Tag: Church

Unwelcome at Church: Your First-Time Guests Need Hospitality

Unwelcome at Church: Your First-Time Guests Need Hospitality

People are Lonely. Many of them are #Unwelcome at church

Many people enter religious buildings on Saturday or Sunday morning looking for connection to God and to other people. Scores of them feel unwelcome at church. I put this into the “Isolation and Friendships” category because let’s face it: People in the modern Western world are lonely.

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Signs of Respect

Signs of Respect

Signs of Respect Include How We Speak with Others. 

Unless your boss tells you to call them by their first name, call them “Mr. So and so” or “Mrs. So and so.”

Having been in the military, I would never refer to a full bird Colonel as “hey Jeff” or “sure, Dave!” No, their rank always precedes their LAST NAME: “Yes, Colonel Smith” or “Yes, Ma’am.” Bringing those signs of respect into my home, our children are not on a first name basis with their parents or other adults. They don’t answer adults with “yeah” or “ok.” They say “yes (or no) sir” or “yes (or no) ma’am.” 

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Forgiveness Has Benefits?

Forgiveness Has Benefits?

Harnessing the Power of Forgiveness When You Feel Weak

Have you ever been hurt by the actions or words of someone else? Maybe your mother-in-law criticized your parenting skills, your co-worker sabotaged a project or your spouse had an affair. These wounds sting deep and can leave you feeling angry, bitter or even vengeful. Only one weapon has the power to cure both parties: the power of forgiveness.

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Pastoral Posture and Finding Your Voice

Pastoral Posture and Finding Your Voice

With such a curious title as “Pastoral Posture and Finding Your Voice,” you might ask yourself if I’m discussing a chiropractic lesson or a music performance lessons (hey, I WAS a vocal performance in opera major my first year in college!)

No, I don’t have a key insight into your back’s posture and why you might slouch while preaching a sermon. I COULD give voice lessons, but that’s not the focus of this blog. In fact, what HAS been the focus of this blog? If you’ve been following Church Leaders Campfire for about a year or more, you might find a smorgasbord of content here in the blog. That’s about to change.

I’ve been attending Michael Hyatt’s “Influence and Impact Summit” online and it HAS influenced me! Listening to @LysaTerKeurst, the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, who shared about how my audience receives my message best. This is what I’m calling “Pastoral Posture and Finding Your Voice.” 

Basically, there are three voices a communicator can use toward their audience: 
1. “I’m the Expert” – This is the voice that says “You Should…” which is basically a lecture on what to do.
2. “I’m the Front Door” – This is the voice that says “You Could…” this is when I share what I’ve done (usually past-tense) but I’m not really sharing my current experiences (or failures for that matter).
3. “Out in the Field” – This is the voice that says “I May Be Two Steps Ahead of You, But I’m WITH YOU!” This is where you’re putting your arms around your tribe, congregation or family, and make friends with them.

Which one do you use in your family? Which voice do you use with the church you serve? What voice do you use when helping others?

Me? I sense the Lord’s leading to change the tone of Church Leaders Campfire. I’m switching the pastoral posture from an “I’m the Expert” to “Out in the Field” because I’m a multi-vocational minister who seeks to leverage the power of the internet to build friendships and network alongside with other Godly men and women for the sake of His message through me. I’ve found my voice, which is “I may be two steps ahead of you, but I’m WITH YOU!” because I’m a ministry practitioner and fellow traveler in God’s kingdom. 

Will you join me? More clarity and re-branding to come…

Question: What’s your pastoral posture and voice?

What Happened to Neil Schultz?

What Happened to Neil Schultz?

Hi. Remember me? Neil Schultz? Yes, it’s been months. There’s a story to tell here. I deeply missed you all. I missed the interactions over the phone, over Skype, over LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and email. I miss you. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you all.

Three months ago, my family and I left the church where I served as Senior Pastor. It was not pretty. In fact, it was the result of a brutal four hour long business meeting which my wife and I were uninvited from. No defense. No voice. No opportunity to lead, love or even explain. No, there were no moral (or biblical) grounds for such treatment. No immoral internet accounts or inappropriate relationships. My preaching was solid. Relationally we tried as best we could to connect. Ultimately, it was not a good fit. Rather than get revenge or retaliate, I’ve discovered it best to take the moral high ground, forgive, and move forward with a limp as best we can. They have no idea of the damage done as a result of how hard their heated, aggressive, emotionally charged vote made our life this Summer.

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Marketing Your Church

Marketing Your Church

Embrace This Proven, Biblical and Inexpensive Strategy for Marketing Your Church in Five Clear Steps

You want to impact lives, helping people find and then follow Jesus Christ. You want to see God grow the church you serve, but you’re one person who can’t do it all! Compounding the pain is the frustration many church leaders have of being bi-vocational, sometimes working another or two jobs on top of ministry and family. When do you have time for marketing your church?

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The Best Defense is a Good Offense

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

The best defense is a good offense” is an old proverb that has been applied to many The Best Defense is a Good Offensefields of endeavor, including games and military combat. Generally the idea is that offensive action preoccupies the opposition and ultimately its ability to directly harm. Mao Zedong opined that “the only real defense is active defense”, meaning defense for the purpose of counter-attacking and taking the offensive.Often success rests on destroying the enemy’s ability to attack. In reference to fighting terrorists, Matthew Levitt opines, “It’s important to pre-emptively strike at those who intend to do us harm.” The principle is echoed in the writings of Machiavelli and Sun Tzu.

