The Sins of a Pastor || Lazy

book

Pastors, like any person sin. While this may be surprising for some people as they put their pastors and their wife on a pedestal, it is true. Because of the nature of being a pastor and the life they live, their sins are often not obvious and ones that no one will ever know about. In fact, some of the most hurtful and dangerous sins are ones that a church and elders can unknowingly encourage. These sins are not in any particular order, just the order I wrote them in.

So far we’ve covered:

  1. Your Bible is for more than just sermon prep.
  2. A pastor being untouchable.
  3. The pastor’s family. 
  4. The need to be needed. 
  5. Giving away too much at home.

The sixth sin that many pastors deal with is the sin of being lazy.

Not exercising or eating well. Pastors are notoriously overweight. The reasons for this are many. Most of our meetings happen at Starbucks or over a meal. There is snack sitting around at every church function and feeding more than 4 people is hard to do in a healthy way. This may be a symptom of poor planning, bad eating habits or a lack of self-control. I speak from experience on this as I used to weigh 300 pounds.

Not making enough money. Many pastors are underpaid. This can be because the church doesn’t have the money. Or, as is often the case, the church doesn’t pay well enough. Too many elder teams still hold to a poverty theology when it comes to their pastors, as if this will teach them humility. If you think your pastor needs to learn humility, you shouldn’t have hired him in the first place. 1 Timothy 5:17-18 says: “The elders who are good leaders should be considered worthy of an ample honorarium, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain and, the worker is worthy of his wages.” By no means should a pastor be overly wealthy and most pastors do not go into ministry for the money, but they should be paid well. A pastor should be paid like others in his church.

Not having structure in the church to stay on task. Many pastors do not stay on task well. They struggle to close their office door and get things done. You should have times that cannot be interrupted. If you need to get out of your office to not be disturbed, do that. Go to Starbucks or work from home on your sermon. Set a time that you begin work and end work and stick to that. Decide when you are most alert and creative and do your sermon work then. For me, that is the morning. Nothing intrudes on my morning. All my meetings happen in the afternoon and evening because the elders have stated to me the most important thing I do centers on my sermon.

Here are a few ways to fight this:

  1. Make an exercise and eating plan. Find something, join a Crossfit box, make an eating plan and stick to it. Decide that you will start losing weight and eating better. One of the ways to do that when you go out is to know what you are going to eat when you go to a restaurant so you don’t even need to see the menu and the tantalizing pictures of food you shouldn’t eat. When you eat out, order first so you aren’t swayed by what others order (this has huge implications if you order after someone), try it sometime.
  2. Get accountability on that plan. Go public with your plan. If you are planning to eat a certain or exercise, tell others about it. Have them hold you accountable.
  3. Ask for a raise. If you need to make more to provide for your family, ask for it. Lead up in this area to your elders. If they are a stone wall and want to keep you humble, pray that God will change their hearts. If they stay closed off to you and you feel God has released you, look for a new job.
  4. Elders and money. If you are an elder and have the power to give a raise to a pastor, ask yourself, “How would I want this elder team to treat me and my finances if I was the pastor?” Changes the discussion when you put yourself in the position of receiving money. Bottom line for elders, one of the main reasons pastors leave churches is so they can provide better for their families. Before you get angry about that, everyone in your church switches companies for the same reason.
  5. Create structure. Have a start and end time to work. Have a to-do list, the 2-3 things you have to accomplish everyday for today to be worth it and get those 2-3 things done each day.

[Image]

Why Pastor’s Should Take a Summer Preaching Break

book

I am coming off of my summer preaching break at Revolution. When we started the church 5 years ago, I preached almost 100 times in the first 2 years. While it seemed necessary at the time, it was not unwise and certainly not sustainable.

It is always interesting to me when pastors hear about the break I take each summer. They often tell me how they could never do that or what they would do if they did that. I’ve talked to church members who don’t know what to do with a pastor taking a break. I get quizzical looks and then they say, “It would be nice for me to take 4 weeks off.” Which totally misses the point, but it would be nice to take 4 weeks off.

