Saturday, April 30, 2016

What everyone should know about Harriet Tubman.

On Wednesday April 20, 2016, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Harriet Tubman would be replacing  President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill.

 Here are nine things you should know about the legendary civil rights leader.

1. Harriet Tubman didn’t become “Harriet Tubman” until her mid-20s. She was originally born a slave named Araminta Ross on a plantation in Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The surname Tubman comes from her first husband, John Tubman, a free black man, and after marrying, she adopted the name “Harriet” after her mother: Harriet Ross.

2. A few years after she married, Tubman and two of her brothers initially escaped from slavery. However, when her brothers returned (one of them had recently become a father) she returned with them to the plantation. She would later escape again with the help of the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by abolitionists. Tubman later recalled how she felt upon arriving a free woman in Pennsylvania:

When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.

3. Since none of Tubman’s family was with her in Pennsylvania (her husband, John, stayed behind and would later remarry another woman), she returned on several trips to help lead her relatives to freedom. Over the next 15 years she would, with the help of others in the Underground Railroad, lead approximately 70 slaves out of their captivity. Her efforts in the dangerous undertaking earned her the nickname “Moses” by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, who compared her to the Hebrew leader who lead his people out of slavery in Egypt.

4. By the late 1850s, Tubman had gained renown in the abolitionist community. J.W. Loguen, a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church, said of her, “Among slaves she is better known than the Bible, for she circulates more freely.” Loguen introduced Tubman to the controversially violent abolitionist John Brown, who connected her to other influential leaders in the movement. Brown once introduced Tubman by saying, “I bring you one of the best and bravest persons on the continent—General Tubman, we call her.” Tubman would go on to become a powerful speaker for the antislavery movement.

5. During the Civil War, Tubman served the Union Army as a spy, helping map out areas of South Carolina. She became the only woman to lead men into battle during the Civil War when she guided a nighttime raid at Combahee Ferry in June 1863. While under fire, Tubman’s group freed more than 700 slaves from neighboring plantations. Both before and after her work as a spy she also served as a nurse and cook for the Army. Despite her service, Tubman never received a regular salary and was denied an official military pension. Tubman later became the beneficiary of military benefits, but only as the wife of an “official” veteran, her second husband, Nelson Davis.

6. After the Civil War Tubman became involved in other social reform movements, including temperance, women’s rights and universal suffrage. Tubman once gave a speech alongside suffragette leader Susan B. Anthony and was introduced at the event as the “great Black liberator.” When a friend asked Tubman if women should have the right to vote she responded, “I’ve suffered enough to believe it.”

7. At a young age, Tubman suffered a traumatic head injury that caused her to have crippling headaches and disabling epileptic seizures. But it also gave her powerful visions, which, as a lifelong devout Christian, she attributed to God. 

The abolitionist Thomas Garrett once said about Tubman,

I never met with any person, of any color, who had more confidence in the voice of God, as spoken direct to her soul. She frequently told me that she talked with God, and he talked to her every day of her life … she said she never ventured only where God sent her, and her faith in the Supreme Power was truly great.

8. Throughout her life Tubman remained either in poverty or on the verge of destitution. She managed to scrape by on her labor, her husband’s pension and donations from admirers. According to one biographer, she “never drew for herself more than 20 days’ rations” during the four years she labored during the war. Instead, she supported herself by selling pies, gingerbread and root beer to soldiers. After the war, she used her reputation to help raise $2,000 on a scheme that turned out to be a con. Tubman had hoped to use the proceeds to open a home for black people but was instead attacked, bound and gagged by the con men. Wisconsin Congressman Gerry W. Hazelton introduced legislation in 1874 that Tubman be paid “the sum of $2,000 for services rendered by her to the Union Army as scout, nurse and spy,” but the bill was defeated.

9. From the proceeds of a biography written by a supporter, Tubman was able to buy a property with two buildings on 26 acres near her home in Auburn, New York. She later deeded the land to the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion Church, to be used as a home for the elderly (which she wanted to be named John Brown Hall). 

At the time she attended the mostly white Central Presbyterian Church, but she later became active in the A.M.E. church, where her husband was a trustee. In 1908, the A.M.E. Zion regional conference voted to take an annual collection for the maintenance of what was now called the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged

Tubman herself was the only female member on a board of trustees dominated by pastors. By 1911, she was so ill and impoverished that she was admitted to the home named after her. 

