Sabtu, 27 Mei 2017

5 Ways to Know When to Walk Away From Your Ministry

5 Ways to Know When to Walk Away From Your Ministry

5 Ways to Know When to Walk Away from Your Ministry
Research and analysis done by many psychologists shows that humans get an itch for significant change every 7 to 10 years. Some believe part of this is related to how our cells regenerate every seven years. We change half of our main friendships every seven years.
Obviously all this is a bit subjective, but based on the experience of most of us, this holds true. Something about our mind is “trained” to desire significant changes almost every decade, including our jobs.
Let’s get one thing straight: Church ministry jobs are more than just jobs. This doesn’t mean that pastoral jobs should be highly sought after; instead, it is the reality of ministry being a lifestyle vocation more than something we punch in and out of everyday.
Signing up to help lead a church is a high calling, one that should not be taken lightly. But the pastoral profession is not immune to the psychological need many of us have for change.
I’m not thinking of any specific circumstances, but I can think of many situations in which a pastor (in my mind) clearly needed to move on for the betterment of their own life and the life of their current ministry context. Sometimes, this is forced by a congregation wanting change and the pastor being unable to do so. The statistics on pastoral turnover in churches is not good. Worship and youth pastors are said to change jobs every two years. And really all of this is centered around an unhealthy understanding of the ways God points us in new directions. What I want to focus on is change and trying to discern when transition is necessary within the church ministry context.
Every couple of weeks, I meet with a professor at my seminary along with a few fellow seminary students to talk life and ministry. Last week, I brought up this subject of how we, as ministers, can know when God is leading us somewhere else. Everyone, at some point, will have to deal with wondering whether it’s time to go, but it seems very few are equipped to notice the cues that point us in new directions
Here are some good indications (all brought forward by my fellow seminarians) of how to know when God is saying it’s time to move on:

Is your heart in it?

Here’s the first question to ask. This isn’t the be-all, end-all question, but it does put into place whether God may be leading somewhere else. Self-evaluation through prayer and meditation is where this process must begin.

Is it just a paycheck?

Understanding the motivations of our hearts and minds in the midst of church ministry is key to knowing why we serve the church. If it’s just a paycheck, we’re likely only motivated to serve because it pays our bills rather than because we’re operating exactly where God desires us to be.
However, this must be said as well… Sometimes (for a season of life), God puts us in difficult and trying situations in order to help us grow in the long run.

What has God given you a passion for? How is God directing your passions?

This goes hand in hand with the last section on change and transition. Our passions change. None of us are the same today as we were 10 years ago. It is important to continue evaluating what God is doing within us and how that affects where God is leading us. If our passions no longer fit our current position, it might be time to move on.

Seek out trusted peers.

All of us have blind spots, and none of us have perfect perspective, so seeking out the advice and input from trusted people is incredibly vital when considering where God is leading.
Certainly, we shouldn’t base a decision entirely on the advice of others, but often, God will use the people around us to help push us in the direction He desires. I often find the people I trust are able to articulate where I sense God moving much more than I can when I’m left to my own thoughts.

Evaluate the difference between change and transition.

William Bridges’ book Transitions was a challenging read for me as I processed through how he outlines the difference between change and transition.
Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events but rather the inner re-orientation and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture. Unless transition happens, the change won’t work because it doesn’t “take” (page xii).
Pursuing after a ministry change without understanding the psychological transitions going on deep down in ourselves is a foolish thing to do.

