Seven Steps to Subdue Conflict

Conflict is inevitable. It is not our intention to cause friction but leadership, by its own rite, will have disagreements, varied opinions and even abrupt disapproval. People are people and will always be people. People who know people will collide with people.
We may not have the ability to avoid conflict but we do have the ability to subdue conflict. Let’s look at Seven Steps to Subdue Conflict:

Communicate Carefully Thoughtless words quickly turn against us. Carefully chosen words can be the most influential method of avoiding undue criticism and conflict. To stir up conflict because of our negative tones, overbearing demands and blatant arguments are unnecessary. Weigh out your words, carefully think it out and in difficult situations, check your statement with someone else to get their opinion.

Affirmation In negative environments it may seem impossible to give affirmation to an offending party but it can be done. “Before we begin our discussion, I would like to say how much I appreciate the hard work of X in our Children’s Department last Friday, the decorations were excellent and I commend you.” This affirmation can cool off the hot heads, catch the opposition totally off guard and may quell the conflict to a point.

Stick With The Facts Conflict only gets worse when you neglect to solve the problem and it becomes a personal assault. A personal attack is the most difficult of all conflicts. We should resolve early in the disagreement, it is not Bob’s problem or Sally’s problem – it is A problem. Shred gossip with facts, dismiss fairy tales, silence all lies and stick with the facts. Stay on course with the issue without naming individuals – most often, people will rally around a truth before they will rally against a person.

Attitude is Everything When everyone has lost their cool they have already lost the argument. Stay cool. Dismiss any illogical thoughts of gaining ground by raising your voice. A quiet, calm steady voice may not win the argument but it will win people. Claim meekness but never intimidation. My friend, Jim Durham states, “Your convictions combined with your humility may even attract others to your viewpoint.” Stand firm with a right spirit. “I know where I stand, I know what I believe and I can do it with the right spirit.”

Negotiate Some may think compromise in any position is a sign of weakness but negotiation to an agreed position is a sign of mature leadership, not weakness. You have the power to create a win-win situation by a carefully and well planned strategy. Again, Jim Durham suggests, “Be willing to compromise on nonessentials… Let go of what isn’t important.” Performing under pressure doesn’t necessarily means “someone blows up,” but actually the opposite – performing under pressure keeps someone from blowing up. When we try to demeanor a person(s) until all submit to a strong leadership style you may have subjects but you won’t have disciples.

Respect Before meeting with antagonistic opposition set the ground rules. Let’s suggest a few.
• “The meeting will begin at 7:00 and will end by 8:30. If we aren’t finished with business we will set another time as soon as possible.” Then look each person in the eye and ask if they agree before the meeting begins. This gives the meeting STRUCTURE.
• “We will respect everyone in the room. No name calling, raising our voice or expressions of anger will be tolerated or that person will be asked to leave the room.” Then look each person in the eye and ask if they agree before the meeting begins. This gives the meeting SANCTITY
• “We will stick with the problem and stick with the facts. Gossip and hearsay will not be allowed and personal attacks will not be tolerated – we are here to discuss the major problem not personality problems.” Then look each person in the eye and ask if they agree before the meeting begins. This gives the meeting STABILITY

With looking each person in the eye and asking for agreement you are building consensus and a mutual feeling of respect for everyone in the room. It is essential for a leader to respect people – even when they disagree. A mature leader will never lower their integrity to the oppostitions lack of it.

Pray Personally I believe we should pray before and after the meeting and occasionally the leader may want to bring the group to prayer in the heat of the meeting. Pray for wisdom, respect, brotherly love and God’s purpose be fulfilled in the meeting.

Personally, the leader must find a secret place with God and pray for wisdom, understanding and the presence of God. Oswald Chambers writes, “The reason the battle is not won is because I try to win it in the external world first. Get alone with God, fight it out before Him, settle the matter there once and for all.”

You won’t always win everyone and you won’t always win in every conflict but walking away with a clear conscience is the major win of all.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal, counselling or professional advice.

 

 

AM I STILL IN GOD’S WILL?

