Making the Visioneering Process Work for You

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It would be foolish, or at best naive, for any of us to believe or even infer that what works for others will work for you as well. The Vision process, or Visioneering, is included in that statement. There is no cookie-cutter formula that works and produces for everyone. However, there is a common development route, or process, that can be modified to suit your environment, and it will work for everyone if allowed to. There are questions to ponder and ask at the inception of the Visioneering process.

Why is this important? It is important because every leader, church, or organization is not ready to undertake a successful Visioneering process. Before you waste your time and that of others you need to validate that this is the right thing for you to do.

To do this you will have to determine some things. Every church or business has its own unique and distinguishing traits and characteristics, including but not limited to:

· The number people and talents it has available

· The unity it either has or doesn’t have

· The spiritual maturity and understanding level of the people

· The level of commitment to excellence and continuous improvement

· The work ethic

· The corporate attitude

· Financial and resource strengths and/or weaknesses

· Demographics

What are yours? Write them down clearly and concisely. Do the necessary research. Thoroughness and honesty are absolutely essential.

Next, of course there are many other ingredients that must be considered as well, including but not limited to:

· The connection between the leader and the people

· The level of trust and confidence in leadership

· The size and commitment to and understanding of teamwork

· The organizational structure

· Area demographics (white or blue collar/wealthy or welfare/educated or non-educated/innovative or non-innovative/adaptability to change or resistance to any change, multicultural blend and ethnicity traits/ and etc.)

· The culture of the area and of the church

Once again, write these down clearly and concisely as well. Do the necessary research. Thoroughness and honesty are absolutely essential.

Next, it is very important to accurately ascertain the current state of affairs. You must find answers to the following questions and others like them:

· Where you are as an organization at this point in time?

· What type of cooperation exists?

· How effectively do you communicate as a leader?

· How open you are to the involvement of others?

· Are you a controller or a liberator?

· Are you willing and able to truly empower and trust others?

· Are you (and the people) willing to change the way you do things and the organizational structure as necessary to accomplish the things that must be done to progress toward a vision?

· Are people willing to change titles, roles, and positions if necessary? Will they be selfless or jealous as changes occur?

Once again, write these down clearly and concisely as well. Do the necessary research. Thoroughness and honesty are absolutely essential.

And then there are the big all-important questions that must be answered even before you proceed further:

· Do I believe this is God’s time for us to launch forward toward new horizons?

· Am I committed to the long-term?

· Am I convinced that I must do this in order for the church or organization to reach a higher potential?

· Am I willing to face adversity knowing that people resist being changed?

· Is what we are doing working?

· What is not working?

· Can we reach our potential without changing?

Once again, write these down clearly and concisely as well. Do the necessary research. Thoroughness and honesty are absolutely essential.

Next, this initial phase of visioneering needs to include:

· An accurate inventory and assessment of the way things are

Once again, write these down clearly and concisely as well. Do the necessary research. Thoroughness and honesty are absolutely essential.

Now ask yourself the following question: Do I have the commitment and resolve to drive this forward, even though I do not yet have a clear picture of exactly where this will lead us?

If the answer to the last question is no then simply stop right here. If the answer is yes then please continue.

As a mentor, I would suggest to any leader that is interested in directing your church or organization toward a new and worthwhile vision that you:

Here are a few tips (Steps) to accomplish the aforementioned things:

1. Set aside a time and place for quiet reflection for yourself (alone)

a. Walk though each aforementioned point and write down every thought

b. Organize them and delete redundancy

2. Set aside a time to do the same with your inner-circle of leaders

a. Keep your personal notes confidential at this time

b. Allow them to walk through Step 1 completely as you remain mostly silent. The more you talk the less they will contribute.

c. After they have finished compare your personal notes with their notes

d. Together with them combine the two as much as possible into one document. This is a great time for discussion and critical evaluation to occur.

 

Is God Okay With My Plans?

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Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. (Pro 3:5-6 AMP)

Our future well being depends largely on the decisions we make today. We are a world in transition; we change homes, cars, jobs, cities, and spouses as easily as changing clothes. Many of the problems in our lives are the direct result of decision that were not well thought out, not prayed over and are emotionally driven.
In many decisions the cost was not counted, the impact was not measured, and the long-term implications were not considered.

We feel right and justified about our decision, but only time can reveal the end results of our choices.

The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. (Pro 16:1-3 KJV)

An important principle to remember is that, we will reap the results of our decisions, whether good or evil;

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Gal 6:7-8 KJV)

You do not always reap immediately, some seeds take years to produce, and when they begin to bring forth it is in a larger quantity than the seed sewn. No one plants an apple seed expecting only one apple to be produced as a result. The hope of the grower is that the single seed that has been planted will eventually produce thousands of apples.

There are some questions we need to ask ourselves about our plans for the future.

Have I consulted God about my plans? – prayer is our way to communicate with Him. The wisdom to make a Godly decision is not found in our flesh.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (Jas 1:5 KJV)

Have I consulted Godly counsel? – your choice of counsel may affect your decision.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psa 1:1-6 KJV)

What is my motivation?
Why am I making this decision?
Why now?
What affect will my decision have on me, my family, my church and my relationship with God?
Is God in the center of my plans or just an afterthought?
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. (Psa 143:8 KJV)

What has God spoken to me in prayer? (silence is not acceptance)
What is my the Spirit of God in me telling me? – ignore your flesh for a moment, and focus on what God is speaking to your spirit
If God says no to my plans will I listen?
How to get God involved in your plans?

