Category: Blog

Murphy’s Law for Churches: Lessons that Every Minister Needs

  • Church members living 15 miles away will be 15 minutes early and members living within 2.

   blocks will be 15 minutes late.

  • As soon as you pray, babies cry.
  • Church air conditioners and technology seem to rest on Sundays.
  • The probability of the pastor tripping over cords is greater in special holiday services than other times.
  • When the pastor misspeaks during a sermon more people will write it down and remember it more than the best biblical point in the message.

Do any of these situations sound familiar?  I am sure you have more than just these because weird stuff happens on Sundays.  No matter how much we try to be prepared “things” still happen on Sunday more than any other day of the week.  It seems that no amount of formal schooling can prepare us for the many encounters we experience in ministry.

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I Think I Can, I Think I Can: Overcoming the Negative Side Effects of Revitalization

I Think I Can, I Think I Can:

Overcoming the Negative side effects of Revitalization

Everyone has Dark Days: Dark Days of Doubt, Disappointment, Distress, and Depression

Job 30:26, But, when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came.

“I came to you in weakness – timid and trembling.”  1 Cor. 2:3 (TLB)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

4 responses to doubt:

            * Listen to your doubts

Stop calling ourselves names and we start calling on God’s name

* Ignore your doubts

If listening to your doubts makes them big, ignoring them makes them

bigger.  You put them in a corner and pretend they’re not there and

they grow bigger and bigger.

* Lie to your doubts

             * Tell your doubts the Truth & Act on that Truth


  1. My calling is a calling to equip others – I have a purpose!

 Be An Example

       “Do not let anyone treat you as if you are unimportant because you are Do not let anyone treat you as if you are unimportant because you are young.  Instead, be an example to the believers with your words, your actions, your love, your faith, and your pure life.”  1 Tim. 4:12 (NCV)

“And you should follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s.”

“And you should follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s.”    1 Cor. 11:1  (TLB)

If I’m going to be an example to someone (and I am whether I want to be or not, whether I think I deserve it or not, I am) then I may as well follow the best example I have — that’s Jesus Christ.  If I’ll follow Him and make the best attempt I can to follow Him, then those who are following me just might catch some of that and be following Him to.

  1. I am called – My calling qualifies me. My qualifications don’t make me called.

Depend on God.

  Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” 2 Cor. 3:5


One of the main reasons God allows a season of self-doubt to come into my life and your life, is to remind us of the fact that we have to depend on Him.  He’s the one we find our confidence in.

            “… apart from Me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5 (NIV)

Genuine confidence has to be built on the genuine truth.  The truth is I am inadequate for a lot of life’s needs.  I can’t meet all of my own needs.

            “I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.”  Phil. 4:13 (NCV)

As Pastors we live between two worlds constantly; what we know God has spoken and what is currently taking place.  That gap is the gap of self-doubt.

It’s in that gap that the preparation for ministry and the ability to handle that ministry is formed. If we skip that gap or refuse to learn in that gap then I forfeit the blessing or I cannot handle the blessing.

  1. Go back to your abilities and gifts…Don’t try to be someone you are not.

 Use Your Gifts. Strengthen your gifts. DON’T RELY SOLELY ON   


       “I remind you to keep using the gift God gave you when I laid my hands on “I remind you to keep using the gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.  Now let it grow, as a small flame grows into a fire2 Tim. 1:6 (NCV)

During a season of self-doubt, two great temptations come into our lives, as regards to God’s gifts.  One is the temptation to be an imitator.  The other is the temptation to be a spectator.

            “Do not neglect your gift…”  1 Tim. 4:14 (NIV)

            “Each one would use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”

1 Pet. 4;10 (NIV)

Decide to Grow

       “Cultivate these things.  Immerse yourself in them.  The people will all see Cultivate these things.  Immerse yourself in them.  The people will all see you mature right before their eyes!”  !”  1 Tim. 4:15 (TM)

       “Grow in spiritual strength and become better acquainted with our Lord and “Grow in spiritual strength and become better acquainted with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  2 Pet. 3:18 (TLB)

“With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.”  Eph. 3:20 (NCV)

Decide which voice you are going to listen to

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Build It. Do It. Start It.

Build It.   Start it.   Do It.


Steps You Can Take Right Now

“In an uncertain present, old strategies sink the future.”

Talk about a case study in the work of renovation, Joshua following Moses is a good study. Every renovating pastor serves in the shadow of a former pastor.  Unless you are a church planter, you will not be the first guy on the scene.

We, like Joshua, follow the work of someone before us.

From Joshua we learn timeless principles that can help us all kick-start a new work in an existing church.

From the words of God to Joshua, we learn how to navigate the process of turning people around and focusing them back on their mission.

Every church that needs a “major change effort” has leadership who waited too long to make change.

Radical change means you’ve been out of touch with reality too long. You’ve been hoping the past will return to validate obsolete strategies and methods.

“In an uncertain present, old strategies sink the future.”

 Let’s Build It – Do It – Start It

5 Steps You Can Take Right Now


Step 1. Profound Step of Humility

Humble Leaders care about building the future. Arrogant leaders care about protecting the past.

Trying harder at things that do not work only gets you more stuck.

Honor the past – then read it’s obituary.

Humility enables brutal honesty – “Moses is dead.”

Humility allows leaders to evaluate the future based on purpose not the past.


Humility asks:

1 – Why are we here?

2 – What are we doing that impacts the future?

3 – What are we doing that distracts and/or detracts from the mission?

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What is the Christians response to tragedy and evil?