The will of God has been identified as purpose, God’s plan, His purpose or life fulfillment. Yet good hearted, sensitive and even, prayerful individuals are ever seeking for the “will of God.” The will of God is nearer than you think. For most the will of God is already brewing in your heart. Your passion is mostly the will of God burning in your soul. The thing you most like to do has been implanted in your heart and magnified throughout life to reveal God’s perfect will for your life.
Purpose cannot be defined in a day but it can be revealed to you in one day. You may not understand the where and the when and the how but once you know the why then God’s will be defined to you within one day.

YOUR INNER HEART ALREADY KNOWS THE WHY

BUT YOU MUST SEEK GOD TO RECOGNIZE IT.

There is the general will and the specific will of God. The general will of God can apply to a lot of somebodies but the specific will of God is for you and relatively few others. Let me illustrate by saying a lot of Americans own a car but the car you own has a title with a specific VIN # that uniquely makes it yours. While it is God’s general will to follow His command to “Go ye into all the world…” it is God’s specific will for an exact location for you.
YOU ARE NOT OUT OF THE WILL BECAUSE YOU FAILED. Failure in one area doesn’t mean you failed in all areas. Just because you struck out doesn’t mean you lost the ballgame. A fumble is embarrassing but doesn’t mean you can’t score a touchdown in the next quarter.
YOU ARE NOT OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD BECAUSE IT IS HARD. Life is hard. Nobody promised it would be easy. Climbing is hard but the exhilarating view from the top of the mountain is worth it. The place God put you may be difficult at times but God wouldn’t have placed you there had He not had the confidence in you that you would endure, have the tenacity of a bulldog and win.
YOU ARE NOT OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD BECAUSE IT IS INCONVENIENT Similar to begin hard yet different. Inconvenient means it is not a comfortable ride. You can drive to California in a bus and it may be more inconvenient than to fly in a plane but you arrive at the same destination.
YOU ARE NOT OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD BECAUSE OTHERS DON’T AGREE WITH YOU Go to trusted counsel, express your feelings to a mentor or pour your heart out to your pastor but all friends may not feel about the “will of God” as you do. This is not an excuse for independence but after seeking the advice from experienced and caring counsel; get ready to watch minor reactions of negativity from others as you pursue your journey.
YOU ARE NOT OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD WHEN YOUR FEELINGS CHANGE. Just ask the thermometer if change is inevitable. Feelings come and go but the will of God doesn’t change with your feelings. Stay firm, be determined to follow through and put your seat belt on until your roller coaster emotions are more predictable.

NEVER MAKE A CHANGE IN THE DARK – SEEK TRANSITION ONLY IN THE LIGHT

Comment: How do you follow God’s plan and purpose for your life?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

SEVEN WAYS SMALL CHURCH PASTORS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK

If you are reading about the status of the church in America you probably have read some pretty depressing news. I have both good and bad news; I will give you the bad news first; there is plenty of bad news. But there is good news; you don’t have to become a part of the bad news.
Refuse to settle, to cope or “just get by.” Rise again with hope, faith and zeal. It’s hard. We have all felt the despair to the point of “giving up.” The problem has always been, we don’t know where to go when we “give up.”
We have always wished there was encouragement for small church pastors that wasn’t coming from a glossy magazine and a “large church” pastor. “I appreciate the concern but when you use ministry words in your large church they mean totally something else in the small church.” What works for 1000, 500 or even 200 doesn’t necessarily fit the small church.
But there are some areas of ministry that will work in the small church. Read the list below. There may be more or maybe, a couple items need to be deleted. This list may need to be refined and tailor made for your location and, as always, feel free to add your ideas in the comments below.

FIND OUT WHAT MAKES YOUR CHURCH UNIQUE IN THE COMMUNITY
In the small church it is absolutely essential to discover the history to know the future; if it is good, major on it. If it is bad, recreate it. Find out what makes your church click or better yet, what is the one thing you do or could do making your church unique in your community.

Go down to the local coffee shop and see what the locals are talking about.
Ask your church to brainstorm and find your brand or uniqueness.
Find a need in the community and begin to meet the need through your church.

REACH OUT TO THE CIRCLES WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY
Everybody in the local church knows somebody but not everybody is inviting everybody they know. Here is a suggestion, have everyone in your church write down three family members living in the area that don’t go to church and invite them to your next church service and church dinner. Why church dinner? Because it gives your guest a reason to stay and fellowship. (Make sure they don’t sit at a table by themselves).
The next service recognize the members who brought the visitors. Take your time and do it sincerely – this is a phenomenal moment for your church and will cause other members to invite visitors. The big church calls it “creating the invite culture.”

