Thursday, March 27, 2008

Top Pastor Resources

[By Anthony Braswell]

I’m always looking new resources, so I thought you may be as well. Check out some of my favorites!

The following are my top ten resources:
  • The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork – John Maxwell
  • Communicating for a Change – Andy Stanley
  • Confessions of a Pastor – Craig Groeschel
  • The Creative Leader – Ed Young Jr.
  • Into the Future – Elmer Towns
  • Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age – Ed Stetzer
  • Seven Practices of Effective Ministry – Andy Stanley
  • Simple Church – Thom Rainer
  • The Way of the Shepherd – Kevin Leman
  • Church Marketing 101 – Richard Reising

The following are my top ten websites:

Personal (Sabbatical) Update

Yvonne and I are on sabbatical. I cannot express how important it is for pastors to take a sabbatical from time to time. When I am away, in the mountains or on the ocean, I can think so much more clearly and focus so much better on the real priorities of life and ministry. A sabbatical must be longer than a few days. We must disconnect from the world as we know it in order to reconnect with God. Jesus set the example. How often did He retreat or get away during His three years of ministry?

Most congregations do not understand the importance of sabbaticals. It will take good communications and teaching to change this culture. But, it must be done to preserve and improve pastoral leadership. It will pay great dividends to the pastor and the congregation.

A sabbatical (from Greek sabbatikos) is a prolonged hiatus, typically one year, in the career of an individual taken in order to fulfill some goal, e.g., writing a book or traveling extensively for research. Some universities and other institutional employers of scientists, physicians, and/or academics offer a paid sabbatical as an employee benefit, called sabbatical leave. Some companies offer an unpaid sabbatical for people wanting to take career breaks - this is a growing trend in the UK, with 20% of companies having a career break policy, and 10% considering introducing one.

Sabbaticals are often taken by professors, pastors, cartoonists (e.g. Gary Larson and Bill Watterson), musicians (e.g. Cindy Wilson, Bobby McFerrin) and sportsmen (e.g. Alain Prost). Academic sabbaticals are typically for one year following six years of full-time employment. Also taken by those young professionals who just need a break from work to determine if a career path is correct for them.

In UK and Irish students' unions, particularly in higher education institutions, students can be elected to become sabbatical officers of their students' union, either taking a year out of their study (in the academic year following their election) or remaining at the institution for a year following completion of study. Sabbatical officers are usually provided with a living allowance or stipend.

As Yvonne and I spend this time alone with God, we are already seeing things differently. God is restoring our divine vision.

We may take a little longer - until April 8 or so.

Today's Prayer

Dear God, I know that You have a plan for my life. Sometimes, I'm not sure I'm following the right path that will fulfill Your perfect will. I pray that You will give me discernment to make the right choices, and to recognize when You place someone in my life to give direction and point out truths that will prepare me for the path I am to follow and the circumstances I am to face. Lord, please give me strength, grace, and unction from on high to not turn back neither to one side or the other, but to remained focused straight ahead on You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tithing and Giving

(By Chris Blumhofer)

I just finished my taxes, and as part of the process, I reviewed a statement of all the contributions that my wife and I made to our church last year. It was humbling.

I was reminded of a missionary that Stephanie and I supported, and the time that we shared a meal with him and heard about the kingdom-building work going on in the U.K. Good times.

But there are embarrassing omissions on our statement, too. Last July is an example, when our church recorded zero contributions from us. I vividly recall four weeks of, "Did you remember the offering?" "No, I thought you had it."

This year, my wife and I are striving to do better, though not under any illusions that four more weeks of tithing will usher in the kingdom. Instead, we give because we're convinced that faithful, generous giving is the appropriate response to him who's been so generous to us.

A church that embraces the right attitudes toward tithing requires wise leadership in the area of financial stewardship.

[The entire church leadership team must have the right training and attitude on how to teach tithing and giving.]

Fire Damages Church

A fire damaged the interior of the 21st Street Church of God of Prophecy in Kansas City, Kan. The fire was believed to have started in a kitchen area. No one was hurt.