Prayer
Applying Biblical principles to your choices
Seeking Godly counsel
Obedience to the voice of God and the voice of Godly men and women in your life
Allow the Spirit of God to direct you- be open to a change in plans if He so desires. The greatest place to be is in the center of God’s will. To be able to know of a certainty that you are where God wants you to be, doing what He wants you to do.

Real peace comes through obedience, and there is assurance that if this is His plan then He is in control. I just have to walk in obedience and faith, trusting not in my own ability but in the perfect plan of an Almighty, Wise God!

 

Overwhelmed

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I frequently converse with ministers and business leaders who are overwhelmed. They need help andoverwhelmed I have solutions. I am good at what I do. However, all too often my attempts to help prove futile because leaders are notorious for not allowing themselves to see beyond assumed responsibilities and circumstances. They have problems focusing. For some it might be their Attention Deficit Disorder kicking in, and for others it is simply personal neglect. Just as a mechanic’s car often needs the most repair, and a plumber’s house needs a leaky faucet fixed, leaders seem to avoid personal changes of routine and lifestyle.

Sadly this is all too common. Many leaders assume roles and responsibilities they should not assume and therefore settle for a constant state of chaos and mediocrity. Numerous potential problems arise when a leader reaches a saturation point but refuses assistance and is unwilling to change habits.

I want to highlight a five of the potential problems and emphasize a few solutions for each.

The first potential problem: Addiction to adrenaline. Workaholics get used to the adrenaline they feel when meeting certain goals or deadlines. Many leaders develop a sense of pride at being busy; often boasting whenever their schedule hits overload because it feeds their false ego of self-importance. They have a hard time saying “no” to new responsibilities.

The intensity one feels when overwhelmed develops stress. This affects the quality of their relationships. Stressed leaders can become very controlling, territorial, moody, and sharp with their reactions to others. Stress also has negative affects on health in the long term.

Depression often sets in when someone who is addicted to adrenaline attempts to slow down or relax. Time with God, loved ones, and for personal development tends to be neglected or placed on the backburner. Those things simply aren’t the leader’s priority, and that is a big part of the problem.

Suggested solutions include:

  • Establish a maximum number of hours to focus on work each day.
  • Refuse to take work home with you.
  • If an extra request for you to do something means you cannot accomplish it without adding to your maximum allotted workday hours then say “no” to the request.
  • Schedule time off on a regular basis.

The second potential problem: Burnout. The body, mind and emotions are designed for a balance of work and rest. Time must be made for both. Burnout sneaks up on you, and when it comes it can be very difficult to conquer.

Burnout produces a cacophony of emotions. One might develop a sense of guilt, anger or regret. These are hard to overcome when one is in a state of burnout.

Suggested solutions include:

  • Recognizing and admitting that burnout is real and it needs to be eliminated.
  • Develop an exercise plan in combination with proper diet and rest.
  • Plan occasional getaways with those you love. These do not have to be expensive but they should be meaningful.
  • Learn to back away from the workload. It will be there when you return.

The third potential problem: Damage to yourself and those who love you. It has been said that when people near the end of their life they never say, “I wish I had spent more time at work”. Unfortunately when you refuse to be sensible and balanced about work the collateral damage to your family and close relations can be devastating.

Spouses and children are often hurt and damaged because they believe you love your work or your church family more than you love them. Many of the dysfunctions in a leader’s home arise because the leader has neglected those at home. All to often a leader’s spouse or children develop resentment or bitterness brought forth by a sense of abandonment.

I have stood beside many leaders who faced their last years feeling abandoned by many whom they had given themselves to serve, while battling guilt for abandoning the very family that ended up being with them after all . . . in the end.

Suggested solutions include:

  • Make time for meaningful conversations with those you love on a frequent and regular basis.
  • Be involved in the outside activities of those you love.
  • Learn to say “yes” to your family and “no” to others.
  • Do not cancel promised plans with your family when others call and ask for your time.
  • Celebrate accomplishments with those you love.
  • Help each other establish goals and encourage each to attain them.
  • Hold regular and consistent family devotions.

The fourth potential problem: Doing everything yourself prevents God from manifesting His capability to provide. Who needs God when you do everything for yourself? Why would God have to provide assistance when you won’t let Him? When God sends others to help you why do you refuse their offer? Why haven’t you tapped into the skills and talents of those around you?

Suggested solutions include:

  • Learn the arts of delegation and facilitation.
  • Study teamwork and become a team builder.
  • Progress in leadership styles as God adds people around you.
  • Match strengths and weaknesses to the tasks at and.
  • Learn to wait on God’s timing and provision.
  • Quit trying to play God and spend more time seeking after God.

The fifth potential problem: The neglect of personal care and leadership development.Many of the problems a leader faces today cannot be overcome unless new skills are acquired. Leaders who are too busy to take time for professional development should not remain in a leadership position.

Certain aspects of leadership are ageless, but others are not. If you insist on writing with a quill and parchment, riding to meetings on your horse, and insisting on using the old overhead projector, you will disconnect with people who live in the modern era.

Although it is permissible to stay grounded, it is never permissible to become irrelevant. The best leaders are never stagnant.

Suggested solutions include:

  • Always be involved in some form of focused study and development.
  • Read good materials outside of your sphere of knowledge and experience.
  • Connect to a mentor with the experience and skill sets to help steer you in the right directions.
  • Be accountable to others (perhaps a mentor).
  • Schedule a portion of your workweek for professional development and stick to it religiously.
  • Commit time and resources to personal and professional advancement.

