Ever want to just go off on someone?
Ever just want to throw in the towel and let it all out?
Think you’ve got it bad?
Evidently… not as bad as this Japanese politician.
I hope you handle your pastoral stress better than this guy:
Have you ever lost it?
Last week we had to make the very tough decision to transition a number of people off of staff from our ministry support departments, as well as some staff at a few of our local churches. These are all faithful people who served and worked hard for the church, and we regret that we had to make these changes. If you know any of them, please reach out to offer your prayers and support during this transition, and please continue to pray for the church as we navigate through a tough season.
At this week’s Staff Chapel, we had the opportunity to invite these friends back so that we could honor them and pray over them. It was a meaningful time of worship and reflection as a church family. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to show these staff members how deeply we care about them and appreciate the contribution they have made toward Jesus’ mission at Mars Hill. While they may no longer be on staff, we love them and they are still a part of our church family.
According to a report in the Seattle PI, nine staff members were let go in the transition.
This is kind of interesting… only because I received FOUR separate emails from Mars Hill in the past few weeks asking for donations and saying that they need my help to close out their fiscal year (that ended June 30).
In fact, I’m not sure how I initially got on the Mars Hill email list, but it looks like I’ve been on it since August of 2012. Past emails have included an announcement about Mars Hill’s music label, Christmas plans, and other generic press release type emails.
But the financial emails didn’t start until June. In fact, the first email arrived on June fifth with the simple subject line: “Thank you!” It was a short email from MH XP Sutton Turner thanking me (as part of the Mars Hill Family) for my support and show me some of the things that are happening because of my giving. (Note: I’ve never given to MH).
Then on June 18, I received another email entitled “Fiscal Year End Approaching”: “Please consider making a gift”.
It seemed to get more serious as time when on: On June 26: “But I need to hear from you by midnight on Monday night.”
And finally on June 30: “Mars Hill’s fiscal year ends today at midnight. Will you please make a special gift to Mars Hill so that we can end the year in a strong financial position?… But I need to hear from you by midnight tonight.”
Obviously, there is a real financial need right now at MH. And let’s face it, it’s been a tough year.
It is interesting to me that the layoffs came a week BEFORE the fiscal year ended. That’s not a good sign.
I’m a friend of Mars Hill; and have met Mark a couple times at events that we’ve been a part of together. I wish them no ill.
QUESTION: Has your church ever had to lay-off multiple employees? Have you ever tried to lead through a major financial crisis? What did you learn? And how to you turn things around so that the bad situation doesn’t snowball out of control?
You’ve always heard that the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
Well, many times as leaders, we only try to oil the squeaky things… the things that are going badly. The more badly they go, the more attention we pour into them.
When things go badly, we call meetings, we hold accountable, and we take action. Many times we kick the cat; knowing that we have to hold someone responsible for something that went terribly wrong (because we know that it’s our butt on the line at the next elder’s meeting).
But maybe we should stop being so stinking reactionary all the time.
Sure… you have to hold accountable; and you have to deal with the bad.
But when was the last time you handled something urgently when it went really, really well?
Dan Rockwell (aka The Leadership Freak) contrasts how leaders handle the failures and the successes; and gives your twelve pretty simple ways that you can actively act on the great things that are happening all around you:
A good leader celebrates success just as much as they learn from failures.
How are you doing in this area?
I dare you to watch this three minute video. Give it your full attention. Then we’ll discuss.
Well… how hard was it?
While this video may be kind of a parody of our current culture, there is much truth in it.
And how we communicate as leaders.
It is VERY hard for many to concentrate on anything for very long.
For me, it’s not so much hard to concentrate. I can do that. I have trouble unplugging and relaxing.
For those of us in the church, we do have to be sensitive to how people communicate today.
While many people are communicating best in snippits (i.e. 140 characters or a single picture); we are asking people to give us their undivided attention for an hour and fifteen minutes on Sunday mornings.
For many people, it’s hard.
In the day and age of short; we still preach, uninterrupted for 30, 40, even 50 minutes, trying to pop the word ‘gospel’ in there as many times as possible.