SOME CHURCHES RECOGNIZE THE VISITORS
BUT WHY NOT RECOGNIZE THE MEMBERS WHO BROUGHT THE VISITORS.

The next month you are getting ready for a church supper invite the same ones again. After a few months you can have the members invite neighbors, community people or their work acquaintances. Keep expanding the circle and keep acknowledging the church members – it may take six months before you see any results but keep at it.

PREACH TO THOSE WHO LOVE YOU
Disgruntled members can drag a pastor and his message to the ground but great advice came from a friend, a few years ago, during the roughest time of our ministry. “Find those who love you and preach to them.” It totally changed the atmosphere of the worship service and changed the preaching style. Don’t watch the angry faces of the “mob” but preach to the glowing faces of those who stand with you.
You can’t control the mob but you can control your attitude. Find a happy place in the congregation and preach the Word. The pulpit is not a place to air dirty laundry or vent frustration with the board. The sacred desk is the grounds on which God anoints His word. Preach the Word.
RESPECT EVERYONE SINCERELY
No matter where you are in ministry, five months or 35 years, respect is the greatest characteristic a pastor can possess. “You may disrespect me but I will not disrespect you.” The respect you give to others will follow your ministry for many years.

INVEST IN THE ONE THING THAT BRINGS THE BEST RESULTS
Look at your ministry and begin to focus on the one thing that brings you the most fruit. Evaluate your calendar and rearrange your schedule to adopt more time into that one thing. Invest in that one thing. Begin to sow seeds into that one thing.
A field of flowers takes months before the first blossom blooms and ministry planted in the right field will, in its time, bring the fruit you were hoping to bear. There are no silver bullets in ministry but there are seeds that need to be sown in the right field.

SPEND TIME ALONE WITH GOD
This can never be stressed enough but your prayer life is the stage upon your ministry will stand or fall. Pastors need personal prayer to energize their public ministry. When no one understands how you feel – Jesus does.

Set a definite time.
Set a definite place.
Set a definite devotional.
Set a definite heart upon Jesus.

Maybe it is a good time to slip into the church auditorium, bow your head before a holy God and cry out for strength, anointing, vision and life. Oftentimes, a short time spent alone with God will be the encouragement you needed. Let Him hear your voice, let Him hear your heart beat, let Him hear your innermost needs.

SPEND TIME WITH YOUR WIFE
Rarely will a small church pastor feel he has the time or the money to treat his wife like he wants to treat her. You’re thinking steak dinner, night out, overnight stay, a cruise or an elaborate vacation. Spending time with your wife can be a walk around the neighborhood. Grilling out on the patio. Visiting with some nearby friends. Or drinking a cup of coffee together in the morning.
If you were to resign and leave your church you will not measure the days you wished you had spent more time working in the church but you will evaluate each day you wished you had spent more time with your wife.

YOUR WIFE IS YOUR MINISTRY

Tell her how you feel, let her know your heart is with her, tell her she is special to you. Tell her she is an integral part of your ministry and you need her alongside you. If you plan to change your ministry this week changing your marriage attitude would be the starting point.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling.

The Small Church Pastor

It is interesting to note 60% of America’s churches run 60 or less but regardless of the size we can all do better to encourage, support, pray for and be a friend to the small church pastor.
This is a non-comprehensive list of items you may or may not find true of a small church pastor

1. He gets a late night call form a member who found a hymn book had been colored with a Crayola and he thinks he knows who did it.
2. Somebody was off-key Sunday during the song service and there was a call Monday morning, “Who is going to do something about it?” (Meaning the pastor is expected to do something about it).
3. The testimony service took a turn Sunday night when Sis Smith started “testifying” about her “old man’s” colonoscopy results.
4. The trash from last month’s social wasn’t taken out and a deacon meeting was called to see who is responsible.
5. Door to door visitation was poorly attended with one teenager, an older women and one child.
6. The Sunday School offering was larger than the tithe offering. Disgruntled members were the cause.
7. The sermon went over seven minutes according to the head deacon.
8. The same busy body who spread something about Sis Smith has now sided with Sis Smith against the Pastor’s wife.
9. A ninety-two year old faithful member fell asleep again during the Sunday morning message.
10. A wasp flew in the back door and caused more excitement than the song service.

