Our sermon series, the Church, has been particularly helpful as we currently consider church leadership roles and our involvement in the ministries of our church family. During our upcoming church meeting next month, which I’d encourage you to attend, we will be considering our own church leadership and nominating church deacons.
So, rather than tackling this subject myself as a church leader, I've requested a guest post for this subject of church leadership … I encourage you to read the following article..
Pastors have a tough job. Most people are looking for their pastor to do all, be all, and solve all.
‘We want a pastor who preaches like Billy Graham, counsels like Dr Phil, budgets like Donald Trump, strategizes like General Patton, comforts like Mother Teresa and inspires like Winston Churchill.’
A pastor is expected to provide excellent leadership in 5 main areas:
1. Provide a vibrant vision for the church
2. Provide road maps and outline, in detail, the required steps to reach the desired vision.
3. Guarantee that all the needed skills and knowledge for ministry are available and current.
4. Keep the ministries ‘heart-healthy’ and encourage the troops to grow spiritually.
5. Provide muscle- lead, organise and execute all the tasks to ensure that progress is made.
The perfect pastor
It’s quite a job description. In fact, it’s not possible. It’s time to shatter the myth of the perfect pastor. In reality, a pastor is no Superman. They are human. They get discouraged; they don’t have all the answers or know what to do in every situation; they get tired and sometimes, need some down-time. Just like us, they struggle with the difficulty of balancing the needs of their personal family with those of the church family.
Certainly, one leader can't do it all. A pastor needs a team he can count on to assist him in ministry. He needs ministry-minded deacons who can support, encourage and help him by sharing the load in these important areas of leadership and pastoral responsibility.
How can you help and encourage your pastor and the church leadership team?
Having recognised the challenges of church leadership, there are many ways that each one of us can ease the burdens, encourage and support both your pastor and the church leadership team.
*Pray specifically and consistently. Send your pastor an encouraging email to let him know you’re praying.
*Serve. This is unbelievably encouraging. Give freely of your time, talents and spiritual gifts and be faithful to the ministry of the church so that the pastor can direct the affairs of the church.
*Give cheerfully and liberally.
*Speak well of your church and deflect any criticism of church leadership on their behalf. Refuse to listen to or spread gossip.
As our church considers church leadership and looks particularly at the important role of deacons, take a moment or two to reflect on ways that you, too, can encourage and support the church leadership and particularly, your pastor in encouraging and practical terms.
Why do children have no trouble talking to God, speaking naturally and conversationally as with a friend, while you and I reluctantly mutter our prayers, stumbling over the words while we struggle with doubt? Someone has suggested that children spend more time looking up.
Whatever the reason, almost everyone at some time feels dissatisfied and inadequate and longs for healthy prayer life that is consistent, confident and genuine. Joe McKeever has written that, whether physical or spiritual, health and growth can only occur when everything is brought into balance. He recently wrote an article about 'our poor prayer life'; take a few moments to read it below.
….We do not know how to pray as we should…. (Romans 8:26)
I find it liberating to know that the great Apostle Paul was dissatisfied with his prayer life. At least, that’s how I read Romans 8:26. And if he could admit that “we do not know how to pray as we should,” it’s a dead-on cinch that you and I don’t either.
One thing almost everyone in your congregation has in common on a typical Sunday morning is a dissatisfaction with their prayer life. That is not to say that all are doing poorly, only that none of us feels we have got it down right, that we are praying with the effectiveness we’d like.
In this life, we are always going to be doing things partially. “We know in part,” Scripture says. “We prophecy in part” (I Corinthians 13:9,12).
Good music, they say, is music that is written better than it can be played. The Christian life is like that: written better than any of us can hope to attain in this life. The standard of God is still the same: “Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). We will not attain it in this life, but that’s how it’s written. So with your prayer life. You and I mumble in our prayers, like a child still learning to talk. It frustrates us and disappoints us, but–do not miss this–is oddly pleasing to the Father in Heaven.
Here are seven statements about your (and my) poor praying….
1. Your poor praying is a fact.
You knew it and you feel it often. In fact, unless you are one in a thousand, the fact that your praying is so poor has sometimes discouraged you from even trying to speak to the Father. Oh, friend. I want you to know you are not the odd man out. We are all in the same boat.
You have lots of company, poor pray-er. The preacher with a half-century of proclamation under his belt still approaches the Throne of Grace like a beginner, still coming humbly almost as a newcomer. “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling.”
Do not let this upset you or discourage you. Go forward.
Our current sermon series, Life after Death- what you can know for sure about life after death, concludes tomorrow as we look at heaven- is it a real place or just a state of mind?
For those who would like to read further, I have listed below some books and reference materials that you might like to read. They are all available from our online bookstore.
The Heaven Answer Book
By: Billy Graham
One Minute After You Die By: Erwin W. Lutzer
Available also as an e-book
One Minute After You Die, DVD: 8 Transforming Teachings on Eternity
By: Erwin W. Lutzer (Lutzer is good- a worthwhile series.)
One Minute After You Die, Package of 25 Tracts
By: Erwin W. Lutzer
Life After Death: The Evidence
By: Dinesh D'Souza (This is a very recent book by a careful writer.)
Heaven: Better By Far
By: J. Oswald Sanders (Always worth reading.)
A Place Called Heaven
By: E.M. Bounds
CATCHING A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN by E.M.Bounds
Also published under the title: HEAVEN, A place, a city, a home.
(Good non-technical coverage.)
