Friday, April 18, 2008

I Don't Want To Hear It!

[From Pastor Steven Furtick by sf]

It happened again the other day! The conversation was going so well. I was actually kind of surprised when the person I was talking to (who I was meeting for the first time) just had to go there. Now, there was no way this guy could have known that the pastor he was about to slander was a pretty good friend of mine.

So I think it threw him for a loop when I stopped him mid-sentence and served notice: “I really don’t want to continue this conversation. The pastor you’re speaking against is a great man of God. You don’t even know him, I know him and care for him a whole lot. So I think it would be beneficial to both of us for you to stop maligning his character right now. I don’t want to hear it.”

Maybe part of the reason I’m so protective of other pastors and prominent men of God is that I’ve experienced the frustration of hearing things about yourself that aren’t true. It’s freaky when everybody’s a self proclaimed expert on you. And the less they actually know you, the louder they talk about you.

There have been several times in my ministry that I heard something negative about a well known minister of the Gospel, and took it at face value. Then, months or years later, I’d have the opportunity to actually meet and get to know that person a little bit. And a funny thing happened. When I was able to know them as people and not just personalities, I realized that most of the gossip that is perpetrated as truth is absolutely baseless and unfounded.

So, if I ever have the privilege of getting to meet you and have a conversation with you, let’s just establish one ground rule: If you have something critical and detrimental to share about a fellow minister of the Gospel, I simply don’t want to hear it. We’ve got better things to talk about! Like how God is using your life, the opportunities He’s providing for you to make a bigger impact, or the things He’s teaching you in your personal life.

Hardships of a Pastor's Wife

[From : swerve by Craig Groeschel]

1. Critical people.
2. Church problems—burdened for the hurting people or tough ministry decisions.
3. Being alone a lot on the weekends.


1. Fulfilling—It’s an honor to serve a husband/pastor and the ministry God has entrusted us with.
2. Opportunities—I’m in a position to lead and influence others for the glory of God.
3. The love and support of many.

[Where do you agree? What would you add?]

How Do You Know If Your Vision Is From God?

[From Perry Noble dot com by Perry]

If you feel confident that you can accomplish what is in front of you with no problem at all … then you didn’t hear from God.

If no one is angry at you … then you didn’t hear from God.

If you don’t have to ask anyone to sacrifice to make the vision come true … then you didn’t hear from God.

If religious people are not steaming at you, blogging about you and/or leaving your church … then you didn’t hear from God.

If you have the money in the bank to do what God has asked you church to do … then you didn’t hear from God.

If every step is perfectly designed and nothing happens to totally throw you off along the way … then you didn’t hear from God.

If someone doesn’t try to talk you out of what you are about to attempt … then you didn’t hear from God.

If you don’t stay up at night thinking about the vision … then you didn’t hear from God.

If your vision is in contradiction to God’s Word … then you didn’t hear from God. (And no, you didn’t get a “special revelation” that gave you permission to trump His Word!)

If you know all of the answers … then you didn’t hear from God.

Top Secrets Revealed for Ministry Growth

Affiliated Media Group, the largest Christian advertising agency of its kind in the world, recently launched their highly anticipated monthly newsletter, ImMEDIAte Access, inclusive of the latest industry trends, up-to-date agency news and tips, and exclusive information to help ministries and non-profits achieve their outreach goals. The launch of the ImMEDIAte Access Newsletter marks the first time in Affiliated Media Group's nearly 20-year history that they have publicly disclosed proprietary information proven to take ministry outreach to the next level.

Affiliated Media Group owners, Jim Shaffer and Van Dalton felt an urgency to produce a significant, highly effective newsletter to help ministries advance God's Kingdom. "During these troubled times in our world," says Jim Shaffer, "it is important for us to help ministries maximize every opportunity to reach out to people with a message of hope."

"We consider it a privilege to serve those who impact the world," adds Van Dalton, "whether it is a pastor, an evangelist, a charity, or humanitarian organization seeking to make a difference in the world."

On a bi-monthly basis, ImMEDIAte Access subscribers can expect to receive up to date, relevant information geared toward advancing and growing ministries. Affiliated Media Group's team of experts and highly skilled contributing writers have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they will draw from, providing readers with a definitive guide they can utilize to grow their ministry and reach masses.

