recently, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries voted to change Dr. Schuller’s position from that of a voting board member to the honorary Chairman of the Board Emeritus, a non-voting position,” said the statement released by the church.

The move is apparently aimed at relieving the 84-year-old pastor of administrative burden so that he may have more time for speaking and writing.

“This will free up Dr. Schuller’s time for more speaking engagements and a writing project he has wanted to tackle. He will also continue to speak in the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral and on the Hour of Power, and meet with staff in creative and vision-casting meetings,” the statement added.

This comes a day after Schuller’s son, Robert A. Schuller, told The Orange County Register that his father was ousted because of his differences with the other board members. The elder Schuller had been pressing to add more members to the board, a move resisted by the other members.

“A majority of that board consists of paid employees of the church and that's a serious conflict of interest," Robert A. Schuller added.

He said that in a vote that took place more than a week ago, his mother Arvella, a member of the board, was in the minority who voted against the move to remove her husband.

“They kicked him off. ... I feel bad for him because he’s had to watch his life’s work go down the toilet the last three years,” The Los Angeles quoted the younger Schuller as saying, who was himself ousted by the board in 2008, two years after he had replaced his father as the senior pastor at the Garden Grove megachurch.

The longstanding family dispute has only become more acute in view of financial problems of the church, which last year sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. And this year in May, the church decided to sell the building and 40-acre campus for $46 million to an Orange County developer.

The reins of the church are currently in the hands of two of Schuller’s daughters: Shiela Coleman Schuller and Gretchen Schuller Penner.

Schuller’s eldest daughter, Sheila Coleman, is not a board member but controls the ministry as the executive director of ministries and missions. Her husband, Jim Coleman, is the president of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries. Meanwhile, Gretchen Schuller Penner leads the television ministry.

“Dad will continue to provide leadership for this ministry through me for as long as possible,” said Sheila Coleman in the statement. “I have and will continue to defer to his wisdom and honor him for his unprecedented accomplishments.”

The father and daughter, however, have been known to have differences of opinions. More recently, it was regarding a controversial step by Sheila Coleman, in which she had asked the choir members to sign a “covenant” that they would adhere to a biblical lifestyle and abstain from homosexual behavior. The covenant also strongly emphasized that church leaders and choir members be all Christians. The father reportedly wasn’t very pleased with this and told The Orange County Register that he would have never personally approved it.

In any case, the statement made by the executive director Monday will do little to silence her critics, among whom her niece, Angie Schuller Wyatt, is the most vocal.

In a guest column she had written for The Christian Post after the May decision to sell the church, she said: “This abhorrent behavior conveniently hides the perpetual underlying issue among Crystal Cathedral leadership. The leadership (my aunts to be more specific) do not want to relinquish control even AFTER they have failed on an epic national scale. In any U.S. corporation, the leadership would be REMOVED in the face of bankruptcy.

“As long as the current leadership maintains control, there will be no positive change at the Crystal Cathedral. They’re buying time by hawking one of America’s greatest cathedrals. Their actions will only delay the inevitable. It’s like loaning money to a gambler.”

According to CNN, about her grandfather’s ouster, Wyatt said: “It was surprising, but not completely unexpected,” hinting that there was a pattern in the way, both her grandfather and father, Robert A. Schuller, were voted out.

“They did it behind his back, just like they did to my dad. They conspired behind his back and made this happen,” Schuller Wyatt said. “This board is causing the demise and the destruction of the Crystal Cathedral.”

“They weren’t letting him do anything anyway. Those of us here see it as symbolically awful,” said Pastor James Kok, who has been on staff with Crystal Cathedral Ministries for 28 years. “They had effectively stopped listening to him two or three years ago. It’s symbolic, not functional. He was mostly put on the shelf by his daughters.”

About the leadership style of the sisters, Kok said, “They just do things. They don’t ask anybody.”