ChurchMentor.net is committed to your personal and professional growth as a Christian business or church leader. We started this mentoring site and ministry with you in mind. Our goal is to provide our Premium Members with the highest quality mentoring resources for a very minimal cost investment. Hundreds of topics and resources will enable you to become the leader and develop the organization God wants for you.

ChurchMentor.net is committed to the long term in order to partner with your long term growth, development and success.

Dr. Fred Childs

www.churchmentor.net

A Pure Heart

Leadership, Ministry Help 1 Comment

Matthew 5: Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.a-pure-heart

“Pure” as it is used here in the original Greek is katharos. Katharos is pronounced Kath-ar-os. It means of uncertain Affinity; clean (literally or figuratively): clean, clear, pure.

Jesus declared to the people that day that if someone was capable of having, keeping or obtaining a pure heart, that they would see God someday.

It is the desire of every believer that, one day, they would see God.

However, the enemy of our souls has a desire too. His desire is to keep us from seeing God. Both in this world and in the next. His attempt is to cause us to lose our pure hearts.

One thing that I have found to be universal amongst new converts/believers is the pure heart that the Lord gives to them.

As newborn babes in Christ, their hearts are open to receive anything that the church has to offer them. They trust the ministry and they trust their newfound church family.

Their hearts are pure. Their motives are pure. Their intensions are pure. They are simply thankful to be saved and are happy and content to be a part of the Family of God.

These people are the source of revival in the church. They are usually the ones who bring new people to the church. They tell all their family and friends about what the Lord has done for them. They are not afraid or ashamed to declare their Love for God or what He has done for them.

What makes these people so important to a community’s infiltration of the Gospel?

What makes these people so valuable to the growth and continuance of a church in a given city?

Their pure heart.

  • A heart that is pure is capable of loving someone who is unlovable.
  • A heart that is pure is able to look beyond a person’s faults and see their potential greatness.
  • A heart that is pure has no selfish motives. It only wants to bless those around it.

It labors for the Lord because it loves the Lord and the people who surround their life.

This person is not perfect. They are still human. They still make mistakes. They still sin. But Jesus said that because their motives were correct and their heart was pure, that they shall see God.

So it seems paramount that a believer in Jesus Christ should seek to have and maintain a pure heart.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

Jesus’ desire for those who would follow Him was that they would follow His divine example of a pure heart. If we are going to see God… If we are going to find rest for our souls, we must seek to have and labor to keep the pure heart that Jesus intends for all of his followers to have.

As mentioned however, it is the role of Satan to trip the church up in what should be the simplest and most rudimentary of ideals. His desire is to keep us from seeing God. So consequently, he works to cause our hearts to lose their purity.

One of the main areas that Satan works to destroy our pure hearts is in the area of judging others.

Matthew 7:1-2 tells us to “Judge not, that we be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

Luke told us in 6:37, to “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive and ye shall be forgiven.”

A person who has a pure heart does not judge or condemn, but they do always forgive others. They realize that if God is capable of forgiving the sinner, then they too should do so. They love the person because Jesus loves them. Regardless of the faults they may see in them.

Jesus told us in John 7:24 to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

What is it about men that they would seek to find the faults of others? It seems to be a universal problem for people of every age and place of society regardless of where they live in this world.

People want to judge one another. They want to prove that their own righteousness is better than the righteousness of their neighbor.

A common thread of Jesus’ teachings is the significance of loving people regardless of where they are at in their walk with God. He said in John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” In John 13:35 He told us, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

What does it mean to “have love one to another”?

In I Corinthians chapter 13 Paul describes for us the work of Love. He describes Charity. Charity as it is used here in the original Greek is the feminine noun Agape. It is pronounced ag-ah’-pa. Agape means brotherly love, affection, good will or benevolence.

In chapter 13, Paul lets us know that no matter how great your faith is. No matter how much you do for the Kingdom of God, if you do not have love for people, you are nothing.

There is much to be gleaned from 1Cor 13. Vs 5 however, says that Charity “…thinketh no evil.” Vs 7 let’s us know that love “… believes all things, hopeth all things…”

If we truly have a pure heart. If we truly love people. “And by the way, we will never be a help to those around us until our hearts are pure and we can demonstrate perfect love to them.” We will not think evil of them when the opportunity to do so arises. And, we will believe in them and hope in them regardless of what is happening in their lives at the current moment.

When a child of God considers another person, they should do so in the light of I Cor 13 and ask themselves,

1. Am I thinking evil of this person?

2. Do I believe in this person?

3. Am I hoping the best for this person?

Let’s face it. None of us are perfect.

None of us are without sin of some kind in our life.

· For some it may be lying.

· For some it may be stealing.

· For some it may be alcoholism, or drug abuse.

· For some it may be fornication.

· For some it may be anger.

· For some it may be pride.

· For some it may be bitterness over injuries of the past.

· For some it may be you name it.

· But the fact of the matter is “No One” is without sin!

Each of us has a sin problem of some kind. You don’t even have to do something evil to sin, all you have to do is think it.”

Some of our sins are more obvious than others of us. Some are very public sins and some are very private sins. But they are all sins. They are all displeasing to God and they are all what separates us from true Holiness. This however, was the purpose of the Cross of Calvary. This was why Jesus hung and died a horrific death on a Roman Cross. “Thank God we have a mediator before God and Thank God we have His forgiveness for our sins (Past, Present and Future).”

So why do we judge each other?