She died in 1913, with her last words being,

Source:   Joe Carter
Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Funny - Tim Hawkins: Men and Women Text Differently

Here is a Friday Funny I thought you would like:  Get ready to laugh....

Thursday, April 28, 2016

“No Matter Who’s Elected, America Needs Moral and Spiritual Revival”

Billy Graham recently posted a very timely word on his Facebook page:

“I’m absolutely convinced that no matter who’s elected America is not going to be saved unless we have a moral and spiritual revival.”

You might think Billy said these words recently, but this quote actually comes from an old episode of “Hour of Decision.”

Billy’s words are as true today as they were when he first said them.

“No nation has ever improved morally without a revival of religion … and America needs a revival today!”

Let’s join together in asking God to bring spiritual revival in our country.

"I’m absolutely convinced that no matter who’s elected America is not going to be saved unless we have a moral and spiritual revival."                                           —Billy Graham

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

20 One-Sentence Prayers That Will Consistently Change Your Day

These prayers will help you lean on God during your busiest days.

One of my favorite stories of Jesus is His interaction with the Canaanite woman whose daughter was possessed by a demon. 

She tells Jesus her problem, but the disciples try to push her away from Him. Jesus waits in silence. The Canaanite woman then utters a prayer that moves Jesus into action.

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” She said. [Matthew 15:25]

How would our day change if we utter those same words with the problems we have?

Sometimes I convince myself that I’m too busy to pray. 

The reality is, though, we can pray a simple prayer that may be only one sentence long yet God will answer it, because He answers our prayers not by how eloquently we pray but by how much faith we pray with.

God doesn’t need a 30-minute prayer session to be moved into action. He just needs faith and a sentence to call Him to do something. 

Here are 20 one-sentence prayers that you can pray any time and any where that could change your day and that of those around you.

1. Lord help me be a better spouse and better parent today than I was yesterday and the day before that. This prayer I should be silently praying anytime I go to the fridge. What a prayer to quickly pray when you are with your family that God will be happy to answer if only we would.

2. Lord help me to show this person your love and attention in a way that they haven’t seen before. Next time you meet with someone, let this prayer roll of your tongue silently before a word you speak to him or her. Every encounter we have is an encounter to change how someone views God.

3. Lord help me believe that you are with me even when I’m unsure if you are. God is with us! We know this theologically but sometimes in the face of chaos or trials we forget to live this out practically. Next time you feel anxious or uncertain, ask God give you a little nudge to remind you He is with you.

4. Lord help me turn from my sin when my sin turns toward me. David said, “My sin is always before me.” Yikes. Sometimes instead of knocking, sin rings the doorbell. When temptation comes, let this prayer help you not answer its call.

5. Lord help me do the things I know I should be doing but currently I am not. God is great at giving us a push in the back. There are things you know God is asking you to do but currently you aren’t. What better way to start doing them than asking God to help you.

6. Lord help me to believe that I can make a difference in someone’s life today by just saying something nice to them. The words you say to people are little parachute bombs filled with either rocks or flowers. Words hurt or help people, and sometimes we forget this.

7. Lord help me believe your Word can be like a flashlight and guide me down this darkened path. I know not many of us are trudging the Oregon trail at night, but metaphorically we are on the path of life. Sometimes it gets dark, and when it does remember God has provided the ultimate light source, His Word.

8. Lord help me give the love you have given me away freely and without charge to the people around me whom I struggle to love even a little bit. There are people in your life whom you find it difficult to love. If you were charging for love, you would put a 200 percent tax increase on it. Instead of withholding giving away love, give it away without holding onto being right.

9. Lord help me trust that you have a plan for my life even when it may feel like it is a bad one. Do you ever feel like the plan that God has for you feels more like a wild goose chase that is zig zagging around the world? Well, sometimes it does, but God’s plans are perfect and straight if we trust Him as the master mapmaker for our life.

10. Lord help me have patience because I’m pretty sure I’m out. Patience is essential in ministry. People will test your patience including your own family. When your patience seems like it has evaporated into the atmosphere, ask God to replenish it.

11. Lord help me not find my significance from social media today. Twitter, Facebook, Google+: All are great until we look to them as our significance meter.

