Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pastors: 7 Women You Should Watch Out For
Pastors: 7 Women You Should Watch Out For
The day will come when a woman will sit in your office and proposition you ... what you do next could change your life.
Editor's Note: This article is intended to help pastors and leaders live and act wisely in their relationships with the opposite sex. We also know that this post only covers the male segment of ministry leaders. We hope to run an additional article in the future from a woman's perspective. Also, to balance this article out, you might want to read 7 Sexual Lines No Pastor Should Cross.  
“For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and smoother than oil is her speech” (Proverbs 4:3).

Before there was a folk singer by that name, James Taylor was a professor of preaching. This veteran teacher of preachers held forth in classrooms at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for many years. One day, in a room filled with young preacher boys, Dr. Taylor cautioned us about the temptations we would be facing.
“The day will come when a woman will sit in your office and proposition you. She will make herself available to you sexually. If your marriage is in trouble or if you're not up-to-date in your relationship with your Lord, you could get in big trouble fast.”
I raised my hand. “Dr. Taylor,” I said, “do you really believe that every one of us in this room will face this?” My mind was incapable of imagining a scenario in which a woman—any woman—would sit in a pastor’s office and try to seduce him.
“Yes, I do,” he said. “Even you, McKeever.”
That got a laugh.
I lived to see that day. (Fifteen years after she sat in my office making herself available to the young preacher, while preaching in another state, I spotted that woman and her husband—the same husband whose antics had given her cause to seek my counsel originally—in the congregation. I was thankful I had gotten this thing right in my office that day.)
The writer of Proverbs tried to do the same thing Dr. Taylor did for us in seminary that day: prepare the young lad for what he would be facing down the road.
“My son, give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding;
That you may observe discretion, and your lips may reserve knowledge.
For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and smoother than oil is her speech; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of Sheol. She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it” (Proverbs 4:1-6).
The remedy for this—in a sense, the armor which protects one from such a vamp—the writer goes on to say, is to “drink water from your own cistern” (4:15). He gets rather explicit in his counsel to a young husband to satisfy himself intimately with his wife and with no one else.
Many a man of God has sabotaged his own ministry by sexual sin.
They’re all through scripture. We think of the sons of Eli, the high priest. “The sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the Lord” (I Samuel 2:12). “They lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting” (2:22). The Lord had no patience with such antics and put them out of business quickly (4:11).
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JUL 18, 2013

Don't Blame Your Schedule For Your Burn Out

Ministry Fence Posts Part One |
Don't Blame Your Schedule For Your Burn Out
We live in a world that is defined by boundaries. Our roads are painted with them, oursports games are designed around them, and our psychologists tell us that we need to expand them around that codependent crazy aunt of ours.
While it may be true that the term "boundaries" has been "Oprahfied" in the last few years, I think it's an area that is vital in the lives of church planters and pastors.
People often point to too much activity as the inherent culprit of fatigue and early departure from ministry. The problem, however, transcends a busy schedule.
Pastors and ministry leaders who experience burnout tend to exhibit lifestyles that neglect the discipline to handle their activities.
Pastors and ministry leaders who experience burnout tend to exhibit lifestyles that neglect the discipline to handle their activities. Without properly set and upheld boundaries, individuals will more likely experience exhaustion of both body and spirit.
When I planted my first church in the inner city of Buffalo along with all of those duties, I was husband to Donna, blowing insulation to support myself, and a seminary student in Pittsburgh, driving myself four hours, in the snow, uphill both ways. I may have made that last part up, but it was Buffalo after all.
Surprisingly, I was actually able to maintain all of those roles until I failed to create strong boundaries. That was what finally got to me. If a car hits a dog, the dog isn't injured because he was running at it too quickly. He's hurt because he didn't abide by the boundaries that were set for him.
Similarly, it wasn't the rapidity of my activity that hurt me, but rather my lack of solid boundaries around my schedule, particularly at church. I became the focal point for the entire ministry that took place. I was the one everybody needed to talk to if they wanted to follow Christ, receive counseling, or have visit them after their toenail surgery.
I had a congregation full of people who would lean on me from all directions for their spiritual growth. It was these lack of boundaries that disabled any effective ministry and led to burnout.
The fact that I'm still in ministry today should tell you that I have learned some lessons along the way. I'm passionate about sharing the four guidelines I gleaned from my own experience with other pastors and leaders.
Think of them as four fence posts that set up a defined boundary around a healthy ministry. I'll take the next four blog "posts" (pun intended) in this series, to explain each ministry fence post in detail.
Source: Christianity Today
JUL 31, 2013

