Church & Ministry

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Posted 11/26/14 at 10:40 AM | Ron Edmondson

Effective Leaders Use a Rifle Approach More Than a Shotgun

I talk to so many leaders who get so frustrated because they never seem to accomplish as much as they set out to do. Most of the time the reason is a fairly simple one.

They used the wrong approach to the work.

Many times as leaders we try to accomplish too many tasks in one day. We don’t create a realistic checklist — just an overwhelming mass of things we “need” to do.

It makes us feel ineffective in all our tasks.

I call that the shotgun approach.

It’s running from task to task to task to task. At the end of the day you’ve done a lot of things, but none of them very well.

And, all of us have some days like that. They’re sometimes unavoidable.

But, here’s my leadership suggestion. As much as possible — and doing otherwise should be the exception, not the rule…

Use the rifle approach.

The rifle approach is to carefully plan a realistic list of activities each day. It’s having specific objectives, and ranking them from the most important to the least important. FULL POST

Posted 11/25/14 at 11:12 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Leaders (Parents) Often Get Along Until The Sheep (Children) Come Into The Room

Another way to describe this tension in the Church would be to use parents as an illustration. Let’s imagine three or four couples along with their children, having a dinner party at someone’s house. The kids are in the back yard playing while the parents are relaxing over coffee and conversation. There is apparent unity and consensus among them as they enjoy each other’s company.

However, when the children come into the living room to join the conversation so does the potential for friction as the different parenting styles become evident. Everyone keeps their thoughts to themselves but on the ride home each car is filled with comments like “I can’t believe they let their kids act that way,” or “They are so mean to their children,” or “That’s not how I would deal with that situation”. These parents got along until the children came into the room.

This family analogy can also illustrate the sentiments between ministers of the Gospel. It may be easy to get along with other ministers, even from different camps, until the sheep (children) are in the room. Suddenly the gifting in each minister wants to impact the people of God according to their abilities. We sometimes presume we know what the people of God “really” need. Instead of each of us affirming and preferring the other ministers, we can doubt their validity. FULL POST

Posted 11/25/14 at 10:54 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Jesus, Pizza, And 3 Student Ministry Myths

In student ministry, Jesus and pizza go together like peanut butter and jelly. The era of “youth ministry” is slowly fading, and the era of discipleship making needs to make its voice heard.

Top 3 Student Ministry Myths:

1. Buy pizza and they will come.


Pizza and more pizza. I think we’re all sick of pizza. In fact, I believe students are looking for more than just food when they come to a student event or gathering. While pizza, music and games are great accessories to any student ministry, they cannot be the foundation in which a ministry is built on. They can never be. Discipleship must be the #1 priority. Why? Because everything else flows from the essence of discipleship. If we’re not making disciples, we’re not fulfilling our calling as Christ-followers.

I have this gut-wrenching feeling that many students will move off to college with nothing learned from church except food, games and shiny events. None of these things are bad, but they aren’t the crux of what will keep a student fixated on the face of Jesus once walking into the real world. Discipleship is key. FULL POST

Posted 11/25/14 at 10:37 AM | Ron Edmondson

How to Increase Church Staff Without Spending a Dime

I suspect if you are in a growing church, that you and your staff feel stretched to accomplish all there is to do. You have probably said aloud that you are “understaffed”. I know, because it is part of being a growing church….and I’ve said it many times. In any organization, growth brings stress to systems and structure. Growth in staffing needs will always outpace growth in cash flow.

What if you could increase the size of your staff without spending a dime?

You can. You may not be able to hire for a new paid position, but you could:

  • Raise up new leaders
  • Empower some volunteers
  • Hand out authority
  • Increase your delegating
  • Release some control
  • Share some vision
  • Enlist some support

Chances are, regardless of your church size, that you have some untapped leadership already in your church. They have skills you and your team don’t have. They may not be leading yet, they may not even appear committed at this time, but it also could be that they are waiting for an opportunity. They may need to be recruited. Some of the best leaders in your church are serving elsewhere in the community, but need to be asked to join your efforts in the church. FULL POST

Posted 11/24/14 at 6:02 PM | Mrs. Yvonne Perkins

Weather The Storm

I want to share my thoughts with you on a very touchy subject, DIVORCE particularly among Pastors. My heart is burdened whenever I hear that pastors are getting divorced. It is difficult to understand when two people confessing Christ as their savior and head of their lives come to the conclusion that they can no longer remain married. Matters of the heart are sensitive and no one can judge what another person is experiencing so this is not about judging rather about examining different aspects of the breakdown of a relationship. I want to encourage those who are considering divorce to consider again. SELAH, pause, mediate, and think again. I encourage you to weather the storm which is to say hang in there, wait it out, and hold on until the storm is over.

God honors marriage. Genesis 2:18 KJV And the LORD God said , It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. He created female to be a helpmate to the man. Genesis 2:24 KJV Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Marriage biblically is the union between a man and a woman.

