Friday, 21 November 2014 00:00

A Difficult Church Member

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All of us have them, difficult people.  This is not new.  Leaders and writers of the Biblical era also faced difficult people.  While reading this morning I was reminded of one such situation.  When John wrote 3 John, he mentions one person with whom he had to contend.

Saturday, 15 November 2014 00:00

Show Us How It's Done, Church Leaders!

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“Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (I Timothy 4:12)

When attempting something I’ve never seen done, I need to look over the shoulder of someone doing it. I don’t learn how to do hard things just by reading plans.

The Air Force has instructor pilots. They sit beside the student in the cockpit, showing how it’s done, and then giving hands-on instruction when the pupil takes the stick.

The educational system has interns who sit in the classrooms of veterans and learn from them. Other occupations have apprentices, associates and trainees.

Friday, 07 November 2014 00:00

Conflict: Church or Pastor?

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Several years ago I became a Director of Missions in Southwest Louisiana. A Director of Missions works with a group of churches (in my case 46) as an encourager, adviser, servant, pastor’s friend and resource provider. When I accepted this position I had the impression that most church/pastor conflicts are because of dysfunctional churches. Since that time I have come to believe otherwise. Now, I realize, church/pastor conflicts can be a two way street.

I’ve been there. I’ve faced burnout and frustration in my work. Thankfully, I’ve never “bottomed out,” but I’ve felt near the bottom in my spirit. More than that, I’ve walked through these times with dozens of other leaders.

I’ve learned there are some common indicators that a leader is heading toward burnout. The sooner we can recognize them, the sooner we know to reach out for help.

Here are seven indicators you’re heading for burnout.

Last week we took a look at Jesus’ instructions to the disciples before they headed out. We also took a look at our expectations - we pick up there again in this post.

3) What you may expect from everyone, good or bad (10:21-23) …

Family members will betray you. You will be hated by all on account of My name. They will run you out of cities. When that happens, go on to the next one.

Friday, 17 October 2014 00:00

What to Expect as You Head Out to Minister

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“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore, be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)

For Christian workers, one of the most significant Scripture passages is the commission the Lord gave His disciples just before sending them out on a short-term assignment. This is found in Matthew 10 and Luke 10. In Luke’s account, the commissioning takes 16 verses, but in Matthew’s, it’s a full 42 verses—so therefore, my favorite, since it’s far more helpful.

At that point, the 12 apostles were something like seminary students, preachers in training with diverse backgrounds and limited experience. (Some of us used to stand on the street corners in the French Quarter preaching. And, we roamed up and down the sidewalks with handfuls of tracts talking to strangers. We were in boot camp, learning how to talk to people about Jesus. That’s what was happening with these disciples.)

Friday, 10 October 2014 00:00

Be Tolerant!

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The title of this piece may cause you to raise an eyebrow. When we discuss the subject of tolerance or intolerance actions such as immorality and liberal theology tend to jump to the front of our minds. That should certainly be the case in reference to the aforementioned subjects. However, there are occasions when intolerance may burn fuel that should not be wasted.

Consider this example. In Philippians Paul discusses people who were preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry (1:15). Paul says they are preaching Christ, not with a spirit of love, but from selfish ambition in order to stir up trouble for him.

Friday, 03 October 2014 00:00

Don't Force It!

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Have you ever been guilty of forcing things?  This can happen with people, circumstances, projects or God’s will.  I recall an experience I had while building a chain link fence.  This involved one of the chain link fence post tops.  The post tops are made of a soft but inflexible metal.  Too much pressure and they will shatter.  While constructing the fence I came to the point when I installed the tops on the metal posts.  Everything went smoothly up until a point.  However, one of the post tops did not readily slide onto the post.  I decided to help it.  I gently laid a piece of wood on the piece and struck it with a hammer.  I forced it.  Guess what?  The piece shattered.

Saturday, 27 September 2014 00:00

Let Them be Ordinary

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“Why does the Sunday school class always expect me to answer all the questions?”

“No other kids ever go to Sunday evening church, and we have to be there every pickin’ time!”

“When others talk or giggle at church events it’s normal, but when I do it I get stared at.” 

“They said if I get caught messing up you’d have to resign.”

“And they said, ‘We expected better from a pastor’s child than that,’ and I’m hurt and angry and sick and tired of it. I don’t even want to be there anymore.”

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