Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Senior Pastor Expects Of His Staff ...

  1. I expect loyalty. I've got your back and you've got my back.
  2. I expect you to be growing spiritually. This is my primary concern. It is so easy for those of us in full-time ministry to seek God for others instead of seeking God for ourselves. We’ve got to do ministry out of the overflow of what God is doing in our lives!
  3. I expect a positive attitude. Attitude really is everything. And I’ve learned that how much you enjoy ministry depends on who you’re doing ministry with. Let me just say it like it is: negativity sucks. Literally. It sucks the life out of a staff.
  4. I expect staff to verbalize rather than internalize. I want a staff culture where people can have tough conversations about tough topics. Life is too short to hold a grudge. My philosophy of conflict is John 1:14. Jesus was full of grace and full of truth. Truth means I’m going to be honest no matter what. Grace means I’m going to love you no matter what.
  5. I expect staff to have fun. We all have bad days. We all have long days. But if ministry isn’t enjoyable you need to get out of the game! The top quality I look for in prospective staff, besides a thriving relationship with Christ, is a sense of humor!
  6. I expect you to make mistakes. We have a core value: everything is an experiment. Part of experimenting is failing and learning. I have no problem with mistakes. I just don’t want staff to make the same mistake over and over again!
  7. I expect excellence! I think a dose of divine discontent is healthy! We need to keep getting better and better at what we do. It is that commitment to excellence that allow staff to morph in greater responsibilities…

Pastor, how much fear do you experience?

Speaking from my experience, I feel like so much of the problem with pastors is they are just scared to death. They’re scared of their people, they’re scared of deacons, they’re scared of their overseer, they’re just scared. You know, if you’re scared of someone, you can’t lead them; you can hardly even influence them. I tell businessmen all the time, “You’d never go to work for an organization where the customers can hire and fire the president of the company they bought products from.” But that’s the church world in many cases.

If the people can make the decision about the pastor (directly or indirectly through the overseer), they are saying, “We’ll follow you unless we don’t like the way you’re leading us, then we’ll get us another leader.” What other organization can the clients and the customers hire and fire the leader? So the church is set up, upside-down. It’s an environment that is not conducive to leadership in some ways. Consequently to lead a church, you just have to have a lot of courage because the group to which you’re saying “follow me” can get together and fire you. Well, that’s just the way it is. That’s not going to change very soon, so it requires a lot of courage. Otherwise, we start bending toward the people that hired us (instead of God) and we’re in trouble.

The irony is, we stand up and talk about Daniel in the lion’s den but then we won’t even confront elders. All of these bible heroes – David and Goliath – and we love to preach those sermons and draw these parallels, and then we’re scared to confront people. I think that dynamic alone is a big part of why the church is where it is. The leadership – or lack of leadership – is just so much fear of people.

When I see pastors who are scared, I want to tell them, “Just lead.” If they fire you and you don’t think God will take care of you, then you have no message for your people anyway. Because, we get up every Sunday and say God’s grace is sufficient. He’s going to take care of you, He’ll meet your every need and you’ll never see the “righteous go hungry.” It’s what we preach, but if our lack of faith in those practical things causes us to not to be able to lead then what’s our message anyway?

[from Pastor Andy Stanley]

Christian Guesthouse Sued For Refusing Gay Couple

The Christian owners of a guesthouse who were ordered by a judge to pay a gay couple more than $5000 in damages for refusing to let them stay in a double room have appealed the ruling.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull are challenging the decision after several days of consultation with their legal team following last week’s ruling.

The Bulls have implemented a policy of allowing only heterosexual married couples to stay in their double rooms since they opened the Chymorvah guesthouse in 1986.

However, a judge ruled last week that the policy is “unlawful” under Equality Laws, which make it a crime to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The Christian Institute’s director, Colin Hart, said the guesthouse had since been “besieged” with demands for double rooms by homosexual couples “seemingly in a bid to destroy the business.”

He also said that Hazelmary Bull had received “abusive and menacing” phone calls and her husband is in the hospital recovering from serious heart surgery.

The Bulls were sued by civil partners Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall when they were turned away from the guesthouse after staff realized that the booking had not been made for a heterosexual couple.

The guesthouse had received a letter from gay rights group Stonewall the month earlier informing the owners of equality law, prompting suspicion that the Bulls were specifically targeted.

Responding to the judge’s decision last week, Hazelmary Bull said that their policy had been based on “our sincere beliefs about marriage, not hostility to anybody.”

In making his ruling, Judge Andrew Rutherford admitted that it “does affect the human rights of the defendants to manifest their religion and forces them to act in a manner contrary to their deeply and genuinely held beliefs.”