The best defense is a good offense

In some board games, such as Risk, one’s ability to build up armies depends on aggressively attacking so as to acquire territory; however, in Risk, luck in rolling the dice is the ultimate determining factor. Players who fail to do so, and concentrate instead on holding the line against enemy attack, will likely end up in a weak position.

Indepthinfo argues that this adage does not always apply: “When the battle rages between two players one should put every ounce of power in the offense, but when several players are involved, the political element changes this dynamic.” In chess, one’s ability to prevent enemy attacks often depends on maintaining the initiative – i.e., making a series of threats that the opponent must use his turns to parry, rather than launching his own attacks; thus, common tips used in conjunction with this adage are that the best way to upset your opponent’s plans is to become menacing and that the best way to stop an enemy threat to your own king is to attack his.

In sports such as soccer and basketball, the adage “the best defense is a good offense” is used to note that success can hinge on an effective offense that keeps the ball on the other team’s side of the field, thus not only creating scoring opportunities but preventing the opposing team from scoring.

In a culture like ours in modern America, which embraces diversity, to suggest that certain truths apply to everyone is downright offensive. Pointing out sin isn’t popular and many Christians are labeled as “intolerant” for refusing to accept certain behaviors and ideas.

Unfortunately, many people have embraced a distorted Christianity that tries to be “politically correct.” They don’t want to offend anyone, so they accept sin rather than confronting it. Ultimately, their words of “love” ring empty because they accept sins that ruin people’s lives.

Other Christians just try to avoid sinful culture altogether. They have been taught to go on the defense—to hide in their homes, churches and schools to shut the door on the evil influences of culture. This is where we end up having the church of “We Don’t Do That” and Christian schools appear no different than public schools.

But Jesus challenged His followers to be on the offense—to proclaim the truth without shame.

Our households, churches and schools should become staging areas rather than fortresses; training environments that equip God’s people to confront a sinful world instead of hiding from it.Jesus knows that the pagan world will resist, but He dares us to go there anyway, and to be His conduits for HIS building HIS church in those very places that are most morally decayed.

As we listen to Jesus’ challenge today, we as Christians should ask ourselves the important question:

**Question: Are we on defense or offense?**

How to Train Small Group Leaders

How to Train Small Group Leaders

How to Train Small Group Leaders, part 1

How to train small group leaders | Church Leaders CampfireIf I want to know how to train small group leaders, then I must instinctively know what kind of small group I am looking to have. Borrowing from parenting wisdom, one must know their intended goal for that particular group in order to know how to train leaders for them. If your intended goal or purpose for the group is unsettled for you, then may I suggest you do additional research. If you are a Senior Pastor looking to start a small group ministry at your church, a small groups pastor looking to improve upon the existing ministry, an associate pastor overseeing small groups, a church planter just beginning the blueprint or DNA for the church, or a Youth Pastor or Children’s Director looking to add this ministry to your list of current ministries, then this is for you.

How to train small group leaders can be as varied and complicated as choosing the right American wedding menu (Never again)! Conversely, it can be oversimplified into a one-size fits all pattern (even the Air Force doesn’t do that). Before we get into determining small group purpose, let’s look at YOU, the small group overseer / champion / area coordinator / pastor.

So, how do we train small group leaders? Part 1 of how to train small group leaders begins with you. If you are the leader responsible for making this happen in your church or community, then you will need to clothe yourself with two things:  “COL2:6n7.” and “T.A.P.”

Clothe Myself with COL2:6n7?How to train small group leaders | Clothe Yourself with Christ - Col. 2:6-7

Yes, I know… it looks like a Star Wars droid name. Knowing how to train small group leaders begins with clothing oneself with a COL2:6n7 perspective. COL2:6n7 stands for (you guessed it), Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV) “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

When you consider the idea of recruiting, training, encouraging, supporting or helping small group leaders troubleshoot, this is the perspective we need to clothe ourselves in. We need a close relationship with Jesus–one that finds our identity and encouragement in Him and one that is grateful for His continuing work on our behalf (Romans 8:34). Church leader, if you struggle in this area, then training a small group will be very difficult and fruitless without Jesus involved (John 15:5).

Clothe Myself with T.A.P.?

Knowing how to train small group leaders also begins with T.A.P. which stands for Tenacity, Attitude and Persistence. These qualities simply sum up the character needed to lead other people: gumption. Click on the link to the left and you’ll find it defined as initiative, aggressiveness, resourcefulness. In other words, whether it’s recruiting, training, troubleshooting, firing a volunteer, or whatever, T.A.P. is required whether we like it or not. Can’t find a supporting Bible verse for this? Look at the life of Jesus. Was He passive? Did He shirk responsibility? Was He a One Approach Fits All kind of guy? Nope. I dare say He had T.A.P. and wants to give that to us (even though we may be cut from the timid cloth.) Another way of saying this is, BOLDNESS. So where do I find that boldness? In my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Question: What character traits do YOU think are necessary in how to train small group leaders?