12. Lord help me run to your Word for guidance instead of looking for an answer inside Google. Google has provided every answer we need to almost every question we have. Need some advice? Type it into the search bar, hit enter and in .2 seconds you will have 100,000 responses. Google is great, but God is greater.

13. Lord help me to not care what people may think about me and only be concerned with what you think about me. Church leaders and pastors are typically people-pleasers. We want people to like us and accept us. Be careful, though, the desire to be liked by others doesn’t squash your desire to know what God says about you.

14. Lord help me forgive people quickly and swiftly because if not the bitterness will have its way with me. Forgiveness is not easy to do, but the alternative of not forgiving is much harder to live with. Ask God to help you forgive, after all He does it whenever we need it from Him.

15. Lord help me not treat ministry like a job but only as a calling from you. Whenever ministry becomes a job, you’ll quickly find burnout won’t be close behind. God calls us not to a 9-5 job but to a lifetime of living a call that is the greatest call we’ll ever answer.

16. Lord help me have faith, the kind of faith that I could lift a mountain and toss it into the sea. When you have the mentality that nothing can stand in your way of doing God’s work, including a mountain, then you will achieve the greatness that will come with having a faith that can move even mountains.

17. Lord help me to lead well those you have asked me to lead. Whether you realize it or not, you are leading people. More importantly you are leading people God has entrusted into your care. Ask the Lord for help, because left to our own we will choose to let people lead themselves.

18. Lord help me see things and hear things that others aren’t because they are too busy.In 2 Corinthians 4:18, Paul encourages the Corinthians to focus not on the things they can see but on the things they can’t. We look around and see many problems. Instead of seeing the problems, see the God who is orchestrating your solutions.

19. Lord help me work hard on the right things and leave the results up to you. We want results. When you aren’t getting the results you want, ask God to help you keep working hard on the right things and leave the results up to Him.

20. Lord help me. Sometimes we may not know how we even need God to help us. When you are at a loss of words, let God fill in the blanks.

Which one-sentence prayer could you tuck into your back pocket only to pray it a few times throughout your day? 

Source: Brett Faris

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Who killed the frog?

Put a frog into a vessel fill with water and start heating the water. 

As the temperature of the water begins to rise, the frog adjust its body temperature accordingly. The frog keeps adjusting its body temperature with the increasing temperature of the water. 

Just when the water is about to reach boiling point, the frog cannot  adjust anymore. At this point the frog decides to jump out. The  frog tries to jump but it is unable to do so because it has lost all its strength in adjusting with the rising water temperature. Very soon the frog dies.

What killed the frog?

Think about it!

I know many of us will say the boiling water. But the truth about what killed the frog was its own inability to decide when to jump out.

We all need to adjust with people; situations, but we need to be sure when we need to adjust; when we need to move on.

There are times when we need to face the situation and take appropriate actions.

If we allow people to exploit us physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually or mentally they will continue to do so.

Let us decide when to jump!

Let's jump while we still have the strength.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Developing a plan for your life

If you want to achieve the goals you’ve made for yourself, you’ll need a plan to get from where you are to where you want to go
You’ll need a plan to overcome the expected problems you’ll face on that journey. Without a plan, all your goals will go up in smoke.
Genesis 24 tells the story of Eliazar’s ingenious plan to find a wife for his master’s son, Isaac. Eliazar had two major obstacles to fulfilling this goal. Where would he find a wife for Isaac in his master’s homeland? And how was he going to find a high character woman without observing her long term? Eliazar devised a predetermined plan to solve both of these problems. 

First, Eliazar went to a place where women gathered in those days — a well. He had much higher odds of finding a wife at that well than any other place he could have gone.
And, Eliazar knew exactly how to get the type of wife he wanted for Isaac. He wanted to find a compassionate woman, so he looked for someone who would offer to draw up to 15 gallons of water for each of his 10 camels. That’s a lot of water!
Eliazar didn’t fly by the seat of his pants to accomplish his goal. Instead he prayerfully established a plan, and, ultimately, he was successful. In doing so he proved what the Bible says in Proverbs 13:16: “Sensible people always think before they act, but stupid people advertise their ignorance” (TEV).
Good planning — whether that plan is for your family, your work, your ministry, or a different area of your life — has three parts to it:
  • Steps: You need to establish how you are going to get from where you are now to where you want to go. Write down those steps.
  • Deadlines: Put a date with every one of those steps. A goal is a statement of faith as you say that you believe God wants you to accomplish your goal by a particular date.
  • Schedule: Write those dates into your calendar. Don’t just hide it in a filing cabinet or up on a shelf. Show me what’s on your calendar, and I’ll tell you what’s important to you.
Studies show that only 5 percent of Americans have written down goals for their lives.
Those same studies show that the same 5 percent are the highest wage earners in the U.S. Successful people set their direction and go for it. Unsuccessful people drift. Life just happens to them. They don’t have any goals. They don’t know where they’re going in life. At the end of 2016, it’s just another year down the drain.
Don’t let that happen. Develop a plan to reach your goals this year.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Where am I found on Sunday mornings!