As we consider the issues of same-sex marriage and homosexuality, I have included in this blog a balanced response to Dr Dyer's article (see previous blog). Please take the time to download and read this entire paper. The file is included below. I have also included a clip from the Equip Forum (Summit Church) dealing with the difficult issue of same-sex attraction from a biblical perspective. .J. D. Greear: "We tried to get past the myths, the political talking points, and discover how the gospel challenges this issue and those of us on both sides of it." (See below)
Dr Dyer’s Use of the Bible
Even though Dr Dyer has written about homosexuality, we think it is his use of Scripture which is most concerning. As Bible-believing Christians we turn to the Scriptures to learn what is true, to learn about God, to learn about humanity, indeed to learn everything that we need to know to be His people on earth. So we believe that our primary disagreement with Dr Dyer lies not in the area of sexuality, but in the way we read our Bibles.
What follows are three areas where we have grave concerns about Dr Dyer’s use of the Scriptures.
1. Experience over Scripture
As his title suggests, ‘A consistent Biblical approach to “(homo)sexuality”’, Dr Dyer attempts to engage with the Bible on the subject of homosexuality. However it is interesting to note what authority he feels the Bible has. He makes it clear to his readers that although the Bible is important, there is a sense in which it is subservient to human experience:
The attitudes of people are changed not by arguments or exegesis, but by personal encounters with a friend or a family member who is found to be 'homosexual' and Christian.After that comes the need for exegesis and reinterpretation, as we seek to understand this new reality in the light of our traditions- just as the early Christians struggled to come to terms with the presence of the Spirit in uncircumcised gentiles, against all their Biblical expectations. (8)
The first thing to be said is that Dr Dyer’s example of the early Christians does not hold up.He says they ended up accepting Gentile Christians ‘against all their Biblical expectations’. But was it their biblical expectations that were the problem? Not at all! The disciples’ expectations were not biblical enough, for the Old Testament itself expects the Gentiles to be welcomed in. Rather than their experiences reinterpreting the Bible, their experience needed to be corrected by the Bible.
(Continued ... please download this article below)
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1
Have you ever thought, “I have questions about God that just never seem to go away?” Or have you ever said, “I wish I had the answer to the questions my friends are asking about Christianity”? Or maybe, you just want to cry out, “God, if you’re really there, please answer me!”
This week, we continue our sermon series dealing with questions about God.
Throughout human history, people have questioned the existence of God. We can’t see, hear, feel, touch or taste Him, so how can we know for sure if He exists? It’s such an important question that scholars have given it deep thought over the ages. 'Is He real?' and 'What can He really do?' The universe itself is a powerful pointer to the existence of God. It’s big and beautiful, and all of its parts work together well.
There cannot be a creation without a Creator, and every design reflects its designer.
Chart the path of the stars, measure the decay rate of an atom, examine the laws of physics: Everything you study is well-ordered, precise and complex. Stare up into the night sky, walk along a beach at sunset, put a snowflake under a microscope; everywhere you look, our world is saturated with beauty. This beauty and complexity in the universe point not only to a Creator, but also to the nature of the Creator: ingenious, beautiful and detailed.
Plato decided that it was reasonable to believe in God based on “the order of the motion of the stars, and of all things under the dominion of the mind which ordered the universe.” Sir Isaac Newton said, “When I look at the solar system, I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance.” Everything points to a powerful Creator.
Consider the mundane banana: notice it fits perfectly in your palm. In fact, it fits better than a man-made Coke can. It’s been thoughtfully made with a non-slip surface.It comes with a time-sensitive indicator on the outside to let you know the condition of the contents before you even open it: Green means “keep going,” yellow means “slow down and eat it,” and black means “too late, friend.” The banana’s top contains a pull-tab for convenient opening. Pull back firmly on the tab, and it peels neatly according to its pre-made perforations. If it’s at just the right stage for eating, it even gives off a little “click” sound
as it’s opened. The wrapper peels into four pieces and hangs gracefully over your hand. Unlike the Coke can, this wrapper is environmentally sensitive, made completely of bio-degradable substances that in time enrich the soil it nestles in. If left uneaten, it has pre-programmed orders to reproduce itself into a whole new fruit-bearing plant, so it is a virtually inexhaustible food-producing source. The fruit is the perfect size and shape for the human mouth, with a point on the top for easy entry. It is full of
bodybuilding calories and is easy for the stomach to digest.And the Maker of the banana has even curved it toward the face to make the whole eating experience easier and more pleasant.
No wonder the Bible says about God, “Your workmanship is marvelous…” From looking at the design of
the banana, I conclude that there is a God; that He is brilliant, creative and thoughtful; and that He loves to delight people through all five of our senses. adapted Hal Seed & Dan Grider
Want to learn more or have your questions answered? Join us this Sunday for the next in the series of God Questions.
This Sunday, we start an eight-week journey through the book of Nehemiah. Who is he? As we will discover, Nehemiah is a leader in the making. And maybe you're thinking, "This isn't for me. I'm no leader! I'm just an ordinary person." But are you sure about that? Because, when it comes right down to it, all leadership is simply influence. Now you can't say you don't influence anyone! Thnk about it for a moment. Over whom do you have the greatest influence.. your children? Coworkers? Friends?
In this book, an ancient man by the name of Nehemiah is going to hand you a few bricks- bricks you can use to build a character of such quality that your faith can't be destroyed. But those bricks of character also make good bricks of leadership- qualities you can use to guide the people around you.
Remember, a great leader doesn't have to be someone who's well known. A great leader is just an ordinary person who is highly motivated. And that can be you! (Hand Me Another Brick- C. Swindoll)
Join us this Sunday for the start of this inspiring journey.
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the