Hopefully you had a good laugh at this exaggerated post but truthfully the small church pastor has a tremendous load and can be applauded for many services to the church and community. Here is a non-comprehensive list of items you may or may not find true of a small church pastor.

1. Often the Pastor and his wife are the only ones who show up for the Monday night prayer meeting.
2. If the special speaker is to receive a decent offering for the Sunday Morning message the Pastor and his wife are usually the ones who gave sacrificially.
3. The small church pastor often has to put gas on his credit card so he can go to hospital to visit an ailing church member.
4. The small church pastor and his wife are not applauded enough and criticized too much.
5. The small church pastor is usually the one inviting new people to the church.
6. The small church pastor is tired, stays up late, works a job, visits the sick and organizes events and spends Saturdays mowing the church yard.
7. The small church pastor is underpaid but he is expected to drive a nice car that represents the church well.
8. The small church Pastor’s children are often expected to live exemplary lives – no mistakes allowed
9. The small church pastor’s education, books and seminars are usually at his own expense.
10. The small church pastor’s vision is waning because only a few catch the vision.

Merely knowing the problem but not doing something about the problem will only allow the problem to get worse. Here is a short list of ideas to encourage our small church pastors – start today

1. Slip the small church pastor some money for dinner at a nice restaurant
2. Give the pastor’s wife some money to go shopping with
3. Evaluate his salary and considering a substantial raise
4. Take notes of the pastor’s sermon
5. Offer to mow the yard while the pastor and his family are away at a conference or vacation
6. Offer to babysit the pastor’s children so he and his wife can go out on a date
7. Pray for them daily
8. Stomp out gossip
9. Be a volunteer
10. Encourage your pastor with complimentary words

There are many things we can add to the list – what do you think?

 

20 Reasons Why I Go To Church

Someone who was missing church gipped, “I can live for God and not go to church.” Really? But why would you want to? The Bible is clear about church attendance and below are Twenty Reasons Why I Go to Church

1. Jesus said, “I will build my church.” Don’t you want to be an integral part of something Jesus is building? Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
2. Often, it is not leaving the church that is as wrong as WHY you left it. God warns of the “root of bitterness.” 1 John 2:9-10 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
3. Our children are to follow our footsteps, “Parents that treat the Church as optional shouldn’t be surprised when their children treat Jesus as unnecessary.” – Benjamin Leonard
4. “The gates of hell will not prevail against the church” Don’t you want to join a body of believers who believe in the same causes? Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
5. The early church joined in fellowship, breaking bread and prayer – corporate prayer is essential to the body of Christ. The church provides this opportunity. Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
6. “Don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together” is not a suggestion. Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
7. The church is a body and Jesus is the head – the umbrella of protection is essential to each believer. The church provides this opportunity. Colossians 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
8. Tithe is the responsibility of the believer and my church provides a storehouse for my giving. Even the disciples participating in giving to the church. 1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
9. Church provides a central location for others to receive help. James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
10. Church gives me a place of personal accountability. 3 John 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11. Church is a lighthouse set upon a hill to bring people together of “like precious faith.” Matthew 5:14-15 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
12. The Word of God preached at church is personal and directed for the salvation of the lost. Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
13. Water baptism is a step of obedience and church provides this opportunity. Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
14. Communion is an ordinance of the church and the church provides this opportunity. 1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. (Previous verses state communion was done in the church).
15. Testimonies of changed lives is an inspiration in my life and church provides this opportunity. Acts 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
16. Church is for singing and musical expression in a group of people. Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17. Church is a place for Bible Study, growth and discipleship, which everyone needs to grow in the Lord. We should delight in it. Psalms 122:1 A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
18. Jesus said Church is the house of prayer. We go to church to pray. Simple. Mark 11:17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
19. Jesus Christ is coming back for a glorious church – I know this is not talking about an actual building but the body of Jesus Christ but still – the church is a place where glory resides. Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
20. Church in the Greek is the word Ekklesia and it means “called out ones” – if you don’t called to church who are you called out with? Who are your associations?