4 Important Steps to Quit Porn Once and for All

4 Important Steps to Quit Porn Once and for All

porn
This is a guest post. Honestly, I don’t do a lot of them, but this is an important topic. I can’t help but believe it impacts leadership. I know it impacts the church. The only thing I would add—or further emphasize—is to recognize the battle from a spiritual perspective. If you’re a believer, the Spirit of God dwells within you. Seek His help.
4 Important Steps to Quit Porn Once and for All
We all struggle with our own vices. For some, those vices not only harm ourselves, but the people around us. Pornography and sexual addiction is one of those struggles that can leave addicts feeling isolated and depressed.
In order to break your addiction and move toward recovery, having the tools and resources around you is important to help you set yourself up to succeed. As you go through the steps listed below, remember not to over analyze, but to use these tools get you started.
As you begin to master these steps, you’ll start to see a ripple effect on your life and addiction.
1. Action plan. Creating an action plan can have a huge impact on helping you move forward in your healing. The thought of stopping “cold turkey” can overwhelm and discourage many people, but by taking some time to develop a Plan of Action, you can set yourself up for success.
Think of your Plan of Action as a tool to help you establish new habits and implement them into your daily routine. These new habits don’t have to be huge (nor should they be—as that may also discourage you). Instead, you want these habits to support you and your recovery. Some ideas to get you started: find a support group, therapist, spiritual leader or trusted friend where you can talk openly; practice positive self-talk; write in a daily journal; volunteer or do something nice for someone; take up a hobby; and practice forgiving yourself.

Why Your Best Leaders Leave Your Church

Why Your Best Leaders Leave Your Church

Why Your Best Leaders Leave Your Church
It hurts when people leave. It’s been said that people don’t quit organizations, they quit people.
There are a million reasons why, over time, we can lose talented volunteers or staff members. Sometimes it’s circumstantial. Other times, it’s just a natural pattern of growth and development. But not always, and probably not often. In reviewing a recent article in Forbes magazine on why top talent leaves business, here are some trends that tend to surface as common reasons people become disenfranchised.
We Stop Leading With Vision – Vision matters. It creates momentum and excitement. When we lead with vision and with “why,” we’re doing something that makes people move from renters to owners. Vision births passion.
We Don’t Allow People to Unleash Their Passions – It’s vital to keep people engaged and to align their passions with opportunities. When people are passionate about something, they not only want to do it…they have to do it. When we miss the chance to align passion and purpose, we fail our best people.
We Control Rather Than Trust – Great people want to be trusted. They won’t be capable of sticking around if they feel they need to be micro-managed. Will they mess up? Yes. Will they do things different than we think they should? Probably. But growth—for them and for our organization—requires sharing not just the responsibility but also the authority. This creates leaders that will learn from you and your systems and help lead and coach other leaders.
We Lack Creative Engagement – Creative people want to make things better. Our best people want to add value to our organizations. They love to challenge and questions. They seek opportunities to engage and innovate. We have to free our best people to soar and do their best work.
We Don’t Coach – Learners are leaders. We’re all on a journey and all want to get better, smarter and more valuable. Make sure we’re creating a culture that puts a premium on coaching and learning.
We Stop Challenging – We’re responsible to challenge our best people. Challenge them to be their best, do their best, and to engage using their skills, intelligence and resource. If people become bored and aren’t given challenges, they will go find someplace where they can be pushed to be better.
We Don’t Create Venues for Their Voice – Make sure we’re giving our best people room to have a voice. Leaders can’t make their best decisions if they only have one opinion or one set of data. Our best people have valuable information and opinions to share. If we don’t listen, we’ll miss this important information.
We Cared More About the Result Than the Person – People matter. When people feel we care more about their product than we do about their person, we’ll lose them. It’s messy and takes valuable time, but it’s the best investment we can make. Put a premium on people and we won’t have to worry about the product…it will take care of itself.
We Never Shared the Love – Never take the credit, always take the responsibility. Sharing the credit and promoting the “team” builds value and trust. When we use people for our agenda, we destroy morale. When things are good, it’s all about the team. When things are off, it’s all about the leader.
We Over Promised/Under Delivered – Always. It helps people feel like they are winning and when we’re on winning streaks we’re much more content and engaged.
We Provided Responsibility, but Not Authority – It never works. If quality people are held to a certain level of responsibility but do not have the necessary authority, they will vanish. People will gladly accept challenges when they feel they are empowered to lead.
We don’t have to pay attention to these opportunities. But if we don’t, someone else will and one day we’ll look around and wonder what happened to our most talented people and why they’re all working together, enjoying life, creating momentum and changing the world in another organization.
What would you add to this list?
This article originally appeared here.

