Don’t Expect the Pastor to Do What You’re Not Willing to Do


I know some of you who are reading this are acting like I just used God’s name in vain or slapped you in the face. I have heard from countless people about what a pastor should or should not do, and they have no Bible to back it up. Some family member, deacon, or other misinformed person said, “The preacher should…” or “If the preacher doesn’t do this or that, we should fire him.” 

I’m going to be so bold and daring and ask this question: If you love God enough and say you’re His child, why wouldn’t you be willing to visit the sick, talk about the Lord, feed the homeless, help encourage a grieving family, or any other thing people say only pastors are supposed to do? Is it that you don’t get paid for it? Do you expect it from the pastor because he gets payment from the church with part of your tithe? (The sad part is that some who expect so much from the pastor don’t give a dime or time to the Lord. Did you notice I said “to the Lord” and not “to the preacher” or “to the church”?)

I used to be bothered by church members who walked up to me like a hired hand and told me to do something. They had these great ideas and were physically capable to help, but they expected me to do so since I was paid by the church. The last time I checked, we are co-laborers. We work together. No one person is more important than another although we function differently in the body of Christ.

Let me leave you with this Scripture about humility and servitude: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:5-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

When Your Calling Goes Against the Grain


Many of my readers know that I stepped out in faith to start a church in January. I had no money, no Ministry team, and one or two other families that I knew would potentially join me. I took the leap, knowing that the idea is extremely crazy in a place where churches are almost on every corner.

I also knew that my vision from God would be no easy task. Starting a nondenominational church in denominational territory is either misunderstood or not understood at all. Going after people who are either disillusioned with church as they know it or those who have been ostracized by the traditional church is a huge challenge. And the vision to be multi-ethnic in a rural area that is still very segregated pretty much sounds impossible. I asked God why He would pick me, and I continue to ask God that weekly. It is certainly not because I have this amazing talent to do these things. It is because He wants to do a miracle and use me in the process. This will probably take a long time, but I cannot give up on God’s desire to build something healthy here in our area. I’m not saying that all the other faith communities aren’t healthy, but many aren’t. We need more with this kind of vision.

I would ask you to pray for us. Please pray for God to send us people who are called to lead and serve in worship, student ministry, and children’s ministry. Ask God to send us those who understand addiction and abuse and know how to help people be Overcomers in this area. Join us in asking God to send us people of different ethnicities to be a part of what He is doing here. Ask God to break down the walls that divide so that we may see an unprecedented unity in our midst.

To the blogging community and other readers, I love and appreciate you all. You have encouraged me since I began blogging and have cheered me on to be the best I can possibly be in every area of life. God bless you all. If I can pray for you or assist you in any way, do not hesitate to reach out to me.

How to Respond When the Church Does Grow

I recently posted about how to build a church. I don’t know if some of the readers were looking for the latest formula, but I laid out the truth that the Lord has to build the house. What if He does? What if God really sends you more people? What do you do?

  1. Make sure growth drives any changes. A pastor I worked with a few years ago has lived by this principle. Don’t go to two Sunday morning services because it’s “cool” or go into a building program when your seating capacity is only 1/4 full. Growth must demand the change.
  2. Do a trial run with the change. The same pastor mentioned before told the church, “We will try this for a month. If it doesn’t work, we’ll learn the lesson and move forward.” 
  3. Teach the church through the change. Your body of believers will accept it better when they can see the proof, understand it from Scripture, and know that it is not the agenda of a pastor or committee. This teaching should lead up to the change. Don’t wait and use your preaching to clean up a mess!
  4. Always rely on the Holy Spirit. Prayer and Scripture must guide you in ALL things! People will accept a God-idea before they will anything else.

These truths are fundamental. Most of these I learned from the ministries of others. Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. If you are a pastor or someone who leads an organization, these things may not perfectly fit your context but it will benefit you to allow the situation to drive the change rather than force an idea on someone just to fluff your résumé.

Does God Want Christians to be Ignorant?

I am amazed by how many people disagree over this subject. Some people use this verse as their proof text that God wants Christians to be uneducated and ignorant: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭KJV‬‬). Sounds like God makes ignorance sound spiritual, right? But look closely at this. The emphasis is not on their lack of education but on the fact that they had been with Jesus. Something in their life and conduct indicated that they had encountered and had learned from the Lord Jesus. The time you spend with the Lord supersedes any education a textbook or professor can give, but Scripture does not condemn education.