Several people have asked me about what I am doing on Sunday mornings since I am not longer preaching at the church I have pastored for the past 9 years.  The answer is simple.  I am going to church to gather with other believers and offer my sacrifice of worship and praise to our Great God!

Over the past 2 Sundays I have been at the main campus of Elevation Church.  Two weeks ago I stood beside my daughter Stephanie when the pastor came forward in preparation to preach. I was moved to tears when he paused and gave Stephanie a hug and then placed his arms around me and whispered a short prayer of encouragement and for God's guidance.  He preached a message than spoke to my heart.

On this Sunday morning I thought I would share that message with you. Be blessed my friend:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

It is Well With My Soul

You’ve probably heard the famous story of Haratio Spafford writing “It Is Well with My Soul” following the death of his four daughters. The story goes that as he sailed across the area were their ship went down and they drowned, he wrote the popular hymn.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

[chorus] It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Some of the story may be true, but there’s much more to the story before and after the song!
In the 1870s, Spafford was a very successful lawyer in Chicago and heavily invested in real estate. In 1871, the great Chicago fire destroyed all his downtown investment properties.
In 1873, he and his family planned a vacation trip to Europe. While in Great Britain, he planned to help his good friend Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sankey, whom he had financially supported, with their evangelistic tour. Spafford sent his wife and four girls—ages 11, 9, 7 and 2—ahead while he finished up last-minute business in Chicago. On November 22, the S.S. Ville Du Havre struck another ship and sank within twelve minutes. Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband “Saved alone.”
One story reports that Spafford wrote “It Is Well with My Soul” while passing over the very spot of the ocean where his four daughters perished while another, more reliable report, claims he wrote it two years later when Moody and Sankey were visiting his home.
But the tragedy surrounding the hymn didn’t end there. Horatio and Anna returned to Chicago, and gave birth to Horatio II who would die at four years old of scarlet fever in 1876. Two years later, the couple gave birth to Bertha, who would would write that her parents not only suffered the pain of losing their fortune and five children, but it was compounded by a crisis of faith. Were the children’s deaths a punishment from God? Did He no longer love them? Horatio felt himself in danger of losing his faith.
In 1881, Anna gave birth to a sixth daughter, appropriately named “Grace.” Shortly after, the family of four moved to Jerusalem, with Horatio explaining, “Jerusalem is where my Lord lived, suffered, and conquered, and I wish to learn how to live, suffer, and especially to conquer.”
The family would remain in Jerusalem and set up a children’s home. And like his children, he too would die tragically. Some reports claim he began to suffer delusions that he was the second Messiah, while his family insists it was the malaria fever from which he died that caused the mental confusion.
But the tragedy surrounding the hymn didn’t end there, either. The tune was written by Philip P. Bliss, which he entitled “Ville du Havre,” the name of the ship that took the lives of Spafford’s four daughters. The hymn was first sung by Bliss himself before a large gathering of ministers hosted by Moody on November 24, 1876.
Just one month later, on December 29, 1876, Bliss and wife were traveling to Chicago by train. As the train passed over a trestle near Ashtabula, Ohio, the bridge collapsed and the passenger coaches plunged 75 into the icy river. Philip was able to escape through a window, but his wife was pinned in the wreckage. As he went back to free his wife, a fire broke out through the wooden cars and both were burned beyond recognition.
Nine tragic deaths surround the hymn, and yet those affected by them, could say, “It is well with my soul.” And to me, that is indeed “blest assurance.” It is well with my soul . . . if nothing else!
© Copyright 2008 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved.
   Thanks James for an awesome blog post. Hope it is okay that I copied it to share and give you credit! 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Music as a ministry - a spotlight on passion.

