Thursday, April 29, 2010

Advice to a Pastor Starting His Ministry Journey...

I am currently reading the book entitled "Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion" by Wayne Cordeiro. It is a wonderful read on his journey back from pastoral ministry burnout.

I am not that far into the book as I am seeking to read a bit and then process it for a season. Early on in the book, I came across a section where I thought this to myself; "I sure wish someone had talked to me about this early on in my pastoral ministry." So with that thought in mind, here are a few quotes from the book which represents some great advice to all who are starting in pastoral ministry along with great advice to those of us who have been doing it for a while.

"I always felt guilty when I took a break." (This is something we got to get over quick!)

"Zeal and good intentions can fuel us in the beginning, but they won't last in the long haul."

"To finish strong, you must learn to rejuvenate your spirit early in your ministry."

"I was fixing everybody's problems except my own, and I needed time to replenish my spirit."

"Identifying something (poor emotional state) is not the same as getting it addressed and resolved."

"Wisdom and understanding are not built in a day; however they are built daily."

"Your future will oftentimes be held in trust within the simplicity of a daily walk with God."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Does Radical Disobedience + Radical Obedience = I'm OK?

I heard a quote this week from one of Perry Noble's sermons that I wrote down immediately because I believe it summarizes well many Christ followers approach to sin. He stated this;

"Radical disobedience in one area is not canceled out by radical obedience in another area."
I agree with that statement because I find myself tempted to justify my sin by reminding both myself and God of all the obedient things I am engaged in. I am amazed at how quickly we as Christ followers rationalize the sin we willingly succumb to by trying to make up for it in another area of discipleship.
The bottom line is really this. There are areas within all of our lives that we have submitted to the authority of Christ and other areas that reflect a spirit of rebellion against a holy God. I think most of us would admit that it is easier to justify our sin by trying to show God that we are radically obedient in certain areas because we are unwilling to fight the hard fight of submitting the rebellious attitudes and actions we deep down enjoy pursuing and holding on to.
So, living like the devil throughout the week and in private isn't canceled out by attending church, serving in church or giving to the church. They are all good things, but don't replace our need to submit every area of our life to the authority of Christ and the Bible.
Pursuing radical obedience by submitting every area of our life to Christ Jesus must be our goal in Christ Jesus!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Legacy of Faith

This past week I moved into my new office. With each move comes the work of moving books, files and other stuff. But this move turned out to be quite special as I placed books on my shelf.

About half the books I possess have been passed on to me from my grandfather who was a pastor/evangelist. The two most cherished items I have in my collection are two Bibles that belonged to him.

The one is my grandfather's Bible that he used to preach from and thus has many of his handwritten notes in it. That alone is very special. After his death, my grandmother passed it on to me and wrote this in the front;

"Presented to Tim, my dearly loved grandson. Grandpa's greatest delight would be to know that you are reading and studying the Book. Just as Elijah pass on his mantle to Elisha, I know grandpa would pass the mantle on to you Tim and want you to carry on where he left off. In Grandpa's first Bible he wrote these words: This Book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this Book." - Love Grandma (Christmas 1989)

The other one is a Bible he used at various points, but grandma had written down the notes from my induction service into my first Senior pastoral ministry. How cool to have the Bible that grandma had on that very proud day for her. In the very front it reads the following three points from my induction service;

Induction Service - Tim - August 16, 1998

1. Guard the Gospel
2. Transfer the Truth
3. Preach the Word

2 Timothy - Dr. Launstein (the gentleman who preached the service)

I share all this as my heart was overflowing with gratitude this past week for the legacy of faith that has been passed down to me. Lord help me pass it on to the next generation!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Some Leadership Musings...

Over the past week, I've taken the time to reflect upon some recent leadership articles and conversations I've had. Here is a brief summary of three of those leadership musings I been thinking through recently...

Organizational Team Stages:

The Forming Stage: This is the stage where the team starts to be pulled together.

The Informing Stage: This is the stage where goals, vision and purpose are shared.

The Storming Stage: This is the stage where systems compete, opinions are expressed and clear communication and clarification must take place. It is the place where objective input must be expressed and where everyone has the opportunity to express themselves in a safe environment.

The Norming Stage: This is the stage where a sense of normalcy is achieved for a season and the goals and vision are accomplished within a system that is viewed as the "norm".

Managing Subordinates: (I'm still chewing on parts of this one...)

One will successfully manage subordinates when time is given to the following (as noted in a book by Dee Hock entitled "One From Many" which deals with the topic of chaordic organizations.

50% of our time must be given to managing self!
25% of our time must be given to managing those who have authority over us.
25% of our time must be given to managing our peers.
Little or no time actual given to the hands on management of our subordinates.

New Staff Positions to Emerge this Decade in Larger Churches
  • The Network Administrator
  • The Multicultural Children's Director
  • The Chief of Staff
  • The Operations Pastor
  • The Creative Arts Director
  • The Boomer Director (aka - Sr.'s Pastor... but don't dare call a boomer a Senior!)
  • The Spiritual Growth Pastor

All in all... a lot of different thoughts processing through my head right now as I seek to keep growing in my leadership role and abilities.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Farming out Evangelism?

I was reading and then listening to an interesting post today by Steven Furtick on evangelism when he used a line that really stuck with me. He spoke of how when he first started as a pastor he was looking to "farm out the salvation part (invitation to receive Christ)" to those who had proven track records doing it.

As I thought about that, I could not help but reflect upon how many Christ followers share that they in essence have come to the same conclusion. We are willing to try and live our lives in a Christ like manner. We may even be courageous enough to put a yard sign in our front yards inviting people to church. But how many of us have reduced inviting people to receive Christ to the realm of "that's the preacher's job".

This weekend, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Sin has been conquered and death has been defeated. Christ is the resurrection and the life! Let us all be willing to go, tell others about Jesus but let us not stop there. Let us boldly extend the invitation to receive Him by faith as Savior of their lives.

Let's stop farming out any part of evangelism. Let us go, tell and invite others to receive Jesus and let us do so without fear or shame. Eternal destinies are at stake!