This Week’s Top 5- February 25, 2017

Here are 5 of the best articles I read this week.

Alan Briggs   |   How to Stay Healthy in Ministry: Get a Hobby

The truth is that leaders are good at feeling guilty and can be driven by that guilt to perform. We can always make one more call or squeeze in one more meeting. Yes, we work hard, but we also forget that even when we aren’t working God still is. We squeeze every minute out of our week, but we forget to enjoy every minute of our off time. Maybe it seems counterintuitive, but the cost of an enjoyable pursuit outside of our work is far less than the cost of neglecting such a pursuit.


Eric Geiger   |   3 Reasons Why Ministry Leaders Choose to Be Isolated

It is not uncommon for ministry leaders to preach on community while living in isolation. While we can preach on community for everyone else, ministry leaders are often tempted to live in isolation. Why do ministry leaders often choose isolation? What pulls them away from community and away from being vulnerable with others?


Baptist Press   |   Young Leader Initiative Announced by EC & NAMB

The SBC Executive Committee and North American Mission Board are launching a young leader initiative to better engage pastors between the ages of 25-45. The network’s goal will be to provide a sense of brotherhood for those already participating in Southern Baptist life and find ways to engage those who are disconnected or minimally involved.


Thom Rainer   |   The Resuscitated Church

Admittedly, I have only seen a few churches with the same story of resuscitation. But I have seen a sufficient enough number to make some concise observations. These observations are among the most encouraging events I have ever witnessed. How did these few churches go from near death to vibrant life? Here are their stories.


Ronnie Floyd   |   Pastors and Their Children

One of the greatest legacies of any pastor is for his children to grow up loving God and loving the Church passionately. Yet, this is often not the story of the children of a pastor. Why? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question.

 

4 Reasons Pastors Should Focus on Equipping Others

Many pastors feel as though there is not enough time to get everything accomplished. Many experience burnout. Many feel as though they do not have enough time for sermon preparation. Why is this? One of the primary reasons is that pastors are more focused on doing all of the ministry rather than equipping the saints to the do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12).

Here are 3 reasons pastors should focus more on equipping.

1- It gets more people involved in the ministry.

As pastors, we should want more people to be involved in the work of the ministry. It is a sign that people are growing spiritually. When people simply sit back and expect the pastor to do it all, it limits the involvement of others. It creates a mindset that says “the pastor is here to be my personal chaplain.” While the pastor is certainly involved in this aspect of ministry, the goal should be for all church members to be involved in serving each other.

2- It propels growth.

There is a growth barrier created whenever the pastor is expected to do all the member care aspect of ministry. The church will never grow beyond a pastor’s ability to be personally involved in every life. This is a key reason why the growth in many churches stalls. The way to remove this barrier is to equip others to assist in this aspect of ministry.

3- It multiplies the effectiveness and impact of your ministry.

As more people become involved in ministering to others (both inside and outside the church), the impact of your ministry grows. More lives are touched, more visits are made, more serving is accomplished, and more ministry and outreach takes place.

4- It’s Biblical.

This is not just a church growth strategy, it is a biblical truth. Ephesians 4:12 clearly states that God gave pastors to the church in order to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. In Acts 6, deacons were selected to do the member-care aspect of the ministry so that pastors could focus more on the ministry of the Word and prayer. When this does not take place, we ignore the clear teaching of Scripture.

Please understand, I am not suggesting that pastors not be involved in the visiting and member care aspect of ministry. I am saying that by getting other people involved in this, you enhance your church’s potential to grow and impact lives.

 

7 Things That Can Destroy Your Church

Some may think that this title is overstated. Can these things really destroy a church? I certainly understand that a church can exist and limp along while having these characteristics. What I am talking about is more focused. These things can destroy the joy in your church. They can destroy the effectiveness of your church. They can destroy the testimony of your church. They can destroy the potential for community impact. They can destroy the gospel-focus of your church. The goal is not simple existence, but Kingdom impact, and these seven things can destroy your church’s potential to have that impact.

 1- Unconfessed Sin

Sin can and does destroy ministries. Perhaps it’s a history of racism in the church. Maybe it’s a tolerance of doctrinal error or immorality. Regardless of what this sin is in the church, if not confessed it can be a hindrance to God working.

2- Gossip

Yes, this often-overlooked sin can destroy a church. There is a problem when people would rather murmur and complain than serve. There is a biblical way to deal with disagreements, and following that biblical instruction should be our goal.

3- Refusal to Make Difficult Decisions

There are many difficult decisions that have to be made in church ministry. Many of these, while not easy, are essential to the effectiveness of the ministry. When leaders refuse to make difficult decisions they jeopardize the effectiveness of their church. Leaders must understand that they cannot please everyone, and a desire to do so will undermine their leadership.

4- A “Me First” Mentality

This is really nothing more than self-centeredness. If members are more focused on how decisions affect them than how those decisions affect the church’s ability to accomplish its mission – the mission will never be accomplished. Our eyes must be focused on doing what God has called us to do.

5- No Prayer

Prayer demonstrates a dependence upon God. When there is a lack of prayer, it may indicate prideful self-reliance rather than humble trust in God’s power.

6- Contentment with the Status Quo

It is easy to slip into a rut. It is easy to just go through the motions. It is easy to focus on maintaining ministries with no thought as to whether or not those ministries are actually accomplishing the intended objectives. Contentment with the status quo will keep your church from reaching new heights.

7- Focusing on the Past Rather than the Future

Much can be learned from the past, but it is impossible to navigate the future while focusing on and obsessing about the past. When the love of the past is greater than a desire to reach those in the present, your ministry will stall.

There are plenty of other things that can destroy the effectiveness of your church, but these seven seem to be common. Let’s be on guard against these ministry-destroyers so that we can impact lives with the message of Christ.

What other ministry-destroyers have you seen? Please comment below.