Pursue Emotionally Healthy Boundaries

Ministry Fence Post #2 |
Pursue Emotionally Healthy Boundaries
In the introduction to this series, I talked about how your schedule is not the primary problem that leads to burn out, rather it was not setting healthy boundaries in your ministry. Last time, I said the first "post" in your ministry boundary fence is to recognize your role in the church.
For the second post, we have to understand that unhealthy pastors create unhealthy boundaries.
Look, it's nice to be needed. When people in the church look to you for everything and you do it, they'll think you're awesome. Wanting others to think you are awesome isn't necessarily bad. It can be perfectly normal. The enjoyment of deserved praise, however, can quickly snowball to an unhealthy dependency upon praise.
The enjoyment of deserved praise, can quickly snowball to an unhealthy dependency upon praise.
Your congregation is not naturally going to help you with this. In most church contexts, many look to the pastor as a "distributor of religious goods and services."
The congregation feels that they have chosen you, and that they are regularly "paying" for you. As a result, they have certain expectations of what you should do. Those expectations can include things like personal visits to every sick person. If it is not done, people may get mad or claim their spiritual walk has been compromised.
The second post supporting a healthy ministry is to pursue emotionally healthy boundaries.
In order to create proper boundaries, pastors must be healthy and confident enough to be able to say, "No," when other people want you to say, "Yes," even when they don't understand why you have to say, "No."
Once when I was serving as an interim pastor, a long-time family in the church asked if I could talk to little "Johnny" so that he could receive Christ. I very calmly and kindly answered, "No." The parents were confused as to why I would not meet with them, but I explained that I did not want to take that opportunity from them.
They protested again, explaining that he had questions. Really, he was eight. Was he struggling with the ontological argument for the existence of God? I expressed that I was confident the questions would be basic, which they should be able to answer since they had been sitting in a great church for fifteen years.
If people need to go through you, as the pastor, to meet Jesus, their understanding of the Gospel is rather limited.
If people need to go through you, as the pastor, to meet Jesus, their understanding of the Gospel is rather limited.
Unfortunately, Johnny's parents didn't see it that way. Actually, they saw it in a way that resulted in calling two small groups worth of people explaining that the interim was the, well, a yankee devil.
Within two weeks, however, they found me after church and thanked me for not robbing them of the opportunity of praying with their son. It doesn't always work out that way, but in this case, the boundaries created a really special moment for this family-- but they never called back the families they complained to two weeks before.
Creating boundaries is hard for everyone, but necessary for longevity in ministry.
At the end of the day, pastors must not allow the people in their congregation to bring cultural expectations to their boundaries. Instead, they must allow the Bible to inform their implementation of healthy boundaries. The Bible does command and describe what pastors should do, and most boundary making is unrelated to those biblical commands, but is rather driven by church-culture expecations.
The Bible must inform the implementation of healthy boundaries.
The properly established boundaries create a much healthier pastor and church. Part of the health of the church comes from the third post, which we will examine next – guard your flock … even from other Christians.
Source: Christianity Today

Friday, July 26, 2013

How to Shave 10 Hours Off Your Ministry Work Week

How to Shave 10 Hours Off Your Ministry Work Week
Michael Hyatt shows how virtually anyone, with a little thought and effort, can shave 10 hours off their work week.
Almost everyone I know is working more time than they would like. That’s why a book like The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss has been such a big bestseller. This is a great book, but the promise is a little over the top. I don’t know of anyone, including Tim Ferriss, who really only works four hours.
But what if you could shave 10 hours off your work week? In my opinion, that is much more doable. Virtually anyone, with a little thought and effort, can do it. Here’s how:

1. Limit the time you spend online.

In my experience, the Web is most people’s #1 time sucker. Yes, I know it is a wonderful tool for research, blah, blah, blah. But I often catch myself and my family members mindlessly surfing from one page to another with no clear objective in mind. Before you know it, you can eat up several hours a day. The key is to put a fence around this activity and limit your time online. Set a timer for yourself if you have to. This is true for Web surfing, and it is also true for email. Unless you are in a customer service position where you have to be “always on,” you should check email no more than two or three times a day.

2. Touch email messages once and only once.

OK, let’s be honest. How many times do you read the same email message over and over again? Guess what? The information hasn’t changed. That’s right. You are procrastinating. I have a personal rule: I will only read each message once, then take the appropriate action: do, delegate, defer, file or delete it. I describe these in more detail in a post I made last week.

3. Follow the two-minute rule.

My to-do list is very short. It never gets longer than about 30 items. This is because I do everything I can immediately. If I need to make a phone call, rather than entering it on my to-do list, I just make the call. If I can complete the action in less than two minutes, I just go ahead and do it. Why wait? You will be amazed at how much this “bias toward action” will reduce your workload.

Conversely, when you don’t do it promptly, you end up generating even more work for yourself and others. The longer a project sits, the longer it takes to overcome inertia and get it moving again. The key is to define the very next action and do it. You don’t have to complete the whole project, just the next action.