Affiliated Media Group has been a trailblazer in media buying and placement, strategic marketing, public relations, production, web/graphic design, and ministry consulting since its inception in 1989. What sets Affiliated Media Group apart from other agencies is its ability to be a one-stop shop for its clients, having consolidated all aspects of ministry outreach consulting under one roof. That diversity of offerings is what makes ImMEDIAte Access the most effective newsletter of its kind created thus far.

For more information about the ImMEDIAte Access Newsletter, or to receive your copy, log on to to sign up. You may also contact Leah Gipson via the information provided.

COGOP Implements "Proxy" System for International Assembly Business

This is how it will work:

All Representatives that carry a local church proxy, properly certified, meeting the deadlines, etc., will be registered on Monday of the Assembly by an Independent agency ... a company hired to manage the proxy process. They are not affiliated with COGOP and have no stake in the outcome, as they are merely professionals hired to manage the logistics and assure the integrity of the process.

The proxy-carrying representative will be issued a voting card that is bar coded. Lose it? Lose the vote.

There will be x number of seats on the floor of the Sommet Center during the business sessions designated for those carrying the proxies, and ONLY them.

When the time comes for expressing the proxy on an issue, there will be about 15 strategically placed electronic stations at which the proxy holders will be able to usethe bar-coded credential to register "yes/no" "for/against" or whatever the two options might be ... "A/B."

The independent agency will tally the results (pretty much immediately) and report them to the person presiding.

Church Training Assistance

Could you use a qualified instructor to come to your location and teach on one of the following subjects?

Team Building, Servant Leadership, The Biblical Office of Deacon, Conflict Resolution, Church Administration, Church Technology, Good Communications, Spiritual Gifts and Callings, Every Member Participating, History of Christianity, Spiritual Discipline, and many more.

Could you use a qualified consultant to come to your location to consult about ...

Church Structure, Assessing Your Location, Understanding Other Cultures, Leadership Assessment, Church Review (for growth), and many more.

Contact Synergy Church Consulting at We are here to work with you. We understand what you are facing, and we care.


A Study of Small Churches

LifeWay Research recently completed a study of small churches. It has not been released yet, but Brad Waggoner recently shared some early analysis from the study. He shared at Impact 2008 the biggest challenges reported by small churches:

1. Time. According to Waggoner, 32 percent of the respondents said they were bivocational pastors and didn't have enough hours in the day to do what they were called to do.

"I read comment after comment which said pastors were under pressure to juggle responsibilities," Waggoner said. "The fact is they have 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They worked at their job somewhere and also dealt with the church. They were tired, drained of energy. They try to fulfill their calling and get the job done. There's no easy way to get it all done.

"All pastors fight that battle. Every leader is tired. But, at the end of the day, they trust the Lord to do the best they can with [the] energy they have and just trust Him."

2. Resistance. Small-church pastors said their congregation doesn't want to change, which leads to stagnation. Pastors have to deal with individuals who want to usurp authority from the pastor, forgetting that it's God who controls His church.

"We have to patiently hold the standard high and teach the Word of God," Waggoner said. "It takes a while for the church to grow biblically ... and takes expositional teaching for the church to get healthy. We can't lower the standards of church. Preaching precedes change. We have to raise the bar of expectations."

3. Lack of commitment from members. Many pastors said they deal with apathy and indifference. Waggoner said it doesn't matter what the size of the church is, but small churches feel it more.

"There are no quick fixes," Waggoner said. "It can't be about the man in the pulpit. We hear so much fluff and stuff. We try to sneak up on people with discipleship. You have to start out with discipleship. We've underestimated the power of a godly man or godly woman."

4. Too few workers. If the church's philosophy is that the pastor is a hired gun, the professional, it will wear the pastor out, Waggoner said. He also said most churches do not have a strategy to equip the laity for ministry.

"You have to teach what the Bible says about the pastor's role," Waggoner said. "I think every church should have a class on teaching spiritual gifts so people ... can take the next step on finding a place in the church ministry. You have to look people in the eye. There needs to be a strategy for involvement which fits the size of your church."

5. Age of the congregation. As the church gets older, young people do not feel attracted to the church. Waggoner said there's no easy answer, but pastors have to serve whomever God brings into their midst.

"Talk to the young people," Waggoner said. "There may be things that can be done to reverse it."

6. Lack of money. Waggoner said he had no easy answers for pastors who say they don't have resources. He did say pastors have to do a better job of teaching about the importance of tithing.

"Too often we preach [on money only] when we go into a building campaign or there's a budget shortfall," Waggoner said. "I think we should teach God's standards on biblical discipleship along the way. It should be part of disciple-making. You honor the Lord with your wealth."

