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3 False Sources of Confidence in Ministry Leadership

School Kids

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.” So wrote the elder Paul to younger Timothy (1 Timothy 1:12 NLT)

Paul’s words are the introduction to the Bible’s three volume textbook on pastoral ministry (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus). And in that introduction, Paul issues a fairly stern warning to Timothy to watch out for three of the biggest false sources of security and confidence for those who lead in ministry. They were, and are, and have been for me in seasons when I’m not on guard…

1. Our preparation.

That is, we begin to rely on what we know, and we begin to assume that what we know is enough for us to coast. Here’s the thing. When God called me to ministry, I knew pretty much nothing. I was still cutting my teeth on trying to read through the New Testament for the first time. In my early years of ministry, I was a sponge. I learned enough before Bible college that I tested out of the required Old and New Testament survey classes and jumped right into some sophomore-level stuff!

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30 Great Links for Leaders, Readers, and Creatives – May 8, 2015

Links

America Needs Healing! How We Can See It Happen…, by Rick Warren

America is in its worst condition in our generation. Politically, our government has been paralyzed by partisanship. Culturally, we’re becoming more and more secular. And internationally, our reputation has never been lower. America needs healing.

The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learned About Building An Entrepreneurial Mindset, by Faisal Hoque

We often speak of entrepreneurship within a tech or startup space, though surely the family running your neighborhood market is also entrepreneurial, and the individuals in the corporate setting practicing intrapreneurship are entrepreneurial as well…

5 Significant Attitude Differences That Separate Growing and Declining Churches, by Carey Nieuwhof

So what’s the difference between a growing church and a declining church? Well there are many, but one of the biggest differences I see is the attitude of the leaders.

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How to Grow Your Sunday Attendance Using Social Media

Blog GraphicWhen I was a kid, my grandparents owned a small, community store in Browning, Kentucky where I grew up. It was the hub of social activity a the end of each workday. Commuters from town would stop for gas and maybe an ice cream cone and would catch up on life with one another before driving on home.

That store, along with multitudes of others like it across the country, is closed now. But I’m convinced the social aspect of the community store lives on in the form of online social networking. People hang out in community with each other on Facebook, sharing about life and tuning into the lives of others, discussing news and culture, and sharing their faith.

It’s that final aspect of online social networking that intrigues me the most. When we started Grace Hills Church, we didn’t have a bunch of money to drop on mass mailers or newspaper ads. So we turned to Facebook. Most of the first 35 people who showed up at our very first public meeting heard about us through Facebook, either directly from one of our posts, or from seeing something about us on their newsfeed from a friend. And more than two thirds of the people who are now a part of us found out about us either from Facebook or Google.

Social media works. And it works because it connects us with God’s original intent for us. He always wanted us to share media (truth and information) socially (person-to-person). So for any church leader still on the fence, or who may be ready to jump in, here are my five big challenges for you…

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Why Is Silence So Awkward, Anyway?

Awkward Silence

Yesterday I preached the introductory sermon of a new series about hearing from God. I started the message by being purposefully, awkwardly silent for about twelve seconds. It was painful! My purpose was to illustrate the findings of a research project reported on by Time about what happens when we encounter awkward silence. In short, all it takes is about four seconds of awkward silence to “elicit our most primal fears, activating anxiety-provoking feelings of incompatibility and exclusion.”

Why are we so uncomfortable with silence? I believe it has something to do with the beginning of the history of silence. In the previous chapter, we began to grasp the concept that God is social and that God made mankind to be social, placing Adam and Eve into a garden meant to be a setting for continual conversation. And one fateful day in that garden, the conversation died.

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6 Ways the Local Church Can Set the Table for Discipleship

Table

I grew up attending church A LOT. I was in a church classroom A LOT. When I was a kid, my family attended Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night preaching and prayer services, plus Sunday School, plus missions education programs and Vacation Bible Schools. But… I didn’t grow spiritually, didn’t really experience spiritual depth, and didn’t really learn what following Jesus looked like outside the walls of the church.

When I hit adulthood, I started to grow spiritually, but I would say it was still rather slow going. I started attending church with my wife and soaking up biblical knowledge like a sponge. I entered ministry and attended Bible college and developed the spiritual disciplines. But something was still missing.

Finally, several things happened that prompted a complete perspective change in me and kickstarted my journey toward being more like Jesus. In particular…

  • I walked through pain – depression, specifically.
  • I began to repent of pride, self-centeredness, and other sins.
  • My wife and I began to have tough conversations.
  • I went on staff at a church with a strong culture of discipleship.
  • We joined a small group of people who cared a lot about doing life together.

After a year in that atmosphere, God led us to Northwest Arkansas to plant a church and gave us a passion for creating a place were people could truly grow. We started planting Grace Hills with some particular convictions about the role of the local church in discipleship, such as…

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