An Open Letter to a Pulpit Bully

An Open Letter to a Pulpit Bully

An Open Letter to a Pulpit Bully
Dear Potential Pulpit Bully,
When Theodore Roosevelt coined the term “bully pulpit,” he observed that his position of influence as president gave him a unique platform from which to persuade, exhort, instruct and inspire. Roosevelt famously used the word bully as an adjective meaning great, superb excellent or wonderful.
As a pastor, you have been given a similar position of influence from which to speak out, advocate and encourage. Your unique bully pulpit gives you a platform for persuasion, exhortation, instruction and inspiration. It is dangerous, however, if you choose to invert that bully pulpit from a place of influence to a position of control. Transposing from advocacy to autocracy will degrade your platform from a bully pulpit to the platform of a pulpit bully.
There is no virtue in bullying disguised as righteous indignation. So pastor, if you give in to that temptation you’ll believe all problems originate in someone else’s office. You’ll reject cooperation, compromise and kindness in order to guard territory and filter information. You’ll outgrow the need to learn anything new. You won’t share ministry because accountability will threaten your position of authority. Collaboration will always be suspect because you’ll view those with different perspectives as insubordinate.
Once you adopt an attitude of entitlement and invulnerability you may achieve compliance from others, but rarely buy-in. Even those within your so-called inner circle will submit to your leadership out of fear not friendship, out of caution not loyalty, out of submission not conviction. As a result, your position will also be one of profound loneliness.
So pastor, is being a pulpit bully really what God intended when he called some to be apostles, some to be prophets and some to be evangelists? Maybe giving in to that temptation is just the fear of losing control of something that was not yours to begin with. It’s not too late to realize that the final word doesn’t always have to be yours. There’s time to pray and plan together with others as partners instead of pawns. It’s never too late to pastor with an attitude of mutuality and no ulterior motive. And when you do, your church and staff relationships will never be the same.
This article originally appeared here.

20 Bible Truths to Tell Kids That Will Change Their Life Forever

20 Bible Truths to Tell Kids That Will Change Their Life Forever

20 Bible Truths to Tell Kids that Will Change their Life Forever
The Bible truths we speak into a child’s life have the potential to change their life forever. When a child grabs hold of a truth from God’s Word and internalizes it, it has the power to alter the trajectory of their life.
Here are 20 Bible truths that you can give to parents to speak into their children’s lives and that you can plant in kids’ lives at church.
#1 – God loves you. Unconditionally. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you any less or more. (Galatians 2:20)
#2 – Jesus died on the cross so you can be forgiven. (Romans 5:8)
#3 – God has a special plan for your life. (Jeremiah 29:11)

#4 – The Bible is the source of truth for you. (Psalm 119:160)
#5 – God hears and answers when you pray. (Jeremiah 33:3)

#6 – You are unique. There’s no one else like you. (Psalm 139:14)
#7 – You can do anything God asks you to do with His power. (Philippians 4:13)

#8 – Jesus will always be with you no matter what you go through. (Psalm 23:4)
#9 – God will give you wisdom to make good choices. (James 1:5)
#10 – You can be strong and brave with God. (Joshua 1:7)
#11 – Put God first and He will provide for your needs. (Matthew 6:33)
#12 – God can help you overcome any temptation that comes your way. (I Corinthians 10:13)

#13 – God will be faithful to strengthen and protect you. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
#14 – God is the creator of everything. (Genesis 1:1)
#15 – Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life. (John 14:6)
#16 – When you sin, ask God to forgive you and He will. (1 John 1:9)

#17 – It’s better to be a giver than a taker. (Acts 20:35)
#18 – Jesus rose from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:14-19)
#19 – Jesus wants to be your best friend. (Proverbs 18:24)
#20 – Obeying God leads to blessings. (Luke 11:28)
This article originally appeared here.