Here’s what I do on my break & why you as a pastor should take one:

  1. Rest. During my break I go on vacation, spend longer time with Katie and the kids than I normally do. I take more retreat days to be alone with Jesus and work on my heart. In the flow of a ministry year, it is easy to get busy and drown out the voice of the Holy Spirit. While I take my day off each week and try to take a retreat day each month, it is easy to skip these. A break gives me no excuse. During a break, I’m able to read my bible longer and journal more, pray more and work on me as a man, a father, a husband and a pastor. If this were the only thing a pastor gained from his break, his church would be better off, but there’s more.
  2. Let the church hear from other communicators. I would love to think I’m the greatest communicator my church has ever heard, but that isn’t true. In fact, they get tired of me, how I say things and what I say. I start to run out of interesting things to say, my stories get dry and don’t connect and I get tired of the series we are in. This happens every series we do, 10 weeks into it I’m ready for the next one. A break lets other people preach, which develops other communicators who God is calling into ministry or preaching. It allows my church to hear a different way of preaching, a different lens of reading the Bible and new insights and stories. Depending on how well they do, it might also give your church a greater appreciation for you. Some notes on guest speakers: they must line up with you theologically, don’t preach heresy on your week off. They must be good. I knew one pastor who booked speakers who weren’t as good as he was so when he came back people were excited he was back. I want Revolution to be great 52 weeks a year, regardless of who is preaching.
  3. Get your love and passion for preaching back. Preaching is hard work. It is tiring and draining. I love to preach and prep a sermon. It is one of the favorite parts of my job, but it is physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally tiring. Pulling back for a few weeks is incredibly important. Two weeks into your break, you will want to preach again and have the itch. This is good, then enjoy the last 2 weeks. For me, I’ve learned that I need to take a week off from preaching every 10 weeks. Every pastor is different, but that seems to be my limit.
  4. Evaluate the church. Andy Stanley calls this “working on the church, not in the church.” When I’m not working on a sermon, it gives me a chance to pull back and look at everything. This summer we and my leaders spent a great deal of time evaluating Missional Communities, talking about our first Revolution Church plant and what that will look like, and how we will get from 250 to 500 in attendance and what needs to change for that to happen and what will change because of that. In the normal flow of a ministry year, it is hard to have these meetings because they take time, but the summer is the perfect time to pull back and evaluate.
  5. Look ahead. Right along with evaluating your church, you can look ahead. You can read for upcoming sermons and series. You can work ahead on things. This summer, I started to work on the series we will begin in January. This is a huge help to our church because it allows us to have resources, daily bible study questions, mc guides, and study guides to educate our people in Scripture. None of these things happen at the last minute.
  6. Grow your leadership through books and conversations. Taking a break gives you extra time to read outside of sermon prep. I love to read and it seems I am always reading 5 books, but a summer break helps me read more and from a wider variety of books and topics. It also helps me have time to talk to other leaders, ask them questions, learn from them to benefit our church. This summer, I’ve spent time talking to pastors of church that are in that 350-500 range to see what is next. I’ve talked with pastors who have planted a church and what they learned in the process.
  7. Gives you energy for the fall. In most churches, the fall is the second biggest growth time of the year. The spring is the biggest for Revolution. Taking a break in the summer, pulling back gives you the energy for the season that is coming. If you go into the ministry season at 85%, you will burnout and not make it. If you go in at 100% you will push through and be of greater use to your church and Jesus.

If you are an elder or a church member who has the power to encourage your pastor to do this, do it. The benefit to your pastor, his family and your church is enormous. If you are a pastor, stop making excuses about this. Educate your elders, vision cast and lead up. I had to at the beginning as my elders didn’t understand why I’d do this. To them it felt like I was taking a month off. That’s okay, but don’t let that stop you.

[Image]

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like

This Weekend @ Revolution: The Kind of Person who God Uses

Easter was an unbelievable time at Revolution Church. Started off with a powerful Good Friday of walking through the Stations of the Cross and then celebrating baptisms in our Easter services. If you weren’t there, you can listen to the sermon here and see some of the pictures of the baptisms here.

This week, we are continuing our series Weird and I’ll be preaching from 1 Peter 5:1 – 4 and looking at the kind of person God uses. We all want our lives to matter, to make a difference, but God has specific qualifications for the kind of person He uses.

