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58 Practices Of a Healthy Church Community

It's impossible for a Pastor or even a church staff to care for the spiritual, emotional, and social needs of every individual and family in a congregation. Expecting them to do so places an unscriptural and undue burden on them and creates unrealistic and bound-to-be-unmet expectations in the minds of church members. I mentioned this in a post I wrote last weekend about how I'm sorry when I let people down. In that post, I raised a question. Who then cares for the …

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A 4-Part Definition of Ministry

Here it is: Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God. - Warren Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God According to Warren Wiersbe, one of America's long-term leading thinkers on ministry issues, this definition consists of four vital parts. Our church staff just walked through his definition of ministry this morning, which includes... Getting to know the divine resources God has made …

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Discipleship Is a Catch-and-Release Process

Jesus stopped a few fishermen one day in the Sea of Galilee and challenged them to turn the world upside down by issuing a simple call... "Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people." (Matthew 4:19, NIV) Many have taught about how the disciples left their careers behind to follow Jesus into full-time ministry that day, but they forget the other instances of the disciples fishing for fish later in the gospels. It wasn't a career change or the sacrifice of a …

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Two Conditions for Starting a New Ministry

One of the challenges of church planting is staying lean. I became a Pastor under a programmatic mindset - offer enough things and more people will come. Thankfully, I came across a good book long ago that helped to shift my thinking. Instead of a list of programs to attract people, what we really need is a simple process for growing people. Programs can easily become dead weight and create the drudgery of having to "find volunteers" to staff them. But processes scale with …

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Change Your Culture Before Changing Your Structure

If you want to change the trajectory of your church or organization, you need to think about how to create a new culture before you begin creating chaos. I believe that the Pastor of a church is the leader God has chosen as overseer and shepherd of the flock. Nowhere in Scripture, or sheep farming for that matter, do we find sheep setting the agenda either as a whole or in little committees of sheep. It is also true that there has never been a good dictatorial leader …

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There Are No Small Pastors

I just returned from a conference with close to 5,000 attendees, mostly pastors and church planters. The content was incredible and the people who lead it care deeply about the audience. The theme spoke to the soul and the workshops were spot on in terms of practical, helpful advice. In fact, Exponential is probably one of the best conferences I've ever attended and I hope to come back. But like any good conference, there are side effects. Pastors are intriguing creatures …

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Enjoying the Favor of God

Yesterday, I talked about defining the favor of God, and I defined it as enjoying the undeserved kindness of God. I also said you can spot the favor of God when you see that He has sovereignly chosen to bless something or someone for the purpose of bringing Himself glory. His favor is never for our enjoyment alone - it is always intended to be shared with others. In the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, Gabriel comes to deliver the message that the Holy Spirit would …

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5 Thoughts About Excellence In Ministry

If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well. As Paul put it in Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." (NLT) If we're representing God, we should do things well for His glory. At the same time, excellence shouldn't be exalted above some other values that really outrank it. In the pursuit of excellence, remember these five guiding principles. We do things with excellence …

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6 Goals of An Effective Small Group Ministry

We haven't officially launched our small group ministry at Grace Hills yet. I've done plenty of reading, researching, and consulting the minds of some of the nation's foremost small groups thinkers. What I've discovered is that there is a broad variety of approaches to small group ministry, many tempered by the experiences of individual churches. I'm sure the same will be true of us. We will adapt our approach over time as we learn what works and what doesn't. I do know, …

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The Difference Between Launching and Orbiting

If you've ever watched a space shuttle launch, you know that it's an enormous production. A ton of preparation goes into the event, potentially millions of eyes are watching, and there is a tremendous risk being taken that results in the payoff of having a shuttle in orbit. And when you see the shuttle on the launching pad, you realize that most of the stuff that starts up into the atmosphere is fuel. As the shuttle nears its orbit, the nearly empty fuel tanks fall away. Once …

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