Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Help Your Pastor!

The following is copied from Thom Rainer - President of Lifeway. It is great encouragement and direction for church members in loving and supporting their Pastors. Thanks Thom!

I know. Pastors aren’t perfect. But they do have one of the toughest jobs in the world. Regardless of the church polity, they do have to answer to every church member. Please allow me to speak to you who are church members. I know most of you love your pastor. I know most of you respect your pastor. But you may not know how you can best help your pastor.

I have served as a pastor of four churches, and I have consulted with hundreds of pastors. In many ways, I think I understand the heart of a pastor. So would you allow me to share with you how to demonstrate love to your pastor? I put them in the form of five things not to do, and five things to do.

What Not to Do

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. I’ve tried to streamline the list some.

1. Don’t criticize or make critical suggestions to the pastor unless you have spent much time in prayer over the matter. Pastors have to deal with criticisms every week. It drains them. Also, don’t criticize the pastor’s family.

2. Don’t ask the pastor to make announcements right before the worship service. He needs to be focused on his sermon. Similarly, don’t say other things to him that may distract him before he preaches.

3. Don’t tell your pastor how he compares to other pastors.

4. Don’t expect the pastor to be at all the church events and functions you think he should attend. Most of the other church members want him at “their” events as well.

5. Don’t expect the pastor to be the primary pastoral care giver to all members, their relatives, their distant relatives, and the rest of the community within a 30-mile radius.

What to Do

As I have talked with pastors around the world, they have shared with me some of the steps church members have taken that have really encouraged them. Let me share five of them.

1. Do pray for your pastor. Send him an email to let him know you are praying for him.

2. Do encourage your pastor. He needs it because he’s human, and he needs it to balance the criticisms he hears.

3. Do work with the leadership of the church to make certain the pastor is getting sufficient rest, time off, and family time. Most pastors are on 24/7 call.

4. Do encourage the rest of the church to take on pastoral care responsibility, particularly through small groups and Sunday school classes. The pastor should be the primary care giver for the most urgent and serious of needs. The rest of the church should do the bulk of the ministry.

5. Do be faithful to the ministry of the church. Few things encourage a pastor as much as committed church members.

Remembering Frances Mason

The very first blog I wrote was about Frances Mason. She was one of those church members that every pastor loves. Upon her death, I noted several reasons why I loved her so dearly.

As I reflected back on Frances for this blog, I realized that she was the type of church member that embodied all the great characteristics that are noted in these ten action items for this article. She prayed for me. She encouraged me. She looked after my welfare. She was a totally committed church member.

Many pastors are hurting. Sometimes I think most pastors are hurting. They are looking for answers to help their lives and leadership.

And the good news is that you can be a part of the solution.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Words Worth Remembering

The human brain has the ability to memorize and store more than we can ever imagine. And at the same time the human brain can suffer clutter and distortion resulting in loss of memory with little to no warning. We can forget the simple things and yet recall the complicated. We can put things out of our mind and yet get things stuck. God created an incredible thing when developed the human brain.

Our memorization of God's Word is so important to our daily lives. In fact one of the most remembered versus from Vacation Bible School back in the 70's was Psalm 119: 11 "Thy word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against thee." Funny how I still remember it in KJV! In fact it struck me today as I was looking at the summer schedule and studying for Adult VBS in July, that this verse is the one I most remember from my every year attendance at VBS. Other than the snow cones, this verse is about all I remember.

During a phone conversation today another verse was jogged out of my memory. A verse that really hits home in so many circles and situations. Rather than elaborating on it and sharing mere human thoughts, I am simply going to post it knowing that we all could do well to head the words written:

Titus 3:1-11
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,

2 to speak evil of no one , to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,

5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.

10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,

11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Coming Soon!

After several months of being "off the air" I am happy to announce that the Winning Truth Broadcast will once again begin airing the week of May 24TH with new messages. The broadcast will be available in podcast form and for download. Links will be provided next week. This blog will share insights into the broadcasts with discussion points from the messages. The current plan calls for one broadcast per week and an occasional Special Interest Broadcast from time to time dealing with Hot Topics of our day and particular issues that American Christianity is dealing with.

We pray that these broadcasts are a blessing to you. I look forward to interaction on the subject matter as we discuss and grow together. Time is running short. The return of our Lord is soon though NO person knows the exact time. We must do all we can in these days to reach as many people as possible with the only Winning Truth - the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

See you next week!