Church & Ministry

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Posted 3/26/15 at 2:29 PM | Ron Edmondson

7 Suggestions for Challenging a Controlling Leader

After one of my posts about controlling leadership, I received this question:

Any chance there is an upcoming post or two on how/when/where to confront a controlling leader? Especially for those of us who have had it drilled into our heads from childhood to not question authority? Some practical, nitty gritty tips would be really helpful.

That’s a pretty big request and I’m not sure I can speak into specific situations with a general response, but I think it’s a topic worth considering.

I wrote previously. In my previous post I wrote about the 3 options with a controlling leader. They are Quit, Compromise or Collaborate. In order to get to collaboration — which most of us would want — there almost always has to be a challenge to the controlling leadership. This would be an expansion of the “challenge” thought. FULL POST

Posted 3/26/15 at 1:51 PM | Mark Ellis

Surfing missionary rides wave of the Spirit in Tonga, as revival hits island nation

Zack and Anna with their children

By Mark Ellis

After working for a couple years in West Africa, Zack Woolwine and his wife, Anna, began to seek the Lord about their next mission assignment with Youth for Christ. They returned home to Ohio, but after a year they were ready to go back overseas.

Zack grew up in Florida and attended college in Hawaii, where he was able to nurture a passion for surfing. As he and Anna researched countries, the island of Tonga continued to grab his heart.

Was he drawn to minister in a place where could also ride a few waves? he wondered.

“I have a heart for remote places, but I always thought I would work in North Africa or the Middle East,” he recalls. Zack says he was willing to serve in a restricted country where his life might be at risk.

When Tonga continued to grab his heart he wondered if it was just “his flesh talking” or God’s leading. Over the next few weeks it became an internal struggle as he fasted and prayed unto the Lord. FULL POST

Posted 3/26/15 at 10:44 AM | Bethany Christian Services

Torn No More – Loving with No Exceptions

Homosexuality has been a difficult issue for the Church. The tone around this topic seems to land at two extremes: hotly debated or not discussed at all. It is a complex issue, especially when advocates on all sides defend their perspectives with Scripture. Those closely following this conversation are likely asking one of two questions: how should the Church respond or when will the Church respond. No response is no longer an option.

Caught in middle are those whose faith and sexuality are key to their identity. Justin Lee is the founder of the Gay Christian Network and author of Torn:Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate. I spoke with Justin about the struggle for acceptance in the Church, and how Christians can follow Jesus’ example of showing love and compassion to every person, with no exceptions. Listen to our conversation here and consider how we are called to care for every child. FULL POST

Posted 3/25/15 at 11:48 PM | Stan Arney

Who Is Our Only Priest, Our High Priest

Christ did not Glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was God who said to Him: “YOU are My Son, Today I have begotten YOU.” As God also says in another place: “YOU are a Priest Forever According to The Order of Melchizedek”; who, in The Days of His Flesh, when Jesus had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to God who was able to Save Him from death, and was heard because of His Godly Fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned Obedience by the things which He Suffered. And having been Perfected, Christ became The Author of Eternal Salvation to All who obey Him, called by God as High Priest “According to The Order of Melchizedek.”

If perfection were through The Levitical Priesthood, what further need was there that another Priest should rise According to The Order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of The Law. For Jesus, of whom these things are spoken, belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that Our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in The Likeness of Melchizedek, there Arises another Priest who has come, not according to The Law of a fleshly commandment, but According to The Power of an Endless Life. For God Testifies: “YOU are a Priest Forever According to The Order of Melchizedek.” For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for The Law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a Better Hope, through which We draw near to God. FULL POST

Posted 3/25/15 at 2:59 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

The Greatest Failing of Godly Pastor-Husbands

Many a preacher who loves the Lord, enjoys his ministry, and seems to be doing well, wishes he had married differently.

His wife does not appreciate him sufficiently.

Give me a break.

Here’s what this looks like…..

Pastor Chuck is sold out to the Lord and completely committed to the ministry to which he was called. The church he serves is doing well. Everything is fine, except for one small thing….

His wife irritates him sometimes.

Marjorie is a Christian, don’t misunderstand. She supports her man in his work for the Lord, and she teaches a Bible class herself. It’s just that…well, Marge finds fault with Chuck sometime. She tells him the sermon last Sunday could have benefited from more prayer and study, that the striped tie does not go with that shirt, and that he’s getting a little heavy around the middle.