Where Every Prayer Is Answered

Where Every Prayer Is Answered
(En EspaƱol)
We should not assume that simply because we are Christians we have learned the secret of abiding in Christ. Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you" (John 15:7). To abide in Him is to live in ceaseless fusion with His passions. It is to have found the habitation of God where no barrier or shadow exists between our weakness and His sufficiency, or between our yearning and His fulfillment.
Considering the magnitude of God's promises, it is actually a misfortune that most of us have no more than a few minutes of devotions each day and a church service or two each week.
The shelter of God is not only a place to visit God; it is also a place to dwell with Him. For those who dwell with God, His presence is not merely our refuge; it is a permanent address. When we are abiding in Christ, even as He and the Father are One, so we become one with Him. It is His life, His virtue, His wisdom, and His Spirit that sustain us. We become perfectly weak, unable to resist Him. Like the Son's relationship with the Father, so we do nothing from our own initiative unless it is something we see Him do. If He should require of us nothing more than our love, we are well content. Jesus is our first choice, not our last resort.
To those who have entered the abiding place, our questions are not about doctrines or pronouncing the right prayer at an altar. We have found Him whom our soul loves. We are constrained and guided by His voice, surrendered and imprisoned in His love.
He says, "O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret place of the steep pathway, let me see your form, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your form is lovely" (Song of Sol. 2:14).
This communion of heart between Christ and His bride is a stronghold. It is God's shelter from the distresses and distractions of life. Here He tells us what to pray; here our supplications are answered. Yet in spite of our flaws and the weakness of our prayers, to Him our voice is sweet; in spite of our lowliness, our form is lovely in His eyes.
In the Bosom of Christ
What are we to Jesus? Has He given us life only to test His creative skills? No. We exist for the fulfillment of His love.
"Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the uttermost" (John 13:1 NASB, Margin).
You are loved by the Lord. He appreciates you. Jesus personally died for each of us; He prays to the Father for us by name. You say, "But I am full of fears, wrought with failure."
He says, "Father, I want them with me -- these you've given me -- so that they can see my glory" (John 17:24, TLB).
Christ appreciates us because we are a gift to Him from the Father. Jesus knows that the Father gives only good gifts (James 1:17). Yes, we are imperfect, but Christ sees us in our ultimate completeness. Seeing the end from the beginning, He joyfully receives us.
And what kind of gift are we? Are we a reward, or perhaps a challenge? No. We are His bride. The glance of our eyes makes His heart beat faster (Song of Sol. 4:9). And it is here, in the love we share with Jesus, that we are secured in the shelter of God.
Lord, forgive me for the inconsistency of my commitment to You. Master, with all that I am, I desire unbroken fellowship with You. Even now, shape me to fit perfectly into Your presence, that I might dwell in oneness with You, that I might live empowered by the impulse of Your will.
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Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Shelter of the Most High, available at Arrow Bookstore.
 
