Monday, March 10, 2008

Time Management

[From : swerve by Craig Groeschel]

Many people say, “I don’t have time for ______________.”

This statement isn’t true. The truth is, we have time for what we choose to have time for.

Too many people today allow the expectations of society to consume most of our time margin.

When God sends us an opportunity to make a difference, we often think we don’t have time.

This is a huge problem for churches. In my opinion, most churches do WAY TOO MUCH! We get busy managing ministries of the past and miss divine opportunities in the present.

The way we create margin in our schedules is simply by doing less.

What do you need to stop doing to create margin for God to use?

Advice to a Church Planter

[From by D. Goodmanson]

Go somewhere where a church plant will take you and help you plant. Be mentored first. Plant with a team, a group who are on mission and have that dna. Don't plant in such a way that you become forced to try to 'market' to Christians in order to get tithe up and pay yourself. Plant a church that seeks to be a gospel-centered, city-changing movement. Start one relationship at a time.

Church of God of Prophecy Shifts Television Ministry

The Administrative Committee of the Church of God of Prophecy has announced that the television ministry, Voice of Slavation, is being shifted to a joint project with funding from the Center for Spiritual Renewal. This shift will eventually result in the Voice of Salvation continuing under the leadership of the Center of Spiritual Renewal.

The International Center for Spiritual Renewal has been established to bring before the Church on a continuing basis the primary need for revival and renewal, both personal and corporate. The Center seeks to accomplish this purpose through the conducting of research, the development of material, the facilitating of special meetings, and the sponsorship of an academic chair.

IFCSR is a non-profit corporation that works with all denominations, as well as non-affiliated local churches and ministry agencies. ( This move is seen as a very positive opportunity to take for the church.

For the first time ever, the COGOP is taking steps to project their vision through the budgeting process of what is supported at the International Office. But this is not the first time that an Administrative Committee has made the decision that the VOS television ministry was not the highest priority of the International Offices.

Back in 1996 that Administrative Committee made the decision that the International Office could not afford to continue to fund the media ministry. They felt those ministries should be carried at a local level from a strong local church for the most part. It was then that they asked both media directors (English and Spanish) to seek out locations where they could shift the television ministries. That was never fully realized, but the decision and intent of that Administrative Committee was clear. They apparently did not feel the media ministries contributed in a manner strong enough nor direct enough at the International Office to be a central factor in advancing the Turning to the Harvest thrust at that time. Therefore it was decided to move them from the International Office umbrella of support for the most part.

It was in the year 2000 that the Administrative Committee again came to a decision concerning the media ministry of the Church of God of Prophecy. After it was apparent that costs for these ministries would continue to escalate, the Administrative Committee reviewed each ministry and came to a conclusion. The feeling was that the International Office could not afford to continue to support these ministries with increasing funds annually. Therefore the Administrative Committee at that time made a decision that no further budget funds should be allocated for the media ministry - in effect a line was drawn so that no greater support would be expected from the International budget. At that time, the Administrative Committee asked these ministries to begin to raise funds through their media channels that would provide the additional funds they felt were needed. They were asked to report those funds raised in good accountability for their efforts.

That brings us to 2007 when the Administrative Committee decided to accept the offer of transition that William Wilson offered to the Administrative Committee. The idea was to benefit all parties.

This transition gives VOS an opportunity to continue the ministry track that the Church of God of Prophecy had supported for over 50 years. It also gives the International Office the opportunity to allocate resources once used for VOS to the values more closely connected with current vision. Finally, the transition gives the Center For Spiritual Renewal the opportunity to voice their vision and activities on a wider scale via television, as well as raise funds more broadly.

The decision to transition VOS was a decision to do everything possible direct funding toward those things that contribute to Harvest and Leadership Development. Though VOS does speak the Gospel to a wide range of nations and people, it was felt that this ministry is a seed sowing ministry and not a discipling evangelization ministry. It was also felt that the VOS English as a church sponsored ministry through the years, contributed little to local church outreach. These factors were important in justifying $200,000 to $250,000 of Church of God of Prophecy budget support annually.

While the seed sowing aspect of the television ministry is certainly biblical and vital, the question faced by the Administrative Committee was whether to merely sow seed, or evangelize, win the lost, bring them into a body of believers, nurture them, disciple them, and equip them to go out and win others, even possibly planting other bodies of believers. As they looked at the environment, they felt there are many that are doing great seed sowing in the Kingdom of God through television. They have even succeeded in funding their own ministries through their television presence. At the end of the day, the Administrative Committee did not feel that the COGOP needed to add to the contributions of so many others, and felt more strongly that what they do should be aimed at the more profound goal of evangelization, and even church planting, rather than seed sowing alone.

The economic environment of the International Office was certainly another factor in the decision making process. While funds were available to support all the ministries which have existed for many years, it was not a pressing issue to evaluate VOS (or any other ministry) based on our callings and values. But when funds became an issue, and the ministries of the International Office had not realized an increase in support for five years or more, then the pressure was felt to evaluate all efforts and see clearly what was contributing to the core and what was contributing elsewhere. Naturally, the media ministries came under scrutiny more quickly since they held larger budgets than many other ministries, almost $500,000 together.

The pressure to fund the core activities of Harvest (church planting) and Leadership Development amply, if not more abundantly was real. The sense that all ministries were not equal in their contributions to the core values became more and more apparent. As core ministries seemed to contract due to lack of resources, it weighed heavier upon the hearts of the Committee that less contributing ministries should not detract from the main callings of Harvest and Leadership Development. The fact that a ministry has been in existence for a long time does not justify allocating resources to it for the present or for the future.