Maybe you need to ask yourself are you a giver or a receiver? If you are truly a giver you will want to be in the house of God to give worship, praise, thanks and to serve others.

Can you add some more biblical reasons why we go to church?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling.

WHAT DO PEOPLE NEED FROM THEIR PASTOR?

 

WHAT DO PEOPLE NEED FROM THEIR PASTOR

 

 Pastor X was going into his first church with excitement and freshly drawn plans to blast his church off the map. Well, that’s how it began and within a couple years the new church turned into work, long hours and desperate measures for the pastor to keep up. Feeling the need to focus, Pastor X asked with a sigh of exasperation, “What does my church need from me the most?” “What do I focus on?” “What do people need from a pastor?”

 

 

GIVE YOUR PERSONAL TESTIMONY

 

The Superman pastor who leaps over tall buildings, stops speeding trains and deflects bullets off his chest is dead. The pastor who explains his own struggles of falling asleep in an early morning prayer meeting, admits he is asking God to make him a better pastor, asks for payer when he is sick and is transparent will gain more traction than Superman

 

Think humble. I am not better. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. Let’s all work together to please God and let’s work as a team to get where we ALL need to be – will find people willing to circle around you. 

 

Give your personal testimony of grace, your personal testimony of forgiveness and your personal testimony of healing.  Be human.

 

 

GIVE PRIME TIME

 

This doesn’t mean to give ALL your time. Give people your ear, your eyes and your understanding. When you are there be ALL there. Don’t be checking your phone while talking to them, don’t be looking somewhere else and definitely don’t keep looking at your watch.

 

 WHEN YOU ARE THERE BE ALL THERE

 

Give each member their hug for the day, compliment their promptness, and thank them for their faithfulness appreciate them for their prayers. Make each minute count by making valuable moments when you are with them. You can’t give everyone equal time but you can give them quality time with you are with them.

 

 

 

EXEMPLIFY PRAYER

 

Prayer is as necessary to a pastor as oil to your car engine. Slow down, spend time with God, and rest in His presence. Seek God and His presence will come; if you seek an experience with God you may wait indefinitely but seek a relationship with God and He will meet you when you mention His name.

 

 FIND A PLACE, IDENTIFY HIS PRESENCE AND GIVE JESUS YOUR PRAISE

 

Make prayer a priority at church, at home and in your personal life. Encourage your church to pray at church and at home. Announce special times of prayer and give time in each service for praying for one another. 

 

 

LOVE PEOPLE

 

People can discern between a pastor who is doing his job and a pastor who loves his people. It is no mistake the Pastor is compared to a caring shepherd in the Gospels. A pastor who loves his sheep will tell them, show them and disciple them. A pastor may not be able to make every hospital call, spend unbridled time on the phone or casually talk to the guy who has nothing going on today. But he can express care, respect, and thankfulness to everyone.

 

 

What do you think people want from their pastor?

 

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

 

Three Things Pastors Are Afraid Of

A CHURCH MEMBER WILL UNLOAD ON THEM RIGHT BEFORE SERVICE

Let’s face it Pastors go to the pulpit with a lot on their mind. Announcements may not have been made. They forgot to acknowledge a special guest in the service. The pastor was to receive a special offering for a mission’s project. A song was to be sang before the message. An emphasis was to be given for the children’s ministry. A sermon series introductory video was to be played right after you read your text.

Having a stage assistant can be invaluable even in smaller churches. The microphones are filled with fresh batteries. The microphone is tested and ready for the special song. The video has been set up to play. A note sheet has been placed on the pulpit for announcements and special acknowledgements. The pastor shouldn’t be responsible but a trainee into ministry can be introduced in this position.

If the pastor didn’t have enough on his mind, a church member comes to church ready to unload their pent up emotions and vents right before service. This unbelievable outbreak can harm, influence and overshadow the service. Why not try these?  Stay in your office till ten minutes before service; shake hands with a few people, make your way back to the pulpit and begin service. Position greeters and don’t linger in the lobby before service. Tell someone kindly, “I would like to hear what you have to say; I’m sure it is important but I still have a few hands to shake before service begins.” Smile and walk away. As pastor set the tone and the time for meetings.

