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Some things to consider when planning church activities.
By: James Smith
People are very busy, don’t burden them with mere activities.
- Many full time church leaders do not understand the time constraints of the working saint and their family.
- Many homes are two income homes where families seldom have time for one another.
- God and church should be at the center of our lives, however church leadership needs to realize that people need a break once in a while as well.
- We live in a different world than we did 30 years ago and the family unit is suffering as a result.
- It would be a good exercise for church leadership to see how they can cut the church calendar 20% by removing unproductive activities.
- Often a meeting can be held shortly after church rather than have people set aside another evening of the week to attend.
Church activities should have a purpose.
- Just because you did it last year is not a good reason to do it this year.
- Kill the sacred cow!
- Does the event promote evangelism?
- Will souls be won as a result of it?
- Will the body be strengthened because of this event?
- If not, consider something that will or give them a break by deleting that event and moving on to the next one.
Don’t have a meeting just to have a meeting.
- If you have no clear direction for the meeting or there is not immediate need for one, don’t have it.
- Wait until you have the agenda thoroughly thought and planned out and then announce a meeting.
- Accomplish something at every meeting and your people will feel like coming to the meeting was worth their sacrifice of time.
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Momentum is defined as “mass in motion.” All objects have mass; therefore, if an object of mass is moving, then it has momentum.
The amount of momentum an object has depends on two things:
1. The weight of the object that is moving.
2. The speed of the object that is moving.
In terms of an equation, the momentum of an object is equal to the mass of the object times the speed or velocity of the object.
Momentum can also be measured by its direction. This is called linear momentum because now it has direction as well as magnitude.
Momentum occurs when a force that is greater than the resistance to the object is applied.
Momentum is a conserved quantity, meaning that the total momentum of any closed system (one not affected by outside forces) cannot change. Here on Earth, gravity is the outside force that comes to mind for most of us. Gravity is the force that gives weight to objects and mass on Earth. The Earth's mass creates a gravitational pull on all objects near its surface. Anything on or near the surface of the Earth such as planes, trains, and automobiles, must use a force that is greater than gravity for them to begin to move, and to keep moving. Once they are moving, they have created their own momentum. In order to sustain this momentum, the forces that started that momentum must continue to operate, or momentum will decrease and eventually stop.
Momentum is a force more powerful than we realize and it greatly affects our lives. Yet, it’s not something that we consciously ponder or try to figure out.
As we address momentum in ministry, remember that it always takes an outside force for momentum to start, maintain, and to stop!
In these lessons, we will address and discuss the outside forces that constantly threaten the continuance of momentum in the Church.
The Force of Momentum
Momentum is a powerful force. Just as momentum works in the natural world, momentum works in our ministries and spiritual lives.
Yet, it is rarely talked about.
· The loss of momentum takes place in churches daily all around the world.
· This loss causes untold disappointment and frustration.
· A minister with great passion and vision will experience only so many disappointments and frustrations before they give in to discouragement, even doubting themselves and their calling.[ read more...]
In the past, I have written on church trouble from the angle of people in the congregation who found great enthusiasm for tormenting pastors until they finally ran them off. The religious landscape is littered with men who no longer pastor churches and gave up the calling of a ministry because of a situation where they found themselves in great contention with the hidden powers that ran the church. If you are interested you may read those old Barnabas Blog posts from a couple of years ago (Part 1 & Part 2). Since writing those posts, I have observed a few more of these unfortunate situations as they unfolded.
On the other hand, there are also churches that have had endure terrible abuses at the hands of heavy-handed, manipulative, and dark pastors who fall into the category of being a spiritual abuser.
I must say from the outset that this kind of activity to me is totally foreign because of the environment that I grew up in with my own pastor (and now father-in-law) Joe Patterson. Because of his spiritual leadership, I grew up with the idea that the church was the most incredible, warm, and safe place on the earth. It was only after I begin to travel around a bit and grew up some spiritually and mentally that I was exposed to the dark side of the church and ministry. To be quite frank with you, it was a bit unnerving and initially faith-jarring.[ read more...]
Any licensed or ordained minister in the U.S. who performs ministerial duties and who is employed by the church qualifies for a housing allowance which is a great tax benefit. Housing allowances are not taxable to federal or state income taxes, so you can save taxes by utilizing the housing allowance. In general the rules are as follows.
