This Week’s Top 5- April 29, 2017

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

Carey Nieuwhof   |   7 Things Every Leader Should Banish Starting Today

As a leader, there are things you do every day. Some help—others, not so much. I’ve found that as I’ve grown as a leader, I’ve regularly had to change how I think, how I lead and even what I say. Fortunately, there are hacks you can learn along the way that will help you get better faster.

Jeff Lacine   |  11 Reasons For A Weekly Service Review—And 4 Cautions Once You Start

Every Monday night, men from our church gather for a time of structured review of the Sunday service. The majority of our time in the meeting is spent giving feedback on the Sunday morning sermon. However, we also spend some time walking through all the elements of the previous day’s morning and evening services, as well as looking to the following Sunday’s services.

Kevin DeYoung   |   What Can Church History Teach Us About Wolves

Several years ago I did a series on heresies and heretics. Preparing the messages helped me understand church history better and more carefully articulate the orthodox faith. It also helped me notice some patterns (and non-patterns) related to false teachers. I discovered that church history can teach us a lot about wolves.

Jenny Funderburke   |   What If My Kid Doesn’t Have Any Friends at Church?

We all want our kids to be happy and to feel comfortable, especially at church. Over many years of ministry, I have talked to several parents who expressed concern that their child did not have friends at church. Sometimes this is a reason that families will give when they stop coming.

Chuck Lawless   |   8 Reasons Church Conflicts Often Burn Out of Control Quickly

As a pastor, I sometimes felt like I spent all my time putting out fires in the church. It might have been right for me to deal with the fires, but I seldom caught the fire before it started burning more brightly than I wanted. Here’s why the fires of church conflict often burn out of control quickly.

Ministry Roadblock: The Priority of Comfort

I have a recliner that I love to sit in because it is comfortable – and I like being comfortable. The problem is that once I sit down in that recliner I get lazy. Productivity slows to a snail’s pace and very little is accomplished. Whenever I place the priority on comfort, my effectiveness is threatened.

In the same way, the priority of comfort can kill the effectiveness of the church. Too many people are unwilling to move outside of their comfort zones so that God can work.

The Background  

In Numbers 13 we see that the nation of Israel was in a location called Kadesh Barnea. This was a place where God had given them everything they needed. As a result, they had grown comfortable. God’s plan was to take them into the Promised Land, an even greater place, so they could expand and enjoy greater blessing.

However, the Israelites were not convinced. They sent twelve spies into the Promised Land to see if conquering it was as much of a possibility as God said it was. After weighing all the evidence, they placed the priority on comfort and ultimately missed God’s blessing.

Lessons To Learn

1- God has a plan that is greater than you can imagine.

God was going to give the Israelites a land that would more than meet every need they would ever have. However, they didn’t understand the magnitude of God’s plan.

2- What God intends to be a blessing and an opportunity, many people will see as an insurmountable challenge.

The spies went into the land and verified that it was the greatest land they had ever seen. “However” (vs. 28) they began focusing on the challenges and the potential threats.

We are setting ourselves up for failure and an insignificant existence anytime our churches focus on the challenges of moving forward more than the promises and provision of God.

3- A focus on the challenge more than a focus on God can lead to loss.

Israel looked at the challenges and responded with fear and doubt. They were unwilling to leave their comfort zone. They ignored the fact that God had already guaranteed victory.

4- God will not force His plan on us.

The nation of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years until that generation of unbelieving cowards died off.

Closing Thoughts

There are too many people in churches across America who will not get out of their comfort zones and meet the challenges facing the Church. They would rather sit in their recliner, in a state of comfort, than get up and claim God’s blessings.

Our comfort zones must take a backseat to the plans of God. Until they do, our churches will be left to wander in the wilderness of idleness, never accomplishing much of anything for God.


This Week’s Top 5- April 22, 2017

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

Chuck Lawless   |   10 Facility Questions to Consider as You Go to Church This Weekend

I was shocked. The church had a noticeable, distinct, musty odor, but none of the church leaders noticed it. It seems they had lived with it for so long that it no longer caught their attention – even though it almost knocked out anyone who entered the building for the first time.

Because we “regulars” at our churches also sometimes miss the obvious, here are some questions to consider as you go to church this weekend. They’re designed to help you see your church’s facility as a guest might see it:

Shawn Lovejoy   |   Three Wrong Responses to Our Easter Services

These days, however, thanks to social media, we can always find a church that’s building it bigger, better, and faster than we are! It’s easy to read the status updates on Sunday afternoon, and suddenly what happened at our church pales in comparison to everyone else!

Jonathan Howe   |   Churches, Social Media, and Customer Service

I understand there is a difference in customer service and communication to church members and guests. I also realize church members shouldn’t have a customer mentality. But this infographic below sheds quite a bit of light on some simple practices that can be adapted for churches that will allow them to communicate more effectively with their members.

Brittney Coleman   |   6 Easy Ways to Renovate Your Children’s Ministry Space

Whether you are making small updates or doing a complete remodel, there comes a time that every children’s ministry space needs some renovations. Regardless of your budget, this process can be quite daunting for any one person to tackle alone! Here are six ideas to get you started.

Karl Vaters   |   The Best Way to Avoid Pastor Burnout? Equip The Saints

Ephesians 4:11-12 could easily be called the pastor’s prime mandate. In that passage, the Apostle Paul clearly tells us we have been called “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

The longer I pastor, the more convinced I am that one of the prime reasons for pastoral burnout is that too many pastors – especially small church pastors, like me – are ignoring that simple command.