A CHURCH MEMBER WILL GET ANGRY OVER SOMETHING THE PASTOR HAD LITTLE OR NO CONTROL OVER

Even the most perfect pastor will have someone get angry with their judgment or with a particular action. Don’t dismay. You are not in this boat alone. Pastors admit about two people get angry with the pastor every year. If the church runs 100 or 200 people and only one or two get upset a year; I’d say you are running a good average. Let’s face it a pastor can’t make everybody happy. In fact, you will go insane trying to make everybody happy. So what is a pastor to do? Let’s look at a few suggestions. (This is a big subject and deserves a blog post dedicated to this one item).

LET’S FACE IT A PASTOR CAN’T MAKE EVERYBODY HAPPY

Firstly, make sure your communication of events, programs and ideas are given plenty of air space. The church bulletin, announcement screen, flyers, postcards or website should be informative and announced in advance.

Secondly, build a circle of protectors around you. Make a few decisions as Pastor, make most decisions as a team. This is called insurance. The board decided. The committee decided. The vision team decided. You may need to call a special church meeting but make sure everyone has the proper information before the meeting. Some meetings we discuss but don’t vote – it gives time to process the information and make a more informed decision the next meeting time.

Thirdly, treat everyone with respect. IF someone is angry don’t give a church member the luxury of dragging you into the fight, Smile and say, “Well…..” as Bethel Family Worship Center, Pastor Russell Hylton, suggests.

A CHURCH MEMBER WILL QUESTION MY INTEGRITY

Pastors want to get it right. They may suffer from depression because they can’t get it right every time but Pastors know that if they lose their integrity they lose the ministry. That’s right. In the ministry the moment integrity is gone then usually the church board will declare the Pastor incompetent and he will be terminated. Pastors know they aren’t perfect even though they try very hard to be perfect. They try to preach better, lead better and shepherd better but most guard their integrity because they know they could lose their spouse, their family, their church, their income and mostly, their intimate relationship with God. Let’s guard our heart by put security protections in place. Have a pastoral friend you can talk to. Date your wife. Read the Bible and pray daily. These are just a few safeguards that protect the heart. 

LET’S GUARD OUR HEART BY PUT SECURITY PROTECTIONS IN PLACE

In my office I have a picture of my wife’s and my wedding picture, is a picture going to save me from a closed door impurity – No, but it is one more hurdle that is in place to make it more difficult to lose my integrity. Integrity is the most valuable thing a pastor possesses and he must guard it with everything he has.

But what happens when someone misjudges a situation and questions your authority? Lies were conjured to judge Jesus – let’s look at his response.  He answered them not a word. There will be a time when you will speak in your defense but to speak in haste or angry only deepens the problem. Wait – sometimes giving the accuser enough time and he will trap himself with his own lie. Trust in God to speak up for you. God is very angry when people misjudge a man of God. Let God make the first move. Pray with your leaders. Humble yourself – arrogance will lose every battle. Stephen, when stoned in Acts 7, had the face of an angel, possible one of the most impacting moments in Paul’s later conversion. Let your leaders and congregation see Jesus in you.

Pastor, what are you mostly afraid of?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling.

FIVE THINGS WE MUST NOT CHANGE IN THE CHURCH

Change is inevitable–it will come for the better or for the worse. Change comes when we want to, we need to or we have to. Some churches are changing (for the better or for the worse) because they need to. Let’s be honest, in thousands of churches across America the “builder generation” is paying the bills and the “millennials” are still unfaithful.

While traveling across the United States thousands of churches with large or small congregations are making incremental changes trying to address the needs of an ever changing culture. Many changes in color, design, methods, approach, and outreach are being seen in churches who are passionate about reaching a new generation. Many churches are still operating in the 80’s with their myriad of programs no longer pursuing their purpose and lacking passion. Change will come and not all change is bad but not all change is good.

There are however, some essentials to never lose grasp of and I’ve compiled a short list of value elements in the church that should be the bedrock of our faith, I call them the CHURCH UNCHANGABLES.

 

A SINNER FRIENDLY CHURCH SHOULD NOT MEAN WE ARE A SIN FRIENDLY CHURCH.

All churches should be friendly to sinners. Let’s face the facts, if we want a sinner to come to church and give their heart and life to Jesus then we must be friendly to sinners. Jesus himself was a friend to sinners, see Luke7:34  The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! Although, being gluttonous and winebibber was a slam against him, a friend to publicans and sinners, is a compliment. Though the Phariseedical crowd refrained from touching, talking or eating with sinners, Jesus encouraged it.

