Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Heart Starter #3: Tower

Recently, I introduced a tool called "Heart Starters" to use at the beginning of church meetings, youth group, retreats, small group or anywhere else you want to focus a group on God. As I argued in the initial post (Introducing "Heart Starters") I believe that when the church gathers for a meeting it ought to look different than the secular meetings we attend. With this in mind I started creating Heart Starters.

Today I am excited to post a third Heart Starter titled "Towers"! This activity will guide your group into a discussion about the need for cooperation between the parts of the body of Christ. Click on this link for a one page PDF that describes the entire activity.

Heart Starter #3: Tower

Please let me know if you have any questions. Also, I'd love to hear (and share) how people are using these. And, if you have an idea for a Heart Starter, please let me know so we can share it with everyone!


For a complete list of Heart Starters, click on the Heart Starters label below.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Now what?

Last month was Pastor Appreciation Month and people all over the country celebrated their pastors! It was an awesome month for me for two reasons. First, as a part-time pastor myself I felt a great surge of appreciation from the people I serve. Second, as a person devoted to encouraging and equipping pastors, it was great having other people joining me in this work for the whole month!

The cards have been read and the gifts have been received.

Now what?

I can't get this article out of my mind:

Suicide: When Pastor's Silent Suffering Turns Tragic

In my work I interact with many pastors that are suffering silently. The expectations placed upon their work are, in a word, unattainable! Few if any are fully equipped for the tremendous breadth of professional skills and spiritual gifts needed for the job! This reality is exacerbated by the fact that most hurting pastors feel they can't ask for help and resign themselves to keeping silent!

The result is beat up, stressed out, and frustrated pastors. Seems to be a far cry from this scriptural directive:

1Timothy 5:17
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

I love Pastor Appreciation Month, AND there must be more we can do!
I'd love to hear your thoughts! And, I'll start rolling out some of my own as well.

What can we do to change the cultures, systems, and habits that produce these outcomes?

Now what?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Creative Cooking in the Church

As I travel from church to church, I hear a common lament. The details are different but the refrain is the same.

"If only..."

Sometimes the phrase culminates with longings for a younger congregation. Other times it concludes with musings of a different style of worship. Other times it ends with harsh judgments of the people that aren't participating in their church. Still others grieve the loss of generations of their own that have left for greener pastures.

"If only..."

But what if we took the creative cooking thoughts expressed in an earlier blog (Creating a Masterpiece) and applied them to the plight of the church? What if the local church looked around the "kitchen" and made a masterpiece out of what they found?

God has, in His almighty providence, allowed each church to remain open. Therefore, it seems clear that for each church God has a kingdom purpose in mind. And, with God's help the church has within itself all it needs to complete that task.

However, success requires a fresh assessment of the church's current reality! The church must remove its fixation from what is missing and begin to number its assets. These assets are the ingredients of a masterpiece! Then, the church must take these God-given ingredients and get cooking!

A creative masterpiece is waiting! A masterpiece that will bring wonderful glory to God.

Let's get cooking!

2Corinthians 12:9-10
But [Lord] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.