The power of pastoring and LEADING in spiritual transformation

Some key thoughts:

“Sermons should shape hearers by bringing the transforming Word to nurture the development of their character in the pattern of Christ.” — Marva Dawn

“It is a long-acknowledged truth that teachers teach the lessons they most need to learn and writers write about the very things they are most in need of understanding.” — Ruth Haley Barton

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The book I’ll never get to write

“The Secret Pains of Pastoring.”

1. No one would believe it.

2. No one would care.

3. I’d have to wait until I’m dead anyway.

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Filed under Leadership, Pastoring

What you can really do as a blue chip pastor

Regardless of size, we can pray the prayers God asks of us.

God has asked us, as a “small” church, to “own” a country. I’ve prayed that prayer for two years.

I just returned from a two week trip to Ethiopia as a result of praying that prayer. I will be back in Ethiopia over time. So will my church.

What if all “small” churches were BLUE CHIP churches, and simply asked God for ONE country? What kind of impact would that have on the people of the church… AND what about the impact on that country?

We need to have a bigger vision. Vision that goes beyond the statement of what we DON’T have… to what is God ASKING OF US?

Own a country.

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Filed under Leadership, Ministry, Prayer

Why I have no goals

I do have goals. Catchy headlines are key to grabbing readers. 

But the KINDS of goals I have are different as a “blue chip” pastor. They are not numerical. Numbers are good. Growing a church or making disciples ADDS to the Kingdom. There are numbers. 

Yet, I am not as consumed with “what are we running” week to week, or what we “want to run” in five years. 

This verse from Abraham’s life captures me:

12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. (Heb. 11:12)

Abraham didn’t put his faith in the promise of a new nation. He put his faith in the ONE who gave the promise of a new nation. At the end of his life, Abraham still had only one son. He didn’t see the “multitudes.” Yet, he knew it would come. His faith was in the One who promised.

I have dreams. New churches planted, leaders trained, countries impacted. But I can’t get to the end of my life and see the numbers. I need to get to the end of my life and in SPITE of the “numbers” look to the One who gave me those promises and say, “I know this is God.” 

My GOAL is to keep my eyes glued to the One who gives me promises and dreams. When the rest of it happens is not up to me. 

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Filed under Church Growth

Turn off the “HUGE” button

There are times we need, as pastors, to turn off the “HUGE” button. And it ain’t easy. Everything that gets emphasized in ministry training… I mean LEADERSHIP training… is about HUGE. We’ve gone from the crusades of the 70s to the megachurches and seeker sensitive models of the 80s and 90s to the satellite campus models of the current trend. And it’s all about … HUGE.

Being Blue Chip isn’t about “huge” nor “not huge.” It’s not about embracing “small.” It’s about embracing your ministry DNA and the call to actually pastor. 

And that means you have to turn off the “HUGE” button. It’s noisy. It’s always in our faces. But we need the noise off to hear the voice of the Spirit so we can explore what is truly our spiritual DNA, then turn to what the DNA of our church is, and then serve God and our community with passion.

It may mean backing away from some conferences or denominational meetings for awhile. It may mean some other things. But the vitality of ministry isn’t based on “HUGE” or “small.” It’s based on obedience to the Spirit.

Find your DNA.

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Filed under megachurch, Pastoring

Who Is the Pastor?

Brian Fulthorp:

Some good thoughts here from Scott, on who a pastor is and what the pastor is to do:

Originally posted on The Prodigal Thought:

petersonPastor.

It’s a well-used word within the Protestant-evangelical community. And we have all sorts of ideas of what a pastor is, or at least should be.

He’s the guy (and, yes, male only, some would say) who delivers the 45-minute homily every Sunday morning (or 50 our 52 Sundays). Or he is to make sure doctrinal purity is maintained within the church, in accordance with biblical standards. Or she’s the one who visits the sick in the hospital or home. Or he or she make the direction and vision known to the church. Or she is the one to implement different programs that the members would like to see within the church community. O, problem of all problems, the pastor functions as the CEO of a corporate-esque entity.

And there are probably a host of other ideas out there.

But, as I was recently reading J.R. Briggs’ Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst…

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It doesn’t have to be lonely

Being “small” as a church isn’t about a point of “pride,” but it should not be a point of shame, either.

But being “small” will sometimes give a feeling of being marginalized, pitied, etc.

What needs to happen for Blue Chip Pastors is a movement of conversation. Not a blog post. Not a book. A conversation.

When I first got into ministry and was planting a church, it was going awful. I was young, only had ideas, and was struggling. Another church was being planted in an area not far from my town, so when our pastors got together at sectional meetings, this other church planter would be there as well. He was “well funded.” He was the “district’s” church. In my tiny little mind this guy had no problems.

After one particular meeting he came up to me and asked how I was doing.

“Fine.” Easy answer.

“Well, I’m doing lousy,” he blurted out. He decided to be honest. He had no place else to go and as it turned out, we were in the same exact boat with the same exact frustrations. Out of that came a lot of encouragement and the will to keep on in ministry.

A conversation needs to be started. You and one other minister. You don’t know if THEY are doing well, but you know you’re struggling. Somehow you know this may be a person you could be honest with… so you risk huge and just start the conversation.

“I’m struggling. Could we talk?”

Maybe you’re doing okay at the moment, but you sense someone else needs that freedom to just be honest. You can start that conversation. It’s not huge. There isn’t a crowd. It may never get written up in any article or noticed at any church council. But you start. You have the conversation.

It doesn’t have to be lonely.

It’s not about being bitter. It’s not about being marginalized. It’s realizing we have a “both/and” world when it comes to churches, sizes, etc., and where you are is a struggle at times. Find the courage to have the conversation.

You be the one to make the call, buy the coffee, whatever the venue of your choice may be…

But start. One on one.

If it fails? Start up another conversation.

Keep talking. Because silence will not heal the situation.

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Filed under Leadership, pain in ministry, Pastoral Ministry