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Sabtu, 18 Maret 2017

A Legacy that Will Touch Generations

A Legacy that Will Touch Generations

Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) News Release – For Immediate Release
Working at Jesus WellWILLS POINT, TX (ANS – March 17, 2017) -- Not too long ago, there was a village characterized by a desperate struggle for survival. People lived in poverty and at risk of disease. But there was an even more pressing problem: In the hot, dry desert, there were not enough water sources to go around. The villagers depended on dirty ponds and rivers. Sometimes, it was difficult to find water at all.
Pastor Dalapathi ministered in this village and was deeply concerned about the people’s situation. While he worked hard to share Christ’s love with the people, it was difficult to break through, and he could see they desperately needed clean water.
Hope Through a Well
By God’s grace, Pastor Dalapathi and the believers did not lose hope. Instead, they prayed and something changed: God provided a Jesus Well for their village. It was an amazing answer to prayer. Suddenly, the villagers had clean, safe water ready and accessible. But this gift had a far greater impact.
“The non-believers of the village were astonished by the good work that has been done by the church,” said one field report.
And this tangible act of love warmed hearts to learning more.
Because of a Jesus Well, things are very different now. And 109 other villages have been changed in similar ways.
But the story didn’t start here.
A “Wee Woman” with a Big Impact
Mae Coulter useThis story started far away in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. It’s the story of a woman who loved Jesus more than the things of this world and left a legacy that is changing the lives of thousands . . . perhaps forever.
Very kind. Funny. A little eccentric. These are all words used to describe Mae Coulter. A woman with a passionate witness for Jesus, who loved Him “beyond reason.” A remarkable “wee woman” (as they say in Northern Ireland), only around 5 feet and 1 inch in stature. But her life touched literally thousands of people whom she never even met.
When a House Was Born Again
Born in Northern Ireland, Mae’s life was checkered with tragedy. She moved to England with her husband, Les, and had been married only a short while when he died suddenly and unexpectedly. He went outside to get Mae’s birthday present, and she never got to speak to him again.
After that tragedy, Mae found Christ. Soon afterwards, she returned to Northern Ireland, where she bought a house.
Then disaster struck again. A house fire destroyed all of Mae’s possessions. Family photographs. Household treasures. Everything was gone in a matter of minutes.
That event changed Mae’s perspective completely. As a close friend, Marilyn, explained, “She decided that never again would she store up anything. It could just be gone. Anything she had would go into something that was lasting, that was kingdom building.”
Mae’s house had to be reconstructed inside. That was when Mae erected a plaque outside it that simply said, “Born Again.”
“She used to say that she had been born again, and so had her house,” Marilyn reflects. “It gave her opportunities to share the Gospel with people who visited her.”
Choosing to Live Differently
From then on, Mae’s focus was on eternity. She saw no need for accumulating things in this world.
“Always invest in something that’s going to be long lasting,” Marilyn recalls Mae saying.
Mae threw herself into serving others. She sent shoeboxes of presents to disadvantaged children and went daily to make meals for a friend who couldn’t make them herself. Every Christmas, she bought gifts for desperate people in Asia, in honor of her friends. Mae believed deeply in providing clean water. “If people had clean water,” she would say, “then sickness would be eliminated.” And she thought of a way to provide thousands with just that.
A Legacy that Will Last
As Mae got older, she made preparations for her departure from this world and into the presence of Christ. To Marilyn, Mae explained clearly what she wanted: a simple black stone upon the coffin that said, “Mae Coulter, with the Lord.” Nothing else was needed. That said it all.
Child drinking from a Jesus WellBut that wasn’t all Mae had planned. When Mae went to be with the Lord, she left a legacy to be divided between two charities she had loved and faithfully supported. It included enough to dig 110 Jesus Wells.
Mae gave the money in faith, with no idea what it could accomplish.
“She was just doing what she could,” Marilyn says. “She would be astounded if she knew the number of people who have benefitted from that. Her generosity will benefit many who never knew her or her them.”
And they really are benefitting. Now, in 110 villages, downtrodden villagers who once trekked to filthy water sources have access to clean, safe water . . . and a signpost to the Water of Life. It’s changing their lives forever.
Learn more about Jesus Wells -- https://www.gfa.org/water/.
Note: Gospel for Asia has -- for more than 30 years -- provided humanitarian assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially among those who have yet to hear the Good News. Last year, this included more than 75,000 sponsored children, free medical services for more than 180,000 people, 6,000 wells drilled, 11,000 water filters installed, Christmas presents for more than 400,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For more information, go to www.gfa.org.
To schedule an interview with a Gospel for Asia representative, please contact pressrelations@gfa.org  or call 972-300-3379.
Photo captions: 1) Because of a Jesus Well, things are very different now. And 109 other villages have been changed in similar ways. 2) Mae Coulter, a “Wee Woman” with a Big Impact. (GFA). 3) A thirsty child drinking from a Jesus Well.
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