When we think of a leader or a person God uses, we often think of a superhero kind of person. Someone who is strong, maybe good looking, looks and sounds spiritual whenever they open their mouth and seem almost otherworldly in how they live. But is that really who God uses? If so, that creates a narrow view. Yet, many people walk through life and think, “God could never use me.”

Peter points out not only who God uses (and the answer might surprise you), but also when God is most likely to use people (again, the answer on this one might surprise you as well).

This is a crucial week in this series as this gets into the area of leadership. All of us are leaders, we all lead someone in our life. We are all further on our journey with God than someone. The reality is not, am I a leader, but am I a good one?

In addition to talking about who God uses and when he uses them, I’ll also get into what it means to be a leader at Revolution Church, why that matters to you and how that will move us forward to being a church that plants churches. I can’t emphasize enough that you definitely do not want to miss this week or next week at Revolution (you don’t want to miss any week at Revolution, but these 2 weeks are critically important to who we are as a church and where we are going).

It is definitely a week you don’t want to miss.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.

Remember, we meet at 4 & 5:30pm at 6620 E 22nd. St. See you Saturday.

Men, Husbands & Church Leaders

Came across this while I was prepping for my sermon for Saturday night at Revolution:

When husbands and elders accept that God’s beloved people have been placed under their care and that he holds them accountable for the spiritual health of his children – families and churches will begin to resemble the perfect community we see in the Trinity. When this begins to happen, men will actually be attracted to taking responsibility in the home and the church because they will sense the call to follow Christ in leadership as an inspiring and uniquely masculine one. -Darrin Patrick, Church Planter

Links of the Week

  1. Jeff Vanderstelt on The elder qualification we often forget.
  2. Theology a hot issue in GOP race.
  3. Grace Driscoll on a Godly wife, woman, mother & friend.
  4. 6 characteristics of spiritual leadership.
  5. Mark Driscoll on Manhood and the fatherhood of God.
  6. Perry Noble on 10 signs you are near burnout.
  7. 30 ways to be missional in your workplace.
  8. Jonathan Dodson on 25 ways to engage your neighbors.
  9. Tim Keller on Salvation outside of Christ.
  10. Russell Moore takes on Pat Robertson. I thought Robertson was kidding when he said this, but Moore calls him to task on his statement about marriage and divorce.

Top Posts of June

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for the month of June:

  1. Losing Weight Part 1
  2. The Role of Men in the Family
  3. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  4. Letting People Know You are Sinning
  5. Losing Weight Par 2: The Idol of Food
  6. The Lens of Leadership
  7. Planning a Preaching Calendar
  8. Congregationalism is from Satan
  9. Losing Weight Part 3: Have a Plan
  10. How to Choose What to Preach On

How a Staff Supports a Lead Pastor

Ron Edmondson is doing a great series of blogs on being a lead pastor and understanding the role and how leaders can support them (you can read his first part here). In his second post, he talks about what a lead pastor needs from a staff, volunteers and elders:

  1. Have a Kingdom perspective. It’s not really about either one of you…it’s about God and we get to play a part in His Kingdom work.
  2. Know yourself. Some people are wired for a supporting role and some are not, which is why so many are planting churches these days. You may be able to serve in this role for a short time but not long term. It takes a great deal of humility to submit to someone else’s leadership at times. Know who you are. Being in the second (or third) position in an organizational sense doesn’t always get to make the final decision. Are you comfortable with that fact?
  3. Support the pastor. That’s an obvious for this list, but unless the senior pastor is doing something immoral, you should have his back. If you can’t, move on… You should make this decision early in your relationship, preferably before you start, but definitely soon into the process. Resisting the leadership of the senior pastor is usually not good for you or the church.
  4. Realize you are in the second (or third) chair. If you don’t want to be, then work your way into a number one seat, but while you are in this position, understand your role.
  5. Don’t pray for, wish or try to make your pastor something he is not. Most likely, the basic personality of your leader is not going to change.
  6. Add value to the pastor and the organization. Do good work. Even if you are not 100% satisfied where you are at in your career at the current time, keep learning and continue to be exceptional in your position. Be a linchpin.
  7. Be a friend. This is a general principle when working with others, but especially true in this situation. If you aren’t likable to the pastor, he isn’t going to respond likewise. Have you ever heard, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”? That works when working with a leader too.
  8. Brand yourself in and out of the organization. Don’t wait until you are in the number one position to make a name for yourself. This helps you, the pastor and the church.
  9. Compliment the pastor. Most likely, you are needed for your abilities that are different from the senior pastor. Use your gifting to make the church better and improve the overall leadership of the pastor. This will serve you well also.
  10. Pick your battles. Even in the healthiest organizations, there will be conflict and disagreements. Don’t always be looking for a fight. Ask yourself if the battle is worth fighting for or if this in the hill on which to die.
  11. Learn all you can. Most likely, the pastor knows some things you don’t. Sometimes you will learn what not to do from your pastor. Let every experience teach you something you can use later to make you a better leader.
  12. Leave when it’s time. Be fair to the church, the pastor, and yourself and leave when your heart leaves the position, you can no longer support the pastor or the organization, or you begin to affect the health or morale of the church and staff.

