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Monday, February 27, 2012

Prepare for Your Day

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Get ideas and insights on how to prepare for and plan your day.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Extreme Experiences of Edification

Key question: Have you built a ministry that builds up people to be better servants of the Lord?

Take your time.  Think about all of the people who serve under you.  Let things play back in your mind. 

We need people experiencing edification.  We need people being built up within our midst.  We need to get busy building folks up.

Why?

Their responsibility is to equip God's people
to do his work and build up the church,
the body of Christ.
- Ephesians 4:12 (NLT)

We are called to do so.  We have been commissioned to do so.  It is our calling.  Let us live up to it.



Give the people who come to you an extreme experience.  Offer an edifying experience.  Take people to the edge by standing on the cutting edge as opposed to the status quo.  Let people experience Christianity beyond the stuffy, Sunday morning sermonized Savior that seems so distant that He could not have possibly walked on earth.  Give them the real deal when you share about the Savior.  Show them the Jesus who saves.  Share the Jesus who sacrificed for the sinful.  Provide an opportunity to experience Jesus in spirit and in truth.

Look at some examples of radical Christianity. . .

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Two Equals Better Than One

"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour." - Ecclesiastes 4:9 (KJV)

You can get more done when you partner with others.  Partnerships allow you to leverage your resources.  You come together and bring what you have to the table for a mutual benefit.  You make the most of what you both have to offer and make it work for the benefit of both of you.

Your best may be made better by adding with what someone else brings to the table.  You can gain market share.  You can limit expenses and overhead.  You can trim or cut costs, lowering your expenditures.  You can also gain exposure beyond your primary audience.  Additionally, you can build your brand's reputation if you partner with a reputable partner.

For instance, if you have a youth arts project, you could partner with local youth-serving agencies.  Add to that partnership by coalescing the participation of a local arts council that supports such programs as a fiscal agent or media/ publicity sponsor.  The youth-serving agency provides the audience and the venue, while the arts council provides infrastructure and support for spreading the message about the program to the media and expanding press coverage for the program.  The arts projects gets to the youth and the media sheds light on the project because of who you have partnered with and what you are doing.

Think about the concept of partnership.  See how it can benefit you beyond simply sharing lessons learned and best practices.  Get connected with people who can propel you and your work beyond where you have already been.  Build better and bigger partnerships.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pastoral Preparation

This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
- 1 Timothy 3:1 (NKJV)



Some versions of the biblical text use the terms: bishop, overseer, elder, or leader.  The pastoral epistles address two similar offices of the Christian church: elder and deacon.  Both have similar requirements and responsibilities.
 
Let's be honest.  There is no quick fix or single handbook to answer it all.  You will not find any bullet-pointed list or single-paged tip sheet that gives you every conceivable issue that falls at the feet or in the lap of the pastor.  You had better be up on things in order to withstand what comes at you as a pastor, preacher, spiritual leader, deacon, or lay leader.  You need to stay prayed up, studied up, and girded up.  You need to stay up on certain things to make it through the day.
 
Preparation is vital.  There is no substitute for preparation.  Ask John C. Maxwell.  He shares about his first pastoral experience and the blunders that he made due to his own naivety and inexperience.  In layman's terms, he just wasn't prepared for everything that came his way.  He made mistakes just like many young pastors, but he learned from each experience as he shares in many of his books like The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
 
C.H. Spurgeon offers a sensational pastoral preparation in his timeless classic The Soulwinner.  Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Church also stands out as a modern masterpiece for establishing and leading a Christian church.  Like I said, there is no single source that will supply the would-be pastoral leader with the exception of the Word of God.
 
To prepare to pastor, here are just a few key pointers once you have prayed and stayed in constant prayer about your calling to serve in such a Christian capacity:
  • Study: Read the pastoral epistles of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus.  These offer essentials for preparation from the perspective of Paul who mentored both Timothy and Titus.
  • Serve: Serve in a variety of capacities that fit with your spiritual gifts.  Teach the Bible, lead an outreach ministry, work on a community service project, or minister to the homeless or senior citizens.  Find your ministry and fulfill your ministry.
  • Seminary (or Theological School): Get into a steady stream of seminary classes.  Gain the knowledge and techniques, but also glean from those who are already in the trenches.  Listen to what they share.  Match that up with what you have studied and what you have seen as you serve.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Online Extensions for Your Ministry

You are in ministry.  You might be the pastor or a ministry leader.  You are responsible for the ministry's or the church's success.  Well, we can say at least to some degree.  We all know that Lord is the head of the church.  You know what I mean.


I believe in utilizing a variety of sources to keep Life Path Ministries & Services afloat.  Surely, I do not shun donations from supporters and friends, but I cannot rely solely on such support when hard times hit people all around America.  I have to spread out and seek other forms of support, especially online.

Here's a short list of what you can do to spread out online:
  • Sell, Sell, and Sell Some More: One of my earliest online ventures was to add a merchandising storefront on Zazzle.  I love it.  One of my most successful items has been the I Love My Neighbor t-shirt.  We used this for our Love Your Neighbor Campaign as part of Operation Reach Out.  It'll be back again this year.  Maybe we'll do tie dye.  You can sell all sorts of goods.  Got volunteers? Drive them (and direct them) to your storefront's link via Facebook, Twitter and other online communities and communications, even your website.
  • Start Publishing: It's a gem.  I love writing and I really love writing about ministry, especially writing about evangelism.  I write and publish books on ministry, offering them to audiences online and in print.  How? I use Lulu.  Yep.  I said: Lulu.  On Lulu, I have a storefront for e-Books and print-on-demand books.  Frustrated with some materials that only catered to churches that afford and only dream of affording various software and systems to manage everything from accounting to just plain membership, I wrote "When the Laborers are Few." This free downloadable e-Book has been downloaded by people in all sorts of ministries.  Missionaries, evangelists and prayer warriors, even a new pastor, have downloaded this e-Book and commented on how it opened their eyes to new ways to operating their church or their ministry.  Start publishing and start sharing.
  • Look at Other Models: Anyone who knows me in ministry will eventually hear me mention Life Church.  I read about this church in Outreach Magazine a few years ago and got excited.  They do multi-site church like I don't know what.  I love the whole concept.  Their tech guys are constantly whipping out something new.  You have to visit their site or YouVersion.  How often do bloggers- who scramble and scrounge everywhere for subscribers- compliment and tell readers to go to someone else's blog? Well, I say check out Life Church's Swerve blog.  You'll get hooked and get hooked up, and I don't get any glory for it.  I just think that it will help you in extending your ministry online.  It is worth a look.