· Why do we look for and call out the worst in others?

· Why do we work to notice and point out what others are doing and not doing right or wrong?

· What keeps us from looking beyond the immediate fault and seeing the positive work of God in a person’s life?

· Why, when there is so much good that the Holy Spirit is doing in a person’s life, do we instead notice only the one or two obvious things that He has not yet perfected in their life?

· Why is it easier to see the faults in a person than the good that God sees?

There is only one reason.

· Our hearts are not pure.

If our hearts were pure, love would cause compassion to well up in our hearts for the person to the point that we would be unable to see the fault in their life and we would instead have and demonstrate faith in their walk with God.

It is better to have a pure heart than it is to be without sin.

The scriptures shared earlier in this study lets us know that a person with a pure heart will see God.

We already know that there is forgiveness for all kinds of sin. So is it imperative for you to point out and notice another person’s sin, which would cause you to come under the same judgment? Or to simply trust that the Lord forgives that person’s fault and is doing a work of restoration and sanctification in their life – whether you can see it or not.

This indeed would be what a person with a pure heart would do. The pure heart sees what God is doing and ignores the area of another’s life that is not perfect.

Signs Still Follow True Believers

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signs-follow-believers

An alarming trend in the 21st Century church is the accepted absence of signs, wonders, miracles and healing. Many people believe in but simply have not seen the spiritual manifestations of God. The result is an uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the operation of spiritual gifts and faith. The absence of manifestation makes it difficult to have absolute trust in God’s present ability to do anything. Men and women are hesitant to step out and “take chances” on God because they have never seen or experienced God under such circumstances.

This weakens the effect of the Word because the one speaking does not have true faith in its ability. The same Jesus who did not many mighty works in His home country due to their unbelief (Matthew 13:58) will not do many works in your life and church for the same reason.

The more unfamiliar we become with spiritual and miraculous manifestations of God the more humanistic we become in our understanding of Him. I am astounded as I listen to preachers who have little to no understanding or experience in spiritual things. They make excuses and deny the power and authority of God without realizing it. They belittle as weird those who have experiences. His Word becomes a lifeless book that has no power.

It is time for this to change! The weakening of God’s Word cannot be acceptable under any circumstances. He is a miraculous and unlimited God right now!

Jesus said in Mark 16:17 that, “these signs shall follow them that believe”. This has never changed. The signs still follow. If the signs are not following you need to examine your walk with God. Signs do still follow believers.

Mark 16:20 tells us,

20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

I want to accentuate the “amen” by declaring that these things still occur in abundance. They still follow true believers. A true believer is not merely someone who believes true doctrine, but one who practices true Christian behavior and faith. Faith without works is dead according to James 2:20, 26.

Many Christians limit their relationship to God to their time at church. However, in Mark 16:15 Jesus tells us to go throughout the world preaching the gospel to every one everywhere. Those who do that will see things happen. They will have testimonies. I have my thousands. You can also if you want them. Signs follow our actions of faith. They do not lead the way, but they follow after us.

My brother Alan is an evangelist from San Antonio, Texas. He is an example of someone who has had signs and wonders follow him. The following is one of many such true stories.

Rain at 2:30

As teenagers, Alan and I both worked Murrell’s Corner. It was a full service gas station on the corner of Kenneth and Elgie Streets in Beaumont, Texas. An amazing series of events took place there over the course of three days during the drought of a hot summer.

Alan’s born-again experience was very real. In his zeal he had witnessed to Murrell, who promptly dismissed Alan as a certified idiot. Murrell was a deacon in his church, and evidently he felt like he had God all figured out. He mocked Alan and told him that tongues were only for the apostles and that it didn’t happen any more.

June of 1968 was a hot and dry month. It had been over 100 degrees for days and there had been no rain. One day Murrell walked out of his air-conditioned barber shop and talked about the weather and how hot it was. Then he said, “Alan, you speak in tongues, and you say you have these two-way conversations with God. Why don’t you speak to God and tell Him to make it rain!” He then returned to his barbershop in laughter. Unknown to Murrell, Alan began to pray. Later Alan walked into the barbershop and said,“Murrell, I have a word from God for you. God told me to tell you that it is going to rain at 2:30 PM. When it rains you will know God did it. He wants to reveal Himself to you.”

Murrell laughed at him. “You have a word from God for me?” he said. “Get back to work Alan. You are being ridiculous. God doesn’t do that sort of thing.”

At 2:15 PM Murrell came outside. “I don’t see any rain Alan. Where is the rain?” Alan simply said, “It is not yet 2:30. God said 2:30, not 2:15.” At exactly 2:30 a dark cloud came over the shop and it rained on Murrell’s Corner. Well Murrell saw it, but he did not believe it. He laughed at Alan. “I admit it was a coincidence, but I know God did not have anything to do with that rain.”

Later Alan went into the barbershop again. “I have another Word from the Lord for you. God wants you to believe Him, so at exactly 2:30 tomorrow it will rain again.” On the second day at exactly 2:30 a dark cloud came over Murrell’s Corner and it rained again. Murrell still refused to believe it was God. Again Alan prayed and returned to the barbershop with a third message. “It will rain again tomorrow at 2:30 PM.”

On the third day Murrell was antsy. He came out multiple times and looked in the sky and made mocking comments. Alan told him to wait until 2:30 PM. Again, for the third day in a row, at exactly 2:30 it rained on Murrell’s Corner. Murrell then admitted it was a huge coincidence, but he still refused to believe God had anything to do with the rain. Later he came out of the barbershop and he said to Alan, “If you will pray one more time and ask God to make it rain just one more day at exactly 2:30, then I might just believe God had anything to do with it.”