And that’s all good.
But understand, it’s a stretch for many people.
People with phones buzzing in their pockets.
It’s killing them. You’re killing them.
What am I suggesting?
I have no idea.
But here are a couple of things, just off the top of my head:
1. Why not try this week to tweet your sermon. Take this week’s message, however long it is, and find 20-30 tweetable moments. Wake-up call: if you can’t find 20-30 tweetable moments in your sermon… well… that’s not a good omen.
2. Take 30 minutes and record 3-5 short youtube videos to engage your Sunday attenders throughout the week. Just a webcam and 30 minutes required. Post them to youtube; and add them to facebook and twitter.
Look. I’m not suggesting you compromise the gospel.
I’m not even suggesting that you cut the time of your sermon back by 20% (although I hear a roaring crowd from the congregation on that one) :) I’m just asking you to consider how your people are communicating and consuming; and try to fit your message into that mold so that you can have a greater impact on their lives.
After all… isn’t that why you got into this job?
Have you ever met a pastor who is a real ‘jerk’?
Professor of Philosophy Eric Schwitzgebel has an actual academic theory about jerkiness. After much study, here is Schwitzgebel’s working definition:
The jerk culpably fails to appreciate the perspectives of others around him, treating them as tools to be manipulated or idiots to be dealt with rather than as moral and epistemic peers.
In other words… try this on for size: Are you surrounded by fools? Are you the only reasonable person around? Then maybe you’re the one with the jerkitude?
Youch. I think we all feel like this from time to time.
All drivers are idiots.
All airlines and every single one of their employees are inept.
My board (substitute ‘staff’, ‘elders’ ‘attenders’) just don’t get it.
Schwitzgebel writes a fascinating, rather short piece on jerkitude. It’s worth the read.
But let’s cut to the chase. Are YOU a jerk? Am I?
Here’s what Eric (I’m tired of typing out his last name) says can help you determine if you’re a real jerk.
(My guess is… you are). [see what I did there?]
How can you know your own moral character? You can try a label on for size: ‘lazy’, ‘jerk’, ‘unreliable’ – is that really me? As the work of Vazire and other personality psychologists suggests, this might not be a very illuminating approach. More effective, I suspect, is to shift from first-person reflection (what am I like?) to second-person description (tell me, what am I like?). Instead of introspection, try listening. Ideally, you will have a few people in your life who know you intimately, have integrity, and are concerned about your character. They can frankly and lovingly hold your flaws up to the light and insist that you look at them. Give them the space to do this, and prepare to be disappointed in yourself.
Done well enough, this second-person approach could work fairly well for traits such as laziness and unreliability, especially if their scope is restricted: laziness-about-X, unreliability-about-Y. But as I suggested above, jerkitude is not so tractable, since if one is far enough gone, one can’t listen in the right way. Your critics are fools, at least on this particular topic (their critique of you). They can’t appreciate your perspective, you think – though really it’s that you can’t appreciate theirs.
To discover one’s degree of jerkitude, the best approach might be neither (first-person) direct reflection upon yourself nor (second-person) conversation with intimate critics, but rather something more third-person: looking in general at other people. Everywhere you turn, are you surrounded by fools, by boring nonentities, by faceless masses and foes and suckers and, indeed, jerks? Are you the only competent, reasonable person to be found? In other words, how familiar was the vision of the world I described at the beginning of this essay?
If your self-rationalising defences are low enough to feel a little pang of shame at the familiarity of that vision of the world, then you probably aren’t pure diamond-grade jerk. But who is? We’re all somewhere in the middle. That’s what makes the jerk’s vision of the world so instantly recognisable. It’s our own vision. But, thankfully, only sometimes.
It seems to me that jerkiness is really some deviated form of selfishness. And if that’s the case, I am, more often than not, guilty as charged. :)
What about you?
OK… how would YOU answer this question?
John Piper says the following:
Piper gives 12 reasons why you shouldn’t.