Paul was a very educated man. During the days of his education, he was also religious (not a follower of Christ). Apollos was another person in Scripture whose education is addressed. “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus (Acts‬ ‭18:24‬ ‭KJV‬).” Both, along with some of the other disciples, were educated and skilled. The big picture is that God uses all people with all varying levels of education and backgrounds to accomplish His purpose. 

My grandmother is a prime example of someone who understood the balance here. She had an eighth grade education, but she never used that as an excuse to refrain from learning and being knowledgeable about life and current events. She understood what Paul said to Timothy: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬).” She did the grunt work and studied to be the best she could in every endeavor, especially in her relationship with Christ.

A lack of education does not indicate ignorance, nor does a number of college degrees indicate intelligence. The importance thing is that you walk with the Lord and allow Him to teach you what only the Spirit of God can teach you through the Word of God.

To Those Who Teach God’s Word

Most of those who read this blog are Christians, and many of you teach or preach. You may do so on a weekly basis or fill in occasionally for the regular teacher or preacher. Whatever your situation, you have an important task. People are looking to you. The truth is that if they have heard you before, they will either anticipate your delivery or dread it. I am with you in this.

Some of us have had the privilege of being trained to do what we do, while others are willing servants who have had no training. I have heard those with no formal training supersede those with training in presentation. Why is that? Isn’t training a guarantee for great delivery? I would like to share a few things that I have learned along the way about delivering God’s Word that can make or break the teacher.

  1. People will forgive inadequacy if they get a glimpse of the heart of the teacher. I have heard those who do not necessarily know the mechanics of organizing the material, but they love their audience and their audience knows it. The reverse is true also. You can be a skillful presenter who cares nothing for people, and an audience will have turned you off before you begin. I have frequently carried away nuggets of truth from someone who may not have the skill but has the love.
  2. Do your absolute best to give people some substance! They want something to take away from your lesson. However, they don’t want you to flaunt your hours of study, your mastery of Hebrew and Greek, or your massive English vocabulary. Their time is valuable, so give them some substance.
  3. Make the substance applicable! If you simply give a bunch of historical information about biblical culture and give them no life application, how do you expect a changed heart? I hear small group leaders and pastors complain about people who won’t do the work of the Lord while they don’t teach people how to apply the Bible. I was taught to give an explanation, illustration, and application. 
  4. Share from your own experience! People can hear a message or lesson on patience and walk out feeling like a failure if you as the teacher do not share your shortcomings and walk this journey of becoming more Christ-like with them.
  5. Leave room for participation! In our church plant, we are very participatory. You as the teacher need to have control of the level of participation to avoid anarchy, but give people a chance to make a contribution if the setting allows for it. There is a time and place for lecture, but it is awesome to see people come alive when they can engage and be engaged in the process.
  6. The key is balance! Give them substance while giving them application. Teach them the context while being relevant. Illustrate it with something current that can give them a better understanding of something that happened a few thousand years ago. Mix up your approach. Keep your audience wondering what you’re going to do next time. 

In conclusion, be this…


…not this…

That’s Not My Job!


For those of you who supervise employees, how many times have you heard that? Probably more than you can count. There is an army rising up who wants a paycheck, a position, and the perks that go with it, but they don’t want to do anything to earn it.

I hate to say this, but part of that army that wants to avoid certain responsibility includes pastors. I hate to admit this also, but many of us were taught this in Bible college and seminary. We were taught to be high-level executives who are unapproachable and above certain types of work. This position was even justified with a misuse of Scripture. 

I regret to say that I fell into this mentality for a while. It’s easy to do when the function of the pastor is multi-faceted, and one man can’t do it all. Some churches feel like they hired a pastor, and he should do all the work. Some pastors believe that they are called to strictly be equippers, so they will not jump in and get their hands dirty. However, there are some pastors who understand that they are co-laborers with those whom they pastor and do the work of God together. 