To have a housing allowance, you must have a resolution pre-authorizing the housing allowance. A pastor cannot designate his own housing…it must be done by either the church board or the church membership. The amount designated goes to pay all housing expenses: rent or house payment, utilities, taxes, insurance, repairs & maintenance, upkeep, association dues, furnishing & appliances (purchase or repair). Any expenditure that is for the upkeep of the house you live in is included in the housing allowance.
The housing allowance is ONLY for your primary residence, not any other vacation home, etc. The allowance is paid by church funds as a portion of the overall compensation of the minister. The housing allowance used cannot exceed the actual expenses incurred for the housing expenses. The amount paid toward the house payment cannot exceed the fair rental value of the home.
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Leadership seems to be the buzzword of our times. Bookstores now have multiple rows upon rows of books concerning this particular subject. Some of the content is very good and can help a person to hone their management skills and work toward becoming self-disciplined in a manner that will prove good for the organization that they are serving. I personally have benefited from some of the secular leadership books that I have read over the years. Despite all of these necessary and good resources only a small, in fact, microscopic amount of these books address spiritual issues in the life of the leader.
There aren’t any spiritual leadership concepts given in the books that Jim Collins has written. Patrick Lencioni does not address the spiritual side of a man who wants to build a Fortune 500 company. Peter Drucker’s works have almost elevated him posthumously to an exalted messiah among the leadership gurus of the last century. If we are not careful, there can be a tendency to think that we can build a church the same way that Steve Jobs made Apple successful. Once a spiritual leader buys into that particular idea that he can build a spiritual church with the same techniques that a profit-driven company is built, he deceives himself and he will create spiritual mayhem with the sheep he is meant to feed.
Spiritually abusive leaders are often very ambitious and driven toward success. It is important to understand the motives that drive men in spiritual leadership because our motives say much about our true intentions. Gary McIntosh in his book, Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership, identifies five types of leadership styles that lead toward tendencies to be spiritually abusive. The compulsive leader is characterized by being status conscious, looking for reassurance and approval from those in authority. He will have a tendency to try to control activities and keep order at all times doing this by being an extreme workaholic. They can be excessively moralistic, conscientious, and judgmental. He may have an angry and rebellious attitude but will repress his true feelings and hold in the anger and resentment. When these dark emotions turn on the church, the atmosphere immediately turns into one of control and extreme authoritarianism.
There are certain traits that usually show up in the preaching style of a compulsive leader. He will frequently be a gifted and charismatic speaker but has the tendency to minimize any impact of the Scriptures unless they are going to serve his own agenda. He will also be the hero of all of his stories and listeners will be “amazed” at his feats in personal outreach/evangelism, prayer schedule, and devotion to the Scriptures. He may even say something like this; “I am God’s appointed authority in your life. If you oppose me you’re opposing God.” He will almost have the capacity to turn himself into a rock star for a lack of a better description. He leads people to follow him instead of the Lord.
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"Today I yield the floor to Rev. D.E.Haymon. I came across this wonderful article this week and with his permission would like to share it with you. If you have an article that would be an encouragement to our ministerial audience, please feel free to forward it for consideration. "
“Dealing With Self- Doubt”
We wouldn’t worry nearly so much about what others think of us—if we knew how seldom they did! Our natural social and emotional insecurities sometime make us feel far more vulnerable than we really are. I’m talking about self-consciousness—the feeling that everyone (at least someone) is watching and carefully critiquing every move we make.
Having a clear conscience goes a long way toward giving us self-confidence. When we have nothing to hide, there’s nothing to fear! This Scripture clearly lays it on the line: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). Someone long ago said, “I’d rather go to bed with a mangy dog than try sleeping with a guilty conscience.” Of course, both the filth and stench of the dog, or the conscience, would equally make sleep impossible.
We may safely assume that many of the complaints made in the Psalms, especially those written by David after his sin with Bathsheba, and having hired the assassination of her innocent husband, reflect abject fear. Even after his confession, David carried the scars of his evil deeds. It is especially touching that, to clear himself, he honestly accepted full responsibility. “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight,” he said, then added, “That thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psa. 51:4). Literally, he committed himself to whatever horrible thing God might say or do in judgment for his sin. Oh, that all might exhibit such humility![ read more...]
There are two essential elements of community. 1) interpersonal commitments and 2) a sense of belonging. True community needs both of these elements in operation. Without interpersonal commitments, a sense of belonging would soon be lost as a sense of belonging is derived from and is a result of the interpersonal commitments. Did I loose you there? Ok, let me break it down.