Alan prayed again and returned to the barbershop. “Well, did God tell you it is going to rain again,” Murrell asked?To this question Alan replied, “No Murrell. God is not pleased at your hardened heart. God told me to tell you He would not make it rain the fourth day. He will not force you to believe.”

How About Your Faith?

Are you like Murrell was? Is faith difficult for you? In spite of anything He has ever done do you still find it difficult to trust God?

Or, are you like Alan was? Would you have told your employer that God gave you a Word for him and that word is that it is going to rain at a specific time?

Most people aren’t like Alan, and therefore most never see the mighty works of God. It is easier to simply say things like that happen than it is to be the one God uses to work through. As for me, I believe that if Alan had not yielded and allowed God to use him it would not have rained on any of those three consecutive days at 2:30 PM. No one would have ever known the difference.

If Elijah had not been convinced of rain he would never have sent his servant to look for an approaching cloud. God still needs someone to be an Elijah. Could the next one be you?

Many people limit their faith in God because they are thinking of themselves. They are concerned about what others might think of them if things don’t happen like they said. They are afraid they will step out on a limb and nothing will happen. An essential element in being used of God is to quit thinking and simply respond by faith. When you pause to think you override faith.

This is not about you. This is about God. God doesn’t want you to do His part for Him. You can’t do God’s part for Him. He knows you can’t save or heal without Him doing His part. God searches for people who will trust Him enough to obey and leave the results to God.

He Is Still The Same

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and forever. He is still the Savior, healer, and deliverer.

The people that know Him shall be strong and do exploits (Daniel 11:28).

Few things will renew your faith and excitement like a fresh testimony of personal faith. There is everything to gain and nothing to lose. In eternity God will never scold and say,“That was foolish of you to trust me. You really put me on the spot by testifying of my ability like that.”

My brother Alan discovered that God could answer a teenager’s prayer and make it rain on his corner. This opened the door to many other similar faith building testimonials that followed. God wants to do great things through your faith as well.

I encourage you to earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints (Jude3). Signs still do follow true believers.

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Touches Of God

Ministry Help 1 Comment
Orphanages were already an important part of the everyday social landscape in the United States 100touches-of-god3years ago. As shocking as it may sound, statistics validate that 99 out of 100 babies in orphanages died before reaching the age of seven months!The institutions themselves were not the problem. They had adequate food, clean environments, and modern antiseptic procedures. Everything to give these unwanted or otherwise orphaned children a safe and secure environment was in place, and yet 99% of the infants died within months after birth. These babies were given a healthy chance at life and yet they died anyway. The cause of these deaths was an illusive mystery for many years. Research studies have long since revealed that these babies did not die from malnutrition or infectious diseases, but instead they wasted away in a human condition known as “marasmus”. Marasmus claimed these countless little lives in spite of clean and sterile environments and adequate food, shelter and clothing. Marasmus can be caused by the deprivation of human touch. Babies without adequate human touch can simply waste away and die regardless of their surroundings and environment. When babies suffering from marasmus receive physical nurturing while being fed their formula the marasmus reverses. They begin to gain weight and thrive. Human touch is vital for survival in the very young. The System Was Changed Although it is tragic that countless infants died from marasmus’ deadly consequences resulting from the absence of human touch, it fostered change. Today’s infants that are isolated in sterile environments are taken into the hands of caregivers who give them loving touch therapy three times a day for fifteen minutes. Taking these infants out of their cribs and holding and rocking them by volunteers has reversed the mortality rate. Research has validated that the infants receiving this personal touch grow faster, gain more weight, and leave the facility sooner that other untouched infants do. The infants are not the only beneficiaries of this “touching” time. Those who volunteer as caregivers or “grandparents” to hold, rock, touch and massage these infants also experience measurable benefits. They reduce their coffee and caffeine intake and make less frequent visits to their doctor. They experience a reduction in anxiety levels, fewer symptoms of depression, and improved self-esteem. Touch is powerful. When skin touches skin magical consequences occur. Human touch and contact is directly linked to every aspect of health and well-being.

Where Touch Begins

The sensation of touch actually begins in the womb. The human skin is derived from the same cells as the nervous system and is a perfect instrument for collecting information about our surrounding environment long before birth. A fetus will withdraw from the touch of a probe at less than 8 weeks of gestation, showing that the link between touch and survival is one of the first and most important protective mechanisms to develop. A little known fact is that all human babies are born before they are developmentally ready. Our heads are so big that we can’t afford to gestate any longer than we do, so we are born before we are physiologically ready. This is in contrast to most other mammals that are able to move around, at least in a limited way, very soon after they are born. Newborn foals or deer are up and walking a few moments after birth. Humans, on the other hand, are incredibly slow. In fact, the average time between birth and crawling is identical to the average time between conception and birth: nine more months. What does all this have to do with touch? Simply this: newborn human infants are not fully developed. They can’t focus their vision, or differentiate sounds. So how do they communicate? Babies communicate with the world almost entirely through their skin. We are born into the world with an already developed sense of touch. We are feelers. Consider a newborn baby. One moment it is supremely comfortable, in a snug, climate-controlled, perfectly shaped uterus. The next moment it is painfully squeezed into our bright, noisy, cold, wall-less world. All babies, perfectly healthy ones and others who suffer from colic to cocaine exposure, AIDS and abuse, benefit from regular touch. When held, massaged and touched a baby’s stress, as measured by chemicals in the blood, is reduced; babies cry less, sleep more and are generally easier to soothe. Studies show that the messages we received through our skin, particularly about our safety and well-being will have resonating effects on our behavior for the rest of our lives.

