According to Barna research 50% of American Christians attend a church with fewer than 100 people.
- Its all about relationships with People
- Its all about working a Process
- Its all about Preaching
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5. Casting Vision for the Future
I Peter 5:2 (Pastors should be) taking the oversight thereof.
Each local church is unique. Although we all have the same message (the Gospel) and mission (advance it), we will not all have the same methods for doing so. Therefore, God gives the church a pastor.
A Pastor is to develop a deep sense of what the church is to do, how they are to do it, when they are to do it, where they are to do it, and why they are to do it. He does so by spending time in prayer and study to find God’s direction for the church. Bringing this clear vision to the congregation invites the whole church to be unified in purpose.
The Pastor is to be a leader who empowers managers. A manager will execute a leader’s vision with great efficiency, but the leader must set direction and explain the vision to his managers.
4. Building an Effective Leadership Team
Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.
These decisions are key. Pick the right people and it will catapult you to the next level. Pick the wrong people and it will drag you into a pit of despair. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic here but I really don’t think this point can be overemphasized. The success of Southern Hills has everything to do with employing and empowering the right men and women.
You need people who will effectively execute your vision with great efficiency. The Assimilation System I have developed would be merely a nice idea on paper if it weren’t for the managerial skills of Fred Murray. The worship services would be vapid and flat without the expertise of Jason Coombes. The public image of our church would be dull and colorless without the intense efforts of Steve Miller. The many ministries of our church would be without volunteers if not for the dedication of Zeb Greenfield.
There are two big mistakes that are easily made if the church is not vigilant. First, they employ the wrong people through a weak interview process and underdeveloped hiring philosophy. Second, they do not empower those they have employed with real decision-making ability.
3. Leading the Local Congregation
I & II Timothy
I have a deep love for Paul’s letters to Timothy. In these two short epistles, we learn how a pastor is to lead his local church. In them, we learn that a pastor is to be a person of prayer who is taking great time to pray for and with his flock. He is there to offer spiritual guidance and Biblical counsel to all who are in his ministry.
One of my main responsibilities is to spend time with the people in my church. I love sitting at a coffee house discussing theology, ministry ideas, or personal struggles with the wonderful people in our congregation. Heather and I schedule many hours a week with individual Christians who are either searching for Christ, growing in the faith, or contemplating their next step in life.
We now have a large group of deacons, lay-shepherds, and small group leaders who act as an extension of our pastoral ministry. These gifted lay-leaders pray for their groups, visit with them, and provide Biblical guidance. They are the true servant leaders in our midst and we thank the Lord for their effort.
2. Preaching the Word of God
I Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you.
II Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
The moment when a chef serves his signature dish to an expectant patron, this is why he cooks. The moment when an author spots her published work in the hands of an engrossed reader on a park bench, this is why she writes. The moment a band hears their song on the radio for the first time, this is why they perform. Sunday morning is that moment for every preacher.
Hours of deep study, historical research, and prayerful angst have been blended together and are ready to be served. Powerful metaphors, personal anecdotes, and a few bad jokes have been added to enhance the flavor and bring to surface the natural meaning of the selected passage. Clutching a Bible in one hand and a smattering of notes in the other the preacher takes his place. Once again, his entire week has led to this moment.
He watches as the living Word begins to do its’ miraculous thing. He looks into the eyes of the people while he teaches. He sees light. His prayers are being answered in real time. God is saving them. The Holy Spirit is getting through to the pastor’s beloved flock. They are actually connecting to God through this little speech. Rhapsody! Complete and utter joy! Nothing else can explain the exhilaration of genuine Bible preaching, and then exhilaration gives way to appreciation, and finally a realization. The preacher often leaves his post overcome by a tremendous feeling of accomplishment coupled with humility. He is surprised and grateful that God would use him once again.
1. Maintaining A Strong Walk with God
I Peter 5:3 neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
The most important task of the pastor is to maintain a personal relationship with Jesus through private worship, prayer, and Bible study. He must not simply be the purveyor of ancient rituals but a person who has a genuine relationship with the Ancient of Days. A pastor is to know Jesus and make Him known to others. This is why he must daily meet with Jesus before meeting with anyone else. If a pastor is not walking with the Great Shepherd he has no business leading the flock.
Which task did I miss? Hat other responsibilities would you include? I would like to hear from you. Please comment below:
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All leaders will be criticized!