One of those reasons is that when if watch Game of Thrones, you are essentially, recrucifying Christ.
Christ died to purify his people. It is an absolute travesty of the cross to treat it as though Jesus died only to forgive us for the sin of watching nudity, and not to purify us for the power not to watch it.
He has blood-bought power in his cross. He died to make us pure. He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession” (Titus 2:14). If we choose to endorse or embrace or enjoy or pursue impurity, we take a spear and ram it into Jesus’s side every time we do. He suffered to set us free from impurity.
What do you think of Piper’s answer?
Do you agree?
An overstatement, or spot on?
Every church leader has their Newman…
And you know exactly who he/she is. :)
You know… the person you find annoying.
The person who’s always foiling your plans.
The person you just don’t care for.
Thing is… you have to work with ‘Newmans’ every week. Maybe they’re on your staff. Maybe they’re on your board.
Hopefully you’re not married to your ‘Newman’.
Who’s YOUR ‘Newman’?
And more importantly… how do you deal with ‘Newmans’ in a ministry context?
OK… go… tell your story.
Today’s post is by Dr. Charles Arn. Charles is a Visiting Professor of Christian Ministry & Outreach at Wesley Seminary. I think you’ll like his practical tips for your next series…
Here’s how to be guaranteed that listeners will eagerly anticipate your next series of messages, waiting to hear your words—and God’s—on the selected topic.
First, some background…
A few years ago the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps asked me to research the attitudes of incoming 18-, 19-, and 20-year old recruits toward religion and church. I interviewed young men and women across mainstream America. One of the questions I asked was, “What is your opinion of church?” Two words came back over and over: boring andirrelevant.
“Relevance” is one of the hallmarks of an effective, contagious church. Attendees who find their church speaking clearly and creatively to life issues not only return, but bring friends. “Relevance” is found in the words and rhythm of songs…in the style and appearance of facilities…in children’s Sunday School and topics in the adult classes. But perhaps more than any other area, relevance must be found in the sermon.
In his book, What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary, veteran pastor James Emery White talks about how to make preaching relevant: “The most important thing has to do with your sermon topics. They should address people’s life issues and questions about the faith… That means you try to bring as much of the counsel of God as you can to them through the door of their interests.”
How do you learn the interests, concerns, and needs of your congregation so that you can connect God’s Word with their world in a relevant way? Rather than guess, why not ask them?
Insert a 3×5 card in each church bulletin or program for the next several weeks, and point it out during the service. Explain that one of your goals, as pastor, is to help the Word of God to be understood and applied in people’s daily lives so that it is relevant to both those in the church, and those in the community. Describe the purpose of the card—to list key life issues they are facing at the moment.
Give listeners time to think about their responses to three questions, and then write them down on the card. At the end of the service attendees should drop their completed “answer cards” in one of several marked boxes on their way out. The cards should, of course, be anonymous.
THE QUESTIONS ?
After the service, collect the cards. Repeat the process for the next two weeks so that people can add additional items, and those who did not attend the previous week can contribute.
On your computer create three different documents (one for each question) and transcribe the responses. (Asking a secretary or volunteer to help may be a better use of your time.)
Then, review the responses to each question and look for common themes. Identify general response categories for each question and make tic marks (IIII) for similar answers. Finally, identify the most frequent responses to each question. Once you have identified what people wonder about…worry about…wish for… you have tapped into relevance.
Your congregation will be interested in the results. On the Sunday after your last survey, share the list and frequency of the responses. A visual illustration or printed document will add interest.
Explain that you will be taking these responses seriously, doing research, and sharing messages in the coming months that speak to these issues. If you are organized enough, print a list of upcoming dates in which the service will address these topics. Encourage members to bring a friend or relative on the day(s) which may be relevant to them.
Ask a group of creative people to help you plan the services. Use the entire service to focus on the issue. Consider drama, a panel discussion, personal testimonies, video clips. You have an hour to address the issue. Remember that the sermon is not the message…the service is the message. Make it a comprehensive and engaging growth experience.