I recently read this post on the Oklahoma Wesleyan University wed site and felt I should share it.  
OKWU worship team member, Colton Frederick, is a junior pastoral and youth ministry major with a passion for music, evidenced in part by the recent release of his own worship album.

As a Bartlesville native, Colton has been familiar with Oklahoma Wesleyan from childhood. He knew many of the professors, attended many athletic events, and his brother was a student at the University. “OKWU feels like home,” he says.
Colton has taken OKWU’s mission to impact culture with the Lordship of Jesus Christ in a very tangible way. His story began early, growing up in a Christian home, but it was not until he was sixteen that he fully dedicated his life to Christ.
“I was born loving music.” He said, “My father loves music and introduced me to a wide variety of music genres. I appreciate many forms of music and believe that God gave us music as a way to connect with Him.” While Colton has always loved music, he didn’t start as a singer, but instead played in his school band throughout middle and high school. Singing didn’t come until his church worship band needed someone, and he took the role even though it terrified him. But, he emphasizes, “God has been good every step of the way.”
“I consider my music as a ministry. I just felt like I needed to take it to the next level, so I spent all the money I had, went to Nashville and recorded with professionals (I recorded 2 songs at the time). After…consistently emailing the House FM [radio], they started playing those 2 songs. Like a domino effect, other radio stations started playing my songs and now I’m on stations in 5 different states. Once again, God has been good.”
colton album artColton not only has the opportunity to use his talents as a worship leader during OKWU chapels, but outside of school, he has had different opportunities to share Christ. Not long ago, he did a concert in Ponca City, Oklahoma, and later performed some of his music at the BOK Center. Colton says there have been several positive outcomes through his music:
“I have people tell me all the time that my music has made their day, which means a lot to me. It means even more when people tell me that they didn’t listen to Christian music until they heard my songs, and then they began to. I want people to be excited and passionate about Christian music”
Colton is now the Contemporary Worship Pastor at Bartlesville First Wesleyan Church. He recently had another opportunity to record in Nashville, and now has his own album, “With All I Am” out on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. 

“All in all, I want to serve God with my gifts and encourage others to do the same. If you faithfully serve God, he will be faithful to bless your ministry. Again, God has been good every step of the way. How can I keep from singing His praise?”
“How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!” 
-Psalm 147:1

Interview by Katelyn Paschall, Junior Business major, Management and Leadership emphasis

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Happy Birthday to Sharron!

I want to be sure and express my love for my beautiful wife and best friend - Sharron. 

 God brought her into my life when I was a youth pastor at a church in Charlotte, NC. I had just graduated from college. Sharron had just earned her RN degree and was recruited by a hospital in Charlotte. It was almost love at first sight. We began to date within days after meeting and were married five months later. That was the summer of 1978. God blessed us with twin daughters in November 1980 as we began our family. We departed Charlotte in 1981 to move to the Northern Virginia area. This was the launching pad for our journey of ministry.  

From Northern Virginia - a short term in Bartlesville, OK. - then back to Northern Va. to complete 12 years of ministry.  Then God took us to Marion, In.  

The next ministry position was in Sturgis, Mi.  With our daughters in college and Sharron and I facing a new stage of life as empty nesters we accepted a new ministry position in the state of Kansas as we moved to Topeka, KS. When our youngest daughter married and several years later told us our first grandchild was soon to enter the world - we once again felt the leading of God for a ministry transition. God opened the door to relocate us to North Carolina and we began serving in Raleigh, NC.

Sharron, for all the times of relocation, your commitment to me and loyalty to our marriage has never wavered. I know you like to say "Divorce was never an option - but murder has been contemplated."  No one knows me better or loves me more dearly than you. My life is incomplete without you.  

These are our best days as I sit at a kitchen table in our daughter's home and listen to you leading the session of home schooling 2 of our grandchildren. My mind goes back to hearing you teaching our daughters in the same manner years ago.  In many ways, things have not changed - but we are facing major changes in our life right now. We sit together - hand in hand - in God's Waiting Room anticipating the leading of God in our life. 

God has blessed us as we celebrate 38 years of marriage this coming June.

Sharron, on your birthday I once again want to express my love and admiration for you and once again publicly declare my love for you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I Love the Lord!