Pastor Chuck knows that Marge prays for him but she embarrasses him when she is too brutally honest with people. Like the other day when Deacon Everhardt came over to check on the fuse box at the pastorium and she unloaded on him, saying the wiring in the house was 30 years old and dangerous and the committee should hire an electrician to go over it. The last time Everhardt visited about a plumbing problem, Marge told him the toilet wasn’t flushing well and if they loved the Lord the way they say they do, the committee would send over a professional plumber to give the whole system a going over. FULL POST

Posted 3/24/15 at 11:00 AM | Ron Edmondson

7 Warning Signs You May Be a Controlling Leader

I regularly talk to young leaders through my blog and many of them feel they are working for a controlling leader.

In a recent post I talked about the 3 results of controlling leadership.

In full disclosure, one of my top strengths on the StrengthsFinder assessment is COMMAND. I’ll take over if no one else in the room will — so some of the young leaders on my team may have felt that way about me at times. I have to discipline myself not to be a controlling leader.

But, it’s a value for me personally not to be one, so I consistently try to evaluate. (And, I’ve let teams I lead evaluate me.) And, also granted, as I’ve posted previously, I believe there are some things a leader needs to control — especially early in their leadership. For example, I have controlled (or micro-managed) the hiring of key staff members during my beginning years of church revitalization. We are changing a culture. I am building a team — one I don’t have to control. And, that’s worked well so far. FULL POST

Posted 3/24/15 at 9:49 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

5 Facts Church Members Are Unclear About Their Pastors

“Shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

In my experience, most pastors hesitate to teach the biblical understanding of the role of pastors because to do so might sound self-serving, as though they were trying to carve out a bigger role for themselves in leading the church. This is a serious error for which we are now paying as many congregations are turning the minister into a hired hand, employing him as an errand boy, or treating him as an executive brought in to lead their “country club.”

Pastor, preach the whole Word of God. Be bold in declaring its truth. Then, having done this, go forth and set new standards for humbly serving the congregation. Let them see you leading by serving and no one will ever mind calling you their pastorand following you. However, lord it over them and dominate the decisions and no one who knows his Bible will want to follow you.

What follows is the truth on the role of pastors as taught in Scripture. It’s not “all” the truth, for this is but one simple article. However, it cuts to the heart of the issues…. FULL POST

Posted 3/23/15 at 9:59 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Pastor Living Below Standard of His Church Leaders

Here’s a situation that might surprise some church members to know preachers deal with and that it is frequently a problem.

The pastor visits in the homes of his members and notices that they live more luxuriously than he and his family. Their house is larger, built better, and is located in a classier neighborhood. They dress well, have a pool, and their cars are always the latest model.

The pastor and his wife notice these things; count on it. And as their children grow into the teen years, they also become aware that some in the church are wealthier than they.

Now, every family is different. One would hope the pastor’s spouse and family are so intent on serving God in this community that material things are a distant second to them. You would hope they rejoice in the success some families enjoy, and let it go at that.

That’s not always the case. At times, the pastor and family come down with a severe case of “why not us, Lord?” Also known in the medical books as “Why can’t we live the way they do?” FULL POST

Posted 3/19/15 at 2:34 PM | George Sarris

Is God Creation's Biggest Loser?

Even asking a question like that would almost seem blasphemous . . . if it weren’t for the fact most Christians have been told that’s what we’re supposed to believe!

It’s not usually expressed that plainly, of course. The preferred statement is something like,

Of course God is a winner! He wins by defeating all His enemies and casting them into hell where they will spend all eternity separated from Him!

But what is that really saying?

God loses . . . forever . . . most of those He originally created in His image!

If a manufacturing company had to throw away the majority of its products because they were defective, would it be considered a successful company?

Does God ultimately “throw away” most of those He created?

Maybe Not!

Interestingly, the Christian Church has not always taught that God ultimately loses most of His creation. In fact, for the first 500 years after Christ, many of the most prominent Christian leaders believed that God would ultimately win in the end! FULL POST

Posted 3/18/15 at 4:17 PM | Mark Ellis

Eshleman’s bold projection: By the end of 2017 no more 'unengaged' people groups

Paul Eshleman

By Mark Ellis

Paul Eshleman, the founder of the JESUS Film Project and its director for 25 years, has more recently turned his prodigious leadership gifts to finishing the Great Commission. As such, he tours the country with a list of 485 groups that have no known Christian workers in them – but he anticipates they will be reached by the end of 2017!

“I think we are on the verge of seeing the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 and Habbakuk 1:5,” says Eshleman, currently director of the “Finishing the Task” Movement, which seeks to enlist individuals, churches and mission organizations to take responsibility for any remaining groups that have not been reached with the gospel.

He spoke to a meeting of the Evangelical Missiological Society held at Biola University March 13th.

Even as world conditions deteriorate, Eshleman maintains a healthy optimism that “the hearts of men and women are going to continue to open.” FULL POST

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