Walk into just about any church this Sunday morning, and you’ll see something so common that you’d never think twice about it — worship leaders on the stage. In contemporary churches, it’s as common as padded chairs and plexiglass pulpits. But maybe we need to ask the question, should worship leaders really be on stage? Continue reading “Should Worship Leaders Really Be Exalted on Stage?” »
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One of the first things Paul told Timothy and Titus when he left them to organize the infant churches of Ephesus and Crete was to appoint some good leaders. He gave instructions that describe in an ad hoc fashion the basic character traits to look for (1 Tim.3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). Pastors are familiar with these spiritual and emotional character qualifications. Many have written doctoral dissertations and practical monographs on them. I have several such books on my shelves as I write this. (Which is why I am not repeating them in this article for pastors). Because of our (correct) emphasis on what Paul has to say in these passages however, there tends to be a couple of assumptions regarding elders and overseers. One is that these qualifications are all there is to the process of choosing elders in your specific church. The other is that anybody who “fits the bill” should be able to join the eldership of a church. I don’t think Paul held either of these assumptions. Continue reading “Are You Selecting Godly Leaders in Your Church?” »
It’s ironic really. As I contemplate the subject of empowerment, I hardly feel the unleashing of my potential. The baby is teething something fierce, my 3-year old has the flu and, quite frankly, I’m exhausted. I know what the topic insinuates, commissioning women to serve formally in church ministry, but I can’t help but think about what it practically means for me now. I am reminded by scripture that “when you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me” (Matthew 25:40), and “…whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.” (Mark 10:43). Ministry is first and foremost about serving, not accolades or promotion. Every day I look into the beautiful little brown eyes of ministry opportunities. Continue reading “How to Empower Women in ministry” »
American Christians go on short-term mission trips en masse. In 2006, 2.2 million Americans went on a mission trip, according to the authors of When Helping Hurts. To fund these trips, churches spent $1.6 billion. They spread out across the globe doing all kinds of things — building church buildings, distributing tracts, hosting camps, digging wells, bandaging wounds, and maybe occasionally visiting tourist destinations.
The amount of good that they did is incalculable. But is it possible that they did harm as well?
Everybody knows that the two most widely attended Sunday morning church services are Christmas and Easter. Indeed, many people attend only on those Sundays. I remember a personal encounter with a woman who came to church on either Easter or Christmas (can’t remember clearly which) some years ago while I was an assistant pastor at a large urban congregation. She arrived exactly at the hour that the service was to start and was very angry that there were no seats left. “Well!” she said loudly into the air over my head, “Next year, I’ll certainly find another church!” I wanted to tell her that we do this every week, but she huffed off before I could offer that clarification. One pastor I heard closed his Christmas sermon with the observation that he would look forward to seeing many of his flock in four months, on Easter. It was a snarky comment, but one that bubbled out of a common pastoral frustration. Not all pastors look forward to the two Big Sundays, for a couple of reasons. Continue reading “Pastor Preparations for Easter” »
Want to discover a secret weapon in promoting your Easter service? It’s your church website. Easter Sunday is one of the most important church services of the entire year. Spreading the word, inviting guests, and making this serving meaningful is crucial to your task of spreading the Gospel. Here are nine ways that you can prep your website for the most important service of the year. Continue reading “9 Website Tips to Get Ready for Your Easter Service” »
There is a common phenomenon in the church today. People get offended, conflict arises and people leave the church. Very often this is a result of miscommunication, or no communication, and when there is a gap in information people fill in the blanks. Oftentimes what they fill the gap with is inaccurate or untrue. I had a pastor recently share about a member who left the church because they didn’t agree with a purchase that was made – a purchase that was approved by the board. The sad thing about it was this church member didn’t confront the pastor or the board about the situation, but shared their displeasure with another church member, who was brave enough to let the pastor know. Continue reading “3 Simple and Effective Ways to Manage Church Conflict” »
Resurrection Sunday is fast approaching. It’s time to start thinking of your Easter program and what music you want to use in this special service. Below is a list (in no particular order) of contemporary worship songs that can help express heartfelt passion for the risen Savior. Most of these will be ideal for corporate worship and others may be more appropriate as a special song done by choir or a soloist. Continue reading “10 worship songs to sing at your Easter service” »
A blog is simply an online journal in which to share your thoughts, opinions and knowledge. Typically written in a style that is personal, it can be an excellent vehicle to communicate your vision. It is an opportunity for the busy ministry leader to engage in a conversation over time; to express thoughts and concerns, and answer questions. Because it is an informal exchange of ideas that require both initiation and response, it should be moderated and updated frequently. As Christians we are in the business of serving others. Blogging allows us to efficiently connect with people in between the lines of our busy lives. Let’s discuss the potentially positive impact a blog can have for your church. Continue reading “How a blog helps pastors connect with their flock” »
I came from a home where my dad built custom homes that my mom would design. He didn’t own a construction company, but actually framed, plumbed, wired, landscaped and finished the homes with his own hands. He usually employed one journeyman carpenter and an occasional subcontractor. Dad did everything from laying out and pouring the foundations to putting on the final trim. I can remember sitting in the back seat as we would slowly drive by the latest project, Dad eyeing it from all angles, evaluating the progress, planning the next phase. He taught us to appreciate a finished product. Building homes gave a sense of completion, of accomplishment. Continue reading “Pastors Need to Get Away from the Church for a Time” »