Use the series as an opportunity to invite past visitors, parents of VBS kids, inactive members, and other groups with whom you have a connection. And in this context, communicate to all who come that Christ’s “…grace is sufficient for all your needs” (2nd Cor. 12:9). That’s another name for relevance!
There is no doubt that the subject of homosexuality and same-sex marriage is a hot topic in the church these days, and it have hit fever pitch for some in the United Methodist Church.
Yesterday, suspended UMC pastor Frank Schaefer was reinstated as a pastor. The Pennsylvania minister was suspended about six months ago after officiating his son’s same-sex marriage.
The move had some cheering; and others mad as, well, you know.
First, he was just suspended by a jury of Methodist pastors… for just 30 days.
But when he refused to promise that he would not ever perform another same-sex marriage, he was defrocked.
This is personal for Schaefer. Three of his four children are gay.
Now, according to the LA Times, a nine-person panel of clergy and lay members has determined that that ‘defrocking’ was unlawful. Here’s why: Revoking his credentials “cannot be squared with the well-established principle that our clergy can only be punished for what they have been convicted of doing in the past, not for what they may or may not do in the future” according to the panel.
Schaefer will be moved from PA to the California-Pacific conference where he will work in Student Ministry.
You can tell the amount of acrimony in sectors of the UMC just by reading the Bishop of the California-Pacific Conference’s release on Schaefer’s reinstatement and move to her conference:
I am aware of the fact that these steps on our journey to wholeness may be troubling to some among us. This burdens my heart, but we must be the church of Jesus that excludes no one. I will continue to hold up for all of us the need to be servants of Christ of the highest moral character whether we are straight or gay. At the same time, we must not judge each other on the basis of our gender identity, for we are all created by God and loved by God with the very gender identity God has graciously bestowed upon us.
Rev. Schaefer has much to teach us about what it means to love the children God gives us who happen to be gay. I pray that we will make space for him and his family in our lives and in our hearts as he comes to labor among us.
For those on the other side of this issue, I doubt they feel that Schaefer has anything to teach them. She doesn’t seem to understand that there are a good share of her tribe that feel that it is not possible to live under the highest moral character if you are a practicing homosexual.
We have a lot of United Methodists that read this blog… many on both sides of the issue.
My question… will the Schaefer case turn into some kind of a tipping point ultimately for or against gay marriage in the UMC?
AR – Mountain Home
Young Families Pastor
First Baptist Church, Mountain Home, Arkansas is accepting resumes for a Young Families Pastor. This position is primarily responsible for all adults ages 22-40, and children 6th grade and under. Any married adults or adults under the age of 22 with children are also included. The focus of this position is on reaching and discipling young families. More info…
FL – Celebration
Director of Connections Ministry
Community Presbyterian Church in Celebration, FL is seeking a full-time Director of Connections Ministry. This Director will facilitate the assimilation and integration of church members and visitors into church activities. Responsibilities: Recruit, equip and mobilize volunteers, develop leadership teams and build structures for maximum participation and engagement in the church family; Help develop life group vision incorporating curriculum and a missional component; and Collaborate with existing church leadership to plan, coordinate and grow existing and new programs. More info…
FL – Clearwater
Director of Contemporary Worship
First United Methodist Church of Clearwater, Florida is seeking applicants for the position of Director of Contemporary Worship (DCW). Applicants must have a deep love for Christ and a desire to express his or her faith leading worship in a contemporary format. Experience in leading a praise band and leading worship is required. Two job descriptions are attached in that this position can be either full time or part time depending on the gifts and circumstances of the applicant. If full time the applicant must be able to pair this ministry with leadership of another needed ministry within the church (e.g. Evangelism, Childrens Ministries, etc.). More info…
IL – Wheaton
Director of Worship