4. Stop attending low-impact meetings.

If there’s one thing we can probably all agree on, it’s that we go to too many meetings. Either the meeting organizer isn’t prepared, the meeting objective isn’t defined, or you can’t really affect the outcome one way or the other. Every meeting should have a written objective and a written agenda. If you don’t have these two minimal items, how do you know when the meeting is over? Could this also explain why meetings seem to drag on and on until everyone is worn out?
If the content of the meeting is irrelevant to you and your job, or if you don’t feel that you really add that much to the discussion, ask to be excused.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

5 Components of Contagious Leadership

Is leadership really leadership if it’s not being passed on to others?
Ralph Nader once said: The function of leadership is to create more leaders, not more followers.
Contagious leaders place the success of others, the team, and the organization above their own well-being. Often at great personal cost. They understand that there’s far more value and fulfillment in sacrifice than in self-preservation. And they consistently choose to serve future leaders in a way that makes them more successful.
And future leaders love them for it!
So if you’re energized by developing new leaders, here are 5 often-neglected factors that will take your leadership viral…

Tuesday, July 9, 2013



I was recently honored to discuss leadership on a panel at the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference with Greg Matte, Rodney Woo, and Jack Graham. People submitted questions beforehand, and one of the questions that Pastor Greg sent my way was “What are the most common mistakes pastors make?” Here are three:


Marcus Buckingham said, “Clarity is the preoccupation of the effective leader. If you do nothing else as a leader, be clear.” Wise church leaders clarify, guard, and preach the essentials over and over again.

Most importantly, pastors must be clear on the theology that serves as the foundation for the church. Without theological clarity, churches will drift from the faith that was delivered once and for all to the saints (Jude 3). Without continually reminding people of the gospel, a church will no longer stand on the strong foundation of the faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Or as D. A. Carson has stated, “To assume the gospel in one generation is to lose it in the next.”

Pastors must also be continually clear on the ministry philosophy and direction of the church. People long to have a direction painted for them, to see how all that the church does is built on the theology and philosophy of ministry that drives the church. Pastors who fail to offer directional clarity leave a massive vacuum of leadership. Consequently, others will step in with competing visions of what the church should be and do, and the church will move in a plethora of directions, unsure of who she really is.


By culture, I am not referring to the ethnic or socio-economic mix in the church (though this is important too). I am referring to the shared values and beliefs that undergird all the church does. Peter Drucker is credited for famously saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He was not diminishing the importance of a wise strategy, but he was stating the overpowering strength of culture on an organization.

If a church leader attempts to implement a strategy without first addressing the culture, if the two are in conflict with one another, the strategy is doomed before it even launches. Culture will win. And while the doctrinal confession in a church is absolutely critical, if the culture is in conflict with the confession, the culture will trump the confession.

For example… A church has the doctrinal confession that all believers are priests and ministers because Jesus’ sacrificial death for us tore the veil of separation and His Spirit has empowered all believers. But that same church has a long-standing culture that the “real ministers” are the professional clergy

—that whenever a need arises, it lands on a staff member’s plate. Thus, when a tragedy occurs or someone needs counseling, it is the culture that drives the behavior, not the doctrinal confession.

Wise church leaders will continually check the culture and, by God’s grace, seek to bring it into deep alignment with the theology and ministry philosophy of the church.


Many churches never realize the full potential of their plans or strategies because they switch them too frequently. They abandon their direction for a new direction and confuse the people as to where the church is really headed. Switching strategies too frequently is really a symptom of not possessing or providing clarity and not having a culture that is deeply connected to the theology and philosophy of the church. Continually switching strategies will harm the overall effectiveness of the pastor’s leadership.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Starting the day with God

Let us seek the Lord early. "If my heart be
early seasoned with his presence, it will savof
of him all day after." Let us see God before
man every day. "I ought to pray before seeing
any one. Often when I sleep long, or meet
with others early, and then have family
prayer and breakfast and forenoon callers, it
is eleven or twelve o'clock before I begin
secret prayer. This is a wretched system. It is
unscriptural. Christ rose before day, and
went into a solitary place. . . Family prayer
loses much of power and sweetness, and I
can do no good to those who come to seek for
me. The conscience feels guilty, the soul
unfed, the lamp not trimmed. Then, when
secret prayer comes, the soul is often out of
tune. I feel it far better to begin with God, to
see His face first, to get my soul near Him
before it is near another.
Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

The object of Christian ministry

"We take for granted that the object of the
Christian ministry is to convert sinners and to
edify the body of Christ. No faithful minister
can possibly rest short of this. Applause,
fame, popularity, honor, wealth-­all these are
vain. If souls are not won, if saints are not
matured, our ministry itself is vain."
Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)