Divorce a. The legal dissolution of a marriage.b. A court order or other document establishing such a dissolution. A separation between things that were once connected or associated. FULL POST

Posted 11/24/14 at 3:19 PM | Anna Diehl

Teaching the Flock: Three Ways We Outrage God

The Holy Spirit is God Almighty, not your subordinate. It seriously irks the Holy Spirit when you try to tell Him what He is supposed to preach on Sunday morning, or what He’s supposed to teach in your small group or Sunday School class. Just because you’re in the mood to talk about some particular passage in the Bible doesn’t mean God is. Just because you’re impressed with some famous pastor in the Church doesn’t mean God shares your lofty opinion of the man. Many of the bestselling books we’re regurgitating from the pulpit are nothing more than foolish dribble. Popular doesn’t mean correct. And even if a book has some useful points in it, today might not be the day that the Holy Spirit wants to make those points to your particular audience.

“What should I teach about?” The moment you turn to human sources to answer this question, you are heading in the wrong direction. You’re not teaching a cooking class, you’re teaching about God. There’s no room for simply copying what someone else said or repeating what you read in a book. You must receive specific instruction from God about what He wants to say through your personal lips before you open your mouth. FULL POST

Posted 11/24/14 at 2:29 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Do You See Sunday Gatherings As Sacred?

I gotta admit: I don’t always take Sundays seriously. Often times, attending church feels like another thing to put on the calendar, right along with doctor visits, school plays, running errands, and visiting the library. I have full weeks, and church is one more thing added to my full week. And so I go to church, do church-ish things, like sing and listen to a sermon, then go home and move on to the next thing. Oil changed? Check. Church? Check. Pay bills? Check.

But I was recently reminded that the gathering of believers on Sundays is a very sacred thing indeed. I would encourage you to slowly read the following quote by N.T. Wright:

In particular, the gospels (especially John) and the early practice of the church (as in Paul) reflect the very early understanding of the church that the first day of the week, the day of Easter, has become a sign within the present world and its temporal sequence that the life of the age to come has already broken in. Sunday, kept as a commemoration of Easter ever since that event itself (a quite remarkable phenomenon when you come to think about it), is not simply a legacy of Victorian values but a perpetual sign, joyfully renewed week by week, that all time belongs to God and stands under the renewing lordship of Jesus Christ. FULL POST

Posted 11/24/14 at 11:31 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

10 Signs You Belong To A Great Church

No church is perfect, but there are some biblical blueprints that dictate whether or not a church is fulfilling its God-given mission as the bride of Christ. The reason a church cannot be perfect is because we as humans are flawed. Inevitably, the second any one of us step inside a church building, we in fact have contaminated the idea of perfection. Regardless of the human imperfections, here are 10 signs you belong to a great church.

1. Sound doctrine.

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” -2 Timothy 4:3

2. A strive for relevance.

 “To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” -2 Corinthians 21-23 FULL POST

Posted 11/24/14 at 9:47 AM | Justin Buzzard

10 Keys to Building Strong, Healthy Teams

At Garden City Church we’re working hard to build strong, healthy teams: our elder board, our staff team, our team of deacons, our various volunteer/serving teams, etc. I’m learning a lot along the way. Here are 10 keys I’m personally discovering to building strong, healthy teams.

1. Stay humble. Be open to learning a lot more about yourself, other people, and your organization as you build your team. You will learn and grow a lot more in a team leadership environment than you will in a solo leadership environment.

2. Be clear. One of the most important things a leader can do is be clear. As you develop your team, get rid of the murky confusion and clutter that creeps in and bring fresh clarity to the purpose of the team and each person’s role on the team. I don’t mean twice a year. I mean weekly. Every week you need to work hard to ensure clarity. This will never end. FULL POST

Posted 11/24/14 at 9:32 AM | Tim Challies

Help for the Weak Pray-er

I have been enjoying Tim Keller’s new book on prayer (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God). There are many of prayer’s mysteries he handles with exellence and perhaps none more so than what Paul means when, in Romans 8, he writes these words: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” What are these groanings or sighs? Here is Keller’s answer.

There has been some debate over the meaning of “the Spirit’s groans.” Some believe that this is the spirit helping us when we are desperate and groaning, but it is unlikely that this is describing only times of depression. Rather, the “weakness” referred to in verse 26 is the weakness described in the preceding verses, which refer not just to times of despondancy but to our entire human situation of frustrated longings as we await the future glory (vv. 18-25, especially v.23). We know that God is working out all things for our good according to his will (v.28), but seldom can we discern what that good actually is. In other words, most of the time, we don’t know exactly what outcome we should pray for. The Spirit, however, makes our groaning his groaning, putting his prayers to the Father inside our prayers. He does so by placing within us a deep, inexpressible longing to do God’s will and see his glory. This aspiration—this “groaning” desire to please him—comes through in our petitions to God. In every specific request, then, the Father hears us praying for what is both truly best for us and pleasing to him, “and the intercession of the Spirit is answered as God works all things for our good.” The Spirit enables us to long for the future glory of God and his will, even though we don’t know the specific things we should pray for here and now. FULL POST

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