7 Ways I Hope to be a Kingdom Builder

I have often said in conversations, “I want to be a Kingdom-minded person”. Recently some one asked me, “What do you mean by that?”

Great question.

What do I mean by that?

I thought it might be more helpful if I described how I hope to do that.

Here are 7 ways I hope to be Kingdom minded:

Care more about a person’s relationship to Jesus than their denominational loyalties.

Care more about a person growing to be like Christ than their membership in my church.

Care more about disciples being made than who gets credit for doing it.

Care more about the Gospel being shared than the methodology of sharing it.

Care more about church growth than church structure.

Care more about obedience to Christ than the approval of others.

Care more about God’s glory than man’s recognition.

Care more about whether a person can worship than the style of music they choose to do so.

Okay, that’s 8, but I care less about the number than you getting the point of this post.

By the way, in my opinion, we tend to work hardest for what we care about most.

What do you think it means to be a Kingdom-builder?

10 Random Post Election Thoughts

I couldn’t get on with my day until I processed a few random thoughts. So many. Many undeveloped. Very random. More to come.

I see so many comments through social media. Some of hurt. Some of frustration. Some of anger. Some of rejoicing. (I am glad I have friends on both sides of the political spectrum.)

10 random post election thoughts:

God isn’t perplexed today about the state of our country.

Fear is an emotion and not necessarily a reality, but perfect love casts out fear. If I’m afraid I should trust in You…in God whose word I praise.

I am supposed to pray for even my enemies…and those with whom I may not agree. Have I done that?

I wonder if our unifying answer is beyond our current two dominant party choices.

Christians have a unique responsibility. We are to respect authority, pray for our nation, and care more about its soul than its economy. I wonder how well we are doing that?

Just because God allows a king doesn’t mean He has chosen to bless a nation with one. That could be true of either party candidate who was elected. Remember the story of Saul and David?

Our country needs the Gospel even more than it needs new jobs. Revival often starts with a few people.

When the country is less unified, the church should be even more unified.

What if President Obama chose Mitt Romney as his new Business Czar? (Supposedly a position he’s proposing.)

I am looking forward to Sunday. My favorite day of the week.

Listen, as an encourager and teacher of God’s people, speaking to the church, let us not become weary in doing good. In due season, we will reap what we sow. Let us be be an example for our nation today. At work. At home. In our hearts. Let us show and be the love of Jesus. He is still our hope.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to us. (James 4:8)

(By the way, I have another theory about the state of the church as it relates to the state of our nation, but I’ll save that for another day.)

Back to work.

Creature of the Word: Giveaway

Matt Chandler (Explicit Gospel), Josh Patterson and Eric Geiger (Simple Church) just released a new book this month with B&H Publishing called Creature of the Word.

The book looks at the scripture-based beauty of a church that makes everything they do about Jesus and outlines practical steps that church leaders can take to help form a gospel-centered ministry.

On Tuesday, Oct. 23rd, Chandler, Geiger and Patterson will host a three-hour interactive simulcast about the book. They will each teach on a different topic from Creature of the Word and then answer viewer questions at the end.

So how about a giveaway?!

I am going to give away three copies of the new book, each that come with an individual simulcast registration to watch the on the 23rd.

Here’s what I want you to do… comment and tell me something that your church is doing to make everything it does about Jesus. It can be simple, just leave a comment. I’ll choose 3 random winners.

Deadline to comment is end of day October 13.

And… go!

5 Ways to Help the Church When You Struggle to Support the Pastor

Almost on a weekly basis, I receive an email from a staff member of a church with the same question. They are in an awkward position where they don’t respect the pastor, but love the church, feel loyal to it, and don’t want to hurt the church. Their question is: How do they respond to a leader they can’t support, but who is their boss and the church’s called leader?