Straight to the Mouth

Older babies who are not yet or have just began crawling use their skin as a way to get information about the world. Watch a baby explore a new toy: the first place it goes is into the baby’s mouth. This baby is not really interested in how the rattle tastes. It happens that a huge number of sensory neurons are located in the skin of the lips and tongue, and this is where a baby gets his or her information. A baby puts a new toy into its mouth to find out what it feels like!

Infants and Touch

Many experiments with lower mammals have been conducted to explore the connection between the touch they receive in infancy and their adult behavior. The results are clear: the way an infant is touched, even in its first few hours of life, influences whether it survives, and how it copes in the world as an adult. Some examples include the way the mothers of infant rodents and other mammals lick them. This skin to skin contact stimulates the physiological reactions necessary for survival. Without the stimulation of touch, the babies die. Recent research also shows that baby rats, taken away from their mothers, suffer measurable brain damage: cells in the central nervous system actually degenerate and fall apart without their mothers’ touch. Furthermore, baby rats that are removed from their mothers will in turn not mother their own offspring: early nurturing through touch is vital to the survival of the species! Consistent nurturing touch in infancy has also been shown to influence later coping skills. When nurtured young monkeys, who have previously been placed in stressful situations, approach new situations they do so with curiosity and a kind of tentative courage. When introduced to a new enclosure, for instance, they will explore it by degrees, frequently retreating to hug mom’s leg for reassurance. Then they will venture forth again and again until they feel comfortable in their new surroundings. Baby monkeys that are raised without comforting, nurturing touch don’t have that source of security and assurance. They are easily overwhelmed by new experiences. Placed in an unfamiliar environment without a sense of safety, they simply collapse in hysterical screams. Consistent nurturing touch in infancy has also been shown to influence later coping skills. They can’t cope with challenging or threatening situations the same way that their touched and comforted cohorts can. Many other studies show that children who are welcomed with lots of physical touch and tactile stimulation tend to grow into well-adjusted, capable and loving adults. Children who are touch-deprived in infancy show tendencies toward aggressiveness and violent behavior. Naturally, there are countless other variables that influence human behavior besides how we are touched as babies. But it does make sense that during this most vulnerable time of our lives we would form patterns and expectations about how the world works, specifically, about how safe and valued we are in the world, through our skins. What we can do is attempt to include more nurturing touch in the lives of our infants, our children, teenagers, our elders and ourselves. As we grow and develop, our need for touch does not disappear. We continue to benefit from the touch we receive from those who love and care about us. A wide range of body therapies offers another avenue for receiving the benefits of human touch; they can dissipate accumulated stress and activate relaxation within the body. Touch therapies offer a way to integrate the benefits of human touch in our lives.

Don’t Touch That!

Touch can get us in trouble because it is integrated with the human senses.

That is why we need to pay attention to the wisdom of 1 Corinthians 7:1-2

1 It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. KJV What starts with a touch can quickly lead to immorality. As an additional warning of the power of touch 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 states, 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

KJV

Once we touch something we tend to want it. Touch opens the pathway to desire, craving, lust and so forth. There are many things we do not need and especially if we are going to be sensitive to God

Jesus touched people.

  • He touched blinded eyes and they were opened
  • He touched the bier or coffin of a dead man and the dead man arose
  • He touched the hand of Peter’s mother and her fever left her

On the mount of Transfiguration the disciples heard a heavenly voice and were afraid, and Jesus touched them and said be not afraid. They were calmed and talked to Him. Jesus touched a leper and made him clean. Mark 6:56 says, 56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole. KJVLuke 8:43-48 tells us the story about the woman with the issue of blood. 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. KJV Yes Jesus laid hands on people. Luke 4:40 says, 40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. KJV Jesus told His followers to lay hands on people. Mark 16:18 says, . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. KJV When Peter cut the ear off of the Roman centurion Jesus touched it and healed him. Luke 22:50-51 tells how it happened. 50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. KJV Hebrews 4:15 assures us that we can touch Jesus.. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; KJV That word touched is the Greek word for empathy and compassion. Jesus is touched with empathy and compassion for us.

The Problem and the Solution

The root cause of very problem experienced in churches by and between believers is a consequence of people being out of personal touch with God. If we do not touch Him there are parts of us that die. Don’t you want to touch Him?

  • It is not enough to have head knowledge
  • It is not enough to come to church
  • We need to touch Him

Once you touch Jesus it creates a desire for Him and His presence. The solution to our problems is the opposite of the root cause of our problems. If you touch God deeply, regularly and consistently He will resolve other issues and problems in your life. The good news is God is available to be touched right now. God wants you to touch Him . . . and know He is real! Just like Thomas . . . feel the real and know for certain Jesus is alive!

Straight to the Mouth – Revisited

Previously I mentioned that things babies pick up tend to go straight to the mouth. Just as a baby discovers his or her new world by taste and feel through the mouth and tongue, a similar experience occurs when you are feeling and discovering God. Acts 2:1-4 records, 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. KJV Acts 2:11 reveals to us that thse brand new babes in the Lord were speaking forth the wonderful works of God! It is amazing what that initial touch of the tongue accomplished in the Book of Acts.