What do you think about this move? (Click "comments" below).

Does the Institutionalized Church Help or Hinder in its Fulfillment?

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you . . .. (Matthew 28:19-20)

. . . Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)

You and I feel free to speak honestly and openly of our own family. But if our family is, in the least, criticized by others, it burns our bacon. A blowhard French journalist writes a book about America that is full of arrogance and stupidity, and we want to let all the air out of him and mail him back home flat.

And when we do take an honest look at our church family, some things are so obvious that it becomes clear that we simply love the church too much for some things to be ignored any longer. The time for pretending is over. The time is past to expect that the decades-long challenges related to the institutionalization of the church will vanish. They won’t.

These challenges are not exclusive to any one church family or denomination. They are true, in varying degrees of severity, for all church groups and denominations everywhere – globally.
Let me state my personal view of the obvious. The institutionalized church, for the most part, does not help in the fulfillment of the mission of the church.

It hinders.

Read More ...

Assimilation Into Your Church

[From Missional Church of God by travjohnson]

Check out the notes from today’s Church Leader Insights’ concerning the Fusion Seminar (on assimilation). Good stuff.

Read more about it here.

Do You Get Visitor Feedback?

Check out this church web site set up for visitor feedback. Each church visitor is sent an e-mail thanking them for their visit and directing them to this site.

Restoring Honor To The Clergy

[From Pastor Steven Furtick by sf]

I hope that, in my lifetime, God will allow me to be a part of restoring the virtue of honor back to the pastoral ministry. Beyond that: I want to help restore honor to the body of Christ in general. My generation has done a pretty phenomenal job of obliterating the concept of honor and discarding it, regarding it as old fashioned. If you ask me, we've sucked all the honor out of many of our ministries by being a little too cavalier and far too critical for our own good.

As for me, by God’s grace I’ll do my part to model and inspire honor in my generation by:
  • Living an honorable life. (Keeping my pants on, keeping my hands off the money, keeping my word, etc. A good place to start, for sure.)
  • Speaking honorably of other ministers and ministries. There’s a time and place to evaluate critically.
  • Giving honor to other men of God who are a blessing to me. Even to the point of going overboard … I want to honor those God has used in my life. This is Scriptural, and I find it to be deeply gratifying and rewarding.
Who can you show honor to today? Do it.

What is your church polity on voting for pastors?

What is your church polity? Do you vote on the local pastor? What effect does a voting polity have on the congregational group dynamics?

While some groups like the Church of God of Prophecy and Methodist have Bishops making pastoral appointments, others like Baptist vote on the pastor within the local church. Which causes more disruption?

Members of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth voted Sunday to keep Brett Younger as pastor. The vote was 499 in favor of retaining him and 237 against, representing about a two-thirds majority. The historic downtown church has been in public controversy for months, first over whether a members' photo-directory would include gay couples, then over Dr. Younger's leadership.

“We are a church in need of God’s healing,” said a statement released by deacon chair Kathy Madeja after today’s vote. “We will need to listen carefully to each other about the things which have divided us and brought us to this day.”

A members’ group, Friends for the Future of Broadway, called for the vote on Dr. Younger. The group argued that he had been an ineffective leader and had led the moderate church in too liberal a direction theologically.

“We respect the will of the majority and pray for the congregation’s healing, recovery and continued service to the community that befits a 125-year-old church,” said Robert Saul, spokesman for the group, in a statement.

But Mr. Saul’s statement also said that 300 people “have or want to leave” the church because of the past months’ turmoil. Mr. Saul declined comment on whether he would leave.

Dr. Younger asked the church to stick together.

“I hope that we will move forward and be the church together, and that others will come and share church with us,” he said. “Broadway is an amazing congregation that’s willing to talk about difficult issues. This is a church that challenges its members to think and serve.”

The church voted on Feb. 24, as a compromise, to have a directory with group photographs, as opposed to family photos.

More here...

FOR YOUR INPUT: The issue aside… if the vote to keep you was 499 to 237, what would you do? Stay and fight, or call it a day? Would it not be tough to lead when nearly 1/3 of everyone was on record as opposing your leadership.

What's Your Church's Biggest Strength?

[From MMI Weblog by Todd Rhoades]

Leadership and management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things.” When I read that recently, I thought that this statement could be very true in today’s American church. Here’s my theory: Could it be that while most churches are "doing things right," a smaller group of churches are "doing the right things?"

The percentage of churches in decline is America is substantial. (I've heard as high as 90%!) It’s my hypothesis that each of these churches (and if you take the conservative church count in the country of 200,000 churches, 90% would be a whopping 180,000 American churches!) have to be "doing things right" to some degree. Doing things right means things like conducting weekend services, maintaining property and facilities, making payroll, and caring for their attenders. In essence, as long as there are still people attending most churches, the churches, by and large, are "doing things right," at least from a management standpoint.

But what about the other 10% of churches in America that are growing and vibrant? Could it be that they have moved beyond "doing things right" to "doing the right things?" Every single one of the growing churches I've seen are very outwardly focused. They reach out and specifically target reaching their communities. They move beyond "management" to dare to try new things; new programs; and new approaches. They are not afraid of change. They are not afraid to confront the culture. They are leaders. And the result is a growing and community-changing church.

FOR YOUR INPUT: What’s your church’s strength? Management or Leadership?