Recently a staff member emailed me to say his pastor was extremely popular in the church, but consistently received false recognition and support that others on the team deserved. The pastor, in this staff member’s opinion, is taking advantage of the church’s support of the pastor, but the church doesn’t realize it. He knew he probably didn’t have enough power to do anything about it. He doesn’t want to hurt the church, but also doesn’t respect his pastor.  His question was: What’s the best way to respond?

Great question. I wish there were easy answers.

Here are 5 suggestions:

Don’t talk behind his back – It would be easy to share your frustration, but chances are that doing so will only backfire against you and cause tension in the church. People in the church will have the same struggle you have, feeling a sense of loyalty to the pastor. Putting them in an awkward position isn’t fair to them or the pastor.

Be honest to his face – It’s never easy, but it’s always best. Conflict is hard. I’ve learned it’s often avoided in churches. But, unless you are going to suck it up and say nothing, the first person you need to share your frustration with is the person with whom you are frustrated.

Find other voices to invest in you – One role of the leader is to invest personally in the people being led. Most likely you’re missing out on this. Find others who will invest in you. You’d be surprised how willing other pastors may be to assist you if they are asked. They will be honored that you thought of them and willing to help you think through your current situation. You will need this help.

Find a place to vent – Surround yourself with some people with whom you can be brutally honest. It’s probably best that these people be outside the church, but you need a place to share your heart. You’ll wither and die emotionally if you bottle up your current emotions for too long. Be selective who you bare your soul to, but be vulnerable enough to share your concerns with others. It will help keep you from burning out in ministry.

Leave when you can’t respect the leadership (tell him first) – Again, this is hard, but you need to be mature enough and responsible enough to consider the bigger picture. You will never fully support every decision any leader makes. You may not even be best friends with the pastor. When, however, you have no more respect for the leadership, unless there is a moral issue at stake, you need to consider the welfare of the church ahead of your own. Have the hard, honest conversation, but leave before your lack of respect is evident to those around you. It’s the right thing to do.

How would you advise this staff member? 

In the busyness of ministry…

…Don’t forget why you’re in ministry.

It was a calling.

You had a passion to serve.

You love people.

You wanted to make a Kingdom difference.

You wanted to be a disciple-maker.

It’s so easy to get distracted with seemingly good things.

You get bogged down in committees, and structure, and meetings, and programs, and activities.

It’s easy to forget there were bigger, more important reasons for your calling.

Here’s one way to keep remembering:

When it’s all said and done, what will people remember about your ministry?

Pick the answer you’d prefer then work everyday to achieve that.

The why should determine the what and the how.

Do you ever get distracted from your purpose?

Solid Advice for Young Leaders from Dr. Billy Graham

My friend coach Craig Candeto is a former Navy standout quarterback. He’s still a young man, but he’s already started an impressive career as a coach. Currently he’s coaching quarterbacks for the Citadel. In addition to being a great football player and coach, Craig is a solid believer. He lives his faith boldly in all he does.

Recently, Cheryl and I were visiting with Craig and his wife Maribeth, and Craig told me a story of meeting Billy Graham recently. Craig was invited as part of FCA with a few other coaches to go to Dr. Graham’s house in the mountains and visit with the famous evangelist.

He said Dr. Graham was frail, obviously weakened from how most of us think of Billy Graham, but he was gracious, gentle, and still very alert.

One of the coaches asked Dr. Graham a question.

What word of advice would you have for guys like us, just beginning our careers and still young in our faith?

The young coaches expected something profound from the famed pastor, but Dr. Graham frailly and simply answered:

Read your Bible and pray everyday.

Did you catch that? Was it too fast for you? Should I write it again?

Read your Bible and pray everyday.

Wow! Deep!

Billy Graham, after years of influencing others with the Gospel, encouraged these men with what was most important in developing themselves longterm as believers.

Spend time with God everyday!

Here’s my take on Billy Graham’s encouragement:

Don’t try to make it more complicated than it is. Sometimes simple is the most profound.

Read your Bible and pray everyday.

You got it? Any questions?