Conclusion

At the point of conversion Christians need to learn to touch God. It should be a primary part of new convert care. Everyone needs to learn:

  • How to pray and fast
  • How to study God’s Word
  • How to spend quality time with God
  • To press forward in the Spirit for special experiences
  • To learn prayer, praise and liberty

If this discipline of touching God is not developed early on then the Christian will never attain their potential in God. The possibility of spiritual death is increased. Everyone must understand the necessity of regular and consistent touches from God. Go and touch Jesus. For more of Dr. Fred Childs interesting insights, articles, podcasts, and webinars please visit www.churchmentor.net.

Are You Being Followed?

Leadership 1 Comment

1Th 1:6  “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in muchinfluence affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:”

A young upstart in the ministry once asked an elder more seasoned minister, “When will I know that I am leader in the Church?” With that the seasoned minister responded simply, “When you are being followed.”

Leadership in God’s church is not position.  It is not having or being in an office.  Being elected by a group of people neither actually causes you to become their leader.  They may have elected or chosen you to do a job, but that does not mean that you are their leader.  Leadership only happens in the church when you are being followed.

Jesus’ followers literally followed him through deserts, mountains, and stormy seas.  No obstacle was too great for the opportunity to be near to the master.  Here is where many church leaders find out if they’ve made the grade or not.  One statistic tells us that very often after a building program, many pastors too often leave a church to find another pastorate.  Why is that?  Could it be that the parishioners didn’t like the color of the paint the pastor chose?  Did they not like the way he conducted the business of the project?  Was too much money spent?  Too little accomplished?  Wrong decisions?  Bad decisions?  A leader will know if he is truly a leader if he followed even after a storm.

When Jesus’ followers were in the ship that was being tossed by the waves, they cried out to their leader and he healed the situation they were in.  Here is where an elected person becomes a leader of people.  Knowing what to do in the storm will validate your leadership.  Knowing how to act in a crisis elevates you above your fellow.  Not everybody is capable of making tough decisions.   Only a leader worth following knows when and how to step to the forefront and take charge of a chaotic situation.

Great leaders are not born.  They are not elected.  They are developed.  What made Jesus the greatest leader of people of all time was His desire to sacrifice Himself for the sake of those who followed Him.  People will follow those who are self sacrificing.  They will lean towards those who put the good of the people first and foremost.

People will never follow a leader who is self-serving for long.  Self-serving leaders are thieves of the people.  They take without giving.  They demand when they themselves offer nothing.

Are you being followed?  When you look behind you, do you see people who’s lives are being shaped by your example? Do you see other leaders coming up under your ministry?  Are there people who would follow you anywhere you went?  Would they follow you through a stormy sea or a hot desert experience?  If so, you are truly a leader.  If not, you may need to ask yourself some important questions.

The answer to these questions lay within yourself.  A leader who is not truly being followed can never blame others for not following him.  Nor can he demand them to follow.  People will only follow those they trust.  They will only follow those they respect.  They will not go very far with someone who hurts them or treats them small.  However, they will go to any length and give any amount to someone who has earned their trust, respect and love.

For some leaders this kind of followership happens very quickly.  For others, it takes a lifetime.  The adversities that a congregation goes through and the response of it’s leaders may well be the determining factor here.

Would you follow you?  Think about this for a moment.  What kind of leadership have you followed in the past?  What did you require from those you followed after?  Do you have those same traits?   Do you have a similar character?  Are you being followed?

The Cost Of Compromise

Leadership 2 Comments
One of the many amazing stories in the Bible is the story of the twin sons of Isaac, Jacob andcost-of-compromise Esau. Although twins, these two boys were radically different. Esau loved the outdoors and became a hunter. Jacob preferred to stay at home and learned how to cook. Esau was born first and was covered in hair. Jacob was born second with a death grip on his brother’s heel. Esau became a daddy’s boy. Jacob was sheltered by his mother. Without sharing the entire story, I will fast forward to a part of the story that has always bothered me.Note the four statements in bold type;

Gen 27:18-24

18 And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?

19 And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.

20 And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son?And he said, Because the Lord thy God brought it to me.

21 And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son,whether thou be my very son Esau or not.

22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.

23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.

24 And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.

Though Isaac had intended to bless his oldest son, Esau, Jacob deceives his father and comes in Esau’s place to receive the birthright. From the moment that Jacob begins to speak, Isaac is suspicious that something is wrong. The first suspicion comes from how quickly ‘Esau’ manages to go out and kill an animal, bring it back, clean it, cook it and then serve it to his father. The second suspicion comes from Jacobs’s voice. As soon as Jacob speaks, Isaac immediately recognizes the voice of his second son. The Scriptures show that on at least three occasions, Isaac questions the identity of Jacob. He knew something was wrong. He smelled a rat. Yet, instead of investigating any further, Isaac goes ahead and gives the birthright to Jacob.

This is very strange and bothersome behavior from Isaac. Not only because he knew something was wrong, but also because Esau was his favorite son. Considering the love he had for Esau why did Isaac bless Jacob instead? Why did he not investigate to make sure he was blessing the right son? Why didn’t he ask more questions? Why didn’t Isaac seek the truth? Very strange indeed.

There can only be one answer; Isaac somehow felt that Jacob should receive the blessing instead of Esau. Isaac ignored further examination of his son because it would have revealed the truth, and the truth would have prevented Isaac from bestowing the blessing on Jacob. Not only did Jacob deceive, but also Isaac ignored the deception because it went along with what he really desired. Isaac compromised his son Esau.

