"It’s one thing to be generous. It’s another thing to come up with a plan for generosity." In a webinar hosted by ARC and CourageToLead, Dino Rizzo tackles a topic every church planter faces. "I believe we all have a heart for our city - a heart for serving our community. How do we do it?"
CourageToLead coach and church planter, Eric Metcalf walks us through his church's beginnings, sharing their simple strategy for multiplication. It started with small groups that embody the Jesus mission...Read More
Every leader needs to have consistent conversations with close friends, coaches, mentors, accountability partners, and most importantly their spouses, about the most important relationship and ministry in our lives: our marriage! How are things going on a scale of 1-10? How does that compare to a year ago? Five years ago? How is the partnership in ministry or work; AND at home working? How are we fostering intimacy and friendship? If we finish the race without our spouse we don’t finish well.
John Maxwell was right: “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” The toughest person to lead in our organizations and ministries is ourselves. Most of us do so much training on the front side of our careers or ministry, but get isolated and stagnated once we start! The key to continued organizational or ministry growth is continued personal leadership growth. Mentoring, Coaching, conferences, and online courses are just a few of the tools at our disposal.
The Word Mission means to “be sent.” It's one thing to talk about the Great Commission. It’s quite another thing to live it out. How are we engaging in relationships with people disconnected from Christ and the church? How can I spur on everyone around me to do the same? As I stated in my book The Measure of Our Success: An Impassioned Plea To Pastors: “Christian community that is not reaching the unchurched is not community. It’s consumerism.” Ouch. We need to hold each other accountable to this.
How are we going to finance the mission? How can we make a greater impact? How can we become more generous? How can we lead every person around us to do the same? Every mission requires resources. As the Leader, we are the chief resource raiser. God is counting on us to rally His people around His mission. We usually need help with this. Conversations are needed!
Some of you know that I had a successful real estate career going before God miraculously called me into vocational ministry. I was the top selling agent in our county the year I quit! Even after entering the ministry, God enabled me to see a lot of spiritual fruit quickly. I was able to see a lot of changed lives and experienced a lot of growth in the ministries that I led over the first several years of my ministry. Then I planted a church!I had never doubted myself and my abilities more than the first few years of planting Mountain Lake Church. During the first several years of the church plant, I questioned EVERYTHING about myself, my abilities, and my calling. That's why I believe that the calling to plant a church requires an AMAZING amount of EMOTIONAL FORTITUDE and SECURITY as a leader! It's so important during uncertain times, that we become certain about who we are, who God as uniquely called us to be, and what God wants to do UNIQUELY through us! As a pastor, I must derive my sense of self worth, security, and sufficiency from God! I must have confidence, not in myself, but in what God can do through me! I can totally relat to the apostle Paul: "But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies so everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own." 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT). There is a need to be extremely secure as a leader in my church. Doubt and insecurity can be the undoing of spiritual leaders! It's still a weekly battle for me, but I am slowly winning the battle! I choose to believe every day that I can do do anything if that is what God wants me to do! I can lead this church wherever God wants to take it, because it is Him through me that will take us there! I believe today's churches need secure leaders to lead it where God wants to take it. Are you willing to be a secure leader? Are you willing to believe that nothing is impossible with God through you?
By the way, if God is dealing with you on this issue, I talk a ton about secure leadership in my new book for pastors and ministry leaders, entitled The Measure of our Success. Check it out!
Last night, my wife Tricia went out to dinner with all of the others pastors' wives. This is something she does every other month. No, there's no "Beth Moore" Bible Study that goes on there. They just go out to dinner, laugh, and talk about their husbands. That may not sound spiritual to you, but it is for them. The nonstructured time my wife spends with the other Pastors' wives is so valuable in terms of the opportunities it opens up for Tricia to invest in, and do life with, our Pastors' wives. This is something that Tricia has done since DAY ONE of our church. It's just one of many things that make my wife a great Pastor's wife. Many of you know my wife. She's the best Pastor's wife EVER. She enhances my life and ministry in so many ways. All of this got me thinking: What are the specific things that make Tricia so valuable in my life and ministry? I thought of thousands, but I will list only a few:
* She encourages me.
After all four services every weekend, my wife is waiting backstage for me. Right at that moment, she sins every week: "That was great," she says. I know she's lying. I know she will later even have some critiques. At that moment, however, what I need is a good lie: "that was great." I need encouragement! I need to hear someone tell me that God used me; that I made sense; that I connected; that people's lives will be changed because of this message! It's not just backstage. Tricia will consistently say: "Shawn, how should I handle this...you're so good at this." Sometimes when I am running crazy and spinning 100 plates, she will say: "I don't know how you do what you do." In that small sentence, i feel like she admires me as a person and as a pastor, and even looks up to me in some small way. Her simple words of encouragement mean more to me than a thousand pats on the back by members of the congregation.
* She partners with me.
I work hard to try to partner with Tricia at home. She has told me often that my willingness to partner at home, moves her to want to partner with me in ministry. She doesn't just support me in ministry. She is with me. There's a big difference. For example, she has freely chosen to attend all four services of our weekend experience with me. She worships with me, not just in one, but sometimes two or more of our services. She takes notes on my message. After the services, she stands beside me in the lobby...yes, after all four services! Not once have I ever asked her to do this. She has told me numerous times that she feels called to do it! Why? We are a team. We feel called to ministry together. We are partners.
That's just two of 100,000 things that make my wife a great Pastor's wife. Stay tuned for Part Two of this post tomorrow!
Pastors, what are some of the specific things that make your spouse so valuable to you in your ministry?
I am writing a lot these days. I am speaking a lot these days. A TON is going on at our church these days. Therefore, I am cranking out a ton of content. In every document, on every page, and with every keystroke, however, I have to remind myself of one thing. I should't be writing at all. I should be transcribing. Everything I write should come from my Lord! I must be hearing from Him! I must be dying to myself. I must be dying so He can live through my life and my words. If I write or speak in the flesh, it will cost me. It will cost my ministry and my church! Pastors, are you slowing down long enough to listen to God? Are you hearing Him speak to you BEFORE you write and speak? Following Jesus requires that: “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me." (John 7:16 NLT).
Leading our ministries in the flesh, on the other hand, will kill us, our ministries, and our churches faster than anything else. Don't let this happen to you! Get still and listen! Before you know it, God will speak and inspire: first you, then those around you! The keyboard will be attractive again; and the keystrokes will begin to fly. It works for me, at least. I just paused to pray this very prayer for the thousands of you who will read this post. Don't knock it 'til you try it.