I am grateful for the team that I serve with as they understand the weight and enormity of what we are trying to do at Revolution and the weight of being a lead pastor, as a staff can make being a leader incredibly hard and painful. I’m grateful for their support.

To read the rest of his post, go here.

Saturday Night Mind Dump…

  • Not even sure where to begin when it comes to this past weekend and tonight at Revolution
  • Last night we did the stations of the cross
  • Such a powerful spiritual practice
  • Really brought this weekend into focus
  • I loved the part where I wrote down what Jesus’ death and resurrection freed me from and nailing it to the cross
  • Love the feeling of freedom I have because of grace
  • Tonight was by far, the greatest night in the history of Revolution
  • Even as I sit here writing, I’m not sure how to put into words what God did tonight
  • We had our highest attendance ever at Revolution
  • And we had 6 people accept Jesus tonight
  • That never gets old
  • Got to explain the Feast of Booths tonight, definitely an interesting way to come at the question, “How do you handle life when it seems out of control?”
  • Paul nailed the Lifehouse song “Storm
  • Totally pulled the service together
  • If you missed tonight, you can listen to it here
  • After the service, we had a huge BBQ
  • There were 4 grills going and so much food
  • I was blown away by how great everything ran and how cool everything looked
  • Christe LePeau, Amy Putnam and Sarah LaBelle did an amazing job pulling everything off
  • Every week, I am amazed at our volunteers and team at Revolution
  • Everyone works so hard, doesn’t complain in making Revolution happen
  • As a pastor, I am so grateful for the team we have as it allows me to do what I do
  • Reading two fascinating books right now:  Linchpin and Lectures to my Students
  • We finalized the preaching calendar through the end of the summer
  • So excited about the topics we’ll be covering at Revolution this summer
  • This week I discovered Iron & Wine
  • So, so good
  • Everything that could seem to go wrong leading up to tonight did
  • On Friday, my computer died. Wouldn’t turn back on.
  • One of our elders went and got me a new one, loaded everything on it that I needed and I’m typing it on it now
  • Like I said, the team at Revolution is top notch
  • When I told him he didn’t need to do that, his response was, “You have enough to worry about this weekend, I’ll do that, you do what you do”
  • Unbelievable
  • This morning, our website went down
  • Not cool
  • But we were able to get it worked out and back up in record time
  • Grateful for the tech guys in our church
  • Just got a text from another elder from Revolution who checks up on me on Saturdays to see how I’m doing
  • Love hearing that people are praying for me after pouring out through preaching
  • I can’t say this enough to church planters, who you put around you makes all the difference
  • This week we officially registered Ava for kindergarten
  • Hard to believe she is old enough for that
  • Paul taught “Rain it down” tonight
  • Love that song
  • That and Tomlin’s song “Our God” are getting a lot of play at our house (and at Revolution)
  • If you missed them, here are the top posts from the month of March
  • This week, Katie and I will celebrate 8 years of marriage
  • I still can’t believe she said yes
  • Not sure what she was thinking
  • But I’m grateful she said yes
  • I am more in love with her today than ever
  • And she continues to get more and more beautiful
  • Next week I get to talk about one of my favorite topics:  whether or not prayer works
  • You don’t want to miss it
  • If you brought someone tonight, be sure to personally invite them back
  • It will make a huge difference to them
  • I’m out