Yes, the church must be sinner friendly. However, to reach the unchurched we must not forget to stand strong against the evils of this day and the sins held socially acceptable. We must uphold God’s standard of righteousness.  Sinner friendly doesn’t mean we muddle in the same puddle. While some churches quit the call for repentance, we must not slide down the same abyss. Sin should be defined and declared while giving opportunity for a repentance prayer. A healthy church warns of sin and reveals the Savior.

 

SINNER FRIENDLY DOESN’T MEAN WE MUDDLE IN THE SAME PUDDLE

 

WHY WE MEET SHOULD NEVER CHANGE BUT WHEN AND WHERE AND WHAT SHOULD CHANGE REGULARLY

If we lose our WHY then we cease to be a church and self-create into a business, a party, a club or social gathering. Our WHY–Jesus lived, died, resurrected and coming back again must never change. Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

THE WHY DRIVES EVERYTHING IN THE CHURCH

 

Bringing people to Jesus, baptizing them and teaching them is WHO we are and that must never change. But there are a few things we can change; times, days, methods, places, and opportunities are variables. Recently our Wednesday Adult Bible Study starting serving dinner at 6:30 pm, with Bible Study at 7:00 pm has consistently gathered the most response. That may change in time but at this present time we are investing more into the Bible Study with handouts, food, praying together, and celebrating with communion. We changed the method and still hold up highly the WHY. 

 

REGULAR TIMES OF PRAYER SHOULD NOT CHANGE TO SEE YOU NEXT SUNDAY.

Can I bluntly ask? Why are we ashamed of bringing the congregation into corporate prayer? A deacon or an usher can quietly bring a disruptive saint to the back but we value the privilege of having corporate, community prayer. Leading each person who wants to pray into a side room may embarrass the seeker more when they are with people they don’t know, probing into their personal life. Why not let a friend slip an arm around them and pray with them while they stand at the end of the service? Or invite everyone to come forward to pray as a body, the people of God kneeling together, and watching God work through the lives of people. Where is the prayer room? Do you and your staff meet regularly for prayer? When does the church body pray over the needs of the church body? Is there a regular time in the morning worship for prayer? Why not?

A pastor with a church of 600+ people confessed to me, while we were drinking coffee at Starbucks, “I haven’t called the people to prayer for six years.” The “big churches don’t do it”, “you might lose control”, or “there may be emotional outbreaks” are detrimental imaginations. The following Sunday a time of prayer, to come up front and pray, was given after the end of the message and over 250+ people responded. When the pastor and I met again at Starbucks, he confessed, “It was like revival, a real refreshing.”

PERFORMANCE AND PERSONALITIES SHADOWS GOD’S PRESENCE

The presence of God in a church service compared to when God is not present in the church service is perfectly compared to having church with no electricity and having church with electricity. Can we examine our worship times and ask the question, “do we do church without electricity?” The presence of God can easily be overshadowed by performers who desire to sway the crowd with gyrations and musical entrees. The scriptures warn us “no flesh should glory in His presence.” God’s presence is of great value. When God comes to church everything else develops, grows and matures. Yes, there are levels of His presence in every service yet personalities lowering the level of His presence “grieves the spirit.”

CAN WE EXAMINE OUR WORSHIP EXPERIENCES AND ASK THE QUESTION,

“DO WE DO CHURCH WITHOUT ELECTRICITY?”

 

CULTURE SHOULD NOT BE THE DRIVING FORCE BUT CHRIST JESUS IS THE DRIVING FORCE

To define the church by the crowd might increase the numbers – to define the church by Christ will disciple the numbers. Culture gives birth to entitlement belief systems and maybe even, unfaithful members but a genuine Christ Jesus experience births committed, loyal and faithful members. Culture defined worship is compared to a making a plumber the captain of a war ship because both have experience with water. Christ Jesus brings wisdom to the table. Christ Jesus beings insight and direction to the board room. Christ Jesus brings a driving force into the auditorium. People can see the difference, feel the difference and know the difference.

 

LET’S CHANGE THE CHANGEABLE AND CONTINUE TO CHAMPION FOR THE UNCHANGABLES.