In ministry, we have to be very careful about ignoring right information and truth just because it doesn’t fit our plans or desires. We must seek out truth at all costs. Even if it invalidates our desires. Every leader and minister will be presented with situations where if a blind eye is turned, it might seem to benefit them or their ministry, but everything has a cost involved. One must always consider the cost of compromise.

Even though Jacob became part of Israel’s promise, it could have been Esau who married Rachel. Instead, Esau ended up marrying daughters of Ismael and became the father of the Edomite nation. It was the king of Edom who refused to allow Israel to pass through her land on their way to Canaan. In the time of Nebuchadnezzar, the Edomites helped plunder Jerusalem and killed her citizens. Out of Edom came the nation of Amalek. The Amalakites were a constant threat to Israel over hundreds of years killing many of her people. King Herod can also be traced back to the nation of Edom. Herod attempted to kill Jesus and his family later had a hand in doing so. I could continue but I think you get the idea. It could have been Abraham, Isaac and Esau instead of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is always a cost to compromise. Is it worth sacrificing your integrity just to get your way? Is it worth ruining your good name and your future legacy just so your desires are met? Is it worth the cost to future generations? Not at all. We don’t always realize the cost but hear me, the cost is always greater than we can see. Make sure to seek out truth. Be sure to seek out what is right and what is true even if you don’t get exactly what you desire. Be sure to count the cost of compromise, it will pay off in the end.

The Principle of Momentum

Leadership, Motivation 2 Comments

Why Shouldn’t We Succeed?principle-of-momentum

· God wants you to succeed in ministry!

· God desires that you experience great revival in your church and ministry!

· God has guaranteed that the church will prevail!

The powerful force of excitement and energy in the Church doesn’t have to stop or slow down. You CAN maintain Ministry Momentum.

David Church and I have set out to build a resource together that would challenge what most people think about church leadership and keeping the momentum going when things start to fade, and people lose interest.

In Momentum in Ministry you’ll learn:

1. Keys to consistent growth.

2. How to become the Church that God Designed.

3. How to attain everything that God has promised.

4. How to create momentum.

5. How to maintain momentum.

6. How to use timing to your advantage.

7. How to build momentum for your altar service.

You won’t be left wondering how to keep the momentum going. You won’t struggle with so many highs and lows.

You will learn how to implement new and old ideas that will translate into a constantly growing and energetic church.

Notice the How’s. This book is not a lot of talk about what we need to do, rather it is a ‘how to’ guide that gives many practical applications of ministry that translate into results.

We all go to conferences every year where we get convicted and stirred up in our hearts to do more for God, and that is awesome, we need that.

We need to leave those conferences with passion and desire. Yet how often do you go home intending to do what you heard at a conference, only to discover you don’t really know how?

I guarantee that you teach concepts of momentum indirectly all the time. Momentum, or the loss of it, is something that we all deal with every day. Now you can address it directly! It is something that must be discussed!

Even if you are experiencing success, if you don’t understand why you are experiencing success, you are only a short time away from losing it!

You’ll gain valuable insights from two pastors who’ve seen revival within the church. Ministers who’ve seen momentum die off, and momentum build up and sustain itself. We’ve included biblical references backing up every statement and showing real life examples within ministries and businesses. Businesses like the Chrysler Corporation, The Coca-Cola bottling company and more.

God has empowered the Church to go forward and continue, regardless of outside influences or forces that would try to stop it. The Bible states that God never changes.He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! God will have a Church!

Could you use more Momentum in your Ministry?

Then you would benefit from the highly-sought-after book Momentum In Ministry. This book is recommended for every Pastor, Leader or Leadership team in the Church. Along with the book, which is available on paperback as well as ebook format, there are also resources such as PowerPoints, Teaching lessons, and Video sessions. These are must-haves to help the Pastor mentor his/her leadership team into the dynamic leadership team that God has intended for them to be. You can view the Momentum In Ministry book and teaching materials at http://www.pastoralhelps.com/momentum-in-ministry/


If you purchase Momentum In Ministry and don’t agree that the material will benefit your church, simply email us at customerservice@pastoralhelps.com and we will arrange for a complete refund, no questions asked.

The Seven Habits of the Highly Ineffective Pastor

Leadership, Ministry Help 4 Comments

What would an ineffective pastor look like? Here are seven habits ofineffective-pastor highly ineffective pastors and how you can avoid them.

  • Be reactive. Effective people are proactive. They take responsibility for their lives and aren’t swayed by their physical or social environments. Being proactive means responding by choices and values, not by emotions or circumstances.
  • Focus only on short-term results. A good habit says, “Begin with the end in mind.” This attitude will help you keep a heavenly perspective throughout your day-to-day work.
  • Do the least important thing first. An effective pastor will look at all the things in his or her life and prioritize them. The people or items at the top of that list will receive the pastor’s first and best attention.
  • Think win/lose. Truly effective pastors will look for win/win solutions. They find agreements that benefit and satisfy everyone involved. This principle is especially valuable with staff and volunteers.
  • Seek first to be understood, then to understand. The best way to help people and run ministry effectively is by listening – actively, empathetically, and completely – before rushing to find a solution.
  • Keep working until your saw is so dull it couldn’t cut butter. To be an effective pastor and person, you need to keep a balance between the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your life. Stopping occasionally to “sharpen your saw” will allow you to work more quickly and efficiently without wearing you down.
  • You only need to change one area of your life. Effective people know that all of these ideas work in balance together to create a synergized life.
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