As a church planter, I have been blessed with people who love to serve. I love to jump in and serve with them. Are some of them better at certain acts of service? Absolutely! I have people who are much better at party planning, so I utilize their giftedness. What I have learned is that people respect leadership who will get dirty with the rest of the team. This has been modeled before me by my supervisors at hospice. They do not ask anything that they would not do or have not done themselves. They are quick to do something that may not be “their job” because they love to serve and have a calling to what they do.

“That’s not my job” may be an accurate statement about certain things that come your way, but our response to this clearly shows if we are in it to serve or simply in it for a paycheck with minimal sweat equity. Throw your weight around if you will, but your work ethic will either cause you to gain or lose respect.

How to Build a Church


It seems like everyone I know that is a pastor or church leader is interested in church growth. We study the methods of popular preachers like Steven Furtick and the methods of Elevation Church. We hurry to purchase the latest denominational program that is guaranteed to take us from 50 to 500 in 5 weeks. We spend money to go to conferences led by experts (those who have been defined as people from out of town carrying a briefcase), and we are promised success. 

Well I have a church growth strategy that has a 100 percent success rate. It has been tried for centuries and found true. I believe that I could promise you that you did not find this in any of the church growth books, conferences, or methodology of the church growth “gurus”. It isn’t music, charismatic personalities, programs, evangelism, preaching, or anything else that you have been taught through the years. “How can that be?” you may ask. It’s pretty simple.

In 2008, I was serving a church as a worship leader and the choir was not growing. I consulted every megachurch guy who would return my calls or emails (and those who were too important to reply). I followed their advice for 5 years leading up to that with little to no success. The pastor was telling me what a failure I was, and I was about to leave ministry. I had sent my résumé to multiple churches and had been recommended to others, but God never opened any doors. I could not understand why God would leave me in a place where I was not thriving, and it seemed as though few people appreciated what I was doing.

In December 2008, I sat at my desk and surrendered to the principle I am about to share. After reinventing the wheel multiple times, I began to pray. I said, “Lord, I have done everything I know to do. I have done everything I was told in order to supposedly build a successful music ministry but to no avail. I give up. Lord, what will it take?” The Spirit of God brought a verse to my mind: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1). It hit me – God grows a ministry. You and I can do all the things that we are taught through “experts”, conferences, and programs, but it is all theory unless the Lord moves. Church growth is supernatural not manufactured. The early church grew without all these things. Why do we think we need them?

If you are concerned about the growth of your church today, just do what the Bible requires to be a New Testament church. I didn’t say follow tradition. I said to go back to the Bible and study what the early church did and obey the Bible. God honors that. You may or may not grow in number, but I promise you will grow in spiritual maturity. If God could use 12 disciples to change the world, He can use 12 followers of Christ to impact a community. Now that’s a church growth strategy you can take to the bank!

Facadebook


I recently had someone tell me how shocked she was that a particular couple was no longer together because everything looked so good on Facebook. Are you laughing too?

It is so easy to portray things to be one way when they are another. I can especially testify to this in the church. We put on our “Sunday best”, carry our big Bible, use all the Christian lingo, pray out loud based on something we heard from someone else, and everyone thinks we are spiritual. The truth is that we know how to play the game. Some of the most godly people I know are those who look like they would dismember you. 

I was trained to look and act a certain way because “that’s what good preachers do”. Then my life was torn apart, and a counselor got all up in my business. He told me that I needed to be authentic. I warned him that the authentic I was feeling at that time was not “what good church people (especially pastors) say”. He still encouraged me to be real because I would never move past the anger if I continued to fake my way through what was supposed to be the healing process.

I feel like everyone’s life has become a reality tv show. We parade our lives on social media with pictures of us going into debt with purchases we can’t afford, smiling with people we don’t like, and making people envious of lives that are completely fake.

Is there a place where you can be yourself without fear? You should be able to be who you truly are with your faith family. The sad thing I hear is that many people do not affiliate with a church because they cannot be real about their addictions or struggles. 

In the near future, Overcomers Church (the church God called me to plant in January) will have an online presence. I can guarantee that it will be a different experience. We are not trying to be like any other church. We just want to be a safe place where people can learn, grow, and serve. We are praying that our online ministry will be a way for people to reconnect with a faith family who have experienced hurt in the institutionalized church.

If I can be of help to you, please contact me. You can find my contact info on the blog page. It’s time to take off the mask, trash it, and be the person God designed you to be without fear.

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