You may not agree with my list of unchangebales or you could add a few more but at least give it deep and complete contemplation. The better way could be standing in front of you right now.

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling.

BECOME A PERSON OF INFLUENCE

manFirst in a series of a multi-blog post on Influence

In the world of influence there are dreamers, tinkers and winners. Dreamers are the people who wish, pray, hope and play the mental lottery hoping to get the winning ticket. Tinkers are the people who toy with the idea, experiment with numbers and sidetracked with “shiny objects.” The winners are those who want to jog, so they jog today, they buy the outfit, they read about “safe” jogging and they put “jogging” on the calendar. A winner does what they are dreaming and what they are tinkering with.

 

THE SECRET TO SUCCESS IS STILL HARD WORK AND THAT’S NOT A SECRET

 

EMPOWER YOUR STRENGTHS

List your strengths and weaknesses. What happens next happens every time we mention winners. We judge ourselves with too many weaknesses to become a winner. But let’s be honest—we all know our weaknesses, but we all know our strengths. Instead of concentrating on our weaknesses and gauging how we will fix, eliminate or diminish our weaknesses, let’s concentrate on our individual strengths God has given us and let’s empower it.

Empower your strength by finding avenues to exercise it. Buying into your strengths will yield a better harvest then trying to pull out every weed that grows in the field. Funding weaknesses and discovering a strength in the mix leads to trouble as placing the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If your strength is the gift of communication begin to research how to better communicate to your circle of friends, family and business associates by planting visual pictures of your strengths at work.

Send a card for their birthday

Text a “happy” note each day

Use Twitter as an encouragement tool

Contact someone you haven’t heard from in a while

Discern the needs of others and lift their spirit

 

When your strength is communication and you invest in people’s lives the weakness will become weaker and the strength will become stronger. Just as muscles grow stronger through exercise so personality strengths become stronger through use.

 

DON’T WASTE A LIFE—INVEST IT

 

EVALUATE THE PAST

Answer these questions cover a period of time – maybe a week. Your greatest influence may well be found in this process of self-evaluation.

Where did I find the most satisfaction?

Where did I influence people?

Where is my heart headed?

 

When do I get the most done?

When do I influence others the most? (Time of year and event)

When do I know I did my best?

Who are my friends who tell me the truth?

Who is my mentor?

Who most influences me?

 

What is my life’s major dream?

What do I love the most?

What am I doing daily to reach my dreams?

 

Why?–most important question of all.

Why do I do what I do?

Why am I not influencing others?

Why don’t I start today?

 

When we carefully and prayerfully examine and evaluate our life we might get discouraged but would you be willing to change if you knew you could actually close next year being encouraged because your field of influence grew?

Pray this prayer with me, Lord, increase my territory, enlarge my boundaries, fill me with more of you, through my humility and strength in you I can do all things. AMEN.

 

Coming next: Become a Person of Influence- Little or Much?

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counselling.

Use What You Have

freeLet’s just face it – we don’t start out with much. And most of what we do is relatively small compared to what we would really like to do. We have big plans with little resources. We have big dreams with little results. we take baby steps instead of giant steps.

Most of the time when we decide towards a faith venture or some exploit we decide to begin calculations of what we don’t have. We add up our debt, our depreciation and our decrease. We subtract from hope, faith and patience. We substitute fear, bad dreams and the sweats. But what if we used what we have.

The simple instead of the complex, the small instead of the large or the minute compared to the exhaustive.

Let’s examine all the Bible characters that started small:

Abraham and his staff

Moses and his rod

David and his five stones

The difference is they started small with a big God.

There was not a selective power in the rod, the staff or the smooth stones but the power was found when these faithful followers gave to God what they had to do what God has asked them to do. Giving before receiving; believing before the answer and small happens before big happens. David’s faith was not in the five smooth stones but in a great, big God. Yet, he simply gathered from the brook what he knew to do.

Maybe God wants you to do something, something big but you don’t have what it takes to make it happen. Why not count, add up and put together what you do have and give it to God. David ran towards the giant and you can too with just the little you have. A little talent, a little writing, a little prayer, a little conversation, a little…well, you get the picture. Take what you have and let God in it.

The difference with you starting small is you have a big God.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.