Spoiler Alert:    Get your tissues ready!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

11 Signs Your Church Is Going Extinct

If your church is showing one or two of these signs, some change is in order to optimally position your congregation for the future.
If it’s showing more than half of the signs, then in my view there’s some serious work to be done. If it’s showing most or all of the signs, it’s time for some prayerful and radical repentance and reinvention before it’s too late.

1. No sense of urgency

Growing churches have an exceptional sense of urgency. Stagnant and declining churches don’t.

If every Sunday is just another Sunday—and you don’t have a burning sense that lives and eternity hang in the balance—then you’ve lost the edge that all great churches, preachers and movements share.

2. Urgency about the wrong things

It’s not that dying churches don’t have any sense of urgency. In fact, they will often feel urgency about two things: the budget and survival.

If your motive for growth is financial, you should probably close your doors or open your heart. Unchurched people can smell it a mile away when you see them as simply a means to an end.

Resources and people follow vision. If your only vision is to stay afloat, the end is near.

3. Decline has made you cautious

Growing churches take risks. Stagnant or declining churches don’t.
Churches that aren’t growing often end up in preservation mode—they try to converse what little they already have rather than risk it to grow again.
This is a critical mistake.

Ask yourself, when was the last time we took a real risk? If you can’t answer that, you’re far too cautious.

4. Success has made you cautious

It’s not just stagnation or decline that makes leaders cautious, success does it too.

Sometimes you become so successful you become afraid to break the formula. So you become cautious. You stop innovating. You risk little.

The greatest enemy of your future success is your current success.

5. Your affection for the past is greater than your excitement for the future

Stuck or declining churches are nostalgic churches. They remember when everything was amazing, which clearly isn’t today.

To figure this out, listen to the way people talk. Is there an excitement for what’s next, or mostly a longing for what was?

When your affection for the past is greater than your excitement for the future, you’re in trouble.

6. You don’t understand the changing culture

Stagnant and declining churches often see a gap develop between them and the culture.

Because nothing has changed in a decade—or several decades—the world is seen at best as something they don’t understand, or at worst, as an enemy.
Outsiders who come in see a church like that as, at best, quaint, and more likely as irrelevant and misguided.

Jesus loved the world enough to die for it. The church should love the world enough to reach it.

7. You haven’t got new leaders around the table

Look around you. Are most of the people on your team the same people who were there five years ago?

I’m not advocating for high turnover in staff, but in far too many churches there is no plan to renew leadership.

Churches who position themselves for future impact intentionally integrate new voices and new leaders around the table.  I try to keep a balance of established, trusted voices and new voices around our table.

If all the people around your table are the same as 5 years ago, you might just all be 5 years older, not 5 years better.

8. You mostly listen to the voices of current members

When you make decisions, who are you listening to?
Hopefully, (naturally) to the voice of God and to scripture.
But when it comes to human voices…whose wins the day?

Too often, the voice of current church members drowns out the voice of the unchurched people you’re trying to reach.

In fact, smart church leaders will intentionally hang out with unchurched people and bring their voice to the table. How you do that is up to you. That you do it is critical.

9. Your conflict is about all the wrong things

There will always be some level of conflict whenever human beings gather, so what’s your conflict about?

Dying churches spend their energy fighting each other and fighting change.
Growing churches spend their energy fighting for new opportunities to reach unchurched people and speaking up for the change that will impact their lives.

10. Any growth you have is transfer growth

But wait, some will say, we’re growing. We had some new members last year!
That’s awesome. But who are you reaching?

If your growth is mostly transfer growth, you’re pulling from an ever-smaller pool of people.

If you’re reaching unchurched people with little or no church background, the future is much brighter.

11. The core team is not fundamentally healthy

How does your leadership get along?

Do you like hanging out with each other? Do you resolve conflict directly, quickly and effectively?

Are you growing in your faith and in your skill set?

Are you living in a way today-physically, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally—that will help you thrive tomorrow?

Are you aligned around a common mission, vision and strategy?

If you can answer yes to most of those questions, you’re healthy.
If not, there’s some work to do.

But here’s the truth: health at the top is health at the bottom. Dysfunction at the top is dysfunction at the bottom.

If you want a healthy church, grow a healthy leadership team.

In addition to serving as Lead Pastor at Connexus Community Church north of Toronto Canada, Carey Nieuwhof speaks at conferences and churches throughout North America on leadership, family, parenting and personal renewal.