If you thirst for the approval of all and recoil at the slightest reproach – get back in line and don’t attempt to lead. Because when you step out from the pack and attempt to lead – you will be criticized.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned when encountering criticism:
1. Don’t Shut Out the Critics
A great leader is assertive enough to lead but confident enough to listen.
Consider the Critique
Only an extreme egotist is unwilling to evaluate and analyze his positions or personal behavior. What your critic said about your church might actually be true. What your critic said about your attitude might be right. Take what was said and look at it through 3 filters: the Word, your wife, & an honest friend. If any of these 3 agree with the criticism you would be wise to listen and change.
Consider the Source
There are many reasons why someone may publically or privately criticize you. Politically some may have to do so in order to retain their own influence. Narcissistically some may do so in order to gain attention. Habitually some may do so because they are simply unable to mind their own business. Jealously some may do so because they secretly covet the assignment you’ve been given. Philosophically some may do so because they see themselves as some kind of avenger of truth and beacon of righteousness. In each of these cases, ignore the criticism. Their critique has more to do with their own particular issues & insecurities than it does with anything you’ve done – so relax.
Consider a Conversion
Every critic is a possible convert. Look at what Jesus did with Paul. This man was a Pharisee related to the Sanhedrin. He was from the “enemy” camp and hated everything related to Jesus Christ. But Jesus, instead of attacking him and damning him, converted him through love, patience, and personal interaction. Give your critic the benefit of the doubt. Just because they are against you doesn’t mean they are against God. They may need time to mature and grow in grace. I do things now is service of my Master that 10 years ago I would have condemned as wrong, wicked, and worldly. I’m thankful that the Lord was patient with me. If you are patient with that godly deacon, youthful seminarian, or elder pastor – you may just lead him from critic to convert. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.
2. Focus on Who Matters
Remember the 25% rule. A quarter of everyone in the world will love you – nothing you can do about it. A quarter of everyone in the world will tend to like you – with dedication you can convince them not to like you. A quarter of everyone in the world will dislike you – with dedication you might convince them to give you another chance. A quarter of everyone in the world will hate you – they can’t be convinced otherwise.
The Master who Set your Direction
When you’re a servant of Christ it doesn’t matter when someone questions your “direction”. I’ve found great comfort in the reality that I follow Jesus – daily. If the critiques of fellow servants become overwhelming then I simply return to the Master and discuss my assignment with Him.
The Family who Loves You
There’s nothing like family support. Thankfully I have a big one. I’ve learned to get my validation from the Lord. However, sometimes he chooses to bring encouragement through my Heather and kids. They know my weaknesses and failures but they also know my heart – and they love me. Having supportive parents and siblings, a father-in-law and brother-in-law who actually know me and still like me – this helps wonderfully. Sadly, for many, you may not have these supports or they may be taken away as was the case with Job Then I remind you of the third group that actually matters.
The People You’re Meant to Lead
God has shaped you perfectly for the people you lead. You are not called to lead everyone. That’s why God has created other leaders. But you are meant to lead the ones He has brought to you. So, lead them. Love them. Listen to them.
3. Toughen Up
Criticism, the more it happens the less it hurts. This is why they call it having a thick skin. I wish I could put this into the hearts of every young minister who is just starting out. Sometimes we need to just NOT care about what someone said about our ministry, life, or family. I’m not saying that you should be calloused, I’m simply saying that with time, the sharp darts won’t be able to puncture as quickly or sink as deeply as they once did. You’ll grow stronger.
This is why high performance leaders are able to forge forward knowing that people hate them. They don’t let it get to them because they know that universal acceptance is not their goal. Look at Jesus, He was so despised at the end that they crucified Him. Are we surprised that we his followers are not continually receiving the accolades of a sinful world or the religious establishment? We shouldn’t be.
It is a weakness to crave continual approval from everyone. Remember, criticism will happen and will increase as does your influence. Stay focused on the Master as you’ll be just fine.
In this episode Pastor Josh sits down with his siblings to talk about how to parent children to love Jesus through the perspective of their upbringing. This is part two of a two part episode.
In this episode Pastor Josh sits down with his siblings to talk about how to parent children to love Jesus through the perspective of their upbringing. This is part one of a two part episode.