Bob joins a new church. He is warmly welcomed. He soon receives salvation. Bob likes the people and enjoys what he feels in the church. However, as time goes on, Bob soon realizes that since his only real commitment is to come to church, worship and give in the offerings, his commitment level is not very deep. In fact, if Bob only develops a deep relationship with the pastor there, then the Pastor is Bob’s only real reason for staying there. What happens however, when Bob gets upset at the pastor? What happens if the pastor resigns? You and I know what happens, Bob soon leaves. However, what would happen if Bob were was interconnected in a deep level of community or fellowship with 10-12 other people within the church? (Small Group) What if it were possible that Bob could get upset with the Pastor, yet his love for and interconnectedness with these other 10-12 were so deep that he would stay?
Relationships are powerful. A good relationship will build a person up and a bad relationship has the potential to destroy someone. We often fail to realize the value of relationships within the church. We exhaust ourselves with evangelistic efforts and get so excited over the sudden growth or influx of visitors. Yet we then often fail to get those new people into bonding relationships within the church and soon lose them. What we end up with is a person who is easily offended and will have nothing or nobody to stand in their way of an exodus.[ read more...]
Why do preachers preach?
Since the goal of preaching is to change lives, preaching is the ultimate tool for church growth. But how can you be effective in communication through preaching? Listed below are eight questions to ask about your preaching.
1. Who will I be preaching to? Asking questions like, "What are their needs?", "What are their hurts?", and, "What are their interests?", will help us focus on where the people are. Why ask? Because although there are three things that always get one's attention:
- Things that threaten us.
- Things that are unusual.
- Things that we value.
"A preacher can only consistently keep people's attention by focusing on what people value."
2. What does the bible say about their needs? Since the Bible is the Book of Life, is will have the answer to peoples needs! The preacher's task is to show the Bible to be relevant for today's needs.
3. What is the most practical way to say it? Application is the central task in preaching. So, preaching must be practical enough for people to know what to do. How to make preaching more practical?
- Always aim for action.
- Tell the people why.
- Show them how.
Exhortation without explanation leads to frustration. Too often people respond to a message with the expression, "Yes, but how?" In other words, I agree with what you're saying, but "how do I do it?"
4. What is the most positive way to say it? Jesus never tried to convert anyone with anger. Although the Scriptures clearly warn of judgment, negative preaching only produces negative people.[ read more...]
A budget is the tool provided in accounting terms that gives us the proper indication of how we stand in our finances. Too often people refuse to prepare a budget because it seems cumbersome and boring. A budget can be implemented in most homes but give only 1-2 hours per month. That is not much time to have a clear indication as to where you stand financially. Not only will a budget give you a picture of where you stand, it will help you organize your bill paying so you don’t get behind and have to pay late fees, and it will show you the debt you have so you can pay it off systematically.
A budget is a guide that tells you whether you are going in the right direction so that you can expect to meet your financial goals. You may have goals and dreams but if you do not set us guidelines for reaching them and you do not measure your progress periodically, you may end up going so far in the wrong direction you can never get out of financial difficulty.
- A budget lets you control your money instead of your money controlling you.
- A budget lets you control your spending habits.
- A budget allows you to save in a systematic manner.
- A budget allows you to meet your goals.
- A budget will tell you if you are living within your means.
How soon do you begin training people in leadership positions. Well, let me ask you – how long do you wait to help a baby walk? Until they learn to do it on their own? No, early in their development, you take them by the hands, lift them up, steady them and one step at a time you help them learn balance, endurance and strength. If you wait until a person is already involved in leadership to use them, they may have gotten their leadership skills from a source such as the corporate world where the same values are not shared in the church. Start working with people early. Trust them. Some will fail and embarrass you. Others will succeed and astound you.
How soon do you use them in leadership positions? Generally before you feel they are 100% ready. There is always a need for leadership help in the church. You will find that as soon as you begin raising up a person in the church for a position, God will begin raising up a position in the church for a person. The reason many churches do not have certain ministries in their churches is not because the needs are not there for those ministries, it is because there are not people ready to lead those ministries.
How soon do you move someone out of a ministry? As soon as you have another ministry to advance that person to and someone to take their place. Never leave someone in a position for years if that person has the ability to excel into another office or ministry in the church.[ read more...]