First Baptist Wheaton (located in a suburb of Chicago) is seeking a full-timeDirector of Worship to engage and lead by challenging, motivating, and guiding the congregation in their fellowship, discipleship, and evangelism journey through creative means of worship. The Director of Worship is responsible for leading worship, developing worship teams, planning long-term worship objectives and coordinating worship services with the Senior Pastor and the Director of Communications & Technology. They will perform vocally and/or instrumentally as a worship leader in our two Sunday morning worship services. Candidate must have two years of experience and be comfortable with both traditional and contemporary worship, managing a budget, and administering a large roster of volunteers. Salary and benefits commensurate with experience. More info…
MD – Leonardtown, MD
SouthPoint Church is a growing (avg attendance ~1000), non-denominational church in Leonardtown, MD. Located about an hour south of DC, this Chesapeake Bay community offers the best of suburban life with a small-town feel. The music ministry is an integral part of the Sunday morning experience and is valued as more than simply the warm-up act for the message. The purpose of the worship team is to “engage a diverse church to engage God through musical worship.” SouthPoint embraces variety in worship and sets freely move between Hillsong, Israel Houghton, Jesus Culture, William McDowell, and revised hymns. More info…
MI – TROY
High School Director
We’re looking for a high school director who will pour into the lives of students. Create genuine biblical community that transforms students into fully-devoted followers of Jesus. Must have proven experience in leadership, building teams, vision casting and excellent communication skills. Undergraduate degree in related field preferred. Two or more years of a proven track record leading high school students in a church of 2,000 + is preferred. Experience in executing a weekly creative environment is required. Training in leadership and management helpful. Must be able to develop, implement and oversee biblically-based, relevant, engaging and attractional programming for high school students. Build relationships with students throughout the week and establish ongoing presence at major high school campuses. Organize & plan camps, retreats, local & overseas missions experience with current partnerships. Aggressively pursuing personal, spiritual & professional growth. Must have affinity with Kensington Leadership and affirm mission, vision & values of Kensington Church. More info…
MN – Little Canada
Men’s Discipleship & Leadership Facilitator
Discipling and developing men into leaders of undeniable conviction. To advance the mission of RESOLUTE. This position has full facilitator responsibilities as it relates to Cohorts and the administration of the full mission of RESOLUTE. More info…
NJ – Pompton Plains, NJ
Cornerstone Church in Pompton Plains NJ is in search of an intern to fill a part time position as a director for their music team. This is a great opportunity to join the leadership of a growing church replant and provide creative and artistic vision through the further development of our contemporary/progressive musical expression. We are seeking someone who is passionate, responsible, and teachable. He/she must be someone who loves Jesus, loves his church and has a desire to see churches planted through making disciples whose lives are transformed by the Gospel. More info…
NV – Henderson
We are a growing church in Henderson, Nevada. We are connected with a Christian school and so this position could potentially be closer to full time if the applicant was willing to work in the school as well. More info…
NV – Las Vegas
Spanish Ministries Pastor
Freedom Life Grace Church is a new church launching on September 20th in Las Vegas, NV. Our mission is to create engaging environments where people who may feel far from God can learn, trust and follow Jesus. We are looking for passionate people that want to be a part of what God is doing in Las Vegas. If you are interested in making a difference and finding your life’s calling, you may want to consider joining our launch team. We believe that being a part of what God is doing is a calling, it’s a privilege. And above all, it’s a chance to be empowered. More info…
OR – DALLAS
We are looking for a full-time youth pastor with experience leading middle school, high school, and college age students. An energetic and passionate person/couple who love God, love people, and desire to impact a church and community for Christ. We are located in Dallas, Oregon approximately 12 miles outside the capital city of Salem and 45-minutes from the Oregon Coast. Dallas is the seat for Polk county. The population of our city is approximately 15,000 (including surrounding areas over 35,000). We are a church with an average Sunday morning attendance of 225. More info…
PA – Beaver Falls
Pastor/Director of Family Life and Worship
Seminary or equivalent degree preferred. 3-5 years lay or professional ministry experience preferred. Gifts of Leadership, Administration, Teaching, and Evangelism. Excellent relational and interpersonal communication skills. Excellent verbal and written skills. Agrees with the theology and polity of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and CAC bylaws. Willing to enter the Licensing and Ordination process with the Christian & Missionary Alliance. More info…