In this episode Pastor Josh Teis sits down with Pastor Matt Lyon to discuss the history of the Independent Baptist Movement. Pastor Matt is an expert in this area, and provides incredible insight into the leaders, history, and focus of the Independent Baptists.
In this episode, Josh Teis sits down with Jeremy Rands who pastors Monclova Road Baptist Church near Toledo, OH. Jeremy has served as an administrative pastor and as a lead pastor in several large, growing churches. He currently leads a large staff and must stay organized in order to effectively lead those around him. The big idea that will be discussed today is Organized Leadership.
If you enjoy this episode, or any of our other episodes, please leave a review on iTunes or YouTube as this helps get the word out about these Idea Talks. Also, we would love for you to let others know about this podcast on social media.
Quotes from the episode:
“I had to realize that I was there to help them reach their potential, not them to help me become something.” – Jeremy Rands
“We are here to help the staff reach their potential and in them reaching their potential, the church people get help and the church reaches it’s potential.” – Jeremy Rands
“Ministry is not the same as marriage.” – Jeremy Rands
“By being faithful to God in ministry, he may use different ministries to train you and equip you, so that he can use you later on in life.” – Jeremy Rands
“Making sure that I’m taking care of myself, spiritually, physically, emotionally, I can take care of more people.” – Jeremy Rands
“Rest is wisdom, being a sluggard is foolish.” – Jeremy Rands
“There are other pastors who do more than me, and I’m ok with that.” – Jeremy Rands
“Having the rest you need and having the relationship you need is leading to a place where you can have organization at the level you want it to be.” – Josh Teis
“By me setting my calendar, and not letting my calendar set me, I get more accomplished and I feel more peaceful when I do it.” – Jeremy Rands
“I get to decide if it’s an emergency when it’s my schedule.” – Jeremy Rands
“If you’re going to condition your church that every time they have an emergency they can have access to you and you’re going to drop everything, then all you’re going to be doing is going from emergency to emergency and your church and your life is going to become an emergency.” – Jeremy Rands
“There’s a difference between having a busy schedule and having a productive schedule.” – Jeremy Rands
Practical ideas from this episode:
Rest in between appointments with staff and church members in order to give them your best when meeting with them.
Don’t take more than 3 appointments in a day.
Date your wife every single week.
Schedule a weekly time to look at the next seven days.
If you don’t have staff, utilize deacons to help you with “emergencies”.
Use web-based calendar/email – yahoo, google, iCal, etc.
Plan big events for your church at least a year in advance.
In this episode, Josh Teis talks with Tony Liuzzo about how to refresh an established church. Tony pastors a thriving church in Columbus, Ohio. When he took over as the lead pastor the church had declined to an average of 400 people. Now the church averages 750 people on a weekly basis.
Quotes from the episode:
“In order for God to get you where he wants you to be, he has to put you through the fire.” – Tony Liuzzo
“Lord, move or move me.” – Tony Liuzzo
“If we would find that and not look at it as competing with the older, every church would do better. We’re not competing with the older, don’t try to get rid of them. Honor them, love them.” – Tony Liuzzo
“The first thing that I did, was nothing.” – Tony Liuzzo
“Refreshing an established church means you have to change some things that aren’t working. Or, change some things that worked in the 70’s and 80’s.” – Tony Liuzzo
“For the first year I was preaching the gospel and what doesn’t change and where I stood, so they knew my heart.” – Tony Liuzzo
“A lot of times the lines get blurred for what’s biblical and what’s traditional.” – Tony Liuzzo
“You honor God by being biblical, you don’t honor God just by being traditional. Now, don’t throw out traditions just because you’re trying to make change. There are some traditions that are good and healthy.” – Tony Liuzzo
“The fact is the Bible says everything about our doctrine, but it says very little about our tradition.” – Josh Teis
“I’ve noticed it might be that way because we’ve constantly feel the necessity to add a scripture verse to our tradition.” – Josh Teis
“Shame on any pastor that takes over a church and they’re more faithful to try to uphold the traditions than they are to uphold the purpose of why that church was established. And that’s to reach the community and to reach the lost.” – Tony Liuzzo
“The methods that they used, they used because they worked for their day and age and for their generation. “ – Tony Liuzzo
“We’d make a change and say, ‘let me tell you how God is working with this’”. – Tony Liuzzo
“Honor the past, but have a vision for the future.” – Tony Liuzzo
“If you want to refresh your church, get your church focused on people.” – Tony Liuzzo