[By Subodh S. Lal | Christian Post Contributor]

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Pastor's 10 Commandments

  1. Know your Bible better.
  2. Be a man of prayer.
  3. Don’t lose sight of Christ.
  4. Be deeply Trinitarian.
  5. Use your imagination.
  6. Speak much of sin and grace.
  7. Use the “plain style” - language that is clear.
  8. Find your own voice.
  9. Learn how to transition.
  10. Love your people.

Disappointment

Lord, I can almost taste the bitterness
of disappointment;
my shattered expectations and dreams
are like gravel in my mouth.
So help me—my strength fails.
Help me
to realize all that has happened,
to see, beyond the betrayal,
Your hand and Your love.
Through the failure of man
You move silently but surely,
even making human wrath
to praise you
and to being about my good.
Teach me
in this disappointment
to empty my mouth of grit
and to savor instead
the delicacies You have prepared for me.
That I may honor Christ,

Amen.

[from Institute for Nouthetic Studies Blog 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Counseling For Pastors Has Never Been More Important

10 Keys to Being A Healthy Pastor:
  1. Let God restore your soul daily.  Psalm 23.  Matthew 11:28.  Worship.  Prayer.  Solitude.  Listening.  Bible reading.  “I pray for you to know the REST of Jesus in all things.”  The enemy will deceitfully persuade you that you have many things to accomplish in order to keep things running.  I am all too aware of this temptation.  Simplicity in Christ leads us to only one thing to do - let Christ do it.
  2. Give your marriage priority attention.  A bad marriage ruins the rest of life.  (Remember the Proverbs.)  A good marriage fortifies you for the rest of life.  Is your home a tunnel of chaos or an oasis of rest?
  3. Work with your personal rhythms.  Work early or late depending on your personal rhythms.
  4. Keep your Sabbath rest.  A principle of creation:  rest one day in seven.  Sabbath is a day to pray and play.
  5. Do the things only you can do – and delegate the rest.  Be ruthless in simplifying your work. Empower others!  Take some time now to save much time later.
  6. Focus on results not time at work.  The point is not to clock your time but to get things done.  Focus on your highest impact activities.  Managers do things right.  Leaders do the right things.
  7. Get regular exercise.  If you are healthier and fit, you can work harder and you will last longer.  Exercise is a huge stress reliever.
  8. Ask for help.  Secrets are dangerous.  Need help?  In the last 18 months, has a trusted person told you, “I think you need to talk to somebody about that.”  If the answer is yes, get help.  Every prominent Christian leader and pastor I know, regularly visits a counselor.  It is okay to ask for help.
  9. Let God heal your anger.  Ask God to show you … heal you.  Ask a close friend if you seem angry.  Consider:  Elder prayer, counseling, talking with an insightful friend.  This is enormously important!
  10. Don’t be crushed by criticism.  Consider the source.  Be willing to receive criticism from trustworthy people – people who are for you, who are insightful, who are not negative.  Consider if you are a pleaser.  Galatians 1:10.
[from MMI Weblog 

Monday, June 27, 2011

What would it look like if we focused less on the things that make our churches entertaining and more on making disciples?

The Church of God in Christ Bishop James Oglethorpe Patterson Jr. died on Saturday.

Bishop Patterson was born in Memphis, Tenn., on May 28, 1935, to the late President Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, Bishop J.O. Patterson, Sr. and Deborah M. Patterson. He was the grandson of the COGIC founder Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.

Known as both a churchman and a statesman, Bishop Patterson served as chairman of the General Assembly, the legislative body of the church for nearly 11 years. As chairman of the General Assembly, Patterson supervised all sessions of the legislative authority of COGIC.

“Bishop J.O. Patterson was a wise and faithful chairman who served in one of the highest offices of the Church of God in Christ,” says Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake. “The General Assembly of the church is the doctrine-expressing body of the church, and Bishop Patterson led that entity effectively and with vision. He will be greatly missed. We offer our sincere prayers to his wife, family and the Pentecostal Temple congregation.”