There has been an escalation in national tragedies in recent days. These tragedies always evoke the need to know why, prompting all of us to search for answers and explanations. As followers of Christ, we desire to seek and find these answers just as the rest of the world does; however, our search is guided by the unique hope found only in the saving life and message of Jesus Christ, whereas others seek the same answers aimlessly. The challenge comes when we as Christians are called upon to articulate this hope and live out our faith. So, what is the Christian’s response to tragedy, evil and hate?


First, according to our convictional beliefs Christians do not have to live with “headline hysteria.”


Our faith as defined in the Bible tells us that our world will become darker as the day of the Lord draws closer. These recent acts, although shocking, should not be surprising. A quick study of how the early church was started shortly after Christ’s resurrection and ascension sets the standard for living out our faith in a world seeking to reconcile life without God in the equation.


The early church was started in a time of political corruption, institutional religion, hostility, fear, and accusations against the followers of Christ. In the midst of all that we still see a great time of power, boldness and a movement of God. Early Christians were familiar with times of hostility, fear, hatred and violence. They found a place for their voice of faith, a voice of hope, in the midst of fear and chaos.


Today, we are seeing the struggle of human nature trying to figure itself out. Human nature has always struggled with itself. Philosophers, psychologists, and teachers have cultivated many theories on human nature and how it can help instead of harm, but none of them ultimately offer the answer needed to provide hope and redemption for mankind.


The human condition is a fallen condition. We are a corrupt, depraved and sinful people. None of our efforts, laws, feelings or actions can save us.


We are seeing the result of a naturalistic lifestyle.


When my feelings determine how I act, I will then act in a way that seems right to me, and no one can or should tell me differently – to do so is to hate me or judge me or stereotype me.

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Stronger Service

Stronger Service

Here is a small sample of training you can offer this fall as you train leaders for a new season of serving.

(You can customize this to any area of your church)

Let’s equate our time of training to that of cellular service with our smartphones.

Benefits of smartphones and Cellular service:

1 – Communication
2 – Information
3 – Entertainment
4 – Connectivity

Drawbacks with smartphones and cellular service:

1 – Communication: Sometimes texts, posts or feeds don’t convey the
right message.
2 – Apps that don’t work
3 – Distractions as a result from entertainment
4 – Loss of Connection: dropped calls, poor coverage.

Elements of Stronger Service:

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4 Signs That Your Church Has A Culture of Giving

4 Signs that your church has a culture of giving

  1. Leadership believes in it.
  2. Resources: people, time, buildings and budgets are maximized for ministry impact.
  3. Stories of change and impact are often shared.
  4. You see an increase in those serving in the church.

More to come next week.  I am teaching a group of pastors next week on, “How To Create a Culture of Giving In Your Church” – I can’t give it away just yet.

Spurgeon on Church Growth

This works!

My good ministering brother, have you got an empty church? Do you want to fill it? I will give you a good recipe, and if you will follow it, you will, in all probability, have your chapel full to the doors.

Burn all your manuscripts, that is No. 1. Give up your notes, that is No. 2. Read your Bible and preach it as you find it in the simplicity of its language. And give up all your Latinized English. Begin to tell the people what you have felt in your own heart, and beseech the Holy Spirit to make your heart as hot as a furnace for zeal. Then go out and talk to the people. Speak to them like their brother. Be a man amongst men. Tell them what you have felt and what you know, and tell it heartily with a good, bold face; and, my dear friend, I do not care who you are, you will get a congregation.

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Let’s Do This. Leading In Spite of Fear

Let’s Do It. Leading in spite of fears

In the early years of the pastorate I’m not sure I knew what fear was. I was a leading machine, or at least I thought I was. Here’s what I mean: As a young pastor my eyes were wide open to the possibilities and my heart was ready to fulfill the calling. I did not see a reason why the church I was leading could not and would not grow.

As the years passed I was surprised to discover that not everyone wants the church to grow. I was and still am shocked that many church members value the bylaws more than the scriptures, in fact they can quote more sections of bylaws than verses of scripture. Many of our churches have people that will die for the past and tradition instead of reaching new followers and securing the churches future.

So, it did not take long before FEAR found it’s way into my heart and into my ability to make decisions. After a few bad business meetings, special called meetings and learning of disgruntled-mumbling members who had “church in the hallways” I developed a fear based leadership style.

Almost every leader I talk to struggles with fear. Fear is not something you can follow. Leading out of fear kills courage, slows progress and disables direction.

Many leaders who are led by fear and are leading out of fear are taking their church in a direction – the wrong direction.

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Churchless and You Lost Me – books by Barna and Kinnaman

The lastest books from Barna and Kinnaman, Churchless and You Lost Me, are must reads. I cannot put them down. The information is spot on and for our church very affirming.  For the last two years I have been leading the church I serve in the area of revitalization.  I have trained hundreds of pastors in this area. For me, it’s a three year commitment of revitalization. We just completed year one and we will begin year two January 1 of 2015.

The annual theme for the first year was, Step Up, Step In, Step Out.  Stronger is the theme for year two. We announced this past October the theme and added what we wanted to emphasize.  The emphasis for 2015 is that we want our church to; Think Biblically, Behave Biblically and Contextualize Biblical Teaching in Their Lives. Upon reading Barna and Kinnaman we were elated and affirmed. These books confirm what we suspected. Now, at this point we are just excited – we are still trying put solutions to perplexing situations.  We don’t have the answers – but at least we have a direction.

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Bring Back Revivals

As a kid I grew up in a great Christian home. My dad served as a part-time music director and my mom taught High School girls Sunday School.  I was always at church.  I loved it.  I have great memories of church revivals and listening to my Dad sing in many southern gospel groups. I have so many memories of church revivals. Gospel singing, covered dish meals and  multiple offerings taken until enough money was raised. I, along with my family, spent many nights at numerous revivals. Read more