7. Worldliness of the church. Waggoner said he saw in the survey something he called "cultural seepage."

"We allow the world's standards to come into the church," he said. "Sometimes we have propagated that through our arrogance. We're dictatorial, self absorbed. Often preaching becomes a performance. Preaching is not an end but a means. Have we allowed the world to permeate how we think?

"I'm grateful for the Conservative Resurgence," he said of the SBC's theological direction since 1979. "But we have been deceived to think that being conservative is being godly. We have to make sure we are walking in a way that honors God."

8. Age of the pastor. Several said they were getting too old in the survey.

9. Too few people. In the survey, pastors said they couldn't get things done because not enough help was available.

10. Demographics. The community around the church is changing but the church isn't growing.

[Source: BP]

Does this sound like your church? (Click "comments" below.)

What Will Happen to the Pentecostal Movement?

Every great movement in the history of Christianity became institutionalized after about 100 years.

The Pentecostal Movcement is about 100 years old.

Where will the movement go from here?

A movement operates on the currency of relationship and trust.

An institution operates on the currency of real estate and fear.


A Study On Tithing

[From MMI Weblog by Todd Rhoades]

Only 5% of adults tithe, according to a new study by The Barna Group. Those most generous were evangelicals (24% of which tithe); conservatives (12%); people who have prayed or read their Bible in the last week (12%); Pentecostals (11%); and Republicans (10%). The least generous, according to Barna: those under 25, atheists and agnostics, single adults, liberals, and downscale adults. All of those groups gave 1% or less...

The percentage of adults who tithe has stayed constant since the turn of the decade, falling in the 5% to 7% range. The Barna tracking reported that the proportion of adults who tithed was 7% in 2006 and 2005; 5% in 2004 and 2003; 6% in 2002; and 5% in 2001.

In 2007, 84% of all adults donated some money to churches or non-profit organizations. That figure has also remained consistent in recent years.

The median amount of money donated during 2007 was $400; the mean amount was $1308. Those averages are higher than was revealed earlier in this decade, but represent a decline from the previous year. (The mean sum of donations per person in 2006 was $1348.)

The Barna study pointed out that one-third of all adults (34%) gave away $1000 or more during 2007. Nearly one-fifth (18%) had donated $100 or less.

Evangelicals Christians distinguished themselves in their generosity. More than four out of five (83%) gave at least $1000 to churches and non-profit entities during 2007, far surpassing the levels reached by any other population segment studied.

Almost two-thirds of the public (64%) donated some money to a church, synagogue or other place of worship. The median amount donated to those religious centers was $101; the mean amount was $883. Those figures were up slightly from the previous year.

In all, one-quarter of the people who gave any money to religious centers (25%) donated at least $1000. A whopping 96% of evangelicals gave money to a church in 2007; 81% of them donated at least $1000.

Christians tend to be the most generous group of donors. An examination of the three dominant subgroups within the Christian community showed that evangelicals, the 7% of the population who are most committed to the Christian faith, donated a mean of $4260 to all non-profit entities in 2007. Non-evangelical born again Christians, who represent another 37% of the public, donated a mean of $1581. The other 42% of the Christian population, who are aligned with a Christian church but are not born again, donated a mean of $865. Overall, the three segments of the Christian community averaged donations of $1426.

The Christian giving was divided between Protestants (mean of $1705) and Catholics ($984).
In contrast, Americans associated with non-Christian faiths gave away a mean of $905 during 2007. Atheists and agnostics provided

You can read more here...

A New Direction for Leadership Development

A decision has been made at the International Offices of the Church of God of Prophecy to close the Family Ministries Department and to restructure Leadership Development Ministries under a new ministry director. Current Director Larry Duncan stated, "We have submitted to these decisions out of reverence to Christ, as the New Testament teaches us to do. We recognize and respect the right of a leader to have his or her own team in place, and so we willingly step aside to allow that to take place."

The exact timeline for the closing of Family Ministries is yet to be determined. The changes in Leadership Development are scheduled to go into effect following the Assembly.

These changes are not the result of any scandal nor difficulties at the International Offices. In both conversation and written communication the General Overseer has said that "This decision is certainly no indication of any kind of misconduct, but rather it is based on a feeling that new leadership is needed to take us in a different direction ... At this point in the journey it is my sense that it is time to build further on all [that has previously been] done, by reviewing and realigning the Leadership Development Ministry here at the International Office."