Known for his quick wit and incredible sense of humor, Bishop Patterson practiced law in Memphis. He became active in state and local political life as a state representative for one term, state senator for two terms, Memphis city councilman for five terms and as interim mayor of Memphis in 1982.

The local home going celebration is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. The jurisdictional home going celebration will be held on Thursday at 7 p.m. Both services will be at the Pentecostal Temple Institutional Church Of God In Christ Memphis. The National Home going Celebration will be on Friday at 11 a.m. at Mason Temple in Memphis.

[Source: Charisma Media]

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Organized Church in America Is In Trouble

For years mainline churches in America have been in decline.  The Catholic Church with all their legal problems, the Episcopal Church with all their controversies, the Presbyterian church with decreasing membership, the Methodist church closing many churches, and since 2009, the Southern Baptists.

Again in 2010, the Southern Baptist Convention baptized fewer people in 2010 than any time since the 1950s.  The nation's largest Protestant denomination also saw declines in overall membership and attendance.

Emory University's Baptist Studies Director David W. Key Sr., who is a Southern Baptist, said the decline reflects the fact that the membership of many Southern Baptist churches is aging.

The only growing denominations in America are Pentecostal, and that is minimal.

What is the problem?  CLICK HERE to learn more.

Eddie Long: My Wife Has Not Left Me

ATLANTA -- A statement was issued Tuesday morning regarding circulating rumors that said that the wife of Bishop Eddie Long had left him in the wake of the out of court settlement with four young men who accused him of coercing them into sexual relationships.

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Gay" Group Wants Baptists to Apologize - Not Likely

Get Equal, a pro-homosexual advocacy group, has launched a petition drive that calls on the Southern Baptist Convention to apologize for its teaching against the homosexual lifestyle.  Organizers on the group’s website contend the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is causing harm to the lesbian, “gay,” bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and petition signatures will be delivered this week to the SBC’s annual meeting in Phoenix.

Terry Fox, senior pastor of Summit Church in Wichita, Kansas, and a longtime leader within the denomination, says the group is looking in the wrong place for an apology.  “I think they’re the ones that owe America an apology,” he contends. “Their whole platform, that whole organization ... is nothing but perversion, and it damages families, it damages children.  Ultimately, it damages our own society.”

Pastor Fox, who has been in the ministry for over 32 years, says he is proud that his denomination has stood strong on moral issues in the midst of increasingly liberal Christian teachings.

“It shows [Get Equal] think[s] they have become an accepted organization in America, which I would beg to differ with them,” the pastor adds.  “Any poll you would take from any region in America, including the more liberal parts of the country, they would find that they’re out of sync with all of society.  So I’m embarrassed for them for even asking for an apology.”

In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention repudiated slavery, denounced racism and issued a public apology for the role the denomination might have played in harming African-Americans. Get Equal leaders liken its desire for an apology to the same action 15 years ago.

[by Russ Jones - OneNewsNow]

Friday, June 10, 2011

Old Navy goes Gay

Old Navy is now selling "gay pride" T-shirts in support of President Obama's proclamation designating June as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month."

Old Navy's rainbow T-shirts are part of its "Love Proudly: Pride 2011" campaign. The shirts reportedly went on sale June 1 and will be available at select stores throughout the country. Old Navy is donating 10 percent of the proceeds to the "It Gets Better Project," a pro-LGBT campaign.

The T-shirt designs include a white shirt with "Love Proudly" written in the colors of the rainbow, and a black shirt with rainbow-colored stripes.

According to reports, the T-shirts are being sold at some Old Navy stores until the end of June or until supplies run out. Old Navy is already saying they may increase the number of stores next year.

Homosexual activists are encouraging Old Navy to carry more 'gay' shirts in more stores next year.

If you would like to get involved, you can let Old Navy president Tim Wyatt know his decision to engage in corporate promotion and financial support of homosexuality is a bad idea, considering the number of mothers buying summer and back-to-school clothes.


CLICK HERE to send your letter to Old Navy.