PA – Pittsburg
Bible Baptist Church of Pittsburgh is seeking a Pastor. Our current pastor is retiring after over 20 years of ministry in our church. We are an independent, fundamental Baptist church of about 40 members in the Pittsburgh suburb of Scott Township. We are a strong bible-believing church which worships God in a traditional worship service with sacred music. We seek a pastor with at least a bachelor’s degree from a Bible College and three years of pastoral experience who will provide strong leadership and a bold vision. More info…
TX – Corpus Christi
Pastor of Worship
Trinity Church of the Nazarene is a church in Corpus Christi, TX located minutes from the various beaches around the city. We are located in a great area of Corpus and have a great opportunity for growth. We currently run around 45 for Sunday worship. We are looking for someone who can successfully lead our congregation into a place in which they experience and encounter the presence of the Holy Spirit. This would be a volunteer position. More info…
TX – Frisco
Hope Fellowship is a multi-site Church with campuses in Frisco and McKinney Tx. Hope is looking for someone to lead the Adventure Kidz ministry on our Frisco East Campus. This position will lead all areas of Children’s Ministry from birth to fifth grade on the campus; overseeing the Early Childhood staff as well as coordinating and ministering to the elementary kids during weekend services. If you are passionate about training the next generation, have experience as a Children’s Pastor, are a high capacity, self motivated leader who can rally a team of staff and volunteers to make a difference in the lives of over 900 children each weekend, we want to talk to you. More info…
TX – Justin
Associate Student Minister
To serve as an associate minister, alongside Senior Student Pastor, to teenagers in 7th through 12th grades. POSITION HOURS: Salaried. Part-time, including Sundays, Wednesday nights, a few days a week in office, as well as other times as required by ministry schedule (occasional weekends, etc.). Summer availability a necessity. Average week would be approximately 25 hours a week. More info…
VA – Fairfax
Full-time Youth Director—Fairfax United Methodist Church in Fairfax, Virginia a suburb of Washington D.C., is seeking a faith-filled individual to foster the spiritual growth of the youth of our congregation and community. This is a growing and multi-faceted ministry that includes mission trips, drama, fellowship, music, and spiritual growth thru study. We desire an experienced candidate who exhibits spiritual leadership, maturity and poses good communication as well as organizational skills. Candidate should have an understanding of United Methodist faith and practice. Salary and benefits are commensurate with experience and qualifications. More info…
VA – Virginia Beach
Courthouse Community United Methodist Church (CCUMC) in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is seeking a person to direct a large, active and mission focused team of youth and adult volunteers who desire to grow deeper in relationship with Christ and the world. This ministry actively supports the vision and goals of CCUMC to “transform the world” and impact the community with the love of Jesus Christ. This is accomplished through large group and small group experiences at the church as well as regular outreach to the most vulnerable in the region and across the country. More info…
WA – Kennewick
The Living Room Community Church was planted in January of 2007. The church is a non-denominational Christian church. We have grown to a weekly atendance of 700 – 1000. We are driven by the passion that we have, to share the great news of Jesus with as many people as possible using culturally, creative and contextual ways. We love what we do and are seeking staff members that are passionate, self-starters and are hungry to help us discover the depth of God’s calling for loving and serving the families and children of our community. More info…
WI – Racine
Harbor Rock Tabernacle is looking for an Associate Pastor to help prayerfully lead and spiritually guide our congregation to love and praise the Lord. He will do this by having a humble, Godly character, and will provide primary pastoral oversight of all aspects of the Worship and Tech Ministry, by giving leadership in the worship services, by training and developing people, and by expanding the growth of Worship Ministry. He will also have primary responsibility for church administration. In cooperation with the Senior Pastor and Elders he will set up administrative systems necessary to advance the church’s mission as well as specific ministry priorities set by the Senior Pastor and Elders. As is necessary in a small growing church, he will also be called upon to use his gifts in other areas of ministry as needed. More info…
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