It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted my mind dump.
A lot has happened in that time.
Hence, the late edition.
We spent one week on vacation in San Diego and last week Katie and I were in Florida for the Acts 29 pastor’s retreat.
While it was nice traveling, it was nice coming home.
There are a ton of things happening for me right now: finishing up the rough draft of my book (which is due August 1), hiring 2 staff members at Revolution, planning our fall sermon series (Multiply on 1 Timothy and Waiting on God on Habakkuk), working behind the scenes to improve our systems of MC’s and elders as Revolution continues to grow.
All good and fun things.
I was reminded today why every pastor needs a coach after I talked with mine.
Having someone who can help you crystalize what you are thinking, give you pushback to improve something is so helpful for a pastor.
Doing the wedding of a couple in our MC this Friday.
Always love being a part of weddings.
The only problem with weddings in Tucson is everyone gets married an hour away from me on the NW side of the city.
The timing of the Acts 29 retreat could not have been more helpful for me.
This summer is all about how do we continue to grow as a church and stay healthy (or get healthier in certain areas) to shepherd and care for everyone God sends us.
Honestly, this is the most excited I have ever been about Revolution.
It is also causing me to dive deeper and deeper into prayer which is a good thing.
In some ways I feel like I did when we planted the church almost 6 years ago.
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The pastoral office is reserved for those who are gifted for the ministry and who meet a defined set of character qualifications (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). The men who meet these qualifications are not self-appointed. The church is to recognize and set these men apart for the ministry (1 Tim. 4:14). The issue is not whether one recognizes his own giftedness and qualification. The issue is whether the people of God recognize it as well.
Tim Challies on Don’t pray in circles. (Katie and I appreciated Batterson’s book for the way it challenged our prayer lives, but Tim is spot on with this.)
Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus as simply and clearly as they could: “Teach us to pray.” When Jesus taught his disciples, he said nothing about prayer circles; if anything, he said the opposite when he told them to pray privately and in a quiet place. When Paul wrote to the people he loved, he often told them how and what he was praying on their behalf, and he said nothing about prayer circles. Praying in circles is absent in any and every form.
When I begin to have conversations with some of my aunts and uncles and how they wish they would have marched with King but they were just indifferent, they just thought it would work itself out. How they wish they could get back into time and fight the noble fight. Instead, they were quiet… I think [abortion] is going to be one of those issues for us. Science is already pushing the ball forward rapidly. In 1973, when Roe v. Wade occurred, there was no sonogram. We can see our babies in the womb now. There are studies now showing the baby is dreaming in the womb. Science will eventually, I believe, turn over Roe v. Wade. It will only be a matter of time.
“There is no perfect church, and if you find one, don’t join it because you’ll ruin it.” I don’t know who first said that, but it’s true. All churches are strong in some areas and weak in others. Hopefully churches are always working on those weaknesses, but if we can’t settle for anything less than perfection, then we’re in real trouble.
Have you ever given thought to how much positive vs. corrective feedback you give to your family or team? Perhaps if we focused more on teaching and encouragement rather than criticism we would see completely different results than we are used to seeing.
Myth: Mega-Churches should spend their money rescuing orphans with all their dollars instead of building fancy buildings. Truth: They should rescue orphans. They should also rescue Bob the 38 year old banker who lives off of Tower Place Drive in Buckhead.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.